House members appointed to education committees. Why do they ignore their constituents’ requests for comments on Common Core?

During the recent election, Washington State Against Common Core, a citizens’ group of teachers and parents concerned about education reform, developed and administered a survey of 2014 primary and general election candidates. Candidates’ positions on Common Core reforms (including the standards, high-stakes testing, and data mining) and whether they would support legislation to repeal the Common Core State Standards and withdraw Washington state from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) was requested. You may view the survey responses from the primary election here and from the general election here.

Below are the newly chosen members named to the Washington state House education committees for 2015 and their responses to the survey. Read their own words (or lack thereof) by clicking on the responses below.

So, what does it mean when representatives of the people serving on education committees ignore contacts from citizens groups with concerns about education reforms? Washington State Against Common Core sent up to nine requests for a response to our survey.

Education Committee

Republican
Magendanz (Ranking) – GENERALLY SUPPORTS CCSS; WILL NOT SUPPORT LEGISLATION
Muri (Assistant Ranking) – NO RESPONSE
**Stambaugh (25th-Assistant Ranking) – NO RESPONSE
Caldier – NO RESPONSE
Fagan – NO RESPONSE
Griffey – GENERALLY OPPOSES CCSS; WILL SUPPORT LEGISLATION
Hargrove – NO RESPONSE
Hayes – NO RESPONSE
Klippert – OPPOSES CCSS; WILL SUPPORT LEGISLATION
McCaslin – OPPOSES CCSS; WILL SUPPORT LEGISLATION

Democrat
Santos (Seattle), chair; – NO RESPONSE
Ortiz-Self (Everett), vice-chair; – NO RESPONSE
Reykdal (Tumwater), vice-chair – NO RESPONSE
30th District Representative (to be appointed) – NO RESPONSES FROM ANY 30TH LD REPS
Bergquist – NO RESPONSE
Sam Hunt – NO RESPONSE
Kilduff – NO RESPONSE
Lytton – NO RESPONSE
Orwall – NO RESPONSE
Pollet – NO RESPONSE
Springer – NO RESPONSE

Higher Education Committee

Republican
Zeiger (Ranking) – NO RESPONSE
Haler (Assistant Ranking) – OPPOSES CCSS; WILL SUPPORT LEGISLATION
Hargrove – NO RESPONSE
Rep Jeff Holy – NO RESPONSE
Stambaugh – NO RESPONSE
Van Werven – OPPOSES CCSS; WILL SUPPORT LEGISLATION

Democrat
Hansen (Bainbridge Island), chair; – NO RESPONSE
Pollet (Seattle), vice-chair – NO RESPONSE
30th District Representative (to be appointed) – NO RESPONSES FROM ANY 30TH LD REPS
Bergquist – NO RESPONSE
Reykdal – NO RESPONSE
Sells – NO RESPONSE
Tarleton – REFUSED TO RESPOND

Early Learning & Human Services Committee

Republican
Walsh (Ranking) – REFUSED TO RESPOND
Scott (Assistant Ranking) – OPPOSES CCSS; WILL SUPPORT LEGISLATION
Dent – NO RESPONSE
Hawkins – NO RESPONSE
McCaslin – OPPOSES CCSS; WILL SUPPORT LEGISLATION

Democrat
Kagi, Chair – NO RESPONSE
Walkinshaw, Vice Chair – NO RESPONSE
Farrell – NO RESPONSE
Ortiz-Self – NO RESPONSE
Sawyer – NO RESPONSE
Senn - SUPPORTS CCSS; LIKELY WILL NOT SUPPORT LEGISLATION

Please feel free to send your representatives our survey questions and forward their responses to us at stopcommoncorewa@gmail.com.

Together We Can Stop The Testing Madness

Breann Treffry:

Did you know that PARENTS hold the power to take back the education system from those who have stolen it? Refuse to give the testing monster the data on which it feeds. No data, no sorting, no failing, no punishing schools or children.

REFUSE THE TEST.

Originally posted on Seattle Education:

opt-out5

The public elementary schools we attended as children no longer exist. The buildings may be there, but everything else has changed. Why? Public education has been radically altered by the dictates of Clinton’s Goals 2000, Bush’s No Child Left Behind, and Obama’s Race to the Top. These changes have made elementary education almost unrecognizable to most adults.

Sure, kids still sit at desk, have rug time, and do worksheets. But the school nurse is long gone, unless the PTA can afford to keep her. The cafeteria ladies have been cut too. Now you’re lucky to have one, who no longer cooks meals. Most kids have never had access to an art teacher and only know about school counselors by watching television.

What’s most alarming is the emphasis to evaluate and sort children based on standardized test scores, specifically math and reading. Sure, growing up we took some bubble tests…

View original 483 more words

Common Core Is Designed to Drive Your Local Curriculum.

Breann Treffry:

Have you been told by your school or district officials that, despite the new state standards, they still have complete control over curriculum used in the classroom? Mercedes Schneider explains how that’s simply not true.

Originally posted on deutsch29:

Proponents of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) like to promote the idea that CCSS is “not a curriculum.” The CCSS website further states the disjointed idea that local districts somehow retain true freedom over what is taught in the classroom.

This is a lie.

CCSS is a laundered curriculum. That is, in order for schools to truly adhere to CCSS, classroom materials must be brought into line with CCSS. Even though CCSS might not do so directly, it requires as much of those purporting adherence to CCSS.

Moreover, the ever-looming, very-high-stakes, CCSS-aligned tests seal the curricular lock-in deal.

CCSS is designed for the masses, not the elite. Elite schools do not adopt CCSS, and that ought to be a real wake-up call for those who view CCSS as Saving American Education.

If CCSS is so great, why are the prestigious schools not in the media promoting its adoption?

View original 1,138 more words

Washington teacher speaks out. And, no, she’s not alone

Two highly qualified first grade teachers write a letter to their 1st grade parents about their reasons for NOT administering the high stakes tests in their classrooms. They break down the number of hours they are required to test. They also write of real stories of their students sitting in front of a computer at 6 and 7 years old and the impact the test had upon them. It breaks my heart. (Read the letter here.)

A growing number of teachers are beginning to speak up.

The SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment) is being administered this Spring. Did you know if students do not score well enough on this assessment, Washington State will be considering a bill in which any third grader scoring below basic will not be allowed to move to 4th grade?

Ask yourself: Is a one day test in reading or math the best measure to determine if a child is proficient enough to move to 4th grade?

Parents in other states have started to speak out as well as many quality teachers. I, like the teachers who wrote these letters and took the time to speak to their qualifications, will do the same. I am a National Board Certified Teacher. One of the first 60 teachers to accomplish this in Washington State. I have been honored with the National Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics, the National Christa McAuliffe Award, and the United States Innovative Teaching Award. I have a Bachelor’s in Education and am endorsed in Elementary Education, Psychology, Special Education, and Mathematics from Whitworth University. I have a Masters Degree in Teaching with an emphasis in Mathematics from Gonzaga University. I am now in my 25th year as an educator in WA state schools. I, too, have had exemplary evaluations from several principals from several different school districts.

I have subtly been posting articles to help friends, parents, and fellow educators understand what is happening throughout our country in regards to the Common Core Standards and the new Common Core Assessments. I, like these two 1st grade teachers, stand with them in questioning many mandated initiatives that have trickled into our classrooms robbing teachers of teaching time and eliminating creativity as well as research based best practices.

I love teaching. I love every student I’ve taught and touched. Just like these two teachers, I believe in being accountable, however, we need to examine the types of accountability and whether the measures are valid and reliable. The Smarter Balance Assessment was written by Pearson, a London Based Company. Teachers have not seen the questions or been able to give any input on their developmental appropriateness. Teachers were not part of writing the Common Core Standards either. I remember the WASL (Washington Assessment of Student Learning, 1997-2009) in which a committee of teachers, of which I was a part, reviewed every test item our students would face. A large number of teachers across the state were a part of writing the essential learnings (standards) of the time too. The WASL was built from the ground up IN Washington State and became Nationally recognized for its quality. It definitely wasn’t perfect, but it involved many WA teachers and at least our educational community had a voice. At the time, our College SAT scores were on the rise too.

I, like these two teachers, and many others who are standing up across our nation, say, “Our students/children deserve better.”

I may be standing alone, but I don’t think I am. Many teachers fear speaking out…. I may be a lone voice crying in the night, and my hope is it will make a difference.

With the upmost respect to the countless teachers I ♡.

46th Legislative District Democrats Pass Resolution

The 46th legislative district democrats passed a resolution calling for the legislature and the superintendent of public instruction to withdraw the state from the Common Core State Standards, keep education student centered and accountable to the people of the state.  The resolution was on the agenda and a vote was taken at their meeting on October 16, 2014.

Here is a copy of the resolution as it appears in the October 2014 Demogram:

Resolution Opposing Common Core State Standards

WHEREAS the copyrighted (and therefore unchangeable) Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are a set of controversial top-down K-12 academic standards that were promulgated by wealthy private interests without research-based evidence of validity and are developmentally inappropriate in the lowest grades; and

WHEREAS, as a means of avoiding the U.S. Constitution’s 10th Amendment prohibition against federal meddling in state education policy, two unaccountable private trade associations–the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)–have received millions of dollars in funding from the Gates Foundation and others to create the CCSS; and

WHEREAS the U.S. Department of Education improperly pressured state legislatures into adopting the Common Core State Standards and high-stakes standardized testing based on them as a condition of competing for federal Race to the Top (RTTT) stimulus funds that should have been based on need; and

WHEREAS as a result of Washington State Senate Bill 6669, which passed the State legislature on March 11, 2010, the Office of the Superintendent of Instruction (OSPI) adopted Common Core State Standards (CCSS) on July 20, 2011; and

WHEREAS this adoption effectively transfers control over public school standardized testing from locally elected school boards to the unaccountable corporate interests that control the CCSS and who stand to profit substantially; and

WHEREAS the Washington State Constitution also calls for public education to be controlled by the State of Washington through our elected State legislature, our elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction and our elected local school boards; and

WHEREAS implementation of CCSS will cost local school districts hundreds of millions of dollars to pay for standardized computer-based tests, new technology, new curricula and teacher training at a time when Washington is already insufficiently funding K-12 Basic Education without proven benefit to students; and
WHEREAS some states have already withdrawn from CCSS;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that we call upon the Washington State legislature and the Superintendent of Public Instruction to withdraw from the CCSS and keep K-12 education student-centered and accountable to the people of Washington State.