NEVER TOLERATE TYRANNY!....Conservative voices from the GRASSROOTS.
Today we need everyone across the state emailing and calling against the educational reforms that are affecting our children and their education.
Wednesday 8/28 is the last day of the Florida education summit headed up by Rick Scott and the new education commissioner Pam Stewart. Florida’s top education leaders are gathered to discuss state standards for students, school grades, student assessments and teacher evaluations. Rick Scott is evidently reconsidering Common Core as his re-election nears. Pam Stewart is the new education commissioner appointed by Governor Scot and she is a fan of Common Core. We need to overwhelm this event with emails showing the problems with Common Core.
You can email your comments on Common Core to the summit and supposedly they will read them. Keep your comments to fact and actual problems that you are encountering not emotion. Some good talking points are listed below, just pick a few and write and call. Leave out the Agenda 21 fears – instead you can write that lesson plans do not present both sides of an issue equally using factual information and instead use pop culture movies and tabloid articles to explore serious subjects like Global Warming. Express your concern that these subjects will be taught by English teachers who do not have the educational background to educate kids on subjects in history and science. Sound intelligent because many newspapers are reporting the members of the summit think the “radical right and radical left” have joined forces and this reinforces that they are doing the right thing by implementing Common Core.
Here’s the email to the summit:
In addition, email and phone your comments to Gov. Scott, Senator Gaetz and Representative Weatherford.
1-850-897-5747 or toll free: 1-866-450-4366
http://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s1 (Find his email contact here)
Tally: 1-850-717-5038 or Local Office: 1-813-558-5115
http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/sections/Representatives/details.aspx... (Find his email contact here)
Also email your local school board members and state senator and representative. Senator Gaetz as head of the senate can not introduce legislation to fix this.
**Make sure you call and email Governor Scott’s office. Tell him he needs to be overseeing the Florida Department of Education and stop allowing them to ignore state laws regarding education. Last spring the FLDOE ignored the law after the US History end of course exam results were known and the state average was 61%. The state law required that the schools count the state test as 30% of each kids’ final grade. After stressing out every kid and parent about this test all year and its effect on a final grade in a required course, the FLDOE quietly decided the test would not count this past year or this current year. How can teachers get kids to learn if the consequences change when the test scores are bad? Everyone will ask for the easiest US History teacher to get an easy A and the test scores will be even worse this year because US History matter to the state. Teachers’ evaluations will be linked to these scores so the department of education just undermined teacher credibility. If kids stop learning and fail the test, a teacher could be labeled ineffective and even fired due to a bunch of bureaucrats trying to save their careers rather than reveal true scores when an election year is approaching. Senator Gaetz’s office just told me that Governor Scott is responsible for overseeing the FLDOE and the legislature can not interfere if laws are not enforced. Tell Governor Scott that he definitely will not get re-elected unless he starts doing his job and fixing the educational system and removing the Common Core standards implemented by a rogue state department of education.
Here are some good talking points from people who have analyzed Common Core:
The program was never approved by Congress (Federal or State), never field tested, implementation began even before the curriculum was complete, initial funding to the states made via Stimulus dollars with strings attached, etc. etc. They say this is only about setting standards it is not!! It is about an entire curriculum change of which so much is extremely concerning.
Materials viewed around the reading of “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison contain graphic language which borders on pornography. (I will not even put out here for you to read.)
In one of the new English lessons: Unit 5 is titled “Building Cultural Bridges” This entire chapter is centered on Global Warming. Not as a possibility with the pros and cons but with a one-sided view. The Chapter contains nonfictional readings and includes the movie “The 11th Hour”. A video: “Global Warming 101”, a film to be viewed titled “The Day After Tomorrow” and the list goes on. The song “I need to wake up” by Melissa Etheridge is highlighted throughout whereas Senator Inofe’s speech on Global Warming is the only source against the topic and it doesn’t even have an activity associated with it.
The many problems with the Common Core standards include: (From Florida Against CC)
• Development by unaccountable private groups of copyrighted standards that states were required to adopt verbatim.
• Incentivizing adoption of the standards with federal money and waivers is a violation of the Constitution and three federal laws.
• Adoption by appointed instead of elected officials.
• Florida did not even take advantage of the opportunity to create 15% of their own standards.
• Lack of field testing.
• Florida’s current standards are rated higher in math and just a bit lower in English than Common Core, so it is hard to see how these national standards will solve Florida’s education ills.
• Many other states’ standards were more rigorous than Common Core.
• Very low quality (seventh grade level for the high school math and English standards)
• Developed by five major architects, none of whom have any K-12 classroom experience
• A serious curtailment of literary study that will harm vocabulary development and critical thinking
• Admission by a math author that college readiness is geared to a non-selective community college
• Delay of math skills that will harm acceptance to a selective four year university
• Standards drive curriculum that will be taught in order to pass the high stakes tests (see below), so protests that radical curriculum examples in the official list of text examples for the Common Core English Standards, the federally funded model curriculum, or others are just local aberrations ring hollow.
• According to federal documents, there are plans to teach, test, and collect data on psychological attitudes values and beliefs.
• There is no evidence of international benchmarking, with repeated denial of data requests causing five highly respected academicians to refuse to sign off on the final version of the standards.
• One of the only academic mathematicians on the validation committee believes that students using the Common Core math standards will be two years behind their international peers at the end of eighth grade and farther behind by the end of high school.
The federally funded and supervised assessments also have many issues:
• Federal involvement in testing is a violation of federal law.
• The Florida Department of Education has put out false information stating that there is no federal involvement in testing.
• The test results will have many high stakes consequences that include student grade advancement and graduation, teacher pay and tenure and school district grades and funding
• The new assessments will greatly expand time needed for testing, which will decrease instructional time in favor of test preparation and narrow the curriculum to emphasize subjects that can be tested
• Teachers are being forced or at least strongly encouraged to use highly scripted or computerized lessons in order to maximize test results, which reduces teacher flexibility and creativity
• Federal documents show that students will be psychologically tested by the assessments and that individual student data from the assessments will be collected and given to the federal government.
• Because the computerized assessments will determine the next question based on a student’s answer to the previous question, the claim that the national tests will uniformly measure student learning across the country are not valid.
• Claims that districts and teachers will be able to choose and locally implement curriculum of their choice are not logical. Because the stakes for the tests are so high, they will be forced or highly motivated to choose federal model curricula or use the text examples listed in the Common Core English standards.
• Reducing everything a student learns and a teacher teaches to a test result impoverishes education.
• Teachers and students have not had enough time to assimilate the new standards and aligned curricula before the tests are proposed to become high stakes in 2015.
• The costs for implementing the tests are both unaffordable and unsustainable and far outpace what Florida has received in federal grants requiring local tax increases and new federal charges to provide the funds for technology.
• Florida laws passed in the 2013 session requiring the test implementation schedule to be based on “funding, sufficient field and baseline data, access to assessments, instructional alignment, and school district readiness to administer the common core assessments online” as well as adequate and independently verified technological load testing for all districts are being violated.
1. Because teacher evaluations are based on these flawed standards and tests, these cannot be improved until the many problems cited with them above are remedied.
2. The school grading system is problematic because it is also based on the standards and tests. This A-F school grading system had already lost significant credibility. The SBOE, including under the leadership of Tony Bennett, had made it so complicated and arbitrary that parents, teachers, districts and the public were already questioning its validity. Bennett recommended continuing the manipulative practice of preventing school grades from dropping more than one letter grade for a second year in a row. This was in part to cushion the blow from the disastrous implementation of Common Core in the early elementary grades and prevent the department from looking worse than it already did. The board complied after a contentious 4-3 vote on July 16, 2013. Then on July 30, 2013, an AP article reveled evidence that Bennett had already manipulated school grade data in
Indiana, in this case to help a political donor. This evidence and these allegations ultimately resulted in his resignation. If Tony Bennett, as a member of the highly touted Chiefs for Change and one of the greatest Common Core experts and proponents in the entire nation cannot even begin to implement that system without doctoring test and school data in two different states, how can Common Core remain a credible and viable alternative for Florida or any other state?
Also please sign this petition:
825 opposing signatures is not enough to get the attention of lawmakers in Florida and Washington!!!