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Monthly Archives: October 2012

And then they came for the Homeschoolers

Periodically we get an email asking how Common Core is going to affect homeschoolers. Up till now we’ve only been able to point out things like how the ACT test is being aligned with Common Core, thus signaling that everyone (including homeschoolers) will need to teach to Common Core standards in order to pass a major college entrance exam.

Now, however, the tie-ins are getting more direct.

When Utah signed onto the Race to the Top grant, we also agreed to adopt a P20 database tracking system to do in-depth tracking of our children. Utah selected and announced its partner early this year and called it, significantly, the P20w database. This database is meant to track children from preschool through college and into the workforce.

The objective is the old school-to-work agenda which was run out of town when it surfaced in the past. It’s simply central planning for society through identifying, labeling, and steering children in certain directions. And now we can see the plan is to bring homeschoolers into the tracking system.

The good folks that run the ROPE (Restore Oklahoma Public Education) group have found a presentation online that was from the 2011 CCSSO National Conference. CCSSO is the Council of Chief State Superintendents Organization, which is the partner organization with the National Governor’s Association which claim to have developed Common Core together. The group doing this presentation is HumRRO (Human Resources Research Organization).

In this presentation, they now admit that they want to bring homeschoolers into this database, I’m sure for research purposes, of course…

Their presentation is here and slide 35 specifically mentions homeschoolers.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/110361334/Data-Data-Everywhere-CCSSO-Presentation-at-National-Conference-on-Student-Assessment

Recommendations from the P-20 Data Coordinating Council

Further recommendations for the P-20 Data System:

  • Incorporate teacher preparation attributes (e.g.,certification type, school of origin) into the data system.
  • Incorporate analysis and business management tools into the system
  • Implement greater interactive reporting capabilities to respond to a range of stakeholders.
  • Include student groups not now included (e.g.,home-schooled) in the data system
  • Complete basic policies such as data use/access protocols, data quality standards and governance

It’s not hard to understand that once you have data, you want to have ways to slice and dice it, and do further analysis. They are definitely headed in this direction. The more information which they may find fascinating about your children, the more this database will expand because it will have everything on children from around the nation.

Just this one slide above opens up new questions about who the “range of stakeholders” will be? What greater capabilities does this need? When will private schoolers be brought into the database through force of government?

The excellent documentation gathered by ROPE on privacy issues can be read here.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/110458572/How-Much-Data-is-Enough-Data-What-happens-to-privacy-when-bureaucracies-exceed-their-scope

Pages 8 & 9 of their document show some of the data points that are to be gathered on children including birthmark, blood type, dental prosthetics, weight, weight at birth, and voting status. These screenshots show what the site used to display, but it has been whitewashed now to not display these factors. A while back I reported on this database intrusion showing they also had tracking factors such as what time your child gets on the bus, compulsory attendance status, religious consideration, and the number of decayed teeth your child has.

How is workforce defined? From the Illinois Data System design document it says:

The term workforce is defined as consisting of the workers engaged in a specific activity, business or industry or the number of workers who are available to be assigned to any purpose as in a nation’s workforce.

The public workforce system is a network of federal, state, and local offices that function to support economic expansion and facilitate the development United States workforce. The system is designed to create partnership with employers, educators, and community leaders in order to foster economic development and high-growth opportunities in regional economies so that businesses find qualified workers to meet their present and future workforce needs. (Emphasis added)

I think Homeschoolers should be lobbying state legislators to offer them some protections from any intrusion into tracking anything about what their children are learning. For that matter, I think it would be a good thing to back out of the P20w database tracking altogether. Why incur the expenses of tracking our children in this way when we didn’t get any federal funds anyway? Our children are tracked plenty at the local level. There’s no need to participate in a system that facilitates national collection of our children’s personally identifiable information.

Who is Sir Michael Barber?

Sir Michael BarberWho is Sir Michael Barber and why do you need to know this person? He’s the new Marc Tucker with a clear global agenda. At last month’s British Education Summit he gave a speech entitled, “Whole System Revolution: The Education Challenge For the Next Decade.” He’s all about global citizens, sustainability, and human capital. Barber is the Chief Education Advisor to Pearson. Pearson was involved with Common Core from the very beginning and is one of the largest providers (if not #1) of curriculum for schools.

Here are two articles to get better acquainted with Sir Michael Barber.

http://conservativeteachersofamerica.com/2012/10/11/meet-the-new-boss-sir-michael-barber-same-as-the-old-boss-marc-tucker/

http://commoncorefacts.blogspot.com/2012/10/who-is-sir-michael-barber.html

“If you want irreversible reforms, work on the culture and the minds of teachers and parents,” Barber says. He says this is important; otherwise, parents or traditionalists might repeal what’s been done because of their “wish for the past.” He defines “sustainable reform” as “irreversible reform” and aims to “make it so it can never go back to how it was before.”

 

State Preschool Should be Vigorously Opposed

God’s plan of happiness for mankind is centered in the family. The family is the place where moral values are passed from parent to child and where the true education of children takes place. There is no substitute for a loving home. It is among the highest crimes to work toward or allow the destruction of the relationship between parent and child.

There is no question that we live in times in which the family is under assault. There is a definite agenda to get children away from their families at younger ages and for more time in the day so that the influence of a mother and father is diminished in the lives of their children.

Prominent educators and politicians illustrate this disdain for families in this way:

“Most youth still hold the same values of their parents…if we do not alter this pattern, if we don’t resocializeour system will decay.” -John Goodlad (1)

[schools] should liberate students from the ways of thinking imposed by religions and other traditions of thought.” -John Goodlad (2)

Public education has served as a check on the power of parents, and this is another powerful reason for maintaining it.” – John Goodlad (3)

Every child in America entering school at the age of five is insane because he comes to school with certain allegiances to our founding fathers, toward our elected officials, toward his parents, toward a belief in a supernatural being, and toward the sovereignty of this nation as a separate entity. It’s up to you as teachers to make all these sick children well – by creating the international child of the future.” -Dr. Chester M. Pierce, Harvard Professor of Education and Psychiatry (4)

Age 5 is too late according to Dr. Pierce. The goal is to separate children from parents as early as possible so the parents are no longer the primary driver of values for a child. If children can bond with teachers and peers at early ages, there is less chance they will ever acquire their parents’ values, especially since Judeo-Christian values and beliefs can’t be raised in Government funded schools.

Linda Darling-Hammond, author of Teaching for Social Justice in the Classroom, and someone recommended by Bill Ayers to President Obama for his Secretary of Education post, wrote:

“If the promise of the Obama education agenda is realized, in 2016 we could see a nation in which all children have access to the health care, housing, and high-quality preschool experience.

Preschool gets as much prominence as socialized medicine and housing? That’s pretty telling of these people’s priorities. Get children early.

Why is the Utah State Office of Education so interested in getting legislators like Senator Aaron Osmond to sponsor state funded preschool bills? Even to the point of making ridiculous generalized claims that for every dollar spent on preschool, the state gets seven back.

Could it be because there is another golden carrot being dangled in front of us in the Federal Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grant? States that “are leading the way with ambitious yet achievable plans for implementing coherent, compelling, and comprehensive early learning education reform” appear to have a shot at yet more federal funding.

Could it be because the Federal Secretary of Education indicated there was a preference for obtaining Race to the Top (RTTT) funds for those states that implement early education initiatives?

Notice how the feds use us over and over again?

In Utah’s RTTT application we committed to this expansion of early learning.

Project Five: Improving Early Learning Outcomes (supports Invitational Priority 3: Innovations for Improving Early Learning Outcomes)

Utah will:

  • · Maintain and expand full-day kindergarten to eligible students and use data to identify and replicate high-performing projects and practices; and
  • · Support early intervention programs for high-need Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) children by reviewing data and reports from the Utah Preparing Students Today for a Rewarding Tomorrow (UPSTART), Early Learning Initiative (a Waterford Institute Project for in-home, computer-based preparation for school success), CTE sponsored preschools, and other state preschool programs.

Rationale: The foundation for success in reading and mathematics begins before kindergarten. This is especially true for economically disadvantaged students, English language learners, and students with disabilities. We have learned from our optional extended-day kindergarten initiative, that early intervention at the preschool level is essential to narrowing achievement gaps.

Early learning initiatives are also embedded in the CCSSO’s (Council of Chief State Superintendents Organization) “ROADMAP for NEXT-GENERATION STATE ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEMS

“Early learning accountability – holds programs geared towards ensuring that students enter kindergarten ready to learn accountable for results.” …

Expand the scope of diagnostic reviews to encompass the examination of early learning opportunities and other community-based supports for student achievement and attainment. These efforts could encompass gathering information on the proportion of young children who are participating in high quality early childhood programs, the prevalence of family engagement and education programs for parents of young children, and the extent to which elementary schools have built partnerships with early learning and child care programs to align standards, curricula, assessment and professional development efforts from early childhood through grade 3.”…

Consider more far-reaching and fundamental efforts to enhance and mobilize communities, families, early education programs and other partners to complement the influence of school-based improvement initiatives. As stated earlier in this Roadmap, the Taskforce believes in the concept of shared accountability. While the focus of this Roadmap is on the school, district, and state role in improving student achievement, research tells us that families, communities, and other programs can have a large impact on student achievement. States may want to consider involving these entities as wrap-around supports for students, schools, and districts.”

Are you kidding me? Early childhood standards, curricula, assessment, and professional development???

The next-generation state accountability system mentioned above was implemented by Utah earlier this year. The state issued a press release that they had implemented a P-20W longitudinal database tracking system for our children? The “P” is for preschool, and the “W” is for workforce. This is the same old school-to-work tracking concept that has been around for years and is one of the reasons Common Core moves a significant emphasis from literature to informational texts to better prepare workers instead of independent thinkers. We’ve been had. Common Core was just the vehicle to get states on a massive school-to-work database and get state funded preschool started.

Another name for this is Outcome Based Education. It’s been actively implemented before in Nazi Germany for training children from very young ages to be independent of parents, and to be trained for the workforce. The goal is to allow the state central planners to indoctrinate youth as social servants with loyalty to country, instead of individuals who have the freedom to live as they choose and share in their parent’s Judeo-Christian values. They will serve the greater good by becoming what they are told they are fitted to be.

One example of this separation between parent and child is the constructivist approach to textbooks. In many cases there are no textbooks that a child can take home and let the parent help explain concepts that a child might not understand. In cases where there are textbooks, many times they do not have math problem examples or instruction in the books. The Utah State Office of Education (which is full of constructivists) produced such a textbook, and the Granite and Jordan School Districts did for students as well. These constructivist textbooks break down family relationships. They take away the ability of a parent to provide assistance with their child’s homework by refreshing their memory on how to do those problems. It sets up teachers as the people who are smarter than parents because they know how to do the problems, so parents lose credibility in the eyes of their children.

Why is Utah following this path? State funded preschool is a good intention found on the road to hell. It will start with those who are “at-risk” and some study will say it helped those children. Then studies will be promoted that say it was a success with those children and it will be even more successful if all kids are given the choice. Then it will be so successful that all children just need this preschool by state mandate. Think it won’t happen? Consider Sweden.

Sweden has gone down the slippery slope and now demands that parents turn over their children as young as 1 year old to state daycare, and forces private schools to teach the state curriculum as you can see in this video.

Here are some resources that Dr. Himmelstrand references:

1) Sweden implemented government funded day care and encouraged women to leave the home to work. 30 years later they have psychological issues in youth, decreased education results, discipline problems, high rates of sick leave especially among women, deteriorating parental abilities, and more. (slides or full paper)

2) Does Prekindergarten Improve School Preparation and Performance? A study by Katherine A. Magnuson, Christopher J. Ruhm, and Jane Waldfogel.

We find that prekindergarten increases reading and mathematics skills at school entry, but also increases behavioral problems and reduces self-control. Furthermore, the effects of prekindergarten on skills largely dissipate by the spring of first grade, although the behavioral effects do not.

3) Universal Childcare, Maternal Labor Supply, and Family Well-Being by Michael Baker, Jonathan Gruber, Kevin Milligan

Finally, we uncover striking evidence that children are worse off in a variety of behavioral and health dimensions, ranging from aggression to motor-social skills to illness. Our analysis also suggests that the new childcare program led to more hostile, less consistent parenting, worse parental health, and lower-quality parental relationships.

4) Findings from the Canadian Institute of Marriage and Family

For Dr. Neufeld, the capacity for healthy relationships is meant to unfold in the first six years of life. “It’s a very basic agenda,” he says. “By the fifth year of life if everything is continuous and safe then emotional intimacy begins. A child gives his heart to whomever he is attached to and that is an incredibly important part….The first issue is always to establish strong, deep emotional connections with those who are raising you. And that should be our emphasis in society. If we did this, we would send our children to school late, not early.

Other research concurs. In the books “Better Late Than Early” and “School Can Wait” by Raymond & Dorothy Moore, they show research illustrating significant problems with early education. The Moore’s research was highly endorsed as critical to healthy childhood development, and their evidence actually shows that children are better off emotionally and learn better when they are a little more mature and more fully bonded with parents.

A couple years ago I received an email from a teacher in Utah county who was very familiar with a pre-school pilot program being run in one of the school districts. Young children were being put on a bus in the dark hours of the morning and sent off to school. There wasn’t much learning going on because the children were so homesick the teachers spent a lot of time nurturing instead of teaching. They were supplanting the role of the parents.

Here’s a proposal. Utah has a funding issue. We say we want off the federal funds and strings. According to the USOE, about 12% of our education funding comes from the federal government. What if we dropped pre-school, kindergarten and first grade and start children at an older age as they do in Finland (which isn’t hurting for educational success). Removing these (and maybe even 2nd grade or cutting it to half a day for just basics) should knock out a significant portion (if not all) of the 12% of our state education budget that comes from the federal government and allow us to exit the federal string of bad ideas like NCLB and Common Core. Until children enter school, strongly encourage parents to read to their children and teach them basic things at home. A family focused on the education of their children will do more to emotionally and mentally prepare their children to learn at school than they will ever get in the first couple years of a public school. It’s not hard to learn what’s missed in early grades when a student is better prepared to learn.

In 1995, the LDS church issued an official document entitled the Proclamation on the Family. Although it’s never been canonized, we consider this document to have the weight of scripture as it came under the signatures of our church leadership (consisting of what we call the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles).  This document concludes:

We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.

Government sponsored preschool is just the next excuse for government to remove the influence of parents from their children at earlier ages before a child imprints the Judeo-Christian values of their parents. Lets not let this happen in Utah. We can’t afford adding another grade level to education, and we really can’t afford the further erosion of the family. I pray that responsible citizens and officers of government will find ways to protect and preserve the family as the fundamental unit of society, not secondary to compulsory education which is the largest social engineering experiment propagated on the family.

 

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Footnotes

(1) Education Innovation, Issue 9, “Report of Task Force C: Strategies for Change,” Schooling for the Future, a report to the President’s Commission on Schools Finance, Issue #9, 1971.

(2) “Education and Community,” in Democracy, Education, and the Schools, Roger Stone, pg. 92.

(3) Developing Democratic Character in the Young, pg. 165

(4) Address to the Childhood International Education Seminar, 1973

 

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