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 I am thankful we repealed Common Core State Standards from our state law in Oklahoma but yes I do know there is much more work to be done and that is not shocking to me.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.

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.

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

U S SENATE -Controversial SB-1177 Education Act passes by 81 VOTES -What’s Next?

The U.S. Senate has ended the consideration of their legislation to rewrite the mammoth Elementary and Secondary Education Act -ESEA by passing SB-1177 named the “Every Child Achieves Act” -ECAA. The Act includes the highly controversial NCLB -No Child Left Behind and the widely supported Title 1 through Title 10 programs– containing Reading programs, Indian Tribal aid and Military Base Impact aid for public schools, as well as many other areas of funding, in a complex collection of programs.

The high level process, which came to the Senate floor ten days ago, was skillfully led by Republican Senator Lamar Alexander -TN, who was Secretary of Education under President George H. W. Bush.  Alexander is a long time “national education plan” supporter, former Governor, former Chair of the National Governors Association -NGA (which created Common Core) and former ally with the Clinton administration agenda for education.  Alexander co-authored the bill with Democrat Senator Debbie Murray -WA. Murray with all the other Democrats voted to keep federal control of Education.  That vote is seen clearly in the rejection (54 to 44) of Republican Senator Daines’ Amendment 2110, which would have gutted NCLB’s Federal Control on July 9.  Alexander with eight Republicans joined the Democrats on that vote to stop the amendment.  https://lindamurphyoklahomaeducator.wordpress.com/2015/07/10/republican-senators-try-but-fail-to-let-states-opt-out-of-federal-accountability-controls/

One of the Democrat supported amendments which failed to get enough Republicans to pass, Senator Al Franken’s Amendment 2193, would have expanded federal control to include regulations regarding discrimination against LGBT students. At the end of the process, Senator Alexander slid into home base with his bill SB-1177 after pressuring, persuading, listening and opening the process to receive 190 amendments.  The vast majority of those amendments did not get an individual hearing by the full senate but the ones which did are listed below.

During the debate and passage of the bill, thousands of calls, letters, emails and tweets against and for SB-1177 were received by Senators who had to decide how to vote at each point of the process and how to cast their final vote on the complex collection of programs that should never have been contained in one very diversified and huge package, in my opinion.  That is one of the reasons we end up with very bad laws.  NCLB -No Child Left Behind could probably have been defeated and repealed if it were not contained in ESEA with all of the other programs that are highly supported.  Of course, those who voted for Federal Control over our schools know that!

House ESEA rewrite bill HR-5 has already passed and the final bill to reauthorize ESEA will be the product of decisions made in the days ahead.  https://lindamurphyoklahomaeducator.wordpress.com/2015/07/09/washington-has-prove-time-and-again-that-it-doesnt-know-best-passage-of-hr-5-education-bill/

The final ESEA rewrite could end up being acceptable or unacceptable to a majority of members of the combined House and Senate.  Then the President can sign or veto any bill that reaches his desk.   He has already said he will veto the House bill HR-5, which does away with more federal control than the Senate bill SB-1177.

This huge Senate bill will be discussed and dissected for days and years to come.  It is important to find out in your own state, what your Senators voted for and against.  Not just their final vote on the bill but on the amendments as well.  Some Senators who highly oppose the federal control of education voted for the bill knowing they had taken out as much federal control as they could in the current Senate.  The NCLB -No Child Left Behind Act was added to ESEA under President Geo. W. Bush and the split in support and opposition to it in the Republican party will continue to be heard in the Presidential Primary.  Senators Ted Cruz -TX and Rand Paul -KY have their voting record on this bill to show their determination to STOP Federal Control of Education.  The battle is over on SB-1177 but many battles lie ahead on Federal and State control over our schools and our children’s lives.

Here is what Republican Senator Chuck Grassley -IA, a longtime fighter for Local Control of education said about one part of SB-1177 where Federal Control is removed:

“It eliminates the very specific mandates on states requiring that they evaluate schools based on test scores and apply federally designed interventions.  States will be free to design their own assessment and accountability systems.  The bill retains the requirement that states test annually in grades 3-8, which I understand was necessary to get a bipartisan agreement.  However, states will have wide discretion in how they design their assessments.  And, the elimination of the federally mandated school interventions that raise the stakes on the test results will reduce teaching to the test.  This bill also consolidates federal funding in a way that provides more latitude to local school districts to better meet their individual needs, although less so than in the House-passed bill,” ” — Senator Chuck Grassley, Republican -Iowa

Amendments Passed and Rejected on SB-1177 (190 amendments were filed, these were brought to a vote) U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 114th Congress – 1st Session (2015)

Vote (Tally) Result Question: Description Issue Date
249 (81-17) Passed On Passage of the Bill: S. 1177 As Amended; An original bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to ensure that every child achieves. S. 1177 Jul 16
248 (79-18) Agreed to On the Cloture Motion: Motion to Invoke Cloture on S. 1177; An original bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to ensure that every child achieves. S. 1177 Jul 16
247 (45-52) Rejected On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2242: Casey Amdt. No. 2242; To establish a Federal-State partnership to provide access to high-quality public prekindergarten programs from low-income and moderate-income families to ensure that they enter kindergarten prepared for success, and for other purposes. S. 1177 Jul 16
246 (53-44) Agreed to On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2100: Brown Amdt. No. 2100; To amend title V of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to establish a full-service community schools grant program. S. 1177 Jul 16
245 (59-39) Agreed to On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2247: Burr Amdt. No. 2247 As Modified; To amend the allocation of funds under subpart 2 of part A of title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. S. 1177 Jul 16
244 (68-30) Agreed to On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2243: Coons Amdt. No. 2243; To authorize the establishment of American Dream Accounts. S. 1177 Jul 16
243 (43-55) Rejected On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2177: Sanders Amdt. No. 2177; To provide for youth jobs, and for other purposes. S. 1177 Jul 16
242 (40-58) Rejected On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2180: Cruz Amdt. No. 2180; To provide for State-determined assessment and accountability systems, and for other purposes. S. 1177 Jul 16
241 (43-54) Rejected On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2241: Murphy Amdt. No. 2241; To amend the accountability provisions. S. 1177 Jul 15
240 (46-50) Rejected On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2161: Kirk Amdt. No. 2161; To ensure that States measure and report on indicators of student access to critical educational resources and identify disparities in such resources, and for other purposes. S. 1177 Jul 15
239 (58-39) Rejected On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2171: Heitkamp Amdt. No. 2171; To reinstate grants to improve the mental health of children. S. 1177 Jul 15
238 (44-53) Rejected On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2176: Markey Amdt. No. 2176; To establish a climate change education program. S. 1177 Jul 15
237 (86-12) Agreed to On the Cloture Motion S.Amdt. 2089: Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Alexander Amdt. No. 2089; In the nature of a substitute. S. 1177 Jul 15
236 (52-45) Rejected On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2093: Franken Amdt. No. 2093; To end discrimination based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity in public schools. S. 1177 Jul 14
235 (32-64) Rejected On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2162: Lee Amdt No. 2162; To amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 relating to parental notification and opt-out of assessments. S. 1177 Jul 14
234 (97-0) Agreed to On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2194: Isakson Amdt. No. 2194; To require local educational agencies to inform parents of any State or local educational agency policy, procedure, or parental right regarding student participation in any mandated assessments for that school year. S. 1177 Jul 14
233 (56-40) Agreed to On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2169: Booker Amdt. No. 2169; To require a State’s report card to include information on the graduation rates of homeless children and children in foster care. S. 1177 Jul 14
232 (45-51) Rejected On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2132: Scott Amdt. No. 2132; To expand opportunity by allowing Title I funds to follow low-income children. S. 1177 Jul 14
231 (89-0) Agreed to On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2080: Hatch Amdt. No. 2080; To establish a committee on student privacy policy. S. 1177 Jul 13
228 (98-0) Agreed to On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2094: Toomey Amdt. No. 2094 As Modified; To ensure that States have policies or procedures that prohibit aiding or abetting of sexual abuse, and for other purposes. S. 1177 Jul 09
227 (98-0) Agreed to On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2099: Brown Amdt. No. 2099; To amend part A of title IV of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to allow funds provided under such part to be used for a site resource coordinator. S. 1177 Jul 09
226 (44-54) Rejected On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2110: Daines Amdt. No. 2110; To allow a State to submit a declaration of intent to the Secretary of Education to combine certain funds to improve the academic achievement of students. S. 1177 Jul 09
225 (45-52) Rejected On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2139: Alexander Amdt. No. 2139; To allow States to let Federal funds for the education of disadvantaged children follow low-income children to the accredited or otherwise State-approved public school, private school, or supplemental educational services program they attend. S. 1177 Jul 08
224 (56-41) Agreed to On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2107: Tester Amdt. No. 2107; To restore sections of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. S. 1177 Jul 08
223 (47-50) Rejected On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2109: Hirono Amdt. No. 2109; To amend section 1111(b)(2)(B)(xi) to provide for additional disaggregation for local educational agencies with a total of not less than 1,000 Asian and Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander students. S. 1177 Jul 08
222 (98-0) Agreed to On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2085: Reed. Amdt. No. 2085; To amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 regarding school librarians and effective school library programs. S. 1177 Jul 08

REPUBLICAN SENATORS TRY… BUT FAIL TO LET STATES OPT OUT OF FEDERAL “ACCOUNTABILITY” CONTROLS

In a vote of 44 to 54, the U.S. Senate failed to pass an amendment that would have given state legislators the ability to opt their states out of the federal controls of SB-1177 ECAA -Every Child Achieves Act, the current Senate version of the reauthorization of ESEA -Elementary and Secondary Education Act, including the highly controversial NCLB -No Child Left Behind.

This vote is a picture of the “high-noon” showdown, which isn’t over yet, in this battle between those who believe the federal control is necessary to improve education and those who believe the federal control has never improved education and the authority belongs in states and local communities.

Ted Cruz-TX, Rand Paul-KY, Jim Inhofe-OK, James Lankford-OK and other Republicans(total 44 Yea) voted to pass the control to states.  Republican Lamar Alexander-TN and 8 other Republicans (Capito-WV, Cochran-MS, Collins-ME, Corker-TN, Hatch-UT, Kirk-IL, Murkowski-AK and Portman-OH) joined the 45 Democrats (total 54 Nay) who voted to keep the federal control.  So now we see the “strong bi-partisan support” that Lamar Alexander keeps talking about!!!  9 Republicans and 45 Democrats in consensus is not what Republicans expect our majority party in the Senate to achieve!!

This battle is not over!  Please thank and support those Senators who are standing for LOCAL CONTROL of education. Encourage them to keep fighting for the parents, teachers and students who want freedom to teach and learn.  Please contact those Senators who are NOT supporting LOCAL CONTROL and tell them why they should!  The Senate will be meeting again Monday, July 13, at 3:00 pm to vote on more amendments.

A link to the Senate vote on the amendment:  http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=114&session=1&vote=00226

The first part of the following article below from Education Week gives some details about the amendment battle, then describes other amendments to SB-1177.

“Senate Rebuffs ESEA Amendment to Let States Opt Out of Federal Accountability”

“Day Three of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization debate in the U.S. Senate opened and closed in the span of a few short hours Thursday, with the chamber passing 14 amendments and rejecting one that underscored the precarious path co-authors Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., must traverse to maintain the bipartisan nature of the bill.

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., offered the highly contentious A PLUS Act amendment, which would have allowed states to opt out of federal accountability entirely and send funding under the current law back to states in the form of block grants.

“It will help expand local control of our schools and return federal education dollars where they belong, closer to the classroom,” Daines said. “States would be freed from Washington-knows-best requirements.”

And Sen. Mike Lee, R- Utah, chimed in, arguing that unless the amendment was adopted, the underlying bill would have “the same disappointing results of No Child Left Behind [the current iteration of ESEA].”

But Alexander slammed the proposal, knowing full well that if adopted it would sink his chances of getting the ESEA reauthorization across the finish line. “This is unnecessary, misintentioned, won’t pass, and undermines the bipartisan agreement that we’ve reached,” he quickly quipped before putting it up for a vote.

As Alexander predicted (and as was widely assumed), the proposal, which needed to overcome a 60-vote threshold, failed, 44-54.

The same amendment also failed to garner enough votes during the ESEA reauthorization debate Wednesday in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Notably, Alexander postponed a vote on an amendment from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., that would have allowed states to cross-tabulate student achievement data for subgroups of students.

What does that mean? It means that things like graduation rate and academic assessment data would be not only disaggregated, but also segmented by more than one subgroup, such as by race and gender together, or by gender and disability together, or by race and disability together.

The proposal is one of several that the White House, civil rights groups, the Council of State Chief School Officers, and others are hoping will be adopted in order to beef up accountability in the underlying bill.

Alexander said he’d like to postpone the vote in order to work with Warren and Murray to finesse some of the language in the amendment. The fact that Alexander thinks they could strike a deal bodes well for the proposal on the whole, and if adopted, would go a long way in appeasing some of the major accountability concerns that Democrats, civil rights groups, and others have with the bill.

Want to know more? Here is a letter from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights sent to senators Thursday.  The other high-profile item of the day was a background check amendment from Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., which he modified overnight amid stiff opposition to the entire proposal.

Originally, the amendment would have required criminal background checks of all school employees as well as prohibit states from a practice known as “passing the trash,” in which a school allows a known child molester to resign quietly and helps that person find a new teaching job.

Toomey has unsuccessfully offered the amendment to several bills in hopes that it becomes law. But senators on both sides of the aisle have opposed the specific language of the background-check portion, arguing that it would constrain schools’ ability to hire, and would create costly and redundant paperwork. Instead, they’ve favored similar proposals from Alexander and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.

Ultimately, however, Toomey agreed to remove the background-check language from the amendment and offer only the portion prohibiting schools from passing on known criminal offenders.

“We have had many long, often difficult conversations,” conceded Toomey. “We started in what seemed like irreconcilable differences on this issue. Despite the stiff opposition there was at times, we were able to find common ground.”

The amendment passed unanimously, 98-0.

Here are some additional amendments that passed without much debate or fanfare by voice vote:

  • An amendment from Sen. Sherrod Brown, R-Ohio, that would allow the use of federal funds to put school coordinator resources in schools. PASSED 98-0;
  • An amendment from Sen. Rob Portman, D-Ore., that would provide supports for students addicted to drugs. PASSED via voice vote;
  • An amendment from Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., that would make career and technical education a core subject. PASSED via voice vote;
  • An amendment from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., that would allow school authorities to certify that a student is homeless. PASSED via voice vote;
  • An amendment from Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., that would allow schools to use federal funds on programs that promote volunteerism and community service. PASSED via voice vote;
  • An amendment from Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., that would prevent federal intrusion into how local schools are governed. PASSED via voice vote;
  • An amendment from Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., that would require states to submit their Title I and Title II plans to governors for review. PASSED via voice vote.

Alexander and Murray also offered a slate of pre-agreed upon amendments under unanimous consent, which the Senate adopted en bloc, without votes:

  • An amendment from Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., that allows funds to be used for dual or concurrent enrollment programs;
  • An amendment from Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., that allows teachers certified in one state to teach in other states without completing additional licensures;
  • An amendment from Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, D-N.Y., that increases access to STEM for underrepresented groups of students;
  • An amendment from Gardner regarding charter school representatives;
  • An amendment from Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., that ensures that if a child with disabilities needs an adaptive device to take a test that the child is familiar with the device before the test day;
  • An amendment from Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., that allows districts to create STEM specialty schools or STEM specific programs within schools.

In addition, Alexander and Murray readied a new slate of six amendments, two of which they scheduled for a vote Monday evening.”