Liberty This Week

Amazing week of Liberty. Continue reading

Princeton HS educator exposes truth about Common Core’s over-testing of Students

Call the OH Senate leaders, ask them to support HB7, Safe Harbor Bill for Students.

Please call these Senate Leaderapples and the Governor to protect our children and pass HB7,  Safe Harbor For Students:

Keith Faber – Senate President (614) 466-7584

Chris Widener – President Pro Tempore (614) 466-3780

Larry Obhof – Majority Whip (614) 466-7505

Tom Patton – Majority Floor Leader (614) 466-8056

Governor Kasich’s Constituent Hotline (614) 644-4357

Sen. Shannon Jones (614) 466-9737

Sen. Bill Seitz ((614) 466-8068

 

Read what Princeton High School (OH) Social Studies Chair has to say about unfounded claims, over-testing, and corporatization of education ushered in by Common Core.

South Lebanon resident Jim O’Connor is chair of the social studies department at Princeton High School and father of two middle school students.

As a parent, educator, taxpayer and citizen of Ohio, I cannot help but continue to question the actions of the state Department of Education in rapidly expanding the use of standardized testing in our public schools. Likewise, many parents are looking at “opt-out options” for their children; teachers and principals fret at the loss of instructional time and local autonomy; superintendents are courageously taking opposition stances; and students anxiously anticipate how they are going to score and be labeled after taking the New Ohio Tests.

The New Ohio Tests replace the Ohio Achievement Assessments (OAA) and the Ohio Graduation Tests (OGT). The OAAs were created to comply with the No Child Left Behind provisions to test all third- through eighth-students each year in reading and math. The OGTs (reading, writing, math, science and social studies) were added as a high school graduation requirement.

Let’s take a look at two questions surrounding the creation and implementation of the next generation of assessments in Ohio. First, what vetting process was used to select PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career) and AIR (American Institute of Research) tests? Second, are these new assessments developmentally appropriate for the students soon to be subjected to a three-months high-stakes testing cycle?

The vetting process starts with a decision the ODE made in 2009 to become a Common Core state. Initially, Common Core was a state initiative to create more rigorous standards in English and Math. Forty-five states, including Ohio, signed up. The federal government then created the Race to the Top program, nationalizing key aspects of a movement that had strictly stated the federal government would not be involved.

Race to the Top was a competition among states for federal funding, with strings attached. States had to promise to implement school reforms favored by U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan to cash in. The federal government then awarded two testing companies $360 million to develop the Math and ELA assessments. Pearson/PARCC was one of those companies.

In 2011 and 2012, the Ohio Department of Education decided, with very little public input, that PARCC and AIR tests would take over our schools starting in 2014-15. These mostly online tests have two, three and four parts to them, were not systemically field tested, and are written, according to many research measurement experts, two reading grade levels above the grade of the students subjected to this monolithic mess called national standardized testing.

The scores of the spring assessments will not be available until next fall, after students have moved on to the next grade. Effective testing is suppose to yield immediate results and used diagnostically to help students. The New Ohio Tests accomplish neither.

While other states and the school district formerly run by Duncan – Chicago Public – dropped out of Common Core national testing (only 12 PARCC states remain), several high-ranking Ohio Board of Regents and ODE officials, including its superintendent, decided to join PARCC and serve on its Governing Board and Advisory Committees. It was a fait accompli for our students, teachers, administrators and parents.

Princeton City Schools Interim Superintendent Ed Theroux recently asked whether the new testing helps schools accomplish their mission. “We want to be held accountable to ensure that every child succeeds,” he said. “We want data and information that will positively drive instruction in order to ensure that all children are achieving at high levels and are prepared for the next grade level and life.”

Ohio students, families, teachers and administrators deserve a much better approach to authentic learning and meaningful assessments than what has been forced upon us by a publishing conglomerate, an aloof research institute and our own Department of Education.

http://www.cincinnati.com/story/opinion/contributors/2015/02/16/school-testing-getting-real-ohio/23507311/

 

Calls Needed to OH Senate NOW!: Stop Common Core, pass HB7 Safe Harbor For Students

Please see the Ohioans Against Common Core update on HB7, which has passed unanimously at 94-0 in the Ohio House.   Time to call the Ohio Senate is NOW! http://ohioansagainstcommoncore.com/house-passes-hb7-unanimously/ 

Please call these Senate Leaderapples and the Governor to protect our children and pass HB7,  Safe Harbor For Students:

Keith Faber – Senate President (614) 466-7584

Chris Widener – President Pro Tempore (614) 466-3780

Larry Obhof – Majority Whip (614) 466-7505

Tom Patton – Majority Floor Leader (614) 466-8056

Governor Kasich’s Constituent Hotline (614) 644-4357

Sen. Shannon Jones (614) 466-9737

Sen. Bill Seitz ((614) 466-8068

PLEASE READ AND SHARE:    TEACHERS FOR SAFE HARBOR FOR STUDENTS

Below is a letter written by a Centerville, OH school teacher regarding the (Common Core) standardized testing and how detrimental it is to our children and the educational system. This is a very brave woman and she needs our support and prayers. It is a bit long, but very informative and inspiring in the sense of the courage of this individual teacher. God bless her.  Parents, it is time to reclaim your authority over your child’s education.

Please Opt Out: A letter from a Centerville City Schools Teacher

An Open Letter to Ohio’s Board of Education, Department of Education, Legislators, and Parents

Dear Ohio’s Board of Education members, Department of Education officials, legislators, and most importantly, Ohio’s parents:

I am a 20-year teaching professional in Ohio and after reading the recent release from the Ohio Department of Education’s “Information on Student Participation on Testing”; I was flabbergasted by the intent of the release. Why? Because the release was written in attempt to bully parents, teachers, and school districts into compliance with standardized testing that has the highest of stakes attached to it. I have taught my middle-schoolers that bullies must be confronted. Therefore, this letter is intended to outline why I, even with my job clearly being threatened in this release, still am encouraging parents to refuse state-mandated standardized tests for their children.

First and foremost, refusing to allow your child to participant in state testing is a parental right guaranteed by the 14th amendment and broadly protected by the Supreme Court (see Meyer and Pierce cases). The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that parents possess the “fundamental right” to “direct the upbringing and education of their children.” Furthermore, the Court declared that “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, 534-35). The Supreme Court criticized a state legislature for trying to interfere “with the power of parents to control the education of their own” (Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, 402.). In Meyer, the Supreme Court held that the right of parents to raise their children free from unreasonable state interferences is one of the unwritten “liberties” protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment (262 U.S. 399).

Furthermore, in today’s educational environment, Ohio’s children are being used as fodder in a system that takes their time and talents for the advancement of corporatization of schools and the profit that they will produce for testing companies. When we stop to think about the amount of monies we as a state put into standardized testing (not just the cost of the test, but also the grading, the professional development, the materials needed, the time spent prepping, the technology needed, the people employed to maintain only the test taking technology – the list is never ending), we as a state are being asked to invest more and more into tests that are devaluing your students and your public schools. Testing costs us all, but costs the students so much more. It devalues them by putting an entire emphasis on one aspect of them and risks their self-esteem – for what gains? I could spend the entirety of this letter showing Supreme Court case precedents, research that proves the harms of standardized tests to children, and the invalidity of Value-Added measures by most research institutes including the American Statistical Association, but instead will try to focus on what I have witnessed in the field.

The reality is this: As a teaching professional, I have had the ability to direct the education of your child taken away from me by the detrimental educational reform policies that are enacted through the use of high stakes testing. I ask that parents exercise their parental rights, because I, as your child’s teacher can no longer guide their education in the way that I see best. Although I know your child and am with your child each and every day (not to mention that I have been awarded a National Board Certification for Professional Teaching and earned my PhD); I cannot fend off the curriculum of high stakes testing that has taken over my ability to give your child the curriculum that they deserve and that I know is the best. I say this knowing that I am one of the most fortunate teachers in the state, because I work in an amazing district that works hard not to acquiesce to the tests. My district does not believe in having extra practice workbooks or online diagnostics and actually supports the work of their teachers. Even in this environment, the curriculum of high stakes testing has taken over our classrooms.

Here’s another unfortunate reality: Even in the best districts, the tests have shaped what a teacher teaches. Why is that? Because it would be criminal for me to not prepare your child for what they are about to encounter. We would never place an infant on their feet and let go without first giving them experiences with crawling, pulling themselves up or down on sturdy furniture, and allowing them to wrap their fingers around ours as they take tentative steps on their own. The same is true with testing. Why as a teacher would I not try to give my students the best shot possible on the tests? If it were just the tests, that would be one thing, but it is also the New Ohio Learning Standards that have been imposed on teachers. These standards were not written by Ohio teachers as they have been in the past, but instead first by a committee made up of mostly testing company representatives and then given to a group of teachers at a national level to “advise” this initial committee. We keep being told that standards are not curriculum, but standards do drive our curriculum – they in essence decide what is important for your child to know, understand, and do. Anyone who purports that the standards are not curriculum, has not been teaching for the last 5 years. What your child needed to know, understand and do was once the responsibility of the teacher with guidance from the state and with the input of the child and parent. The type of standardization we have today misses some very important aspects of the child including developmental abilities, nuances of who they are as a learner, and the curiosities of your child to name just a few. To plan, prepare and execute these standards lessons and preparing for possible questions on the standardized tests, the activities that I once did with children are no longer possible. If you’ve had children in the same school with the same teachers over the last 5-10 years, you have seen this firsthand yourself. First came the loss of field trips that once were part of the school’s culture and rites of passage. Then came the end to problem-based and community-based learning projects, along with class celebrations of learning. Soon school became less a community of learners and instead a place that was more and more worried about how your child has scored on standardized tests. Part of this was due to the lack of funds available for these activities that instead went to test related spending and the other part was due to the loss of time due to new standardized activities we had to do so your child is prepared and not ambushed by the test. I don’t blame teachers or schools, it has become the business of schooling and as outlined in the release from the Department of Education, our jobs and school funding are being threatened into spending our two most valuable resources (time and money) to prepare for it.

So, the bottom line is this: I ask that you stand with me and in support of me (and your child’s teacher), by exercising your right to refuse. It will allow me to go back to directing your child’s education based on their actual needs, not on the needs of the test or a testing company. I say this to you knowing that it will most likely hurt my evaluation. But know this, the testing is ALREADY hurting me and your child so much more. I am willing to take the harshest of punishments doled out by the state, so your child no longer has to be punished daily. Why am I willing to do this? Because I have been forced to be a bystander to this bullying in the past. I have watched over the years as children have cried because they don’t understand a word that is on the test and I am not allowed to help. I have watched children get physically sick because they are worried about how their parents will view them after they see their scores. I have watched as 8 year olds ask if they can bring stress balls into the testing environment (I’m pretty sure that we as adults did not have these concerns when we were 8).   I have watched as students beg not to have to take a test that makes them feel so stupid. I have watched as student incidences of seeing counselors due to school anxiety issues rise during testing periods. These are but a few of the things I have witnessed as results of high-stakes testing. I can no longer be a bystander. I cannot in all good consciousness continue to watch our kids being bullied without standing up. Take shots at me, I’m an adult, and I can handle it, but stop allowing the state to take shots at our children by refusing to give them the data they need to continue to bully us all.

Sincerely,

Dr. Jocelyn Weeda

PhD Miami University – Educational Leadership, Curriculum, and Culture

Nationally Board Certified Middle Childhood Specialist

Grade 6 – 8 Science Teacher, Centerville City Schools

President’s Week Meetings

Warren County Liberty Alliance When: Monday, February, 16th at 7pm Where: Mason Fire Station 51, 4420 North Mason Montgomery Rd. Mason, Ohio Special presentation about counties being able to become “Right to Work” entities.  Jim Waters will describe whether that … Continue reading

What’s happening this week

Liberty meetings this week happening in the Tri-State area; Congressman Massie, Veterans celebration, natural rights, Rand Paul and more. Continue reading

Advice from George Washington, June 29, 1788

No one can rejoice more than I do George Washington
at every step the people of this great Country take
to preserve the Union, establish good order and government, and to render the Nation happy at home and respectable abroad.
No Country upon Earth ever had it more in its power to attain these blessings than United America.
Wondrously strange then,
and much to be regretted indeed would it be,
were we to neglect the means,
and to depart from the road which Providence has pointed us to, so plainly;
I cannot believe it will ever come to pass.
The great Governor of the Universe has led us too long and
too far on the road to happiness and glory,
to forsake us in the midst of it.
By folly and improper conduct,
proceeding from a variety of causes,
we may now and then get bewildered;
but I hope and trust that there is good sense and virtue enough left to recover the right path
before we shall be entirely lost.

…in a letter to Benjamin Lincoln, who was an American army officer. He served as a major general in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.

Oh, how our founders must be confounded by the folly and improper conduct of Americans. It may behoove us all to return to the blueprint that brought this nation the Blessings of Liberty. http://www.nordskogpublishing.com/…/BookThatMadeAmerica…

 

Opt Out of Common Core Tests Action Needed

Learn more about Opting your kids out of the Common Core PARCC tests and help by calling your State Rep to ask them to support HB5, the Safe Harbor bill. Continue reading

Liberty Meetings this Week!

Liberty Meetings in the Tri-State area this week. Continue reading

OH REP. TOM BRINKMAN, STOPPING COMMON CORE #1 ISSUE

New Member Profile: Brinkman Encouraged By ‘Hardcore Conservatives’ In His Return To The House

Tom Brinkman often cast the only dissenting vote during his first eight years in the House, but now, at the outset of his second stint, the arch-conservative feels like he has more in common with the GOP caucus.Rep. Brinkman

“I think we do have some hardcore conservatives – not wimpy conserves – in this caucus,” he said in a recent interview.

His comments in an interview followed House Republicans’ biennial retreat, redubbed as an “advance” by former Speaker Bill Batchelder, marking the start of each session. It was the fifth such event for Rep. Brinkman.

“I’m much more optimistic than I’ve ever been at any of the others,” he said. “I think that the competition for leadership positions was a good thing, and certainly the group that won is trying to reach out and bring folks together and is listening.”

Nevertheless, the Cincinnati Republican said he’s reserving judgment to see whether his conservative colleagues’ actions follow their words. “A lot of people call themselves conservative, but they’re not,” he said.

Rep. Brinkman

“Dr. No” frequently irked GOP leadership when he served in the House from 2001-2008, but his steadfast adherence to conservative ideology and his blunt opposition to “wimpy conservatives” made him a hero to some in the far right wing of Ohio politics.

But eventually term limits ended his first House career and Mr. Brinkman had to find a job in one of the worst labor markets in U.S. history, he recalled. With prior experience as a salesman for printing companies, he started selling life insurance, an occupation that offers an intimate glimpse in to people’s personal financial circumstances.

“It certainly puts you in front of a lot of people, some who have been very frugal and saving and doing the right thing, and others who just let the situation grab a hold of them and strangle them. I’ve seen it all,” he said.

Tom Brinkman

Age: 57

Hometown: Mt. Lookout neighborhood of Cincinnati

Party: Republican

Education: George Washington University, B.A. in History and Political Science, 1979

Family: Married, six adult children

Prior Political Experience: House, 2001-2008

Becoming a licensed insurance agent also gave him personal experience in navigating the state’s regulatory process, he said. “I now know the ridiculous stuff they put up for people to do the job, and the reality is I don’t know who we’re saving. We’re basically just keeping people out of doing the job.”

Mr. Brinkman also stayed active in local politics and last year defeated former Rep. Peter Stautberg in the primary election. He said he was the first candidate to beat a caucusing Republican incumbent since 1996 and attributes his victory to a groundswell of intensely focused local opposition to the Common Core education standards.

“It was bizarre. I would actually try to develop additional issues on the campaign and I found out nobody wanted to talk about anything except Common Core,” he said. “I spent thousands of dollars trying to make an issue out of the House’s vote to give out free needles to heroin addicts. No one cared. All they cared about was Common Core.”

As such, repealing the Common Core is now the freshman lawmaker’s number one priority, he said, noting that the issue initially spurred a small group of women in the district to recruit him to challenge Mr. Stautberg.

“You got to dance with the ones that brung you and, quite frankly, I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the ladies that are against Common Core. I’m against taxes, I’m pro-life and things like that, and I’m still that way. But those are number two and three now compared to opposition to Common Core,” he said.

In addition to his opposition to replacing local educational control with national standards, the Republican said he’s disturbed that the tests associated with Common Core could allow private companies to access to students’ personal data, which could serve as a marketing tool for the rest of their lives. “They’re using our kids as a commodity,” he said.

Rep. Brinkman said he viewed Superintendent of Public Instruction Dick Ross’s move to reduce the amount of time that students spend taking standardized tests each year (see Gongwer Ohio Report, January 15, 2014) as a “ploy” to alleviate opposition to the Common Core.

People often confuse the Common Core with the explosion of standardized testing in recent years, but the two are really separate issues, he said. “I don’t think the state legislators are going to fall for that, but they’re going to try to make us.”

Rep. Brinkman said he believes Common Core opponents will ultimately be successful. Even if Ohio doesn’t reject the nationwide curriculum standards, enough other states are moving that direction to make implementation all but impossible, he said. “Common Core is a monolith. It needs full compliance by virtually all the states.”

As for his broader goal of shrinking government involvement in citizens’ lives, Rep. Brinkman said he was encouraged by the state’s budget surplus and recalled that the state was usually experiencing tough economic times during most of the other budget cycles he experienced as a lawmaker.

“Whereas leadership’s always grubbing for more money because they’re going to cure all the ills of world with it, members who represent their districts realize that doesn’t really happen. So they’ll be reluctant to spend more,” he said. “Maybe this time we cut back on some of these things and not expand the role of government in people’s lives.”

Aside from politics and business, Rep. Brinkman said he spends his free time building relationships with his six adult children, who still live in the Cincinnati region.

“Somehow when they grow up they get minds of their own and they leave the nest and you can’t treat them like little kids anymore. So you have to have relationships with them. And that’s a little bit different than when they’re six years old,” he said.

While his daughter has some interest in politics, Mr. Brinkman said his five sons “could care less about any of it.”

From Gongwer News Services

____

From Anderson Tea Party,  “Thank You” to Rep. Brinkman for listening to your constituents.

Cincinnati Tea Party Tax Day 2015

Cincinnati Tea Party Tax Day 2015 is the Liberty event of the year! We want you to 'Be the change you want to see'. Featured speaker Matt Kibbe from Freedomworks is ready to energize you! Also featuring Ben Swann, 55krc's Brian Thomas and Hamilton County Commissioner Chris Monzel. This will be an amazing night of information and inspiration. Continue reading