All posts by Oak Norton

Obama orders federal agencies to use behavioral data on citizens

This week President Obama signed a new executive order to “help” government be more accommodating to citizens. He plans to do this not through asking what people need, but by using behavioral data on citizens to help them understand what they really want.

Here’s the announcement…full of increasing government involvement in our lives…

An article at the Daily Caller points out the involvement of Cass Sunstein on this project. Cass is a full blown Marxist who Glenn Beck has been talking about for years as a major worry for being Obama’s “regulatory Czar.”

“The initiative draws on research from University of Chicago economist Richard Thaler and Harvard law school professor Cass Sunstein, who was also dubbed Obama’s regulatory czar. The two behavioral scientists argued in their 2008 book “Nudge” that government policies can be designed in a way that “nudges” citizens towards certain behaviors and choices.”

The desired choices almost always advance the goals of the federal government, though they are often couched as ways to cut overall program spending.

In its 2013 memo, which was reported by Fox News at the time, the White House openly admitted that the initiative involved behavioral experimentation.

“The program has already existed in an experimental form, but now Obama has formally established the federal “Social and Behavioral Sciences Team,” ordering them to to use psychology and experimental behavior data to make government more user-friendly.”

Thanks to JaKell Sullivan for pointing out these links and for this insightful commentary on Facebook.

The problem is two-fold:
1. The Federal Executive Branch is deciding what outcomes they want to achieve on political issues like: global warming, water use, electrical use, food choices, healthcare choices, education choices
2. Then, they are using our tax dollars to: pay researchers who will support their goals and use (and manipulate) research data to propagandize us.

The Federal Executive branch will use this power to control, not improve choice.

The Whitehouse’s Learning Registry claims they can now get “between websites” to “filter” the content that reaches teachers and children. This is pure information control.

Here’s the Whitehouse’s video talking about the Learning Registry:

Jenny Baker also replied with this quote from Bernay’s, the author of “Propaganda.”

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.” – Edward Bernays (“the father of public relations”), Propaganda, 1928 (note that Bernays’ book, Propaganda, begins with the above quote).

Why is this troubling? Where does the government obtain behavioral data on citizens? How are they getting it? Well we know one way is through the statewide longitudinal database systems they funded in each state and through SAGE tests by AIR, a behavioral research company. Why did Utah legislators pass a bill a few years back to include collecting behavioral data on students through computer adaptive testing (it has been removed now by a subsequent law but AIR still collects it)? What can you do when you know someone’s personality, values, beliefs, and behaviors? Manipulate them with propaganda designed to be most effective. Why else do you hire reams of psychologists to “help” citizens take advantage of government programs?

Shock Admission: OECD: Computers do not improve results

The OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development ) has just released a report stating that increasing the use of technology in the classroom does not actually improve results.

Among their findings:

  • Students who use computers very frequently at school get worse results

  • Students who use computers moderately at school, such as once or twice a week, have “somewhat better learning outcomes” than students who use computers rarely

  • The results show “no appreciable improvements” in reading, mathematics or science in the countries that had invested heavily in information technology

  • High achieving school systems such as South Korea and Shanghai in China have lower levels of computer use in school

  • Singapore, with only a moderate use of technology in school, is top for digital skills

“One of the most disappointing findings of the report is that the socio-economic divide between students is not narrowed by technology, perhaps even amplified,” said Mr Schleicher.

Sort of makes you wonder what the CEO’s of tech companies know since they send their children to computer-free private schools.

Feds Confess Truth About Common Core – They Coerced

Eventually those behind the scenes of frauds either slip up or get so arrogant they openly admit what they did all along. Now we know.

“Joanne Weiss was the director of USED’s Race to the Top (RttT) program, the vehicle through which states were bribed to accept Common Core and the aligned assessments. In an essay recently published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Weiss confessed that USED used strong-arm tactics to transform states’ standards and assessments systems: ‘[W]e forced alignment among the top three education leaders in each participating state — the governor, the chief state school officer, and the president of the state board of education — by requiring each of them to sign their state’s Race to the Top application. In doing so, they attested that their office fully supported the state’s reform proposal.'”

First, do no harm – Analysis by Utah Child Psych Center

I received a copy of this analysis and post it here with permission of the authors. The Early Life, Child Psychology and Education Center of South Jordan, Utah, has done an analysis of statements and positions of the U.S. Department of Education pertaining to Common Core assessments.  I will post the forward of the document below, but you can obtain the 44 page report by clicking this link.

PDF Download-Primum Non Nocere – First, Do No Harm: An Ethical & Psychology-Based Analysis of The U.S. Department of Education’s Change In Common Core Testing Policies for Divergent Learning Children In Public Schools

Early Life Child Psychology CenterForward:

Primum non nocere in Latin means “first, do no harm.” One of the elemental precepts of ethics, taught across disciplines and throughout the world, this ancient principle holds that given an existing problem, it may be better not to do something, or to do nothing, than to risk causing more harm than good. It reminds
the doctor, the psychologist and the educator that he or she must  consider possible damage that any intervention might do and to invoke Primum non nocere when considering use of any intervention that carries a less- than-certain chance of benefit.

As objective, local clinical community scientists, we at Early Life Child
Psychology and Education Center have had no previous interest or involvement in education public policy or in politics. Our involvement now stems from observations as professionals, is founded on ethics, and must increase as we see that as a consequence of changes in education policy, many children’s lives are being fractured.

We are not a special interest group: within the walls of our Education Psychology Clinic are professionals from diverse cultural, political, ethnic and religious backgrounds, united under one cause: the ethical and safe practice of administering psychological assessment, therapy, and educational interventions to “divergent learning” children who reside in our respective communities in Southern California, and Salt Lake City, Utah. We are African Americans, Caucasians, Latinos, Asians, progressives, tea party activists, socialists, LGBT, traditionally married and single parents, agnostics and conservative Christians.

The harmony we share as a diverse group of clinicians-educators, dedicated to serving the needs of children, has not been duplicated by the diverse group of political and corporate public policy makers who have been entrusted with decision-making power. We here note: that agenda-laden political and corporate partnerships, entrusted with power, have made life-altering decisions regarding education policies for children in public schools, placing their interests above the direct needs of children, resulting in ground-level chaos we have heretofore never seen.

This paper is written not only because of our professional observations of increased numbers of suffering public school children whom our clinic serves; it is also written in response to recent public policy changes, initiated by U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan under the 2015 reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, regarding assessment practices and states’ loss of authority over the education of our nation’s “special education” children. Those new policies and the cited research, upon which they claim to be based, are herein examined.

Under the light and concept of ethics, using ethical application of peer-reviewed science toward the subject matter of testing and mental health, this paper examines the influence of each on education policies. It will be clear to objective readers that Secretary Duncan’s policies do not share the ethical professionals’ commitment to the standards set by the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Code of Ethics. The US Department of Education’s interpretation of cited “studies” used to justify policy changes have been dangerously manipulated and are utilized to achieve political goals at the expense of millions of public school children.

We strongly encourage politicians, policy makers, and state education leaders to examine education policies under the light and scope of ethics, as opposed to catering to the requests of corporate and political special interests. Failure to do so will result in harm to our nation’s vulnerable divergent learning children, including African American, Latino, autistic, dyslexic, gifted, mentally ill, poverty-stricken, and “learning disabled” children.

Parents, not governments, are and must always be the resident experts of their own children.

May readers be endowed with discernment and wisdom as they ponder the effects of policy in the service of children.

School Board Member Recommends Opting Out of SAGE

Brian Halladay, a school board member in Alpine School District and one of the only people in the state to really dig into AIR and their SAGE test, shared the following with me and gave permission to post it.


The SAGE Test is an unreliable, unverified test that our children from 3rd-11th grade are taking not just once, but up to three times a year. These tests aren’t scored by their teachers, but rather by the American Institutes for Research (AIR). This company is the one of the world’s largest social and behavioral research organizations. Your child’s proficiency is being scored by a bunch of behavioral researchers. No teacher is scoring, or has the ability to score, an individual child’s SAGE test.

Your child is taking a test for 8 hours (4 hours for math and 4 hours for English) that their teacher can’t see the questions to. This test is designed to have your child fail. Gone are the days when a student could feel a sense of achievement for getting 100% on a test. This test is touted to be “rigorous.” If your child gets a correct answer the test will continue to ask harder and harder questions until they get it wrong (who knows if what is tested was actually taught in the classroom?) Put simply this means your child likely will come home grumpy, anxious, or depressed after they take this test. With over 50% non-proficiency this will affect more than half the students that take it.

The teacher is almost as much of a test victim as the child. Having no idea of the test questions, they are starting to be evaluated on a test they can’t see. I believe we’re starting to see this leading to more experienced teachers leaving, and an increase in teachers with little to no experience not knowing the pre-SAGE environment.

Points to consider:

  1. When did we allow testing to become more important than education?
  1. Your child’s data is subject to being shared with people and organizations without your consent. There is nothing that prohibits AIR or any its multiple organizations from accessing your child’s data. As long as AIR doesn’t make a profit from the data without the USOE’s consent, they can use it for anything they want.
  1. This test has no contractual provisions that prevent it from collecting BEHAVIORAL data. AIR has a long history of collecting behavioral data, and seeing they’re a behavioral research organization, don’t you think they will? (Just look up Project Talent).

Last year, two fellow board members and I wrote a letter to our State Superintendent asking him to address our concerns, of which we’ve had no response.

If your parental instinct is kicking in, I would ask that you at least consider opting your child out of taking this test. State law allows any parent to opt their child out. Even if you don’t decide to opt out, talk with your teacher, know when your child is taking this test, and make sure your decision is in the their best interest.

What’s Competency Based Education?

This week a large group of Utah legislators will be attending a conference at Southern Utah University (click link for agenda to attend events) on something called competency-based education (CBE). The conference was set up by Senator Howard Stephenson, a legislator I’ve worked with for about 10 years on education issues. This is a topic where I think there are benefits to the concept, but the way it’s being introduced troubles me and unless a number of significant issues are dealt with, I think Utah should steer clear of CBE. I will explain why and share two letters I’ve received on the subject.

First, the idea behind CBE isn’t necessarily a bad idea. At it’s core it espouses the notion that when a student has learned a set of skills, demonstrated by assessment mastery, they can move on to the next level of learning. This is a natural progression and common sense. This would also mean that homeschoolers returning to school could potentially just test out of classes and get credit for them (if they wanted to earn the credit) rather than sit through a class logging time being bored with something they already know. It would also mean parents would probably see exactly where their students were at and be able to know where they need help in a given area.  This has the potential to eliminate the current grading system and let mastery of a subject be the determining factor of advancement at each student’s pace. On-demand assessments could let a student who has prepared, take a test and move on. An article outlining the benefits of CBE can be found at this next link. It is written by someone who favors Common Core.

If CBE could be done in a context of true local control of education, I would have few worries about it and would support it for the reasons above. However, some of the major players in the move toward CBE completely oppose local control of education and actively state it should be done away with. They are central planners who desire to move us toward a national education system where children are tracked from birth into school and the workforce, with specific training along the way to meet national economic goals.

Alyson Williams said it well on a Facebook thread when she wrote:

“Competency based education at the true meaning of words means if someone can prove competency in something, say Algebra, they shouldn’t have to take a class in Algebra, but should be able to move on. Competency Based Education (Outcome Based Education, Standards Based Education, School to Work, Goals 2000, NCLB, Common Core, Career and College Ready) as a reform movement is more central planning of the workforce/society through education (enforced by assessment/data profile/certification monopolies) where an individual must prove certain “competencies” in order to fit well in the workforce/society.”

When you examine who Senator Stephenson has invited to the conference, there are several people who are directly tied into these national goals. The list includes Marc Tucker, a proponent of CBE, and I believe someone Utahns should not be listening to or giving voice to. In 1992 Tucker wrote Hillary Clinton a now infamous letter congratulating her on Bill’s election victory and seeking to have her work to implement a national education system that would track children from birth to death and implement a school to work training program. In 1998, Rep. Bob Schaffer fought and succeeded in having this letter entered into the Congressional Record because it was viewed as dangerous to America’s education system.

Yong Zhao, one who favors personalizing education to meet the strengths and passions of students and opposes personalized digital learning driven by big data, and is very concerned with Marc Tucker’s view of education. He points out here that Tucker’s view of national testing is actually a lot higher than we already have, and Tucker admits to this charge.

Diane Ravitch agrees.

Here are some of my concerns with CBE, which not only outnumber the pros I can find, but in my view, they represent an exponentially more troubling scenario.

  • Who is setting the competency/mastery levels?
  • Who is developing the assessments?
  • Who is grading them? A person? A computer?
  • This heavily relies on data collection from students.
  • What else is counted in “competency?” Values, attitudes, and beliefs repeatedly get mentioned.
  • Competency doesn’t necessarily equal literacy in the subject
  • You can’t opt out of CBE assessments like you can with SAGE so if they are geared toward one political viewpoint or one way of thinking your child can’t avoid being influenced or graded in accordance with someone else’s agenda.
  • Further diminishes local control by putting the feds and states in charge of academics. This is also specifically part of Marc Tucker’s goal as you’ll see below.
  • Epitomizes workforce training instead of education by its focus on skills, dispositions, and attitudes, over literacy.
  • CBE makes a child “human capital” for the state instead of educating a child to the best of their ability in accordance with agency and freedom principles.
  • Where does art & music fit into a CBE world?

Here’s a good article expounding some of these things.

The other day I received two excellent letters from Christel Swasey and JaKell Sullivan to legislators. I am including them below to help further explain why I believe CBE can only exist in a locally controlled education setting, and even then it’s not what I’d call an ideal education plan. We cannot allow national interests to destroy local control of education. The end result will be the cradle-to-grave, school-to-work training program that will destroy the creative freedom loving spirit that made this nation great.

JaKell Sullivan’s letter

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Re: Competency-Based Education – Fulfilling the Fundamental Transformation of America By Changing Student’s Core Values

Dear Utah Legislators, State Office of Education Leaders and State Board members,

As many of you prepare to attend the education conference at Southern Utah University (SUU) next week to learn about national competency-based education reforms, I ask you to consider that federal competency-based education reforms have the potential to forever change America’s political structure. This is a difficult concept, but one need only look at the effects of ObamaCare to see how a major policy shift can dismantle local governance. The Obama administration is selling competency-based education reforms and personalized learning as a way to achieve college “affordability.” This is a deception, just as “affordability” was the deception to get ObamaCare implemented.

Competency-based education in the context of locally controlled standards, assessments and accountability is a wonderful thing in certain subjects and for certain objectives. But, under an education system that has been restructured—by President Obama’s Race To The Top reforms—big-data and federalized assessment systems now have the opportunity to use competency-based credentialing (known as digital badging) of teachers and students to move education control out of the hands of our local leaders. The Obama administration funded open coding specs for America’s learning and computer-adaptive assessment platforms in order to set the stage for competency-based education—a global education system managed by labor boards using direct assessments.” This is the antithesis of why our country was founded.

The term “competency-based ed” is deceptive because competency in individual skills sounds appealing, and even personalized for every individual. But, as authority for personalization moves away from local leaders, global values can be inserted into learning and testing in ways that are more about conditioning than learning. This will not happen overnight (just like a single-payer healthcare system won’t happen overnight), but it will happen. Colleges are already taking the federal bait. The State School Board should consider what they really control anymore.

The Obama administration funded the creation of the Gordon Commission in 2011 to help state policy makers move states away from high-stakes assessment (at least in public perception) and toward the use of stealth, formative assessments in learning platforms as the means to implement competency-based education reforms. Utah legislators passed a resolution last year to facilitate this. The Commission issued a report in 2013 and stated, “The Common Core Standards, and the rethinking of assessments that they are fostering, provide an opportunity to challenge [the] deeply held belief in local control.”

The Gates Foundation’s KnowledgeWorks published two policy briefs in 2013 (see: here and here) that detail how Obama’s Race To The Top’s end-goal was to bring states’ pre K-12, higher ed and workforce systems under the competency-based umbrella. Last year, I had the pleasure of meeting a father who works as an engineer for Microsoft. He said that when his 3rd-grade daughter talked about the computer adaptive assessment she took at school, the hairs on the back of his neck stood up because he understood that these types of assessments are powerful tools that can assess attitudes, values and beliefs—and change a child’s worldview.

You will be hearing from Marc Tucker at the SUU conference, along with reformers from Jeb Bush’s camp and Google—all folks who are working to implement Obama’s Race To The Top objectives. Marc Tucker’s writings are widely published and his purposes are well-known. It is critical that Utah legislators understand his objectives. He believes that education should be controlled by workforce labor boards—the antithesis of rugged individualism, autonomy and the freedom to become whatever one chooses. He proposed his reforms to Hillary Clinton in 1992 in a letter stating that, with Bill in office, they could “remold the entire American system” into “a seamless web that literally extends from cradle to grave and is the same system for everyone,” coordinated by “a system of labor market boards at the local, state and federal levels” where curriculum and “job matching” will be handled by counselors “accessing the integrated computer-based program.” Hillary and Marc Tucker have been collaborating with global education reformers ever since to get this system implemented. It wasn’t until President Obama was in office, and was willing to bypass our Constitutional structure to implement the necessary technological reforms, that Tucker’s vision could be fully realized.

Three groups are helping to fulfill Tucker’s vision: the state superintendents’ club called the Council of Chief State School Officers, Bill Gates’ EdSteps and the Asia Society. They admit to using Common Core to shift America’s education system toward assessing competencies. These groups are partnered with the Utah State Office of Education and other state offices of ed.

In this MUST-WATCH 51-second video they show that they’ve designed competency-based education to change children’s core values. They state, “Global Competence is rooted in our changing reality and is constantly evolving with the world. At its core, global competence is the disposition and capacity to understand and act on issues of global significance.” Their definition shows that they want children, and students of all ages, to believe there are no absolute truths, only perspectives. And that education is about “taking action” for social justice, as opposed to becoming a learned person. They will assess students “dispositions” and “capacities” for becoming global change agents who are focused on the societal issues deemed important by global elites.

Hillsdale College recently published, “Frank Capra’s America and Ours.” In it, John Marini talked about the famous movie Mr. Smith written by Frank Capra. He said that “Frank Capra did not see America as many Americans do today, in terms of personal categories of identity such as race, ethnicity, gender, or sexuality. He understood America in terms of its political principles.”

I urge you to consider the implications for our children’s worldview as we implement a global assessment system being funded by the Obama administration—with “competencies” being defined by international elites. If we bestow upon our children an education system with assessments that demote American exceptionalism, then we are choosing to give them an America without freedom.

John Marini continued, “Capra located the corruption of society in the political sphere—it was politicians who had usurped the institutions of government on behalf of their own interests and the special interests.” Marc Tucker represents the “special interests” of the Obama administration to “fundamentally transform America.”

I welcome an opportunity to discuss this information further with any who are interested. It would be prudent for legislators to offer up another conference where the ideas of liberty in education could be espoused. We stand at a crossroads. Will we choose locally controlled assessment systems where parents can rightly remain the stewards over what their children learn with the help of local teachers? Or, will we choose to align our children’s education with the Obama/Marc Tucker global assessment system that changes children’s values and dismantles our political structures?

Kind regards,

JaKell Sullivan


Christel Swasey’s letter

Tucker, a Top Ten Scariest Ed Reformer, to Lecture at Legislator-USOE Conference

I’m surely sprouting new gray hairs at 80 miles per hour.

If there was doubt about whether something was truly rotten in the state of education governance here in sweet, naiive Utah, this news should end that doubt: of all the possible gurus, this is who our legislators, USOE and state school board have invited as the out-of-town centerpiece for a joint education conference taking place this Wednesday and Thursday.


Marc Tucker.

You may recall that he’s on the Top Ten List of Scariest People in Education Reform.

He’s the espouser of no more Algebra II in our high schools, the dismisser of classic literature as not so relevant, a disciple of federal power, a conspirator with Hillary Clinton for cradle-to-grave student-citizen micromanagement, and the top crusader against what he calls “the beloved American emblem: local control” –he’s the one.

The  conference is for Utah’s State Board of Education, State Office of Education, and legislators, but it’s open to the public and will be streamed.

If you can attend, it’s  on September 2 and 3, at Gilbert Great Hall, R. Haze Hunter Conference Center, Southern Utah University, Cedar City, Utah.


If you don’t know who Marc Tucker is, learn a little bit more.

Marc Tucker is– unbelievable as it may seem– an open advocate for the complete deletion of local control.   You read it right. This is a direct quote  from Tucker:

 The United States will have to largely  abandon the beloved emblem of American education: local control. If the goal is  to greatly increase the capacity and authority of the state education agencies,  much of the new authority will have to come at the expense of local  control.

Marc Tucker also despises what is –or was– real education, in favor of the robotic efficiency  of cradle-to-grave federal micromanagement of systems.  He wrote the unbelievable NCEE report that advocates for the removal of Algebra II –and any math beyond it from high schools, that also labeled classic literature and student personal writing “less relevant” and dismissable.  If this sounds like impossible, deliberate dumbing down, you have not read Tucker’s reasoning, which envisions a socialist’s factory view of school: a place to create economy-centered worker bees, to generate a collective; not a place to “waste” resources for soaring and free thinkers.  He’s all about efficiency at the expense of individual freedom.

Marc Tucker’s BFF relationship with the creepiest lady in D.C., Hillary Clinton,  is notable.  It is a decades-long collaboration that, back in the 90s, envisioned US education with all federal control rather than any local control. That collaboration was recorded in the Congressional public record.  Tucker and Clinton outlined the entire Common Core/Common Data movement, but used different terminology.  Read that in full sometime.

Marc Tucker’s shameful, anti-freedom philosophies have been repeatedly, successfully put to pasture by great thinkers and scholars– for example, very clearly, by Dr. Yong Zhao.  Dr. Zhao should have been invited to advise Utah this week, not Tucker!

If you want to know more, I’ve written many articles about Marc Tucker.  He’s bad news.  Read my archive on Tucker at this link.

I really can’t believe he’s coming.

What are your thoughts?  Is this okay?


–If he were invited to the university for a two-sided debate, fine!

–If his visit was a University lecture, some attempt by the dean to expose students to radical ideas from extreme ends of a spectrum, fine!

But this is not a university lecture.

It’s a joint legislative – school board – USOE meeting, which just happens to be taking place at SUU.  It could have been at any venue.

No one is slated to debate him.

Marc “end-local-control” Tucker is the only out of town speaker coming to this conference to address the Utah legislature and the Utah State Office and School Board.  He was hand selected for the at-taxpayer-expense conference –as someone to look to for advice.

That decision says more about the state of education politics in Utah than anything more I could write tonight.



For a good perspective on outcome vs. process, check out Yong Zhao’s article here:



What can you do with a database?

Think behavioral tracking in computer adaptive tests is no big deal? What can the government do with large amounts of data on citizens anyway? You don’t have to wonder anymore.

More of the government’s play for data is coming to light. We know from a video of Rep. Maxine Waters back in 2013 that the government had a database on every citizen that will do what has never been done. (1 minute)

Now we are getting a better picture of how this will be used for purposes of social justice.

Unbeknown to most Americans, Obama’s racial bean counters are furiously mining data on their health, home loans, credit cards, places of work, neighborhoods, even how their kids are disciplined in school — all to document “inequalities” between minorities and whites.

This Orwellian-style stockpile of statistics includes a vast and permanent network of discrimination databases, which Obama already is using to make “disparate impact” cases against: banks that don’t make enough prime loans to minorities; schools that suspend too many blacks; cities that don’t offer enough Section 8 and other low-income housing for minorities; and employers who turn down African-Americans for jobs due to criminal backgrounds.

Big Brother Barack wants the databases operational before he leaves office, and much of the data in them will be posted online.

So civil-rights attorneys and urban activist groups will be able to exploit them to show patterns of “racial disparities” and “segregation,” even if no other evidence of discrimination exists.

Imagine what can be done when AIR (the SAGE test creator who tracks behavioral data) puts their propeller-heads to work with the government to understand the hundreds of data point categories the government wants from state longitudinal database systems. (,

Oh but “that’s just conspiracy theory” say the powers that be. “Our children aren’t being tracked in any inappropriate ways” (like how the federal framework asks for religious preference, dental records, blood type, etc…)  “Nobody is tracking everything on our children,” they say.

What kind of information could be gathered if every keystroke were recorded as our children use 1 to 1 devices to do schoolwork? Oh wait! That’s actually happening if you’re in one of the lucky schools that uses the Knewton software.

“One of the biggest players is the field is Knewton. It analyzes student data that it collects by keeping track of nearly every click and keystroke your child makes during digital lessons.

Knewton claims to gather millions of data points on millions of children each day. Ferreira calls education ‘the world’s most data-mineable industry by far.’

‘We have five orders of magnitude more data about you than Google has,’ he says in the video. ‘We literally have more data about our students than any company has about anybody else about anything, and it’s not even close.’”

Don’t let your imagination run too wild. Facebook is tracking your posts too… :)

It’s all for the good of society though. The social justice agenda is critical and you just need to understand that you don’t own your children. Central planners need those data points to move your child along from birth to death…

Letters from Science Teachers to Sup. Smith

Brad Smith, state superintendent
Brad Smith, state superintendent

Here are a couple of letters science teachers have sent to State Superintendent Brad Smith regarding the Common Core (NGSS) Science Standards.



Dear Supt. Smith:

It has come to my attention that you are under the impression that science teachers unanimously believe the Next Generation Science Standards are what Utah needs. I would like to go on the record as a Utah 6th Grade Science teacher that does not believe we should adopt the NGSS for Utah. I would like to share with you some thoughts I have about the proposed standards and I hope you will take the time to read this. I appreciate you doing so!

I have personally written letters to every state school board member, my principal, and my superintendent whom I gave permission to forward my letters to other individuals with interest in this subject including the Governor’s office. I have also attended a public meeting put on by the USOE and voiced my concerns publicly in that meeting. All of the middle school science teachers in my school (6th through 8th Grade) have also met with a local school board member, and our state school board representative, Terryl Warner, where our concerns were shared and documented. I have spent nearly 20 years in a 6th grade classroom. Five of those years in an elementary setting, the rest in a middle school. I currently teach science exclusively with the exception of one period a day when I teach reading. I have a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction and was part of the committee at the Utah State Office of Education in 2013-2014 to write the 6th Grade Science OER (Open Educational Resource) Book. I share that with you only to show that my experience with 6th grade science is extensive.

I first previewed the drafts of the proposed new standards in September 2014 at a conference at Weber State University. At that time, we were told that the changes to the standards were made by a large group of teachers and experts in Utah. We were not given copies of the drafts and it wasn’t until they became public that I was then able to do a google search on the actual verbiage of the new standards to find that they are in fact word for word exact copies of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) with different numbering. It is disturbing to me that the USOE presented these new standards to a group of current Utah science teachers as being written by Utah teachers when clearly they were not. Since that time the state office has admitted that the drafts are indeed word for word copies of the NGSS and teachers only helped in choosing root questions for them and which standards would go with which grade levels.

I am not opposed to making changes to the current standards. With that being said, I was surprised by the fact that virtually all the science concepts we have been teaching in 6th grade are not part of the new standards with the exception of heat energy. The new standards are very environmentally heavy and move from talking about microbes, heat, light, sound energy, space and astronomy to mostly global warming and human impact on the environment. My concern about this move in 6th grade is two-fold. First, the concepts currently being taught in 6th grade are exciting to the students. They are engaged in the many hands on labs that naturally fit with the current standards. This piques an interest in the sciences that is healthy and strong for students moving into secondary education. In my opinion the new proposed standards are not exciting topics for 11 and 12 year-olds, nor are the students mature enough at this age to sift through all the information and misinformation that is out there about global warming (One of the performance tasks required in the new drafts). It’s not that I don’t think students should learn about these topics, it’s that I don’t believe it should be in the 6th grade curriculum. I think it’s important to note this because I believe the Next Generation Science Standards were not written by anyone who has spent the last 20 years in a room full of 6th graders. If we are trying to prepare students for future science and engineering jobs, adding performance tasks and engineering objectives to the current content would seem much more appropriate to me. This could easily be done if the new standards were truly written by a team of Utah teachers, Utah college professors, and Utah scientists with input from Utah parents. Second, changing the content so drastically puts a huge financial strain on Utah 6th grade teachers. Elementary level teachers are not given a budget for science, (even if they teach in a middle school setting). ALL 6th grade teachers in the state of Utah will have to start over buying science lab materials using money from their own pockets.

Lastly, my biggest concern with the NGSS is that key science concepts are missing that will leave gaps in learning. Why is matter and energy repeated throughout 6th-8th grade as almost an overkill of that subject whereas other key science concepts are completely removed from the new standards. This is very concerning to me as a 6th grade science teacher. Please talk to more science teachers around the state about their opinions of the proposed drafts. I am sure there are more than you think that believe adopting the NGSS is not the direction we should be going.

Thank you for your time to read and consider my thoughts,

Dana Wilde

Morgan Middle School 6th Grade Science Teacher

Morgan County School District


Dear Mr. Norton

My name is _____ I am an elementary teacher in southern Utah. In the past I have taught 5th/6th grade science. I am only a part time teacher so you can understand that I would be concerned with the State superintendent knowing my name so I would appreciate it if you removed my name when you passed this on to him.

Dear Superintendent Smith,

I have taught 6th grade science for the past two years, the new science standards that Utah is trying to adopt are not a good fit for Utah. I and at least one other 6th grade teacher that I know of, did the survey and expressed our concern for the new standards. So your understanding that most science teachers like the new science standards which come from the NGSS is incorrect.

I have several problems with the NGSS that are listed below.

1) They are a one size fits all set of standards, they do not take in consideration Utah’s unique geology, agricultural economy, & its people.

2) They have severl political standards such as “6.2.4: Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century”, “6.4.1: Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment” and “6.4.3: Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems”. These are very odd requirements to put in a 6th grade science standards. These belongs in a college level environmental debate class not in a 6th grade classroom.

3) I have seen the other NGSS standards for the lower grades and they do not allow a teacher to delve deep into each concept. They require a very shallow teaching of the standards. I understand that the theory behind this is that each year will build on the previous year. That is not how younger minds work. Students need an understanding that they can take with them to high school. They need to be exposed to the basics of many different sciences. If we did a scope & sequence that would work better then this.

4) The man who brought us this, Brett Moulding, is the same man who brought us the last set of standards that everyone complains about. If the last set of standards were not acceptable why would we take his word that these ones would be any better.

5) I know that many people are circumspect about the Fordham Institute report on the NGSS Standards but isn’t it worth a second look. This report for 2013 states that Utah’s current science standards are superior to the NGSS that the USOE is considering. Why can’t there be an open debate between representatives on both sides? Instead of just shoving one opinion to the side. That goes against scientific inquiry. All sides must be heard before an assessment can be made. Here is the link to that report

These 5 reasons are just scratching the surface about what I feel is wrong with the new Utah science standards, but i know that you are a busy man so I thought these would be worth thinking about. I am doing this anonymously because of the tensions that are surrounding this and other common core standards. I don’t have faith that those of us that have a different opinion will be allowed to voice our opinions without repercussions. I love teaching, I love helping young people discover their potential but these standards are stiffing my ability to do just that. I will never sabotage my students learning for a political agenda but I think that we all want the same thing. We want what is best for our students so we need to come together and figure that out. It would be hard, long, & arduous but worth it in the end. Thank you for your time.

Southern Utah 6th grade teacher

Special Education Student Tragedy in Utah (and probably elsewhere)

I engaged in the following shocking email exchange with a Utah teacher this past week. Underlined text is my emphasis.

We are rapidly losing any semblance of local control of our schools thanks to the national reform movement led by people like Bill Gates and Jeb Bush.


You have opened my eyes today to the UN.  I did a little research–and it was not much before I came across this statement in the Preamble to The Korean UN World Education Conference 2015 for goals 2030: “No education target should be considered met unless met by all. We therefore commit to making the necessary changes in education policies and focusing our efforts on the most disadvantaged, especially those with disabilities, to ensure that –no one is left behind.”  Sound familiar?  We have been in the process of dismantling special education resource classes as they have been traditionally taught and are being assimilated into regular education as tutors teaching CC standards.  The transformation is almost complete and nobody is the wiser.  It defies the existence that a disability even exists.  Unbelievable!

Special Ed teachers are told just to service (foretold) classified students in the regular classroom on the common core and not the remedial curriculum adapted specifically for students with disabilities.  The district will begin to monitor that we do.  A great deal of classified students have focus issues so it will be a real challenge.  Nothing special about special ed. anymore.  Regular ed. teachers don’t know what to think and are shell shocked by all the changes–a lot of going along out of fear and behind-the-scenes resentment and verbal defiance.  We lost a lot of really good veteran teachers in May because they differ with new administration who are very black and white and switching things up a lot–and we are the (figure removed) highest academic school in the state, historically.”


Oak: I asked for clarification at this point about how this was taking place and if SE students were being forced into regular classrooms, and if all the teachers were upset and this teacher replied with this:


“No, our students remain classified, but we don’t pull classified students into small SE groups or use specialized curriculum targeted at the disability any more.  We now go out into the regular classrooms and work under the direction of regular ed teachers to target learning of classified students–or perhaps sometimes regular ed. students, who need to access the common core.  It is now all about the CC.  Big paradigm shift.

Yes about everyone being upset.  We hear it is all based on some government research back east in Virginia and everyone needs to just do it.  They bring in an outside expert, Mike Mattos, to indoctrinate staff a couple of times a year and talk as if every school is the same and needs to do the same thing.  I have worked at a Title 1 school and my current demographic high income school.  They are totally different worlds in my opinion and do NOT have the same needs.  Mattos talks a lot about what corporations will need and that, “the business of schools is to supply those needs.”

Mike is linked to the Annenberg Institute for school reform.  Just found this:

The College Readiness Indicator System network, also referred to as CRIS, is a joint effort of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform (AISR) and the John W. Gardner Center (JGC) at Stanford University, and is generously funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Here’s an article by Mike.

I have seen a huge reduction in recent years in SE district wide training and collaboration between schools in district so it is hard to know what others outside one’s school think.  District trainers just come to your individual school now to give top down training and don’t ask for input.  When I first joined the district in ____ all schools were “site based managed” and everyone said so.  That has all disappeared.

To be honest, socialist corporate/national collusion I have suspected over the past decade, and am now experiencing at work is frightening and angering me at the same time.  I never thought I would have this kind of fear about my own country–I am very upset!  I struggle to sing the national anthem and say the pledge each morning with my students with what I now know.  I often think about informing the principal that I can no longer do it and not to be surprised.  I feel citizens and children are manipulated, duped and it isn’t even hidden anymore.  I feel educators have been stripped as professionals, used, lied to, and controlled.  I have loved my career for over 30 years but now feel like a pawn forced to indoctrinate innocents with humanistic thinking and ideas I don’t believe in to benefit the wealthy who I loath and resent.  Technology, greed and the drumbeat of feigned equality have blindly robbed liberty and that saddens me.  This all reminds me the “The Children’s Story, But Not Just for Children” by James Clavell.

Use what you want from my emails but I wish to remain anon.”



Oak again: Hearing things like this makes one wonder what the real agenda is behind the Gates Foundation sponsoring eugenics conferences…

UACC Symposium Videos

Did you miss out on the recent UACC symposium, “Empowering Parents”? Here’s some of the videos from it.

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Big Ocean Women on Data Collection


Jenny Baker on Common Core 101


Vince Newmeyer on Science Standards


Rod Arquette, KNRS talk show host


Joy Pullmann from the Federalist


Josh Daniels from Libertas Institute