The Elitist and Corporate Agenda with ESSA Exposed

Photo credit: FEMA/Bill Koplitz (Public Domain)

Photo credit: FEMA/Bill Koplitz (Public Domain)

Dr. Mary Byrne of Missouri Coalition Against Common Core with Jane Robbins, a senior fellow with American Principles Project wrote The Patience, Privacy, Power, Politics, and Pensions Behind the Every Student Succeeds Act: The Elitist and Corporate Agenda Exposed and released it today.

The description on the MCACC website reads:

Senator Lamar Alexander made passage of ESSA his top priority since the 2014 mid-terms. This was to be is legacy to the American people. Find out what really went on in DC to get this Act, which Secretary Duncan crowed contained every policy the Administration has been advocating for for years, passed. We were told it was going to return control of education to the states. However,  Alexander has  admitted that, “ESSA isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on unless it’s implemented right, …. The federal government will take these powers right back.

You can download the paper here or read it below:

Missouri Activists Sue State of Missouri Over Common Core Payments

Gretchen Logue  and Anne Gassel  of the Missouri Coalition Against Common Core have joined Fred N. Sauer in filing a taxpayer lawsuit against Governor Nixon, Commissioner Nicastro, and other state officials.  The lawsuit challenges Missouri’s payment of taxpayer money to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, a consortium of states that is implementing tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards (“Common Core”).

Logue and Gassel’s lawsuit alleges that the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is an unconstitutional interstate compact that was not approved by Congress, in violation of the Compact Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 3, Clause 10.  The suit also alleges that Governor Nixon and Commissioner Nicastro’s course of conduct in committing Missouri to Common Core was in violation of numerous federal and state statutes.

By passing HB 1490 by an overwhelming majority, the Missouri state legislature effectively repudiated Common Core, requiring it to be replaced by 2016.  But Missouri has not withdrawn from the consortium of states implementing Common Core aligned tests.  According to public records, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education plans to send millions of dollars of taxpayer funds to the Smarter Balanced consortium in 2015, which will be used to support the implementation of Common Core in numerous other states.  These payments are illegal under the federal constitution, federal statutes, and Missouri state law.

Governor Nixon and Commissioner Nicastro engaged in a long course of conduct, in cooperation with the federal Department of Education, to commit Missouri’s public schools to Common Core without legislative approval.  The “consortium” of States implementing tests aligned with Common Core constitutes an illegal end-run around federal statutes forbidding the federal Department from implementing a national test or curriculum.  Even though Missouri is committed to exiting Common Core, DESE nevertheless continues to participate in SBAC and to administer the SBAC common core aligned tests in this state.

“The Missouri Legislature and Missouri voters have rejected Common Core.  Yet DESE continues to plan to send millions of dollars of payments to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium to support the implementation of Common Core in other states.  The consortium is an unconstitutional entity, and these payments are illegal.  We will continue to fight to protect Missouri taxes from being spent for this illegal purpose,” said Gassel and Logue.

Missouri Governor Signs Bill to Review and Replace Common Core

MissouriStateFlag1Gretchen Logue of Missouri Education Watchdog reported late yesterday afternoon that Governor Jay Nixon signed HB 1490 into law.  He had until August 28th to sign the bill or veto the bill.  He could have also let the bill go into effect without his signature.  The bill will keep the Common Core State Standards in place while educators and parents  give recommendations on how the standards can be improved.

The Missouri Coalition Against Common Core said in a released statement, “The Coalition expresses its appreciation to Governor Nixon and the Missouri Legislature for this first step to enable Missourians to direct and develop education for Missouri students.  We believe this is an important step forward that applies the appropriate caution when implementing a new and untried system to protect our teachers, districts and students from consequences that are not supported by valid data.

“We look forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature in the next session to further educational excellence for Missouri students.”

After the bill was first passed, MCACC said that this was not the ideal bill, but it was a start.

“We would have liked the language to be a lot stronger in terms of rejecting the Common Core State Standards. We will have to rely on the professional integrity of those selected to be on the various work groups to really focus on what is best for our students and teachers and not be swayed by outside political or financial interests,” said Anne Gassel a co-founder of MCACC in a statement released after the Missouri Legislature passed the bill.

In a nutshell this bill…

  • Mandates the state board by October 1, 2014 to convene work groups comprised of educational professionals who will develop and recommend academic standards by October 1, 2015.
  • The law also specifies (see bill text below) the types of individuals who will be appointed to those work groups (section 160.514).
  • The law requires three public hearings to be held (also in section 160.514).
  • The state board of education shall adopt and implement academic performance standards beginning in the 2016-2017 school year.  The board will then have to develop a statewide assessment system that is aligned to those standards.
  • The law states that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education shall pilot the Smarter Balanced Assessment during the 2014-2015 school year.  What happens during the 2015-2016 school year is unclear.

The law also reiterates local control exists… “Local school districts and charter schools may adopt their own education standards, in addition to those already adopted by the state, provided the additional standards are in the public domain and do not conflict with the standards adopted by the state board of education.”

With curriculum… “the state board of education and the department of elementary and secondary education shall not be authorized to mandate and are expressly prohibited from mandating the curriculum, textbooks, or other instructional materials to be used in public schools.”

Also in regards to appendix B, etc. of the Common Core State Standards, “The state board of education and the department of elementary and secondary education shall not require districts to use any appendix to the common core state standards.”

In regards to a school’s performance with assessments, “The state board of education shall suggest, but not mandate, criteria for a school to demonstrate that its students learn the knowledge, skills and competencies at exemplary levels worthy of imitation by students in other schools in the state and nation.”

You can read the entire bill (now law) below:

Missouri HB 1490 (Final)

Missouri Rally for Excellent Education This Tuesday

Missouri State Capitol

Missouri Coalition Against Common Core will host a “Rally for Excellent Education” this Tuesday, February 18th.  Below is an email that was sent out by the group’s co-founder Anne Gassel:

If you need a GPS address you can use 201 W. Capitol Ave Jefferson City. You will most likely end up parking in one of the lots located near the capitol as parking on the circular drive fills up rapidly. There are free lots on Missouri Avenue two blocks NW of the capitol. There is also a covered parking garage on Madison St. two blocks SE of the capitol (max $6/day).

We recommend you bring your lunch. There is a small cafeteria in the capitol but it will be very busy with everyone there for the rally.

Event Schedule

Breakout sessions (basement of the Capitol-House side)
10:00 a.m. Hearing Room 2

Student Data Collection Dangers and the Need to Protect Your Child -Paul Schwartz

Opt Your Child Out of Standardized Testing (Know Your Rights) – Mary Byrne

How to talk to your legislator – Anne Gassel

If the room is full, head on up to the 1st floor rotunda to check in, get your legislator cards and find a seat for the rally. We will run this session again in the after the rally so don’t worry about not getting in.

12:00  p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Rally – first floor rotunda

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Delivery of the six cards and bill sheets, visiting with your members of the Missouri General Assembly. This is also a time for you to eat your lunch quickly if you plan to stay for the afternoon break out sessions.

2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Breakout sessions (basement of the Capitol-House side)

Hearing Room 2
Student Data Collection Dangers and the Need to Protect Your Child -Paul Schwartz
Opt Your Child Out of Standardized Testing (Know Your Rights) – Mary Byrne

Hearing Room 4
Using Social Media To Get The Message Out – Gretchen Logue
The Grassroots Toolkit for Media Involvement (Liberty Toolkit) – Ron Calzone,    Missouri First

Hearing Room 6
Common Core in My Child’s School (A mom’s perspective) – Stacy Shore
What You Can Accomplish in Your Community (One mom’s struggle against the education system)– Jill Carter

This event is being planned to give the members of the  leadership in both chambers, and any individuals who need it, the extra encouragement to make sure our bills get over the finish line. The 2014 session ends on Friday, May 16.

If you can’t make it to the rally….

Please contact your legislator and ask them to support these bills.

MO Out of Common Core and SBAC

HB1490 Bahr – Hearing Scheduled Thursday February 20th in House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee

SB 798 Emery
SB 514 Lamping

Student Data Protection

HB1873 Guernsey Student Data Protection Act

SB819 Wallingford 4th Amendment Protection Act

Election of State Board of Education

HJR 74 & HB1818 Dohrman

Missouri Statutes That Protect Local Control of Education

I participated in the Take Back Our Schools in North Kansas City, MO on Saturday.  Duane Lester of The Missouri Torch was on hand to video the entire conference.  I wanted to highlight one of the presentations, and then encourage you to visit The Missouri Torch to view the rest.

Dr. Mary Byrne, co-founder of the Missouri Coalition Against Common Core, gave a presentation on the Missouri statutes that protect local control of education making a compelling case that the Missouri Board of Education and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education broke the law when they adopted the Common Core and mandated it for local schools.

Below is the video of her presentation.

Here are the slides.



He’s adding video throughout the day so be sure to check back at his site.

Take Back Our Schools Conferences in Missouri

TBOS1The Missouri Coalition Against Common Core in conjunction with Americans for Prosperity Missouri announced three conferences they are holding in different areas of Missouri on the Common Core State Standards and Student Data Collection.  Each event will have national Common Core experts (I will be speaking in Kansas City).

Here are the dates:

  • Kansas City – Saturday October 5, 2013  at the North Kansas City Community Center (1p –6p)
  • St. Louis – Sunday October 20, 2013  at the Wildwood Hotel (1p – 6p)
  • Springfield – Saturday October 26, 2013 at the University Plaza Hotel (9a –2p)

Topics covered:

  • The History of Common Core Standards – How Did We Get Here?
  • High Quality Standards For Everyone? Not so much. What about special needs kids? How could
  • CC harm early learners?
  • Testing Testing Testing
  • Data Collection – The government wants to know everything about your children. How can you protect their privacy?
  • What are your rights according to Missouri state law? How can you begin to assert those rights?
  • What is happening at the federal level when it comes to Common Core, Data Collection and state’s rights to control education
  • The future of education in Missouri – a common sense approach based on local assertion of rights already granted by our constitution and legislature.

They will also be offering the following break out sessions for various interest groups so they can network with other grassroots activists:

School Board Members – Know your rights as a School Board member. Compare experiences and network with other board members who are trying to get their district out of the public/private system of common standards.

Grassroots Activists – For parents, taxpayers, teachers, legislators. We’ll talk about everything in our activist kit, answer questions and get you networking.

Non-Public Schools (Catholic/Private/Home Schools) – Whether or not CC is in or coming to your school, you need to know what to watch for and how to keep the quality education you are paying for or providing.

You can download their flyer here.

You can pre-register for these conferences here (note the times on Eventbrite are not accurate).  The cost is $25 per person.

In Illinois: Exposing the Common Core

Here is an event for those who live in Southwestern Illinois and the St. Louis, MO area.

When: August 24th, 2013 at 6:00p-8:00p (CDT)

Where: Revive Church – Collinsville,IL (1105 W. Beltline Rd, Collinsville, IL 62234)


Luetkemeyer Addresses Common Core Concerns With Arne Duncan

399px-Blaine_LuetkemeyerVia Missouri Coalition Against Common Core:

Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) has written, and is gathering co-signers in Washington for, a letter expressing serious concerns with the manner in which the US Department of Education has involved itself with Common Core standards. The letter also notes the highly irregular process used to change the Congressional FERPA allowing the sharing of individual student records. The letter was written with the oversight of the House Education & Workforce Committee and already has interest from republican representatives in UT, IN, KS, MN, MI and even a democrat in IL.

Here is the letter:

Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer’s Letter to U.S Education Secretary Arne Duncan

Please contact your member of Congress and ask them to cosign this letter.  We also need to encourage our members of Congress to work to strip any Common Core funding with upcoming House appropriations bills.