Common Core Is A Disaster

Common Core Is A Disaster

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I recently saw a photo online of Alabama’s Governor Kay Ivey standing beside the president as he proclaimed, “Common Core is a Disaster!” President Trump has promised many times during his campaign he would get rid of Common Core. Betsy Devos, his Secretary of Education affirmed states will be allowed to set their own high standards and can now put an end to the federalized Common Core. So why is our Alabama legislature wanting to put off getting rid of Common Core?

 

President Trump has given the green light to all states. We now have a president who sympathizes with parents, teachers and children. Why isn’t our Republican leadership here in Alabama listening? I can tell you who they have been listening to; people and groups like: Billy Canary, the BCA, Bob Riley and others who have the political clout and power to pressure them to continue with the FAILING Common Core.

 

We were encouraged by those in education leadership such as Dr. Tommy Bice (former AL State Superintendent), Mary Scott Hunter and others that adopting the Common Core Standards Initiative  would make our students more “college and career” ready. Are you kidding me? According to NAEP scores Alabama plunged from 25th place pre Common Core, to dead last (50th in the nation) on reading and math and Alabama’s ACT scores have also dropped several points. These scores do not indicate “college and career” readiness.

 

This kind of failure can’t possibly be good for attracting businesses to Alabama. It’s time for some of the big businesses who stood with the BCA in supporting the Common Core Standards to separate themselves from the sinking ship called the Common Core and begin to stand with parents, teachers and children and pressure legislators to DO something about the “Common Core Disaster” before further damage to our children and our state is done.

I agree with parents, teachers, children and President Trump, “Common Core is a disaster!” Are you with us, Alabama Power, Alfa Corporation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, etc? Time for action! Get HB558 passed this year!

 

Wanda McDonald

Former Early Childhood Teacher

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Dangerous Expansion -Students will be sent for Mental Health Treatment in School- Alabama

Written on Sept 18, 2014 by Linda Murphy

The State Department of Mental Health’s plan will now be moving IN to a school in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Tuscaloosa is joining the cities of Dothan and Florence in this initiative pushed by the Department of Mental Health and other state agencies. (see article below) This dangerous expansion of public schools into mental health treament is a problem that is facing all communities nationwide but few people are aware of it. Please read on and consider for yourself how this information should be seen in the light of other education reform underway, including Common Core Testing, to be fully understood.

This public school expansion into Mental Health brings together some very disturbing components of a system being put in place for the total “transformation” of education. Parents, teachers, school board members and administrators are being urged by community leaders, who have endorsed the plans, to look at each piece of change transforming our system as an “isolated” or “unrelated” change. Changes have even been promoted with very acceptable “market tested” wording and citizens “take it in” thinking it is one thing but later find out it is another. More and more people are looking beyond the surface to do their own research and learn what is really changing in our schools and how that affects their children, families and our society.

Here are only a few of the issues we should be very concerned about in setting up Mental Health Treatment in Public Schools.

What do you think?
Should Mental Health treatment be part of public schools?
Common Core Testing contains test items which assess attitudes, values, beliefs, emotions and feelings (from Bloom’s taxonomy of the affective domain). Should these tests be allowed in our schools?
How will a student’s test or assessment response data be used when it is gathered through computers into “data bases” which are now established in each state (SLDS State Longitudinal Data Systems, overseen by P-20 Councils, purchased by stimulus money)?
Will students be flagged as “at risk” for potential mental health problems just as other student data is being flagged “at risk”?
Who should determine if a student is “at risk” for mental health issues?
Who decides what type of thoughts/thinking or actions indicate a mental health “problem”?

What set of criteria or worldview will be used in determining what is “healthy” vs “unhealthy” thoughts or actions?

Should parents’ and student’s rights to privacy be breeched by having students “go down the hall” to see the mental health therapists in the school building when the other students and the teachers will be aware that the student is going there?

How does being “pulled out” of class to go to the mental health therapist effect a student’s social relationship with other students and with teachers?

Will technology and the already available “adaptive” learning software be used to incorporate student test and assement data to make sure every student individually “learns” “masters” “achieves” his/her learning goals including the “affective” or behavior goals set for him/her by therapists?

I am a Special Education teacher, certified over 30 years, and have worked with all of the issues presented in the 10 questions above. A large part of my university course work was in understanding my role in keeping individual student records confidential and secure. Many special education students had mental health, psychologoical, neurological or behavioral tests, screenings and observations which were in their “confidential files”. In the past professional educators were responsible for these records and ONLY with parental consent was a child ever tested, trained, educated or remediated in anyway that was connected to behavior, mental health, attitude, etc. This state mental health plan in public schools is crossing a line into new territory where we have never gone before.

All areas of concern involving mental health, labeling and treatment are on the table to be considered now for ALL students. We must look at the big picture as it is being implemented right before us in the current politically driven “transformation” of education. The Federal Department of Education even released a report, in February 2013, revealing their work in the area of behavioral testing for “grit” and “tenacity” in student motivation, using bio-feedback. (see report below)

Each of us — parents, teachers, older students and all citizens are responsible to become informed and let our voice be heard before the transformation of education is locked into place. We must look down the road and stop the loss of control of education or it may be too late to stop in the future. We must become informed and help inform elected officials who are making decisions without full knowledge or understanding.

Here is some more significant information for your consideration that directly connects to the expansion of mental health treatment into public schools. This expansion is a part of the bigger master plan for centralized control of education and the economy, including “health care” laid out by the NCEE- National Center for Education and the Economy.

This plan was pushed by President Clinton and now has been repackaged for 2014 through the National Governors Association -NGA and Federal Government Agencies. Bill Clinton served as chairman of the NGA while Governor of Arkansas. In 1995 I attended the NGA meeting in Chicago where I, representing Governor Keating of Oklahoma, rejected the Clinton/NGA plan for education. I was quickly followed by Governor Allen of Virginia’s representative and Governor Merrill of New Hampshire’s representative who stated emphatically their states would not follow the plan either.

The NCEE, where the plan originated, is funded by Carnegie Foundation and is directed by Marc Tucker, who has worked hand in-hand with Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Michael Cohen- Director of ACHIEVE (which created Common Core for the National Governor’s Association), David Rockefeller and Ira Magaziner. Magaziner is a cohort of Hillary Clinton in her 1990’s National Health Care Plan. You will find this information and much more in the document linked below. It was read into the
Congressional record by former Colorado Congressman Bob Schaffer. Known as the “Dear Hillary Letter”, it is a letter to Hillary Clinton from Marc Tucker written when Bill Clinton won the election to become President in 1992.

Common Core standards and testing are designed from the same philosophy, with a new name for OBE -Outcomes Based Education. OBE came forward politically from the Clinton Administration and was developed by Dr. Bill Spady at the Far West -Federal Education Laboratory. Spady said education will go from Traditional to Transitional levels and when fully implemented will be Transformational.

In 1995 Oklahoma and other states stopped OBE, when it became well understood, by repealing our state law. Legislators had been decieved earlier about what they were putting in place, just as they have been decieved by Common Core.

In the Spring of 2013, Education Week reported that the Federal Department of Education will review and revise the items that are used in Common Core Tests. That will of course “drive” the curriculum which must be used for students to pass the Federally controlled test. If students do not respond according to federal requirements they will not graduate. In many states, teacher evaluations, and thus their jobs, depend on their students passing the tests. This insidious Federal Government control of education, testing and curriculum must be stopped by repealing NCLB –No Child Left Behind.

Common Core Testing is being implemented this year for ALL schools in ALL states that have not rejected Common Core Standards. All Common Core Testing is controlled by the Federal Department of Education, regardless of the test company or vendor that is used. ACT, AIR, PARCC, SBAC, McGraw-Hill, Pearson or any other vendor producing Common Core testing that is “aligned” with the Common Core Standards will include test items from the “affective” domain or category and those items along with ALL items on the tests will be Federally controlled. That means the Federal Government will be in control of testing attitudes, values, beliefs, emotions and feelings of students. This has NEVER been done before officially in public schools without parental consent! PARENTS & TEACHERS ….. keep reading…. studying….. and looking closely at what is happening in your own school and do not fail to look at these plans to gain a complete understanding so we can STOP the TOP DOWN CONTROL of education and return to LOCAL CONTROL.

Mental Health Treatment in Schools
http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20140917/NEWS/140919590?p=2&tc=pg&tc=ar

“Promoting Grit and Tenacity” Report -Federal Dept. of Education
http://www.ed.gov/edblogs/technology/files/2013/02/OET-Draft-Grit-Report-2-17-13.pdf

The Marc Tucker “Dear Hillary” Letter-
http://www.eagleforum.org/educate/marc_tucker/

When Will Our Governor Stand Up For Parents, Teachers and Children?

I would like to express my outrage and grave concerns over Governor Bentley’s support for extending Dr. Tommy Bice’s contract for another two years and giving him a pay raise of up to 26% which is extremely high when considering lagging test scores, the state of our economy and the lack of state raises. This pay increase with benefits would pass $300,000. How can this be justified when the latest available data from NAEP (National Assessment of Education Progress) shows Alabama fourth and eighth graders receiving average scores below the national average in ALL subjects?

Our teachers did not get a pay raise and are having to buy supplies out of their own money yet everywhere we look, people in administrative positions and high levels of government are getting pay raises and bonuses despite low performance, corruption and misleading the public trust.

Tommy Bice has continued to mislead the public stating over and over Alabama does not have Common Core when in fact we do. He has misled parents and educators on every front and to now extend his contract when he says he “needs protection?” Protection from what? Is it the criticism of his failure to improve tests scores and education in Alabama? Common Core is a dismal failure and yet, we continue to follow his leadership down the Common Core path to even more failure.

Governor Bentley’s failure to make any sort of stand with parents against Common Core and those like Tommy Bice who continue to push this on our kids and families has caused me and many others to question his leadership as governor of Alabama. In the past, I have always voted republican, but I will not be able to cast my vote for him again. I won’t vote for a democrat because I cannot agree with their platform, but my days of casting my vote for republicans who aren’t willing to stand up for core conservative principles and excellent, high performing “traditional” back to the basics education are over!

There are many other states working toward getting out of Common Core and passing restrictive laws on data mining. I wish Alabama would do the same. Governors, such as Bobby Jindal, Nikki Haley and others, are showing true leadership by standing with parents, teachers and children to fight this federal takeover of our education system and I am so thankful for them. It’s time for our governor to show some backbone and do what’s right for our kids.

Contact Governor Bentley and let him know how you feel about his support of Tommy Bice and the 26% pay raise and also his lack of help or support in fighting Common Core.

Why Parents of Public, Private and Homeschool Students Need to Vote on June 3rd

Why Parents of Public, Private and Homeschool Students Need to Vote on June 3rd

  • The Common Core State Standards adopted by the AL State Board Of Education is a federal takeover of our education system. It is or should be the NUMBER ONE issue you are concerned about in the 2014 primary election.
  • Because teaching methods have changed under the Common Core Initiative, math and the English Language Arts are being taught using untested, unpiloted reform methods VERY different from any used in the past.  Math is not taught using traditional methods and has been dumbed down yet again in the public school system.  Because of the many changes in math, parents are unable to help their children with the homework (even people with math and engineering degrees).  Reading and literature is being taught using “informational texts” at least half (in elementary school) and 70% in high school.  It has been exposed that these texts are often pushing anti-capitalism, pro-Islamic, pro-social justice, and anti-Christian themes.  Also, some of the recommended books and stories have been shown to be nothing but pornographic with very descriptive passages on rape, incest, crude language, etc.
  • With the adoption of the Common Core Standards Initiative comes more standardized testing and an increase in personal data collected on students from cradle to career.  This data is no longer adequately protected by the FERPA law because in 2011 Arne Duncan (Secretary of Education) expanded the definitions in the law giving practically anyone access to a students data and family data collected through surveys, class assignments, testing, and homework which is now being digitally collected, stored and shared with the federal government.

Why Should Private and Homeschoolers Care About What The Public School Is Doing?

  • The ACT and SAT are being aligned with the Common Core Standards.  Because of the radical reform methods being used to teach the standards, private school students and homeschoolers not educated the Common Core way, will be less successful on these college entrance exams.
  • Colleges are also aligning their freshman courses with the Common Core methods and standards.
  • The Workforce/Workkeys Initiative being pushed nationwide incentivizes businesses to align, so that Common Core educated students will get first preference in job interviews/hiring.
  • Data is also being collected on private and homeschool students (not as much but still being done and the federal government does have access).
  • Our state superintendent, Tommy Bice has tried 2 times in this past year to add more regulations to private and homeschooling.  Each time gaining a little more ground.  Thank God for the HSLDA and others who spoke out at this past legislative session and put a stop to most of what they were trying to do in legislation.
  • These people will not stop trying.  We must stay alert and vigilant. 

Please go vote on June 3rd and vote for people you KNOW are against Common Core. Please vote to re-elect Betty Peters to our AL State Board of Education. She has voted both times to repeal Common Core and will continue to fight against it. We need to keep her and get 2 other new members elected: Mike Parsons, District 8 and Patricia McGriff, District 6, to get it repealed next year. Praying you will make it a priority! Have a great summer!    

Trusting God All The Way To The Lion’s Den

 

Today, as I was pondering what has been going on between the parents who want to protect their children from these awful  Common Core aligned end of year tests and our state superintendent, our governor and others (who are trying to help the parents of these children), I was reminded of the story of Daniel In The Lion’s Den.  Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den because he would not back down when a law was passed saying he couldn’t pray to his God anymore.  He knew what and who he believed in and he was not going to change his daily routine of praying no matter what the law was, regardless of the consequences.  His life belonged to God.  He didn’t decide to disobey the law because he knew the king would intervene and make things okay for him or that his friends would do something at the last minute that would save him.  He continued to pray because he knew in his heart it was the right thing to do regardless of what happened to him.

The thought that occurred to me was: Are you willing to send your child into the lion’s den not knowing if everything will be alright? We mothers, grandparents, concerned teachers, etc want a guarantee that if we opt our kids out of the tests, there won’t be any repercussions.  We don’t want our children intimidated, teased, humiliated or made uncomfortable in any way.  We believe the law is on our side, but we still want that assurance or further clarification from Governor Bentley, from Dr. Bice, anyone who can set our minds at ease that if we send our kids to school or keep them out, no harm or retaliation of any kind will happen.  So, we wait and hope that the governor or Dr. Bice or someone will get a memo out just in time before the testing starts.  Dr. Bice is probably not going to put that memo out until the very last minute.  I think he doesn’t want the word to get out that you can opt out legally or that he misrepresented the law.

We are living in very precarious times.  For years and years I have heard people say, “the day is going to come when our rights will be taken away; our freedom of speech, freedom of religion, right to privacy. etc.”  Friends, “that day” is here.  As citizens we have to decide which battles are the most important and we are going to have to stand up to these bullies who want to control every aspect of our lives, our children’s lives and this nation.

Parents, you know your child better than anyone else.  I ask you to pray and ask for God’s direction on whether or not this is His battle for you and your child to participate in.  If you are not absolutely sure this is a battle you want to fight, then don’t put your child out there.  If you think your child cannot mentally or emotionally handle the pressure of refusing to take the test, don’t do it, but if you know beyond any doubt this is something God wants you to take a stand on, then do it.  Prepare your child.  Coach and advise him on what to say, how to behave and what to possibly expect.  Pray and speak the Word of God over your child.  Pray God’s favor over your child. 

Daniel did not back down when he heard about the new law in the land.  He knew in his heart it was wrong and went against what God wanted him to do (which was pray for Israel everyday). Daniel did not know what was going to happen to him in the lion’s den, but he knew his God and trusted that he was not alone.  God was with him.

Remember: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” -Romans 8:28

We have to ask ourselves, do we really believe that verse?  “Everything” that happens works together for our good, even the difficult things?  I could go on and on but I will stop now.  I am praying for each parent and child in this battle and praying that God will redeem and restore what the enemy has taken from your children.  God bless everyone of you as you seek God’s will!

Some verses to pray over your child from Ephesians 6:10-18

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

If you have some verses that have encouraged you in this battle, please share them in the comments.

 

 

Never Give Up!

There are times when you feel so tired, you feel like giving up.  You have given your all, fought the good fight and still you don’t see much if any progress.  “These are the times that try men’s souls.”  I have felt this way lately in fighting to repeal Common Core from our schools.  It seems so difficult to have to wait, but I have realized over the years of waiting and battling in different situations, if it is something you really feel God has called you to do, then you will be able to endure to the end because you know in your heart, God is with you, fighting for you.  This is the verse I woke up with in my heart and mind today and I’m clinging to it:

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”  -Galatians 6:9

Claim it with me and don’t let yourselves get pulled down by disappointment or disillusion.  Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back in the fight!  God is not finished and He is in control!

What To Do Now – The Common Core Fight

Many of us in the Common Core fight are feeling frustrated because it seems our local and state board members are NOT listening to our concerns about Common Core. This morning I was reminded of how during the Civil Rights times of Martin Luther King, black Americans had to do drastic things and suffer much persecution in order to get their rights, but they persevered and eventually won those rights.

In a way parents are having a “rights” issue. It’s called parental rights and they seem to be slowly slipping away. As parents are becoming more and more aware of the problems with Common Core, we are finding our local and state boards and our legislatures are NOT listening to OUR voices, but are listening to the voices of BIG BUSINESS, corporate money power people. We, as parents seem unable to do anything about it.

There are some small things we can do, like contact our board members, our legislators, our governor, etc., and many of us have and should continue to contact them.

Some have written letters to the editor and we need to continue writing those, but one thing we can do that CAN affect these people is to OPT OUR KIDS OUT of the testing. Data is one of the key things these corporate people want from our kids. I believe opting our kids out of the testing could send a big message, but we have to do it in BIG numbers.

Parents/Grandparents, I ask you to spread the word throughout your schools and get people to opt their kids out of the tests. New York is doing this in a big way this year. They have a big campaign going on.

Last year, some schools were able to get the end of year testing cancelled because enough parents banded together and opted their kids out of the testing in these schools. Click on the links and read the articles.

80% Students at NYC School Opt Out of Testing: http://tinyurl.com/kr2pr9u

Washington Heights Elementary School, Parents Canceled Tests! http://tinyurl.com/mmkn8qj

I realize these schools were smaller, but it was a start. Maybe we could focus on some of our smaller schools. It would take hard ,focused, diligent effort by the parents/grandparents/concerned citizens in our communities, but we could do this.

I have linked an “opt out” form that was posted on the Truth In American Education website. Below is the link. Click on it. Save it to your computer and print it out, then, pass it on to your family and friends. Get the word out!

http://truthinamericaneducation.com/uncategorized/ccss-parent-opt-out-form/

For more info on opting out in Alabama, click on this link: http://unitedoptout.com/state-by-state-opt-out/alabama/

This is something tangible we can do that should get their attention. Let’s get this done!

More Than Just Standards

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Below is a”Letter To The Editor”  that was published in our local paper. If I can do it, you can, too!

More Than Just Standards

Proponents of the Common Core State Standards like to say these are just standards, but it’s about a much more than standards.  The ALSDE adopted the Common Core State Standards “Initiative.’

If you have noticed schools have changed the way math is being taught and you as a parent are having trouble helping your child with his homework, you can thank the Common Core Initiative.

If you have noticed that some of the “informational texts” and Common Core aligned textbooks your child has to read are full of liberal bias, you can thank the Common Core Initiative.

If you have noticed that some of the lessons and homework seem to be confusing for your elementary age child, it’s because the standards are developmentally inappropriate age and grade-wise.

If you’ve been upset by some of the suggested reading books for your kids and think some of those are inappropriate, you can thank the Common Core Initiative.

If you’ve been wondering why your child has to draw all these lines and circles just to answer what use to be a very simple 2 step math problem, you can thank the Common Core Initiative.

If you’ve been wondering what the surveys and nosy questions about you and your child are about?  You can thank the Common Core Initiative and all of the huge amounts of data they are collecting and sharing with the federal government via the Common Core Initiative.

I’ll leave you with this quote by conservative writer George Will, “Opposition to the Common Core is surging because Washington, hoping to mollify opponents is saying, in effect: ‘If you like your local control of education, you can keep it. Period.’ To which a burgeoning movement is responding: ‘No. Period.’”

Contact your Alabama state legislators and your state school board members and tell them to repeal Common Core.  We can do better than this for Alabama’s children.

Wanda McDonald