Archive for April, 2013

COMMON CORE: Open Letter to Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

OPEN LETTER TO SENATE PRESIDENT PRO TEM DEL MARSH
By Elois Zeanah, President, Alabama Federation of Republican Women
April 24, 2013
====================================

Reasons to Repeal Common Core are Simple:  Retain Liberty and Sovereignty.  Adopt Strong not Mediocre Standards.  Protect Privacy of Student’s Non-Academic Information.  Don’t Waste Tax Dollars

Honorable Sir:

You are quoted in the Montgomery Advertiser article that you and other Senators do not have the information you need” to vote on SB403 to repeal Common Core and you see “no need to rush to make a decision” in this session.   Actually, the issue is not complex and there are many reasons for urgency to act in this session.  Since you could not stay to hear Heritage Foundation’s education policy expert Lindsey Burke speak at last Thursday Senate Caucus and had to leave when she was introduced, I’m listing the link to an article that is most informative and is about the best summary you can find:     http://blog.heritage.org/2013/04/23/alabama-should-lead-on-rejecting-national-standards/

Why Repealing Common Core in 2013 is Urgent

  • The Legislature should not “stand by and do nothing while a State Board of Education effectively surrendered control over Alabama’s school children to federal agencies.”[i]
  • Schools can begin to collect personal, non-academic data on our children and share this information with the federal government and third parties without parental knowledge or consent.  This was illegal under the 1974 Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).  But the Obama Administration weakened student privacy protections by rewriting FERPA, which became effective January 3, 2012.[ii] 
  • Common Core English Language Arts (ELA) and Math standards dumb down standards overall, and put our children at least two years behind their international peers, and will not prepare students for four-year universities.[iii]  
  • Common Core will be fully implemented by next legislative session if the Legislature does not act now.
  • The Legislature should not waste hundreds of millions of tax dollars[iv] to implement Common Core when it may be undone – especially when the State is so short of funding for other priorities.

Whom Should You Trust?

Ronald Reagan’s dictum of “trust but verify” seems especially relevant here.  To my knowledge there are two sides:  conservative organizations and grassroots groups on one side and funded interests of education/business on the other. 

Business:   BCA and chambers of commerce state incorrectly that Alabama needs Common Core to recruit business.  This rings hollow since Texas and Virginia, both NON-Common Core states, have the most effective business recruitment in the nation.  The vested interest of the business community is that they want schools to train their future workers.  Their motive is profit.  They even refer to our children as “human capital”.[v]  Business and education can partner without forcing all our students in a one-size-fits-all model and ceding local control.

Education:   What the State Superintendent of Education wants is, I believe, quite different from what conservative legislators want.   He comes from an NEA/AEA viewpoint.  In addition:

  • Dr. Tommy Bice is a member of CCSSO, which received millions of dollars to advocate for Common Core, is a co-owner with NGA Center for Best Practices of the copyright Common Core standards, and gets half of its funding from state and federal taxpayers?[vi]  Fordham Institute President Chester Finn described CCSSO as a major and long-term member of the liberal movement on federal education policy which has an “ancient and cozy relationship with the U.S. Education Department and can be counted on to do its bidding.” [vii] 

Dr. Bice seems to believe teachers should be trained to accept a “mind shift” to be facilitators, not teachers.  The goal of Common Core and Dr. Bice’s Plan 2020 is far different from traditional education.  Examples:  (1) The goal of curriculum should not be the coverage of content, but rather the discovery of content.”  (2) It should be the students’ voices, not the teachers’, that are heard in our classrooms.[viii]

Lastly, I want to show how Dr. Bice is being disingenuous when he states that Alabama retains full control over its standards, assessments, and curriculum.

  • Alabama MUST implement 100% of CC and cannot change, delete, or substitute any element.[ix] 
  • Alabama MUST align textbooks, testing, etc. with Common Core.
  • Alabama MUST retrain teachers.  I hear reports of monitors roaming the hallways and checking on teachers in classrooms to make sure they are teaching strictly as trained.
  • Alabama MUST replace its assessments to align with Common Core.
  • Alabama can add a token amount of additional material to Common Core (up to 15%), but this will not be assessed. (AL has added only 2.5% to ELA and 14.5% to Math.  Yet Dr. Bice calls 2.5%/14.5% of Alabama-specific standards added to 100% of Common Core as “Alabama standards”?
  • Standards determine assessments and curriculum must follow.
  • Alabama MUST follow specific percentages on what curriculum is taught in ELA – such as 70% information texts and 30% in literature in high school.  This is like putting a “strait-jacket on curriculum planning.”[x]

In conclusion, Alabama cannot “control” what it did not write, cannot change, and does not own!

Almost every national and state conservative organization opposes Common Core.  If you don’t feel you can trust conservative think-tanks, Republican-base organizations, acknowledged educational experts and members of the Common Core Validation Committee over funded interests such as the education establishment and the business lobbies, then I suggest you request that those two special-interests document HOW Common Core IS rigorous, research-based, internationally benchmarked and does not set back students two years over international peers.  So far, they’ve name-called those who bring documentation but offer no proof to counter and back-up their claims.



NOTE:  I’ve only selected a few sources as documentation but they are numerous and I could fill pages.  In fact, if you’ll check the resource guide on Common Core that Senators were provided, you’ll find some of these.  If you want more, let me know.

[i] Letter to AL Legislature dated 22 April 2013 from John Eidsmoe, a constitutional lawyer with the Foundation for Moral Law

[ii] Federal Register, Vol. 76, No. 232, 12-2-11, 34 CFR Part 99, Page 75604.  There are over 400 data points that can be collected including disciplinary records, health history, family income range, parents’ political affiliation, students’ attitudes toward a large and unlimited range of subjects including sex, and biometric personal identifiers.  Children’s personal and intimate non-academic information will be “data-mined” and shared with the federal government and sometimes sold to private interests without parental consent.  Students will be tracked from Pre-K to retirement.  Attorney Jane Robbins with the American Principles Project stated:  “Parents need to know how the massive student tracking system under Common Core will contribute to the loss of student and family privacy.”

[iii] ENGLISH:  (1) The Heritage Foundation, Issue Brief No. 3800, December 11, 2012:  “Common Core Standards’ Devastating Impact on Literary Study and Analytical Thinking” by Dr. Sandra Stotsky, Professor of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas, former Senior Associate Commissioner at the Massachusetts Dept. of Education and in charge of the development of the state’s widely praised English Language Arts standards, and member of the Common Core Validation Committee (2) Pioneer Institute:  “How Common Core’s ELA Standards Place College Readiness at Risk,” by Mark Bauerlein and Sandra Stotsky  (3)  Video of Sandra Stotsky discussing Common Core and explaining why U.S. students will be two years behind top countries by 8th grade.  http://pioneerinstitute.org/videos/sandra-stotsky-discusses-common-core/  

MATH:  CC standards are not rigorous, research-based or internationally benchmarked.  Will increase remedial work and will not adequately prepare students for four-year universities.  (1) Video with Ze’ev Wurman on faults on Common Core standards.   Wurman discusses how the CC definition of “college readiness” does not include full geometry and Algebra II; and therefore, the percentage of students needing remedial work will increase unless colleges lower their entrance expectations.  A high-tech engineer from Palo Alto, Wurman helped develop CA’s math curriculum curriculum standards and assessments.  He served as a U.S. Department of Education official under George W. Bush, is currently an executive with MonolithIC 3D Inc.  In 2010 Wurman served on the California Academic Content Standards Commission that evaluated the suitability of Common Core’s standards for California, and is coauthor of “Common Core’s Standards Still Don’t Make the Grade” (Pioneer Institute, 2010) (2) Education Next, Summer 2012:  http://educationnext.org/the-common-core-math-standards/  Wurman gives examples of how CC is not internationally benchmarked and fall behind international peers:  “Common Core defers fluency in division to grade 6. Fractions are touted as the Common Core’s greatest strength, yet the Common Core pushes teaching division of fractions to grade 6 without ever expecting students to master working with a mix of fractions and decimals. Students in Singapore, Japan, Korea, and Hong Kong achieve fluency in fractions and decimals in grade 5.” Wurman states that even with 15% additional state-specific materials on top of CC will not bring students to where they need to be in 8th grade. (3) Dr. James Milgram’s Testimony to the Indiana Senate Education Committee on December 6, 2012,  http://hoosiersagainstcommoncore.com/james-milgram-testimony-to-the-indiana-senate-committee/

[iv] Pioneer Institute and American Principles Project White Paper:  Projects initial costs to implement Common Core will be $16 billion nationwide, and $281.7 million for Alabama.

[v] http://www.edpa.org/docs/AccelerateAlabamaStrategicPlan.pdf

[vi] The Heartland Institute: “’State-Led’ Common Core Pushed by Federally Funded Nonprofit”, by Joy Pullmann, April 24, 2013, http://news.heartland.org/print/136809

[vii] Emmett McGroarty and Jane Robbins, “Controlling from the Top:  Why Common Core is Bad for America,” a Pioneer Institute and American Principles Project White Paper dated May 2012

[ix] “On the Road to Implementation” by Achieve, Inc. August 2010 http://www.achieve.org/files/FINAL-CCSSImplementationGuide.pdf, pp 20, 22, 23 and 29-30.

[x] Chasidy White, an Alabama 8th Grade World History teacher – post on Yellowhammer, April 24th.

Response to Mary Scott Hunter’s “Misinformation” Newsletter

Saturday, April 20th, 2013

By Elois Zeanah, President
Alabama Federation of Republican Women

 I’ll be watching the Alabama Senate on Tuesday with a lot of excitement. We could be seeing a new day dawning, when the states start to roll back the tide of centralization. It makes me proud to be an Alabama resident!  I hope Alabama will be the first of the 40 states that have movements afoot to withdraw from Common Core.  Virginia, Texas, Nebraska and Alaska refused to cede control to Common Core from the outset.   Undoubtedly, other states will join them.  Let’s make Alabama first!

On the other hand, the possibility that Alabama would be a leader in education by repealing Common Core, which has deficiencies that will handicap our children, makes state school board member Mary Scott Hunter sad.  This article will respond to her recent newsletter, explaining how she continues to misinform her constituents.  She seems to think that renaming Common Core “Alabama Career and College Ready Standards” will fool her constituents.  Ways Hunter tries to misinform readers will be contrasted with and follow bold reasons why SB403 has great promise to pass the Rules Committee on Tuesday and the full Senate.  

Here’s why legislators will vote for SB403.

The Republican Party Platform advocates choice and competition in Education

There is no “rift in the Republican Party” as Hunter claims in her newsletter.  It is she who has abandoned the Republican Party’s mission.  Has she read the RNC Resolution that asks legislators to repeal Common Core to unlace the “straitjacket on academic freedom”?  Has she observed that both Alabama’s U.S. Senators, four Alabama U.S. Congress Members, the ALGOP state executive committee, that National Federation of Republican Women and the Alabama Federation of Republican Women are all on record as opposing nationalized standards?  So is almost every other national and state conservative group including tea parties.  It is she who’s out of step with her own Party and conservatives.

Common Core standards put an end to choice and competition in K-12 education.  Common Core is a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all model for all states, all schools, and all students.  Centralized control of standards at the national level is a Progressive’s dream; conservatives believe in decentralized power and have always opposed giving away more local control.  Common Core standards further federalize education and erode state sovereignty!  Common Core strips parents and states of political power while the private owners of the Standards insulate themselves from legal liability by broad disclaimers for any damage their Standards cause.

 Alabama’s K-12 problem is not its standards.  The K-12 problem is that it ranks near the bottom of the fifty states in educational results.  Common Core standards fail to address structural problems; so changes in curriculum to Common Core won’t fix that problem.  Only innovations in teaching and the learning environment (through choice, competition, accountability and innovation), compared to those in other states will change that.  The Legislature has begun to address those problems.  The ARI and AMSTI are excellent examples.

Alabama has made great strides in improving reading and math scores

Hunter mis-states that “the way her son is learning Math and English right now, will go away.”  Surely she is aware that English/Language Arts standards are not scheduled to be fully implemented until AUGUST 2013.  Surely she is also aware that Common Core math just started this year and there’s been too little time to know how this is working.  We DO have results of how our Alabama Reading Initiative (ARI) and Alabama Math Initiative (AMSTI) have been working, however, and both have made Alabama a leader in education!  Alabama leads the nation in reading gains in grades four through eight.  Alabama has the second highest gain in math!  These two innovative and effective programs are the ones that will go away under Common Core.  Further, Hunter is aware of the scandal this year wherein the state superintendent misappropriated over fifty million dollars from these two proven programs, without the knowledge or authorization of the Alabama legislature, to implement Common Core reading and math. 

Common Core will “dumb down” English and Math instruction

Hunter states that “Many students cannot do college level English upon graduation, many more cannot do Mathematics,” but she ignores the fact that Common Core will make matters worse.  Education experts who served on the Common Core Validation Committees for ELA and Math state that Common Core does not strengthen high school English coursework and will not reduce post-secondary remedial coursework; and that Common Core will set our students back in math at least two years in comparison with their peers internationally.  We have many specific examples of how Common Core ELA and Math “dumb down” education but Hunter continues to ignore these.  (See attached)

Repealing Common Core will return control to Alabama parents, teachers, and the legislature

Hunter continues in her attempt to mislead others that Alabama did not adopt Common Core.  In this newsletter, she states that Alabama has “no ongoing commitments” and that “our standards are ours.”    She knows better.  

Regarding “no ongoing commitments”:  When the Alabama state board of education applied for a Race to the Top grant (February 2009, I believe – BEFORE the standards were even written), it committed to adopting Common Core standards whether it received the grant or not.  Many of the forty states which “adopted” Common Core seem to have done so for the reason Alabama did – to become eligible for federal money the Obama Administration offered as “Race to the Top” funds in return for ceding control of developing its standards and adopting national Common Core standards.  Alabama did not receive funds in phase one and re-applied in phase two.  This is why Alabama is listed on the official Common Core website even today as a participating state.  Alabama will remain committed to Common Core until and unless the Alabama legislature repeals Common Core, since the state board of education refused to withdraw and Mary Scott voted to remain a committed Common Core state.  This decision surrendered Alabama’s educational authority.

Regarding “our standards are ours”:  As an adoptive state, Alabama loses control over content.  Alabama must adopt 100% of Common Core standards.  It cannot change or delete or substitute anything, and it may allow only a token amount of additional content (up to 15%), which won’t be covered on national tests.  Alabama added only 2.5% of additional ELA materials and 14.5% of additional math materials.  For Hunter to refer to these token Alabama-specific materials added as “Alabama standards”, while having to implement 100% of Common Core, is disingenuous.  The standards are NOT ours, they are copyright by trade associations and belong to the NGA/CCSSO, which is working in partnership with the federal government. 

Speaking of federal backing:  Lindsey Burke of The Heritage Foundation stated to Alabama legislators on April 18th:  “Federal backing has cemented the effort as one to establish national standards and tests that will define what every child in America must learn in school.  What the federal government funds, it ultimately controls.  That’s the biggest concern with Common Core, and why I consider these to be national standards and tests that threaten Alabama’s education sovereignty….National standards will strengthen federal control over education while weakening Alabama schools’ direct accountability to parents and taxpayers.”  So when Hunter states in her newsletter that “Alabama is safe,” I disagree on several levels. 

Alabama is NOT safe from outside interference in our education when entities outside our state make choices of what Alabama students will learn and parents, teachers, and legislators have no ability to change this, even when there are problems.  By repealing Common Core, Alabama legislators will un-lace the “straitjacket on academic freedom” (as the RNC Resolution puts it) in Alabama. 

Repeal of Common Core will allow Alabama to set our own standards and answer only to Alabama parents and taxpayers. 

Hunter stated that she told her third grader that what he was “studying now in Math and English (sic – not implemented until August 2013!) could go away.  He asked, ‘Well, what will we learn?’  Good question.”  I would like to answer her third-grader’s question.

To start, Alabama could go back to our previous standards.  Alabama had good standards.  They were rated B+ by the Fordham Institute, which ranks state standards nationally and was paid millions of dollars by the Gates Foundation to advocate for Common Core; and which stated in a recent letter to Alabama that it “would not be crazy” to return to its previous standards.  By the way, Common Core was also rated B+.

While it is rising from the bottom,

·         Alabama leads the nation in reading gains in grades four through eight as a direct result of its ARI.

·          Alabama has the second highest gain in math because of our Math Initiative.  These are proven to work. 

·         Alabama was one of only eleven states to score a grade of “A” for our superior history standards. 

·         The gap between black and white students narrowed by 4 points since 2003. 

·         The gap between students from low-income families and other students narrowed by 5 points since 2003.  

 Despite the fact that our Alabama standards are good, we can still strengthen them.  There are six other states that were graded “clearly superior” to Common Core.  Why not check out their standards and see if we want to model them?  In addition, we know that choice and competition always improves education.  Our legislature should offer more school choice options. 

Why would Alabama settle for “common” when we don’t have to.  Why straitjacket Alabama to standards owned by someone else, controlled by someone else, and which aren’t even research-based or internationally benchmarked?  Why give away parental and state control over what our children learn of our own free will?  The federal government takes enough of our personal freedoms by force.  Why voluntarily give them more? 

In conclusion:  For years now, Ms. Hunter has claimed that Common Core has rigor and is an improvement on previous Alabama standards, yet she shows no proof.  It would be far more productive for Ms. Hunter to explain WHY she believes education experts are wrong when they say Common Core lacks rigor, is not research-based, is not internationally benchmarked, will put our children at least two years behind countries with the best standards, and will handicap our children’s future since they will not be prepared to be independent thinkers and good citizens or college-ready.  (Examples are listed in the attached document.)  So far no one has been able to refute these education experts.  Can she?

 Examples of How Common Core Standards
Lack Rigor and International Benchmarking

The Heritage Foundation:  Common Core has fatal flaws


English/Language Arts

·         Reading levels are lowered.  Reading standards for 12th grade students will be at the 8th grade level.*

·         Standards do not prepare students for authentic college-level work.*

·         Standards are not internationally benchmarked.*

·         Standards will not reduce post-secondary remedial coursework.*

·         Standards emphasize skills, not literary or cultural knowledge for citizenship.*

·         “Standards are designed to lead to a uniform, federally controlled, and intellectually undemanding curriculum.”*

·         Classical literature will be reduced and replaced with “informational texts”.  This drastic decrease in the instruction of classical literature at the high school level necessary for success at the university college level will ill prepare students.  Informational texts are written at a low level of thinking skills at around a 6th or 8th grade reading level.*

Math Standards

·         Will set American students back at least two years in comparison with their peers internationally

·         Defer fluency in division to grade 6 **

·         Defer Algebra to grade 9 from grade 8 **

·         Teach geometry by an experimental method (on the basis of rigid motions) that was not successful when tried in Russia **

·         Fail on clarity and rigor compared to better state standards and to those of high-achieving countries **

·         Fail to meet recommendations of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel, and are contrary to the practice of international competitors **

·         Are two or more years behind international expectations by eight grade and only fall further behind as they advance in grades ***

·         Don’t fully cover the material in a solid geometry course, or in the second-year algebra course ***

·         Are inferior to several sets of standards in the nation including those in California, the District of Columbia, Florida, Indiana, and Washington ****

Sources:
* Dr. Sandra Stotsky, Univ. of Arkansas,  served on the Common Core Validation Committee
**
Ze’ev Wurman, former head of U.S. Department of Education
***
 Dr. James Milgram of Stanford University, the only professional mathematician on the Common Core Validation Committee
****
W. Steven Wilson, professor of mathematics at Johns Hopkins University

 

 

Common Core Math Emphasizes Process Over Correct Answers

Friday, April 19th, 2013

By Elois Zeanah

The adage “You can’t judge a book by its cover” was demonstrated again in a meeting of the Alabama Senate Education Policy Committee on Wednesday during a vote on whether to repeal Common Core.  Alabama Senator Bill Holzclaw is on a mission to scuttle his Republican peers’ bill to repeal Common Core, and he says he will fight them to the end.  I’m still trying to understand his agenda, although I’m suspicious since I know who the primary opposition is – the Business Council of Alabama (BCA).  But you have to give him credit for courage since this bill, SB403, is sponsored by fellow Republican Scott Beason and is backed by every Republican organization in the State. 

In a “show and tell” moment, Senator Holzclaw held up a fifth grade Common Core math textbook.  He stated there was nothing offensive about that book.  Granted, it was a pretty book – bright blue in color with a pretty abstract symbol that looked benign.  However, did Senator Holzclaw read the book?  Did he try any of the math problems?  Does he understand how Common Core math is different from traditional math?  Does he understand that neither parents nor legislators can take actions to make changes since the math standards are copyrighted by trade associations in Washington, D.C. and coordinated/directored by the federal government?

Common Core Math Emphasizes Process of Discovery over Correct Answers

If Senator Holzclaw had tried to work some of the math problems, he might have encountered the same feelings of confusion and turn-off by students or the frustrations of parents.  He might have even found himself unable to get the right answers. 

A child can get all the answers to math problems correctly but these will be marked wrong if the child can’t explain the “why and how” the correct answer is arrived at – such as drawing pictures, etc.  I wonder if Senator Holzclaw feels his valuable time as a parent or the added hours of mental anguish by students, which can turn model students into behavior problems (as some parents are reporting), are worth losing control of Alabama’s education standards, which parents and legislators can’t fix since these are copyright standards by trade associations and are decided by unaccountable and unelected bureaucrats outside of Alabama? 

In addition to the emotional and behavioral problems of children being reported by parents, some math experts assert that the new Common Core math standards will cause students’ performance to decline because of content and quality.

Common Core Math Dumbs Down Traditional Math Standards

“Ze’ev Wurman, an expert on mathematics standards and assessment and former U.S. Department of Education official, analyzed three separate studies of the Common Core math standards in the Summer 2012 issue of Education Next.[i]  He stated that the Common Core standards “may be higher than some state standards but they are certainly lower than the best of them.”[ii]

Common Core math standards do not prepare students to be “college-ready”

Mr. Wurman notes that the promise of college readiness rings hollow.  “Its college-readiness standards are below the admission requirements of most four-year state colleges.”[iii]

  • This echoes other education experts who state that Common Core prepares students for two-year, not four-year colleges.
  • Of great concern is Wurman’s prediction that “Common Core marks the cessation of educational standards improvement in the United States.”[iv]

Common Core math standards are NOT research-based.  Mr. Wurman notes that they:

  • Defer fluency in division to grade 6
  • Tend to be wordy and hard to read
  • Defer Algebra to ninth grade from eighth grade
  • Teach geometry by an experimental method
  • Fail on clarity and rigor compared to better state standards and to those of high-achieving countries

Common Core math standards are NOT internationally bench-marked. 

Professor R. James Milgram of Stanford, the only professional mathematician on the Common Core Validation Committee, refused to sign off on the common Core standards. He states:

  • Common Core math standards are actually two or more years behind international expectations by eighth grade
  • Students continue to fall further behind as they progress to higher grades
  • Math standards don’t even fully cover the material in a solid geometry course, or in the second-year algebra course

A legislator can read the math standards, but refuse to read analyses of math experts.  He can look at pretty book covers, but not work the problems or listen to parents who have.  And he can be so loyal to special interest groups that he can refuse to heed the warnings that Common Core math standards are NOT research-based or internationally benchmarked — and be dogged determined to scuttle what his fellow Republicans are trying to do: 

  • Keep control of Alabama standards here in Alabama
  • Preserve choice and competition which mandatory nationalized standards prohibit
  • Strive to give our children opportunities to be “exceptional”, not “common”

SB403 could reach the Senate floor for a vote as early as Tuesday.  Senator Bill Holzclaw has pledged to fight this bill and offer his same substitute on the floor that was rejected by the Senate Education Policy Committee.  This will take valuable time.  There’s only eight “calendar” days left in this legislative session. 

If Holzclaw is really dogged determined to fight this bill and take valuable time from other bills, why doesn’t he use time productively to explain why he believes educational experts are wrong when they say Common Core is not research-based, is not internationally benchmarked, will put our children at least two years behind countries with the best standards, and will handicap our children’s future since they will not be prepared to be independent thinkers and good citizens or college-ready.   So far no one has been able to. 

 

 

 



[i] The assessments were done by the Fordham Institute; by Andrew Porter, Dean of the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education and colleagues; and by University of Southern California professor Morgan Polikoff.  Education Reporter (Number 326, March 2013)

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] Ibid.

Is Opposing Common Core Fighting for Freedom or Seeing a Bogeyman?

Thursday, April 18th, 2013
By Elois Zeanah
 
Alabama Senator Bill Holzclaw disagrees with the entire Republican establishment (from the national to the state/local levels) and votes with Democrats on Common Core. He accuses his Republican family, tea parties, church-affiliated organizations and other groups which oppose Common Core, of seeing a “bogeyman”.
 
When a state board of education gives away its right to determine Alabama’s standards and assessments, which guide curriculum, to unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., and MUST FOLLOW COMMON CORE DICTATES 100% and cannot change a word, or delete or substitute any of its elements, and the state board of education agrees to that — is this seeing a “bogeyman”?
 
When the SBOE agrees to adopt Common Core standards sight unseen in the hope of receiving federal $$$ and in return agree to blindly follow copyright standards of lobbyist organizations (NGA/CCSSO), which haven’t been written yet and which can’t be changed by us — is this seeing a “bogeyman”?

When we counter false arguments the Alabama state superintendent is dishing out to legislators, and give documentation that’s irrefutable – is this seeing a bogeyman?

It’s frustrating and puzzling to understand why Senator Holzclaw, whom I admire and know to be a highly intelligent man and patriot, puts his trust in one man, whom we know to be misleading legislators, who kept legislators in the dark when the state board of education adopted Common Core yet committed the legislature to pay for it (hundreds of millions of dollars) and who has misappropriated over fifty million dollars the legislature approved for one education purpose to pay for another purpose (Common Core) without the knowledge or authorization of the legislature. 

Those of us who are fighting to repeal Common Core put our faith in our research and those who put individual freedoms and state sovereignty over special interests.  Why would legislators put their faith in Superintendent of State Tommy Bice, who is a lobbyist for CCSSO, which received tens of millions of dollars to lobby for Common Core, and has been running roughshod over the Alabama legislature for some time now?

Instead of insulting Alabamians who are working hard to get him to do his job of legislative oversight, Senator Holzclaw should hold Dr. Bice accountable and repeal Common Core to un-lace the “straitjacket on academic freedom” (as the RNC Resolution puts it) in Alabama. 

Once Common Core is repealed, if Senator Holzclaw prefers Common Core over Alabama’s previous standards (which were rated as good as Common Core), then he can lead the way to adopt them without the straitjacket of answering to the feds and lobbyist organizations, without giving decisions of what our children will learn to others outside our state, and without giving up parental control and education freedom under the Tenth AmendmentLet’s set our own standards and answer only to Alabama parents and taxpayers.

I will warn the Senator, though, if he chooses Common Core even without the straitjacket of mandatory compliance to the two trade associations which hold the copyright, and without the straitjacket of reporting to the federal government, he will choose standards that  education experts have documented will put U.S. students two years behind their peers in countries which have the best education standards.  Why not repeal Common Core, revert back to our previous standards which were rated as good as Common Core but consider strengthening them by modeling one or more of the six states that have superior standards to Common Core? 

Why settle for “common” when we don’t have to, and why give away parental and state control over what our children learn of our own free will?   The federal government takes enough of our personal freedoms by force.  Why voluntarily give them more?