Oklahoma Common Core Repeal Being Challenged in Court

The Oklahoma  State Board of Education (sans Bill Price and Kathryn Franks) along with some teachers and parents have filed a lawsuit in order to stop the Common Core repeal that Governor Mary Fallin signed earlier this month.  It will be heard before the Oklahoma Supreme Court on July 14th at 10:30am.

Jenni White of Restore Oklahoma Public Education (ROPE) summarized the lawsuit in an email sent out today:

Basically, the lawsuit asserts the role of the Oklahoma legislature in reviewing our new education standards (after creation in two years’ time) is unconstitutional.  Please see my blog as to why this assertion is ludicrous and why this lawsuit could have far reaching ramifications on school choice and pre-K programming.  It could also chill the ability of your voice to be heard on any board, council or rule-making body by silencing the voice of the legislator, thereby promoting legislation via bureaucracy.

White also included an action item for readers.

ROPE has retained two separate attorneys to write Amicus briefs on behalf of all those who worked so hard to stop Common Core in Oklahoma.  We will be contacting you soon to ask for help in financing these actions.  In the meantime, we are asking you to write your own state Senator and Representative and ask them who will represent the state’s interest in this lawsuit.

Currently, the only attorneys of record are those representing the plaintiffs!  Why are there no attorneys representing the respondents; Senate Pro Temps Brian Bingman, Speaker of the House Jeff Hickman, the State of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma State Department of Education – the position that represents OUR interests?  Is this lawsuit to go unchallenged? The way we understand it, Amicus briefs and respondent responses are due in the court by JULY 9th!  We have no time to waste!

Here is a suggested letter:

Dear Senator/Representative,

June 5th, Governor Mary Fallin signed HB3399 – the repeal of the Common Core State Standards in Oklahoma – into law.  Currently, a challenge is being mounted against the bill in the Oklahoma Supreme Court.  With no representation listed for the respondents in the case, who will defend the interests of the state – OUR interests? 

As reflected by the overwhelming votes FOR HB3399 at the end of this session, Oklahomans DO NOT WANT Common Core.  Please ask how Oklahoma will be represented in this lawsuit and let me know.  This lawsuit is about more than Common Core.  If won, far reaching ramifications on school choice and pre-k programs in our state could be seen – as well as removing YOUR voice and the voice of the people – from any number of boards, councils and rule-making bodies.  It must be defended.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

If you would like to address your Senator or Representative based on their vote on HB3399, you can find that here.

Support for Common Core Plummets with Parents of School-Aged Kids

public-polling.jpgRasmussen just released a poll taken June 21-22 of 1000 Americans that shows support for Common Core is plummeting among parents with school-aged children.

They found that just 34% of adults with children in elementary or secondary school favor all schools nationwide to meet the Common Core State Standards.  That is a drop of 18% since early November 2013.  47% opposed the Common Core, and 19% are undecided.

54% believe the Common Core is unlikely to improve student performance, only 37% believe they will do what advocates promise.

Among all Americans Rasmussen notes 41% favor the the Common Core with 36% of Americans being opposed.  23% are undecided.  44% of all Americans believe Common Core will not improve student performance.

Also of interest 54% of all Americans believe schools place too much emphasis on standardized testing.  Just 24% believe student scores on standardized tests should be a major factor in determining how well a school is doing.

Only 23% of Americans believe the Feds should set education standards for schools.  Rasmussen reports that it up from 18% in November.  39% believe the state should with 27% saying local governments should.  The state number is higher than the last time this was polled, and the local government response dropped seven points.

Is it any surprise?  Common Core is now being implemented and parents are seeing how it is impacting their children.  Also when you read the questions they asked the first thing that should jump out at you is that they are not leading questions.

Governors, state school chiefs, and state legislators should take note.

Take Time to Thank Bobby Jindal

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

I find that activists tend to be really good at calling politicians on the carpet.  We get fired up and we go visit them at the statehouse, call, write, email, and/or hound them on social media.

That is a healthy representative democracy in action.  Our elected officials govern by consent of the govern.  We must in a constitutional republic engage our elected representatives in the executive and legislative branches.

What we typically are not as good at, and I can’t imagine I am alone here, is thanking those same elected officials when they make the right call.  I know some may say, well that is what we pay them to do, but consider all of the voices they have whispering in their ear (or more likely shouting at them via the press) that contradict ours.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal listened to the right people and changed his mind about Common Core.  He listened to his constituents – parents who are concerned about the Common Core’s implementation in their state.  They are concerned about the high-stakes testing culture that has become prevalent in their children’s classrooms.  They are concerned about curriculum that is being aligned to the Common Core.

They want out and Governor Jindal listened, but more importantly he acted.

Now he’s under tremendous amounts of pressure from business groups like the Chamber of Commerce.  He’s taking heat from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.  He is battling the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education over his decision to pull Louisiana out of Common Core and PARCC.

He can use our encouragement.  Would you take 2-3 minutes and go join American Principles Project by sending Gov. Jindal a thank you?  You can do so right here.

It will make a difference.

Iowa Event: Stop Common Core Panel in Des Moines on July 1st

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Americans for Prosperity Foundation – Iowa and Concerned Women for America of Iowa are hosting a Common Core Discussion panel in Des Moines on Tuesday, 7/1/14 starting at 6:30p.  It will be held at the Airport Holiday Inn & Conference Center (6111 Fleur Dr., Des Moines, IA).

Their description:

As the national dialogue surrounding Common Core grows, join Concerned Women for America and Americans for Prosperity Foundation for a discussion on the nuts and bolts of this newest, ill-fated reform movement. The event will feature a panel discussion featuring Shane Vander Hart of the American Principles Project and Truth in American Education, Tamara Scott of Concerned Women for America and Jenni White of Restore Oklahoma Public Education.

Doors will open at 6:30 for light refreshments and the program will begin at 7:00pm.

You can RSVP here.  Here is the Facebook event page.

Cross-posted from Iowans for Local Control

Pro-Common Core State School Chief Loses Election in Oklahoma

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Pro-Common Core Oklahoma State School Superintendent Janet Barresi lost her primary against challenger Joy Hofmeister who ran on an anti-Common Core platform.  In a three-way Republican primary race Hofmeister won 58% of the vote.  Brian Kelley and Barresi came in at 21%.

News9.com didn’t even mention the Common Core angle, great reporting *snort*.  KJRH doesn’t mention it either.

McAlester News-Capital reported:

“We have a toxic environment, and I think we had a referendum on that tonight. And that referendum says parents need to be encouraged to be engaged, not shut out of the process,” Hofmeister told supporters at the Oklahoma City rally. Her campaign held another rally in Tulsa.

According to supporters, Hofmeister’s victory was fueled by widespread antipathy for both Barresi and the Common Core standards. The Legislature voted to repeal Oklahoma’s endorsement of the national education standards, and Gov. Mary Fallin signed the repeal bill into law earlier this month.

Restore Oklahoma Public Education tweeted this out.

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A Political Lesson About Issue Advocacy

Photo credit: Molly Theobald (CC by 2.0)

Photo credit: Molly Theobald (CC by 2.0)

I wanted to highlight an article in Breitbart by Mike Flynn the other day that I intentionally didn’t share over on Truth in American Education’s social media.  It doesn’t mention Common Core, it’s not even about education, but it contains some insights that I think will help the cause of fighting Common Core in the future.  So I didn’t want to throw it up there without providing some context regarding how I see this as relevant.

He points out how conservatives are losing ground to liberals because they are being out-organized.

I don’t want to make this article about left vs. right, but rather about a political strategy towards building a movement.  The left have been masterful at accomplishing this.  The right not so much.

Lessons to learn for us:

1. Go local.  I think there are far too many of us who are focused nationally.  Certainly this website is a national resource, but we focus on state-by-state activism, and my personal activism has been at the local and state level.  I have to roll my eyes at new national groups formed to fight this battle, not because I see them as competition because I don’t – we’re allies in this fight, but because that is not where the battle is at.  I may not be able to organize a nation, or a state, but I can organize in my school district or my voting precinct.  I do want to point out that there are a good number of grassroots groups doing this.  Thank you!

2. Up our game with organizing and canvassing.  So many of us have participated in grassroots lobbying, but have we considered how our results could have different if we spent as much time canvassing and educating people?  We can’t match the resources that pro-Common Core advocates have.  We do have people who are fired up about this issue.  Anyway, if we expect to make an impact at the Statehouse or the ballot box that means we have to educate people and not just rely upon them coming to our presentation.  We also need to go to them.

3. We need to do better at finding out who are supporters are and more importantly where they are.  We don’t do a good job collecting this data because well we’re against data collection.  I’m pointing a finger back at myself on this one because I am notoriously bad at doing this.

Anyway… share your thoughts, and more importantly, ideas and examples of how we (as a movement) do a better job.

No More Common Core Symposium in New Jersey

New Jersey readers mark your calendars for this symposium that will be offered in September.  Concerned Citizens of Southern New Jersey will host a “No More Common Core” Symposium on Saturday, September 27, 2014 at 10:00am at the Ramada Inn in Vineland, NJ.  Guest speakers will be: Sandra Stotsky, Duke Pesta, Chris Tienken, Deneen Borelli, and Tom Borelli.

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You can download the pdf version of the flyer above here.

Tennessee Pulls Out of PARCC

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Commissioner of Education Kevin Huffman and Fielding Rolston, the chair of the Tennessee State Board of Education, wrote a letter to PARCC CEO Laura Stover in May saying that they were withdrawing from PARCC due to a new law, HB 1549, that passed and was signed by Governor Haslam.  This leaves PARCC with just 14 member states and the District of Columbia.

The law requires Tennessee to use TCAP, the state’s current assessment, in 2014-2015 and the Tennessee Department of Education issue new RFPs for a new test for the 2015-2016 school year.  PARCC can still participate in the competitive bidding process.

Some legislators saw this law as being “lipstick on a pig” when it was first passed in the Tennessee House due to loopholes in the language of the bill.

HT: Curriculum Matters

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant: Common Core Is a Failed Program

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal may have got the ball rolling with Republican governors.

According to The Clarion Ledger, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant is expressing dissatisfaction with the Common Core State Standards in his state.  Watch their interview with Governor Bryant below.

http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isSlim=1

Almost One Half of Americans Haven’t Heard of Common Core

public-polling.jpgMSNBC/Wall Street Journal released a poll that shows almost one-half of Americans have not heard of the Common Core State Standards.  The poll was conducted between June 11-15 of 1000 adults.  The margin of error is 3.1% +/-.

47% of Americans said they have not seen, read or heard news about the Common Core.  22% said they have heard about it a lot.  30% have said they have heard about this some. 1% said they were unsure.

Now keeping in mind 48% said no or that they were unsure a follow-up question was asked:

Just to make sure that everyone has the same information let me describe the Common Core standards in a bit more detail. The Common Core standards are a new set of education standards for English and math that have been set to internationally competitive levels and would be used in every state for students in grades K through 12.

Based on this information, do you support or oppose the adoption and implementation of the Common Core standards in your state?

59% responded said they supported.  31% said they opposed.  27% strongly supported it while 20% strongly opposed.  First this is a positive spin on the Common Core.  There is zero proof that these standards have been set to internationally competitive levels, but there is evidence that they haven’t been.  Secondly, when 48% of those surveyed know nothing about the Common Core it is very easy to manipulate the results you want.

No mention of the Federal government involvement… that would likely change some minds.  Then if you dig into the other problems… well it is rare for me to find anyone outside the educational bureaucracy who likes Common Core after they do more research.

Contrast that with a poll taken of New Yorkers by the Albany Times Union and Siena College (see here if the archive expires).  This was taken of 874 upstate New York residents and has a margin of error of 3.3% +/-.  It did not have a leading question.

46% of New Yorkers said they oppose the way the Common Core was being implemented.  Only 23% supported it.  32% didn’t know or refused.  More people opposed than supported across party lines (though those opposed were 18% higher for Republicans and 20% for independents).  More people opposed than supported Common Core regardless of race, age, socio-economic status or where they lived.

They also asked about the current use of standardized testing in New York.  43% opposed, 23% supported and 28% didn’t know or refused.  More opposed than supported pretty much across demographic lines with the exception of those making under $50,000 a year where those opposed and those who supported the way assessments were done tied at 34%.

Pretty telling.

Update: Richard Innes had an interesting analysis of the MSNBC/WSJ poll:

Now, let’s put this together in a way the pollsters clearly never considered.

Based on the first Common Core question, only 52 percent of the public knew anything about Common Core when the survey was conducted. Still, the poll says 31 percent either somewhat or strongly opposed the standards.

I would submit that the 31 percent opposed to the Core would have to have knowledge beyond the loaded question information to form such negative opinions. So, virtually all would fall in the total of 52 percent of all respondents that said they knew something about Common Core already.

Thus, it seems likely that 31 in 52 – that is 60 percent – of the people in the United States who know something about Common Core are opposed to the reform.