Wyoming’s 2014 HB0028-Education Czar

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There are a LOT of bills this season.  That alone is concerning.  Within all these bills, there are a few dangerous ones.  One of these is HB0028.  This bill covers teacher and leader evaluations, assessments, graduate requirements, and reporting requirements.

 

What is the most concerning are the director of education duties.  The director will be in charge of administering standardized, curriculum based assessments as chosen by the director.  Not the state board of education, not a team of educators, but the director chooses the assessment!  That is dangerous because it is a single person who may choose an assessment that could be a data mining nightmare and/or isn’t developmentally appropriate, or has content that is not appropriate.  The director is only accountable to the governor.

 

Along with that, as I read through the bill, subject areas covered were: language arts, math, and science.  There was no mention of US or Wyoming history, the founding fathers, the founding documents, or geography.

 

The other area of concern is that the state board of education via the Wyoming Department of Education will determine the target levels of the assessments.  In other words, the director will determine what is advanced, proficient, or not proficient scores on the assessment he/she chose.  The bill does mention that there will be input from public educators and the public at large, but does not state how this committee is chosen.  As I read it, the state board of education’s only responsibility is to make sure the state has uniform student content being taught.  The local school board of trustees are to make sure the curriculum aligns to the standards, and that the assessment (chosen by the director) measures the standards.

 

This bill is dangerous, as it gives the director of education an incredible amount of power without a system of accountability. 

Why are little kids coming home from school in tears?

Image“The education of all children, from the moment that they can get along without a mother’s care, shall be in state institutions.” -Carl Marx

People are beginning to wake up to the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSI).  And, people are saying, they’re just standards, what’s the harm?  In fact, in some states, including Wyoming, the new standards are better than the standards we had according to Sandra Stosky , Professor Emerita at the University of Arkansas, as stated at the Round Table event in Cheyenne.  Educational standards got their start in the 1990’s.  They are not good or bad, they are like a road map; their purpose is to help you get to where you want to go. However, is that always the case?

You see, people have always known that kids are not grown-ups.  They have to learn to walk, talk, color in the lines, share, etc.  In fact, a well-known psychologist, Piaget, has determined that there are certain phases we all go through as we develop:

  1.  Sensorimotor Stage (about 18-24 months): Young ones at this age are only aware of what is right in front of them.  That’s why they like “peek-a-boo.”  They are learning how things react-which is why they drop their cup 10,000 times.  They are learning by trial and error. As they learn to speak, they begin to grasp that symbols mean something.  This is clearly illustrated in the movie, “The Miracle Worker,” when Helen finally gets that spelling out water is equal to the same stuff as what comes out of the pump.  Memory is beginning to develop.
  2. Preoperational Stage (2-ish–approximately the age of 7 years):  Children begin to think about things symbolically.  They love to use their new found imaginations. They are NOT ready to grasp cause and effect, time or comparisons (Which is bigger? Is not understandable yet).
  3. Concrete Operational Stage (7-12-ish years):  This is when logic develops.  Children begin to be aware of things beyond themselves and they are able to “get” that 3+4=7 so 4+3=7 and 7-3=4 so 7-4=3.
  4. Formal Operational Stage (around 12 and on up):  This is the final, formal stage.  Here children can link symbols to abstract ideas.  This is when algebra can be taught.  They also begin to think about abstract ideas such as love, relationships, fairness, etc.

It has been determined by many childhood development experts that several of the standards are in fact not developmentally appropriate, especially at the primary level.  This can in fact harm children.  What some people call “rigor” others would call impossible and/or cruel.  One such group of people are the Alliance for Childhood.  In their “Joint Statement of Early Childhood Health and Education Professional on the Common Core Standards Initiative,” they had 4 points of contention with the CCSI:

  1. “Such standards will lead to long hours of instruction in literacy and math.  Young children learn best in active, hands-on ways and in the context of meaningful real-life experiences.  New research shows that didactic instruction of discrete reading and math skills has already pushed play-based learning out of many kindergartens.  But the current proposal goes well beyond most existing state standards in requiring, for example, that every kindergartner be able to write “all upper- and lowercase letters” and “read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.”
  2. They will lead to inappropriate standardized testing.  Current state standards for young children have led to the heavy use of standardized tests in kindergarten and the lower grades, despite their unreliability of assessing children under age eight.  The proposed core standards will intensify inappropriate testing in place of broader observational assessments that better serve young children’s needs.
  3. Didactic instruction and testing will crowd out other important areas of learning.  Young children’s learning must go beyond literacy and math.  They need to learn about families and communities, to take on challenges, and to develop social, emotional, problem-solving, self-regulation, and perspective-taking skills.  Overuse of didactic instruction and testing cuts off children’s initiative, curiosity, and imagination, limiting their later engagement in school and the workplace, not to mention responsible citizenship. And it interferes with the growth of healthy bodies and essential sensory and motor skills-all best developed through playful and active hands-on learning.
  4. There is little evidence that such standards for young children lead to later success.  While an introduction to books in early childhood is vital, research on the links between the intensive teaching of discrete reading skills in kindergarten and later success in inconclusive at best.  Many of the countries with top-performing high-school students do not begin formal schooling until age six or seven.  We must test these ideas more thoroughly before establishing nationwide policies and practices.”

They then go on to say that they desire the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CSSO) to suspend the CCSI for primary grades.  Where upon, many states, including Wyoming, are pushing to make preschool mandatory.  This document was signed by over 130 childhood experts from all over the country.

Okay…so which standards are considered developmentally inappropriate?  Thanks to Dr. Karen R. Effrem, Md, and others (such as Sandra Stotsky) for researching the standards to determine their appropriateness.  Here are a few examples:

Mathematics

  • Math.Content.K.OA.A.5 (kindergarten)  Fluently add subtract within 5 Problem:  Skips teaching of counting and one to one correspondence
  • MACC.1.MD.1.1 (first grade) Measure lengths indirectly and by iterating length units-order three objects by length; compare the lengths of two objects indirectly by using a third object. Problem:  This ought to come after the age of 7.
  • MA.CC.1.NBT.3.4 (first grade) Place value understanding and properties of operations to add and subtract –Add within 100, including adding a two-digit number and a one digit number, and adding a two-digit number and a multiple of 10, using concrete models or drawings and strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction; relate the strategy to a written method and explain the reasoning used.  Understand that in adding two-digit numbers, one adds tens and tens, ones and ones; and sometimes it is necessary to compose a ten.  Problem:  Confusing and open to interpretation.

English Language Arts Standards

  • LACC.K.RL.2.4 (kindergarten) Ask and answer questions about unknown words in a text.  Problem:  How does one urge a first grader to ask about a word they don’t know? They don’t have that reasoning yet.
  • LACC.1.RL.2.5 (first grade) Explain major differences between books that tell stories and books that give information, drawing on a wide reading of a range of text types.)         Problem:  They haven’t really learned to read yet and so how would they know genre?
  • LACC>2.RI.3.8 (second grade) Describe how reasons support specific points the author makes in a text.  Problem:  I don’t understand what they are looking for….
  • LACC.910>RI.1.3  (third grade)  Analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them.  Problem:  Dr. Stotsky says: Ninth graders can’t do this.
  • RI..5.5 (fifth grade) Compare and contrast the overall structure (e.g. chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in two or more texts.  Problem:  This is confusing because kids are asked to compare two texts or more and asked to do two or more tasks.  Kids at this age can only handle three directions at a time.
  • L.K.1 (kindergarteners) (When speaking) Produce and expand complete sentences in shared language activities.  Problem:  Nouns and verbs in kindergarten? They are just at the very beginning of understanding symbols: /b/ = b as in boy.  A complete sentence needs a noun and verb: Sam eats.  They can’t understand the definition of these terms.

Another good source of information is Dr. Megan Koschnick, a child psychologist who is against the standards for their inappropriateness and their potential damage to children.  I urge you to watch her You Tube presentation (She is sucking on a cough drop because she was about to lose her voice, forgive her for that).

In sum, it is clear that the writers of the standards, at least at the early grades, did not have child development experts involved.  The standards are asking children to perform tasks that they simply are not ready for.  This is not rigor, it is cruel and unacceptable. I wonder if Piatget is taught to educators anymore…

  •  Side note, there was a vote to provide funding to add an addition to the Capital to house the preschool administrators as well as other expansions (told to me by the WDE (Wyoming Department of Education)).  Currently, preschool is under the umbrella of the Department of Health.  There is a push to make preschool mandatory so the government can have your children from the age of four.

If this concerns you, write your state representatives, the State Board of Education and PLEASE sign our petition at wyomingfreedomineducation.org

“Give me 4 years to teach the children, and the seed I have sown, will never be uprooted” -Vladimir Lenin

Common Core 1

In the past few weeks, an issue has come to my attention that concerns me greatly and ought to concern any American that loves this country and the state of Wyoming. I had heard of the Common Core curriculum, but had no idea of how insidious it was. I know that any governmental funding comes with “strings attached,” and that is never a good idea. I have also been aware of the goals of the progressives of this country to undermine citizenship, independence, and education.

Back in 1984, when I first started teaching, I found it frustrating that there were no real standards. Teachers pretty much taught from the text book and threw in areas that interested them. Students learned a lot about the tropical rainforest because that was the area of interest for many years. There was a lot of repetition of what was taught and huge holes of was not taught. After about seven years of teaching, I heard about Core Knowledge (no affiliation to the Common Core at all http://www.coreknowledge.org/ ). I loved it because it is a curriculum that covers all areas in a systematic manner so that when a student graduates, they are literate in all subject areas. This curriculum also has high standards that challenges higher achieving students but is also interesting so that lower students are interested and rise to the challenge. A couple of years later, No Child Left Behind came into being and states started writing their own vague, low standards. And now we have the Common Core that has even lower standards.

It is here that you may begin to think I’m crazy, but I have done many hours of research, and I am not crazy. I am sure that you are all aware that the original purpose of education in America was to promote Christianity. The next phase was to educate people so that people were “socially acceptable“:
(http://www.chesapeake.edu/Library/EDU_101/eduhist_earlynat.asp ).
The following era’s purpose was to help people run a business:
http://www.chesapeake.edu/Library/EDU_101/eduhist_19thC.asp
And finally, the beginning of modern education, which has one of two philosophies:
1. To produce thinking citizens and producers OR
2. To produce obedient workers
http://www.chesapeake.edu/Library/EDU_101/eduhist_20thC.asp

The “Progressive Era” had many good qualities: to expose and end corruption, impose child labor laws, and food inspections (among other things).
However, it also brought in some negative things: government over-reach, excessive regulation, and eugenics. It also brought the belief the Constitution is a living document, therefore undermining the intents of the Founding Fathers.
.http://www.theboldpursuit.com/jwts-journal/2011/11/8/the-pros-and-cons-of-progressivism-in-america.html

This in turn, led to UN Agenda 21:
The Agenda was later ratified by the US House in the October 2, 1992 session, as HC 353, “a resolution calling for the U.S. to assume a strong leadership role in implementing the sustainable development recommendations of the Rio Earth Summit including Agenda 21.” http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/48412
But before this, was the US Communist Manifesto of 1963. A few of the goals include:
11. Promote the U.N. as the only hope for mankind. If its charter is rewritten, demand that it be set up as a one-world government with its own independent armed forces. (Some Communist leaders believe the world can be taken over as easily by the U.N. as by Moscow. Sometimes these two centers compete with each other as they are now doing in the Congo.)
17. Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers’ associations. Put the party line in textbooks.
29. Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step with modern needs, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a worldwide basis.
30. Discredit the American Founding Fathers. Present them as selfish aristocrats who had no concern for the “common man.”
31. Belittle all forms of American culture and discourage the teaching of American history on the ground that it was only a minor part of the “big picture.” Give more emphasis to Russian history since the Communists took over.
32. Support any socialist movement to give centralized control over any part of the culture–education, social agencies, welfare programs, mental health clinics, etc.
40. Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.
41. Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents.
http://www.uhuh.com/nwo/communism/comgoals.htm

If you look at the Common Core, you will see that it falls right into the hands of the Communist Goals of 1963, hence Agenda 21.
36.3 says:  “While basic education provides the underpinning for any environmental and development education, the latter needs to be incorporated as an essential part of learning. Both formal and non-formal education are indispensable to changing people’s attitudes so that they have the capacity to assess and address their sustainable development concerns. It is also critical for achieving environmental and ethical awareness, values and attitudes, skills and behaviour consistent with sustainable development and for effective public participation in decision-making. To be effective, environment and development education should deal with the dynamics of both the physical/biological and socio-economic environment and human (which may include spiritual) development, should be integrated in all disciplines, and should employ formal and non-formal methods
http://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/does-u-n-s-education-mandate-push-common-core-in-usa/
Five states opted out of the Common Core, Texas being one of them. However, not to be ignored, it was brought in through the back door under the name C-Scope. This program was all online. Parents were not allowed to preview it and teachers signed a waver stating they would not tell parents about it. Part of the assessments have been leaked. Pilgrims are called illegal aliens. Christopher Columbus (started off a good guy but ended up greedy) is called an environmental terrorist. The Tea Party was an act of terrorism (did you know the patriots swept the ship and left it clean after they dumped the tea and no one was hurt?) and 9/11 in NYC was our fault done by “political activists.”
I have friends who home school and are having a difficult time finding teaching materials that are NOT a part of the Core Curriculum. This curriculum undermines the family, the United States, and individualism. A wolf in sheep’s clothing has been adopted by our state. It must be stopped. Not to mention the data mining they want to do!!! That alone ought to terrify you!
http://michellemalkin.com/2013/03/15/time-to-opt-out-of-creepy-fed-ed-data-mining-racket/
To learn more about the Core Curriculum go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coRNJluF2O4&feature=share

I leave you with a quote you well know, but do you believe it?
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”
The Declaration of Independence
The Core Curriculum supports the opposite of this. Please, as a concerned parent, citizen, and educator, put a stop to this!