Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Who is trying to destroy public education in NH? We name names

We decided to stay out of the politics when Governor Sununu appointed a new Commissioner of Education. The former Commissioner was a huge disappointment to all of us because of her allegiance to the dumbed down Common Core Standards. We never know if a new Commissioner is truly committed to quality academic standards or not. We’ve seen enough to know that there is always a possibility that we will see a re-brand of the Common Core and that only makes it worse.

Governor Sununu ran his campaign promising to scrap Common Core. This is encouraging since Governor Hassan was committed to Common Core in spite of the outcries from parents.

We would love to see Gov. Sununu follow through on this important task but the proof will come when that task is finally accomplished.

Governor Sununu appointed Frank Edelblut as Commissioner of Education. We remained neutral in spite of the outcry from partisans who decried that he was unqualified. Of course he was qualified but it remains to be seen if he will have the courage to “scrap” Common Core and put forth academic standards that are truly world class.

Commissioner Edelblut has taken a great deal of heat just for breathing. It seems as if the political forces are not going to let him move forward with any proposed changes. Whether it be the Common Core Standards, the Next Generation Science Standards or reorganizing the Department, it looks like there will be partisan opposition along the way. That’s truly unfortunate since education should always focus on children.

What we are seeing is political partisans lining up to shoot down the new Commissioner before he has a chance to do anything. That’s not good for kids, that’s partisan politics at its worst.

Stop Common Core NH is made up of parents and teachers across the state of New Hampshire. We are diverse in our political backgrounds, but our focus is always on improving public education. The Common Core Standards are not the best we can do for our kids in public schools and neither are the Next Generation Science Standards. These are dumbed down national standards and we can do better.

Everyone says, these are the minimum standards. Well we are tired of public school children getting the minimum. Why aren’t we shooting for the best?

There is NO excuse for this political game being played at the expense of your children.

Who has been fully engaged in making sure we continue with the status quo in New Hampshire? We are going to name names.

1) Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky. District 2
Volinsky has been opposed to Commissioner Edelblut since he was nominated and now he is attacking him for wanting to improve the science standards for your kids.
Volinsky represents: Acworth, Alstead, Barnstead, Belmont, Boscawen, Bradford, Canterbury, Charlestown, Chesterfield, Dublin, Durham, Farmington, Gilmanton, Gilsum, Goshen, Hancock, Harrisville, Henniker, Hinsdale, Hopkinton, Langdon, Lempster, Madbury, Marlborough, Marlow, Nelson, Newbury, Northfield, Rollinsford, Roxbury, Salisbury, Stoddard, Strafford, Sullivan, Surry, Sutton, Unity, Walpole, Warner, Washington, Webster, Westmoreland, and Winchester, and the cities of Concord, Dover, Franklin, Keene, Rochester, and Somersworth.

2) Chairman Tom Raffio New Hampshire State Board of Education District 4

3) Bill Duncan State Board of Education District 3

4) Cindy Chagnon State Board of Education At Large

5) Helen Honorow State Board of Education District 5

6) Gary Groleau State Board of Education At Large
**All of these State Board Members argued against the Commissioner reviewing the Next Generation Science Standards in an effort to improve them.

If you go here: https://www.education.nh.gov/state_board/ Click on meetings & minutes, then click on the link to the videos.
Click on: NH SB Video and scroll down to 2017 then April 6, 2017
Go to 1:50:00 and watch your State Board Members argue against improving science standards for your children.

We have a diverse group of parents and teachers working together to support quality standards in this state. We have a few partisans working against us so we need parents to recognize what is going on.

Make sure you are taking time to let these people know that you do not appreciate their partisan games they are playing with your kids and your public schools. They have become obstructionists to quality public education in this state and your kids will suffer the consequences if you do not speak up.

Send a message by attending a State Board of Education Meeting and tell them you want the Commissioner to improve the academic standards in this state. Tell them to STOP obstructing his efforts. If you cannot attend a meeting, send an e-mail and ask other parents to do the same.
Andru.Volinsky@nh.gov
TomRaffio@nedelta.com
waduncansboe@gmail.com
kcassady@allstaffcorp.com
ggroleau@nhbb.com
chags@comcast.net
hhonorow@barrylawoffice.com
annlanenhsboe@gmail.com
Frank.Edelblut@doe.nh.gov

It’s time to put our children above partisan political games!!!

Tracing the Origins of Today’s Education

School to Work; Goals 2000; Outcome Based Education

The following excerpt from the Congressional Record neatly summarizes and exposes the origins and intents of OBE, STW, and Goals 2000.

HON. HENRY HYDE in the House of Representatives THURSDAY, MAY 15, 1997

Mr. HYDE: Mr. Speaker, no one doubts that education is a vital importance to our country. The question that must be answered is what role should the Federal Government play in supporting education? We have seen more and more legislative efforts to increase the Federal, as opposed to the local role, and this trend concerns many Americans, including myself.

As we engage in debate, it is useful to understand the context, the historical background, of some efforts to increase the central government’s intrusion into what has been a largely local responsibility. Dr. D.L. Cuddy, a former senior associate with the U.S. Department of Education, has written an interesting historical commentary on the school to work concept which I believe warrants the attention of Members.

Read More…

Collecting data on your kids in the name of : Personalized Learning

In a blog post by Diane Ravitch, we actually thought the comments at the end were more interesting and informative:

colomom
August 13, 2016 at 3:06 pm
Another problem with online Machine Learning, (AKA Adaptive Learning, Personalized Learning) is the online programs collect hidden data about the student users, in order to get to know them, personalize the experience. This data goes way beyond simple answers of correct or incorrect, and algorithms can be used to detect personality, behavior, and ability to focus, to name just a few.

Who sees and who uses this highly sensitive and predictive information? (It certainly isn’t transparent to the student, parent or teacher.) Are the predictive analytics used fair or accurate? Will this predictive data be used in predicting job placement or future hires, as is already happening per the Wall Street Journal posted below? Another author asks, “Is Personalized Learning” too Personal”?

“There is a great tension between how software is tracking the outcomes and the learning that students are doing and what happens to that data,” said Betsy Corcoran, chief executive and co-founder of EdSurge, an education technology news site that also sponsors conferences. “Who owns the data? Who is responsible for making sure that data is not abused in some way?”
http://www.recode.net/2015/12/9/11621282/when-personalized-learning-gets-too-personal-google-complaint-exposes

Privacy advocates are calling for transparency and regulation of these “Black Box” or secret algorithms. The Federal Trade Commission agrees and has called on the industry to regulate themselves, asking for algorithmic transparency.

Bottom line: Machines and algorithms should not be allowed to secretly predict people, period; but this is especially heinous when it is happening to children while at school under the guise of “personalized” learning.

Wall Street Journal: Bosses using data brokers to predict applicants. http://www.wsj.com/articles/bosses-harness-big-data-to-predict-which-workers-might-get-sick-1455664940

When Personalized Learning gets too personal. http://www.recode.net/2015/12/9/11621282/when-personalized-learning-gets-too-personal-google-complaint-exposes

FTC Data Brokers- Call for Transparency and Accountability https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/reports/data-brokers-call-transparency-accountability-report-federal-trade-commission-may-2014/140527databrokerreport.pdf
focuses on the first three steps in the life cycle of big data within that industry—collection, compilation, and analytics. discusses how information gathered for one purpose (e.g online assessment or video evidence in data badge) could be compiled and analyzed for other purposes, such as for marketing or risk mitigation in hiring or insurance or line of credit.

FTC the Bias of Big Data: A tool for Inclusion or Exclusion? https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/reports/big-data-tool-inclusion-or-exclusion-understanding-issues/160106big-data-rpt.pdf

FTC- A Call for Algorithmic transparency
https://www.ftc.gov/public-statements/2015/12/transparency-trust-consumer-protection-complex-world-keynote-address

HERE is another comment, but it was removed:

“Digital learning is designed to segue into algorithm-driven workforce development.

Competency-based education and digital learning approaches are intended to reduce a child’s accomplishments into series of “badges” that can be stored in online portfolios.

Tomorrow’s workforce can look forward to a “lifelong learning” scenario where people are compelled to accumulate more and more badges (paying for-profit, online companies for the opportunity and racking up piles of student debt in the process) as they chase job postings dictated by coded skill sets.

We need to make everyone aware that it’s not just academic skills that are being tracked. Social, emotional, and behavioral competencies are in the mix, too.

That is why companies like Parchment (allied with Pearson) are working so hard to position themselves as arbiters of education and workforce credentials. http://exchange.parchment.com/extend/

I’m kind of surprised this is news to you Diane as your son’s merchant banking company Raine Group, is one of Parchment’s major investors.

Alison McDowell
Public School Parent
Philadelphia, PA”

NH Parents Say NO To Psychological Profiling Their Children In School

Since this is all part of the Common Core reform agenda, it’s important that parents speak up. This is an informed parent in Portsmouth who has taken the time to educate herself and let other parents know what is going on in their public schools.

Posted May. 16, 2016 at 2:01 AM (Seacoastonline.com)

May 13 — To the Editor:

SETRA is a proposed reauthorization of the Education Sciences Reform Act, which set up government agencies and funding to conduct education research. If SETRA passes, as written, it will allow the federal government to expand psychological profiling of our children. Section 132 of SETRA expands authorized research to include “research on social and emotional learning (SEL).” SEL is defined as “the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships and make responsible decisions.” All of this is proposed under the guise of improving educational outcomes.

How can one objectively measure and report on social and emotional skills? How is this data extracted, who gets to see the results and how is it used? How can such data be protected? The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) has been weakened to allow third-party vendors to access private information from schools without parental consent, so it is no longer a safeguard. Will parents be able to opt their children out of these psychological studies? More importantly, who decides what the necessary skills and attitudes are to manage emotions? Who sets the parameters for what a positive relationship looks like? Our schools are not qualified or licensed to conduct psychological studies on our children nor do they operate under the “Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct.”

Sadly, New Hampshire is already attempting to measure SEL through what is referred to as Work Study Practices (WSP). On the N.H. education website WSP is defined as “behavioral qualities or habits of mind that students need to be successful in college, career, and life.” Performance Assessment of Competency Education (PACE) is a new assessment mechanism that is being piloted in various school districts around New Hampshire. PACE will measure Work Study Practices or Social Emotional Learning through what is called “Performance Tasks.”

How will our children be “graded” on social and emotional skills? Will our children be held back if they do not display the federal/state “standards” of social and emotional behaviors or the “government approved” attitudes? It is important for parents to ask to see the actual tests such as the Smarter Balanced Assessment, PACE, or The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) so they can see the types of questions being asked and how their children have responded. These tests are supposed to be academic achievement tests yet psychological questions are embedded in these assessments to measure SEL. In the New York Times article below it states that the NAEP will start testing for SEL next year.

We can all agree that it is important for students to respect each other and for teachers to give encouragement where needed to help our children achieve their goals. Social and Emotional Learning delves into areas of a child’s development that should be the responsibility of parents and families. Our children are not guinea pigs and the public schools should not be used as psychological laboratories providing data for government and corporate interests.

For more information on SETRA and SEL see the links below. Ask your congressional representatives more about SETRA and, if you are so inclined, urge them to protect our children and vote No.

https://americanprinciplesproject.org/education/mcgroarty-and-robbins-why-does-your-congressman-want-to-psychologically-profile-your-children/

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/01/us/testing-for-joy-and-grit-schools-nationwide-push-to-measure-students-emotional-skills.html?r=0

Angela Pont
Portsmouth

Administrators need to do more listening: NO to federal control in grading

Competency Based Ed is similar to the failed Outcome Based Ed fad from the 90′s.
We all know that the federal agenda includes the dumbed down Common Core Standards and a return to the failed Outcome Based Ed Model of dumbed down workforce training.

Included in the Competency Based Ed model, schools have begun switching their grading to the Competency based grading system. Since we can see this happening all over New Hampshire and beyond, it’s easy to see this is coming from more federal intrusion into our local public schools. The feds want to control what your kids eat at lunch, who they share the restroom with, control academic standards and testing, and even the way schools grade their students.
Little is left for the local parents to control.

Competency-based grading caused havoc in Nashua high schools. 92% of students want to get rid of it. 83% of parents want it gone. Even 54% of teachers prefer the old grading system. There were 25% less A’s and 25% more F’s under this new grading system.

Competency-based grading is the stepping stone to the next State reform called PACE, which eliminates local control under the pretense of reducing testing and giving districts more control.

When was the last State mandate that actually gave district more control over education?

It’s important to remember that most of the competencies are “non-academic” skills. These skills are difficult if not impossible to grade objectively. For instance, if a child gets 2+2=4 correct on a test, that’s an objective grade. If that same student is graded on their attitudes towards global warming or if they can “collaborate” that is graded in a more subjective way.

This new grading system means the grades may not reflect their academic knowledge but instead subjectively assess their attitudes, beliefs, values, dispositions, etc.

It’s nice to see a letter instructing the administrators in Nashua to start listening to parents. Our hope is that at some point, they will actually take the advice they’ve been given.

http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/opinion/letters/1080406-465/administrators-need-to-do-more-listening.html

Sunday, May 8, 2016
Administrators need to do more listening
Letter to the Editor
Nashua school administrators have a history of leaving parents, students and teachers out of the process when setting important initiatives.

Competency-based grading was approved because board members were told that the grading system was mandatory. It wasn’t mandatory, but the policy was implemented. There were many complaints at the high school from students, parents, and teachers. The number of students failing classes has increased by 25 percent.

The concerns of stakeholders were ignored. After dragging their feet for months, administration finally sent out a survey to parents, students and teachers. The result of the survey revealed overwhelmingly that stakeholders wanted to return to the traditional grading system. Administration is again choosing to ignore the community and to move ahead with this flawed grading system.

School administrators routinely ignore stakeholders. Five years ago, parents and students expressed concern about block scheduling, specifically the lack of continuity for foreign language, math and science courses. Administrators offered skinny classes, but then claimed no students signed up. They never offered skinny classes again. A simple option would be to hold even and odd class days. Block scheduling is maintained, but students get the continuity needed for foreign language, math and science. That solves the problem and costs nothing.

Administrators complain about the lack of parental involvement. Perhaps parents realize their opinions aren’t welcome. If administrators know best, why is Nashua South ranked 76th out of 77 in the state?

Perhaps administrators should stop talking and start listening. Our students would be better served.

Tracy Pappas

Nashua

State School Board Chairs Often Unqualified

Consider that you are being ruled over by unelected, appointed cronies of whatever party is in power at the time. Those individuals may not even be qualified for the dubious positions may they hold.

In particular we are referring to current SSB Chair Tom Raffio, who claims he knows of NO bias in the public schools (yes he put that in writing), and John Lyons, former SSB Chair who admitted when appointed he knew nothing about the job but would ‘learn’.

What would happen if a conservative program were suggested to be installed as a permanent part of the public school curriculum? Perhaps the teaching of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the proper role of each in America should be included as well as the promotion of the UDHR, a document that proposes a policy that is in direct conflict with our Bill of Rights, and other UN efforts to overtake US sovereignty?

“New Hampshire is the right size to be an incubator for all these new programs” Lyons stated.

We beg to differ. We think that not only is it wrong to force children to be part of a political campaign, but it is illegal to do it with taxpayer monies.

Please read more from this 2010 article from the Coalition of NH Taxpayers which reveals what John Lyons wanted to do to your children.

http://www.cnht.org/news/2010/01/12/un-political-agenda-proposed-for-public-schools/

Our Right to Refuse Testing in ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act)

In ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) the following is found: “school districts must inform parents of their rights under State law or local policy to opt their children out of any assessments mandated by the Act, by the state, or by the local school district”. That provision is found in two places. The first requires each school district (local educational agency in federal parlance) to notify parents that they may request and will timely receive information about state and local opt-out policies:

Section 1111(e)(2), which reads:
‘‘(e) PARENTS RIGHT-TO-KNOW.—
‘‘(2) TESTING TRANSPARENCY.—
‘‘(A) IN GENERAL.—At the beginning of each school year, a local educational agency that receives funds under this part shall notify the parents of each student attending any school receiving funds under this part that the parents may request, and the local educational agency will provide the parents on request (and in a timely manner), information regarding any State or local educational agency policy regarding student participation in any assessments mandated by section 1111(b)(2) and by the State or local educational agency, which shall include a policy, procedure, or parental right to opt the child out of such assessment, where applicable.
‘‘(B) ADDITIONAL INFORMATION.—Subject to subparagraph (C), each local educational agency that receives funds under this part shall make widely available through public means (including by posting in a clear and easily accessible manner on the local educational agency’s website and, where practicable, on the website of each school served by the local educational agency) for each grade served by the local educational agency, information on each assessment required by the State to comply with section 1111, other assessments required by the State, and where such information is available and feasible to report, assessments required districtwide by the local educational agency, including—
‘‘(i) the subject matter assessed;
‘‘(ii) the purpose for which the assessment is designed and used;
‘‘(iii) the source of the requirement for the assessment; and
‘‘(iv) where such information is available—
‘‘(I) the amount of time students will spend taking the assessment, and the schedule for the assessment; and
‘‘(II) the time and format for disseminating results.
‘‘(C) LOCAL EDUCATIONAL AGENCY THAT DOES NOT OPERATE A WEBSITE.—In the case of a local educational agency that does not operate a website, such local educational agency shall determine how to make the information described in subparagraph (A) widely available, such as through distribution of that information to the media, through public agencies, or directly to parents.

The second is in Section 1111(b)(2)(K)m which ensures that State or local laws allowing parents to opt their children out of assessments cannot be overruled by the U.S. Department of Education. Section 1111(b)(2)(K) reads:
‘‘(2) ACADEMIC ASSESSMENTS.—
‘‘(K) RULE OF CONSTRUCTION ON PARENT RIGHTS.—
Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed as preempting a State or local law regarding the decision of a parent to not have the parent’s child participate in the academic assessments under this paragraph.

The ESSA requirement for schools to meet the 95% Participation Rate under ESSA is found at:

Sec. 1111
‘‘(c) STATEWIDE ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM.—
‘‘(4) DESCRIPTION OF SYSTEM.—
‘‘(E) ANNUAL MEASUREMENT OF ACHIEVEMENT.—
Annually measure the achievement of not less than 95 percent of all students, and 95 percent of all students in each subgroup of students, who are enrolled in public schools on the assessments described under subsection (b)(2)(v)(I).
‘‘(IV) the weight of any measure or indicator used to identify or meaningfully differentiate schools, under this part;
‘‘(V) the specific methodology used by States to meaningfully differentiate or identify schools under this part;

HOWEVER, ESSA also includes this, which means that meeting the 95% requirement is no longer a pass/fail indicator all on its own if states don’t want it to be. A state could, for example, give a weight of 0.1% to participation rate in evaluating schools and the Department cannot make them do otherwise:

Sec. 1111
‘‘(e) PROHIBITION.—
‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize or permit the Secretary—
‘‘(B) as a condition of approval of the State plan, or revisions or amendments to, the State plan, or approval of a waiver request submitted under section 8401, to—
‘‘(iii) prescribe—
‘‘(III) indicators that States use within the State accountability system under this section, including any requirement to measure student growth, or, if a State chooses to measure student growth, the specific metrics used to measure such growth under this part;
‘‘(IV) the weight of any measure or indicator used to identify or meaningfully differentiate schools, under this part;
‘‘(V) the specific methodology used by States to meaningfully differentiate or identify schools under this part;
‘‘(XI) the way in which the State factors the requirement under subsection (c)(4)(E)(i) [the 95% participation rate; see above] into the statewide accountability system under this section; or
‘‘(C) to issue new non-regulatory guidance that—
‘‘(i) in seeking to provide explanation of requirements under this section for State or local educational agencies, either in response to requests for information or in anticipation of such requests, provides a strictly limited or exhaustive list to illustrate successful implementation of provisions under this section; or
‘‘(ii) purports to be legally binding;

NH? Hate Common Core? Here’s a Solution

Common Core Math

Everyone has now seen examples of this kind of nonsense showing up in Common Core math homework. Either they’ve seen this on the Internet or maybe in their child’s backpack.

IF your children are suffering through Common Core because Governor Hassan is ignoring parents, there is another option for you. REPLACE the text book your school is using, with a better one.

HB542 was passed a few years ago giving parents the option of replacing objectionable materials assigned to their children. Your local school should have a policy in place.

You can replace objectionable materials at your expense. A good used math text book online will cost about $10 and it will be the best $10 you ever spent. We already have parents in New Hampshire doing this.

Parents have purchased traditional math text books for their children after seeing the garbage coming home that is now aligned to Common Core. They know this nonsense is killing any chance of their children learning math. Some parents have turned to tutoring services but there is another solution and that’s to replace the materials.

Check your local policy and then check with home-schoolers on what they use. Since home-school moms know how to choose quality materials for their kids, they could be your best resource. Yes, that means moms often times do a better job of choosing math and grammar books than the Curriculum Coordinators earning six figure salaries in your local public school.

Take your traditional text book to your teacher and let them know you are exercising your right to replace the Common Core book with a quality textbook based on HB542. Ask that your child work on real math problems during math class while the rest of the kids are wasting time on Common Core nonsense.

What are some good suggestions for a quality text book?
Saxon Math (the OLD series)
Singapore Math (the real Singapore not the fake one called Math in Focus)
Algebra : Any text book written by Mary Dolciani
Geometry: Jurgensen or Jacobs
Shurley Grammar
Look for a Great Books List for quality classical literature

Parents should be able to help their kids but if they do need additional help, there are online resources like Khan Academy they can use for free.

The best thing to do is to look at what home-school parents are using. You will see a difference. Their materials are relatively inexpensive and you can often times find used textbooks online for a nominal amount.

Want to STOP COMMON CORE? Do NOT Vote For Hillary Clinton

This is an informative article on the link between Common Core in America’s classrooms and Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Manager is a Longtime Corporate Education Reformer

Meet John Podesta.

He’s a Washington lobbyist working hard to support high stakes tests, Common Core and charter schools.

He’s also Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager.

That’s right – the 2016 Democratic Presidential candidate who has been endorsed by the leaders of the national teachers unions has a corporate education reformer running her campaign.

Read and watch the video by clicking on this link: https://gadflyonthewallblog.wordpress.com/2016/03/08/hillary-clintons-campaign-manager-is-a-longtime-corporate-education-reformer/