Tag Archives: books

Education Used Against Us

Fellow Anti Fed Ed Warriors, I realize the title of this blog article is an ‘elephant in the room’ observation. We all have known for a while, now, how education has been used against our nation’s citizens. As the days in the ESSA Era (*Every Student Succeeds Act Era) continue to grind on, we’ve seen many new Warriors come to this observation.

Sadly, very few political and/or policy leaders have seen how the CCSS Machine  vastly weakened academics. Because of this, it is becoming easier to see (on a daily basis) that education has become almost like a weapon used against us.

Think about it, Warriors.
When a person is being charged with a crime or is being taken into police custody, they are read their “Miranda rights”. Contained in those rights are these words, “Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”

Now, in the context of education, it is becoming clear ‘Anything done in education is being held against us.’ Keep that thought as you read on.

essagoal

One of the biggest ways education is being used against our teachers and students is in the guise of ‘accountability’.

ESSA’s language was especially ‘generous’ with the word. ESSA was also written to be very deceptive. Our schools are suffering even more now, than before ESSA’s passage into the law books.

accountlie.jpg

So, just WHAT were/are the ‘accountability’ mandates in ESSA?
1) Data measured any way and every way possible.
2) To get the federal funds, States must fulfill certain obligations.
3) Control and power of education in the hands of the unqualified.
4) Global workforce agenda driven.

Warriors, of course this is a boiled down list. There are many, many other mandates woven into each of these four.
However, for the sake of those new Warriors, I’ve condensed the list.
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Back in August of this year, I shared with you how the U.S. Dept. of Ed’s misuse of ‘accountability’ was harming our States. Here we are, months later and the misuse not only continues, it’s growing.
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Warriors, take, for example, the announcement below. What has your State done to align and misguide you where ‘accountability’ can be found? In Superintendent Johnson’s announcement, ‘accountability’ is NOT used, but ‘transparency’ is.

ncaccount

Warriors, that brings up another ESSA fact. “Accountability” and ‘transparency’ are being used interchangeably!

transparentlie

Enter, NC’s “New” Report Cards:

Warriors, thanks to ESSA’s mandates for ALL education being aligned to workforce based industry standards, we know that means that all schools must have data which can be accessed and used. We know it means the ‘grading’ of entire schools across your States will increase in rewards and punishments. Of course, all this grading is the direct results of how well students are learning, how well teachers are leading, and how well principals are keeping everyone in line.

From Superintendent Johnson’s email, the fine print tells you there are 3 different websites for you to access the Report Cards. The first two are for researchers. The last one is for all those with questions. Now, Warriors, if we’re being so transparent and accountable, why 3 different sites? Why not use one?

Johnson unveiled the updated Report Card site (was brand new back in 2001) in his former school district, Winston-Salem Schools. To see the official announcement, visit here. A CCSS Machine member group, FEE (Foundation for Excellence in Education), has also published an article on their ExcelinEd blog about the updates. It’s based off THEIR principles for education!!

As far as the ‘new’ report cards, what’s attention grabbing about using the first of the two sites for researchers is you see a blue screen with SAS in the middle. (This quickly fades as the NC Dept. of Public Instruction page appears.) I’ve added emphasis, below:

SASreport

Typically, when you access any NC DPI website page, there’s no such process. So, is SAS spying on me when I access the ‘research’ page? It’s more of a probability than a possibility. Even if you aren’t a researcher, you need to see the data sets and definitions.

If you wish to see the NC Report Card website on its own, go here. Once there, select any of the 100 counties. Then, click on a school. You’ll see all kinds of colors, numbers, and information. However, skip the glamour and go for the ‘downloadable’ District Reports. You’ll get a better understanding of what’s being reported on, as well as how it aligns to CCR (College and Career Readiness). CCR is a re-brand of Common Core for every State. For those States which received Race to the Tops funds, CCR will even show up in the applications and award letters. CCR is also used in ESSA.

ncmooresvilleschool

I did check the NC Report Card for one of my county’s CTE (Career Tech Education) specific schools. What I found was awful. Not one textbook is in use. No academic growth, whatsoever. Knowing more and more States are shifting to this type of ‘education’ for requirements in graduating, we need to act quickly, Warriors! This cannot be acceptable!

ncctereport

Related and Relevant:
1) How Title One funds in ESSA’s Era are being used against us.
2) How ESSA’s embedded WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) ties are being used against your students.
3) How the massive data mining (thanks to ESSA and many related legislative moves) is harming our families.
4) One of the biggest ESSA traps for ‘accountability’ and ‘transparency’ is for our teachers and their ‘performance’.
5) SAS has had a contract with the NC DPI since the days of the ARRA funds (American Recovery and Re-investment Act). SAS is a global data miner/contractor. If you wish to see where else I found the company has government contracts for NC (so you can see what is similar in your State). Warriors, remember, ESSA was full of all kinds of technology updates. SAS will play right into these.
6) SAS has supported a shift in education from academics to workforce not only in NC, but all the way to D.C..
7) Winston-Salem is part of the Strive Together national network of aligned communities for cradle to workforce collectivism.
8) ESSA’s educational use against us will also be felt in all school choices via ‘accreditation’.
9) ESSA will use school leaders against us, as well.

Closing:

Warriors, education is definitely becoming a weapon for conformity, not freedom. We have the power to stop our leaders! How? As my fellow Warrior, Karen Bracken, has stated, ‘Starve the Beast’! Don’t keep your kids hooked into the data mining school system. Remove them now! If you cannot remove them, be that persistent parent who is always visible at school. We cannot allow education to used against our children in this way.

 

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Is It “Yes” or Is It “No”?

Recently, my fellow Anti CCSS/ESSA/Fed Ed Warriors, I shared with you how BOTH Chambers of Congress have chosen to use our tax dollars to continue the illegally based education reform.

Included in the continued overreaches are funds for aligning entire communities to the ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) mandates. There are other items as well which should be of concern. If you missed either one, but sure to use the bottom left arrow at the end of this article. It will send you back to the Senate article (“Setting Us Up”). Embedded in the Senate article, you’ll find the House’s article (“Sure Fire Disaster: Fed Ed”)

The remainder of today’s article is in response to a reader’s comment/question.

I had posted the House article on Sunday to the Facebook page “Moms Against Duncan”. In the article was the fact that Museum and Library Grants (M & L Grants) are tied to the CCSS Machine. I not only shared how the House is using FY (Fiscal Year) 2017 funds to keep this up, but I linked my previously published article with details on HOW M & L Grants are being used by the CCSS Machine (before, during, and after ESSA’s passage into law).

One reader responded with the fact her local area had a Millage Tax vote for their library and wondered if this tax is somehow connected to all the education alignment. She also shared that scare tactics were used before the vote took place. The rhetoric was pretty much vote ‘yes’ or libraries will be forced to shut down.

This reader sent me the link to all these events to see if I could dig out the truth.

The News Source:

Warriors, here is the link I was sent: http://yes4muskegonlibraries.org/
As best as I can tell, Muskegon is located in Michigan.
What’s a ‘millage’ tax? Basically, its a unit used to calculate how much your property is worth. This is usually done for personal property taxes. However, from a quick internet search, it seems many communities are using the millage rate tax calculations as a way to raise money for expanding libraries.

librarymill
If you’re like me, the “Despite Protests” article jumped out at you. I clicked on it and found that in SE Arkansas, a battle was brewing. Here’s an excerpt from the full article,
“Despite an existing state law that requires legislative bodies to place millage issues requested by library boards before voters, three members of the Pine Bluff City Council voted Friday to ignore that law, shooting down a request by the Jefferson County Library Board to place a millage increase initiative on the November General Election ballot.” To see the entire article for yourselves:
http://www.pbcommercial.com/news/20160826/despite-protests-library-tax-will-be-on-november-ballot

Wow, this raises a question to consider. Are our local communities doing this?
I wonder if Muskegon did. Let’s see what else we can find.

According to the Muskegon Library article, the millage tax proposal didn’t pass. However, this sent the town leaders on a goose chase for how to FUND the library.

Going To Follow The Money?

The library article also mentioned the Muskegon Area District Library asking its patrons to vote (August 2016), as the current millage expires 12/16. Eighty percent of the Library’s funding comes from the millage tax. The District Library even hired an outside firm to conduct a survey.

Mitchell Research and Communications. The head of Mitchell is also a board member of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. (Hhmm…a big CCSS Machine warning bell there. Remember, Gates Foundation gave the U.S. Chamber of Commerce millions so they could pass on the money to the State Chambers. The express goal? Alignment to Common Core, Career Tech Ed)

Below is a screen shot you may find interesting about Mitchell Research’s OTHER education related activities:

mitchellresearch

To learn more about Mitchell Researchhttp://mitchellresearch.net/

Back to the Muskegon District Library’s website. Would I find any CCSS Machine clues there? Would I be able to find out more about the millage tax and/or the Museum and Library Grants?

To access the District Library’s website: http://www.madl.org/
In their 2015-16 Budget I didn’t find any M & L Grants, but I did find that between the local taxes and the State Grants (including those for special needs), this District has quite an income. To see their budget: http://www.madl.org/images/pdfs/BUDGET2015.2016merged.pdf

While that may seem like a dead end, we need to see what money the State received in the way of grants to determine if an M & L Grant was awarded. Remember, where you find the M & L grants, you find the CCSS Machine and its agenda. Part of the agenda in ESSA is community alignment in the name of ‘student success’.

The other part? Communities will be held accountable for their part in your child’s education. Another CCSS Machine ‘benefit’ of the M & L grants? It ties to WIOA, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. How? Those seeking jobs who don’t have access at a home computer will likely use the local library’s. Add that to the fact the library is a public place, job training sessions will also be held there. This all ties into the technology infrastructure and data mining, too.

Before we leave Muskegon District Library, get a look at their agenda (aka ‘strategy’):

muskegonagenda

MI State Grants for Museums and Libraries:

Over the past 5 years: $21,824,354.00 awarded to MI from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. (see: https://www.imls.gov/grants/grants-state/state-profiles/michigan)

The grants support upgrading/maintaining technology. They are based on population (guess where that information comes from? The U.S. Census) These grants do a whole lot more, too. If you refer back to my articles “Hitting the Books” and the “Hitting the Books, Part 2”, you can find out TONS of truth you won’t find elsewhere when it comes to the CCSS Machine and our communities.

According the 2011-2015 Michigan 5 Year Evaluation for being eligible to receive M & L Grants, it appears the Governor eliminated governance over the State’s Library and that power now rests with the Dept. of Education.  See this excerpt, “During the plan period the Library of Michigan experienced tremendous change in both funding and its location within the Michigan state government. The agency experienced cuts of up to 20% in its annual budget as well as substantial decrease in staffing levels. Since 2000 the Library staffing levels have decreased from approximately 75 positions to a current 33 positions, not all of which are currently filled. In addition to these internal issues the organization as a whole was declared to no longer be an independent state agency and was moved under the Department of History, Arts and Libraries, HAL. In 2010 the Governor eliminated HAL and moved the Library of Michigan once again. Currently, the state library is under the authority of the Department of Education as a departmental unit.

This Evaluation also revealed a sub-grant called “Modeling the Future”. The sub-grant information below is a bit dated, but the agenda isn’t. Innovation is a huge, top-down mission for education.

misub

Warriors, I do believe I’ve found the answer as to WHY Muskegon’s District Library was pushing so hard for the millage rate. IF States can’t match the fed led grants, they cannot qualify! Those libraries are hardly in danger, but by using the scare tactic, I can see how it was successful!!

To see where I got this from:
https://www.michigan.gov/documents/hal/lm_LSTAfactsheet08_287053_7.pdf

Closing:

Warriors, while the reader was concerned about MI, know that the M & L Grants are nation-wide as well as applicable to all US Territories.

Once again, I thank each of you who trust me enough to find the evidence you seek. By doing so, we are helping others to know where to look in their local areas for how the CCSS Machine is grinding them down.

Monday Musings: Hitting the Books

Reading, especially good books is vital to so many brain functions.
Reading, especially good books is vital to so many brain functions.

I’m not sure about your home, but in mine, it is filled with avid readers. Common Core, as we know by now, is seeking to remove the joy of reading good books. What a shame. If you’ve been to your local library lately, have you noticed a change? I did in mine. Almost every single book that is older than 2008, has now been pulled from the shelves. Gone, disappeared. I have no clue when this happened. But it has. What is replacing the old books? New books. For example, I have been tutoring a student each week at my local library. We needed a dictionary. I had forgotten my trusty, beat up collegiate one at home. So, we grab the brand new copy off the library shelves. It was horrifying! The pronunciation symbols I knew from when my kids were younger, had all changed. Really?! When did this happen? Again, I’m not sure. My point, many changes in our books or with our books are taking place right under our noses and we’re not catching them!

Bookstore, galore:

Do bookstores love the Core? What about libraries we help fund with our tax dollars? Let’s take a look at each.

According to the American Booksellers Association, they not only like the CCSS, they are looking for ways to profit from the Standards. I found on their website a report. More about it below.

The following excerpt from June 2014 from the Book Expo America where a panel held a workshop discussing CCSS and the book selling industry: “Common Core is going to affect the trade book market in a strong way. It’s important and incumbent upon booksellers, librarians, and educators to become familiar with the Common Core.” Neil Jaffee, president of Booksource. A bookstore co-owner had this to say, “For us as booksellers in our communities, in a way, a lot of this is business as usual.”  She also stated that  the new standards provide another way to ramp up a bookstore’s connection with educators, parents, and children, as well as to bolster nonfiction and educational book sections in the store. This particular co-owner went on to say that CCSS is a great way for bookstores to make suggestions to shape the CCSS reading lists. Something like, talking to the right people or talking to a lot of people can end up getting the states reading lists to add these to the adopted standards. In other words..a huge opportunity for profit. Think about it, suggest the books that help the Core to the right people, get a big order at your store from the schools. Now, depending on which type of school orders books, would determine if taxpayer money is being used for these purchases. This type of thinking is certainly all about the profits.

More ‘praises’ about the Standards continued from the Expo’s panel. CCSS will help bring often neglected books up from the dark, forgotten corners and up into the forefront! There’s so much opportunity for freedom of speech due to all the ‘pro/con’ assignments! The same co-owner (from above) had this revelation about choosing books for CC reading, “Most of the educators didn’t care — what they wanted from us was that expertise, that knowledge to say that this is a great book and for what reason, and for what grade level or what reader it will work for.”

Okay, let me pause here to say, who do these folks think they are fooling? Most of the bookstores I know of hire folks off the street because they need a job, not because they are literary experts. High end bookstores may have a very knowledge based owner or employee, but I hardly think we can blanketedly assume literary experts are hanging around bookstores waiting for someone to ask them if the book they are considering will align to the CCSS well or not! (want to read the rest of the report? http://www.bookweb.org/news/industry-experts-weigh-common-core-bea)

Then, there’s the ‘leveling’ of books. Wait, what?! Book leveling, according to Scholastic (very CCSS aligned) says it’s a way to set up your library by degree of difficulty, or levels. Sounds simple, but we know CCSS can’t leave anything as simple. Here’s a list from their website of what criteria is needed for leveling: “What Are Some Criteria for Leveling Books?No single aspect or characteristic of text can be used to evaluate reading material. In placing a text along a gradient of difficulty, many factors are considered. Length — Consider the number of pages, the number of words, and the number of lines on the page. Books for beginners will have just one or two lines on a page. Layout — Beginners need texts with a large font and clear spaces between words and lines. Sentences begin on the left and print is clearly separated from pictures. In more complex books, sentences begin in the middle of lines or are carried over onto the next page. Fonts become smaller. Structure and Organization — Early books have simple plots and some repetition. Some books use repeating episodes or complex plots organized chronologically. As books become more challenging, more interpretation will be needed. Illustrations — Easier books provide pictures to support the reader in gaining meaning and solving words. Picture support gradually decreases as you move up the gradient of difficulty. Words — Beginning books use high-frequency words, text with regular spelling words, and content words reinforced by pictures. More challenging texts use multi-syllabic words and a wider range vocabulary to express meaning. Phrases and Sentences — The gradient begins with very simple sentences and goes on to include longer, more complex sentences with embedded clauses. Literary Features — Consider the complexity of the ideas. What must readers understand about the characters, setting, and plot to read this book with understanding? Literary features such as flashbacks or metaphors may introduce a challenge. Content and Theme — Books for young children will focus on topics and themes that are familiar to them. Complexity gradually increases to ideas and topics that children would not experience in everyday lives. Some sophisticated themes require maturity for understanding and may mean that a book is more challenging, even if other factors make it seem easy.” (see the rest of the article: http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/what-leveled-reading)

Bob Seger once sang "I feel like a number, but I'm not a number."
Bob Seger once sang “I feel like a number, but I’m not a number.” Students are people, not coded beings!

Public Libraries:

In a short answer, yes, public libraries are aligning. Remember when I shared my library’s shelves had been cleaned out? That is part of the aligning. What we the citizens lose are some great books. Here’s a 2013 webinar that details how public libraries are to align to CCSS.  CommonCorePublib

Another example, CT’s libraries, hoping to help their state’s librarians out, gave their public libraries ‘cheat sheets’. (see: http://www.ctstatelibrary.org/dld/pages/common-core-resources-pub)

So, what about your state? Try looking in your state level cabinets or departments. NC (where I live) has the public libraries as part of the NC Dept. of Cultural Resources. Your state may have a different name.  However, if your state has received a grant(see below) from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the alignment is in full swing. How? Aspen Institute (very CCSS active). See this blog entry detailing how Aspen is the library’s newest best buddy. Why? Aligning the community. (http://blog.imls.gov/?p=5345)

Here’s what NC’s state library page said about the grants: “Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grants are federal funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services that are awarded by the State Library to eligible North Carolina libraries.”

I shake my head in disbelief. How could so many people conspire to ruin reading? To zap the joy of a tremendous mind journey via a classic adventure tale or the like, is a travesty.