Kentuckians Against Common Core Statement on 2016 Senate Bill 1


The Kentucky General Assembly has taken up amending Senate Bill 1 – a bill focused on education in Kentucky including primary and secondary school standards. It is very encouraging that the General Assembly is willing to take another look at this bill since it was the gate by which the educational experiment on our children, known as Common Core, came to Kentucky. There is much to like in the bill, such as an attempt to reform teacher and school evaluations. Section 2,Paragraph (1)(a)3 states that students get credit for arts and humanities upon completion of foreign language, application-oriented career and technical education courses, computer technology or programming courses that incorporate design and creativity.

But there are problems with it, the first of course being an absence of an outright call for repeal of the Common Core standards.

Download and read the entire statement Response to bill – 20160131 – KJS(1).

Effective Sept 2015: Feds Remove State Authority Over Special Needs Students and Redefine Who is Special Needs

Hat tip for the article: What Is Common Core

special education decided by feds

Pray that our politicians and superintendents are interested enough, and honest enough, to see through the Department of Ed, and kick to the curb its lies and false reassignments of authority that hurt our children and our Constitutional power.

Jakell Sullivan, a beautiful Utah mom who happens to be one of the most dedicated  researchers on education reform and data privacy breaches that I know, has pointed out that this week, U.S. Secretary of Education Duncan posted a “final rule” on the No Child Left Behind reauthorization.

Continue to article here.

Do Kentuckians really overwhelmingly support the Common Core State Standards – Part 2

Half of the responders were some of Holliday’s hand picked teachers. They said they wanted to hear from us. Yeah right! The upsetting part is that KDE & Holliday think we are stupid!

Obama’s Community Schools Aim to Replace Parents

As it stands today, even if we get a Conservative strongman as president and he beats the Republicrat Party into obedience, it would take decades to reverse the abysmal trend this nation is taking

Take Heart and Keep Fighting

top-20-quotes-from-abraham-lincoln-21-638Utah Senator Mike Lee offered an amendment to S. 1177 which would have allowed parents to opt their children out of the “high stakes” testing. Sen. Lee’s amendment was voted down 64-32.

One of the Senators who voted against the amendment was our own Mitch
McConnell. Apparently Senator McConnell thinks the federal government
knows better than parents and that parents have no rights. Senator
McConnell also voted for passage of S.1177.

I read a quote from President Abraham Lincoln today that I think we can apply to our current situation fighting for sound education policy.  He said, “Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.”

Some of us feel discouraged about the House approving H.R. 5, the Student Success Act last week, and the U.S. Senate yesterday passing S.1177, the Every Child Achieves Act.

We need to “have faith that right makes might.” Our message is going
out.  It is resonating.  Even if the votes didn’t go our way, we are
still making a difference in the national conversation. We are forcing
our leadership, candidates, etc. to discuss federalism as applied to

Our opposition to Common Core was cited numerous times, that is something we didn’t see even two years ago.

Notice also that three of the four presidential candidates in the U.S.
Senate (U.S. Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio) voted “no” on
S.1177.  U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) didn’t vote at all.  We are
making a difference, politicians are feeling the pressure we are
bringing to bear as grassroots


State Passes Measure to Allow Unlicensed Teachers

State Allows Unlicensed Teachers with Measure
State Allows Unlicensed Teachers with Measure

We have said from the beginning this was going to happen. When all you are doing is showing children how to pass a test you don’t need to be a certified teacher. The scary part is Kansas, much like other states, has seen a growing number of good, qualified teachers retire. One has to wonder if these experienced teachers could see the handwriting on the wall with Common Core. We need to go back and let the teachers do their job!

State passes measure to allow unlicensed teachers



More Propaganda from Kentucky Deptartment of Education

More propaganda from Kentucky Dept of Education. These are results of their academic challenge. Their press release states “Kentuckians strongly support academic standards”. But yet, when you read the release it says of those responding 50% were teachers, 8% superintendents and admins, 8% business community (Chamber) and only about 20% were parents. 20% is not strong community support for their academic standards!


Matt Bevin Intends to See Common Core Removed from Kentucky Ed Landscape

Matt Bevins vs. Common Core

“Shortly after I wrote my piece on what seemed to be a conflict of interest for Matt Bevin, the GOP nominee in Kentucky’s Governor’s race, I was contacted by someone I trust who has worked with him directly on his plan to eliminate Common Core in Kentucky.  They were aware of the facts of this claim which they state is baseless.  Through this contact Bevin provided Truth in American Education his statement.”

Reviewing Kentucky’s Education Power Structure: Vicki Phillips

Reviewing Kentucky’s Education Power Structure: Vicki Phillips

Vicki Phillips

There is a reason why Kentucky was the first state to adopt and implement the Common Core State Standards.  As noted in earlier articles, Kentucky’s power structure consists of Gene Wilhoit, Terry Holliday, Steve Beshear, David Adkisson, and Vicki Phillips, along with a bureaucratic framework that rivals most any other state.  And the timing was right as well.

In 2009 the Kentucky General Assembly passed Senate Bill 1. This legislation mandated new academic standards focused on the “critical knowledge, skills and capacities needed for success in the global economy.”  The Senate Bill 1 steering committee supported collaboration with the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), then led by former Kentucky Education Commissioner and Executive Director of the CCSSO, Gene Wilhoit, in the Common Core State Standards project.  In February of 2010, Governor Steve Beshear and the Kentucky Department of Education, with Education Commissioner, Terry Holliday, adopted the Common Core State Standards (although not yet completed and without our elected legislators’ involvement).

What made the adoption and implementation of the Common Core State Standards in Kentucky work so well, was and still is, the major financial assistance provided by Vicki Phillips, Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation since 2007.

Vicki Phillips grew up in in the small, poor, but well-named rural Kentucky town called Falls of Rough.  Not expected to amount to much, a high school friend of hers persuaded her to go to college.  She received her Bachelor’s and her Master’s from Western Kentucky University and her Doctor of Education from the University of Lincoln in England (2002).  She has worked as a teacher, served seven years as Assistant Chief Executive to the Kentucky Commissioner of Education; Superintendent of Schools in Lancaster, PA (1998-2003); Chief State School Officer for PA (2003-2004); Superintendent of Schools in Portland, OR (2004-2007); and then the Director of Education, College-Ready for the Gates Foundation.  She is still very close with her colleagues in Kentucky and has issued grants of more than $30 Million (2009-2014) to fund many of their programs.  She and Gene Wilhoit are both active as keynote speakers at numerous education conferences.

As Director of Education, College-Ready for the Gates Foundation, she has coordinated with the NGA and the CCSSO and with the Gates funding has offered consulting assistance to states for their Race to the Top applications, which in turn has led to 40+ states adopting the Common Core State Standards, its aligned assessments, data collection, teacher evaluations, etc. 

A look back at her perceived successes, while serving as the Superintendent of Portland schools, may provide some insight to her filling the position at the Gates Foundation.  While the superintendent position in the famously progressive, consensus-driven city, she closed six schools, merged nearly two dozen others through K-8 conversions, pushed to standardize the district’s curriculum, and championed new controversial measures for testing the district’s 46,000 children without much concern about the effects on the neighborhoods and schools.  A local newspaper nicknamed her “Hurricane Vicki”.

Yet Portland’s business leaders called Phillips a strong leader in a time of crisis.  With a diminishing school population and tight school budgets, she was, in their eyes, a “Rising Star”.  “She’s decisive, she’s fact-based, she’s inclusive, she listens, and she’s not afraid to change her mind when the facts tell her to change her mind,” said Sandra McDonough, President and CEO of the Portland Business Alliance.

Many teachers, however, saw Phillips’ efforts as “top-down” and disingenuously urgent.  “Her vision of an ideal school system was one with a powerful centralized office that was always reacting to problems with new mandates-sometimes, it felt, capricious,” says Karl Meiner, a high school English teacher in the district.

Even more teachers worried that the effects of her reforms would be a wholesale dumbing down of Portland’s schools.  Teachers warned against “cookie cutter” schools as Phillips pushed for what she called equity and the teachers called sameness.  “Once she knew what she wanted to do, she just did it no matter what,” says Hyung Nam, a Portland high school social studies teacher. 

Being ambitious, attuned to the concerns of business, with a legacy of top-down decisions, and standardization offered with a rhetoric of equity, Vicki Phillips, in August of 2007, became the Director of Education, College-Ready program of the Gates Foundation, with a purse of $3.4 Billion, a sum far greater than the discretionary funds in the U.S. Department of Education’s 2008 budget.

Phillips is a force to be reckoned with: “Truly, because money talks so loudly in this country, it makes her, by default, the nation’s Director of Education, in control of $3 billion smackers.” says education activist, Susan Ohanian. 

So, with the national stature of Vicki Phillips, her access to unbelievable amounts of funds, and being a home-grown product, makes her a major player in the power structure here in Kentucky.  Between Governor Beshear, Commissioner Terry Holliday, Gene Wihoit, currently the Executive Director of the Center for Innovation in Education at UK, David Adkisson, President and CEO of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, and their dear friend Vicki Phillips, is there anything this power structure cannot do, whether it is in the best interest of Kentucky’s children, or otherwise? 


Wayne M. Meyer, AIA

A Father and Grandfather                                                                                                                          A 40+ Year Professional                                                                       


(Read about the other power structure members in the KACC Archives)


Terry Donoghue