Dr. Rich Swier endorses McLendon, Wolff and Ziegler for Sarasota County School Board

I have been studying and writing about the Sarasota County School Board and its policies for over a decade. For the first time I am truly excited about three exceptional candidates who will bring a renewed hope and much needed change to the board.

These three candidates are deserving of your vote on August 26, 2014. 

I fully endorse, urge you to support with your donations and ask you to vote for:

     Randy McLendon – Republican School Board candidate in District 5

     Helen Wolff – Republican School Board Candidate in District 4 

     Bridget Ziegler – Republican School Board Candidate in District 1

Each of these candidates is focused on keeping our schools safe, a positive place for learning and empowering parents and teachers. All are anti-Common Core, pro-teacher, pro-student and pro-family.

Each is extremely well qualified to lead the district to new heights by empowering families, students, teachers and citizens. They will all be strong leaders and good stewards of our greatest natural resource – the children of Sarasota County.

I again urge you to support Randy, Helen and Bridget in every and any way you can. This is a county wide election.

Ballots are being mailed as I write this endorsement, if you are an early voter please cast your ballot for Randy, Helen and Bridget. It is time to vote to preserve our future – our children and grandchildren.

Did you know all of the Sarasota County School Board/Union salary and benefit negotiations are open to the public?

I didn’t think so.

If you go to the Sarasota County School District website in the lower right is a section titled “Upcoming Events”. If you click on the small print “Click for Monthly Calendars” you will learn that the School Board has since June 11th, 2014 been negotiating salaries and benefits with the Sarasota County Classified/Teachers Association (SC/TA). These negotiations are normally scheduled each Wednesday from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. The next scheduled School Board and SC/TA meeting will be on Wednesday, July 30, 2014. All negotiations are held at the SC/TA offices located at 4675 South Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL.

What you can’t find on the website is that all of these negotiations are open to the public. 

According to Scott Ferguson, Communications Specialist Sarasota County Schools, “The meeting location and dates/times are posted to our website for public notification; members of the public may attend if they wish.”

You would think the Sarasota County School Board members would want the public to know about these negotiations since salaries and benefits make up such a large portion of the district budget. According to the 2013-2014 Final Budget General Fund Executive Summary salaries and benefits make up approximately 78% of the total budget.

Why should taxpayers care about the Sarasota County School Board Budget? Because 76% of the money comes directly from local property taxes. About 23% comes from the state and less than 5% comes from the federal government.

Another reason these negotiation are important is because President Obama’s Race to the Top for Student Success, codified in Florida Senate Bill 736, requires all teachers be evaluated and paid based on performance measures.

According to the White House website on Race To The Top (RTTT):

Race to the Top marks a historic moment in American education. This initiative offers bold incentives to states willing to spur systemic reform to improve teaching and learning in America’s schools. Race to the Top has ushered in significant change in our education system, particularly in raising standards and aligning policies and structures to the goal of college and career readiness. Race to the Top has helped drive states nationwide to pursue higher standards, improve teacher effectiveness, use data effectively in the classroom, and adopt new strategies to help struggling schools.

Improve teacher effectiveness means performance pay for teachers. Specifically Florida’s RTTT for Student Success: Reforms teacher evaluations; Ends Professional Service Contracts for new teachers hired after July 1, 2011; Creates 2 pay schedules after July 1, 2014: “Performance” and “Grandfathered” Pay Schedules; Eliminates pay supplements for advanced degrees out of certification area; and Ends “last-in-first-out” for reduction in force decisions.

The Florida Education Association describes President Obama’s Race to the Top for Student Success (SB 736) thusly:

Despite all the talk about local control and less government, this bill reduces a school district’s flexibility and authority over teacher evaluations, pay schedules and working conditions. This bill gives new power and authority to the Department of Education and the Florida Legislature.

RTTT for Student Success is a component of Common Core State Standards, renamed Florida Standards.

According to the June 11, 2014 Bargaining Negotiation Notes, “Some conversation ref. highly effective teachers, summer school and performance pay – parties tabled the discussion for later.” To see a sample of the new PRIDE Teacher Evaluation Form click here or the PRIDE Document Checklist click here. Ferguson states, “Topics/proposals to be discussed at future meetings have not yet been determined.”

Taxpayers and interested citizens may want to sit in on these negotiations that will define “effective teachers” and lay out teacher “performance pay” and evaluation standards. Don’t you think?

Question from our readers: Why doesn’t the Sarasota County School Board hold all of these negotiations in the District chambers and televise them?

Florida’s State Senator Alan Hays takes up a new cause: D’Sousa’s film America

We know from our work with Florida State Senator Alan Hays (R District 11-Umatilla) that once he signs on to important legislation he is virtually unstoppable. That was the case in his four year battle to get a unique version of American Law for American Courts (ALAC) passed and enacted into law in the Sunshine State. Rabbi Jonathan Hausman, Florida Christian Family Coalition executive director Anthony Verdugo and I know his effectiveness, up close and personal, from working with him on the successful passage of ALAC in the 2014 legislative session.

Senator Alan Hayes

Florida State Senator Alan Hays

But that wasn’t all, he led the charge in the Florida Senate passing important legislation during the same legislative session assuring that world history texts used by school local districts are reviewed to assure that they are both accurate and fact-based. Back in the 2012 we also worked with him in successfully passing a Florida version of the Stand with Israel Resolution with unanimous bi-partisan vote.

Now, Hays has a new cause. According to an article in the Hollywood Reporter, Hays will introduce a one page bill in November 2014 mandating the viewing of Dinesh D’Souza’s new docudrama, America: Imagine the World Without her  in 1,700 Florida public middle and high schools, unless objected to by parents.  D’Souza’s also produced the docudrama 2016: Obama’s America. His latest film launched this month is based on the companion book by the same title, currently No. 2 on the New York Times best seller list. This despite the rising conservative media star D’Souza’s  political finance legal problems.

Watch the Trailer for America.

The Hollywood Reporter report noted Hays’ reasons for his proposed legislation:

Hays said the purpose of his proposal is to introduce more balance into Florida schools.

“I saw the movie and walked out of the theater and said, ‘Wow, our students need to see this.’ And it’s my plan to show it to my colleagues in the legislature, too, before they’re asked to vote on the bill,” Hays said.

I’ve looked at history books and talked to history teachers and the message the students are getting is very different from what is in the movie,” Hays said. “It’s dishonest and insulting. The students need to see the truth without political favoritism.”

“The most dreaded disease in America today is political correctness. We need to inform our students of our whole history, and teach them how to think, not what to think,” Hays said. “Let them talk with their teachers, their peers and their parents, then draw their own conclusions. But they need both sides, and this movie shows a side they just aren’t seeing.”

Hays said his intent is to reach out to charitable groups that would supply schools with the necessary copies of the movie so as not to burden Florida taxpayers.

As Hays noted, that might mean pairing off D’Sousa’s  with  the oeuvre of liberal filmmakers currently shown in Florida’s schools. The Hollywood reporter noted:

To that end, Hays said he wouldn’t object if teachers paired America with a liberal film to show the political differences. Indeed, many schools already show Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth and some of Michael Moore’s left-leaning films, though it’s certainly more unusual to actually require the viewing of a particular movie, as Hays intends with his bill.

We wish Hays the best on his new cause. American history, taught in public school classrooms, doesn’t need inaccurate politically correct meta narratives passed off as truth.  Bravo to our friend Sen. Hays for picking up the cudgel on this important initiative.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on the New English Review.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio gives defining pro-family, pro-straight and pro-American speech

Florida Senator Marco Rubio has taken on social issues in a major speech given at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Senator Rubio is taking the high ground on issues that are important to the majority of Americans.

In “Strong Values for a Strong America” Rubio states, “A strong America is not possible without strong Americans – a people formed by the values necessary for success, the values of education and hard work, strong marriages and empowered parents. These are values that made us the greatest nation ever, and these are the values that will lead us to a future even better than our past.”

Rubio notes, “No one is born with the values crucial to the success sequence. They have to be taught to us and they have to be reinforced. Strong families are the primary and most effective teachers of these values. As the social philosopher Michael Novak once said, the family is the original and best department of health, education and welfare. It is crucial in developing the character of the young. And those efforts can be reinforced in our schools, religious institutions, civic groups and our society.”

Rubio comes out strong as the pro-family, pro-straight and pro-American candidate for President in 2016. Immediately after his speech Rubio was attacked for the following statement:

Now, I know that given the current cultural debates in our country, many expect that a speech on values would necessarily touch upon issues like same sex marriage and abortion. These are important issues and they relate to deeply held beliefs and deeply divisive ideas.

We should acknowledge that our history is marred by discrimination against gays and lesbians. There was once a time when the federal government not only banned the hiring of gay employees, it required private contractors to identify and fire them. Some laws prohibited gays from being served in bars and restaurants. And many cities carried out law enforcement efforts targeting gay Americans.

Fortunately, we have come a long way since then. But many committed gay and lesbian couples feel humiliated by the law’s failure to recognize their relationship as a marriage. And supporters of same sex marriage argue that laws banning same sex marriage are discrimination.

I respect their arguments. And I would concede that they pose a legitimate question for lawmakers and for society.

But there is another side of debate. Thousands of years of human history have shown that the ideal setting for children to grow up is with a mother and a father committed to one another, living together, and sharing the responsibility of raising their children. And since traditional marriage has such an extraordinary record of success at raising children into strong and successful adults, states in our country have long elevated this institution and set it apart in our laws.

That is the definition of marriage that I personally support – not because I seek to discriminate against people who love someone of the same sex, but because I believe that the union of one man and one woman is a special relationship that has proven to be of great benefit to our society, our nation and our people, and therefore deserves to be elevated in our laws.

Watch the YouTube video of Rubio’s speech:

Read the full text of Rubio’s speech here.

In Florida 1 million Christians either did not register or did not vote in the 2010 general election. Obama won Florida by less than 80,000 votes. Perhaps Rubio is on to something?

When tolerance becomes a one-way street it leads to at best religious intolerance and at its worst social suicide. Rubio has taken the moral high ground.

RELATED ARTICLE: ‘Straight White Guy’ Festival Outrages Same-Sex Marriage Supporters

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is courtesy of  M.Scott Mahaskey/POLITICO.

Common Core is tool to produce a “Commie Corps” by Rabbi Aryeh Spero

Barack Obama declared six years ago that the ultimate goal of his presidency was to fundamentally transform America. This has been not only his agenda, but for decades the goal of America’s political left wing. To transform a country one must first transform its people. Transformation takes place by changing the values by which people live and by changing their self-perception of who they are and what they are supposed to become.

Common Core does exactly that.

Common Core is to education what Obamacare is to healthcare. The purpose of both programs is to take away one’s individual choice, be it regarding healthcare or local influence on education. Both programs are transformative since they assault the most fundamental American liberties, the freedom to choose one’s doctor and medical remedies, and the freedom to educate one’s children by local values. Both programs give federal bureaucrats control over these most important aspects of life. They disenfranchise us as patients and parents. Controlling the lives of “those below” is the animating principle of Leftism and the elitists who wish to do the controlling.

A communist society takes choice away from the people and places it in the hands of a centralized apparatus removed from the people. In other words, it deprives the individual his liberty. Through centralization, the individual loses not only his liberty but is socially engineered to think a certain way and act in conformity and lock-step with how the ruling elite want its new underclass to act. Common Core seeks to create a common-ness among people, what the Communists refer to as “the masses.” America’s students are being groomed today to be future members of the “Commie Corps,” advocates and robots of a trans-individual system.

Americans have succeeded because of our special Judeo-Christian outlook on life, local control, and the confidence in a rugged individualism that inspired us to be the best we can be. Common Core changes all that. Our children will be trained by educators not to be rugged but common; not masters of our own fate but subjects of a ruling bureaucracy; not the possessors of a unique Judeo-Christian outlook but proponents of a transnational, socialist worldview.

One of the hallmarks and goals of socialist Marxism is to strip a country of its unique culture, history, attitudes, and self-perception. The first order of business for the Russian communists was to denude Russia of its Russo-ism as did Mao when stripping his country of its unique Chinese heritage. Thus, throughout the curriculum of Common Core, American heroes are minimized and castigated, our history maligned, our historic values seen as an affront to multiculturalism. Much of Common Core is an indictment of America. It indicts so as to remove.

Too often far more information is supplied about Islam and too little about Christianity and Judaism. For many in the ruling clique, the Biblical religions and Testaments of Christianity and Judaism are passé and the problem while Islam and its Koran are seen as the new universal religion requiring our veneration. President Obama and Hillary Clinton epitomize this attitude of deference, often referring in their remarks to the “Holy Koran” and “the Prophet,” majestic references they rarely extend to Christianity or Judaism.

By transforming the values of our children, as well as their perception of themselves as individuals, the ruling elites will be able to transform America completely and create transnational citizens, pupils educated to conform to the social engineering from above. Common Core is the ultimate vehicle in erasing excellence for mediocrity and individuality for conformity. Common Core reflects the arrogance of the social engineers and their condescension and little regard for their “subjects” below. Common Core is the thief that robs individual students of their potential.

Because of Obamacare, many outstanding doctors are leaving the practice of medicine. Understandably, they wish not to be pre-programmed, mere medical clerks of the government… as if they were postal workers. It is an affront to the creativity, integrity, and the personal spirit they were trained to give to their craft. Similarly, we now hear of outstanding teachers who are leaving our schools and teaching due to the imposition of Common Core.

As with the students, their individuality is being snatched away through mandates of a new centralized education system. They will no longer be able to teach in a manner that reflects their innate talents, their unique intuition and experience, their personal insight. As with anything socialist and Marxist, the personal is crushed. It extinguishes the fire in the provider and levels and deadens the spirit in the receiver.

Common Core will stifle the potential of our youngsters and make them much too common. It will transform America by making our would-be heroes and achievers into but robots of the Commie Corps.

Rabbi Spero is a theologian and social and political commentator. He is author of Push Back: Reclaiming Our American Judeo-Christian Spirit, and was a pulpit rabbi for almost forty years.

EDITORS NOTE: A version of this article was published in The Blaze.

The Common Core Fight: What Went Wrong, What Went Right, What To Do Next

The Washington Post reported that within two years of an organizational meeting at Bill Gates’ Seattle headquarters, 45 states and the District of Columbia had adopted the Common Core State Standards. President Obama, whose administration was “populated by former Gates Foundation staffers and associates,” was “a major booster.” 

After legislative battles this year, 42 states and the District of Columbia remain in the vise of Common Core, the federal education dictates.

One of these states, Georgia, illustrates the incredible hurdles citizen-activists face in their fight against the united forces of big government and big business.  Senator William Ligon (R-Brunswick) was blocked in his efforts to pass a Common Core withdrawal bill by the Republican governor and Republican-dominated House.

Jane Robbins, senior fellow at the American Principles in Action, which supported Ligon’s bill, comments, “During the last hearing on the bill, we saw dozens of corporate and other well-funded lobbyists parade up to the podium to explain why their interests should trump those of Georgia families.”

I observed this parade, and the smear-campaign against citizen-activists concerned about educational quality and government overreach.  While teachers and parents spoke about developmentally inappropriate assignments, mind-boggling busy-work math, and ideological curricula, the pro-Common Core lobbyists, legislators, superintendents, principals, and teachers seemed to follow a script.  I heard the same phrases repeated – “state-led,” “critical thinking skills,” “locally controlled,” “standards, not curriculum,” and on.

And then I learned that they were following a script.

Dts_news_bill_gates_wikipedia

Bill Gates. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

The script was linked in the June 7 Washington Post front-page article, “How Bill Gates pulled off the swift Common Core revolution” – published after legislatures had recessed.  These were “Talking Points” developed by the Council of Chief State School Officers, the supposedly independent organization behind Common Core.  CCSSO received over $11 million from the Gates Foundation in 2013.

That Bill Gates was “de facto organizer,” influencing states through donations to teachers unions and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, was hardly a revelation.  In August 2013, blogger Mercedes Schneider reported, “the four organizations primarily responsible for CCSS–[National Governors Association], CCSSO, Achieve, and Student Achievement Partners – have taken $147.9 million from Bill Gates.”  Jane Robbins and others also made the charge long before the Washington Post’s exposé.

The Post reported that within two years of an organizational meeting at Gates’ Seattle headquarters, 45 states and the District of Columbia had adopted the standards. President Obama, whose administration was “populated by former Gates Foundation staffers and associates,” was “a major booster.”

In the Post interview, Gates denied that he had any self-interest, but the article noted, “In February, [Gates’ company] Microsoft announced that it was joining Pearson, the world’s largest educational publisher, to load Pearson’s Common Core classroom materials on Microsoft’s tablet, the Surface.”  This allowed Microsoft to compete for school district spending with rival company Apple, whose iPad dominates in classrooms.

According to a tape released by Glenn Beck last September, in 2009 Gates told the National Conference of State Legislators that he anticipated a “large uniform base of [Common Core] customers.”

More recently, Microsoft’s website warned schools to migrate to the new Microsoft Windows operating system.  Opponents had predicted that computer-administered Common Core tests would require expensive upgrades.

Still, Common Core promotional sites, such as the Georgia pro-Chamber of Commerce Republican blog, Peach Pundit, mocked the notion of “Obamacore” and called Gates’ profit-motive a “conspiracy theory.”

Editor-in-Chief Charlie Harper testified against the Common Core withdrawal bill, while directing the smear campaign through posts and comments. He also is executive director of the non-profit PolicyBEST.

In February, PolicyBEST Policy & Research Director – and Peach Pundit blogger – “Eric the Younger” called a rally in support of Ligon’s bill a “train wreck,” filled with “crazy talk”: “It’s [sic] attendees included Jane Robins [sic], Sen. Judson Hill, Sen. William Ligon, Ralph Hudgens’ wife, “and a few of the other usual suspects.”

He promoted a new coalition that included PolicyBEST, “Better Standards For A Better Georgia.”  The “diverse group . . . brought together through the Georgia Chamber” includes 100 Black Men, Georgia Association of Educational Leaders, Georgia Association of Educators, Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, Georgia school board and school superintendents associations, Technical College System of Georgia, and the University System of Georgia.  In 2013, 100 Black Men received $583,531 from the Gates Foundation; Georgia Association of Educational Leaders received $179,015 in 2012.

Eric the Younger’s creativity only extends to name-calling, however.

Consider the CCSS “talking point”: “This has always been, and continues to be, a state-led and driven initiative. States voluntarily adopted and are currently implementing the standards. . .  .  These standards are in no way federally-mandated. . . .”

Eric the Younger dutifully wrote, “The Origins of the Common Core State Standards are here in Georgia with our former governor Sonny Perdue and State School Superintendent. . . .”

Elders, like “youngers,” also recited CCSSO’s script.  The U.S. Chamber’s President and CEO Thomas Donahue wrote in the Washington Post, “Common Core is a not curriculum, a federal program or a federal mandate.”

Peach Pundit continued its campaign of smearing and repeating with a February 10 Courier-Herald column.  After charging Common Core opponents with “a campaign of misinformation that at times borders on hysteria,” the writer essentially repeated a talking point: “Common Core is not a curriculum,” but “a set of benchmarks. . . .  The curriculum – what is taught and how – remains up to states and local school systems…”

Cited also was a June 2, 2010, press release announcing then-Governor Sonny Perdue’s release of Common Core state standards that featured a panel discussion with the CEO of the PTA and Leah Luke, 2010 Wisconsin Teacher of the Year.

Where did this idea come from?

The CCSSO toolkit recommends as key spokespeople “State Teachers of the Year,” “Award-winning school leaders and principals,” and “Heads of local PTAs.”

Nothing was left to chance in CCSSO’s well-orchestrated campaign that included strategies for “engaging” teachers, “stakeholders,” elected officials, etc. Provided were fill-in-the-blank “Scene-setting Op-ed,” “Letters to the Editor,” “Local Op-ed and Blog,” and “Teacher Communication Preferences Survey.” There were tips for pitching stories and providing background information to reporters.

Most reporters, indeed, repeated CCSSO’s “talking points.” Now an NBC reporter is on Gates’ payroll.

In spite of overwhelming odds, a couple states rejected Common Core this year, following changing public sentiment.  Pitfalls lie ahead, though.  What these are and tips for fighting them will be discussed next time in Part II.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on the Selous Foundation.

RELATED ARTICLES: 

North Carolina Governor Signs Bill to Revise Common Core
Common Core in Louisiana: Two Days, Two Lawsuits
A July 21, 2014, Update on Common Core, PARCC, and Smarter Balanced
American Federation of Teachers: “Remediating” Duncan and Retaining the “Corrupted” Common Core

Will Tomorrow’s Textbooks Call ISIS “Tolerant?”

“Islamist insurgents have issued an ultimatum to northern Iraq’s dwindling Christian population to either convert to Islam, pay a religious levy or face death, according to a statement issued by the Islamic State (Isis) and distributed in the militant-controlled city of Mosul.” (“Convert, pay tax, or die, Islamic State warns Christians,” The Guardian, July 18, 2014)

This forced tax on non-Muslims historically has been called the jizya tax.  Many Islamic states, especially the medieval caliphates and the Ottoman Empire, required Jews and Christians (traditionally placed in a dhimmi status) to “convert, pay tax, or die.”

This is history, but it is not always taught that way in our textbooks.

If we don’t speak up about how our textbooks teach history today, will tomorrow’s textbooks call ISIS “tolerant?”

See some examples below. Spread the word. Support accuracy in education.


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Common Core: “Effing the Ineffable”

“’One size fits all’ may be a term of mockery used by people who disdain the top-down solutions of centralized power; in the technocratic vision, ‘one size fits all’ describes the ideal.” – Andrew Ferguson

In his column “The Common Core Commotion: Haven’t we seen this movie before?” Andrew Ferguson gives both an historical and technocratic analysis of Common Core State Standards. Common Core is the end game of a process that began under President Ronald Reagan and is now in full force under President Barack Obama.

Ferguson writes, “The logic of education reform always points to more education reform. With experts having shown they didn’t really know how to improve education on a broad scale, and with state school officials having proved themselves in many cases to be cheats and bunco artists, the solution was clear to every educationist: State school officials should get together with experts to come up with a new reform. Except this time it would work.”

Ferguson describes the “world view” on education by technocrats like Bill Gates and those within government run education from the U.S. Department of Education to the local School Board. Ferguson describes Bill Gates thusly:

His faith is technocratic and materialist: In the end he believes the ability of highly credentialed observers to identify and solve problems through the social sciences is theoretically limitless. ‘Studies’ and ‘research’ unlock the human secret. This is the animating faith of most educationists, too. All human interactions can be dispassionately observed and their separate parts identified, isolated, analyzed, and quantified according to some version of the scientific method. The resulting data will yield reliable information about how and why we behave as we do, and from this process can be derived formulas that will be universally applicable and repeatable.

Ferguson concludes with, “The delays and distancing suggest a cloudy future for the Common Core. Even its advocates say that the best possible outcome for now involves a great deal more unpleasantness: The tests will be given to many students beginning next spring, and the results will demonstrate the catastrophic state of learning in American schools. Of course, we knew that, but still. ‘Maybe this will be a reality check,’ one booster told me the other day. ‘People will take a look at the results and say, ‘Aha! So this is what they’ve been talking about!’ It will send a very strong signal.’”

Ferguson notes, ” “Eff the Ineffable” is the technocrat’s motto.” Common Core is the technocrats way of Effing the Ineffable.

The following chart is courtesy of Education News and compares the traditional and Common Core education models:

Description

Type #1

Traditional

Classical Learning

Type #2

CSCOPE and

Common Core Standards

 

Progressive,

Radical Social Justice Agenda

     
Instruction Direct instruction by teacher Self-directed learning, group-think Emphasis on:Subjectivity, feelings, emotions, beliefs, multiculturalism, political correctness, social engineering, globalism, evolution, sexual freedom, contraceptives, environmental extremism, global warming and climate change, victimization, diversity, acceptance of homosexuality as normal, redistribution of wealth

 

 

De-emphasis on:

Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, Constitution, national sovereignty, Founding Fathers, American exceptionalism

 

     
Curriculum Academic, fact-based, skills, research Social concerns, project-based, constructivism, subjective, uses unproven fads and theories
     
Teacher’s Role Authority figure; sets the plan for the class; academic instruction Facilitator
     
Student’s Role Learn from teacher; focus on factual learning, develop foundation skills for logical and analytical reasoning, independent thinking Students teach each other; focus on feelings, emotions, opinions; group-think
     
English, Language Arts, Reading (ELAR) Phonics; classical literature; cursive handwriting; grammar; usage; correct spelling; expository, persuasive, research writing Whole language, balanced literacy,Guided Reading; no cursive writing instruction so cannot read primary documents of Founding Fathers
     
Mathematics “Drill and Skill,” four math functions learned to automaticity Fuzzy math, rejects drill and memorization of math facts, dependent on calculators
     
Social Studies Focus on American heritage and exceptionalism, national sovereignty, Founding documents Diversity, multiculturalism, globalization, revisionist history, political correctness
     
Character Development Pro-faith, self-control, personal responsibility, self-discipline, solid work ethic Secular, moral relativism, anti-faith, victimization
     
Equality Equal opportunities Equal outcomes
     
Assessment Students evaluated by earned grades, objective tests Inflated grades, subjective assessments evaluated based upon value system of grader, group grades
     
Outcomes Objective tests (right-or-wrong answers), emphasis on academic skills and knowledge Subjective assessments; emphasis on holistic, “feel good” scoring

Original chart produced by Carole H. Haynes, Ph.D. – chaynes777@gmail.comRevised chart produced 11.04.13.

Planned Parenthood To 15-year Old Girl: “Experiment by Pooping on Your Sex Partner”

Last Resistance reports, “[A] Planned Parenthood employee advises an undercover investigator, posing as a 15-year-old girl, on how to experiment with sexual bondage/sadomasochism, including gagging, whipping, defecation, emulating pornography, and going to sex stores to ‘get educated.'”

Footage was obtained by Live Action at Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains in Littleton and Lakewood, Colorado.

Watch this video of the encounter (WARNING: Material not suitable for children):

Extended footage at: http://www.PlannedParenthoodExposed.com

Time to rethink the national school based bullying campaign: Can bullying be a good thing?

When I went to public school during the 1960s in St. Louis, Missouri I experienced what was then called “peer pressure.” Today peer pressure has a new name – “bullying.” It is my experience that there are two kinds of peer pressure (bullying), the good kind and the bad kind.

Examples of positive peer pressure (bullying) include: don’t drink or use drugs, don’t drink and drive, don’t smoke, don’t have pre-marital sex, don’t hit anyone (unless in self-defense), don’t rob or steal, don’t cheat on tests, don’t lie, don’t play hooky (be a truant) from school, brush your teeth once a day (who likes a kid with bad breath and cavities?), etc. Examples of bad peer pressure are to bully students into engaging in any or all of these bad behaviors and many more.

What is the background and history of the bullying program in all public and some private K-12 schools?

In early 1993, Kevin Jennings authored the Education Committee report for the revolutionary Massachusetts ―Governor‘s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth titled Making Schools Safe for Gay and Lesbian Youth: Breaking the Silence in Schools and in Families. This was the template for the “Safe Schools” (bullying) programs in the Massachusetts Department of Education. Kevin Jennings, while President Obama’s former Safe Schools Czar from 2009 to 2011, expanded his anti-bullying campaign nation wide.

A recent example of the expansion of the on campus bullying campaign to off campus activities is in the Sarasota County Florida School Board policy 106.147. The policy states in part:

(d) Through the use of data or computer software that is accessed at a non school-related location, activity, function, or program or through the use of technology or an electronic device that is not owned, leased, or used by a school district or school, if the bullying substantially interferes with or limits the victim’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or opportunities offered by a school or substantially disrupts the education process or orderly operation of a school. This paragraph does not require a school to staff or monitor any non school-related activity, function, or program. [Emphasis mine]

Dr. Beverly Newman, Ed.D. in an email to Darrell C. Reyka, Director, Safety and Security for Sarasota County Schools states:

“Perhaps I have misread or misinterpreted the language you are proposing relative to acts that are deemed to be ‘bullying,’ since I have the understanding that the school system is seeking legal authority for expansive surveillance of students on-site and off-site (through reporting mechanisms) to monitor and punish students. My concerns center around said expansive surveillance and its psychological and legal consequences to children, such that it can become a mass data collection system on students and easily revert to a system by which students are reported by other students, their parents, or someone else for acts that are unkind and/or unwise in a type of reverse bullying, if you will.

I know of no research that proves increased surveillance of children is psychologically sound for them or academically beneficial. It is my observation over decades of classroom and administrative experience that the opposite is true. Children do not benefit from perceiving themselves to be objects of scrutiny, rather than recipients of true concern for their total well-being. Technology can never convey this human quality to children.”

Is it time to rethink this policy being aggressively implemented in elementary, middle and high schools in Florida and across the United States? Many believe so.

Dr. Newman writes, “As a school administrator for dozens of years, I concluded that over-surveillance of students can be counterproductive to learning and good conduct, in that it is an ever-present challenge to those who relish their ability to be deceptive and sneaky. Starkly, the schools with the most sophisticated and extensive surveillance systems – even in affluent areas – did not receive the results they anticipated in improving either learning or student conduct.”

morality and obedience

Morality and obedience sign. For a larger view click on the photo.

“Morality is not a matter of electronic monitoring, but a matter of moral modeling and morale building. We do not build morale by keeping our children under the watchful ‘eyes’ of machines, instead of caring eyes of devoted parents and dedicated educators, who see a whole child in context rather than an isolated act out of context,” notes Dr. Newman.

A recent study found that ostracism is worse than bullying in adults. In the UK Mail Online Victoria Woollaston writes, “The famous quote claims the only thing in life worse than being talked about, is not being talked about – and a new study may have proved this to be the case. Being ignored at work has been found to be worse for a person’s health than people who are harassed or bullied. Researchers found that while most consider ostracism less harmful than bullying, feeling excluded is significantly more likely to lead job dissatisfaction, quitting and health problems.” Read more.

Is it time to rethink the issue of peer pressure in a good sense? It stopping bad behaviors early on in children a good thing? Should schools be encouraging, as many already are, avoiding bad behaviors that are unhealthy, harmful and wrong? Should only those who are encouraging bad behaviors be punished?

Educating yourself does not mean that you were stupid in the first place; it means that you are intelligent enough to know that there is plenty left to learn. Perhaps it is time to re-educate the educators and just let kids be kids.

The Problem with the American Federation of Teachers’ Offer to “Rewrite” the Common Core Standards

A very good thing will happen on Sunday, July 13, 2014, at the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) convention in Los Angeles: The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) will be debated on the floor.

No behind-closed-doors killing of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) resolution opposing CCSS. As Politico states:

Weingarten, for instance, has repeatedly said she supports Common Core, but she also made a deliberate decision to allow a long public debate — which will be livestreamed online — on the standards. She has said the AFT is a democracy and will adopt policies favored by a majority of members, even if that means a dizzying about-face on the Common Core.

I spoke with CTU President Karen Lewis on July 10, 2014, about my concern that CTU’s anti-CCSS resolution would be somehow stifled. I learned that Lewis was instrumental in pushing for an open debate on CCSS.

There is another AFT resolution in support of CCSS. The supporting resolution assumes that CCSS is good, if only it were properly implemented. Sound familiar? As Politico notes:

The AFT will also consider a resolution — drafted by its executive council — asserting that the promise of the Common Core has been corrupted by political manipulation, administrative bungling, corporate profiteering and an invalid scoring system designed to ensure huge numbers of kids fail the new math and language arts exams that will be rolled out next spring. An even more pointed resolution flat out opposing the standards will also likely come up for a vote.

In order to preserve CCSS, AFT members are being offered a financial enticement to“rewrite” CCSS:

The American Federation of Teachers will open its annual convention Friday morning with a startling announcement: After years of strongly backing the Common Core, the union now plans to give its members grants to critique the academic standards — or to write replacement standards from scratch. …

The grant program does not need a vote from the membership to take effect. Union officials say they expect to begin distributing grants worth about $20,000 to $30,000 this fall. Local and state affiliates are eligible for the grants; AFT officials are encouraging applicants to build coalitions with parents and civic leaders, though teachers are supposed to lead the work.

Ironically, the grant money will come from the AFT Innovation Fund formerly financed by Gates to the tune of $4.4 million and doing exactly what he financed: “to work on… the Common Core State Standards.”

Aside from the Gates intention being fulfilled, however, there is a much greater problem with teachers’ “rewriting” CCSS. CCSS is a product owned by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). Thus, any content labeled “CCSS” belongs to these two organizations that control the CCSS license. Furthermore, any content in CCSS becomes static– one-size-fits-all, inflexible, unable to be adjusted– except by permission of the CCSS license owners.

And never forget: CCSS must be static because it was created to serve as the nucleus for punitive, test-driven “reform.” That was the plan since 2008 and NGA’s early press release on the issue.

Consider Louisa Moats, teacher, research, who was one of the actual “insiders” of CCSS development and who defended CCSS until she realized her work was intended as a rigid vehicle to drive test-based outcomes. What is noteworthy is that Moats was on the “inside” of CCSS development and was still kept in the dark regarding NGA’s and CCSSO’s intent to use her work as a foundation for inflexible, test-driven reform. Moats spoke about her “naïveté” in a January 2014 interview published in Huffington Post:

Marilyn Adams and I were the team of writers, recruited in 2009 by David Coleman and Sue Pimentel, who drafted the Foundational Reading Skills section of the CCSS and closely reviewed the whole ELA section for K-5. We drafted sections on Language and Writing Foundations that were not incorporated into the document as originally drafted. I am the author of the Reading Foundational Skills section of Appendix A. …

I never imagined when we were drafting standards in 2010 that major financial support would be funneled immediately into the development of standards-related tests. How naïve I was. The CCSS represent lofty aspirational goals for students aiming for four year, highly selective colleges. Realistically, at least half, if not the majority, of students are not going to meet those standards as written, although the students deserve to be well prepared for career and work through meaningful and rigorous education.

Our lofty standards are appropriate for the most academically able, but what are we going to do for the huge numbers of kids that are going to “fail” the PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) test? We need to create a wide range of educational choices and pathways to high school graduation, employment and citizenship. The Europeans got this right a long time ago.

If I could take all the money going to the testing companies and reinvest it, I’d focus on the teaching profession — recruitment, pay, work conditions, rigorous and on-going training.  [Emphasis added.]

So, to those teachers who are tempted to take AFT money in order to “”make CCSS better,” let me caution you that your work will become part of the CCSS that is ultimately locked into place and handed over to the likes of Pearson for nationwide marketing purposes.  Pearson plans to make itself indispensable and benefit handsomely from CCSS by offering assessments, curriculum to accompany those assessments, teacher development, and “data driven adaptive learning.”

Imagine how much better it will be for Pearson to be able to advertise that CCSS was “rewritten by teachers.”  That is a phenomenal selling point, not only for Pearson, but also for any influential, pro-CCSS individual taking to the cameras.

In closing, I implore my teacher practitioner colleagues nationwide: Do not allow yourselves to be in the position of Louisa Moats, who years later came to the conclusion, “I was so naive.”

We need to utterly do away with CCSS. It is my hope that one of the celebrated gains from the AFT national convention is the death of CCSS.

My best to CTU members and others who are fighting to kill CCSS.

Like my writing? Read my newly-released ed “reform” whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who in the Implosion of American Public EducationNOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE.

STUDY: Marijuana Amendment 2 troubling for Florida teens

Fresh research casts troubling light on adolescents and relaxing marijuana laws.

A newly released scientific studies showing that marijuana use among adolescents and teens causes memory loss, impairs learning, creates new driving risks and leads to addictions are causing researchers to urge caution as states such as Florida consider ballot measures to relax cannabis laws. The research reports illustrating the serious impacts of marijuana use on young brains and their development are casting a harsh light on what Florida could face among its youth if voters approve Amendment 2 on the November ballot.

While proponents portray the amendment as a narrow approval on the use of “medical marijuana” by people who are suffering from painful and debilitating illnesses, state analyses estimate that some 250,000 Floridians could be designated as “caregivers” with the authority to obtain and dispense the drug, making it much more likely it will wind up in the hands of children.

And that’s a concern to researchers who have been studying the effects of marijuana on adolescents and teens.

Northwestern University study released in December found “memory-related structures in their brains appeared to shrink and collapse inward, possibly reflecting a decrease in neurons.” Lead study author Matthew Smith said, “With the movement to decriminalize marijuana, we need more research to understand its effect on the brain.”

This, and another study released in June, should give Floridians—particularly those with school-age children—serious pause about supporting Amendment 2, which will allow marijuana to be sold widely across Florida. The indisputable experience of other states that have passed similar measures is that access and use by adolescents and teenagers increase tremendously following passage.

“Regulations to isolate youth from marijuana will work no better than tobacco or alcohol regulations,” said Bertha K Madras, Ph.D., of the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “Susceptibility to addiction is not the only serious risk adolescents face if they use marijuana; others, including altered brain structure, compromised school achievement, poorer memory, decreased motivation, reduced IQ, and elevated risk for developing psychosis, are just as disconcerting.”

In June, the Food and Drug Administration reminded Americans that the agency has not approved marijuana as a safe and effective drug for any indication. At the same time, the New England Journal of Medicine published a comprehensive study by three researchers entitled Adverse Health Effects of Marijuana Use. It asserts “the evidence clearly indicates that long-term marijuana use can lead to addiction. Indeed, approximately 9% of those who experiment with marijuana will become addicted. The number goes up to about 1 in 6 among those who start using marijuana as teenagers….” The study further notes:

  • There is an association between frequent use of marijuana from adolescence into adulthood and significant declines in IQ.
  • Adults who smoked marijuana regularly during adolescence have impaired neural connectivity (fewer fibers) in specific brain regions.
  • Failure to learn at school, even for short or sporadic periods, will interfere with the subsequent capacity to achieve increasingly challenging educational goals, a finding that may also explain the association between regular marijuana use and poor grades.
  • Marijuana is the illicit drug most frequently reported in connection with impaired driving and accidents, including fatal accidents.

The Northwestern University study found similar problems with teens who regularly used marijuana: “The brain abnormalities and memory problems were observed during the individuals’ early twenties, two years after they stopped smoking marijuana, which could indicate the long-term effects of chronic use.

In a New York Times opinion piece, T. M. Luhrmann, professor of anthropology at Stanford, recapped studies going back to 1987 on marijuana’s potentially dangerous effects on those with schizophrenia  She notes that a  2014 psychiatric overview argued that cannabis could not only lead to passing paranoid and hallucinatory experiences, but to develop into a condition that looks like schizophrenia.

“While arguments for compassion certainly resonate, we have got to protect our kids from the serious consequences that we are just beginning to understand,” said Calvina Fay, executive director of Drug Free America. “Let’s step back, take a breath, and look for ways we can help deliver scientifically valid relief to those with truly debilitating illnesses rather than a toxic weed,” said Fay.

The Florida Department of Health predicts 1,800 marijuana shops will be opened to sell marijuana under Amendment 2, as presently structured. This greater ease of access and accompanying destigmatization has led to greater use of marijuana among youths in Colorado and California after approval of medical marijuana initiatives.

florida go to pot logoABOUT THE DRUG FREE AMERICA FOUNDATION, INC.

Drug Free America Foundation, Inc. is a national and international drug policy organization promoting effective and sound drug policies, education and preventionFor more information on Drug Free America Foundation, please visit www.dfaf.org, follow DFAF on Twitter @DrugFreeAmerica and like DFAF on Facebook.

The Don’t Let Florida Go to Pot coalition is a collective effort of more than 100 local and state organizations to educate Floridians on the dangers of marijuana. From law enforcement to substance abuse groups, the coalition is working statewide to ensure public safety and the future of our youth.

How School Board member Shirley Brown sold out Sarasota County public school students for $3.5 million

Shirley Brown WEB

Shirley Brown, Democrat Candidate for Sarasota County School Board, District 4.

Shirley Brown is the Democrat candidate for the Sarasota County School Board in District 4. A campaign fund raising letter states, “Shirley Brown is Proudly Leading our A-Rated School District into 21st Century Excellence!” The letter tout’s Browns “Sound Fiscal Management”, “Educational Excellence” and “Legislative Leadership.”

But are these statements true?

Under Brown’s “legislative leadership” the Sarasota County School District applied for a U.S. Department of Education Race To The Top grant. The District’s application #0059 for RTTT grant tells an interesting story. The U.S. Department of Education review of the RTTT grant application under “Articulating a comprehensive and coherent [education] reform vision” states:

This application lacks a comprehensive and coherent reform vision.

(a) No clear understanding of what this [RTTT] program entails – there was a lack of details around the four core educational assurances. They were listed and spoken about with definitions of what is benig [sic] talked about but no plan to implement. CCSS were mentioned and implemented per state requirement but no vision of how to proceed forward.

(b) No clear evidence of deepending [sic] student learning and increasing equity

(c) Lack of details concerning specific classroom experiences that students will experience or can be identified.

The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) reviewer concludes, “The applicants [Sarasota County School Board] vision does not include a high quality plan and is not likely to result in improved student learning.” Read the full U.S. DOE review here.

After the failed U.S. DOE application, the District submitted an application to the Florida Department of Education to receive funding to implement RTTT. Florida received $700 million in RTTT money in 2009. In this case the District received $3.5 million to be used over a four year period. On January 5, 2010 Brown, and the School Board, accepted the funding and agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the FLDOE. This MOU is a prime example of Brown’s “fiscal, legislative and educational excellence leadership.”

But what strings come attached to the federal RTTT funding according to the MOU?

According to the Memorandum of Understanding between the School Board (Local Education Agency – LEA) and the FLDOE, “In order to participate, the LEA must agree to implement all applicable portions of the State Plan…”

What does the State Plan require?

The MOU states, “[The School Board] Is familiar with the State’s Race to the Top grant application and is supportive of the goals and plans for implementation and is committed to working on all applicable portions of the State Plan… [The Board] Will propose a comprehensive, interconnected plan that will drive continuous improvement of students, teachers, and principals based upon specific goals and benchmarks.” These goals and benchmarks are being developed by the state, outside corporations and non-profit entities.

This addresses Brown’s “educational leadership.” The key element of the State Reform Plan is:

Through Race to the Top, the Department is poised to weave a common core of rigorous standards and assessments into a pioneering data system that will serve as a foundation to attract, retain, and support top notch teachers and school leaders who will, in turn, improve student achievement in our schools.

When Brown signed on to taking this federal RTTT grant, she gave up her ability to “educationally lead students into the 21st century” and impact “educational excellence.” But Brown knows that as she voted for the MOU. Brown committed all the public school students be put into the Federal Common Core State Standards box of one size fits all.

Paul DiPerna from the Friedman Foundation writes, “When it comes to developing and implementing academic standards, Americans believe teachers and school district officials should take the lead.” The Friedman Foundation’s “Schooling in America Survey” found “respondents suggest it may be preferable for parents to play a larger role in development rather than implementation. Government officials at the state and federal levels should take a backseat in both.”

What did Brown get out of this in exchange for the loss of local educational control, corporate data mining of Sarasota County students, more teaching to the Common Core test standards, and an expanded teacher evaluation system tied to standardized tests? Why $3.5 million.

Is Shirley Brown “Leading our A-Rated School District into 21st Century Excellence?” Is this the kind of “leader” Sarasota County wants on the School Board? We shall see on Tuesday, August 26th.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Fewer B’s and more C’s for Sarasota schools
Florida: Sarasota County School Board Candidate calls those who question Common Core “conspiracy theorists”
States Push Back Against Common Core in Their Schools
Dr. Duke Pesta on the Shocking K-12 Common Core Sexual Education Standards

New York Magazine Writer Thinks Ravitch Will “Make” Unions “Go Republican”

I just finished writing a post about American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten’s allegiance to the Democratic Party above all else, and what link do I open up next?

That of a New York Magazine article by Jonathan Chait, entitled, Teachers Unions Turn Against Democrats.

Now that’s funny.

Apparently Chait is upset that the two political parties are not engaging in “national political debate” over “the Obama administration’s educational reforms.” Chait believes that the Republicans don’t want to admit that the Democrats are winning the competition for more charter schools and “teacher accountability.”

Republican Jeb Bush is still selling charters–but he is doing so on behalf of Democraric-run New York. Hmm. Hard to score that one.

As for “teacher accountability,” the very-test-score-driven Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) is urging USDOE to not bend when it comes to testing– and that in order to “effectively” use value-added modeling (VAM) to test teachers, more tests are better. However, Democratic Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy backed off of VAM– in favor of something worse. But then, Republican Rick Scott signed VAM into law in Florida in 2011, and it still sticks. Who s winning: Democrats or Republicans? Another tough call.

I wonder who has been appointed official scorekeeper. Who will tease out the nuances of bipartisan support for so-called “education reform”?

Anyone will do just so long as the numbers tell the preferred story, eh?

Chait also believes that “the unions” don’t want to “force” members to “choose between the union’s agenda and Obama’s.”

I don’t think “the unions”– the national unions, that is– care too much about what membership thinks. Otherwise, they might have dumped the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) by now.

But Chait isn’t finished just yet.

He is concerned about the “fraying” of the “Democratic coalition” since the national Education Association (NEA) drafted a resolution to ask for US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s resignation.

But Duncan is an easy target. After all, he has stated publicly that CCSS opposition is the result of  “white suburban moms” who realize that their kids “aren’t brilliant.” It’s a wonder that the “fray” did not begin sooner over that one.

Chait wants Race to the Top, with its goal for super teachers in every classroom, and (somehow managed despite all of the test-driven reform) the recruiting of “talent” to stay in teaching coupled with the clean, VAM-effected, surgical removal of only those “ineffective” teachers.

In addition to VAM love, Chait thinks the charter “win” is in the longer teaching day. He doesn’t mention charter school teacher burnout (and here, and also here, and here, as well).

Then Chait turns his attention to attacking education historian Diane Ravitch. HSteeped in his own delusions, he thinks that Ravitch must be out of touch in her proclaiming that so-called “education reform” is an attempt to systematically destroy public education in favor of test-score- and market-driven reforms.

Well.  I have a well-documented, 500-page, 24-chapter book for Chait to read– every page of which supports that Ravitch is right.

Chait is concerned that the Democrats and Republicans are not “debating” education reform issues. Could it be that the nuances separating the two parties are too slight to merit any meaningful debate?

But Chait is clearly dissatisfied– and has found an outlet in blaming Ravitch.

It should come as no surprise that he supports the outcome of California’s Vergara trial. He sees it as a means of  “saving” the low-income children from “ineffective” teachers. Never mind the the overwhelming evidence that the Vergara trial was a staged event lacking a solid factual basis yet well-funded and designed for replication in other major cities.

And now, for a slice of common sense:

Poor students live in poor communities where schools tend to have fewer resources (including funding) and greater stress that makes its way into the classroom. This additional stress on the classroom contributes to teacher retention issues, and where teacher retention is problematic, teacher experience also suffers.

More affluent districts are under less fiscal stress; therefore, such districts are more attractive to teachers. Teachers are more likely to remain and to gain experience.

It isn’t that difficult to understand– unless one stands on one’s head logically and believes that somehow “making” seasoned teachers stay in poorer districts will somehow resolve the economic issues faced by the school-within-community.

Back to Chait and his Ravitch rant:

Chait next takes issue with Ravitch’s “militance” as evidenced in the passage of NEA’s resolution to request Duncan’s removal– in year five that it was repeatedly proposed. Now there’s militant power.

And how about that speedy (and certainly Ravitch-forced) union denouncing of VAM? NEA has been turtle-slow to denounce VAM– even more so than AFT. (Weingarten denounced VAM in January 2014 but still enthusiastically supported Democratic Governor Malloy in June 2014, who supports a teacher evaluation system based upon student test scores that is arguably worse than VAM. Chait ought to be pleased.)

Chait closes his mark-missing article by stating his belief that the unions will “go Republican”– and that this could affect Hillary Clinton’s expected 2016 presidential run– an issue that he (of course, of course) blames on Ravitch:

… The notion of an alliance between teachers unions and Republicans may sound preposterous, but it is Republicans who are leading the charge against Common Core teaching standards.

Ultimately, the union backlash is likely to be channeled into the 2016 Democratic primary. Of the various sources of liberal dismay that may be brought to bear upon Hillary Clinton — Warren-esque concern with inequality, unease with the Clinton’s hawkish record — the most focused and organized may well be the cause of the unions. “Supporters of public education must rally and stand together and elect a president in 2016 who supports public schools,” urges Ravitch. This argument will be heard in Iowa.

Given that Weingarten just admitted membership in the secretive Democracy Alliance– one very much in tune with financing Clinton allies– it seems comical to think that AFT will “align” with Republicans.

Maybe NEA will “go Republican.”

We’ll just have to wait and see if militant Ravitch gives the order.

Like my writing? Read my newly-released ed “reform” whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who in the Implosion of American Public EducationNOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE.

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Florida: Sarasota School Board Candidate Marsh supports Common Core “sexuality education standards”

Ken Marsh, while a member of the Sarasota County School District staff, donated to the Keith Fitzgerald for Congress campaign. According to the Florida Family Policy Council Democrats Keith Fitzgerald and Ted Deutch offered HB 169 to the Florida legislature for consideration:

“This bill pushes what is called ‘comprehensive sex education’ upon our young people and requires teaching children about homosexual acts and how to use all of the available contraception devices. While giving a cursory mention of abstinence, the bill assumes the sexual involvement of most young people and by doing so the policy will actually encourage sexual experimentation by younger children”

Additionally, Fitzgerald co-sponsored HB 3: Gay Adoption, which allow gays to adopt foster children. He co-sponsored HCR 8003: Equal Rights Amendment, which is supported by feminists and gives additional legislative powers to the Congress.

sexedMarsh’s donation is consistent with his support of Common Core and its “National Sexuality Education Standards (NSES).” What exactly are these national sexuality education standards?

The National Sexuality Education Standards are “A Special Publication of the Journal of School Health.” View the National Sexuality Standards document HERE. Page 8 outlines the purpose of the National Sexuality Education Standards, which is “[I]n general to provide clear expectations about what students should know and be able to do by the conclusion of certain grade levels.” Page six states:

“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.”  [Emphasis added]

Is this sexuality curriculum intended to be incorporated into the English language arts reading assignments?  It appears so. Marsh should know as he implemented Common Core in the district.

The National Sexuality Standards document reads:

 “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. But parents, teachers, academics and legislators are fighting to retain local control of education standards. Shouldn’t sexuality education be locally controlled by parents? Apparently not for Marsh.

The National Sexuality Standards at each grade level have a module on “bullying.” To learn more about Kevin Jennings, creator of the anti-bullying campaign, go here. Marsh was also part of the District staff that recommend clarification on cyber-bullying which led to a board policy that allows the district to spy on its students. Perhaps Sarasota voters need to understand how District staff wants the authority to prohibit or be involved in the “monitoring” of  student activities while off campus. Many find this a clear over reach in authority and can place students, teachers, administrators and others, in a position to “monitor” (spy on) fellow students.

Do Sarasota County voters really want a life long bureaucrat who supports Common Core “comprehensive sex education” standards and “monitoring” of student activities while off campus on the School Board?

We shall see on election day – August 26th, 2014.