FL Middle school quiz asks – “What Kind Of Party Animal Are You?”

Dr. Fran Adams, Superintendent of Indian River County School District

“I was contacted tonight by a group of parents wanting answers. This quiz (survey) below was given to Ms. [Megan] Kendrick’s 7th grade Pre-AP Civics class last week at Storm Grove Middle School in Indian River County,” writes Laura Zorc, SE FL State Coordinator for Florida Parents Against Common Core (FPACC).

The What Kind of Party Animal Are You? quiz states: “Take this quiz to get a sense of which party, the Republican or the Democrat, is the better fit for you. Remember, you do not have to pick a party – you may remain Independent. You may also change your party.”

Question #1: “I would support a government increase of my taxes if the money were used to pay for expanded health and social programs.”

Question #2: “I think the government should impose stricter limits on access to guns.”

Question #3: “I believe organized prayer should be kept out of schools. Having students pray is a violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”

Question #4: “I would support drilling for oil in a wildlife refuge to help reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil.”

Question #5: “I believe that looking out for U.S. interests abroad must come first, even if that means the U.S. takes action without the approval of the United Nations or our allies.”

Question #6: “I believe if you have nothing to hide, theres no reason to worry about government surveillance. It would not bother me if my government listened in on my personal phone calls as long as the surveillance was helping to catch terrorists.”

Question #7: “I believe the government should relax regulations on immigration and find a way for law-abiding illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S. legally and pay taxes.”

NOTE: The answer choices for each question are – Agree (one point), Not Sure (two points), Disagree (three points).

According to Jennifer Idlette-Williams, Principal of Storm Grove Middle School, “The survey What Kind of Party Animal Are You? came from page 14 of the Junior Scholastic Magazine, which is a state approved resource for Florida’s mandatory Civics state curriculum. All three of the Civics teachers at Storm Grove use the survey, and other Indian River middle schools have used it. No grades were attached to the survey and no names were linked to the survey. There was no parental opt out for taking the survey as it is part of the state approved curricula.” Principal Idette-Williams noted, “Students could create their own political party animal. One student created a frog, which can live in the water or on land. This student would be comfortable with both parties.”

What kind of a party animal are you

Quiz used in Civics class. For a larger view click on the image.

According to Zorc, “The students were told that they could not take this Quiz/Survey home, they had to complete [it] at school. One student felt that they must consult with ‘his or her’ parent and did not feel comfortable filling it out. In other words the student had to ‘smuggle it out’ as described to me. (NOTE: Child is afraid of getting in trouble and we will can not disclose identity of child)”

Zorc states, “After you read this quiz/survey, as a parent you will be appalled by material being taught. Parents are outraged at the way the questions are presented.” See teacher’s weekly agenda to notice that this assignment is Common Core State Standards aligned.

“Parents want an explanation to why a ‘civics’ (a study of the theoretical practical aspects of citizenship, its rights and duties…) curriculum aligned to Common Core State Standards is being taught? The FL DOE had been emphatic that CCSS is only going to be taught in English Language Arts and Math only. Secondly, parents want to know ‘who’ approved this curriculum material being taught?” asks Zorc. According to the school principal the FLDOE approved the use of this material.

Parents, concerned citizens and members of FPACC plan to attend the September 24th Indian River County School Board meeting to ask that this material be removed from the public school district curriculum.

EDITORS NOTE: WDW – FL has calls into the school district and school board requesting information including who authorized the use of this quiz, what other schools have used it and how is the data from the quiz used. We are awaiting a reply and will post an update.

Everything You’ve Ever Been Told About How You Learn Is A Lie

Popular Science has published research which debunks the three myths your teachers told you about how your brain learns. This means teachers and administrators have for a long time been taking education down the wrong path.

Shaunacy Ferro writes, “Many of the theories of ‘brain-based‘ education, a method of instruction supposedly based on neuroscience, have been largely debunked by rigorous science. Brain-based education studies are usually poorly designed and badly controlled. Nevertheless, myths about how we learn persist in the popular imagination, and, most importantly, in educational materials and references for teachers.” Ferro describes the three myths:

1. We Learn Best When Teaching Is Tailored To Our Learning Style

Every child is a beautiful, unique snowflake, as the theory goes, and every individual learns in a slightly different way. Some of us learn best by hearing, others by seeing information displayed as pictures, still others by reading words on a page. One study found that there are more than 70 different learning styles, which usually categorize people into dichotomous types, like visual versus verbal or active versus reflective, or, in the case of the Myers-Briggs test, Introversion Intuition Feeling Judging versus Extraversion Sensing Thinking Perceiving. According to what many psychologists label the learning styles hypothesis, instructors should teach in a way that targets our various learning styles, what’s called “meshing.” Sounds fair enough.

Except for years, the evidence has been mounting that a curriculum tailored toward a specific learning style isn’t any more effective than just, well, teaching.

2. Some People Are Left-Brained, Some People Are Right-Brained

According to common lore, certain people use the left side of their brain more, while others use their right side–just like being right- or left-handed. Left-brain thinkers are more logical, while right-brain thinkers are more creative. The left brain is responsible for language, while the right brain is used for visual and spatial processing.

To some extent, it’s true that the two sides of the brain are associated with certain activities. But that doesn’t mean you think or learn with just one side.

3. __ Will Make You Smarter

“For defined periods in Great Britain and the United States, the memorization of poetry was not an elective pursuit but a mandatory element of mass educational systems,” NYU professor Catherine Robson describes in her book Heart Beats: Everyday Life and the Memorized Poem. One reason was that educators saw memorizing poetry as a kind of brain calisthenics that could help improve other realms of cognition, too.

“We’ve been doing that for centuries,” Kirshner says. “We used to think if you teach students the classical languages they’ll be able to think better… in that way you would be better in all subjects.” Though we no longer place too much importance on learning Greek and Latin or memorizing epic poems, the basic principle lingers. “We still think there’s some kind of universal way we can pump up our brain,” he says.

Ferro’s bottom line: A “learning style” curriculum won’t affect the way you learn. You don’t only use half of your brain, so being taught to your “left-brain” or “right-brain” won’t help you, either. Fiddling with an iPhone app? Unlikely. And as for the validity of “brain-based” education techniques–that term should really apply to all teaching. Larry Alferink, a professor emeritus of psychology at Illinois State University, says, “[A]ll education is brain-based. It is impossible to learn without a brain.”

Read the full Ferro Popular Science article.

Librarian attacked for exposing cheating and fraud in Miami-Dade schools

Trevor W. Colestock is a Library Media Specialist at Miami Norland Senior High School. Colestock is also a liaison for Miami-Dade Professional Development and United Teachers of Dade (UTD) union Building Steward.

For a larger view click on the image.

Colestock discovered teachers were cheating and being rewarded with Race To The Top and School Improvement Grant funds. This constitutes fraud, waste and abuse of taxpayer money.

Cleveland E. Roberts, III, PBS DEAN, Asst. Basketball Coach/Head JV Coach and UTD Designated Building Steward, sent a letter to all the UTD members of Norland SHS titled “Response to Trevor’s Blog“. Roberts in his letter writes, “Due to the enormous amount of attention that this Testing incident has drawn to the school from the OIG, The Miami Herald, WSVN and Watchdogwire.com;  and because I am mentioned in the online blog I am compelled to make a statement to you.”

Roberts states, “I understand my job as a teacher and UTD Building Steward. I am not an agent for the Office of the Inspector General or the Office of the Auditor General. I do not investigate cases against my colleagues, I do not gather evidence against my co- workers, nor do I recommend that they not receive bonuses that are due to them for their hard work.  I am not a “Watchdog”. That is not my job!! I report incidents!”

Does cheating constitute “hard work” and deserve a “bonus”? Hear no fraud, see no waste and say nothing about abuses.

Roberts then attacks Colestock. Roberts states, “I am deeply disturbed and disheartened to think that a staff member [Colestock] feels that our students are not intelligent enough to pass a test without cheating and that our teachers are not working hard enough in the classroom. Are we not entitled to our monetary bonuses because of an investigation?”

Colestock responded to the Roberts letter as follows:

“As for the allegation of me questioning our students’ intelligence, that is ridiculous. The investigation, and the articles, focus on instances of cheating and its impact on the scores, questioning performance and not intelligence.

We all know, as our students have demonstrated, that when our students study and apply themselves, they are capable of great things-the prime example being our increase in reading comprehension from 17% to 30% over the past two school years.

However, the level of productivity is a great disparity. The increase of passing students from 17 to 452 with scores 175-241 above the national average and completed in 8-22 minutes below the national average, coupled with cheat sheets and student testimony, tells anyone with common sense something is amiss. Moreover, when there are multiple records of unsatisfactory performance and there exists a passing score in 10-20 minutes, that is highly questionable. Put in context with reading levels and various EOC performance, this level of performance is unusual, especially given the presence of cheat sheets and student testimony.

This questions performance, not intelligence. The report and the evidence speaks for itself.”

Colestock exposed the cheating at Norland SHS, reported it, an Inspector General inquiry confirmed the cheating and actions are being taken to remedy the situation.

Howard Howe II, former US Commissioner of Education under President Lyndon Johnson, wrote, “What a school thinks about its library is a measure of what it thinks of education.”

EDITORS NOTE: Trevor Colestock is a volunteer citizen journalist who contributes to Watchdog Wire – Florida. Colestock receives no remuneration other than given a platform to tell the truth about what is happening in the public school system in Florida.

Study calls on US DOE to stop bribing states to adopt Common Core

The United States Department of Education (USED) should be prohibited from making adoption of national English and math standards known as Common Core a condition or incentive for receipt of federal funding, and both USED and organizations like the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, whose dues are paid with taxpayer funds, should make public the amount of time and money they have invested in promoting Common Core according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.

“Common Core fundamentally alters the relationship between the federal government and the states,” says former Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott, the author of A Republic of Republics: How Common Core Undermines State and Local Autonomy over K-12 Education. “States are sacrificing their ability to inform what their students learn.”

To read the full study click here.

Three federal laws explicitly prohibit the federal government from directing, supervising, funding, or controlling any nationalized standards, testing, or curriculum. Yet Race to the Top (RttT), a competitive $4.35 billion federal grant program, gave preference to states that adopted or indicated their intention to adopt Common Core and participated in one of two federally funded consortia developing assessments linked to Common Core.

USED subsequently made adoption of Common Core one of the criteria for granting states conditional waivers from the accountability provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind law.

In his preface for the paper, Iowa’s U.S. Senator Charles Grassley writes that when gov­ernment makes “decisions that affect a child’s education, these decisions should be made at a level of government close to the parents and students who are affected.” He goes on to criticize how what began as a plan to develop standards that states could adopt voluntarily has become a subject of federal coercion.

Scott notes that the adoption of new standards normally takes years from the time they are initially written by panels of educators, made available for extended periods of public review, and revised until they are adopted. But because of RttT’s deadlines, these periods were reduced to a few months or even weeks.

As a result of the rushed process, states adopted Common Core without knowing about assessments; the outcomes for which students, and in some cases teachers, will be held accountable. Other unknowns include what the passing score will be, who will set it, and whether it will be the same from state to state.

The three most populous states – California, Texas and Florida – also have systematic processes for adopting textbooks. These reviews happen on a regular cycle and would be disrupted and often expedited due to the need to adopt instructional materials aligned with the new standards in time for them to be implemented.

The expedited process by which Common Core was adopted in most states meant teachers had no opportunity to inform the standards’ content. In some states, the new standards are substantially different than what had been taught. In many cases, teachers will be teaching material in different grades than it had been before.

Scott describes all the “learning on the go” Common Core will require as a very expensive gamble. The one-year cost of new technology, instructional materials and teacher professional development is estimated at $10.5 billion for the 45 states and the District of Columbia, which have adopted the standards. With ongoing expenses, the cost is expected to rise to about $16 billion.

Scott also describes why Texas chose not to adopt Common Core while he served as commissioner of education. Disruption of the textbook adoption cycle, the lengthy process of making the standards available to the public and seeking approval from the state Board of Education, and the cost of changing procedures and parts of the education code were among the reasons for the decision not to adopt.

Texas would have been in line for a $700 million RttT grant, but “it costs more than $300 million per day to run public schools in Texas,” Scott says. “Giving up substantial autonomy to direct education policy in return for roughly enough money to run the schools for two days was not a trade-off we were willing to make.”

This report is co-sponsored by the American Principles Project, the Pacific Research Institute, and the Civitas Institute. Pioneer’s extensive research on Common Core national education standards includes:  Common Core Standards Still Don’t Make the Grade,The Road to a National Curriculum: The Legal Aspects of the Common Core Standards, Race to the Top, and Conditional Waivers, and National Cost of Aligning States and Localities to the Common Core Standards. Recent national media coverage includes op-eds placed in The Wall Street Journal and The Weekly Standard.

ABOUT THE PIONEER INSTITUTE:

Pioneer Institute is an independent, non-partisan, privately funded research organization that seeks to improve the quality of life in Massachusetts through civic discourse and intellectually rigorous, data-driven public policy solutions based on free market principles, individual liberty and responsibility, and the ideal of effective, limited and accountable government.

Legislation introduced to stop Common Core in Florida

According to Cheryl Etters, Press Secretary for the Florida Department of Education, “The Florida State Board of Education voluntarily adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in July 2010. The Florida Department of Education strongly supports the full implementation of CCSS in the 2014-15 school year and is focused on providing local districts the support needed for a successful transition to Common Core.”

Representative Debbie Mayfield, R-District 54.

Jeffrey S. Solochek, staff writer for the Tampa Bay Times reports, “Rep. Debbie Mayfield, R-Vero Beach, has filed a bill that seeks to pull Florida out of the PARCC testing consortium, which the state has led since its inception. She also aims to halt participation in the Common Core standards, which Florida schools are in the midst of implementing, until the state holds at least one hearing on the subject in every congressional district, and conducts a fiscal analysis of the implementation.”

“The cost [to Florida] approached $100 million in the spring, with testing and other expenses still incomplete,” notes Solochek.

Governor Rick Scott was in Orlando last week to address the Americans For Prosperity 7th Annual Defending the American Dream Summit. Near the end of his prepared remarks he addressed education in Florida. At that point the shouts to “stop Common Core” became louder and louder. At one point the entire room of over 1,000 attendees began to applaud those heckling Governor Scott about Common Core.

Please watch Governor Scott’s remarks at the AFP summit. At 15:30 minutes into his talk he mentions education, at that point the heckling against Common Core began:

Governor Scott is up for reelection in 2014. Will he stop Common Core as the grassroots is demanding or will he go along with the Florida Board of Education and push its implementation?

RELATED:

Florida considering adoption of national “sexuality” education standards

Republican support for Common Core crumbles

Mind control 2013: Who is really controlling your mind?

Mind control is the subject of George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four“, which has regained popularity. Nineteen Eighty-Four is a dystopian novel published in 1949. The Oceanian province of Airstrip One (formerly known as Great Britain) is a world of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance, and public mind control, dictated by a political system euphemistically named English Socialism (Ingsoc) under the control of a privileged Inner Party elite that persecutes all individualism and independent thinking as thoughtcrimes.

As George Orwell wrote, “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”

Citizens globally are concerned about their governments spying on them. Others are concerned about media pushing an agenda rather than holding government accountable. Recent scandals like the NSA gathering data on hundreds of millions of US citizens and our allies is front page news. In many cases the NSA, FBI and CIA are accessing personal information which is stored by phone companies, web hosts and social media sites such as: Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc. Governments want this data and many of these same media giants will share it based on court orders or voluntarily.

So who controls the present?

Geo-Intelligence posted an infographic (below) to show who controls major print publications, media, Internet sites and entertainment outlets in the United States. These few “privileged Inner Party elite” can influence how you think about everything from the purchase of laundry detergent to your social and political behavior. What you read, hear and watch is controlled by about forty organizations. When they work in concert with government and freely share your information it can violate civil liberties according to the ACLU.

Take a quick look at this infographic, you will be surprised who is involved in “public mind control”.

For a larger view click on the image.

George Orwell wrote, “In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality was tacitly denied by their philosophy.”

There is online a free full version of the movie Nineteen Eighty-Four released in 1954, click here to watch it. Below is the trailer to the movie Nineteen Eighty-Four release in 1984 and available on DVD:

Governor Rick Scott heckled over Common Core

Governor Rick Scott came to Orlando to address the Americans For Prosperity 7th Annual Defending the American Dream Summit. Governor Scott spoke about his many accomplishments primarily on his focus on jobs, cutting the state debt, reducing regulations on businesses and cutting taxes for both Florida taxpayers and businesses. He was applauded for his efforts and major accomplishments in two short years in each these areas.

Near the end of his prepared remarks he addressed education in Florida. At that point the shouts to “stop Common Core” became louder and louder. At one point the entire room of over 1,000 attendees began to applaud those heckling Governor Scott about Common Core.

Please watch Governor Scott’s remarks at the AFP summit. At 15:30 minutes into his talk he mentions education, at that point the heckling against Common Core began:

WDW – FL reported that according to Cheryl Etters, Press Secretary for the Florida Department of Education, “The Florida State Board of Education voluntarily adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in July 2010. The Florida Department of Education strongly supports the full implementation of CCSS in the 2014-15 school year and is focused on providing local districts the support needed for a successful transition to Common Core.”

There is a growing effort to introduce legislation during the 2014 session to take Florida out of Common Core. Chrissy Blevio from the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition states,  “After the recent release of the well-documented response [CLICK HERE] from twelve Republican leaders from all over Florida to the Common Core [HERE] put forth by Senator John Thrasher and other former Republican (RPOF) leaders, support was overwhelming from many others within the RPOF.  So much so, that twenty-five additional leaders and a few other officials have asked for their names to be added, and the letter has been released again.”

Governor Scott is up for reelection in 2014. Will he stop Common Core as the grassroots is demanding or will he go along with the Florida Board of Education and push its implementation? That is the question, which can and will sway voters.

RELATED:

Florida considering adoption of national “sexuality” education standards

Republican support for Common Core crumbles

Republican support for Common Core crumbles

Chrissy Blevio from the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition states,  “After the recent release of the well-documented response [CLICK HERE] from twelve Republican leaders from all over Florida to the Common Core [HERE] put forth by Senator John Thrasher and other former Republican (RPOF) leaders, support was overwhelming from many others within the RPOF.  So much so, that twenty-five additional leaders RPOF and a few other officials have asked for their names to be added, and the letter has been released again.”

“This effort to impose Common Core on our children and divide our party must end,” said Randy Osborne, Marion County chairman, director of education for Heartland Research, and lobbyist for the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition.  “The signers of this letter represent Republican Executive Committee membership – parents, grandparents, concerned citizens, and grassroots activists from all over this state, the heart and soul of the Republican Party.”

“The Florida Stop Common Core Coalition is extremely pleased and appreciative of the stand taken by these wise leaders,” said Dr. Karen Effrem, president of Education Liberty Watch and a co-founder of the FSCCC.  “It is not these leaders, the Republican Executive Committee membership or the many groups and individuals that have joined our coalition that are “misinformed” or “laboring under conspiracy theories,” but rather it is Senator Thrasher and the many other proponents that are trying to force this untested education system on Florida and the nation.  The standards are academically inferior to what many states, including Florida, already have.  There is no evidence that they will raise student achievement.  Failed attempts at this type of centralized education planning litter the ash heap of history all over the world. We call upon the RPOF and elected officials to reject the Common Core system and return education accountability to local instead of federal control.”

Below is the complete list of Republican officials that reject the imposition of the Common Core standards system in Florida and have signed on to this rebuttal letter.

Randy Osborne – Chairman Marion County Republican Executive Committee

Eric Miller – State Committeeman, Martin County

John Drozinski – Chairman, Republican Executive Committee Highlands County

Teri Armstrong – State Committeewoman, Marion County

Michael Levine – Chairman, Lake County Republican Executive Committee

Elvira Hasty – Former State Committeewoman, Saint Johns County

Gaye Ellis Chair – Okaloosa, County Republican Executive Committee

Tony Ledbetter – Chairman, Republican Party Volusia

Sheri Ortega – Chairman, Republican Suwannee County

Patricia Sullivan – State Committeewoman, Lake County

Alan Burton – State Committeeman, Volusia County

Marguerite Cavanaugh – Former State Committee Woman, Marion County. Executive VP Florida Eagle Forum

Carlie Rogers, Brevard State Committeewoman

Bradley Maxwell Leon County Chairman

Larry Taylor, Wakulla County State Committeeman

Mrs. Taylor, Wakulla County School Board Member District 2

Debi Large, Okeechobee County Chairman

Sandra Atkinson,   Okaloosa County State Committeewoman

Anne-Marie Shaffer, Flagler County State Committeewoman

Frank Meeker, Flagler County State Committeeman

Dave Sullivan, Flagler County Chairman.

Bill Fochi,  Charlotte County Chairman

Steven Czonstka,  Okaloosa County State Committeeman

Robert E. Hagaman, Citrus County State Committeeman

Jane Sturges, Charlotte County Committeewoman

Lindsay Harrington, Charlotte County Committeeman

Joe Arnold, Okeechobee County State Committeeman

Melissa Arnold, Okeechobee County State Committeewoman

Mike Cribby, Putnam County State Committreeman
BryAnne White, Calhoun County State Committeewoman

Mark Cross, Osceola County State Committeeman

William Paterson, St. Lucie County Chairman

Michael Hofstee, St. Lucie County State Committeeman

Mary Ann Russell, St. Lucie County State Committeewoman

Joseph Sowell, Holmes County State Committeeman

Susan Sowell, Holmes County State Committeewoman

Ryan Anderson, Broward County State Committeeman

To learn more about the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition contact Chrissy Blevio flstopcccoalition@gmail.com.

RELATED: 

Florida set to adopt national “sexuality” education standards

Miami-Dade County Public Schools teachers illegally and improperly evaluated?

Florida considering adoption of national “sexuality” education standards

To download a copy of the National Sexuality Education Standards click on the image.

Governor Scott and interim Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart just finished hosting a summit on education in Clearwater, FL. Governor Scott called the summit but did not attend it. According to NorthEscambia.com, “The discussions largely focused on high-level ideas and few specific recommendations, such as whether the state should bail out of a consortium of states developing new tests for the nationwide “common core” standards now being implemented in Florida classrooms.”

One of the Common Core standards not discussed was the “National Sexuality Education Standards – Core Content and Skills, K-12“.

Even the birds and the bees will now have national standards under Common Core. “Sexuality” is code for “gender identity”.

Here are some quotes from the National Sexuality Education Standards:

On page 12: “By the end of 2nd grade, students should be able to: Use proper names for body parts, including male and female anatomy.”

On page 14: “By the end of 5th grade, students should be able to: Describe male and female reproductive systems including body parts and their functions. Identify medically-accurate information about female and male reproductive anatomy. Define sexual orientation as the romantic attraction of an individual to someone of the same gender or a different gender.”

Page 9 under “Guiding Values and Principles”:

“Instruction by qualified sexuality education teachers is essential for student achievement … Students need opportunities to engage in cooperative and active learning strategies, and sufficient time must be allocated for students to practice skills relating to sexuality education.”

To highlight this principle: Students need “multiple opportunities and a variety of assessment strategies” to determine their achievement of the sexuality education standards and performance.

Will public school children be graded on their sexual performance? It appears this requirement is necessary to measure the “practice of skills relating to sexuality education”.

According to Cheryl Etters, Press Secretary for the Florida Department of Education, “The Florida State Board of Education voluntarily adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in July 2010. The Florida Department of Education strongly supports the full implementation of CCSS in the 2014-15 school year and is focused on providing local districts the support needed for a successful transition to Common Core.”

South Dakotans Against Common Core reports:

And before you say it is not a part of Common Core, because it is “A Special Publication of the Journal of School Health,” please go to page 6 where it says, “The National Sexuality Education Standards were further informed by the work of the CDC’s Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT)3; existing state and international education standards that include sexual health content; the Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education: Kindergarten – 12th Grade; and the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics, recently adopted by most states.”

And before you say, “We won’t allow it in our schools. We will go to the school board.” Local control is gone. On page 6, “Specifically, the National Sexuality Education Standards were developed to address the inconsistent implementation of sexuality education nationwide and the limited time allocated to teaching the topic.” The whole idea behind Common Core is to create universal standards.

SDACC looked at who was on the advisory committee that developed these sexuality education standards. They found members included:

Robert McGarry, Ed.D., Director of Training and Curriculum Development Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). To learn more about GLSEN click here.

Nora Gelperin, recipient of the national 2010 Mary Lee Tatum Award from the Association of Planned Parenthood Leaders in Education.

Deb Hauser from Advocates for Youth who speaks nationally and internationally about young people’s rights to “honest sexual health information, confidential sexual health services and equitable social and economic opportunities.”

Cynthia Lam, Teen Editorial Staff for Sex, Etc. According to Lam’s bio, “She has written many interesting articles, but her favorite was “It Won’t Fall Off,” a story that debunks myths about masturbation.”

The education summit has been characterized as providing political cover for Governor Scott to adopt Common Core State Standards for Florida. These standards will include the sexualization of our youngest and most vulnerable.

As Milton Friedman wrote, “One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.” What will be results of nationalizing sexuality?

RELATED:

At Scott’s Education Summit, A Common Core Counter-Revolt At Table 1

Support for Common Core Standards Continues to Crumble in RPOF

EDITORS NOTE: WDW – FL received the below email from Chrissy Blevio, Florida Stop Common Core Coalition:

While appreciative that Governor Scott convened this summit on critical education issues and hopeful that some meaningful discussion and airing of concerns about the Common Core standards system would ensue, The Florida Stop Common Core Coalition (FSCCC) is deeply disappointed in the results.

“The outcome on the issue of the Common Core standards themselves was pre-determined,” said Dr. Karen Effrem, president of Education Liberty Watch and co-founder of FSCCC.  “Continued implementation of the standards was assumed.  No meaningful discussion of the merits or lack thereof of the standards themselves was allowed to take place. Any attempt to discuss concerns about rigor, content of the federally funded and supervised model curriculum and text examples aligned with these standards, psychological manipulation and testing as described in federal documents, or any other concern was immediately shut down.  Lacking the ability or desire to meaningfully and respectfully discuss and work towards solutions to these critical concerns, prominent officials at this summit resorted to ad hominem attacks calling the citizens and taxpayers of this state with concerns ‘crazies’  and  ‘radicals.’  Sadly this whole exercise was a massive waste of time and taxpayer funds.”

A more detailed list of concerns will be forthcoming. Our recommendations for dealing with this issue are available here.

RELATED:

Obama: Sex Ed for Kindergartners ‘Is the Right Thing to Do’ | CNS News

CPS Mandates Sexual, Health Education For Kindergarten – CBS Chicago

Conservatives keep turning up the heat on Common Core in Florida

4th Grade Students Taught: “Government Is Like Your Family”, Provides For You

Florida School District lied and student privacy died

Sarasota County School Board members.

WDW – FL did a column on the use of Multiple Intelligence Surveys (MIS) in Florida public schools. Many parents are concerned these surveys ask questions that are private and personal in nature and have nothing to do with the educational process. One survey used in Florida public schools was created by Surfaquarium and questions include:

  • Ecological issues are important to me
  • I believe preserving our National Parks is important
  • Religion is important to me
  • I wonder if there are other forms of intelligent life in the universe
  • I value relationships more than ideas or accomplishments
  • I like to be involved in causes that help others
  • Fairness is important to me
  • Social justice issues interest me
  • I am willing to protest or sign a petition to right a wrong

Superintendent Lori White.

The Surfaquarium survey is being used by Riverview High School English teacher Dr. Elinor Wachs. WDW – FL asked the Sarasota County School Superintendent Lori White about the use of surveys like the one given to students by Dr. Wachs. The answer from Superintendent White’s staff was that teachers may hand out to students any survey they wish and there is no district level policy or concern about their use. According to staff the reason for the lack of concern was:

Multiple-intelligences surveys such as these [MIS] are one way for teachers to get to know students, but students may opt out of answering the questions.

Regarding teachers requesting “private information,” see third paragraph above. If students believe the answers to the questions are “private,” they can refrain from answering them.

WDW – FL has since learned these statements are false.

We received this reply about the assignment from Scott Ferguson, Communications Director for the District:

I do not see the inconsistency of my previous statement because the teacher bases an assignment on a survey. If students or their parents object to a survey or a corresponding assignment, they may let the teacher or an administrator know they would like to opt out of either or both. We understand that one person’s reasonable assignment may be objectionable to another person. We work with parents to develop alternative activities/assignments or other solutions when they or their students raise issues regarding classwork or assignments.

If a student or parent objects to this particular survey or assignment they are welcome to let the teacher, a school administrator or a district administrator know.

Several parents have told WDW – FL that they “fear retribution against their child if they speak out and make this an issue.”

Multiple sources have reported that Dr. Wachs is not only requiring students to fill out the Multiple Intelligence Survey but has made the answers to the survey a class essay assignment. The assignment states, “Using the results of the Multiple Intelligence chart, select the highest three categories to be the topic of your essay.” If you opt out of the survey can you opt out of the class assignment?

Of note is that Dr. Wachs refers her students to the Purdue University writing lab exercises website for help in formatting their essay. It is part of the Purdue OWL engagement program. What is the Purdue OWL engagement program all about? According to the OWL website it is to, “…[F]oster sustained work with local and global partners.”

The idea of children being a “sustainable workforce” and in cooperation with “government” and “global partners” has raised the concerns of parents and educators alike. Data mining is a necessary component to create a “psychological profile” on each “sustainable worker”. Diane Kepus in her column “Data Mining using Common Core:  Cha Ching – Cha Ching!” states:

A growing number of parents are disturbed about the “data mining” under Common Core pushed by foundations, not just because of the cost, but the privacy implications. Let me explain why your children’s and your information is no longer private through FERPA although you may have been told otherwise.

Do not let anyone from the Bush FoundationBill & Melinda Gates Foundation or any Florida legislator tell you that student and parent information is still protected. The Florida statutes have been changed in 2012 to match the changes in FERPA.

Recently when Governor Rick Scott was asked if he supported the data mining aspect of Common Core, Scott answered ‘no’ to the question. It appears the Governor did not get the memo from the Florida Department of Education that public schools have been data mining for years using “student surveys“.

EDITORS NOTE:

Nothing on the survey forms or essay assignment sent home by Dr. Wachs states it is “optional” or that a student may “opt out”. Surfaquarium offers multiple surveys. WDW – FL asked Surfaquarium about the uses of their surveys in Florida by teachers and schools. We are awaiting answers to our questions. For those interested in contacting key educators in Florida the following information is provided:

Click here for the Florida State Board of Education.

Superintendent of Schools Lori White email: lori.white@sarasotacountyschools.net or phone: (941) 927-9000 ext. 31105.

Data Mining: Florida students leaving their privacy at the schoolhouse door

Recently when Governor Rick Scott was asked if he supported the data mining aspect of Common Core, Scott answered ‘no’ to the question. It appears the Governor did not get the memo from the Florida Department of Education that public schools have been data mining for years using “student surveys“.

Florida parents were shocked when their children came home from their first day of high school with surveys asking personal questions about their habits, family and beliefs. Students at Riverview High School in Sarasota, Florida were given forms to fill out by their teachers. Riverview high school English teacher Dr. Elinor Wachs sent students home with a “Multiple Intelligence Survey” (MPI) created by Surfaquarium to fill out. MIS questions included:

  • Ecological issues are important to me
  • I believe preserving our National Parks is important
  • Religion is important to me
  • I wonder if there are other forms of intelligent life in the universe
  • I value relationships more than ideas or accomplishments
  • I like to be involved in causes that help others
  • Fairness is important to me
  • Social justice issues interest me
  • I am willing to protest or sign a petition to right a wrong

Ms. Susanne Johnson, an Algebra teacher at Riverview, sent home a two page survey with her students (Note: Students received multiple surveys). Johnson’s survey asks:

  • Who lives in your home?
  • How many brothers and sisters do you have? How old are they?
  • Have you travelled outside the United States? If so, where have you travelled?

WDW – FL sent an inquiry to Superintendent Lori White about the district policy on student surveys. Scott Ferguson, Communications Specialist for Sarasota County Schools, in an email provided the following:

The multiple intelligences forms do not require approval at the district level.

Other teachers may use these forms or other forms at their discretion. We don’t track the number of teachers who use them.

Teachers use this type of form to learn more about their students. Teachers have various ways to get to know students so they can engage them in lessons by keeping students’ individual interests, learning styles and personalities in mind. Multiple-intelligences surveys such as these are one way for teachers to get to know students, but students may opt out of answering the questions.

Various forms may be used by teachers at various levels. Whatever forms are used are age-appropriate.

I don’t know how long the forms you sent me have been used in the district, but teachers have long used various ways to get to know their students, for the reasons stated above.

Regarding teachers requesting “private information,” see third paragraph above. If students believe the answers to the questions are “private,” they can refrain from answering them.

The forms simply help the teacher get to know the student in his/her class for that semester or year; they’re not considered educational records and do not become part of the student’s permanent record.

The use of such forms is not prohibited by School Board policies. These policies are posted on our website in the School Board section and are searchable by keywords.

Nothing on the forms sent home by either Ms. Wachs or Ms. Johnson states it is “optional” or that a student may “opt out”. Surfaquarium offers multiple surveys. WDW – FL asked Surfaquarium about the uses of their surveys in Florida by teachers and schools. We are awaiting answers to our questions.

One parent, who requested to remain anonymous to protect their student from retribution, stated, “These questions absolutely do look like data mining to find out the political leanings of the family of the student … perhaps then they ‘target’ those students for further brainwashing efforts or give the data to other groups for same purpose.”

Data mining is front page news, few believed it would already be in public schools. It appears public education has a thing or two to teach the NSA?

To view all survey responses click here.

RELATED: Florida School District lied and student privacy died

Sarasota County School District abandons 7-year old girl

Members of Sarasota County School Board. Click on photo to go the the Board website.

Michael Figgins, a resident of Sarasota County, FL reported to WDW – FL in an email:

A very disturbing thing happened today [August 20th, the first day of school in Florida]. I had just arrived home in the early afternoon, was getting my mail from the mailbox and I saw this very young girl walking alone on my street. She walked by my house once, then again and then again. I asked her if she was lost and she told me that she was lost. I asked her if she knew where she lived and she replied that she did not. Since it was the usual time that the younger children get dropped at the bus stop, I assumed that there must have been a mix-up somehow. After talking with her a little more she told me that she did know that she lived on my street, but did not know her address. She then remembered that her mom had written her address on a slip of paper and that it was in her backpack. She showed me the address and it confirmed that she lived on my street. As we walked to her house, it began to rain very heavily. The little girl lives approximately a quarter of a mile from the bus stop. We were both soaked by the time we arrived at her home. The grandfather was home and I explained who I was and that I was their neighbor. He was very relieved to know that she was safe.

Figgins sent an email to the Sarasota County Superintendent’s office to find out what happened.

Figgins noted in the email, “I remember last year when a 5-year old child was left, by the school bus driver, to wander all alone down Midnight Pass road. In that incident another neighbor was there to pick up the school system’s slack. Something needs to be done. All ended well this time. We might [not] be so lucky next time.”

Scott Ferguson Director of Communications for the District responded to the Figgins inquiry stating:

We have looked into the situation. Here’s what happened:

The second-grade girl at Phillippi Shores Elementary was supposed to ride the bus and so was her brother, a fifth-grader. For some reason her brother did not think there was bus service on the first day of school so he did not get on the bus when his sister did, but instead went to the school office. Both students are new to the school this year, and the boy did not mention his younger sister.

A staff member at the school contacted the students’ parents to say the boy was at the school and needed to be picked up (the message did not say that both children were at the school, only that the brother was there). Both parents came to pick up the brother and were reminded that their daughter was riding the bus home and would be arriving at the bus stop soon. However, when the second-grader arrived at the bus stop, no one was there to pick her up and she apparently started walking in a direction away from her home.

Mr. Figgins, we appreciate your assistance with the little girl and your concern about her safety. Her parents have since decided to come and pick up both of their children after school. Both students will have labels with the family ID number on their backpacks each day for the first two weeks of school, indicating that they will be picked up by their parents.

Although all our schools strive to help students avoid mix-ups regarding transportation, there is usually some confusion on the first day of school as everyone, including parents, gets used to new routines. Whenever we are made aware of these situations we address them immediately to ensure that students, parents, school staff and Transportation Department staff are on the same page regarding transportation of students.

Ellery Girard, our director of Transportation, provided this additional information: “We continue to communicate with parents of young children the importance of being at the bus stop in the mornings and afternoons. The transportation protocol is to drop all children off at their stops; if any child does not want to get off, or if there are students left on the bus at the end of the route, we contact the school and the bus returns them to school. The school staff then calls the parents to pick them up at school. Transportation also works with the schools to provide a route supervisor for their open houses prior to school opening. At the open houses we give parents bus-stop information and registration forms. The registration form gives parents an opportunity to let us know if they do not want their child dropped off without an adult at the stop.”

Figgins replied to the email from Ferguson stating:

Based on the email [above], it sounds like you all are attempting to duck and cover as per your usual. Telling me how hard the job is, does not justify or excuse the lack of responsibility on the part of the Sarasota County School District. I wonder, had I not brought this incident to your attention, would you even have cared. I suggest that you would have swept the entire incident under the rug like you do every other time you screw up and thanked your lucky stars that this little 7-year old was not abducted and murdered. Looks like you dodged another bullet. For now.

As soon as you realized that the little 7 year girl was lost, what was the first thing that you did? Did you contact the bus driver to confirm that the little girl was indeed on his bus? What would you have done if the little girl had gotten off at the wrong bus stop? Maybe you could have had a sheriff’s deputy stop the bus and find the little girl. There are many things that you could have done to ensure the safety of that little girl, but it appears that you did nothing to help. What we do know, is that you were tested by this incident and you failed miserably. I hope you realize that damage control is not a option this time.

Figgins ended his email with, “I understand that the little girl’s parents have decided to pick their kids up after school from now on. Can you blame them?”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Scott Adams, a citizen journalist for WDW – FL, has written several columns about tragedies on public school buses. Two of them led to the deaths of young children.

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Public schools not protecting the innocence of children!

true-toleranceFocus on the Family in order to protect the innocence of children has created the parent resource website TrueTolerance.org.

True Tolerance states, “It seems like almost every other day there’s another story on Fox News or CNN about sexually explicit teaching or homosexuality instruction being mandated for children as young as kindergarten—many times against their parents’ will. We’re often seeing these lessons being promoted in the name of ‘tolerance’ or ‘safe school lessons,’ which is extremely misleading and makes it hard for parents to know how to respond or learn what’s really being taught.”

“You may teach your children a biblically based point of view at home—but when they go to school they may encounter something drastically different or even opposed to what they’re learning from you and their spiritual leaders at church. So what’s a parent to do? You might feel like other parents have similar concerns, but they seem silent—and you feel alone and isolated,” notes True Tolerance.

True Tolerance warns, “It seems as if every time you turn on the TV or look at a newspaper lately, there’s a story about bullying. The federal government has had several forums on the topic and there’s been nationwide YouTube and Facebook campaigns addressing it. Unfortunately, many homosexual advocacy groups have been quick to capitalize on all of the national attention–turning the movement into a campaign for more inclusion of  controversial sexual topics in public schools.”

True Tolerance highlights words that alerts parents to programs that may deal with controversial relationships, marriage and sexuality issues—as well as sensitive topics like teen suicide, drug use and risky behaviors, such as:

• family diversity
• social justice
• anti-bullying
• tolerance
• sexual orientation
• comprehensive sex education
• safe schools
• gender identity
• health education

True Tolerance notes, “In general, federal courts have recognized the fundamental rights of parents to direct the “upbringing and education of children.” But the courts have not been helpful in explaining the specifics of that right, beyond the right to choose private or homeschool education over public education.” To assist parents True Tolerance has a page titled, “Parent Bill of Rights for Public Schools“.

Of note is the section on True Tolerance about the Gay, Lesbian Education Network (GLSEN) and the national Day of Silence and Ally Week promoted in some public schools.

True Tolerance provides a free guidebook titled, “Empowering Parents: A How-to Guide for Protecting Your Child’s Innocence and Your Family’s Values in Public Schools.

Teacher Makes $4 Million Dollars a Year

In this past weekend’s Wall Street Journal, journalist and author Amanda Ripley, profiled a teacher in South Korea who makes $4 million a year. Yes … $4 million. His name is Kim Ki-Hoon and he teaches in one of South Korea’s private, after-school tutoring academies called “hagwons” where his lectures are videotaped then available for purchase on the internet. Mr. Ki-Hoon is paid according to his demand (which, evidently, is pretty high) in what Ms. Ripley calls “a free market for teaching talent.”

These private tutors are essentially “free agents”, meaning they don’t receive a base salary—their pay is based on performance. So, how is their performance evaluated?

Ripley writes, “Performance evaluations are typically based on how many students sign up for their classes, their students’ test-score growth, and satisfaction surveys given to students and parents.”

In South Korea, students truly are the customers. If you are a highly-respected teacher in a hagwon, countless numbers of students will pay for your services, which, as Mr. Ki-Hoon has demonstrated, can become quite lucrative. Most importantly, they are getting results.

South Korean students routinely outperform students in the United States on international tests. However, this wasn’t always the case. Ripley writes, “Sixty years ago, most South Koreans were illiterate; today, South Korean 15-year-olds rank No. 2 in the world in reading, behind Shanghai. The country now has a 93% high-school graduation rate, compared with 77% in the U.S.”

A startling statistic that Ripley uncovers is that South Korean parents spend $17 billion a year on tutoring services similar to Ki-Hoon’s, while American parents spend approximately $15 billion a year on video games. According to Ripley, in South Korea, “if parents aren’t engaged, that is considered a failure of the educators, not the family.”

So, what can the United States learn from high-performing countries like South Korea when it comes to educating our kids? Ripley has embarked on finding the answer to this question in her upcoming book, The Smartest Kids in the World—and How They Got That Way, which will be released on August 13.

Ms. Ripley will be providing keynote remarks at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s upcoming education summit, Connecting the Dots, on September 17 to share what she has learned while researching the book. The annual summit will bring together leaders in business, education, and workforce development to discuss issues which are vital to America’s competitiveness.

EDITORS NOTE: This column is cross-posted with permission from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Education and Workforce blog.

Milton Friedman wrote, “Education spending will be most effective if it relies on parental choice & private initiative — the building blocks of success throughout our society.” 

Demonstrations against Common Core set for Broward & Miami-Dade on August 7th

The school board meetings in Broward and Miami-Dade counties will have parents and concerned citizens demonstrating against adoption of Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

There is growing concern that CCSS take education decisions away from parents, teachers and administrators. School boards will no longer be relevant as CCSS national standards and curriculum kick in.

Indiana has recently opted out of CCSS. As A.K. Fielding from Watchdog Wire – Indiana reported, “On Thursday, April 25, 2013, approximately 150 Hoosiers created a historic moment by coming together at the Indiana Statehouse to show support for HB 1427. The bill, introduced by Indiana State Representative Rhonda Rhoads, almost collapsed as interest groups such as the Indiana Chamber of Commerce pressed for the full implementation of the Common Core program in Indiana.”

“With the support of State Senators Scott Schneider and Dennis Kruse, HB 1427 had the opportunity to procure a vote on Friday, passing by a vote of 53-42. This means Indiana will NOT be implementing Common Core, at least for now,” noted Fielding.

Floridians Against Common Core Education is leading the charge to stop CCSS in Florida. Their goal is, “To REMOVE the Common Core State Standards from the Education System of Florida to include the FDOE Standards, Curriculum, Accountability, Software, Textbooks and ANY & ALL reference to any tools pertaining to the Common Core Standards as Our Children are NOT Common.”

In an email from Maria Peiro demonstrators will will gather in front of the School Board buildings at 12:30 p.m. Demonstrators will carry anti-Common Core signs. “The signs are to be used outside during the protest as they are not allowed to be displayed within the School Board buildings. Once the rally is over, the anti-Common Core group will go inside and watch the meeting and support those speaking against Common Core,” states Peiro.

Additionally a petition is being distributed by Thais Alvarez, Bear Witness Central Broward County Director, to the School Board members. The petition states in part:

We have forgotten that our nation is a Constitutional Republic. The following request is consistent with the principles of a Constitutional Republic, as the rules as they currently stand are not.

The purpose of this letter is to respectfully request the following:

(1) that the rules dictating how much time Residents have to speak at school board meetings be changed, effective immediately;

(2) that during the time during which a Resident is able to speak, he also be allowed to pose questions to the Board;

(3) that school board meetings be held during the evening and/or on the weekend to allow for more community involvement and attendance;

(4) that there be a Special Residents’ Meeting held once a month on a weekend day for the sole purpose of allowing Residents an opportunity to voice their concerns; and

(5) to these ends, a request is made to be notified by the person in charge to inform as to the procedure that must be carried out to effect these changes, if this respectful request does not suffice.