Concerns

Goodbye school choice? Is your school at risk of federal oversight?

Utah’s SB 235, if not vetoed in the next two weeks, will be the end of real choice in public education in Utah.

Based on the 2014 Utah school grades, and SB 235, here are just a few charter schools who could soon be at risk of being literally taken over by the state and “fixed” by Federally-funded  “turnaround experts.” Note that each of these schools has a high SAGE opt-out rate (percent of students whose parents opted them out of taking the Common Core/SAGE test).

  • Canyon Grove Academy 20% opt-out (D grade)
  • C.S. Lewis Academy 50% opt-out (C grade)
  • DaVinci Academy 33% opt-out (D grade)
  • Gateway Preparatory Academy 25% (C grade)
  • Lincoln Academy 14% opt-out (C grade)
  • Mana Academy 50% opt-out (F grade)
  • Mountain Heights Academy 15% Opt-out (C Grade)
  • Pacific Heritage Academy 29% opt-out (D grade)
  • Paradigm High School 23% opt-out (D grade)
  • Rockwell Charter High School 19% opt-out (D grade)
  • Utah Connections Academy 9% opt-out (D grade)
  • Utah Virtual Academy 22% opt-out (D grade)

 

State officials will (correctly) point out that parent opt-outs are not included in the SAGE portion of the school grade. But that belies two important facts:

1)   Many of the opt-outs come from the most involved parents / highest performing students, so the “school grade” reflects the abilities of the lower-performing students, not all the students in the school. The punishments that SB 235 would inflict on a school thus violate the prohibition on such punishments in SB 122, and

2)   If parent opt-outs (and enrollment in a charter school in the first place) are in any way indicative of parents’ desire for an alternative to Common Core/SAGE, turning these charter schools over to “turnaround experts” denies parents their unalienable rights (confirmed by Utah Code 62A-4a-201) to direct the education of their own children.

What can a charter school (or charter parent) do to avoid being “reformed” by the Fed Ed experts? Forget your charter and teach to the SAGE test. Like every other school in the state. Or, contact Governor Herbert right now and ask him to veto SB 235.

SB235 Effectively Federalized Utah’s Education System and Federalization is Anti-Family

Senate Bill 235 – School Turnaround and Leadership Development passed at the midnight hour of Utah’s legislative session last night. It passed under a different name though—”Education Modifications.” It sounds much more innocent that way. This bill, while already passed, MUST STILL BE CHALLENGED! Why? It codified Obama’s Federal Waiver reforms into state law and, for all intents and purposes, federalized Utah’s entire education system. Federalization is Anti-Family because it’s Anti-Agency.

Are we willing to tell our children and grandchildren that we sat back and allowed it to happen? Please say no.

Below, I am sharing a letter that I sent to a member of the Utah State Board in November 2014 (credits go to Michelle Boulter of Return to Parental Rights for allowing me to include her excellent research). I also shared portions of this with Senator Niederhauser and his SB235 co-sponsor Rep. Bradley Last.

Parents, delegates who voted down Common Core, and taxpayers must rise up to hold these legislators, and those legislators who supported SB235, accountable for their actions. And, there must be a call to repeal this bill. We must demand that the State School Board, Utah’s Attorney General Sean Reyes and Auditor John Dougall AUDIT THIS FEDERAL PROGRAM if we want to preserve parental rights and local education control.

 

Dear Utah State Board member,

Were you aware that the US Department of Education funds the federal Center for School Turnaround? This is a program that trains school and district leaders how to implement the federal education reforms linked to President Obama’s Race to the Top/Common Core. The goal is to “develop district and school leadership skills needed to meet the challenges of turning around low-performing schools.” The Utah State Office of Education has a 5-year contract to run district/school leaders through this federal program. The program is headed by WestEd and the 2009 Stimulus-created/funded testing consortia SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia)?

Why is SBAC involved with state/district school turnaround training? Could it be that federal turnaround measures are directly tied to Common Core testing and the revamping of instructional models in our local schools?

My hope is that you will audit this federal program. The information below unveils how the Utah State School Board has been losing “general control and supervision” of Utah’s education system. Much of that control is being lost to the Utah State Office of Education which is operating as an unaccountable 4th branch of government directing federal education programs in Utah. The Obama administration is funding programs through state offices of education, and other avenues, in unprecedented levels. I hope you can help restore your elected power for the sake of parental rights.

I don’t know if you read my op-ed in the Deseret News that talked about ObamaCare architect, Ezekiel Emanuel’s admitted malintent behind healthcare reform. Ezekiel said, “Be prepared to kiss your insurance company goodbye forever.” Common sense tells us that the intent behind federal education reforms is the same. There is a reason why Ezekiel’s brother, former Chicago Superintendent Rahm and his buddy, US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, are leading school “turn around” reforms. The Federal Government is working to “turn around” schools under Title 1 in order to require that more community services be provided via schools. Because Federal FERPA laws trump HIPPA, this will allow for more, and all kinds, of federal-level data collection on children as schools are turned into community, health and counseling centers. Technology will facilitate most of the reforms that superintendents will be trained in. See: “ConnectED to the Future Convening Brings Future Ready Superintendents at the White House.”

http://www.ed.gov/blog/2014/11/connected-to-the-future-convening-brings-together-future-ready-superintendents-at-the-white-house/

Here’s the link to the Federal Center For School Turnaround. It states, “The US Department of Education created a Center on School Turnaround and awarded a five-year grant and cooperative agreement to WestEd to administer the new center.

http://centeronschoolturnaround.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Evolution_of_School_Turnaround2.pdf

Here’s the Utah State School Board’s/USOE announcement about joining this federal partnership via the University of Virginia’s Darden/Curry Partnership for Leaders in Education.

http://utahpubliceducation.org/2011/12/23/utah-school-leaders-participate-in-school-turnaround-initiative/#.VGTijIdSa_0

Here’s WestEd touting Ogden District as their model for the Federal Reforms:

http://www.wested.org/wp-content/files_mf/1379439998Ogden_Case_Study.pdf

New State Superintendent Brad Smith (and I assume he is a great guy) went through this Federal training as Ogden District’s Superintendent. It’s anticipated that all Utah districts will go through training.

This article details the federal “turnaround” training programs for superintendents and principals funded through Obama’s Race to the Top. It states, “Both the transformational and turnaround models of Obama’s school restructuring plan begin with a directive to replace the principal, and in the latter case, at least half the teaching staff as well.” (Note: These are the kinds of reforms that took place in the Ogden school district under then Superintendent Brad Smith before he became Utah’s Superintendent)

The article continues, “And with the other two options—the close/consolidate model, which closes schools and transfers students to higher performing schools, and the restart model, which closes schools and reopens them as charters—principals are also likely to find themselves out of work.”

“With 74 percent of schools eligible for improvement grants opting for the transformational model—which calls for a comprehensive overhaul of instruction (pedagogy tied to Common Core standards), evaluation systems and other school operations in addition to replacing the principal—the need for effective administrators is a pervasive problem, Connelly says. But it’s especially dire in the persistently low-performing schools where pressures and challenges are high and strong leadership is crucial, she adds.”

“… No longer are principals regarded as performers of largely managerial duties. Today’s principals need skills in analyzing data to drive successful instruction(Data isn’t the friend of local control. It’s what controls everything from the federal level).

Because State Superintendent Brad Smith was trained in this federal program, and Ogden was the pilot district, some see it as the sole reason for his decisions to fire teachers and principals in Odgen. The Federal objectives are that superintendents, principals and teachers will eventually be replaced by superintendents from crony corporate/federal reform camps like Jeb Bush’s Chiefs for Change or Eli Broad’s Broad Academy with Principals from Arne Duncan’s Principal Corp and teachers from groups like Teach for AmericaMicrosoft is one of the main funders of this Federal turnaround program, and they have a vested interested in Common Core standards.

In our most recent conversation, you tended to think that Business/Corporate reforms support the education vision of many on the Utah State School Board. I don’t. I think that Corporate Reforms in our current political climate are Federal/Crony-Capitalist Funded reforms all tied to Common Core standards in order to support data comparability across the country and nations. (See that Pearson is taking over the United Nation’s PISA exams in 2018.) It’s not about improving student achievement. It’s about dismantling locally controlled education and creating an endless stream of taxpayer profits for those in power as their policies (controlled by “the data” from test scores) dictate instruction requirements, hiring requirements, testing requirements, data collection requirements, 1-to-1 technology requirements, etc. The program is Corporate Ed reform just like Arne and Rahm did in Chicago. It’s all about crony capitalists taking over public schools deemed “turn around” schools based on test scores. These crony reforms have decimated the Chicago school system. The designated schools have to implement new instructional models (aligned to Common Core standards) and data based decision training, including reliance on behavioral data.

I want to digress for a minute and reference this quote from the federally-funded Common Core Next Generation Science Standards “Framework” creators—Achieve, Inc.:

“Students will make the greatest strides in learning science and engineering when all components of the system—from professional development for teachers to curricula and assessments to time allocated for these subjects during the school day—are aligned with the vision of the framework.”

Listen to what they reformers are saying! EVERYTHING AT THE LOCAL LEVEL WILL BE CONTROLLED BY THEM! This is the height of arrogance! These federal school turnaround reforms, and their associated reforms to education standards and tests, are about controlling local decision making using test scores as the nail in our coffin. IT’S COMPLETE STANDARDIZATION OF THE ENTIRE SYSTEM. The death nail to parental rights! The death nail in individual exceptionalism and personal agency!

Here’s what Ogden Superintendent Brad Smith said about attending the Darden/Curry training:

http://www.darden.virginia.edu/web/Darden-Curry-PLE/UVA-School-Turnaround/Testimonials/

In bullet 6 here, they say the program focuses on behavioral data:

http://www.darden.virginia.edu/web/Darden-Curry-PLE/About/Beliefs/

And, here, liberal education expert Diane Ravitch explains that the school turn around idea came from Arne Duncan’s days in Chicago when he came up with a plan called Renaissance 2010:

http://m.democracynow.org/stories/13673

Ogden Superintendent Brad Smith and his retrained Ogden crew were invited to  Governor Herbert’s office on Aug. 27th (before Smith was hired on as State Superintendent). Smith gave the Governor’s office his blueprint for reform. (Is this why he ended up being selected as State Superintendent?) The book was called “Leverage Leadership.” This book’s blueprint is not a Utah blueprint. It is THE federal Race to the Top/School Turnaround blueprint.

The author of Leverage Leadership is Paul Bambrick-Santoyo. He also wrote “Driven By Data“. He is on the Data-Driven Instruction faculty for New Leaders for New Schools (which is one of the main, federally-funded school turnaround training programs for districts). New Schools were  products of Arne Duncan’s crony-friend, John Schnur who headed Race to the Top. Politico wrote about Arne, Obama and John Schnur’s relationship here. One book reviewer explained the premise of the New School’s school turnaround model like this:

“The author’s main suggestion is that schools create a set of interim assessments that lead up to U.S. state assessments. He suggests that not only these, but also classroom assessments are created to mimic the format of state assessments. Doing this would leave very little room in a school’s assessment plan for contextualized assessments…. The narrow focus on preparation for U.S. state tests, which is the only measure of success mentioned in the book, is actually quite disturbing.”

“Leverage Leadership” describes a system of principals observing and micromanaging teachers and what happens in the classroom. Diane Ravitch exposes the agenda here.

And, Susan Ohanian exposed this about New Leaders for New Schools:

“The promo for the book Driven by Data promises that the book will show the reader “how to create a data culture” and “how to deal with resistance from your teachers.” It is recommended by Jon Schnur, co-founder and chief executive officer, New Leaders for New Schools, and senior advisor to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. He is to Race to the Top what Sandy Kress was to No Child Left Behind. And on 8/4/10, his outfit was rewarded by a payment of $616,474 from the US Department of Education, our tax dollars at work.”

I hope that’s enough information to help stop these reforms in Utah. School turnaround is not about helping disadvantaged children in Title 1 schools. It’s about schools becoming the nanny state. As US Secretary of Education said, “Schools MUST become the center of community life.” With these school turnaround programs, there will be a dramatic shift from families being the fundamental unit of society to schools controlling family education and health decisions. And, it will all be controlled by third-party/federal data.

Welcome to 1984.

Regards,

JaKell

p.s. more information included below for your reference.

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Wallace Foundations School Turnaround Field Guide defines turnaround: “Turnaround is a dramatic and comprehensive intervention in a low-performing school that: a) produces significant gains in achievement within two years; and b) readies the school for the longer process of transformation into a high-performance organization.” This definition sounds great yet the devil is in the details. When you look closely at HOW this turnaround will be implemented it doesn’t take long before you realize that with this “intervention” there will be a loss of local control and parental control.

The State Role In School Turnaround is a report produced by WestEd in 2014 outlining the states role in implementing the federal school turnaround program. It states that WestEd “is supported by the Center on School Turnaround through funding from the U.S. Department of Education”.  In the chapter entitled “Leveraging the Bully Pulpit” it reads, “When it comes to school turnaround efforts, chiefs can use the position to catalyze, support, enable, and sustain school turnaround efforts. Given limited resources at their disposal, effectively optimizing the bully pulpit is a key tool in a state chief’s toolbox” (p. 32).

The turnaround program, which is led and funded by the United States Department of Education, will monitor schools to make sure they are in compliance with the School Improvement Grants (SIG). All changes must be submitted and approved by the Department of Ed. The people hired to monitor the schools and districts are called “District Shepherds”. In the case study done for Ogden school district it describes what the district did for its turnaround schools. In 2011/12 school year Ogden superintendent submitted his resignation and Brad Smith was appointed the new superintendent for OSD (page 3). On page 5 of the case study it talks about the “District Shepherd”. Sandy Coroles, OSD’s Executive Director of Curriculum and Federal Programs, became the “District Shepherd”. It was noted by teachers that they “can’t go anywhere else in Utah and receive more professional development.”

The consortium for school turnaround in the southwest United States is called, Southwest Turnaround Leadership Consortium, funded by the Department of Ed as noted in Endnote 1.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, the Southwest Comprehensive Center was part of a network of regional and content centers providing state education agencies with high-quality, relevant technical assistance. From 2005 to 2012, the SWCC was operated by WestEd. In 2012, the SWCC was replaced by the West Comprehensive Center (WCC), also operated by WestEd.

This Consortium partnered with the University of Virginia to establish this turnaround program in the Southwest and all training takes place at the University of Virginia. Here is a copy of the agreement between Ogden School District and the University of Virginia for turnaround training. In 2014 Menlove sent a memorandum to the State Board in regards to the turnaround program grant.

An Important company to look into further is FSG Social Impact Consultants. From the website: FSG is a mission-driven consulting firm supporting leaders in creating large-scale, lasting social change.

This document, The School Turnaround Field Guide, is from FSG Social Impact Consultants. It states, “The size of the U.S. Department of Education’s current investments in education, coupled with the acute need of states and districts for funding, has put the federal government in a strong position to incent policy change and to set expectations for the types of turnaround strategies that states and local education agencies (LEAs) use.” (page 4)

Continued on pg.4-5, it talks about the turnaround in state’s NCLB Waivers:

Turnarounds. Replace the principal, rehire no more than 50 percent of the staff, and grant the principal sufficient operational flexibility (including in staffing, calendars, schedules, and budgeting) to implement fully a comprehensive approach that substantially improves student outcomes.

  • Restarts. Transfer control of, or close and reopen a school under a school operator that has been selected through a rigorous review process.
  • School Closures. Close the school and enroll students in higher-achieving schools within the LEA.
  • Transformations. Replace the principal, take steps to increase teacher and school leader effectiveness, institute comprehensive instructional reforms, increase learning time, create community-oriented schools, and provide operational flexibility and sustained support.

 

Pg. 7 Lists key players – First being the US Education department with funding which can “expand its efforts”. States and Districts play a role as well as Unions. It is being encouraged that Unions view this as a laboratory in which they are more willing to experiment with new types of contracts, new ways of collaboratively partnering with districts, new work rules, and new teacher-evaluation and pay-for-performance approaches” (pg.8).

 

Pg. 27 describes policies other states have put in place to help with the turnaround process. Tennessee passed legislation to create an “Achievement School District” akin to the Recovery School District in Louisiana. Low-performing schools would be removed from their home districts and placed under the state’s authority. Massachusetts’ SB 2247 increases school-level autonomy in failing schools and doubles the number of charter schools in its lowest-performing districts.

These practices are very dangerous and will only succeed in removing local and parental control from local school districts.

Pearson monitors your child’s social media

This is alarming. In Utah we don’t use the federally funded PARCC system for state testing, but some schools and districts do use other tests from Pearson. I wonder how many of those students are being monitored…and their Facebook/Twitter comments stored…

 

pearson monitors social media

Common Core Science at the Door

The below message is from Vincent Newmeyer. If any of you are able to attend the meeting tomorrow, please do so.

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Common Core is Missing Parts. That is, Common Core is lacking the Science and Social Studies components. It is not that there was any intent for creators of national standards to skip such components, it is that these components have come later in their effort. The National Science component is and has been finished for some time now, and there has been powerful efforts to get it adopted in Utah.

The National Common Core component for Science is called “The Next Generation Science Standards” or NGSS. The State Office of Education has been in the process of advancing these standards for adoption for some time now, beginning with grades 6th, 7th, and 8th. The plan seems to have been to fly it in under the radar. When NGSS was sent to the legislative required “Standards Review Committee” the document was titled “Utah Science and Engineering Education Standards” or “UT SEEd Standards.” At the time these documents reached the review committee, it appears that even the Board of Education members in general, had no idea that these standards were really the NGSS national standards.

The legislative intent for the “Standards Review Committee” was to get input from the community on proposed State School Standards, particularly from Parents, hopefully to avoid some of the backlash that has arisen from situations like the adoption of national Common Core standards.

There has already been one early report on the working of this committee. For some background you may review:

Are you ready to have national science standards in UT? http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/are-you-ready-to-have-national-science-standards-in-ut/

Though there has be minor verbiage added to the NGSS in the effort to move their adoption in Utah, let me assure you that the proposed science standards are the Next Generation Science Standards and are marketed as the compliment to Common Core. The proposed standards match the NGSS in the following:

  • Performance Expectation are word-for-word copies of the NGSS
  • Boundary statements were very, very similar
  • Clarification were very, very similar
  • Uses essentially the same indexing scheme of NGSS for science topics
  • References Common Core Math, and Literacy concepts with the same index numbers and their related topics
  • Cross Cutting Concepts are essentially word-for-word

Reading from the NGSS website http://www.nextgenscience.org/frequently-asked-questions , formulators of these standards state:

Will the new standards be the Common Core State Standards for Science?

To reap the benefits of the science standards, states should adopt them in whole without alteration. States can use the NGSS, as they are using the CCSS [Common Core State Standards] in English language arts and mathematics, to align curriculum, instruction, assessment, and professional preparation and development.

This has apparently been done as there is no substantial deviation in Utah’s SEEd standards draft from the NGSS. To further clarify this issue we can read from the NGSS Trademark and Copyright Guidelines

States … that have adopted or are in the process of adopting the NGSS in whole shall be exempt from this Attribution and Copyright Notice provision of this License.

http://www.nextgenscience.org/trademark-and-copyright-guidelines.

Those who have reviewed the standards when they were first proposed to the State Board of Education have noted that there is no attribution to the NGSS in spite of the essentially word-for-word duplication. So, either there is a legal infringement of copyright, or there is a tacit admission of an effort by individuals in the state office for wholesale adoption of the standards. The effort for wholesale adoption of the standards was denied, or in the least not confessed, even when Sarah Young (the previous state science specialist) and Ricky Scott (the current science specialist and one of the “writers of the proposed Utah science standards”), was questioned about the source of the standards in the standards subcommittee meeting held in the evening of the 5th of February, 2015. Sydnee Dickson, the Deputy State Superintendent, who was also present, did finally admit at one point that the proposed standards did borrow heavily (or words to that effect) from the NGSS. Yet again, we see no documented attribution to that effect….

The subcommittee did vote down the advancement of the standards that night, however it is almost certain that there will be additional efforts to cloak NGSS again in such a way that it will pass the State Board of Education. If such a proposal is again brought, even if there is some attribution to NGSS, we should demand a clearly defined list of what was adopted, what has been changed, and why.

To be ready to meet that challenge, a group has been holding sessions every Tuesday at the State Capitol, educating people on the issues with the standards and the developments in science that are challenging the politicized science like Darwinian Evolution and Global Warming, etc.

There is only one meeting left in the Capitol series. We encourage all who can to come. We also encourage citizens to contact their legislators, School Board Members, the Governor, and the State Attorney General and request their attendance.

DATE: 10th March 2015   •   Time: 12:00pm to 2:00pm   •   Location: “Capitol Board Room” On the East side of the Capitol Rotunda just below the Supreme Court Chambers

Thanks,

Vincent Newmeyer

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A second announcement from Vincent

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Science or Doctrine?

 

“The theory of evolution has also deeply influenced our way of thinking about ourselves. … One reason is, of course, that evolution is in contradiction to the literal interpretation of the Bible. Another difficulty is that it seems to diminish human significance. … [T]he new biology ask[s] us to accept the proposition that … we are not fundamentally different from other organisms in either our origins or our place in the natural world.” (Invitation to Biology fifth edition Curtis and Barnes p 11).

I found this statement of faith in the Utah Biology textbook that was used by my son and my oldest daughter in their high school AP biology class. In fact, the first 11 pages were a big setup between the “science of evolution” and traditional religious belief.

As it turns out, it is not uncommon to find this type of statement in Utah’s biology textbooks. True, the above is one of the more blatant statements, however, this type of dogma is in fact found even in the recently proposed update to our current science standards.

Most importantly, this and similar statements which are claimed to be made from “solid science” are actually not supported by the data.

Please join us for a discussion about these issues and learn the evidence to the contrary and why we should reject such dogma passed off as science in our Utah classrooms.

There is only one meeting left in the Capitol series. We encourage all who can to come. We also encourage citizens to contact their legislators, School Board Members, the Governor, and the State Attorney General and request their attendance.

DATE: 10th March 2015 • Time: 12:00pm to 2:00pm • Location: “Capitol Board Room” On the East side of the Capitol Rotunda just below the Supreme Court Chambers
More Information can be found at: ScienceFreedom.org

Thanks,

Vincent Newmeyer

5 Bills that need stopped

Prosperity 2020 sent out a news alert yesterday that they need these 5 bills to pass. If you aren’t aware, P2020 is a national/state corporate effort to implement the federal reforms tied to Common Core in the federal Stimulus Package. Please read our opposition to these bills, and contact your legislators accordingly.

 

  • S.B. 196:  Math Competency Initiative (Senator Ann Millner and Rep. Francis Gibson):

http://le.utah.gov/~2015/bills/static/SB0196.html

This bill ties math competencies to “college and career ready” standards as a high school graduation requirement, ie; Common Core math, and further embeds Common Core testing in the state.

The rhetoric behind this bill states that these math competencies will prepare students for STEM careers and allow students to receive college credit. But, as has been reported widely, Common Core math does not prepare students for STEM careers. Sandra Stotsky, a member of the National Common Core Validation Committee, did a great write-up in the Wall Street Journal about how Common Core math will NOT create more engineers or scientists. Read that here.

 

CONTACT: Your House Representative (and all House membership) and urge them NOT to further embed Common Core’s fuzzy and weak math in the state of Utah. Emails can be found here: http://le.utah.gov:443/house2/representatives.jsp

 

  • SB. 97: Property Tax Equalization (Senator Aaron Osmond and Rep. Bradley Last):

http://le.utah.gov/~2015/bills/static/SB0097.html

Retired Utah Appellate Court judge, Norman Jackson said, “This bill reads more like an omnibus set of regulations than a statute. It looks difficult for attorneys, State and County officials and judges to interpret and apply. It may empower the Tax Commission to micro-manage County Commissioners & Auditors, and local School Boards and Administrators.”

Conservative Columnist Stanley Kurtz said this about Tax Equalization schemes tied to Common Core, “Under the guise of what they euphemistically refer to as “regionalism” or “regionalization,” Kruglik and Obama intend to help troubled cities seize control of the suburban tax base, as well as ending local control of education and other services.” The federal end-game is to push local tax monies away from local school districts in order to regionalize education control. This will make it possible to regionalize local governments. Read about regionalization here from the founder of Achieve, Inc. who co-created the Common Core standards.  Also, Bill Gates is going so far as to have Mayors sign “Gates Compacts” so that mayors control the Charter Schools in urban cities which further requires taxation to follow the child into areas where corporate cronies want to see taxpayer money flow. Remember, first, these same cronies bypassed the US Congress to initiate Common Core, now they will bypass local elected school boards and go straight to mayors. This is not how a Representative Republic works, and Utah taxpayers must be watchdogs if we intend to preserve the ability for the American dream to thrive. Isn’t part of the American Dream to buy a bigger house and move to a great school district in the suburbs? That dream dies under tax “equalization” schemes and centralized education planning.

Read where Salt Lake City’s mayor, Ralph Becker met with U.S Secretary of Ed Arne Duncan.

CONTACT: The House Revenue and Taxation Committee and urge them NOT TO PASS this Property Tax Equalization bill out of Committee. Members are:

Rep. Daniel McCay (R), Chair
Rep. Jeremy A. Peterson (R), Vice Chair
Rep. Joel K. Briscoe (D)
Rep. Rich Cunningham (R)
Rep. Gage Froerer (R)
Rep. Brian M. Greene (R)
Rep. Eric K. Hutchings (R)
Rep. Ken Ivory (R)
Rep. Brian S. King (D)
Rep. John Knotwell (R)
Rep. Mike K. McKell (R)
Rep. Douglas V. Sagers (R)
Rep. Jon E. Stanard (R)

Emails for these committee members so that you can send one email:

dmccay@le.utah.gov, jeremyapeterson@le.utah.gov, jbriscoe@le.utah.gov, rcunningham@le.utah.gov, gfroerer@le.utah.gov, bgreene@le.utah.gov, ehutchings@le.utah.gov, kivory@le.utah.gov, briansking@le.utah.govjknotwell@le.utah.gov, mmckell@le.utah.gov, dougsagers@le.utah.gov, jstanard@le.utah.gov,

 

  • HB. 198: Strengthening College and Career Readiness (Rep. Patrice Arent and Senator Stephen Urquhart):

http://le.utah.gov/~2015/bills/static/HB0198.html

This bill further embeds Common Core into school-level training. Its stated goal is to, “Develop a certificate for school counselors that certifies that a school counselor

is highly skilled at providing college and career counseling” and to train counselors to promote “participation in college and career assessments.” It funds training for school counselors to guide students into “college and career ready” tracks. P2020 says, “This bill provides innovative training that prepares school counselors to guide students in their postsecondary choices.” This 2012 packet from the College Board (which Common Core’s architect now heads) explains how counselors will be refocused on Common Core alignment.

Corporate interests like to tell the education establishment that they will know what jobs will be available, and when, so that students don’t go down an education path where there will be no jobs. THIS IS A MANAGED ECONOMY FOR WORKERS. America was built on the idea that agency breeds entrepreneurialism. C.S. Lewis said this about job training, “Education is essentially for freemen and vocational training for slaves…If education is beaten by training, civilization dies.”

CONTACT: Your Senator (and all Utah Senators) and urge them NOT to further embed Common Core into the state of Utah through school counselor training. Emails can be found here: http://senate.utah.gov/senators/full-roster.html

 

  • S.B. 235: School Turnaround and Leadership Development Act (Senator Wayne Niederhauser and Rep. Bradley Last)

http://le.utah.gov/~2015/bills/static/SB0235.html

The 4th reform in the Federal Stimulus Package, and in states’ Waivers from No Child Left Behind, is “Turning Around the Lowest Performing Schools.”

This reform is tied into tax equalization and regionalization of local governments. Under this bill, if a public district or public charter school are deemed “failing” by test scores, they are federally mandated to be “turned around” or shut down. The Utah Association of Public Charter Schools explained it like this, “Under this process, the charter school can choose from a stable of “turnaround experts” identified by the State Board of Education to assist in changing the school’s “culture, curriculum, assessments, instructional practices, governance, finances, policies, or other areas” (see lines 176-177). This expert will work with the school to develop a plan, specific to that school, designed to increase the school’s grade. When the school and its turnaround expert complete the plan, they must submit it to the State School Board for approval.”

This bill further centralizes education control. So much for school “choice.” See the Federally-funded Center for School Turnaround for more info. Utah’s State Office of Education has a 5-year contract to run district leaders through this federal school turnaround program.

CONTACT: Your Senator (and all Utah Senators) and urge them NOT to support this bill. We do not need to put federal school turnaround mandates into state law. We should be pushing control and accountability back to the local level. Emails can be found here: http://senate.utah.gov/senators/full-roster.html

 

  • S.B. 222: Digital Teaching and Learning Program (Senator Howard Stephenson and Rep. Francis Gibson)

http://le.utah.gov/~2015/bills/static/SB0222.html

This bill sets up what it calls the “master plan” to implement technology into teaching and learning in all of Utah’s schools, and is linked to “improving test score outcomes” which will require more adherence to Common Core assessments. It sets in motion (maybe without the sponsors even knowing it) the Whitehouse’s ConnectEd Initiative to replace textbooks within 5 years. See lines 301 through 338. The ConnectEd Initiative was funded through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Prior to the ConnectEd Initiative, the FCC gave a grant to the Telehealth Network at the University of Utah and that explains why the Utah Education and Telehealth Network is the entity overseeing the implementation of S.B. 222. Telehealth has nothing to do with K-12 education and everything to do with gathering data to turn schools into health and community centers. Education and Health data can be further collected and centralized under this bill. It states that it will comply with Federal FERPA laws. Federal FERPA laws have been gutted by the Obama administration so that education data can be  shared for various purposes unrelated to education. This bill will foster the eventual use of stealth, embedded assessments in learning platforms.

CONTACT: Your Senator (and all Utah Senators) and urge them NOT to support this bill. We do not need to tie digital learning and teaching technology to federally funded healthcare projects. Further, we do not need a comprehensive Utah law that sees poor outcomes on Common Core assessments as a reason to mandate more technology use. Emails can be found here: http://senate.utah.gov/senators/full-roster.html

SAGE parent reviewer shares concerns

Alean Hunt is a member of the SAGE parent review committee. She is quoted by the USOE as one of the members of this committee that completely supported SAGE. In fact, the USOE uses this statement from her as evidence that none of the parent review committee saw any problems with the SAGE test. She is quoted in this USOE flier as saying, “I didn’t see any real social problems with the test or things that would be controversial. [We] all feel comfortable with the test.”

Of course we know that is inaccurate and that several of the parent review committee members have publicly expressed concerns (link 1, link 2) but that hasn’t stopped the USOE from plowing ahead and using this statement and implying that SAGE is a better mousetrap.

Well, Alean has had a change of heart about the test. This letter from her expresses her concerns.


To whom it may concern:

For the last two years I have served on the SAGE parent review panel.  I have been an outspoken, but concerned proponent of this assessment.  I do support higher standards for our students.  What I cannot and will not support are the following:

1:  High Stakes, End of Level testing being given to students in Feb, like is happening this year. The teachers and scores will be graded on this score, but the year isn’t over.

There are still three months left!

When I called the USOE last Thursday and asked what scores this years end of level writing test would be compared to, this was their response, “We don’t know. We might give the test in February again, or March or maybe October. We haven’t decided yet, it is still up for discussion..”

Okay, so you may or may not compare this years 1/2 taught end of level high stakes test to last years end of level test or to next years end of level test that could be given at 3 very different times on the instructional calendar??? Yes, thanks for clearing that up!

2:  IEP Accommodations are guaranteed by law! The USOE removes some of them during the testing of the SAGE for these students with special needs. And really why shouldn’t they? Just dealing with a disorder that qualifies you for an IEP such as autism, ADHD/ADD, anxiety, dyslexia, Aspergers, and processing disorders just to name a few are not difficult enough to navigate  every single day! Why on earth would people in charge of doing what is best for the student actually want to do just that and ensure their rights as protected by law?!

IEP’s are followed as written by the experts of those children! The psychologist, the principal, the Special Ed teacher, the Speech teacher, the other team leaders such as occupational therapists and of course, the parents.

Everyone who has ever been involved with an IEP knows we meet frequently to evaluate these accommodations and compare and contrast student performance with them and tweak as necessary to give them the best chance at success they have, what USOE is doing to this process is in direct conflict with this.

3:  I have had several opportunities to have face to face meetings with Glenna Gallow and others from USOE regarding the above mentioned items as well as the following two which are also related to special needs students. Every encounter I have had has left me with a sour taste in my mouth and the distinct feeling that these students do not matter.

First, SAGE scores will immediately appear on the screen at the end of the test with the exception of writing.  Eventually writing will be this way too.

I take issue with this because of privacy, students will look at the computer screens of others. Students will pressure others to tell them their score. Students will feel pressured to tell their score even if they don’t want to. What if a student does poorly, but he did his absolute best work? He sees his poor score and knows he has to do this again for 3 more assessments? How hard will he try?

I have absolutely no problem with administrators & teachers getting the scores immediately and releasing the scores to parents, but I do not see the benefit to the score appearing on the computer screen, visible to students.

When this problem was brought up numerous times to USOE I was told I was the only one who considered it a problem.  When my administrator/principal also expressed her frustration with it,(especially with regards to kids with special needs)she was told by a USOE staff member, “Those students are just going to have to get used to it.”

Second:  SAGE is a computer adaptive test.  This means that if a student answers a question correctly then the next question gets more difficult and vice versa also applies.  However, if the student is taking 4th grade math because of a learning disability, but is in the 5th grade that child will be tested on 5th grade math. The test will not adapt below grade level.  So this high stakes test that will impact school grading, future funding, & potentially merit pay for teachers is testing students on content they have not been taught because they are below grade level.

There is a federal statute that states we have to test kids at grade level, but it was before we had CAT testing and had the ability to actually test these special education students at their actual level.  I believe this could be fixed under our waiver but again, I cannot seem to get anyone at USOE to care to take action towards reforming this very broken system..

4: SAGE was supposed to have enough writing in it that it was figuratively going to replace the

DWA, not LITERALLY!

Alean Hunt

SAGE Tests Are a Red Herring

Ed. Note: JaKell Sullivan has put together an amazing document helping connect many of the dots between the big players involved in designing a national education system. One of the most important facts below is the Gordon Commission’s report stating that Common Core and its associated assessments are helping challenge the “deeply held belief in local control” of education. Thank you JaKell.

There are three parts to this document. The first is not too long and contains a summary, the second section goes deeper into more resources, and the third are links to other resources.

Utah’s Common Core Tests Are Entering the Next Federal Phase: Stealth, Embedded Assessment

Here’s what every parent should know RIGHT NOW about why you should Opt-Out of Common Core Tests AND aligned-online learning programs!

While Opt-Out of Common Core Testing campaigns are underway all around the country (and ought to be broadly supported by parents in a free society), Common Core’s testing “pilot” is coming to a close. The Federal objective was to use the pilot period of their Race to the Top Assessments Program to gather data on children, schools and districts and to train states on new technology systems—and set them up (and, yes, it was a real set-up) for what’s to come.

Now, Utah is ready to embrace the Next Generation of Assessments. Utah’s legislature is set to pass a bill this session to create a task force to get Utah out of SAGE testing, and a resolution to move us toward the fruition of the federal end-game.

What’s the federal end-game? It’s to get all states—and most importantly, all children in PK-12—using stealth, embedded assessments. These assessments are seamlessly woven into the fabric of the learning environment and are invisible to the user. Gaming companies have been using stealth assessment for quite some time, but they are relatively new to the PK-12 arena, and are now being federally funded.

Parents might ask, “What’s wrong with getting rid of high-stakes tests and using stealth embedded assessments that won’t stress my children out?”

The problem is that the federal government has colluded with global organizations who now have the power to, not only track untold amounts of data (personal information) on your children, but to use that data to control what and how your children learn through “personalized” learning platforms. And, the Feds want to assess much more than “did Johnny know how to add 2+2.” They want to measure what they call 21st Century competencies created by major multinational information technology corporations. These competencies include things like: environmental literacy (ie; does your child have the skills to understand that humans are causing climate change and that we need to solve this “real world” problem through population control?) and global citizenship (ie; does your child have the skills necessary to embrace global citizenship?). If you think this is a stretch, you haven’t gone to the Gates Foundation website lately, or heard him saying this to Germany’s largest newspaper last month, “We need a world government.”

So, what is the Federal Government doing with Bill Gates?

On May 12, 2012, IMS Global Learning Consortium and the SIF Association (the two leading organizations that create industry standards for technology) answered the U.S. Department of Education’s call to support the federal Race to the Top Assessment Program. The two organizations issued a Press Release which announced that they had created the “First Version of the Assessment Interoperabiity Framework” to Expand U.S. Collaboration in interoperable assessments—globally.

IMS Global announced, “IMS is very pleased that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is supporting acceleration of the open architecture for educational innovation that over 270 IMS member organizations around the world have made viable,” said Dr. Rob Abel, Chief Executive of IMS Global. “Achieving 1-click, data-rich connectivity of educational tools, content and apps with institutional systems is a game-changer that is now closer to reality via this grant and the anticipated ongoing collaboration with the [Gates] Foundation.”

When IMS Global says they are working with Gates to achieve “1-click, data-rich connectivity”, it means that they are about to use your child’s student ID like a social security number on steroids. As one friend who’s studied the data-gathering propensities of the federal government put it, “Imagine if anytime you used the internet you could be tracked by a number that not only was linked to your personal identity, but 100s of data points about you. And that most of that information was available to any website that agreed to use the same development standards.”

As mentioned above, 270 IMS member organizations around the world have already agreed to use the federal industry standards, and that number is quickly growing. What tech group, or nation, wants to be left out of the “new economy” being created by Bill Gates?

And, Utah wanted in on the action so much that they were part of the industry standard pilot! IMS Global announced, “To develop an industry standard for accessibility and interoperability of test items, [the] U.S. Department of Education helped fund the “Accessible Portable Item Profile” project. The Minnesota Department of Education led the effort, which included the states: New Hampshire, Vermont, Utah, Montana, Florida, South Carolina, and Maryland as participants and Michigan, Massachusetts, and North Carolina as observers.” APIP “allows for the transfer of assessment content between vendors.”

Question: Do parents have the fundamental right to know where their children’s curriculum and test questions are coming from? Do parents have the fundamental right to know that Utah is ready to help the federal government track our children into workforce tracks like socialized countries? Think the idea of workforce tracks being used in America is ludicrous?…see the Federal/Gates Learning Registries information below in the “more” section.

In May 2012, IMS Global and the SIF Association said that, as they had helped the federally funded SBAC and PARCC fulfill their federal interoperability requirements, they were helping to move states away from outmoded assessments and stood ready to “personalize instruction and leverage centralized professional development resources.”

From information I obtained, the Utah State Office of Education and other stakeholders were invited on a conference call with the Reform Support Network (a U.S. Department of Education network created to “help” states support all the reforms associated with Common Core standards) on Feb. 3, 2015 to aid Utah in the transition to stealth assessment. On the call, they were going to: “identify and eliminate assessments that are redundant or that do not contribute to teaching and learning” and to “identify the quality of assessments and move toward a better balance of question types.”

So, just three years after IMS and SIF’s said they were centralizing things, we see that our State Office of Education is coordinating with the Feds in the process of centralization. Learn more about the federal Assessment Interoperability Framework using Common Education Data Standards here.

What this means is that third parties, along with the federal government, can now control everything happening at the local school level as it pertains to learning—children’s learning and teachers’ learning. And, use that control to enforce almost any other federal reform or learning “intervention” required for children to be college and career ready.

Question: “Why do school districts, schools, teachers and parents, in a free society, willingly allow third parties to collect information about them and then tell them how to behave in order to meet federal mandates?” Doesn’t it appear that we are selling our children into a life of servitude and bondage all because we are unwilling to be self-reliant?

There is MUCH MORE to this article. For those that want to read it, see below. But, for now, suffice it to say, that the Feds have us right where they want us.

Utah parents DO NOT WANT SAGE, and we DO NOT WANT big-data-gathering-tech-companies, being funded by Bill Gates and the Feds, to replace (or morph) SAGE with real-time, adaptable assessments in learning technology. In order to preserve parental rights, parents should demand that our children’s tests be designed and controlled at the school and district level, so that tests are fully transparent to parents. After all, aren’t WE the consumers of educational services in this country? Aren’t we the sole stewards of our children? And, are we accountable to Government or to God in fulfillment of that stewardship?

STOP Utah’s legislature from creating a Task Force to further grow K-12 stealth assessments. (Contact your legislators and Task Force Sponsor Senator Howard Stephenson in DROVES and tell them “WE DO NOT WANT THIS FEDERALLY-MOTIVATED TASK FORCE IN UTAH!”

STEPHENSON’S EMAIL: hstephenson@le.utah.gov / PHONE: 801-572-1038)

FULL SENATE ROSTER: http://senate.utah.gov/senators/full-roster.html

STOP Utah’s legislature from supporting a resolution to use K-12 stealth assessments. (Contact Utah’s House members and Resolution Sponsor Rep. Marie Poulson in DROVES and tell them “WE DO NOT WANT stealth assessments in Utah’s K-12 ed system without parental disclosure and opt-in requirements!”

POULSON’S EMAIL: mariepoulson@le.utah.gov / PHONE: 801-942-5390

FULL LIST OF HOUSE MEMBERS: http://le.utah.gov/house2/representatives.jsp

STAND for parental rights!

STAND for our children and our children’s children!

STAND so that your posterity will know that you loved them with all your heart!

OPT-OUT OF SAGE FORMS CAN BE FOUND HERE. Learn how here:

http://wendy4asd.blogspot.com/p/sage-state-tests-faq.html

UACC Opt Out

HERE’S “MORE” INFORMATION AND RESOURCES, INCLUDING IMS GLOBAL GRAPHICS, FOR THOSE THAT WANT IT:

Stealth learning platforms and assessments (platforms and assessments that operate in real-time within the technology without a child knowing it) foster an education system where parents will have very little control over what our children learn and what they are tested on. Meta-data can be tracked through every key stroke, as well as facial expressions and behaviors through computer cameras, etc. And, the data collected from our children’s learning platforms will be used to control what and how their teachers teach, as well as what federal mandates will be placed on teachers and schools in order to make individual children “college and career ready.” (I used the word “make” because that’s exactly what the Feds are trying to do….force outcomes). The federal mandates will require “Response to Intervention” as well as redistribution of taxes and resources to aid centralization of our education system—and to profit the crony capitalists in bed with big government. (American Institutes for Research (AIR) controls Utah’s SAGE tests and is also in charge of the US Department of Education’s “Response to Intervention” program. So, whether SAGE exists or not, the data AIR collects through learning and assessment platforms will control what schools and teachers have to do to comply with federal mandates.

Here’s some background:

The US Department of Education, with funding funneled through the Education Testing Service, created the Gordon Commission to develop policy guidelines to help state legislatures change their education technology policies to align with Common Core Standards Metadata Requirements’—and to push states toward using stealth assessments.

(see Graphic #1 below)

Two key members of the Gordon Commission are President Obama’s former education policy advisor Linda Darling-Hammond, who was originally responsible for creating content specs for Common Core tests, and former governor Bob Wise. Bob Wise helped found Digital Learning Now with former Governor, and GOP Presidential candidate Jeb Bush. Digital Learning Now is profiting off of federal and state tech reform policies and Utah’s legislature is leading the charge in implementing all 10 of their digital learning policies.

The Gordon Commission published a report that said, “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.” Translation: “Parental rights mean nothing to us. We want to control what your children learn through stealth assessment and we are going to use your tax dollars to do it. Local boards will operate as subsidiaries of the Federal administration and eventually be regionalized so that we can further erode your local tax systems.”

The federal government funded the ConnectEd Initiative to replace textbooks within 5 years and simultaneously, the US Department of Education joined forces with IMS Global Learning Consortium and Bill Gates to fund open-coding specs for technology and learning companies. They used the Race to the Top Assessments program to get most tech and software companies to adopt open-free license coding specs that are interoperable across platforms—some nations have already adopted the specs.

IMS Global’s goal is to “Advance Learning Impact by Enabling the Open Foundation for Seamless, Agile and Information-Rich Educational Technology Integration.” Pearson wrote a Request for Information Response for the US Department of Education regarding which assessment programs the Feds should fund via Race to the Top Assessments (RTTA) to support this “seamless integration.” Their report states, “The RTTA program and state consortia adopting the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have identified interoperability as essential in helping to maintain the feasibility and affordability of next-generation assessments.” It should be noted that Pearson plans to take over the United Nation’s PISA tests (tests that compare nations to each other) in 2018.

It should also be noted that the groups over Utah’s testing—American Institutes for Research and Bill Gates’ MeasuredProgress—have both adopted IMS Global’s interoperability specs, see member affiliate list here. (The USOE signed a contract with Bill Gates’ MeasuredProgress in 2009.)

IMS Global talks about a single student login like this:

“Achieving single sign-on and an overall seamless experience for students and teachers is a key foundational step for interoperable assessments across formative and summative environments….The open IMS platform of standards features the Learning Information Services (LIS) standard and Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) standard, both of which work in tandem with these federated identity solutions to enable single sign-on and reporting relative to specific individuals as required LIS and LTI focus on the data and service exchanges among cooperating learning related systems, such as assessment systems, learning management platforms, student systems, and learning tools.”

Page 37 of IMS Global’s report to the U.S. Department of Education entitled, “IMS Response to Assessment Standards RFI”, shows that they need Common Core standards to facilitate meta-data collection.

GRAPHIC #1:

graphic1

 

http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/rfi-response/ims-response-to-assessment-standards-rfi.pdf

IMS Global is piloting an educational GPS system that operates just like the GPS on our phones and in our cars. It’s called EPS (yes, it’s meant to sound like GPS), or Educational Positioning System. IMS Global describes it like this, “As with a GPS system, there must be a way to compare the current position (student progress) with a starting point (past academic accomplishments) and destination (future educational goal).”

They published an online call to tech companies and encouraged them to become part of regional data clusters to begin pooling the data they collect so that it can be further centralized. In the call, they explain that “this EPS concept was put forth by StudentAlignment.com. President Obama released an Executive Letter from the Whitehouse which is posted on StudentAlignment or “EPS” Website. The President’s letter is entitled, “Unlocking the Power of Education Data For All Americans” and can be found here. Here is a student review of the EPS System and how it can create a student’s Learning Registry. President Obama’s letter highlights progress being made with the Learning Registry.

What’s the Learning Registry?

IMS Global’s website states, “the IMS Instructional Innovation through Interoperability Leadership Council (I3LC) of school districts and states has recently published a position paper that attempts to put some of the myriad projects and investments made in the last few years in the U.S. by the Gates Foundation into perspective. These initiatives include the Learning Registry (initially funded by the U.S. government, later by Gates), LRMI (Learning Resource Metadata Initiative) and SLC (Shared Learning Collaborative), now InBloom. These projects all share the notion that learning objects or progress can be referenced back to a common set of educational standards, and are generally complimentary, and perhaps even dependent upon success of the Common Core.” [note to reader: Although inBloom is defunct, IMS Global touts what they’ve done right and what inBloom did wrong].

So, lucky Utah, our Governor still thinks Common Core Standards have nothing to do with federal reforms, meanwhile, President Obama and internationalists are clearly using them to create Learning Registries on our children so that they will know what our children are learning and thinking at every step of the way through their education and beyond. Sounds exactly like the system needed to get our children into socialist-style workforce tracks. Ask yourselves again, “Why do Bill Gates’ kids attend a private school that does not use Common Core standards or aligned-assessments?” It seems obvious that we are creating a class system: some families will be workers and their tax dollars will be used to fund the companies of the elites who receive non-standardized educations.

Here’s a graphic from IMS Global about the US government/Gates Learning Registries. LOOK AT ALL THE DATA POINTS THAT CAN BE TIED TOGETHER FROM BIRTH TO WORKFORCE. It creates quite a profile on children and their families.

graphic2

Click for full size

http://www.imsglobal.org/articles/APB2-022013.pdf

As mentioned above, Utah is an IMS Global APIP (e-assessment interoperability standard) Leader state:

“APIP: States & Suppliers Collaborating to Revolutionize Assessment”

“APIP has been under evaluation by both SBAC and PARCC since December 2010. The recent SBAC architectural analysis has indicated a key role for APIP. PARCC is currently performing its architectural analysis. The U.S. Department of Education performed an extensive analysis of interoperability standards for assessment in early 2011 that highlighted APIP as a good fit for the needs of RTTA.”

http://www.imsglobal.org/apip/JoinAPIP0612.pdf

IMS Global lists Utah’s involvement in APIP:

“Q. What efforts have been under taken to build accessibility standards for assessment content?
 Recent technological advances and the growing importance of—and unique demands inherent in— assessment drove efforts to increase the accessibility of test content for all students, illustrated for example by the requirements for the U.S. Federal Department of Education’s (USED) Race to the Top Assessment Program. To develop an industry standard for accessibility and interoperability of test items, USED funded the Accessible Portable Item Protocol (APIP) project. The Minnesota Department of Education led the effort, which included the states: New Hampshire, Vermont, Utah, Montana, Florida, South Carolina, and Maryland as participants and Michigan, Massachusetts, and North Carolina as observers. National interoperability and accessibility experts provided technical support. In December 2010 the team released the first version of the APIP standard, intended to make assessment content portable between systems and accessible to a wide range of students.”

http://www.imsglobal.org/apip/apipfaqs.html

Page 11 and 12 of IMS Global’s Report to the US Department of Education reads:

“The conformance matrix shown at the above URL is also significant because it relates to the critical issue of supporting assessment interoperability throughout an “integrated system of instruction and assessment” which is required to support the balanced assessment requirements of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and achieve the potential of Race to the Top Assessments. In order to achieve use of interoperable assessments throughout formative, summative, and intervention strategies, interoperability must go beyond item and test interoperability. Diverse digital learning content and applications must provide interoperable results reporting that enables a diagnostic student record created from data that comes from a wide range of formative and summative tools. And, interventions must adapt based on the same interoperable data.

The range of interoperability requirements to support the Common Core and the Race to the Top Assessments projects are depicted in the following series of three figures.”

http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/rfi-response/ims-response-to-assessment-standards-rfi.pdf

Here are the graphics from Page 11 and 12. It’s clear that there are a myriad of ways that embedded assessments can collect data on our children.

graphic3graphic4graphic5

Conclusion:

Everything at the local school level will be controlled by third parties and international organizations using stealth assessments to centralize and synthesize data collection (I’ll leave the reader to surmise who).

 

These global organizations will:

  • Track your children’s metadata through learning and assessment programs

 

  • Build data profiles on your children from preK-career (and into the workforce)

 

  • Send real-time feedback to teachers to control what learning “interventions” your child will undergo (making sure those interventions will pad the pockets of those crony companies in bed with the federal government)

 

  • Make it impossible for parents or local schools to understand who’s controlling the data that parents, teachers and local schools must comply with, and what kind of data is being collected

 

  • Potentially, and most-likely, push our children towards a globalist mindset where families, parents and individual rights are undermined so that children will support collectivist strategies for solving “real world” problems, ie; global government

 

 

———————————————————————————

 

Even More Resources:

Pearson admits IMS Global tied to Common Core:

http://images.pearsonassessments.com/images/tmrs/tmrs_rg/AssessmentInteroperabilityStandards_FINAL_111710.pdf?WT.mc_id=TMRS_Next_Generation_Assessment_Interoperability_Standards

 

IMS Global Announces Inspiring Action to Transform Education:

“Digital Assessment Transformation: Get the latest on the rapid transition to digital assessment for both summative and formative purposes and the integration of assessment systems and data with learning platforms. ”

http://lili15.imsglobal.org/

 

Technical working group members of the “Learning Resource Metadata Initiative” (LRMI) include Microsoft, Gates Foundation, IMS Global, and of course, Creative Commons.

http://teach1776.ning.com/profiles/blogs/department-of-education-working-with-george-soros-open-society-fo

 

IMS Global Learning Consortium Announces Pilot Project Exploring Creative Commons Licensing of Interoperability Specification

http://www.imsglobal.org/pressreleases/pr080303.html

 

Contributing Members, Affiliates, and Alliance Participants include: MeasuredProgress, AIR, ACT, SBAC, Pearson, etc.

MeasuredProgress, AIR, ACT

http://www.imsglobal.org/membersandaffiliates.html

 

 

Efficient and Descriptive Learning Object Metadata: And Essential Component of K12 Instructional Reform:

http://www.imsglobal.org/articles/APB2-022013.pdf

 

 

2015 Leadership Opportunities in IMS Global Learning Consortium:

Here are a few quotes:

 

” 1-click integration of educational apps. ”

 

“…syncing student information between SIS systems and learning systems,”

 

“…better support for assistive technology and serving as an actual rendering format (versus just an interoperability format – which is what QTI is) for the range of devices supported via the web. They are calling this aQTI. Some long time contributors, such as Educational Testing Service, along with some newer IMS Global member organizations, like Dutch Exam Board, Cito, TAO, NWEA and Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium are leading the way on all of this.” (So, Stealth assessment was the plan all along)

 

“…get to the next generation educational content interoperability. In less than one year we went from an exploratory meeting (hosted by Pearson) to an implementable draft specification”

 

“…defining and authorizing a more robust set of outcomes or achievements beyond grades”

http://www.imsglobal.org/blog/?tag=learning-object-metadata

 

 

 

Big Districts Demand Interoperability Standards:

http://mobile.edweek.org/c.jsp?DISPATCHED=true&cid=25983841&item=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.edweek.org%2Few%2Farticles%2F2014%2F12%2F03%2F13techstandards.h34.html

 

 

IMS Global’s Learning Analytics:

http://www.imsglobal.org/IMSLearningAnalyticsWP.pdf

 

Cutting the federal ties: Step 1

Reposting Wendell Ashby’s post from Facebook.

ACTION ITEM UPDATE: Contact the Executive Appropriations Committee, your Legislators, Superintendents, and School Board members today to support a one-time non-educational allocation, $30 million, to allow for the cutting of Federal ties in Utah’s education.

Members of the State School Board are asking the Legislature for one-time set aside funds, $30 million. This allows the Board to say to the Federal Department of Education, Utah does not need an ESEA Flexibility Waiver and has the money to control our Title 1, tutoring, etc. funds. This restores Utah autonomy for our standards (Do we want Common Core?), teacher and school evaluations, data privacy for students, etc… Please ask the Legislature to support this measure today. Contact the Executive Appropriations Committee, listed below, your Superintendent, and State and School Board representatives, asking them to support these one-time funds, and cut the Federal ties. The Appropriations Committee meets Tuesday the 17th & Wednesday the 18th, to determine priority of expenditures.

Here is why:
In order to get out of some of the onerous provisions of No Child Left Behind, Utah accepted an ESEA Flexibility Waiver. The Waiver required (and the previous Race To The Top grant application incentivized) adoption of Common Core State Standards and Assessments, State Longitudinal Data System, & Teacher and School Accountability measures.

These requirements significantly limit Utah’s autonomy over education, but provide flexibility in program specific funding. A new application for a three-year ESEA Flexibility Waiver is due in March to the US Department of Education. If Utah renews the waiver we are tied to the above provisions for the next three years!

If we do not renew the waiver we would have more autonomy over our standards, data collection practices, school and teacher evaluations. The concern has been without the Waiver we would face a required sudden reallocation of funds. (We would not lose Federal funding, just some directive over how portions are to be used.) Therefore members of the State School Board are asking the State Legislature to provide funds in the amount of $30 million, one-time non-educational funds, in order to be prepared and offset these requirements.

This Tuesday and Wednesday the State Executive Appropriations Committee will meet in the Legislature to determine the expenditures for this year. These $30 million non-educational funds must be added to the appropriations. These funds give assurance of Utah’s budgetary preparation to members of the State Board of Education to not renew the waiver.

Please contact today the Executive Appropriations Committee members listed below. Let’s cut some Federal ties, and get one hand out from behind our back!

lhillyard@le.utah.gov ; dsanpei@le.utah.gov; jwstevenson@le.utah.gov; bdee@le.utah.gov; jsadams@le.utah.gov; jdabakis@le.utah.gov; gdavis@le.utah.gov; lescamilla@le.utah.gov; pknudson@le.utah.gov; kmayne@le.utah.gov; wniederhauser@le.utah.gov; rokerlund@le.utah.gov; parent@le.utah.gov; jbriscoe@le.utah.gov; rchouck@le.utah.gov; jdunnigan@le.utah.gov; fgibson@le.utah.gov; greghughes@le.utah.gov; briansking@le.utah.gov; bradwilson@le.utah.gov;

Find your other elected officials here: http://vote.utah.gov/vote/menu/index

Sen. Lyle W. Hillyard (R), Senate Chair
Rep. Dean Sanpei (R), House Chair
Sen. Jerry W. Stevenson (R), Senate Vice Chair
Rep. Brad L. Dee (R), House Vice Chair
Sen. J. Stuart Adams (R)
Sen. Jim Dabakis (D)
Sen. Gene Davis (D)
Sen. Luz Escamilla (D)
Sen. Peter C. Knudson (R)
Sen. Karen Mayne (D)
Sen. Wayne L. Niederhauser (R)
Sen. Ralph Okerlund (R)
Rep. Patrice M. Arent (D)
Rep. Joel K. Briscoe (D)
Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck (D)
Rep. James A. Dunnigan (R)
Rep. Francis D. Gibson (R)
Rep. Gregory H. Hughes (R)
Rep. Brian S. King (D)
Rep. Brad R. Wilson (R)
Greta G. Rodebush, Administrative Assistant
Steven M. Allred, Deputy Director
Jonathan Ball, Director

To Legislators and Education Leaders: Please Stop Crushing Teachers

This comment was posted on Facebook by a retired teacher. It’s public but I haven’t contacted her to ask permission to post this so I’ve withheld her name.

This is insane. Every time the legislature (federal or state) puts “controls” in place, there are always intended and unintended consequences. In this case, there are some severe consequences as teachers begin to retire in droves. A huge part of the reason is Common Core and the mandates that have come with it, and NCLB.

Here’s the story:

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THE CONSEQUENCES OF BEING A TEACHER in an elementary school that received a C in the recently posted school grading system as required by the NCLB waiver:

Teachers as of two weeks ago, must submit weekly, detailed lesson plans including exactly what they will say. After the plans are submitted, the teachers must meet with the principal and two of the EBL (aka curriculum administrators) to review the plans ( actually according to my source, review translated means, “teacher and lesson plan ripped to shreds”). My source was chastised for not having the Pearson/Envision on line homework available to parents and because she wrote “same” on some of what she was going to say in her lessons.)

This must be done until these three administrators are satisfied with the content of the lesson plans. Also, a DETAILED schedule must be posted on the door or outside of the teacher’s room. If it is posted that they will be teaching spelling at 11:00 a.m., they had BETTER be teaching spelling at that exact time since there will regular monitoring. If a teachers fails to comply, they will be “written up” and labeled as insubordinate. Hmmm, the principals of these schools must have their neck on the chopping block also.

This is in addition to the requirements by the district: three detailed lesson plans and three videos of the teacher presenting a lesson to reviewed by the EBL administrators. Also two yearly IPOP evaluations ( principals or administrators can “pop” in at any time) where in a 30 minute period the teacher must show a lesson being presented to an entire class, a group working together, two children working together and one child working alone. Also they must state they they show complete fidelity to Pearson.

This is in addition to the countless hours they must spend entering data into the computer in order to document 80% mastery for each concept taught–1,872 entries required alone for 4th grade grammar concepts, etc. etc.

Four teachers at this school have said, “Enough is enough” and are leaving at the end of this school year.

Dr.Thompson has often stated that this is child abuse. This is also teacher abuse. My source, who is an outstanding and hardworking teacher, has a rash over her entire body from the stress.

*****************

One person on FB replied: “This sort of thing can produce a classic ‘death spiral.’ The government forces teachers to go through tons of red tape, which reduces the amount of time and energy that the teachers have for teaching, which reduces the quality of their students’ education, which results in more government-mandated red tape, etc.”

Exactly right.

Teachers all over the nation are retiring because they can’t take it anymore. Schools have turned into a pressure cooker in our maddening desire to “make sure our children can compete in a global environment.

This week an award winning teacher in Ohio shocked the community with her announcement that she was retiring over Common Core.

“I don’t think anyone understands that in this environment if your child cannot quickly grasp material, study like a robot and pass all of these tests, they will not survive.”

Many other teachers agree with her and the article quotes one as saying, ““We will give the last [Ohio Graduation Test] this year. I don’t know if I’m going to cry when we do, because what we are moving to is unbelievable,” he said.

As a state and within our communities, leaders have embraced the natural outcome of compulsory education. The wrong questions get asked and the answers to those questions reinforce the natural processes of the system.

WRONG QUESTIONS

If we are going to force children to school, what do we want their outcomes to be?

Hey Mr. Corporation? What are your needs? What jobs do you need filled?

How can we make sure every school is compliant and teaching exactly what they are supposed to according to national standards?

How do we make sure no child is left behind and that they are always progressing ON GRADE LEVEL?

RIGHT QUESTIONS (IMO)

How do we best meet the needs of each child according to their parents desires?

How can we help stimulate a love of learning in the children?

How do we help them achieve their dreams?

How can we give children more freedom to pursue their diverse interests instead of overloading them with what someone else wants for them?

How do we ensure children’s privacy and data are completely isolated from any outside interest?

*****

I believe legislators, USOE, USBE, schools and districts, need to back off the extreme testing and curriculum mandates. We can’t keep raising the temperature on the pressure cooker. We need to vent the air before more teachers and students give up and have breakdowns. This is not a healthy environment.

Parents, you may want to seriously look into dual-enrolling your child. In fact, I strongly recommend it. I’m doing it with one of my children right now. She takes a few classes at school, and a few at home. She’s MUCH happier, she’s doing things that interest her, and she’s able to go at her own pace. It’s a great way to go.

ASD Board Member Wendy Hart on SAGE Tests

The article below is reprinted with permission from:

http://wendy4asd.blogspot.com/2015/02/sage-testing-2015-what-you-need-to-know.html

Wendy Hart is a school board member in Alpine School District. Wendy is an awesome board member who studies the laws and understands proper principles like schools exist to serve families. Here’s an FAQ on SAGE tests that she’s written up.

http://wendy4asd.blogspot.com/p/sage-state-tests-faq.html

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SAGE Testing 2015: What You Need to Know

SAGE testing has begun in Alpine School District this week.  It will continue off and on through May.  The subjects being tested by SAGE are: Reading, Writing, Math, and Science.  Because of concerns about SAGE testing, we have seen legislation, directives, forms, meetings, etc.  I hope to help you make sense of it all.  The most important thing to remember throughout this is that, as noted in state law, “A student’s parent or guardian is the primary person responsible for the education of the student, and the state is in a secondary and supportive role to the parent or guardian.”

First, the only thing required for opting out is written notification from you, the parent.  You don’t need a particular form to comply with the legal requirements for opting out.  Most districts, including Alpine, have a form and they will want you to sign it.  You are not legally required to sign it.  I would recommend that if you bring in your own letter, please do not have the principal sign something.  You just need to communicate your wishes to the school.  For the record, I have been opting my kids out of state testing since 2012.  If you want to know more about why, please go here. More information can be found on the SAGE FAQ page.

Second, teachers and schools will NOT be penalized for students who are opted out.  Last year, the law changed specifically stating “neither an LEA nor its employees are negatively impacted through school grading or employee evaluation due to a student not taking a test”. Prior to the passage of this law (the bill # was SB122), the State Office of Education (USOE) was penalizing teachers, schools, and students by giving students who opted out of end-of-year testing a 1 (the lowest possible score) to be used in calculating teacher and school grades.  Parents, while always having the right to opt kids out, were concerned about the consequences to teachers and to schools.  Since the legislature passed the laws that require school and teacher grading, it was their responsibility to fix the law to make sure schools and teachers were not penalized for parental actions on this level.  The law did not grant parents the right to opt out, it merely clarified that they did have the right and that schools and teachers would not be ‘negatively impacted’.  There are still many teachers who believe that they will be punished if you opt your kids out of testing.  Please make sure to let them know about the law.  The law was changed before teacher and school grades were calculated last year, so teachers have not been negatively impacted from kids opting out of SAGE testing*.

Third, the USOE has a contract with our testing vendor.  Where in this contract does it say what the testing vendor is prohibited from doing with our children’s data?  I haven’t found it.

The actual contract with American Institutes for Research (AIR), our testing vendor for SAGE, is a Purchase Order that references their original bid for services.  Essentially, the contract is the bid.  You can find a copy of the bid here.   I have asked many people to indicate where in the bid we are assured that AIR will not be using behavioral questions and what prohibitions exist on them with regard to how they may use our children’s data. Most responses are, “It’s in the contract.”  Because of parental concerns, last year, the State Board of Ed signed an addendum to our agreement with AIR, wherein, AIR specifically says they will not share personal data with any third-parties unless the USOE gives them permission.  Better, but not good enough.  The USOE also received a letter from AIR’s Executive Vice-President, indicating that they will not be using behavioral indicators or sharing of student data.  Again, nice, but why not put it in a legally-binding document?

In our August Board Meeting (52 minutes into the Board Meeting**), Board Member Brian Halladay, who has been doing extensive research on AIR, listed over 20 entities that are subsidiary organizations of AIR.  Subsidiary organizations, by definition, are not third-parties.  That means these organizations are not prohibited from receiving or using our children’s data that is obtained through SAGE testing.  In response to the concerns raised in that meeting, the Superintendent conversed with USOE Assistant Superintendent in charge of testing, Dr. Judy Park.  Dr. Park and AIR Executive VP, Jon Cohen, responded to these concerns here and here.  Dr. Park provided citations from the contract where data privacy is discussed.  Unfortunately, those citations don’t really deal with prohibitions on AIR.  Three of us on the board (Mr. Halladay, Mrs. Hill, and myself) responded to Dr. Park.  You may read our letter here.  In the letter, we raise additional concerns and also request validity and reliability information on the SAGE tests.  The sections of the contract cited by Dr. Park do not prohibit AIR’s usage of our children’s data.  The response we received was that legal counsel would be consulted.  That was in September.  We have not heard anything since.

Fourth, it is important that you know SAGE includes not just the end-of-year, or summative, testing.  SAGE also includes interim and formative testing.

The districts and schools can decide to implement interim testing, which is a similar version of the summative testing.  Like the summative tests, the questions and answers are not seen by the teachers and cannot be released to the public.  The teachers do see scores, as well as information about individual standards and/or objectives and how individual students scored in those areas.

The formative tests, on the other hand, are tests or assignments that are generated or selected by the individual teachers.  The teachers can selected items from within the SAGE test databank or they can create them, themselves.  Teachers create, select, see, and determine the scoring for the formative tests.  For more information on formative testing, this YouTube video is very helpful.  Former director of testing at the USOE, John Jesse,  indicated that they wanted to put everything into SAGE so that teachers would have no need of any additional testing program.  The upside to teachers is evident.  The upside to AIR? Lots more data.  Even though the teachers create the items, the items, the answers, and your student’s responses are collected and stored by the SAGE software on AIR-maintained servers.  So the lack of data privacy extends to not just the once-a-year tests, but to every activity that your kids participate in while logged on to the SAGE portal. It’s a goldmine for our friendly behavioral research organization, AIR.

Finally, on Feb. 2, 2015, the USOE sent a memo to all districts and charter schools stating that parents have no options for opting out of SAGE interim or formative testing.  As a board, we had been debating back and forth about the interim and formative testing, and the district form was stated as covering all interim and summative SAGE testing.  Dr. Henshaw indicated that parents should contact individual teachers to have their children excused from formative tests.  With the advent of the USOE memo, interim and formative testing have now been deemed as ‘required.’  (Since interim testing is over for this year, it will not impact students in Alpine until next year.)  The problem with this is that this wasn’t a directive from the State Board of Education.  It wasn’t a change in the law.  This was a memo from two state administrators by-passing every elected official in any capacity and indicating that parents have ‘no option’.  Parents are now subject to the state for what goes on with their children.  The state law could be interpreted as being silent on interim and formative testing.  But being silent isn’t the same as forbidding a particular action.  In a free society, the limitations are placed on government to protect individual rights.  The USOE memo places restrictions on parents.  In short, the state compels you to send your children to school.  If you choose to avail yourself of the free, public education system provided by the State of Utah, you are obligated to pay for that, not just with your taxes, but with your children’s personal data.  You have ‘no options’ to protect them.  The Wise and Powerful Oz, um I mean, State Office of Education, has spoken.

So, what do you do?  Don’t give up.  Push back.  Civil disobedience is a time-honored tradition in America.  If you don’t want your kids taking the SAGE tests, make sure your teachers and principals know.  They are caught between a rock and a hard place.  Be empathetic, kind, and firm: your child will not be participating.  If they are asked to participate, your child has been instructed to answer incorrectly and/or to call you to pick them up.  Write letters to the State Board of Education (board@schools.utah.gov), and to your legislators, and the governor.  Let your locally-elected board members know of your concerns.  Local boards can communicate on your behalf, but we still have to administer the tests.  Be kind, but firm.  And, at the end of the day, do what is best for your kids. As we concluded in our letter to Dr. Park, “Just because parents choose to educate their children in our public school system, it does not mean that we, as a state government, are entitled to whatever information about their children we feel is necessary.”

*There is an argument to be made that only the most involved parents are opting their kids out.  Since we know that the most involved parents usually have the kids who score the highest on standardized testing, there is a potential for a lower score due to that dynamic.  However, there are also many parents of special ed kids who are opting out because they find the tests problematic for their kids.  At the end of the day, the problem is the entire method of grading teachers and schools based on standardized tests.  Contact your legislators and ask them to remove school and teacher grading from state law.

**Board Meeting Audio:
1. Click on the link
2. Scroll Down to ‘Additional Media’ and expand
3. Click on either the Study Session or Board Meeting audio, as listed.

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