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CWA of Missouri Encourages Immediate Action Against Common Core Standards

CWA of Missouri Encourages Immediate Action Against Common Core Standards
By: CWALAC Staff - 5/9/2013

You know about the Missouri Department of Revenue illegally releasing the personal data of CCW and drivers’ license holders, but did you know that the Department of Education is implementing a program that will result in a national database of your children’s personal data, including academic and behavioral matters?

When the Missouri State Board of Education committed to adopt Common Core Standards in 2009, to be fully implemented in 2014, they seriously undermined not only the privacy of our children, but also damaged the ability of local communities and parents to control what goes on in their schools. (See a more complete explanation at the bottom of this message.)

SB 210, sponsored by Sen. John Lamping (R- St. Louis County), is designed to shed light on exactly what adopting Common Core Standards will mean to you and your family by requiring the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (D.E.S.E) to hold a series of public meetings and make reports to the legislature.

Click here to view bill.)

We are hoping for a hearing on this bill in the House on Friday, May 10, now that it has passed the Senate.

Take Action: Please call your State Representative and ask him/her to support SB210. D.E.S.E. and its allies have been lobbying hard against this movement to slow down Common Core. Make sure your representative knows that the bill only calls for D.E.S.E. to hold informational meetings in each congressional district and report to the Missouri General Assembly.

Pray: Please pray that SB210 will pass the House before the Missouri General Assembly adjourns for the session on Friday, May 17. Please pray that the governor will sign the bill.

Click here to find out who your state representative is and their contact information.

Details about SB 210 Prepared by Ron Calzone, Director of Missouri Citizens for Property Rights:

Missouri’s Governor Nixon, Commissioner of Education and the State Board of Education committed Missouri to the adoption of Common Core State Standards in 2009. Governor Nixon signed a memorandum of agreement with the National Governors Association (NGA) a Washington-based private trade organization that holds the copyright to the standards without a review of the standards, and without a cost analysis for implementing the standards, a year prior to the standards being released.

Federal Role: Although federal involvement in curriculum, assessment, and supervision of education personnel is prohibited by three federal laws, the NGA memorandum described the role of the federal government in the initiative. Stimulus money was used to fund the development of the standards, incentivized states to adopt them through the Race to the Top grant application process, No Child Left Behind waivers were planned, as well as, financing of the assessment consortia, and change to federal education laws.

Redefinition of State-led: Common Core State Standards was led by the NGA and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). When the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education says the development of the standards was state-led, the term refers to the governor, not the people of the state. The copyright to the standards is held by the NGA/CCSSO, not the state of Missouri.

Redefinition of Teacher Involvement: Achieve Inc. is the organization contracted by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers to develop the standards. The chief architects of the standards never taught a day in a K-12 setting. Missouri teachers were involved in the review of drafts developed by this Washington-based organization.

Destination of Student Data: Student level assessment data are collected through classroom computers and transferred to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) which is the recipient of money from the U.S. Department of Education. According to a memorandum of understanding between SBAC and the Department, SBAC will produce data to inform “. . . determinations of principal and teacher effectiveness for purposes of evaluation . . .,” (p. 2) and “. . . student-level data that results from the assessment system . . . on an ongoing basis for research, including for prospective linking,” (p. 3). Data will be shared with various departments within the state and federal governments as well as other entities designated by schools (see below)

Student Data is for sale: According to recent changes in the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, authorized by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Local education officials retain legal control over their students’ information. But federal law allows them to share files in their portion of the database with private companies selling educational products and services. “This is going to be a huge win for us,” said Jeffrey Olen, a product manager at CompassLearning, which sells education software.

Unknown Costs: Governor Nixon signed the memorandum of understanding with the National Governors Association without having made a careful analysis of the costs to the state or to local school districts. In its Race to the Top application submitted in January 2010, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education estimated that costs to the state would be $389,126,964 if the grant had been awarded to MO; the total estimated budget for implementing Common Core was $743, 451,964. DESE is currently taking steps to implement Common Core State Standards in MO, but, no line item in the education budget is dedicated to funding its implementation. Further, there is no information about costs to individual districts.

Hypocrisy of Data-less Decision-making: Though collection of student-level assessment data is the center-piece of the common core initiative, purportedly for improving quality of education; there has been no piloting of any standards to show improvement in student achievement because of Common Core. Common Core does not include an ongoing evaluation system to determine if the standards are working. The Smarter Balanced Consortium has just begun a pilot of the assessment process. NGA and CCSSO do not provide any program evaluation data to support their claims of improved student performance; however, they do absolve themselves from any liability for potential negative effects of Common Core.

Effects of Common Core on College Entrance: Claims that Common Core Standards will make all students “college and career ready” are unsubstantiated. No students have been educated using common core standards, therefore, there are no data to substantiate the number of students accepted to 4-year colleges or hired for careers. A statement of talking points from Achieve Inc. to presenters states, “Make clear in all of your communications and outreach materials that being ready for “college” is broader than just being prepared for a four-year, baccalaureate program.

Data Linkages for Workforce Planning: Missouri’s P-20 Council (preschool to work longitudinal data system) includes the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the State Board of Education, the Coordinating Board for Higher Education, The Coordinating Board for Early Education, and the Department of Economic Development . . . working through legal challenges and establishing memorandums of understanding, and designing systems and processes that improve match rates for linking student [for workforce planning] data (http://www.dataqualitycampaign.org/resources/search?keywords=missouri&dqc_search=1&x=0&y=0).

Dissent of over 500 Professionals Against Common Core Standards was suppressed: A letter of dissent of five hundred early childhood professionals delivered prior to the release of the standards was ignored by NGA/CCSSO (http://www.allianceforchildhood.org/). In addition, five members of the validation committee refused to sign off on the standards because they were of poor quality or questions about them were not addressed by Achieve Inc. Their letters of dissent were not included in the final report.

Plans are proposed for adopting additional standards in science: A recent RFP from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education indicates plans to adopt the recently released science standards developed by and copyrighted to Achieve Inc.

Governor Nixon’s Conflict of Interest: Governor Nixon’s position on the Board of Directors of Achieve Inc. is a conflict of interest. He is not capable of making an objective decision about the Common Core State Standards for Missouri.

Common Core (a.k.a. Missouri Core Standards in math and English-Language Arts) must be stopped immediately!

Contact your House and Senate members in Jefferson City to express your support for Senate Bill 210 and House Bill 616!

Call Governor Nixon and demand that he halt the implementation of Common Core State Standards and student level data collection in Missouri schools now!

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