I’m Voting for Jillian Balow: Here’s Why

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I am thrilled to say that these past 6 months I have enjoyed getting to know Jillian Balow.  I feel confident she is the right person to represent teachers and parents in the office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction.  Some of you may be surprised, as I was one of her harshest critics during the primary election, that I am giving my endorsement with confidence.

Working with parents and teachers fighting common core across our state, I have found it is vital that we have an open dialogue with our state superintendent of public instruction.  THIS is why I am endorsing Jillian.  She reached out to those who were her critics and has shown a true desire to understand the issues that surround the Common Core State Standards Initiative.  It is clear she wants to represent EVERYONE, not just those in government education bureaucracy.

Jillian Balow is a genuine, hard working mother that hit the campaign trail seeking to understand parents.  She has come to realize it is a majority of citizens that are fighting to retain local control and removal of common core.  She is also a strong believer in local control.  She believes that Common Core is not right for Wyoming because it was adopted even though parents and teachers had NO input.  She also knows that it takes away the ability of communities to make important decisions about the education of their children.

Jillian recently stated she disagreed with the Attorney General’s opinion that parents cannot opt children out of high stakes standardized testing.  Her democrat opponent took the opposite view, agreeing with the AG, that parents do not have that right to opt out of standardized testing. (Sign the petition HERE if you haven’t already).

Jillian’s opponent also, as evidenced at a forum I saw the two interact, has a disturbing lack of education expertise and knowledge of government agency management. He is also under the impression that those fighting common core are misguided and stated he will not engage with us and should be ignored!  We cannot afford to lose this open dialogue with our only representative in education!

Jillian Balow has ten years of teaching experience, eight years in state government leadership, is a fifth generation Wyomingite, and mother of two children currently enrolled in Wyoming schools.

Jillian is a Wyoming educator and strong leader in Wyoming government; unlike her opponent who has zero teaching experience.  She is also very concerned about national special interests and the federal government encroaching on Wyoming’s ability to control the education of its youth.  Her opponent will run education like a corporation, and is embracing the national and federal encroachment that comes along with the Common Core States Standards Initiative (testing, evaluations, data mining, and workforce training).

Please join me in supporting Jillian Balow for Superintendent of Public Instruction because she is not only the best choice, but she will continue to engage with parents and teachers that have spoken out against education reform.  Vote tomorrow with me and support Jillian Balow for Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Common Core Hot Topic in HD48 Forum Tonight: Rep. Mark Baker gets My Endorsement

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Tonight I attended the candidate forum for House District 48 (Rock Springs) with candidates Representative Mark Baker (R) and Joe Bartuto (D). I was pleased that my question concerning the AG’s recent statement on parental right to opt out of testing was selected. I asked, “What is your stance on parental rights and education and your opinion concerning the Attorney General’s statement on opting out of standardized testing?” Baker was quick to point out that parents have the right to direct the education of their children and believes that parents have the right to opt out. He was familiar with the AG’s statement and says he disagrees with it. Barbuto was not familiar with the AG’s statement but stated he wants less testing so that teachers can “just teach”. I found Barbuto’s statement to be rather ironic given the fact that he clearly supports the Common Core State Standards. He made statements in rebuttal to Baker’s comments that Common Core is clearly a top down approach to education and that parents and teachers were left out of the process. Barbuto said, “Common Core is not a federal take over of education and states had input.” I would LOVE to see the proof that Barbuto has that Wyoming was involved or any other state for that matter.

Mark Baker made it clear that it only takes a little research to know the facts on how Common Core was brought to our state and mentioned that there were experts in attendance that would be happy to discuss it. Barbuto mocked this and said he hoped that Baker meant all the teachers in attendance. What I have observed is that teachers and parents claim Wyoming had input because they have been TOLD they had input, NOT due to actually participating in the creation of them. Public comment period does not equate true input or being “state led”. I was teaching in the public school system and I had NO notice, no opportunity, no request to comment on something that would have a major impact on my career.  The only notice I had was when training was available on the newly adopted standards. Again, were is the proof made by those still pushing the “state led” talking point? How is it state led when Bill Gates says he is funding CCSS so that he will have a uniform base of customers, after all the curriculum and testing is aligned? I’d like to see evidence of states actually collaborating to create standards!

Off of my rant…

This is WHY you need to support Mark Baker! Not only is he on the right side of the Common Core fight and education – he is a TRUE conservative that will protect our freedoms. Please take a moment to read his opening and closing statements from tonight’s forum.

MarkBaker

“I would like to thank the individuals and organizations involved for the opportunity to present the differences between my opponent and me. I would also like to thank those individuals that are participating in the crowd here and listening live on the radio. And thank the millions in our military and law enforcement that serve every day to ensure we have free speech.
I am running for re-election because I believe that principles of government must be fought for and protected. Our lifestyle and legacy are critical. I believe I share common principles with the majority of house district 48.
I was raised and went to school here in Rock Springs. I graduated from Rock Springs High and continued onto WWCC where I received two associate’s degrees. While there I served as a senator and the student body president. I then continued my education in Laramie at the University of Wyoming where I graduated with a Bachelor’s of Arts.
My life experience is broad. I have owned four small businesses. Contrary to Hilary Clinton’s recent statements, businesses do create jobs and as a legislator I have fought hard for continuing an atmosphere where the free market can prosper. As a business owner, I have created jobs. I am convinced the free market is the solution to many of our economic troubles.
I have been a part of various organizations in our community. I spent three years as a volunteer firefighter and worked as a substitute teacher. During the past decade, I have driven truck commercially including delivering hazardous materials in the oil field. I have real life experience with the oil and gas industries and I will continue to fight for an environment that allows our industries to flourish despite President Obama’s attempt to hamper our responsible growth.
As legislators, every vote we cast counts and is subject to criticism. That’s why I feel it is important to disclose that in 2008 and 2012 I did not vote for President Obama. In 2016, I will not vote for Hilary Clinton. Many of the policies we will discuss tonight are linked to the failed policies of our current president. He has continued to force a top down, cookie cutter approach. It is troubling that a federal judge or an appointed administrative position tells us how to manage wolves, grizzly bears, the city boundaries of Riverton, how to define marriage. We continue to see legislation that, “we have to pass to know what is in it”. We need strong voices in Cheyenne that will stand for what is right in the face of political correctness. We cannot elect officials that will just go along to get along. We must support individuals that will stand up on principle and will fight for what is right. There is much more to legislating than glad handing at evening cocktail events and entertaining. Our legislators make decisions that affect all aspects of our lives.
There are fundamental differences between us on policy, experience, morals and approach. As the evening progresses, I know these differences will be evident. And I am looking forward to discussing the issues and taking questions.

My opponent has spent the campaign repeating rhetoric that is strikingly similar to many of the democrat candidates throughout the state. He has hired consultants to design his materials and make phone calls for him and sent other people knocking on the doors of constituents. During this campaign, one theme remains true. My opponent has four sessions of votes that do not reflect the political views of the majority of people in this district.

Let me take a moment and share one legislative ranking system. The Wyoming Liberty Group indexes legislators every year. After each session the group takes every bill and analysis it as to whether it is liberty friendly, unfriendly or neutral. Liberty can be defined as “freedom from unjust government.” Based on the analysis they rank legislators by assigning them a number with 1 being the most Liberty friendly legislator. During my opponent’s last two years he ranked 58th and 60th out of 61. In the last two years, I ranked 13th and 7th, illustrating one more difference between us.

During the session, I would spend evenings alone in the capitol, revising and timing my presentations so that the people of this district would receive the most benefit from the time I spent on the floor. I spent hours answering emails and phone calls from my constituents. I studied bills, and actively involved myself in committee meetings. My opponent sponsored bills, then didn’t show up to present them in committee.

There are fundamental differences between us on policy, experience, morals and approach and only a few of them have been discussed tonight. If you would like more information about me or this campaign, please contact me at 371-5113 or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WyoRep48.

Petition for Ensuring Right to OPT OUT of Testing: Reaction to AG’s Opinion

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Wyoming Parents Take Note!  Your right to Opt out of Testing is in Jeopardy!  Please sign our petition provided BELOW to help ensure Governor Mead knows you demand he protect your right.  The right to direct the education of your child as YOU SEE FIT, regardless of our Attorney General’s opinion.

PLEASE DO TWO THINGS RIGHT NOW IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY!

1) SIGN THE PETITION to OPT OUT HERE (Full  Petition Text Included)

2) SEND A SIMILAR LETTER TO YOUR REPRESENTATIVES

Wyoming Citizens Opposing Common Core recently informed you about the letter published by our Attorney General, concerning his opinion on opting out of high stakes standardized testing.   They have sent the following letter (copied below) to ALL legislators.   They are asking that you join with other concerned parents standing up for their rights and send a similar letter.

Dear Legislator,

You likely know about the recent AG opinion that parents may not opt out of state tests.  Parents have numerous legitimate reasons to want to do this, especially the nationalized variety like Smarter Balanced.  Besides the concerns over data mining/sharing, data breaches and hacking which as yet have not been satisfactorily addressed, SBAC pilot tests made it clear that to be successful, teachers must teach using math strategies that are educationally controversial and unproven, making nonsense of the notion that districts still would have “control” over how they teach our students.  Further, parents may also determine that the process of taking the test and the stress involved for students in an “accountability” culture does more harm than good when taking the child’s individual needs and gifts into account.

There is already simmering resentment amongst parents in Wyoming when it comes to the quiet onset of the Common Core and the consortium tests intended to follow on its heels.  The Attorney General’s opinion, with its direct affront to parental rights, is very likely to fan the glowing embers in full flame.  The fact that penalties are not outlined in statute begs that the opinion be challenged…either by civil disobedience or lawsuit.  

To avoid this difficult outcome, concerned parents are very much in favor of a clear legislative statement being made in Wyoming about parental rights; you may expect an opportunity to do so this session.  We urge you to review the excellent case made for fundamental rights in this article and be ready to stand up for parental rights when this time comes:  http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2014/10/13635/

You may also be interested to know that The Center for Education Reform ranks Wyoming 40th among states for “Parent Power”(https://www.edreform.com/in-the-states/parent-power-index/states/wy/).  Will the AG opinion help or hurt Wyoming’s reputation for parental rights?

Thank you for your consideration and your service.  We wish you productivity as the interim continues and a fruitful legislative session, and personal blessing for you and your families.  

Sincerely,

Concerned Citizen

Green River, WY

SBAC Common Core Testing Not Right for Wyoming: Letter to Select Commitee

Here is an exceptional letter written by Dan Brophy of Jackson Hole.  I have received permission to post it here for you to read.

Mr. Brophy addresses many concerns that surround the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) Common Core Testing.  This test is being strongly considered for adoption and replacement of the PAWS test in our state.  I hope that many people read this letter and also contact  those on the Select Committee on Education and Accountability.   This committee will be making a decision on SBAC during the upcoming session beginning January 13th of 2015.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Members of the Select Committee:

I write to urge you to abandon consideration of adopting SBAC assessments in Wyoming schools.

This Select Committee, the Governor and the Legislature cannot truthfully state that local control is maintained when Wyoming signs onto the SBAC consortium. Wyoming may be a member of the Executive Committee, but membership conveys no rights for our state to act on its own if it disagrees with test content or methodology, or finds any other problems with the SBAC test. Once you have committed Wyoming to the SBAC path, each of you individually and all of you collectively, as the government of this state, will be as helpless as parents to change anything without the permission of outside entities whose interests do not coincide with Wyoming interests. Not one of you can refute this fact.

Wyoming spends nearly $500 million/year on state community colleges and the University of Wyoming. Surely, within this vast fountain of spending, our state could find the academic expertise and persons to design its own, flexible but superior standards in order to improve, modify or replace PAWS. And why not invite parents into the process – who have basically been ignored?

Common Core is just that: common. By design, every student learns the same things at the same time, which means early-bloomers will end up frustrated and late-bloomers will end up characterized as academically deficient. Learning pace differs by individual, and always will. Applying a rigid standard, including SBAC tests, takes away the flexibility of individual teachers to tailor their learning plans to the pace, talent and interest of each student. The rigidity of Common Core will  unfairly systematize pre-judging of students who have different talents and learn at different paces. Common Core sets up standardized testing as the measure of success, but a student’s education is a much broader effort and accomplishment than test scores.

Do not adopt SBAC – this is not right for our students or their parents. Go back to work and find a Wyoming-designed, Wyoming-controlled testing regime that we can adapt and improve on our own.

Don’t forget this committee will be making a decision on SBAC during the upcoming session beginning January 13th of 2015.  Members on this committee can be found HERE.  PLEASE email them TODAY!   

Thank you!

~Christy

 

Wyoming AG Assalts Parental Rights to Opt Out of High Stakes Testing!

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Former director of the Wyoming Department of Education, Richard Crandall, was faced with several parental requests to opt their children out of statewide assessments. The Wyoming Department of Education initially attempted to answer this question on their own by stating that parents could not opt out. However, when parents challenged this position by asking for the Department to reference the specific Wyoming statute that prohibited parental opt out, no such statute could be provided. Therefore, former Director Crandall turned to the Wyoming Attorney General for an opinion. The letter requesting that opinion was dated April 2014.

Flash forward approximately 5 months. The Wyoming Attorney General issued his opinion to the Wyoming Department of Education. In this opinion dated August 27, 2014, the AG gives the following short answer regarding the parental right to opt out question:

“The rules of the State Board of Education require districts to assess all eligible students. This requirement is within the Board’s statutory authority. Accordingly, districts must assess all eligible students, and students may not opt out of assessment” See the entire letter HERE.

The reasoning given? He believes parental rights have been trumped by the Wyoming Education Accountability Act that was passed in 2011. The Attorney General emphasizes that this accountability system gathers information on students, teachers and schools. Schools are then categorized into one of four performance levels: exceeding expectations, meeting expectations, partially meeting expectations or not meeting expectations. In his interpretation of Wyoming statute, the AG has determined that the State Board of Education by rule, requires as part of district accreditation that ALL students in Wyoming public schools participate in state testing.

Interestingly, the AG does not comment on the lack of penalty language in Wyoming statute. The final statement made in his opinion is that districts may not allow students or their parents to opt out of assessments provided by law. However, what would happen if they did? The statute is not clear and no penalties are provided by law.

Did the Wyoming legislature indeed intend to force ALL students in Wyoming to take statewide assessments, regardless of whether or not parents feel it is appropriate for their child? To date, that question remains unanswered. We would encourage you to speak to your elected officials and ask them to consider addressing a provision for parental opt out in the upcoming 2015 Legislative session. It would take a significant amount of students opting out of statewide assessments to truly impact the federal funding that districts receive under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Watch a video with reaction and commentary concerning the AG’s opinion HERE.

Read the official document from the Wyoming Attorney General  HERE.

Contact the AG’s Department and let them know your how you feel concerning this decision HERE.

Michelle Malkin in Cheyenne Sept. 25, 2014! Discount tickets available for WCOCC members!

**EXCLUSIVE OFFER** for Wyoming Citizens Opposing Common Core Members receive a $10 discount!  If you are not already a member it’s EASY.   Join Wyoming Citizens Opposing Common Core’s Facebook group HERE and/or mailing list HERE.

WylibertyGroup

Wyoming Liberty Group & WylibertyinEducation.org
present a Michelle Malkin Event.

Common Core & the GOVERNMENT TAKEOVER
OF LOCAL CONTROL IN EDUCATION
MY FIGHT AGAINST FED ED: A PUNDIT MOM’S PERSONAL
BATTLES TO STOP FUZZY MATH

MichelleMalkin

Please join us for an informative evening exploring the Common Core issue
and what we can do about it in our own state.
Thursday, September 25, 2014
7:00pm – 9:30pm
Little America – 280 West Lincolnway, Cheyenne WY, 82001
Event will take place in Ballroom C.
Seating is limited at the door.

Click  HERE to RSVP and Learn MORE about this amazing event!

Please RSVP by September 18, 2014
Cost: $50 per person or $60 at the door

Coffee & Desserts will be provided.
for more information, contact:
Mandy Ludtke 307-632-7020
or email to
mandy.ludtke@wyliberty.org

My VOTE for the Primary Election Tomorrow

vote!

The Primary Elections are tomorrow!  I have had several acquaintances ask my opinions about who to vote for.  I admit… I have done a TON of research into the candidates, more so than ever before.  It’s amazing how involved one gets when you have a passion about making changes.

Info on how to Register to vote HERE!  Download the VOTER’s GUIDE for HERE.

This blog post is entirely my own opinion with no outside influence; so take it or leave it.  The candidate listed first is receiving my personal endorsement.   I did not list any Democratic candidates except for Pete Rust who is running for Mayor in my home town of Green River.

Don’t JUST take my word on this!  Please check out the website/Facebook page for each candidate!  The state race PBS debates are HERE.   Don’t forget to check out your candidates stance on Common Core in the survey done by Wyoming Citizens Opposing Common Core HERE.

This is NOT an all inclusive list – these are the candidates I have spent time vetting and/or know on a personal level AND can personally endorse with confidence. 

Local City Races

Mayor of Green River

Pete Rust

Ward II City Council Green River

Ted York

Ward III City Council – MY WARD

Gary Killpack

Governor – We TRULY need a change here! There are two conservative candidates that are excellent choices.  My focus in on education and a constitutional track record.

Cindy Hill

Taylor Haynes

Superintendent of Public Instruction – This is a VITAL race!  PLEASE vet your candidate closely!

Sheryl Lain

Secretary of State

Ed Buchanan – is my choice as he has a proven voting record and stands strong against common core and proven record voting for conservative values.

Clark Stith – another excellent conservative choice, also taken the time to attend my common core presentations and is against top town education.  However, he contributed to Matt Mead’s campaign.  Serious ding on my check list.

IF FOR SOME REASON NEITHER OF THESE TWO ARE ELECTED – I WILL PUT MY VOTE TOWARDS THE INDEPENDANT CANDIDATE!

Jennifer Young

US Senate

Mike Enzi

Bryan Miller

US House of Representatives

Cynthia Lummis

Sweetwater County Commissioner

John K. Kolb (R)

Sweetwater County Sheriff

Richard Haskell (R)

Ken Yager (R)

Sweetwater County Attorney

Daniel Erramouspe (R)

Clerk of District Court

Donnalee Bobak (R)

Wyoming State Auditor

Cynthia I. Cloud (R)

Wyoming State Treasurer

Mark Gordon (R)

Wyoming State Senate Seats

SD 5

Lynn Hutchings -sponsored HB97 – Anti Common Core bill

SD15

Karl Allred

SD23

Jeff Raney

SD 25

Jennifer McCarty (Constitution Party)

SD27

Kara Rae Linn

SD29

Bob Ide

Wyoming House District Seats

HD5

Cheri Steinmetz

HD17

Stephen Watt – attended my common core presentations, signed form for change to standards review process.  Sponsored HB168 – Anti Common Core bill

HD 18

Lyle L. Williams (R)

Fred A. Baldwin (R)

HD19

Allen Jaggi – Sponsored HB168 – Anti Common Core bill

HD22

Marti Halverson -Sponsored HB168 – Anti Common Core bill

HD34

Pat Moore

HD35

Kendell Kroeker -sponsored HB168 – Anti Common Core bill

HD37

Gregory Flesvig

HD 48

Mark Baker (R) attended Common Core presentation

HD49

Garry Piiparinen

HD 50

Charles Cloud

HD57

Chuck Gray  -attended common core presentations, panels

HD58

Tom Reeder - sponsored HB97 – Anti Common Core bill, organized anti common core panels

HD 60

Bill Hooley (R) - Excellent Choice for Change!!  (Yes, I’m biased here)

Don'tVoteDon'tComplain