Category Archives: Teacher Opinion

New Hampshire Teacher Speaks Up: Is Anyone Listening?

We recently came across this post from a New Hampshire teacher who was courageous enough to speak up. The question now; is anyone listening?

April 6, 2015


A recent article in the Londonderry Times regarding concerns about the new, Common Core aligned SBAC test contained statements made by Heather Gage, Director of Educational Improvement for the New Hampshire Department of Education. Ms. Gage asserted, “Somehow there’s misinformation about us asking questions regarding social issues, such as gun control and sexual orientation. There’s nothing in the assessment like that”. I agree, these exact questions are probably not part of the test. However, what Heather neglected to mention is the fact that, in The US Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology Draft, “ Promoting Grit Tenacity and Perseverance” it is clearly stated that, “ noncognitive factors—and particularly grit, tenacity, and perseverance—should play an essential role in evolving educational priorities.” It also states, “we found common operating principles for designing supportive contexts and evidence that contributing psychological resources can, to a large extent, be taught and cultivated.” I’m not clear on exactly what the intent is here or how it will be implemented. However, if you couple this with the fact that FERPA laws have been weakened and the fact that there has been a shocking lack of transparency regarding Common Core and its associated data collection through SBAC and other means from both the state and federal government, this becomes greatly concerning.

In early February of this year, upon approaching the NH Department of Education myself about my concerns regarding Common Core and SBAC, I was given a link that led me to the works of Linda Darling-Hammond, proponent of using psychometric tests and close friend and colleague of the communist and Weather Underground founder, Bill Ayers. When I approached the NH State BOE regarding these same concerns, I was urged by the board’s chair, Tom Raffio, to acquaint myself with the works of Dave Coleman, head of the College Board and responsible for aligning the new SAT to Common Core. Instead of solid academic research, I was instead given biased information supporting Common Core.

Indeed, we need to be concerned about Common Core’s experimental, one-size-fits-all copyrighted curriculum standards, scripted lessons, untested methods of teaching math, corporations making billions by helping to design and implement this, “ transformation”, high-stakes tests, data mining, and emphasizing test scores which will encourage teaching to the test and inevitably narrow the curriculum. However, what we really need to worry about is the underhanded and undemocratic way that all of this has come about, who is in charge of education in this country and exactly what it is that they are doing.

I have yet to hear of a society that collects personal data on its citizens and uses one-size-fits-all instruction to effectively force “equality” on its masses remain democratic or avoid violating the civil liberties of its citizens.

Diane Rose Sekula
Experienced Educator
RPCV, Moldova, Former USSR, ’99-01

Teachers, Has This Happened to You?

This was reported to us as having happened to a teacher from NH as far back as the late 1990s.

The situation is not getting better. It’s very Orwellian and as if we live in a country where we must conform to government political bias or not have a job. If you speak out against bad education policies you will be punished and even fired, and someone who drinks the Koolaid hired in your place.

Our NH teacher reports that she was even followed and ‘spied’ upon day in and day out, with every little move marked in a folder, INCLUDING the fact that one day when she was very busy, she DARED to eat lunch at her desk for 20 minutes instead of eating in the teachers room with the rest of the teachers.

Can you imagine being called into the principal’s office and questioned for that? They didn’t even want her to deviate from the group on her own free time. Sounds like the gulag to us.

It’s as if we now live in Cuba, North Korea, or Communist China…

Deborah Vailes has been teaching junior high in Louisiana’s Rapides Parish School District for the past twelve years. She is passionate about helping special needs children become better readers. Little did she know that an early morning post critical of the Common Core Curriculum on her personal Facebook page would lead to disciplinary action, suppression of her right to free speech, retaliation from school officials, and possible loss of her job.

Read more…

Common Core in NH: It’s a DISASTER

Below is a link to a Manchester School Board meeting where a teacher is speaking out on the over-testing that is going on in the district.  This again is part of the “redesigning” by President Obama in our local schools.
Common Core supporters in the Legislature were SO happy that the U.S. Department of Education issued NH a waiver from No Child Left Behind, however they didn’t think about how this would impact our local schools.
To many legislators like Governor Hassan, Senator Hosmer, Senator Stiles, Rep. Gile, etc.  this is now the fall out from your support of Obama’s “redesign” in our schools.
Our teachers are starting to speak up, but are you going to listen ? Or continue to ignore the critics?
Common Core is known to many as NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND on STEROIDS.  
Now you will know why…..

MIN 25:00

Manchester Teacher – Sue Hannon says “Teachers are under a tremendous amount of STRESS… When do we actually get to teach students? The past 17 days…12 days were spent doing ASSESSMENTS. They didn’t even TEACH anything”.

Manchester NH Teacher WARNS Parents / Will They Listen?

Editors note: this was publicly posted on Manchester Parents Against Common Core on Face book.
We’d also like to make parents aware that with Outcome Based Education (Competency Based Ed in NH) Students take NUMEROUS tests.  Tests before they’ve been taught the material, during instruction and AFTER instruction.  This is a way of ensuring students come out with the RIGHT attitudes, dispositions and yes, sometimes academic knowledge.  KEEP IN MIND, if they do NOT have the right attitudes (example, not having the right attitudes on man made global warming) they will be remediated and remediated until they hold that view. 
That’s an “EXAMPLE” of how OBE works and states/districts who’ve gone that route in the past, have reported the similar problems……

Kelley Tambouris
Does Anybody Hear Me, Will Anybody Listen?
A Second Grade Teacher’s Story from a Manchester Elementary School
By: Kelley Tambouris

Twenty-two years ago I began my teaching career. I have been a Special Educator, a Second Grade Teacher, a Third Grade Teacher, a Writing Teacher, a Literacy Coach, and now I am back in the classroom, again, as a Second Grade Teacher. Why did I become a teacher? I have a deep love of children and just knew my calling was to make a difference in their lives.

As a teacher of 22 beautifully special and unique children, it is my responsibility to do what is best for them each and every day. I can stay quiet no longer. Here is our story:
Today was the 28th day of school and I have already had to give them 8 math assessments and three half-hour to one and a half hour computerized assessments. I have been also told that I will have to continue giving them 3-4 additional math assessments each month. These are not the traditional tests teachers give; our district mandates them.

I have also been recently instructed to give each student a 150-word site word test and individual reading assessments, both have to be done 1 on 1, and both have to be done by the end of November (please keep in mind there is only 1 of me and 22 of them). With each test I have to give to 1 student at a time, that leaves the other 21 on his or her own.

In January, the computerized tests will come back, along with our 3-4 monthly math assessments, and reading tests will have to be administered again to students below grade level. It doesn’t end there either. Again the computerized tests, reading tests, and site word tests will come back around in May, keeping in mind the 3-4 monthly math tests.

Now, not only do the mandated assessments have to be given, they need to be scored, analyzed, and put into the computer. What I really need you to understand is many of these tests are above what the students know because these skills are expected to be mastered by the end of the year. Countless minutes and hours are spent with tummy aches and tears (no, not mine, the children).

I have been given a new set of standards to teach my children, they are called the Manchester Academic Standards. There is, however, a catch. In math, I have been told what standards to teach, but there was no money to buy any teachers in my school a program to use to teach. So, I have to search the Internet and work with my team to come up with papers to do with my children. Although it is a challenge, I have accepted that challenge and have been creating my own work to help the children reach these standards. A wrench has recently been thrown into my plan though. Approximately a week ago, we were sent an email stating we need to minimize run-offs because our paper supply is nearly gone and there is no money in the budget to buy any anytime soon. Our pencil supply is also minimal. Again, it is the 28th day of school.

Let me also mention part of our reading standards is to teach our second graders Fables, Folktales, and Fairytales. Again, when my team asked for books to use to teach Fables, Folktales, and Fairytales we were told these books should be supplied by the district, BUT THEY WEREN’T. How can I teach if I don’t have the materials? I know, they expect me to pay with my money.

In my classroom, most of the bookshelves, some tables, all the decorations, many of my classroom library books, many student supplies etc. were already paid for by me. I spend anywhere between $500 to $1500 a year on my classroom. When does it end?
Now, you may be thinking why don’t you just quit? Well, I go back to the beginning of my story. My calling is to make a difference in my students’ lives.

I have kept quiet and endured the public disrespect with the Union Leader and the many people that think teaching is a piece of cake. We have mandated assessments, daily planning for science, social studies, writing, Fundations, math, and reading, duties, progress reports, report cards, parent communication, sitting on various committees, hours of meetings that pull us out of the classroom, papers to correct, behaviors to deal with, minimal materials supplied to us, and professional development to maintain connected to tons of paperwork. Our workday begins at 8:05 and that is the same moment our students come in. We are given 45-minute prep periods 4 days a week and a 20-minute lunch. Students leave at 2:35 but for late kiddos we stay with them until 2:40 and walk them to the office. Our day is supposed to end at 2:50. Reality is that I am at school by 7:40ish and do not leave until approximately 4:15ish, usually with a bag of work over my shoulder to do at home, with no overtime pay.

I am angry, frustrated, but most of all sad! Sad that the system is so broken and that we are doing more harm than good!

Governor Hassan: BAD for TEACHERS and Governor Jindal Proves It

We all know that teachers who oppose Common Core are SILENCED.  We also know that Governor Hassan has ignored the serious problems with the Common Core Standards.

Governor Jindal just showed all of us how BAD Governor Hassan is for teachers in NH:
Thank you, Governor Jindal, for protecting teachers and allowing them to use their voices to speak out on behalf of our children.
WHEREAS, the United States Constitution and the Louisiana Constitution guarantee to every individual the freedom of speech and protection from government abridgment of that right;
WHEREAS, this same freedom and protection under the law extends to every teacher in every classroom across the state of Louisiana;
WHEREAS, teachers are the backbone of Louisiana’s educational system and offer a necessary voice in the ongoing discussions regarding classroom curriculum and testing procedures and must be afforded the opportunity to offer this crucial perspective; ….

Hooksett, NH Teacher Speaks Out Against Common Core

My Letter to Bill Duncan and the NH Board of Education regarding Common Core here in NH.

Good Morning Mr. Duncan!

My name is Maryann Boucher and we met briefly at the Common Core State Standards Debate at St Anslem’s College last Monday evening. I was the teacher that approached you after the debate, sharing my displeasure with CCSS in NH and the lack of a Kindergarten Mandate/Full Day program in our state.

Throughout the debate you continually read endorsement after endorsement from NH Educators working with CCSS in their classrooms. You seemed surprised to hear I wasn’t an enthusiasts. I am writing because it’s my professional responsibility to share with you the latest news regarding The Chicago Teacher’s Union and Maine Teachers with respect to their recent opposition to Common Core, see below.

After you read the attached posts, please reflect on the following:

I urge you to look outside our borders and see what will soon be NH’s reality. Do you honestly believe Common Core and SBAC are the resources and tools we need?

I urge you to visit classrooms in our great state that have different demographics (poverty) and witness first hand the developmental inappropriateness of Common Core.

I urge you to do your own research! Learn WHY standards that were predominately in grades 1 and 2 are NOW living in Kindergarten? My classroom door is always open!

I urge you to talk to veteran teachers, and those that are not an “echo chamber” and listen with an open mind and hear their concerns.

I urge you to thoroughly scrutinize Common Core standards and prove their effectiveness and flexibility for our children with learning differences and culturally diversity ( ESOL).

I urge you to ask the professionals in Child Psychology, David Elkind, author of The Hurried Child , The Gisell Institute, and Leslie University why they don’t support Common Core State Standards in the primary grades?

I urge you to produce the evidence/study that illustrates “higher standards” improve student achievement. Great Teachers improve student achievement!

I urge you to take the Smarter Balanced Assessment, if you haven’t already, and share your scores publicly. Then report out on how your SBAC data will help a teacher design instruction to lift your learning. Assessment should drive instruction.

I urge you to find another profession that will be evaluated by someone else’s work. (new teacher evaluation system attached to RTTT Funds)

I urge you NOT to state 16,000 teachers from NEA-NH support Common Core.

I urge you to PAUSE and RETHINK your stand on Common Core in NH and it’s unfriendly cohort, Smarter Balanced.

As the Lorax spoke for the trees, I am an educator speaking for the children.

Thank You! You make a difference in the lives of our children.

Maryann Boucher
Hooksett School District
SAU #15
NH Educator since 1988
“Kindergartners should be blowing bubbles, NOT filling them in!”

Why Charter Schools Are NOT the Answer

This is interesting proof of what we have been saying — even the ‘charter’ schools use the wacky curriculum sold to them by consultants.

Brian Polet, board president of Eagle Crest Charter Academy in Holland, Michigan has resigned.

Here is his letter:

Dear Eagle Crest Charter Academy, National Heritage Academies, and Central Michigan University,

Effective June 30, 2014, I officially resign as board president and from the board of directors of the Eagle Crest Charter Academy. Having been a part of the ECCA board since 1998, I have enjoyed watching it grow from a fledgling 100+ student body to a well respected institution of learning, not only in the West Michigan area, but in the state as a whole. Throughout those years, the challenge this board has been to ask the question, “Is it good for our children?” We have now reached a “no” to the answer of that question: Common Core State Standards and its Orwellian sibling, Smarter Balance Assessments. Over the past few months it has come to light that this Academy has suffered the chaos over the past two years of what is commonly called Common Core. Equally apparent is the vim and vigor that CMU and NHA have supported implementation of CC despite a lack of national testing, trials and experience.

This copy-written, corporate-driven education model has been developed by non-teachers and edu-crats from Washington to Lansing to the detriment of students, parents, taxpayers and local school boards. Without control of curriculum and a limited control of budgets, CC has effectively removed local control from parents and put it the hands of ESPs, the Dept. of Ed and state boards.

As a logical conclusion to this hokum, ECCA has fallen victim to this Soviet-style education. The chaos that has ensued is not the consequence of bad management by NHA, but a result of a flawed educational system.

More disturbing to me is the inability to guarantee the data privacy of our students. Neither NHA or the State Board will be able to protect a child’s data from corporate vultures, marketers, and political interest groups from being used in a malevolent way. Equally troubling is the ability for educational personal to manipulate tests and assessments to move any student into certain fields or vocations and to modify behavior without consent or knowledge of the parent.

Sadly, as a volunteer I have no “skins” in this game. This puts the board and its individual members at a decided disadvantage against the combined efforts of CMU and NHA. With this in mind, I want no part of a lousy educational model and I refuse to sign my name to a product that confuses, disorients, diminishes and fails to protect our students.

In conclusion, my conversations with CMU and NHA has made it quite clear that this is the model they want. They can have it. With CC, we no longer have the Socratic model of education, but a new Bill Gates vocational schooling for worker bees and drones. Plainly, I have not left education, education has left me and more importantly, our students.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve these many years.

Brian Polet
Eagle Crest Charter Academy Board President

We found the letter here:
Michigan Charter School Board President Resigns Over Common Core

They stated:

Eagle Crest is part of National Heritage Academies, a nine-state conglomerate of charter schools. Central Michigan University is Eagle Crest’s charter authorizer/sponsor.

Polet’s use of “Soviet-style education” will be sure to roll the eyes of more leftward leaning opponents of the “Gates vocational schooling” he references. His description of Smarter Balanced Assessments as “Orwellian” will not. One man’s Marx is another man’s Orwell. Both are about centralized control of free will and thinking.

Most in the choice-charter school -Common Core cabal aren’t fortunate enough like Polet to “not have skins in the game as volunteers.” They’ve become entrenched and are devoted the this three-headed monster becoming the model which becomes the graven image which controls the multi-billions of dollars the nation devotes to education.

Maine Teachers Turning On Common Core

AUGUSTA – Maine teachers are growing frustrated with the Common Core State Standards, a controversial educational reform that has quietly wound its way into nearly every American school in the past few years.

“Teachers from around the country (including many here in Maine) have expressed concerns about the way the Common Core standards are being implemented and assessed,” wrote Maine Education Association (MEA) lobbyist John Kosinski in a Feb. 19 email to Democratic leaders.

“Frustration is quickly growing among teachers,” Kosinski wrote.

The email, which was sent to Senate President Justin Alfond (D-Portland), House Speaker Mark Eves (D-North Berwick), Sen. Rebecca Millett (D-Cape Elizabeth) and Rep. Bruce MacDonald (D-Booth Bay), was obtained by The Maine Wire through a public records request.

Kosinski did not respond to requests for comment about Common Core and the MEA, but the email says the National Education Association (NEA) is “calling for a review of the standards and their implementation.”

“You can expect the NEA will be calling for greater collaboration with teachers on retooling the standards,” he wrote.

Maine replaced the Maine Learning Results with the Common Core in January of 2011, becoming the 42nd state to have adopted them.

Read more…

A scathing interview with a 5th grade teacher who was in the room when Common Core was being created

Please ignore the reference to Glenn Beck, but listen to what this teacher has to say. This pertains to ALL education today, not just Common Core.

McQueen: The Common Core is much bigger than just a set of standards, a test, or a data gathering machine. Like a virus, the Common Core tricks its victims into lowering their guard by pretending to be something it is not. But the Common Core isn’t just a mindless infection of our society; rather it is an intentional takeover of our education delivery system and therefore a takeover of our children’s minds. It is a one-size-fits-all, homogenized, centrally controlled education delivery system steeped in Progressive ideology. It is antithetical to everything that makes our country exceptional. This cult is relentlessly pulling our children under its control, with a seemingly endless supply of money, and uses intimidation to silence its opponents.

Read more…