There’s not much more to add to this except to say, this is the legacy from the Hassan tenure.
This is a copy of a homework assignment given to a 3rd grade New Hampshire student. We believe it speaks for itself.
Suggestions for parents:
1) Keep taking these examples to your PUBLIC school board meetings and show your elected board members.
2) Keep telling your elected representatives and senators that Common Core is dumbing down our schools.
3) Replace textbooks or curriculum that you believe is harming your child’s education. HB542 was passed into NH law a few years ago and your school should have a policy in place that says you can replace objectionable materials at your expense. You do need to have the administration approve of the change, but if they do not approve, take it to your school board and/or media.
IF you want your child to get a quality education in New Hampshire, Common Core/ Next Generation Science standards will NOT do that. You have to fight for a better quality education for your children.
We are hesitant to endorse any candidate for office. Why? Because many candidates say they oppose Common Core OR support parental rights but when it comes to fighting for this, they don’t have the evidence to show they’ve put forth any real effort.
We decided to highlight some of the better candidates out there running for office. We want to make sure you are an informed voter this fall. We will be brining you info on candidates who’ve stood in opposition to our efforts and on the candidates who put forth the effort we expect.
We’d like you to take a look at one candidate for the New Hampshire Senate:
Rep. Ralph Boehm currently sits on the NH House Education Committee and has the record to prove he’s stood up for parents who oppose Common Core. He’s also supported parental rights so we’d like to highlight his record and encourage voters in Litchfield and Manchester Dist. 18 — Wards 5,6,7,8, 9 to get out there and VOTE FOR RALPH BOEHM.
When you look at his record (and we are only highlighting a few of his votes) you will see that unlike his opponent (Sen. Donna Soucy) Rep. Boehm has the record that shows he will fight for parents.
Sen. Soucy has not only stood against parental rights (she tried to repeal HB542 which is a parental rights law) she actively works against parents who are fighting against Common Core and for better academic standards.
NH Senate Dist. 18 — Manchester Wards 5,6,7,8, 9 and Litchfield.
Session Year 2011
Title: requiring legislative approval for the adoption of the common core state standards in New Hampshire.
Session Year 2015
Title: (3rd New Title) relative to student social media policies by educational institutions and nonpublic sessions under the right-to-know law.
Session Year: 2016
Title: relative to school district policy regarding objectionable course material.
Session Year 2015
Title: (2nd New Title) establishing a committee to study non-academic surveys or questionnaires administered by a public school to its students and relative to non-academic surveys or questionnaires given to students.
Session Year 2015
relative to student exemption from the statewide assessment.
***Not Boehm’s bill but his amendment replaced the bill.
Session Year 2016
relative to school attendance in towns with no public schools.
GO OUT THERE AND HELP HIS CAMPAIGN
6 Gibson Drive
Litchfield, NH 03052-2301
Rich Girard won a seat on the Manchester School board along with Lisa Freeman. Both are new to the board and outspoken critics of Common Core. They support parental rights and will challenge the status quo.
Parents in Manchester need to stay informed and keep speaking up!!
Doris Hohensee and Howard Coffman both won seats on the Nashua School board too. Doris has been a vocal activist fighting the Common Core reforms and supporting parental rights in NH. Coffman and Hohensee are new to the board and that is GREAT news for the students and parents in Nashua.
While many parents have pulled their kids out of the public schools over Common Core, we continue to encourage them to stay in the game. Keep fighting for a better education for all kids in your district and throughout New Hampshire.
Congratulations to these newest board members and those who were re-elected with the intention to serve the children INSTEAD OF THE BUREAUCRACY!!!!!
MANCHESTER VOTERS, there is an
IMPORTANT election coming up on November 3rd.
We have compiled a list of School Board candidates to VOTE for! (SEE BELOW)
Richard Girard has done more to educate the public on the problems with Common Core and support parental rights. He is a leader in the community on this issue and is running for the “At-Large” seat.
PLEASE visit his web site and VOTE for Girard.
Please share this information with your friends, neighbors or anyone
else who lives in Manchester. VOTE FOR:
Richard Girard – at large
JoeLaChance – at large
DebLangton – Ward 2
Ben Gamache – Ward 3
Mark Flanders – Ward 4
LisaFreeman – Ward 5
Larraine Lencki – Ward 6
RossTerrio – Ward 7
JimmyLehoux – Ward 8
Christine Duffley – Ward 12
We’ve received NUMEROUS complaints about former Board of Ed member Christopher Stewart when he opposed parents in Manchester who vocalized their opposition to the Common Core Standards. Parents throughout the city attended school board hearings demanding better academics for their children. It was the best example of democracy in action for the children, one could hope for.
How did Christopher Stewart respond? By voting against the parents and maintaining the dumbed down Common Core standards for his school district.
Now Stewart has moved on to another Obama initiative, early childhood education. In other words, Obama wants the taxpayers to fund universal pre-school for all!! Stewart seems to be Obama’s man to get that done in New Hampshire.
Recently Stewart, along with his colleague Meryl Levin who are co-chairs of the Don’t Wait. Educate wrote an article in the Manchester Union Leader calling upon local candidates to sign a pledge supporting this tax initiative.
They refer to studies by saying, “Studies show kids without access to quality early learning programs fall further and further behind as they move through school. They have an increased probability of behavioral issues in class. They are more likely to live in poverty or commit crimes in adulthood.” – See more at: http://www.unionleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20151008/OPINION02/151009183#sthash.BRAHtqH6.dpuf However they provide no studies to back up their claims.
Many children who attend pre-school in New Hampshire enter the public school system only to fall behind the longer they attend public school. If you look at the past standardized test scores, you will see that children in the early grades tend to score higher than the children in the higher grades. In other words, the longer a child remains in the New Hampshire public school system, the further they fall behind. (Source: NECAP standardized test scores)
What did Stewart do when parents in Manchester came to him and asked that the Board vote to develop higher and better quality standards? He voted against them.
How can anyone take him seriously now?
Why is he focusing attention on early education when there is sufficient data that shows early childhood education isn’t effective?
The United States Department of Education called for independent studies on early childhood education. In both of these studies, early childhood education was not effective on student outcomes. Stewart failed to share this information in his article.
Now his organization is targeting candidates who are not foolish enough to jump on his tax and spend bandwagon knowing that with limited resources available, maybe it’s better to invest in fixing our k-12 public schools in Manchester. The district he didn’t support as an elected member of the board.
Who really supports public education? The board member trying to tax you so you pay for a program that has no proven success ? Or the good people who wanted to uplift all children, k-12, in the Manchester school district?
We want to make it clear that we do NOT oppose pre-school for children. In fact, if this is something that a parent feels is good for their child, we stand behind those parents.
However there are many children who do not need to be forced into a pre-school program because Obama and Stewart think a comprehensive approach to pre-school is necessary for all children.
Let parents decide what’s good for their kids.
If Stewart wants to help the children in attend pre-school, why not look to fundraising efforts? Why try to force candidates to support a comprehensive tax and spend policy that has NO track record of actual success?
Obama wants universal pre-school because that is part of the Common Core agenda. Children are now considered human capital for the workforce and getting them into early childhood education is a must. It’s in their literature.
Don’t be fooled by another big government, tax and spender like Stewart. His track record on the Board of School Committee speaks for itself. If he really cared about the quality of education our children deserve, he would have voted in support of the parents.
On September 9th, 2015, the Manchester Education Association hosted a forum for candidates running for Mayor in Manchester. Mayor Gatsas was unable to attend due to a prior commitment. The candidates who did attend were asked questions on education, drug addiction, and other important issues.
Patrick Arnold, Joyce Craig, Alibaba Shaikh and Glenn Ouellette took questions and answered how they would govern as Mayor if elected to that position.
There are many issues in public education that are important however the BIGGEST issue right now is the Common Core reform. This federal reform involves eroding local control in education, data mining on students, mediocre academic standards, and a shift away from academic excellence to workforce training.
As we watched this forum we were surprised by the lack of questions that targeted the federal reform taking place in the Manchester school district. Based on the answers coming from some of the candidates we were also surprised by the lack of concern from them too.
The federal reforms are driving big problems in the Manchester schools as we’ve heard from not only parents but the Manchester teachers too. While there were some good questions asked, we feel this was a missed opportunity to go in depth on what is driving the problems students, teachers and parents are facing in the district.
1) Over testing to meet the mandate of the Common Core “Smarter Balanced Assessment”
2) Revised Manchester Academic Standards that are basically the same as Common Core
3) Personal data collected on students
4) 21st Century Skills or competencies that take away time spent on mastering the academic content.
During the discussion, Glenn Ouellette hit on some important points when he talked about the big problems with the federal mandates. However we noticed the other candidates never really addressed this problem.
Where are the problems coming from in public education and what can be done to alleviate those problems?
Patrick Arnold began by talking about why he was running for Mayor and mentioned that education should be a priority but he felt it was not a priority right now. He talked about leveling the playing field but what does that mean? Does that mean uplifting the children who need it and how does he plan on doing that? He didn’t offer any specific plans. Often times that can mean bringing those who are successful down versus uplifting those who need extra help.
Arnold did manage to take shots at Gatsas during this forum but offered no real plan to fix the problems. Maybe we are supposed to just trust that he can do it better even though he offered no real solutions to the problems that exist.
For instance, we know from the Manchester teachers that the over-testing is a real problem in the classroom. We’ve heard a real problem and yet, not only did he fail to acknowledge that problem, he offered no solution. His solution was to use the pulpit to “inspire and communicate” to the city of Manchester that there is “opportunity.” This was his solution to children of color who are not taking higher level classes.
Arnold missed an opportunity to talk about the lack of quality curriculum in the classes and the over-testing that teachers have been talking about. Where does that come from? Reforms like No Child Left Behind and Common Core. If the district is not preparing students of color academically, then there is little opportunity for them to reach those higher level classes.
Joyce Craig said she was proud to lead the fight to override the Mayor’s veto on the teacher’s contract and that Manchester is not living up to it’s potential. She said Manchester needs a leader now. That’s true, the Mayor is a leadership position which makes us question again, where Craig was when parents were fighting for better quality standards than what Common Core was going to offer their children.
Leaders take on challenges for the right reasons. They don’t sit back and refuse to get involved.
Craig talked about every student deserving a quality education and as alderman she worked on the budget and full day kindergarten. Yet she was absent when people from all over New Hampshire attended the school board meetings pleading with the board members to reject the dumbed down Common Core standards. Craig managed to miss an opportunity to show real leadership for better quality academic standards for the students in Manchester.
When asked about how to get students of color in the higher level classes, Craig’s response was to get parents educated about the opportunities in high school. She wants to make sure every child has a clear understanding about their opportunities. She didn’t mention the lack of quality academic content that parents have been talking about for years. That can become the root of the problem for many students when trying to reach higher level classes. If they are not adequately prepared in the academic content, then the administrators in the district failed those students. It is the administrators who have aligned curriculum to dumbed down academic standards and it’s often times up to parents to fill in those gaps. If parents do not have the resources to fill in those gaps, students can and do fall behind. Unfortunately Arnold and Craig seem to have no idea where some of these problems originate and therefor lack solutions to fix them.
Craig said the most important thing in education is a great teacher in a classroom. We would agree with that statement, but when you tie that teacher’s hands through federal mandates and abusive testing practices, you’ve undermined that teacher’s ability to do their job well.
Alibaba talked about the need to make the kids and their parents self sufficient. He wants to make Manchester a sister city to Silicon Valley. His focus was on economic opportunity and talked about making sure immigrant children receive time to qualify for the higher level class.
Alibaba seemed to want to cut through the political posturing and find real solutions but we wonder how long it would take for him to figure out where some of the problems lie. He didn’t mention the biggest problems which are the oppressive regulations placed on the district through mandates that come from the federal reforms.
Glenn Ouellette right out of the gate talked about the failures of No Child Left Behind. He did not hesitate to talk about the problems that come from federal reforms and federal money.
On the question regarding children of color having access to higher level classes, Glenn said that if we teach what we are supposed to teach, everyone will have the same opportunity. This as a good point because it goes after the root of the problem. If Manchester students are receiving a quality academic education, the doors open for all students including students of color. That wont happen with Common Core standards and since the new Manchester Academic Standards almost mirror the Common Core Standards, we are concerned that those doors will remain shut.
Glenn brought up how the federal mandates may be costing the district MORE in the long run. For example, if the district takes in 20 cents per child and has to spend 50 cents per child to meet the mandates,it doesn’t make sense to accept the federal funding. Especially if those mandates do more harm than good.
Glenn said he opposes the federal education reforms like Common Core and the Smarter Balanced Assessment setting him apart from the other candidates on the stage who still haven’t figured out where many of these problems are coming from. The problems with teaching to the test when there are great teachers in the city shows just how convoluted education in Manchester has become.
Glenn Ouellette was the only candidate on that stage who showed up for every school board meeting speaking on behalf of parents in Manchester calling for superior academic standards. He not only took the time to educate himself on Common Core, he showed the leadership the other candidates say is lacking right now. Candidates like Arnold and Craig who keep talking about a lack of leadership failed to show leadership on one of the most important debates in Manchester.
Parents in Manchester need to look past the political posturing when it comes to some of the candidates running for mayor. Money will not fix the problems in Manchester because we know where the problems exist. It’s easy to campaign on more funding for the schools but if these candidates ignore the root causes of the problems you will simply end up paying more for a poor quality of education.
As the election date moves closer, parents need to demand better solutions from some of these candidates. If not we fear taxes will increase but the status quo will remain the same. Demand something better from your next Mayor.
If you watch the video from the Curriculum and Instruction Meeting https://vimeo.com/channels/660461 you will see at 1:10:00 a discussion between the Curriculum and Instruction Committee and the Guidance Counselor.
The goal appears to be…SELL the “21st Century Skills” fad to the board members without offering them any critical information. For instance, when you get to around 1:30:00 you will hear School Board Member Sarah Ambrogi refer to this fad as “awesome.”
These 21st Century Skills are nothing new. In fact they are based on the failed Outcome Based Education model that seeks to implement dumbed down workforce skills into the daily curriculum.
This fad was all the rage in the 90′s but was abandoned in many schools and states when parents figured out that this kind of shift to “workforce skills” took valuable time away from focusing on academics. In other words, this was a contributing factor to illiteracy versus a tool to improve literacy in the schools.
We realize that there are other important qualities a teacher will focus on. That’s why report cards in the past would identify whether your child was attentive, self-disciplined, etc. The teacher would make comments based on their subjective judgement and offer parents a glimpse of how their child was behaving in the classroom.
Workforce training, or 21st Century Skills is different. This is part of the Obama redesign to an Outcome Based Ed. model and is based on the old SCANS “outcomes” or “skills.”
It sounds great to think that children will be learning some 21st century skills, but parents must ask themselves, does this come at the expense of academic achievement? In other words, where was any kind of independent studies offered that showed improvement in literacy with this fundamental shift? That’s the FIRST question the board members should have asked.
“Skills are important and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) has identified skills that all children need such as critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving. But P21’s approach to teaching those skills marginalizes knowledge and therefore will deny students the liberal education they need. Cognitive science teaches us that skills and knowledge are interdependent and that possessing a base of knowledge is necessary to the acquisition not only of more knowledge, but also of skills. Skills can neither be taught nor applied effectively without prior knowledge of a wide array of subjects.
Education policy and practice should be based on sound research and informed by an understanding of what has worked and what has failed in the past. Attempts to teach skills apart from knowledge have failed repeatedly over the last century because they do not work. Unless it is fundamentally revised, the program put forth by P21 also will fail. In the meantime, it is undermining the quality of education in America.”
We suspect “critical thinking” may be among those “21st Century Skills” now being promoted in the Manchester School District. However we question WHY the Guidance Counselor failed to offer the board members any critical analysis on the 21st Century Skills fad.
Manchester parents would be wise to also read this critical piece from The Heritage Foundation printed in 2001. After watching the sales job from the Manchester Guidance Counselor, make sure you read through the Heritage article that talks about the problems with this fundamental shift from a focus on a liberal arts academic education to dumbed down workforce training:
“Quite unnoticed, a new definition of education standards has emerged–one that places greater relevance on the world of work. All learning is to take place within the context of a work situation or real-world environment with emphasis on workplace competencies. It is argued that this will provide relevance for students that will foster in them a desire to achieve greater levels of learning. But the result has been a narrower education that focuses on practical skills to the detriment of a broader academic education. The danger of the new education standards is that they may elevate workplace competencies above essential academic knowledge.
Not all education is vocational education. Schools should not be required or encouraged by federal funding to narrow their focus to emphasize workplace skills.”
Contact your Manchester School Board Members and tell them that you expect better than a Guidance Counselor selling your board members the Obama (Outcome Based Ed) reform. Tell them that you expect your board members to ask for sufficient proof from independent sources that any kind of shift away from a focus on academics will not result in an increase in illiteracy among the student population.
Here is a link to your Manchester School Board Members. Send them this article and tell them you expect more for your tax dollars and for your children: http://bosc.mansd.org
They say a politician’s campaign advisor says a lot about the candidate so let’s take a look at a candidate for Mayor in Manchester, NH.
Joyce Craig (D) has decided to run for Mayor in Manchester. Who did she ask to be her co-Chair on her election committee? Rep. Mary Heath who represents Manchester Ward 7……..
““I am honored to have Alderman Bill Cashin, Representative Mary Heath, Dave Allen and Kerry Schleyer as co-chairs of my campaign for Mayor of Manchester. I look forward to working with them. It’s time to move Manchester forward.”
How is Rep. Mary Heath on the issue of Common Core and parental rights? Unfortunately NOT GOOD at all.
Let’s look at her voting record this past year and you will see a consistent record of supporting the dumbed down Common Core Standards (rejected by parents in Manchester) and in opposition to parental rights.
We encourage you to go through her entire voting record.
Rep. Mary Heath voted AGAINST
1) SB101 (A SENATE BILL) AN ACT prohibiting the state from requiring implementation of common core standards.
2) HB276 (A HOUSE BILL) This bill prohibits the state board of education from adopting a rule requiring a school district or any public school to implement the common core state standards. The bill also requires a school board that elects not to implement or participate in the common core state standards or other minimum educational standards to adopt and implement educational standards that meet or exceed those standards.
***NOTE: Some State Legislators had a preference for one over the other however Rep. Heath opposed BOTH.
3) Rep. Heath voted to KILL HB302 which would require the department of education to submit all grant applications to the house of representatives committee concerned with educational issues for a public hearing and comments.
***NOTE: A vote against transparency since so many of these grant applications identify the local and state power in education that is given up for money.
4) Rep. Heath voted AGAINST Manchester’s Rep. Sullivan’s Bill supporting parental rights. HB332AN ACT relative to school district policy regarding objectionable course material. This bill requires school districts to provide advance notice to parents and legal guardians of course material involving discussion of human sexuality or human sexual education.
5) Rep. Heath voted against HB578 AN ACT relative to state board of education compliance with unfunded federal education mandates. This bill prohibits the state board of education from adopting rules that require a school district to comply with a federally mandated curriculum, method of instruction, or statewide assessment program which is not fully paid by federal funds.
It’s important to note that Rep. Heath’s record is NOT Joyce Craig’s record. However it certainly raises red flags that parents should be concerned about.
A suggestion would be to ask Joyce Craig to explain where she stands on all of these votes? With Rep. Heath and against parents in Manchester? IF she opposes Rep. Heath and stands with parents, why would she ask Rep. Heath to be her campaign manager?
There are other candidates in the race for Mayor in Manchester. It’s important to also note that Mayoral candidate Patrick Arnold (D) attended several school board meetings with parents who opposed Common Core but chose not to speak up on their behalf. That certainly causes us to wonder, where’s the leadership from Patrick Arnold?
Are the democrats willing to challenge and even fight for the parents in Manchester on this important issue? Or are they going to run a campaign that is more about political pandering but then do nothing to help the situation in Manchester if elected?
Parents need to ASK the tough questions of all of the candidates. What are they willing to do if elected?
So far their actions leave many of us thinking, things may actually get worse if they are elected.
Parents have been complaining about the intimidation, misinformation and bullying by administrators in their local school district when it comes to exercising their parental rights to REFUSE the Smarter Balanced Assessment.
Schools are required to administer the Smarter Balanced Assessment and cannot arbitrarily exempt students. However parents do have the right to refuse their child’s participation.
Let’s compare a note that went out to the Manchester parents versus the Londonderry parents.
Which letter better explains a parent’s right to refuse? Notifying parents of their Constitutional rights does not violate NH law. If so, where does it say that in statute Commissioner Barry?
Parents, it would be wise to take the Manchester letter to your local school board and ask them to explain why your Superintendent didn’t take the time to explain YOUR Constitutional rights to refuse? Why are they not informing parents? Why are they intimidating, and bullying parents into submission?
We’ve had parents who’ve had to hire ATTORNEYS so the school would back off.
Who does your Superintendent work for? YOU. You pay their salary and whether you allow your children to take the assessment or not, they should not be with-holding information from parents.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
A memo from the Board of School Committee regarding Smarter Balanced Assessment
Subject: Parent Information on Smarter Balanced Assessment
March 9, 2015
The Manchester School District is required by state and federal law to administer the Smarter Balanced Assessment. It will take place starting March 16, 2015 and must be completed by June 5, 2015. Students in grades 3-8 and grade 11 are scheduled to take the assessment.
It has come to the attention of the Manchester School District Board of School Committee that some parents object to the administration of the test and intend to keep their student from school when the test will be administered. While the Manchester School District is prohibited from encouraging nonparticipation in the Smarter Balanced Assessment process, rather than keeping student home from school during the administration of the testing, upon written or emailed notification by the parent/guardian the student will be relocated and provided alternative programming during the applicable testing period.
There will be no penalty to parents or students who do not participate in the assessment. If you have any questions about the assessment or wish for more information, please contact your child’s principal.
Posted by CommunicationsMSD at 10:36 AM
May 8, 2015
Dear Parent or Guardian:
Smarter Balanced Assessments are the next generation of student assessment and will replace the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) beginning this spring. Londonderry High School, along with thousands of others in 24 states, will participate in the Smarter Balanced Assessment in the areas of English Language Arts and Mathematics. The Smarter Balanced Assessment System will give parents more accurate and actionable information about what students are learning. We are certainly sensitive to the amount of testing that has taken place this year, and we are taking active steps to reduce that amount in subsequent years while still maintaining compliance with applicable laws and policies. We appreciate your patience as we work through this transition.
Our teachers are hard at work implementing academic standards that provide consistent guidelines in English and Math at each grade level and help prepare students to graduate from Londonderry High School “College and Career Ready.” These new benchmarks challenge students to develop a deeper understanding of subject matter, learn how to think critically, and apply what they are learning to the real world.
There has been some discussion about the ability of parents to ‘opt out’ of this assessment for philosophical or political objections. Please be advised that the School District does not have the regulatory authority to grant waivers or exceptions of any kind to the SBAC Test. Any decision by individual parents to refuse their student’s participation in SBAC must be documented with the school district by letter or email, and will be considered as parent refusals. Should students be absent from school, all existing absence policies will apply. Medical exemptions are allowable, though they must be approved by the NH Department of Education.
Our high school will administer a paper and pencil version beginning May 11. Tests are not timed; however, it will take approximately 3 to 4 hours to complete each content area test (English Language Arts and Math). Testing will be scheduled over multiple sessions to minimize disruptions. If you have any questions regarding scheduling please contact the school directly.
To comply with federal and state statute, participation in the test is required. Please note that Smarter Balanced will adhere to all federal and state privacy laws, including but not limited to Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Please visit the Smarter Balanced website at www.smarterbalanced.org for more information.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SAU #12 Londonderry School District