Next Generation Science Standards VS Oklahoma Academic Standards – Yet Another Lesson In Deception From The State Department of Education

A Comparison SO Easy - Even a Caveman Can Do it!

Here are the Kindergarten Oklahoma Academic Standards for Science and the Next Generation Science Standards.  Aside from maybe a few punctuation marks, can you really determine any differences?

Oklahoma Academic Standards - Science

Next Generation Science Standards

ROPE has evaluated the Next Generation Science Standards[i] (NGSS) and the Oklahoma Academic Standards[ii] (OAS).  As you can see from the screen shots above – we found them to be virtually identical – the same components – the same structure – the same exact verbiage in most of them in fact.  (I have posted screen shots from 6th and 9th grade as well at the bottom, so you can get the idea.)

There have been deletions from the NGSS to the OAS.  For example a unit on Global Warming found in the middle school and high school standards under ESS3.D: Global Climate Change and a section on Darwinian Evolution found in the NGSS high school standards under LS4.C: Adaptation were removed.   I did not review each section of either set of standards, however, because after I identified word-for-word language common to both sets of standards, there was truly no necessity to do so.  At that point it seemed completely logical and realistic to accept the sameness of the standards and provide previous reviews of the NGSS as means for evaluation.

Many reviewers have complained bitterly about the NGSS.  You can find very excellent evaluations here:

Review by the Thomas Fordham Institute[iii] (supporters of the Common Core State Standards)

Fordham issued a complete technical analysis which detailed numerous problems including that the NGSS, “never explicitly requires some content in early grades that is then assumed in subsequent standards.”  They give the standards a C.  (in the interest of full disclosure; Fordham gave Oklahoma’s PASS in science an F).

Education Reporter[iv] aggregated several reviews together but opined;

“The science standards, like those for math and English, are not based on empirical evidence of efficacy nor are they tested in any environment. They are fresh out of the box and will be field-tested statewide in any state that signs on.”

Shane VanderHart of Truth in American Education[v] highlights many criticisms of the Thomas Fordham study but also a review from Dr. E. Calvin Beisner, who approaches his critique from a faith-based perspective.  He quotes Beisner as saying,

“The standards frequently present science as “an enterprise promoted by consensus.” On the contrary, consensus is not a scientific but a political value, as should be clear to anyone familiar with the history of science, which chronicles scores or even hundreds of great reversals of once reigning paradigms—as documented, e.g., in Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.  Science does not seek to attain truth by popular—or expert—vote, but by logical reasoning from premises provided by observations of the surrounding world.”

Erik Robelen writes in EdWeek “Draft of Common Science Standards Draws Friendly Fire[vi]” that the National Science Teachers Association finds a lack of clarity and coherence in the standards’ performance expectations and that the standards do not make clear 

“…what students are to know and be able to do, and how they should be taught those things.”

In “A Science Teacher’s View: The Backward-Engineered Common Core Science Standards[vii]”, an anonymous chemistry teacher who participated in developing the standards says,

“The "Next Generation Science Standards" have set out to backwards engineer the whole science curriculum into a coherent, self-validating tool. The goal all along was an instrument to market both teaching and assessment products to a captive education system, not to provide a framework for good teaching of the sciences.”

I personally like the way the NGSS (aka OAS) standards are organized.  In my opinion, the specific standards were easier to identify for each grade level than the PASS under which I taught.  

Unfortunately, I most dislike the FACT that our Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) would give the good citizens of Oklahoma whose trust and tax dollars they enjoy, a set of standards based entirely on the NGSS and then call them Oklahoman.  This smacks of such deception it is frankly hard to conceive.  If Oklahoma had intended to use a modified version of the NGSS, they had but to say so.  Instead, Oklahomans have been treated to various versions of how the NGSS were not “Oklahoma” standards and that the OSDE was writing THEIR OWN OKLAHOMA STANDARDS in order to create a set of standards more in line with “Oklahoma values”.

But then again, as we have pointed out numerous times, Oklahoma Title 70 (school law) dictates the use of Common Core State Standards[viii] in – not only English L/A and math as we have currently (though also re-named Oklahoma Academic Standards) – but also in Social Studies (which we have also shown to be simply a re-write of the National C3 Social Studies Standards[ix]) and science.  Consequently, it is no great mystery as to why the OSDE has chosen to take this direction.  They have limited choices here:
1.   Repeal the Common Core from state law (which our governor and state superintendent have sworn not to do) and allow districts to use whatever standards work for them – or allow the state to re-write our own standards our own way
2.   Accept all national standards provided by the various non-profit and federal agencies as declared by state law (the NGSS were created by Achieve and the National Research Council), keep their names and turn a deaf ear to the outcry from citizens
3.   Accept all national standards as declared by state law and re-name them in order to prevent citizen complaint
The Oklahoma State Department of Education has apparently decided upon #3. 
How do we explain the large number of educators and others we are told wrote, developed and reviewed these standards?  I have no intention of disrespecting any of the individuals listed.  I feel certain they had only the very best intent in this project.  Yet one only has to look at the pictures and read the standards to wonder exactly where any Oklahoman had a hand in these.

Long time Oklahoma teacher Claudia Swisher[x] wrote about being a ‘manipulated teacher’ in her blog and ended it with a quote from a friend’s blog – another teacher who said,

"Way too much of what passes for dialogue and scholarship around teachers' professional work has been managed, packaged and sold as authentic. It's not teacher leadership or advocacy. It's slick marketing, using the friendly faces of teachers."

The chemistry teacher described above had this to say about development of the standards,

“I was serving a term as a volunteer on my state's Math and Science Advisory Council three years ago. I'm only describing my personal experiences, and can't speak for the rest of the committee, but some of those experiences were really frustrating for me. For instance, representatives of the DOE came to our meetings and asked us to "integrate" the inquiry strand of our state science standards into the testable bullets. We wrote a beautiful report on the role of inquiry, and the interaction of science and mathematics. The DOE then edited our report without our input, "correcting" our references to laboratory work so that virtual simulations could be substituted.”

Another example comes from a paper[xi] I read recently upon which I wrote a blog[xii].  It describes well the art of the Delphi technique[xiii] – a way in which to achieve consensus in a group.  We have all been “Delphi’d” at one point I feel sure – it’s become one of the most popular techniques for government organizations to advance difficult and even unconstitutional projects because it simultaneously gives participants the idea they were included in important decisions while allowing leadership to maintain all control over the process.

Follow the links provided, do your own research and then contact the State Department of Education and tell them we will NOT accept these science standards.  Our current PASS were actually devised in Oklahoma by Oklahomans – let’s work to revise those, not copy a square reinvention of the wheel.

PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU TAKE THE TIME TO COMMENT ON THESE STANDARDS IN WHATEVER WAY YOU CHOOSE.  Here is the information on making public comment on the standards:

The draft of the Oklahoma Academic Standards for Science is available. Educators and the public are invited to submit written comments regarding the proposed draft. The public comment period is from Dec. 13, 2013, to Jan. 17, 2014. All comments must be received by 4 p.m. on Jan. 17, 2014. The standard 30-day public comment period has been extended by one week to provide ample time for educators and the public to provide feedback.
Submit Comments
E-mail okscienceeducation@sde.ok.gov or send written submissions to the Oklahoma State Department of Education at 2500 N. Lincoln Blvd., Oklahoma City, OK 73105-4599.

[i] Next General Science Standards:  http://www.nextgenscience.org/search-standards-dci
[iv] Education Reporter, Next Generation Science Standards: Common Core Incognito; http://www.eagleforum.org/publications/educate/july13/next-generation-science-standards-common-core-incognito.html
[vi] EdWeek, Draft of Common Science Standards Draws Friendly Fire; http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2012/06/more_feedback_has_been_coming.html
[vii] Anthony Cody, A Science Teacher’s View:  The Backward-Engineered Common Core Science Standards; http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/2012/05/a_science_teachers_view_the_ba.html
[viii] Governor Brad Henry, Addendum to the Race To The Top Grant; http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/phase2-applications/amendments/oklahoma.pdf
[ix]Liar Liar Pants on Fire – Bringing The OSDE Into Reality About Common Core http://restoreoklahomapubliceducation.blogspot.com/2013/10/liar-liar-pants-on-fire-bringing-osde.html
[xi] Stephanie Block, “Change Agents, Alinskyian Organizing Among Religious Bodies”; http://johntwo24-25.net/Volume%20II%20-%20Systemic%20Reform.pdf
[xiii]Using the Delphi Technique to Achieve Consensus; http://www.eagleforum.org/educate/1998/nov98/focus.html

6th Grade OAS Science Standards

6th Grade Next Generation Science Standards

9th Grade OAS Science Standards

9th Grade Next Generation Science Standards


Parental Rights VS The Collective - Or Tyranny VS Freedom

How do you feel, as a parent - or even a grandparent - about this statement?  It was actually uttered by U.S. Federal Judge Melinda Harmon
"In a court ruling concerning parents who sued a school district when their son was forced, by a female Texas Children's Protective Services worker, to strip naked and answer questions designed to determine if the boy's parents had paddled him."
Just recently, America's own Attorney General, Eric Holder, has said parents have no fundamental right to school their children at home.

This week I read a paper provided me by ROPE Board Member Jo Joyce.  Jo is Catholic and has been fighting the IAF (Industrial Areas Foundation) and their movement in the Catholic church, for years.  The paper she gave me, "Change Agents, Alinskyian Organizing Among Religious Bodies" was written by a woman who has become a friend (Stephanie Block) as they have both fought the issue.  Everyone needs to read at least the portion of Stephanie's paper that covers education.

I have been working in grassroots politics for only about 5 years now and have had time to think out my ideas on public education.  This paper made connections for me that I had not yet formed - it was that amazing.

For example; ROPE has had a problem with the word "stakeholder" for ever.  All you have to do is search our blog for numerous posts on the issue.  It wasn't until I read Stephanie's paper that I put this together.  Here is a quote,
Stakeholders, some of whom are parents, who attend an IAF Strategic Planning Meeting are asked, “What is the role of parents and the community in that mission [of the school]?”
Without much effort, a seemingly innocuous philosophical foundation has been created, one on which the IAF’s Alliance schools – models of education reform – depend. The parents have accepted themselves in the “role” of one “stakeholder” or “collaborator” among many in their child’s education.
What happened to the rights of parents?  What happened to the concept that PARENTS were those people who had charge of their own children - adopted or birthed?  If you're a Christian, you believe your children to be a gift from God and you believe your Biblical charge to "Train a child up in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).  There is no Biblical mention of losing your parental rights the moment you drop your child off at school, however, this is quickly becoming the way of the world.

I posted several comments about this on our Facebook page the other day.  I thought it important to share these.

JenniI just read the most interesting paper describing the shift away from the rights and responsibilities of the parent to educate their children to the responsibilities of the COLLECTIVE (what are 'stakeholders' anyway?) in conjunction with education 'reform'. When we hear people in 'authority' positions describe the ways in which 'stakeholders' should determine the course of public education, we MUST begin to ask those people - publicly if possible, "Since when did it become the job of the COLLECTIVE to determine how my child is educated?" The course of public education is STILL - and always should be - charted by individual parents through their ELECTED school board representative at the local level where it can best reflect the needs of parents and the local community. I will post the paper under this post later this morning so everyone can read. It is truly enlightening the way Community Organizing has turned public education into an engine for social change!

Niky I still always come back to all those kids whose parents can't or won't be that guiding force. What do they get? Our children are blessed with good homes. In Oklahoma, the poverty rates of children are climbing. Whose taking care of them and helping make sure they break the cycle? What parental figure do we get to blame when they don't?

JenniNiky, I understand, I really do - and I know you have the very best desire to care for all children - the only problem is that the line between individualism and the collective is a thin one and the idea you are espousing - while worthy - is on the slippery slope toward the latter. I wrote a blog once about the Straw Man argument that education reform has become. At once many say parents are not doing enough for their children, while at the same time making certain the system favors anyone but the parent. How else do you explain State School Board meetings that will go on endlessly - where APPOINTED officials intone their desire to mold education to be a system for everyone - yet parents are allowed THREE MINUTES to make any kind of comment at all?

We all agree that ALL children should be educated, but we also have to realize that this is not reality. Many children do not have advocates to speak for them. Some of these children grow up to be very productive citizens that are very self-reliant. That is not a bad thing.

I think that in America today - we have SO MUCH - that we have begun to believe that every system REQUIRES a safety net. Now, we have 'safety-nets' for everything from health care to education. FAILURE IS A GOOD THING. Failure teaches us all what NOT to do. This idea that we can't have failure in America anymore is driving the idea of socialism - the idea that we'll all be better off if we'll just circle the wagons and form a collective only works with zebras, not human individuals who are all very different and who all have very different needs.

We must begin to realize that failure IS an option - and not a bad one at that - and let the great American EXPERIMENT work as was planned in 1776.

ElenaLife is not fair and things happen that seem wrong; but do you really think the Chinese system provides a higher quality of life than allowing children to learn, think and take advantage of the freedoms in the US? I know many people that had nothing, that now have everything. Struggle makes you stronger, makes you appreciate what you have and get. Thinking that the government is the solution is why the rest of the world has known so much misery.

GinaThis reminds me of the MSNBC promo/commercial I saw where they say.... we must stop thinking about our children like they are our own and begin to think of them as the communities responsibility. This is where we are headed and if you don't accept this mind set you are labeled heartless or uncaring.

JenniExactly Gina! I think people truly want to help children, but we've lost our way. We don't remember how to do that without the government doing it for us and we don't understand now that to have government doing it for us takes away our autonomy and when we have no autonomy, we can't help ourselves and if we can't help ourselves we're helpless and if we're helpless we'll fail. Make sense?
Niky:  We have a lot of failure in this country.

JenniYes, I agree, but not failure because of lack of opportunity, failure due to federal and other micromanagement in the system which has bent the whole thing in the direction of collectivism. Look at ACT scores. When did they begin to plummet? During the late '60's and early '70's AFTER LBJ's federal interventionist program into schools called the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Until that time, schools - for the most part - thrived. Heck, we put men on that moon!

Have you studied the early colonists? They weren't able to survive as a collective. The only way for them to thrive was utilizing individual skills and effort. Both of these instances are well-documented and provide excellent examples of why collectivism cannot work. By its very nature, education MUST be as individual as humanly possible because each child has God-given skills and personalities. The only way to provide that is when government is as close to the people as possible, in the most local possible ways.

If we are careful and wise, Americans will begin to learn from history that these experiments in educational collectivism will continue to fail. We can throw off the cloak of failure by allowing parents the PRIVILEGE of caring for their own children and not subsidizing failure by providing government-sponsored programming that continues the cycle of failure. Individuals (and churches) must be allowed to pick up the mantle and provide for those in need so the federal government can return to its sole enumerated powers. Further commitments to the failed collective system will produce nothing more than continued failure.

JamesWe have the idea that poverty dooms kids, that ineffective and underfunded public schools doom kids, etc. ad infinitum. I grew up poor and was fifth in my class due to slacking off my senior year; my best friend was from a poorer, broken home and was valedictorian. I didn't have air conditioning or a television in my home until I was 14 in southern Georgia.

Having little money, a broken home, or a thousand other excuses has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with parent's ability to love, nurture, and encourage their children to succeed, nor with children's ability to receive that input and run with it.

Schools have ONE purpose: when the students show up, teach them rigorously and effectively in the academic fundamentals. Teach each student to be accountable for only their own actions in their studies and send them home for the day.
Bottom line here:  If parents do not wake up and begin to regain their parental rights, the collectivists will win - and it won't matter if your kid is autistic, or super smart, or perfectly able but perfectly lazy - there will be no individualism left to allow these children to bloom into the precious INDIVIDUALS they will one day be.



More on the Core or Yet Again, Common Core is Not OK!

There seems to be a compunction to continue dissecting the reasons why Common Core is not OK.  This morning, I chose to tackle a few:


Yes and no.

Yes.  Teachers are free to pick and choose curricula with the Common Core (just as they were with PASS) for use in their classrooms.

No.  When you have a state test over standards that now determine whether or not a local  school will be managed by the State Department of Education should it fall below a D or F grade on an unproven grading scale - you must be very careful to use specific curricula aligned with the specific standards.  Therefore, there is no way to get around the fact that standards do drive curricula to some extent.  Not only that, but because Common Core is now the law of the land for so many states, curricula (especially in math) has become extremely homogeneous.  Economics drives that issue.  Booksellers can't compete in the marketplace if their books are too very different than what teachers expect to teach to the standards.  There's a great letter written by a book publisher who lives in Oklahoma that can explain this and you can find his written testimony to the Common Core Interim Study here http://www.scribd.com/doc/181696903/Written-Testimony-of-Andrew-Pudewa-to-Common-Core-Interim-OK.


The Founders of this country meant for education to be localized.  In fact, I understand that in order for new states to be admitted to the union after the original 13, incoming states had to present a plan for the education of their citizens.  Students in different Oklahoma counties/districts may not have been all on the same educational path in the past.  Why should they have been, or be so now?  Ada is not Tulsa; Oklahoma City is not Woodward.  District taxpayers support their schools.  School board members are elected by taxpayers from their district/community.  Board members have an obligation - through those they serve - to create schools that reflect the values and needs of that community.  That is not to say we should not have state standards to model or even a yearly state test to assess student progress, but those mechanics are not the micromanagement of education we are seeing today with the Common Core.


It is interesting to note that when the Fordham Institute - a very pro-Common Core organization - chose to examine each state's standards against the Common Core, Oklahoma was given an excellent grade for their existing standards (http://standards.educationgadfly.net/).

So why would we need Common Core?  The answer lies in No Child Left Behind.  This FEDERAL law, forced states who wanted to continue to keep their Title funding (Titles 1-9) to accept the fact that they would have 100% of their state's students proficient (scoring 60 or above) in Mathematics and English/LA by 2014.

I often say this pie-in-the-sky edict that could only have originated with a very far out of touch federal government, only works when riding on a unicorn across a rainbow bridge.  Yet, it was made federal law.  Consequently, states began to dumb down their state tests (which stemmed from their state standards already in place) in order for students to more easily obtain a higher score.  This discrepancy finally came to light (ostensibly one possibility Superintendent Garrett chose not to run again) and upset lawmakers and parents, in Oklahoma and across the nation, alike.  Instead of realizing the real problem lay with a ridiculous, onerous edict in NCLB, a group of elite bureaucrats and businessmen stepped in to say they had the answer to failing schools all across the country.  But how could they?  Is Massachusetts really like Kansas?  What about Florida and Idaho?

Because government tends to favor those with the most money and those with the most money are able to message the loudest, the Common Core was sold to lawmakers as the greatest opportunity for students since the pencil.  That didn't make it so, it simply gave this group a louder voice. 


By now, many anti-Common Core organizations have shown that not only did the Common Core Standards writers not even have educational backgrounds (save one - Jason Zimba - in math), they did not even utilize comments from the committee they formed to help write the Standards, though we are told that even Oklahomans had a voice in writing the standards.  If several nationally known math and English professors (Dr. Sandra Stotsky and Dr. James Milgram) weren't heard, how were Oklahomans?


No, the Common Core were NOT federal in nature.  They were created by using private, dues-paid organizations unresponsive to the people to create and push the standards out.  However, the Obama Administration has taken the standards  (along with 3 other educational 'reform' ideas - here under Program Description http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/index.html) and made them necessity for states to get State Fiscal Stabilization Funds, Race to the Top funding and the whole series of No Child Left Behind Waivers.  It would seem historically apparent (although completely incompatible with the US Constitution) that whatever Washington values, states become coerced in some way to adopt.  Consequently, this makes Common Core an historically unprecedented take over of education at the local level, generally incompatible with our Constitution.

So, to sum up, there are certainly good things about the Common Core - including many of the people involved - unfortunately, it is not appropriate for use in America today and certainly not Oklahoma.

*(See our previous blog for more citations and further reading http://restoreoklahomapubliceducation.blogspot.com/2013/12/rope-response-to-gov-fallins-executive.html)


ROPE Response to Gov. Fallin's Executive Order on the Common Core

ROPE Response to Governor Fallin’s Executive Order 2013-40 on the Common Core State Standards

Having just finished reading Executive Order 2013-40[i] ROPE can say the following:
1.       The Governor uses the opening paragraph to re-state her commitment to use public education funds to ‘educate’ students into jobs instead of supporting America’s free enterprise system.  By promoting the idea that public education (tax payers) should train children for jobs instead of businesses providing their own on the job training at their own expense, she is replicating Bill Clinton’s failed School to Work[ii] initiative – but then, that is basically her NGA agenda[iii].
2.       Paragraph two reiterates the position of the Oklahoma Constitution[iv] on public education.
3.       The third paragraph amounts to cherry-picked phrases from Title 70[v] (Oklahoma school law) containing the buzzwords/phrases our Governor and other school ‘reform’ leaders enjoy messaging[vi], such as ‘critical thinking’, ‘literacy’ and ‘core curriculum’.  She also claims here that Oklahomans had a say in the development of the Standards.  Two members of the CCSS Committee, Dr. Sandra Stotsky[vii] and Dr. James Milgram[viii] have both testified that the standards Committee was nothing but a rubber stamp for Student Achievement Partners[ix] (the private organization with whom NGA contracted to create the standards, written by David Coleman, Susan Pimentel and Jason Zimba – all of whom but Zimba are non-educators).  If national educational experts had no input, how did Oklahomans?
4.       The Governor uses paragraph four to acknowledge that the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are listed by name in Title 70 – in other words, it is LAW that Oklahoma students be educated with Common Core State Standards.  She also states the standards were developed through the National Governor’s Association[x] (NGA - for which she is currently Chair) and the Council of Chief State School Officers[xi] (CCSSO).  She does not mention these organizations are PRIVATE, DUES-PAID organizations in no way responsible to individual citizens – in essence, she admits the standards were created outside the bounds of representative government.  She also does not acknowledge our legislature passed Common Core into law (SB2033[xii]) before the Standards were available to read.
5.       In paragraph 5, Governor Fallin first says Oklahoma has not received FEDERAL funding to adopt CCSS.  True.  Oklahoma, via Brad Henry, adopted ALL CCSS[xiii] in order to be more competitive on its Race to the Top Grant, yet didn’t get a grant.  Incidentally, the RTTT grant specified the use of what ROPE calls the Four Pillars of Americas Education Takeover[xiv] (referred to in Oklahoma’s federal NCLB waiver as, Principle 1-4);
a.       College and Career Ready Standards (aka Common Core, since only those were available at the time of application)
b.      State Longitudinal Database System
c.       Teacher and School Accountability Measures (A-F/TLE)
d.      Turning Around Low Performing Schools
This is the point at which ROPE finds major cause for concern.  Janet Barresi (State Superintendent) and Mary Fallin applied for a No Child Left Behind Waiver[xv].  Inside that waiver, the federal government specifies that NCLB recipients must use all four of the Pillars (Principles) just described.  Consequently, when the Governor says, “Additionally, Oklahoma has not received any federal directive regarding implementation of curricular standards, core curriculum, or Common Core State Standards”, she is apparently insincere, or ignorant, of what constitutes a federal directive.  Yet, she goes on to use the federal government as the specter for directing Bob Sommers (until very recently an Ohio resident), Secretary of Education and The Workforce (a position that serves ‘at will’ of the Governor, not the people) to protect Oklahomans from federal intrusion into public education by
1.       Making sure the public is fooled into thinking Oklahoma has its own standards[xvi] and NOT the Common Core by giving the CCSS the title of Oklahoma Academic Standards.
2.       Making sure every aspect of CCSS is followed by every school for every student in Oklahoma in order for them to become better workers for the companies Oklahoma woos to the state.
She then makes two fairly illogical statements:
1.       Oklahomans (including BUSINESES) will have input into the Common Core ‘assessments’.
2.       That the development of Oklahoma Academic Standards will CONTINUE to be done in a transparent manner.
a.       This statement makes Governor Fallin appear to be ignorant of the ‘assessment’ process in Oklahoma.  Our Department of Education has a signed contract with Measured Progress to provide Oklahoma’s Common Core testing.
MP is an out of state contractor.  Even their website announcement indicates nothing about involving Oklahomans in the process.  

In addition, the NCLB waiver the governor signed specifies PARCC tests - the consortium of PARCC having been funded in large part by the federal government (Please note, C3 is the first attempt at the State Department of Education changing the names of the standards in hope of confusing the public): 
How will Oklahoma assess the Oklahoma C3 Standards?
Oklahoma will assess the Oklahoma C3 Standards through state assessments aligned to the standards and through a partnership with other states that have adopted the Common Core State Standards. This partnership, known as PARCC, will develop tests in English Language Arts and Mathematics. The PARCC tests will be administered for the first time during the 2014-2015 school year. Other content areas will continue to be assessed through state assessments. (Page 3, point B-3)
b.      Next is the notion that implementation of Common Core was EVER a transparent process.  Common Core was adopted before those voting on it could read the Standards themselves[xviii].  How is that transparent?  ROPE and others have been shut out of public comment[xix] at the state school board meetings and, as the largest grassroots-based education watchdog with the most formal research on the topic in the state of Oklahoma (an organization comprised of active Republican women), we have never been granted a meeting with our governor even after 3 formal written requests.  In addition, we have been summarily dismissed by our State Superintendent during one face-to-face meeting and then again publicly.  For years, many legislators knew nothing about the Common Core at all.  Today, there are even teachers that know very little about the Common Core and have gotten very little, if any, training in the Standards themselves.  Consequently, this statement can be considered little more than messaging.
The last portion of the EO is the most contradictory and frustrating. 
1.       Statements 1 and 2 are essentially a re-statement of fact.
2.       In statement 3, Governor Fallin says schools can adopt additional assessments.  Why would they do this?  The state-mandated tests eat up so much classroom time per year no teacher/principal/district would have either the money or time to devote to such an effort.
3.       Statement 4 indicates the Governor’s lack of understanding about Common Core specifically, or teaching in general.  There is no way possible for anyone anywhere to be able to oversee all the curricula available in the public marketplace with a Common Core stamp on the front.  Already, ROPE has documented many, many instances of curricula violating parents’ values and sensibilities[xx].  How in the world is this going to happen?  We’re not told.  Is she going to appoint a new Curriculum Sherriff who will go out and check each and every lesson before it’s implemented in the classroom? 
4.       Number 5 is another major concern.  The Governor states, “The Oklahoma Academic Standards will not jeopardize the privacy of any Oklahoma student or citizen. How can that be when Governor Fallin signed Janet Barresi’s application for a $5 MILLION dollar State Longitudinal Database[xxi] grant from the US Department of Education?  Does the Governor honestly have no idea how disengenuos it sounds when she decrys federal involvement in education while applying for and taking federal education assistance?  There is so much data collection via the Federal Government[xxii] for ESEA Titles 1-9, SLDS, the NCLB waiver, Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities programs and others, there is no possible way our governor could make any such promise, period.
5.       Another wrong-headed claim brings the whole EO home.  Homeschools ARE affected by the Common Core.  One has only to visit Mardel, where many homeschool families purchase curriculum, and see the many books with “Common Core Aligned” stamps on them to understand the scope of this statement.  Not only that, but the SAT and ACT are being aligned with the Common Core as we speak (David Coleman moved from Student Achievement Partners to the College Board in order to do just that[xxiii]).  Many homeschooled students take these tests prior to graduation from their program of study.  If that doesn’t drive the point home enough, please read Andrew Pudwa’s statement[xxiv] from the final Common Core Interim Study for the House Administrative Rules Committee under Representative Gus Blackwell.  In part, he says;
In fact, CCSSI is a huge windfall for education publishers, since most districts in most states are being forced to replace their existing texts with CCSSI conforming texts, and any differentiations by state standards have been superseded by the Common Core standards. This, of course, makes it even harder for small publishers such as myself to keep a toehold in the public education market. Again, centralization and standardization eclipses initiative and creativity; we are not only up against the marketing and PR juggernaut of the big players, we now have to jump through ridiculous hoops to show that what we do—and have always done—not only builds basic writing skills better than most anything out there, but somehow “meets or exceeds” the Common Core standards.
Closing thoughts;
1.        2014 is an election year and elected officials tend to desire re-election.  There is also a long-standing habit of artificiality that accompanies this activity (a chicken in every pot?).
2.       Common Core has been an issue in many elections across the country – including Indiana, where State School Superintendent and Jeb Bush Chief for Change, Tony Bennett was ousted by a candidate against Common Core.
3.       An Executive Order preventing federal intrusion into an initiative we have been told repeatedly isn’t federal in nature in the first place to seemingly pacify the public, fits the model of tone deaf government officials attempting to quash public dissent in order to continue bad public policy that serves their needs and not that of the public at large.
4.       Mary Fallin is Chairman of the NGA.  How can this not influence her stance on Common Core?
5.       Mary Fallin is a Republican, yet she has turned her back on the Republican National Committee and the Oklahoma Republican Platform in her dogged persistence of the Common Core.
6.       Oklahomans should continue in their dogged persistence to stop Common Core in Oklahoma, making it clear that a candidate FOR Common Core, simply can’t win.


[i] Governor Mary Fallin, Executive Order, 2013-40; https://www.sos.ok.gov/documents/executive/917.pdf
[iv] Oklahoma State Constitution; http://oklegal.onenet.net/okcon/
[viii] Professor James Milgram rejects the adoption of Common Core standards…  http://mathexperts-qa.blogspot.com/2011/04/prof-r-james-milgram-rejects-adoption.html
[ix] Student Achievement Partners; http://achievethecore.org/about-us
[x] National Governor’s Association; http://www.nga.org/cms/home.html
[xi] Council of Chief State School Officers; http://www.ccsso.org/
[xvi] Does the State Department of Education Think Oklahomans are Stupid? http://restoreoklahomapubliceducation.blogspot.com/2013/07/does-state-department-of-education.html
[xx] Testimonies of parents and teachers for Oklahoma Common Core Interim Study 11/5/2013; http://www.scribd.com/collections/4384797/Testimonies-From-Parents-Teachers-Oklahoma-Common-Core-Interim-Study-11-5-2013
[xxi] Oklahoma’s State Longitudinal Database Grant; http://ok.gov/sde/state-longitudinal-data-system-grant
[xxii] YouTube video of Student Privacy Testimony – Common Core Interim Study Fall, 2013; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwM7VNLkynI&feature=share&list=UUffrnW6WlGtduw0C7NXNWKg&index=11

Edit in the first paragraph 12/7/13
Added section on PARCC 12/10/13