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:
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.
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
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.
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.
What Should Kentucky Homeschoolers Make of the Commissioner’s Comments on Homeschool Numbers?
A recent article caused a stir among homeschoolers in Kentucky, and connections were made to Common Core. Find out what the Commissioner said and what it means for homeschoolers…
Common Core Funds The Muslim Brotherhood
Last Evening on our FB page, we posted an article about Pearson, the company that has the contract for the KPREP testing in grades 3-8 in KY, and their connection to terrorist organizations.
Carrie Cox, a friend of KACC, wrote an article this morning in ANM News showing more connections between Pearson Education and terrorist organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood http://anmnews.com/common–
Carrie also points out that on the first page of Pearson’s website www.pearson.com, it shows a Muslim woman in a hijab looking at a computer with the heading “21 Century Education”. We hope that when you read the article, you will be as upset as those of us at KACC. Our children are being educated and tested by those with known ties to terrorist organizations and it’s a bitter pill to swallow.
We asked everyone last evening to call your school superintendent and your legislator and tell them that your child will not take a test from a terrorist organization. We would like to take it one step further.
We want everyone to call Senate Education Committee Chairman Mike Wilson at 1-502-564-8100 x 717 and House Education Chairman Derrick Graham at 1-502-223-1769 and tell them that if we don’t get a bill to preclude the KY Dept. of Education from contracting with entities that have known ties to extreme organizations, our only choice then is to have our children OPT OUT of the KPREP test.
We are not telling anyone what to do, but opting out of testing maybe the only way to “stir the pot”, so to speak. We get calls and emails daily about children coming home crying about the testing and the pressure to score high.
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.
Best of luck. We all must do our part to end this nonsense. We will have other ideas as the year goes by. Let us know how your phone conversations went by emailing us at kentuckiansagainstcommoncore@
The desire to provide our children with the best possible education is universal. Even those who have no kids or whose children are long grown understand the importance of fostering a top-notch educational system that produces intelligent, well-rounded young men and woman who possess the skills and knowledge to achieve their dreams and contribute to society. However, this desire is currently being hindered by a cabal of special interest “education” groups whose intentions lie in data gathering, testing for profit and drifting as far as possible away from the foundational principles of American education. Excessive standardized testing—the love child of Common Core and big business—is strangling creativity, hobbling teachers and sending some students straight to the nurse’s office with stress-induced symptoms. One Kentucky mother is fighting back by opting her sons out of the endless testing cycle and reestablishing the parent as the true steward of their children’s education.
Mason County mother of two Laura Arrasmith, knew something was up when her son was brought to tears every night by his homework. “Last year when we started crying every night at 4th grade math I knew something was wrong,” said Arrasmith. “It wasn’t being taught the way I was taught. The teacher said his hands were tied. He had to teach it the way the standards presented it.” This inflexibility led her to books, the internet and the local chapter of Kentuckians Against Common Core (http://www.kentuckiansagainstcommoncore.com/) where she learned all about the system and its inherent testing. From there, she began questioning her kids’ school on what options were available to parents who did not want their child tested. “I emailed my principal and started asking questions,” she said. “I am the first parent in my district to even ask about opting out.”
Arrasmith was entering uncharted territory and had no baseline from which to begin. Her options were to have her kids simply leave the test blank, or keep them home on testing days. Because so many days are set aside for testing, however, the latter choice would lead to 20 or more “unexcused” absences. Also, if her sons attend on testing days but do not answer the questions, they are automatically tagged as low achievers. “If a child doesn’t test, they receive a ‘novice’ score, according to my district, which is the worst score, and that will appear on their record,” said Arrasmith. “I take issue with that. It should read ‘opted out’ rather than a made-up score.”
Arrasmith turned to the site http://unitedoptout.com/ to learn more about the process and access the current opt-out forms. Nothing is clear-cut about opting our students out of standardized testing, and many states, Kentucky included, are dealing with the situation on a case by case basis. The consequences for opting a student out are vague, and official exemptions seem reserved only for extreme cases. But if things are going to change in the Bluegrass parents need to step-up, speak-up, and demand that their children not be reduced to a collection of data that amounts to little more than fodder for profit. Arrasmith sums up her frustration, the need for action and the unfortunate truth behind Common Core. “I joined a committee at school that reviews the KPREP score card provided by the Department of Education. I did it so I could learn more and saw that it’s all a numbers game. It all boils down to money in the end—money the government dangles like a carrot in front of states. Money that greedy law makers jump to grab without considering what the consequences are to our children. These tests don’t determine a child’s progress as much as they tell the Department of Education everything under the sun about our family.”
Visit http://www.kentuckiansagainstcommoncore.com/ and http://unitedoptout.com/ Also checkout Laura’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/themovetooptoutmaysvilleky/posts/712032858894251?notif_t=notify_me to learn more about Common Core, standardized testing, and exercising your rights as concerned parents and tax-paying citizens, and say no to big business testing.
Reviewing Kentucky’s Education Power Structure: David Adkisson
There is a reason why Kentucky was the first state to adopt and implement the Common Core State Standards. As noted in an earlier article, Kentucky’s power structure consists of Gene Wilhoit, Terry Holliday, Felicia Smith, Steve Beshear, David Adkisson, Vicki Phillips, etc., 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 Gene Wilhoit, in the Common Core Standards project. In February of 2010, Governor Steve Beshear and the Commissioner of Education, Terry Holliday, adopted the Common Core State Standards (although not yet completed and without our elected legislators’ involvement).
David Adkisson, President and CEO of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, is the important third leg of this three-legged stool (along with Gene Wilhoit and Terry Holliday) that makes up the main power structure for the support and implementation of the Common Core State Standards in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
A graduate of Georgetown College, David Adkisson earned a Masters in Ethics from Harvard University in 1975. He began his career with the Chamber of Commerce, Owensboro, KY, first as a project manager and then as the executive vice president. At age 34, David was elected mayor of Owensboro and re-elected four years later.
During his 20 years of service in Kentucky, David Adkisson held several statewide leadership posts including chairman of the Kentucky Advocates for Higher Education, president of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Executives (KCCE), co-founder of Leadership Kentucky and chairman of the Kentucky Center for Public Issues.
In 1999, David Adkisson was named the president of the Birmingham, Alabama Chamber of Commerce. After nearly six years at that post he came back to Kentucky as the President and CEO of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. In 2007, he spearheaded and created a strategic plan for the State called the “New Agenda for Kentucky”, and the Chamber assembled a panel of Kentucky’s top CEOs to conduct a major study of higher education.
The actions of the next couple of years set the stage for how Kentucky ended up with Common Core (Kentucky Core Academic Standards) and why Kentucky was the first state to adopt such standards and assessments.
• A summer meeting in 2008, set up by Gene Wilhoit, a former Kentucky Commissioner of Education and then current Executive Director of the CCSSO, and David Coleman, an emerging evangelist in the standards movement who would become the so-called “architect of Common Core”, met with Bill and Melinda Gates asking them to fund their efforts in revamping U.S. education policy. Weeks passed, finally Wihoit received a call, Gates was all in. Not only did the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation bankroll the development of what became known as the Common Core State Standards, with over $200 Million, the Foundation also built political support across the country, persuading state governments to make systemic and costly changes.
• February 17, 2009 President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 into law. This legislation included $4.35 Billion in “Race to the Top” grants to entice states to file for these much needed funds, which soon included the adoption of the Common Core State Standards and their assessments, Statewide Longitudinal Data System, etc.
• Coincidentally, in early 2009, Kentucky’s Senate Bill 1 calls for major changes in its educational standards, testing, accountability and professional development. Governor Beshear signs the bill into law on March 26, 2009.
• April 2009, the development of the standards began and were overseen by the CCSSO and the NGA.
• In July of 2009, Terry Holliday, Ph.D., was selected as Kentucky’s fifth Commissioner of Education.
• Wilhoit, Executive Director of the CCSSO, working with Commissioner Holliday and 40+ other chief state school officers, convinced them to adopt the Common Core State Standards.
• February 2010, Kentucky is the first state to adopt the Common Core State Standards. This is before the draft of the grade-by-grade standards was released for public comment on March 10th, and the final set of standards were not released until June 2nd of 2010.
Now that Governor Beshear, Commissioner Holliday and the DOE had adopted the Common Core (Kentucky Core Academic Standards) without legislative or public hearings, they needed a major partner to develop a campaign to build support for this action. To the rescue, David Adkisson, President and CEO of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.
With $476,553 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce’s foundation produced a seven-minute video about the value and impact of the Common Core, a tool kit to guide employers in how to talk about its benefits with their employees, a list of key facts that could be stuffed into paycheck envelopes, and other promotional materials written by consultants. The Chamber also created a coalition on more than five dozen company executives across the state who lent their names to ads placed in business publications that supported the Common Core.
David Adkisson boasted, “The notion that the business community was behind this, those seeds were planted across the state, and that reaped a nice harvest in terms of public opinion.”
Adkisson and Commissioner Holliday built strong support for the Common Core, using millions of dollars of outside money and with little knowledge of what was actually in the Common Core,
Over time, more than $15 Million in Gates money was directed both to the state – to train teachers in Common Core practices and purchase classroom materials – and to on-the-ground advocacy and business groups to help build public support. What was also very helpful, the Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (since 2007) is Vicki Phillips, who grew up in Kentucky, went to Western Kentucky University, served seven years as the Assistant Chief Executive to the Kentucky Commissioner of Education, and still has close ties with the power structure in Kentucky’s education circles.
“Without the Gates money,” Commissioner Holliday added, “we wouldn’t have been able to do this.”
Perpetuating this action is The Fund for Transforming Education in Kentucky (The Fund) and its board of Directors which includes David Adkisson, Gene Wilhoit, Terry Holliday, Senator Mike Wilson, along with other business and academic leaders. Its mission is to “recruit, coordinate, and support expertise and resources to inspire and scale innovation and excellence in Kentucky’s public schools, resulting in a better future for all of our children”.
With the initial tests scores from this new Common Core curriculum being disappointingly down, the state now claims how well everything is working and moving our students forward to be college- and career-ready. Yet, if you look at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s “Leaders & Laggards” for the 2014 Report Card on the State of Kentucky, you’ll see a somewhat different story:
• Academic Achievement – Grade C (down from Grade A in 2007)
• Academic Achievement for Low-Income and Minority Students – Grade C
• Return on Investment – Grade C
• Truth in Advertising: Student Proficiency – Grade C
• Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness – Grade C
• 21st Century Teaching Force – Grade C
• Parental Options – Grade F
• Data Quality – Grade A
• Technology – Grade D
• International Competiveness – Grade D
• Fiscal Responsibility – Grade F
So, has the Kentucky Department of Education under Commissioner Terry Holliday and the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce led by President and CEO David Adkisson, and all this outside money, sold Kentuckians that Common Core is what is needed to move Kentucky forward in the new global economy? I think not.
More and more Kentuckians, as they understand what, why and who is fueling this Common Core initiative, will rise up and demand that they be heard by our elected legislators. But what good are public hearings if no actions are taken, or if the votes are negated?
Case in point:
• A public hearing was held on March 13, 2014 before the Senate Education Committee where substantive arguments against Common Core were made by academic experts, yet Commissioner Terry Holliday, with side-kick Kentucky Chamber President David Adkisson, praised the standards. Chair Senator Mike Wilson decided to take no action.
• Or, the public hearing on September 11, 2013 before the Administrative Regulations Review Subcommittee to consider adopting the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), where the subcommittee voted 5 to 1 saying these science standards were “deficient”, Commissioner Holliday goes running to the Governor and Governor Beshear decides to use his executive privilege and negated the vote and made the NGSS law of the state.
We must demand to be heard. Kentuckians throughout the state need to get involved and contact your state representatives and senators and voice your opposition to the Common Core (Kentucky Core Academic Standards), its aligned assessments and the insidious data collection on our students and their families.
Wayne M. Meyer, AIA
A Concerned Father / Grandfather
A 40+ Year Professional, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Read the other two articles on Gene Wilhoit and Terry Holliday:
Sources for this article:
• Lyndsey Layton’s Washington Post article, June 7, 2014, http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/how-bill-gates-pulled-off-the-swift-common-core-revolution/2014/06/07/a830e32e-ec34-11e3-9f5c-9075d5508f0a_story.html
• U.S. Chamber’s www.businessforcore.org/kentucky and “Leaders & Laggards” Kentucky’s Report Card
We’ve been growing the number of individuals who sign the petition on a daily basis. Won’t you consider adding your name to the petition?
We will use the growing numbers of signers to remind our legislators and State Board of Education that Kentuckians are in agreement…we need to stop Common Core in Kentucky!
Please take a moment and share this with everyone you know, and use the link below to read the petition and sign.
SBDM, or Site Based Decision Making was adopted in Kentucky in 1990.
“The intention of SBDM was to empower each school individually, giving further localized authority for decisions on school operational procedures, and curriculum to a body within each individual school. The body is composed of the principal, teachers (who report to the principal), parents, and a minority parent (if one is available and willing).”
So, what happened to SBDM? Read on to find out…. CLICK HERE.