Sunday, February 23, 2014

Who's Really Misinformed About Common Core Governor Fallin? Is it the Heritage Foundation? What About the OKGOP?


Is our Governor reading neither?  How can she escape the myriad of Facebook groups all across the US trying to fight Common Core - most established by simple moms who are watching their kids struggle and cry and hate school and want to make it better (there is a FB page for just about every single state at this point)?  How can she miss the articles in Conservative and Liberal publications alike decrying the Common Core and other associated education 'reforms'?  How can a gathering of nearly 300 (on the sign up sheet alone) parents, educators and taxpayers who lined the inside of the Senate Committee room and stood in lines two deep down the hall outside during a Senate Education Committee meeting, be characterized as MISINFORMED?

Sadly, Governor Fallin is proceeding in the same fashion as her counterparts in various other states who decry the concerns of citizenry as "Misinformed" and preside over a senate (or legislature) that refuses to hear any bills relating to Common Core.  With this pattern in mind, we are reproducing  a list of Common Core detractors, some of whom might stimulate her hearing.

Below, is a list of organizations AGAINST Common Core, but let me remind readers first - Governor Fallin is a REPUBLICAN.

Oklahoma GOP
Republican National Committee

Act! For America
Ambassadors for Life (ORU)
American Association of Christian Schools
Americans For Prosperity
American Principles Project
American Values
Bringing Back the Black Robed Regiment
Cardinal Newman Society
CATO Institute
Clash Daily
Choice Media.tv
Chuck Norris
Concerned Women for America
Congressman Jim Bridenstine
David Barton and Wallbuilders
Eagle Forum
Ed Watch
Education Action Group (EAG)
Family Research Council
Focus on the Family
Frederick Douglass Foundation
Freedom Works
Friedman Foundation
Glenn Beck
Goldwater Institute
Heartland Institute
Heritage Foundation
High Noon Club
Hillsdale College
HotAir.com
Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA)
Intercollegiate Studies Institute
Joe for America
John Locke Foundation
John Stossell
Liberty Alliance
Michelle Malkin
Missouri Education Watchdog
Dr. Monica Crowley
National Center for Constitutional Studies
Oklahoma Conservative PAC (OCPAC)

Oklahoma City 912 Project
Oklahoma Wesleyan University
Pacific Research Institute
Parent Led Reform
ParentalRights.org
Pioneer Institute
PolitiChicks
Public Interest Institute
Public Policy Institute
Reclaiming America for Christ
Restore Oklahoma Public Education
Sen. Tom Coburn
Sen. James Inhofe
Sutherland Institute
Tenth Amendment Center
The Constitutional Coalition
The Educational Freedom Coalition
The Five (Fans)
The John Birch Society
The Rosies
Truth in American Education (TAE)

Tulsa 912 Project
Washington Policy Center
We the People
Young Americans for Liberty


So, who exactly is MISINFORMED?

Oklahomans From All Over The State Visit The Senate Education Committee February 17th



Every year since 2011, a bill to stop the Common Core State Standards has been introduced into the Oklahoma legislature from the House.  Every year, House Common Education Committee Chair, Ann Coody has blocked the bill from a hearing, and every year, Senator John Ford, Chair of the Senate Education Committee, has made it known he would hear no bills relating to a repeal of Common Core in his committee.

In 2014, 7 bills were introduced into the Oklahoma legislature to pause or repeal the Common Core State Standards.  From the beginning of this year's session, citizens have implored Senator Ford to hear these bills yet Senator Ford has remained dogged in his insistence to deny any and all a hearing.




Via an underground email campaign, more than 300 Oklahoma parents, teachers and taxpayers - frustrated at being denied a voice in their government - filled to capacity the committee room in which the Senate Education Committee convened at 9am, and stood 2 and 3 deep in the corridor leading into the chamber, saying nothing - simply holding their signs saying, "HEAR THE BILLS".


These individuals came from ALL ACROSS OKLAHOMA Grady - 24 out of 77 - nearly 1/3 of all Oklahoma counties were at the capitol building for this rally according to our sign up sheets - and NOT ALL PARTICIPANTS signed up.  Many simply took their signs and went on their way.

The counties represented include:

Grady
Tulsa
Canadian
Rogers
McCurtain
Bryan
Comanche
Cleveland
Delaware
Garfield
Oklahoma
Pottawatomie
Washington
Stephens
Ottawa
Canadian
Sequoya
McIntosh
Marshall
Pushmataha
Wagoner
Creek
Woodward
Dewey
Osage

Then, there are the counties represented by our email list that include 25 more:

Lincoln
Logan
Sequoyah
Atoka
Craig
Cherokee
Okfuskee 
Custer
Choctaw
Kay
Seminole
Mayes
Blaine
McClain
Jackson
Payne
Carter
Major
Garvin
Caddo
Haskell
Beckham
Roger Mills
Harper
Pittsburg

That brings the county count to 49.  Forty-nine out of 77 (63%) Oklahoma counties contain residents so concerned about Common Core and the state of our children's education here in Oklahoma that they are willing to receive emails regarding our efforts.

The two Senate-authored Common Core bills are not currently on the agenda for the last Senate Education Committee meeting, Monday, February, 24th.  Three bills still exist on the House side, one of which has passed Committee and is awaiting assignment to the Floor Calendar - the other of which will come before the Common Education Committee on Tuesday, February 25th.

Unfortunately, our Governor, the head of the National Governor's Association, is continuing to push the Common Core and all other education reforms that are NOT local and have NOT been tested prior to being brought to Oklahoma from Florida and Washington, D.C. for use.

In fact, here's an excerpt of a quote Governor Fallin made following this weekend's NGA meeting
"The intent of Common Core was to raise academic standards, increase rigor in the classroom and then to measure the results,” Fallin said. “I think that’s a goal that everyone can support and would support, but there’s been a lot of information about Common Core that has not been accurate, whether it’s been on the Internet or there’s been something that’s been published.
Please continue to contact Governor Fallin and ask her tto STOP Common Core in Oklahoma, or we will be unable to support her come November.  

Also, Senator Brian Bingman is up for re-election in November.  Please ask him to make sure any and all Common Core bills that come from the House get a hearing in committee and on the floor of the Senate.  Our Senators need to REPRESENT the people that elected them and that means going on record with their vote. 

Governor Fallin - Local (405) 521-2342 
Senator Brian Bingman - ProTemp (405) 521-5528,  
Senator Mike Shultz - Floor Leader (assigns the bills to committee) (405) 521-5612
Senator John Ford - Senate Education Committee Chair (405) 521-5634

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Is Oklahoma Education Being Sold to Out Of State Interests?


UPDATE 3/27/14 see bottom of post

As Dorothy chanted "There's no place like home" in reference to Kansas, I feel the same way about Oklahoma.  As a 51 year resident of our fair state, imagine my frustration then, at the following situations occurring in our own Oklahoma education system:

  • Last year about this time, we wrote about the fact that numerous FOI'd emails from the State Department of Education (OSDE) indicated that state education policy was being written by Jeb Bush's Foundation for Educational Excellence (FEE)- particularly Oklahoma's NCLB waiver and the A-F grading system.
  • We then wrote about Oklahoma's new Secretary of Education and the Workforce, Robert Sommers, a former employee of Governor John Kasich in Ohio who also has ties to FEE.
  • John Kraman, the Executive Director of Student Information at the OSDE came to Oklahoma from Washington D.C. where his previous post included working for Achieve, where he was the Lead Research Analyst for development of the Common Core State Standards.
  • And now we have Wes Bruce.  Wes has taken over for the 'retiring' Meredith McBee, Assistant Superintendent for Accountability and Assessments. Wes Bruce was formerly the Chief Assessment Officer for the Indiana Department of Education.  Wes also currently chairs the PARCC Technology Committee (Barresi made Oklahoma a member of PARCC) and served on the US Department of Education's technical advisory Committee.  He was the 2006-7 Chair of the Education Information Management Advisory Consortium (EIMAC) for the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).  He chaired the NCES Forum task force on accounting for student exits, dropout and mobility.  Wes previously served as an administrator with South Bend Community School Corporation, and also served 11 years in the Kanawha County Schools of Charleston, West Virginia.  He has a B.A. in psychology from Rice University and a M.S. in computer science from the University of Charleston, West Virginia. 

In order to jog your memory, Indiana was where Jeb Bush favorite, Tony Benett was State Superintendent until he was fired by Indiana citizens in a snit over his love of Common Core.  He then went on to become Education Commissioner in Jeb Bush's backyard - Florida.  Unfortunately, he had to resign that post after it was found he changed grades of an Indiana charter school to make them look better on the Bush-designed A-F grading system.

March 20, 2014, another new hire was made at the State Department of Education
Lisa Chandler is the agency's new assistant superintendent in charge of assessments.  Chandler earned a Master's Degree in Public Policy and Administration from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. and a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Texas at Austin.  After 20 years at the Texas Education Agency, she worked as a national measurement consultant for Pearson PLC.
Hmmm.  So first, we have Kraman - a previous employee of Achieve - and now Chandler - a previous employee of Pearson (the world's largest textbook company, the world's largest supplier of Common Core-aligned books, ancillaries and testing!).  

As a longtime resident of the state, I'm incensed.  We have no good Oklahoma candidates for these jobs?  Apparently not - since the latest Barresi hire comes from the same revolving door as all the other employees in positions key to implementing Dr. Barresi's NON-LOCAL, NON-OKLAHOMA education reforms that come via Jeb Bush via President Obama.  Nothing to see here.  Business as usual.  Please drive on.

Oklahoma Legislative Education Leaders Take Advantage of Free Boston Trip Sponsored by Jeb Bush Foundation


The picture from the Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE) website above missed the text below:
On October 17-18, 2013, Governor Jeb Bush and the Foundation for Excellence in Education hosted the 2013 National Summit on Education Reform in Boston, MA. As the Foundation’s flagship initiative, the National Summit on Education Reform annually convenes the best and brightest from around the world to share strategies to improve the quality of education for all children, everywhere. This one-stop shop of policies and practices offers an opportunity for lawmakers, policymakers and advocates to learn the nuts and bolts of reform.
That many Oklahoma State Department of Education employees would be attending a Jeb Bush function isn't shocking.  The OSDE has made Jeb Bush's foundation their one stop shop for nearly every education 'reform' made in Oklahoma, though, like so many other Republicans, Bush is merely pushing the Obama Administration's vision for remaking public education in America.  This section of the website devoted to last year's 'summit' lists the sponsors of this wonderful event - a veritable who's who in the world that is now education corporate cronyism at its best; PEARSON, Microsoft, Exxon-Mobile and K12 (of course), as well as State Farm and Target among others.

When we found pictures of the event posted on OSDE Board Member Amy Ford's Facebook page recently, however, we thought the public at large might be interested.



This is our state Superintendent - one of Jeb Bush's Chiefs For Change - wining and dining with the sponsor.



Here we have Senator John Ford, Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, Representative Ann Coody, Chairman of the House Education Committee, our Superintendent, OSDE General Counsel Kim Richey and OSDE Board member, Amy Ford enjoying an evening visit to Fenway Park.



In this picture Stand For Children CEO Brian Hunt and Stand staffer Martin Ramirez frame Richey and Ford.



Senator Clark Jolley, Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee and Ford enjoy the view from Fenway's upper deck.

This is most concerning for this reason.  This trip was made possible by 'scholarships' (yes, FEE refers to them as 'scholarships') from FEE.  The THREE PRIMARY SOURCES OF BLOCKED COMMON CORE BILLS were given all expense paid trips to Boston to hear 2 days worth of information about Common Core - among other education reforms being pushed into Oklahoma from outside her borders via the benefits of big money, private foundations.  Senator Jolley was there to speak on a panel discussing the A-F grading system.

Because I think Senator Ford is a kind, decent person, I contacted him for his comments about these photos and asked him about the trip.  He told me he went on a 'scholarship' because the state did not pay for such travel expenses anymore and it was important for him to attend certain conferences.

I told him this looked as though he was accepting favors - how odd for all the primary players to be 'scholarshipped' to such a meeting.  He told me his mind was made up about Common Core after visiting with some superintendents and this trip in no way influenced his thought process on the topic.  In fact, he told me that he could go to lunch with a lobbyist one day and vote against their bill the next.

This frustrates me for two reasons:

  1. ROPE has assisted in now two separate Interim Studies on Common Core, the last in October of last year.  Senator Ford never took the FREE TRIP across the rotunda from the senate to sit in on a single one of these study days - nor did Representative Coody - nor did Senator Jolley - nor did Board Member Amy Ford.  Apparently we didn't have the funds to 'scholarship' these voices FOR the people of our state across the rotunda - or maybe our opinions don't COUNT because we don't have the BUSH name on our letterhead and multimillions in backing.
  2. Stand for Children has pushed Common Core into Oklahoma through bright shiny mailers, using Kentucky's cherry-picked numbers with money supplied by Bill Gates.  ROPE doesn't have the kind of money Gates and Bush has to influence votes?  Is that why our bills are getting BLOCKED in the Senate?

Interestingly, within the last several days, Oklahomans have found that Senator Rob Johnson attended a seminar in Las Vegas sponsored by FairVote - a group that wants to establish the National Popular Vote.  Johnson went on to sponsor the bill that was passed out of the Senate. Representative Tom Newell and Senator John Sparks both attended seminars in Miami.  The article goes on to say,
Because the trips were not funded by lobbyists or the companies that employ them, there is no requirement that the lawmakers disclose the travel and lodging, said Lee Slater, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Ethics Commission. 
As a taxpayer I am outraged.  Why does the state even have lobbying rules if lobbyists can just decide they don't want to be called lobbyists and work their money magic via PHILANTHROPY?

We can only take Senator Ford at his word, not knowing what's in his heart, however, this entire trip looks very, very bad and it feels like us plain old regular taxpaying citizens got thrown under the bus yet again.


ADDENDUM: 3/2/14
Apparently, Jeb Bush's Foundation for Excellence in Education was named  in an IRS complaint filed by a progressive organization in New Mexico in October of last year.  Though many will chafe at the complaint source, the complaint itself appears to cover exactly the issues we have addressed here and those are certainly valid - no matter your side of the isle:
The unorthodox manner of these scholarships—and the fact that they are used as a vehicle to meet with for-profit education corporations—further raises suspicions around the Foundation's failure to properly disclose payment of travel expenses in 2010 and 2011. Additionally, it is possible these unreported payments to the government officials may be deemed to provide a private inurement in violation of IRS regulations.
--------------------------
Though the State Department of Education makes SNAIL MAIL the only way possible to get in touch with State Board members, I have linked each individual to their state page in the event you would like to contact them and ask these individuals why they could attend an out of state meeting paid for in full by the organization sponsoring the meeting, but couldn't walk for free across the rotunda or down the hall to any of the Interim Studies we worked so hard to present.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Oklahoma Origins of Common Core - Adopted By Brad Henry Via Stimulus Funds


As we discuss the findings of our research into Common Core, we find that there are few people who understand the very convoluted and confusing genesis of Common Core here in Oklahoma.  This overview attempts to outline that history. 

In 2009, under Governor Brad Henry, the state took State Fiscal Stabilization Funds from the Obama Administration.  Inside the application for SFSF funds, Governor Henry agreed to  "Take steps to improve State academic content standards ad student academic achievement standards consistent with section 6401(e)(1)(A)(ii) of the American COMPETES Act. (Improving Standards Assurance).

Page 98 of the America Competes Act - titled, "Subtitle D - Alignment of Education Programs" - speaks specifically to "Improving Standards Assurance".  This section contains what ROPE has called the Four Pillars Of Education Reform; A State Longitudinal Database, College and Career Ready Standards (Common Core), Turning Around Low Performing Schools and Teacher Accountability Measures.

After the ARRA funds came the Race to the Top application.  Though Oklahoma got no money from that application, we did get Common Core cemented in state law (SB2033) because Oklahoma got 20 points on their RtTT application for providing "A description of the legal process in the State for adopting standards, and the State’s plan, current progress, and time frame for adoption." (pg 53)

Following RtTT, there was the No Child Left Behind Waiver.  Again, in order to get the waiver, Oklahoma had to agree to the Four Pillars of education reform.  You do not have to go any further to see this than page 2 of the Waiver.  Page 2 of 110 begins, "Principle 1:  College- and Career-Ready Expectations for All Students" followed by "1.A. Adopt college- and career-ready standards".

It should be clear now as to why we have asserted that Governor Fallin's "Executive Order on the Common Core" was essentially useless.  Simply saying that Oklahoma's education plan does not fall under federal control does not make that true.  Until Oklahoma breaks the No Child Left Behind agreement and ceases and desists all efforts at instituting the "Four Pillars of Education Reform" in Oklahoma, we will continue to be dictated to by the Federal Department of Education.


Life After Common Core - How To Create Accountability and Insure Quaility Education WITHOUT Common Core

 

ROPE has advocated the repeal of the Common Core State Standards Initiative in Oklahoma since 2011.  Over the years, we have had occasion to field numerous concerns regarding repeal of these Standards from state law.   We rarely speak to a legislator who, when we say we want Common Core repealed from law, doesn't say something similar to, "What would we do then?  We must have standards.  We must have accountability for taxpayer funds."

On all these counts, we agree.  We simply disagree about the level at which these things should happen.  There are many moving parts in public education.  Seemingly endless research has been conducted in areas such as teacher preparation, student discipline, district/building leadership and classroom resources, all of which can play just as integral a role in providing excellent state funded education, as the issues of funding or standards.  Generally, the greater the control at the local level, the greater the opportunities for parent engagement but also management of local resources toward their optimum end.  An excellent article on this latter topic, "Parent Involvement in American Public Schools: A Historical Perspective 1642—2000" describes the situation this way:
However, bureaucratization of the educational system and increased professionalization of teachers have reduced parental influence in public schooling. The bureaucracy controls the schools, and parents feel powerless over this overwhelming system. The system controls governance, daily administration, curriculum content, and hiring faculty.  In addition, the professionalization of faculty separates the teacher from the parent, placing the role of “expert” upon the teacher and administrator.
As we have traveled the state relaying our years of research on the Common Core, attended functions and helped to populate the two years of House Common Core Interim Studies, we have met many education experts and developed a large number of 'contingency' plans for the Common Core.   All these must start with two premises:
  1. Repeal Common Core from state law.  This puts educational control back into the hands of Oklahoma school districts, their boards and their parents and stops the numerous unfunded mandates that currently accompany the standards at the local level.
  2. Stop Common Core testing.  It will do no good to repeal the Standards from law if schools are still bound to teach to a Common Core-based test and schools are still accountable to test scores on an A-F grading scale.
Here are a few ideas about educational Standards:

STANDARDS:
  1. Allow each district to develop their own standards - they can use Common Core, the Core Knowledge Sequence - whatever parents and school boards decide is best for their community and their students.
  2. The state could adopt those written by Dr. Sandra Stotsky, Professor Emerita of the University of Arkansas, who wrote the standards used by Massachusetts prior to their adoption of the Common Core.  These standards were widely regarded as the best in the nation.  Dr. Stotsky has provided these standards without copyright for use by any district/school/state that wishes to use them.
  3. The state could issue a moratorium on standards for a year while a committee of trained OKLAHOMA university and K-12 standards writers develop true Oklahoma standards.  These standards would be tested by individual volunteer districts for at least five years before their adoption, during which time the standards would be reviewed and tweaked as necessary.  Final adoption would follow the five year development period.
TESTING:

Somehow Common Core proponents have developed - and messaged - the notion that making tests harder will somehow make children smarter and making children take more and more tests will provide a more inclusive overview of their educational progress.  Both assumptions are illogical and incorrect.

For decades in American education, schools evaluated students once per year via some form of basic skills examination.  There are many fine examples of such national achievement tests available on the market today that alone, or in combination can produce a picture of how Oklahoma students compare to students in other states - or among districts and even schools.  There is no reason for any state to pay exorbitant chunks of their public education budget for individualized tests or support membership in a testing consortia (PARCC) to develop new 'harder' tests, when excellent student achievement instruments are currently available on the market.  Many of these tests, such as the Iowa Test of Basic Skills and California Achievement Test are decades old.  Oklahoma children wouldn't be Guinea pigs for these tests, nor would their administration cause the upheaval of an entire school day, require banks of new computers or millions in school bonds to provide broadband in every school in every district.

In closing, though Common Core proponents are selling the idea that we must completely upend our educational system in America in order to produce students who are "College and Career Ready", history tells a different tale.  Instead of continuing down an untested, untried path where the destination is unknown, we should revert back to the system of education that put man on the moon when engineers used slide rules and one computer took up the floorspace of entire room - local control of educational standards with accountability brought to bear via tried and true national achievement tests given once a year, that allow Oklahoma to compare our students with any other student in the country.

PTA - Friend or Foe?


For years, the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) has placed themselves as the ultimate source for coordination between parents and teachers, ostensibly providing numerous ways in which to help engage parents in their child's education.  Most parents don't think twice about joining the PTA - after all, it's all about the kids.  Or is it?

Initially started as the National Congress of Mothers in 1897 in order to unite parents and educators in efforts that would promote the well being of children, the name was changed to the PTA in 1908.  In 1927, PTA began working with the International Bureau of Education and in 1946 they began membership on the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO. Though hitting a high of 12.1 million members in 1963, PTA's national membership has declined steadily since, falling to under 5 million.

Most parents join PTA to help their child's school, yet what most parents don't seem to be aware of, is PTA's association with the National Education Association.  This goes back to the 1920's when the PTA was actually headquartered in the NEA building in Chicago, Illinois.  Not merely a tenant, PTA actually had its own department within the NEA.  Though originally a professional organization run by school administrators, NEA became a union for teachers in 1960, shortly after PTA moved out and into a building of their own.

Charlene K. Haar, author of the book, "The Politics of the PTA" explains:
...in 1968, the PTA Board of Directors--not the membership--set a policy declaring that, in teacher strikes, the PTA would not oppose the teachers and the teachers’ union.  This eliminated parental support for the administration....Parents still are interested in these other issues, but local PTAs can no longer provide any support to parents who wish to challenge union positions. In fact, a few years ago at the NEA convention, NEA President Keith Geiger reminded the PTA that its locals were bound by PTA policy not to challenge the teacher union positions in collective bargaining.
PTA began collecting dues in 1901 at a rate of $.05 per person.  Today, national dues are $25.00 and per person dues to each school PTA chapter are approximately $6.00.  Schools collect a small portion of those dues.  The larger portion is sent on to state and national PTA where dues are used mainly for 'advocacy' programs - lobbying.  In addition to dues, PTA collects funds via a number of advertisers, contributors and partners.

The money that pours into the national PTA has allowed it to evolve into a political animal and arm of NEA policy rather than a parent-driven, classroom-oriented, organic, association.  Even the Oklahoma PTA website has a direct link to our NEA affiliate, the Oklahoma Education Association (OEA), indicating these two organizations are never more than a mouse click away.

This should be particularly upsetting to Christians.  Over the years, the NEA has embraced an increasingly social liberal agenda that includes such things as the NEA Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, Transgender Caucus which sponsored:
The NEA-Drag Queen Caucus (NEA-DQ) a national LGBT scholarship caucus fundraiser held in New Orleans summer 2010 for the NEA-RA...
In addition, the national PTA advocates against homeschooling and
...opposes mandatory or organized prayer or religious worship at official public school functions, whether led by a school official or student.
The National PTA also supports the Obama Administration view of education reform, including:
* Improve state longitudinal data systems and sharing of student data.
* Reject any proposal to divert public funding from public schools.
It's no surprise then to find that the National PTA (as well as the Oklahoma PTA) advocate for the Common Core State Standards to the point of advocating AGAINST those bills in the House to repeal the Standards.


Maybe the advocacy against Common Core (other than aligning with the desire of the Obama Administration to create national standards, testing and data bases) on the part of the PTA has to do with the very large grant given them by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to advocate FOR the Common Core.


In closing, it's easy to see that the national (top down) Parent Teacher Association has become like so many other iconic American starters - progressively liberal - too liberal for conservatives, and too anti-Christian world view to be palatable to Christians.

Parent Teacher Organizations are a far better choice by which to create communication and teamwork among parents and teachers.  PTO's are local associations run by parents and teachers inside individual schools (from the bottom up).  They keep the money they raise for their school and their autonomy over projects and fund raising.  Unfortunately, for Bill Gates, these are much harder to be bought off.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Oklahoma Academic Standards are Common Core State Standards




Recently, one of ROPE's Board Members (Lynn Habluetzel) had the opportunity to speak with Governor Fallin at an Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce luncheon.  The Governor was polite and greeted the friend she was with warmly and they all exchanged pleasantries.  Because the opportunity presented itself, Lynn took the opportunity to tell the Governor we did not want Common Core in Oklahoma.  Much to her dismay, the Governor replied that she didn't want them either, WHICH IS WHY THE STATE HAS OUR OWN OKLAHOMA ACADEMIC STANDARDS.  

Apparently, those who work for our Governor have our Governor fooled into believing the Oklahoma State Department of Education has adopted Oklahoma standards.  This could be further from the truth. 


I have been able to document that Oklahoma's Math and English Standards are Common Core.  I have also been able to document that Oklahoma's Science Standards ARE the National Science Standards.  I have even been able to document that Oklahoma History Standards follow the C3 (National History Standards) almost to a fault.  Please familiarize yourselves with these FACTS.  Look up the links in our research and verify these reviews are accurate.  Then, tell the Governor herself, 


OKLAHOMA DOES HAVE 
COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS
and 
COMMON CORE IS NOT OK! 


http://restoreoklahomapubliceducation.blogspot.com/2013/10/liar-liar-pants-on-fire-bringing-osde.html
http://restoreoklahomapubliceducation.blogspot.com/2013/12/next-generation-science-standards-vs.html


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Understanding the Legislative Process - Simple Steps To Use During the Legislative Session


I am writing this blog today because I understand people believe Oklahoma has passed a Common Core bill.

When I first became involved in the legislative process, I knew NOTHING about how a bill was signed into law other than what I had heard on School House Rock in middle school!  Unfortunately, I assume everyone on the ROPE list knows at least what I know now. I am sorry for that!  Please let me go back to my role as teacher, and provide some information I hope will be helpful to those of you just starting out on the journey of informed and attentive citizen!

I'm Just a Bill (Schoolhouse Rock!)
I'm Just a Bill (Schoolhouse Rock!)

Of course, this video outlines the process of a bill at the federal level, but it's the same basic process at the state level.  Below is a very abbreviated version of how this process works at the state level, but I am hoping it will give you an understanding of how LONG this process takes.

Representative Gus Blackwell's Common Core bill (HB3167) did pass out of the Administrative Rules Committee Wednesday (2/12), but that is only the second step in a nearly 8 step process, with lots of Amendment and Conference steps in there we won't discuss right now.  If you would like to learn more, please visit "How An Idea Becomes A Law" on the Oklahoma Legislative Website.  In addition, here is the link to the overall legislative calendar that provides all the deadlines in the process so you'll have an idea what will happen when.

In order to give you just a very abbreviated look at the process, I have come up with the steps below and the points at which we'll have to have contact with our legislators.  This way, when we send out an alert asking you to call, you'll know where the bill is in the process. Please note that the process is the same for BOTH House and Senate.  (PS: Now that the House has a new Speaker, the Speaker may decide to change Committee assignments, so you'll have to use the link for 'Committees' to determine if there have been changes - if we don't specify)

Step 1. A bill is written

Step 2. The bill is assigned to a Committee.  There are a NUMBER of Committees.   Here are the House Committees, here are the Senate Committees.

Step 3.  The Committee Chair decides to hear - or not hear - the bill, depending upon the Chairman.  This is why it's important to pressure the Senate to hear Common Core bills in Committees.

Step 4. If the bill isn't heard, it's dead for the session (year) 
4a.  If the bill IS heard and it doesn't pass, it's dead for the session 

Step 5. If the bill DOES pass committee, it may or may NOT be put on a calendar to go to the floor where all legislators vote.  This applies to BOTH House and Senate.

5a. In the House, the Calendar Committee decides if a bill reaches the floor
5b. In the Senate, Floor Leader Senator Mike Schultz decides not only to which Committee a bill is assigned, but whether or not it reaches the floor for a vote.

Step 6. If the bill gets to the floor, it is voted on by that chamber (House or Senate). If it passes, it goes to the opposite chamber when bills switch chambers on March 13.

Step 7. March 13th, House Bills go to Senate, Senate Bills go to the House and the whole process STARTS all over again from step1.

Step 8. Once a bill has passed BOTH the House AND the Senate, it goes to the Governor for her signature - the final step before a bill becomes a law.

So you can see, this is a LONG PROCESS and we have to eat this elephant ONE VOTE at a time by making calls every step of the way! If the bill comes from the House, we'd make calls;

  1. To House Committee Chair to hear bill
  2. To Committee Members to vote it out of committee
  3. To Calendar Committee to have bill sent to the House floor
  4. To have Representatives vote our way when the bill comes to the floor.
  5. To Senate Floor Leader to assign the bill to a Committee
  6. To Senate Committee Chair to hear the bill
  7. To Senate Committee members to vote it out of committee
  8. To Senate Floor Leader to assign the bill to the Senate floor
  9. To have Senators vote our way when the bill comes to the floor
  10. To have Governor Fallin sign the bill (should it make it through both houses)

Hopefully, I haven't missed anything!

I know there are many more things you'd like to do in a day than follow this whole process (I know I would and my kids think EXACTLY the same thing FOR me!), but this is a process that only goes from February to May.  The rest of the year is ours!  Please learn this process - it's an integral part of good citizenship anyway and, as usual, we could really use your help!

Thank you for all you do for our country and our kids,

Jenni White
President 

ONE MORE THING:  Today, Lynn had an opportunity to speak with Governor Fallin at the Chamber of Commerce luncheon.  When she told her she did not want Common Core in Oklahoma, the Governor replied that she didn't want them either WHICH IS WHY THE STATE HAS OUR OWN OKLAHOMA ACADEMIC STANDARDS.  

Apparently, those who work for our Governor have our Governor fooled into believing the Oklahoma State Department of Education has adopted Oklahoma standards.  This could be further from the truth.  I have been able to document that Oklahoma's Math and English Standards are Common Core.  I have also been able to document that Oklahoma's Science Standards ARE the National Science Standards.  I have even been able to document that Oklahoma History Standards follow the C3 (National History Standards) almost to a fault.  Please familiarize yourselves with these FACTS.  Look up the links in our research yourself to make sure I am being accurate.  Then, tell the Governor herself, 


OKLAHOMA DOES HAVE 
COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS
and 
COMMON CORE IS NOT OK!