Were our Governors and Supes Duped? Guest Article by Alyson Williams

HuckFinFence

Were our Governors and Supes Duped?

by Alyson Williams

The current approach to education reform in the U.S. reminds me of a famous scene in Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer. Tom needs to whitewash an entire fence before he can get on with what he’d really like to be doing. Not able to get the job done on his own he comes up with a clever plan and one by one gets the neighborhood boys to take over his work by making the job look really appealing, by convincing them it is something that want to do of their own accord, and with the flattery that only certain people were capable of doing it. After all, Aunt Polly was “awful particular” and didn’t trust Jim, or Sid with the job. (A little bribery might have come into play as well.)

I find in the dialog between Tom and his first dupe an especially uncanny metaphor for the adoption process of Common Core and the other Stimulus-driven education reforms.

Tom expresses doubt that his friend Ben can be trusted with such the important task at hand saying, “If you was to tackle this fence and anything was to happen to it …”

Ben assures Tom that he’ll be careful and offers, “Say – I’ll give you the core of my apple.” And then as he sees Tom hesitate, he adds, “I’ll give you ALL of it.” “Tom gave up the brush with reluctance in his face, but alacrity in his heart… the retired artist sat on a barrel in the shade close by, dangled his legs, munched his apple, and planned the slaughter of more innocents. There was no lack of material; boys happened along every little while; they came to jeer, but remained to whitewash.”

The narrator observes of Tom, “He had a nice, good, idle time all the while – plenty of company – and the fence had three coats of whitewash on it! If he hadn’t run out of whitewash he would have bankrupted every boy in the village.”

The vignette concludes by pointing out that Tom “had discovered a great law of human action… that Work consists of whatever a body is OBLIGED to do” but that people would happily work at doing something if it was voluntary.

Oh, the irony of new ELA standards that trade to the info-text vocabulary of the 21st-century, global workforce the time once spent feasting on classic stories. Stories that, like this one, would serve as a cautionary tale to Governors and Superintendents racing to support common education standards for our nation when they would likely never had been such enthusiastic participants if the proposition had been assigned or decreed. But, when deftly positioned as a voluntary “state-led” initiative, and presented along with the ego-stroking idea of themselves as the only leaders who could be entrusted with such an important task, the Common Core State Standards Initiative swept Governors and Superintendents into bids of what they each might offer (in the form of Race to the Top grant applications and often the entirety of the cost of such commitments when the grant was not awarded) for the honor of participating.

As chief reformer, Education Secretary Arne Duncan later bragged to an international audience at UNESCO of the success of this strategy, “… today, 37 states and the District of Columbia have already chosen to adopt the new state-crafted Common Core standards in math and English. Not studying it, not thinking about it, not issuing a white paper—they have actually done it.” http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/vision-education-reform-united-states-secretary-arne-duncans-remarks-united-nations-ed

As a result, the fence standing between reformers who would centralize key aspects of public education and their goal of getting on to more mischief with our local schools was whitewashed in record time. The dupes gave up the whole apple and more, and just like Aunt Polly, the unsuspecting citizen accepted the trickery as a praiseworthy achievement.

In the engaging tale of an American boy, Twain gives insight into what motivates people (think of it as leadership training 101) but also alerts would-be dupes against such schemes as the one currently enabling a concentration of power over the education of the rising generation. In recognizing this, we begin to see the power of a good story to develop both literacy and wisdom regardless of the century or the economy. It might also lead one wonder if we really want students to spend more time dissecting excerpts of everyday informational text (falsely characterized as “critical thinking”) or whether we all would be better off with a little more Tom Sawyer or other classic works that have outlived the educational and political fads by masterfully capturing human interactions in language that speaks to our hearts and souls, motivates us to learn more, and gifts us timeless ideas and ideals to think critically about.

WyLiberty in Education New Site and Survey!

Wyoming Liberty Group has a new WyLiberty in Education site. Please visit this site and take the quick survey, “Do You Believe Common Core Should be Removed from Wyoming?”

Be sure to sign up to receive information via email as well. The more resources we have to fight Common Core in our state the sooner we can see it removed!

 

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“Building the Machine” The Common Core MOVIE Available HERE!

 CCMovie

 “Building the Machine”

A gripping half-hour documentary that tells the story about the Common Core, one of the biggest national reforms to be adopted behind closed doors.

 HERE

Spread the word on social media and “Like” their page: https://www.facebook.com/BuildingtheMachine

Information on the movie  and the research behind it in their Press Release below:

Groundbreaking Documentary Sheds Light on Common Core 
Purcellville, VA — March 25, 2014

As the national conversation over the Common Core State Standards continues to heat up, one non-profit and an indie filmmaker are hoping that their upcoming documentary will shed light on an issue that they believe is a largely unknown problem. The film Building the Machine is about how Common Core came to be and how it will affect education for years to come.

The Home School Legal Defense Association’s department of Film and Visual Media has been working on the documentary for over a year and the film’s director believes it will make waves in the public debate over Common Core. “When I first started working on the film, I had very limited knowledge about the Common Core and how it made its way into our public schools,” Ian Reid, the film’s director, said. “At first it seems like an ideal solution to the commonly cited woes of an education system that is failing our students: After all, who wouldn’t want higher standards? But after more than a year of investigative research, and in-depth interviews with many on the inside of the education standards world, it was clear that there is much more to the implementation of the Common Core than merely ‘raising standards.’” 

The Common Core State Standards are the product of the National Governor’s Association, the Council of Chief State School Officials, education experts, and many wealthy backers like the Gates Foundation. The standards are being implemented in schools across 45 states. While the Constitution gives the federal government no direct authority over education, the government has created incentives for states to adopt the Common Core as a tactic for national curriculum. But many experts have voiced skepticism as to whether the standards are actually good for American children.

Our goal is to present a balanced investigative documentary, by interviewing experts on both sides of the issue—including some members of the Common Core Validation Committee,” said Reid, “and this led to a variety of fascinating discoveries about the culture war that is being waged in education right now. One of the most troubling was the clear difference between the two factions’ willingness to dialogue over this revolutionary change. Particularly, my team and I found that while many opponents to 
the Common Core were willing to speak out, only a small fraction of the supporters would engage in the discourse.”  

One thing that Reid finds most fascinating about the Common Core is that it erases party lines. “Common Core is not a typical liberals-versus-conservatives issue,” he said. “It’s an issue that concerns parents and the future of their child’s education, and I hope to get the message across that their ability to steer the education of their child is largely slipping away from their hands and into the hands of politicians, unelected bureaucrats, and large corporations.”  


The film will be released by the Home School Legal Defense Association online at noon EDT on March 31, 2014, for free. HSLDA will also be accepting pre-orders for the extended DVD set which will ship later this summer. Reid is the Director of Film and Visual Media at the Home School Legal Defense Association.

Video Series: What You Haven’t Been Told! Speakers on Common Core

What You Haven’t Been Told!  Common Core Speakers Present

JacksonPresenters

 (4 Part Video Series)

Presented in Jackson Hole, Wyoming on January 28, 2014

Education Policy Part 1 of 4
Amy Edmonds –Wyoming Liberty Group/ Former WY House Representative

 

The People Behind Common Core Part 2 of 4
Alisa Ellis – Utahan’s Against Common Core

 

A Teacher’s Perspective Part 3 of 4
Christy Hooley  – Teacher/Mother/Wyoming Against Common Core

 

Data Tracking Part 4 of 4
Kelly Simone – Mother/PA-C/Wyoming Citizens Opposing Common Core

 

Common Core Issues…True Story!

This is PERFECT!  Most of the time I get these types of questions…

“Which standard exactly are you talking about?”

“I don’t see anything wrong and I’ve read the standards!”

“Kids need to be prepared for the future we can’t even imagine”…(I’m pretty sure my HS teachers didn’t ever imagine using Twitter or Ipads in class,  yet we are doing JUST fine!).WhenSomeOneAsks

HB97 Passes Introducation with 47-13 Vote! Continue Take Action Emails…

WyomingLeg From Wyoming Citizens Opposing Common Core

We witnessed the beauty of a free republic in action today in Cheyenne.  Concerned citizens turned out to speak face-to-face with Wyoming legislators.  As this happened, we watched “no” votes turn into “yes” votes as concerned parents challenged the claims that have been made to support the Common Core State Standards, and articulated the many issues that come with them.  The valuable conversations that took place will now be allowed to continue as this bill advances to the House Education Committee.

The efforts of the grassroots were bolstered by the presence of national leaders Dr. Sandra Stotsky, Erin Tuttle and Emmett McGroarty, Esq.  After an inspirational and empowering event the night prior, these leaders accompanied citizens to the Capitol for the bill introduction and proved an invaluable support.

Two articles have covered this important step towards winning this battle to take back education in Wyoming.  Read Shane Vander Hart’s article from Truth in American Eduation here.  Also, another article from WyoFile,  quotes Representative John Freeman’s (D-Rock Springs) “experiment” quote supporting Common Core here.

A second house bill addressing Common Core, Smarter Balanced, and student data collection and sharing (HB168) is expected to be introduced by the end of the week.  Wyoming Citizens Opposing Common Core supports any effort to safeguard students from the certain negative consequences of the current education reform agenda.  Even though we know we have a solid piece of legislation in HB 97 and for now will continue to direct our primary efforts here, we applaud the thought and  hard work put into this bill and are thrilled that so many in Wyoming are willing to step up, speak out, and take action.

While HB168 awaits introduction, we feel compelled to forge ahead with HB97 as this bill has already been assigned to the House Education committee.

We must once again ask for communication from you to our elected representatives.  Please contact the following committee members and express your support for HB97, keeping your message brief (personalizing it) and including a subject line that states your main request, as legislators are inundated during session and may only get to scanning their e-mails.  Sample subject lines might be “Please vote YES on HB97″ or “HB97 Yes”.  The House Education committee emails are:

Jerry.Paxton@wyoleg.gov, Garry.Piiparinen@wyoleg.gov, Hans.Hunt@wyoleg.gov, David.Northrup@wyoleg.gov, Matt.Teeters@wyoleg.gov, Cathy.Connolly@wyoleg.gov, Albert.Sommers@wyoleg.gov, John.Patton@wyoleg.gov, John.Freeman@wyoleg.gov

 

Click here to see the 1-page overview of the bill which will help you communicate your thoughts.  Thank you so very much…your efforts have made their mark on the legislature, and the only way to keep it going is to keep up the pressure!

Exciting Development in Cheyenne! MEET Rock Star CC Experts! Support NEEDED!!

MEET & GREET with House Bill Overview

February 11th from 7-9 PM

EVERYONE is ASKED TO ATTEND an amazing event at the Kiwanis Community House in Cheyenne! Three national leaders, Dr. Sandra Stotsky, Erin Tuttle, and Emmett McGroarty, will be guests (SEE BIOS BELOW).  There will be an overview of the education reform bill and information on its introduction that will take place on February 12th at the Capitol.  The Meet & Greet will also allow time for questions, answers, and mingling.

MAPS and MORE INFO HERE to TAKE BACK WYO EDU in Cheyenne!!!

It is VITAL that anyone that can attend the budget session in Cheyenne next week attend to support Representative Tom Reeder’s bill to remove Common Core, SBAC, and the SLDS (with stronger wording on data privacy) in Wyoming.  Please view Rep. Reeder’s site here to get further clarification on how to support it. You can also contact him with your support if you cannot make it to Cheyenne.

TomReeder

State Representative Tom Reeder’s Site                         PLEASE RSVP for the Meet & Greet

SPECIAL GUESTS!

Stotsky_smallTuttleMcGroarty

Dr. Sandra Stotsky is credited with developing one of the country’s strongest sets of academic standards for K-12 students as well as the strongest academic standards and licensure tests for prospective teachers while serving as Senior Associate Commissioner in the Massachusetts Department of Education from 1999-2003. She is also known nation-wide for her in-depth analyses of the problems in Common Core’s English language arts standards. Her current research ranges from the deficiencies in teacher preparation programs and teacher licensure tests to the deficiencies in the K-12 reading curriculum and the question of gender bias in the curriculum. She is regularly invited to testify or submit testimony to state boards of education and state legislators on bills addressing licensure tests, licensure standards, and Common Core’s standards (e.g., Utah, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, South Carolina, and Texas). She currently serves on several committees for the International Dyslexia Association and on the advisory board for Pioneer Institute’s Center for School Reform. She served on the National Validation Committee for the Common Core State Systemic Initiative (2009-2010), on the National Mathematics Advisory Panel (2006-2008), co-authoring its final report as well as two of its task group reports, on the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (2006-2010), and on the Steering Committee in 2003-2004 for the framework for the National Assessment of Educational Progress reading assessments for 2009 onward.

Erin Tuttle is a Co-founder of Hoosiers Against Common Core. She was publicly recognized by Governor Mike Pence for her efforts in passing anti-Common Core legislation in Indiana. She has written extensively on the deficiencies of the standards and has testified before the Indiana Senate. Her organization continues to do educational research and has provided commentary on the Common Core Standards for the Bill Bennett Show, NPR, and local talk radio shows across the country. Their research and comments have been cited by National Review Online, EdWeek, StateImpact and EducationNext.

Emmett McGroarty is the Executive Director of American Principles Project on education. He has led APP Common Core in its mission to defend the rights of parents and promote the future of children. He has published ground-breaking reports on the federal takeover of education (Townhall Magazine, March 2011), its lawless tracking of private child and family data (The New York Post, December 2011), and its lawless infliction of radical values curricula on children (Public Discourse, January 2012). Emmett is a frequent media guest, and his written works have appeared in publications such as Townhall Magazine, The New York Post, The Washington Times, and Public Discourse. He is a graduate of the Fordham School of Law and Georgetown University.

American Principle Project’s Video Summary from Common Core Conference at Notre Dame