Duke Pesta Discusses Proposed Education & Labor Department Merger

Dr. Duke Pesta and Alex Newman with FreedomProject Media note that despite being marketed as an effort to shrink the federal government, the Trump administration’s proposal to merge the U.S. Department of Labor with the U.S. Department of Education is being criticized from all sides. Especially critical, though, have been many leading conservative education activists, who argue that the plan fundamentally misunderstands the purpose of education.

They discuss.

(Video) Duke Pesta & Sandra Stotsky Discuss “Changing the Course of Failure”

FreedomProject Media last week released their third video with Dr. Duke Pesta and Dr. Sandra Stotsky. They discuss Stotsky’s new book, Changing the Course of Failure: How Schools and Parents Can Help Low-Achieving Students, aimed at identifying the problems low-achieving students are facing in public schools and common sense solutions that can help turn things around.

Stotsky describes the book here:

The basic purpose of this book is to help policy makers at all levels of government understand that (1) widespread adolescent underachievement is not susceptible to solution by educational interventions no matter how much money is allocated to public education; and (2) there are unidentified educational and civic costs to focusing on low achievement and to expecting public institutions of education (for K–12 and college) to solve a growing social problem. Many policy makers seem to think that teachers/schools are the primary cause of low achievement. Educational institutions still cannot solve a non-education-caused problem and haven’t done so for over fifty years despite all the public and private money that has been allocated. The book concludes with suggested policies for addressing the damage to public education from “gap-closing” standards and with suggested areas for policy making in order to change the current course of failure for many low-achieving students.

Watch their discussion below:

Video: Duke Pesta & Sandra Stotsky Discuss Failed Colleges of Education

Following a video where they discussed why Common Core has failed, FreedomProject Media released another video this week featuring Dr. Duke Pesta, FreedomProject’s academic director interviewing Dr. Sandra Stotsky, professor emeritus of education reform at the University of Arkansas and author of Massachusetts’ pre-Common Core ELA standards.

Pesta and Stotsky discuss this week how colleges of education have been a failure in passing on subject mastery to prospective teachers in their programs. Instead, professors of education, they state, have focused on politics and ideology in the classroom.

Watch below:

Video: Duke Pesta & Sandra Stotsky Dissect Why Common Core Has Failed

FreedomProject Media released a video last week featuring Dr. Duke Pesta, FreedomProject’s academic director interviewing Dr. Sandra Stotsky, professor emeritus of education reform at the University of Arkansas and author of Massachusetts’ pre-Common Core ELA standards.

They drill down on a new report from the Pioneer Institute that shows how the move to Common Core and their subsequent “new standards” hurt Massachusetts student achievement. The study said the new standards are still inferior to the pre-2010 academic standards.

FreedomProject notes in their description of the video, “Prior to adopting the Core, Massachusetts schools and educational standards were the finest in the nation, in large part because of the work of Dr. Stotsky. Now, Common Core has relegated Massachusetts to the same underachieving, politicized, centralized mediocrity plaguing the rest of the country’s public schools.”

Watch below:

Common Core: From Farce to Failure (Video)

I wanted to highlight an other resource released late last month by FreedomProject Education.  Dr. Duke Pesta who has been going around the country speaking out against Common Core has a new presentation entitled Common Core: From Farce to Failure.

You can watch below:

A side note, I’m going to have Dr. Pesta on Caffeinated Thoughts Radio on the Truth Network 99.3 FM in Des Moines, IA this Saturday.  If you are in the area tune in at 8:00a or 6:0op.  If not you can listen online here or just catch the podcast here.

(Video) Stotsky, Tienken, and Pesta at Stop Common Core Event in New Jersey

Dr. Sandra Stotsky, Dr. Christopher Tienken, and Dr. Duke Pesta all spoke at a “symposium of learning” entitled “No More Common Core” hosted by Concerned Citizens of New Jersey on Saturday, September 27 in Vineland, NJ.  They were also joined by Deneen Borelli of FreedomWorks, Dr. Tom Borelli, a molecular biologist, and Vern Williams of MathReasoning.

You can watch the presentation below:

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.


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

North Dakota DPI Official Attacks Common Core Opponent

The spokesperson for North Dakota’s Department of Public Instruction, Dale Wetzel, has been caught engaging in email smear campaign of Common Core foe, Dr. Duke Pesta, an English professor at the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh.  Pesta also serves as the Academic Director of FreedomProject Education.  This led up to Pesta, who has been active in fighting the Common Core in Wisconsin, speaking at rallies in Fargo and Bismarck.

Wetzel publically criticized Pesta on the radio last week on the Jay Thomas Show in North Dakota:

Rob Port at the SayAnything Blog reported:

Yesterday, DPI spokesman Dale Wetzel appeared on the Jay Thomas show to address Pesta’s criticisms of Common Core and was…something less than civil to opponents of the policy. Not content to merely rebut the arguments against Common Core, Wetzel was dismissive to the point of belittlement to the policy’s detractors.

Port also noted that civility has been lacking on both sides.  Port then reported from North Dakota Watchdog about the email campaign against Pesta:

In the lead up to Pesta’s visits to Bismarck and Fargo this week, DPI public information officer Dale Wetzel used a Gmail account to forward information to members of the state Legislature and at least one reporter, Hannah Johnson of the Bismarck Tribune. Among the documents sent were a copy of IRS Form 990 for the American Opinion Foundation, a list of “talking points” about Pesta and a third document entitled “The Truth About Duke Pesta.”

“He is a traveling salesman who is bad-mouthing Common Core to sell his own educational product,” reads one statement about Pesta in the “talking points” document.

“What is Pesta’s motivation? Money,” states the “Truth About Duke Pesta” document.

Initially, Superintendent of Public Schools Kirsten Baesler, who holds a non-partisan office but was endorsed by North Dakota Republicans, told Watchdog these emails were not coming from the Department of Public Instruction, but after an email forward from state Rep. Mike Nathe, a Republican from Bismarck, indicated the emails were originating with Wetzel, Baesler acknowledged they were sent out by a member of her staff.

But Baesler insists the emails were not sent per her instruction, nor were they sent using DPI resources, something with which Wetzel agrees.

“I did this on my own time and with my own equipment,” Wetzel told Watchdog in an email. “No one at DPI told me to do it.”

“I started the email address to send out the Pesta stuff because I didn’t want to clutter up my name gmail account with Common Core stuff,” Wetzel said, referencing his personal email account. “I figured it wouldn’t take a genius to figure out it was me anyway.”

Wetzel said the email address, created Monday, was only used in his personal time, on his private laptop, and that he created the email address “so that members of the press and legislators in North Dakota would know more background about an English teacher from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, who presents himself as an expert on Common Core.”

Wetzel acknowledged he talked about the same material from his emails while appearing on the Jay Thomas Show on WDAY AM970 in Fargo in his capacity as DPI spokesman.

We have had heated rhetoric on both sides of this issue.  Outside of pointing out organizations that have received Gates Foundation money to promote Common Core (which is verifiable) I’ve tried to stay away from personal attacks and to second guess motivations.  It is rather chilling that a state employee would use his platform to engage in a personal attack such as this.  We expect Common Core advocates to provide a defense of the Common Core and to address our criticisms, but this crosses the line.

Kirsten Baesler, North Dakota’s Superintendent of Public Schools, should acknowledge this.

Pesta responded to this email attack:

A response from Dr. Duke Pesta onDale Wetzel’s Department of Public Instruction “Hit Piece”

  • Dr. Pesta backs up everything he says with documentation, and he provides the websites for people to check out the facts for themselves.
  • Dr Pesta does not charge a speaking fee; he is reimbursed for travel expenses by the parents who invited him to come on behalf of Stop Common Core ND.
  • Far from using his speech to advertise his educational materials, Dr. Pesta says Common Core is the single best advertisement to come down the road for homeschooling in the past 50 years.

The truth about Common Core that Dale Wetzel and the Department of Public Instruction don’t want you to know:

  • Common Core was put together behind closed doors by an unholy alliance between the federal government and crony capitalists.
  • Common Core is a top-down, one-size-fits-all approach to education that will decrease learning and ultimately rob North Dakota moms and dads of local control of their schools.
  • Common Core joins weak pedagogy with blatant sociological indoctrination to separate children from their families.
  • Liberal organizations across the country, including the New York state teachers union, the National Education Association, and the Occupy Wall Street movement, have joined with numerous conservative voices to oppose Common Core.
  • In those states that have had Common Core two years longer than North Dakota, a concerted effort is being made to remove it.
  • Currently there are 300 pieces of legislation pending in 46 states to remove Common Core in whole or in part, and there will be legislation introduced in North Dakota to do so next session.

Two Upcoming New York State Conference Calls

New-York-State-FlagStop Common Core in New York State is hosting two conference calls this month:

1. Tonight at 7 pm EST with Dr. Duke Pesta and Emmett McGroarty:

Topic: Common Core Catholic Identity Initiative and the Classical Catholic Education: Two Worlds at Odds With One Another.

Common Core State Standards in education have garnered a growing degree of attention from all sides of the educational policy field in the last several months. New York State was one of the first states to adopt this new set of academic standards and is right at the center of this lively debate currently going on in the school halls.

WHY did the NY Archdiocese adopt CCCII? Have YOU asked?

Common Core’s advocates say it raises the educational bar in New York. Yet, detractors have indicated that Common Core comes with a number of detrimental trade-offs especially for NY catholic school students and their families. Here are just some of the questions to think about:

  • Has the NY Archdiocese properly vetted Common Core State Standards for their students and families?
  • Catholic schools have always preached each child is different and unique priding themselves of being ahead of the curve; with CC will those same teachings and philosophies still take precedence?
  • Why are we paying extra if the education will be the same as the public school system?
  • Why is the NY Archdiocese using CC when it’s only mandated in the public schools?
  • What about the sexuality standards? How will the catholic schools handle material that has been written by Planned Parenthood?
  • NCEA (National Catholic Education Association) has not received money from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, so why did they compromise their values and beliefs?

Interested parties are invited to join this unique opportunity to listen in on a lecture that will address the Common Core Catholic Identity Initiative by Dr. Duke Pesta, Academic Director of Freedom Project Education and Emmett McGroarty, Executive Director of the Preserve Innocence Initiative at the American Principles Project.

Statewide Conference Call

  • Wednesday, November 6 @ 7:00 pm (EST) to 8:30 pm (immediately following the CCCII lecture there will be a Q&A)
  • Call in Number: 530-881-1300
  • Code: 587258

Emmett McGroarty, Esq: is the Executive Director of the Preserve Innocence Initiative at the American Principles Project. Preserve Innocence works to protect parental rights and to promote government policies that protect the innocence of children and to fight those policies that drive a wedge between the parent-child relationship. It is working to stop the federal education takeover. Mr. McGroarty has provided commentary and analyses on the federal education takeover and its affronts to the underpinnings of our democratic republic. Mr. McGroarty received his bachelor’s from Georgetown University and his Juris Doctorate from Fordham School of Law.

Dr. Duke Pesta: He has been active in educational reform, and was instrumental in developing and implementing an elective Bible course that is currently available for public high school students in Texas. Dr. Pesta’s experiences as an educational reformer, university professor, high school teacher, and the administrator of an online home school curriculum uniquely qualify him to address the current state of education in our country. He speaks at educational conventions and conferences across the nation on topics including homeschooling, the problems confronting public education, and the lack of ideological diversity on university campuses. He is currently speaking in numerous venues across the country on pending Common Core legislation.

Dr. Pesta is a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh, and the academic director of FreedomProject Education.

2. Tuesday, November 12 at 8 pm (EST) with Dr. R. James Milgram:

Dr. Milgram is a professor emeritus of mathematics at Stanford University. He served on the validation committee for the Common Core mathematics. He refused to sign off on the standards because doing so would have required him to assert that they reflected international expectations for math, but they are considerably below that level.  He was the only mathematician on the Validation Committee. His career is very extensive and very distinguished.

  • Call In Number: (530) 881-1300
  • Code: 587258

There will be a half hour lecture on Common Core Math then immediately following a Q&A.  If you would like to submit a question for Dr. Milgram please send them to ygasperino@outlook.com.

Dr. Duke Pesta Gives Testimony Against Common Core in Wisconsin

Dr. Duke Pesta, FreedomProject Education’s Academic Director and Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, gave testimony against the Common Core State Standards during a public hearing held on Wednesday, October 16th in Fond du Lac, WI.

You can watch it below: