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New to Common Core?  Watch this excellent presentation on the Common Core agenda. It's a lot more than just standards.

Also watch the powerful Common Core documentary movie which the Home School Legal Defense Association just released. This 40 minute documentary gives you the inside story from the lips of those involved in the creation of Common Core.

Have you heard that the "Utah Core" isn't "Common Core"? Let the facts and Superintendent Menlove correct any misperceptions for you.

News

Scientist has trouble helping daughter with CC math

Sterling Allen 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

Superintendent Menlove’s Letter on Opting Out

Superintendent Menlove issued the following letter to schools  just over a week ago.

http://www.schools.utah.gov/board/Meetings/Summary/materials/Opting-outofstatetesting.aspx

Utah State Office of Education

April 7, 2014

OPTING-OUT OF STATE TESTING
There continues to be some confusion about students and/or parents opting-out of end-of level (SAGE and DWA) or other state-wide testing. Please be aware of the following as you have conversations with parents about opting-out of testing and in the development of opt-out forms.
1. Parents have the right to opt their children out of any testing required by or facilitated through the Utah State Board of Education. This includes all SAGE tests, Direct Writing Assessments, ACT (complete battery), ASAVB, NAEP, ACCESS testing for English Language Learners and UAA testing for Students with Disabilities.
2. When a student over 18 years old, or a parent or guardian opts-out of a state-level test, there is no requirement for an optional or alternative test to be given. For example, opting-out of a test taken on a computer does not necessitate that a “paper-pencil” test be offered as a replacement.
3. When a student over 18 years old, or parent or guardian opts-out of a state-level test, no academic penalty shall result for the student. If teachers/schools use any of these tests for grading/promotion decisions, some alternative assessment will need to be provided.
4. Opting-out of end-of-level testing, and participating in end-of-level testing, both result in de-identified and aggregated individual student data being reported to the federal government. The difference in the data shared on all public school students as required by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is that the proficiency level for a student who opts out will not be reported while a tested student’s proficiency level will be reported as the proficiency level (1 – 4) determined by the testing.
5. Any student who is in school and not participating in testing should be engaged in a meaningful educational activity. Students not participating in any testing should not be singled out in any negative way nor should the student or the class be administratively punished in any way because a student opts out of testing. Items #6 and #7 address potential consequences for teachers and schools as a result of opting-out.
6. As per action taken by the Utah State Board of Education on April 4, 2014, a student who opts-out of testing will not receive a proficiency score, and for State purposes will not be counted against participation rates. However, these students will be reported as non-participants on federal reports and accountability and this may impact an LEA’s qualification for and the receiving of certain federal dollars.
7. As per current Utah State Office of Education Policy, a student who has not opted-out and is absent from school, and therefore does not participate in testing, is counted as a non-participant (both State and federal reporting) and may impact the school’s participation score which is included in the calculation for the school’s letter grade. An absent student is not included in calculating proficiency for a class, grade, or school.

The Pope strikes out at Common Core

Didn’t see this one coming… :)  From a speech Pope Francis gave over the weekend that dealt with moral and religious issues, comes this report on the Cardinal Newman Society website.

And in this regard I would like to express my rejection of any kind of educational experimentation with children. We cannot experiment with children and young people,” the Holy Father reportedly said. “The horrors of the manipulation of education that we experienced in the great genocidal dictatorships of the twentieth century have not disappeared; they have retained a current relevance under various guises and proposals and, with the pretense of modernity, push children and young people to walk on the dictatorial path of ‘only one form of thought.”The Holy Father also reportedly warned against the dangers “posed by contemporary culture and widespread mentality propagated by the mass media.”

Dr. Andrew Seeley, executive director of the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education and a tutor at Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Calif., warned in “The Common Core vs. the Classical Roots of Catholic Education” that the goals and methods of the Common Core are fundamentally at odds with the discovery of Truth at the heart of an authentically Catholic education.

Seeley stated his belief that “under the guise of mutual understanding, curricular materials are likely to usher in an aggressively secular orthodoxy,” and the Common Core will in fact become a “dictatorship of relativism.”

- See more at: http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/CatholicEducationDaily/DetailsPage/tabid/102/ArticleID/3192/Pope-Francis-Defends-Parents%E2%80%99-Right-to-Decide-%E2%80%98Moral-and-Religious%E2%80%99-Education-for-Children.aspx#sthash.r3laNGgX.dpuf

Teacher Fired for Criticizing Standardized Test

Granite School District teacher Ann Florence has been fired during Spring Break so Granite School District could avoid as much of a media storm as possible. This action is unconscionable. Please read this post to the end and take action by emailing the people below your thoughts about them firing a wonderful and experienced teacher. As teachers find themselves reducing their teaching time (by as much as 20% of the school year by some accounts), in order to administer standardized tests, they are becoming increasingly worried about their students, as well as their own sanity as you’ll see below. Their free speech is curtailed just as it always is by narrowly-focused (I wanted to write small-minded but thought that might be perceived rudely) bureaucrats who have a very misplaced concern for children’s needs.

We must ask, what is the purpose of education? What is local control? I’ll tell you what it isn’t: It’s not bureaucrats and legislators trying to make teachers accountable through increased testing of children. Local control is a parent, responsible and concerned for the education of their children, communicating with a teacher about their children, and the three interested parties developing a plan that makes the teacher accountable to the parent and child to impart their knowledge. Testing is a part of education but that is best left to the teacher to evaluate students, and communicate with parents ensuring they know where their child has deficiencies to be able to appropriately address their children’s needs. Teachers need a quality program though. Fads like constructivist math damage children and Common Core has embraced this. The combination of good standards for a proper path of education, good teachers, good curriculum, parental involvement, and of course students’ needs, will do more to help educate children than anything else the state could implement.

Now to Ann. From all accounts, Ann was a superb teacher who was providing a wonderful educational experience for her students. Christel Swasey wrote up Ann’s being put on administrative leave days ago and noted that a year ago, Ann wrote an op-ed for the Tribune and said this:

“Managing teachers through intimidation is not working… teachers are looking for work elsewhere. Teachers who have loved their jobs are discouraging their own children from pursuing careers in education…. we feel exhausted and demoralized by the avalanche of mandates from the state and district… While legislators constantly raise expectations and think they can motivate us by publicly posting test scores, our time for teaching has shrunk….I now administer 19 days of standardized tests, costing me an entire month of instruction. This doesn’t include the days the testing site is down or the system crashes, eating up even more days…. I am held accountable for nine months of curriculum without enough time to teach it… Granite District has required teachers to learn the new Common Core, use a new grades program (which crashes regularly), design a new honors curriculum, use a new online system requiring the scanning and posting of all assignments and a daily summary of class activities, and learn to analyze complex data … No test score reflects the number of students who return to thank a teacher, the number who fall in love with reading again, gain new confidence to speak up in class, find solace in a teacher’s support, decide to try one more time just when they want to quit…  We are tired of having our dedication reduced to a number.”

The Trib yesterday reported the firing of this teacher thus:

“Florence was placed on administrative leave March 27 after she told her first-period class that she was facing disciplinary action and might be fired. Spring break began March 28, and the letter was mailed March 31.

When students learned of the disciplinary action on March 27, they started a petition drive and obtained nearly 100 signatures in one day supporting their teacher.

Florence refused to grade the writing portion of the districtwide Acuity Test. She said the exam was a waste of students’ and teachers’ time, did not further any education agenda and that it was unethical to have teachers grade their own students on a standardized test that then would be used to judge the teacher.

In a letter to her students, she said she loved her career but had to stand up for principle.”

Hmmmm, now why would this teacher be fired for criticizing a standardized test??? Could it be that she is interfering with district revenue? Looks like McGraw-Hill is offering a reward to help pilot their exam.

Acuity Incentives

State Superintendent Menlove just sent out this letter across the state as a stern warning to teachers.

“Testing environments need to be maintained to assure accurate testing of students without outside interference.  Only those authorized educators should be in the room(s) while testing is occurring.

I sent a document Monday concerning opting-out of testing.  Parents have the right to opt students out of testing.  However, this right is not extended to anyone other than a child’s parent or guardian.   I believe it is a violation of testing protocol and educator ethics for a licensed educator to encourage or suggest that individual students or groups of students not participate fully in State administered testing.

Please communicate with all licensed educators that those involved in sharing, or allowing the sharing, of any SAGE, DWA or other State assessment items will be referred to the Utah Professional Practices Commission and action may be taken against their teacher license This includes the requirement that all testing protocols will be followed.

Additionally, those who do not honor a parent’s right to opt out of testing, or those who inappropriately encourage or facilitate opting-out will also be referred to the Utah Professional Practices Commission for possible action against their license.”

Teachers should honor a parent’s right to opt out. But they should also be more concerned about the students in their care than some bureaucrat who wants to feed “big data” with a monstrous stream of data to the detriment of children.Please read this article by Jane Robbins of the American Principles Project on “Common Core and Data Collection” which contains this troubling quote from Sec. of Ed. Arne Duncan:

“Hopefully, some day, we can track children from preschool to high school and from high school to college and college to career . . . . We want to see more states build comprehensive systems that track students from pre-K through college and then link school data to workforce data. We want to know know whether Johnny participated in an early learning program and then completed college on time and whether those things have any bearing on his earnings as an adult.”

Help protect our teachers

Please take a moment and write a polite email of support for Ann and other teachers to the following. Send emails separately or put them on the BCC (Blind carbon copy) line of your email.

Granite’s Superintendent Martin Bates: mwbates@graniteschools.org

State Superintendent Dr. Martell Menlove: Martell.Menlove@schools.utah.gov

Wasatch Jr High Principal Christine Judd: crydalch@graniteschools.org

Wasatch Jr High Asst. Principal John Anderson: jcanderson@graniteschools.org

State School Board:

kbuswell@wadman.com; jensen1brit@earthlink.net; dthomas@summitcounty.org; krb84010@aol.com; dgriffiths@tannerco.com; lesliebrookscastle@gmail.com; jj@jenniferajohnson.com; heather.groom@gmail.com; crandall@xmission.com; jeffersonRmoss@gmail.com; dixieleeallen@gmail.com; markopenshaw@gmail.com; debrar@netutah.com; barbara.corry@schools.utah.gov; teresatheurer1@gmail.com; jensenmk@ldschurch.org; freddiecooper1@comcast.net; jamesvolsen@gmail.com; kelinkowski@msn.com; dbrowley@q.com;

Granite School Board:

ggandy@graniteschools.org; thbawden@graniteschools.org; clanderson@graniteschools.org; ccburgess@graniteschools.org; jmjolley@graniteschools.org; dlofgren@cowboy.us; srmeier@graniteschools.org;

Governor Herbert: http://governor.utah.gov/goca/form_comment.html (copy/paste your email into this form to send it to the Governor)

Your legislators: http://le.utah.gov (lookup by address here)

 

Trib Talk: UACC’s Christel Swasey vs. USOE’s Judy Park on SAGE Tests

Provided by Whitne S:

“The Salt Lake Tribune invited UACC’s Christel Swasey to face off with Judy Park from the Utah State Office of Education regarding the increasing number of parents opting their children out of SAGE. Among items discussed were Ms. Park’s claim that Utah can make any “revisions, changes, or adjustments that Utah chooses to make” to the Common Core standards. See Christel’s polite disagreement based on the actual documents Utah signed. Christel even received an indirect answer to her long-awaited question regarding pilot testing. Ms. Park explains why she believes pilot testing is “not possible” nor necessary. Christel’s closing remarks make the whole video worth the time.”

Governor thinks we’re not on Common Core?

Connor Boyack of the Libertas Institute posted this to Facebook over the weekend

In an interview yesterday on Red Meat Radio (a local political talk show on Saturday mornings), Governor Herbert said:

“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.”

He then proceeded to argue that those who are concerned should air their grievances with the local and state school board, citing Alpine School District as a case study where concerned parents were successful in getting the Math curriculum changed.

(Interestingly, Oak Norton and others who fought for that change are prominently fighting against Common Core as well, which the Governor dismisses as mere “misunderstanding” on the part of these parents…)

Evidently the governor isn’t aware that State Superintendent Menlove and our own state filings agree that Utah is on Common Core and the Common Core website shows Utah as having adopted Common Core.

The difference between the Utah core and Common Core, which I would expect our governor to know, is that the Utah core covers other subjects besides ELA and math, but those two subjects were fully adopted by Utah without any changes as source documents clearly show and the State Superintendent agrees.

The fact that the governor thinks there is no federal overreach is troubling. The feds funded both assessment consortia (SBAC and PARCC) and coerced the states with Race to the Top money to adopt the standards.

http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/what-did-they-used-to-say-about-common-core-just-listen/

http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/state-board-audio-transcript-on-adopting-common-core/

http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/common-cores-metric-makes-informational-texts-trump-literature/ (Plans exist to merge SBAC and PARCC)

Interesting statistic after a decade of corporate education reforms

From: http://www.angelaengel.com/latest-news/128-the-data-to-prove-it

“Corporate Reform and high-stakes testing was sold on two premises: “We need to close the achievement gap and better prepare students for college.” A decade and a half later the facts are in: the number of at-risk students and college remediation rates has DOUBLED! It has never been about kids, it has always been about making more MONEY.
Risking Students, Raising Test Scores:

In 2000 163,052 children were identified as at-risk
In 2013 305,261 children are identified as at-risk

There was a 55% increase in the proportion of at-risk students in the student population.”

SB 122 – All parents can opt out of SAGE tests

opt out of common core testsGovernor Herbert signed SB122 into law today. All Utah parents can now opt their children out of SAGE tests from any school without repercussion to your child, the teacher, or the school. De-stress your children and tell them to tell their friends they got opted out of the SAGE tests. Trust me, their friends will think it’s amazing and word will spread like wildfire.

The State Board of Education will be discussing the topic of what to do now at their board meeting this Friday. So if your child attends school in Nebo, Harmony, My Tech High, etc…, you can proceed opting them out of the SAGE tests immediately (although, because of the contract some of you signed that your children would take the SAGE test or pay the school back, you may have to take the test or pay the fee this year. Beg the school to change their policy based on the new law, if not immediately, at least for next year.).

Why would you want to opt out? Watch the video at this post to learn why.

Here are the relevant lines from SB 122.

http://le.utah.gov/~2014/bills/static/SB0122.html

“(9) (a) Upon the written request of a student’s parent or guardian, an LEA shall excuse the student from taking a test that is administered statewide or the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

(b) The State Board of Education shall ensure through board rule that neither an LEA nor its employees are negatively impacted through school grading or employee evaluation due to a student not taking a test pursuant to Subsection (9)(a).”

We will come out with a new form but if you just copy/paste this onto a sheet of paper, it will suffice for now.

I am opting my child, ____________, out of all computer adaptive tests including practice tests, under Utah state law, SB 122, signed by Governor Herbert on April 2, 2014 which states:

“(9) (a) Upon the written request of a student’s parent or guardian, an LEA shall excuse the student from taking a test that is administered statewide or the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

(b) The State Board of Education shall ensure through board rule that neither an LEA nor its employees are negatively impacted through school grading or employee evaluation due to a student not taking a test pursuant to Subsection (9)(a).”

Leaked Letter: Panicked Common Core Creators Want Documentary Discredited –or Not Seen

Repost from Christel Swasey’s blog

 

building the machine

A  revealing CCSSO letter, leaked to the public, reveals Common Core investors’ collective panic about Ian Reid’s new film, Building the Machine.

Missouri Education Watchdog and Breitbart News  reported that CCSSO deputy executive director Carissa Miller’s letter shows top Common Core moneymaking / grant-receiving businesses are combining to discredit the Common Core documentary.  Many businesses need Common Core’s claims to be believed, or they lose this gold rush.  So they’re trying to stop it, understandably.

And if the documentary is seen despite their efforts to discredit it, the groups have laid a plan to smother the truth with smooth “positive” talking points and with a soon-to-be-released documentary of their own.

If you watch the film, you’ll know why they’re panicking.   Truth is truth.

The documentary solidly wipes out the “higher standards” claims of Common Core’s creators, using filmed speeches by Common Core’s creators and funders, and using interviews with top Stanford professors, Common Core validation committee members and respected members of think tanks, both for and against Common Core.  Importantly, it shows that the real issue of education reform is not even about academics, ultimately;  it’s about power.

The CCSSO doesn’t want people to know this power struggle exists.  But it does exist.  In fact, who ends up holding decision-making power is the main conflict inside ed reform, despite all the pleasant words about education standards.

As the backers of the new documentary succinctly put it:

“…This issue is  far more than what standards public schools should use. It is about who will decide how and what our children are taught.” -William Estrada, in Breitbart interview.

You can read the leaked letter here.  You can watch the movie here.

I want to point out this part of the panic-letter:

“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Fordham [Institute] have put together the attached two documents that can be used to clarify the vast amount of misinformation that will be circulated as a result of the movie. Please note – these are EMBARGOED until Monday, March 31st…. The U.S. Chamber is in the final stages of producing their own Common Core mini-documentary…  Below we’ve include some tips for messaging and responding to the critical questions this film may generate in your state. We will send out the Chamber video when it is released.

Regards,

Carissa

————————–

Why do they just include “tips for messaging and responding” rather than including documentation, facts, links to contracts and legally valid, scientifically valid evidence?  Evidence is not wanted.  Only marketing, ”messaging.”

carissa-moffat-miller

FYI:    Carissa is  Carissa Miller, CCSSO deputy executive director.

For newcomers:  The CCSSO is a nontransparent group that co-created the Common Core and then partnered with the federal Department of Education to collect data on a national level.  It’s the same group that openly admits it has a “commitment to disaggregation of student data.”

I call the CCSSO a “superintendents’ club”.  It does not include all state superintendents nor is it an elected body.  The CCSSO seems want the public to believe –as does its twin sister, the NGA– that it has voter-designated authority to boss states around.  It does not.  Neither has authority and neither represents voters like our Congress does.  Repeat:  CCSSO and NGA have no elected authority.  Do not be decieved by their pomp.  They are just private groups that combined to create and copyright Common Core, heavily influenced/ funded by philanthopist-turned-takeover-king Bill Gates.

If you care about the traditional American voice of the local voter setting policy, rather than having closed-door private cliques that partner with the feds setting local policy, please oppose  these  goals of the CCSSO.  Make your voice heard.  Let your State Superintendent know you want him/her to bow out of membership in this club to focus energy on local control of education.

–While you’re at it, send your superintendent a link to the movie. 

I hope every American watches it.

 

building the machine

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