Tag Archives: parents

Parents are asking: Who is protecting student privacy?

Common Core has been the “issue” in education and has been part of the vetting process as we move forward in this presidential election. We’ve posted a link to the candidate’s score on a “report card,” based on where they stand on this issue.

Within that report card, candidates are also graded on how well they’ve addressed other concerns like, student privacy. This is an issue that most of the candidates have not talked about.

Since we have direct access to the candidates, we are encouraging everyone to start questioning the candidates about the student data privacy issue. Ask about closing the loophole now in the FERPA law that allows personal information on your child to be shared without your knowledge or consent. What would they do to re-instate parental rights over their child’s data?

It’s important to note that the U.S. Department of Education is under extreme criticism for their own lack of security on student, parent and family data.

Why aren’t the candidates talking about this? Why aren’t they addressing this important issue? Maybe it’s time to TAKE THIS ISSUE TO THE CANDIDATES.

Read more about that scathing review:

• The Department of Education (DoEd) has at least 139 million unique social security numbers in its Central Processing System (CPS).
• Reminiscent of OPM’s dangerous behavior, DoEd is not heeding repeat warnings from the Inspector General (IG) that their information systems are vulnerable to security threats.
o In the IG’s latest report, there were 6 repeat findings and 10 repeat recommendations.
o The Department scored NEGATIVE 14% on the OMB CyberSprint for total users using strong authentication
o The Department received an “F” on the FITARA scorecard
• The Department maintains 184 information systems.
o 120 are managed by outside contractors
o 29 are valued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as “high asset”
• The National Student Loan Database (NSLD) houses significant loan borrower information. There are 97,000 accounts/users with access to this significant data yet only 5,000, less than 20%, have undergone a background check to establish security clearance.
o The IG penetrated DoEd systems completely undetected by both the CIO or contractor
• The Department needs significant improvement in four key security areas:
o Continuous monitoring
o Configuration management
o Incident response and reporting
o Remote access management

Is the Nashua Superintendent Purposely Misleading Parents?

We’ve posted information on REFUSING the Smarter Balanced Assessment for your children. There’s even a petition to stop the abusive practices by the NH Dept. of Education. Unfortunately we continue to see administrators not providing parents with ALL of the information on their rights to refuse the Smarter Balanced for their children.

This latest letter comes from a parent in Nashua who was upset that the Superintendent didn’t provide all of the information for parents on their right to “Refuse”.

This is why HB603 is needed. HB603 declares that a student exempted from taking the statewide assessment by the student’s parent or legal guardian shall not be penalized. The bill also requires a school district to provide an appropriate alternative educational activity for the time period during which the assessment is administered..

Please call Governor Hassan and ask her to sign HB603 and support parents.

Parents also need to hold their school administrators accountable for the lack of information they are providing to parents. Manchester chose to fully inform parents on their refusal rights. Why are other schools choosing to keep parents in the dark?

It’s time to march into the next school board meeting and let them know this is unacceptable.

May 15, 2015

Dear Parents:

The State of New Hampshire requires an annual statewide assessment for English Language Arts and Math for students in grades 3-8 and 11. RSA 193-C:6 states, “Each year, a statewide assessment shall be administered in all school districts in the state in grades 3-8 and one grade in high school. All public school students in the designated grades shall participate in the assessment…”

To meet this requirement in English Language Arts and Math the State has chosen the Smarter Balanced assessment. To meet a similar requirement in science, for many years the State has participated in the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP), which is administered to students in grades 4, 8 and 11.

All public school students in the designated grade levels are required to participate in the Smarter Balanced and Science NECAP assessments, with only limited exemptions approved by the NH Department of Education for such circumstances as a serious illness or a death in the family. There is no opt-out provision in state statute based on parental choice. However, based on a recent Board of Education motion, if you keep your child out of school on the day of the assessment, the school will consider this an excused absence.

These assessments provide valuable information about your child’s progress, and the school’s progress, to parents, teachers and students. Should you have any further concerns I would invite you to contact Jennifer Seusing, our Assistant Superintendent for Accountability and Assessment, at 966-1069, or at SeusingJ@nashua.edu. She will be happy to meet with you to discuss your concerns.


Mark Conrad
Superintendent of Schools

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: What to do when your school administrators mislead you

Governor Baker To Engage Parents; Gov. Hassan No Where To Be Found

Some Governors are showing they want to hear from parents. Governor Hassan does not.

This is a post from the good folks in Mass. who are fighting Common Core. To improve public education parents must get involved. They have to show up to meetings, write letters, make phone calls and fight for their public schools.

Keep calling your legislators and Governor Hassan and let them know that Common Core and the Competency Based Education in our schools are not good for our children!!

Shanon McNamara Dahlstrom
April 21 at 6:44pm

Hello everyone. Please read.

As you may or may not be aware, Gov. Baker requested that the Board of Ed in MA hold 5 public forums on PARCC and Common Core.
This was announced on March 6th and you can find the press release here: http://www.mass.gov/governor/press-office/press-releases/fy2015/paul-sagan-to-chair-board-elementary-and-secondary-educ-.html

“The Governor has asked the new Chair to schedule not fewer than five public hearings around the Commonwealth, starting in June, to solicit public comment from local officials, educators, employers, parents and students, specifically on the implementation of the PARCC tests this spring and the impact of Common Core and PARCC on curriculum and instruction.

DESE finally released the dates and locations here http://www.doe.mass.edu/news/news.aspx?id=17901 but made no mention of common core.

What everyone needs to realize is that we only get one shot at things like this. We have no idea how long or hard the battle might be, but we have finally pushed hard enough to have these hearings. Make no mistake about why there are even going to be public hearings; this was the work of Donna Colorio, Common Core Forum, and so many of you that had been reminding Gov. Baker that we needed to change the direction of things. Do you want PARCC? NO! Then you need to BE THERE! Do you want Common Core? NO! Then you need to BE THERE! This isn’t easy. This isn’t even remotely convenient. But this is what we are being dealt. Do the locations and times suck? Yes, most of them do. Are these hearings being pushed and advertised extensively? No. Only a few school districts have mentioned them. So even though these hearings are a step in the right direction, there are major hurdles to overcome. They are banking on the fact that there will be low turnout. DESE is calling in MBAE and the Renie Center and all of the PARCC fellows to be there and testify. Will you be there to counter them? If there is not a good enough turnout then they will use that as a sword against us. So what are you going to do to help stop the progression of these education reforms?

For me, I will be at every one of these hearings. I will have something to speak at every single one. I will be there to listen to what proponents have to say and I will be there to counter them the next time. I know some of these are far. Some of the times are just awful. And I think this was done purposefully and to be convenient to the Board and DESE, not parents and teachers. So I will be there anyway. I need all of you to find a way to be there too. Trust me. I know it is not always possible. But TRY to do everything in your power to get to as many as you can. Even if you do not want to talk, be there to support those who are talking. I do not know how to stress the importance of people being there!

On another note, I want to say something about MCAS vs PARCC, which will be a focus of the hearings. Personally, I don’t want either option. I am mad that the current No Child Left Behind rewrite still includes testing in every grade. However, I believe to effect change it has to be in steps. I do not think the board or DESE will give any weight to a no testing argument at the moment. Since the only chance of a NCLB change still includes yearly testing, then a test is here to stay. I may not like it, and I will still opt my kids out of those tests and continue to push back against this, but it is the landscape we are in. I will tell them why I object to PARCC and what I would prefer to change in MCAS, but I will attack these reforms in stages. You are allowed to make any other argument that you personally believe in. This is my personal plan of attack and view on what can be done. I say this as a potentially strategy at finding a winning path to removing the erosion of education reform but know we may not all agree. Some might want testing and some might not give an inch in removing all testing. I understand both and ask you to come and speak with your heart, whatever it tells you, but PLEASE be there.

We will post event pages for each date. There will be a link for you to provide your contact info for any date you will attend. We will use that info solely to contact you as a group about strategy, stand out times before the event, and any other info that is useful to share. Never hesitate to contact me or Donna Colorio with any questions or issues.


Here are some powerful videos from NY when they had public “hearings” on Common Core. It was amazing to see so many people in each place speaking against CC and PARCC. We need the same thing. So many people clapping and being there in support of what others said. I don’t plan to be combative but I will be there and taking notes and countering things each time. Fitchburg is a week away…


NOTHING supersedes parental rights. They are affirmed in the U.S. Constitution 14th Amendment substantive due process grounds: (i.e., my right to nurture, raise, and direct the education of my child, my right and my child’s right to personal liberty, my right to protect my child from harm and for my child to be free from harm, and my right and my child’s right against unreasonable governmental intrusion);

Ninth Amendment recognizes that there are fundamental personal rights that are protected from abridgment by the government even though not specifically mentioned in the Constitution.

Federal statutes also come into play.

No Child Left Behind expressly provides: “Parents have the primary responsibility for the education of their children, and States . . . have the primary responsibility for the supporting that parental role.” 20 U.S.C. § 3401.

Similarly, the federal government has declared that I must be afforded “substantial and meaningful opportunities to participate in the education of [my child].” 20 USC § 6301 (12).

Supreme Court Recognition History

Indeed, my right to refuse to allow the state to compel my child to submit to a standardized test(or assessment) has Constitutional dimensions that have been recognized by the SupremeCourt of the United States for nearly 100 years.

My constitutional right to guide my child’s education and to protect my child from harm and exploitation at the hands of government is one of the oldest fundamental liberty interests recognized by that Court.

The Court has repeatedly held that because I have the natural inclination to further the best interests of my child, it is I who is the best protector of my child and, therefore, I have the natural right and duty to care for my child and protect her against unreasonable, arbitrary, and capricious governmental action. It is I — the parent, not the school district — who is entrusted with this constitutionally-protected, fundamental right.

The Court is emphatic that the State (the school district) has no right to interfere with or hinder my efforts to raise my child, or my efforts – my affirmative obligation — to protect my child from harm or exploitation.

See e.g., 20 U.S.C. § 6311 (based on the specific requirements outlined in No Child Left Behind, high-stakes testing violates federal law). The Court has stated: “[t]he fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes any general power of the State to standardize its children…The child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.” Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510 (1925).

The Supreme Court has similarly held: “the custody, care and nurture of the child reside first in the parents, whose primary function and freedom include preparation for obligations the  state can neither supply nor hinder.” Prince v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158 (1944).

Even the New York Court of Appeals recognizes this interest. The Court of Appeals stated: “It is the natural right, as well as the legal duty, of a parent to care for, control and protect his child from potential harm, whatever the source and absent a clear showing of misfeasance, abuse or neglect, courts should not interfere with that delicate responsibility.” Roe v. Doe, 29 NY2d 188 (NY 1971)

In fact, the federal government has explicitly provided protection to my child within the school environment. See 20 U.S.C. § 1232h (protecting students from examinations without written parental consent).

See 20 U.S.C. § 1232h, where parents reserve the right to examine the tests before their children are expected to take them and parents reserve the right to refuse to allow their children to take those tests if they aren’t allowed to examine them or if they feel the content is not conducive to learning or violates student privacy.

The Patronizing of Parents and Teachers by the Concord Monitor Editor

(With permission to post on this web site)

In reply to this: http://www.concordmonitor.com/home/13201820-95/editorial-myths-guiding-opposition-on-common-core

Dear Editor:

The recent Editorial by the Concord Monitor: Myths guiding opposition on Common Core, expresses the same patronizing position other supporters have taken when addressing the opposition to Common Core.

Since most of the opposition has come directly from parents and teachers one has to ask, does the editorial staff believe they are stupid?

The Huffington Post recently published an article: How the Common Core Lost Teacher Support. In the article, Peter Greene who is a teacher, talks about how support for Common Core is dropping like a stone among teachers. He also lists the many reasons for the continued decline among teachers, such as the horrible core-aligned curriculum that they say causes children to suffer.  


We’ve seen numerous examples of developmentally inappropriate math assignments for young children that Child Psychologists, Teachers and Parents have rightfully criticized.  If a young child’s brain is not developed to think abstractly and yet the math standards call for abstract thinking in the early years, all they’ve done is set the child and teacher up for failure.

Speaking of teachers, this entire reform effort has teachers as the scape-goat. U.S. Secretary Duncan has pulled No Child Left Behind Waivers if states were unwilling to tie a teacher’s evaluation to the standardized tests.  This has made the problem of high stakes testing an even bigger problem.

Parents throughout the country have researched Common Core and it’s insulting to imply that they are “mis-guided”.  Teachers are on the front lines dealing with these new standards and tests and it’s insulting to imply that they are misguided too.

There was a better way to address the low quality New Hampshire Standards that were developed under Governor Lynch that no one seemed to mind using prior to the Common Core.  The former or the current Governor could have utilized the teachers in New Hampshire, the college Professors at our local colleges and universities, and developed state level standards that are the best in the country.

Other states have taken that route, why not New Hampshire?  Why should our children settle for standards that do not include math standards that prepare students for STEM programs?  Why should our children settle for standards that put them two years behind their international peers?

This is the failure of the Hassan Administration and the previous Lynch Administration.  Neither were committed to developing state standards that are the best in the country and that are developmentally appropriate for children.

Instead we continue to hear how we are guided by myths when we know the facts.

Ann Marie Banfield
Education Liaison, Cornerstone Action

Common Core educational standards are losing support nationwide, poll shows

Common Core educational standards are losing support nationwide, poll shows

By T. Rees Shapiro August 20  

A year ago, the term Common Core meant little to the American public. But today, a vast majority of people in the country are familiar with the nationwide educational standards, and most of them oppose the initiative touted by the Obama administration, a new survey shows.

The results of an annual poll by Gallup and the Phi Delta Kappa educators’ organization provide more evidence that support for the Common Core State Standards, originally adopted by 46 states and the District, has faded in recent years. The survey showed that those who opposed the standards thought that the Common Core will hurt teachers’ ability to craft lessons that they think will be best for students. The latest survey results echo findings from other polls on Common Core support.

“It’s pretty apparent that the Common Core has become a polarizing term,” said Terry Holliday, the education commissioner of Kentucky, which wasamong the first states to adopt the standards in 2010.

The wide-ranging survey also showed that trust in the nation’s public school system has evaporated, as a consistent majority of Americans approve of charter schools that operate independently of state regulations. Overall, more than 70 percent of Americans give President Obama a C, D or F grade in his support to public schools, the lowest rating he has received on the poll since he took office in 2009.

Survey participants said that the top issue facing public schools is a lack of financial support, while concern about discipline issues or crime in schools is dropping.


The bigotry of low expectations? Through Common Core?


Both Republican and Democratic governors need to know that minority parents with children in the public schools express similar concerns to those of non-minority parents. They, too, don’t understand why Common Core seems to assume that all children will benefit from the low academic expectations embodied in Common Core’s college-readiness standards.

Read more here