House Representation Disappoints! Don’t LET Wyoming Senators Do the SAME! CALL NOW!

Unfortunately, after yesterday’s vote HR5 passed the House.  I agree with Emmett McGroarty, it was a betrayal to all parents fighting against the education establishment.  That’s right, our own Representative Cynthia Lummis was one of them.  I plan to call her office and ask why she felt it was necessary to vote for this bill. While it’s true that HR5 did include a couple amendments aimed to: 1)  give parental opt-out rights more power, and 2) give states’ Common Core-opt-out-ability more likelihood. These amendments clearly cannot make up for the majority of the bill and its plan to transform what was already a bad idea with No Child Left Behind.  For once I’ll be hoping for an Obama Veto on this one! The mass of the language in HR5 was not on our side JUST like its TWIN (S1177). Yesterday Wyoming Citizens Opposing Common Core asked you to call our Wyoming delegation.  Now it’s time to REALLY put the pressure on our Senators! Senator Enzi CALL (202) 224-3424 and  ask him to VOTE NO on S1177 Senator Barrasso CALL  (202) 224-6441 and ask him to VOTE NO on S1177  S1177:

  • Pretends to protect us from federal overreach with redundant, nonhelpful language
  • Aligns us to “college and career ready” standard which ARE Common Core, federally defined elsewhere
  • Cements the unconstutitional Fed Master- State Servant relationship
  • Mandates that States answer to the Feds even on altering state standards
  • Retains federal testing mandates
  • Adds to the list of programs a state must consult and aligns with workforce (socialism) program
  • Dictates types of testing
  • Forces out the parental opt out movement
  • Narrows the definition of “mental health” and “school climate” that reduces student religious and political expression
  • Probes into psychological data collection on children without parental consent
  • Fails to require parental consent for state data mining of children’s personally identifiable data
  • Extends federal tentacles and data collection to preschool

devil_in_details

PLEASE CALL YOUR SENATORS NOW with the information above!

If you NEED more information I’ve provided ample evidence below to the concerns outlined above!

The following are details on the problems with S1177 compiled by Christal Swasey on her blog.  Even more details HERE. Pretending to protect states and parents from federal overreach using redundant, nonhelpful (and contradictory) language: First the bill raises our hopes; the talking points sound good; maybe this won’t be a federal sledgehammer to parents and states.  The bill’s sections 5001-5010 (a large chunk of the very large bill)  even go under the title “Empowering Parents and Expanding Opportunity Through Innovation”.  Sounds good. But deep inside, the S1177  (almost) conceals ugly and unconstitutional words like this:

“State plan disapproval: The Secretary shall have the authority to disapprove a State plan” –1004

“If the Secretary determines that a State plan does not meet the requirements of this subsection or subsection (b) or (c), the Secretary shall, prior to declining to approve the State plan immediately notify the State of such determination… offer the State an opportunity to revise” –1111

“A State educational agency may use not more than 5 percent of the amount made available to the State… for the following activities…”

“Closing student achievement gaps, and preparing more students to be college and career ready” -2501(4)    (Making everyone common does tend to close the achievement gaps, by slowing those who would otherwise soar ahead of the mediocre and the slow.)

  • Cementing the unconstitutional Fed-Master/State-Servant relationship:

“State plan disapproval: The Secretary shall have the authority to disapprove a State plan” –1004 “For any State desiring to receive a grant under this part, the State educational agency shall submit to the Secretary a plan…” – 1111

  • Retaining federal testing and standards mandates:

“Same standards: … standards required by subparagraph (A) shall be the same standards that the State applies to all public schools and public school students” –1111   (Do you want to give the feds the authority to dictate uniformity to us?  What if a state wants to be innovative and diverse and various? That won’t be allowed by this federal law.)

“Alignment: Each State shall demonstrate that the challenging State academic standards are aligned with entrance requirements, without the need for academic remediation, for the system of public higher education in the State; relevant State career and technical education standards; and relevant State early learning guidelines” –1111

“Measures the annual progress of not less than 95 percent of all students, and students in each of the categories of students” -1204

“Measure the annual progress of not less than 95 percent of all students and students in each of the categories of students” – 1205

  • Adding to the list of programs States must consult, and aligning with workforce socialism program:

“(aa) student readiness to enter postsecondary education or the workforce” -1111  (repeated many times)

“an application … shall include the following: A description of… assets, identified by the State… which shall include— an analysis of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education quality and outcomes in the State…  labor market information regarding the industry and business workforce needs within the State….”  –2504

  • Dictating types of testing– including using nonacademic, interpretive, and diagnostic student reports:

“produce individual student interpretive, descriptive, and diagnostic reports…  include information regarding achievement on academic assessments aligned with challenging State academic achievement standards… in  uniform format” –1111(b) (2) (B) (vi) (xiii) “(vi) involve multiple up-to-date measures of student academic achievement, including measures that assess higher-order thinking skills and understanding, which may include measures of student academic growth and may be partially delivered in the form of portfolios, projects, or extended performance tasks” –1111 (b) (2) (B) (vi)

Assessments must  “be administered through a single summative assessment; or be administered through multiple statewide assessments during the course of the year if the State can demonstrate that the results of these multiple assessments, taken in their totality, provide a summative score” – 1111 (b) (2) (B) (viii)

“(xiii) be developed, to the extent practicable, using the principles of universal design for learning.” – 1111 (b) (2) (B) (xiii)

  • Forcing out the parental opt-out movement; also, booting family out and putting government in to the center of the universe:

Crushing opt outs, each state test must “Measures the annual progress of not less than 95 percent of all students, and students in each of the categories of students” -1204

Same:  “Measure the annual progress of not less than 95 percent of all students and students in each of the categories of students” – 1205

Schools to be far, far more than places to learn numeracy and literacy:  “21st Century Learning Centers… an array of additional services, programs, and activities, such as youth development activities, service learning, nutrition and health education, drug and violence prevention programs, counseling programs, art, music, physical fitness and wellness programs, technology education programs, financial literacy programs, math, science, career and technical programs, internship or apprenticeship programs, and other ties to an in-demand industry sector” – 4201

“address family instability, school climate, trauma, safety, and nonacademic learning.”  -7304

We MUST fight Against the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing! Twin Bills in Congress Today!

wolfsheep

We MUST take a few moments today and contact our Wyoming delegation!  There are TWIN bills being voted on today that will do more harm than good!   They claim to fix No Child Left Behind but reading closer, it actually does MORE harm to our children’s education! These are TRULY a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing!

Senator Enzi CALL (202) 224-3424 and  ask him to VOTE NO on S1177

Senator Barrasso CALL  (202) 224-6441 and ask him to VOTE NO on S1177

Representative Cynthia Lummis CALL (202) 225-2311L ask her to  VOTE NO on HR5

Below are the REASONS we want them to VOTE NO!  Detailed information can also be found at the API 21 Pointed List.

 HR 5:

  • Cements the unconstutitional Fed Master- State Servant relationship
  • Attacks parental opt out movement – kills parental opt out rights
  • Hacks off religious freedom and autonomy for any private schools that receive federal dollars for any of their programs
  • Pretends that federal FERPA hasn’t been shot full of holes and depends on FERPA for privacy rights (what privacy rights?)
  • Fails to require parental consent for state data mining of children’s personally identifiable data
  • Creates unelected committees that have real power over state citizens who did not elect them
  • Fails to provide enforcement for autonomy which means there won’t be any state autonomy
  • Extends federal tentacles and data collection to preschoolers
  • Reinforces socialist alignment of schools to workforce, putting economy first without regard for students
  • Retains federal testing mandates

 S1177 does:

  • Pretends to protect us from federal overreach with redundant, nonhelpful language
  • Aligns us to “college and career ready” standard which ARE Common Core, federally defined elsewhere
  • Cements the unconstutitional Fed Master- State Servant relationship
  • Mandates that States answer to the Feds even on altering state standards
  • Retains federal testing mandates
  • Adds to the list of programs a state must consult and aligns with workforce (socialism) program
  • Dictates types of testing
  • Forces out the parental opt out movement
  • Narrows the definition of “mental health” and “school climate” that reduces student religious and political expression
  • Probes into psychological data collection on children without parental consent
  • Fails to require parental consent for state data mining of children’s personally identifiable data
  • Extends federal tentacles and data collection to preschool

Thank you Christel Swasey for compiling the above list!  Please read more details HERE!

Opportunity to give input into Science Standards! Survey or in Person: Take Action!

at seminar

Recently Wyoming Citizens Opposing Common Core posted about the upcoming Science Standards Meetings:

You still have an opportunity to give input to the Science Standards Review Committee at the remaining regional community meetings .   Each meeting will include a presentation on the standards review process, an update on Wyoming’s science standards, and time for the public to comment. The remaining regional community meetings will be held at 6:00 p.m. in the following locations:

June 8, Storey Gym Board Room, 2811 House Avenue, Cheyenne

June 9, Evanston High School, Seminar Room, 701 W. Cheyenne Drive, Evanston.

If you are unable to attend PLEASE fill out the Wyoming Department of Education’s SURVEY.   (Until June 12th)

Below is information on the concerns voiced by parents across our state.  Feel free to use this information to help you craft your comments for the meeting or the survey:

1)  What specifically do you want your kids to get out of science standards?  (critical minds which have had opportunities to see/debate controversial issues in science from more than one viewpoint? Adequate content for quality high school courses in Physics and Chemistry? Excellent preparation for STEM career paths?) More Ideas HERE!

2) In contrast, what is it about NGSS that won’t help accomplish the goals you have for your children?  Help HERE and More Help HERE(Remember that NGSS is already in use in our state prior to any adoption AND we know the State Board of Education and WDE will be pushing to use NGSS as a spring board for Wyoming Standards).

3) How can the state do the best possible job communicating with you about opportunities to get your input on standards adoption and other major educational decisions being made at the state level (rather than you having to seek it out)?

  • Notes in backpack from your district?
  • Text or phone messaging system already used by your district?
  • Facebook or Social media? Info on joining from your district?
  • An e-mail notification system you can sign up for?
  • How much notice do you need for public meetings/public input?

We believe that our state can arrive at a set of superb standards characterized by autonomy,academic excellence, objectivity and transparency.  Details HERE.

Below is information found on the Wyoming Department of Education’s website concerning the community meetings.  There is a presentation that will be shown at the meetings you may view below if you are unable to attend.

Science Standards Review Committee

The Science Standards Review Committee will meet in Casper June 15-16, 2015 to revise, as necessary, the Wyoming Science Content & Performance Standards, so as to recommend a set of science standards to the Wyoming State Board of Education for adoption.

Please be sure you are informed and involved!

~Christy

Jim Nations speaks about Science Community Meeting on Science Standards – TUNE in TODAY at 4:05PM

Recently Wyoming Citizens Opposing Common Core made you aware of the WDE sponsoring Community Meetings on Science Standards.  This week the meetings were held in Gillette and Casper with the remaining meetings in Cheyenne and Evanston.  The press release can be found HERE for times and places.  We encourage ALL parents to attend and let their voices be heard.  We understand that parents may not have been informed properly and have been greatly outnumbered at these meetings.

KVOC

Jim_Nations

Today Jim Nations, who has written and spoken extensively concerning why Wyoming must reject the NGSS, will be speaking on the Chuck Gray Show at 4:05PM.  You may listen online HERE or tune in to  KVOC 1230AM.

Mr. Nations attended the Science Community Meeting in Casper last night and will be discussing concerns and giving an update on the Next Generation Science Standards.  He has been a strong voice supporting parental concern surrounding the NGSS as they may be considered and implemented into the Wyoming Science Standards currently being written.

Hearingless Congressional Vote Scheduled for S227 – Children Losing Privacy – SETRA Bill

wyoteacher:

Due to time constraints I am choosing to reblog this from Christal’s blog! I will have time to go more in depth about this DATA COLLECTION NIGHTMARE! Please read the following information:

Originally posted on COMMON CORE:

The press release below came out today, February 23, 2014, from Kate Bryan at American Principles in Action.

I have not read this bill.  When I do, I will write about it.  

The vote is scheduled for two days from now… so read, please, and comment here and to your reps and senators.   I am posting this ASAP because I received it from Emmett McGroarty of American Principles Project, whom I trust as an honest leader in preserving parental rights and Constitutional liberty.  

Here’s a link to this huge data collection bill.

stealth assessment baby

                               

CONTACT: Kate Bryan

American Principles in Action     

202-503-2010

kbryan@americanprinciplesproject.org

                                           

 Congressional Leadership Attempting to Ram…

View original 472 more words

RED ALERT! WE MUST STOP HR5 – Masquerading as the “Student Success Act” or NCLB Reauthorization!

HR5meme

Our US Congressional Leadership is pushing HR5, the 600 page Reauthorization of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and have rebranded it the “Student Success Act” – DO NOT BE FOOLED!  It’s NOT going to bring Student Success!

This is happening with lightning speed! PLEASE contact our US Reps: Here is their contact information:

Click on each name to be taken to their contact pages:

Senator Mike Enzi

Senator John Barrasso

Representative Cynthia Lummis

Why VOTE NO on HR5?

1. HR5 Denigrates Parental Rights and Seizes State Sovereignty

  • No program shall “operate within a State, unless the legislature of that State shall have . . . waived the State’s rights and authorities to act inconsistently with any requirement that might be imposed by the Secretary as a condition of receiving that assistance.” (Sec. 6561) (emphasis added).
  • Federal requirements will trump the rights “reserved to the States and individual Americans by the United States Constitution” to lead in the education of their child. (Sec. 6564)
  • Requires states to change laws and regulations to “conform” to HR5. (Sec. 1403)
  • Alters the governance structures of states by requiring them to form “Committees of Practitioners” to whom the state must submit rules and regulations. (Sec. 1403)

2. HR5 Does Nothing to Relieve Children From No Child Left Behind’s (NCLB’s) Oppressive Testing Requirements.

3. Feds Will Effectively Direct State Education Policy through Enhanced Continuation of Heavy-Handed NCLB Policies

  • Requires states to demonstrate to the federal government that their standards, assessments, and state accountability systems meet the goal of “prepar[ing] all students to graduate high school for postsecondary education or the workforce.” (Sec. 1001)
  • Requires states to submit comprehensive state plans, which the Secretary can disapprove. (Sec. 1111)
  • States had to make the same showing and meet the same definitional goal to receive NCLB waivers and Race to the Top grants.. HR5 allows for a Common Core “rebrand.”  (Sec. 1001) and (Sec. 1111(3)(A))
  • Prohibitions against the Secretary forcing states into adopting Common Core are meaningless.

4. Increases Federal Data Collection To Control Curriculum

  • Empowers the Department of Education to request individual student and teacher data from State and Local Education Agencies.
  • Authorizes substantial new funding to use this data to evaluate whether schools are using “effective” instructional methods.  (Sec. 2111(b)(1)(A)) and (Sec. 2132)

The above information is originally from the Parents Against the Common Core website.

The 5th concern that I am adding, is in my opinion, the MOST IMPORTANT CONCERN!

5.   It Mandates, for Private Schools, NON-Religious Programs, Counselors, Technologies

“Student for Success Act: HR5″ can be found here: Bill Text: Student Success Act

Posted below is the letter I wrote to my US representatives:  Please feel free to use this to get a jump start on yours!  Time is of the essence!  I chose to focus on the religious freedom aspect.  Please write what you feel is most important or include all of the issues from the 5 points above.

Dear Mike Enzi, Cynthia Lummis, and John Barrasso,

HR5, the Student Success Act, hurts religious liberty.

Hidden deep in the 600 page bill are affronts to parental rights, state rights, and private schools’ rights, including the right to promote religion to children. This is the bottom line for me — the reason to vote no on this bill. It is true that the marketing of “reduce the federal footprint” and the bill’s opening pages  are very enticing to a conservative’s ears.

However,  HR5 mandates that PRIVATE SCHOOLS: “ensure that teachers and families of the children participate, on an equitable basis, in services and activities… SECULAR, NEUTRAL, NONIDEOLOGICAL.— Such educational services or other benefits, including materials and equipment, shall be secular, neutral and non-ideological.” See pdf of bill, pages 78-82.

The bill says that the government will enforce this and other regulations, in PRIVATE schools, thus: “The State educational agency involved shall designate an ombudsman to monitor and enforce the requirements.” On page 82 the bill states that the LEA (school district) must consult with private school officials and must transmit results of their “agreement” to this state-paid ombudsman.

The attack on private schools’ religious freedoms is really the heart of this matter for me.  There are many home school statutes across the nation and often times they are considered a form of private school.  Also, I am the Co-owner and Education Director for the Glenn J. Kimber Academy, Sweetwater, LLC in Green River, Wyoming.  I fear that this bill will greatly affect what I do for my own children and our students.

Please, stand up AGAINST this bill FOR FREEDOM, especially religious freedom.

Thank you,

Christy Hooley

Co-Owner/Educational Director GJK Academy, Sweetwater, WY LLC Green River, WY

307-***-****

——————————————————

P.S.

Additional reasons to vote NO on HR5:

It represents a federal takeover of private school benefits funding:

On page 535, the bill slashes freedom by mandating equity for private and public schools. “Benefits provided under this section for private school children, teachers, and other educational personnel shall be equitable in comparison to services and other benefits for public school children, teachers, and other educational personnel”. The government has no right to command a private school to give more benefits, nor to withhold benefits, from private school teachers, staff or children. The same page states: “Expenditures for educational services and other benefits to eligible private school children, teachers, and other service personnel shall be equal to the expenditures for participating public school children.” The ombudsman’s job, according to page 80, is to “monitor and enforce” such “equity for private school children”.

The bill increases data collection. See 2. SEC. 1138:

___________________________________________________________________________________________

It makes state rights conditional. See page 564 Subpart 4, Section 6561:

“STATES TO RETAIN RIGHTS AND AUTHORITIES THEY DO NOT EXPRESSLY WAIVE” –How will a state “expressly waive” its authorities and rights? –Answer from the bill: simply by having a state legislature accept federal money. A state that acts “inconsistently with any requirement that might be imposed by the Secretary as a condition of receiving that assistance” will waive its authority because the legislature of that state would have “expressly approved that [federal] program”. If a state’s or a parent’s rights conflicted with a requirement, too bad: the federal bill claims authority to enforce obedience from states because the states take the money.

It makes parents’ rights conditional. See page 567, Section 6564: “…Other than the terms and conditions expressly approved by State law under the terms of this subpart, control over public education and parental rights to control the education of their children are vested exclusively within the autonomous zone of independent authority reserved to the states and individual Americans by the United States Constitution, other than the Federal Government’s undiminishable obligation to enforce minimum Federal standards of equal protection and due process.” By tying inalienable parental rights to the receipt of funds and federal “obligations,” the bill just claimed authority to take parental rights away, under conditions it has just defined. Even in the statement of purpose on page 11, the bill minimizes parents and maximizes itself, by “affording parents substantial and meaningful opportunities to participate in the education of their children”. To reduce parents to a recipient of government-granted “opportunities to participate in” the education of a child is de-parenting. It’s far, far different from Utah’s legal code, which states in multiple places that: “A student’s parent or guardian is the primary person responsible for the education of the student, and the state is in a secondary and supportive role to the parent or guardian.”

 

I’d like to thank Christal Swasey and her blog Common Core: Education without Representation for all of the hard work she has put into informing her readers and our neighboring state of Utah!

Is Your Local School Board Representing YOU or an Association Concerning Common Core? Insist they LISTEN to YOU!

reading_letter

Wyoming Citizens Opposing Common Core have recently been made aware that the Wyoming Association of School Administrators (WASA) is in the process of sending a letter to all of the local school boards, encouraging them to sign it and send on to legislators as part of an effort to lobby for moving ahead with education reform many parents do NOT want (Common Core, Smarter Balanced, and so on).  This effort could have tremendous influence with legislature if parents do not take action.

There are many new school board members and even experienced ones who could feel pressured to sign on and desperately need to hear both sides of what WASA is advocating for before making this decision.

We have printed the WASA’s letter to legislators below, and immediately after it appears our rebuttal, which addresses each of the five numbered points in detail for your reference and for that of school board members.

At the very least, please send a copy of the WASA letter along with our rebuttal to your local school board and ask them to consider these facts and your opposition before they decide to sign on. Also please consider using the points we’ve provided in a letter to both the Governor and the State Superintendent of Instruction. Links are provided for your convenience below.

Letter from WASA to our local school boards:

November 24, 2014

Dear,

On behalf of the Wyoming Association of School Administrators (WASA), we would like to offer our sincere thanks for your work as our local legislature. As leaders of local school districts we look forward to working with you and the legislature to make this state a national leader in education.

Many of us involved in district leadership feel that the last few years comprised numerous missed opportunities to involve superintendents, board members and experts in our respective constituencies to make critical decisions affecting all of us. We have been adversely affected by a lack of consistency and direction from state leaders, which has led to ongoing confusion for districts regarding standards, assessment and accountability as a whole. As a consequence, many districts have relied upon their own interpretations and judgments regarding these important matters.

To avoid these issues in the future, we strongly recommend the following in the spirit of collaboration and cooperation.

1. Apply for the federal NCLB waiver to eliminate duplicate reporting which results in unwarranted frustration and spending for the state and districts.  The waiver would allow our state the flexibility to implement and redesign an effective accountability system that would meet the needs of Wyoming students, educators and taxpayers. We believe the federal accountability system has reached its logical conclusions and impact.

2. Support districts to fully implement the adopted Wyoming State Standards (WSS) as written. Thousands of dollars and hours have been spent by districts in efforts to align curricula, procure resources, and train staff to embed the WSS in effective instruction on a daily basis. Your department could provide expertise and support to ensure that all districts are implementing the standards efficaciously. We fear that rewriting the state standards would put our state back at least five years and create more confusion and anxiety.

3. Advocate for the immediate adoption of Smarter Balanced Assessments as Wyoming’s accountability measure. Our legislative accountability consultants use the aphorism, “if you want to measure change, don’t change the measure.” Smarter Balanced is the best available measure that is fully aligned to the WSS. Its adoption could save the state as much as $7.5 million per year if used in lieu of current tools. The Smarter Balanced Assessment suite would provide timely formative feedback that could be used to impact teaching and learning immediately. It would also provide summative feedback that would reveal how Wyoming compares with the states around us so the legislature can see what the people of Wyoming are getting for the highest-per-capita student spending in the nation.

4. Reestablish the importance of the work that was done from 2011-2014 on state level accountability systems.  Again, this lack of emphasis has led to confusion and impact of this legislation. We must move our state forward toward a balanced accountability system that allows districts to design their own frameworks for other necessary skills and knowledge necessary for the 21st century.  These next generation of accountability systems, like those being developed in states like New Hampshire, move more toward more personalized modes of education for students and highly involves districts in the design of their own accountability system in conjunction with state parameters.

5. Finally, we urge that you create an advisory group made up of superintendents and curriculum directors to help develop the state system of supports. The capacity to move our state to become a national leader is a major element that has been lacking in response in the recent accountability discussions. Many ideas have been offered, but nothing has come from these efforts to date.  We also urge that national thought leaders in this area be used to help foster this design. In sum, WASA and all of our members truly believe that we can once again become partners with the governor’s office, WDE and the legislature for the benefit of our students and communities.

Thank you in advance for your time, and we look forward to working with you for the benefit of all the students in Wyoming.

Sincerely,

Superintendent Board Chair

WASA Letter to Boards (Printable Version)

Our Rebuttal, Point by Point:

1.  NCLB – It is widely acknowledged that NCLB is poor policy and yet, through a waiver system not passed by Congress, the current administration has used NCLB as one of the main clubs to ultimately force states down the path that eliminates local control and parents’ ability to have a meaningful say in education policy. Sadly, WASA is endorsing these very ideas, such as the NCLB waiver.

  • The waiver does not come free and obligates us to keep the CCSS, which is completely controlled by people unaccountable to us.
  • WASA wants it because they don’t want a bifurcated accountability system where it must report results two ways based on separate state and federal requirements, and these two reports could potentially conflict with each other.
  • This double reporting is another symptom of the disease of federal and state control over education.
  • We do not support any attempt by Wyoming to obtain a waiver.
  • We do support Wyoming giving the education system back to local communities and allowing parents the authority to hold our local school districts accountable.

2.  CCSS – Educators are being urged to refer to the Common Core as “Wyoming State Standards” for messaging purposes, as evidenced by meeting summary notes from WEA’s Education Coalition.

  • This is subterfuge that insults the intelligence of parents and voters. We must call them what they are…Common Core State Standards.
  • The districts that are claiming they spent thousands of dollars did much of that ahead of the actual adoption of CCSS.
  • Since parents first learned about Common Core and became alarmed, we have demanded a cost analysis, which has never materialized.
  • We keep being assured that there’s no significant additional cost and that the tests will actually be less expensive. It’s time that a full accounting of monies spent needs to be given to the legislature.
  • The accounting should include the cost the implementing the Common Core State Standards fully. 

3.  SBAC – WY spends roughly $1.5 billion on education. $7.5 million is a drop in the bucket when it comes to the total cost of education and thus not worth mentioning when discussing the question of quality education and assessments, which is what parents are concerned about.

  • To claim that the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is aligned to the Wyoming State Standards is deliberately misleading.
  • The SBAC is definitely aligned to the CCSS for English Language Arts and Math.
  • WASA is speaking against itself when it says, “if you want to measure change, don’t change the measure.” You are changing the measure by bringing SBAC. If you don’t want to change the measure then you should be advocating for continuing the PAWS.
  • WASA claims SBAC will help schools compare student progress to students in other states. SBAC is a computer adaptive test and PARCC is a fixed test…even if we undertook the risks of adopting SBAC, we still can’t get a perfectly accurate comparison to students in other states.
  • Parents want the cult of comparability to end as this leads to more and more testing.
  • Wyoming parents want Wyoming teachers to be at the heart of the creation of any tests given to their schoolchildren, not multistate consortium where Wyoming barely has a vote. We want autonomy with our tests.
  • Parents’ legitimate concerns over data collection and privacy have still not been addressed. It is no longer enough to “FERPA Compliant” because FERPA was quietly gutted and no longer protects our family information adequately.
  • Developing an SLDS that is compatible with every other state’s while feeding data into it with the intention of sharing with the federal government and others (not clearly defined and therefore open to abuse) has created by fiat what will be an illegal national database for personal and educational information. Parents say no to this.
  • The WASA letter states, “We have been adversely affected by a lack of consistency and direction from state leaders, which has led to ongoing confusion for districts regarding standards, assessment and accountability as a whole,” and yet WASA continues to push for the adoption of the SBAC as Wyoming’s assessment. We can only believe that WASA is unaware of the current lawsuit in the state of Missouri where a circuit court judge issued a temporary restraining order on the payment of membership fees to SBAC on the grounds that the consortium is an illegal interstate compact under the Compact Clause of the US Constitution. This makes the stability of the federal consortium (SBAC) questionable.   

4.  Accountability systems – From parents’ perspective, we just want an accountability system that holds the district accountable to us, not to the state. Parents are the chief consumers of the education system and the only ones truly capable of holding it accountable.

  • Creating more government accountability simply perpetuates more government control, which is a noose that is tightening around the freedom and creativity of our classrooms.
  • WASA’s position on the merits of accountability would be stronger if they were to put themselves on the same level as teachers in the Wyoming Accountability Act. In the last accountability bill (p. 7) there was a motion to remove a major portion of the bill in which the districts’ ability to immediately fire school principals was removed.
  • Since WASA is so interested in NCLB Waivers, keeping the Common Core, and acquiring SBAC against the wishes of parents, then the administrators should be put back in and be held accountable as well. There is something wrong in advocating for all these things and then being let off the hook when the axes start to fall for the teachers.
  • Meanwhile, it is Wyoming families and their children that pay the price of lost privacy, stress and anxiety, as their schools becomes a miserable place, focused almost solely on testing.

5.  Advisory Group – This is another illustration that shows how out of control education is.

  • So many education elitists now think the only way we can improve education is by turning away from local communities and relying on small clubs of high level bureaucrats to organize solutions based on great-sounding ideas gleaned from “national thought leaders”, rather than just letting educational laboratories do their work and select from the highest performing programs based on evidence.
  • Parents want legitimate involvement in the major educational decisions, and this idea of WASA’s would circumvent that.
  • Parents cringe at the words of “national thought leaders”, because this is the thinking that delivered CCSS, SBAC and NGSS to our door and forces us to cry out for what we should have had in place before: a proper local process that genuinely involves non-educator parents and other stakeholders.
  • We would like to see WASA partner with parents in local communities, and not just the WDE and legislature.

WCOCC Rebuttal Letter (Printable Version)

ActNow

Again, we are asking that you take several actions to help make known your feelings concerning this form letter

1) Contact your local school board (HERE) and ask them to consider not signing a form letter that was pre-written on their behalf. For their reference, provide each member a copy of WASA’s letter (in case they’ve not yet seen it) and the rebuttal and make clear in your own words your opposition to the Board signing WASA’s letter appealing to legislators. (Printable versions are available in this post above)

2) Contact your legislators and tell them that you disagree with this form letter. ==>HERE

3) Contact the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and let her know that you disagree with this form letter at  cindy.hill@wyo.gov as well as our Superintendent Elect, Jillian Balow at superintendent.elect@wyo.gov 

4) Contact the Governor and let him know that you disagree wit this form letter at   governor@wyo.gov