Please come to http://www.oklahomaeducator.com for complete and up-to-date information from me along with all of the articles posted here on the original free site.
Linda Murphy, Oklahoma Educator 9-25-18
Please come to http://www.oklahomaeducator.com for complete and up-to-date information from me along with all of the articles posted here on the original free site.
Linda Murphy, Oklahoma Educator 9-25-18
In the fall of 2014, Oklahoma City University Law Review published a paper on Common Core in Oklahoma and the history of Federal Government involvement in education. On the first page the author acknowledges Linda Murphy as a leader in the opposition to Common Core State Standards which led to their repeal from law in Oklahoma.
“One, two, three, four, we don’t want your Common Core!” Across the nation, this chant and others like it stream continually from opponents of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).1 CCSS promises that adherence to “essential, rigorous, clear and specific, coherent, and internationally benchmarked” standards will produce students who are “ready to succeed academically in credit-bearing, college-entry courses and in workforce training programs.”2 However, as the flaws of CCSS have become evident, many teachers, parents, and students have become frustrated with its recurring failings in the public school system.
In Oklahoma, the battle to dismantle CCSS was incendiary. Oklahoma adopted CCSS in June of 2010, and full implementation was planned for the 2014-15 school year. However, many protested the adoption, including Linda Murphy, a former candidate for Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Murphy admonished Oklahomans to “put a stop to Common Core before it does further damage to our children’s education.”3
Oklahoma’s cry was heard and on Thursday, June 5, 2014, Governor Mary Fallin signed House Bill 3399, effectively repealing CCSS in the State of Oklahoma.4 The Oklahoma Supreme Court upheld the bill as constitutional on July 15, 2014.5
Read the complete OCU Law Review article about Common Core in Oklahoma:
Oklahoma Student Test Scores are coming back low in many schools because the NEW Testing does NOT align with the guidelines given to teachers. Teachers and Students are UNFAIRLY PUNISHED for poor performance when many of them did an EXCELLENT job!! This needs to STOP. The nationalized testing now in place is bringing centralized control of our system and punishing good and highly successful teachers, who are being told they are failing, when they have followed the Oklahoma Standards recently produced.
We must get off of the track controlled by the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT and put in place reasonable and fair academic testing!! WE want accountability but NOT to the federal government! This testing system being used by our current State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister was created under President Obama’s administration starting in 2015 and “rolled out” in 2017!
State Superintendent Hofmeister loved the 2015 Federal Education law -ESSA and testified before Congress about how good it was!” She also visited China with the Council of Chief State School Officers where she said she was learning about their teacher training model.
I am a teacher, 30 years certified, who taught in Oklahoma public schools in Caddo and Osage counties. I worked and successfully helped repeal OBE -Outcomes Based Education in 1995 and Common Core State Standards in 2014. Now my opponent for the office of State Superintendent, Joy Hofmeister, has put Oklahoma right back on the same track with Top Down Control! We can change this system to TRUE LOCAL CONTROL! That is my goal as State Superintendent. Please Vote Linda Murphy on June 26th, 2018!
I have filed to run for the office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction in Oklahoma. The primary will be held on June 26th. The general election is November 6. You can read my press release below. ——————————————————————————————————————
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Linda Murphy
Phone: 918-403-9930 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, April 13th, 2018 — I am filing for State Superintendent today because I believe Oklahomans want new leadership in education. We have seen the lack of leadership over the last two weeks where the OEA union, which gave money to help elect Joy Hofmeister in 2014, took over leadership in our state capitol.
Oklahoma’s public schools can provide excellence in education when we allow teachers to teach without forcing experimental programs into the classroom. That includes the nationalized testing, which has been implemented as part of Hofmeister’s new plan. Student testing should be academic and align with the curriculum used by the teacher. Local schools should be allowed to make decisions about their schools, students, methods and materials.
In many schools, special education programs have suffered and must be improved. This is an area where I have been certified by the state for many years. The developmental level of students must be understood and considered to allow them to learn to their fullest potential.
There is no “one size” fits all solution that can be mandated that will improve education. We need to stop those mandates and the millions of dollars we spend when we try to control from the top down.
Oklahoma’s public-school funding should be directed to the classrooms. These changes will provide an environment where students love learning and teachers love teaching!
Linda Murphy ran for State Superintendent in 1994, where she received 49.5% of the votes. She was Education Advisor to Governor Frank Keating and Deputy Commissioner of Labor for Workforce Education and Training. Linda is a founding partner in GPS -Guidance and Policy Solutions, public policy consulting group which provides solutions that help grow Oklahoma’s prosperity with smaller government and local control.
If you would like more information about this topic, please call Linda Murphy at 918-403-9930, or email Linda@VoteLindaMurphy.com.
The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce invited Jane Robbins of the American Principles Project Foundation to speak, on January 30, 2018, about the Foundation’s concerns regarding the collection, use for forecasting student and economic outcomes, sharing, longitudinal study and long-term storage of individual students’ private information. This government collection of student data includes a shift in the focus on academic performance to a focus on behavior, attitudes, beliefs and what is being labeled as “social emotional learning” skills.
Every state has the capacity for a huge data base in their State Longitudinal Data System -SLDS, which was developed with federal stimulus money under the Obama Administration. How is that system being utilized in your state? That is a very important question for parents, students and all citizens to ask. In Oklahoma the SLDS (still referred to by many as the Student Information System) is located in the OMES – Office of Management and Enterprise Services. OMES operates under the direction of the Director of State Finance, Preston Doerflinger, who was appointed by Governor Fallin.
Oklahoma’s SLDS was built by John Kraman who came to our state straight from ACHIEVE, the Washington DC “non-profit”, which wrote Common Core State Standards for the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Kraman told me himself that he served on both the ELA English Language Arts and the Math Standards Writing Committees, which I verified with documents from ACHIEVE. He built Oklahoma’s SLDS according to specifications to align with the Common Core coding system for the Standards and Testing.
The will of the people in Oklahoma was to Stop Common Core and we repealed both the Standards and aligned Testing from our state law in 2014. In spite of that, the current State Superintendent, Joy Hofmeister, has continued to support and further the development of a Common Core compliant system. She directed the “new” standards writing process which yeilded standards aligned to the same “framework” or “proto-type” as Common Core. The “new” testing for 3rd – 8th grade, which she selected for use in the statewide “accountability” system is the 2015 version of the NAEP National assessment of Education Progress, which was developed by the Obama administration to align with Common Core. Each student’s performance on testing, assessments, behavior, learning activity and other interaction online is recorded and automatically goes into their individual data file.
Jane Robbin’s complete testimony to the Congressional Committee is linked below following these closing remarks, which summarize the urgency of stopping the government’s collection of individual student data: “In conclusion, we certainly recognize the value of unbiased research in pursuit of optimal policymaking. But we ask that Congress continue its protective policies when the subjects of such research are human beings. The goal of benefitting others in society, in vague and theoretical ways, or of “helping” citizens lead their own lives and make their own decisions, does not justify the federal government’s collection and dissemination of millions of data points on individuals–without their consent. This should not be happening in a free country. Some lines should not be crossed regardless of their supposed benefits. This is one of those lines.”
Is your school’s education program totally delivered through technology or is it delivered by both technology and teachers in what is called “blended learning?” This change to reliance on technology delivery is actually all about money…. lots of money flowing to people pushing the model. Other supporters have gotten caught in the marketing rhetoric that sounds so good.
This transformational model includes changing who controls the system and who decides what should be in the tests and in the curriculum which have to be aligned for students to score well on the tests. The money funding the marketing and training for this transformation is coming from multi-billion dollar technology companies, global corporations, foundations like Gates, Carnegie and others with “social engineering” goals for America.
The result is a nationwide experiment, which is not giving students the opportunity to a better education as its supporters proclaim. It is, in fact, limiting their opportunities. I call this teaching process “Edu-Training” because it consists of “some” remnants of academic education, but only within limits, and it is embedded in a training program for workforce development driven by the Chamber of Commerce.
Education at its best in America has been aimed at providing unlimited opportunity for students to learn to the highest level of his/her individual abilities. That unlimited opportunity is now being undermined by the changes being made for the technology delivered system.
One of the first changes seen when this technology model takes over is that textbooks, workbooks and papers are eliminated. Parents no longer have their children’s daily school work brought home to see what they are learning. Parents are unable to discuss and give their children further help when needed on their classroom work. Even the school teacher may not see what each student’s daily lesson contains or what test questions are given because students are all working on different lessons in personalized learning programs in computers.
Personalized learning programs are designed to present specific tasks that teach and/or test the student’s competency level on a specific skill. Each skill is preselected outside the local school by program planners instead of their classroom teacher. A student’s assigned skill is chosen according to what is needed for successful completion of their specific college or job track (career path).
Consider the tremendous changes in a child’s education experience from having very close personal interactions with their parents and teachers in a positive and motivating learning environment, now being replaced with hours of work on a computer programmed to require specific student responses for their advancement in education. Many important experiences in a traditional learning environment are greatly reduced when human interaction is removed including: speaking skills, language skills, encouragement, motivation and bonding. In a research report by Michael Reichert, executive director of the Center for the Study of Boys’ and Girls’ Lives at the University of Pennsylvania, the consistent finding was that “relationship is the very medium through which successful teaching and learning is carried out.”
Leaders in business or education who are allied with technology corporations implementing this classroom model often push it through CBE (Competency Based Education). CBE is a process programmed into the computer system which uses a narrow/limited set of standards to determine which competencies a student should achieve (if you’re thinking Common Core… you’re right). These standards are determined outside the local school district and are written to align with the national workforce development plans further described below. In the CBE process students must complete the assigned tasks to show they have acquired the sufficient number of competencies with “proficiency” in order to advance to the next level.
A central component in this techno-model is individually identified student data, which is compiled and analyzed for workforce roles, then made available to employers. This workforce development system is part of an overall economic development planning process. The student data is not purely based on academic performance, instead it is data about student proficiency on small bites of “skills,” which include behaviors and attitudes called soft skills or social emotional learning. The student’s skills are “certified” with credentials or “digital badges” they earn and which are deemed important by planners (social engineers instead of teachers and parents) for specific job requirements.
The federal departments of Labor and Education are both involved in the development of what they call “Stackable Credentials.” Publications found on the U.S. Department of Labor’s website state that “Stackable Credentials are part of a sequence of credentials that can be accumulated over time to build up an individual’s qualifications and help them to move along a career pathway or up a career ladder to different and potentially higher paying jobs.”
The documents also openly state that “Stackable Credentials are Aligned with Employer Competency Needs.” So there is the transformation …. an entire education system being redesigned to align with plans decided and approved by big business with the help, support, policies and even with workforce development and education laws put in place to drive this change. Technology just makes it easy to control and manage the student’s pathways from afar and remove much of the classroom teacher and parent involvement in the process.
The workforce development plan and individual student career pathways are programmed into the system and each student has a permanent data file which will be used for eight years after graduation (P-20 plans) into their “college or career.” These formerly private student records are not destroyed following high school graduation as we have always done. The records are stored in the State Longitudinal Data System (SLDS), which has been created in every state as required by acceptance of the Obama administration’s distribution of stimulus money. In Oklahoma the SLDS is located in the Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES), which also controls the student testing contracts and other education vendors.
Through the SLDS the student data files can be “shared” (sent) to any state agency. Education writer and attorney, Jane Robbins reports that “blockchain technology is now being implemented in more classroom computer systems across the country” to make this process more efficient. She says that blockchain would enable all student records from any source to be uploaded into the system and shared with authorized users as part of a life-long dossier, or “digital transcript.”
This powerful data collection system is just what the US Chamber of Commerce has worked to implement nationwide in partnership with the National Governors Association and others. They have pushed their plan for a national workforce development system to replace local control of decisions regarding curriculum, testing and the other foundational components of education. Classroom teachers are no longer the professional educator in this model, but are worn down, squeezed out or otherwise driven out by people implementing this technology based system.
Good, experienced and highly successful teachers with college degrees and admirable careers are being replaced by people who do not have college degrees in education and have no professional experience. These replacements are rarely prepared to understand the education philosophy being followed or to question and object to the transformation of the school system.
Parents and educators must do their homework and research the facts involved in changes being made in their own schools. It is vital that local control remains in the hands of the school board elected by the citizens who also pay the taxes which fund schools.
Corporations, politicians and educators who “buy in” to these models have been persuaded by marketing experts, and are either deceived into thinking they are actually improving education, or they are just looking at personal financial profits which are available.
Oklahoma’s State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister has supported and furthered the development of this transformation through her alliance with the State Chamber of Commerce and the Council of Chief State School Officers.
Published in “The Oklahoma Constitution” – January 2018, Winter Edition http://www.oklahomaconstitution.com/ns.php?nid=863
Linda Murphy was a candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction and was appointed by Governor Keating as Secretary of Education. She was appointed as Deputy Commissioner of Labor; Administrator of the Eastern Oklahoma Department of Labor; member of the State Job Training Coordinating Council; and served on the Governor’s School-to-Work Council, and the Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women. You may contact Linda at: email@example.com
While writing an article on Technology delivered teaching replacing teachers in the classroom, I remembered this piece, which I originally published on Facebook a few years back. This is so important for us to know and heed today!
While some self-proclaimed experts push for MORE TECHNOLOGY — Here is research which backs up what good teachers and common sense thinkers already know! It is teachers and their ability to communicate and connect with students (both boys and girls) that makes the biggest difference in student learning. Teachers can not be replaced by COMPUTERS or other technology.
“The teacher-boy connection does not merely contribute to or enhance teaching and learning; relationship is the very medium through which successful teaching and learning is carried out.”
What Relationships Mean in Educating Boys
By Michael Reichert and Richard Hawley
Education Week – May 7, 2014
Pundits ranging from academic demographers to New York Times columnists have weighed in recently on the declining prospects for males in the developed world—a situation the journalist Hanna Rosin suggested in an article and 2012 book might herald an “End of Men.”
Support for such dire forecasts is found in the failure of so many boys to thrive in school. As Thomas DiPrete and Claudia Buchman note in their 2013 book exploring the gender gap in educational achievement, The Rise of Women: The Growing Gender Gap in Education and What It Means for American Schools: “It is a story about females’ real gains, but also about stagnation in education for males that raises daunting challenges for American society.”
Yet in the midst of mounting panic sparked by the gender-gap reversal, there is a story that is often missed. However troubling some trends involving today’s male students may be, these failures to engage in and master schoolwork are neither universal nor normative. The intriguing fact of the matter is that some boys in some schools—in fact, some boys in most schools—are productively engaged and exceed expectations. We might look here for answers to how to engage boys more effectively.
In 2009, the International Boys’ Schools Coalition contracted with the Center for the Study of Boys’ and Girls’ Lives at the University of Pennsylvania’s graduate school of education (organizations with which each of us is involved) to conduct a study of successful teaching practices with boys in 18 schools in six countries. One intriguing finding from the study was that the boys asked to comment on pedagogy (specific lessons) that worked well for them were unable to do so without describing—and appreciating—the teacher conveying it.
For so many of the boys, the issue was not what subject or instructional approach engaged them, but rather for whom they might risk engagement and effort. The unexpected consistency of this finding led to a second, larger global study, this one including boys from 35 schools representing a wider economic and ethnic mix.
“The teacher-boy connection does not merely contribute to or enhance teaching and learning; relationship is the very medium through which successful teaching and learning is carried out.”
The second study—also commissioned by the Boys’ Schools Coalition and conducted by the Center for the Study of Boys’ and Girls’ Lives—asked boys and teachers to reflect on the teacher-student relationships that they felt to be most effective in their teaching and learning. In written narratives, focus groups, interviews, and workshops, boys and teachers traced clear patterns in the formation both of successful and failed relationships. Successful accounts described how teachers dissolved varying degrees of resistance from students through a variety of relational gestures. In many instances, the resistance was considerable, as boys told of entering new classes in which they regarded the subject with anxiety, because of self-doubt, poor performance in prior years, or the “reputation” of the course or its instructor.
With a striking congruence, the accounts of boys and teachers revealed a number of specific relational features held to be responsible for positive outcomes. The elements composing effective working alliances between teachers and their students, including the necessary gestures teachers must extend in their unique role as relationship manager, can be summarized across many areas of difference, including different countries and cultures, types of schools, types of boys, and types of teachers to reveal the contours of an effective relational pedagogy.
In addition to conveying mastery of their subjects and a clear, humane set of behavioral expectations—the sine qua non for success in student accounts—teachers who effectively established positive relationships with their male students were characterized by: reaching out, often beyond standard classroom protocols, to locate and meet particular student needs; locating and responding to students’ individual interests and talents; sharing common interests and talents; sharing common characteristics, such as ethnicity, faith, and learning approaches; being willing, when appropriate, to disclose personal experiences; being willing to accommodate a measure of opposition; and being willing to reveal some degree of personal vulnerability.
Taken together, the successful strategies underscore two profound implications for relational teaching. The first is that the teacher-boy connection does not merely contribute to or enhance teaching and learning; relationship is the very medium through which successful teaching and learning is carried out. The second implication is that relational success does not depend on unevenly distributed gifts, as is too often suggested in popular school fictions, such as Peter Weir’s 1989 film “Dead Poets Society,” which celebrate the eccentric or specially gifted individual as the only effective relationship-maker in an otherwise deadening scholastic community. The set of skills described in successful narratives can be developed.
Reviewing accounts of successful and unsuccessful relationships sequentially, the most striking difference was the lack of congruence between how boys and teachers saw their unhappy relationships. In contrast to their positive relational accounts, in which boys often acknowledged the difficulties they initially posed to teachers, boys in their negative accounts acknowledged little responsibility for relational breakdowns. Instead, they attributed failure to seven teacher characteristics: teachers who were disrespectful or disparaging; teachers who showed little personal enthusiasm; teachers who were inattentive or indifferent; teachers who were unresponsive; teachers who were unable to control their classes; teachers who were uninspiring or boring; and teachers who communicated poorly.
Quite appropriately, teachers’ accounts of failed relationships often expressed concern about their responsibility for the failures as well as considerable regret when they could not establish a working relationship with a student or students. In fact, both in survey responses and in workshops, their accounts of these breakdowns were often emotionally quite freighted.
But, like the boys, teachers tended not to blame themselves. Their stories revealed more defensive teachers whose concerns with self-management obscured their responsibility for developing relationships; these teachers tended to attribute relational impasse to circumstances beyond their control: boys with unsupportive or difficult families; boys who were unprepared to work; boys who were overmatched academically; boys who were fragile or wounded; boys who succumbed to masculine pressures; and boys who succumbed to other social stresses.
In reviewing these contrasting accounts of success and failure, we can observe that teachers, like students, carry their relationship histories with them into the classroom. They are also vulnerable to unexamined, reactive responses to challenges posed in classroom relationships. What sets successful relationships apart from unsuccessful ones is not the severity of the student problem or the experience of the teacher, but the capacity of the teacher to maintain the role of relationship manager: to monitor the relationship, observing its strains and breakdowns and undertaking repair when necessary.
Difficult boys—disengaged, prone to disobedience and even disruption—can be found in nearly every school. In practically every classroom, some boys turn away from teachers. But whether the boys in the studies got stuck in a rigid refusal to learn or softened to the extent that they could enter into a working alliance in the classroom was largely a matter of whether they had encountered a teacher who managed to reach them. Teachers’ reactions to boys’ masculine posturing—sometimes seeing through it to reach a resistant boy, sometimes yielding to frustration or despair—distinguished successful from unsuccessful relationships. Teachers who formed successful relationships with their students reported positive changes in boys beset by the same—or worse—circumstances as those bearing on boys deemed to be unreachable in the accounts of failed relationships.
Improving the relationship climate in schools can help dispel prevailing stereotypes of developing boys as alienated, unconnected, and unconnect-able beings. Relationally effective teachers demonstrate how to engage resistant boys. The boys so engaged are generous in their praise of and gratitude to their teachers. And the teachers who succeed in forging such relationships count those experiences as the principal reason they continue their work.
Michael Reichert is the executive director of the Center for the Study of Boys’ and Girls’ Lives at the University of Pennsylvania’s graduate school of education, in Philadelphia. Richard Hawley is a writer, a teacher, and the headmaster emeritus of the University School in Shaker Heights, Ohio. They are the co-authors of I Can Learn From You: Boys as Relational Learners (Harvard Education Press, 2014).
I have been writing and speaking about the SHAPE – Sexual Health, Awareness and Prevention Education curriculum that was used in 7th and 8th grades in a small Oklahoma community. The disturbing material covered 4-types of sex, in this order – 1.) Mutual masturbation 2.) Oral 3.) Vaginal 4.) Anal. Does that bother you? I hope so. If you don’t know about this listen to the radio interviews and read the articles linked at the bottom of the page.
How did a local Christian organization, The Lighthouse (and Abundant Blessings) Pregnancy Center, that provides bible study, end up providing this curriculum to a mixed classroom of 12-14 year old boys and girls?
Here are links that document this trail: The Delaware County Health Improvement Plan shows the SHAPE curriculum came through the approval of a coalition of people in both Public (local, state, federal government) and Private (non-profit, community based groups and corporations) during their County-wide Vision Planning Process where they set future goals for 2020.
Page 11- from the Plan shows the SHAPE curriculum was endorsed by the coalition:
By December 31, 2020, offer sexual health programs in each of the 10 school districts in Delaware County.
10-23-17 Outrage as Oklahoma Seventh graders Learn About ‘Mutual Masturbation’; ‘Anal Sex’ https://bigleaguepolitics.com/oklahoma-schools-teach-seventh-graders-anal-sex-mutual-masturbation/
By Linda Murphy, Oklahoma Educator
This is updated information from Mandy Callihan, a teacher and mother of a 12-year-old girl who was instructed in a classroom of boys and girls with the 7th and 8th grade using SHAPE –Sexual Health Awareness and Prevention Education curriculum. This was in Jay, OK public school in October 2017. I agree with Mandy 100% as I stated in my interview on KFAQ-1170 Tulsa Radio where host, Pat Campbell, a former teacher, and I discussed this situation and other education concerns. (http://www.1170kfaq.com/shows/pat-campbell/pat-campbell-podcast/linda-murphy-on-sex-ed-crossing-lines-tps-low-test-score
Parents in this school did not give permission or “opt in” to this program and did not know about it in advance. Every public school should have a written “opt in” policy for any sex education or other potentially controversial education programs which includes full disclosure to parents before the class begins.
As you will see in the information and pictures below, this SHAPE curriculum is:
Mandy Callihan’s original post on Facebook 10-14-2017
“X rated warning”
“I’ve debated for three days about putting this on FB, but finally decided to for one reason: we still haven’t gotten an acceptable answer.
I’m so sick to my stomach over this, and I’m worried that there are a lot of parents that have no idea that this has been taking place in Jay Middle School this week (7th and 8th Grade). If you were aware of the classes, and the material being taught, and you are okay with it—then good for you (that is completely your decision, and I respect that). Jake and I did not know. Before I start, please let me get something straight: I’m taking my teacher hat off for this post (even though it infuriates the teacher in me also). I am after all, a mother first. So the following is a Momma speaking, and a very mad one at that……
Like I said, Jake and I didn’t know. At least not until Wednesday, when our TWELVE year old daughter called (in tears) asking to be checked out. She had just spent her third day in this class, where boys and girls are combined, and male and female instructors take turns “teaching” our kids about sex education. Obviously sex education has taken a huge turn since I was in school. My daughter handed me a workbook that she was supposed to be bringing home each night so that parents can continue the conversation about what was discussed in class. She hadn’t done that….and in her shaky little voice, said “she was too embarrassed.” She begged me not to make her go back to this class. After opening the workbook, I understood why. I was appalled at what someone in our school system had deemed appropriate to talk to my child about. My TWELVE year old child (who still colors in coloring books). In a room where boys and girls are combined. With male instructors (or female, depending on the time of day, I guess) who are not teachers (or Nurses) in our school system.
Her father and I were (and still are) LIVID.
Yes, Jake and I contacted the school immediately (the teacher, the principal, the counselor, and the school nurse) We were told that “pamphlets” were sent home a week ago letting parents know that they were going to be discussing sex education. We never saw a pamphlet….so we didn’t have the opportunity to get her out of the class before it started. Signatures for permission were NOT required, but you could opt out (depending on who you talk to, because we got different answers on the permission part). This “pamphlet” they keep talking about tells me a couple of things…..mainly that we have educators, and administrators, in our school system that need to be educated on how to properly let parents know about such a touchy and personal subject: 1. You simply do NOT trust a child to handle such an important subject on their own (ever), and then simply take the child’s word for it. 2. We have an amazing thing in our school: it’s called an ALL CALL, where parents all receive a call to watch for important information (it’s really awesome, and it’s usable for EVERYthing 👍🏻). Lastly, after visiting with some parents who did see the pamphlets, we learned that those pamphlets did not do justice to what was fixing to be talked about in the class. They most certainly did NOT say, “hey moms and dads we’re gonna be teaching your very young sons and daughters about masturbating by themselves (and mutual masturbation with partners), spend some time talking about oral sex, and anal sex (see picture of worksheet below)……not to mention, we’re going to tell the boys “that when they are going down on a girl, and it looks like cauliflower, you need to just get up out of there.” YES, that was actually a comment used during class (by a male instructor). 😡 That is NOT sex Ed. That is degrading to the little girls sitting in the class, and it’s teaching the boys sitting in the class that it’s okay to talk that way. Not acceptable, my friends…..absolutely not acceptable for twelve-year-old ears. Honestly, it’s not acceptable talk EVER.
The teacher said it was board approved. The school counselor said it was board approved. The school nurse said it was board approved. The Principal said, “HE approved it and there was nothing wrong with it.” Well, Mr. Principal, sorry but that’s not your decision to make about my child….feel free to make it about your own, but I’ll be darned if I’m going to sit by quietly after you made the decision about what was appropriate sexual language to use around my child. What you approved, allowed someone to assault my child’s little mind, and her innocence.
The three board members we talked to took the time to listen to us (which we greatly appreciated), seemed genuinely appalled over the material and language that was being used, and also told us that this was not board approved. They promised to look into the situation, and I believe that they did (or will).
The Superintendent still hasn’t returned our calls (after three days). The Principal also won’t return our calls to let us know if this situation has been addressed. We were told by a board member that the Superintendent was told to “address the situation,” or they would. We don’t know if it has been addressed, or what the decision was, because no one thinks it’s important to call us back. Even if the class has been stopped (as we’ve heard through the rumor mill), you can’t undo what was already done to these kids. Also, a return call (with an apology) to every upset parent seems pretty appropriate in this situation….that’s just basic common sense.
I realize not all children this age are innocent. I realize the statistics in our county, and our schools, concerning teen pregnancy. It’s sad, it truly is. But this?!? This was not the way to go about fixing that problem. THIS was an assault of MY child’s innocence and mind. It is just not okay.
And all we are hearing are crickets.
Crickets piss me off.”
Further information provided by Mandy:
“The name of the program is SHAPE, and it is my understanding that it is a federally funded program and it is run through local Pregnancy Centers. I have no answers in how the instructors are chosen, or what training/experience/certifications that said “instructors” may have. We were told that some of these instructors were through a local Youth Ministerial Alliance, which in my mind makes some of the language, (especially the inappropriate comments) ten times worse (sorry, just my opinion).
I will say, that there are parts of this book (I will send you a cover picture) that are typical “body changing” conversations that are not entirely inappropriate for this age group….it still should be left to certified teachers, school nurses or other trained medical personnel AND in gender segregated classes, and that is ONLY if the parent gives consent for their child to attend).
One new development: we have since found out that our Board DID approve this, last year, without ever looking at any material! They said, “the superintendent at the time recommended it, so they approved it based off of his recommendation.” Said Superintendent retired last year.
Even more, we are being told that while the program was discontinued this school year, it “must continue to be taught in the coming years, as per state requirements.” We were also told that separating genders is no longer allowable due to the new “transgender laws.”
I’m not sure where to turn now. I am saddened at what our public school systems are becoming, and this comment is coming from a teacher who adores teaching!
I have learned, through a lot of research the last few days, that these particular programs claim to be “abstinence based.” They use this term when presenting their program, and it causes most people to think that it sounds good. They are very deceiving at what they “claim” when you start researching all of these programs, aren’t they?! Even the front cover (and first few pages) look harmless enough…..just goes to show that you should never judge a book by its cover. ”
Mandy has a message for parents:
“I just want parents to be aware that this is either already taking place in their child’s school, or from what we are being told it soon will be. Sadly, there are several other schools in our area that recently adopted the same program.
I STRONGLY encourage all parents to reach out to their children’s school district and find out how they handle sex education. Find out what grade it is taught in, when it will be taught, and how the school will be contacting parents. Ask what program the school is using, who the instructors will be, and to see the material yourself. If you have issues, or are unable to get answers then I would encourage you to hand write an OPT OUT note to be given to your child’s teacher, until you are provided all the information, in order to make your own decision. Better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your child’s innocence.”
The following pictures are from the SHAPE materials used in the classroom:
This sex education program may not be new but the push to implement these programs has increased. Every state has submitted “New” state plans for K-12 education following federal “ESSA” Every Student Succeeds Act” which is the newly revised “ESA” Elementary and Secondary Education Act. This is an open door for aligning states to new models under the labels of Mental Health, At-Risk Intervention, Behavior Modification or Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). Many new education programs, assessments and tests are being implemented in states nationwide for all students in K-12 grade.
In a growing number of schools this teaching is delivered online and even in “personalized learning” programs. The fact that students sitting at a computer can receive information which parents will never see becomes an added problem when the clearly stated goal of these mental health programs is to change a child’s attitudes, values and beliefs. It has become more important than ever before to learn about the specific education materials and methods your child will be using in their classroom. (Details of some Comprehensive Mental Health Plans for K-12 gr. are found in the links below.)
Mandy posted this two days after her original post, which of course, sent a tremendous amount of attention toward her and her family. I am thankful and grateful to teachers/parents like Mandy who will stand up when there is a problem that needs to be faced and put their children first. Thank you Mandy and Jake Callihan for your courage to do what is right for your child and for the benefit of other children and parents.
Article – All Students to have Goals for Mental Health https://lindamurphyoklahomaeducator.wordpress.com/2015/06/11/all-students-to-have-goals-for-mental-health-in-alabama-national-model/
Audio – Comprehensive Mental Health Plan for K-12– NAEP National Assessment of Education Progress psychological testing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdwaY8jHcHs
Article – Should the Federal or State Government Determine your Child’s? Mental Health? https://lindamurphyoklahomaeducator.wordpress.com/2015/06/12/should-the-federal-or-state-government-determine-your-childs-mental-health-alabamans-say-no/