October 28, 2017
Governor Eric Greitens
Missouri State Capitol
Jefferson City, MO 65101
Since Spring 2017, two occasions of withholding information from the public have occurred under the aegis of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). The first was DESE’s withholding of information regarding its management of unscorable Algebra I EOC responses in Spring 2017 coupled with the Department’s recommendation to school districts that they incorporate EOC raw scores into student course grades. The second was DESE’s administration of Common Core (CC)-aligned EOCs in Algebra I and English II in Spring 2017 despite a 2016 Questar’s report that new achievement level cutpoints generated in a recalibration study would negatively affect the percentage of students scores classified as Proficient+Advanced. Test results are only meaningful if standardized procedures associated with well-designed assessments are followed and results authentically generated by students are used for appropriate purposes. Problems with test quality and administration yield unreliable results that should not be used or only used with extreme caution and widely disseminated caveats. Evidence suggests that DESE personnel did not follow standards of professionalism, but chose to withhold information from the public.
Enclosed is a report that provides a description of each event followed by evidence and comments. Evidence and questions pertinent to the second event are organized as a year-by-year timeline of activities undertaken by Governor Jay Nixon, the past and current Commissioners of Education, and past and current members of the State Board of Education culminating in the withholding of Algebra I and English II EOC annual assessment data. The purpose of this report is to provide the Governor’s Office with documentation to support the legitimacy of the public’s concerns about DESE’s patterns of unprofessional behavior and recommend a series of remedial actions to protect Missouri’s students and their parents from the decisions and actions of DESE personnel and the State Board of Education.
CC-aligned EOCs would not have been administered in Missouri had DESE complied with language prohibiting expenditure of appropriated funds on implementation or support of CC included in every appropriations bill 2013. The people of Missouri have a social compact with the State that depends on the people’s trust that all agents of government, including elected officials, appointed board members, and government employees, comply with all parts of U.S. and Missouri laws. Since the introduction of CCSS and CC-aligned assessments to Missouri, DESE and the State Board of Education have violated that trust. It is our hope that as our current governor, you will remedy the harm done to parents’ authority over their children’s education, local control of school districts, rights of individual students, and taxpayers.
Missouri Coalition Against Common CoreCc: Cc: Attorney General Josh Hawley, State Auditor Nichole Galloway, Speaker of the House Todd Richardson, Senate Pro Temp Ron Richards
Hidden Common Core Trap In ESSA
The Federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), passed in December 2015, requires states to submit a Consolidated State Plan to the Secretary of the US Department of Education detailing how they intend to use federal Title monies. Federal law is very clear that such money is to be used to supplement education spending for the neediest students, not supplant all state funding.
However, DESE's plan details what every single Local Education Agency (school district) will be required to do, regardless of whether they specifically receive Title money. It contains guidelines for assessment of all students and evaluation of all teachers, not just those in districts receiving federal funds.
ESSA requires these plans to undergo public review, as well as review by the Governor.
DESE has posted the draft plan on their website here.
The state plans to submit its final document by the September 8th deadline.
Public comments on this draft are due by July 15th.
The Coalition submitted comments (below). We encourage parents to read DESE's complete plan (here) and submit their own comments. You may borrow anything from MCACC's comments that you feel is appropriate.
Note that DESE has broken up the comments into individual sections. For your convenience we have broken up MCACC's comments into the DESE designated sections as follows:
During the Secretary Devos confirmation hearings, Massie stated, "Unelected bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. should not be in charge of our children’s intellectual and moral development. States and local communities are best positioned to shape curricula that meet the needs of their students. Schools should be accountable. Parents have the right to choose the most appropriate educational opportunity for their children, including home school, public school, or private school."
“For years, I have advocated returning education policy to where it belongs - the state and local level,” said Rep. Walter Jones, an original co-sponsor. “D.C. bureaucrats cannot begin to understand the needs of schools and its students on an individual basis. It is time that we get the feds out of the classroom, and terminate the Department of Education.”
The Department of Education began operating in 1980. On September 24, 1981 in his Address to the Nation on the Program for Economic Recovery, President Ronald Reagan said, “As a third step, we propose to dismantle two Cabinet Departments, Energy and Education. Both Secretaries are wholly in accord with this. Some of the activities in both of these departments will, of course, be continued either independently or in other areas of government. There's only one way to shrink the size and cost of big government, and that is by eliminating agencies that are not needed and are getting in the way of a solution... [E]ducation is the principal responsibility of local school systems, teachers, parents, citizen boards, and State governments. By eliminating the Department of Education less than 2 years after it was created, we cannot only reduce the budget but ensure that local needs and preferences, rather than the wishes of Washington, determine the education of our children.”
Original co-sponsors include Congressman Justin Amash (R-MI), Congressman Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Congressman Jody Hice (R-GA), Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC), and Rep. Raúl R. Labrador (R-ID).
The current MO Constitution defines a term for State Board of Education members as 8 years and there is no limit to the number of terms one may serve. One member has been on the board for 24 years officially and remains on the board today, another 18 months later, without officially being reappointed. This bill would limit terms to 4 years and limit the number of terms that can be served to 2. As this is a constitutional issue, it will require a vote of the people to be changed so passage of HB675 (and HCR29) would mean a ballot issue some time this year.
Throughout the U.S. Department of Education’s Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority proposed regulations we see a pattern extremely similar to that of the 2009 Race To The Top grant, which bribed States into applying for a grant that would require the implementation of one-size-fits-all standards to receive funding. The Department of Education is using these regulations to push a common, national assessment system.
Moreover, the Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority proposed regulations incentivize States to join a consortium, something Congress and ESSA proponents said would not happen.
The following are specific areas in which the proposed regulations are egregious in their attempts to impose a common, Federal education system, stripping parents and SEAs of what little local control of education remains, and in many ways contradicts and undermines the law in which they are intended to provide guidance...
See the specific violations of the language and intent of ESSA at StopFedEd
Project Veritas has released a series of powerful and troubling videos showing the callous attitudes and base fiscal focus of the education publishing companies when it comes to providing educational support materials for students. It was never a secret that they are in business to make money and changing standards feeds that business model, but the open contempt for the children and academic excellence is startling in this series of videos.
Joy Pullman has a three part series over at The Federalist providing details of the decline in quality of American textbooks, the corruption that exists in a system designed to grant monopolies to certain companies by placing inordinate textbook selection power in the hands of a few corruptible people.
Why should we be concerned about this decline? In Terrance Moore's book, The Story Killers he warns about the low quality research and bias in these books and what it will do to the mindset of future generations.
“Essentially, all of World War II has been reduced to dropping the bomb
and consequently, we are led to believe, America’s inhumanity…Do we want
the children just now entering school and in the years to come—who may
have never met their great-grandparents—to be made ashamed of that
Greatest Generation, of America, and of our resolution to remain free?”
The next time your school district is looking to update their curriculum and textbook selection, maybe you should have a special screening of these videos for your school board members.
The Missouri Coalition Against Common Core is proud to announce that Governor Jay Nixon signed House Bill1490 into law on July 14, 2014. We appreciate the work of the Missouri Legislature and the Governor in this first step which enables Missourians to direct and develop education for Missouri students. We believe this is an important first step forward that applies the appropriate caution when implementing a new and untried standards system. This new law will provide a measure of protection for our teachers, districts and students from consequences for student test scores on a standardized test whose validity and reliability as a tool for measuring their performance is not supported by data.
We look forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature in the next session to further education excellence for Missouri students.
Read more about the universal FAIL of preschool to produce lasting improvement of student performance. Studies now showing that making preschoolers sit in a class structured for older students is actually harmful to their psycho-social development. See our new Early Childhood Education Tab
Linda Murphy is an Oklahoma educator
and former appointed Secretary of Education and Deputy Commissioner of Labor
for Workforce Education and Training. She wrote in
the Okie Blaze about her experience in 1995 she was sent to the National Governors Association meeting in Chicago, by then
Oklahoma Governor Keating, where the NGA staff and Marc Tucker met with
Education Advisors from many states.
At that meeting they discussed President Clinton's education plans which were being promoted by business leaders like Lou Gerstner former IBM CEO who later went on to become Chairman Emirtus of Achieve Inc. which wrote the Common Core Standards.
Now her state supports Common Core and the vision of a “human capital pipeline” through education and training nationwide that it enables.
"This is all too familiar to those of us who became informed in the 1990’s," she wrote. "Some leaders remain: Gerstner, Cohen and long range master planner, Marc Tucker. Since 1988 Tucker has been Executive Director of the National Center for Education and the Economy, NCEE, funded by the Carnegie Foundation.
Michael Cohen, Executive Director of ACHIEVE, was chosen by Clinton for leadership in the Department of Education. Cohen was on staff with Clinton, while he was Governor and chairman of the National Governor’s Association."
At that time Murphy and the education advisors from Virginia and New Hampshire were very vocal about their opposition to this vision.
"I just said NO. No, the state of Oklahoma will NOT be participating in this plan," she said.
In her 2013 article she wrote about where the plans are now.
It is now 2015, two decades since this plan was launched. Back in the 90's there was no social media and no grassroots activism of any serious note. The creators did not envision any public back lash and they had the support of business giants like IBM. They actually expected the public to lap it up. The government was going to make our kids college and career ready. What's not to like? They certainly didn't anticipate any kind of coordinated public push back. Their blind spot was their inability to predict the public's rejection of any plan that was based on authoritarian central control. They didn't plan on the tiger moms, the constitutional resurgency and frankly the high level of awareness of so many parents about what goes on in school. Turns out there is plenty not to like.
You can read Murphy's full article here.
Please check it out and share it with your friends!
States that have rejected
Common Core 2015
The American Principles Project and Concerned Women of America have produced a fabulous video series that describes what Common Core Standards are, how we got them and what we can do to get them out of our state.
Please watch all five segments and share this link with as many people as you can.
American Family Association
Americans For Prosperity
American Principles Project
Concerned Women Of America
Conservative Teachers of America
Education Action Group Foundation
Locke & Smith
Home School Legal Defense Association John Locke Foundation
former Attorney General Ed Meese
National Federation of Republican Women
Pacific Research Institute
Public Interest Institute
Public Policy Institute
Washington Policy Center
We The People
Missouri Coalition Against Common Core 2013