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East Newton Petition to stop the implementation of Common Core

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Petition to Stop the Implementation of Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) 2013 Presented by Residents of East Newton School District We the following parents and residents of Newton County and East Newton High School District, as a show of support to our school board,urge our elected School Board Members to refuse to implement CCSSI in our local schools and let teachers have the freedom to teach what they know to be tried and true methods for learning. We sign this petition opposing CCSSI for the following reasons: I. Whereas CCSSI is Education without Representation: 1. Whereas, CCSSI was never approved by Congress. The stimulus money was already there to be used however the executive branch wanted to use it. They did not need Congressional approval to fund a new education program, so they were bypassed. Many Congressmen still know nothing about it. 2. Whereas, CCSSI was never approved by MO State legislators. Most State legislators were bypassed as well. 3. Whereas, CCSSI was never formally reviewed and approved by our local school board, and the Common Core standards are copyrighted to non-government, trade organizations; and whereas, adoption of these copyright standards creates irreversible changes to the American political system and damage to traditional education and to local autonomy; yet local schools are now left holding the bag for half of the enormous costs of its implementation. 4. Whereas, CCSSI is thus not a state-led initiative and should not be called such; it was not commissioned by any state legislature, initiated or written by any State School Boards, nor by any local school board. They had no idea Common Core even existed until it was thrust upon them by requirements to access stimulus-funded grant projects and the No Child Left Behind Waiver scheme. 5. Whereas, the State Board of Education was not authorized by language in the sections of SB 380 the Outstanding Schools Act to transfer its authority to develop state standards to a non-governmental organization that controls the number and content of the standards. Personnel of America’s Choice, owned by Pearson, spearheaded the development of the standards and personnel from Achieve Inc., having no classroom teaching experience, were chief architects of the standards, while MO faculty representative of higher education and active classroom teachers from English Language Arts and mathematics did not participate in the drafting of the standards as per MO Revised Statute Section 160.514. II. Whereas CCSSI is Taxation without Representation: 6. Whereas, CCSSI is very expensive. It is costing an estimated $16 billion for the entire nation to implement it and Missouri’s Race to the Top application estimated costs to be over $740 million. Individual school districts are committed to paying unknown costs associated with implementing Common Core assessment plans, and purchase of materials, which tax payers and their elected representatives never had any say about and which has not been tested. 7. Whereas, President Obama has announced an increase in telephone tax to pay for classroom computer technology in order to collect individual student assessment data. ConnectED could cost an additional 40 cents per month, or $5 a year, on home phone bills without approval from Congress. III. Whereas the NGA/CCSSO’s CCSSI Violates the Intent of 3 Federal Education Laws to prohibit a federal role in curriculum and assessment development: 8. Whereas, the Department of Education Organizational Act of 1979; the General Education Provision Act and the Elementary and Secondary Act of 1965 that was amended by No Child Left Behind of 2001. Each says about the same thing that “The Federal Department of Education shall not be involved in developing, supervising, or controlling instructional materials or curriculum.” CCSSI and the assessment tests coming in 2014 were partially developed (that is, funded), supervised, and will be controlled under the direction of the Federal Department of Education. 9. Whereas, CCSSI was written by a national/international cartel consisting of members of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO); the National Governors’ Association (NGA); and a chief education policy group that is part of the NGA. These groups were joined by members of the Obama Administration; a progressive group called Achieve; the national teacher unions – the FTA, NEA, the College Board and ACT, American College Test. CCSSI is driven by massive special interest groups and corporations – such as the Gates and Pearson Foundations - who stand to make billions of dollars by the schools having to purchase computers, software, for every student in the classroom and the Pearson publication of e-books instead of text books and Pearson-developed tests. The Gates and Pearson Foundations have formed a partnership to do all the training of the teachers in the new learning methods. Of course, the training also costs millions dollars. Therefore, Common Core is not just a set of minimum standards. 10. Whereas, the international influence comes from the Bill Gates Foundation and the Pearson Foundation, associated with a global publishing company based in the UK that has offices in 70 other countries, where Common Core is also being promoted and implemented; and Pearson owns America’s Choice – the company that developed the original concept/content of the Common Core State Standards and, as publicized on a Pearson website, spearheaded the development of the current standards. IV. Whereas CCSSI under the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund and the ESEA Flexibility Waiver Calls for Extensive, Invasive Data Collection on Students and Teachers: 11. Whereas, the Memorandum of Agreement between the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and the U. S. Department of Education states, “. . . the [SBAC] assessments systems developed with the RTTA grants will assess all students . . . will produce data (including student achievement data and student growth data) that can be used to inform (b) determinations of individual principal and teacher effectiveness for purposes of evaluation (p. 2); . . .Comply with . . . working with the Department to develop a strategy to make student-level data that results from the assessment system available on an ongoing basis for research, including for prospective linking, . . .” The collection of data on the teachers is making them afraid to speak out against Common Core, even though many do not like it. 12. Whereas, State Fiscal Stability Funds required agreement to the same components as Race to the Top Grant applications including enhancing the state’s longitudinal data system, and encouraging sharing of data systems among states. 13. Whereas, MO has no formal restrictions on DESE from populating data systems designed according to the National Data Model of over 400 data points including non-education related information such as religion, voting history, biometric data, etc. 14. Whereas, the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) was amended by the FDOE in Dec. 2011 to exceed the agency’s statutory authority and thus, allows invasive data collecting on both students and teachers without clear definitions or full control of what “educational interests” do with the data once they have them. V. Whereas the CC Standards and Curriculum are not Higher and are not More “Rigorous” as Touted: 15. Whereas, Missouri’s Show Me Standards requirements for proficiency in fourth grade were the second-most rigorous requirements in the country.(Phillips, Gary W. (2010). “International benchmarking: State education performance standards.” American Institutes for Research (View online at linkto the side of thepetition) but, the Common Core standards are merely internationally informed. 16. Whereas, math standards are being lowered. Even though proponents of CC state that Math teachers are beginning to teach algebra in the lower grades, that is just “window dressing.” The real teaching of algebra is being postponed from the 8th grade to the 9th grade, leaving no room for calculus in the senior year. In constructivist classrooms, children are not being asked to memorize math facts. The teaching of geometry is going to be a confusing form that was tried and thrown out of the Soviet Union 50 years ago. Children will just be learning how to read informational text at the expense of literature; that is, classical English literature is lowered from 80% to 50% in elementary school and down to 30% in high school. 17. Whereas, five of the 27 members on the review committee refused to sign off on the Common Core math and English literature saying the standards were being lowered. 18. Whereas, the dissent of 500 early childhood professionals of many professional disciplines including educators, pediatricians, and child psychologists who reviewed the standards and found they were developmentally inappropriate was ignored; and, likewise, the dissent of a coalition of over 200 educational and other leaders, representing a broad diversity of viewpoints was also ignored.   Therefore, for all of the above-stated reasons, we the following signatories ask our School District Board Members to vote against the implementation of CCSSI in our school district and let our teachers be free to use their own tried and true methods and that assessment data be managed as per MO Revised Statute 160.518:


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