What Are Parental Rights Regarding Opting Out of Testing?

ccfec09af78ff7ff6900ef140401ad1bLet me ask you a question. Do you think Common Core matters? I hope that you think it does, and that the silence parents feel forced to succumb to will be over.  Can you legally opt your child out of the Common Core testing? Yes, you can!

Kentuckians Against Common Core receives daily contacts from parents around the Commonwealth who are fed-up with Common Core.  Our Petition grows daily! Countless hours are spent talking to parents and concerned citizens via email, text, FB messaging, and our Facebook page.

Still… teachers are scared they’ll lose their jobs if they speak out, and so many remain silent.

Parents are scared that their child will be targeted, ostracized, and bullied by school personnel if the parent opts the child out of the Common Core (Kentucky Core) testing.

Therefore, it’s vital you know your rights as parents.

We stated in our blog post here,  “Remember money is involved in the testing. If your child opts out, the school and others get a zero for the score. That translates to no federal or other organizations monies. They probably will try to go after you and your child with many different threats. If you read this article there is a line in the second last paragraph that states. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that parents possess the “fundamental right” to “direct the upbringing and education of their children. They can not take that away from you.”

This right is based on law, not opinion.

From our Ohio friends, “Refusing to allow your child to participant in state testing is a parental right guaranteed by the 14th amendment and broadly protected by the Supreme Court (see Meyer and Pierce cases). The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that parents possess the “fundamental right” to “direct the upbringing and education of their children.” Furthermore, the Court declared that “the child is not the mere creature of the State: those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right coupled with the high duty to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations” (Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 534-35). The Supreme Court criticized a state legislature for trying to interfere “with the power of parents to control the education of their own” (Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, 402.). In Meyer, the Supreme Court held that the right of parents to raise their children free from unreasonable state interferences is one of the unwritten “liberties” protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment (262 U.S. 399).”

The time to be silent is over. It’s time to opt out!

Follow the Common Core Money

Follow the Money

When you’re planning to take over education, it always helps to know where you spend your money.  Bill Gates is no different than we are when it comes to accounting.  Well, we have a lot less money to spend, so buying Kentucky and other states isn’t an option we have.

But, as this article demonstrates, “The four principal organizations associated with CCSS– NGA, CCSSO, Achieve, and Student Achievement Partners– have accepted millions from Bill Gates. In fact, prior to CCSS “completion” in June 2009, Gates had paid millions to NGA, CCSSO, and Achieve. And the millions continued to flow following CCSS completion.”

Bill has been very busy spending, and what did he get for his money? Our children.

For a complete accounting, visit PART ONE.

Correction and Apologies, and Legislators That Have Signed HB 33


Firstly, apologies to Representative Floyd & Representative Harmon, they have both in fact sponsored HB 33.

Would you like to know who else has sponsored HB 33?

Please thank your Representative if you see their name here:

HB 33 (BR 97) – T. Kerr, L. Bechler, R. Benvenuti III, K. Bratcher, R. Bunch, J. Fischer, D. Floyd, D. Hale, M. Harmon, R. Heath, K. Imes, P. Moffett, T. Moore, S. Santoro, D. St. Onge, J. Tipton, R. Webber, A. Wuchner

What does House Bill 33 say?

AN ACT relating to public school standards.
Create a new section to KRS Chapter 158 to prohibit the Kentucky Board of Education and the Kentucky Department of Education from implementing the English language arts and mathematics academic content standards developed by the Common Core Standards Initiative and the science academic content standards developed by the Next Generation Science Standards Initiative; require the state board to recommend new content standards to school districts and schools after consultation with the Council on Postsecondary Education; require public involvement in standards development; clarify the authority of the local board of education to adopt standards which differ from or exceed the standards approved by the state board; clarify that the school-based decision making councils shall develop policies based upon the standards adopted by the local boards of education; prohibit state officials from ceding control of education content standards and assessments; prohibit withholding of state funds from school districts for adopting different academic content standards; amend KRS 156.070 to limit disclosure of personally identifiable information; direct the Kentucky Board of Education to require that the Department of Education and all school districts adhere to transparency and privacy standards when outsourcing data and Web-based tasks to vendors; clarify vendor contract requirements; amend KRS 158.6453 to permit a local board of education to supplement the state board-approved academic content standards with higher and more rigorous standards and require school councils to use them to fulfill curriculum policy requirements; amend KRS 160.345 to clarify school council curriculum policy authority.

(Prefiled by the sponsor(s).)

Nov 12-To: Interim Joint Committee on Education
Jan 6-introduced in House; to Education (H)


What we need

Supporters of KACC to call their House Representative and ask them to co-sponsor the Bill.  If they’ve already sponsored the bill, call them and thank them!

We need to flip the House!  A Bill in the House is great.  Having our Representatives co-sponsor the Bill is a great way to show solidarity.  But, until the Bill can be VOTED on….


Playing Jeopardy with Kentucky’s Children

Bill Gates Buys Kentucky

Kentuckians have been left scratching their heads over the entire Common Core mess. Concerns of parents are largely ignored. Children’s test anxiety is hushed. Teacher’s love of teaching quashed.  And what was the price tag?

An unbelievable 12+ million dollars.  That’s right, Kentucky was sold.  Maybe you don’t recall a for sale sign in the yard, but follow the money and the truth will tell the story.

Kentucky Department of Education

The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) accepted the largest amount of Gates CCSS promotional cash at just over $12 million:

Date: November 2012
Purpose: To examine the use of high-quality curriculum to accelerate common core state standards implementation
Amount: $1,903,089

Date: June 2011
Purpose: to provide organizational support to the Kentucky Department of Education related to implementation of the Common Core State Standards & teacher development and evaluation systems
Amount: $9,125,277

Date: November 2010
Purpose: to develop instructional tools in literacy and mathematics aligned to the Common Core standards, and to facilitate statewide implementation of these tools in Kentucky
Amount: $1,000,000

Kentucky administered the first CCSS assessments in the nation in November 2012. However, the ACT-administered End of Course (EOC) exam was not properly scored. Ironically, a major push of CCSS is the “literacy” focus on student writing– and ACT was unable to score the constructed response items and therefore only completely scored the multiple-choice items. As a result, scoring now falls on the teachers, not the testing company who took the $1.5 million to grade the constructed response items in the first place. Here is how the KDE attempts to spin ACT’s bumbling failure into KDE triumph:

EOC testing can now move to 100% computer-based for the state accountability portion.  This means all schools can now give the EOC in the last day or so before the class ends because results are instant.  This will make a truly end-of-course test and it will make it more useful for a real final exam.

…Finally, this change (requiring teacher to grade constructed response items) from also makes the reporting of state results on a timely basis for the fall of 2013 highly probable.  
So, in summary, we believe it is a win-win for teachers and the state.  High school teachers get a more useful final exam with instant results.  The state gets accountability information and CR questions are still an important part of the model. [Emphasis and parenthetical statement added.]


In short, teachers are deprived of the dignity of creating their own exams and are instead saddled with the responsibility for grading an essay exam created by an incompetent testing corporation.

Still, Kentucky remains in CCSS.”

Who was the buyer?  Read on to find out….

Part One

Part Two

Part Three (this is the link that talks about Kentucky specifically)



Kentucky Father Fighting For Son’s Education

Kentucky Fight on Common CoreThe front lines of Common Core are beginning to resemble a true battlefield. Instead of the cooperation that is supposed to exist—that is purported to exist by the powers that be—between parents, teachers, administrators and states officials, one finds animosity, distrust, condescension and a bare-fisted power grab that threatens the very nature of American education. Where is the dialogue?

Where is the exchange of ideas and the addressing of concerns? This top-down education control maneuver is bypassing parents and sacrificing our kids on the altar of standardization. One Kentucky father has had enough, and shares his story of frustration, anger and action in the trenches of Common Core.

“This all started when we had some concerns about how our son was doing in school,” said Louisville dad Karl Steutermann. Given that his child was in the third grade, Steutermann expected to see certain basics being taught. “There were no phonics coming home, and the math was convoluted, ridiculous. They weren’t learning the times tables and how to use them to solve a problem. Instead, they were told to ‘draw a picture of 3X5,’ or ‘show 3X5 on a timeline,’ or ‘write a multiplication sentence.’ Third grade should be teaching fundamentals.”

Steutermann attempted to address his concerns with the school. “I have tremendous respect for teachers,” he said, “but their hands are tied. I was told the material is what it is and ‘we are doing the best we can do.’” The ambiguity in the questions continued and Steutermann and his wife had to seek outside help for their son in order to see improvements. In addition, the amount of work they were doing to compensate for the gaps at school was increasing. “The problems kept coming home,” he said.

“Estimate the answer, everything in the abstract. We had to work every night on reading and math. I was teaching my child, not the school.”

After voicing his concerns at an Oldham County Board of Education meeting, he received a call from the Curriculum Director. Though she didn’t make either of two meetings that were scheduled, Steutermann did end up sitting down with the superintendent. “He was arrogant,” said Steutermann,
“asking ‘Is this being recorded?’” When the concerned father explained that the curriculum was confusing and actually making it more difficult for the students to learn, he was met with condescension. “The superintendent asked ‘How many third graders have you worked with?’”

Steutermann, who possess a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Mechanical Engineering as well as an MBA, was having none of it. “I can look at my son’s homework and say ‘This is crap.’ I am qualified.”

Sadly, the rude, defensive posture taken by the superintendent is not unique. Those daring to question Common Core are being met with disrespectful, patronizing behavior suggesting its proponents have little more than attitude to back up their claims. The challenge is always twofold: first, tell us exactly what’s wrong with the standards, and second, “control” over the curriculum is handled locally, allowing for parent involvement and teacher discretion, so what’s the problem? Anyone who has spent more than five minutes dealing with the current education machine knows all too well what the problem is, and why CC is rapidly becoming yet another doomed, self-fulfilling academic prophecy.

“Every generation thinks it has ‘cracked the code,’” said Steutermann. “They are experimenting with ten years of my child’s education and it’s not worth it.”

Common Core has abandoned all common sense, and thus pointing out exactly what’s wrong quickly devolves into a who’s-on-first routine. For example, math standard 3.0A.B reads: Understand properties of multiplication and the relationship between multiplication and division. Sounds good, right? Except that if that students are taught those properties and relationships in the abstract, they skip over the fundamentals and then attempt to apply principles they have yet to master to higher order problems. In short, if one doesn’t know his or her times tables, how can one grasp the relationships factors, multiples, dividends and quotients have with one another? And when the weakness of the standard is pointed out with actual examples of absurd, ambiguous homework problems, the response is always that the standard covers appropriate academic criteria and—wait for it—the teachers are free to teach it as they see fit.

This brings us to what’s-on-second: that “freedom” the teachers possess. “They all say the world is the teacher’s oyster,” said Steutermann, “and they can use what they want. But first, they have to go through SBDM if they want to go ‘off list’ with something. There is paperwork where they have to justify
why they want to do something else. Then it has to be signed by the principal, then the superintendent, and then it goes to the state textbook committee. If teachers have this freedom at the local level, then why is it so complicated?” Also, the crux of Common Core is standardization. In testing, curriculum,
textbooks, methods, etc., the CC advocates have to maintain a blind adherence to across-the-board “standards” or the entire thing falls apart. There is no allowance for teacher discretion or veering off the pre-set academic path.

Not surprisingly, this lands us squarely on I-don’t-know third base. (“I don’t know” being the operative term and the de facto motto of Common Core.) Students are being exposed to untested and unproven methods that are designed with a one-size-fits-all mentality. Basic skill sets that were
ubiquitous 30 years ago are being abandoned under the guise of “critical thinking,” which, as Steutermann points out, is merely an administrative sleight of hand. “Common Core is curriculum. It is simply a method for getting that curriculum into the schools.” Adding, “It is a fraud, born of ignorance, arrogance and hubris. The superintendents, principals and Kentucky Department of Education say they want ‘involved’ parents. But what they really want is compliant parents.”

Hoping to reverse this course and push past the rhetoric, Steutermann is bringing together a non-political, leave-your-ideology-at-the-door assemblage of concerned parents and citizens to address the issue the head-on. “I am taking a group to Frankfort to meet with the Department of Education,” he
said. “And the ground rules are no politics, no Right, no Left.” One can only hope that those pushing the standards are as willing to put personal views aside and do what’s best for our kids.

Senate Bill 135 Clears Committee

Steve Shreeve on Kentucky Social Study Standards

Senate Bill 135 passed the Senate Education Committee today and will now move on to the Senate. Thank you to Senator John Schickel! Now, power can be vested in the Super Intendent who is appointed by the school board, all of whom are elected by you, the voters! You can read more on the KACC position on SBDM in this article:

SBDM Councils – Wrong for Kentucky Schools and Families

Top Educator Tells Public To Opt Out

Principal: “There comes a time when the rules must be broken…..That time is now”

By Carol Burris
New York’s 2013 Principal of the year Carol Burris tells us all to opt out of the high stakes testing


Last year the parents of about 60,000 New York state students decided to opt their children out of high-stakes standardized testing, putting the state at the forefront of an “opt-out” movement that is growing nationally. That movement will be put to its own test as new Common Core testing are scheduled to begin shortly in states around the country. In this post, award-winning Principal Carol Burris of South Side High School in New York explains why she is now calling for parents to choose to keep their children from taking high-stakes standardized tests even though it breaks the rules.

Read More…

Update to “Christians at the Capitol” Day!

Update from God and Country Ministries:
To all who registered for “Christians at the Capitol” day:
     The event is still on for tomorrow!
     There are many bills up for a vote we will learn of that day including ones about:  legalizing marijuana use in Ky, pro-life efforts, religious liberty, the sodomite agenda, and more.
     Please don’t let the snow that fell Monday stop you from making a stand for Biblical principles this Friday.
     Hope to see you in the Capitol city at noon tomorrow.  (You can help by spreading word about the day.  Thank you.)
In Christ,
Bro. Lee
You’ll find Kentuckians Against Common Core there with our booth, a Petition to sign, and great handouts!

SBDM Councils – Wrong for Kentucky Schools and Families

Phyllis Sparks


SBDM Councils – Wrong for Kentucky Schools and Families


“…there are limits on a board’s authority and we are not permitted

to usurp the authority of site based councils.”  

            -Local School Board Member

on the behalf of the board and superintendent

     December 2014

So often we hear that local control is better. I firmly believe that government decisions are better made at the local level. I also believe it is possible for control to become too localized. I would like to share my experience with Site Based Decision Making councils (SBDM) as a parent and a parent representative in our Kentucky schools.

In 1990, the Kentucky General Assembly, in response to a court decision, passed the Kentucky Education Reform Act also known as KERA. This education reform would dramatically change funding, curriculum, and governance of public schools in our state.

KERA legislation mandated the creation of SBDM councils.

SBDM councils are small boards within each school that provide policy, programs and curriculum for that school and also hire the principal.  Councils are composed of the school principal, three teachers, and two parents of current school students.

The design was intended to circumvent political control by powerful families who either work for the school district or live within the community. At the same time, the design excludes various constituencies including taxpayers without children enrolled in public schools.

An intentional side effect of this type of governance was to foster competition between schools within the district, aiming to drive a competitive focus on education, with the hopes of improved test scores.  The actuality is this competition has created silos of secrecy.

After enrolling my twins in 2002 with our local school, we soon discovered our son showed signs of a learning difference. With much frustration, after completion of his fourth grade year, I sought an outside diagnosis for our son.  This was when I first learned of dyslexia, and was advised our best course of action was to pursue a multi-sensory instruction known as Orton-Gillingham (OG).

To my surprise, no one – not an administrator, teacher, or special education teacher – at the elementary school was familiar with OG methodology.

I soon learned that the OG method was not only in use at an adjacent elementary school in our district, the program had been established for years!

The principal at my son’s school, by her own admission, had never heard of Orton-Gillingam. The principal, who is also the chairman of the SBDM council; the individual who oversees programs, curriculum, and controls the school’s budget, could have never brought OG to the council for consideration because she had never been exposed to it. Other schools are not obligated to share program information – successes or failures.

I believe this lack of communication was a direct result of SBDM councils.  Where countywide oversight would align the educational resources for the entire district, the silo effect created by SBDM effectively denied my son and other children an appropriate education.

As parent representatives, we do not receive training on curriculum, nor do we know the multitude of programs readily available to children. And at the end of the day, the three teachers are not willing to challenge their employer. Thus creating a dysfunction at the expense of our children.

It is also not a requirement for the principal, who presides over the council to reside within the district.  Of the principals I have served with, I have not encountered one that resided within the same county, let alone the district; yet, they are responsible for managing our tax dollars.

These duties and more should be the responsibility of the superintendent and school board members who can and should be held accountable by the voters and taxpayers of that district.  The SBDM council is not accountable to the voter or the taxpayer.

Our local school board is now very quick to dismiss any parental inquiries from the district level, and direct them to the localized SBDM councils.  No statement echoes more frequently than “That is an SBDM issue.” Parents seeking answers are frequently trapped in bureaucracy, created by the divide between the school board and SBDM.  To appeal a decision made by their local SBDM, they approach the board, which in turn, sends them back to the SBDM.

Kentucky State Senator, John Schickel has sponsored SB 135 to put the responsibility of public school education back in the hands of the superintendent and elected school board members.

Call your legislator and voice your support of SB 135.



Phyllis Sparks

SBDM Parent Representative-Walton Verona Elem., Gray Middle, and Ryle High School. Commonwealth Institute of Parent Leadership (CIPL) graduate 2009, Vice, Past President of the Kentucky Branch of the International Dyslexia Association. Vice Chair of the Boone County Republican Party and recently elected Boone County Magistrate.