Response to Kentucky Core Academic Standards (“KCAS”) Challenge

MEMORANDUM

TO: Kentucky Department of Education (“KDE”)
Terry Holliday, Commissioner
Kentucky Board of Education (“KBE”)
RE: Kentucky Core Academic Standards (“KCAS”) Challenge

DATE: April 20, 2015

BACKGROUND: The KDE has issued a Challenge to citizens of the Commonwealth to 1) increase awareness of KCAS, adopted in 2010, in language arts and mathematics, and 2) solicit “actionable” feedback. The KDE is only allowing comments tied to a specific standard for a comment to be considered for recommendation to the Kentucky Board of Education (“KBE”). Several “Guides” for reviewing KCAS are provided online.

CONCLUSION: The online response format is not conducive to reasoned review. The KCAS is not readily evaluated by examination of individual standards alone, as the Challenge invites. Rather, as a whole, copyrighted as they are, the standards are incapable of dissection since they are all tied together, in math, for example, by conceptual categories, and are categorized into domains. Each domain contains groups of standards called clusters. Clusters and domains are organizational tools. Trying to isolate a standard for comment is like trying to untie a Gordian knot. The scheme as a whole must be analyzed; the parts cannot be separated from the whole for meaningful evaluation. A thoughtful review of KCAS as an aggregate of specific standards, does not produce a set of standards which meets the requirements of Kentucky Revised Statutes (“KRS”), specifically, but not limited to KRS 158 and 156, and especially KRS 158.6451. The KDE should recommend to the KBE that KCAS, as presently constituted, should be replaced in toto.

DISCUSSION: In 2008, Mr. Gene Wilhoit and Mr. David Coleman sought funding for their education reform idea package to improve education in America. The key to changing education in America and in Kentucky was money. Thus, the pitch to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (“Foundation”) was successful and the Foundation provided grants over time to write new standards. By 2010, the Foundation had funded political support to persuade Kentucky and other states to adopt expansive, untested changes. The Kentucky Department of Education, NOT the Kentucky legislature, was first in line to accept the new standards, and the money, or to accept the excuse from having to spend money, that went with it. Kentucky was perhaps too eager, as the KDE accepted Common Core standards before they were even finalized. The sell? The new standards were free, or so they thought. Kentucky got what it paid for, and without the Gates’ money, “we wouldn’t have been able to do this.” Terry Holliday, quoted in Layton, Lyndsey, “How Bill Gates Pulled Off The Swift Common Core Revolution,” The Washington Post, June 7, 2014. See, Footnote 1, below. For the KDE to ask citizens to comment only on “specific standards” to be heard is too little, too late and violates the spirit and the letter of our due process and public input laws. The problems with the KCAS dwarf this Challenge.

To illustrate the magnitude of problems, the following examples demonstrate how it is impossible to comment on a few specific standards. While one might comment that cursive writing should be mandatory in the KCAS at the developmentally appropriate grade level, it appears that KDE is not interested. After all, the developmental appropriateness of so many standards which are requiring very young children to write copiously, are now being questioned, especially at the early primary level and it appears that the standards were not written by people with this expertise. While many parents and teachers are finding that math problems, which used to be solved in two or three steps, now require a dozen steps with no perceivable advantage to most learners, the KDE is not interested. This failure to acknowledge problems seems to be the case, despite the fact that one original committee member reviewing math standards, refused to validate the standards and stated that they left students two years behind other learners’ achievement by the 7th Grade. While the KCAS eschews classic works of fiction in their entirety, or require only parts of texts, the KDE is perfectly happy to roll the dice, without benefit of scholarly evaluation, that replacing demonstrated classics with regulations and informational texts to read will somehow enhance college readiness.

Many citizens, parents and teachers are not willing to exchange rigorous standards for untested universal standards, just for the sake of doing so. When parents and teachers have questions about the standards, who are they going to call for answers? There is no one at the federal Department of Education who will answer, and there is certainly no one at other government offices since the standards are copyrighted by non-governmental groups and not subject to meaningful change. Who, then, is in charge of the new, untested standards? No one. Kentucky needs to take responsibility for its own standards.

It is time that the KDE take responsibility for the KCAS, which is not producing the intended results—a more rigorous set of standards that reduce the need for remedial classes at the college level—unless the primary intended result was to accept a product simply because it was free, then hope for the best. It is time to make a more thorough review. The current KCAS specific standards are deficient as implemented, and the standards must be reviewed by Kentucky educators now, as a whole. In the interim, a good set of standards should be recommended to the KBE to remedy the English/language arts standards: the 2013 Revised Massachusetts standards provide one of the best templates for Kentucky to use until a complete replacement can be finalized for both English/language arts and math in Kentucky. See, Footnote 2, below.

FOOTNOTES

1 Layton, Lyndsey. “How Bill Gates Pulled Off The Swift Common Core Revolution,” The Washington Post, June 7, 2014.

2 http://alscw.org/news/wp-content/uploads/2013 ELA_Curriculum_ Framework.pdf

KPREP TEST FUNDS TERRORISM AND ENDANGERS FAMILIES

Military Families and Kprep“Boone County, Kentucky, April 25, 2015– Some military families are outraged by the Kentucky Department of Education’s recent announcement that Kentucky families can’t opt out of the standardize KPREP testing. In a letter sent to Kentucky superintendents on March 27, 2015 Todd Allen, Assistant General Counsel, at the Kentucky Department of Education informed schools that parents don’t have any rights to direct their children’s education.”

Read entire Press Release: press release on military families opting out pdf

KEA Delegate Assembly 2015 Through The Eyes of an Informed Teacher

Steve Shreeve on Kentucky Social Study Standards

Let me start off by saying I will NEVER waste my time at another KEA event.  This was an assembly to promote an agenda, NOT to try and help solve important education issues.  The assembly ran from Wednesday evening to Friday afternoon.  Each day had a keynote speaker.  ALL speakers (except for Holliday, and I’ll get to that in a minute) were democrat politicians who were “pro-education”.  So all the other republican candidates are anti-education?!  Yes, I understand most republicans are for right to work and aren’t necessarily union friendly, but does that have anything to do with education?

The speakers were Jack Conway, Allison Lundergan Grimes, and Adam Edelen.  I and another delegate stopped Edelen after his speech and also asked him if during his JCPS audit he paid attention to the massive amounts of money being spent on assessment?  Did he know that teachers are tied to teaching KCAS standards on a tight teaching/testing schedule?  He said that he understood and would be looking into it.  Edelen was obviously in a rush and didn’t have time to chat so I think we should think about a follow up with him.  Conway was asked by the other delegate and asked about his position on CCSS and he said “I want kids to be college and career ready.” Ha!  So that means he’s for it and we need to continue to make sure he DOES NOT get elected.

Continue reading KEA Delegate Assembly 2015 Through The Eyes of an Informed Teacher

Action Alert! Can You Help?

ACTION ALERT!!!

We have received the itinerary for Secretary of Education,  Arne Duncan’s visit to Louisville on Thursday April 23.
He has four stops listed, but we feel the best place for us to gather and let him know how we feel would be at the Courier Journal on 525 W. Broadway in Louisville.
He is scheduled to speak there at 12:30. Duncan is expected to speak on Kentucky’s ESEA waiver and on the reauthorization of this key piece of education legislation in a chat with the Courier-Journal’s editorial board. It would be best if we start to arrive around 11:15. We have a professional banner and info to distribute, but if you want to make your own sign to let Mr. Duncan know how you feel about Common Core and all the useless testing, feel free to do so.
We have enclosed the link to his itinerary in case you want to show up at one of the other stops. Tell all your friends and neighbors about this. If groups want to co-ordinate carpooling, email us at kentuckiansagainstcommoncore@gmail.com and let us know so we can get the message out.
We understand that parking is available near the CJ building.
We need a large crowd to show that KY may have been first to take on Common Core, but we won’t be the last state to remove it!
Questions?
Email: KentuckiansAgainstCommonCore@gmail.com
or Terry Donoghue, 859-802-8573
or leave us a comment below

We Need Your Help!

We need your help!

Credit: AP
Credit: AP

Arne Duncan will be making a visit to Louisville April 23. If you would be interested in participating in a peaceful gathering  during one of his scheduled stops, please Inbox this page or email kentuckiansagainstcommoncore@gmail.com

We have a professional banner and information for distribution.

http://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/education/2015/04/13/arne-duncan-visit-louisville/25736477/

 

More on Arne Duncan:

Words from retiring education commissioner, Terry Holliday (from 8/2014) http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2014/08/26/kentucky-schools-chief-us-dept-of-ed-acted-contrary-to-state-federal-law-on-state-standards-assessment-process/

And be sure and watch the VIDEO!

You’ll learn Arne Duncan’s role in Common Core, along with other key players.

 

Who Do Your Children Belong To? WDRB Point of View Post

“I want to talk to you about Kentucky’s student assessment testing called KPREP.”
WDRB 41 Louisville News

“KPREP does not instruct children, isn’t a part of their grades and is up to 11 hours of “High Stakes Testing” of our children for the purpose of collecting data and tracking students in return for federal money. As a part of Common Core, the state of Kentucky mandates this non-instructional testing of our children. But Ohio and California have laws that acknowledge a parent’s right to refuse assessment testing of THEIR children for any reason. ” CONTINUE READING

Opting Out? Yes, We Can!

Photo Credit: https://teacherslettersofprofessionalconscience.wordpress.com/2015/03/29/a-teacher-tries-opting-out%EF%BB%BF/
Photo Credit: https://teacherslettersofprofessionalconscience.wordpress.com/2015/03/29/a-teacher-tries-opting-out%EF%BB%BF/

On Tuesday March 31st,  Kentucky Department of Education sent an advisory to all Superintendents in the State stating that parents choosing to opt their children out of Kentucky’s Core-Content-based curriculum and tests is not allowed.

In the email they say, “Kentucky, districts are not permitted to honor a parent’s request to opt-out of CCSS or statewide testing. Although parents have the right to opt their children out of public education by choosing home school or private school, parents do NOT have the right to pick and choose the provisions of public education with which they will comply”.
They further go on to say that the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution doesn’t apply as to whether or not you decide to have your child opt out. They don’t believe the Supreme Court when the Court says,  “ parents possess the “fundamental right” to direct the upbringing and education of their children.”
We think this is a real problem with the Common Core Standards or Kentucky Core Academic Standards, as the KDE like to call them. The creators of the Standards  think that they are above the law of the land…they don’t believe in the Constitution.
The third paragraph, particularly the second sentence, “Senate Bill 1 (2009), which was overwhelmingly supported by a bi-partisan majority of the Kentucky House and Senate, mandated Common standards “, shows more lies and innuendos from KDE. No where in SB 1 does it state that Common Standards (notice KDE has changed the name again..Common Core Standards, Kentucky Core Academic Standards, and now Common Standards) are mandated.
What was mandated is that new standards were supposed to be developed by K-12 , post-secondary, and other Kentucky educators , not created outside by non-Kentucky citizens. Twenty-nine people served on the Common Core Validation Committee and 130 people were on two decision making Standard Work Groups that developed the Common Core Standards.  NOT a one person, let us repeat, NOT one person was from Kentucky. This violates what the House and Senate members passed in SB 1 in 2009. KACC has said all along that Common Core does not conform to SB 1. Maybe it is time to let the courts see who was right!
Who do Gates, Pearson, Holliday, KDE, and others think they are to tell parents that they can’t refuse to subject  their eight year old child to a 7-hour “High Stakes” test strictly for the purpose of collecting data and tracking information in return for money? It is time for parents to say enough is enough and exercise their parental rights to refuse the KPREP test!
Read the full article on the Bluegrass Institute website here.

No Profit Left Behind

In the high-stakes world of American education, Pearson makes money even when its results don’t measure up.
By STEPHANIE SIMON

Follow the Money

The British publishing giant Pearson had made few inroads in the United States — aside from distributing the TV game show “Family Feud” — when it announced plans in the summer of 2000 to spend $2.5 billion on an American testing company.

It turned out to be an exceptionally savvy move.

The next year, Congress passed the No Child Left Behind Act, which mandated millions of new standardized tests for millions of kids in public schools. Pearson was in a prime position to capitalize.

From that perch, the company expanded rapidly, seizing on many subsequent reform trends, from online learning to the Common Core standards adopted in more than 40 states. The company has reaped the benefits: Half its $8 billion in annual global sales comes from its North American education division.

Read the rest of the article Pearson – No profit left behind – POLITICO Article.

#StopExperimentingWithOurKids Teachers! You Have to Read This!

CommonCoreTwilightZoneImagine if you will, children being video taped while taking test after test after test.  Classrooms under full video.

Imagine your children’s “confidential” survey information using by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, for whatever purpose they wish.

Imagine further with me, teachers being scapegoats for failed educational experiments conducted on your children.

This isn’t the Twilight Zone.  This is Common Core.

And this is what’s happening.  And it’s happening in Kentucky schools.

Don’t take my word for it.  Read for yourself.

Here is the link to the TPGES Student Voice Survey, where it is billed as a “class room (sic) level reporting system.”

In the last paragraph it states these surveys are featured in the Gate’s Foundation MET project. Then click on the MET hyperlink. It will take you to their report and within the first two or three pages you can read how they will use your child’s confidential survey information.

Every teacher needs to read this report.

It’s understandable that in this day and age of cameras at every stoplight, and the inability to get a simple library card without them taking your picture, we have been trained to accept a certain amount of intrusion.  But, I wonder what teachers feel about working under these conditions?

And, for parents who think, “well, about time! Teachers need more accountability!”, you might consider that this is happening within the context of Common Core.  YOU, as a parent, don’t have input.  Period.  And your children are a commodity for the State and for the Gates Foundations.

If that is not the case, please enlighten everyone as to why Kentucky came with such a high price tag?

We’re not trying to sound Orwellian here.  We’re no trying to make the front page of a conspiracy website.  We are sharing facts.  Because, “Folks, you can’t make this stuff up.”

 

 

Kentuckians Join United Opt-Out #defendchildren

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Yesterday, we talked about a parent’s right to opt-out.

But, what if you’ve mustered up your confidence, and with the Law on your side, you exercise your parental right to opt-out, only to be met with educational bullying?

Here are some steps you can take:

1. Know what opting out of the test means.

2. Know your rights regarding opting out.

3. Know the procedure for opting out in Kentucky.  You can find that information here.

If you follow these steps, and still find yourself at the mercy of an educational bully, you can file a civil rights complaint.

Find out more about the United Opt-Out and join other parents and their children across the Nation and #JustOptOut and #DefendTheChildren, visit the website home page.