Oak Norton

Dr. Peg Luksik on Common Core Testing

Dr. Peg Luksik (bio below) gave this great presentation on Common Core assessments at an October 2014 conference.

39:15: “Common Core isn’t just flawed in what they teach our children; it’s flawed in how they test our children. It makes it so that the results can match what the Dept of Education wants them to match. If I can manipulate where you succeed and where you fail, I can be sure that you are going to go into the Workforce place that I have chosen for you. Common Core Assessment system allows that manipulation to occur.”

Dr. Peg Luksik is a Pennsylvania teacher with over 35 years of experience in both special education and elementary education. She has taught at every level from pre-school to college in regular classrooms, resource centers, self-contained special education classes, and in alternative educational settings. She has trained teachers in curriculum and classroom management, written and evaluated curricula, authored several books on education issues, and hosted a nationally syndicated television program dealing with education in America. She founded a program to assist low-income single mothers complete their educations which was recognized by President Reagan and named as a National Point of Light by President George Bush. Peg served as an advisor to President Reagan’s Commission on the Family and worked for the U.S. Department of Education, where her task was to review and evaluate education reform initiatives. Peg was a founding board member of the Pennsylvania Family Institute and the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference. Most importantly, Peg and Jim, her husband of 35 years, have raised 6 wonderful children and are now proud grandparents.

3 questions for those who favor CCSS

I would like to invite those who favor Common Core State Standards to answer these questions for me. Thus far (2.5 years+), I have been unable to get sufficient answers to these questions as to provide me any level of assurance that the Utah State Office of Education didn’t simply adopt CCSS for a shot at Race to the Top money (which they didn’t receive). Subsequently, they have proceeded to tell the public we adopted CCSS to get superior standards because CCSS was internationally benchmarked and superior to our Utah standards. This information has never been proven, and in fact, one organization’s analysis proves the contrary.

1) Will you please describe for me what was deficient in our (Fordham) A- rated 2007 Utah math standards which necessitated adopting CCSS?

USOE saw no problem with our prior D rated 2002 math standards that made it critical that we improve them in 2007, and they testified against improving them in 2006 to our legislators. Our 2007 standards have been declared better than CCSS by the Fordham Foundation.

2) What research can you show that CCSS was ever internationally benchmarked?

Here is a quote from the American Educational Research Association and contradicts the claims made by the USOE that Common Core was internationally benchmarked.

“International Benchmarking:
Wisconsin’s SEC database contains some information on content standards for other countries. In mathematics, there are data for Finland, Japan, and Singapore on eighth-grade standards; alignments to the U.S. Common Core are .21, .17, and .13, respectively. All three of these countries have higher eighth-grade mathematics achievement levels than does the United States. The content differences that lead to these low levels of alignment for cognitive demand are, for all three countries, a much greater emphasis on ‘perform procedures’ than found in the U.S. Common Core standards. For each country, approximately 75% of the content involves ‘perform procedures,’ whereas in the Common Core standards, the percentage for procedures is 38%.”

It’s even worse for Utah because of the integrated path the USOE chose to implement along with Vermont. They specifically put algebra 1 completion in 9th grade for most students so that Utah will never be on par with states or nations that put a normal path to algebra 1 completion in 8th grade. Here’s a brief writeup Ze’ev Wurman did on CCSS vs. our 2007 standards ( http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/utah-math-is-not-accelerated-under-common-core/

Here is Dr. David Wright in BYU’s math department pointing out 8 problems with the way the USOE implemented CCSS in Utah. (http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/dr-david-wright-vs-usoe-8-0-for-dr-wright)

3) What do you have against Utah not having better and proven standards which Fordham says are clearly superior to CCSS and which WERE specifically benchmarked to Singapore and Japan, and why shouldn’t we have adopted these in the first place? (OK, that’s 2 questions)

(ex. CA’s math standards which have a proven track record of dramatically improving math proficiency for all children including socio-economic groups and minorities.) http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/solution-utah-should-adopt-californias-math-standards

 

National Takeover

I just thought I’d point out that what we’ve been saying for so long is happening right in front of our faces. There is a concerted effort in this country by those who are in positions to wield enormous power, to centralize the education system and bring it under a common roof with their own sentinels at the “Gates” (a little pun for the observant…).

A short time ago we posted this article showing how Arne Duncan is moving to phase out the power of states to set their own standards.

Now the Obama administration is looking to control what’s happening in university colleges of education which has the effect of moving evaluations of teachers and institutions from the state level to the federal level.

“Under the new rules, teachers’ colleges would be ranked based upon how well their teacher graduates do in raising their students’ scores on the Common Core assessments…Instead of teachers’ colleges being evaluated on solid evidence of having taught students a solid knowledge-based foundation, they would be evaluated on a workforce development accountability plan set up by the federal government based upon Common Core Standards.”

Finally, Bill Gates is funding the development of specific curriculum with Pearson to be aligned to Common Core. Recall that Gates video where he says we won’t know if Common Core is successful until standards, curriculum, and assessments are all aligned? It’s all a giant experiment which is now entering the next stage of control.

Those who continue to ridicule and believe that there is no movement toward a national takeover are going to find it harder and harder to make that case. The news just keeps pouring out at a tremendous pace.

 

 

Anti-God Indoctrination in 8th Grade St. George Class

Last week, an 8th grade class in St. George began the day with this excerpt on the board………. Kudos to the student who took these photos and shared them with her mom! Please note this is not Common Core, just the secular humanism religion that is allowed in our public schools.

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Catch-up Update

Getting ready for the Agency-Based Education conference this weekend has been a big job and made it harder to send out updates but there is a ton that has been happening. If you are not on the UACC Facebook Group, all of these have been posted there in the last week or so. Join now if you want up to date information about what’s happening. This post will need to last you for the next week or so, so just keep returning here and read the next item. The critical ones have a * next to them.

*Dr. Gary Thompson: SAGE/Common Core Tests Break Basic Codes of Test Ethics  (Why SAGE testing is not only harmful but violates ethical standards)

*Gates Is at It Again: The Common Core-Centered “Collaborative for Student Success” (I never thought I’d say this… Thank goodness for the Huffington Post. This article lays it all bare. Read it, share it.)

*Leaked Letter: Utah Teachers’ Evaluations (Pay) Will Depend On Common Core Test Scores in 2015  (Hello and welcome to Common Core’s enforcement mechanism)

*VP of College Board’s AP U. S. History Course Discredited (Gotta love a good takedown)

*Video: NJ Symposium to Stop Common Core: Drs. Stotsky, Tienken, Pesta, Williams, Borelli and Borelli (from a recent conference, watch some great videos here)

States Listen as Parents Give Rampant Testing an F (about standardized testing in Florida)

DOJ grants $63 million for social justice school discipline promoted by Bill Ayers (shocking, I know)

Be “That Parent” (this one will motivate you)

Your children deserve better than this, first-grade teachers tell parents (stop high-stakes testing on little kids)

What missing class in Kindergarten means for high school (There are a variety of reasons children miss school. However, ending compulsory education laws would do more to ensure children were enticed to school, rather than enforcement mechanisms and social programs to make sure children don’t miss.)

Teacher SLAMS SAGE Testing

This is a must read op-ed. Then please send it to your legislators, and state and local school board members. Ask local schools and district boards to stop all use of the SAGE test in your schools except as required by state law. Ask the state board and lawmakers to completely scrap the use of this test and eliminate it from the state. It is child abuse.

You can find your legislator here: http://le.utah.gov/GIS/findDistrict.jsp

Find your local school board members on your district website.

Charter school people should contact their charter schools and tell them to drop the test or you will homeschool or put your child in a school that respects your authority over your child’s education.

Read the op-ed by teacher Debbie Nichols here:

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865614313/A-teacher7s-opinion-of-the-SAGE-test.html

 

Yet More Election Law Violations in Alpine School District

Unbelievably, more teachers in Alpine School District continue to violate Utah election law and Alpine School District policies (See previous 1, previous 2). At this point, who knows how many schools this is happening in. Highland City Council member Rod Mann posted the below emails which he obtained, to Facebook over the weekend. He gave me permission to reprint his letter which was sent to the Lt. Gov., Utah county clerk, and ASD Superintendent Vern Henshaw. His letters are below these letters from a fourth grade teacher at Meadow elementary showing clear violations of the law.  It seems clear that the principal and other administrators must also support these actions as she wrote the names on the faculty lounge whiteboard for everyone to see. Further, after sending out an email to the rest of the school on the 21st, she continued to send emails on the 28th and 30th. The failure of the principal to stop this action shows she was complicit with the actions of this teacher.

Please contact:

The Lt. Governor’s office, 800-995-VOTE, write him at: http://www.utah.gov/ltgovernor/contact/, spencercox@utah.gov

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes: (801) 366-0260

Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman: 801-851-8026

Utah County Clerk Bryan Thompson: bryant@utahcounty.gov

ASD Superintendent Vern Henshaw: vhenshaw@alpinedistrict.org

and ask your ASD board member how such violations of election law and district policy are handled.

Seems to me that this is an institutionalized method for electing rubber stamps to the board. There is only one solution. Enforce the law, and enact partisan school board elections so that locally elected representatives can vet candidates for inclusion on the ballot and not let the establishment run the campaigns of selected candidates using taxpayer dollars.

Please help get out the vote for Wendy Hart, Chris Jolley, and Maynard Olsen tomorrow. They will represent the public interest.

 

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Rod Mann’s post from Facebook, used with permission.

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I am sorry to say that today I saw copies of 3 additional emails that violate ASD policy and state election law. Here is the email I just send to Superintendent Henshaw with copies to the the Lt. Governor and the County Clerk along with pictures of the emails.

“Superintendent Henshaw, Lt. Governor Cox, and County Clerk Thompson

Last week I sent you the note below regarding information that was brought up at the recent school ASD board meeting. Today I am sorry that I became aware of 3 additional emails (see attached files) that were sent out from Alpine District Email addresses to recipients using an Alpine District Email distribution list. They promote a specific set of candidates, an inferred set of candidates, helped to organize a campaign event for a specific candidate and indicated that specific candidate names were posted on a white board in the faculty lounge of a school. I am pretty sure that these are all violations of ASD policy and I am guessing that they are also violations of state election law. You’ll notice that most the content of one of the emails is from the AEA. The problem with this one is that a school employee used an ASD email account to forward this information using an ASD Distribution List.

As I said in the email below I have a separate concern if you first hear of such violations from people outside the district. This would indicate that teachers and staff are either 1) ignorant of district policy and state election laws, or 2) are afraid of directly reporting violations, and/or 3) are willfully violating district policy and election law to ensure that the “right” outcome occurs.

It would appear that you have a serious problem with campaign policy and law in the district. I would hope that these get fixed. Please be aware that regardless of the outcome of the election I will use my best efforts to ensure that legislative policies are enacted that will serve as a more effective deterrent than the current code allows.

I would hope that in the meantime that the district would be more rigorous in informing teachers and staff about ASD policy and state election law and then find a means to deter future violations. I would also hope that the county and state would look into what appears a systemic problem with government resources being used to influence election results. Also, I believe there is a good chance that a hostile work environment exists for those teachers who do not agree with the AEA.

Regards,

Rod Mann

—— Original Message ——
From: “Rod Mann” <mannrw@gmail.com>
To: vhenshaw@alpinedistrict.org
Cc: spencercox@utah.gov; bryant@utahcounty.gov
Sent: 10/28/2014 10:27:23 PM
Subject: Campaign emails using Alpine District Resources

Hello Superintend Henshaw,

I attended the board meeting this evening and just want to share with you my point of view on the emails. The board is clearly divided on some issues and that is not bad. Healthy discussion generally creates better solutions. Reading the recent email from board vice president JoDee Sundberg to district personnel (I’m assuming it was to all principals) and Keith Conley’s (principal of Geneva Elementary School) email indicating to staff and teachers who they should support as well as recounting a teacher/staff meeting where he distributed campaign information, shows the strong personal animus that is being propagated throughout district personnel. This is not healthy discussion.

The emails support a viewpoint that the district has its own agenda and uses tax payer resources to ensure that candidates who support that agenda are elected. I would expect you to be very concerned if the first you heard of the email was through the Internet/Facebook. This would mean that no recipient of either Mrs. Sundberg’s or Mr. Conley’s email and no one who attended the meeting Mr. Conley references had the courage to share this information with you as a violation of district policy and/or state election law. How sad it would be if someone who might have considered reporting this was dissuaded from doing so out of fear of potential repercussions (after all the board vice-president seemingly encouraged the behavior).

The principal not only encouraged his staff and teachers to violate policy, he also broke trust with the community he serves by using his time at work and district resources, paid for by all tax payers, to actively work against some of them — in other words he used the resources of government to try and impose his personal (and Mrs. Sundberg’s) will on those he serves. I understand that the Lt. Governor has spoken with you and that an apology to those Mr. Conley sent the email to will be forth coming. The seems insufficient. If an apology will be written, it should be a public apology to all those whose trust he violated and whose funds he misused. I can’t help but wonder if this is the first time this happened. Is an apology enough to prevent it from happening again? I’m not sure. If I was willing to violate district policy and/or state law to accomplish a mission and I knew that if caught I would simply have to apologize, I doubt I would be deterred from acting.

That a board member would abuse her authority and encourage district personnel to violate district policy and the law is also disturbing. Were I on the board this certainly have diminished my trust in her and might affect my willingness to engage with her. Do you really want a board where open hostility reigns and trust is absent. I don’t envy your challenge.

I would encourage you to not just let this blow over, but to take active and public steps to ensure that there are strong incentives in place to discourage this kind of behavior going forward. That will go a long way to restoring trust.

A quick note on another matter. A city attorney attends all council meetings and most work sessions in Highland (I imagine that most other cities do the same). This allows all council members to directly ask questions and receive an immediate response. I find this practice to be of great value. I would recommend the same for the school board. That would eliminate any perception that the administration is blocking certain board members from obtain legal opinions on matters pertinent to the board.

Regards,

Rod Mann
Highland City resident and city council member

Open Letter from NV Mom

Christina Leventis, a mother from Nevada, has had it with Michael Petrilli of Fordham Foundation, for his unwavering support for Common Core.
Christina Leventis and her husband are in the photo.
Christina Leventis and spouse

Dear Mr. Petrilli:

It is near impossible to catch my breath between your compulsory admonishments on “embracing the core.”  I continue to read them and I continue to reject them.  Your reasoning is unsound and, frankly, I simply disagree with you.  So, I have a question for you Mr. Petrilli.

What if I just don’t want my children to be taught under the Common Core State Standards or any aka there of, period?

I do not understand this game of tug-of-war over my children.  In polite society, Mr. Petrilli, when a mother says “No, thank you” on behalf of her child, she means “No, thank you.”  It is not code for “verbally abuse me until I lay my child at the altar of Thy-Will-of-Bill-Gates-Be-Done.”

My mind ponders at length the accomplishments of Bill Gates.  He is an excellent example of the American dream.  Bill Gates capitalized on American freedom to live as he pleased; to learn in a way that fit him; to create and build for himself and his family.  The irony that Bill Gates is now using his amassed millions to usurp that same freedom from American families and to pigeon-hole the nation’s children into a standardized learning that suits him is grotesque and unjustifiable.

I had the privilege this past week to meet some of the national moms standing against this federal rush for our children.  I looked long and hard at each of them because I was looking for something specific.  What I found was a group of moms: funny, wise, sharp, thoughtful, sincere, caring, focused, genuine, and much more.  I didn’t find what I was looking for though.  I didn’t find any bullies.

The mothers in this fight are not the bullies – white, suburban or otherwise.  What we are is the last line of defense, in some cases, the only line of defense for our children.  I’m afraid our silence has been mistaken for complacency.  Maybe we were quiet when we should have spoken.  That’s on us.  But we are speaking now.  We tried polite.  We tried firm.  We tried loud.  When we are not being ignored we are being labeled.

If the pushers could stop the diversion tactics for just five minutes they would be able to recognize the point of failure immediately.  The “architects” did not start with the children in mind, whereas, mothers always begin with their children in mind.  The writers begin with job placement – moms begin with giving life.  The writers think assessment – moms think development.  The writers think corporate boardroom – moms think sandbox.   Life is an unfolding of an individual’s soul and spirit – it is not a race of the mindless clones to the factory time clock.

Here is my admonishment to you Mr. Petrilli – I love my children and Bill Gates will run out of money before I ever run out of love for my children.

Sincerely,

Christina Leventis

Nevada Mother

Common Core Kills Love of Reading: Anonymous UT Student Teacher’s Story

by an anonymous Utah student teacher
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Last semester I worked in a first grade classroom as part of a class I was I was taking at Utah Valley University.  The teacher said she could do more teaching if she didn’t have to do so much Common Core testing, so she had me do the testing.  These children have 4 packets, 20-25 pages each, they have to get through during the year.   Part of this is a list of 100 words, 400 for the year, they need to know by sight.  As I was testing, one little boy he stopped and said, “I don’t like words.  I don’t like reading.  I don’t like books.”
My heart broke.
apple books
I went to our library here in town and checked out as many books as I could.  I went back to school every day and pulled him out of class to read just one book to him.   At first he was hesitant because he thought he was going to have to read to me. Eventually he relaxed and started enjoying.  He got so he would even turn the pages on occasion. We read one book, “The Red Book,” which has no words in it.  You make up the story yourself. When we finished I asked him if he’d rather read a book like this or would he rather have a book with the words already there.
He preferred a book with words in it.  This went on for several weeks.
book and kite
Then they had a reading competition in the classroom. On Friday whoever read the most books that week got to wear the pirate hat.  I came in one Friday and he was wearing the pirate hat.
I was thrilled.pirate
Since then it has occurred to me that I should talk to the principal.  How would he feel if someone came into his office and tested him regularly, and often, to see whether he is making any progress, getting everything done that he should do, etc.?  He would probably quit his job if he was under such testing regulations, and still they put these little kids through all this stress.
Stress-at-work
This teacher has eighteen students.  Within a week I could tell which six children were working above grade level, which 6 children were working at grade level, and which 6 children were working below grade level.  This was simply from my observations, not from any testing I was doing.  Six children took the assignments and whizzed through them.  Six children took the assignments and worked through them, but eventually they got there.  Six children got very little of the assignments done without help, and in some cases a lot of help.  Obviously, Common Core upsets me.  I’m sure there is some good there, and there are good intentions, but they are way off base.
Random Quote

“Whatever an education is, it should make you a unique individual, not a conformist; it should furnish you with an original spirit with which to tackle the big challenges; it should allow you to find values which will be your roadmap through life; it should make you spiritually rich, a person who loves whatever you are doing, wherever you are, whomever you are with; it should teach you what is important, how to live and how to die.” — John Taylor Gatto, Dumbing us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling

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