Who teaches the teachers? Social In-Justice at BYU

Warning for all you non-religious types… I’m about to exercise my first amendment right and share my secular and religious thoughts based on my personal beliefs as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and quote a couple scriptures and LDS church authorities below in support of my beliefs. Naturally all of this article is my own opinion and I’m not speaking for the church. Just in case anyone might get confused about that… ;)

Periodically someone asks me a question like this: “how does this ________ nonsense get into our children’s schools?” Lately I’ve had that blank filled in with social justice. It seems to have gained an unfortunate sympathetic ear among people because they think it’s about helping the poor, when it reality it does just the opposite. There’s a load of articles on the web about how various Common Core players and organizations have come together to promote social justice through the curriculum and assessments they have developed. This article will not focus on those elements, but on the misguided concept of social justice.

A couple weeks ago, someone sent me a link to an article from BYU’s Frontier magazine which is an online magazine for alumni of their college of physical and mathematical sciences.

In the Fall 2014 issue on page 18, you’ll find an article entitled “Solving social injustice one math problem at a time.” The article is about Dr. Kate Johnson in BYU’s Math Education department and her background and experiences which lead her now to entwine social justice into her math teaching.

As if it isn’t hard enough for children to do word problems on new concepts, lets add social justice into the mix so they can feel the plight of the poor and downtrodden and learn about how evil capitalism is.

Now some parents might want this type of class for their child. They might say, yes, I want my college child well rounded by wrestling with these issues in math class instead of laser focusing on the theories and functions of math so that when they go to teach little children, they can help them understand how the rich are evil and the poor are oppressed. Love live the Communist Manifesto!

News flash: This style of teaching isn’t going to improve math education, nor will it fix social injustices. Social justice is the gospel of envy, not Christ’s gospel of love.

It is abundantly true that the scriptures teach us to take care of the poor. However, in each instance, the Lord is commanding people to take care of the poor as a matter of free will, using our agency in an individual charitable endeavor.

Lets get started.

Here are relevant quotes from the Frontier article about Dr. Johnson (emphasis mine):

“Through struggling with how to handle the hard questions her students raised about the world, Johnson realized that math could help them sort through the many differing points of view. The way this is done is through typical math tasks, like a story problem, but the subject of that story problem would be sharing wages in a sweatshop rather than sharing crayons in a classroom.

“The ultimate goal of teaching math for social justice is to help kids better understand the world around them in conjunction with math,” Johnson said. “Students are going to talk about those issues whether or not we give them math as a tool to do so, and so to me, we should be giving them math as a tool to think and talk about those issues so they can see the utility of math and so they can make stronger arguments.”

“I’m interested in teachers’ identities, as it pertains to mathematics teachers, particularly in the context of teaching math for social justice,” Johnson said. “So basically that’s like teaching math in contexts that help bring to light social issues in addition to teaching key math principles. If that’s the way you are going to teach math, then how does your race, gender, class, or awareness of your privilege play a role in the way you teach about those topics? Basically, when you state it broadly, I’m interested in how who we are shapes what we do as teachers.”

I realized that teachers are learners too, in part because I got student teachers and I just started to become interested in the kinds of things they needed to know in order to be productive math teachers,” Johnson said.

I wanted to broaden my impact,” Johnson said. “When I was a high school teacher, I used to say that I was teaching the world one deaf student at a time, and then when I went back to school to be a teacher educator, I said teaching the world a little more than one kid at a time. Because if you impact one teacher, it will impact more children that way, and teaching math through social justice to those teachers will bring about greater social change.

This article in Frontier is all about this particular teacher and I’m not publishing this to get her in trouble because she certainly isn’t by any means the only teacher educator doing this. I just felt compelled to expose what is happening in our schools of education where teachers are taught and ultimately comes to your children’s classrooms. Many of the educators in BYU’s Education and Math Education departments embrace John Goodlad, Bill Ayers, and Linda Darling-Hammond’s left-wing philosophy on social justice. They have attended workshops, joined their organizations, read their books, and even presented at their conferences. I believe the year was 2006 when BYU even hosted Goodlad’s NNER conference. Here’s an ad from just a few years ago for Goodlad’s conference to teach teachers how to implement social justice and the GLBT agenda in your children’s classrooms.

John Goodlad's NNER advertising a teacher training. Also note the GLBT training for teachers.

John Goodlad’s NNER advertising a teacher training. Also note the GLBT training for teachers.

Social Justice 101

So what is social justice? I found this awesome 5 minute video online that explains this concept really well. I particularly loved the statement by the U.N. that if you believe truth and justice are concepts independent of their agenda, you are essentially an enemy of social justice. Truth is so overrated…

I periodically engage in discussions online with people who espouse that it is the government’s responsibility to take care of the poor and that the government is well within its rights to do this. But they fail to remember one core principle of our government which is that it was established by the people, for the people, and of the people. When the people created the government, we delegated to government the ability to do certain things we have a right to do ourselves in order to make those things more efficient. I have a right to defend myself and my property so we created a sheriff and the military to protect those things on a larger scale so I can focus on other things. On the other hand, I don’t have a right to go to my neighbor’s home and take $500 from him and give that money to someone else I know is needy, so I can’t get government to do that for me and keep my hands clean of robbery. Frederick Bastiat called this “legal plunder” in his classic work, “The Law,” when people use government to do things to others that they can’t legally do themselves.

These people further claim that the scriptures and Christ’s teachings justify redistributing the wealth. But what did Jesus teach?

Did Jesus go to the Romans and ask them to exact a tax on the rich to help the poor? No.

Did he go to the Sanhedrin and ask them to do likewise? No.

He told the rich young man to go sell *what HE had* and give it to the poor.

He watched the widow cast in her 2 mites and announced that she had given more than all the rich yet didn’t mention how evil the rich were for not caring for her needs.

Did he organize a redistribution effort among his church? No. He taught compassion, charity, and to put away our jealousy and envy.

The gospel is one of individual responsibility with individual mandates to care for the poor. We have no right to force someone to salvation by making them take care of the poor and in so doing, create just the opposite effect within the breast of those whose compassion we need.

What does our progressive taxation system do? We say if you make X amount of income, you pay 15% taxes. If you make up to Y, then you pay 28%. And so on up the ladder. The more you make the larger the percentage you pay. What does that do to a person who makes more money?

  1. It can destroy their ability to be very charitable.
  2. It makes them feel like they are already giving more for social programs and they don’t need to do more individually.
  3. It destroys the entire holy principle of charity because those with wealth don’t have the opportunity to *give* someone money. It’s taken from them and they never see the needy people it helps, thus causing them to not have their hearts moved with compassion on the plight of the poor. Social justice ROBS the rich of this critical enrichment activity.

What was the Lord’s plan? 10% whether you’re rich or poor? A fascinating contrast, don’t you think?

The very people who want to have the wealthy to have compassion upon the poor have erected a system that prevents it from being possible. They have created a system of hatred where the rich feel taken advantage of. Where did this progressive taxation idea come from? The father of modern-day envy, Karl Marx, a co-author of the Communist Manifesto. This document is the exact opposite of the God-inspired U.S. Constitution. Only in an atmosphere of liberty, can the gospel of Jesus Christ thrive. Personal choices are paramount to the gospel plan. When some seek to overthrow that plan by focusing on social justice instead of God’s justice, and enact man-made systems of charity instead of God’s perfect system of charity, they mingle the philosophies of man with God’s perfect plan of salvation for his children and corrupt society through vanity.

Think about this…some people are born into wealth and some into poverty. It is a social injustice, but it is not injustice on the part of our divine creator who has a perfect plan for each of his children. His plan is to exalt his children and bring them back into his presence. In some instances, that necessitates trials of wealth, and for others trials of poverty. Each individual is born into this world with their own unique challenges to deal with but it is their own personal plan of salvation that God crafted for them. Under no circumstance does the wisdom of man exceed the wisdom of God. We should stop trying to serve the Lord in the devil’s way. Only the gospel of Christ can provide the spiritual salvation God’s children need.

In the April 2010 General Conference of the LDS church, Elder Todd Christofferson said it well.

“In a complete reversal from a century ago, many today would dispute with Alma about the seriousness of immorality. Others would argue that it’s all relative or that God’s love is permissive. If there is a God, they say, He excuses all sins and misdeeds because of His love for us—there is no need for repentance. Or at most, a simple confession will do. They have imagined a Jesus who wants people to work for social justice but who makes no demands upon their personal life and behavior.”

If I may offer an interpretation of what he’s saying… The people had turned to wickedness but they thought that a collective salvation under the gift of God’s incredible mercy for his children would save all of them regardless of their personal choices. They made up a false Christ by imagining a God that makes no demands on our *personal* lives, yet they weren’t forced to comply with heaven’s mandates.

In the April 2013 conference, Elder Christofferson gave another great talk which included much about temporal redemption for the poor. In this talk he pointed out that sometimes when needs are more widespread, larger organizations may need to be involved when needs exceed the ability of individuals to personally take care of the problems.

“Some forms of temporal redemption come by collaborative effort. It is one of the reasons the Savior created a church. Being organized in quorums and auxiliaries and in stakes, wards, and branches, we can not only teach and encourage each other in the gospel, but we can also bring to bear people and resources to deal with the exigencies of life. People acting alone or in ad hoc groups cannot always provide means on a scale needed to address larger challenges. As followers of Jesus Christ we are a community of Saints organized to help redeem the needs of our fellow Saints and as many others as we can reach across the globe.”

Does the church exact a tax on its members to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor? No. The church teaches doctrine and invites people to participate in a gospel plan that helps the rich meet the needs of the poor. He concludes with this powerful statement.

As disciples of Jesus Christ, we ought to do all we can to redeem others from suffering and burdens. Even so, our greatest redemptive service will be to lead them to Christ. Without His Redemption from death and from sin, we have only a gospel of social justice. That may provide some help and reconciliation in the present, but it has no power to draw down from heaven perfect justice and infinite mercy. Ultimate redemption is in Jesus Christ and in Him alone.”

In my own words, we have an individual mandate to help the poor, but if our own personal efforts to help the poor don’t actually bring them to Christ and redemption through his atonement, then the gospel is only a gospel of social justice which may give someone temporary assistance with their temporal needs, but does nothing to provide the ultimate redemption we all need.

In the recent October 2014 General Conference, Elder Jeffrey Holland gave a great talk on taking care of the poor as well. He pointed out that when Mary anointed Jesus’ head with the expensive spikenard and Judas complained that it could have been sold and distributed to the poor, Jesus rebuked him and said, “Why trouble ye her? She hath wrought a good work…She hath done what she could.”

Judas’ envy had got the better of him and he wanted that wealth taken from Mary and given to someone else. Perhaps he was jealous that he hadn’t saved his own money in the way Mary had done. Regardless of Judas’ personal motive, Jesus obviously knew that Mary’s choices were her own and she was choosing to do good in the best way she saw fit. Judas had no right to complain or to force Mary to sell her goods and give to the poor. As mentioned above, Jesus never told the government or the church to take from the members to give to the poor. He invites us individually to participate in the work of temporal and spiritual salvation.

Elder Holland goes on to clearly point out the individual mandate we have:

“Now, lest I be accused of proposing quixotic global social programs or of endorsing panhandling as a growth industry, I reassure you that my reverence for principles of industry, thrift, self-reliance, and ambition is as strong as that of any man or woman alive. We are always expected to help ourselves before we seek help from others. Furthermore, I don’t know exactly how each of you should fulfill your obligation to those who do not or cannot always help themselves. But I know that God knows, and He will help you and guide you in compassionate acts of discipleship if you are conscientiously wanting and praying and looking for ways to keep a commandment He has given us again and again.”

Over and over again we are reminded that helping the poor must come from a personal desire to do so and not from someone elses compassion with other people’s property.

We also have this clear explanation in modern day revelation. From the Doctrine & Covenants, section 104 we read:

15 And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine.

16 But it must needs be done in mine own way; and behold this is the way that I, the Lord, have decreed to provide for my saints, that the poor shall be exalted, in that the rich are made low.

17 For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.

18 Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment.

The plan and the choice are clear. God wants the rich to take care of the poor to exalt the poor and humble the rich. But he wants it done by the use of agency. We don’t have any right to erect a system of force that destroys the agency of man. In so doing, we destroy God’s plan. God has a punishment prepared for the rich who do not turn their hearts to the poor when the Lord presses upon them to be compassionate. When government takes from the rich to provide for the poor, it is in essence proposing to guarantee God’s rewards upon the rich for so giving, yet no godly characteristic is formed in the heart of the rich because they aren’t the ones giving.

What should teachers at BYU be focusing on? In my opinion, they should be focusing on building faith in Christ in their students. When people come to Christ, they live His gospel and keep his commandments. The wealthy do help the poor and the people become of one mind and one heart. You can’t force that, but pure doctrine changes hearts.

If you want poor kids to excel and get better jobs, and overcome their life circumstances, teach them real math and stop distracting them. They need to compete in this world with those who may have had more advantages due to their wealth. If you are under the illusion this isn’t possible, watch “Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story.” It’s free on Netflix.

To teach the poor to look upon their situation as a plight may in fact lead them away from Christ as they question why a “fair” God has put them in their challenging circumstances. By gifting them envy instead of encouragement, we indoctrinate them in the doctrines of the devil. Instead we should teach all to have faith in Christ, solely. Social justice is faith in government that they will take enough from the rich to give to you to meet your needs. That is not the gospel.

Professors and teachers, do not suppose that you know better than the parents who have sent their children to you. Do not suppose that because you have those children in your care that you have permission to do anything contrary to grounding them in truth and building faith. Teaching is a sacred duty and where it is not a faith building, joyous experience in embracing truth, it is not of God.

In Doctrine & Covenants 105:5 we read, “And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself”

What is that law? The law of consecration, which is a choice to participate in. You cannot prepare people for life in a celestial realm by forcing them to do good and contribute to the causes you deem just through government intervention.

If an all-powerful God who could easily right the wrongs of society and compel men to provide for others, doesn’t interfere with our choice and agency here on earth because of Celestial laws, what gives anyone else the right to do what God Himself rejects, and impose on mankind compulsory systems of tyranny all in the name of brotherly love? We should probably stop second guessing God and start trying to mimic him.

Data Collection Nightmare Comes True

Michelle Malkin’s latest article exposes what’s happening with data collection on our children. Don’t miss this and then email your legislators and ask them to terminate the Statewide Longitudinal Database System which the federal government paid Utah over $9 million to set up to track our children. No profiling our children. Let local teachers assess our kids and discuss their assessments with parents. Utah may not have this particular extreme tracking yet, but lets make sure it never happens here. Over 42,000 children in Colorado have been subjected to this particular collection system and there are others like it operating in other states.

Here’s a few clips from Michelle’s article:

“Most parents have no idea the scheme is on track for full implementation by the 2015-2016 school year. The company already plans to expand assessments to cover children from birth through third grade.”

“TS Gold’s creators describe the testing vehicle as “an early childhood assessment system” that purportedly measures the “whole child.” What that means is that the tests are not only for “literacy, mathematics, science and technology, social studies and the arts,” but also for “developmental domains including social emotional, physical, language and cognitive development.”

Aligned to the federal Common Core standards, which were designed and copyrighted by a small cadre of Beltway educrats, TS Gold received $30 million in federal Race to the Top subsidies in 2012. The assessors have 38 “objectives” arranged under nine topics of academic learning, psychomotor data and social-emotional development. Students are rated and recorded on their ability to do things like “respond to emotional cues,” “interact cooperatively” and “cooperate and share ideas and materials in socially acceptable ways.””

“Creeped out yet? This is just the tip of the data-mining iceberg. Last spring, parent Lauren Coker discovered that TS Gold assessors in her son’s Aurora, Colo., public preschool had recorded information about his trips to the bathroom, his hand-washing habits and his ability to pull up his pants.

“When I asked if we could opt out of the system,” Coker told me, school officials told her no. She pulled her son out of the school and still doesn’t know whether or how the data can be removed.”

“The ultimate goal is not improved school performance. The real end is massive student data-mining for meddling and profit. The Obama administration sabotaged federal student and family privacy protections through backroom regulation, allowing once-protected student data to be sold to private vendors for the creation of what one Colorado bureaucrat calls “human capital pipelines.”

Edutech firms such as Pearson, Microsoft, Google and Knewton are salivating at the lucrative opportunities to exploit educational Big Data and sell “customized learning” products in the most data-mineable industry in the world. And the politicians who can hook them up are reaping rich rewards in their campaign coffers.”

The Four Candidates for State Superintendent

Yesterday the state office released the names of the four finalists for Utah state superintendent. It’s a disaster.

You can find more extensive bios on the four finalists here:

Here’s a quick low-down on their ties to Common Core…

John Barge, current Georgia state superintendent

It appears that based on this article, Dr. Barge is not someone we could ever trust. Before the 2010 election he was adamantly opposed to Common Core. After the 2010 election he was very totally pro-Common Core. Total 180.

Rich Crandall, former director of the Wyoming Department of Education

This is a special individual. When the elected Wyoming state superintendent (Cindy Hill) spoke out against Common Core, the governor illegally stripped her over her powers and left her retaining her title, and brought in Rich Crandall to helm the state superintendent powers. Mr. Crandall said, it is “critical” that Wyoming successfully implement the common core state standards in reading and math adopted here in 2012. In my opinion, anyone who would accept an appointed position to unconstitutionally supplant an elected one, should not be near public office. I totally oppose Rich’s nomination.

Brad Smith, current Ogden School District superintendent

Disqualified himself by speaking of Common Core in this way: “They’re a huge step up from where we’ve been,” he said. “A huge step up.”

Martin Bates, current Granite School District superintendent

I can’t find any immediate articles tying Martin’s comments to Common Core, but Granite school district has been one of the most aggressive in implementing policies passed down from the state office of education, particularly carrying the SAGE and other tests to extremes. Teachers have lost days of teaching in order to test their students and from teachers who have contacted me and others, morale is low because of it. They also fired teacher Ann Florence over refusing to grade the writing portion of the district-wide Acuity Test. She said the exam was a waste of students’ and teachers’ time, did not further any education agenda and that it was unethical to have teachers grade their own students on a standardized test that then would be used to judge the teacher. I agree.


How do the two outsiders above get brought in but Michael Sentance from MA is dropped when he helped build the best education system in the country? He gave a great interview when Dr. Menlove was appointed. No need to answer my question. I know the answer and it’s got putrefaction all over it.

We need partisan elections in Utah and I believe we need to elect our state superintendent publicly in partisan elections just like we do other chief state officers. Wyoming elects their superintendent and got someone opposed to Common Core. We can’t have any confidence in our state school board when they bring forward people like this and reject people who have done great things in education like Mike Sentance.

Action Item

Email your legislators that the state board has failed us by bringing in 4 finalists who are so pro-Common Core they are ensuring there will be no candidate we can support. Tell them we need partisan elections in Utah and we need to publicly elect the state superintendent because the unconstitutionally appointed state school board doesn’t represent Utah values like a partisan elected school board would.

Find your legislator:

Email the state board and express your disappointment with their selections.


Did George Orwell see the future? 1984 UNESCO Document on Common Core

Yesterday, Dr. Gary Thompson posted this document to Facebook with this comment:

It’s the handbook on how to manipulate teachers worldwide in this crap.

Another “score” for all you right wing nut bags. ;)

The subtle, as well as pronounced manipulations and indoctrination used her are hilariously being copied by USOE towards teachers and the parents in the community.

I find it hilarious (or perhaps ominous) that this document was published in 1984.

Here is just one quote from page 5 of the document:

“This regulatory role of teacher educators and inspectors has already been defined as follows ‘how can the inspector be made an agent of change in the educational system (a dynamic control)? How can the inspector be made an agent involved in controlling the relationship between the educational and the social (community) systems (external control)?’ This is the big question, and it must be admitted that these inspectors are either ill-prepared for their task, or not prepared at all. This is why an examination of the abilities and skills of school inspectors as regulators of the system is probably the most fundamental point that arises, because they work at strategic points in the functioning of the educational system.”

I would offer John Goodlad as a case in point to this. Charlotte Iserbyt in her book “The Deliberated Dumbing Down of America” calls him “America’s premier change agent.” His work at BYU started in 1983 with the “public school partnership” and then brought BYU’s education department into his “National Network for Educational Renewal” as a founding member in 1986. We succeeded in getting BYU’s education department out of the NNER just a couple years ago by throwing light on the subversive side of Goodlad and his social justice instruction in the classroom, but they are still infatuated with him and his worldly philosophies.

Interestingly, there is a major move afoot in this country by the feds to transform schools into community learning centers where they are open longer hours, keep children in schools longer, bring in parents for training in the agenda, and more. This can be searched online as “21st century learning centers” and other such community education center terms. This is nothing more than a play to make schools indoctrination centers (why hello Mr. Orwell).

Here is the UNESCO document. I would lastly point out again that Bill Gates’ Microsoft signed a contract in 2004 with UNESCO to create a global education system. Funded by Gates’ money, just a few years later we have Common Core.

UNESCO 1984 Common Core

Bombshell: Duncan breaks law – NAEP Now High Stakes Test

NEW VENUE AND TIME: Please come to a protest on Thursday at 11:00 – 12:30 at Royal Wood Office Plaza, 230 West 200 South. The parking lot is shared with the US post office. Invite everyone you can, especially those with children with disabilities.

In a nutshell: Secretary Arne Duncan violated federal law seeking to punish state school disability programs, got caught big time, and a federal Dept. of Education official is here in Utah on a “routine” visit. Time for a protest.

What you are about to read should result in congressional hearings and Arne Duncan probably being fired as the US Secretary of Education.

Federal law sets forth certain things that can be done under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). No one may circumvent those laws. Only Congress can change laws, but because of the current Executive Branch’s agenda to bring states under federal control, grant-based regulations and mandates have increasingly been created by Secretary Duncan, in violation of the Constitution.

On June 24, 2014, Secretary Duncan circumvented congress and issued mandates for changes in the way state special education programs are evaluated. (

“To improve the educational outcomes of America’s 6.5 million children and youth with disabilities, the U.S. Department of Education today announced a major shift in the way it oversees the effectiveness of states’ special education programs.”

He then went on to explain what changes he is mandating.

Eight U.S. senators prepared a letter explaining the violations of law involved in Duncan’s action and asked the Secretary a number of very pointed questions. Evidently, Senator Hatch from Utah walked that letter into a meeting, interrupting it, to deliver it to Secretary Duncan. The senators’ letter is embedded at the bottom of this article.

In essence, the mandate changes the way the school funding game is played by suddenly announcing that historical NAEP test score data will be used retroactively to evaluate federal funding on schools that have children with disabilities. As the senators’ letter points out this is a very clear violation of the law.

Duncan calls this new framework, “Results-Driven Accountability.” It’s simply unconstitutional and illegal. The press release states:

“Last year, when the Department considered only compliance data in making annual determinations, 41 states and territories met requirements. This year, however, when the Department includes data on how students are actually performing, only 18 states and territories meet requirements.”

Why are they so eager to tell states they aren’t meeting requirements? So they can enact more requirements. It’s the way things work for those in power. Tell schools they aren’t performing and then punish them with additional requirements.

Utah happens to be coming up short and is on the list of states that “need assistance.” The USDOE continues, “If a state needs assistance for two years in a row, IDEA requires the Department to take actions such as requiring the state to obtain technical assistance or identifying the state as a high-risk grant recipient.”

So Utah is at risk of losing federal funds due to the feds moving the goal post and mandating, against the rules of the game, that teams retroactively enact the new rules. Suddenly the score that was 14-0, is 0-0.

Now I’m no fan of federal funding in any respect and I’d love to see it abolished, but until we are able to accomplish that, this is an egregious violation of the law and should result in Duncan and maybe others being short-timers on the hill for their actions.

NAEP was supposed to be for a common set of data between the states and was mandated to never be used for high stakes testing determination.

So what kind of “technical assistance” does the USDOE have in mind?

“As part of the move to RDA, OSERS [Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services] will fund a new $50 million technical assistance center – the Center on Systemic Improvement – to help states leverage the $11.5 billion in federal special education funds which they currently receive to improve outcomes for students with disabilities. In addition, OSERS will be working with each state to support them in developing comprehensive plans designed to improve results for children with disabilities.”

Because so many states were suddenly deemed to be below threshold (without knowing that’s how they would be evaluated), we’re going to see a new federal “assistance” center because obviously the states aren’t capable of educating children with disabilities. We “need” that federal help…  (Oh, and Common Core isn’t being pushed by the feds either, of course.)

Interestingly, Gregory Corr, the Director of Monitoring and State Improvement Planning at OSEP (Office of Special Education Programs), is coming to Utah *right now* to do some type of investigation. This is beyond normal. Directors don’t go to states on “routine” visits.  I understand he will be at the State Office of Education on Thursday.

Please come to the protest on Thursday at 11:00 – 12:30 at Royal Wood Office Plaza, 230 West 200 South. The parking lot is shared with the US post office. Help tell the the feds to stop violating the law, stop violating Utah’s sovereignty, and stop messing with children with disabilities. It’s OUR education system. Lets give Greg a “warm” welcome. Bring your signs.


Secretary Arne Duncan Busted

What’s your tipping point?

Two stories I just received. What is it going to take for you to do more than sign a petition?

“My daughter, _______ who lives in ______, is on the Community Counsel for _____ High.  A few days ago in one of their meetings, the floor was opened for those on the council to express any concerns they have.  She brought up Common Core and some of the others indicated their concerns also, but a teacher that she knows personally, who was in attendance, said, “We are not allowed to mention Common Core.  It is now called Desk Standards–but it is really Common Core.”
Just thought that I’d pass that on.” -SS

“So I have to say that I’m pretty upset. I picked up my son from school today and asked how his day was. He told me he got earbuds today; when I asked him what for he said he was working on a tablet and needed them. He went on to tell me he was working on a program (don’t know what it’s called but he logged into and it was a match game. So when he made a match, the tone was a binaural beat. If he didn’t get the match correctly it “screamed at him” another binaural beat that he described… ‘it went through my body and made me shake, I was unable to type because it was like an electricity shock.’ I told the school that I did not want him using any portable device provided by the school. I was not informed about this, of course. Has anyone had their children mention something like this? I asked him if there are any of his classmates who do not participate but they all do. The teacher instructed the class that they cannot sit out on this exercise. – LP

When an untested math standards and curriculum are forced on children nationwide and their emotional, psychological, and intellectual abilities are not considered, you have a one-size-fits-all recipe for disaster and it boils down to institutional child abuse. What are you doing to help good candidates get elected this November?

Watch this second grader’s “love” of math after being in Common Core.


Jon Fidler wrote a great article here which contains this first bit from Leslie Castle. Please read the whole article.

After a parent expressed concern about an indoctrinating assignment to state school board member Leslie Castle, Leslie responded:

“It is my opinion that public school is a place for children to be exposed to, not indoctrinated by, many ideas and opinions that are found in the American landscape. I can’t imagine students leaving the public school system having only been exposed to the opinions and experiences that are found around their own dinner table. That would be true indoctrination and a travesty of true education.

To hide from your child the fact that many American’s do not share your view of gun rights would be indoctrination and social engineering, in my opinion. To explain to your child that all Americans have the right to have different opinions from their parents’ and from their own is a first step in the valuable lessons of social justice and self-actualization.”

Leslie, you would make the socialist/humanist education “expert” John Goodlad proud. Goodlad wrote, “A century has passed since the prescient educational historian Ellwood Cubberley wrote the epigraph with which this writing began: “Each year the child is coming to belong more to the State and less and less to the parent.”

“My only disagreement with his observation pertains to the implication of our owning children. We parents do not own our children; we just rent them for a while. Given the extent to which what he was troubled about has expanded, however, his reference to state ownership may well be appropriate.”

(2010, Washington Post, Goodlad on school reform: Are we ignoring lessons of last 50 years?)

Thank you Leslie for yet another reason we desperately need partisan elections…


Comments on Common Core Math Standards

This week I received two comments on the Common Core math standards which are worth reading and understanding. This first is from Ze’ev Wurman, a former member of California’s Academic Content Standards Committee, and a U.S. Dept. of Education official under George W. Bush. Someone asked Ze’ev about Euclidean geometry in Common Core’s standards. This is his response:

“Common Core did not throw out Euclidean Geometry. Common Core replaced the way the fundamental theorems of Euclidean Geometry (relating to triangle congruence such as ASA, SAS, SSS) are supposed to be proven in the classroom to an experimental method with a track record of failure. Consequently, proving Euclidean Geometry theorems is bound to be no more than arm waiving under Common Core, and the beautiful edifice of logical air-tight deductive geometrical reasoning is bound to be lost. To add insult to injury, Common Core only lightly touches on traditional body of theorems relating to triangles and circles, making it’s geometry a shallow course.

In Common Core’s defense one could argue that many Geometry courses already today give a short shrift to logical proofs and to exploring geometrical relationships of triangles and circles. This is true for some courses, yet not for all of them. What Common Core does is that it codifies such shallow treatment of geometry to be the normative one, forcing even serious courses to be dumbed down to mediocre and shallow levels.”

This next comment is from Dr. Wayne Bishop, mathematician at California State University. Long time opponent of fuzzy math, he helped bring down the awful standards California adopted in the 90’s that devastated their state, and brought about their excellent 1999-2000 standards and framework which were among the best in the nation prior to their downgrading them for Common Core. This letter was in response to one of the questions on Governor Herbert’s recent survey. I don’t know which question this was a response to. Emphasis mine.

Although the words claim otherwise, the effect is highly pedagogical in support of a philosophy called “constructivism” that has a long history of repeated failure. I was very active in replacing California’s model of such in the 1990s with superb standards, the California Mathematics Content Standards with approved curricula and consistent assessments. Regrettably, California made the same mistake as Utah to “buy into” the misguided Common Core State Standards mirrored in the Utah ones. The words that the CCSS-M are tied to the best international standards are simply meaningless. FAR better would be to abandon the Utah form of the CCSS-M and replace the document with the far clearer and appropriate former California Mathematics Content Standards.

One of the problems is a deliberate, but disguised, avoidance of competence with arithmetic in the early grades. They are filled with nice-sounding words that are essentially content-free; pedagogy trumps specified/testable competency that is so critically important through ordinary fractions, percent, and ratio and proportion word problems. The lack of confirmation of arithmetic competence is dismissed by professional math education “experts” by ubiquitous, and inappropriate, access to calculators. By contrast, Japanese classrooms look very different:

“Students sit in rows and are expected to listen quietly. Teachers rely on direct instruction rather than investigative mathematics, but although they ask few questions, the questions they do ask are useful in guiding student understanding.”

The biggest surprise was a shocking lack of technology in Japanese classrooms. “Not a single student pulled out a calculator during class,” Drickey said. There were no overhead projectors, televisions, computers or laptops.

“But lack of reliance on technology may lead to higher scores for Japanese students,” she said. “The ability to think mathematically, without the aid of an outside source, could help students process mathematical problems more accurately and efficiently.”

As an experienced professor of mathematics who has taught our course designed to prepare prospective high school geometry teachers (Math 430 Modern Geometry), I am especially appalled the geometry standards that, again, echo the CCSS-M. To actually prove congruence (much less similarity) using transformations instead of the traditional sophomore Euclidean geometry approach, is something that no high school student is capable of doing without exceptional leadership, in part, because it is in none of the available books. Instead of making the subject harder (as an honest treatment would), the effect is the removal of proof from the high school mathematics curriculum. The very words in the CCSS-M and Utah Standards pass traditional sophomore proof on to college geometry which denies high school students the greatest gift of the ancient Greeks to modern human thought, semi-formal deductive logic. Sin has many forms but one of its more insidious ones is failing to educate students to the best of our ability under the misguided notion that if it’s especially challenging for some students, water it down so that everybody can “succeed”.

Professor of Mathematics
California State University, LA


Devastating math by overemphasizing process

Check out this homework assignment a parent emailed me today which her child got 10/40 on. Most of the problems were correct but he didn’t show his work. 2 of the 10 points were for putting his name on his paper. Clearly a violation of principle for this teacher since his name is memorized and he didn’t draw a picture of himself…

What do you even do with teachers so full of this kind of nonsense. It reminds me of when my daughter was in 4th grade and had to draw 120 circles and separate 30 at a time to do long division. That didn’t last and I explained to the teacher that she understood the concept and wouldn’t be doing that nonsense anymore. Remember, schools are a SECONDARY SUPPORT to YOU in YOUR primary responsibility to educate YOUR children.
“So I had to pass this along. My son attends Vista Heights Middle School and is in the 7th grade. Attached is my son’s homework he brought back home today. He didn’t get points for the VAST majority of his homework because he didn’t show his work. He didn’t show on paper how he knew his multiplication facts and could add and subtract small numbers in his head. We are now punishing our 7th graders for knowing their multiplication facts and knowing basic math!! I went through his paper and there were a few he did genuinely get wrong. But the bulk he got right and didn’t get ANY points because he didn’t show his work. When I asked my son what happened he said his teacher said, “memorizing your multiplication is NOT a method“. He is to re-do his assignment and draw pictures showing how he arrived at the answer. No need to memorize your multiplication facts in elementary school, they’re just going to have you draw pictures in middle school! No need to learn how to add 2 and 2, you’re going to have to draw a number line or sticks in middle school to add it up!! Of all the ridiculous things!!”


math1 001 math2 001

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