Lately we’re hearing a lot about America’s teachers leaving their beloved profession. Utah’s State School Board is answering this problem, not by restoring local control over education, but by doubling-down on federal initiatives that dismantle local control over curriculum.
Here’s what every parent and local school board member needs to know about the teacher shortage:
Believe it or not, the teacher shortage was a pre-planned effect of the Common Core testing initiatives. Yep. As we’ve learned from the history of nations, governments create the problem and then step in with the solution (or noose).
And, now that Utah is losing teachers, guess who is already there to help us train more teachers? Yep. The good old Feds and their Global partners. This racket is part of federal STEM initiatives.
Utah’s State School Board will begin giving licenses to teachers who receive training from “Master Teachers.” But, ask yourself this, “Who will be training the Master Teachers and who will the Master Teachers be?”
In July 2012, the Obama administration called for funding for its STEM Master Teacher Corp. The goal is to train (and give federal stipends to) 10,000 Master Teachers in STEM fields—with the end-goal being to train 100,000 STEM teachers in 10 years.
An early announcement for this STEM Master teacher workforce was at the Clinton Global Initiative’s 2011 meeting in Chicago. Here’s what 100Kin10 (a group that answered—after helping create—the Obama administration’s call to build the STEM Master Teacher pipeline) said about itself in July 2016,
“100Kin10 was launched five years ago at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) America Meeting in Chicago in June 2011, with 28 initial partners pledging to go above-and-beyond their existing strategies to help secure 100,000 excellent STEM teachers for America’s classrooms.”
Then, 100Kin10 announced that President Obama was a full partner:
“President Obama Announces 100Kin10 Has Commitments to the Full 100,000 New STEM Teacher Goal”
Then, they said, “100Kin10 joined with President Obama today, on National Teacher Appreciation Day, to announce that it has secured the commitments to train 100,000 new, excellent science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teachers by 2021, achieving a major milestone in the ambitious goal laid out by the President five years ago. As of today’s announcement, the 100Kin10 network of 280+ national partners has collectively pledged more than $90 million to support the development and ongoing support of 100,000 new STEM teachers; and 30,000 new teachers have already been trained. The President highlighted today’s achievement as a feature of his legacy on education.”
Now, don’t forget that STEM teaching and learning means something different to conservatives than it means to progressives, which is why local control of education is so critical. Remember that President Obama thinks that climate change is the world’s worst threat.
“The United States cannot, acting by itself, dramatically reduce poverty and disease or develop sustainable sources of energy. America alone cannot combat terrorism or curb climate change. To succeed, we must collaborate with other countries.
Those new partnerships require American students to develop better critical thinking abilities, cross-cultural understanding, and facility in multiple languages. They also will require U.S. students to strengthen their skills in science, technology, engineering, and math—the STEM fields that anchor much of our innovation in the global economy.
These new partnerships must also inspire students to take a bigger and deeper view of their civic obligations—not only to their countries of origin but to the betterment of the global community. A just and socially responsible society must also be anchored in civic engagement for the public good.”
You’ll want to read the full speech because Arne talks about how Governors jumped onto the Fed’s Common Core bandwagon and that federal education reforms were about global/systemic change, not academic standards.
And, just for a little bit of history, this entire racket was started back in 2009 with the Obama administration’s Educate to Innovate initiative. The White House announced their goals:
Build a CEO-led coalition to leverage the unique capacities of the private sector (what CEO’s do we see leading the STEM initiatives in Utah? Know any of them personally? Share this article with them.)
Prepare 100,000 new and effective STEM teachers over the next decade
Showcase and bolster federal investment in STEM
Broaden participation to inspire a more diverse STEM talent pool
As reported by Science Magazine, “The president’s plan would be to start with 2500 teachers—50 at 50 sites across the country—and add locations over the next 4 years until there were 10,000 teachers in the corps. The teachers, who would serve for 5 years, would be selected by the local districts and deployed as needed.”
Now, that the Feds have surpassed their first objective, their onto training 100,000 progressive teachers—and Utah’s State School Board is right on board with the federal agenda.
Utah’s State School Board elections could not be more critical than this year. Please. Vote for these candidates (which includes Jonathan Johnson for Governor, #HireJJ) so that we can restore local control over what our teachers learn and teach, and what our children learn about what creates freedom. Hint: It isn’t big government.
Utah Teacher Shares Insights about State Approved Online Curriculum that Goes Against Family Values
reposted from www.ReturnToParentalRights.com
A Utah teacher deserves a BIG thank you from parents for taking time to document some of her concerns with the online curriculum used in her high school. The curriculum was approved by the State of Utah. Please take the time to read and share this excellent blog with your family, friends, school board members and legislators.
I would like to preface her blog with this:
In May 2014, conservative columnist George Will asserted that Common Core represented the “thin edge of an enormous wedge” and that “sooner or later you inevitably have a national curriculum.”
What George Will may not have known at the time was that the Obama administration was already using several levers to get states into online curriculum that essentially nationalizes curriculum. One such lever is the #GoOpen Initiative. Utah is a partner (see here and here) in the first consortium of states in the Federal Initiative that are collaborating on online curriculum content. Just as states were incentivized by Waivers and Race to the Top to rubber stamp Common Core standards and assessments, they are being incentivized by the #GoOpen Initiative to rubber stamp curriculum, and to sanction it based on its ability to increase children’s test scores on Common Core-aligned daily, online assessments in learning platforms.
The #GoOpen Initiative is part of a larger global and federal initiative to advance the use of Open Educational Resources (OER). In fact, the US Department of Education appointed a new advisor to help school districts transition to Open Educational Resources. The more states that adopt open-license, no-cost, online curriculum, the more teachers’ curriculum choices can be tracked, and steered, by the Federal Online Learning Registry. The Registry operates like a curriculum filter and ratings system. The Utah Education Network (UEN)—also called the Utah Education Telehealth Network (UETN)— houses online curriculum for Utah schools and is named as the entity implementing Utah’s Master Technology Plan. They are partnered with the Federal Online Learning Registry.
The above realities make it likely that few parents and teachers will know just how anti-family their children’s/students’ curriculum have gotten. We need more teachers to investigate the online curriculum in their schools (as opposed to just using teacher data dashboards to assign curriculum that they don’t see) and to be willing to share what they uncover for the sake of helping parents protect their children’s hearts and minds.
Thank you, Suzan Barnes! You are a hero to us and our children!
• • • • • • • • • •
Online Learning: A Wise Choice for Utah Schools?
Originally posted by Suzan Barnes on June 7, 2016 at: https://standwithme.wordpress.com/2016/06/07/online-learning-a-wise-choice-for-our-nations-schools/
Today online learning is encouraged more and more in our country. Proponents of this method say that computers help students learn better because 1) kids love screens and 2) learning is personalized allowing students to move at their own pace. In this essay, I will show that both of these presumed advantages can turn out to be liabilities. Other liabilities include lack of teacher involvement, lack of real-life experiences, lack of balance in content (specific to Edgenuity online curriculum), and lack of knowledge of content by teachers and parents.
Too Much Screen Time
Yes, kids love screens, and many parents complain that limiting screen-time at home is difficult. Regrettably, extensive use of screens in the classroom only increases screen-time. According to an article by Victoria L. Dunckley, M.D. in Psychology Today, multiple studies have shown that too much screen time causes atrophy in the brain’s gray matter where “planning, prioritizing, organizing, and impulse control” originate. Other areas affected are the striatum where socially unacceptable impulses are suppressed, the insula which provides the capacity for empathy and compassion, and the white matter which enables “communication within the brain and from the brain to the body and vice versa.” Dr. Dunckley concludes,
“In short, excessive screen-time appears to impair brain structure and function. Much of the damage occurs in the brain’s frontal lobe, which undergoes massive changes from puberty until the mid-twenties. Frontal lobe development, in turn, largely determines success in every area of life—from sense of well-being to academic or career success to relationship skills. Use this research to strengthen your own . . . position on screen management, and to convince others to do the same.”
As shown above, children may be eager to learn in front of a screen, but the damage that occurs is likely to have a negative overall effect on their ability to learn.
Online Learning Is Not Personalized
Proponents of online learning say it is personalized to meet the individual needs of each student. In actuality, during an online lecture, the student and the virtual teacher are unable to communicate which essentially precludes personalization and makes online learning better suited to disseminating a single, subjective view of the world.
Lack of Teacher Involvement
When a teacher delivers a lecture, both the students and the teacher are meaningfully engaged in the lesson content. The students must digest the information and demonstrate their understanding of the subject in order to complete subsequent assignments.
By contrast, the teacher’s involvement in online lessons occurs mainly through use of the dashboard. The dashboard alerts a teacher that an action, such as unlocking a quiz, is needed in order for a student to move forward. The teacher can review a student’s scores on assignments leading up to a quiz, or unlock the quiz without looking at the scores. In either case, familiarity with the lesson material or thoughtful review of the students’ work is not required.
One problem that arises from the lack of thoughtful review is that students can copy material from the lesson content and paste it into the response box to get a score of 100% since the computer merely looks for matching or related words.
Every day I see students who scored 70% to 100% on assignments, score 20% to 50% on the quiz that covers the same material. It is likely that the copy-and-paste feature combined with the lack of teacher/student engagement is responsible for this. For these students, the goal is not to learn but to finish as quickly as possible, and teachers who spend much of their time as dashboard monitors have little time to invest in any individual student’s educational experience.
Lack of Real-Life Experiences
Pediatricians recommend zero screen time for children under 2 years of age. An important reason for this is that looking at a ball on a screen is not the same as looking at, touching, and playing with a real ball. Similarly, students learning from pictures and videos are merely gaining static information which is easily forgotten. Much more effective teaching occurs when students interact with real people who respond to them in real-time and with real interest, tossing ideas back and forth to explore a subject. Should teachers wish to facilitate a group discussion of online curriculum content, they would encounter the following difficulties as a result of different stages of their students’ progression: 1) students who are ahead have already moved on and may feel they are wasting their time with repeated information, and 2) students who are behind may have insufficient background to understand the material.
Lack of Balance in Curriculum Content (Specific to Edgenuity)
As I work with students, I encounter essay assignments that prompt me to look into a particular lesson’s content. For example, an essay topic such as, “Do you think that the Founding Fathers were justified in rebelling against the British government?” makes me wonder what in the lesson might prompt a student to answer in the negative. An essay topic such as, “Write an argumentative editorial that argues for or against young people’s ability to initiate positive change in their communities,” makes me wonder if the curriculum’s definition of “positive change” is the same as my own.
To help readers determine whether or not their values align with the Edgenuity curriculum, I have included the following examples of common themes. My experience is mostly in Language Arts, so it is this subject from which these examples are taken.
Language Arts 9 semester 2 contains a unit called “Fighting for Equality.” Rather than encouraging students to become “color blind,” the curriculum creates division by presenting readings where whites are aggressive or oppressive toward other races, thus encouraging all other races to view themselves as victims.
In Language Arts 11 semester 2, repeated references are made to Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique and Susan Glaspell’s “Trifles.” These works lead young women toward dissatisfaction with the role of wife and mother and disrespect for those who fulfill that role. The following themes are drilled into the minds of our young people through repetitious quiz questions.
From “Trifles” –
Women face abuses and injustices in a male-dominated society as symbolized by a bird with a broken neck
Women are “confined” by the duties of wife and mother
Women often feel pressured to conform to society’s expectations
From The Feminine Mystique –
Women frequently go unheard in a male-dominated society
Women can feel suffocated and trapped by society’s expectations
Women who are “stuck” at home often have feelings of dissatisfaction, desperation, and hopelessness.
After students read all the excerpts about how women are suffocated by men, an excerpt from Soldier’s Home by Ernest Hemingway ends with the idea that girls are nice to look at, but not worth making the effort to court or marry. This excerpt encourages the boys to objectify women.
While awareness that some women have experienced oppression has some value, and knowledge of how our culture has evolved is an important part of learning about our nation’s history, the Edgenuity curriculum presents no point of view outside of that cited above. No discussion occurs about the benefits that society in general, and children in particular, receive from women who choose to raise their own offspring and provide well-managed homes for their families. Rather than empowering women to use their talents in whatever way they prefer, young women are encouraged to feel like vengeful victims who must continue “the fight” to overcome the abuses perpetrated by men.
Humans are portrayed as enemies of the earth. One article, “Save the Redwoods,” written by John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club,* compared cutting down a sequoia tree to make wood products with passing General George Washington “through the hands of a French cook [to make] good food” (Language Arts 9 semester 1). The Middle School Reading Course semester 1 contains an entire unit called “Environment: Extreme Weather” which presents global warming as a fact illustrating its consequences through articles such as “Global Warming in Siberia,” “Global Warming and Superbugs,” and “Weather of Tomorrow.”.
Middle School Reading semester 1 also includes multiple units on “The World of Gaming” in which students are assigned to read a “Persuasive Essay against ESRB Labeling Restrictions.” The essay assignment is, “What game do you like to play and why?” While helping a student with a quiz, I came upon a reading informing students that gaming helps develop quicker reflexes and suggesting that they could use that as an argument the next time their parents told them they were spending too much time playing video games. Targeting parents who struggle to limit their children’s game time and suggesting that parents do not know best pits young people against their parents rather than encouraging respect and obedience.
A negative world view
Edgenuity is replete with stories and excerpts depicting conflict and oppression. Some examples from Language Arts 10 semester 1 follow:
“Diary 24” from “The Freedom Writers Diary” by Erin Gruwell (A homeless black girl starts 10th grade at a school where racial tensions are high)
“Two Kinds” by Amy Tan (Mother/daughter conflict)
“Identifying Conflict” (A young girl’s experience in a Nazi camp)
“An Interview with Marielle Tsukamoto: A First-Hand Account of Japanese Internment”
“Night” by Elie Wiesel (A boy’s experience in a Nazi camp)
As stated earlier, knowledge of historical events is a valuable part of an education. However, when students move from one depressing excerpt to another without class discussions which might offer solutions, parallels, and/or opposing viewpoints they can come away with a negative view of the world in which they live. Without class discussions, lessons generally proceed as follows:
Students watch a lecture preparing them for a reading
Students read the text
Students watch another lecture guiding their interpretation of the readings
Students complete at least one assignment pertaining to the material
Students are quizzed to make sure that their interpretation is “correct.”
The process is repeated
Lack of Knowledge of Content by Teachers and Parents
Ideally, teachers would listen to all the lectures and review the entire curriculum frame by frame and gain first-hand knowledge of the material presented. However, keeping up with dashboard alerts creates a fast-paced situation, and since they trusts the curriculum to cover all Common Core requirements, and this step is not required for students to progress and finish the courses, gaining more than incidental knowledge of the curriculum is generally not a priority. If teachers happen to discover a concept with which they do not agree, they can present an opposing viewpoint in a lecture or during a group discussion. But as mentioned above, group teaching presents its own set of difficulties when students are all in different stages of progression and possibly even studying different subjects altogether. Sharing opposing views with each student separately is too time-consuming and could be construed as pushing the teacher’s person values on an individual, so it is not a viable option.
As for parents, if no textbook ever comes home, they have limited access to the ideas being presented to their children. A parent must be aware of an objectionable teaching before they can counter it.
Many factors make it difficult for online learning to deliver a quality education. Quality learning is facilitated by real people exploring ideas and exchanging views through real-life activities and personal interactions. Through online learning, students are lead to accept the point of view put forward by the makers of the program, and as I have shown, much of the content of Edgenuity presents a divisive agenda promoting racism, feminism, and environmentalism along with a generally negative world view.
* Denigration of human life should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the Sierra Club. David Brower, a founder, suggested the following: “Childbearing should be a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license. All potential parents should be required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing.” He further stated, “The goal now is a socialist, redistributionist society, which is nature’s proper steward and society’s only hope.”
This morning Jonathan Johnson called on Utah to end SAGE testing. Tonight Governor Herbert called on the state board to get Utah out of Common Core standards and SAGE testing. Dang I love election years!
With Jonathan Johnson defeating Governor Herbert at the GOP convention 55%-45%, largely influenced by Common Core issues, the Governor no doubt had an awakening. I have never doubted the Governor’s intentions to provide a quality education to Utah children, but I still find this move politically opportunistic to try and salvage his chances of being re-elected. Of course, the Governor can make this call knowing he has no authority to actually carry it out. That belongs to the state board…
Having had several discussions with Jonathan Johnson, I know he is fully committed to principles of local control that I’m not sure the governor is committed to at the same level based on his letter. His letter brings out some positives for sure, but I believe it’s time LEA’s (Local Education Agency) had much greater control over their financing, standards, assessments, data collection and privacy, and the state shrunk back in it’s role interfering with local education (and of course the feds are cut out of the picture completely).
In essence, here is what the Governor said:
-Common Core had a poor implementation (Oak: this is the go-to excuse for all failure programs like Investigations math)
-Naturally, he said there is misinformation on the subject, but added for what I think is the first time, that there are legitimate concerns.
-He asks the state board to change out the standards and keep these three principles in mind: –Maintain high standards in all subject areas –Keep the feds out of education decisions –Preserve local control of curriculum, testing, data collection, and instructional practices.
-Make the process public (not something that happened the first time)
-There are shortcomings to the one-size-fits-all approach. We need standards that are flexible to allow a wide variety of curricular decisions by individual school districts.
-Eliminate the SAGE mandate for high school (and evaluate the effectiveness of it in other grade levels)
-“I have eleven grandchildren in Utah public schools. I have seen firsthand the frustration they and their parents have had over an assignment they did not understand and that teachers struggled to teach.”
Dr. Duke Pesta has given hundreds of presentations around the country on Common Core. Below is a link to one of his very best. It shows the origin of Common Core and those involved with it talking about exactly how it came about and how we won’t know for a decade if it works. To the contrary, we are already seeing evidence that it does not work as math and reading scores are declining nationwide.
The lie that Phil Daro (one of the original drafters of the math standards) declared the creation of Common Core was for social justice to level the playing field, but in reality it is only being played out in that our best and brightest are being held back. Unfortunately the learning gap between the rich and poor has actually widened under Common Core (as predicted). Here’s a report from Stanford on 200 million student’s scores and what they show. Make no mistake, this is 100% on Common Core even though this article doesn’t mention it. Common Core has been around for six years now with full implementation for at least four.
It is unfortunate that when I tried to introduce the elementary math parent review committee to the incredible success California was having with low-socioeconomic students and minorities, increasing their proficiency in algebra one by a 6x factor over 10 years, I was shut down by Diana Suddreth at the USOE. They had no intention of letting Utah switch off Common Core. California’s success didn’t meet the agenda of doing this nationwide experiment on our children.
It’s an election year and I think that’s about all the explanation we need to understand a recent political flier from Governor Herbert. The Governor has to be a little worried about his political race this year. His challenger strongly opposes Common Core and its associated agenda, and Governor Herbert has been one of the strongest advocates for Common Core in the country. It therefore takes special nerve to put out a large color mailer where the very first claim on it is:
Lets look at some of Governor Herbert’s past love affair with Common Core.
“Common Core was designed initially by the states,” Herbert told TheBlaze. “It’s really just a common goal. It predates my time. Governors were upset about the progress of education. We’re falling behind. So states simply said, ‘Why don’t we have a common goal on language arts and math, and whoever you are in this country, when it comes to getting a high school diploma, you have some kind of minimal proficiency?’ That aspect of it was good.”
“We certainly don’t want to have the government overreaching and dictating to the states, certainly not to Utah, about our methodology, how we’re going to do it, what our textbooks are, what our testing is going to be,” Herbert said.
“In fact in Utah, we’ve passed a law to say that can’t happen. We have a law that says if any of this federal overreach somehow gets into our system, we are mandated to get out of it. I think our education, our state school board, our education leaders, we’ve always controlled our own curriculum, we’ve always controlled our own textbooks and testing. We’ll continue to do that in Utah.”
Once you became governor, it was YOUR pen that sealed the deal by signing us onto the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium which agreed to fully implement Common Core and other federal education agenda items. YOUR signature Governor that “[certified] that as a Governing State [we are] fully committed to the application and will support its implementation.”
Then in 2011, YOU signed the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund Application which obligated Utah’s support for four major federal reforms. This is the heart of Common Core. It’s never been just about standards although you and the state office of education have tried to make it that. It’s a much wider net.
The four reforms you signed us onto in this document include redistribution of teachers, setting up massive database tracking on students, adopting Common Core standards and assessments, and putting “turnaround” experts in schools so in time, every school will be reshaped by “experts” instead of teachers and parents.
Governor Herbert also signed the Race to the Top Application Assurances for both phase 1 and 2, promising to implement the four federal reforms listed above. Phase 2 was just to tweak our application and increase our chances at getting money from this federal lottery.
Frankly, I’m surprised anyone believes Common Core was state led anymore. Except for the constant parroting of that lie by the education establishment and those who fail to actually do their homework, Common Core would have died already.
Here’s just a couple of pieces of the pie. David Coleman was one of the chief architects of Common Core itself. In 2008, he helped convince Bill Gates to bankroll this effort, and then began the major effort to convince the governors that they should sign on. Listen to David say it himself, and how Common Core was created by a few people in a room on a napkin.
Our own Utah State Office of Education didn’t even know who was on the drafting committee of the original standards when they were being drafted back in 2009-10!
The standards weren’t state-led, they were Gates-led. Bill Gates’ Foundation gave tens of millions of dollars to the NGA and CCSSO to get them to come together on common standards and then a secretive committee wrote the standards. Why was Bill interested in this? He’s openly stated it. Big business opportunities exist when you standardize. It was never about standards. It always included assessments, and yes, curriculum would be forthcoming as Bill Gates stated in 2009, otherwise we would never know if the standards would work.
Then this would unleash huge market forces (translation: big players like Pearson, McGraw-Hill, Houghton Mifflin, would demolish and put the small players out of business leaving them to rake in billions of dollars as those with monopoly power always do). Watch Bill state it himself back in 2009. Local control of curriculum? Not so much when the now small group of publishers align their texts to the standards and assessments (and now the college entrance exams, CLEP, AP, and GED).
3) On April 6, 2014, Governor Herbert appeared on Red Meat Radio and made this statement:
“Now I recognize that there’s a lot of misunderstanding out there, and some of that’s in part because people think we’re involved in the Common Core, and the difference between that and the Utah core, and we think there’s some kind of a federal overreach here, and that’s an exaggeration.”
So in a classic move under pressure, the Governor sought to play a name game. Lets not call it Common Core anymore because that’s a hot potato that the state superintendent already admitted included federal pressure… Lets call it Utah Core and pretend they’re different.
The Utah State Board of Education adopted the Common Core State Standards as Utah Core Standards in Math and English/Language Arts. I do not believe I have said anything contrary to this. If I have, I apologize.
Thanks for seeking this clarification.
As noted previously, I continue to be willing to meet with you at your convenience to hear your concerns.
Utah adopted the national Common Core standards two days after they were made public, exactly as written.
“I’m stunned. at how much better it ended up than either [House or Senate] bill going into conference. I had a Democratic congressman say to me that it’s a miracle — he’s literally never seen anything like it…
…if you look at the substance of what is there . . . embedded in the law are the values that we’ve promoted and proposed forever. The core of our agenda from Day One, that’s all in there – early childhood, high standards [i.e.,Common Core], not turning a blind eye when things are bad. For the first time in our nation’s history, that’s the letter of the law.”
“We were intentionally quiet on the bill — they asked us specifically not to praise it — and to let it get through,” he explained. “And so we went into radio silence and then talked about it after the fact…. Our goal was to get this bill passed — intentionally silent on the many, many good aspects of the bill…. We were very strategically quiet on good stuff.”…
In fact, after ESSA passed, the Whitehouse released a document stating: “Not only does ESSA cement progress already made, it embraces much of the vision the Administration has outlined for education policy since 2009.”
ESSA’s text was released just a couple days before the vote, naturally. You wouldn’t want people reading something that size before voting on it. After a massive effort by Alyson Williams and a few dozen parents to dissect it in a day, they got that information to our congressional delegation and all four House members and Senator Mike Lee voted against this bill. Yet Governor Herbert said this about ESSA:
“This is a significant step in the right direction in our work to ensure state control of education policy. This bill reinforces that accountability and responsibility for K-12 education rests with the states. It is a clear example of cooperative federalism, which is a core tenant of this association. It emphasizes that states and localities have the freedom to provide students the world-class education they deserve.”
So what is this significant step in the right direction the governor sees?
We got rid of Annual Yearly Progress under NCLB, but what else happened? The federal secretary of education now has the ability to VETO our state education plans (The [federal] secretary shall ‘‘(vi) have the authority to disapprove a State plan”). Testing actually increases under ESSA.
We also got these very troubling additions in ESSA.
(B) OMBUDSMAN.—To help ensure such equity for such private school children, teachers, and other educational personnel, the State educational agency involved shall designate an ombudsman to monitor and enforce the requirements of this part.’’ (pg. 71)
What? Private schools now get government monitors?!?! Yes.
ESSA allows states to use funds to “support programs that reach parents and family members at home [and] in the community.”(pg. 69) The Federal Department of HHS and Education have put together a draft implementation document to show how they recommend this be implemented. Here’s one blogger’s analysis of this plan and below are quotes.
“Implement[s] a vision for family engagement that begins prenatallyand continues across settings and throughout a child’s developmental and educational experiences” (Page 5) See “parenting interventions” (pg. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16) ESSA allows states to use funds to “support programs that reach parents and family members at home [and] in the community.” (https://www.congress.gov/114/bills/s1177/BILLS-114s1177enr.pdf, Pg. 69) States shall “become active participants in the development, implementation, and review of school-parent compacts, family engagement in education policies, and school planning and improvement;” (IBID, pg. 218) Provides grants to turn elementary and secondary schools into “Full-Service Community Schools” with “Pipeline Services” that provide “a continuum of coordinated supports, services, and opportunities for children from birth through… career attainment”, including family health services. (IBID pg. 222, 223, 229)”
What? Family engagement plans with parenting interventions?!?! Yes! The state is an active participant in a new school-parent compact?!?! Yes! PRENATAL development tracking through career attainment?!?!?! Yes! Reducing parents from primarily responsible for their children’s education to a stakeholder in partnership with the state and educators?!?!?!?! Yes!
Governor, which part of this is that “significant step in the right direction” you mentioned above?
Oh thank you, thank you, thank you, Governor Herbert, Senator Hatch, and the other politicians asleep at the wheel who don’t read bills before you pass or evangelize them. Wait… or DID you actually read it??? Maybe you have so fully embraced federal education policies that you value these new interventions???
Three things came out of this report which the Governor and staff fail to ever bring up. The report states that:
Utah’s math and ELA core, were in fact Common Core, something the Governor kept denying. (see point 3 above)
The US Dept. of Education (by imposing waiver conditions and pushing states to adopt federally approved standards) “has infringed upon local and state authority over public education” and that Utah and other states “consented to this infringement through federal coercion.” (emphasis mine)
The report correctly said that “Utah has the legal ability to repeal” Common Core.
Mr. Governor, may I bring your attention to point 2 again?
As for point 3, the governor is exactly right that we didn’t cede state authority. We just don’t exercise the necessary leadership to get us out of this mess because Governor Herbert is the current president of the National Governor’s Association (NGA) which created Common Core with Bill Gate’s money and withdrawing could prove embarrassing and start a bigger chain reaction among states. Governor, you also promised that math and ELA would be the only Common Core subjects Utah would adopt, but now we’ve adopted the Common Core science standards as well.
I encourage you all to read Christel’s full write-up because there are several things the report got wrong. Also realize that it was the Governor’s office that chose the questions the Attorney General was to answer. There are a host of other questions we wanted to have addressed that weren’t.
6) I just received Governor Herbert’s “Open Letter” on Common Core so I have to add a comment about one of the Governor’s claims here. He says:
“I signed into law SB 287 – a bill that makes it illegal for the federal government to have any control.”
No it doesn’t. No law in our state makes it “illegal” for the federal government to have “any control.” They get all the control we cede to them, and we most certainly have. They dictate flexibility requirements, and as noted above there are numerous controls they possess including veto power over our education plans.
Governor Herbert, at Senator Dayton’s request, I drafted that bill (2012 SB 287) you’re referring to. It was to be our *get out of jail free card,* and it’s largely worthless as you signed it. It doesn’t do what you’re suggesting. Oh it sort of did when I drafted it, where I listed off a bunch of triggers that said if any of these things happen, Utah “shall exit” that federal agreement. Unfortunately by the time it reached your pen, it said, “may exit.” Toothless and spineless thanks to interference from some who were nervous we might actually stand up to the federal government. If it did what you actually suggest, why haven’t you utilized it and showed the feds you mean business since some of those triggers have been pulled?
In conclusion, any talk of the Common Core standards being “just standards” or “state-led” is an abominable lie. These standards were masterminded by a small secretive group with an agenda. For more information on that agenda, Please read the following articles.
This article constitutes an attempt to set the record straight. I agree with many of the things the Governor has done the past several years and applaud his efforts in blocking funding to Planned Parenthood, signing the parental rights and opt-out bill that Senator Osmond ran, and many other things. This is not meant to be a personal attack on the Governor himself, but he invites a rebuttal when he infers certain things in his advertising and openly states partial facts. His campaign statements do not reflect a reality of events that are well known nationwide, and even in his own Common Core history.
For what it’s worth I have had a number of conversations with Jonathan Johnson, currently running for Governor against Gary Herbert. I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to have a real conversation about education issues with Jonathan, send him further information, and have him actually read it and get back to me and others with specific thoughts on what we sent him. We might not always agree 100% of the time, but he’s actually put in the time and effort to understand a different point of view. In the past we have tried to discuss issues with Governor Herbert but his reply was always, “talk to my education advisor,” (who also happens to support Common Core in a huge way). As a result of my experience and communications with Jonathan Johnson, I personally endorse him in his bid to become governor. Here are some other important reasons why I support hiring JJ.
We have posted the 2016 legislative scorecard. This is a short list of bills we chose as especially important this session on education issues. Some were Common Core agenda bills, others were tied to important education issues. Rep. Marc Roberts and Senator Margaret Dayton voted with us most often.
Denis Ian, a 30+ year veteran public school teacher in New York, published this on Facebook. With his permission I am posting his writeup here. Denis taught Global History and economics, and was also involved with all sorts of district reforms and innovations. He has a BA and a MS in Education from Iona College in New Rochelle, NY.
The dinner hour has become the national deprogramming hour.
All across America, more and more, parents are discovering that their children are actually attending indoctrinating centers rather than schools … and hauling home the outrageous and almost always wrong, politically-infected version of all things. Perhaps Common Core’s lone, positive fallout is that it has revived the family supper.
Common Core, at the moment, is bad stuff. But it has the potential to become extremely bad stuff. For months, in post after post and article after article, the great debate has been about various lessons and approaches that have emerged. Are they or are they not Common Core sanctioned? I used to think that was a valid question. Not any more.
The very sponsors of Common Core hardly seem to mind these curriculum excursions into their absurdity … such as rewriting American history to coalesce with the current pc mindset. They seem barely shivered by eye-popping, stomach-churning developments in sex education … for the littlest of students … who are now exposed to startling information and vividly detailed sexual escapades … all under the guise of healthy living. The Common Core oligarchs seems somewhat soothed by the politically charged alterations to historical documents and events … provided they tumble to the left of center. In short, Common Core’s whoop seems to be … “Open sesame” … everything and anything is up for “reform”.
Anyone and everyone seems welcomed in the Common Core tent of the macabre. If you’re up for skewering America and its history, hop on board. If you’re inclined toward seedy sexual stuff … welcome home! If you’re in favor of disrupting and disturbing a particular activity like coal or petroleum production … or sanctifying every tree and bog and swamp … then there’s a slot for you in the Common Core mayhem. Itching for a fight about who should control nutrition for kids? You’re welcomed aboard. Cranky about about tenure or teacher sovereignty in the classroom? All aboard. It seems anyone with a beef gets a plate at the Common Core buffet of all-you-can-eat nonsense.
Got beefs? Maybe against the military or the Tea Party? Scribble out a unit or a lesson package. You’re in. Got hang-up about climate change or homosexual marriages? Fire away. Got a bug up your nose about Christianity or religion in general,? Just punch out a screed about fanatics and zealots and it’ll find it’s way into Common Core.
The point? Common Core has given educational cover for a slender minority to pollute the actual education environment with any issue whatsoever … and it seems to give those issues … no matter how hair-brained or offensive … a certain legitimacy. Common Core has become the new “open sesame” because, by its very nature, it suggests that what is, is not acceptable. America must be altered, changed, renovated, rejuvenated, redirected … and most especially … cured. But only if those cure pass a certain muster.
Esteemed historical figures are pilloried at the politically-correct whipping post. Historical documents … which foundationed this nation for centuries … are now seen as attic junk … to be recycled according to the “New Nonsense” of the day.
This is no time to hail this nation. Nope. It needs to be SHAMED. Made to appear as sinful as any other on the planet. It’s time to excoriate those blasphemers who think this is an exceptional nation based on a unique set of principles because, well, it makes us standout a bit too much from the rest of the miserable world. And we can’t have that. No, siree. We’re even cajoled to empathize with the new medievalists … currently on a head-collecting mission in the sands of the Middle East … who will one day rocket us into a modern armageddon of real life-or-death preservation. It now seems wiser to “understand” our enemies than to even question them … to search for the vomit-inducing “root cause” of their bloody neo-medievalism. Ever think we might be playing with a modern Ali Babba who isn’t so randy and dandy as the fictional one of yesteryear? I think not.
In schools today, Christianity is viewed as a dangerous cult, personal responsibility has been replaced by an all-knowing, all-soothing government, and espousing contrarian points of view will get you tattooed as a racist, a xenophile, a homophobe, a sexist, a capitalist-pig, a neanderthal … or a dastardly conservative. Common Core has opened the flood-gates for every miscreant with a special beef to step forward and set the record unstraight … because that is part and parcel of the New Nonsense.
And beware what college claims both your child and your family fortune … because almost all of them are indoctrinating, finishing schools of the very worst sort. You might not recognize the kid who returns home.
Make time for dinner … and save your child. Often. View each bread-breaking opportunity as if it was the last supper.
Thank you for speaking out Denis. If you wonder what to talk about with your children, the answer is anything. Teach them economic principles, stories of perseverance, tidbits from history, and so on. A while back I created a website for topics for dinner discussion and you can find some good ones there. I’m going to be growing it again because I need it as much as anyone else.
These headlines about personalized learning in Education Week (see their newsletter below) give a very good snapshot of how psycho-social research and big brother-style data are converging BECAUSE of federal funding.
The goal for states should be to slow down the personalized learning train and give parents the chance to choose, as Dr. Gary Thompson says, “by informed consent,” whether or not they want their child’s academic and behavioral data tracked in order to control what they learn, and how they are disciplined in schools.
As the Fed’s big-data partner, Knewton’s President Jose Ferreira said, “We have five orders of magnitude more data about you than Google has. We literally have more data about our students than any company has about anybody else about anything, and it’s not even close.”
MarketPlace details, “Jose Ferreira imagines a day when “you tell us what you had for breakfast every morning at the beginning of the semester, by the end of the semester, we should be able to tell you what you had for breakfast. Because you always did better on the days you had scrambled eggs.”
MarketPlace continues, “If the right breakfast makes for a better behaved child, that will be measured, too. Teachers are increasingly relying on behavior monitoring software not only to keep kids on track, but to track them, too. With the help of an iPad, the teacher record’s whether or not your child is being helpful and attentive or talking out of turn. The child is rewarded, often with points, for good behavior. Points are taken away when behavior is not so good.”
This explains why the Fed’s gutted FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) regulations so that healthcare and counseling could be provided in schools without parental consent to “improve student outcomes” on test scores. (We’re from the government, and we’re here to help.)
The ironic thing about the MarketPlace article is that James Steyer from Common Sense Media talks about why it’s important that we get a handle on this data surge. Yet, it is HIS company that met with the White House and is helping them get federalized curriculum to teachers through the White House Learning Registry’s data brokerage system.
So many people are out there trying to “do good” in education. But, they are operating off of the wrong principles. If education is about outcomes, than all this data is necessary and desirable to control everyone. If education is about learning and growing, then agency would be inherent and real “choice” in education would automatically exist.
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Here’s the Education Week newsletter and link. Notice that the headline makes it sound as if schools are pushing for Personalized Learning, but the truth exists beneath the headline: “Produced with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.” For those who still don’t know, Bill Gates partnered with the Obama administration on Race To The Top and the end-goal was to standardize and digitize learning around Common Core and its associated data standards (see here and here).
No Child Left Behind (NCLB):2002 vs Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):2015
(Thank you Wendy Hart for preparing this and Alyson Williams and Jane Robbins for your assistance)
The ESSA has been explained as a significant improvement over NCLB in the areas of federal overreach into education, specifically regarding standards, testing, and accountability measures. In comparing the language between the two bills, this assertion is incorrect. It is true that ESSA gets rid of AYP, but the Secretary of Education and a Peer-Reviewed Committee must approve state plans that may include non-academic and subjective factors that measure ‘student engagement’ or school climate/safety. This summary does not treat the preschool and community learning centers that are also concerns for limited-government conservatives.
In short, this bill purports to fix the problems created under NCLB (some of which were, in fact, created outside of NCLB but incorrectly attributed to it, e.g. Common Core), but there is evidence that it doesn’t, in fact, fix federal overreach, and, in many instances, like in standards and mandated testing, it increases it.
“fair, equitable, high-quality education, close achievement gaps”
Focus changed from equal to equitable and from minimum proficiency in academics to closing achievement gaps
“…State shall not be required to submit such standards to the Secretary [of Education].” p. 1445
Challenging standards same for all schools in the state that 1) specify knowledge and skills for students 2) coherent and rigorous content 3) encourage teaching advanced skills 4) coordinate with 6 federal statutes, 5) English, math, science.
Aligned to State standards. Describe 2 levels of high achievement (proficient and advanced). Describe a 3rd level (basic)
Secretary approves plans unless requirements not met. p. 1456
“State shall not be required to submit any standards… to the Secretary [of Education] for review or approval… Secretary shall not…mandate, direct, control, coerce or exercise any direction or supervision over State…standards.” p. 51
Challenging academic content standards: includes requirement for: 1) consultation with Governor, legislature, teachers, etc. 2) coordination with 11 different Federal programs including IDEA, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOWA) 3) same for all schools in the state with exceptions, 4) English, math, science or others 5) “aligned with entrance requirements for credit-bearing coursework in…higher education…and…career and technical education standards.” p. 48
Specification on US Dept of Ed Review Committee for approving state plans.
Details on when the Secretary can disapprove plans. p. 42-3
Much of the language is similar. . Standards not required to be submitted for approval. Secretary still has discretion to approve or disapprove plans.
Standard specifications much more detailed under ESSA. ESSA requires coordination with 11 federal statutes instead of 6. ESSA requires standards to align with post-secondary coursework. The only current widely-adopted set of standards that are aligned is Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards. This alignment continues to set the stage for national standards (Common Core or similar) that will meet this expectation.
Requires testing as follows: In English math, and science at least once: 1) grades 3- 5, 2) grades 6-9, and 3) grades 10 -12. Involves multiple academic measures including “higher-order thinking skills and understanding;” p. 145095% participation rate required of all students and all subgroups.
Requires testing as follows: In English and math: 1) in each grade 3 – 8 2) at least once in grades 9-12 In science at least once in 1) grades 3-5, 2) grades 6-9, 3) grades 10 -12. Any other subject the state deems to requires, on a schedule set by the state. Involves multiple up-to-date measures, including higher-order thinking skills, may include measures of student growth, partially determined in the form of portfolios, projects. p. 5495% participation rate required of all students and all subgroups.No parental opt-out of testing is allowed that would hold harmless schools or districts with a lower participation rate on required testing. (p.76)Assessment time is limited (p.76)
Testing has actually increased under ESSA. However, most state plans already include testing of every grade level, starting in 3rd grade at a minimum. But NCLB only requires 3 tests in the 3 different subjects throughout a child’s K-12 experience. ESSA requires 2 tests over 7 years and 1 test over 3 years minimum.
ESSA has greater detail given to other measures that ‘may’ be included on assessments.
95% participation rate maintained. Penalties follow for lower participation, effectively nullifying parental opt outs of testing for federal purposes. State laws allowing parental opt out are allowed, but meaningless for district and school accountability.
The limitation on assessment language has the effect of increasing federally-incentivized testing (under this Act) and reducing local or state testing. Since this is federal law, the federally-required tests will be given. Should additional testing exceed the limit under this part, the state and local assessments will be dropped. It is an increase in federal testing, in practice.
The term ‘waiver’ applies to the section it is in. It is to be initiated by the LEA or State Education Agency and could be granted for things such as financial hardship, natural disaster, or if the state could find a better way to meet a given objective.
The Secretary has no power to establish new terms. p. 1972
Illegal NCLB Waivers from letter dated Sep. 23, 2011 terminated after Aug. 1, 2016. p. 7-8 The term ‘waiver’ applies to the section it is in. It is to be initiated by the LEA or State Education Agency and could be granted for things such as financial hardship, natural disaster, or if the state could find a better way to meet a given objective.The Secretary has no power to establish new terms. p. 819 – 822
ESSA modifications of language are more administrative than substantive.
In 2011, the Secretary of Education granted waivers from penalties under NCLB in exchange for new terms, including, for all practical purposes, using the Common Core standards. NCLB contains no provision for this, and scholarly articles, such as Vanderbilt Law Review, April 2015 (http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2485407) call the use of this power unconstitutional. “This Article demonstrates that this exercise of power was beyond the scope of the Secretary’s statutory or constitutional authority. “ In short, the Secretary violated NCLB. There is no recourse for the states under either NCLB or ESSA to prohibit similar action from occurring.
State retains the right to enter in to voluntary partnerships with other states. Zeldin amendment added in the House. Prohibits penalties should states choose to exit Common Core.
Since NCLB didn’t require Common Core, only the unconstitutional waiver process, there is no practical effect to this legislation. It’s a nice ‘Sense of Congress’, but the required alignment of standards to credit-bearing coursework and career (see above) will enshrine Common Core and nationally ‘certified’ programs and processes to meet this requirement.
Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP): State establishes a measure of proficiency and standards for that proficiency, as well as a timeline for AYP that leads to 100% proficiency in 12 years (2014) . Measures of different subgroups defined. Interim goals that require minimum proficiency requirements toward the 100% proficiency by 2014. Indicators of proficiency must be valid and reliable. pp. 1446-8
AYP is replaced with Long-term goals: 1) improved academic proficiency on annual assessments (see above) 2) high-school graduation rates 3) terms of goals are the same for all students and subgroups 4) may include student growth measures 5) another statewide valid and reliable indicator 6) indicator(s) of school quality, may include: student engagement, educator engagement, access and completion of advanced coursework, postsecondary readiness, school climate and safety, any other measure chosen by the state. pp. 80-85
AYP proficiency requirements on state-determined tests and standards are now removed. They are replaced with state-determined measures of improvement on state-determined standards and tests. As noted above, the state-determined standards and tests have greater requirements in federal legislation under ESSA than under NCLB.
Additionally, the measures of improvement include much more than academic achievement, and cause concern for parents that the state will requirement assessment of things outside their purview. What does the state’s assessment of student engagement or school safety look like? How is this to be objectively measured?
Prohibitions on Federal Government
Sec. 9527 “Notwithstanding any other provision of Federal law, no State shall be required to have academic content or student academic achievement standards approved or certified by the Federal Government, in order to receive assistance under this Act.” p.1983
Sec. 8527 “Notwithstanding any other provision of Federal law, no State shall be required to have academic content or student academic achievement standards approved or certified by the Federal Government, in order to receive assistance under this Act.” p. 844
Identical or similar language in both prohibitions sections. ESSA includes more detail “including via grant, cooperative agreement, …” But legally, they cover the same ground.