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.
"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."
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.
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
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.
February 1, 2018
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
Read: NAEP Results Are In