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.
- Increase the number of schools offering sexual health programs. (National Prevention Strategy-Reproductive and Sexual Health) (Healthy People 2020: Family Planning)
- Inform higher risk population of availability of evidence based sex education curriculum (public schools, alternative schools, substance abuse facilities). (National Prevention Strategy-Reproductive and Sexual Health) (Healthy People 2020: Family Planning)
- Support and expand the S.H.A.P.E. Program and other coalition supported sexual health programs. (National Prevention Strategy-Reproductive and Sexual Health) (Healthy People 2020: Family Planning)
- Inform community of services provided by the Delaware County Health Department. (National Prevention Strategy-Reproductive and Sexual Health) (Healthy People 2020: Family Planning)
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:
- From a local non-profit – Lghthouse and Abundant Blessings Pregnancy Center
- Reportedly used in several other school districts in the Jay area in NE Oklahoma
- Probably provided by Federal Funding
- Being called “abstinence based”
- Taught by “instructors”, some of whom come from the Youth Ministerial Alliance
- Reportedly a curriculum based on a State Department of Education requirement
- Presented to boys and girls together, due to fear of non-compliance with “transgender” regulations
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/
- “new” rewritten education standards (common core compliant)
- “new” testing/assessments (common core compliant)
- “new” A-F report card for schools
- “new” Student Career Tracking System
- State Longitudinal Data System completed and ready to receive the “new” data that will be generated through the system for “accountability”
Thanks to the popular support of Oklahoma’s Republican “conservative” “Christian” State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister and her guidance and backing from the CCSSO -Council of Chief State School Officers, Oklahoma now has a nearly completed plan for a comprehensive COMMON CORE COMPLIANT ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM. The plan for this system is ready to sign, seal and deliver……. but deliver to whom?
President Trump is already cutting education funding and a major candidate for Assistant U.S. Education Secretary, Hanna Skandera has been stopped because of her support for Common Core. These actions contribute to the fact that there isn’t enough staff to review and approve or disapprove a state plan. These important developments are detailed in articles linked below.
The political battles surrounding education wage on. It is very important to know that even things that have been done can be undone when enough people get their eyes open to what is happening. So my advice to myself and anyone else involved in these battles is — Rest…. refresh…… and fight another day because this is not over yet.
Call to Action -please read the article below then: Tell your Congressman to support HR899 Congressman Thomas Massie‘s bill to End the Department of Education! The following clear and simple summaries from the Congressman, as well as Dr. Sandra Stotsky and Peg Luksik can help you prepare for this battle of ideas that is ahead. Support from each state is essential!
The Federal involvement in local pubic schools started with money and it will end with money. There have been billions of dollars wasted on Federal Education and the Department of Education is now a huge bureaucracy even funding research into student behavior, attitudes, values and beliefs. There is absolutely no proof of improvement in education from the years of federal control over our schools. Instead the interference with teaching and learning has produced miserable results, as Sandra Stotsky wrote in the New Boston Post.1
President Trump has repeatedly stated his desire to close the Department of Education. The same day Trump’s Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was confirmed, Congressman Thomas Massie and seven co-authors filed H.R. 899 which simply states: “The Department of Education shall terminate on December 31, 2018.” Massie said: “This gives the department two years to dismantle, and it also gives both Congress and the states time to adjust and address the return of taxpayer dollars to state and local governments.”
In a USA Today- Cincinnati.com article, Massie said of his bill:
“Today, 10 percent of education funding passes through the Department of Education. In the absence of a federal department, this money could be handled in three ways:
- Keep all the federal programs, but transfer administration of them to other departments. This would be the least disruptive option. Most of the programs, like those established by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), were up and running before the Department of Education existed. For example, Pell Grants and student loans could be transferred to the Treasury Department, while teacher training grants could be transferred to the Department of Labor. Some may be surprised to learn that Head Start is already under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and school lunches are run by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The transfer and consolidation of programs currently administered by the Department of Education to other agencies could help eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse. For example, in his 2015 report titled “Wastebook: the Farce Awakens,” Sen. Jeff Flake notes that under the Department of Education’s watch, an Inspector General discovered that more than 34,000 participants in crime rings had received federal financial student aid.
- Block-grant all the money to the states. Each state already has its own Department of Education, and states are more than capable of overseeing the money.
- Devolve all education spending, including the collection of taxes, to the state and local levels. Although this is my preference, my bill does not prescribe this outcome.
Regardless of the manner in which it is accomplished, it is long past time to eliminate this wasteful federal bureaucracy. Let’s return control of education and educational spending to parents, teachers and school boards, where it belongs.” Congress Massie has layed out a simple and wise plan. I believe all three options should be applied: 1.) Move some programs to other agencies 2.) Block grant some program funds and the administration of them directly to states 3.) Eliminate some programs entirely. 2
Clearly, federal education funding will need to be “unraveled” and sorted out. Listen to the following short and clear description from Peg Luksik. She will provide a bi-weekly message on the issues involved in education funding which are important to understand in order to dismantle the Department of Education:
Document referenced in audio: http://www.foundedontruth.com/uploads/7/4/5/5/74554331/public_education_finances_2014.pdf
Luksik will continue these informative calls to share her valuable insight on dismantling the Federal Department of Education and its control over our schools. You can go directly to her website to follow her Conference Calls and other education information: http://www.foundedontruth.com/conference-calls.html
1 Sandra Stotsky – Why Accountability to Feducrats is Damaging Student Achievement – http://newbostonpost.com/2017/03/03/why-accountability-to-fed-u-crats-is-damaging-student-achievement/
2 Congressman Massie -“How we can get feds out of our shools” http://www.cincinnati.com/story/opinion/contributors/2017/02/21/massie-how-we-can-get-feds-out-our-schools/98060880/
Oklahoma HB 1639 is up for a vote in the State Senate Education Committee next Monday, March 21st or more likely Monday, March 28th. The bill makes changes in the public schools’ grades given in an A-F Report Card and other components of the education “accountability” system which Superintendent Hofmeister is seeking to have approved by the state legislature. These changes are just part of the new State Plan Hofmeister has fashioned around federal government control of education, with the approval of the Governor’s State School Board.
The federal control of education is now undergoing a process of dismantling by the Trump Administration, which I described here on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/notes/lind… (For a pdf copy email me at email@example.com)
On December 15, 2016 a presentation was made to the Governor’s State School Board. The following power point graph from that presentation shows the race groups being scored differently. The Oklahoman reported: “For white students, the simulated school target for 2017 was around 275 (below grade level). The target for black students was only 200. Low targets were also indicated for Hispanics and American Indians. Thus, the simulation indicated schools where black children performed far worse than white children would face no penalty under the school grading system.”
This new State Education Plan developed by Superintendent Joy Hofmeister has set off a controversial debate as most people would expect when they see the details. “Racial Targets in proposed Oklahoma School grades overhaul merit concern” http://newsok.com/article/5531584
A-F Grades for schools, the “achievement gaps” between groups, new assessments to measure “interim” progress through out the year, giving students 6 years for high school instead of 4 years if they have not become “proficient” and aligning our state plan to the federal control of education are some of the very controversial and important issues that are involved in the new State Plan for Education which is on the table right now at the State Capitol. The cost of all of these changes which will be millions of dollars must also be carefully considered.
The full power point presentation from 12-15-2016 referenced above is available on the State Department of Education web page for HB 3218 on the right side of the page in the blue column, scroll down to Board Presentation on Accountability (PPT).
So much time, money and effort has been and is still being spent on measuring/assessing/testing and data collection that the focus has shifted from the learning process and specifically from the students as individuals. We will NEVER create equal outcomes for all students but we should be committed to equal opportunities for ALL students to succeed to the best of their individual ability. This is the cry being heard across the country. The state of Michigan is in the process of dropping the A-F School Reports all together “State Drops A-F Grades for Schools” http://www.washingtontimes.com/news….
We can hold teachers and administrators accountable without having to use a federally devised ideology that just doesn’t work. I hope our legislators will not pass this plan but delay it so we can work on getting the focus back where it belongs and out of the control of the federal government.
The original thirteen American colonies were predominantly Protestant Christian. Our law is based on biblical concepts and from the English law. which is the product of Christian thought. The Protestant Revolution created an educated people in Europe who learned to read for themselves from the bibles made possible by the reformers including Martin Luther and John Calvin. These are the people through out Europe who are the forefathers of the majority of early American colonists. The fight and victories for freedom are inseparable from Western civilization which is a Christian culture.
In 1800 Thomas Jefferson requested the following book be written to document a survey: National Education in the United States of America by Pierre Samuel Du Pont de Nemours. It states: “The United States are more advanced in their educational facilities than most countries. They have a large number of primary schools; and as their paternal affection protects young children from working in the fields, it is possible to send them to the school-master—a condition which does not prevail in Europe.
Most young Americans, therefore, can read, write and cipher. . . .England, Holland, the Protestant Cantons of Switzerland, more nearly approach the standard of the United States, because in those countries the Bible is read; and in that form of religion the sermons and liturgy in the language of the people tend to increase and formulate ideas of responsibility…. In America, a great number of people read the Bible….”
For many years now, the Bible has been officially removed from curriculum where it once was prominent in public schools and as the foundation of sound guidance. Some public schools remain, usually in rural areas and in states with a majority of conservative Christians, where teachers are allowed to teach traditionally but that is threatened by legislation which mandates what is taught and centralizes control of education.
Speaking to the bi-partisan National Governor’s Association led by Governor Bill Clinton in 1989, Dr. Shirley McCune, Director of the Federal Department of Education’s Mid-Contintent Regional Education Laboratory, said “The revolution..is that we no longer are teaching facts to children.” Governor Lamar Alexander, now Senator and Chairman of the Education Committee spoke and said ” I would go down to the maternity ward of the local hospital, or whatever you call the part of the hospital where the nurses are who are there when the babies are born. Find out how many babies are born out of wedlock, how many babies are born with single parents. Just so you know that! I would think the Brand New American School would be year-round, open from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Today a high school in Wisconsin has an “American Diversity Class” where students are taught that people of the “white” race are oppressors and other races are victims. Students in some schools are being taught Alinsky’s “social justice” instead of historical truth about events that shaped America. Students’ attitudes, values, and beliefs are changed to accept and approve- abortion, homosexuality, evolution instead of creation and the equality of all religions. A new report from my friend Robert Holland at the Lexington Institute “Radicalization of Teacher Education” describes how widespread this is.
The “Father of progressive education”, John Dewey, is praised in teacher education programs nationwide. He co-authored the Humanist Manifesto in 1933, calling for a “synthesizing of all religions” and “a socialized and cooperative economic order”. He was also “honorary President” of the National Education Association.
But… he was opposed by many educators and in 1942 traditional educator, Dr. Almack, Stanford University, wrote: “Even under favorable conditions, it will take us a quarter of a century to restore American education to the level it held before the Progressive onslaught. The policy of deprecating our history and of putting it on the scrap heap has materially weakened national unity and broken the continuity of the social process. All the hordes of ignorant and uneducated who have trod the earth stand forth in mute testimony to the fallacy that experience is enough to develop civilized and ethical men.” Dr. Almack’s words echo today. Students are being expected to “learn” through their own experience and become “well educated” without direct instruction from teachers.
While traditional education is being destroyed again with the education reform “experiments” and mandates, academic failure is also rising. Two examples are in Chicago where 79% of 8th graders can’t read on grade level and in Tulsa, Oklahoma 62% of all elementary students are below grade in reading. What a growing number of Americans think, “know” and believe has been shifting from truth based on the bible, facts proven by research and knowledge gained by experience to relying on their own opinion. Their opinions are too often based on emotions, feelings, ideologies and social change agendas.
We must work to return education to local control where parents and teachers educate with solid academics where facts, knowledge, information and individualism are valued. Students can form their own opinions and decide on their own beliefs while schools focus on providing a comprehensive education which will enrich every part of their lives. Our Western civilization depends on it.
–Excerpts taken from an article “What’s Wrong With Education in America” by Linda Murphy published in “Truth in History” January 2013.
- Charter public schools do NOT have elected school boards that give parents the legal right to participate in the governing of the school, as “regular” public schools do.
- Charter public schools include a network of schools affiliated with a highly controversial Turkish muslim leader named Gullen.
- Charter public schools may eliminate most teachers and use computer based curriculum and or students teaching each other in groups.
- Charter public schools are often run by corporations for profit and which do not have to comply with the FOIA – Freedom of Information Act that is required of government agencies to open their records for finances and other information the public should know, but “regular public schools” do.
- Charter public schools are promoted as “better” in academics and graduation rates than “regular public schools” but are not always.
- Charter public schools do NOT have the same regulations or requirements that “regular public schools” must comply with and cannot be compared honestly as competing on a “level field”.
- Charter public schools have been “incentivized” in some legislation by paying the founders a guaranteed percentage of the government funds, taken off the top each year.
- Charter public schools turn away students but “regular public schools” do not and cannot.
So…. Charter public schools operate with tax dollars but are not held to accountability like “regular public schools” and cannot be compared as though they were on an equal or level field yet “regular public schools” are being evaluated and set to close down if they do not perform. They are responsible for all students that come to them regardless of the problems the students bring with them or the extra cost involved. Regular public schools are criticized and condemned by many who do not realize that they don’t have all the facts needed to make a comparison.
Another “Choice” program is Education Savings Accounts -ESAs. A current effort is underway to pass legislation to give ESAs to homeschools and private schools. This is a very dangerous move, which will take away their freedom from government control.
Don’t buy the idea of free government money. It does not exist. IF you take ESAs you take government money and then you get regulation. This is a fact. All government money is “our money” first….. then it goes to the government…. once the government has it… it only comes back in programs with strings/regulations. Homeschools and Private Schools will be regulated by the government IF they take government ESA money!
I will end by saying, I know many of the state and federal officials who are pushing legislation to expand “Choice” programs. I know most of them have very good intentions and they think they are helping parents and students, which is their goal. I do not attribute bad intentions to their efforts. There are a few of them, however, whom I have heard say we should eliminate public schools and replace them with these Choice programs. Folks this is an absolutely wrong headed idea.
There are many reasons it won’t work which include the above that I have already listed. We must study, research, discuss and debate the issues and details involved in making changes to our education system. We are and have been suffering for years from too much experimentation now. We should not jump into ideas and start trying them out without thorough research FIRST!
Linda Murphy, Oklahoma Educator http://www.lindamurphyoklahomaeducator.wordpress.com
(Picture — U.S. Department of Education = Federally Mandated Yearly Tests; Teaching to the Tests; Psychological Profiling; Data Mining; Race to the Top – Common Core; Baby Common Core National Standards; Sec. of Ed. Controls State Plans; Parent Replacement Centers- Community Schools –Thanks to Dr. Karen Effrem @ http://www.edlibertywatch.org )
If we have ever had the opportunity to kill the U.S. Department of Education the time is now. We have a new President, Donald Trump who has said “education must be local.”
He repeatedly said he will “stop Common Core” and “return education to the local level” as he traveled across the country during his campaign. In his book “Crippled America,” Trump says: “A lot of people believe the Department of Education should just be eliminated. Get rid of it. If we don’t eliminate it completely, we certainly need to cut its power and reach. Education has to be run locally. Common Core, No Child Left Behind, and Race to the Top are all programs that take decisions away from parents and local school boards. These programs allow the progressives in the Department of Education to indoctrinate, not educate, our kids. What they are doing does not fit the American model of governance.”
“I am totally against these programs and the Department of Education. It’s a disaster. We cannot continue to fail our children–the very future of this nation.” Crippled America,” by Donald Trump, p. 50-1, 2015
As I write this article, President Trump’s appointed Secretary of Education; Betsy DeVos is awaiting a vote on her confirmation, in the Senate Committee for Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. She may be confirmed in spite of the fact that she is highly opposed by many Republicans as well as the Democrats for her lack of knowledge. What is worse, DeVos said in her Senate Committee hearing that she will work closely with Chairman Lamar Alexander, in implementing the new Federal Education law. DeVos already knows Alexander and even contributed to his election campaign and to several other Republicans who sit on the Committee. This is a huge problem for those of us who want to see President Trump dismantle the Department of Education because Lamar Alexander has no intention of doing that.
Update — Betsy DeVos was confirmed with a vote in the Senate on 2-7-2017. A 50-50 tie vote was broken by Vice President Pence voting to confirm DeVos. Congressman Thomas Massie filed HB 899 the same day with only one sentence in the text: “The Department of Education shall terminate on December 31, 2018.” Massie is one of 64 Congressmen who voted against Alexander’s ESSA, new federal education bill, described below.
Alexander, Republican from Tennessee was Secretary of Education for President George H.W. Bush where the groundwork for more federal control was laid. He also supported President George W. Bush’s federal expansion in education control through NCLB (No Child Left Behind). He is a close ally of former Governor Jeb Bush, and other DeVos backers who work in a network to establish more centralized control of education.
Alexander’s new Federal Education Bill ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) passed with bipartisan support last winter. ESSA locks in federal control over local public school student testing for “accountability”. It also expands federal involvement into the area of psychological testing and training for all students K-12 grade under what is called SEL Social and Emotional Learning goals.
DeVos shows no signs, and has made no statements regarding any intent to dismantle the Federal Department of Education and its control over local public schools. She has stated strongly that she doesn’t want her Charter Schools to be measured by the same system as “regular public schools” but voiced no concerns over the need to kill the Federal monster that has only added to the problems in public education. Is that a level playing field for competition?
According to Allie Gross, a former Charter School teacher and now education reporter in Detroit, Betsy DeVos’ backed charter high school in Detroit scheduled its board meeting at 8:00 am in the morning at the DeVos owned Amway Building. That made it impossible for teachers and most parents to attend. Charters have no local elected school boards and are often owned by corporations “for profit” while they operate on tax dollars. There is another major problem with “accountability” or “transparency” because corporations do not have to comply with FOIA –the “Freedom of Information Act” requests. Allie Gross said she could not get the same information needed to inform the public about the charter school that she can from any “regular public school.”
In Oklahoma we have fought hard for our state’s rights against federal intrusion from the EPA, Education and other agencies that over-reach. In education however, we now have a serious problem of growing federal involvement being initiated at the state level. State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister was strongly backed by the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce, George Kaiser and others who want workforce training required in K-12 grade curriculum aligned with a national system.
Hofmeister has recently announced on a State Department Facebook post “We Won! Thank you to everyone who helped!! After intensive stakeholder input, research, planning and our in-person pitch by #TeamOklahoma, we won! This $2,000,000. Will help us implement and support individualized academic plans for kids, redefine the senior year, increase concurrent and dual enrollment with earned college credit and career certification, and better connect schools directly with business and industry.”
As I have written in previous columns, this alignment of K-12 with business is a serious problem because the children are considered and referred to as “human resources.” Our children are individuals who should have the opportunity to learn to their fullest potential and not be categorized in a limited job training system controlled from the top-down.
The two million dollars just announced is coming from the CCSSO Council of Chief State School Officers and JP Morgan Chase & Co. The CCSSO is the organization that works hand-in-hand with the federal department of education on Common Core Standards and on testing. They developed the Common Core tests which the Federal Department of Education then approves or disapproves. Though Oklahoma has repealed the Common Core State Standards from our state law, State Superintendent Hofmeister is lining up all of the changes she makes with the national system of Common Core standards, testing and data mining system which has been agreed upon through the CCSSO, Federal Department of Education and global corporations. Hofmeister also recently asked the state legislature for an increased budget to expand the State Department of Education’s data collection system which will be needed to accommodate the growing data files on each child.
I believe Oklahomans and citizens across the country will continue to stand up for local control of education and work to see that we get it. Officials who play politics and only give lip service to local control will be exposed and removed from office as the public sees what is being done. I support President Trump and believe he sincerely meant what he said about returning education to the local level. We must work on the local and state level too if we want to see that happen. It is time now for us to look closely at what is being said, but then look more closely at what is done. We must work to kill top-down control from the federal government, while we make sure we don’t create another monster of corporate control or public/private top-down education.
Linda Murphy’s bio — https://lindamurphyoklahomaeducator.wordpress.com/about/
This article will appear in The Oklahoma Constitution Spring 2017 edition. http://www.oklahomaconstitution.com/ns.php?nid=603&commentary=1
Donald Trump’s appointees “signed up for Trump’s agenda”. –Mike Pence, VP elect on Sunday morning “This Week” 12-4-16
Betsy DeVos was appointed by Donald Trump as Education Secretary. Trump’s agenda is:
- Public Charter Schools in Inner Cities
- Local Control of Public Education
- Education returned to the Parents
- Stop Common Core / National Standards
Betsy DeVos has worked in total opposition to Donald Trump’s goals – 2, 3 and 4. DeVos has spent years of time and millions of dollars on fighting alongside Jeb Bush and the Chamber of Commerce for Common Core / National Standards, Centralized Control of education in the hands of Public-Private organizations, Foundations, Corporations and other groups that Charter Public Schools like “Gullen Movement” Turkish Muslims.
These models remove local elected school boards. Parents are NOT in control in this system, which DeVos has been building. There is documentation of DeVos’ work including her very large financial investments against the parents, educators and elected officials (including her home state Michigan and in Alabama) who are working hard to Stop Common Core and return to Local Control. We who oppose Common Core are the very voters who elected and supported Donald Trump and his education agenda.
This all adds up to a BIG problem with the Betsy DeVos appointment that needs to be resolved. It should be solved by putting all the FACTS on the table NOT just the points where DeVos is in agreement with Trump. Those supporting DeVos should look at all the FACTS and not base their support on personal relationships and positive preconceived ideas about DeVos. I don’t care how nice, successful, “Christian”, conservative or well intended she is and I’m not disputing her character. Her agenda is WRONG for America and it is WRONG for Trump. Her agenda is documented and it is a total contradiction to Donald Trump’s agenda in major fundamental ways. We must work to make sure the FACTS about Betsy DeVos’ agenda and hard fought goals become known to Trump and his team.
You can inform your own US Senators from your state with letters, calls, emails in your own words after you have done some research on Betsy DeVos and have the facts. The Senate must vote on the confirm of Cabinet Secretaries.
I am a strong supporter of Donald Trump and believe he will see these issues as we parents, educators and officials from the grassroots who elected him across America cry out!! I hope it is before DeVos is confirmed. — Linda Murphy, Oklahoma Educator