Tag Archives: localcontrol

Goodbye “Local Control” of Education in New Hampshire

We continue to question the over-reach by the New Hampshire Dept. of Education as the Commissioner seems to believe the Superintendents work for her and not the local communities that pay their salaries.

The preliminary Smarter Balanced scores were recently released to all of the Superintendents throughout New Hampshire. However the Commissioner directed the Superintendents NOT to release this information to the local school boards or taxpayers. Once again, Commissioner Barry is treating our paid employee as if they work for her.

Some board members have reported asking their Superintendent for this information, only to be told NO, they would follow the guideline set forth by the Commissioner.

Sucking up to the Commissioner is not a bad idea because we know Dr. Livingston, Superintendent in Manchester, received a recommendation from Commissioner Barry when applying for her job. However it’s important that school boards remind their Superintendent that they still work for them.

Superintendents attend a “closed door” monthly meeting with the Commissioner where school board members have no access to public records.

We ask school board members again, who does your Superintendent work for?

We expect the Smarter Balanced scores to be released soon even though the DoE promised fast results. We’re not sure when “fast results” translated into, 6 months later.

Once the results of the Smarter Balanced scores are released, one would expect the leader of their school, the Superintendent, to offer their honest opinion on those results. In other words, what do they honestly think about the assessment? Are the scores, which are expected to be worse than the previous years under the NECAP, accurate? Is the Smarter Balanced Assessment fundamentally flawed as many have described? (See the examples below)

What we’ve uncovered is a list of “talking points” that were given to Superintendents by the NH DoE. Are our Superintendents so ill equipped that they cannot provide honest commentary on the results? Do they need the DoE to do their “thinking” for them?

Parents want honest answers for the poor scores that are about to be released. They want to know if they are accurate. They want to know if the assessment is flawed or if the school has indeed been failing our children.

We tend to believe the assessment itself is NOT a good indicator of how well your school is performing. We’ve looked at the critical views on this assessment and have NO confidence in the results. This is why we encourage parents to REFUSE this assessment for their children.

The Smarter Balanced Assessment is a data gatherer on your children. IT does not offer you information on whether your child is proficient in the core subjects. If you want that kind of information, have your child tested outside the school system using an achievement test.

Assessments are for assessing your child’s behavior, attitudes and values. An achievement TEST will measure their academic knowledge.

Ask home-schoolers what they use to test their children. Some reliable achievement tests include; The Iowa Basic Skills Test, Stanford Achievement Test, or the California Achievement Test. Look for the non-Common Core aligned achievement test.

Next ask your Superintendent for honest feedback on the Smarter Balanced Assessment and question why they would need the DoE to issue “talking points” on the results.

NH Talking Points (FINAL 8.31.15)

Why the Smarter Balanced Common Core Math Test Is Fatally Flawed

Doctor Gary Thompson (Licensed Child Psychologist) Smarter Balanced Assessment NOT Valid

NH Families for Education: Considerations for School Districts Before Administering the Smarter Balanced Assessment

WARNING: Gov. Kasich is worse than Gov. Hassan on Education Policy

As New Hampshire voters meet and greet Republican candidates for President, we couldn’t help but notice the “spin” a few of them are putting on their support for Common Core. It appears as if the voters in the Granite State are vetting the candidates on Common Core, causing the candidates to “spin” their prior support for this failed federal reform.

Let’s take a look at Governor Kasich’s unwavering support for Common Core and cut through his “spin.” We’re going to give you facts he leaves out of his campaign speeches that actually makes Governor Hassan look better when it comes to education policy.

Since 2012 New Hampshire has been facilitating the federal take over in education with the dedicated help from Governor Hassan. We’ve shown New Hampshire residents how those policies are hurting our schools, teachers and most importantly our children.

When you look at what Governor Kasich has done in Ohio, you realize, he’s doing the same things. Not only is Kasich facilitating the federal agenda but he is then spinning it as if he supports local control in education.

We are going to start with the recent report card that was put out by, American Principles in Action, The Pulse 2016, and Cornerstone Policy Research Action.
In this report card it’s important to note that Governor Kasich (along with Gov. Bush) received an “F”. You can read the full report here. Governor Kasich earned an “F” grade for various reasons and has done more to violate the privacy of students than protect it.

The 350 Ohio school districts currently participating in the program are required to share extensive amounts of personally identifiable data on the students and their parents without parental knowledge or consent. The data shared with authorized third parties are not anonymous or disaggregated in any way according to the data sharing agreement. Researchers have access to students’ social security number, biometric identifier, or student number.

According to this scathing report, “on the issue of student data privacy, Kasich has exploited, not protected, the students and families in Ohio.” http://ohioansagainstcommoncore.com/data-sharing-agreement-must-read/

Privacy is so important to New Hampshire voters, it has caused legislators like Rep. Cordelli to draft legislation to protect privacy on students. Kasich is doing the opposite of what our elected representatives are doing on behalf of New Hampshire voters.

Ohioans against Common Core has a detailed page exposing the data sharing agreement in Ohio. They warn parents about the crony deal that it was set up, “to capitalize on your child’s personal and education data for the benefit of the education establishment and their cohorts. It is essentially a Common Core slush fund…..”

Remember we’ve been warning parents that when the bureaucrats at the NH Dept. of Ed say you have nothing to worry about when it comes to sharing student data, that is NOT true. Once an organization is “identified” as “research based,” all information can freely flow to that organization without parental knowledge or consent. It’s just a matter of making sure the organization is labeled correctly.

The new “spin job” from Kasich appears to be, facilitate the federal agenda but call it “local control.” Those of us who’ve been fighting Common Core realize this is one of the biggest lies perpetrated by Common Core proponents. They say schools can use any standards they want, but then force Common Core assessments on those schools. If a school is forced to use a Common Core assessment, the curriculum will be aligned.

That’s why a fellow Republican in Ohio took Governor Kasich to task and explained how this reform was not a local initiative. In the letter printed in the Washington Post, Ben Gibson, a Republican and vice president of Firelands Local Schools in Ohio, was angered by comments that Kasich made during a Fox News interview. If the Governor doesn’t know how Common Core was developed, is he really equipped to govern at the national level?

In Ohio under Kasich, an agreement was made to use the Common Core “PARCC” assessment. It’s the equivalent to the Smarter Balanced Assessment being used in New Hampshire.

After public scrutiny and outrage over PARCC, Ohio decided to withdraw from the PARCC consortium. However like many proponents of Common Core, they replaced it with another lousy Common Core assessment. It appears that when there is public outrage, the solution is to go from bad to worse. By withdrawing from PARCC and using another assessment from AIR, the parental victory was no victory at all. It was a calculated move to manipulate the critics.

Ohio went from one bad Common Core assessment under the Kasish to another one. That’s not leadership, that’s incompetence.

In New Hampshire, Charter schools are public schools and enhance selection for parents. They are public Charter schools and do not have the problems Corporate owned Charters are facing in states like Ohio.

Ohio’s Charter schools have faced criticism over attendance rates and accountability. However the biggest scandal occurred recently when the Director of School Choice in Ohio was found rigging the data on Charter schools.

In this article by Brietbart, David Hansen who was the Director of School Choice and also the husband of Kasich’s chief of staff, turned into one of the biggest scandals to date. Brietbart reported that Hansen, “resigned after admitting he manipulated evaluations of some charter sponsors….. The data rigging allowed the sponsors of poor-performing online schools to appear to be engaged in adequate supervision of those schools.”

What is even more shocking is that Hansen had a history of corruption.
“And Hansen himself is not new to data rigging.
As Ohio Political blog Plunderbund reports, in 2009, while Hansen was president of the Buckeye Institute, he was also caught manipulating data about Ohio’s charter schools, yet was still chosen to be school choice director in 2013. Many of the schools involved were owned and operated by for-profit company White Hat Management, which itself is owned by David Brennan, a big donor – through his family’s foundation – to the Institute, to the Republican Party, and to Kasich’s campaign in Ohio.”

Governor Kasich created a state level position for his Chief of Staff’s husband who has a history of unethical behavior. That’s not leadership, that’s incompetence.

Finally, we can see an attempt by the Kasich administration to eliminate local control of schools in the state of Ohio. This should be the final nail in the coffin by New Hampshire voters since we pride ourselves on local control in education.

HB70, which was recently signed into law by Governor John Kasich, not only erodes local control, it is the prescription to eliminate local control as dictated by the Chief architect of Common Core, Marc Tucker.

The goal of the Common Core agenda is to remove local control of public schools and shift power to the state level. However if you look at who is controlling the “state” you see it is actually the Feds. Marc Tucker knew that if it appeared the Feds were ceasing control, “the people” would balk. If they made it look like the “state” is controlling education, there’d be less resistance. It was just another way to manipulate the public.

State level control of education in New Hampshire equals federal control. Governor Hassan has been facilitating the federal reform under the guise of state and local control during her tenure.

Governor Kasich is not only doing the same, but he’s gone even further by signing HB70.

In this article titled “A quick look at the new state takeover plan for failing school districts,” HB70 is the tool to remove local control from schools.

It’s also important to remember that part of the process of determining whether a school is failing involves using standardized test scores. That means using the Common Core assessments proficiency rates to determine not only if a teacher is “effective” but whether the school is failing too.

The Common Core assessments are NOT achievement tests, they are psychometric assessments on your child’s attitude, behavior and values. They are USED to collect personal data on your child so the central planners can then determine where your child will go in life. College or career? Your child is “human capital” for the state.

Under the Kasich regime he’s using data from standardized assessments that do not even tell parents whether their children are actually proficient in the core academic subjects.

Under HB70 Ohio sets up a new Commission that strips control away from parents and local residents and shifts that power to unelected bureaucrats. This is done to school districts that receive an “F” rating or the equivalent but isn’t it ironic that Kasich himself received an “F” rating on the issue of Common Core? Who gets to step in and remove his power?

Here is a list of duties that are removed from local elected boards and placed into the hands of unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats in Ohio:

(1) Replacing school administrators and central office staff;

(2) Assigning employees to schools and approving transfers;

(3) Hiring new employees;

(4) Defining employee responsibilities and job descriptions;

(5) Establishing employee compensation;

(6) Allocating teacher class loads;

(7) Conducting employee evaluations;

(8) Making reductions in staff;

(9) Setting the school calendar;

(10) Creating a budget for the district;

(11) Contracting for services for the district;

(12) Modifying policies and procedures established by the district board;

(13) Establishing grade configurations of schools;

(14) Determining the school curriculum;

(15) Selecting instructional materials and assessments;

(16) Setting class sizes; and

(17) Providing for staff professional development

This is the Progressive Marc Tucker’s DREAM. Stripping away power from elected local board members and shifting it to the state level which is the equivalent to the Feds running your local schools. To make matters worse, Kasich claims this is local control.

This isn’t leadership, this is a systematic federal take over in public education and it’s being facilitated by Governor Kasich.

Voters are not be getting the truth from Governor Kasich as he campaigns in New Hampshire, but we are smarter than he thinks. We take our duty to vet candidates seriously. We listen to their speeches but then we do our homework.

Well we’ve done our homework and we see that a Kasich presidency would look frightfully similar to an Obama presidency when it comes to education policy. We expect our leaders to lead and not follow some prescription for a centralized education plan that strips away the democratic process.

New Hampshire needs to give Governor Kasich the message that we do not want him as president and we expect him to go back to Ohio and clean up the mess he created there.

We deserve better from our elected representatives.

Kasich

Has Your Superintendent Given Away Local Control In Your District?

The US DOE’s now inviting superintendents across the country to “Take the Pledge” for Nationalized Daily Curriculum and Daily Testing.

At the ConnectED conference in Washington, D.C., various superintendents from around the country took “THE PLEDGE” without any input from School Board members OR citizens.

OUR suggestion to New Hampshire residents is:
File a Right To Know Request (RSA 91-A)  and ask if your Superintendent signed the pledge.  If they did, please notify us with the documented information and we will be happy to post that public information on this blog.

If your Superintendent has not signed the pledge, it might also be a good idea to notify your local board members about this pledge and encourage your Superintendent and Board Members REFUSE.

Superintendents