Senators “You’re My Only Hope” to Stop the Dark Side of ESSA!

You'reMyOnlyHope

**URGENT**  It’s now LEFT to our Senators to STOP the Dark Side of FedEd!

The House sadly passed this bill in an overwhelming majority just hours ago.  I am extremely grateful and want to publicly thank Representative Cynthia Lummis for being ONE of only SIXTY-FOUR who voted NO! See the Entire House Final Vote HERE.

Take a moment to email or tweet to @CynthiaLummis to say Thank You!

Below are listed the top 12 concerns with the ESSA bill that was voted on after ONLY 48 hours of being available to the public by the House. It will soon be up for a vote in the Senate.  Use the  information outlined below to help you when contacting our Wyoming Senators:

Senator John Barrasso  Email HERE Or tweet at @SenJohnBarrasso

Senator Mike Enzi Email HERE or tweet at @SenatorEnzi

Click HERE to read the letter composed by my friend Allyson Williams out of Utah.   Sometimes it’s helpful to see how others speak their minds…   (This is specific to Utah but contains concerns that affect us nationally).

All of the content featured below compiles the concerns of several people I highly trust and have worked with personally:

Mary Byrne, Ed.D. Missouri Coalition Against Common Core

Truth in American Education Emmett McGroarty, Jane Robbins, Karen Effrem, M.D., & Erin Tuttle American Principles Project

Glyn Wright & Kevin Baird Eagle Forum

 Carol Allen East Penn School Board Member, Reading Specialist

Top 12 Concerns About

Every Student Succeeds Act

(S 1177 & HR 5)

  1. PROCESS VIOLATES TENENTS OF AMERICAN GOVERNMENT – OF TRANSPARENCY IN THE BILL PROCESS AND DELIBERATIVE DEBATE. Process of forwarding conference report echoes the process of (Un) Affordable Care Act “You have to pass it to see what’s in it” – that is. Congress won’t be reading it.
  2. HEAVILY INCENTIVIZES STATES TO MAINTAIN COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS: As a requirement of the Act, states must “demonstrate” to the Secretary that they have adopted standards that are aligned to the same definition of “college and career” standards used to force states into adopting Common Core under NCLB waivers.
  3.  ASSESSMENT OF NON-COGNITIVE ATTITUDES, BEHAVIORS, and MINDSETS: Bill will maintain momentum for increasing non-academic data collection of student and family information into statewide longitudinal data systems.
  4. PARENT RIGHTS: The Salmon Amendment in HR5 that allowed parents to opt out of high-stakes state assessments is no longer included. Students whose parents opt them out of the test, must be included in the 95% participation formula.
  5. EROSION OF STATE POWER OVER EDUCATION: The state accountability system must be structured as per the federal bill.
  6. FEDERAL CONTROL OF STANDARDS CONTENT: Bill language appears to require standards that align with career and technical education standards, indicating that the standards must align to the federally approved Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.
  7. NO CHECKS ON FEDERAL POWER, FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS JUDGE AND JURY OF ITS OWN ACTIVITY – NO SUNSET OF LAW: The framework would only “authorize” ESEA for four more years, as opposed to the typical five, but, there’s no sunset provision in the bill, so it could go on in perpetuity.
  8. EXPANSION OF GOVERNMENT ROLE IN CHILDCARE/DISINCENTIVE TO ACTIVELY SEEK EMPLOYMENT: Bill is said to expand Head Start to childcare with Child Care Development Block Grant Act of 2014 so that no work requirements will be expected of low income parents to access grant money to pay for childcare.
  9. ADVANCES PROFITING BY PRIVATE CORPORATIONS USING EDUCATION DOLLARS THAT SHOULD GO TO CLASSROOMS: Increasing the education budget to fund private investors to implement government- selected social goals is outside the scope of improving education, and outside the authority of Congress as described in the U.S. Constitution.
  10. INCREASED ESEA SPENDING: ESSA authorizes appropriations for fiscal years 2017-2020. Spending authority will increase by 2% each year.
  11. EROSION OF LOCAL CONTROL: The conference report language encourages states to form consortia that, without congressional approval, may be determined illegal.
  12. DATA PRIVACY: Language in the conference report appears to rein in the Secretary of Education’s power and protect student data by inserting prohibitions of collecting additional student data, but makes no attempt to reverse the harm already done by Secretary Duncan’s modification of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Introduction

Legislators are headstrong in staying the course and passing a 2015 reauthorization of ESEA currently known as the No Child Left Behind Act. They say this law is fundamentally broken and we need to fix it this year. But, the rush to do so, undermines the democratic process of public hearing and deliberation before a vote, which results in the demise of our education system for America’s children.

The bill making process began last spring with two different versions of a reauthorization bill. The conference bill under consideration in the House this week will largely be the Senate version (previously known as the Every Child Achieves Act) combined with House version (previously titled the Student Success Act) and the conference report will be titled the Every Student Succeeds Act. Like preceding versions of the ESEA, the bill is written with language that appears to empower worthy goals such as closing student achievement gaps and preparing students for college and careers, eliminating common core and reigning in the U.S. Secretary of Education. Saturday’s WSJ wrote an editorial opining that, “A bipartisan compromise has emerged from the Senate and House that represents the largest devolution of federal control to the states in a quarter-century. It’s far better than the status quo that would continue if nothing passes,” but the reality is, the bill – expands federal control over state standards, affirms cronyism camouflaged as public/private-partnership, and makes state departments of education the enforcers of federal education policies that are detrimental to students, parent rights, local control, and the teaching profession.

1. PROCESS VIOLATES TENENTS OF AMERICAN GOVERNMENT – OF TRANSPARENCY IN THE BILL PROCESS AND DELIBERATIVE DEBATE. Process of forwarding conference report echoes the process of (Un) Affordable Care Act “You have to pass it to see what’s in it” – that is. Congress won’t be reading it. o Most recent update of conference report is 1,061 pages developed by a handful of bill sponsors before the whole of the conference committee was selected; o Conference bill developed without public input especially of parents, though its paid for by public funds, forwarded to the floor during a holiday season when the public is distracted; o Proposed bill will be released to legislators and the public today (Monday, November 30 with the possibility of a HOUSE vote on Wednesday, Dec. 2 or Thursday, Dec. 3) – with no time for public hearing, critical reading and mark up, deliberation and debate; SENATE vote could be as early as Dec. 5 or 7; o The rush is highly suspicious, given that NCLB was due for reauthorization in 2007 (five years after it was signed into law) but, the Congress took 13 years to decide to take up the legislation. 3 o Appears to be a Speaker Ryan redeux of the same strategies that stoked public anger against Speaker Boehner.

2. HEAVILY INCENTIVIZES STATES TO MAINTAIN COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS: As a requirement of the Act, states must “demonstrate” to the Secretary that they have adopted standards that are aligned to the same definition of “college and career” standards used to force states into adopting Common Core under NCLB waivers. The requirement for the alignment of standards to this definition makes prohibitions against the Secretary meaningless, the statute itself dictates the alignment. Sec. 1111(b)(1)(D)(i): IN GENERAL.—Each State shall demonstrate that the challenging State academic standards are aligned with entrance requirements for credit-bearing coursework in the system of public higher education in the State and relevant State career and technical education standards. The state must adopt content standards and at least three levels of achievement standards, collectively referred to in the Act as “challenging state academic standards.“ The standards must include the same knowledge, skills, and levels of achievement of all public school students in the state.” If the standards must include the same “knowledge, skills, and levels of achievement” for all students, then, by definition they cannot be too high, or possibly be based on non-academic expectations. The term skills infers noncognitive skills– meaning attitudes, values, and mindsets, which, to date, have no valid and reliable metric. Bill proponents tout that the bill will reduce testing because states will be allowed to use ACT and SAT in lieu of the 11th grade statewide assessment previously required in NCLB. The reality is these two tests are now being designed to align to Common Core State Standards. ACT and the College Board were members of the exclusive standards development team publicized in 2009 by the National Governors Association press release. Replacing Grade 11 state tests with the ACT or SAT and evaluating school performance based on student performance on these tests heavily incentivizes states to maintain Common Core State Standards. (see Item #5) In addition, this language gives a license to state boards of education, under the influence of the National Association of State Boards of Education which has been heavily funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, to retain Common Core State Standards that are promoted as preparing students to be “college and career ready” without ever defining what colleges and what careers students would be prepared to assume.

3. ASSESSSMENT OF NON-COGNITIVE ATTITUDES, BEHAVIORS, and MINDSETS: Bill will maintain momentum for increasing non-academic data collection of student and family information into statewide longitudinal data systems. The ESSA requires states to report on student factors beyond standardized test scores into their accountability systems. Bill language includes the following: 4 Accountability systems must include “not less than one indicator of school quality or student success that (aa) allows for meaningful differentiation in school performance; (bb) is valid, reliable, comparable, and statewide . . . which may include measures of – (I) Student engagement; (II) Educator engagement; (III) Student access to and completion of advanced coursework; (IV) Postsecondary readiness; (V) School climate and safety; and (VI) any other indicator the state chooses that meets the requirements of this clause.” Section 1005 (amending Section 1111) (c)(4)(B)(v)(II)]: For purposes of subclause (I), the State may include measures of— (III) student engagement; (IV) educator engagement; (V) student access to and completion of advanced coursework; (VI) postsecondary readiness; (VII) school climate and safety; and (VIII) any other indicator the State chooses that meets the requirements of this clause. As reported in Education Week, “it’s not unreasonable to assume that states could use the “any other indicator’ language to support inclusion of students’ social and emotional skills, girt or growth mindsets in their accountability models. This flaw in the language opens the door to potential for bias especially when unlicensed personnel administer psychological assessments embedded in observation or test tasks. The potential for these types of assessments administered in this manner are not only abusive to students, and potentially damaging to their future, they are potentially damaging to schools that will be held. 1. These new ESSA plans would start in the 2017-18 school year. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/rulesforengagement/2015/11/new_esea_may_use_noncognitive_traits_in_accountability_is_that_a_good_idea.html?cmp=eml-enl-eu-news2 In September of this year, The Walton Family Foundation announced that it’s investing in research on the measurement of non-cognitive traits such as grit and persistence in classroom settings. The grants total $6.5 million over three years. They represent a new direction for the organization, which largely has focused its education philanthropy on expanding school choice and charter schools. It’s a sign that the field of study, known as character education and social-emotional learning, is maturing and gathering interest from many corners of the education policy and philanthropy worlds. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2015/09/30/measuring-grit-character-draw-newinvestments.html

4. PARENT RIGHTS: The Salmon Amendment in HR5 that allowed parents to opt out of high-stakes state assessments is no longer included: Students whose parents opt them out of the test, must be included in the 95% participation formula. Under the ESSA 5 accountability system, states must annually measure 95% of their students and every subgroup of students and penalize a school doesn’t meet 95% through the state accountability system. Sec. 1111(c)(4)(E): ANNUAL MEASUREMENT OF ACHIEVEMENT.— (i) Annually measure the achievement of not less than 95 percent of all students, and 95 percent of all students in each subgroup of students, who are enrolled in public schools on the assessments described under subsection (b)(2)(v)(I). (ii) For the purpose of measuring, calculating, and reporting on the indicator described in subparagraph (B)(i), include in the denominator the greater of— (I) 95 percent of all such students, or 95 percent of all such students in the subgroup, as the case may be; or (II) the number of students participating in the assessments. (iii) Provide a clear and understandable explanation of how the State will factor the requirement of clause (i) of this subparagraph into the statewide accountability system. ESSA doesn’t say exactly how much, but it is still prescriptive to the states. In fact, it simply makes the state the enforcer of a federal requirement loathed by parents, students, and teachers.

5. EROSION OF STATE POWER OVER EDUCATION: The state accountability system must be structured as per the federal bill. ESEA gives the federal department of education control over assessment content, expanding the assessment to learning environment in addition to student performance. State tests still have to be a part of state accountability systems and encourages the use of next generation computer adaptive testing (CAT), Sec. 1111(b)(2)(J) ADAPTIVE ASSESSMENTS.— (i) IN GENERAL.—Subject to clause (ii), a State retains the right to develop and administer computer adaptive assessments as the assessments described in this paragraph, provided the computer adaptive assessments meet the requirements of this paragraph, except that— Common Core aligned Smarter Balanced tests are designed to be computer adaptive tests that are encouraged by the conference report, yet no validity and reliability data have been published to date. Next Generation Tests delivered through CAT are vulnerable to problems associated with validity and reliability. For example, •According to one Pearson analyst, “Implementing a CAT raises interesting and complex considerations for scoring. Multiple implementation scenarios are possible.”  •Although experts seem to agree that computer-adaptive testing works well with multiple-choice questions, or one-word-response questions, but there are differing opinions about how it does with longer answers or with essays. That makes computer-adaptive testing more suited to some subjects than others. •Competence with technology devices outside of school does not necessarily generalize to competence with computer-based testing formats. Student responses to test questions may be compromised by the students’ facility with the specific type of hardware used in testing. •To model the characteristics of the test items (e.g., to pick the optimal item), all the items of the test must be pre-administered to a sizable, representative sample and then analyzed. To achieve this, new items must be mixed into the operational items of an exam (the responses are recorded but do not contribute to the test takers’ scores). This presents significant logistical, ethical, and security issues. For example, it is impossible to field an operational adaptive test with brand-new, unseen items. (emphasis added) And each program must decide what percentage of the test can reasonably be composed of unscored pilot test items. , , •It is often infeasible to allow test takers to review or revisit items and change their responses. The usual reason for not allowing item review is that the CAT algorithm selects each item in sequence depending on the current ability estimate; therefore, returning to an item that was administered previously and changing the response would change the ability estimate one way or the other and could add instability to the estimate. •Many of the challenges that will arise for testing students with disabilities in an adaptive setting fall into the categories just stated. The implication for this is, for example, that students with learning disabilities defined by deficits in math fluency, dyscalculia, may perform poorly on relatively easy test items that measure basic calculation but perform well on relatively difficult items that measure higher-level mathematical knowledge. The consequences of such idiosyncratic responding in an adaptive setting can be disastrous in terms of arriving at a stable and accurate proficiency estimate. Bill proponents tout that the bill will reduce testing because states will be allowed to use ACT and SAT in lieu of the 11th grade statewide assessment previously required in NCLB. The reality is these two tests are now being designed to align to Common Core State Standards. ACT and the College Board were members of the exclusive standards development team publicized in 2009 by the National Governors Association press release. The test publishers and vendors will control the states exit certification requirements of students. If students do not perform well on these tests aligned to common core, they will be identified as not-college or career ready, and be referred for intervention. The reality is, the NAEP, SAT and ACT scores gathered since the implementation of Common Core state standards have flat lined or declined. Since the implementation of common core in 2010, but before full alignment of the SAT test to Common Core standards, scores of college bound seniors have plummeted in mathematics, reading and writing. The writing scores are the lowest since in the history of the writing section of the test, that is, since 2006 and especially since 2013 – three years after CC standards and instruction techniques were introduced. Not only has common core not improved student learning, SAT scores show students are less college ready than before common core. Expansion of student numbers taking the test does not fully explain the downward trajectory. NAEP and ACT scores show the same pattern of results. So, the federal government is still determining the conditions of what should be statelevel decision making, and encouraging the implementation of assessment plans incorporating concepts that have no independent external reviews establishing validity or reliability data to support their use. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k- 12/2015/11/accountability_and_the_esea_re.html

6. FEDERAL CONTROL OF STANDARDS CONTENT: Bill language appears to require standards that align with career and technical education standards, indicating that the standards must align to the federally approved Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Section 1003A Direct Student Services. (c)(3)(A)(ii)(II): leads to industryrecognized credentials that meet the quality criteria established by the State under section 123(a) of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (29 U.S.C. 3102); ESSA continues with its prescriptions: A state’s standards must align with highereducation requirements and with “challenging standards a.k.a. “career and technical education standards”: “(D) ALIGNMENT.- In general – Each State shall demonstrate that the challenging State academic standards are aligned with entrance requirements for credit-bearing coursework in the system of public higher education in the State and relevant State career and technical education standards. [Section 1005 (amending Section 1111) (b)(1)(D), p. 48] The required higher-education alignment is puzzling, because the entrance requirements of community colleges obviously differ from those of four-year universities. Presumably, 8 states will align their standards to the least demanding higher-education requirements (as Common Core does), especially considering this: “(B) Same Standards.-Except as provided in subparagraph (E), the standards required by subparagraph (A) shall- (i) apply to all public schools and public school students in the State; and with respect to academic achievement standards, include the same knowledge, skills, and levels of achievement expected of all public school students in the State.” [Section 1005 (amending Section 1111) (b)(1)(B)] All these statutory alignment requirements will put downward pressure on the states to keep low-quality, community-college-focused standards like Common Core.

7. NO CHECKS ON FEDERAL POWER, FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS JUDGE AND JURY OF ITS OWN ACTIVITY – NO SUNSET OF LAW: The framework would only “authorize” ESEA for four more years, as opposed to the typical five, but, there’s no sunset provision in the bill, so it could go on in perpetuity. The history of NCLB has taught us that Congress allows schools and school children to languish under dysfunctional education laws rather than defund and end bad legislation. No Child Left Behind Act passed in 2001 was scheduled for should have been reconsidered for reauthorization every 5 years, but, almost 14 years have passed since then president George W. Bush signed No Child Left Behind (NCLB), making it the educational law of the land. A review of a decade of evidence demonstrates that NCLB has failed badly both in terms of its own goals and more broadly. It has neither significantly increased academic performance nor significantly reduced achievement gaps, even as measured by standardized exams. Congress has no past evidence to continue a poorly conceived intervention heavily supported by education lobbyists. In addition, the same language prohibiting the federal government from interferences in state powers in this bill existed in NCLB, but that language did not inhibit Secretary of Education Arne Duncan from ignoring prohibitions and implementing incentives, such as a quid pro quo for the NCLB waiver, to advance the common core state standards initiative which he laid out in his Nov 2010 address to UNESCO, but, failed to tell the American public.

  1. EXPANSION OF GOVERNMENT ROLE IN CHILDCARE/DISINCENTIVE TO ACTIVELY SEEK EMPLOYMENT: Bill is said to expand Head Start to childcare with Child Care Development Block Grant Act of 2014 so that no work requirements will be expected of low income parents to access grant money to pay for childcare, and encourages blending of public/private partnerships. 9 SEC. 9212. PRESCHOOL DEVELOPMENT GRANTS (h)(1): (D) if applicable, the degree to which the State used information from the report required under section 13 of the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 to inform activities under this section, and how this information was useful in coordinating, and collaborating among, programs and funding sources; (E) the extent to which activities funded by the initial grant led to the blending or braiding of other public and private funding; In addition, The Preschool Development Grants in the conference report will spend another $250 million on a 46th federal preschool program and it is wrong for the following reasons (For more detail, please see the full one page summary HERE): · The grants require alignment to Head Start and the Child Development Block Grants that in turn require [in eleven different places in the current Head Start statute, such as Section 642B(a)(2)(B)(iii)] national preschool standards. These standards are being correlated and aligned to the K-12 Common Core by national organizations and states like California. They include very controversial and subjective psychosocial standards like gender identity (p. 27), creating a “Baby Common Core.” (See more details on the problematic language fro the original Senate language HERE). · The language prohibiting federal interference in “early learning and development guidelines, standards, or specific assessments, including the standards or measures that States use to develop, implement, or improve such guidelines, standards, or assessments” on page 968 of the conference report is useless — programs are already required to adhere to Head Start, which demands federal content standards (see above). In addition, preschool programs in other sections of the bill such as Section 1006 (amending Section 1112)(c)(7) also demand adherence to Head Start’s performance standards that include these national “Baby Common Core” Standards. · A research compilation containing approximately 30 studies of Head Start and state preschool programs documents overwhelming evidence of ineffectiveness; fade out of beneficial effects in the early grades; or actual academic or emotional harm. The most recent study is from Tennessee, Senator Alexander’s home state, in September of this year.

9. ADVANCES PROFITING BY PRIVATE CORPORATIONS USING EDUCATION DOLLARS THAT SHOULD GO TO CLASSROOMS: While it is well known how test and education materials publishers and private foundations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Eli Broad Foundation have provided grants to education non-government organizations to advance private entities ‘education reform agenda, the draft bill language allowed states to use Title II funds (now meant for class 10 size reduction and teacher quality initiatives, for social impact bonds, which is another profiteering scheme to loot tax payer dollars meant for education of children. (40) PAY FOR SUCCESS INITIATIVE.—The term ‘pay for success initiative’ means a performance-based grant, contract, or cooperative agreement awarded by a public entity in which a commitment is made to pay for improved outcomes that result in social benefit and direct cost savings or cost avoidance to the public sector. Such an initiative shall include— ‘(A) a feasibility study on the initiative describing how the proposed intervention is based on evidence of effectiveness; (B) a rigorous, third-party evaluation that uses experimental or quasi-experimental design or other research methodologies that allow for the strongest possible causal inferences to determine whether the initiative has met its proposed outcomes; (C) an annual, publicly available report on the progress of the initiative; and (D) a requirement that payments are made to the recipient of a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement only when agreed upon outcomes are achieved, except that the entity may make payments to the third party conducting the evaluation described in subparagraph (B). (Goldman Sachs is a leading investor in the social impact bond, an innovative financing tool that leverages private investment to support high-impact social programs. To date, GS has been the lead investor in four social impact bonds, partnering with nonprofits and civic leaders on programs that provide essential services to underserved communities. http://www.goldmansachs.com/what-we-do/investing-and-lending/impactinvesting/social-impactbonds/index.html?cid=PS_01_47_07_00_00_00_01sSocialImpact Increasing the education budget to fund private investors to implement governmentselected social goals is outside the scope of improving education, and outside the authority of Congress as described in the U.S. Constitution.

10. INCREASED ESEA SPENDING. ESSA authorizes appropriations for fiscal years 2017-2020. Spending authority will increase by 2% each year. Proponents say the cost associated with this legislation is within the newly passed budget, but, the question is whether any money should be controlled by the federal government to advance an unconstitutional agenda. Given that NO federally funded program has delivered on its promises to enhance student learning and close achievement gaps, Congress has no moral authority to authorize more spending on ineffective programs.

11. EROSION OF LOCAL CONTROL: The conference report language encourages states to form consortia that, without congressional approval, may be determined illegal. Sec. 2002(3)(B) encourages partnerships and arrangements that compromise local and state control over public education. In particular, consortium of states diminishes state sovereignty over education of its citizens. Sec. 2002(3)(B): may be a nonprofit organization, State educational agency, or other public entity, or consortium of such entities (including a consortium of States); Assessment consortia funded under Race To The Top Grants, acted to meet the requirements of the grant award without getting approval of their consortium before beginning their work. Not having approval of their consortia by Congress violated the Interstate Commerce Act. The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium agreement is being challenged in courts throughout the country including Missouri, West Virginia, and North Dakota. In spring 2015, a Missouri court ruled in Sauer v Nixon that the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is an illegal state compact http://www.fredsauermatrix.com/common-core-lawsuit-sauer-vs-nixon/. This fall, an appeals court dismissed the appeal by the governor. The conference report creates a climate for future lawsuits under the same act.

12. DATA PRIVACY: Language in the conference report appears to rein in the Secretary of Education’s power and protect student data by inserting prohibitions of collecting additional student data, but makes no attempt to reverse the harm already done by Secretary Duncan’s modification of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) or prohibit private international corporations, such as PEARSON from collecting and warehousing personally identifiable student data. Sec. 1111(e) PROHIBITION.— (1) IN GENERAL.—Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize or permit the Secretary— D) to require data collection under this part beyond data derived from existing Federal, State, and local reporting requirements. FERPA allows designated agents access to personally identifiable student data without parents or emancipated students’ knowledge of its collection, assurance of who has access to it or state of the art protection of breaches and guarantee of compensation if personal identity information is compromised. Congressman Chaffetz’s recent hearing on the unacceptably poor management of student data security by the U.S. Department of Education should cause legislators to prohibit the Secretary from collecting any student data until policies requiring parent permission and data security measures are in place.

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

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:

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 post 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!