FOUR dangerous bills regarding the implementation of Common Core curriculum in Arkansas have been filed recently at the state capitol. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Common Core, here are some points:
It is the Federal takeover of education.
Developed by the National Governors Association
Bureaucrats and special interest groups, NOT the parents and local community, will be calling the shots.
The government decides on what trades or professions that students can pursue.
It delays development skills to grade 5.
Will cost millions of dollars in extra costs.
Based on a failed soviet system.
Violates parents’ rights and traditional values.
Promotes History classes that focus on what is wrong with America and not what is right about it.
Science classes inject radical environment into every possible subject.
Pushes bias and indoctrination into schools.
**Be sure to read the important article below the legislator contact information!**
These dangerous bills are:
Of utmost importance to STOP ASAP is SB814 , AN ACT TO AMEND AND UPDATE THE ARKANSAS COMPREHENSIVE TESTING, ASSESSMENT, AND ACCOUNTABILITY PROGRAM; TO ALIGN POSTSECONDARY PREPARATORY PROGRAMS WITH THE STATE ASSESSMENT SYSTEM; TO DECLARE AN EMERGENCY; AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
This bill will be heard in the House Education Committee on Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.
Click here for their Agenda.
Your calls and emails to committee members are urgently needed to oppose this bill starting tonight and into tomorrow morning.
You may call 501-682-6211 to leave an urgent message for Representatives (while in session).
You may call 501-682-2902 to leave an urgent message for Senators (while in session).
FIRST PRIORITY – Sponsors:
Lead Sponsor: Senator Johnny Key (R), 870-425-5200
Lead Sponsor: Representative Les “Skip” Carnine (R), 479-636-2619
Co-sponsor: Senator Eddie Cheatham (D), 870-364-5659
Co-sponsor: Senator Joyce Elliott (D), 501-603-9546
Co-sponsor: Senator Keith Ingram (D), 870-735-9580
Co-sponsor: Representative Sheilla E. Lampkin (D), 870-723-6449
Message to Sponsors:
Please withdraw your sponsorship of this bill. Common Core is not acceptable to Arkansans. We don’t want a federal takeover of our educational system. We also don’t want bureaucrats and special interest groups calling the shots regarding our children’s education. Common Core is based on a failed soviet system, would cost millions of extra dollars, and violates parents’ rights and traditional values. I oppose such legislation, and you should, too.
SECOND PRIORITY – House Education Committee Members
|Rep. James McLean, Chair||D-63||[email protected]||870-613-0617|
|Rep. Ann Clemmer, Vice Chair||R-23||[email protected]||501-316-0364|
|Rep. Debra M. Hobbs||R-94||[email protected]||479-636-3982|
|Rep. Les “Skip” Carnine||R-90||[email protected]||479-636-2619|
|Rep. Robert E. Dale||R-68||[email protected]||479-970-3503|
|Rep. Karen S. Hopper||R-100||[email protected]||870-431-8934|
|Rep. Jody Dickinson||D-47||870-523-8222|
|Rep. John Charles Edwards||D-35||[email protected]||501-378-5500|
|Rep. Mark Biviano||R-46||[email protected]||501-230-5751|
|Rep. John Catlett||D-73||[email protected]||479-495-9662|
|Rep. Homer Lenderman||D-53||[email protected]||870-926-7914|
|Rep. Gary Deffenbaugh||R-79||[email protected]||479-719-8197|
|Rep. Jon S. Eubanks||R-74||[email protected]||479-438-0533|
|Rep. Sheilla E. Lampkin||D-9||[email protected]||870-723-6449|
|Rep. James Ratliff||D-60||[email protected]||501-454-5200|
|Rep. Bruce Cozart||R-24||[email protected]||501-627-3232|
|Rep. Charlotte Vining Douglas||R-75||[email protected]||479-632-2187|
|Rep. Mark Lowery||R-39||[email protected]||501-837-5221|
|Rep. Charles L. Armstrong||D-30||[email protected]||501-224-5071|
|Rep. Brent Talley||D-3||[email protected]||870-983-2717|
Message for committee members:
Please oppose SB814 if it comes up for a vote. Arkansans don’t want a federal takeover of our educational system. We also don’t want bureaucrats and special interest groups calling the shots regarding our children’s education. Common Core is based on a failed soviet system, would cost millions of extra dollars, and violates parents’ rights and traditional values. I oppose such legislation, and you should, too.
PLEASE take the time to read the informative article below by Barbara A. Grady Castle and Ben Duff.
It explains some background regarding Common Core curriculum, from where it came, and why it’s SO dangerous to our children.
Common Core is Rotten in Arkansas –
University of Arkansas Education Experts Oppose It, Calling it a “Devastating Blow” to Education
By Barbara A. Grady Castle and Ben Duff
As a parent of an Arkansas student, I am appalled that officials would use my children as social experiments. That of course is assuming the best of intentions from government lawmakers. As a tax payer, I believe that Arkansas should be as responsible as possible with the trust given by hard working citizens. True, education is important, but paying three times for a curriculum that is untested is not fiscal responsibility. – Ben Duff, graduate ArkansasTechUniversity
For those of you who know me, I’m sure I can be described in many ways – but being ill-informed is normally not one of them. So if I’m caught completely off guard by the problems with Common Core, how many of you are as well?
What is Common Core?
It is a set of national K-12 standards developed primarily by a nonprofit called Achieve, Inc. in Washington, D.C. under the auspices of the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. State legislators were not a part of the process (and therefore, neither were you).
How did Common Core come to Arkansas?
Common Core (CC) was a part of President Obama’s Race to the Top grant funds. This money was linked to waivers for President Bush’s No Child Left Behind standards. This was all a part of the stimulus package that none of us or our representatives had time to read.
How did Common Core come to my Attention?
When my associate, Ben Duff told me about CC several months ago, I dismissed any dangers thinking that our school board and administrators had our back. I kept moving forward with an agenda of reform. As a student I spend a lot of time in academia, and as a teacher I attempt to convince students to pursue an intellectual life. Though our culture and present educational standards are against me on this quest, I still had faith in reform through school choice. Yet with CC we will be locked in for more than a decade of failure with little in the way of significant change. Dr. Jay P. Greene of the University of Arkansas states:
Common Core is important because it is a gigantic distraction from other productive reform strategies. It will probably take about a decade for the failure of Common Core to become obvious to its most important backers. Until that time Common Core is consuming the lion’s-share of reform oxygen and resources. (Full Comment here)
Two Arkansas stalwarts in education, one of which was on the Validation Committee for Common Core and refused to sign off on it, are against its implementation as presented.
· Jay P. Greene, Ph.D., department head and 21st Century Chair in Education Reform at the University of Arkansas.
· Sandra Stotsky, Ed.D., Professor Emerita, University of Arkansas Education Reform
10 Reasons Why Arkansans Should Care
1. Common Core is the Federal Government Controlling Education. Parents have no input or representation in CC. It is one-size fits all. Dr. Greene likens it to adopting one state religion in which no other views can be exercised (see his debate with Mike Petrilli at the Fordham Institute). CC is the opposite of freedom of choice or local autonomy.
Three federal laws prohibit the federal government from guiding the educational curriculum of the state. The U.S. Constitution and state constitutions maintain that education is changed by state legislators and state school boards. (See The Role of Federal Government in Education).
Of course, CC gets around this by stating that these are just standards, not curriculum. However, notice all the curriculum vendors and corporations getting in on the act to provide new textbooks and curriculums that are aligned with CC. My son’s materials in ViloniaHigh School already state that they are in compliance with CC.
“…concerns of lawmakers….may have seemed far-fetched a few years ago – states voluntarily signed on to the standards, after all – but Obama’s insistence on tying the Common Core to No Child waivers and billions in federal grants shows that ‘it is not the least bit paranoid’ to say the federal government wants a national curriculum.”
– Neal McCluskey of the libertarian Cato Institute
2. Our Children will Suffer from this Mass Unproven Experiment. Thus Arkansas will suffer. Experts across the nation and even those who were a part of writing CC are not signing off on it. One of those is our own Dr. Stotsky who states the standards have poor quality, empty skill sets, a de-emphasis on literature, and low reading standards – SUCH AS 8TH GRADE LEVEL READING FOR 12TH GRADE STUDENTS. She explains here why they will have a hard time passing the current ACT.
“An English curriculum over-loaded with advocacy journalism or with ‘informational’ articles chosen for their topical and/or political nature should raise serious concerns among parents, school leaders, and policy makers.
Common Core’s standards not only present a serious threat to state and local education authority but also put academic quality at risk.”
– Dr. Sandra Stotsky, University of Arkansas, Common Core Standard’s Devastating Impact on Literary Study and Analytical Thinking
Dr. Stotsky says the changes we can expect to see in language arts are:
1. Teachers assigning more informational reading—over 50% required by ELA standards alone—and less imaginative literature for children or secondary students.
2. Teachers using lower quality texts because there are fewer high quality informational texts available at each grade level—and very few that are relevant to what is being taught in other subjects.
3. Teachers giving more reading comprehension exercises to practice skills-based standards.
4. Teachers giving shorter reading selections to accommodate the enormous amount of required summary writing in Common Core’s standards.
5. Teachers doing less vocabulary study because Common Core’s 6-12 vocabulary standards are weak, misleading, or uninterpretable.
6. Teachers giving inappropriate grammar lessons; they may be useful to English Language Learners but many make no sense for native English-speaking children.
The math standards will put our students about two years behind. In an article in The Atlantic, Barry Garelick writes:
“Under Common Core Standards, students will not learn traditional methods of adding and subtracting double and triple digit numbers until fourth grade. (Currently, most schools teach these skills two years earlier). The standard method for two and three digit multiplication is delayed until fifth grade….division until sixth grade.” (See full article)
Dr. James Miligram of StanfordUniversity refused to sign off on the Math standards. “It’s almost a joke to think students [who master the common standards] would be ready for math at a university.”
We can expect no better from the standards being written for science and social studies. There are very few who can or will defend this monstrous disaster in education.
Let’s get two things clear from the outset: no one has yet to convince me that Common Core is a good idea, and Common Core opponents have revealed themselves to be unsophisticated ya-hoos as easily led by weak arguments as any Ravitch-zombie.
– Dr. Jay P. Greene, University of Arkansas
3. Our Teachers and Administrators are Burdened with Learning and Teaching to the New Standards. With less teaching time, there will be more turmoil for teachers and students. Many teachers have already left the public school system due to the changes from Common Core. Whatever happened to “teachers as experts,” instead of Federal Government elites? Why are we not making their job easier instead of more difficult? Why put them in the position to receive most of the wrath of parents when their children can’t read or do math?
From a teacher quoted inThe Atlantic article: “I am teaching the traditional algorithm this year to my third graders, but was told next year with Common Core I will not be allowed to. They should use mental math, and other strategies, to add. Crazy! I am so outraged that I have decided my child is NOT going to public schools until Common Core falls flat.”
“During my practicum at ArkansasTechUniversity, my experience was frustration from the teachers implementing Common Core. The requirements were going to take three years to master and much more pressure to meet “standards.”
– Ben Duff, graduate ArkansasTechUniversity
4. Common Core Collects and Tracks data on our Children from Pre-K to 20 years old! Not just academic performance, but personal information will be tracked. Bill Gates and other big corporations are pouring millions of dollars into CC. This information will be shared with the Federal government and their corporate friends. (See National Education Data Model)
“Hopefully someday, we can track children from preschool to high school and from high school to college and college to career.” – U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, from a June 8, 2009 speech
Duncan and his cohorts have been planning this attempt at massive take-over for a long time. It is a dream-come-true for Central Planners who never let a “crisis go to waste.” (Read more here).
See article, BILL GATES’ $100 MILLION DATABASE TO TRACK STUDENTS: Corporations gaining access to grades, addresses, hobbies, attitudes.
5. Our Children will be Type Cast. CC proponents say they need all this information in order to “fit” our kids for the best career track. Isn’t this what we battled 20 years ago with school-to-work and outcome based education? It didn’t work on the local level – so it appears they have found a way to do an end-run around us.
6. Common Core will cost Arkansas BIG Money. No matter the gain the Arkansas schools are enjoying now by the Feds’ bribes to implement CC…the unfunded mandate will cost millions in teacher training, new textbooks, instructional materials, testing, technology, and data-tracking systems. A study from Fordham Institute, a pro CC organization, showed that a conservative estimate determines the cost to be $105.5 to $115.8 million in Arkansas to implement CC. We now spend 47.5 million. This is a net cost of approx. $153 million, or three times what we currently spend. (See the PDF: Putting a Price Tag on Common Core, pg. 5). What a pot of money that will be going to most favored cronies (vendors).
7. School Boards and Districts, Administrators, Teachers, and Parents cannot CHANGE the Standards. CC is copyrighted, it is privately owned. States may add up to 15% (thank you for your generosity, Central Planners) – but that’s it. http://www.corestandards.org/public-license
8. Homeschoolers, CharterSchools, and Private Schools will be Impacted. Homeschool teaching materials are already aligning with CC. The ACT, SAT, et al. will be revised to reflect the CC standards if we don’t stop them. This means that everyone will have to teach to the testing for college entry. Enough states are standing against CC now that this may not happen – so what does that mean? That kids taught the CC will not be able to meet college requirements. (See Dr. Stotsky’s article on the ACT)
9. Arkansas is Accepting Something that Almost Half the Country is either Rejecting, Pending Rejection, or Amending. What do they know that we don’t, especially when we have two experts from the UofA writing, debating, and testifying against CC?
Texas, Alaska, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Virginia have pulled out of CC.
Utah, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Missouri, Kansas, Idaho, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Michigan, and Indiana have hearings or legislation pending.
Arkansas is not even debating CC.
10. Arkansans Should Care About the Debate. Some of us missed the AETN talks on Common Core, but does that mean tough luck? Shouldn’t we have the opportunity in our good state to at least see CC in the light of day? Shouldn’t we give ample attention to both sides of the issue before we accept the standards and all that comes with them? They say the train has left the station – but that won’t matter if enough of us rally to block the track.
Senate Bill 814: Facilitates the Adoption of the CommonCoreState Standards Sponsors: Senators J. Key, Carnine, E. Cheatham, Elliott, K. Ingram, and Lampkin
(See Bill History Here)
There are many other issues that come into play regarding CC. Well known author, Stanley Kurtz’s new book, Spreading the Wealth: How Obama is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities, examines the ways in which wealth distribution will occur with CC. (Read Forbes article here)
A Few Links:
Join Arkansans Against Common Core on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ArkansasAgainstCommonCore?
Reasons to Say “No” to Common Core by Eagle Forum: http://smallhelmpressassociates.org/Common%20Core%20Talking%20Points%20against%20Common%20Core%20Curriculum%20_1_.pdf
Articles from Pioneer Institute on Public Policy regarding Common Core: http://pioneerinstitute.org/?+core
Teachers Against Common Core: http://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/
Is Common Core About to Melt Down? http://www.cato.org/blog/common-core-about-melt-down
Should the White House Control What Your Kids Learn? By Stanley Kurtz http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/09/07/should-white-house-control-what-your-kids-learn-in-school/print#ixzz25oIO40oT
Californians United Against Common Core: http://cuacc.org/
Official Common Core Website: www.corestandards.org
Barbara A. Grady Castle is a graduate student and mother of two boys. Her oldest son attends ConwayChristianSchool, and her younger son attends ViloniaHigh School. She is an advocate of Classical Christian education and has both homeschooled and taught educational conferences on this time honored method. Presently she teaches worldview, history, and literature in homeschool associations and to undergrads. www.gracedgrit.com
Ben Duff is a graduate of Arkansas Tech University and is currently a graduate student. He lives in Vilonia, Arkansas with his wife, and three children, two of which attend public school. Ben supports a return to academic excellence through the classical approach of grammar, logic, and rhetoric.
Jay P. Greene is department head and 21st Century Chair in Education Reform at the University of Arkansas. Greene conducts research and writes about education policy, including topics such as school choice, high school graduation rates, accountability, and special education.
See Dr. Greene’s Blog at www.jaypgreene.com for a full understanding of his thoughts on Common Core.
His research was cited four times in the Supreme Court’s opinions in the landmark Zelman v. Simmons-Harris case on school vouchers. His articles have appeared in policy journals, such as The Public Interest, City Journal, and Education Next, in academic journals, such as Education Finance and Policy, Economics of Education Review, and the British Journal of Political Science, as well as in major newspapers, such as the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. Jay Greene is the author of Education Myths (Rowman & Littlefield, 2005).
Greene has been a professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Houston. He received his B.A. in history from TuftsUniversity in 1988 and his Ph.D. from the Government Department at HarvardUniversity in 1995. He lives with his wife and three children in Fayetteville, AR.
See Dr. Greene’s extraordinary writing history and academic work at the University of Arkansas Education Reform website: http://www.uaedreform.org/jay-p-greene/
Sandra Stotsky, Ed.D. is Professor Emeritus, University of Arkansas. Dr. Stotsky is credited with developing one of the country’s strongest sets of academic standards for K-12 students as well as the strongest academic standards and licensure tests for prospective teachers while serving as Senior Associate Commissioner in the Massachusetts Department of Education from 1999-2003. She is also known nation-wide for her in-depth analyses of the problems in Common Core’s English language arts standards.
Her current research ranges from the deficiencies in teacher preparation programs and teacher licensure tests to the deficiencies in the K-12 reading curriculum and the question of gender bias in the curriculum. She is regularly invited to testify or submit testimony to state boards of education and state legislators on bills addressing licensure tests, licensure standards, and Common Core’s standards (e.g., Utah, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, South Carolina, and Texas).
She currently serves on several committees for the International Dyslexia Association and on the advisory board for Pioneer Institute’s Center for School Reform. She served on the National Validation Committee for the Common Core State Systemic Initiative (2009-2010), on the National Mathematics Advisory Panel (2006-2008), co-authoring its final report as well as two of its task group reports, on the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (2006-2010), and on the Steering Committee in 2003-2004 for the framework for the National Assessment of Educational Progress reading assessments for 2009 onward.
Her major publications include The Death and Resurrection of a Coherent Literature Curriculum (Rowman & Littlefield, 2012); Literary Study in Grades 9, 10, and 11: A National Survey (Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers, 2010); What’s at Stake in the K-12 Standards Wars: A Primer for Educational Policy Makers (Peter Lang, 2000); and Losing Our Language (Free Press, 1999, reprinted by Encounter Books, 2002).
Dr. Stotsky’s recent activity in 2013 (from the University of Arkansas Education Reform website, http://www.uaedreform.org/sandra-stotsky/)
Recent Professional Activities
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