Category Archives: Concerns

Help Stop NGSS in its Tracks

Utah’s state board was misled in April by the state superintendent. He sent them an email either knowingly or unwittingly, telling state board members the new science standards were Utah created. Here is his email.

TO: Members, Utah State Board of Education
FROM: Brad C. Smith
Chief Executive Officer
DATE: April 9-10, 2015
ACTION: Release Grades 6-8 Science Standards Draft for 90-Day Public Review
The Utah State Office of Education in collaboration with the Utah science education community (composed of Utah science teachers, Utah district science curriculum specialists, and Utah higher education representatives) has created a revised draft of the Utah Core Science Standards for grades 6-8. The revision is based on addressing concerns about the format of current science standards in multiple documents and presenting a single vision for college and career readiness in science education. The draft responds to feedback from multiple stakeholder groups including parents, teachers, district administrators, university personnel, and the State Board Standards and Assessment committee.

Superintendent Smith has thus far refused to answer several questions I have asked him concerning this email either verbally or in writing. We’ve known they were not Utah created for over a year now and that they were word for word exactly what the NGSS. There was no “draft” with feedback from multiple stakeholders, parents, teachers, admin, etc…In fact, last fall there was a training in these standards held at Weber State for teachers to get fully on board with them even though they had not been adopted or put through any type of public review process. It’s a total sham.

As a result of this email from the Superintendent, and no doubt plenty of testimony from USOE (which very well could have deceived the superintendent into sending out such a false email above), the state board released these NGSS standards into the public for a 90-day review period.

That review period pointed out dozens of serious issues with the standards on a wide range of topics. You can watch the Provo meeting here for an idea of concerns people raised.

As a result of these concerns, the state board asked that the concerns be addressed. The USOE got right to work and has now released the new draft of the standards for a 30-day period of review. The public needs to comment on these standards, but most importantly, contact your state board member and ask him/her not to vote these standards in. There is a very small subset of publishers that have materials ready for NGSS. Teachers are not trained in this method of teaching. Several teachers spoke out about this in that Provo meeting linked to above. This is a disaster waiting to happen. And to top things off, the USOE’s rewrite of NGSS is exactly that, simply a minor rewrite of the same standards.

Link to comment on standards (must comment immediately. I think the deadline is November 9th):

Link to find your board member and contact him/her:

Contact info for your board member:

Vince Newmeyer, a member of the science standards parent review committee has typed up this review of the standards. Please read it.

Review of the USOE October Proposed “Utah SEEd” Standards

revised 26 October 2015

USOE Admits that they Seek to adopt the National Next Generation Science Standards1

The Utah State Office of Education has come out with another draft of the proposed science standards on the 9th of October for a SHORT 30 DAY review. Your response is urgently needed!

Executive Summary:

The October draft of the “Utah SEEd” standards remain in character and precept simply the national Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which is the complement2 to the national Common Core State Standards (CCSS) which Utah adopted and which invited so much protest. The only NGSS performance standards that have been dropped from the October draft had to do with perfectly acceptable standards related to kinetic energy and a standard on sensory organs and the brain. Only two standards were added from Utah’s existing Science Standards. Essentially all of the reasons3 4 for rejecting the national NGSS standards from the April revision (then feigned as “primarily Utah” derived SEEd standards5) remain with the October version of the “Utah SEEd” NGSS standards. Though there are minor changes, a mostly NGSS Utah State standard will almost certainly produce a curriculum of essentially all of NGSS as teachers and districts seek NGSS compatible material for textbooks and lesson plans, etc. Any standards founded on NGSS should be rejected so that Utah can develop true Utah standards in character and values. Please respond to the online survey ( but also Call and Email the Board members as well as Ricky Scott, the State Science Specialist, and Brad Smith the State Superintendent Now!

The Background:

In April, when the first publicly presented draft of the “Utah SEEd” standards was released for the 90-day public review, the USOE tried to falsely cast the proposed standards as a Utah grown, Utah values effort. In spite of the many notices to them that their charade was not working, and that those who have investigated knew that the proposed standards were word-for-word taken from the NGSS performance standards, yet the USOE persisted in this masquerade even up through the last public meeting held on the standards. For one of many examples, you can watch Diana Suddreth parrot the tired line at that last public hearing in Salt Lake City on the standards that

the standards … have been developed over a process of about three years in conjunction with primarily Utah science educators but with input from others along the way,”6

and yet there were not five words difference between the proposed Utah performance standards and the NGSS performance standards. How could this April draft be a “Utah” driven process which lasted, as Dianna said, “about three years?” Within the final document there was no copyright notice. One would expect to find a copyright notice, like the one specified by the copyright holder of the NGSS (“© Copyright 2013 Achieve, Inc. All rights reserved.”) if it were a copy, but less than 5 words of no significant difference and no copyright notice?

Why such subterfuge in the presentation of these standards? Almost certainly it is because USOE officials gave assurances through multiple representatives on multiple occasions (after the heat they received in the way the “Common Core” with all of its baggage was slipped in) that Utah would not adopt further national standards. See Youtube Utah’s Science7

After the review for the first publicly released draft had been completed, the board voted and sent the draft back for a fundamental re-write. Further, there were promises made from a USOE official that the rewritten document would not be just a thesaurus translation but have a foundationally different character on controversial issues, such as global warming and Darwinian evolution. Well did it happen?

The New Draft:

The largest change in the character and nature of the standards, as presented to the board of education, is that the standards are no longer cast as a Utah derived proposal but that Utah “…SEEd standards remain based on the Next Generation Science Standards.”8 No longer are they falsely casting this as a Utah grown, Utah values effort, but they are admitting that this is a national standard which they are attempting to adopt. But neither are they completely straight forward with the issue. More completely, the forward material says “Most SEEd standards remain based on the Next Generation Science Standards (emphasis added).”9

In this case “most” means that all of the performance standards proposed are fundamentally NGSS performance standards with the exception of three (3). Two standards are drawn from concepts in the current Utah standards, and one is a further explanation of the greenhouse gas concept. All of the rest of the standards (that is all but these three) are NGSS either exact wording, a thesaurus translation, or in four cases a combination of several NGSS standards. It is interesting to note that long before this standard was released, this author made a list of 27 performance standards from the proposed April NGSS “Utah SEEd” standards which were of a potential concern (depending on how they actually ended up being taught). Only seven of the 27 concerning standards showed some improvement in wording in that they were stated in less dogmatic terms or were re-framed in a manner that brought less concern to one degree or another. Of those seven standards that appeared to have a less bias or concerning cast to them, only three (two of which was of low concern to begin with) really made it on the concern list. That is the sum that could be claimed to be an improvement! The only other adjustment was that the perfectly acceptable performance standards related to kinetic energy were removed, and also a standard about “sensory receptors respond to stimuli by sending messages to the brain” was also removed. It is likely these minor changes reflect more the changes that will be adopted in future versions of the NGSS and not a fundamental change from internal Utah motivations.

The retention of NGSS problematic standards persists even down to the widely discredited notion that embryological development follows the claimed evolutionary development or “Ontogeny Recapitulates Phylogeny” in NGSS MS-LS4-3 or 7.5.4 in the October draft. This notion and fabricated evidence to promote the notion was erroneously advanced by Ernst Haeckel in the late 1800s. It is now and has been for some time widely recognized, by those who have studied embryological development in depth, to be completely false10. For just one example, Erich Blechschmidt commented in his 1977 book The Beginnings of Human Life.

“The so-called basic law of biogenetics [Ontogeny Recapitulates Phylogeny] is wrong. No buts or ifs can mitigate this fact. It is not even a tiny bit correct or correct in a different form, making it valid in a certain percentage. It is totally wrong.”11

Sometime ago, while the 90 day public review of the science standards proposed in April were under way, I pointed out that the word-for-word effort to adopt the NGSS was a measure of the allegiance of USOE to remain true to the NGSS national standard. Now, with this October revision we see that the resolve of USOE to adopt the NGSS has not diminished. The USOE even doggedly clings to NGSS tenants that have for a long time been discredited. Further, this shows that the USOE has every intention to adopt all of the NGSS K-12 in which the larger portion has not even been discussed.

The forward material of the new draft claims various other improvements such as more clarity, implementations from the Fordham report, removal of age inappropriate material, and such12. It is ironic that the added clarity largely comes from the adoption of additional verbiage from the NGSS such as NGSS Clarification Statements, either word-for-word or closely tied language. These Clarification Statements had previously existed in drafts produced prior to the April draft but they did not go out to public review. Furthermore, I had stated from the beginning of the April review period that USOE almost certainly had every intention of reincorporating the Clarification Statements in one form/method or another and now here they are emerging just as predicted. As for changes made related to the Fordham report, I see no significant evidence of such. It appears to be a lip service only claim. The last thing I will comment on in this area is the statement that “Age Appropriateness” adjustment have been made as performance standards which encouraged “students debate with evidence about climate change and human effects on the environment were removed from 6th grade.” Yes they were removed from 6th grade only to reappear in the 8th grade standards. Still 8th grade is not what I would consider age appropriate.

Summary NGSS founded NGSS results

While we see that there were minor adjustments for the better, the fact remains that these are NGSS performance standards with mere token deviations. Therefore, when districts and teachers seek to further develop their curriculum, and consider that the State has essentially adopted the NGSS, books, lesson plans, and other sources which teachers and districts will be looking for to further support their curriculum which were developed by others to be NGSS compliant, we will find the full NGSS in every detail will be right back into the classroom, complete in its materialistic and biased character. The USOE has previously pledged to reject further adoption of national standards by multiple representatives at multiple forums13. The reasons for rejecting such national standards has not diminished nor have they varied in any significance from what was offered in the April draft.

Reject the adoption of the October draft of the “Utah SEEd” standards.


Vincent Newmeyer

Link to comment on standards (must comment immediately. I think the deadline is November 9th):

Link to find your board member and contact him/her:

Contact info for your board member:


1 USOE now admits in, “Utah Science with Engineering Education (UT SEEd) Standards Release for 30-day Review,” October 8-9, 2015 page 7, that “Most SEEd standards remain based on” NGSS. Later in this text we will see that USOE definition of “most” means it is essentially all NGSS.

2 See paper “What? NGSS is Common Core Science???”

3 See paper “Issues With Next Generation Science Standards Proposed for Adoption in Utah and the Adoption Process”

4 See paper “Rebuttal To ‘Why the Critics of the Next Generation Science Standards are Wrong: A Position Paper'”

5 Youtube SLC Standards Review Meeting May 19, 2015 (the last)

6 Youtube SLC Standards Review Meeting May 19, 2015 (the last)

8 Utah Science with Engineering Education (UT SEEd) Standards Release for 30-day Review, October 8-9, 2015 page 7

9 Utah Science with Engineering Education (UT SEEd) Standards Release for 30-day Review, October 8-9, 2015 page 7

10 Besides the example given, you may also want to read Jonathan Wells’ article “SURVIVAL OF THE FAKEST”

12 Utah Science with Engineering Education (UT SEEd) Standards Release for 30-day Review, October 8-9, 2015 page 7

Feds Will Control Curriculum, Competency and Credentialing

Reprinted from:

The federal government has absolutely no constitutional right to control curriculum, but they’re doing it anyway. In a 2011 video for the Whitehouse’s Learning Registry, Steve Midgley, the Deputy Director of Education Technology for the US Department of Education, says that the Learning Registry “makes federal learning resources easier to find, easier to access and easier to integrate into learning environments wherever they are stored.” He also admits that the Federal Communications Commission changed broadband internet regulations to get federally-sanctioned curriculum items into every child’s classroom.

Say what? Yes. You heard it right. The Whitehouse is picking winners and losers in curriculum providers. They have created an effective oligarchy over online learning and testing resources in order to make sure that the curriculum coming through your child’s school-issued iPad or computer contains the right worldview. They funded the creation of Common Education Data Standards (CEDS), gave states federal grants to expand their state longitudinal data system (see Utah’s here and here), got 300 (and counting) online learning and testing groups to create interoperable curriculum and computer-adaptive tests, and created a one-stop-shop called the Learning Registry where every child’s learning data will be tracked. This is information control, folks. And, it’s not just for K-12.

George Washington University, among many other institutions of higher ed, has jumped on the Learning Registry’s bandwagon. They are helping the federal administration (perhaps unwittingly) succeed at redefining student competencies around student behaviors, as opposed to academics. When Utahns think of competency-based education, we think of a student mastering something factual and proving competency. That’s not what the federal Learning Registry seeks. They define competencies around values, attitudes and beliefs. In other words, the more a student can think in moral relativist terms, the more “skilled” they are. Students who think “all truth is relative” will be easily malleable workers for a globally managed economy—widgets for crony business leaders.

So, how will the Whitehouse’s Learning Registry work? It will:

  1. Filter the curriculum content that reaches teachers and students
  2. Collect data on how a child thinks and what they believe
  3. Use that data to personalize online learning curriculum and adaptive testing systems (compare this to political campaigns changing the way voters vote by collecting data to create personalized marketing)
  4. Viola! A child will see America in terms of race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality—and advocate for big government solutions.

When John Marini talked about the famous movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington written by Frank Capra, he said, “Frank Capra did not see America as many Americans do today, in terms of personal categories of identity…he understood America in terms of its political principles.”

If we want our children to be champions of liberty, including religious liberty, we need to engage our local education leaders in a discussion about who is defining “competency.” And, we cannot be naïve in thinking that we will implement competency-based education differently than the federal administration desires. If we put our plug (technology systems) into their electrical outlet (Learning Registry), we will be giving them all-power over what our children learn—and, we’ve already started plugging in. As one tech-savvy mom recently noted, “Parents need to understand that a unique student ID# will act like a social security number on steroids.

George Washington University says that they are helping the Whitehouse “create a beta version of a credentialing registry on the existing Learning Registry.” This means that the Feds are positioned, not only to control curriculum, but how colleges rate student credentials—also called “digital badges.” If this sounds like German-style education, that’s because it is.

We can’t allow the federal administration to use personally identifiable data to “personalize” learning resources for our children. It’s time for Congressional hearings into the Whitehouse’s Learning Registry—and it’s international data standards-setting partners, IMS Global and the SIF Association.

It’s also time for our local boards of education to take back what it means to have locally controlled education. Local boards should stand with parents by making sure that their district’s online curriculum and test items do not conform to federally-funded data standards.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

For more information on how the federal administration is aligning state and district policies to internationalist goals for competency-based education, see:

• Race To The Top for Districts (RTT-D) gave priority funding to districts that would embrace personalized learning and competency-based ed. See:

• Feds Give Nudge to Competency-Based Education

• Bill Gates’ KnowledgeWorks has published two Policy Briefs with the most extensive information about how the federal administration used Race To The Top to push state and district policies towards implementing personalized-learning and competency-based ed.

Brief #1: Competency Education Series Policy – An Emerging Federal Role for Competency Education

Brief #2: Competency Education Series – Federal Innovation Competitions: A Catalyst for Competency Education

• iNACOL, KnowledgeWorks and the CCSSO (the state superintendents’ club that helped federal partners create Common Core standards), issued this report on their 2011 national Competency-Based Education Summit.

iNACOL made sure that global competency-based education policies made it into the Elementary and Secondary Education Act’s reauthorization bill. See:

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?

Fake Research Used to Remove Authority From States Over Special Education


garyThe US Department of Education created a “Final Rule” under the new No Child Left Behind to take away constitutional local control; this time, control of special education tests and standards.  It said:

The Secretary amends the regulations governing title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA) (the “Title I regulations”), to no longer authorize a State to define modified academic achievement standards and develop alternate assessments based on those modified academic achievement standards…

Dr. Gary Thompson, a Doctor of Clinical Psychology who has exposed the non-validity of the Common Core tests themselves, has now written an analysis of the federal “Final Rule” entitled “Primum Non Nocere: First Do No Harm.”

(Please share “Primum Non Nocere,” or this introduction to it with legislators and school board members, and especially with US Congressmen who voted FOR the NCLB reauthorization –under the premise that it would not harm parental nor local control but was supposed to “reduce the federal footprintOrrin Hatch and virtually the entire US Congress bought that talking point.)

Dr. Thompson was furious that the Final Rule of NCLB, which takes effect September 15, 2015,  forces special education students to take the same tests and to use the same curriculum that all other students take, based on cited research studies of the U.S. Dept. of Education –studies that are ludicrously far from being valid.  (More on that, below.)  He was even more infuriated when he discovered that the research studies were unapplicable, or fake.

In a follow-up post to the “Primum Non Nocere” analysis, Dr. Thompson made all of this fake research much  easier to wrap our brains around with this analogy: Imagine that a parent takes a very sick child to the doctor’s office and the doctor prescribes eating “Froot Loops” three times each day while watching SouthPark episodes.  The doctor cites research to support this course of action, taken from the journal of gynecology, and expects the parent to comply.



Dr. Thompson finds this as ludicrious, and so he has put into more readable language what the US Department of ED decreed –and remember, this decree takes effect September 15, 2015:

1. All learning-disabled students can become grade level scholars with no differentiated learning– they just need great teaching and great supports.

2. The new testing (Common Core/SAGE) is valid for ALL students with ALL learning disabilities.

3. These new tests are so good that we don’t need alternative or modified tests.

4. The ONLY thing reading and math disabled students need, to become grade level scholars, are good teachers.

5. These new tests are so perfect that they were designed specifically to perfectly measure academic achievement in ALL learning-disabled children.

6. States and ground-level teachers have denied proper instruction for divergent-learning students; therefore, we no longer need individual states to make special tests, because now special education students will be saved by the new Common Core Standards.

In “Primum Non Nocere,” Dr. Thompson read through each of these USDOE decrees,  went to the cited research journal itself, and dug around.

He pointed out that in every case, the research was either directly paid for by the USDOE and its partners, or it did not qualify as research because it had never been peer reviewed, or it tested one age or ability grouping of children but applied the findings to a different age or ability grouping;  or the decree/claim was not even linked to any research study whatsoever.

Below are just three sample highlights from Dr. Thompson’s “Primum Non Nocere” that stood out as I read the 44-page analysis.

I hope this seems important enough to study more closely and to share with your senators and representatives; Dr. Thompson is calling for a Congressional hearing on this, the US Department of Education’s obviously false use of research, which it used to fraudulently justify taking away local authority over our special education children.

I hope that our nation is not so numb to morality that we no longer care to prosecute deceit and fraud– especially even when it concerns innocent, disabled children.


THREE HIGHLIGHTS from Primum Non Nocere:

US Department of Education Fraudulent Conclusion – Number One:

To support the Department’s decree, that special education students don’t need special education, it cited a 2010 research journal article: “Do Special Education Interventions Improve Learning of Secondary Content? A MetaAnalysis.”  Dr. Thompson went to that research journal.

Guess what he found there?

  • That research didn’t include kindergarteners through fifth graders–  no elementary school aged children were studied!  Most of the students were in eighth grade.  –Yet the Department is applying their conclusion to all students.
  • The “study” was paid for by the US Department of Education.
  • Math and reading weren’t included.  The studies used science, social studies, and English; and, only 10% of those studies actually reported on English at all.  –Yet the Department includes math and reading in its approved Common tests, to be applied to all, now including special education students.
  • Most of the students included in the meta-analysis were of average I.Q.  Yet the Department is applying their conclusion to special education.
  • Virtually none of the students were behaviorally or emotionally disturbed (only 4%)  Yet the Department is applying their conclusion to special education students who are behaviorally or emotionally disturbed.
  • It was not an original research study.  It was a holistic, literary study of other studies.
  • Demographics were lacking, so nobody knows how these studies impact children who come from groups who historically test very poorly.

US Department of Education Fraudulent Conclusion – Number Two:

To support the Department of Education’s decree that special education students will benefit from taking Common Core/SAGE tests,  it claimed that “new assessments have been designed to facilitate the valid, reliable, and fair assessment of most students, including students with disabilities who previously took an alternate assessment”.

Guess what Dr. Thompson found?

  • There was no research study cited.
  • There was no evidence given.
  • The claim that these new tests have been designed to be fair and valid and reliable for special education students, is utterly baseless.
  • Not one of the Common Core testing consortia, funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Education the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (such as SBAC, PARCC, and AIR which designs Utah’s SAGE test) have published independently reviewed validity data on special education students (or any students for that matter).

US Department of Education Fraudulent Conclusion – Number Three:

To support the Department’s decree that “alternate assessments based on modified academic achievement standards are no longer needed,” the Department cited a  study that (surprise) was also paid for by the US Department of Education– in partnership with the CCSSO, the group that co-created Common Core.  This study was never peer-reviewed, and thus qualifies as propaganda rather than real scientific research.


Other studies, that were also used as references by the USDOE, openly urgedcaution in interpretation of our findings given the small number of participants,” and warned: “no instructional method, even those validated using randomized control studies, works for all students” — serious cautions that the USDOE clearly did not heed.

Dr. Thompson has called for a congressional hearing:

If the U.S. Department of Education’s force feeding of “Fruit Loops”to our public school children (especially with our vulnerable divergent learning and minority children & teens, all justified via the use of “gynecology” research,) does not justify an immediate Congressional Hearing, I honestly don’t know what the hell else would justify that action.   My four, soon to be five children, are more important, and deserve more attention, than Benghazi, or Hillary Clinton’s alleged misuse of government email servers.


I urge you to read all of the findings of USDOE fraudulent use of citations, as discovered in “rimum Non Nocere“.  These were only three highlights of many sobering points.

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:



Dr. Thompson, Dr. Glass: Exposing the Underbelly of Psychometric Testing

Reposted from:

gene glass

Dr. Gene V. Glass, the award-winning psychometrician who invented the term meta-analysis, made recent news when he announced that he is no longer comfortable in his field.  In a Washington Post column, Dr. Glass summarized the failure of psychometrics (educational measurement using big data) to give accurate information: “Both talent and tasks were too complex to yield to this simple plan.”

This failure of psychometrics to win “the wars on poverty and ignorance” do not stop psychometric testing companies from lobbying politicians to alter American education for financial gain, he said.  Glass writes: “test company lobbyists convince politicians that grading teachers and schools is as easy as grading cuts of meat. A huge publishing company from the United Kingdom has spent $8 million in the past decade lobbying Congress.”

Glass laments the false belief of politicians who are convinced by articulate, monied lobbyists to buy, and then act on, the idea “that testing must be the cornerstone of any education policy”.

The results? “Parents see the stress placed on their children and report them sick on test day. Educators, under pressure they see as illegitimate, break the rules imposed on them by governments. Many teachers put their best judgment and best lessons aside… And too many of the best teachers exit the profession.”  A result Glass did not mention, but which is also notable, is that some politicians are beginning to be swayed by the idea of stealth testing.

The resignation from the field of psychometrics by Dr. Glass came to my attention because of Utah-based child psychologist Dr. Gary Thompson, who published the article with the following warning directed at Utahns who are complicit  in the use of Utah’s nonconsensual student data mining web.

A Warning To Educational Data Worshipers:

We can’t paint a meta data picture of creations we still know so little of. The arrogance of the “career and college ready crowd” along these lines, is astounding to me both as a father, and as a doctoral level local clinical community scientist.

Apparently the scientist, who I studied in graduate school…and who pioneered the process of mass educational meta data analysis, feels the same way that I do.

Mankind (e.g., “Bill Gates, Secretary Duncan, AIR, USOE, or Superintendent Smith, etc) will never create a form of data analysis more accurate and informative than what can be garnered from the combination of a mother, a well trained local teacher and principal, and valid, personalized, private, assessment tools interpreted by a professional, with one, and only one motive in mind:

To lift the academic, emotional, and spiritual foundation of a child for the sake of the joy of enrichment.

Assessments, as well as the associated meta-data generated by our current Common Core-based educational system, will never be able to be used as a valid measure of teachers, schools, or as a tool to achieve the mythical political term of “career & college ready”….or to support the political desires of our current Governor and Utah’s Chamber of Commerce.

Parents are, and must always be the resident experts of their own children.

The testing/data pseudo-science spewing from the lips of the educational/political bureaucracy, can’t change this very law of nature and the universe.

Be wise Utah.