Barry Jackson, who tutors children in the East Valley, sent the following letter to Betsy Devos, United States Secretary of Education.
Dear Secretary DeVos:
For several months I have been tutoring a student whose school seems to spend an inordinate amount of time preparing students for standardized tests. First it was two days "reviewing" for a Galileo test. Now she says "we are not doing anything" but preparing for another standardized test, and this is taking several days. Along with "fall break"(two weeks) and "early release" Wednesdays, it is at least even money that she is learning more from me in one hour than she receives in a week in school.
Hopefully, you read the letter that educational tutor Barry Jackson sent to Betsy DeVos. In it you can see the damage that is being done to our children by the Arizona State Board of Education when they, along with then Gov. Jan Brewer and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne, in 2010, brought the Common Core Machine to Arizona. They did this in hopes of "winning" millions of dollars from our federal government via Race to the Top.
Since that time, Common Core has been rebranded, twice. Further, the pro-Common Core State Board has ensured that the damage continues. These people consider themselves "experts," a term that is being met with cynicism by a growing number of critically thinking people.
"Board member Jared Taylor, who has been consistent in his opposition to Common Core, was the lone “no” vote.
“The bottom line is that I am very disappointed that we kicked the parents to the curb and ignored the will of the voters when they elected Diane Douglas. Yet she led the way today; we just renewed Common Core,” stated Taylor. Arizona State Board Of Education Approves Rebrand Of Common Core Standards
If you have any doubts about the negative effects of High Stakes Testing, there are many others who agree with Barry Jackson. They also say it is counter-productive, expensive, wasteful, and it is also child abuse.
As you read some of the comments below from the real experts, both local and national,–there are thousands more that I have not quoted–please recall that the Arizona State Board of Education voted in April 2017, to make 90% of a school’s A-F grade dependent on how well their students scored on the High Stakes test, AZMerit.
This heavily referenced, 48-page document is the result of three months of research effort on the part of members of Arizona’s Mommy Lobby, with the help of Emmett McGroarty of the American Principles Project. It has been distributed to Arizona’s House and Senate Education Committees, Governor Ducey’s office, most of Arizona’s leadership, as well as the Arizona State Board of Education. If you have questions about Common Core in Arizona (aka Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards) most of the answers are contained in this document titled the National Common Core Standards System.
Chapter headings include: 1) History of Common Core: America and Arizona; 2) The Common Core are Inferior, Defective, and do Not Lead to Readiness for Authentic College Work; 3) High Stakes Testing; 4) Data Collection and Personally Identifiable Information; and 5) Teacher Accountability.
This post appeared in Stop Common Core in California Facebook on May 6, 2016. It was shared by California teacher, Dawn Nikisher Kelly, with her permission:
(GW NOTE: It may be of interest to know that, unlike Arizona, California law allows a parent or guardian to excuse a child from all or parts of the statewide assessment. Not many parents do, however. See 60615 of EDUCATION CODE SECTION 60604-60618.)
Those of us in the anti-Common Core/AzMerit/High Stakes testing movement have long explained why teachers don’t speak out against the insane nationalization of our K-12 Education System. Mostly, it’s because they don’t want to risk losing their jobs. Even former teachers don’t speak out, for fear they will never work again in the public school system. Ms. Debra Jo Borden, a former Arizona teacher, bravely went public in late April 2016 . She is silent no more about the gagging of teachers, AzMerit, the data mining and psychoanalysis of our children, and much more. Please read what she has to say:
1) I disagree with the contracts teachers are required to sign that force them to remain silent.
2) I can be brave and I will speak up.
The Arizona Legislature has adjourned Sine Die. The Fifty-Second Legislature, Second Regular Session ended May 7, 2016. Unfortunately, the majority of legislators (including all Democrats) refused to respect parents’ rights in voting Nay to SB1455 (parental opt out) . Yet, in liberal left New York, young school children happily joined together to stiffen adult spines against statewide (nationalized) assessments.
If you would like to play an effective role in replacing Common Core in Arizona, now’s your chance! There’s a vacancy on the State Board of Education’s Standards Development Committee for a member who is a parent of a public high school student. The Arizona Standards Development Committee includes representation from the Board, business community, deans of colleges, parents, classroom teachers, a school administrator, and a school district governing board member. The Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas is also a member of the Committee. Members of the Committee are an equal mix of those who have and have not participated in the standards development process in the past.
More information about the Arizona Standards Development Committee can be found HERE.
Applicants are encouraged to complete the application and return the requested documents to firstname.lastname@example.org by May 31, 2016. Click HERE to print out the application.
According to State Board Member Jared Taylor, “It would be great to get some good parents of high school students to apply.”
Are you interested in reviewing some excellent K-12 standards that already exist? See An English Language Arts Curriculum Framework for American Public Schools: A Model and Mathematics Content Standards for California Public Schools Kindergarten through Grade Twelve: A Model
Two addenda could be added to the California standards referenced above that elaborate on the standards themselves and deal with pedagogical and organizational issues: 1) Mathematics Framework for California Public Schools, 2000 Revised Edition; and 2) Mathematics Framework for California Public Schools, 2006 Edition."
Please contact Gila Watch and let us know if you apply!
As stated in Part 1 and Part 2, even though Arizona legislators are ultimately to blame for causing the ugliness, humiliation, undue stress, and mental anguish experienced by parents and their children who dare to reject AzMERIT, it is the teachers, principals, and administrators who are inflicting the pain. As you will see from these parent comments, some local school "leaders" seem to take delight in emotionally punishing children for their parents’ actions. Local school authorities are willing to suspend their own consciences and actually harm children under their care, all in the name of standardized testing. The comments you will read below aren’t unusual. They are representative of what’s happening all over Arizona. These parents will never again trust the "public school system."
(Phoenix, State Capitol)—Senator Sylvia Allen today urged local school leaders and administrators to work with parents, be respectful and not retaliate against a student for choices that parent may make.
It is that time of year again when Arizona schools are administering the statewide assessment to our students, also known as AzMERIT. Unfortunately, another legislative session is coming to an end where a parent’s right to make educational decisions for their children are not being recognized in our state laws. Senator Allen sponsored SB 1455, which would have allowed parents to opt their children out of the AzMERIT assessment. This year Congress reauthorized the federal education law that gave states the flexibility to develop their own opt-out policies, but Senator Allen was unable to get it through the legislative process this session.
Among the horror stories of teachers and local school administrators who intimidate, lie to, and bully their students are stories like this one. Rusdon Ray shared the following letter that his young son received from his teacher. According to Mr. Ray, "This letter was written by his good teacher who clearly recognizes and is doing her best to combat the psychological damage to her students by too much high stakes testing in schools with tests such as the AZ Merit. You can feel the love and concern this teacher has for her 3rd grade students and her desire to help them even though teachers’ hands have been tied. Take a moment and read it."