Sandra Stotsky: Sunset No Child Left Behind

Sandra Stotsky testifying before the West Virginia Legislative Joint Standing Committee on Education

Sandra Stotsky testifying before the West Virginia Legislative Joint Standing Committee on Education

Dr. Sandra Stotsky sent me an email about attempts to reauthorize and “fix” No Child Left Behind/Elementary and Secondary Education Act. To summarize what she said… “don’t do it” because Common Core is built into the bill being considered.

Her message to our readers:

The bill builds in Common Core in a clever way–by putting the “Plan” for academic content standards in each state in the hands of its DoE. Moreover, not only does it put control of the “Plan” into a state’s department of education, it also excludes development and review of the “Plan” by academic experts at the college level. Very clever language contributed probably by Fordham.

“which peer review teams shall reflect a balanced representation of individuals who—

(I) have practical experience in the classroom, school administration, or State or local government; and

(II) have been a direct employee of a school, local educational agency, or State educational agency…”

People who care about the security and defense of this country should Google Rep. John Kline and Sen. Lamar Alexander in order to send a direct e-mail to them on their websites, and tell them that they don’t want any bill re-authorizing ESEA at all. They want ESEA sunsetted after extensive national public discussion of how to educate low-income children without damaging them further and all of public education K-20 at the same time.

Also a note… U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander has asked for public feedback. You can provide that feedback by emailing fixingnclb@help.senate.gov.

South Dakota Senate Follows SD House: Abolish the U.S. Dept. of Education

South_Dakota_flag_5Following up… the South Dakota Senate voted yesterday 19-15 to pass HCR 1003 after the South Dakota House voted 48 to 20 on Tuesday to pass the measure that calls on Congress to abolish the U.S. Department of Education.

If you don’t like the job the Federal government is doing meddling in education this is certainly one way to do it.  Now if we can get them to vote to repeal Common Core!  Here is the text of the bill:

A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION, Urging Congress and the President of the Unites States to abolish the United States Department of Education.

    WHEREAS, public education was designed by the citizens of the United States to be a state and local matter; and

    WHEREAS, the United States Department of Education has become a bloated, intrusive agency that performs many functions that could be eliminated or performed by other agencies within the federal government; and

    WHEREAS, many of the employees of the United States Department of Education are highly paid bureaucrats who directly educate no children in the United States; and

    WHEREAS, President Ronald Reagan, during his presidency, called for the dismantling of the department; and U.S. Senator Mike Rounds, during his recent successful campaign, called for the abolition of the department; and

    WHEREAS, the current federal deficit is over four hundred billion dollars, the current national debt of the federal government is over seventeen trillion dollars, and the need to

Balance the federal budget is vitally important to the long-term economic health of our nation:

    NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the House of Representatives of the Ninetieth Legislature of the State of South Dakota, the Senate concurring therein, that the South Dakota Legislature believes that education is a state and local matter that should be free of federal interference, and therefore, urges Congress and the President of the United States to abolish the United States Department of Education.

Sandra Stotsky: Sunset No Child Left Behind

Sandra Stotsky testifying before the West Virginia Legislative Joint Standing Committee on Education

Sandra Stotsky testifying before the West Virginia Legislative Joint Standing Committee on Education

Dr. Sandra Stotsky sent me an email about attempts to reauthorize and “fix” No Child Left Behind/Elementary and Secondary Education Act.  To summarize what she said… “don’t do it” because Common Core is built into the bill being considered.

Her message to our readers:

The bill builds in Common Core in a clever way–by putting the “Plan” for academic content standards in each state in the hands of its DoE.  Moreover, not only does it put control of the “Plan” into a state’s department of education, it also excludes development and review of the “Plan” by academic experts at the college level.   Very clever language contributed probably by Fordham.

“which peer review teams shall reflect a balanced representation of individuals who—

 (I) have practical experience in  the classroom, school administration,  or State or local government; and

(II) have been a direct employee  of a school, local educational agency,  or State educational agency…”

People who care about the security and defense of this country should Google Rep. John Kline and Sen. Lamar Alexander in order to send a direct e-mail to them on their websites, and tell them that they don’t want any bill re-authorizing ESEA at all.  They want ESEA sunsetted after extensive national public discussion of how to educate low-income children without damaging them further and all of public education K-20 at the same time.

Also a note… U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander has asked for public feedback.  You can provide that feedback by emailing fixingnclb@help.senate.gov.

And in a Nod to Local Control… Oh Wait….

arkansas-state-flagI get that some school districts struggle and they do so for a variety of reasons.  Only elitist educrats think it’s a good idea for a state board to take over a local school district.

Think about this.  An unelected state school board dissolved an elected local school board.

This is America?

Yet that is just what the Arkansas State Board of Education did on Wednesday on a 5-4 vote, but rejected a local-state partnership compromise on a 4-4 vote with the chairman abstaining.  So five people decide it was best for the state to take over the Little Rock School District, scrap the elected school board, but keep the superintendent.

Hmm… doesn’t the superintendent have something to do with how poorly a school district is run?  I mean if you’re going to trample all over local control and scrap an elected board then shouldn’t you can the superintendent too?

You should probably can the teachers who needed a change in the dress code to force them to wear underwear as well.  Just saying.

This will make everything better I’m sure.  Just keeping pushing Common Core and make your teachers wear underwear – those are the keys to student achievement (tongue firmly planted in cheek).  What a disaster.

Kids Getting Graded for Grit and Tenacity

John Wayne would have gotten high marks for grit I'm sure.

John Wayne would have gotten high marks for grit I’m sure.

Letter grades aren’t good enough for 21st century education that prepares kids for 21st century literacy and 21st century math obviously needed to prepare kids for the workplace of the future.

So we can be able to compete with China and all that.

So now many schools do standard-based grading to see how well students measure up with the new college-and-career ready standards that are Common Core.  However to make sure our students can measure up with the super-dooper rigorous standards we need to make sure they have things like grit and tenacity.

I’m sure the data hounds at the U.S. Department of Education who wrote the Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perseverance report are salivating over this news.

From the Sacramento Bee:

Outside Harry Dewey Fundamental Elementary School in Fair Oaks, Amanda Christensen recalled the first time she saw the detailed report card for her three children.

“At first it was very complicated,” Christensen said. “You see all these new things and you don’t understand quite what they mean.”

Case in point: Her kids are now graded on their level of grit.

“What does my child have to do to get a grade in that?” she wondered.

Across the state, report cards are undergoing a sea change in how students are measured for academic performance. Where teachers once graded students on traditional math or English skills, they now judge attributes such as grit, gratitude or being sensitive to others.

Districts are changing their report cards to reflect the new Common Core State Standards, which are intended to move students away from rote learning and memorization. Rather, critical thinking and analysis geared toward deeper understanding of academic subjects are the goals….

….For those traditional academic subjects, teachers grade students on a 1-to-4 scale. But when it comes to attributes such as grit or being sensitive to others, they give students one of four marks: A for almost always, O for often, S for sometimes and R for rarely.

I just threw up in my mouth a little.

I don’t know if anything this utterly stupid requires comment.  Obviously the education elite wunderkinds who dreamed this up didn’t think how entirely subjective and useless this is.  But common sense has never stopped them before and I’m sure this time will be no different.

South Dakota House: Abolish U.S. Dept. of Education

south-dakota-state-capitol-building-pierreThe South Dakota House yesterday voted 48-20 on HCR 1003 which is a resolution calling on Congress to abolish the U.S. Department of Education.

This resolution was introduced by Rep. Jim Bolin with the following Representatives and Senators signing on: Representatives Brunner, Campbell, Craig, DiSanto, Greenfield (Lana), Haggar (Don), Haugaard, Hickey, Kaiser, Klumb, Latterell, Marty, May, Qualm, Russell, Stalzer, Verchio, and Wiik and Senators Olson, Haggar (Jenna), Jensen (Phil), Omdahl, and Van Gerpen

Below is the text of the bill.

A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION, Urging Congress and the President of the Unites States to abolish the United States Department of Education.

    WHEREAS, public education was designed by the citizens of the United States to be a state and local matter; and

    WHEREAS, the United States Department of Education has become a bloated, intrusive agency that performs many functions that could be eliminated or performed by other agencies within the federal government; and

    WHEREAS, many of the employees of the United States Department of Education are highly paid bureaucrats who directly educate no children in the United States; and

    WHEREAS, President Ronald Reagan, during his presidency, called for the dismantling of the department; and U.S. Senator Mike Rounds, during his recent successful campaign, called for the abolition of the department; and

    WHEREAS, the current federal deficit is over four hundred billion dollars, the current national debt of the federal government is over seventeen trillion dollars, and the need to

Balance the federal budget is vitally important to the long-term economic health of our nation:

    NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the House of Representatives of the Ninetieth Legislature of the State of South Dakota, the Senate concurring therein, that the South Dakota Legislature believes that education is a state and local matter that should be free of federal interference, and therefore, urges Congress and the President of the United States to abolish the United States Department of Education.

South Dakotans Against Common Core has audio of the debate and further information.

John Kasich’s Alternate Common Core Reality

John-KasichOhio Governor John Kasich was on Fox News Sunday this weekend and he made some incredible claims about the Common Core State Standards.  Incredible enough that my jaw literally dropped.

Kasich who has been discussed as a prospective 2016 presidential candidate must be living in some alternate reality from the rest of us.

Here are his remarks in full:

The Common Core was written by state education superintendents and local principals in my state of Ohio.  We want higher standards for our children and those standards are set, and the curriculum is set by local school board.  Barack Obama doesn’t set it.  The State of Ohio doesn’t set it.  It is local school boards driving better education, higher standards, created by local school boards.

I’ve asked the Republican governors who have complained about this to tell me where I’m wrong and guess what?  Silence.  But you know part of the problem is to date politicians are running to get votes.  What we try to do out here, we run out here trying to solve problems, and we have a problem with the education standards and our children’s ability to compete in the world.  We’re not going to turn this over to Washington or even to Columbus our state capital.  It’s local schools with local school boards and high standards.  I don’t know how anybody can disagree with that unless you’re running for something.

Let me respond…

1. The Common Core State Standards in math and English/language arts that the Ohio State Board of Education adopted in 2010 were not written by state school chiefs.  They most certainly were not written by school principals.  Liar, liar, pants on fire.  Either that or completely ignorant about the process.  I can’t speak to the rest of Ohio’s New Learning Standards that include a broader range of topics, but I can speak to this.  With Common Core there was a writing team brought together by Achieve, Inc. and five lead writers.  None of those folks were Ohio’s State Superintendent of Education nor were any a school principal.

2. The State of Ohio doesn’t set their own standards?  Then what the heck are Ohio’s New Learning Standards.  Is he telling us that school districts are free to choose their own standards?  That’s fascinating when with Ohio Curriculum only high school students who graduate between 2014-2017 are allowed to opt-out.  The fact the Ohio Department of Education even has a model curriculum to accompany standards tells me at the very least that the state, not local school boards, set the standards.

3. No one reputable has claimed President Obama sets the standards, but only someone who is being disingenuous can’t admit that Race to the Top and No Child Left Behind flexibility waivers influenced states into adopting the Common Core prematurely and without legislative grants of approval.

4. Kasich wants to “solve problems” but has been opposed to a bill that would replace the Common Core math and ELA standards that exist with the Massachusetts pre-Common Core standards that actually are proven.

5. How are we to believe that local school boards have a say when Kasich won’t even listen to voters?  Only 26% of Ohio voters support Common Core… just 1 in 4.  Who can disagree with that?  Parents.  Teachers.  Kids.  These Republican governors he is criticizing are actually listening to their voters.  Is this something that should be scoffed now?

Earth to Kasich.  Come back from fantasy land.  You are entitled to your opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.

Who Discussed Common Core at Iowa Caucus Kickoff?

I have a piece up at Caffeinated Thoughts that highlights what five prospective candidates for the Republican nomination for President had to say about Common Core.  Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Donald Trump, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee all were at the Iowa Freedom Summit in Des Moines, IA on Saturday, and they discussed Common Core either from the stage or with me.

Check it out.

Washington State Democratic Party Opposes Common Core

washington-state-democratsOn Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, the Washington State Democratic Party became the first Democratic State Party in the nation to pass a resolution against the Common Core. The resolution is titled Resolution Opposing Common Core State Standards. The resolution calls for the legislature and the superintendent of public instruction to withdraw from the CCSS. Read the resolution below.

Resolution Opposing Common Core State Standards

WHEREAS the copyrighted (and therefore unchangeable) Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are a set of controversial top-down K-12 academic standards that were promulgated by wealthy private interests without research-based evidence of validity and are developmentally inappropriate in the lowest grades; and

WHEREAS, as a means of avoiding the U.S. Constitution’s 10th Amendment prohibition against federal meddling in state education policy, two unaccountable private trade associations–the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)–have received millions of dollars in funding from the Gates Foundation and others to create the CCSS; and

WHEREAS the U.S. Department of Education improperly pressured state legislatures into adopting the Common Core State Standards and high-stakes standardized testing based on them as a condition of competing for federal Race to the Top (RTTT) stimulus funds that should have been based on need; and

WHEREAS as a result of Washington State Senate Bill 6669, which passed the State legislature on March 11, 2010, the Office of the Superintendent of Instruction (OSPI) adopted Common Core State Standards (CCSS) on July 20, 2011; and

WHEREAS this adoption effectively transfers control over public school standardized testing from locally elected school boards to the unaccountable corporate interests that control the CCSS and who stand to profit substantially; and

WHEREAS the Washington State Constitution also calls for public education to be controlled by the State of Washington through our elected State legislature, our elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction and our elected local school boards; and

WHEREAS implementation of CCSS will cost local school districts hundreds of millions of dollars to pay for standardized computer-based tests, new technology, new curricula and teacher training at a time when Washington is already insufficiently funding K-12 Basic Education without proven benefit to students; and WHEREAS some states have already withdrawn from CCSS;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that we call upon the Washington State legislature and the Superintendent of Public Instruction to withdraw from the CCSS and keep K-12 education student-centered and accountable to the people of Washington State.

Read more at:

http://weaponsofmassdeception.org/latest-news

http://dianeravitch.net/2015/01/25/washington-state-democrats-condemn-common-core/

https://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/2015/01/25/the-washington-state-democratic-party-central-committee-passed-a-resolution-opposing-common-core-state-standards/

 

Arizona State School Chief Blasts Common Core

Diane Douglas

Diane Douglas

Arizona State Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas was elected on a anti-Common Core platform so it’s no surprise that she would blast it during her 2015 State of Education address before the Arizona Legislature on Wednesday.

She’s probably the only state school chief talking like this, and she didn’t mince any words. She called the state of Arizona’s public education poor and then she turned her sights to Common Core and its assessment.

Our Arizona state standards were discarded and replaced with the unproven Common Core Standards, which came to Arizona as a de facto federal mandate―only to be renamed Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards.

The continual disruption of standards, accountability, assessment, and educator evaluations has caused uncertainty and stress in the education community as well as among Arizona parents. This is not the first time Arizona has changed its entire education system to reflect the latest fad, top-down approach, or cure-all sold as the solution for student achievement.

Common Core is just the latest, and it was implemented virtually without public communication, input or support. This constant roller coaster of dramatic changes has shifted the focus away from educating children and placed it on change for the sake of change itself.

Parents, students and teachers are exhausted and districts are broke from rewriting curricula and lesson plans every seven to ten years. Just as some stability is reached, everything is changed once again.

And now we will be subjecting our children to the brand new, unproven, inaptly named AzMERIT test―the name is the only thing Arizonan about the test―which was hastily chosen just 11 short weeks ago behind closed doors, once again without public discussion or vetting.

It was created by a self-identified, self-described behavioral and social research organization―not by education experts.

Our dedicated assessment staff at ADE has the daunting task of rolling out this new test in the next 10 weeks. Make no mistake, that team and districts all across the state are working diligently to fulfill this mandate.

A mere 21 weeks from adoption to implementation―let me repeat, 21 weeks, less than half a year, to prepare a test for students at almost every grade level. Once again, our precious children are being used as guinea pigs to advance some education agenda.

I call on this Legislature and the Governor to stop the madness and put our children first.