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Archive for November 2013

Block Common Core

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Jan Farrar

When has anyone referred to Common Core State Standards (CCSS) as Obama Core?

Some people, upon finding themselves at a loss as to the facts of a debate, try to change directions by introducing unrelated arguments. Clearly the caller attempted to introduce a red herring into the debate concerning CCSS.

Implying that all 50 governors agreed to CCSS is simply disingenuous. The bulk of the creative work was done by Achieve Inc., a DC-based not-for-profit consisting mainly of progressive education reformers. In order to create the illusion of state involvement, the writers of the standards asked for and received the endorsement of the National Governors Association (NGA). The NGA claims all governors as members simply by virtue of the office they hold. There is no membership application or fee requirements. To further add to the illusion that these standards were written by a bipartisan group of governors and state education leaders, the Council of Chief State School Officers added its endorsement to CCSS. Neither of these two DC-based not-for-profit trade organizations had any authority from the states to write national school standards.

Since Achieve wrote and copyrighted the CCSS, school administrators, board members and teachers have lost all control of the standards. The biggest problem with Common Core is that it removes local control of education, a huge loss for the community. Demand that your state representatives and senators block implementation of CCSS.

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

November 29, 2013 at 10:37

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No to Common Core

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Most citizens do not know about Common Core State Standards Initiative because Washington incorporated it into the stimulus package of 2009. Many states signed on because of the promised stimulus moneys, but several are now trying to back out after gaining a fuller understanding of its implications.

If we want excellence in education, the Common Core curriculum is not the way to go. Education is not a “one-size-fits-all” process devoid of input on the local and parental level. Unproven and untested, it has drawn skeptical responses from many experts who doubt its academic effectiveness. Common Core requires students, their families and their teachers to submit to Washington’s mandated course content, ineffective forms of assessment and extreme invasion of privacy. In addition, it would require taxpayers to carry the huge price tag, without the opportunity to voice objections.

Several states have rejected the Common Core program, and many others are seeking to withdraw from its requirements.

For the Missouri House Committee on Education, please weigh the grave effects that Common Core will have on our students and their families, our schools and economy, and ultimately our American culture and society. Please give serious consideration to serious citizen input. I urge the committee to do everything in its power to halt to the implementation of Common Core State Standards in our state.

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

November 28, 2013 at 06:00

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Response to Speak Out demagoguing opponents of Common Core

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Common Core Standards and Assessments are a trademarked product of two private trade associations (NGA and CCSSO). They were originally brought into the state by an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the NGA and CCSSO signed by the governor before the standards were written. States were forced by the US DoED to adopt the Common Core Standards and Assessments in order to get a waiver from “No Child Left Behind.” In doing so, Governor Nixon signed on to one of two consortia tasked with developing assessments. They are in no way a state led project.

The English and math standards identified in the agreement he signed, which, at the time, were not even published for examination, are copyrighted to the NGA and a companion Washington-based trade organization, the Council of Chief State School Officers. The newly developed science standards are copyrighted to Achieve Inc., another private Washington-based organization that partnered with the NGA and CCSSO to develop the standards. Copyright ownership is published on the Common Core State Standards website. The copyright means that no one in the state of Missouri has authority to change the curriculum standards — not a school board, not DESE, not the governor — no one. Only the copyright holder can change the standards.

Local education is a local responsibility. It is the stakeholders in the communities, through their locally elected Boards of Education, that determines the educational needs of their own and not some bureaucrat’s sitting at some faraway desk with no connection to these communities.

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

November 27, 2013 at 06:00

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Poor James and the Swamp Crows “OBAMA, NO MERCI BEAUCOUP

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Written by Leatherneck Blogger

November 26, 2013 at 06:00

Posted in Liberal, Politics

Common Core or Hardcore: Nowhere Else to Go

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Ann Kane

The intended consequences of the education reform movement have finally shaken out due to the debate over Common Core.  We’re left with nationalized standards via either the Common Core or hardcore progressivism.

We get two “choices” in leadership: the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) crowd, headed by Obama/Duncan/Rhee/Gates/RINOs or the Dewey-driven traditionally progressive public schools crowd headed by Bill Ayers and Diane Ravitch, education professor at New York University.

But wait.  Didn’t Mary Grabar of Accuracy in Media point out Bill Ayers’ connection to Common Core?  How can Ayers be on team Obama but at the same time in the Ravitch camp?  In a statement of support for Ayers a couple days after the 2012 elections, Ravitch forgives the terrorist for his activities “in the 1960s” because he speaks truth to power in 2012 when writing an open letter calling on Obama to “rethink his policies.”

What a tangled web.  The only feasible hypothesis is that the left plays both sides against the middle.  Unsuspecting or complicit conservatives get caught up in the quagmire — and end up with no choices.

Diane Ravitch has contributed to the confusion on a grand scale.  Reading through her biography, you might think she exemplifies nonpartisanship, but take a closer look, and you see that her loyalty lands consistently on the side of progressivism.

Ravitch has come out against the CCSS, but she is a proponent of voluntary national standards.  Since the Obama administration claims that the CCSS are voluntary even though they are a big part of Race to the Top grants, why has Ravitch actively denounced them?  Is she against the standards or against the bribery?

And to make the water murkier, Ravitch was on board in creating curriculum mapping for teachers who needed to learn the CCSS.  She co-directed the nonprofit Common Core, which, according to IRS tax documents, started in 2008.  She remained on their board through September 2010.  This organization states on its website that it “is not affiliated with the Common Core State Standards,” yet its members worked side-by-side with the architect of the CCSS, David Coleman.

In yet another head-spinning scenario, Ravitch publicly renounced Bill Gates‘s style of education reform a couple months after she ended her stint with Common Core, calling him out as a corporate reformer who’s not interested in really helping the children (the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation heavily subsidizes Common Core).  If she was a consultant on the mapping project, was she paid with funds from Gates?

If this kind of back-and-forth isn’t enough to rattle your brain, just look at Ravitch’s opinion of Bush’s No Child Left Behind; first she’s for it, then she’s against it.  In 2005, she stated that it’s “paying off for younger students, who are reading and solving mathematics problems better than their parents’ generation.”  Then, in 2010, around the same time she published a bestseller criticizing the corporate model of education reform, she said, “But I’ve looked at the evidence and I’ve concluded they [NCLB policies]’re wrong.”

NCLB acted as a precursor to Race to the Top competitive grants, which tied Common Core to receiving funding.  Thus, three years ago, governors and school boards were unilaterally adopting Common Core without legislative debate or feedback from the real stakeholders — families with children in the system.  Guess the standards had to be adopted so we could know what was in them.

Several states have now begun the process of stopping the implementation of Common Core because people are waking up to the standards’ limited capacity to deliver a better education.  But even if states can opt out of Common Core, how will the schools in those states avoid aligning their course materials to reflect the standards when David Coleman, the president of College Board, has been rewriting the PSATs and the SATs to match the CCSS?

We now know that many of the CCSS are worded with the idea that everything is relative.  This connects to and describes Bill Ayers’s philosophy based on the Marxist Paulo Freire‘s “critical pedagogy,” which demands that we question everything within a politically class-conscious framework and hold no beliefs as absolute.

There is no true reform in the Marxist-sounding CCSS, and the biggest losers in all of this are the children.  The left has us over a barrel.  Repealing CCSS is as impossible as repealing ObamaCare.  Each state can change its policies, but the bureaucratic and moneyed interests make the task almost insurmountable. If you think the revolution taking place in schools was driven by a sincere desire to increase academic standing in the global community, then you are woefully misinformed.  No, the end product of all this switching sides has handed the American population an education network which serves one intention: Marxist indoctrination on a national scale.


Read more Ann Kane at Potter Williams Report.

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

November 25, 2013 at 06:00

Posted in Other

Local Education and Common Core

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By Esther Bohnert and David Larson

“Don’t believe me, educate yourself and you decide!”  Stacy Shore, speaker at the Common Core State Standards Initiative presentation in Cape Girardeau.

A group of local citizens interested in reforming and maintaining local control of education along with Concerned Women of America, Missouri hosted a meeting outlining the Common Core State Standards Initiative on November 20th, at the Osage Center.  Seventy-seven people that included parents, grandparents, school board members, and other community leaders attended the meeting.  A lot of material was covered in a short time and many people stayed over after the presentation to ask questions.

Stacy Shore, a parent from Camdenton County traveling the state to educate people about what is coming to our schools in the very near future, was the speaker.  Coming from a family of educators, she began her private journey into the world of CCSSI because she wanted to uncover the root cause of why her child could not read or do simple math problems.  As Ms. Shore looked into it she discovered that CCSSI and the restrictions teachers face under the Standards was the cause.  During her research, using primary sources, she became horrified at Washington’s attempts to take over local education.  She outlined many federal programs in her presentation that she believes parents are unaware of.  These programs come not only from CCSSI but were started under President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind.  Her assertions are not her personal opinions.  They are authenticated by respected members of academia, mental health counselors and government documents.

Her testimony can be viewed at the following website: http://commoncore.fwsites.org/stacy-shore/

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

November 22, 2013 at 21:27

Posted in Other

Common Core: Nationalized State-Run Education

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By Dean Kalahar

Common Core, the new federal education standards, may look delicious; but before you take a bite out of the apple, it might be a good idea to know a razor is inside.

Like all Orwellian euphemisms, “Common Core” is not about innocent ideas like the word “common” or the term “core.” The phrase “Common Core” is used to hide the real aspects of an education policy which if articulated openly would never be taken seriously, let alone be implemented.

Common Core is being driven by an amalgam of overt/covert actions, apathy, and Progressive passions, where their ends justify any means. Some people cheering Common Core seem to be unwittingly going along out of good intentions and laziness. While some on the bandwagon are motivated by the usual suspects of money and power, others have just been duped.

These varying alliances seem to be focused on the fact that Common Core’s “lead architect,” David Coleman, says he believes in the value of a liberal-arts education. The problem is nobody asked what a liberal-arts education means to Mr. Coleman. Reading his background puts new meaning to the word “liberal” in liberal arts.

David Coleman lives in trendy Greenwich Village, has never been a classroom teacher and wants to replace traditional subjects with broad learning. He believes there is “a massive social injustice in this country” and that education is “the engine of social justice.” Coleman’s leadership is questionable as he uses profanity (“s–t, f–k, bulls-t, a–) in speeches regarding Common Core. He graduated from liberal Yale, Oxford, and Cambridge universities and is a founding partner of Student Achievement Partners, and the Grow Network, acquired by textbook publisher McGraw-Hill. He is on the board of directors of The Equity Project Charter School, a middle school in New York City that paid $125,000 salaries to teachers yet had a 31.3% passing rate in English in 2010-11. His alliance with unions includes praise for “organizations like the UFT in New York City and the AFT statewide.”

The foundational philosophy of Common Core is to create students ready for social action so they can force a social-justice agenda. Common Core is not about students who actually have a grasp of the intricate facts of a true set of what E.D. Hirsch would call “core knowledge.” Common Core is about, as David Feith would say “an obsession with race, class, gender, and sexuality as the forces of history and political identity.” Nationalizing education via Common Core is about promoting an agenda of Anti-capitalism, sustainability, white guilt, global citizenship, self-esteem, affective math, and culture sensitive spelling and language. This is done in the name of consciousness raising, moral relativity, fairness, diversity, and multiculturalism.

And David Coleman’s upbringing is in line with this Progressive worldview. His mother and greatest influence, Elizabeth Coleman, president of Bennington College in Vermont, does not like the idea of “expertise” or “neutrality (as) a condition of academic integrity” and “wants to “make the political-social challenges themselves the organizers of the curriculum.” She emphasizes an “action-oriented curriculum” where “students continuously move outside the classroom to engage the world directly.” In short: indoctrination through propaganda in education as the vehicle for social transformation.

Mrs. Coleman founded a social justice initiative: the Center for the Advancement of Public Action (she called it a “secular church”) “which invites students to put the world’s most pressing problems at the center of their education.” She was a professor of humanities at the far left New School for Social Research, which was begun by progressives in 1932 and modeled itself after the neo-Marxist social theory of the Frankfurt School. She fights for “social values,” and a “secular democracy,” saying “fundamentalist …values (are) the absolutes of a theocracy.”

President Obama and Education Secretary Duncan falsely said the Common Core standards were developed by the states and voluntarily adopted. Common Core was actually developed by an organization called Achieve and the National Governors Association, funded by the Gates Foundation by at least $173 million dollars. The states were bribed by $4.35 billion “Race to the Top” dollars if they adopted the standards. Former Texas State Commissioner of Education, Robert Scott, stated for the record that he was urged to adopt the Common Core standards before they were written.

Federal laws prohibit the U.S. Department of Education from prescribing any curriculum, but four billion is a big carrot — or is it a stick? Forty-six states and the District of Columbia have sold out… I mean “signed on.”

For all intent and purposes, Common Core is nationalized education. History has shown that state-run information control, which begins with education, has always lead to disastrous results (USSR, Germany, Cuba).

In fact, the U.S. Department of Education has started a Common Core “technical review process” of test “item design and validation.” The test writing stage is where the specifics of content, or in this case progressive ideologies, are inserted. Test questions need content and context, and since Common Core is about subjective processes, the content can be added without ever notifying the public. This is where the sleight of hand occurs. After content is tied to test questions, textbook manufacturers will write the necessary content into their products, the teachers will teach the progressively-driven textbooks and the circle will be complete. Herein we see the dirty little Common Core secret, controlling what is tested is the methodology of controlling the curriculum.

Common Core is not actually about standards, it’s about gaining control over the education system in a futile attempt to create a Progressive utopia using the important sounding academic umbrella of “standards.” But ask yourself, haven’t educators always had standards, guidelines, or benchmarks to guide curriculum? Please understand this is about power, control, and the agenda! Common Core is just the host carrier of the disease — Progressive Secularism.

Core writers say “In our classrooms, it is the students’ voices, not the teachers’ that are heard” and that “the curriculum should not be the coverage of content, but rather the discovery of content,” While reading at a particular grade level may be a part of Common Core’s standard “rubric,” what is read and taught is where doctrine comes alive.

Further proof of totalitarian control is seen in Common Core’s nationwide student tracking system. Michelle Malkin writes the 2009 stimulus included a “State Fiscal Stabilization Fund” that mandated constructing “longitudinal data systems (LDS) to collect data on public-school students” that resulted in The National Education Data Model. Then in 2012, the U.S. Department of Education rewrote federal privacy laws to let it share a child’s academic record with virtually anyone. States have begun combining student records of test scores, discipline history, medical records, nicknames, religion, political affiliation, addresses, extracurricular activities, bus stop times and psychological evaluations into a private database called inBloom.

This madness all makes sense if we ask why the teacher unions have suddenly embraced “tougher” standards (new unionism). Common Core’s vague and subjective “liberal arts” standards play perfectly with the unions who are looking for a way around their pay being tied to teacher performance evaluations. The answer, make the standards as subjective and vague as possible. In this way teachers can be evaluated under what are being falsely called tougher Common Core “board certified” type standards. And since pay is now being tied to performance, Common Core’s nonjudgmental subjective view of learning will create the illusion of being successful and accountable. The result, unions strike it rich.

David Coleman’s self-proclaimed “mentor,” David Sherman, holds the post of Consultant in the office of the AFT President Local 94 in Oak Lawn, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. He was once hired by union boss Albert Shanker to develop an “educational arm” for the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) in New York City where he was the union’s liaison to the school system and collaborated with district and community organizations. Mr. Sherman became vice president of UFT in 1991. He was appointed to the U.S. Department of Education’s Negotiated Rulemaking Committee on Title I and NCLB. Sherman sits on Teachscape’s board of directors and also sits on the board of the Teachers Union Reform Network, the primary internal union organization in support of “new unionism.”

Interestingly, The National Education Association is negotiating a deal with Teachscape, a private firm that will provide web-based teacher professional development services. Teachscape already has the American Federation of Teachers as a partner. Teachscape’s professional development system includes: tools and opportunities for soft evaluation: “self-reflection and self-assessment” These are remarkably similar to the requirements for achieving national certification. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) is also a partner of Teachscape. Many NEA and AFT officials sit on the NBPTS board. Teachers use textbooks from McGraw-Hill, which is a partner and investor of Teachscape.

If one listens and follows the words, the business connections, the union connections, the university connections, the money, and the ideology; a clear picture emerges as to what is driving the insanity. In a nutshell, the Common Core folks knew they had to rewrite the standards and create new standards that are not actually standards but windows of opportunity to spew, by law, ideas that would be laughable if they were not so politically correct and dangerous to the very foundations of the nation.

The Progressives have incrementally gone after the healthcare, family and economic systems. They have been slowly changing education for decades. Common sense about Common Core tells you they are now going after the whole enchilada. What is amazing is that it’s happening right under the noses of academics on both side of the ideological spectrum who are supposed to know better.

Connect the dots and you can see Common Core is nationalized state-run education via an unprecedented partnership between public, private, union, and academic circles. It does not matter if Common Core is one part self interest, one part ignorance, and one part blind elite reality. Any way you slice it there is a razor inside Common Core representing a danger to American culture, education, and children.

Sources: M. Catharine Evans, Diane Ravitch, Washington Post, Education Intelligence Agency, Susan Ohanian , Michelle Maslkin, George Will, Jonathan DuHamel, Valerie Strauss, Neal McCluskey, Lindsey Burke, David Feith, CATO Institute, Heritage Foundation, transcripts.

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

November 22, 2013 at 06:00

Posted in Other

Early Education or Early Indoctrination?

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By Jamie A. Hope

When your children or grandchildren venture off to school in America, someday soon, most likely, their education curricula will be developed not by a state education association, or even by the National Education Association (NEA).  Rather, they will be developed by the United Nations — specifically, their education arm, United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).  This is an educational organization that could not only threaten the sovereignty of America, but indoctrinate our unsuspecting children with a dangerous progressive ideology — an ideology in which children are no longer taught that America is the land of the free and home of the brave or the right to freedom of worship.  Their agenda is to teach every child in the world a universal education curriculum compromising Common Core Standards.  Common Core Standards “provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them.  The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.”

While many in the education community view these new global standards as an answer to our educational woes, some do not.

Many are concerned that the Common Core Standards, once successfully implemented, will provide unfettered access of our educational system by the United Nations. Some textbooks and curricula for our public schools have already been written by UNESCO and the International Baccalaureate program that is currently in many school districts across the United States. Grabbing additional access is a natural next step. Once they write the curricula, they must have authority to develop all testing tools. They will decide who becomes a teacher and what preparation will be provided for that teacher. The International Baccalaureate curriculum upsets parents and teachers because the focus includes sustainable development, abortion rights, gay marriage, universal disarmament and social justice curricula.

The problem with the Common Core Standards is not that they promote reading, writing, and arithmetic; it is the added dangerous ideologies they would like to teach our children — their agenda of teaching social justice, abortion rights, population control, environmentalism, and gay marriage.  The easiest way to implant their ideologies into the unsuspecting minds of our youngest is not only to educate America’s children in grades K-12, but to mandate compulsory education for children ages 0-5 in a program known as early education.  According to UNESCO’s website, “UNESCO advocates for Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programmes that attend to health, nutrition, security and learning and which provide for children’s holistic development. It organized the first World Conference on ECCE in September 2010, which culminated in the adoption of a global action agenda for ECCE called Moscow Framework for Action and Cooperation: Harnessing the Wealth of Nations.  The United Nations believes we should have a uniform global educational system and that children even from birth should have ‘rights’ to an early education.”

The United Nations is creeping into our educational system and not only changing the way our youngest learn academic basics, but challenging family beliefs on American sovereignty, parental rights, and freedom of religion.  According to a White House press release dated March 10, 2009, “President Obama is committed to helping states develop seamless, comprehensive, and coordinated ‘Zero to Five’ systems to improve developmental outcomes and early learning for all children.”  It also stated, “In a global economy where the most valuable skill you can sell is your knowledge, a good education is no longer just a pathway to opportunity, it is a pre-requisite. That is why it will be the goal of this Administration to ensure that every child has access to a complete and competitive education — from the day they are born to the day they begin a career.”

Educational elites support the president.  “These new partnerships must also inspire students to take a bigger and deeper view of their civic obligations — not only to their countries of origin but to the betterment of the global community.”

While the educational community touts minimal studies showing how effective early education is, and how important in implementing their agenda, they are perhaps purposely ignoring studies that suggest otherwise.

We studied a wide range of measures of child well-being, from anxiety and hyperactivity to social and motor skills. For almost every measure, we find that the increased use of childcare was associated with a decrease in their well-being relative to other children. For example, reported fighting and other measures of aggressive behaviour increased substantially. Our results are consistent with evidence from the National Institute of Child Health and Development Early Childcare Research Network (2003), showing that the amount of time through the first 4.5 years of life that a child spends away from his or her mother is a predictor of assertiveness, disobedience, and aggression.

According to the NICHD Early Childcare Research Network:

The second enduring link between early child care and child development detected in this inquiry indicated that children with more experience in center settings continued to manifest somewhat more problem behaviors through sixth grade[.] … One possible reason why relations between center care and problem behavior may remain is that primary school teachers lack the training as well as the time to address behavior problems, given their primary focus on academics (Rimm-Kaufman & Pianta,2001).

Not only are their studies suggesting detrimental emotional effects on children being raised in these early education programs, but there are studies that show lack of long-term advantages from these programs.  According to the Council of State Governments, “[p]re-kindergarten programs achieve their goal of increasing reading and mathematics skill levels. On average, disadvantaged children who did not attend an early education program scored in the 33rd percentile, while those who did attend scored in the 44th percentiles. However, that achievement boost seems to largely dissipate before the child begins second grade.”

Since there are credible conflicting studies on early education programs and a possible detriment to the emotional well-being of children in these programs, why are the federal and state governments continuing to pour billions into these possibly ineffective United Nations-created Common Core agendas and pushing for children to be required to go to school at birth?

This is not the first time early education and a call to hand over babies to the government has been attempted.  The First Congress of Bolshevik Workers said in 1918 that “we must remove children from the crude influence of their families. We must take them over, and to speak frankly, nationalize them. From the first days of their lives they will be under the healthy influence of children’s nurseries and schools.”

The Bolsheviks understood that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

November 21, 2013 at 06:00

Posted in Other

Teachers & Moms Against Common Core

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Teachers & Moms Against Common Core. Add your name to http://UtahnsAgainstCommonCore.com

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

November 20, 2013 at 06:00

Posted in Other

Common Core State Standards talk set for Wednesday November 20

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Empower yourself by learning about the consequences of Common Core Standards. The event will take place at The Osage Center on Wednesday, November 20, 2013, at 6:30 PM in Room 2A, 1625 North Kingshighway, Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Join presenter Stacy Shore and Concerned Woman for America of Missouri (CWA) for a lively discussion outlining these education standards and their impact on our families, communities and state.

Education is not a “one-size-fits-all” process devoid of input on the local and parental level. Standards do not make students smarter.

Prescribing the same standards to all states ignores the fact that some students learn different subjects at different paces. States can have different educational priorities and environments.  The standards outlined in the Common Core State Standards Initiative are too long, detailed, and cumbersome.

Common Core Standards diminish the rights of parents by removing the control they must have in deciding the best method for educating their children.  Local control of education must be enthusiastically encouraged and supported by the residents of a school district.  Everyone in the school district must understand this concept of local control; support local schools and oppose federal control over local control of education.

Everyone is welcome.

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Written by Leatherneck Blogger

November 19, 2013 at 06:00

Posted in Other

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