STOP Common Core in New York State 
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Parent's Corner


  

  
Hey CCSS Parent Warriors, are you frustrated about what is happening with the federal mandate of CCSS being shoved down your throat?  Don’t have time for a blog but would love to have one?  Or did the local paper shun your opinion piece and refused to put it on the opinions page of your local paper?  You want to tell Commissioner King, Senator Flanagan, or Governor Cuomo how you really feel?  Or tell Bill Gates to go and shove it?  Nothing like being a H.S. drop-out  then turning around preaching to parents what type of education their children need.  This is the outlet for YOU if you need to scream, yell or vent with your megaphone!!  Do it here, Do it now...


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Title Why Parenst Should Not Fear Teacher Tenure
Author Dave Greene and Glen Dalgleish
Date June 18th, 2014

Co-authored by:

Glen Dalgleish: Parent, Education Advocate, co-Founder “Stop Common Core in New York State”.

David Greene: Teacher, Parent, Author: Doing The Right Thing: A Teacher Speaks, Public Education Advocate. Treasurer Save Our Schools March, Program Consultant WISE Services.

Since the Vergara ruling in California, there has been a lot of discussion about “tenure” but there has also been a lot of different interpretations what it actually means and unfortunately there has also been a lot of misinformation. Glen and I will try and put some more clarity around the subject with this brief description and explanation. We also hope to try and demonstrate its significance in a teacher’s professional life.

What Tenure is:
 “Tenure is legal protection granted to some teachers that requires the school district to prove just cause before a termination. Tenure is obtained through a multi-year evaluation process of a teacher in a probationary track position and usually requires a vote of the governing body of the school. Once tenure is granted, a teacher is no longer considered an “at-will” employee (an employee that can be terminated for any reason at any time). Rather, to terminate an employee with tenure, a school district must show that it has “just cause” to do so, typically at a hearing before an arbitrator.”

What Tenure is not:
Tenure is NOT a lifetime job guarantee. This is a key point to remember as we believe this where a lot of the misinformation stems from. It is up to administrators, not boards, to make the right decision about tenure at this point. In NYS, they have 3 years to determine the quality of each of their new teachers.

“Merely working in a position that has the potential to become tenured is not a guarantee that a teacher will be granted tenure at the end of the evaluation period.” Notably, as with any adverse employment action, denial of tenure cannot be based on certain factors. These factors include, but are not limited to, age, gender, national origin, religion, disability, race, or sexual orientation. Additionally, tenure cannot be denied based on a reason that is “arbitrary and capricious.” In other words, the school district must have a good faith reason to deny tenure.

Contrary to what some claim, under New York law a teacher’s tenure CAN be revoked. However tenure can only be revoked for “just cause” and the subject teacher is entitled to a hearing. The hearing is sometimes referred to as a “3020-a” hearing because of the section of the education law that governs the process. If the hearing officer determines that “just cause” exists, tenure is revoked and the teacher may be terminated.”

What prevents more poor teachers from being fired? Until 2012, a major factor was the law itself but since then it has been streamlined to speed up the process. However it has been and still is up to school administrators to do their due diligence in using the law to rid their school of teachers unfit to teach. Many delays are caused by the administrators themselves by not proceeding in a timely manner.

Why do Teachers need tenure? Teachers should not be fired for grounds that are “arbitrary and capricious.” Tenure guarantees that teachers will get due process. “Countless teachers from Southern states without tenure are afraid to do the things that New York teachers do all the time – do creative work in classrooms, or write blogs, write letters to the editor, even show up to a rally – because they could lose their jobs for speaking out. All working people should have such protections.”

Why do school districts need tenure? “It is important to dismiss ineffective teachers, but also to attract and retain effective teachers. In fact, eliminating tenure will do little to address the real barriers to effective teaching in impoverished schools, and may even make them worse. The reason has to do with the many ways that the role of teachers in the labor market has changed in recent decades.

When few professions were open to highly skilled women, schools could hire them for low salaries. Now, teaching must compete with other professions. That has made it hard to recruit the best candidates. One of the few things that has always helped to recruit good people into teaching is tenure and the due process guarantee it comes with, especially with lower salaries compared to other professions with both undergraduate and graduate school requirements for permanent certification. As mentioned, this does not mean teachers are never dismissed — it just means it cannot be done without “just cause”.

A recent study discovered…firing bad teachers actually makes it harder to recruit new good ones, since new teachers don’t know which type they will be. That risk can be offset with higher salaries — but that in turn could force increases in class size.

Where have all the potential good new teachers gone? Law, Medicine, Finance, and Business. The real question is how to change that!

The “due process” afforded by tenure does not make teachers more special then other professions that do not enjoy this, it does however make them stronger advocates for our children and allows them to speak up without the fear of unfair retaliation. Something Common Core has taught us is invaluable to all.

Sources:

1. http://www.teachersrightslawyer.com/frequently-asked-questions/

2. http://www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/ospra/memo04042012.html

3. http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2014/06/11/does-tenure-protect-bad-teachers-or-good-schools/protections-of-teacher-tenure-do-not-hurt-students

4. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/13/opinion/california-ruling-on-teacher-tenure-is-not-whole-picture.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Ar&_r=0

5. http://www.edweek.org/media/pot2011final-blog.pdf
Title Checkmate for Common Core
Author Denis Ian
Date June 12th, 2014

Let's play chess … because that's exactly what the Gates and the Common Core pushers are doing.

They're on their heels. Some states … and some individual school districts … have simply dumped Common Core. And there are seismic jitters from coast to coast. Our efforts have juiced up the CC issue in the media and now it's a part of the election language as we swing into the fall. The anti-Common Core sites have become magnets for disgruntled parents and offended educators from all levels. If you can lift yourself up a bit … and spy the situation from a decent altitude … you'll see the anti-forces are more muscled than ever. And it's predictable that the Common Core patriarchs are in full-swing chess mode. They're too clever by half. Can't leave bad enough alone. Gotta ring the bells and push the panic-buttons pronto.

First, Arne Duncan's out to castrate Oklahoma for giving CC the heave-ho. South Carolina is next in line for the knife. Duncan's got his razor strop out for any state and any school district that dares derail the federal transfer of local and state control to DC big-wigs. Duncan's activity resembles more a MASH unit … triaging the Common Core wounded in states like Indiana, Oregon, Georgia, and Michigan. In all, seventeen states have pushed back against Common Core — including Alaska, Nebraska, Texas and Virginia, which declined to sign on from the beginning. Duncan's head looks more and more like a bobble-head … not quite sure where the next anti-Common Core brushfire's gonna pop up. Let's keep him busy.

Second, the American Federation of Teachers … in an infrequent moment of clarity … actually told the Gates Foundation to take his money-clip and shove it. Randi Weingarten, hardly my nominee for the "Esteemed Educator" plaque, blew off Gates and his money saying, "I got convinced by the level of distrust I was seeing …" Thanks for the head-knock, but keep any eye on her … she still slithers as far as I'm concerned. But I'll take her knee-capping of Gates as a happy moment.

Last, Bill Gates has had a light-bulb moment and realized he just might have over-invested millions in a "black hole" … so he's suddenly asking for a sort of desperate speed-reduction when it comes to the implementation to chill the chatter. A "moratorium". His empty peace pipe had few takers. In fact, his sappy sort of plea-bargain got super-slammed … and he's wondering if he's still the smartest man in the galaxy. Good. He's not.

So, back to the chessboard. I guess Gates mused and fretted that this was an apropos moment for yet another genius swivel by enlisting the post-secondary Common Core knights to come to his defense. More than two hundred knights to be precise. Here are his marching orders to the pointy-headed wizards of the university world: "Members of the "Higher Ed for Higher Standards" coalition announced on Tuesday their intention to reverse anti-Common Core sentiments in their respective state capitals, as well as to work toward the successful adoption of Common Core standards. Members of the group hail from more than 30 states and consist mostly of administrators at public colleges and universities." You gotta love the name of the group … "Higher Ed for Higher Standards" … they're very high on themselves, don't you think? Hope they didn't stay up all night teasing that shingle into existence.

This is the new Common Core phalanx … bought and armed by guess who? Yup! Our extraterrestrial genius … Gates the Great! Nancy Zimpher, chancellor of the State University of New York system, appears to be Gates newly unleashed queen. Of course, her palm has been properly greased by Dollar Bill. Here's her semi-regal call-to-arms: "My fear is, if we start throwing in the towel now on Common Core, we won’t have another moment like this again." IF ONLY!

Gates and his consiglieres are now pressuring from the top-down … having hit rough roads with the bottom-up route. And these post-secondary educators have their palms out and their mouths flapping … defending a reform that's been exposed as deformed. Their "woe is me" blurt about ill-prepared incoming students conveniently masks the obvious fact that the American college experience has been fluffed-out for the last two decades. They run away fast from the fact that they're more ripe for reform than any other level in the American educational structure. Higher education's dismal record of producing work-ready graduates is a comedic mother-lode … graduating student-debtors with such unmarketable majors as "Bowling Industry Management" and "Gender-Bending Studies".

Mike Row, of "Dirty Jobs" fame, said it best … “We are lending money we don’t have to kids who can’t pay it back to train them for jobs that no longer exist. That’s nuts.” And it's the "Higher Ed", Gates' boot-lickers who perpetuate that sort of slop-education without a moment of sincere examination of their own more mighty missteps. Methinks we have a "pot calling the kettle black" moment. But fear not! They're now going whole-hog on the pro-Common Core buffet … courtesy of Bill Gates and his billions. These are the new defenders. I sense desperation more than anything else.

Those high ed folks should have been with us from the jump. They never investigated the wretched turmoil Common Core has delivered into homes across the nation. And they were even less apt to even consult their elementary and secondary brethren about this reform. Now they've made a money-pact with the Lucifer of modern education. In truth, they've scheduled their own rendezvous in Hades.

It's important, from time to time, to get a proper snap-shot of this movement with a wide-angle lens. Lots of time we allow ourselves to get mired in the day-to-day slog. It's hard to see day-to-day progress. We get avalanched with articles and news clips and more pith than a person can logically absorb. It's good, of course, to stay current and to have our antennae pricked-up. But let's not lose sight of this fact: We're winning. They're on the defensive. They're forever re-packaging the argument. They're in trouble. They're losing. Checkmate's on the way.

We're winning.

Denis Ian
Title All District 31
Author April Gredder DeFrancesco
Date April 8th, 2014


April 8, 2014

To: All District 31, NYS CCC
Re: My son, 8 years old, 3rd grade

Hello,

I am so sorry I missed your call yesterday. I understand that you both have some serious concerns regarding the message, retold to you by my son, about his homework requirements, and how they relate to the decision made by me, to refuse him taking the CCLS state tests, and whether or not he was accurate in relaying my message. You also notified me that you "knew what kind of parent I am", and that "surely I think he needs to continue his work, to continue to progress nicely so he can meet Common Core standards, and how important it must be to me that my son does well."

Let me begin by saying, I am quite impressed with my sons capability to relay my message to you pretty accurately. When he asked if that's what he can tell his teachers, I advised him to yes, stand up for yourself, as long as it is done quietly and respectfully. However, I did not tell him he didn't have to do any more homework because he is not taking NYS CCLS exams. I did advise him however, that we will no longer be tortured every single night, to complete pages in books that state their purpose is to be a review program for the Common Core Learning Standards for Mathematics or ELA tests. But other than that, he nailed his answer to your question right on the head.  

These books are filled with practice tests, each practice test had 69 Math questions, (61 multiple choice, 5 short response and 3 extended response questions), stating that going forward the teacher will explain how you will do the practice tests, and they will record your answers.  Making sure to fill in bubbles completely in the process. Also, throughout the book, their are little testing tips for answering questions. My reasoning is...

Let's return to the homework matter in a bit. On January 13, 2014, I sent in letters to the school administration, and his teachers, alerting the school of my intention to exercise my parental rights regarding this matter. Just to be clear, District 31, does not have my permission to administer any state or district mandated standardized benchmark assessments to my child, Grade 3. It is my understanding that in place of these, my sons progress will be assessed using a portfolio, a gathering of all of his teacher directed tests, writings, reading levels, etc. for him to be evaluated on.
And, no, my child cannot be held back, based solely on the fact he refuses state tests, unless he is taking regents exams.

Also, District 31 does not have my permission to administer to my son:

• Any surveys, or “field tests” given by corporate or government entities or testing companies.
• Any progress- monitoring or RTI assessments such as Aimsweb
• Any exam used to formulate an evaluation or score for our children’s teachers or their school.
• Any state assessment
• Any so-called “benchmark” exams, whether they are teacher-designed or not, since these exams are imposed by entities other than the individual teacher. I trust the teacher, not the entities.
• Pre-assessments connected to “Student Learning Objectives”.

Citing the law of this country, remember when we used to learn about laws?..."Federal law states that parents possess the “fundamental right” to “direct the upbringing and education of their children.” Furthermore, the Court declared that “the child is not the mere creature of the State: those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right coupled with the high duty to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.” In recognition of both the right and responsibility of parents to control their children’s education, the Court has stated, “It is cardinal with us that the custody, care and nurture of the child reside first in the parents, whose primary function and freedom include preparation for the obligations the State can neither supply nor hinder.”

Now, the changes brought upon public education by the Common Core Standards, that's a whole different story. The people who made these decisions claim that the goal of the Common Core is to ensure that all children are college/career ready. It's a nice sentiment. On some level, I get it. Even the playing field and teach the same core standards to kids across the board to narrow the gap. It makes sense on paper. But in practice? Not so much.

So far, the Common Core appears to be putting fear into dedicated teachers -- they, the very people who care about, teach, and protect our children. I happen to know a lot of teachers. These are people who used to stay up entirely too late each night planning fun and engaging lessons for the following day. These are people who hide first grade students in cabinets and sing them songs to keep them calm while a shooter wreaks havoc on their school. Sadly, sometimes sacrificing their lives for the lives of their students, whom they feel a love and a deep responsibility for.


Forget about all of that. Dedication and sacrifice mean nothing anymore in today's world. Today's teachers are being forced to follow a script. They "teach to tests" and fear job loss if they don't see the expected results. The result of this test giving, job loss fearing style of teaching is written all over the faces of the little kids caught in the transition. The people behind the Common Core might think that they are ensuring college/career readiness, but what they are really ensuring is a generation of anxious robotic children who can memorize answers but don't know how to think.

Many teachers say pressure to prepare students for more rigorous Common Core tests means the youngest children are now required to do work that is wildly age-inappropriate. Examples include reading passages and questions that until now would be assigned to much older students, as well as confusing, overly difficult math problems. The tests and test prep, say parents and teachers, are crushing morale and self-confidence, while generating hatred of school. As far as my son goes, it is turning him off of school and if this trend continues, he will be far from college- and career-ready because he will want nothing to do with college.

Is it wrong to say Common Core is ruining childhood? Hmmmmm...

Increased stress:
Yes, tests and quizzes are part of school, but the pressure to perform is very high right now. Stress trickles down. When teachers are under stress, kids internalize it. They really are smarter than we think.
 
With this hyper-focus on the core areas of learning and the constant testing to ensure that the material is being memorized (I mean understood, of course), kids are constantly under pressure to perform. Add a trickle down stress factor to that and kids begin to fall apart. Anxiety disorders among children are already on the rise. But who cares if those statistics skyrocket, right? In a few years, Valium and Xanax will be the normal coping mechanism for a school day.  

Creativity is dead:
Learning has always included textbooks and spelling tests at the elementary school level. That's part of the deal. But it used to be that kids were given the opportunity to tap into their creative brains. I wrote my first "hardcover" book in second grade. I still remember how confident I felt when my little story about a magical teddy bear who could fly, evolved into an actual book. Ahhh, those were the days.

Busywork is the name of the game with the Common Core. Kids need to write and rewrite spelling words and sentences until their hands practically fall off, but if they do fall off, don't be absent. You are missing 4th grade level algebra. They need to correct sentences that they didn't write because they don't really have the time to come up with their own sentences. Homework includes work packets with more of the same. And don't forget to study for those practice tests!
Forget about problem solving, group work, and thinking outside the box, these kids need to memorize the core curriculum first. It's as if creativity holds no merit. Are you familiar with Steve Jobs? There are people who do exactly what they have to do to get by, and there are people who work harder and end up changing the world. Don't we want to inspire kids to be thought leaders and world changers?

Inadequate time to socialize:
You know what's really taken a hit in recent years? Recess. Some schools don't have it at all. Recess is when kids truly practice social skills. They take turns. They negotiate. They initiate friendships. They learn to cope with disappointment. Sometimes they work together. Sometimes they don't. But either way, they learn to work it out. But not if they don't have recess. Not if they don't spend any free time with their peers. There's just not enough time in an instructional day, duh! Makes me wonder how in the world there is so much bullying, physical altercations, and school shootings occurring on a daily basis. I wonder???

Poor eating habits and insufficient exercise:
You can't turn on the TV or open a magazine without hearing about obesity in America these days. It's a problem. And yet, a school lunch is often 15-20 minutes long, forcing kids to wolf down food before the bell rings. So much for listening to hunger cues and chatting with friends -- there is no time for that. TEST PREP COMES FIRST, PEOPLE! TEACH TO TEST!!
And then there's PE. Some school districts have completely cut physical education due to budget issues. Where is all that money going? With little recess and no PE, kids are not getting enough exercise. Don't worry, you will get "adequate exercise" in high school, right?

No time to decompress:
Kids need downtime, experts stress. There is a lot of talk about over-scheduling and the stress that results from too much going and not enough resting. But kids today are faced with a lot of homework. There are third graders with 2-3 hours of homework each night, my child is an example. And that doesn't account for long-term projects.

Even if you do manage to under-schedule your kids, many of them have to come right home (Other than Monday and Tuesday, mandated extended day ends at 3:40 P.M., and Wednesday, religious instruction ends at 5:00 P.M., and Thursday, my son needs tutoring because he cannot seem to grasp that knowing that 4x6=24 isn't enough anymore, without showing his work for it with graphs, charts, arrays, drawings, etc., paying for a great tutor with our savings but she's worth every penny, that ends at 5:00 P.M.), then he finally gets home, does his homework, study for a CC practice test, eat dinner, shower, and basically pass out at 9:30 p.m. What are we missing???? Ohhhh, family interaction! Where is the downtime in that scenario?

Here are some facts:

1. When students, teachers and schools are rewarded for high test scores and punished for low ones, the tests themselves become the focus of education. Class time is devoted to test prep, which robs children of their natural desire to learn.

2. The state exams test only two subjects: English and math. That encourages schools to give less and less time to social studies, music, art, world languages, physical education, and even science.
 
3. High-stakes testing undermines important learning. In 2011, the National Academy of Sciences reviewed America’s test-based accountability systems and concluded, “There are little to no positive effects of these systems overall on student learning and educational progress.”

4. State exams are loaded with poorly written, ambiguous questions. A recent statement signed by 545 New York State Principals, noted that many teachers and principals could NOT agree on the correct answers.?.....?....?....

5. While New York State is paying Pearson millions of dollars, it is massively underfunding NY public schools (lack of physical education is a prime example). This is part of a national trend: states cut funding to public schools while pouring millions into new computer systems designed for Common Core tests.

6. High-stakes tests don’t help students learn or teachers teach. The results come too late for that. The tests are largely punitive: they punish teachers, students, and schools that don’t perform. Low test scores can be used to hold good students back and rate strong teachers as “ineffective” despite high ratings by their principals. Really???

7. High-stakes testing undermines teacher collaboration. Teachers are judged on a curve, which discourages them from helping students in another teacher’s class.

8. High-stakes testing encourages “teaching to the middle.”  Educators are pressured to focus on the “2” and “3” students, where the most progress can be made on scores, and ignore the 4s (where gains aren't measured) and 1s (whose needs are too great to raise scores easily).

9. Many middle school admissions offices are ignoring state tests. Many NYC principals signed a letter last year stating that they would no longer be considering test scores. Most schools already have practices in place for admitting students who don’t have scores.  But this isn't what we are lead to believe. We are lied to, and informed that standardized tests score are mandatory to attend middle school!

10. One-size-fits-all tests punish and discourage students who are already vulnerable, including students of color, English-Language Learners, children with special needs, like my son who has an active IEP, and students from families living in poverty.

Some examples of what we are allowing to happen: Spring 2014

Day 3 of the Common Core NYS ELA is absurd. The third grade test includes an excerpt from a book that, according to Scholastic, is written at a Grade Level Equivalent of 5.2. Its Lexile Measure is 650L, and it’s categorized as a Level X Guided Reading selection. Yet, it appears on a test that has been written for third grade students.

Day 3 of the Common Core NYS ELA is incongruous with Common Core Learning Standards. The same third grade test asks students to identify how specific paragraphs support the organizational structure of a selected piece of literature. The Reading Standards for Literature in Grade 3, with respect to Craft and Structure, state that Grade 3 students should be able to: Refer to parts of stories, dramas, and poems when writing or speaking about a text, using terms such as chapter, scene, and stanza; describe how each successive part builds on earlier sections. It is not until Grade 5, according to The Reading Standards for Literature, that students should be able to: Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem.

Why doesn't anyone ask the parents what homework time is like? Do you think it's like a 7 day trip to DisneyWorld weekly? Yea, no. Because of the fact that his teachers were never given the time or opportunity to LEARN how to TEACH this great new curriculum within an adequate timeframe, ahead of the fast paced rollout, teachers for the most part are learning WITH their students. In my home, my son comes home, ill equipped with enough knowledge from the days classwork, to completely understand that nights assignment, and is CLUELESS! Then come the hysterics, the self loathing, " I hate my life, I hate school, I'm dumb, I'm too stupid to do this" followed by the self inflicting joy of nightly banging his head down on the GLASS dining room table, followed by an understandable painful headache. This really helps move homework time along, I have to tell you.

Is not crying while doing HW the new measure of success? Sitting for over 10 hours of testing without having stomach pains, vomiting, diarrhea, hysterics, and anxiety, is that our new success? Or do we want more? Do we want to see our kids classrooms filled with projects and fantasy. Finding the love of reading from fairy tales and fiction classics. Where social and emotional development is just as, or even more important as a test score. A classroom where our 8 year olds find a love of science that carries with them throughout life. Where social studies can take them right into the time period they are learning about. Where they are challenged rather than frustrated. We need to raise our expectations and need to ask ourselves "Does my child's classroom look the way I want it to look?" If not, what are we going to do about it? Because, god forbid we ask questions, or make decisions regarding homework based on a test my son IS NOT TAKING.

Maybe, it's time to rethink the Common Core?  Stress is dangerous and impacts physical and emotional health. It's no way to live, and it's NOT the way I will raise my child.

Incidentally, can anyone tell me what kind of career requires people to spit out the answers to 20 math problems in two minutes or less? I think today’s system isn’t generating kids who are independent thinkers and ready to contribute to the world. I think we have to ask ourselves whether we want to create a generation of test-takers and resume-builders, or do we want problem-solvers and life-long learners and healthy young adults.

There is a film called "Race to Nowhere” documenting how America’s schools have become test-obsessed, high-stakes pressure cookers. They’re churning out ill-prepared adults short on creativity and ethics, and stripping humanity from kids.
Here's some more fun facts:

1.Standardized Testing takes away approximately 25% of our children's academic school year.

2.Standardized Testing gives teachers incentives and forces teachers to "teach to the test" instead of nurturing higher order thinking skills.

3.Standardized Testing teaches children that there is only one right answer in academics and in life.

4.Standardized Testing costs millions of dollars of taxpayer money to produce and thousands of dollars of our school district's money to implement.

5.Standardized Testing encourages our best teachers to seek other careers where their expertise is actually valued. So who is losing out? Our kids.

6.Standardized Testing is developmentally destructive for specific age groups.

7.Standardized Testing is creating corruption among schools where school districts are cheating on test scoring.

8.Standardized Testing is creating corruption among students where students are purposely scoring poorly to negatively affect teachers that they don’t like.

9.Standardized Testing gives teachers incentive to care more about their teacher evaluation than they do about children. Do you want your child in a classroom with a teacher who has this type of attitude????

10.Standardized Testing uses our children as tools to evaluate school districts, schools, and teachers. Students do not even get a chance to learn from their mistakes. In fact, they never see the test after they take it. Now that makes sense!?!?

 I've seen firsthand my child go from loving learning to being worried, anxious and stressed about these tests. These tests...which have no real bearing on his future...these tests...which take up months of test prep time instead of teaching time...these tests...which are making corporations VERY rich and children VERY stressed...these tests...which are being used to grade teachers who got into teaching to make a difference, not make children miserable. Our children are spending way more time testing with no benefit to them. Do we want them to spend more time learning over testing, practice tests, and all the other assessments they endure. They've lost all time associated with projects and hands on learning. 

NYS standardized testing has become excessive and extraordinarily harmful to students, teachers, and our schools in general. It has changed the culture and climate of schools for the worse. When last year's grade 3-8 tests were realigned with Common Core, less than one-third of students earned passing scores. This year, they lowered the grade to pass. ?????

I believe in our students, teachers, administrators, and my knowledge of my own child.

I believe in standards. I believe in teacher based assessments. I believe strongly in public education.

I do NOT believe that private companies, like Pearson, have the best interest of our children, our future leaders, in mind. $$$$$$$$$

I do NOT believe in high-stakes standardized testing.

And, most importantly, I DO believe that the current implementation of high-stakes standardized testing will bankrupt and destroy public education.

High-stakes testing already pollutes our classrooms. There are test prep, SLOs, and Common Core 

There are Contact Standards that are not developmentally appropriate, and set our children up to feel like failures from the start.

High stakes testing is also expensive. It is a tremendous financial burden which will bankrupt the public school system.

As our resources are directed towards these mandates, they are taken away from the arts and other non-mandated elements of our curriculum which negatively impacts our students’ ability to be truly college and career ready- or more simply said- their ability to be happy, healthy, and wise.

I believe that we are at a crucial point in public education. I do NOT believe that we can hunker down, do our best, and wait for these “tough times” to pass.

If we do not take a stand now, we may not have anything to stand for at all. Public education as we know it could disappear in the near future leaving us with a hierarchy of charter schools ranging from the “have-it-alls” to “never-had-a-chance”.

I believe in and trust our highly qualified and dedicated teachers and administrators. I believe in the high quality of teaching and learning that occur in my child’s school. I hope my efforts will be understood in the context in which they are intended: to support the quality of instruction promoted by the school, and to advocate for what is best for all children. Our schools will not suffer when these tests are finally gone, they will flourish.

I will continue to stand up against the corporate and government takeover of our schools and advocate for what is best for children, teachers and administrators. I will not stay silent and do nothing while these unjustly abusive mandates and policies are setting up our children and our schools for failure. I believe in and trust our highly qualified and dedicated teachers and administrators. I believe that my child's education should be trusted to those who are most experienced and who personally know the needs and individual requirements of each child. Teachers already know how to determine those needs and requirements without mandated standardized assessments. 

While I understand the district is legally required to administer these tests, I have determined that the present testing system is grossly excessive, poorly designed, punitive to students, teachers and our schools. I can no longer sit by and watch the corporate and government takeover of our schools. I believe in our dedicated and qualified teachers and administrators and need to advocate for what is best for my child. I want our teachers to be able to teach again.  I want my child to be able to learn again, in all ways, I want the schools to be places children can grow and socialize in a calm and supportive environment. 
 
Having a child in third grade, I have knowledge of how much rigor children at such a young age are forced to endure. The CCSS are depriving my child of a meaningful education and deterring him away from developing a love for learning.

The Common Core State Standards are designed for the common students where does that leave the student who is uncommon? By uncommon, I mean the student who it may take a while to learn and grasp the concepts of what is being taught, like my son or the student who has emotional difficulty adjusting, like my son, or the student who is disadvantaged and worried if he/she will have dinner on the table that evening. We live in a society filled with uncommon people.  What defines the Common student? What traits does that common student hold?  We live in a great nation where the common is not so common and teaching to standards that are geared toward the common student is setting our kids up for failure.

As a parent, as a U.S. citizen, it is wonderful that I am able to coach my son to refuse these tests. And I will continue to do so, as long as there is a single breathe left in my body.

Because, he is NOT common.

Now, my reasoning is.....I will not torture my son for another twenty two more days, practicing and completing test prep assignments, trying to make him explain why and how he just knows 6x4=24, especially when correct answers aren't so important, for a test that he is not and should not be expected to be scholastically prepared for, putting him through three dates of testing, and anxiety, just so his teachers can be scored unfairly by his bogus score. In addition to his already low self esteem and nervousness suffering further. To be honest, the hypocrisy of receiving a call of such concern over homework not done, which never happens, because this homework is based on a test that I am refusing him to take, that you were all aware of, boggles my mind. Give him as much reading, writing, non CC based graded math, science, and social studies work as you see fit.

And yes, you know what kind of parent I am, a pretty good one. And I do think he needs to continue his non-based Core Curriculum work, wanting him to progress nicely, not needing to meet Common Standards. And most importantly, as long as my son tries the best he can, and is on a normal/meeting grade level, he's a rock star in my eyes.

Thank you so very much for your concern,

DEDICATED AND INFORMED PARENT
Title Newbie
Author Lee Justo
Date January 3rd, 2014


I am still very much a newbie in this movement. However, I have some advice for those who are really new, like this week or last week new:

1) You are not alone. Fighting common core is a nationwide grass roots movement, probably the biggest one in history (hey, we are talking about our kids)

2) There are no special interests groups on your side. This is up to you and you alone, so do something. Heck do a lot of something and do it often (hey, we are talking about our kids)

3) As you learn more you will start wondering if you are crazy. You probably won't believe who the real players are and what they are doing and if you are asking yourself; "what is he talking about?", dig deeper. (hey, we are talking about our kids here)

4) Eventually you may find yourself checking Facebook every five minutes to see if some other big news story has come out. You will start sharing these stories with your friends and will be stunned by their silence. Some of then may even defriend you. At which point you will want to scream to all of the people you are connected with; hey, we are talking about our kids here, ARE YOU ALIVE? WAKE UP!!!!

Title Skies of Blue have Turned to Grey
Author Michael Bohr
Date October 4th, 2013


Skies of blue have turned to grey,
The schoolhouse doors, are locked and chained.
But there within, to much surprise
Staring out are saddened eyes.

No longer free to play on swings,
Obedience comes when the bell rings.
No time for play, no time for fun
Take your seat, then log on.

Tender smiles, once so bright
Long now gone and replaced with fright.
A test today, no time for sun
The teacher cries, her class undone.

She reckons back to not long ago
To days when there was no sorrow.
Smiles and laughter ruled each day
But all of that has gone away.

For now it has come to pass,
The beauty of what was her class.
The written word long read with desire,
Shrouded in shadow, too far from the fire.

Yet once again she must to lead the way,
And help the innocent through the day.
They do not know, they can't understand
The tears she hides, tissue in hand.

A deep breath in, a smile put on
She turns to them as if nothing's wrong.
"Come now class, let us begin",
She gathers her strength from deep within.
There it is! Much too her surprise
The desire to learn, behind wakening eyes.
Chatter fades by a hand raised in question
Sweet young minds all paying attention.

"Today I will teach", she says to herself,
As she closes the book, puts it back on the shelf.
No packets today, no prepackaged lessons
From her heart she shall teach, now class is in session.

Laughter and smiles and lot's of good questions,
Right and wrong answers, all filled with intention
To learn, they yearn... it all falls into place.
She sees her life's work on each smiling face.

Joy has returned to this cinder block room,
There is no trace of yesterday's gloom.
Chains fall from the door, the clouds part above
No test today, today is for love.

Outside the door, where no one can see
The Principal stands, hesitantly.
As he looks in, he remembers the time
When he stood where she is, feeling sublime.

He draws his hand back, away from the door
It is now he remembers what school's really for.
Not testing, not drills, no Race to the Top,
No Common Core madness, this all has to stop.

Back to the Office, he races with glee
No where in his mind, does he think "A.Y.P."
He presses the button on the P.A.
"GOOD MORNING", he shouts, "I have something to say!"

"Put down your pencils, please close your books",
Everyone listens, with inquisitive looks.
"You've all worked so hard and you've all done so well,
I have a surprise... should I say? Should I tell?"

An answer is heard, a resounding "YES!"
"Are you all sure? Would you rather guess?"
The children all shout and "NO" fills the hall,
"We're going outside, let's play one and all!"
Back in the class the children all scream,
"Is this for real? Is it a dream?"
They gather their jackets and grab up the toys,
The girls they all giggle with roars from the boys.

The teacher, she smiles and let's loose her tears
But these are of love, not one drop of fear.
In the hall she asks him, "What is all this?"
"A thank you of course, for you my dear Miss."

Out in the school yard the children all play,
The girls skipping rope while the boys save the day!
The teachers look on and gaze all around,
Surprise in their eyes at the joy that abounds.

The Principal says, "You're younger than me,
So I thought it important that all of you see.
That though times have changed, in our little school,
One thing has not, the most precious rule."

"Our students are children and this is their way,
To run and to laugh, they learn best from play.
For here they will practice the things that you teach,
That the stars in the sky are all within reach."

"So today there's no tests, no quizzes or speech
For today it is I to whom you did teach.
There's more to this school than reports to the Board,
Now we take back our school and worry no more..."

"...Today is our Day in the Sun."

M.Bohr
Title Deja vu (an European landing in the US)
Author Glen Dalgleish
Date October 3rd, 2013

When I stepped off the plane with my pregnant wife, I was so excited that I would be able to offer my unborn child the American dream. As a European, I had always been fascinated by the catchphrases “Only in America”, “The Land of the Free” and the “American Dream” and I was humbled by the fact that I was actually going to live it, and so were my children. They would get a great education and they could be what they wanted to be, unlike myself who had to choose by the time I was 14 what path I wanted to go down. I remember it being a struggle to make that decision at that age as it was going to be a choice that would determine what future options I had going forward, or as I now see it, what options were no longer available to me. It would take you down a path that was very hard to get off of unless you completely re-schooled yourself, and not many did or were even encouraged to do so. You just accepted it as that is the way it was done and didn’t ask many questions. Not sure much has changed since.

Fast forward 8 years, and I now live in fear that my children’s education is heading down the same and to be honest even worse path. Yes, even worse as I actually had a choice at 14, now it looks like that a nameless data analyst in a windowless room in Utah will use my children’s 400+ data points, stick it in a machine that will be spit out a spreadsheet with my children’s name on with what their direction will be. And it looks like that will be before they are even 14 years old and choices will be limited, very limited.

I thought the choice of how I wanted to school my children was something that I would be able to control, even if we wanted to homeschool them. When we left Europe in 2005, many of the countries already had had that right eroded by making parents sign documents in which they commit to teach their children along the lines of the United Nations Convention on Children’s Rights. This document also states that government inspectors will decide whether families comply with this and if they feel they do not, after two negative reports a clause in that document kicks in forcing them to send their child to an “official” government accredited school. I believe this undermines the authority of parents and basically transfers parental rights to the state. Common Core I fear will start to erode and then finally consume the thriving homeschooling community by placing an enormous amount of rules and regulations on them; this might even come with inspectors too. Europe has already signed away a lot of rights to the UN, things are not looking much better here at the moment. Although homeschooling is not what I had planned for my children, it is the fact that school choice in the US is under assault that concerns me. Combine that with the changes to FERPA and the planned data mining of our children, I believe my parental rights and choices as a father are already being stripped down. My parents never fought back and slowly but surely more and more government mandates and involvement crept into the system. This country convinced this father that my children are mine to raise and teach how I see fit, not the State’s or the government. Now I am not sure the country’s education leaders have that conviction anymore and we as parents need to remind them that it’s not what they want, it’s what we, the parents, want.

When I went to school, I never saw parents get involved with the school, kids were just sent there. The thought of being able to participate in my school community through the PTA excited me. As a father, not an educator, I might actually be able to shape the education in my community and ensure that what was taught was appropriate and met the standards we expected. Working closely with teachers and the administration of the school or even the school district would allow me to feel comfortable that my children’s education would be the best they could get. Now we are faced with an untested, one-size-fits-all model where local involvement is minimized and even marginalized. No input at all into the curriculum of my community. Moving somewhere else won’t even be an option because it will all be the same in the majority of the US.

I still have not regretted stepping off that plane as I have grown to love this country and still do believe the catchphrase “only in America” rings true. Now Common Core is looming like a dark cloud over the future leaders of this country, I have seen two kinds of parents, those who fight, and those who flight. This father, who has sworn to protect and cherish his children, is ready to fight. I just wish many more fathers would stand with me, you are sorely missed. This is a fight that both parents should be in, not just the mothers.
 
  
Title Are American schools this dreadful failure that Common Core proponents assert?
Author Denis Ian
Date September 12th, 2013

Are American schools this dreadful failure that Common Core proponents assert? A generalist view suggests that's a bizarre assessment. "America's schools are failing" has become the lie told often enough that it gains credence. Everywhere one looks the suggestion is put to rest. America is the premier economic and political force on the planet ... and it's hardly about to be unseated. We enjoy the highest standard of living for the largest number of people in the history of the planet. Our economy sets the course for the world. America sets the cutting edge for medicine, technology, and sciences of all sorts. American businesses are world-wide models. Our universities are the most favored in the world ... with students from every edge of the planet elbowing their way for admission. Our armed forces are the envy of all ... not just for our might, but for our technology and innovations. Our airlines crowd the heavens, our rail system hauls more people and cargo than any other, and our hospitals are magnets for patients seeking miracle procedures that can only be found here in the states. I'll stop there. If we are in such educational disarray ... how is all of this possible? Something's awfully gummy in the premise that our schools are failing. We have country after country seeking our knowledge for solutions to all sorts of complex issues. Folks are storming our borders because of the opportunities that exist here ... in abundance. Political leaders all across the planet boast of their American university experience. The world looks to America for everything from political solutions to technological leadership. Our culture is the most absorbed and adopted culture on the planet. To me, none of these observations are symptomatic of a nation in educational turmoil. The premise is nonsense. And it's been swallowed whole by school leaders who should know better.

Do we have schools in need of repair? Of course we do. Do we have schools of excellence? Damn right we do ... and plenty of them. In our own county, we have many of the top schools systems in the nation ... and a few very troubled districts as well. Many of those gaps can be understood in economic and population differences. But overwhelmingly, in poll after poll, parents of school-age children express great satisfaction with their youngsters' school experience. OVERWHELMINGLY... Get that? So, the Common Core solution? Toss the baby out with the bath water. Install new curricula and never-ending, high-stake, high-anxiety testing from coast to coast ... to fix a system that is hardly broken. Test-terrorize children from September 'til June ... robotize the curriculum so that every child plays the same note, in the same way, at the same time, with the same material ... and then digitizing the growth of 100 month old children as though they were petri dish goo. What sloppy stuff.

The CC "educational leaders" are classroom-allergic eggheads who couldn't find the classroom light switch with a map and a Sherpa guide. Notably absent is the input of the everyday foot-soldiers .... the classroom magic-makers ... the master teachers. They are the real force in education. They're the ones who bring the energy, create the wonder and shuttle children to new levels of thought and inquisitiveness. And they are the ones who should have been at the head of any reform roundtable. But they were uninvited ... and deemed unimportant. How unbelievable! BUT ... the most disturbing element in the statement is that "politicians and business leaders" are the primary force. Can anyone imagine that? Ludicrous. Imagine for a moment that teachers were the primary force in, say, professional athletics. Or military preparedness and strategies. Or the force behind robotic surgery. That should scare the hell out of everyone. Politicians? What's their educational expertise? Business leaders? How many hours have they logged in a learning situation? How many have even visited a classroom ... or conversed with everyday teachers ... or bothered to stick around for a school year so they could witness the slow miracle that evolves every academic year? The fact that politicians and business leaders have formed this unholy alliance should frighten every parent ... and everyone with even a remote interest in this nation's academic well-being. This Common Core alliance has proposed a coast-to-coast, one size-fits-all, homogenized educational prescription for a problem that doesn't exist, with a solution that'll never succeed, for a system that is largely very successful. It's a solution that castrates local control, digitizes our children's education, robotizes the classroom, undermines the liberal arts, empowers the wrong people ... and turns education into a programmed effort as one would apply to constructing a ship or a plane or a box-car. AND who is issuing these prescriptions? Pointy-headed, beard-scratching educational theorists without any sort of meaningful classroom experience ... and cuff-linked, starched shirts of the business world whose main concern in life (until this miraculous moment) has been the "bottom line". These are the educational gurus who will lead this caravan to the educational promised land? Please ... tell me where the next exit ramp is ... 'cause I want off. And so do hundreds of thousands of parents ... and teachers ... who see this national take-over for what it is ... and what it isn't. This is no solution at all. It's out-right hijacking of a largely successful institution by external know-it-alls who think that education is more science than an art. It is the blending and bending of our educational system to fit some idealized world of the future where our programmed children will assume their pre-ordained niche to the delight and benefit of a dangerous, slender hierarchy. It's a dangerously silly solution that insists one can measure a child's progress by brain-cramming and treadmill testing. It demands frightening conformity and chlorinated sameness. Are these the educational roots that have made America the envy of the world? The question answers itself. Parents and taxpayers: Is this your dream for your child? For the generations to come? Do you think a digitized education ... with successes measured in percentiles and mean scores ... is this the foundation for a creative, responsive and innovative society? Is this the path to the future? If that's the case, I'll gladly cancel my ticket to the America of tomorrow. I haven't the soul for such a place. Stop Common Core ... dead in its tracks. Now.

 
 
Title A Beautiful Garden
Author Jodi Kohli
Date September 2nd, 2013

Within days, our children will be headed back to school. They will reconnect with friends, meet new teachers and be introduced to the Common Core Standards. If the Common Core is new for you too, let me offer a short analogy. 

I grow gardens. That's what I do. That's what I love. Teachers teach children. That's what they do. That's what they love. In my garden, I have dozens. possibly hundreds, of varieties of flowers. They all require individual care and attention. Why? Because they're different. They don't all grow at the same rate or bloom at the same time. Some need ample sun, others require partial shade. Some need a rich growing environment, others thrive in poor soil and little water. Some start out slow and need extra help to thrive while others naturally grow healthy and fruitful with minimal attention. But in the end, they all bloom beautifully in their diversity and individuality and together, combine to make a well rounded, healthy and productive garden. Children, one could argue, are very much like the flowers I grow. Individuals who all grow and learn at different rates. Some are great at math, others love to read. Some struggle with spelling, others with remembering facts. But in the end, with the time, patience and encouragement of a caring teacher, they too will bloom into well rounded, healthy and productive adults. 

What does this have to do with Common Core? Common Core assumes that what my flowers need to succeed is the same amount of water, sun, soil and attention as the flower next to it. It will measure those flowers multiple times to make sure every one is reaching the same growth at the same time, despite their individuality. They will be compared to standards in order to make sure they are developing into the right color, size and shape at the exact same time. And if they don't meet those standards, the gardener will be blamed and that gardener will be replaced. And in the end, all that remains is an uninspired, monochromatic, one variety flower garden. Don't allow your children to "grow" in that garden. Educate yourself on the Common Core, get involved and make sure your children bloom where they're planted.

 
 
Title My public comment today at the State School Board Meeting
Author Alisa Olsen Ellis
Date August 2nd, 2013

Two years ago I considered myself a regular mom happily volunteering in the school and “raising nerds” as my husband and I regularly joked because we’ve always focused on the academic side of education. It is important to me. It wasn’t in my life plan to be here today. There are a million other things I’d rather do but can’t sit idly by and watch local control slip away. 

I don’t appreciate my tax dollars being spent trying to sell Common Core to me. You can’t talk AT the public. You must talk WITH us.

We MUST open up an honest open dialogue about the Common Core Reform Agenda. This IS NOT just standards and it never was. This is an entire education reform package. The standards tie everything together with the testing and data collection enforcing compliance. You and I, we have a lot more in common than you may think but we can’t find common ground if we don’t even have a dialogue. 

None of us are saying we can’t get out, we know we can and that’s why we say to you. WE WANT OUT!!! We can do better! There are solutions. Over 120 UT professors of math, science and engineering signed a petition stating that they would like to pick up standards SUCH AS California’s who Fordham said “are excellent in every respect.” 

We must retain freedom and excellence in our children’s education. Parents and teachers must have the freedom to work together to set the very best educational pathway for the children not what will be best for the economy, businesses, testing companies. We must do what is best for the children. 

Blanketing untested and unproven reforms across the Nation is certainly not in the best interest of the children. This common core nonsense is creating a Monopoly, not just a monopoly of curriculum but a monopoly of thought where this one idea is being sold as the answer to all problems in education and the solution for all children.

You and I both know that each child is an individual who learns and thinks differently from the student sitting next to him. 

It is a blatant lie to state that these are minimum standards. They never were. The 15% guide has been in every document I’ve read since 2009 and it is in the waiver. You’re worried about delegating your constitutional authority to higher ed but that’s exactly what you’ve done with Common Core which we don’t own. They are NOT UT’s. UT can and must be a leader. Let’s not settle for A- WE MUST DO BETTER.

  
 
Title Slavery of The Mind
Author Michael Bohr
Date July 23rd, 2013

I have been watching as the discussion has progressed over the last several weeks, as parents and teachers gathered together in the fight against the Common Core and all it's machinations.

There are so many of us coming together from all across the political spectrum, that our use of terminology employed to describe those behind the CCSS finds us at odds with one another.

"It's the progressives, the communists, the corporations, the capitalists, the Republicans, the Democrats, and so on and so on.

Well, we are all correct and we are all wrong at the same time. We have been pitted against one another and lied to by those we thought to trust. Our fingers have been pointed at each other as the cause of all our woes, while those who should be the targets of our frustrations smile and laugh at us.

What we are facing here is a hybrid of all those things, that has become something new but has at it's heart the same as it ever was. A totalitarian system of oppression, ruled by an elite class. It is fascism, under a name we have yet to give it.

The assault on education (public, private and charter alike) is a calculated attempt by very wealthy people, some hiding behind a Corporate or Foundation, aligned with very powerful politicians working together to take over the root of all individual power... knowledge. The education of the young. Adults need to be convinced that something is the way they are told it is, children inherently take it as fact, no questions asked. And so, our schools are being subjected to a hostile, quasi-corporate/federal takeover.

So what is it that we are really looking at? In my opinion, it is nothing short of the enslavement of the entire population. Now, I'm not talking about the slavery of the past, the "Slavery of the Body", where people were summarily beaten in order to keep them in line, though the rising Police State does support such a notion. I'm talking about a new form of slavery. The name of which I call the "Slavery of the Mind".

This "Slavery of the Mind" is about as insidious as it gets. In the "old days", those deemed less than human were beaten and killed if they did not comply. The trouble is that this is costly and inefficient. The investment in training, feeding and healthcare make this unfeasible. So, the minds who attempt to direct the path of human kind have come up with the idea that controlling the mind instead, reduces costs, increases efficiency and lines their pockets with greater wealth and power.

These people, such as Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch, Eli Broad, the Bush family, the Rockefellers, Barack Obama, Arne Duncan, Michelle Rhee and a great host of others have determined that if they just train people while they are young enough to know no better, that they can rule without objection.

Those of us who oppose their plans will of course suffer their wrath through forced impoverishment, imprisonment and in some cases, death.

Parents will be investigated by CFS and determined as "unfit" if they don't comply. They will be imprisoned and their children taken from them.

Teachers will lose their jobs for not doing what they are told to do and only teach how and what is sent down from above. Their replacements already on the way.

Children will be classified as disabled and medicated for not being able to conform and if that doesn't work, the "zero tolerance" policies in school, combined with the "school to prison pipeline" will handle any failures there.

Within the Common Core, all the mechanisms needed to subdue a population are already designed and being put into place.

Unworkable curricula, unreachable standards, the constant fear of failure, high-pressure, high-stakes testing, behavioral modifications and the replacement of teachers and parents, by what amount to no more than prison guards who monitor every thought and deed. Reward and punishment always at the ready.

The Command and Control apparatus in the USDOE is already complete as it seeks to take over the State level DOE's and local Boards of Education. Corporate players have designed the curriculum and "Consortiums" have devised the means to gauge the children, as well as the teachers. Politicians have written the Laws of compliance and enforcement.

Data collection systems are up and running and being surveyed by behavioral specialists in order to control the population via a system of constant assessment and modifications. The heart of the "Slavery of the Mind" is beating strong.

The ever expanding data collection, known as the "SLDS" (States Longitudinal Data Systems) gathers in it's arms more and more people everyday. At first, it was K-12. Then, it was K-College and onto K-College and Career. Now, it reaches into pre-K as this system is integrated with multiple agencies and private "foundations and corporations". That "permanent record" we all grew up with is now truly "permanent" and it will follow us from our birth to our graves, as it is merged with healthcare, labor, IRS, criminal and corporate databases. For anyone thinking, "this will never happen", I direct you to such things as the seat belt laws that would "never be used to pull you over or raise your insurance rates". How long did that last?

The new "Slavery of the Mind" will start as soon as a child can begin thinking on it's own... perhaps even before that. Computers and pre-packaged curricula will replace the love and caring guidance of parents and teachers, transmitted through computers and monitored via Assessment Tests and electronic devices, such as has been proffered by Bill Gates, the USDOE's "promoting grit, tenacity and perseverance report, aka, "The Grit Report". While the technology isn't quite ready for deployment, these folks are thinking about it, developing it, designing the software and getting ready to implement it. No mind shall be allowed to learn anything but what is determined it should learn by corporate and government "leaders".

If a Child refuses or can not submit, the school to prison pipeline is already in place.

For the Educator who refuses to submit. poverty is only a paycheck away.

For the Parent, low wages and high taxation will keep them in a constant state of impoverishment and any further "uprising" will be dealt with by law enforcement and child services.

Still, those things need only be done until, in just a few short years, the children will be sufficiently programmed to do as the State says and their elders are of no great concern. In 10 years, "good, global citizens" will be being churned out by the millions to take over the tasks once performed by their parents and teachers. It will become a self regenerating supply of human resources for which corporations and totalitarian politicians can task to keep them in wealth and comfort.

Once the Mind is Enslaved, it will not think to run from the plantation. Even if it did, there is no place left to go. Assuming there was a place to run to, how would anyone get there with the increasing surveillance, tracking and restricted movement across borders?

Is this a fait accompli? No. The system is still trying to solidify itself.

However, politicians and the extremely wealthy are well aware that WE are aware, so they are in a race to beat us to the finish line.

The ever increasing militarization of civilian police forces, the expanding private prisons, the plethora of new laws that make even a 4 year old's lemonade stand illegal, the centralization of control over our schools, the school-to-prison pipeline, zero tolerance policies, the surveillance state, the data collection, the oppressive regulatory system, the unfair taxation system that benefits the wealthy and impoverishes the poor, the perpetual welfare state that fails to lift and only keeps people down, the manipulations of the economy by the Federal Reserve the lowers the value of a dollar every time someone gets an extra few, the endless and ridiculous excuses for war, the pitting of one culture against another, the race baiting and oppression where the color of ones skin is only a tool employed to keep us apart, the 2 Party system with no voice of hope but only fear to command acceptance and tally a vote, the bastardization of our language so that we never really know what someone else means because the definitions change by the day, have all come into existence.

And now, the Corporate/Federal take over of our schools and our children to remove from them any sense of attachment to parents and teachers, culture and heritage. Their hearts and minds soon to be controlled and shaped by anyone other than the people who know them, love them and care for them. They will soon be on their own in a world that views them as nothing more than a commodity.

But we have noticed. We are not "finished", we are just beginning. We are educating our brethren and preparing ourselves to do what is needed with as many allies as we can gather together.

Many will deny what is before them and hide themselves away hoping, wishing and praying that this can't possibly be true. They will forget the lessons learned of those in the past who have tried this before. They will say, "No, no one would do this, not here, not now."

We will say, "Yes, here and now."

We will remind them of the horrors of the 20th century. Of the 19th, the 18th and every century before, going back to the beginning of recorded time.

We will remind them of the many names can we recall from history, of those who sought to rule the world... and the tragedies that followed.

We will remind them, or even educate them of the many Great Civilizations that had turned from Enlightenment to Darkness and reigned ruin upon the weak.

It seems so impossible, with all we have learned, that Humanity is once again making the greatest of mistakes... but it is. Here in our country we find it unthinkable that slavery could ever again exist, but it is knocking on our door.

In 160 years we've moved from the agricultural plantations to the industrial plants and now to central planning.

We will be told where to live and how to live. What to learn and how to learn it. We will be told how to think and what to think, topped off with how our lives will be spent. What we are facing is a "managed economy", where people are nothing more than a resource, a biological commodity to be processed and directed where it best suits the continued rule of the Political and Corporate masters of the world.

The Common Core is not education, it is the whips and chains of a New Age, a "New World Order".

For us, it is nothing less than a Slavery of the Mind.

 
 
Title Parent to Parent
Author Marie Little
Date July 19th, 2013

Dear Parents,

It's the middle of a hot and sticky summer. Kids are playing in water and at camps, air conditioners are cranking, and parents are doing what they need to do to keep the family running. Working, making meals, making sure there are clean clothes to wear, and researching and spreading the word on Common Core and the national education reforms now underway in the US.

What? You're not doing that? Some parents are, and we need a whole lot more doing it. And here's why...

Schools and the people who work for them are under attack. Our children are on the battlefield. Parents had better be paying attention. 

The 2009 Federal "stimulus" money allocated to "education" ($4.35 Billion) has made its way to 45 US states, by way of competitive Race to the Top grants. The grants came with huge strings attached, including: adopting Common Core State Standards, which had not yet been released; adopting data collection and mining systems to gather and share data among government entities and corporations; requiring that states issue standardized tests based on the standards; linking teacher evaluations, in part, to student results on the tests.

It's a lot to take in. States, including New York, agreed to adopt new standards, sight unseen. Struggling in a recession, cash-strapped schools said yes, they'd do it. There was no public discussion; there was no legislation. States were coerced to accept major reforms in order to have funding from the federal government. This was slipped in under the radar while we were all going about our daily lives.

The standards are being implemented and the curriculum is coming out now. In NY, look at engageny.org to see NY State Education's prescribed curriculum.

There are big problems with the standards. Those championing them refer to the "state-led" effort, "rigor," and "college and career readiness." That sales pitch is hogwash.

At best, the standards are untested, lack a research base, and are in some cases developmentally inappropriate. They were not developed by K-12 educators, nor were the initiative state-led. Experts say they do not prepare students for a four-year university.  Subject matter experts in math and English refused to sign off on the standards; they are not validated by teachers who work with children. My common sense and work experience in instructional design and curriculum development lead me to question the motives of such an initiative. Rule #1 in designing learning goals and curriculum is to consider your audience. That rule is not rocket science. The fact that there were no early childhood experts involved in the development of the standards tells me that the initiative is not actually about what's best for children; their developmental stages and innate approaches to learning are not taken into account by the expectations in the standards. 

At worst, the standards are anti-American. The standards include a shift to reading less literature (resulting in a de-emphasis on critical thinking) and more "informational" texts. Among the exemplar texts are pieces that over-emphasize the negatives in US history and place a greater emphasis on a "globalist" mind-set. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (a United Nations document) is recommended for close reading. You can read up on the history of the reform movement for a greater understanding of this perspective.

The data collection and sharing systems now required are intrusive and unnecessary in the schooling of our children. This is not a component of a free society.

Proponents say that the standards are broad enough that they're not a big deal. However, the standards determine what is on the standardized tests; teacher evaluations (and job security) are linked to student performance on the tests. Obviously, teachers are going to place strong emphasis on the material included on the standardized tests, since their livelihood depends on it. Even if teachers know that the material is not appropriate or necessary for their students, and that their time would be better spent on other topics, they will be covering the material. I fear that this aspect of the reforms changes the customary healthy dynamic between parents and teachers, where we work as partners toward what’s best for our children. 

I follow many discussions among teachers and parents online. The teachers are being threatened and hushed by their union leaders; if they speak up about the negatives of the standards and the system, they could be disciplined or lose their jobs. The brave who do speak up are waving a flag for parents to see. They want you to know what is going on. They want and need you to go to bat for your children. You are your child’s #1 advocate.

Teachers and administrators are in crisis mode. They went into teaching because they love working with kids, not because they want to do battle with bureaucratic monstrosities and huge corporations who hold the teachers’ unions down with hush money.

While the professional educators deal with their crisis, it is imperative that parents know what is going on in schools. This is not garden variety education reform. You owe it to your children to educate yourself. www.Stopccssinnys.com is a great resource. Click the web site's Videos tab, watch and learn. No one is making this up; it is real.

Tell other parents. Contact your state legislators. Speak at your school board meetings. Get involved! This is not a battle to watch from the sidelines. Our children's education and futures are at stake. 

Marie Little

 
 
Title English Regents Score
Author Jennifer M. Fatone
Date June 15, 2013



Attention Students, Parents, Teachers and Tax Payers: Soon the Regents scores will be coming out, with the usual comparisons of how this year's scores compare with previous year's scores. The media, NYSED, and school administrators will be all over this "data," claiming it reveals something about what is going on in our classrooms. Most likely, at least when it comes to the English Regents, there will be concern about a decrease in mastery and passing rates. No one will mention that comparing this year's scores to last year's scores is invalid. As the state is pushing Common Core, more testing, and APPR teacher scores based on these tests, they are manipulating Regents scores in order to make it appear that students are doing worse year-to-year. Teachers will be labeled "unsatisfactory," because their APPR scores are, in large part, contingent upon the Regents scores. The email I sent to Steven Katz, NYSED Director of Assessment, explains the problem here. I have yet to receive a reply as to my question re: the rationale of changing the scoring rubric in order to allow more students to fail. Here is my email, followed by the scoring charts for 2011, 2012, and 2013:


Dear Mr. Katz,

I have few questions about the NYS English Regents scoring chart. In 2011, a student scoring 17 on the multiple choice and 7 points on questions 26-28 would earn a score of 71; in 2012, that student would earn a score of 66, and this year, that student would fail with a score of 63. In 2011, there were 77 boxes on the chart that allowed for passing scores; in 2012, there were 70; this year, there are 57. You get my point.

My questions:

What is the rationale behind making it more difficult for students to pass year-to-year? Why are these scoring changes not publicized, when you are well aware that when mastery and passing rates go down, the media and the public see it as a failure on the part of teachers? My students could earn the same number of points on the test as they did last year, yet it will be seen as a drop in performance. Comparing scores from year to year is invalid when the scores are manipulated in this way, yet year-to-year comparisons are made by NYSED, the media, the public, and school administrators. 

This year's test already had some Common Core influenced questions, such as question 3 in the listening section. First of all, this question requires close reading of a text; it does not belong in the listening section. My AP Language students know how to analyze diction and identify the purpose of words in a reading passage, but many got this question wrong, and it's understandable. If they had the text in front of them, they would have easily answered the question. So, while you are increasing the difficulty of the test (and I would question the validity of this particular attempt), you are also increasing the difficulty of passing, or even earning mastery, by raising the bar on the scores. 

I cannot understand why the State is manipulating the scoring chart in order to ensure that more students fail the test each year. Please convince me that this is not an attempt to make teachers appear to be failing so that you can justify the insane Common Core testing regime that you are shoving down our throats. 

I plan on publicizing this information on various social media groups of which I am a part. In fact, as an activist, I plan on sharing it as widely as I can. I think it is important for students, parents, and the public to know that lower scores do not mean a drop in performance. Prior to doing that, I'd like to know your explanation for this.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Jennifer M. Fatone
English Teacher
The Wheatley School


 

 
 
Title Dear Ms. Connolly
Author Rachel Gibson
Date May 30, 2013


On May 24, 2013 Angela Davidson Weinzinger from PEACCS tagged me tell me there was a media query from the Westchester Family Magazine for New York Educators (right in my backyard !! YES!! Will Westchester County finally now get exposure it desperately needs?) to comment on CCSS.  I thought of Rachel Gibson immediately not only because she is a New York teacher but because she is also a special education teacher as well who also happens to lives in Westchester County!  What better representation could we have!  There would be no one better that I could think of to answer this call.  Rachel graciously accepted.  I would like to share her letter.  Yvonne


Dear Ms. Connolly,

It has come to my attention that there is a Query for an educator to explain why they are against the Common Core State Standards. I am currently an educator in NYS. I have been teaching for about 17 years now. I have taught the gamut from Special Education Preschool to Regular Education High School, as well as at the College Level. I currently am an Itinerant Teacher of the Deaf, where I provide academic support for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students in both mainstream and special education settings. I also have two children of my own who attend public school.

The Common Core State Standards have no place in our public schools. Many teachers are against the rigorous testing implemented by the state, and more and more are starting to realize what a disaster the implementation of the Common Core State Standards will become, especially in relation to these tests. I also feel it is important to know that while many will argue the CCSS is not a curriculum per say, we have to realize and acknowledge that these Standards drive curriculum implementation. The CCSS have workbooks, teachers edition, lesson plans, tests, computer applications all aligned with the standards themselves. That is curriculum. It is difficult to argue the two are not autonomous.

There are levels on which the Common Core State Standards are just downright rotten: politically, parental and as well as educationally. For me as an educator though, there are three that stand out as the most important under that educational umbrella:  our special needs population, the mainstream, and the actual teaching perspective.

The teaching perspective that I wish to address is not the one that evaluates teachers based on their student’s test performance. It's the perspective that, the Common Core State Standards and associated curriculum leave no room for the ART of teaching. Lessons are robotic, scripted and rehearsed.  Preparing to teach a class lesson is probably the most difficult piece of teaching.  Being able to present that lesson however, after the hard work of developing it, is the absolute reason many of us went into teaching in the first place. The feeling of being able to take an educational topic, plan it, teach it and see the light in the children's eyes when they finally get the concept, is amazing.  The confidence and forethought that teachers need to be able to see mid-lesson that the students are not getting it, switch gears a little and guide them down a path in which they will be able to achieve isn't something that can come from a book.  It is through those lessons that a teacher truly begins to understand each one of his/her students; their thought patterns,  logic, and abilities all help scope the next lesson and build teachable moments. Having a lesson scripted out implies anyone can follow and plan and teach. Not just anyone can teach. Following a lesson plan is not teaching.  A person can follow the directions on how to install an electrical outlet, that doesn't mean they are an electrician. The Common Core State Standards and associated curriculum attempts to make a teacher the equivalent of any other person who can follow directions. That's not teaching and that's not the reason so many of us got into the profession.

In the mainstream, children are being groomed for mediocrity. Tying in to the teaching perspective, a good teacher motivates and teaches to all his/her students. They do this with their passion, planning and delivery of their lessons. There are many ability levels (we can stick with three: High, Middle and Low) in one classroom. It's the teacher's job to teach to ALL of those levels. Those children who are on the low end should not get left behind and feel goals are unattainable.  The children on the high end should not become bored and the children in the middle need to continue to be challenged as well. The CCSS and associated curriculum blankets teaching in the classroom. The ELA focuses on reading informational text, de-emphasizing literature which leads to lack of reading interest, lack of imagination and static jobs in the future.  The Math curriculums in the past have touched briefly on a number of topics every year, teaching Math as a cumulative subject. Every year those topics are revisited more in depth as children get older and are mentally capable to handle advanced thinking processes. The CCSS and associated curriculum has children learning a topic fully before moving on. This is not within the best interest of the students because it does not work with the way the mind learns. Our learning process is based on schemata or creating maps tying prior knowledge together and linking it to new experiences and new information in order to hold on to it. If we have nothing in our past to anchor new information, that new information becomes more difficult to remember. Many of the Math topics are taught, mastered, and not revisited. This is dangerous in the mind of a child because they will have limited experience in which to link the new information. If they don't frequently revisit the topic, the odds of them deeming it unimportant, not meaningful are greatly increased. If the information isn't meaningful, it becomes even more challenging to remember. The map is gone and new information will not be linked to it. This will wind up eventually wasting class time because children have sat through the information only to forget. As I previously stated, Math is cumulative and needs to be taught as such. Many teachers feel we don't have enough time with our students in the classroom as it is, to waste class time is not within the best interest of the students or the teachers. There has been no long term study on these CCSS and associated curriculum. As teacher, I have to question is that what is best for my students? As a teacher, in America, I want my students to be as creative and innovative as possible, these CCSS and associated curriculum not only crushes the ingenuity within children but hinders their strive for bigger and better opportunities for success.

Last but certainly not least, is the Special Education population. It is unfair to expect these children to abide by the same standards of their mainstreamed peers. The CCSS are to be in place for all students. The very reason special education was created and why teacher spend so much time writing IEPs (individualizes educational plans) is because these children can not achieve what their mainstream peers can in the same amount of time. Yet for some of those students under the special education umbrella, they are now expected to achieve the same goals. The Common Core State Standards and associated curriculum are now more language based. For those students with language learning issues, it is almost cruel to expect them to be able to achieve these Standards. Especially when their district has determined they can not reach these Standards and has devised an educational plan specifically for them to progress. We have IEPs for a reason, yet NYSED has not taken this into account in testing nor curriculum development. Maybe that is because NYSED did not develop either. I have seen and currently work with students who were brought to tears because they read at a 3rd grade reading level are in the 8th grade and had to take an 8th grade reading test, without accommodations. As a teacher, this was heartbreaking. What are we doing to these students? What messages are we sending to them?  All of our students now see that teaching can be done by reading out of a book; mediocrity is not only accepted but encouraged for everyone except the Special Education population.

A Solution? I am not sure if there is a quick fix to our declining education system. I do know that the Common Core State Standards are not the answer. I also know that sometimes, in order to make significant gains, we need to look back to find the pieces of what worked and try to put all of the positives together.  We need to focus on the pieces of academics, not social issues, promote pride in one's work, diligence, creativity, ingenuity, knowledge of basic facts and problem solving. We are all created equal, but that does not mean we all have equal abilities. Children should not be blanketed educationally. If we look at what is best for the children, it is to help them become the best that they can each be.  The Standards need to be created from educators currently working in districts, not private entities that know very little in regards to child development.  If districts then choose to purchase or follow a curriculum another school has implemented then that is what should happen. The state and federal government should have minimal say in education as it is, but they have completely overstepped their bounds with both State testing as well as implementing the Common Core State Standards.

Thank you for your time, 

Rachel Gibson

 
 
Title Common Core From the Heart
Author Mark Ferreris
Date May 19, 2013

"PARENT"...The dictionary's definition is: An organism that produces or generates another ......this is a stark and stringent explanation of a title, job, and privilege that we all know doesn't even begin to describe what the word really means, though the government and corporations we are fighting against probably believe it’s as accurate as it comes.

Cook, nurse, maid, hugger, kisser, boo-boo fixer, provider, role model and ultimately, HERO, is my definition.
If you are on this page sacrificing your time, your heart and sometimes even your sanity, then you are all those things.

Every effort, big or small is a contribution to your child’s future and a dedication to their hopes and dreams. Perhaps in the past, some may have viewed my posts to take more action as arrogant and self-serving, but they are merely a call to arms, a passion that started as a spark and has now become a raging inferno that will not and cannot be extinguished.

We are all aware of the depth and the Orwellian evil that opposes our children's freedom. It may be the toughest battle as parents that you may ever face, but it is a payback to your children for every moment of unmitigated joy that they have brought to you. Their first steps, their first word, the first time they told you they loved you. Every tear you've wiped away, every monster you've searched for under the bed, every moment their innocence made your heart smile. This is why we fight, why we have lost sleep, and sometimes even cried, when fathoming the task at hand. Reach inside yourselves, look in the mirror, and ask "have I done all I can, have I fought the way my parents would have fought for me". If the answer is yes, then continue your selfless path, if the answer is no, then make the answer yes.

All of you have been given a gift that I was NOT blessed to have. Jackie's children are not mine biologically, but they are mine spiritually and lovingly, and I will fight and walk every day for them till time steals my last breath. I will fight for ALL your children, I will give every last effort to ensure their futures are safe. Don’t ever look back on this time and have regrets or remorse for what you could have done, look back and say, I gave it ALL for my child, and now they are SAFE.

I would like to conclude by telling you a story of what kind of man my father was:
He held a high executive position at a major fashion company, and his job took him abroad through much of his career. When I was 10 yrs. old I was named the starting pitcher for my little league all-star team and he was in Italy at the time. More than anything I wanted to share this moment with him because he was the man who taught me all I knew about the game, and spent endless nights playing catch with me. I knew he was far away, and him seeing me pitch, was not to be. As I took the mound for my first pitch, I looked over at my mom, and there he was. He flew back from Italy to be there for me, and flew back when the game was over. He showed me the greatest display of love and support that I have ever known. His efforts as a parent inspired me to strike out 14 batters that day, and go on to victory. My dad has since passed, but it is a moment I will cherish forever. It is where I get my passion for what we are fighting against. Please, give what my Dad gave to me, to your children.  It is our hearts that keep them loved. It is our courage, passion, and strength that will keep them safe.

Thank you for all you do as parents,

Mark Ferreris

 

Title Bill Gates' Power Grab
Author Madeleine Sharp
Date
May 13, 2013
Do you know anything about the Common Core Curriculum that has landed in 46 states across our great nation? If you don't, there is a reason. This CCC power grab was brought to our local school districts under the veil of secrecy. Race to the top money was dangled in front of state governors, under extremely challenging fiscal times, by our federal government. By accepting RTTT money governors either knowingly or unknowingly also accepted to a ONE SIZE FITS ALL educational power grab.

This power grab was the design of corporate billionaires and "chief state school officers", people who do not work in the trenches every single day, on the field, with their two hands, doing the job of educating OUR children. Who is one of the leaders in this power grab, billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates? Secretary Arne Duncan revealed a scheduled $350 million of the stimulus package will be used to create next-generation assessments aligned to the common core.

These wealthy billionaire are using national educational data that puts America's children in a lower bracket when it comes to Math and science, below nations like Japan, China, South Korea, where let's be real, only children in higher wealth brackets receive an education. These children are also treated to a steady diet of education, no fun, no creativity, no normal childlike activities that make for a well-rounded human being. The suicide rate in these countries for young people is off the charts too. Education in those countries is competitive and over the top.

In the USA we have found a way to cater to the whole child. We are being graded by standards that include our special needs students, like autistic students, down syndrome students, students of extreme poverty and other socio-economic factors, besides we educated everyone, male, female, regardless of social class or status or cultural boundaries. If our country were to only place on this scale and measure only the regular flow of students in our nation, our numbers would be exemplary. That is a fact. Our system isn't broken Mr. Gates.

This power grab is for big shot billionaires in concert with the elected elite to structure a one size fits all curriculum to line their pockets with our tax dollars. Pretty genius, right? Besides the fact that there is a definite tenth amendment issue with this power grab, it's a condescending affront to the teaching profession. Teachers are being stripped of their dignity and their academic freedoms. Who wants some corporate, out of touch billionaire to swoop down and direct and instruct the rest of us on how our local education should be handled from state to state? Not me, not my husband!

My husband and I spent too much of our adult life battling to remain in what we considered the best school district that we could afford for our children. We struggle to pay 12,000.00 a year to live in our humble little hamlet and to pay the school taxes we do. My husband and I just finished a five and a half year battle our school district commenced over boundaries, to the detriment of our finances, our children's educational continuity and mental and emotional well-being, not to mention my husband's health, and my own health; because this school district said they needed to aggressively and vigorously defend their boundaries. After five long and horrible years, we won our battle. No one made us financially whole, consequently, the last three of my five children were returned to the school district we purchased our home in.


With this one size fits all Common Core Curriculum taking over with a plan to align every school district in the nation with it, it makes the battle with what my husband and I considered, "the best school district on Long Island", in vain. We spent over a hundred thousand dollars fighting for the rights of our children, for the rights to remain where we purchased our home inside of. The entire battle was erroneous and disgusting; the school districts who battled us knew that too. Guess what’s going to happen, when the RTTT (race to the top money) expires in 2014/15, our local school districts will be saddled with the costs to pay for Mr. Gates and other billionaire investors, products.
Right now how many Long Island school districts are faced with possible insolvency? Our school districts are in a financial hell hole right now, but it will get worse. Closing elementary schools, the downward physical look of a community, it turns away first time home buyers. We all know that young families shop their homes for the school district.

Shopping for the school district is usually the most important variable that weighs heavily upon a young couple making the American dream investment. My home value, even after the hell my husband and I and our children went through, won't be worth what it once was, all that we dumped into it.  There will be no unique incentive to buy into a particular district if everybody is going to be aligned to this national curriculum. Where our district goes, it's not looking like the one we bought into in 1991. Why would anyone come to Long Island when they can choose any state now for an equal but cheaper education due to the school tax? Rather than New York where the taxes are viciously high, why not choose Delaware instead, as an example. Do you want to be stuck?  A couple with common sense could save themselves about 10,000 a year in taxes going in that direction, and in this economy, Long Island isn’t looking too promising.

My husband and I made a huge investment for what we desired for our children. Our district didn't just boast of smaller class sizes, it was also the attraction to the large quantity of AP graduates a year, the illustrious athletic program, and the community too. We sacrificed to be able to afford living here. Two decades, and five children, have passed through this district. What we have both contributed in volunteer hours over the years cannot be overlooked or devalued either, and that goes for all of us, doesn’t it. 

Our children brought nothing but honor and pride to our district too. My family has paid in spades to this district
and suddenly now we are to stand by and watch corporate giants with some big shot idea to siphon our tax dollars away, to come in and change everything we had chosen for our children, which impacts the value of our home? Well not on my watch that’s for darn sure!

Do you know about the data mining that this CCC is prepared to perform on the citizens of this great country? The product that Bill and Melinda Gates and their cohorts have created is known as InBloom. InBloom Inc. has a plan to store and share all types of identifiable information about our free and private citizens, the future of our country, and the youth of this country, our precious and innocent children! Think health records, think prejudices, think disciplinary records, and bus stop, demographic, socio-economic status, religion, and the list is endless. 


Never before has our country experienced such fast moving power grab, flying under the radar, as this CCC state standard. Not only is this a national plan, but it is international as well. These people have a vision to force globalism upon a sovereign nation. What does that mean? It means that our students will be used as guinea pigs in a never before plan to remove any shred of patriotism and loyalty to the nation they were born into. These poor children are being so indoctrinated to this "everyone with their differences can be right" craziness that they can be convinced with the philosophy that other countries because of their "cultural beliefs" and differences can be right? So that means that young girls (in the year 2013) who cannot be educated in their country of origin, who are treated less than males, because of their cultural differences, those nations can be right? No they can't. Our nation has standards, we have laws and civil rights and a constitution that provides protection for every single human being under the USA flag, our goal is not to discriminate no matter what, and we strive every day under the sun to do just that. 

Teachers?  My word, what is going to happen to the teachers? The people who get up at the crack of dawn, set up the classroom, and are not only educators with such an important and unparalleled responsibility; but are the head of the “home away from home”, day in and day out, well they are being reduced, stripped of their academic freedoms and rendered dysfunctional. This CCC has been hinged to teacher evaluations known as the APPR, (annual professional performance review). These teachers are linked directly to test scores that are hinged to the convoluted, cockamamie, Common Core standards. From September to April these poor teachers are forced to shovel into our children’s heads, copious amounts of information so they can be ready to take the ELA's and math and science tests that are aligned with the common core.
 
These tests are no longer the ones my oldest children took to measure where they are in these areas of English, math and science so that their teacher and local administrators can see where a student’s achievement is heading by his/her own individual needs, and for state accountability. No one has a problem with a test here or there that measures important things like that. The problem is that this untested so called curriculum which is the brain child of billionaires and political elitists who see our tax dollars as an endless supply of reoccurring wealth for themselves is behind this. 

Teachers and building principals and administration were whip lashed by this drive by, taken completely off guard, and forced to implement this power grab by their higher ups, while being warned if they didn't comply about all kinds of punitive consequences, like no state aid, insubordination, and you name it. 


Teachers are facing an all-out assault, a battle which is for the survival of their careers as they once knew it. Parents are facing an all-out assault on their autonomy as parents to demand the education
they chose for their children, and if this train wreck is not turned around, our property values, our American dream investments, will no longer carry the value that they previously had.

Rise up citizens of this country, yell from the roof tops that our system is not broken, do not spit in our faces and tell us it's raining! You need to fight, this is a battle for the soul of a free and UNINTERUPTED public school education the way we have always known it, with state and local control, not federal aristocratic power grabbing.

Sincerely,
Madeleine Sharp

http://www.gatesfoundation.org/media-center/speeches/2009/07/bill-gates-national-conference-of-state-legislatures-ncsl





  
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