Missouri Coalition Against Common Core

Working to regain local control of education in Missouri.

July 20, 2018

You may have noticed that the Governor appointed two new members to the State Board of Education. One of those appointed is private businessman Peter Herschend who had already served 24 years on the Board. When we think of lifetime government jobs, 24 years seems to be an apt description. Herschend left the board mere months ago, but is back again thanks to the governor. That appointment (not yet confirmed by the Senate) prompted my letter below to the board.

Members of the State Board of Education,
The article below from Russ Whitehurst, a renowned researcher in the field of early childhood education, was published yesterday. I am sharing it with you because of the highly publicized enthusiasm for early childhood education expressed by the recently reappointed member of the state board of education, Mr. Peter Hershend.  
I hope that members of the board appreciate the integrity of Dr. Whitehurst and his long career in researching the effects of early childhood education on the academic performance of students.
IES Director Whitehurst: Biography

After over 50 years of government funded early childhood programs in the United States, Dr. Whitehurst advises policy makers,

"Unabashed enthusiasts for increased investments in state pre-K need to confront the evidence that it does not enhance student achievement meaningfully, if at all.(emphasis added) It may, of course, have positive impacts on other outcomes, although these have not yet been demonstrated. It is time for policymakers and advocates to consider and test potentially more powerful forms of investment in better futures for children."

You will not be surprised then, that his 2018 publication affirms what he wrote about Head Start in 2013:
Can We Be Hard-Headed About Preschool? A Look at Head Start

Furthermore, state boards of education around the country have been negligent in responding to the poor academic performance of students observed since the adoption of the Common Core State Standards and assessments aligned to them in 2010. Missouri's 2017 NAEP scores are consistent with the same "lost opportunity" curve seen in states' NAEP scores throughout the country. Please note the article below regarding the dereliction of duty of the state boards as described by Sandra Stotsky.
I am very familiar with the Missouri State Board of Education's position that Missouri does not have Common Core since the adoption of the MO Learning Standards in 2015. That said, as long as MO collects data for the statewide longitudinal data system for access by the U.S. Dept of Ed, and as long as Missouri's standards meet the college and career readiness agenda foisted on states applying for Title I funds of the Every Student Succeeds Act, then Missouri has non-academic, poorly written, and developmentally inappropriate standards regardless of what you call them. 
The State Board of Education has an obligation to the people of Missouri to ensure the children of Missouri are educated in accordance with the Missouri Constitution, not in accordance with the agenda of Washington DC-based trade organizations such as NASBE, CCSSO, and the NGA. I look forward to your fulfillment of your duty to Missouri.

Mary Byrne Ed.D.

July 2, 2018

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died within five hours of each other, 50 years to the day after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. I like to think of them as members of the "great cloud of witnesses" cheering us on to continue the work they knew they had only begun.


The founding documents they labored over set up a federal system of government, intended to unite the 13 individual colonies on the limited areas of mutual interest. Article X of our Constitution is evidence of their intent not to create a top down supreme ruler form of government that they were under with King George and a deaf British Parliament. The areas of common interest are specifically delineated in our constitution and all other issues and functions of government are reserved to the states.


The Missouri Coalition Against Common Core has long sought to return control of education to the local governing board, the local school board. There is great evidence in history which demonstrates that the farther away policy makers are from the point of implementation of their policies, the more likely we are to see negative unintended consequences. That is one of the reasons education was not included in the list of powers of the federal government. We have long advocated that the U.S. Department of Education is not a constitutional department.


A couple weeks ago the President's plan to merge together the departments of Labor and Education was announced and met with tremendous push back from both the right and the left. The merger of labor and education has been an ongoing agenda since the 70's so the blame for this furtherance of unconstitutional departments cannot be laid solely at the feet of the current President. John Lilly and Tom Martz of Locke & Smith were kind enough to have me on the Nick Reed Show in Springfield to discuss the Office of Management and Budget's proposed merger.


"It looks like a way of streamlining the executive branch but... What we're going to do is strengthen the impact of two unconstitutional departments by merging the data that are now in separate silos and creating a cradle to grave workforce."


I invite you to listen to the entire interview here.


Whether you recognize July 2nd, the day the Second Continental Congress approved a motion for Independence from Britain, or July 4th when the written Declaration of Independence was approved by all the colonies except New York, I hope you celebrate as John Adams envisioned with "solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty... solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more."


The Byrne Memo Archive

May 21, 2018

The mommyunderground critiqued Toni Morrison's  The Bluest Eye, a book listed in Appendix B of the Common Core standards approved reading list, as part of a trend of exposing our children to more and more explicit and inappropriate material.  The CC advocates say the appendix of recommended reading material are not the standards, and that assigning any of the recommended titles is voluntary by the school district. It's about "local control" don't cha know.

Parents must be aware whether Bluest Eye or other offensive material is used as "instructional material" and be pro-active in confronting their school boards. The author of the article is quite right, self-directed book reading is not equal access to instruction, so parents should not accept that setting as an alternative to changing the book selection for the entire class. There are plenty of great books for teaching literature without bowing to the leftist agenda to destroy western culture.

There is an insidious strategy of the left to use "art & entertainment" as a shield for "porn." They've been doing it on television for years. Perhaps the parents are desensitized already because their generation is actually creating this stuff.

Another strategy is to use students as shields for their political agenda and call it social studies. That's what's going on with student walk outs over gun control. There are well-funded adult-led organizations directing "student-led" activities to promote their leftist agenda. 

That's exactly what leftist globalist did to introduce common core -- they copyrighted the standards using the National Governors Association and called the standards "state-led". They're basically wealthy deceivers who use their money as "philanthropy" to shield themselves from the rejection their agenda deserves.

Someday, I hope we'll be reading novels of how a resistance movement rose up to defeat evil in American schools and that they become widely distributed as American literature.


February 1, 2018

I thought you'd like to know what's been happening since January 8th when I testified at the State Board of Education meeting about the qualifications of the next commissioner and submitted copies of the Fall 2017 analysis of documents on the mo.gov website to the Attorney General's Office and the State Auditor.

On Tuesday, January 23, I delivered the attached testimony to the Springfield Public School Board of Education (where I live) and expressed my dismay that employees of the SPS were publicly defending the former commissioner of education,  but didn't make any noise about the violations of MO and federal law she's responsible for. You may know that the Missouri School Board Association (MSBA) came to her defense, as well. Seems no one has been reading the laws that require open meetings and prompt release of assessment data. When you read the testimony, you'll get the details. If you live in MO, feel free to modify the testimony to tailor it to your school district and deliver it at your school board's public comment period.

You may want to substitute my focus on SPS employees with MSBA not being concerned about the apparent violations of MO law. You'll note, I don't get into the weeds with what the governor did, I'm concerned no one called out the commissioner last September over what she did -- excluding the Algebra I and English II EOC results from DESE's report to the state board.

On a similar note,
The General Assembly's Joint Education Committee is holding a hearing this coming Monday to discuss the exclusion of the test results. Below is the information of time and place. I called the chair to ask if he would receive public comments. He said "NO". But that doesn't stop concerned citizens from attending the hearing and letting their legislators know what you know. See info below:

Joint Committee on Education
Chair: David Wood (58)
House Hearing Room 1
2/5/2018 - 11:30 A.M.

1/18/2018 1:42:10 PM
I. Presentation: Missouri Department of Higher Education – Core Curriculum Implementation in Response to SB 997. II. Discussion: Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education -- Exclusion of 2017 End-of Course (EOC) Assessments (i.e., Algebra I, English II) from the Scoring of Annual Performance Reports.

April 12, 2018

The National Assessment of Education Progress Report was released this week and it doesn't look good for state departments of education who strong armed local districts into compliance with the common core standards agenda.

It's been almost 10 years since the Federal-State Partnership was "fundamentally transformed" into the Federal education system run by state commissioners, boards, and governors enforcing the agenda of technology and corporate elites. Even when they stack the board governing the National Assessment of Education Progress, they can't make themselves look like the successful social engineers they think they are.

It's time to get the Washington Beltway Club and Bill Gates & Companies out of our children's classrooms. 

The link to the commentary below asks you to contact the governor to demand that states return local control of education to parents and school boards. Governors are "in the tank" with the National Governors Association which brought us this mess by redefining governors as "states" as in "state-led." I have little confidence that governors are deprogrammed enough to listen to constituents rather than the echo chambers of the NGA/CCSSO buildings.

What follow-up action you choose to take is up to you. Frankly, I think the state board needs to hear from you just to put them on notice that you know what's going on with test scores and the tech industry's data collection from school computers and you believe they should be held accountable for perpetrating institutional child abuse.)

I recommend that you also notify the state budget committee members. Tell them they should hold a hearing on your state's investment in common core aligned (remember they don't use the Common Core brand anymore) teacher professional development, standardized assessments, and statewide longitudinal data systems. Given that state departments of education cannot deliver gains in student education as promised, the decisions for education need to be re-directed back to parents and local school boards.

Read: NAEP Results Are In