Tag Archives: NV

Expanding ESSA

Anti Fed Ed Warriors,

Just when we thought ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) couldn’t get any MORE nanny-state like, a new House of Representatives bill comes along to blow that right out of the water. I’m talking about HR 804. As the language of the Bill introduces it, ‘to amend the ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965)’.


Why does DC continue to refer to ESSA’s former name and not use its current one? The answer is simple, everything in ESEA was codified in ESSA’s ‘update’, so that means every bit of NCLB (No Child Left Behind), RttT (Race to the Top), and everything which binds it all up in one stinky package is STILL in place!

HR 804, Transition to Success Mentoring Act:
(Bill link)
As the summary states it, Warriors, this Bill will give grant money to eligible groups to establish or expand school based mentoring for ‘at-risk’ middle school students heading to high school.  Sounds great, right? Look between the lines, my friends.
a) ‘At risk’ is the ESSA/ESEA label for any student outside a government determined set of parameters.
b) ‘At risk’ is nebulous on purpose. It’s a back door way to ensnare homeschool students, students who don’t fit in, students who are homeless, and so on.
c) ‘Eligible groups’ doesn’t mean at school, it means any of the ESSA/ESEA mandated P3s (public private partnerships) which qualify for predetermined government assigned parameters. Look at some of the after school groups and their ideals/morals. Are these really the people you want mentoring your child? Why is the government overreaching into the middle school to high school transition, anyway? Those sensitive years should be the parents responsibility, NOT the federal nannies!
d) “Mentoring” is a safe word for behavior interventions and mental health overreaches.

Think I’m overreacting? Let’s see…

This mentoring bill is sponsored by Rep. Carson (IN). It has 3 co-sponsors, Soto (FL), Moore (WI), and, Norton (DC). Below, is a screen shot of Rep. Carson’s website statement on education.



Warriors, if you are curious, Mr. Carson’s 2nd top campaign donor was Eli Lilly and Company. Eli Lilly has a powerful lobbying effort in DC for all kinds of health related items, including well adjusted youth. If you’d like to read up on the Eli Lilly Indiana SEL (Social Emotional Learning) mental health/mentoring grabs, visit their “Strengthening Students’ Pathways” page.

**Warriors, this isn’t the first time counselors have been assimilated into the CCSS Machine. Before Pres. Obama left office, he started the School Counselor alignment through an initiative which was to use these school staff members as salespeople for workforce aligned career tracks.

Why bring that up now? The ESSA re-authorization of ESEA mandated that ALL education be aligned to post-secondary readiness for workforce aligned education. The SEL shift we’ve seen plays right into the ‘readiness’ in several ways. Especially under the guise of forcing students to be emotionally ‘ready’ before they naturally mature. ESSA also handled this shift in a variety of other mandates, specifically expanded school staff for behavior management and mental health services.

Mentoring falls under BOTH of these categories!!



What Else HR 804 Does:

Warriors, from this 10 page bill, if made into federal law would use an increased amount of taxpayer funds for ‘prevention and intervention’ for students who are ‘at risk’, ‘neglected’ or/and ‘delinquent’.

Side Notes:**Since more and more States are having to dance to the federal ESSA tunes, this is where home education will be hit hard. How? States are introducing legislation to classify homeschoolers as ‘neglected’ or somehow ‘at risk’. IL has HB 3560; PJMedia also has a report on this Bill. Be sure to read the article and comments. NV reports some dire issues with freedom to homeschool there; IL has a 2nd bill which will lump homeschoolers into the CCSS Machine, then there’s CA. (The NV report will include some information on the CA overreaches.) GA is also considering clamping down on home education. TX is pushing an entire mental health hub system for ALL students via SB 10 and HB 1448. MN has a record 6 bills which seek to rip families apart with all the mentoring/mental health birth to 5 overreaches.

As you can see the WHO’s idea of mental health overreaches mirrors that of America’s!


*Federal Bill HR 804’s price tag is $50 million for FY 2020 alone. Fiscal years after that will be as much as Congress believes mentoring needs.
*As usual, Congress has created a bill, that if turned into law, gives the Secretary of Education MORE power.
*Any group (including a school) must submit an application to receive grant money. Anything the Secretary deems necessary, as far as information (aka: data), applicants must supply.
*Awarded grants MUST be used in mandated ways as laid out in HR 804:


*HR 804 allows for hiring coaches, but doesn’t say what limitations or requirements these coaches are to have.
*Grants are to be used for 5 years or less.
*Reports of what number of students, their academic data, how many hours were spent between Coaches and their students, and anything else the Secretary of Education deems as necessary to evaluate ‘success’. By the end of the 3rd fiscal year, the Secretary must pass data to the Congress. By the end of the 5th year, Congress will make a final report.
*“At risk students are defined by grade point averages (2.0 or below) or has been deemed as ‘at risk for academic failure’ by parents, teachers, or other educational ‘experts’. At risk extends to those who want to drop out, may have substance issues, be pregnant, been in trouble with the law, is a parent, doesn’t speak English well, is a gang member, or has been absent from school repeatedly. (a full description of ‘at risk’, eligible groups, are on Pages 7 and 8)

* Success Coaches are defined as anyone in school administration, from a community-school partnership or volunteer who wishes to serve. Service includes training and support. The training is to be at a minimum of 2 hours, have a screening (includes background check, child abuse, and job references).

Warriors, do you have as many warning bells going off in your heart and head as I do?



As one of my dear anti Fed Ed Warriors, in ID has stated, this battle is ours to lose. We MUST speak out. Our naturally given parental responsibility as our child’s BEST mentor is under attack! Our naturally given parental choice to home education is also under attack. Will we remain passive while Rep. Carson backed by Eli Lilly;  while TX, GA, IL, NV, CA and other States ursurp our power to nurture our children.
HR 804 expands ESSA in harmful ways. We cannot allow this.

Parents!! Please…STOP HR 804 Please STOP your States!

RMT: Connected to the Core?

AdvancED leading NC straight to more CCSS.
AdvancED leading NC straight to more CCSS.

Today’s “Riddle Me This” is all about a new effort accredited by AdvancED (so CCSS friendly it’s downright shameful) and growing in NC. We’ll also delve into which other states are involved.

The Context:

Many of us who are fighting CCSS, have already been able to connect the dots between AdvancED and CCSS. However, I know many of us may need a refresher OR may be so new to fighting CCSS, they haven’t made the connection. To help you establish what AdvancED does, here’s an excerpt from my guest post I wrote on LadyLiberty1185’s blog in mid 2014: AdvancEd is an online company dedicated to helping your school be the best. Just look at their Common Core Standards page. My personal ‘favorite’ is the reinvention of the report card into digital badges. Read it for yourself. Note: the author is from NASA — as in the guys who went to the moon.” Access the report:  http://www.advanc-ed.org/source/reinventing-report-card
If you’d like to read the entire article on Lady’s site, http://ladyliberty1885.com/2014/07/07/guest-post-common-core-in-charters-private-homeschools/

Here’s what AdvancED has to say about themselves: “AdvancED is the largest community of education professionals in the world. We are a non-profit, non-partisan organization that conducts rigorous, on-site external reviews of PreK-12 schools and school systems to ensure that all learners realize their full potential. While our expertise is grounded in more than a hundred years of work in school accreditation, AdvancED is far from a typical accrediting agency. Our goal isn’t to certify that schools are good enough. Rather, our commitment is to help schools improve.”

What you need to know about AdvancED:
1) They fully support the re-authorization of ESEA (as in the HR5 federal legislation).

2) To support their position of the re-authorization, their report on ‘Diagnostic Review’ explains how they will use school data to an extreme. Get the report: Diagnostic-Review

3) In AdvancED’s latest Annual Report, the non profit shared many vital details we, as anti CCSS warriors need. FYI, the organization is worth over $16 million dollars and is purposed to reinvested everything into continuing to change education. Get the report: AE-AnnualReport2013-14

4) Partners of AdvancED include quite an extensive list of faith-based schools as well as State Boards of Education. Partners link: http://www.advanc-ed.org/services/partnerships State Boards link: http://www.advanc-ed.org/services/state-departments-education (*Note: among the State Boards is CCSSO, as in the Council of Chief State School Officers–you know, half owner of the copyright to Common Core Standards)

The New Push:

Now that you have that information, here’s how AdvancEd is pushing their CCSS support into NC via a ‘new’ school….

Called “North Carolina Connections Academy” (website: http://www.connectionsacademy.com/north-carolina-virtual-school/home.aspx) How did I discover this new school? I received a colorful flyer in my regular mail. The big banner at the top of the mailer states that the school is a ‘tuition-free virtual public school’. All the in-person, ‘get-to-know-all-about-us’ meetings are held in nearby locations (here in NC). However, the return mailing address gives me a Maryland location. Hhmm….not surprised. Here’s the website address for the home office in MD (it’s called “Connections Education, LLC”): http://www.connectionseducation.com/

Because it's virtual, this school can reach anywhere--any state, country, or school which is willing to sign up.
Because it’s virtual, this school can reach anywhere–any state, country, or school which is willing to sign up.


The first clue to CCSS allegiance is ‘public school’. Virtual public schools in NC are still rather new, therefore, not totally understood. Here’s an excerpt from an article by UNC’s WUNC. “The General Assembly required last year that the state create a four-year pilot program for two virtual charter schools. Only two schools applied: North Carolina Virtual Academy, run by K12 Inc.; and Connections Academy, to be managed by Connections Education.” (entire article: http://wunc.org/post/virtual-charter-schools-coming-nc)

The second clue is the curricula publishers list. (Pearson, MacGraw-Hill, and many others) Every page of this “NC” school has Pearson’s logo of “Always Learning” at the bottom.

The third clue: Talent Networks (includes STEM)

The Board of Directors:

It won't take long to research how each of these people are connected to CCSS.
It won’t take long to research how each of these people are connected to CCSS.

“Connections Education” was a 2013 “Best Places to Work” winner. See: http://www.connectionsacademy.com/news/ce-named-among-2013-best-places-to-work

Pearson’s Connection Education is not only in NC, but the following locations:
International Connections Academy, AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IA, ID, IN, KS, LA, MA, ME, MI, MN, NM, NV, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, TX, UT, WI, and WY. Here’s the link to see what the names of the schools are (most are the state’s name followed by “Connections Academy”, however, “Nexus” and a couple of other names are used as smoke screens): http://www.connectionsacademy.com/online-school/availability

The Pearson run entity also offers CTE (Career Tech Ed) courses, so those Career Clusters/Pathways can occur in the virtual student’s life as it does in the students’ lives in the brick and mortar schools. (look under the ‘curriculum’ page for proof).

Of course, with Pearson in charge, you know your student’s information will be data mined all over the globe.
See a related news announcement: http://www.connectionslearning.com/connections-learning/news/advanced-academics-acquisition.aspx


While it’s no secret how tied to CCSS North Carolina is, I do wonder if the NC General Assembly did their digging into finding out what organization is behind Connections Academy before they approved the educational experiment with not only our students, but, our tax dollars. If you live in NC, pass this information to your legislator. IF you live in any of the states listed above, share this with your legislators. Hold them accountable! No CCSS in our states MEANS No CCSS, CTE, CCR, or other sly rebrand, rename dreamed up.

Fib-o-Meter Friday: More CC aligned Superintendents?!

It's Friday, you know what that means! Time to measure what's truth, what's fallacy/fib or what's in between.
It’s Friday, you know what that means! Time to measure what’s truth, what’s fallacy/fib or what’s in between.

Last week, I put 3 state superintendents through the “Fib-o-Meter” to see where they landed with Common Core Standards. I had at least 4 requests for other state supers to be ‘put to the test’. So, here they are in alphabetical order per state: CA, NV, NJ, and NM.

California’s State Superintendent, Tom Torlakson: 

Mr. Torlakson didn’t have many written statements that I could find, BUT, he does like the video channel YouTube. Here’s a meeting he was featured in, from 07/14, “Reports from the Field”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQFsWiCxs1w      Mr. Torlakson even acknowledges a member of the audience in helping champion this message.

“Bottom-up, not top-down”   Well, let’s see how bottom up translates on the “FoM”. ‘Neutral leaning toward Total Fallacy’ for this statement, why?! The RttT California application clearly lays out the state level commitment and support BUT it is conditional! See this excerpt from the Pioneer Institute which looked at CA’s application, “The study(Accountability Works) uses California, whose current (at that time, 2012)academic standards are among the nation’s best but has adopted Common Core, as an example. AccountabilityWorks estimates the Golden State will incur additional costs of over $1 billion for technology and support, $606 million for professional development and $374 million for textbooks and materials over seven years. The additional costs would exacerbate California’s recent budget woes, which have been even worse than what most other states have endured. (source: http://pioneerinstitute.org/education/study-estimates-cost-of-transition-to-national-education-standards-at-16-billion/, dated 02/12) Here’s what the CA RttT application stated:  “California will strengthen its already high standards by adopting a set of common core standards and by working with one or more consortium of states to develop aligned assessments in mathematics and reading/language arts. This work will result in better data on annual student growth, including subgroup student achievement data, which will allow national comparisons, and will facilitate the identification and sharing of successful practices across the nation. The State has a well-established system for the development of curriculum frameworks and the adoption of aligned instructional materials, and will support the transition to new standards by accelerating the refinement of those frameworks and instructional material. The State will also invest in aligned interim assessments as a part of its instructional materials adoption process, to develop an item bank for formative assessments upon which LEAs can draw, and to support related professional development to help build the capacity to use data at the classroom and school levels. ” Further on, there’s this: “To date 804 LEAs representing 56 percent of the State’s schools and 3.6 million students (61 percent of whom are living in poverty) have signed MOUs committing to action in all parts of each of the reform areas …. and performance measures should we succeed in receiving a RTTT grant.” Link to the CA Race/Top Application: ( http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/phase1-applications/california.pdf) Before we move on, STEM is another kingpin to adhering to CCSS & California committed to that back in 2008 via CA’s STEM Collaborative Action Plan. Don’t get how STEM and CCSS are connected? Read my post “PCAST, STEM and Common Core”. This also will make the ‘bottom-up, not top-down’, ‘Total Fallacy’.

Another comment Mr. Torlakson made, “We have marketing to do.” Yes, as far as promoting the  Common Core, I say he’s truthful on that one. (‘Total Truth’ is answer) HOWEVER, that, again is where the truth ends. Between his remarks and a ‘nifty’ video produced by pro CC supporters in CA, here some of the fallacies passed off as ‘truth’.

“Computers are what will improve education.” (Mr. Torlakson)

‘No child left offline’. (Mr. Torlakson)

“We don’t know what the future holds, but we’ll be ready.” (Pro groups)

‘Critical thinkers solve problems on their own, they can work in teams.’ (Pro groups)

“Life is not a multiple choice test.” (Mr. Torlakson)

‘Common Core is a practical, step by step timely process.’ (Mr. Torlakson)

Sources: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fgHAvO9AGI (the Pro groups’ production) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5cYubdeh8U (Mr. Torlakson in 2013)

Nevada’s Dale A. R. Erquiaga:

This top officer was appointed back in 2013 after a legal provision was made to allow the Governor to appoint someone (2011). Mr. Erquiaga’s background is quite varied in education. His involvement with the “Get Consensus”educational consulting firm is what got my interest the most. However, since his appointment came AFTER the fact that NV ‘adopted’ the CCSS, let’s see the others involved in saddling NV with Common Core, back in October of 2010. (Standards became known as “Nevada Academic Content Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics”) Keith Rheault 2004-12, then there was James Guthrie from 2012 to 2013, followed by Rorie Fitzpatrick. Mrs. Fitzpatrick was only in office from March to August. (interestingly enough she now heads a CCSS policy research group). From a newspaper article about Mr. Rheault stated ‘he got the state as far as the door, then left.’ ( http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/education/retiring-leader-state-schools-hopeful-about-futureI did find this interesting article about Nevada & the Common Core where is seems someone did tell some tall tales! (seehttp://truthinamericaneducation.com/common-core-state-standards/common-core-state-standards-not-nevadas-creation/)

Getting back to Mr. Erquiaga, I found some things to lead me to believe his support for CCSS is big.  Digital Learning Now!(which according to their 2013 report card, all content is Common Core aligned)He really is big on data. He helps promote the Nevada Ready! (see: http://coretaskproject.com/category/nevada-ready/) Then, fro the radio interview: http://www.knpr.org/son/archive/detail2.cfm?SegmentID=11106), here are his ‘Total Fallacies” 

“This is a proxy (political) fight.”

“Assessments are the only way we’ll know CCSS is successful.”

The obligatory, ‘more rigorous, much deeper’, comments we know.

Next up, New Jersey!

Oddly enough, this was the only Northeastern state I was asked to look into. Well, being a diligent researcher, here’s what I found. Mr. David C. Hespe is the Acting Commissioner of Education for NJ. He was appointed earlier this year, but it is his 4th time as the head of public education in the state. He returned to the office to help students and to oversee the REST of CCSS. Now, what makes NJ a bit different in this is the words used to describe their Standards. Huh?! Back in 1996, the State Board of Education adopted “Core Curriculum Content Standards”. Not to be confused with Common Core State Standards. However, it can indeed get a bit confusing, especially considering some states are using CCSS, but also using different names to identify it. Now, all this is to say, that in August of 2014, the NJ BofE began a 5 year review of the Tech Life/21st Century Career Curriculum Standards. (more confusion, if you aren’t careful). From the website:

(http://www.state.nj.us/education/modelcurriculum/) Model Common Core Curriculum is for every 5 weeks of lessons, you get 2 weeks assessment/enrichment. UGH! Since Mr. Hespe was so up front about his support of the Standards, I thought you’d have ‘fun’ putting parents, teachers and others through the ‘Fib-o-Meter’ when you watch this video (frankly, there are so many ‘Total Fallacies’ it might break the FoM if it were a real scale) Link: http://www.state.nj.us/education/sca/video/ So many fallacies, I actually gave up trying to count them! (listen out for the comment that one mom makes about CC being so good she may not have to pay for college remediation classes)

Lastly, New Mexico’s Hanna Skandera:

In office since 2011, Ms. Skandera is the most controversial of the Superintendents featured today. Why? She’s been serving NM since 2011, but has yet to be 100% confirmed by the state level legislative body. The Governor of NM did appoint this position, but the Senate of NM must confirm the appointment. To date, that has yet to happen from what I could find. (see this You Tube clip where she’ll tell you she ‘committed’ 7 seven times in under 3 minutes:


Heartland Institute has a great article about Common Core, PARCC(NV was featured in the article:(http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2014/01/27/feds-spend-millions-promote-common-core)

One of the statements Ms. Skandera made in an interview featured here:   (http://watchdog.org/21316/nm-core-beliefs-nm-education-chief-defends-common-core/)  said, ““We’re not delivering on the promise of, ‘are you ready?’ We know half of our kids are not on grade level. So (Common Core) is an important step to say, let’s make sure we have high standards.” On the “Fib-o-Meter”, this comment, while some bit of truth is present, would be “Total Fallacy” because  if you already know your state is not making it, why not use the money for shaping up what you’ve got instead of ‘buying’ new?!

In this August 2011 TV interview, Ms. Skandera rates “Total Fallacy” on several statements. Before I get to those, however, notice when she is speaking, how many times she repeats key points, and the body language she displays. Link to TV interview: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYaOJiqFL4g)

“Standards established by NM for NM, we own them.”

“Tests developed by NM then go elsewhere.”

“Money attracts teachers, we can use to even attract those who aren’t teachers.”

“Actually, teaching is the only profession where effectiveness is not acknowledged.”

Now, I really have to admit that in the state of NM, Ms. Skandera is not alone in her devotion to the CC. The City of Albuquerque has received Gates Foundation money in relation to Common Core State Standards (see: http://honestpracticum.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/How-Bill-Gates-Bought-the-Common-Core-image1.jpg). If you look hard enough, you can find out how Albuquerque has been used as a model for the ACT WorkKeys Assessment(but that’s another post for another time) Lastly, Ms. Skandera was the keynote speaker at the following meeting where undying support for CCSS was freely shared: http://lulac.org/news/pr/lulac-and-new-mexico-governor-susana-martinez-work-together-to-promote-common-core-state-standards/

So, if YOU have a state superintendent you’d like to see how their statements, activities fare on the “Fib-o-Meter”, be sure to leave me a comment. If you have any links, articles, etc. that would help in my research, I’d love that! Thanks!