Tag Archives: Portsmouth

Don’t label those who oppose Common Core

Scott Marion makes his living off of the over testing of our children in public schools.  His recent letter endorsing Gov. Hassan should come as no surprise since under her tenure, schools are becoming even more damaged by the over-testing with flawed assessments.  Below is a reply to Marion’s letter

With permission to post from the author………….

Don’t label those who oppose Common Core 

October 29, 2014 – 2:01 AM


Oct. 24 — To the Editor:

Scott Marion’s recent condescending letter to the editor chastising the Herald reporter about her article on the Common Core event in Maine is not surprising. He wrote another letter in which he praises Maggie Hassan for supporting the new “rigorous” standards and attacks Walt Havenstein and his “tea party supporters” as being opposed to high standards.

Mr. Marion should stop trying to label those who oppose Common Core. There are concerned citizens from across the political spectrum who oppose these arguably unproven standards and the excessive high-stakes testing that is associated with them. Perhaps people are concerned about these standards because of faults in the standards themselves and the fact that they are, in many respects, developmentally inappropriate. Can Mr. Marion provide any evidence that these standards will do what they propose or is this just another experiment on our children?

The opposition consists mostly of parents, teachers and teachers unions who are concerned about what is best for their kids. Parents were not informed of or included in the process to adopt Common Core. Teachers are being unfairly evaluated with these inappropriate and invalid assessments and are spending so much of their classroom time and resources preparing children for tests rather than teaching.

The big proponents of Common Core are the Federal Department of Education; Bill Gates and the organizations that received money from him to support it; Pearson, a multi billion dollar global testing and textbook company, that received the $1billion dollar contract for the PARCC assessment; and other corporations who want a piece of the public education pie.

So it is not surprising that Scott Marion would defend Common Core and these high-stakes tests since he works for the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment, Inc. which “works with states and other educational agencies to design and implement effective assessment and accountability policies and programs”.

Angela Pont


Survey in Portsmouth, NH

Parents need to look closely at what information the school will be gathering on your children.  A good question to always ask is, where is the DATA that proves the programs being used in the school has had significant success in reducing alcohol/drugs use on the student population?

Surveys should be Opt-IN vs Opt-out. How much time does this take away from instruction time in the core subjects? 

Dear Parent:

The Portsmouth School District is implementing two new programs at the middle and high school called Project Alert and Project Success.  These new initiatives are funded by a Federal Grant distributed by the NH Department of Health and Human Services.  The goals of the programs are to prevent and reduce alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use and to improve school performance. To accomplish these goals, students will have the opportunity to participate in additional school wide awareness programs, expanded class curricula, extracurricular activities, small groups and individual meetings to correct erroneous perceptions about substance use and learn skills to identify and resist social and situational pressures to use substances.  Parent meetings, workshops and collaborative family “homework” assignments will also be available to assist you in prevention efforts.

In order to assess the effectiveness of these initiatives, and to comply with the Grant requirements, we will be asking students to participate in a survey that will measure changes in attitudes and behaviors that decrease the risk of substance misuse and abuse. Student’s participation in the survey is voluntary.  Your child does not have to participate and you do not have to provide a reason.  Students can answer as many questions as they wish and do not have to answer any questions they do not want to answer.  The survey was given November 12, 2013 and will be given again on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 during the course of an extended homeroom period.  The survey is confidential.  Your child’s and the school’s privacy are protected.  No names are on the survey.  No one at the school will ever see the survey. The survey will be used by our school district and the NH Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services to evaluate the program’s effectiveness.  A copy of the survey is available at your child’s school for your review.

Contact your Middle School Principal, John M. Stokel, at 436-5781 or
jstokel@portsmouth.k12.nh.us no later than May 27, 2014 if you DO want your child to participate in this activity.

If you have any questions about this new programming or the survey, please contact your child’s principal.  We are hopeful that working together we can support healthy decision making and prevent substance abuse.

Laura Burbine, MEd
Wellness Coordinator
Portsmouth School District

John M. Stokel, Principal
Portsmouth Middle School
155 Parrott Ave.
Portsmouth, NH  03801
Tel. (603) 436-5781