Can Governor Cuomo Do New York Students’ Common Core Homework?

486px-Andrew_Cuomo_by_Pat_Arnow_croppedCan New York Governor Andrew Cuomo do the homework that is being assigned to students across his state?

That’s exactly what Stop Common Core in New York State would like to find out.  New Yorkers have been hit with changes in high-stakes assessments and their children are being inundated with inappropriate homework that has stumped students and parents alike.  Mark Ferreris, with Stop Common Core in New York State, came up with the idea of starting a campaign to highlight the problem and bring pressure to bear on the person they see as being responsible.

Here is the summary of the campaign they are launching:

OK WARRIORS…..Time to TAKE ACTION……..Our children suffer each night with abusive, age inappropriate homework that destroys both their self-esteem and their freedom to truly learn. We want all of you to send your children’s homework via email or regular mail, every night to the man who continues to make this happen …CUOMO….

Title the email/mail " CAN YOU DO THIS because Our Children Can’t" and let him get a taste of the suffocating, mind-numbing curriculum that he’s helped shove down our children’s throats which will enslave their impressionable minds…..It’s Simple, It’s Quick and it’s for YOUR CHILDREN….Flood him with emails daily or send weekly updates to him.

They are asking New York parents to email Governor Cuomo at Gov.Cuomo@chamber.state.ny.us or mail him at:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
Office of the Governor
NYS State Capital Building
Albany, NY 12224

Those who have Twitter can take a picture of their child’s homework and tweet it to @NYGovCuomo.

The campaign started Wednesday and will go until May 30th.  You can see the Facebook event page here.

GovCuomoCanYouDoIt

Photo credit (picture at top): Pat Arrow (CC-By-SA 2.0)

South Dakota House Narrowly Rejects Common Core Resolution

PierreSD_CapitolThe South Dakota House of Representatives narrowly rejected HCR 1008.  This is unbelievable.  All this bill did was to urge the South Dakota Board of Education to refrain from expanding the Common Core State Standards or any other multi-state standards (like the Next Generation Science Standards) into the state.  It did not direct the board to do so.

And some state representatives couldn’t agree to even doing that?  I think South Dakotans deserve answers from those who voted no (which includes the Speaker of the House and House Majority Leader): State Representatives Julie Bartling (D-Gregory), Lance Carson (R-Mitchell), Kristin Conzet (R-Rapid City), Dan Dryden (R-Rapid City), Mary Duvall (R-Pierre), Marc Feinstein (D-Sioux Falls), Peggy Gibson (D-Huron) Brian Gosch (R-Rapid City), Anne Hajek (R-Sioux Falls), Paula Hawks (D-Hartford), Spencer Hawley (D-Brookings), Troy Heinert (D-Mission), Bernie Hunhoff (D-Yankton), Timothy Johns (R-Lead), Kevin Killer (D-Pine Ridge), Patrick Kirschman, David Lust (R-Rapid City), David Novstrup (R-Aberdeen), Herman Otten (R-Tea), Scott Parsley (D-Madison), Jim Peterson (D-Revillo), Ray Ring (D-Vermillion), Fred Romkema (R-Spearfish), Tim Rounds (R-Pierre), Tona Rozum (R-Mitchell), Kyle Schoenfish (R-Scotland), Dean Schrempp (D-Lantry), Jacqueline Sly (R-Rapid City), Karen Soli (D-Sioux Falls), Mike Stevens (R-Yankton), Burt Tulson (R-Lake Norden), Kathy Tyler (D-Big Stone City), Dick Werner (R-Huron) and Susan Wismer (D-Britton).

The Rapid City Journal reports that the South Dakota Senate last week failed to pass a resolution that would implement a two year study of the Common Core State Standards.  It failed to pick up the required 2/3 majority.  On a positive note they did pass bills that would prevent expanding the Common Core standards to other subjects until July 2016.  This should bar the South Dakota Board of Education from adopting the Next Generation Science Standards if they were inclined to take that up for the time being.  Also the South Dakota Senate passed a bill that seeks to protect the privacy of student records.

Photo credit: Jeffrey Allen (CC-By-SA 3.0)

A Formal Response to the CCSSO Letter on Student Data Privacy

privacy36 groups in 26 states co-signed this letter written by Dr. Karen Effrem, President of Education Liberty Watch and co-founder of the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition, in response to a letter that members of the Council of Chief State School Officers sent to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.  Since Truth in American Education is a network made up of different organizations and individuals we were not a co-signer, but several of the groups and individuals who comprise our network did.  You can read Karen’s response below:

By Karen Effrem

On January 23rd, 2014, thirty-four chief state school officers sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan trying to reassure the public that individual student test data will not be given to the federal government and that that data is safe as the Common Core national standards and federally funded and supervised national tests are put into place.

Here are the important quotes from that letter:

  • “We are writing today to confirm that the consortia will not share any personally identifiable information about K–12 students with USED or any federal agency.”  (Emphasis in original)
  • “Our states have not submitted student-level assessment data in the past; the transition to the new assessments should not cause anyone to worry that federal reporting requirements will change when, in fact, the federal government is prohibited from establishing a student-level database that would contain assessment data for every student.”
  • “As we have historically done, our states will continue to provide USED with school-level data from our state assessments as required under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended in 2002. Our states and local education agencies will continue to retain control over student assessment data and will continue to comply with all state and federal laws and regulations with regard to the protection of student privacy.”
  • “We are confirming that our states will not provide such information to USED and that everything we have said here is consistent with our understanding of the cooperative agreement between the consortia and USED.”

These statements are problematic on a multitude of levels for the following reasons:

  • The testing consortia are under obligation to the U.S. Department of Education to provide individual student test data via the cooperative agreements that they signed:

“Comply with and where applicable coordinate with the ED staff to fulfill the program requirements established in the RTTA Notice Inviting Applications and the conditions on the grant award, as well as to this agreement, including, but not limited to working with the Department to develop a strategy to make student – level data that results from the assessment system available on an ongoing basis for research, including for prospective linking, validity, and program improvement studies; subject to applicable privacy laws” (Emphasis added)

  • The most applicable privacy law, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), has been so weakened via regulation that there is no real protection of individual student data.

§99.31   Under what conditions is prior consent not required to disclose information?

  • Individual student data may be released without consent to organizations and entities that have “legitimate educational interests,” which basically means for any reason that a state or the federal governments or researchers or corporations want to use the data in conjunction with any state or federal program.

(a) An educational agency or institution may disclose personally identifiable information from an education record of a student without the consent required by §99.30 if the disclosure meets one or more of the following conditions:

(1)(i)(A) The disclosure is to other school officials, including teachers, within the agency or institution whom the agency or institution has determined to have legitimate educational interests.

  • The regulations give private corporations, foundations, and researchers or even volunteers access to our children’s data without parental consent.

(B) A contractor, consultant, volunteer, or other party to whom an agency or institution has outsourced institutional services or functions may be considered a school official under this paragraph provided that the outside party—  (Emphasis added)

(1) Performs an institutional service or function for which the agency or institution would otherwise use employees;

(2) Is under the direct control of the agency or institution with respect to the use and maintenance of education records; and

(3) Is subject to the requirements of §99.33(a) governing the use and redisclosure of personally identifiable information from education records.

  • FERPA currently allows data to be given without consent to authorized representatives of the following entities including the US Department of Education, which combined with the cooperative agreement quoted above make the state chiefs letter MEANINGLESS.  The authorized representatives include the “contractor, consultant or volunteer” entities quoted above :

(3) The disclosure is, subject to the requirements of §99.35, to authorized representatives of—

(i) The Comptroller General of the United States;

(ii) The Attorney General of the United States;

(iii) The Secretary [of Education]; or (Emphasis added)

(iv) State and local educational authorities.

  • The regulations  give the states and the consortia carte blanche to “legally” give individual student test and other data to the federal government without consent to continue to develop and evaluate the national tests and “improve instruction” meaning the NCLB waivers that require the Common Core standards.

(6)(i) The disclosure is to organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, educational agencies or institutions to:

(A) Develop, validate, or administer predictive tests; (Emphasis added).

(B) Administer student aid programs; or

(C) Improve instruction.

  • So, even though the letter says the states will comply with current federal law and regulations, nothing is stopping the states entering into an agreement with the consortia and the consortia from “redisclosing” this data to the feds.

(ii) Nothing in the Act or this part prevents a State or local educational authority or agency headed by an official listed in paragraph (a)(3) of this section from entering into agreements with organizations conducting studies under paragraph (a)(6)(i) of this section and redisclosing personally identifiable information from education records on behalf of educational agencies and institutions that disclosed the information to the State or local educational authority or agency headed by an official listed in paragraph (a)(3) of this section in accordance with the requirements of §99.33(b).  (Emphasis added.)

  • The data is supposed to be protected but may be given to any entity with a “legitimate interest” in the information, which as has been explained is defined very broadly.

  • Although there is a prohibition against a national student database in one section of federal  law called the Education Sciences Reform Act (ESRA) that says, “Nothing in this title may be construed to authorize the establishment of a nationwide database of individually identifiable information on individuals involved in studies or other collections of data under this title; (Section 182)” that language appears to be negated by this language in Section 157:

“The Statistics Center [meaning the National Center for Education Statistics] may establish 1 or more national cooperative education statistics systems for the purpose of producing and maintaining, with the cooperation of the States, comparable and uniform information and data on early childhood education, elementary and secondary education, postsecondary education, adult education, and libraries, that are useful for policymaking at the Federal, State, and local levels.” (Emphasis added).

That language is even more worrisome in light of the grants to fund and promote state longitudinal databases in section 208 of ESRA, in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and even more heavily promoted in the Race to the Top K-12 and Early Learning Challenge programs.  Although the federal government will not be developing a national database, the SLDS and other regulatory language allow it to happen in a de facto manner.  (Here is a  full analysis of the federal issues).

  • This loss of data privacy when the federal government is both funding and supervising the development of the national tests is extremely worrisome, especially, as shown below, because the standards and assessments are meant to teach and test psychological parameters.

“The [federal] review will focus on two broad areas of assessment development: the consortium’s research confirming the validity of the assessment results and the consortium’s approach to developing items and tasks.”   (Emphasis added)

  • Given that the federal government admits  that the Common Core standards will be teaching and the aligned national tests will be assessing psychological or “non-cognitive” traits, parents should not be reassured by this letter:

“In national policy, there is increasing attention on 21st-century competencies (which encompass a range of noncognitive factors, including grit), and persistence is now part of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics.”  (Emphasis added.)

“[A]s new assessment systems are developed to reflect the new standards in English language arts, mathematics, and science, significant attention will need to be given to the design of tasks and situations that call on students to apply a range of 21st century competencies that are relevant to each discipline. A sustained program of research and development will be required to create assessments that are capable of measuring cognitive, intrapersonal, and interpersonal skills.” (Emphasis added).

The only way to truly protect our children’s data is to restore local control of education that has been usurped by the unconstitutional presence and actions of the US Department of Education. Until that ultimate goal is reached, we will work to remove each of our states from the state longitudinal data systems and demand genuine state developed standards and assessments, instead of name changes, cosmetic adjustments to the Common Core standards, and deceptive reassurances about state control of test data.

NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS:

  • Education Liberty Watch
  • Badass Parents Association
  • Badass Teachers Association
  • Home School Legal Defense Association
  • Parent-Led Reform
  • Parents and Educators Against Common Core
  • Special Ed Advocates to Stop Common Core

STATE ORGANIZATIONS:

  • Alabama Eagle Forum
  • Alabamians United for Excellence in Education
  • Arkansas Against Common Core
  • Core Concerns, Fort Collins
  • Stop Common Core in CT
  • Florida Stop Common Core Coalition
  • Florida Parents Against Common Core
  • Georgians to Stop Common Core
  • Idahoans for Local Education
  • Hoosiers Against Common Core
  • Iowans for Local Control
  • Kansans Against Common Core
  • Parents and Educators Against Common Core Standards in Kentucky
  • MA Parents Interested in Common Core
  • Massachusetts Coalition for Superior Education Standards
  • Stop Common Core in Michigan
  • Minnesotans Against Common Core
  • Missouri Coalition Against Common Core
  • Parent Led Reform Nevada
  • C5-NJ (the Committee to Combat the Common Core Curriculum-NJ)
  • NM Refuse the Tests
  • Stop Common Core in New York State
  • Parent Led Reform Oregon
  • South Dakotans Against Common Core
  • Parent Led Reform Texas
  • Stop Common Core in Virginia
  • Stop Common Core Nevada
  • Washington State Against Common Core Standards
  • Wyoming Freedom in Education

Indiana Senate to Vote on Bill Abolishing Common Core

indiana-flagFrom WIBC 93.1FM in Indianapolis:

The Senate will vote next week on a bill to put the final nail in the coffin of the Common Core education standards.

Last year, legislators ordered the State Board of Education to pass new academic standards by July of this year. The Senate Education Committee has approved a bill along party lines, spelling out guidelines for what those standards should look like…

…Erin Tuttle, the co-founder of Hoosiers Against Common Core, says parents will be watching the result of the state board’s work when the new school year begins this fall, and warns they’ll feel "outraged" and "tricked" if lessons still resemble Common Core.

Legislative leaders had warned they might go beyond guidelines to write the standards themselves if tensions between the board and state superintendent Glenda Ritz threatened the deadline. But Senator Scott Schneider (R-Indianapolis), the bill’s author, says the standoff has eased over the last couple of months. He says the board expects to issue draft standards in April and hold public hearings on them.

Yes they will need to make sure the board doesn’t just add 15% to the Common Core and call them new standards.

Seven Common Core Bills Filed in Oklahoma Legislature

Oklahoma State Capitol

Five Common Core bills have been filed in the Oklahoma House of Representatives and two bills have been filed in the Oklahoma Senate.  Two of the bills in the Oklahoma House are repeal bills.  They delete the one paragraph in SB2033 that made the Common Core law in Oklahoma.  The first bill is HB 2786 authored by State Representative Jadine Nollan.  The second bill is HB 2849 authored by State Representative Dan Fisher.

State Senator Eddie Fields authored two bills in the Oklahoma Senate.  The first bill is SB 1146 which is a a repeal bill that also includes direction to the State Board of Education to remove all alignment in the standards to the Common Core, stop Common Core assessments and require the state board to revise their agreement with the feds that will allow Oklahoma to get out from under the standards.

The other bill, SB 1310, would establish a task force the purpose of which would be to "review curricular standards approved by the State Board of Education and make recommendations to the Legislature regarding new curricular standards."

HB 3331 was authored by Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon and it prevents the Oklahoma Department of Education from entering into any agreements with the Federal government that would align Oklahoma standards to the Common Core – directs the Department to amend any agreements with the feds so that Oklahoma may be released from using the Common Core standards.  It is similar to SB 1146.

State Representative Gus Blackwell authored HB 3166 which repeals the standards and then puts in place the "Local Curriculum Standards Pilot Program" in which ANY school district could adopt their own standards (even if they do not align with state standards) for five years.  After that time, there will be a comparison made among schools using the state standards and those using their own local standards using standardized, criterion-referenced tests.

State Representative Jason Nelson authored HB 3399 prevents federal control over state standards.  It requires any agency using federal money or programming – including those collecting data on students – to amend existing agreements to extricate themselves from any agreements that would cede control over K-12 education from outside the state. This bill would not repeal the Common Core, but instead, puts the standards on ‘pause’ for a full year during which the state assessments will reflect PASS and not CC.  It directs the state board to examine the English/LA and math standards, and then compare them with PASS in 9 different areas.  A written review of the comparison must be submitted to the House, Senate and Governor for their own review.

Jenni White of Restore Oklahoma Public Education said that repealing the Common Core is the priority, but if those bills get stuck in the Oklahoma Senate Education Committee because of Senator John Ford blocking repeal bills in his committee then Nelson’s bill would be a good fall back bill.

Photo credit: © Caleb Long (CC-By-SA 2.5)

Common Core Bill Introduced in West Virginia Senate

The_West_Virginia_State_Capitol_Building_in_Charleston,_WV

SB 429 has been introduced in the West Virginia Senate.  Its intent is to protect student data, require a complete cost analysis of the Common Core State Standards, and implement a two-year moratorium on assessments to allow for public hearings.  It sponsored by State Senators Boley, Nohe, Barnes, Blair, Carmichael, Cole, M. Hall, Jenkins, Sypolt, and Walters.

It was introduced into the Senate Education Committee and Finance Committee.

Below is the text of the bill:

A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §18-1-5, relating to public school curricular standards and assessments; establishing a Legislative Common Core Study Committee to study issues relating to implementation of Common Core standards and assessments in West Virginia and report to the Governor and Legislature no later than six months after the final public hearing, or on or before the first day of the 2016 Regular Session of the Legislature, whichever comes first; requiring State Board of Education to undertake a study of fiscal costs associated with implementing Common Core standards and assessments and report to the Governor and Legislature on or before the first day of the 2016 Regular Session; placing a two-year moratorium on implementation of Common Core assessments; prohibiting the State Board of Education from sharing personally identifiable information of students or teachers except as provided; and definitions.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §18-1-5, to read as follows:

ARTICLE 1. DEFINITIONS; LIMITATIONS OF CHAPTER; GOALS FOREDUCATION.

§18-1-5. Public school curricular standards and assessments.

(a) For purposes of this section:

(1) "Longitudinal data system" means the West Virginia Longitudinal Data System, as well as any other data warehouse containing West Virginia student information, including regional, interstate or federal data warehouse organizations under contract to or with a memorandum of understanding with the West Virginia Department of Education or the State of West Virginia.

(2) "Educational agency or institution" means any public or private elementary or secondary school or institution of higher education.

(3)"Common Core" means the Common Core state standards adopted by the West Virginia State Board of Education on May 12, 2010, and also referred to as the West Virginia Next Generation Standards.

(4) "Common Core assessments" means the Smarter Balanced Assessments or any other student assessments intended to measure student achievement in the common core standards.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, the State Board of Education may not continue to implement the Common Core assessments currently scheduled for school year 2014-2015 as part of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, for two years to allow for the following to occur:

(1) The appointment of a Legislative Common Core Study Committee which shall hold at least one public hearing in each congressional district of the state at which public and expert comment shall be taken on the Common Core standards and the associated assessments in the state’s public schools to determine the consequences of that implementation for academic achievement in the state, the ramifications of implementation, including those concerning loss of state sovereignty and control over any aspects of public education, and student data collection, storage and disclosure. The Committee shall be comprised of seven members of the West Virginia State Senate Education Committee, who shall be appointed by the President of the Senate, and seven members of the West Virginia House of Delegates Education Committee, who shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Delegates. The Senate President and the House Speaker may not appoint more than four members of the same political party from their respective seven appointees. The committee shall make a final report of its findings, conclusions and recommendations to the Governor and Legislature no later than six months after the final public hearing, or on or before the first day of the 2016 Regular Session of the Legislature, whichever comes first; and

(2) A fiscal analysis of the past, present, and future cost of implementation of the Common Core standards, and associated assessments, including, but not limited to, curriculum, testing, data collection and storage, additional personnel, training, materials, equipment, hardware, software and computer upgrades, shall be presented to the Governor and the Legislature on or before the first day of the 2016 Regular Session. The West Virginia Department of Education shall contract with an independent entity with expertise in the development, implementation, and assessments to conduct the fiscal analysis.

(c) The state board may not adopt any national standards in curricular areas other than English Language Arts and Mathematics or any standards modeled on such national standards that are substantially identical to those national standards, without completing the process outlined in subsection (b).

(d) Pending the committee’s report of findings, the state shall reserve the right to withdraw from the Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and may not implement the SBAC assessments aligned to the Common Core standards, and shall instead, adopt and implement new assessments that provide valid, reliable, and timely testing of student performance, focusing primarily on academic content knowledge.

(e) The State Board of Education may not enter into or renew an agreement that cedes to an outside entity control over curricular standards or assessments.

(f) The State of West Virginia affirms the parent or guardian as the final authority in all matters of their student’s education and prohibits the access, release, or sharing of personally identifiable information, student level data, or directory information without prior written affirmative consent of the parent or guardian.

(g) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, and pending the committee’s report of findings to the Governor and the Legislature, the superintendent of schools, the state board, the department, or any other state entity that deals with education may not do any of the following:

(1) Expend any funds on construction, enhancement, or expansion of any statewide longitudinal data system designed to track students, or compile personally identifiable student information, beyond what is necessary for administrative functions directly related to the student’s
education, academic evaluation of programs and student progress, or for compliance as indicated in subdivision (5) of this subsection (f).

(2) Collect any new, share, or allow access to any personally identifiable information, directory information, or student level information of students or teachers with any entity outside the state without prior written affirmative consent of parent or guardian or teacher, except as indicated in subdivision (5) of this subsection (f).

(3) Share or allow access to any personally identifiable information, student level data, or directory information of students or teachers with any entity that intends to use that information to develop, market, distribute, or promote commercial products or services or that intends to transfer the information to any other entity for use in developing, marketing, distributing or promoting commercial products or service;

(4) Share or allow access to any personally identifiable information, student level data, or directory information of students or teachers with any entity within the state, unless that entity is an educational agency or an institution which the state expressly prohibits, in writing, the agency or institution from the following:

(A) Transferring the information to any other entity department agency or person;

(B) Using the information to develop, market, distribute, or promote commercial products or services, or to transfer information to any other entity for use in developing, marketing, distributing or promoting commercial products or services;

(C) Using the transfer of information for economic or workforce development planning.

(5) Share or allow access to any personally identifiable information, student level data, or directory information of students or teachers with the United States Department of Education unless prior affirmative written consent of the parent or guardian is obtained and all of the following apply:

(A) The sharing of information is required as a condition of receiving a federal education grant.

(B) The United States Department of Education agrees, in writing, to all of the following:

(I) To use the information only to evaluate the program or programs funded by the grant;

(ii) That the information will not be used for any research beyond that related to the evaluation of the program or programs funded by the grant, unless the teacher and parent or guardian of any student whose information will be used for the research affirmatively consents to that use in writing;

(iii) That it will not share the information with any other governmental or private entity, unless the teacher and parent or guardian of any student whose information will be shared affirmatively consents to that sharing in writing;

(iv) In the event that a parent or guardian gives prior affirmative written consent the United States Department of Education will inform the parent or guardian as to each data point that will be shared, and the purpose for each.

(v) That it will destroy the information upon completion of the evaluation of the program or program funded by the grant.

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to affirm the parent or guardian as the final authority in all matters of a student’s education and to require prior parental or guardian written affirmative consent for disclosure of any student information other than aggregate data that is not personally identifiable. The bill prohibits the State Board of Education from continuing to implement the Common Core assessments, and requires the formation of a Legislative Common Core Committee to conduct statewide hearings on the common core standards and associated assessments and to make a public report of findings to the Governor and the Legislature. The bill also prohibits the State Board of Education from expending funds for a statewide longitudinal data system designed to track students pending the committee’s report of findings, and requires a fiscal analysis of common core and associated assessment implementation.

This section is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.

Photo credit: O Palsson via Wikimedia Commons (CC-By-2.0)

HT: WV Against Common Core

Common Core Forum in Louisiana on February 20th

FYI Louisiana friends.  There is a big Common Core forum happening on February 20, 2014, highlighting these speakers below:

image

Jim Stergios, Sandra Stotsky, James Milgram, Emmett McGroarty, Jane Robbins and Terrance Moore under one roof?  I’m jealous that I don’t get to be there, but you have the opportunity!

It will be held at the Crossfire Auditorium (8919 World Ministry Avenue, Baton Rouge, LA) on Thursday, February 20th from 6:00p – 9:00p.  You can purchase your ticket (only $10 per person) here.

Where is Governor Scott Walker’s Leadership on Common Core?

Scott_Walker_by_Gage_SkidmoreIf there was a “race to the drop” of Common Core among Republican Governors, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker would be trailing his Indiana and South Carolina counterparts.  Last Wednesday during his State of the State address said nothing about the Common Core State Standards instead he focused on his school to work initiative.

He did address the Common Core at the State Education Convention.  “Like every other parent across the state, I want our education system to help our kids excel and reach their full potential,” Governor Walker said. “Federal standards in education may be raising the bar in some states, but in Wisconsin, we can do better.  The education leaders here in our state are most qualified to assess the best way to take the standards we set for students to the next level.”

Governor Walker then noted he working with members of the Legislature in both chambers to craft legislation creating a process that would develop Wisconsin-based model academic standards.  Specifically this legislation would create a commission to review the the Common Core, and Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Evers will chair it.  Yes, the same guy who threatened a lawsuit if the Wisconsin Legislature rejected the Common Core.  Evers also said that Wisconsin is not giving up the Common Core, and that the Common Core will still be the basis for standardized tests that Wisconsin students will take.  At most the Commission would recommend new additional standards that school districts can adopt.

Probably within the 15% allowed by Wisconsin’s agreement with the Common Core State Standards Initiative.  A minor tweaking.  I know in Iowa we’re tired of the doublespeak we’re hearing from our Governor.  Wisconsin should tire of the weak leadership they are receiving from Walker on this issue.

What happened to the bold leader Wisconsin saw on Act 10?  Exercise decisive leadership on budget reforms, but virtually do nothing when misguided education policy is being foisted on Wisconsin school children?  Unions are leading the way on this issue as we saw in New York.  Wisconsin should pay attention, New York is further ahead in their implementation of the Common Core and it has been a disaster.

Saturday the New York State Union of Teachers Board passed a “no confidence” resolution of New York State Education Commissioner John King, Jr.  In it they also withdrew their support of the Common Core State Standards until major course corrections are undertaken to address its failed implementation.  They also support a three-year moratorium on high-stakes testing.

Wisconsin is proceeding full-steam ahead and it seems like the chairs of the Legislative Education Committees, State Senator Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) and State Representative Steve Kestell (R-Elkhart Lake), lack the wherewithal to do anything beyond forming a meaningless commission.

Where is the bold leadership we have come to expect from Governor Scott Walker?  Will he and the Wisconsin Legislature fail Wisconsin kids because it’s an election year and they don’t want to rock the boat?

Disappointing.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (CC-By-SA 3.0)

Story Killers: How the Common Core Destroys Minds and Souls

If you haven’t seen it, take the time to watch this video of Dr. Terrance O. Moore, assistant professor of history at Hillsdale College,  giving Hillsdale College’s AWC Family Foundation Lecture based on his new book Story Killers: A Common-Sense Case Against the Common Core.  It is an hour long, but it is well worth the time.

What States Have Pulled Out of their Common Core Assessment Consortium?

239 PreTests

We wanted to provide a complete list in one location of all the states that have pulled out of either Smarter Balanced or PARCC, as well as, states that are considering it.

States that have pulled out of their Assessment Consortium:

  1. Utah (Smarter Balanced) – http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/mobile/54627081-68/utah-state-standards-consortium.html.csp
  2. Oklahoma (PARCC) – http://truthinamericaneducation.com/common-core-assessments/oklahoma-pulls-out-of-parcc/ (the Tulsa World article is no longer on the website).
  3. Georgia (PARCC) – http://www.ajc.com/news/news/breaking-news/georgia-decides-against-offering-common-core-stand/nYzDr/
  4. Alabama (Smarter Balanced & PARCC – they were an advisory state) – http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2013/02/alabama_withdraws_from_both_te.html
  5. Indiana (PARCC) – http://truthinamericaneducation.com/common-core-assessments/pence-pulls-indiana-out-of-parcc/  and http://indianapublicmedia.org/stateimpact/2013/07/29/gov-pence-signals-intent-to-withdraw-from-common-core-consortium-parcc/  As of December PARCC still had them listed though – http://hoosiersagainstcommoncore.com/indianas-withdraw-parcc-real-show/
  6. Kansas (Smarter Balanced) – http://m.cjonline.com/news/2013-12-10/kansas-opts-create-its-own-common-core-tests
  7. Pennsylvania (Smarter Balanced & PARCC) – http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2013/06/pennsylvania_signals_departure_from_test_consortia.html
  8. Alaska (Smarter Balanced) – http://www.newsminer.com/news/education/alaska-changes-school-testing-consortium/article_05509298-7d77-11e3-9606-001a4bcf6878.html
  9. Florida (PARCC) – http://truthinamericaneducation.com/common-core-assessments/rick-scott-pulls-florida-out-of-parcc/

States Actively Considering Withdrawing

  1. Michigan (Smarter Balanced) – http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2013/12/consortium_watch_kansas_drops_.html
  2. Kentucky (PARCC) – http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2013/12/consortium_watch_kansas_drops_.html
  3. North Carolina (Smarter Balanced) – http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/01/02/3502892/common-core-backlash-casts-shadow.html
  4. Iowa (Smarter Balanced) – The Iowa Legislature actually has to approve its use – http://caffeinatedthoughts.com/2013/05/iowa-puts-common-core-assessments-on-hold/

States that never joined.

  1. Virginia
  2. Texas
  3. Nebraska
  4. Minnesota

Photo credit: Barbara Day

Credit: Stephanie Zimmerman of Idahoans for Local Education put the original list together in an email to our group.  I expanded it and added some additional news stories.