Trump still wants to STOP Common Core! Oklahoma is still fighting to STOP it.

Speaking in Los Angeles yesterday (4-4-2017), President Donald Trump said “I like the fact of getting rid of Common Core. Common Core to me, we have to end it,” Trump said. “We have to bring education local.”
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Today I see a flurry of backlash from the nay sayers, doubters and weary supporters who think Trump can not do anything about Common Core. There are articles proclaiming how wrong Trump is…… yet the writers have little understanding of the layers involved with Common Core and the Federal Government such as federal funding of common core testing and data collection of the results.
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I am very glad President Trump is saying he wants to end Common Core. That ties to many legs of the octopus that are federal. As Trump gets the swamp drained around him some more (if you haven’t noticed he is kinda’ busy) …… these education details that are so important will rise to the surface more easily. The education problems we are all concerned about have the best chance of being changed we’ve ever had now that Donald Trump is in the White House. I see so many short sighted people who just attack and/or criticize but don’t see the bigger picture of progress toward returning to local control.
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State and Local Work
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What we do in our states and the messages we send are very important in bringing the changes we need in the federal government. If no state had ever fought against Common Core State Standards there would be nothing anyone could do in Washington to eliminate the Common Core aligned education system. I am thankful we repealed Common Core State Standards from our state law in Oklahoma but yes I do know there is much more work to be done and that is not shocking to me.  I have dealt with the layers of the state and federal education policies for some time now and see it as an octopus with many tentacles or as a multi-headed hydra.
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If we want true Local Control we have to work in our local communities and states to bring more people into a better understanding of education and the current state of politics, policies, costs and philosophies that are involved. When people see what is happening they find it is no wonder the 3 Rs are getting lost during much of the school day!
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Each state is unique and must deal with its own set of issues. In Oklahoma our State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister keeps smiling and shoring up her support while she awaits her court date for the felony charges against her. According to the Oklahoman – “A preliminary hearing has been set for Aug. 16-18 in the criminal case against state schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister” for her actions during her 2014 campaign. Too bad those charges can’t include her deceiving the public when she told them she did not support Common Core.
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Her personality has charmed so many they will not even consider objectively examining the changes she is making to our state education system.  She has plans ready to “submit” to the Federal Department of Education by September 18th that would change Oklahoma’s education system to align with the Obama administration’s education plans! Although states have an open door to refuse the federal oversight and control with President Trump’s executive order killing many federal education regulations.
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Oklahoma’s Superintendent Hofmeister has dug in her heels and is doubling down to rush in her “new” plan which is a system of centralized control.  Hofmeister’s plan is agreed upon by the National Governors Association -NGA, Council of Chief State School Officers -CCSSO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce which are the same groups of people that brought us Common Core State Standards.
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Oklahoma’s “new” accountability system set to be implemented according to Superintendent Hofmeister’s plan includes:
  • “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.

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1. Report Pro Common Core Jeb Bush former Staffer No Longer Candidate for Assistant U.S. Education Secretary  http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/03/24/report-pro-common-core-jeb-bush-former-staffer-no-longer-candidate-assistant-u-s-ed-secretary/
2. Mercedes Schneider- First Round of ESSA State Plans -USDOE Severly Lacking in Senior Officials  https://deutsch29.wordpress.com/2017/04/02/first-round-of-essa-state-plans-are-due-april-3rd-to-a-usdoe-severely-lacking-in-senior-officials/
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How to Close the Department of Education – What about the Money?

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.

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:

Peg Luksik- Federal Education Funding Conference Call 2-28-2017 audio http://www.foundedontruth.com/uploads/7/4/5/5/74554331/30427134-27269823.mp3

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/

A-F School Report Card Controversy: Okla. State Superintendent Hofmeister -Race Groups given different grades

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 lindalearn1@yahoo.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.

America’s Founding, Christian Thought, Education and Western Civilization are Intertwined

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.

Why do so many good leaders and groups push “Choice”?

“Choice” has become popular – the easy and quick answer to “fix” education but many who know the details of the programs under the banner of “Choice” and have experience with education policy realize it includes some programs that are dangerous to freedom and is spreading so rapidly because it is being marketed heavily with big financial support.
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If you just listen to television, radio and follow what your usual trusted state or federal officials say, you will think Choice is ALL wonderful. You will think the only people who oppose it are the political left. You will be wrong.
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There are many on the political right, conservatives, Christians who do not support everything being pushed as “Choice”. As with all state and federal legislation, “Choice” must be looked at closely, studied and researched while always knowing the “devil is in the details”.
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Almost everyone has heard it said that “Choice” is about giving parents the choice to decide and about freeing children who are trapped in horrible schools. I know and understand the concepts that attract people. I am not against Charter public Schools in certain inner city situations. But did you know:
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  • 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

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION –IT’S TIME TO KILL IT

(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 )

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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

 

Trump’s Education Agenda & Problems with Betsy DeVos

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:

  1. Public Charter Schools in Inner Cities
  2. Local Control of Public Education
  3. Education returned to the Parents
  4. 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

https://lindamurphyoklahomaeducator.wordpress.com/about/

Social Emotional Learning Tests

By: Linda Murphy, Oklahoma Educator

Introduction:  This article was first published in “The Oklahoma Constitution” in the Spring 2016 Issue and was entitled: “How will Oklahoma’s K-12 Students be Tested?”  Oklahoma pulled out of the highly controversial Federal backed PARCC Partnership for Assessment of Readiness in Careers and College Consortium testing in 2013. In May of 2014 the Common Core State Standards were removed from law and a mandate for new  non-common core standards and aligned testing was put into law. Now…..the new student testing trend on the national level is expanding into the Social Emotional Learning area. This is not acceptable to the majority of Oklahoma parents and teachers who know about it nor by many other American citizens.

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Student testing is in transition across America. We typically think of students taking tests so we can see if they have learned the facts, knowledge, information and academic skills expected at their grade level. Today, however, there are major efforts being made to test more…… much more. Before we go there and jump on “the newest bandwagon” we need to take a very close look. We should step back and ask “Why are we testing students? What do we need to know about students and why do we need to know it?”

There is great anxiety growing among teachers and parents in several states because testing is being expanded into what is called “Soft Skills” or “Social and Emotional Learning” (SEL). This new testing is being added to tests required by some states as part of their accountability system. SEL testing can also be embedded into curriculum sold directly to schools in states where SEL testing isn’t required.

SEL testing is frequently found in programs delivered by computer software or online but can also be found in pencil and paper tests or in simple surveys printed on paper. Social and Emotional Learning involves psychological or behavioral performance, which is classified in the “Affective Domain” and includes emotions, feelings, attitudes, values and beliefs.

The goals used in traditional teaching and testing are from the “Cognitive Domain” including mental skills used in academics. For years, teachers have been writing and teaching traditional lessons focused on skills in the Cognitive Domain.

In my college courses I learned to write Individualized Education Plans, IEPs, for students with special learning needs. Students with IEPs had individualized traditional cognitive or academic goals but also sometimes had needs for “Affective” or behavioral goals and at times they needed goals from the Psycho-motor Domain or manual/physical skills. (These three domains are from “Bloom’s Taxonomy” classification system.)

Never….ever… would I (nor any professional educator) write plans, test or train a student in the Affective or Psycho-motor skills without parental consent. It is illegal and potentially dangerous to work with students in the psychological area of emotions, feelings, attitudes, values and beliefs except with parental consent and a certified professional administering the test and interpretation of test results. The student’s test results and IEP are called “confidential files” and are kept in locked cabinets. I always guard the key for security. But now under President Obama’s administration, states have created State Longitudinal Data Systems where even confidential student information can be stored if state officials allow it.

We are entering an era of unprecedented efforts to deliver testing and training for students via technology. Instead of being certain that a certified professional educator who knows and cares about your child will be in the classroom making a final decision about what your child is given, we now must consider that more and more teachers are being moved to the side while technology delivered programs take center stage.

In some programs critical decisions that affect your child’s future are being made without the classroom teacher’s input. In those situations the teacher may not have an opportunity to see or evaluate what their students will see and be learning while sitting at the computer.

Some of the newest technology is delivering “adaptive” curriculum and assessments containing SEL items. These computer delivered programs will “adapt” and become individualized to each student’s performance level as they respond to tasks on the screen. Other new interactive programs are designed like games where the student responds to a screen display and their performance is recorded. There are games being designed to score both psychological and academic skills for a “fun” and often undetected form of testing.

As I said in the opening…… Before we go there and join “the newest bandwagon” we need to take a very close look. We should step back and ask: Why are we testing students? What do we need to know about students and why do we need to know it?

This is just the tip of the iceberg as we consider challenges in choosing the best direction for Oklahoma Public Schools and we strive to provide unlimited opportunities for all students to learn to the best of their individual ability in a safe school environment.


Linda Murphy, Oklahoma Educator, is a leader in grassroots politics in Oklahoma. She led the repeal of Outcomes Based Education from state law in 1995 and helped lead the repeal of Common Core State Standards in 2014. She is a strong proponent of a full and well-rounded education for students using proven methods as well as local control of education and parents’ rights.

Linda Murphy has served as Education Advisor to the Governor of Oklahoma and as Deputy Commissioner of Labor for Workforce Education and Training. She has been a certified teacher for 30 years. Linda works with students who have learning difficulties including visual perception problems and developmental delays. She is certified in testing and training students to develop their skills using the SOI -Structure of Intellect program. She has spoken to hundreds of groups of parents and teachers about education, child development, vision and learning, education policy and politics around the state and nation.

The Growing Federal Education Bureaucracy

STOP FED ED!

Federal government bureaucrats now have new ways to be involved in every aspect of the life of a child in public schools with the passage of the “reauthorized” federal education bill. Preschool education, psychological testing and training of every aspect of a child’s life are now open to more federal involvement in the name of improving our nation’s so-called “human resources.” There will be more to come on these federal programs in future articles.

We all know the “top down” control of education through Common Core and excessive testing created a backlash of opposition across the nation. In no other place has that been felt more than in Oklahoma, where our repeal of Common Core State Standards shook the Governor, State Superintendent, State Chamber of Commerce and education organizations who support them.

The cry to stop taking the local control of education from the hands of teachers, parents and locally elected school boards has been loud and clear. It even emerged as a major issue in the Presidential election this year as we see each week in campaign events.

The public-private agenda of numerous global corporations, education vendors (already making millions), many governors, state education officials and the federal government has been rejected by the people. Everyone who has read the U.S. Constitution knows there is no legal authority for the federal government to control education in the first place. In spite of all of this, we yet once again have been over-ridden by the federal education bureaucracy through its passage of the federal bill, which expands federal control into new and even more treacherous areas of involvement.

The attitudes, values and beliefs of children are none of the government’s business, but President Obama’s plan for testing and training in this area has been given a green light. The bill passed by the U.S. House and Senate led by a Republican majority is the “reauthorization” of the “Great Society” federal education package known as the ESEA- Elementary and Secondary Education Act. ESEA has been in federal law since 1965 when President Lyndon Johnson passed his huge experiment and it was greatly expanded under President George W. Bush in 2001 with the addition of NCLB- No Child Left Behind. The stated goal of federal education policy is to equalize student results. This is a failed ideology that also drives socialism and “social justice” efforts which are harmful in the end.

This reauthorization of ESEA/NCLB was passed quickly as a “slam-dunk” by President Obama and the Republican leadership of Senator Mitch McConnell and Congressman Paul Ryan. It had a well greased path prepared over months by the “bipartisan” work of Senators Lamar Alexander-R (former Sec of Education under the first President Bush, George H. W.) and Patty Murray-D. Instead of waiting for a new and hopefully Republican president in 2017 who could turn away from federal control of education, McConnell and Ryan pushed the final bill (1,000+ pages) through in just two days in the House. No Congressman could have had time to read it. In Oklahoma only Congressman Bridenstine voted against it.

The authors, Alexander and Murray got “buy-in” from education lobby organizations including the National Education Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce by giving them some changes they wanted in the bill. Then Alexander, Murray and the education lobby groups persuaded Congressional and Senate members that “Common Core” and other problems were fixed in the new version. They all sent out press releases, appeared in programs and unfolded other public relations efforts promoting the bill. The hundreds of thousands of pleas from American citizens to stop and read the bill were dismissed by the House and Senate as the bill sailed on through to the desk of President Obama who was eager to sign it.

Now it is touted as a great bipartisan success and a proud example of how Congress and the President can work together. It is going to take a strong and determined change of direction by a new President to start dismantling the multi-headed bureaucracy of the Federal Department of Education. That looks promising in the presidential election in November.

Let us work toward that end!
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I wrote this article on January 17th for publication in the OKLAHOMA CONSTITUTION newspaper.  Oklahoma’s oldest reliable source for conservative political news.  You can find the article there, when it is available, in the WINTER 2016 edition online at http://www.oklahomaconstitution.com –go to Latest Edition tab at the top.
Linda Murphy, Oklahoma Educator
www.lindamurphyoklahomaeducator.wordpress.com

STOP Illegally Funded -Federal Common Core Curriculum

President Obama and his Secretary of Education Arne Duncan have used excessive amounts of “stimulus” money to push the biggest ever Federal advancement of control over the classrooms across America and even over what our children will learn. The Federal control has advanced into curriculum and that is now documented in a published article from Stanford University as described below. Standards, testing and curriculum funded by the Federal government are aligned to Common Core, even while states are repealing Common Core Standards from their state law, as we have in the state of Oklahoma.

One of the most basic guarantees of our American Constitution is that States have all Rights of government not specifically given to the Federal government. Education policy is a Local and State Right, NOT a Federal government Right and most importantly it is the Right of parents to determine education for their own child. Parents’ Rights can only be maintained if we maintain Local Control of education where a locally elected school board is accountable to the citizens of the local school district. This is especially important because of the increased curriculum changes that contain political and even religious worldviews which are pushed into textbooks, worksheets and online (where parents and often teacher never even see them). These materials are intentionally designed to “change” the attitudes, values and beliefs of students. President Obama has already announced that he is changing the NAEP -National Assessment of Education Progress testing given in public schools to include behavioral/ affective assessment items in the future. 1

The rewriting of the huge ever expanding Federal government education bill, ESEA -Elementary and Secondary Education Act (including NCLB -No Child Left Behind) has not yet passed both houses of Congress. The battle and debates for States’ Rights and Local Control vs Federal Control, which are going on in Congress with the ESEA rewrite, have been widely reported. Currently presidential candidates are staking out their positions on Common Core and other education plans. Common Core supporters are suffering in the polls. In November 2016 we will have a new president who will set the direction for the Federal Department of Education. Candidates who are listening to the American people are hearing strong opposition to federal education. Other candidates are barreling ahead with their agenda for education in spite of wide-spread opposition.

Those of us fighting to STOP the Federal Government control of education must continue to work to educate, expose and assert state, local and parents’ Rights while we continue to urge U.S. Senate and House members to join us to set our children free from the centrally controlled Common Core aligned system.

We have repeatedly been told that Common Core State Standards are “just standards” as though they stood alone but that is not true. Common Core Standards are just one component of an entire system of “transformation” of education into a globally aligned system centrally controlled according to specifications from multi-national corporations for the workforce. 2

This transformation which was first rolled out through Common Core marketed as “high standards” and “state led” standards through governors and the National Governors Association is being rejected by parents, teachers, state legislators and others around the country. 3

As we keep seeing the “wheels come off” of the Common Core “bandwagon”, another documented revelation has come to the surface. The following statements are published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review by author Joanne Weiss, who boasts of her accomplishments in advancing the social engineering agenda of President Obama. 4

…..“New curriculum materials funded through Race to the Top and released in 2014 are already in use in 20 percent of classrooms nationwide.”This is a quote from, Joanne Weiss, the woman who was in charge of the program at the Federal Department of Education.

She said “Working with US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, I led Race to the Top from its inception through 2010. At that point, we had awarded all of the grant money that was available under the program. I then served as chief of staff to the secretary through mid-2013, and during that period I remained involved in the program’s implementation. Today, six years after the launch of the initiative, we can start to place its achievements—and, in some cases, its missteps—in perspective.”

  1. “STOP PRESIDENT OBAMA’S MOVE INTO “THE DARK SIDE OF NATIONAL TESTING” https://lindamurphyoklahomaeducator.wordpress.com/2015/06/09/obama-administration-advancing-the-dark-side-of-national-testing/
  2. “The Chamber of Commerce and National Governors Association Global Workforce Plans” https://lindamurphyoklahomaeducator.wordpress.com/2015/09/04/the-chamber-of-commerce-and-national-governors-association-global-workforce-plans/
  3. “Common Core in Oklahoma” (“state led” Common Core “stakeholders”) http://www.oklahomaconstitution.com/ns.php?nid=459&commentary=1
  4. “ Competing Principles” -Stanford University Report on RTTT and federally funded curriculum: http://ssir.org/articles/entry/competing_principles