State Board of Education Considers What to Do about NGSS: Wyoming Citizens Opposing Common Core Reacts

April 11, 2014 – Casper Wyoming – State Board of Education Meeting

In a meeting characterized both by procedural irregularities and emotion, Wyoming’s State Board of Education ultimately sent the proposed science standards back to the Review Committee for reworking. While unclear how much of the Next Generation Science Standards could be included in the final product, board members voiced a need for A-rated standards that will benefit Wyoming students and be free of controversial assumptions. The committee will be allowed to use the NGSS as a model, but it appeared that using other state standards as models will be expected as well.

Public comment was rearranged on the agenda to allow comments to be heard before the vote on the outcome of the NGSS. A group called Climate Parents, some of whom we believe traveled in from out of state, organized statements to support the NGSS and the teaching of anthropogenic global warming in classrooms, and a teacher brought students to do so as well. However, the students did not appear either personally invested or prepared to articulate that position.

Wyoming Citizens Opposing Common Core also organized statements among participants who could attend the meeting.  Members pointed out that the budget footnote was the correct response of the Legislature to concerned citizens and expressed reasons to push for more academically sound and objective standards than the NGSS. We were joined by Representative Tom Reeder, Representative Lynn Hutchings and Michelle Sabrosky, who also contributed valuable testimony. We so appreciate the time everyone took out of their personal lives to make a strong showing at this meeting.

Several testifying, including both legislators, asserted this meeting or ANY consideration of NGSS, even as a model, is not legal given the budget footnote’s restriction on funds. In spite of this concern, the board proceeded to take action, and in the weeks to come, the legality of is the footnote will likely be investigated.

Some board members were anxious to adopt the NGSS for promulgation in spite of the legislature’s budget footnote “effective immediately” due to their own interpretation of the footnote’s effective date. Some board members like the NGSS and expressed concern we wouldn’t have “21st Century Standards” available immediately for our schools. Others clearly were in favor of making the rejection of the standards the Governor’s problem by forcing him to veto the vote for promulgation, as Mary Kay Hill said she would advise the Governor to do should the state board move forward and adopt these standards. However, the vote to adopt for promulgation ultimately failed this time.

The initial vote to send the standards back to the Review Committee also failed, as did a motion to approve the resolution by the Supervisory Committee members to stop this process and allow school districts to choose their own science standards. There was a great deal of contentious discussion, frustration and consultation with legal counsel during the entire meeting, which even went to executive session at one point. It was clear no one wanted to leave the room having done “nothing”, so it finally came back to a vote to reconsider the motion to send the standards back to the Review Committee, and that motion in the end passed.

It will be crucial now for citizens to monitor this process, participate in opportunities to contribute and be watchful for the necessary changes in the standards. As Mary Kay Hill stated as she outlined the position of the Governor’s office, citizen engagement like this is unprecedented and a great opportunity to have genuine, open discussion and participation. Our state can end up with academically sound standards that stay religiously neutral and scientifically objective and be the best in the country!

New Year’s Resolution to Stop Common Core

My-2014-New-Years-Resolutions

Have you set any New Year’s Resolutions?  How about setting one that will have a HUGE  positive impact on education and school reform in the years to come?

Joy Pullman‘s resolution was published by the Washington Examiner today.   She knows just how to put into words what needs to be said and done concerning Common Core State Standards! You can read it below or at the link listed.  If you aren’t already familar with her work with School Refore News and the Heartland Institute, it is well worth reading.

A New Year’s resolution for the kids: End Common Core before it’s too late

BY JOY PULLMANN | JANUARY 2, 2014 AT 10:14 AM

With the arrival of 2014, now is the time to make resolutions about what we should change in coming months.

As most legislative sessions begin in January, it’s a good time for lawmakers and their constituents to resolve to ditch the national education goals and tests called “Common Core.”

Many seem to believe Common Core justifies a massive expansion of unaccountable bureaucracy and government coercion at all levels.

We hear repeatedly from presidency-sniffers such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and power-sniffers like Education Secretary Arne Duncan that Common Core will transform U.S. schools into Never Never Land, where children are daily administered strong doses of something called “rigor” and stewed in vague notions of “critical thinking.”

Common Core certainly will transform the nation’s schools. Our right to representative government has been blown away by a national education control system created behind closed doors by powerbrokers in D.C. nonprofit organizations that have never improved one school and typically never taught one student.

According to the agreements governors signed to start Common Core (although no governor has authority over state education systems without the consent of their legislatures), the initiative consists of standards and tests.

The two national Common Core tests are exclusively funded by the federal government, and the feds have established a review panel to oversee those tests down to the very questions, even though three federal laws prohibit the federal government from influencing or controlling tests and curriculum.

Common Coreniks have faith in the apparatus they’ve created like some people believe in UFOs or the Illuminati.

Thirty years of scientific research, however, shows education monopolists in both parties are wrong to put their faith in standards and tests as a means to provide “accountability” without doing the hard work to empower families by creating competition among schools.

Education standards do not improve student achievement, according to Brookings Institution research.

Common Core is nothing but a bundle of consultant-generated theories that never have shown themselves effective (or shown themselves at all) in any classroom, let alone every classroom.

Promising Common Core will produce a renaissance of literary knowledge and love for America’s Founders because one line in it says kids should read unspecified “founding documents” is like promising takeovers of foreign countries will generate a stable Middle East.

In fact, Common Core is more likely to do the opposite of what is being promised — it recommends students read just the Bill of Rights, not the Constitution, and suggests violently anti-Constitution modern scholarship to offer kids their first and presumably only in-school encounter with that text.

The education monopolists argue “accountability” means not giving parents power to make decisions about where their child will attend school, but instead tying more and more policies to tests now controlled by the federal government.

Tests now influence school funding, teacher evaluations, hiring and firing, school takeovers, school grades and more.

And these tests must be all online, which is so expensive the Obama administration is raising everyone’s phone taxes to give schools more broadband subsidies.

Moms, dads, grandmas and grandpas have been fed lines for years about how the nation’s elites have only our best interests at heart while they sell our children into debt and regulatory slavery to fund their self-perpetuating fantasies.

Families and some lawmakers around the nation are finally saying enough!

Common Core tests will hit the nation’s schools in the 2014-15 school year. This spring is the last chance for states to back away, which they should resolve to do as fast as possible.

Joy Pullman

That last line, “this spring is the last chance for states to back away” is hitting closer and closer to home!  Did you know that MANY school districts in Wyoming, including mine, have VOLUNTEERED to use our students as guniee pigs for the pilot test this spring?   Sweetwater County School District #2, has signed up to pilot the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) test prior to it going “live” next year.  Did  parents receive notification of this?

I truly hope that our state does not see the negative impact that happened in other states when they tried to pilot the national common core test.   A website was set up by Lucy Calkins, an amazing eductor who has written many  books and curriculum tools to help teach ELA (English Language Arts).  I have used her materials over the years and loved them.  She recently wrote a book, Pathways to the Common Core, that helps teachers use her techniques to teach the CCSS.  She then created this site to allow for feedback on how testing went, since many had used her suggestions for teaching CCSS.    The comments clearly show that students are not prepared for these types of tests, let alone the teachers being prepared to teach all that might be on the test. There is an “Emotional Distress” section along with many other problems listed.  Take a few mintues and read responses from parents and teachers here.  Be prepared and have a box of Kleenex handy!  Some of them are heart breaking, especially to me,  being both an educator and a parent.

Please make it your resolution to join your voice with others that are fighting this intrustion on our children’s education, privacy, and teacher’s careers.  Along with the information I list on this blog, I suggest these other sites for great resources as you help join our fight to STOP COMMON CORE!

Truth in Amerian Education

What is Common Core

Wyoming Citizens Opposing Common Core

Wyoming Freedom on Education

~Christy Hooley