News

Online Brainstorming Session

We need to capitalize on the energy following last night’s “We Will Not Conform” event. Let’s work together to strategize and organize to kick Common Core and all it’s entanglements to the curb!  In the comment section below post your ideas on how to take action now and organize locally. Here are some ideas to start:

  • Make T-shirts
  • Yard Signs
  • T-shirt design contest
  • Hold an organizing convention
  • Organize by District
  • Radio Ads

Comments will only be approved if they’re positive, constructive, and don’t involve name calling.

Governor Herbert calls for Common Core reviews

Yesterday morning, Governor Herbert made a major announcement about Common Core. He’s called for the Utah A.G. to do a legal review in regards to potential federal intrusion in the standards process, a review of the standards by Utah educators, and asking for parental feedback on the standards. I was contacted by Ben Wood at the Deseret News and asked for a comment. Here’s what I sent Ben after reviewing the Governor’s speech and press release (http://www.utah.gov/governor/news_media/article.html?article=10183) which included comments about SAGE testing and data collection.

Oak: “I applaud the Governor for initiating a review of the situation. There are a number of things I think have been missing from the discussion on Common Core, and I welcome a review by the AG’s office, particularly if it extends to just how much control of Utah’s education system policies the federal government controls. I agree with the Governor that local control is paramount, and unfortunately, what the state office of education has done is consistently tried to turn this discussion into one about the standards, instead of where our real issues lie with the major reforms we adopted as part of the “Common Core state standards” package, which anyone can read if they take the time to go to the source documents. There are some significant issues with the standards, but they aren’t on a “line item” basis. Alignment with other states is now allowing federal organizations like the College Board to direct curriculum based on how they control college tests like the ACT and SAT. There are some significant challenges we face and it is paramount that we do everything in our power to shift to true local control where parents, teachers, and students have maximum control over the educational pathway our children pursue.”

What should happen is we get the state auditor to investigate all the flows of money as well as the attorney general investigating all the reforms and all aspects of federal control in Utah’s education system.

To read Ben’s article, click here:

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865607074/Herbert-on-Common-Core-We-are-going-to-settle-this-question-once-and-for-all.html

To read the governor’s speech, click here:

Gov Herbert’s Remarks – Putting the best interest of our students first (PDF file – 43k)

Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh’s letter to teachers

A few days ago, UEA President Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh sent this letter to UEA teachers all over Utah encouraging them to immediately write legislators and the governor that a “small, vocal minority” (isn’t it always???) is trying to abandon Utah’s core standards.  No, actually we’re trying to run away from Common Core. I love how she emails them on their school email accounts but then tells them to email legislators and the governor from a non-school computer and email account. :)

It’s especially interesting that she would send this out after receiving so many letters from teachers who were having extremely negative experiences with the Common Core SAGE tests  noting “Developmentally inappropriate and despairing prompts that were given.”

Please pass this on to your legislators as to why they got a handful of emails the past few days and reiterate that you are not part of a small, vocal minority, but a growing and sizable part of the population.

UEA Action Bulletin
ALERT: Contact your legislators and the Governor NOW about the Utah Core Standards!


Dear UEA Member:

I realize it’s summer break for the vast majority of teachers, but, as you well know, decisions impacting our classrooms are made throughout the year. I’m asking for your help with one of those decisions now.

A small, vocal minority is putting pressure on the Governor and the Utah Legislature to force the Utah State Board of Education to walk away from years of work and millions of dollars by abandoning Utah’s Core Standards. Please let your legislators know what you think!

There is overwhelming consensus among educators that the Core Standards will ultimately be good for students and education, if implemented properly. There are significant challenges associated with implementing the Core, but the possibilities are immense.

Utah has invested years of work and millions of dollars into creating its standards. There is concern that reversing course on Utah’s Core Standards now would mean starting the process all over again.

• See more about the Utah Core Standards

What you can do:
Contact the Governor and your legislators NOW and share your opinion about the Utah Core Standards.

• Call or email your legislator* ( House / Senate)
Look up your legislators
• Call or email Governor Gary Herbert:
o Tel: 800-705-2464
o Email: governor@utah.gov
 *NOTE: Do not use school computers or email addresses

It’s critical that you contact your legislator ASAP, as decisions impacting you and your students are being made now!

Thank you once again for all you do to influence the future of our great state.

Sincerely,

Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh, UEA President

For more information about the Core Standards:
• myUEA.org/core
• schools.utah.gov/core
• nea.org/home/commoncore
•  achievethecore.org
• corestandards.org

P.S. Please forward this message to co-workers, friends, family and anyone who supports Utah public education.

875 E Pontiac Dr.   Murray, UT 84107-5299   Phone: 801-266-4461   Fax: 801-265-2249
© 2014 Utah Education Association

Pulling Back the Curtain – What’s the Real Agenda behind CCSS?

Last night I made this presentation in Draper. One of the things we need to get away from when talking about Common Core, is the standards. People are getting bogged down in the standards and educrats keep asking parents if they’ve read the standards and which standards they disagree with. These are pointless questions. IT’S NOT ABOUT THE STANDARDS THEMSELVES. Well, maybe 10%. They’re not great standards and several states had superior standards before Common Core. The real problem is the loss of privacy, data collection, loss of sovereignty, and a centuries old agenda that has been pushed at us to destroy the family, destroy religion, and embrace moral relativism. In this presentation I attempt to pull back the curtain and expose that agenda. In one hour there just isn’t time to do justice to this topic. There are so many statements and so much evidence of this it just can’t be fit in, but I do hope this presentation gives you a strong enough witness that Common Core is just the latest idea in the culture war we are engaged in, and isn’t the true problem at the root. We need to get back to local control and sever the ties that bind us to these people.

Here is a pdf file of the presentation.

Constitution Party presentation 6-19-14

Chair of NGA signs bill to repeal CC in OK; SC also repeals CC

Awesome News… Yesterday, Gov. Fallin in Oklahoma signed a bill to repeal Common Core. This is major news as she is the current chair of the National Governor’s Association that claims to have co-created CCSS (Common Core State Standards) with the CCSSO (Council of Chief State School Officers – ie. state superintendents). Thank you for those of you that wrote the governor and helped push her in this direction.

Governor Fallin stated:

“We are capable of developing our own Oklahoma academic standards that will be better than Common Core …  What should have been a bipartisan policy is now widely regarded asthe president’s plan to establish federal control of curricula, testing and teaching strategies.

We cannot ignore the widespread concern of citizens, parents, educators and legislators who have expressed fear that adopting Common Core gives up local control of Oklahoma’s public schools… 

“For that reason I am signing HB 3399 to repeal and replace Common Core with Oklahoma designed and implemented education standards…  They must raise the bar – beyond what Common Core offers…  I also ‘get it’ that Oklahoma standards must be exceptional, so when businesses and military families move to Oklahoma they can rest assured knowing their children will get a great education.

… While those new standards are being written, the state standards for English and math will revert to the Oklahoma Priority Academic Student Skills (PASS) standards used from 2003 to 2010. “

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/06/05/oklahoma-repeals-common-core-education-standards/

Also, Gov. Nikki Haley has just signed a bill to get South Carolina out of Common Core.

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/06/05/SC-Gov-Nikki-Haley-Signs-Bill-Requiring-State-To-Replace-Common-Core

Unlike Indiana which may just be getting a rebranding of CCSS with a few tweaks, OK and SC both have language in their bills to prevent this.

Other states with positive news:

North Carolina and Missouri’s legislatures have both passed bills to repeal Common Core which now await the signature of their governors. Where is Governor Herbert? Making sure his state school board selection committee weeds out candidates that have any concerns over Common Core…

We are making progress and we will get there. The ball is rolling and momentum just keeps building. Maybe this will finally be the straw that breaks the back of the US DOEd and neuters them so states are not bound by federal controls.

 

Partisan School Board Elections Resolution Passes

On Saturday, April 26, 2014, the GOP state delegates passed a resolution at convention asking GOP legislators to enact partisan school board elections for both the state school board and local school board members. Though there was no definitive tally made, visual estimates put the passing vote between 75-85% of delegates in attendance. The resolution did get amended to remove the last two paragraphs that dealt with the party engaging in non-partisan election efforts (which apparently they are barred from), so we need to get the party leadership and legislators all on board with this resolution (which was non-binding) so that next session we get partisan elections passed into law.

If you were among the delegates who voted for this resolution, thank you for taking the time to understand the real issues, the federal intrusion that Utah officials have already brought into the state, and recognizing the value of parents in their role as delegates vetting candidates.

Can you imagine a parent who wants non-partisan elections for school board members, actually spending even 15 minutes with each of 6 school board candidates to try and vet each of them and make an intelligent vote in a primary race to reduce the field? It isn’t going to happen among the masses. The one-party education establishment will always get their candidate through a primary because they can send out one email that gets their members out to the polls to vote. The absence of political parties from these races guarantees that each race will stay under the general control of the establishment.

The public at large has rejected partisan school board elections in a poll that was conducted some time ago. These numbers are touted by establishment players like the UEA in order to stop this movement toward partisan elections. The reason the public has rejected partisan elections is because they have not taken the time to understand the issue as delegates did coming to convention. It is evident that when locally elected delegates get informed on an issue and can understand it, they tend to make an informed decision, unlike an uninterested public. We might as well ask the public to take a survey on fracking that environmentalists put together as to ask us about partisan elections. The public just doesn’t have all the facts at hand. It is now incumbent on delegates and anyone who understands the issue to help your neighbors better understand it. I will be posting a master resource page soon that will have links to various resources you can use in this effort.

Here are the speeches I gave at the convention to help illustrate why the resolution needed to pass. Also speaking was Kim Kehrer who was a very qualified individual running for school board last time that made it to the final round where she was asked if she had issues with Common Core, and expressing some, was then eliminated. Also, an educator spoke in favor of the resolution.

Resolution opening speech

With Utah’s education budget over $4 billion, don’t tell me it isn’t partisan and politicized. The reason the education establishment doesn’t want partisan elections is they don’t want independent thinkers and ideas that could change the status quo which is the same tired path of blaming the legislature for underfunding education. The CATO Institution just released a study that shows over the last 40 years, we’ve tripled education spending (link to CATO report) and actually had a decline in SAT scores.

It’s time we gave the same scrutiny to the education system in Utah, that made Utah the best managed state in the union. The superior caucus and delegate system lets a broad cross section of parents, vet candidates for principles and ideas that will spark new life into our education system. To accuse us of wanting to put party above the welfare of our own children is a desperate plea to maintain political power.

And if you want to compare us to Texas, use demographic information and remember, at least they are free to innovate.

I ask that you vote for this resolution which gets our local neighborhoods more involved in the process.

*****

Note: The reason for the inclusion of the Texas line was because the USBA (Utah School Boards Association) had made talking points for educators around the state and they were at the convention passing out a flier which basically said Utah was superior to Texas in several areas such as the percentage of graduates and other such stats. I didn’t put Texas in the resolution because they were superior, but because they have partisan elections, they rejected Common Core and they are now free to innovate with their own standards.)

 

Resolution closing speech

Two years ago, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced a new federal grant program that local school districts could bypass the legislature and state office of education. Five Utah school districts applied for that money with strings attached.

Two months ago, two senior officials at the Utah State Office of Education sent a letter to educators around the state asking them to oppose a bill that would have replaced Common Core saying, “This bill essentially gives more power to parents over curriculum standards, and would prevent us from adopting any national standards.” That bill failed as did the partisan election bill they opposed.

State education officials also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the feds when Utah agreed to move forward on Common Core, acknowledging a federal role in Utah education.

Don’t tell me the establishment doesn’t welcome federal control or have practically unchallenged power.

We need partisan elections to challenge the establishment. We are parents before we are Republicans and we are best qualified to find principled candidates for our children’s school boards. Please vote for this resolution.

*****

Note: The same USBA flier mentioned above talks about how they don’t want federal control and how these people who run our education system are for local control in education. The most vocal individual from the USBA on this issue is former state superintendent Patti Harrington, one of the primary authors of the USBA flier, and who was one of the two signatories on the Memorandum of Understanding that acknowledged to the federal government they have a role in Utah’s education system. What irony… Governor Huntsman was the other signer.  Ahhh, but what meaning do words have… We’ll just tell the people we favor local control because we do have it as long as we let the federal government have a role and dictate a *few* things to us.

 

Responding to charges against partisan school board elections

I sent this letter to state delegates today and am publishing it to help the public have an opportunity to see some of the arguments against partisan elections, and my responses to those charges.

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

Dear Delegates,

I hope you all took some time to read through my email from a couple days ago to help provide some support for my resolution, particularly the Deseret News piece which was excellent. After my email the other day, I received a number of very supportive comments for the resolution for partisan school board elections, and some questions from delegates. Some of those questions relate to things said on Doug Wright’s radio show from Tuesday. I listened to his show and below is a brief rundown of concerns presented there and my responses. However, first, do you know about the power of the UEA network which is threatened by this resolution and why they are trying so hard to oppose it.

This week the Utah School Board Association has asked for state delegates to contact the USBA Chair so they can speak against this resolution.  This is exactly what makes the case IN FAVOR of this resolution. The USBA is free to ask its members to support a particular position.  However, without partisan elections, what organization exists with the same ability to disseminate information to combat the USBA, the USSA (superintendents), the UASBO (business administrators), the UEA, the Elementary Principals’ Association (UAESP), the Secondary Principals’ Association (UASSP), the Utah School Employees’ Association (USEA–Lunch ladies, custodians, bus drivers, librarians, school nurses, etc)?  All these organizations receive dues, many from taxpayer dollars, like USBA, and have paid people to lobby for or against legislation and for or against candidates.  One email to the membership of all these organizations would cover the state, very easily.  The only other organizations that have as broad of a reach statewide are the political parties, Democrats and Republicans.

The main reason why these organizations don’t want partisan elections is that it will create more opposition (competition) in them being able to get their information out.   Additionally, if you look at the USBA scorecard, those who voted with the USBA 90% of the time were all Democrats.  You had to get down to a much lower percentage to find Republicans who voted with the USBA. Speaker Lockhart was in the 30′s, I think.  For the GOP, this needs to be pointed out.  Absent partisan elections, the state will continue to provide the Education Associations an uncontested messaging system.  Even if partisan elections are problematic in some realms, the ability to inform voters on both sides of an issue, like in a courtroom, demands opposing parties strongly advocating for their positions.  Then the jury (or the voters) can make informed decisions.  If you only get to hear one side of the argument being vigorously defended, do you have an informed decision?

The point isn’t partisanship, the point is hearing messaging from both sides of an issue and having an organization able to widely disseminate that information to its members to allow for that to occur.  As the State GOP, it should be realized that leaving the Education Associations unmatched, the message that is getting out is that supported, primarily, by Democrats. 

Now on to the Doug Wright show. During his third hour on Tuesday, Doug thankfully acknowledged on several occasions that the current system is broken.

He had two guests on his show. One was Mark Mickelsen, the executive director of the UEA, and then Patti Harrington, an Associate Executive Director of the Utah School Boards Association. You get one guess where his guests stood on this issue. :)

 

Doug: “What is the UEA’s opinion of turning school board races into partisan races?”

Mark: UEA supports non-partisan elections for the reason thatit’s probably the most transparent, engaging, and representative process for establishing education policy in the state.

 

My comment: Are you kidding?. We already have non-partisan elections locally for school boards, and there is a huge lack of interest in those races, people aren’t engaged, and it’s certainly not representative when you have a single education establishment party that is organized to elect their picks. At least with partisan elections, you get a cross sample of the public in every precinct who are tasked with finding who the candidates are with the best ideas that will help our schools. It’s also more transparent because you know who is promoting and vetting candidates. Nobody sees the UEA network working behind the scenes because they are not a registered political party, but they certainly wield power like one. Engaging? What is more engaging than thousands of delegates asking tough questions of candidates? Where does that EVER happen in non-partisan races? It doesn’t. Everything Mark said above is precisely why partisan elections are superior to non-partisan elections.

 

Thankfully Mark then acknowledges the election process for state school board members is in fact broken. So basically, the current system is broken, and they want non-partisan elections. Why? Please review the top few paragraphs above.

Doug Wright then talks about how he’s been guilty of not knowing who was running for school board. He then accurately notes “far too many of us, when we do vote, this is the area where we have the least familiarity…”

My comment: Doug is exactly right. School board races fly under the radar. People don’t generally get excited about these races because they’re more focused on the “big races.” Not many people get excited about the county clerk race or county assessor or school board member. However, two of those 3 are able to run low cost campaigns where people actually come and ask them questions and cast an informed, broadly representational vote for someone. Meanwhile, most people remain ignorant about what is perhaps the most important race in the state because it deals so strongly with our future.

 

Doug: “Why will making the races partisan make it worse?” (than the current broken system)

Mark: He spoke in favor of SB 54 which was the bill that stopped the Count My Vote initiative by basically giving them what they wanted to bypass the parties, and said the resolution is in direct opposition to this resolution. (ie. Mark supports Count My Vote)

My comment: No surprise here that Mark favors Count My Vote, but this also isn’t even a reason partisan races will make what they already identified as a broken system, even worse.

 

Doug:one big concern, one huge concern, I don’t like the straight ballot vote… I think everyone who throw their hats in the ring…sacrifice their family makes…deserves the courtesy of having everyone at least read their name.” Doug believes if we have partisan elections, “the lazy voter will just hit the R or D and automatically votes for people they’ve probably never even heard their name which really concerns me.”

My comment: Of course, we hope all people would get involved and informed, but the lazy voter Doug identifies here isn’t someone who is going to know who is even running in a non-partisan election, so at least with a party by a candidate’s name they can vote for someone who is probably closer to their ideological position.

 

Mark: “There’s another issue, I received some information from a practicing attorney here in Utah, and one of the comments he made that I found very interesting that partisanship may be unconstitutional based on Article 10 section 8 of the Utah constitution.

Mark then quotes this section which is:

“Article X, Section 8. [No religious or partisan tests in schools.]

No religious or partisan test or qualification shall be required as a condition of employment, admission, or attendance in the state’s education systems.”

My comment: Now I don’t know who this attorney is that sent Mark this concern, but a proper reading of this doesn’t support this interpretation. Nobody is required to be of a given religion or political party to be a school board member. Also, the same exact language exists in the U.S. Constitution. Article 6, section 3 says:

“The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

What is a test? The Framers set this in the Constitution because they never wanted a litmus test for office where only a single religious preference could hold office  like they suffered under in England (ie. The Church of England). That’s a violation of freedom of conscience of individuals. Article X, Section 8 of the Utah code is simply asserting the same exact thing that there can’t be a religious or partisan “test” for office. We can’t say, “only a Republican or Mormon can hold this school board seat.” It would be unconstitutional and immoral to do something like that, but having partisan votes for school board candidates to see who will go to the ballot for a given party is perfectly constitutional because the ballot doesn’t represent employment, admission, or attendance.

 

Patti Harrington from USBA now comes on the show.

Patti: She expresses her fear that party members who swear allegiance to a party platform could be making decisions that are about the party instead of about the children.

My comment: When I vetted candidates for county clerk, I didn’t ask them “if it comes down to a decision that comes to you directly from the GOP party, are you going to be loyal to the party, or do what’s right for taxpayers?” That would be a stupid question to ask. I heard none of my fellow delegates ask such stupid questions. It’s not on anyone’s mind except those trying to dissuade the party from creating a competitive environment for the current monopoly. If I was a delegate and had 3 school board candidates to vet, I’d ask them their philosophy on education, what principles they feel makes for a good education system, how they would enhance the ability of a teacher to work more directly with parents and students, and so on. Partisan elections aren’t about partisanship, they are about getting a marketplace of ideas to compete with each other and see what cream rises to the top. Yes, it’s about the children and partisan elections will help make their future brighter.

 

Patti: on state board elections “so that process universally…is considered broken.”

My comment: 3 for 3 now in agreement the current process is broken.

 

Doug: “Patti, what are the downsides/upsides to local partisan elections”

Patti: “I don’t see any upsides.”

My comment: People in the education establishment of course wouldn’t see any upsides because partisan elections represent a loss of power to the single party network that covers the state and with a single email can reach all their members with an endorsement of a candidate. The only people that can stand against this well organized party, is another political party. Nobody else is so well organized.

 

Doug: said he read a couple editorials and shared these quotes:

“Candidates when they are running on a partisan basis tend to look to the party officials and party needs rather than the needs of the students and the parents.”

“It brings into the school system the overheated rhetoric of the state house campaigns. It brings that now into our schools.”

My comment: My first response is, have these people even looked at the broad range of voting by Republican lawmakers in Utah? It’s all over the board with some conservative and some voting to the left of many Democrats. Once in office, people tend to follow their own agenda, not the party. With $4.6 billion at stake in education spending in Utah, the UEA establishment likes their virtual monopoly on board seats.

 

Doug: “we are already sadly, too many of us, clueless about who is running for the school board and this will make us even more clueless.”

My comment: Actually, it will have the exact opposite effect. As Doug noted above, even he doesn’t know who his school board members are. Nobody vets them except the UEA. Making elections partisan will give far more people a “clue” about who is running and what their principles are.

I sincerely hope you will vote for this resolution on Saturday and help bring a fresh new perspective to the education system in Utah. Lets get the best ideas out there to rise to the top and make Utah the best education system in the country.

Sincerely,

Oak Norton

 

State GOP Resolution on Partisan School Board Elections

This resolution will be presented and voted on at the state GOP convention on 4/26/14. It is being attacked by the education establishment who misunderstands the point of partisan elections is to find people of principle by looking closely at candidates who are running for office, not creating a partisan atmosphere of contention. There is a serious problem in this state that people just do not know who is running for school board. Candidates at the state level rarely get to even let their voices be heard as they are drowned out by a governor appointed committee who eliminates candidates who have any issues with Common Core. Candidates at the local level put up yard signs and rarely get any segment of the public vetting them except for the UEA and State Office of Education who pick their candidates and promote them through their channels because they are philosophically in agreement, but don’t want any serious competition or elimination by the best people qualified to make those decisions…delegates elected in neighborhood caucus meetings. What these education establishment people fail to recognize over and over again is that when you take federal money it comes with strings attached that damage local control.

Here is the resolution. Please contact your state delegates and ask them to vote in favor of this resolution.

USBA executive Patti Harrington wrote an urgent letter to educators around the state which I have posted below the resolution.

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

Resolution to Promote Partisan School Board Elections

WHEREAS, Abraham Lincoln said, “The philosophy of the school room in one generation will become the philosophy of government in the next;” and,

WHEREAS, experience shows that the views of school board members find their way into the classroom; and,

WHEREAS, most citizens do not know how school board members view important issues such as religious freedom, state and family sovereignty, private property, Second Amendment, limited government, and American Exceptionalism; and,

WHEREAS, the Republican Party has an excellent vetting system by which grassroots-elected delegates can identify who among the candidates will best adhere to the principles in our party platform, most notably the principles of fiscal responsibility and local control of education; and,

WHEREAS, approximately 65% of our state budget goes to education; and,

WHEREAS, school district budgets, whose district officers are determined via non-partisan elections, in some cases exceed county budgets, whose county officers are determined via partisan elections; and,

WHEREAS, most school board members seem to welcome federal control of education, and fail to understand that states are (or should be) sovereign with respect to education; and,

WHEREAS, in Texas—where school board elections are partisan—when “Common Core” was presented to the states, Texas rejected it and created their own high-quality standards; and,

WHEREAS, choosing school board members via partisan election is not about partisanship in education, but is about ensuring the selection of candidates whose principles match those found in the party platform.

WHEREAS, state school board nominees are currently selected by an unelected panel—unaccountable to the People.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT, legislators affiliated with the Utah Republican Party are encouraged to enact and support legislation that would make candidates for Utah’s State Board of Education and school districts subject to partisan nomination and election; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT delegates to the Utah Republican Party Convention are encouraged to research and vet state and local school board candidates, in order to identify the candidate(s) who will best support limited government and local control of education; and,

[these next two paragraphs were amended out of the resolution at convention because they were considered violations of the party constitution or bylaws or something because they asked that the party get involved in non-partisan races when they are only charged to do partisan races. Once the state passes partisan elections, then the party can do these debates]

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Utah Republican Party is encouraged to host debates for state school board candidates and conduct a straw poll among state delegates, wherein state delegates living within a given state school board district may cast a non-binding vote for their choices of state school board members, and that the results of this straw poll be made public on the party web site; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT county parties are encouraged to host debates for school board candidates and conduct straw polls among county delegates, wherein county delegates living within local school board districts may cast a non-binding vote for their choices of local district board members, and that the results of these straw polls be made public on county party web sites.

Respectfully submitted to the Utah Republican Party on March 26, 2014

Oak Norton, HI 07
Kimberly Park, TA 11
Jennifer Orten, HI 06
Tina Okolowitz, Orem 38
Marie Nuccitelli, LE16
Aaron Hymas, MAG004
Joshua Kostial, FA02
Stephanie Stevens, AL04
Darlene Agle, PG10
Heather Williamson, SR07
Carie Valentine, SY05
Eric Eades, SAN 42
Robert Taylor, WJD 13
Robert Lunt, SLC138
Michele Alder, NLG5
Dale Asay, HI07
Whitne Strain, BO18
Kevin Braddy, HI 03
Renee Braddy, HI 03
Rod Terry, HI 01
Russ Skousen, HI 01
Dawn Kenton, RPL26
David Beck, HI 06
Steve Christiansen, HI 01
Lowell Nelson, HI 05
Loni Schneider, CL 02
Malin Williams, EN82
Leslie Probert, Provo 28
Jared Carman, HI 01
Alisa Ellis, HN 24
Nathan Davis, SY05
Michelle Davis, SY05
Amy Burton, HYR 05
Kassandra Mulcahy, SAN042
Keri Witte, PR20

************************** ADDED 4/22/14

That ends the resolution. Utah State Boards Association member Patti Harrington sent out this email in response. All bolding is hers. Text in red is where Patti calls me a liar and then an agitator. The big problem with her statements is they are demonstrably false. Patti and I actually go back several years. When she was State Superintendent a few years ago, we held regular meetings with her, Brenda Hales, Senator Margaret Dayton, and a few others regarding math education in Utah and getting Investigations math, Connected math, and Interactive math, removed from the state’s approved curriculum list. She helped remove the first 2 but never got the third removed. We actually saw eye to eye on these issue and to her credit (perhaps under some duress) she agreed to raise the state math standards in 2006 in front of a legislative education committee. Success! Then I engaged with the state’s history standards and wanted to get the word “republic” put into our history standards so teachers would teach that we are a Republic and not a Democracy. After that success along came Common Core, the nationalization of education, which Patti and everyone at the USOE loved. That’s 3 issues, but in Patti’s letter I’m “regularly agitated.” No, I just don’t retire from an issue easily. Someone is worried and upset…

The USOE loves Common Core’s nationalization so much, two officers sent out a letter during the last legislative session touting how HB 342 on getting new education standards was such a big negative it has to be opposed. They wrote:

“This bill essentially gives more power to parents over curriculum standards, would prohibit us from adopting any national standards, and would require a revision of our current math and ELA standards.”

Oh for shame! More power to parents?!?!?! What on earth are we thinking wanting to get away from Common Core!  Prohibited from adopting national standards??? The horrors!

And Patti writes below how I’m a liar and they all want local control…

What these school board members and associations seem to fail to grasp is in their quest for more money in education, they have turned to the federal behemoth who happily hands out our own money with strings attached. “Sure, take these millions of dollars, we just want your children to be tracked, dumbed down, and owned by us.” Oh, but it comes out more like “we’re from the government and we’re here to help. Those were state-led standards we…, err…, the NGA and CCSSO gave you. Yeah, that’s the ticket!”

Here is Patti’s letter.

 

From: “Patti Harrington” <pharrington@usba.cc>
Date: Apr 18, 2014 8:38 AM
Subject: Please OPPOSE proposed Republican Convention resolution on partisan elections for board members

Good morning Board Members (with copies to Superintendents and Business Administrators) –

There is a new resolution that will be proposed in the 2014 Utah Republican Nominating Convention on April 26, 2014 that you may want to review asap.  Your Utah School Boards Association (USBA) leaders are asking that, for those of you who are Republican, to contact your Republican delegates immediately and ensure they vote NO on the Resolution to Promote Partisan School Board Elections.  Here is some helpful background:

  • The resolution is titled Resolution to Promote Partisan School Board Elections and is at the end of this email and can also be found on the Utah Republican Party website at:  http://www.utgop.org/utgop.asp

where you can “click here to view submitted Amendments and Resolutions that will be considered at the convention.”  It is the fourth displayed item.

  • Astoundingly, the resolution states that “. . . most school board members seem to welcome federal control of education, and fail to understand that states are (or should be) sovereign with respect to education, . . .”  and then resolves that “legislators affiliated with the Utah Republican Party are encouraged to enact and support legislation that would make candidates for Utah’s State Board of Education and school districts subject to partisan nomination and election . . . “   Contrary to that blatantly false claim, USBA has always believed in local control and has consistently advocated that the best decisions are made at the local level.  In the 2009 Legislative Session, USBA initiated a bill with supportive legislators: HJR11 Joint Resolution Expressing Support For and Recognizing the Value of Locally Elected Officials (M. Brown).  The bill resolved “that the Legislature recognizes that the close connection of locally elected officials to their communities creates an atmosphere of high accountability in administering fiscal and other important matters.”   The bill passed unanimously in both Utah’s Senate and House.  See: http://le.utah.gov/~2009/bills/hbillenr/hjr011.pdf
  • The resolution to be considered by the upcoming Republican convention has only 6 sponsors listed in support.  The chief sponsor is Oak Norton, a resident of Utah County who remains regularly agitated about public education.   He is leading much of the anti-Common Core fight.
  • USBA has been vitally involved in resisting federal mandates and has been in this discussion for over the last decade when No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was first enforced from Washington DC to Utah’s classrooms.  USBA remains steadfast in support of local control and strongly supportive of public schools being operated by state and local leaders and educators, with policy and regulation by the independent Utah State Board of Education.
  • The new Utah Core standards in Language Arts and Math were largely developed from the common standards developed by the National Governor’s Association (NGA), led by a Republican Governor, and by the Chief Council of State School Officers (CCSSO), working in tandem toward greater rigor and career relevance in standard formulation.  There were no White House officials or U.S. Dept of Education officials in these meetings or working on the standards.  These standards were adopted by the Utah State Board in 2012, following public hearings, and are being implemented across the state.  The State Board has amended some of these standards and added to them, as is the full right of a State Board to control all standards.  The new SAGE tests were developed to measure a child’s ability in each standard and to give excellent prescriptive information to parents, students and teachers, the key users of any test data.  Data are stored and protected according to state and federal law, and by further regulations set forth by the State Board.  Student data have been without security breach for over a decade.
  • Partisan politics has no place in the State Board and certainly not in our local school boards of education.  A bill to support partisan state school board elections in the most recent legislative session was strongly opposed by USBA and it failed.  This Republican resolution concerning local school boards clearly does not reflect the view of Utah’s public and the parents whose children attend our neighborhood schools.

In order to oppose this resolution, you will need to contact the Republican delegates and state leaders from your area that are invited to attend the 2014 Utah Republican Nominating (State) Convention on April 26, 2014.  Thus, your contact must occur before April 26th.  Delegate contact information can be found by calling your county offices and asking for the names of your county Republican delegates.  Thank you!

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

Oak again: please contact your state delegates and ask them to support partisan school board elections and bring new ideas and new leadership to school boards all across Utah.

Scientist has trouble helping daughter with CC math

Sterling Allan submitted this to the Deseret News as an op-ed.

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

The other night I helped my 10-year-old daughter with her math homework because my wife couldn’t figure it out. After I broke away from my work, when I went to help her, past her bed-time, she was crying, and just drawing her pencil back and forth across the first of four questions, totally frustrated.

I’m a scientist, and the first problem took me 20 minutes to figure out; and I seriously doubt she understood my explanation, because I barely figured it out myself. My daughter said that the next day all the kids were talking about how hard it was.

I’m not yet fully immersed in the question of what is the agenda of the corrupt powers that be in this Common Core curriculum, but I have a few thoughts to share. First, when I say “corrupt powers that be”, briefly, I’m referring to the modern secret combination that seeks to destroy America and the principles of freedom upon which she was founded, to make way for a tyrannical New World Order that turns us all into slaves.

For years, their agenda has been the deliberate dumbing down of America through its education system, among other things, such as fluoridating the water, which is a medication to make people docile.

Now that they’ve accomplished the agenda of dumbing us down, it seems their agenda is to try and make the students feel like losers for being so dumbed down. It’s Satan’s lie: “now, look at what a low-life you’ve become, you’re no good, it’s no use trying any more.”

As parents, we’re seriously considering home schooling our kids again, so they can get a proper education and not be brainwashed with whatever agenda the corrupt powers that be are promoting. Our primary reason for sending the kids back to school has been the excellent programs they have for our special needs daughter. The staff have been phenomenal in our experience with the real human beings who are the teachers trying to make it in the system.

I call upon the state legislature to ban Common Core from Utah. Let’s revolt! And finally stand up like we’re supposed to! Just say NO! to such corruption. Be no part of it.

Otherwise, we’ll probably home school our kids again, and we urg others to do the same. We don’t have to subject our kids to this.

See http://UtahnsAgainstCommonCore.com for more info.

Sincerely,

Sterling D. Allan,
(Pure Energy Systems) PES Network, Inc., CEO

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