Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Brief History of ROPE


After a comment I received on one of our Facebook posts yesterday, I thought this post might be in order.

Yesterday, I was very happy to see a rather lively Facebook conversation initiated over a post concerning a central Oklahoma middle school that had instituted something called, "Lobby Guard" - a 'security' system in which all entrants to the school must SCAN in their driver's license in order to be admitted to the school. 

I pointed out - in my usual exceptionally opinionated tone - that this was ridiculous. 

The comments this post received afterward, were quite concerning to me as most of the posts defended the system as being necessary for the protection and safety of children inside.  Here are the posts made to the page with live links so that you can have the opportunity to read some of the posts shared by those who have studied the threats to our liberty posed by such 'security' systems.

One of the comments was particularly interesting:
That said, ROPE, you should stay focused on stopping CC not stretching yourself into government intrusion on our privacy. My elementary school has a lot of aliens, and I personally have seen one pedophile in my school. I signed up to be notified by the state via email about all of the registered sex offenders within 5 miles of my home. The emails come and I look them up. The son of a bitch walks right through the doors of our school! Well, this year we got Lobby Guard and I haven't seen him since. So intrusion or not, my daughter is no longer exposed to that POS. While I agree that none of that should be on our license, I also do not believe this is where your efforts should be focused. Not only that, think about the service-people who enter the building daily! The smartboard stops working and in walks a guy to fix it. He hasn't been cleared by anyone. Lobbyguard checks him out instantly.
I thought it would be interesting to point out here that ROPE began in 2008 as a reaction to the election of President Obama.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion as to what kind of a president he has been and will continue to be, however, there is literally no disputing the fact that the man's history is antithetical to the position of president of the United States of America.  His background and upbringing is full of Marxists and Communists and there is no doubt the man is not a fan of the United States.  This is not opinion nor conjecture, this is a completely fact-based assessment whether you agree or not.

Myself and another previously non-political citizen, Julie McKenzie, felt that people must not know much about the history of the United States, or civics, if we - as a population - were willing to "pledge our lives and sacred fortunes" to a man intent upon apologizing for and intent upon "fundamentally changing" the fabric of this great nation.

We studied our Oklahoma US History standards and found that, by and large, Oklahoma neither teaches the founding of this nation, nor the process of civic government.  We lobbied our state government officials to create a curricula through which schools must teach the Constitution and basic civics and, though passed by the House, the Senate refused to see the importance of the bill and it died - twice.  Shortly after that, more and more educational research organizations came out with research saying exactly what we had begun ROPE to highlight - students all across America are (by and large) not receiving an education on the founding history of this country, nor the Constitution, nor basic civics.

From that point, we went on to tackle State Question 744 - a large tax measure, proposed by the Oklahoma Education Association and its parent, the National Education Association, to further fund education in Oklahoma.  Our position at ROPE has been - since the inception of this organization - that school funding is adequate, it is simply not being directed to the classroom, instead, being usurped at the administrative levels.  We stand by that claim today.  We need much less money in administration in Oklahoma education, and more at the building and classroom level.  The money is there, it must be forced DOWNWARD.

As you can see, ROPE has never simply been about Common Core.  We began our organization under the premise that American students are not being properly educated in their Constitutional rights.  It was EXCEPTIONALLY clear after this particular flurry of activity over school 'security' systems, that our mission was an accurate one and one from which we will not waiver.  This quote from Samuel Adams explains well, why:

"No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffusd and Virtue is preservd. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauchd in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders."
--Samuel Adams, letter to James Warren, 1775
In closing, I will reiterate more succinctly the point I was trying to make on this post yesterday; school security systems are:

1.  A flagrant violation of the 4th Amendment - presumption of INNOCENCE.  In America, we are presumed INNOCENT until proven guilty.  The Lobby Guard assumes you are GUILTY.  This system robs you of your right to due process and a right to be charged with a crime.  No, it doesn't matter if you are innocent or not (I often hear, "Well I'm not doing anything wrong, so what do I care?"), if that machine goes off, you will be held until you can PROVE you are INNOCENT.  This is in direct violation of your rights under the Constitution.

2. A flagrant violation of the 5th Amendment - due process.  In America, because we are innocent until proven guilty, we need not implicate ourselves in a crime by providing information to ANYONE that might secure our guilt.  This system takes DATA from the back of your card and uses it against you - not in a court of law - not because you were found guilty of a crime - but because the school SEES you as a threat to safety.

3.  These systems do not work and evidence done by objective organizations has shown this to be true. 
     a.  Pedophiles enter the building as employees of the state.  The chances of the UPS man molesting your child at school is infinitesimal in comparison to the chances your child would be molested by a school employee - a person who has already checked in using the system.       
    b.  The system can and HAS misidentified people who then must prove their INNOCENCE taking hundreds of thousands of actual dollars and time off work. 
    c.  If a person has a gun, they will simply shoot out the windows and enter.

The research is there on this issue.  Please study the available sources instead of allowing your emotions to drive your thoughts.

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.  Benjamin Franklin,  Memoirs of the life and writings of Benjamin Franklin (1818).


Friday, July 26, 2013

Common Core Comment To State School Board From Rope President Jenni White




Remarks to the Board Regarding the Common Core State Standards
Jenni White, President, Restore Oklahoma Public Education

Oklahoma’s legislature passed SB2033, codifying the Common Core State Standards into law in 2010.

Since that time, ROPE has studied this initiative and witnessed what can only generously be called a campaign of misinformation emanate from the State Department of Education regarding the Common Core in Oklahoma.  For instance;
  • The idea that Common Core is ‘state led’.  This is a marketing term used to make people believe the standards come from within their states.  They do not.  They were written by several people, including a man named David Coleman – now head of the College Board and responsible for the effort to align the SAT with the Common Core – at a Washington, D.C. non-profit called Student Achievement Partners (http://www.achievethecore.org/about-student-achievement-partners/principles-work)  who gave them to an organization called Achieve, who then passed them on to the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers to sell states in a nationally concerted effort via  their Governors and Superintendents (http://achieve.org/history-achieve ).
  • Prior to the Common Core, Oklahoma had PASS standards.  After Dr. Barresi entered the Superintendent’s office, we were given C3 standards – the very term for the national (Common Core) Social Studies standards by the Council of Chief School Officers, who pushed them out for Achieve (http://truthinamericaneducation.com/c3-state-social-studies-standards/ccsso-releases-c3-framework-social-studies-state-standards/).  Since Vision 2020, these standards are now called Oklahoma Academic standards which Dr. Barresi has referred to in her regular newspaper column for 7/19/13 as including, “Oklahoma approved standards in the Common Core for English and math and Oklahoma developed standards in social studies, science and other subjects.”
Brad Henry, however, filed a Race To The Top addendum in 2010 adopting EVERY ‘common core’ standard including Social Studies and Science as found in Chapter 15 Subchapter 4 (http://ok.gov/sde/node/3651) of the Department’s own rules.
If the social studies standards were Oklahoma’s, wouldn’t the Department be breaking its own rules?  Is that why Oklahoma’s Social Studies standards are nearly identical to the C3 Common Core standards put out by the CCSSO (http://restoreoklahomapubliceducation.blogspot.com/2013/06/oklahoma-history-standards-could-very.html )?  Why do they match up exactly in content to those prescribed by the RTT addendum?  Why would David Barton tell us directly – and on a broadcast of Glenn Beck’s The Blaze program – that he had nothing to do with the standards  other than showing up at a meeting – though Dr. Barresi has touted him as having had input.  Why do Oklahoma’s standards and the C3 standards call America a Constitutional Democracy and not a Constitutional Republic as is actually the case? (http://restoreoklahomapubliceducation.blogspot.com/2013/03/a-republic-maam-if-you-can-keep-it.html)
  • The Guiding Principles for the Arts posted on the State’s website (http://www.ok.gov/sde/sites/ok.gov.sde/files/CCore%20guidingprinciples-arts.pdf) are Common Core standards written by David Coleman - the man who told a group of computer programmers at a seminar that he went around ‘selling’ the standards to state leaders and had to ‘dupe’ Republicans into buying them by leaving out that President Obama supported them.


The Fordham Institute – Common Core proponents - gave both Oklahoma’s PASS in English and Math a grade of B+ and said they were clearer and easier to understand than the Common Core.   

Oklahomans pay state taxes to support Oklahoma public schools NOT organizations and companies OUTSIDE our state who want to put us on a path to nationalized standards predicated on a lie.








Common Core Comment To State School Board From Rope Board Member Julia Seay




 
State School Board Meeting Remarks for July 2013

James Lankford, July 19:  “When the (NCLB) waiver authority is given, now the Department  of Education becomes a National School Board telling each district, each state what they have to do to meet the new requirements that they can literally make up as they go because there is no law or statute that they are behind.  That’s why we desperately need to pass a replacement to that NCLB so states and school districts know how to function within the law, and not just something that changes from year to year based on the whims of the Department of Education or the decisions they bring down this year according to their waiver.”

On Congressman Jim Bridenstine’s Facebook Page, he boldly posts our Common Core is not OK logo with this heading:
"The goal of good education should be the pursuit of what is true and just and right and real… not the protection or propagation of what is common. ”Dr. Everett Piper, President of Wesleyan University.  Share if you agree.”  This post received 736 Likes and 361 shares… In social media lingo, it went viral.

Both Senators Coburn and Inhofe signed an official Senatorial letter against Common Core.

Groups such as Heritage Foundation, Americans for Prosperity, Concerned Women of America, David Barton and Wallbuilders, Cato Institute, Family Research Council, Act for America, The Oklahoma Republican Party and the Republican National Committee have come out AGAINST Common Core, even if it is renamed Oklahoma Academic Standards.

Why do we insist on “educating” our children if what is being taught is counter to a productive society?  

Charlotte Iserbyt, former Senior Policy Advisor in the U.S. Department of Education under President Ronald Reagan said that even if the Federal Government wanted to educate children on the 10 Commandments, it is still wrong, because education is NOT the Federal Government’s job. 

For the last 50 years, the Federal Government has interfered with education by offering a pittance of tax dollars, which they take from Oklahomans only to give back if we beg just right and comply with all the strings attached.
If the Standards themselves are not bad enough – and they are -- we have Data Collection on our children to be shared across state lines, then nationally, then globally with “Stakeholders” (a term that can be defined as needed). 

With headlines in the news such as
  • Congress, lewd photos and NYC's mayoral race 
  • IRS targets conservative groups
  • House rejects effort to cut off NSA surveillance program
  • Obama's Safe Schools Czar Tied to Lewd Readings for 7th Graders
  • Grassley seeks to Defund Common Core
 We do not have to worry about hackers.  The very entity collecting the data is dangerous and corrupt.  Corruption in government is at an all-time high.   For Oklahoma to collect data on students in this climate is insane.  
 
WHY?  What is the rush?  Our children can be sold for a few federal dollars?  Teachers will not teach more effectively by knowing how parents vote or what time a student arrives at his bus stop, or their blood type.  Before you say, “We won’t do that” you should know that the P-20 Council set up by this department burst into laughter when John Kramen said, “Just because the data model is set up to collect that data doesn’t mean they will.”

With state after state trying to pass laws to slow or stop this train wreck, why can we not slow down long enough to examine what we are doing?  What kind of money, either federal OR from “stakeholders,” is worth endangering our children and making them the prey of Big Government and Big Business, and interested private organizations? 

STOP THE LONGITUDINAL DATA SYSTEM and STOP COMMON CORE at least until we have a chance to evaluate the cost, not only to our pocketbooks, but to our children and society.

I have attached a report by the Cato Institute that I believe should be of interest to you.  It speaks to the deception of the implementation of Common Core.   

The drive to impose uniform curriculum standards on the nation’s schools has been one of stealth, and at times, seemingly intentional deception. Most egregious has been the mantra of Common Core proponents that the effort has been “state-led and voluntary,” despite Washington coercing state adoption through the Race to the Top program and No Child Left Behind waivers; standards creators encouraging just such federal “incentives”; and Washington selecting and funding the two groups creating the tests to go with the standards. And now, more than a week after the U.S. Department of Education announced the creation of a “technical review” panel to assess the assessments, it seems increasingly certain that the panel’s work will be done behind closed doors.
(You can find more here:

Sincerely,
Julia Seay
Board Member
Restore Oklahoma Public Education

Common Core Comment To State School Board From A Mom







July 25, 2013

Superintendent Barresi and Board Members,

Throughout history, education in the United States has always emphasized local control of schools, standards, curriculum, and testing.  The principle of subsidiarity states that functions which local organizations perform effectively belong more properly to them than to a dominant central organization (Merriam-Webster).  In other words, a matter ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest, or least centralized authority capable of addressing that matter effectively (Wikipedia).

When local control is handed over to a larger, centralized, distant authority, the more likely it is that decisions made by that authority are not in the best interest of those affected by it.  Local control means local involvement. Local involvement ensures the best educational outcome.

Common Core, or the Oklahoma Academic Standards as they are now called, is the opposite of local control. These standards were produced by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers.  These standards are owned and copyrighted by private organizations that are not accountable to the people of Oklahoma.  Not a single elected legislative body has had any input into these standards.  There were no local meetings, public input or debate about these standards prior to their adoption by the Oklahoma state legislature.  Where is the local control?  In addition, it is my understanding that we must adopt and implement Common Core word for word, and can add no more than 15% of the material taught.  Again I ask, where is the local control?

Our state adopted these standards before they were even completed.  That makes as much sense as when Nancy Pelosi said, when referring to the Affordable Care Act, “We have to pass it to see what’s in it.”  I know the legislature had not read the standards before adopting them, but I ask, have any of you?  We are implementing a program that no one has read and that has not been field-tested.  We are drastically changing the way we educate in Oklahoma, and no one knows what the impact will be on our children.

If our state no longer has control over education, neither will the parents in our state.  This clearly violates the right of parents to direct the education of their children.


Please don’t give away our local control.

Respectfully submitted,

LeAnn 
Edmond, Oklahoma