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Why is America At War

Cross in the ashes of the WTC

Click on pic to 9/11


The Powerful Story on the Twins
Lifting Each Other in Prayer with Ms. Margaret
Remembering 9/11 in'09
Fresh Hope, the ministry of Susan Sieweke, D.Min.

For in him we live (zao {dzah'-o}, and move, and have our being; Acts 17:28

Fields White To Harvest



Lord, I thought I knew you,

   but know the winds have changed.

Tossed away, will you find me?

   Can still , my heart be sustained?

Just me and you when things were new,

then the season's storms blew by.

   Did I forget to worship you?


Will you come, Lord Jesus to gather us- your sheep.

   For the days grow long and still,

If we watch and wait, will you hear us yet-

   Can we stand strong to do you will?


 The wheat has been blowing in that field,

   While the laborers are so few.

What then, now are we waiting for?

   Can hardened hearts become like new?


 Safely can we stay behind you,

   as we march with your trumpet sound?

Or- have we stayed and hid so long now,

   That our roots dry underground?


 I pray Lord that you will find me.

   I pray not to be ashamed.

I seek you when it's early Lord.

   I pray not to fall away.


So come Lord Jesus come quickly-

   The terrible day is at hand.

I pray we'll all be steadfast.

   So you may strengthen our spirits ,

as we stand.


Loree Brownfield

What If A Nation Prayed

See Prayer List



Let us do our part to keep this the Land of the Free and Honor the Brave


Get to speed--basic info you must know as there is not enough news still for K-12th hidden agenda and about the ROE--so please share!

Homosexual Indoctrination for K-12th hidden in Anti-Bullying Law: The Bill   The Agenda  Federalizing

Revised Rules of Engagement--Empowering The Enemy:  Joshua's Death  The Father's Letter & Interviews

Czars and Their Unconstitutional Powers

Health Care Bill Or The Derailing Of America

Cap and Trade--Skyrocketing Utilities For Almost Bankrupt America/ For Whose Benefit? EPA Report

Know How They Voted

Truths To Share As Freedom Isn't Free

Click on pic to see samples of what's on site

Join with us in prayer (National Prayer List)


Weather By The Hour

Don't forget as you check on the weather to check in with the One who calms the storms!



Loss of Parental Authority=Out of Control Departments of Education=Common Core Standards Initiative=Comprehensive System of Learning Supports=Affecting Students' Emotions, Feelings, Attitudes, Values and Beliefs

For too long, majority of parents have forgotten that the price of freedom is vigilance.  A country that led the world in industrial advances, the land of so much opportunity, had what we thought as an excellent education system.  We trusted that system for far too long.  Unfortunately, we are now having to get informed rather quickly of how the education system has changed.  Below are some points with links for you to consider whether or not it is time for you to Stand in the Gap and find out more.  We hope you will as no one can defend your child better than you -- but without knowledge how can you??  Be sure to attend one of the Stand in the Gap Conferences On November 7-9th (7th In Mobile and 9th in Helena).  Please check on

Hear interview with Professor Sandra Stotsky who was asked to be on Common Core's National Validation Committee but refused to validate them.

Hear interview with Linda Murphy, Oklahoma Educator, who helped get Oklahoma out of Common Core.

See link to pdf of SBOE September Work Session on Comprehensive Counseling Guidance Model For Alabama...Better hurry--vote by SBOE maybe coming soon...Get informed!


In an article from UCLA(click on right side under News Release article on  New Directions for Student &
    Learning Supports Initiative
)-Tommy Bice is touted for leading the nation.  Here are some key points:


Tommy Bice's unified program statewide: "Alabama's schools are off to a good start. I am very optimistic. If Alabama's schools are half as effective as we think they will be, Alabama will influence many other states."

Starting with 10 school districts, Alabama's Unified and Comprehensive System of Learning Supports places emphasis on addressing all the factors that interfere with students' success at school. Additional Alabama school districts will be phased in over the coming years.

Linda Felton-Smith, director of the Office of Learning Support in Alabama's department of education. "It unifies and moves student supports away from reacting to problems and toward system development, with a strong emphasis on prevention and early intervention."

"This new direction will help advance Alabama's PLAN 2020, which outlines four priorities, including the learners, the support systems, the school systems and the professionals," said Tommy Bice, Alabama's state superintendent of education. "Each of these four components of the plan has to function together like an 'eco-system' so that we can meet our objectives of improving student growth and achievement, closing the achievement gap, increasing the graduation rate and increasing the number of students that are college- and career-ready. Student support is a vital part of that total system."

 Be sure to look at link to the pdf to the Alabama Comprehensive Learning Supports that is listed in article see

Here's Memo on which districts are in:

Thomas R. Bice, Ed.D.
Secretary and
Executive Officer
GORDON PERSONS BUILDING • P.O. BOX 302101 •MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA 36130-2101 • TELEPHONE (334) 242-9700 • FAX (334) 242-9708 •WEB SITE:
July 31, 2013 334-242-9950
Department Releases New Learning Supports Design Plan and First Districts to
Participate in Roll-Out
Montgomery, Ala. — As part of a steadfast commitment to ensure a world-class
education for all students, the Alabama State Department of Education is releasing a
Comprehensive System of Learning Supports design document and district roll-out plan.
ALSDE officials, area superintendents and representatives from Scholastic will discuss the
new design at 9:30 a.m., Aug. 2, 2013, in Room P104 of the Gordon Persons Building, 50
N. Ripley St., Montgomery, AL.
“We are so optimistic about the power of this new design that builds on previous efforts to
address the barriers to learning and teaching and re-engaging disconnected students,” said
Dr. Linda Felton-Smith, Director, Office of Learning Support. “It unifies and moves
student supports away from reacting to problems toward system development with a strong
emphasis on prevention and early intervention.”
The intent is to fully integrate the learning support system as a primary component of our
school improvement policy and practice and focus on:
• Reframing current student/learning supports programs.
• Re-deploying resources.
• Developing in-classroom and school-wide approaches, including learning
supports found effective in the state’s high-poverty/high-achieving schools.
• Developing the capacity to implement learning supports through leadership
• Revamping infrastructures at the school, district, and state levels.
• Developing and implementing accountability indicators directly related to the
learning support system and fully integrating them into school improvement
districts including Bessemer City, Chickasaw City, Etowah County, Butler County, Decatur City, Perry County, Calhoun County, Dothan City, Shelby County, and Lauderdale County will implement the design starting this fall. Other districts will be phased in over the coming years.
“This new direction will help advance Alabama’s PLAN 2020, which outlines four priorities, including the learners, the support systems, the school systems, and the professionals,” explains Dr. Tommy Bice, State Superintendent of Education. “Each of these four components of the plan has to function together like an ‘eco-system’ so that we can meet our objectives of improving student growth and achievement, closing the achievement gap, increasing the graduation rate, and increasing the number of students that are college- and career-ready. Student support is a vital part of that total system.”
Our work in Alabama to design and implement this exciting body of work is being supported by Scholastic Consultant Dr. Rhonda Neal-Waltman, former Assistant Superintendent with Mobile County Schools, and Drs. Howard Adelman and Linda Taylor from the UCLA Center for Mental Health.
The news conference will be available for LIVE viewing on the Alabama State Department of Education’s Ustream Channel at After the meeting, the archived video is available on the site. If you have comments or questions, please call Communications at 334-242-9950 or send an e-mail to

Look up the ASCA National Model

PDF]ASCA National Standards for Students - SAS
Citation Guide. When citing from this publication, use the following reference: American School Counselor Association (2004). ASCA. National Standards for ...

Read this from Linda Murphy:

Look at Out of Control Ed:

5 yr old forced to sign safety contract:

Middle school students who participated in a controversial sex education program in Hawaii were rewarded with gift cards from the University of Hawaii Center on Disability Studies. The gift cards, valued at between $10 and $20 each, were issued to 11-, 12- and 13-year-olds who participate in Pono Choices. About $52,200 of a $5 million grant from the U.S. Office of Adolescent Health was used to buy the cards.

Look at what you're hearing throughout the state and throughout the country and decide for yourself--can you afford to look the other way?

Hosea 4:6King James Version (KJV)

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.


APUSH Rightfully Rejected By Texas SBOE As Any Grateful American Should

In an 8-4 decision on 9-19-2014, the Texas SBOE rejected the highly controversial or should we say highly unpatriotic Advance Placement US History (APUSH).  In today's world where most SBOE does the wrong thing, the Texas Board of Ed did their state proud.  Of course it took a lot of work from determined individuals like Alice Linahan and Rebecca Forest of Women on the Wall along with stand up state board members such as Ken Mercer and many more wonderful freedom-loving parents, teachers etc. (including Luca Bocci of Tea Party Italia who took the time to appear before board hearing-read his thoughts here).

Rebecca Forest had talked Linahan to have a counter conference against Arne Duncan and his National PTA Convention and out of that was the realization from guest Jane Robbins and APUSH educator Larry Krieger of the new APUSH framework.  The new president of the College Board is the well known author of Common Core, David Coleman and the APUSH framework had become a promotion of anti-American sentiments (as can be seen also in the Common Core.)  Dean Kalahar's article is one of the best expose on the mindset of Common Core's authors (a must read).

 In SBOE member Ken Mercer's Op Ed is this quote:

“For today’s patriots, this is our Valley Forge and our D-Day -
this is the Revolution of 2014!”  

Indeed, the audacity of leaving out almost every Founding Father, our WWII heroes-the"Greatest Generation", Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks and many other heroes (hear detailed interview from Larry Krieger) was too much for many to take.  I remember hearing the words of one whose uncle never came back from Normandy, one of many who never experienced coming home and marrying his sweetheart and becoming a proud father.  Stories about Founders who when they signed The Declaration of Independence knew they were signing away their lives as they would be hunted down and many of their families sacrificed.  Proudly today, we can say that one state stood tall against the onslaught to remove the memories of America's heroes from the minds of her children.  It is a stand that hopefully will be made across the land as freedom-loving states, whose citizen's hearts still remembers that their ability to live in this "Land of the Free", means they have to be the "Brave" (thank God too for Merril Hope).  Thank God for Brave Texans!  From one proud simple American to's hoping we can find it within to stand and with help from the One from whom all blessings flow, find the strength to "keep on" and remember true history.  May God bless America.


Know Your Rights Under the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) Printable Logo

Print Close Window

Model Notification of Rights Under the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA)

PPRA affords parents certain rights regarding our conduct of surveys, collection and use of information for marketing purposes, and certain physical exams. These include the right to:

Consent before students are required to submit to a survey that concerns one or more of the following protected areas ("protected information survey") if the survey is funded in whole or in part by a program of the U.S. Department of Education (ED)-

  1. Political affiliations or beliefs of the student or student's parent;
  2. Mental or psychological problems of the student or student's family;
  3. Sex behavior or attitudes;
  4. Illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior;
  5. Critical appraisals of others with whom respondents have close family relationships;
  6. Legally recognized privileged relationships, such as with lawyers, doctors, or ministers;
  7. Religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or parents; or
  8. Income, other than as required by law to determine program eligibility.

Receive notice and an opportunity to opt a student out of -

  1. Any other protected information survey, regardless of funding;
  2. Any non-emergency, invasive physical exam or screening required as a condition of attendance, administered by the school or its agent, and not necessary to protect the immediate health and safety of a student, except for hearing, vision, or scoliosis screenings, or any physical exam or screening permitted or required under State law; and
  3. Activities involving collection, disclosure, or use of personal information obtained from students for marketing or to sell or otherwise distribute the information to others.

Inspect, upon request and before administration or use -

  1. Protected information surveys of students;
  2. Instruments used to collect personal information from students for any of the above marketing, sales, or other distribution purposes; and
  3. Instructional material used as part of the educational curriculum.

These rights transfer to from the parents to a student who is 18 years old or an emancipated minor under State law.

[School District will/has develop[ed] and adopt[ed]] policies, in consultation with parents, regarding these rights, as well as arrangements to protect student privacy in the administration of protected information surveys and the collection, disclosure, or use of personal information for marketing, sales, or other distribution purposes. [School District] will directly notify parents of these policies at least annually at the start of each school year and after any substantive changes. [School District] will also directly notify, such as through U.S. Mail or email, parents of students who are scheduled to participate in the specific activities or surveys noted below and will provide an opportunity for the parent to opt his or her child out of participation of the specific activity or survey. [School District] will make this notification to parents at the beginning of the school year if the District has identified the specific or approximate dates of the activities or surveys at that time. For surveys and activities scheduled after the school year starts, parents will be provided reasonable notification of the planned activities and surveys listed below and be provided an opportunity to opt their child out of such activities and surveys. Parents will also be provided an opportunity to review any pertinent surveys. Following is a list of the specific activities and surveys covered under this requirement:

  • Collection, disclosure, or use of personal information for marketing, sales or other distribution.
  • Administration of any protected information survey not funded in whole or in part by ED.
  • Any non-emergency, invasive physical examination or screening as described above.

Parents who believe their rights have been violated may file a complaint with:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20202-5901


Updated Testing Dates For Alabama

August 25, 2014
TO: City and County Superintendents of Education
FROM: Thomas R. Bice
State Superintendent of Education
RE: Testing Updates for 2014-2015
This is an update of information provided in a memorandum dated January 21, 2014, regarding the
statewide testing program. Please note the following changes:
1. The Alabama Science Assessment (ASA) for students in Grades 5 and 7 will be replaced by the
ACT Aspire science test in spring 2015. Please note that although science is required for students
in Grades 5 and 7 only, STEM scores are obtained for students who test in both mathematics and
science at all grade levels. While science scores are reported, they are not used for accountability.
2. With the small number of students taking the Alabama High School Graduation Exam (AHSGE),
the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) contract with Data Recognition
Corporation (DRC) will end in September. The Student Assessment Section will handle all
scoring and printing of results. System Test Coordinators (STC) will receive detailed
information at their workshop on September 8-9, 2014.
3. Before the DRC contract expires on September 30, 2014, all districts and schools should ensure
that reports that are currently located in eDirect have been downloaded and saved or printed.
These include the ARMT+ 2011-2012, the ARMT+ 2012-2013, the ASA 2013-2014, and the
AHSGE from spring 2012 through summer 2014.
4. The ALSDE will work with ACT Aspire to make sure districts receive reports early. In order to
maintain secure handling and shipping of test materials, as well as to ensure accurate and timely
reporting of assessment results, ACT Aspire will require that all paper and pencil assessments
be completed within the first three weeks of the test window (April 6-April 24, 2015). Computerbased
testing will be allowed from April 6 through May 15, 2015.
5. Alabama has been invited to participate in the optional computer-based administration of the
ACT this spring. Schools may choose the traditional paper-pencil format or the online format.
More information will be provided to STCs at their workshop in September. For a preview of
what is coming, visit,
Please review the revised 2014-2015 Testing Dates. If you have questions, please contact
Mrs. Rebecca W. Mims, Student Assessment Section, at (334) 242-8038.
cc: City and County System Test Coordinators
Alabama State Department of Education
Revised August 25, 2014
2014 – 2015 TESTING DATES
Alabama High School Graduation Exam (AHSGE)* September 15 – 19, 2014 5 days
ACT Explore** October 15 – 22, 2014 1 day**
ACT Plan** October 15 – 22, 2014 1 day**
Alabama High School Graduation Exam (AHSGE)* December 1 – 5, 2014 5 days
ACT QualityCore End-of-Course Assessments (block schedule)***December 1 – End of First Term 1–2 days***
ACT WorkKeys Internet Version January 5 – February 27, 2015 1 day
ACT WorkKeys Paper/Pencil Test February 10, 2015 1 day
ACT WorkKeys Paper/Pencil with Accommodations February 10 – 24, 2015 ****
ACT WorkKeys Paper/Pencil Make-Up Test February 24, 2015 1 day
Alabama High School Graduation Exam (AHSGE)* March 16 – 20, 2015 5 days
ACCESS for ELLs March 23 – May 1, 2015 2–3 days
Alternate ACCESS for ELLs March 23 – May 1, 2015 2–3 days
ACT Aspire Paper/Pencil April 6 – April 24, 2015 1–5 days
ACT Aspire Computer-Based April 6 – May 15, 2015 1–5 days
Alabama Alternate Assessment (AAA) Online Collection May 1, 2015 *****
ACT Plus Writing Paper/Pencil** April 28, 2015 1 day**
ACT Plus Writing with Accommodations Paper/Pencil** April 28 – May 12, 2015 ****
ACT Plus Writing Computer-Based** April 28 – 30 and May 5 – 7, 2015 1 day**
ACT Plus Writing Paper/Pencil Makeup** May 12, 2015 1 day**
ACT QualityCore End-of-Course Assessments*** Within last 4 weeks of term 1–2 days
Alabama High School Graduation Exam (AHSGE)* July 6 – 10, 2015 5 days
*Since the AHSGE will be administered only to exited students and those still enrolled who have the AHSGE as a diploma
requirement, systems may choose to consolidate test sites. (The AHSGE is required for students who entered ninth grade
for the first time in 2009-2010 or earlier.) One day is needed for each subject test.
**The pretest sessions of the ACT Plus Writing must be completed on a SEPARATE day PRIOR to the administration of
the test. Although the pretest sessions of the ACT Explore and ACT Plan must also be completed prior to the administration
of the tests, the sessions may be held on the morning of the tests or on a previous day within the window.
***The required QualityCore End-of-Course Assessments for 2014-2015 are English 10 and Algebra I. Each test is
composed of two 45-minute sessions. These sessions may be completed in one day or on two separate days.
****The number of days allowed for accommodations on the ACT Plus Writing with accommodations is determined by
ACT based on each student’s IEP; the number of days allowed for ACT WorkKeys with accommodations is determined by
the IEP team.
*****All evidence for the AAA, which is collected throughout the school year, must be posted online by 5 p.m. May 1,


Opt Out Form For 2014-2015

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that in accordance with the fundamental constitutional rights of parents and legal guardians to determine and direct the care, teaching and education of their children, and the relevant state and federal statutes, I hereby request my child ______________________________ be exempted and excused for the school year _______________ from the following check marked activities:
__Any and all standardized testing or activities required by law, under which individual student data are collected and/or shared with the federal government or other entities outside of the local school district; or are used for the purposes of school, student, or teacher accountability, including but not by way of limitation to, academic, achievement and annual tests, state-wide performance assessments and Common Core State Standards aligned assessments and pilots.  Any and all tests, assessments, or surveys not limited solely to proficiency in core academic subjects. This includes:__________________________________________
__Any and all tests, assessments, or surveys used to measure pupils’ values, attitudes or beliefs.
__Any survey, analysis, or evaluation that reveals information concerning my child, myself or other members of my family related to: (1) political affiliations or beliefs of the student or the student’s parent; (2) mental or psychological problems of the student or the student’s family; (3) sex behavior or attitudes; (4) illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior; (5) critical appraisals of other individuals with whom respondents have close family relationships; (6) legally recognized privileged or analogous relationships, such as those of lawyers, physicians, and ministers; (7) religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or student’s parent; or (8) income.
__The collection, tracking, housing, reporting, selling, or sharing with any party outside of the local school district, of non-educational related information on my child or my family, including, but not limited to: religion, political affiliations, biometric data, psychometric data, and medical information. Biometric data includes fingerprints, retina and iris (eye) patterns, voiceprint, DNA sequence, facial characteristics, handwriting, and any other unique physical identifying traits. Psychometric data includes, but is not limited to: personality traits, attitudes, abilities, aptitude, social and emotional development, tendencies, inclinations, interests, and motivations.
__The sharing with any party outside of the local school district of my child’s directory information, including, but not limited to: name, address, telephone listing, e-mail address, photograph, date and place of birth, major field of study, grade level, enrollment status, dates of attendance, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight, height, athletic teams, degrees, honors, awards, and most recent educational agency or institution attended.
__The sharing with any party outside of the local school district of my child’s student ID number, social security number, or other unique identifying number.
__Any computer or online based educational services activities or assessments through which individual student data or metadata is stored in a manner inconsistent with industry requirements and best practices or is shared with any party outside the local school district.
__Any Common Core State Standards aligned activities, surveys or assessments that concern the attitudes, beliefs, including religious or political beliefs, or value systems of individual students.
This executed form supersedes all prior Opt-Out forms. ______________________ Grade _________
Date_______________Phone # __________________________E-Mail_________________________________________
Parent/Guardian’s Name(s)_________________________________________________________
Received by (name) ____________________________________________________________
Signature________________________________________ Date received________________



Stand In The Gap Opelika-Flyer


Understanding Common Core 101

Here is something all who want to learn about Common Core need to understand:

Look at the picture of when states governors signed on to the Common Core --it is on the Race To The Top Application--most did it in January 2010.

Then read excerpts from Professor Sandra Stotsky who tells you the behind scenes story of how each state's standards (ones that signed on to CC) were given up for the Common Core Standards while the standards were not yet finished.  This was done to the children.  All that mantra of rigor, bench-marked and tested must be understood for what it is.  Come find out for yourself--here's one state (Alabama) example--study the picture with the letter from Professor Stotsky:

Common Core’s Invalid Validation Committee
Sandra Stotsky
Professor Emerita, University of Arkansas
Paper given at a conference at
University of Notre Dame
September 9, 2013
Common Core’s K-12 standards, it is regularly claimed, emerged from a state-led process in which
experts and educators were well represented. But the people who wrote the standards did not represent the
relevant stakeholders. Nor were they qualified to draft standards intended to “transform instruction for
every child.” And the Validation Committee (VC) that was created to put the seal of approval on the
drafters’ work was useless if not misleading, both in its membership and in the procedures they had to
I served as the English language arts (ELA) standards expert on Common Core’s Validation Committee
(2009-2010) and in this essay describe some of the deficiencies in its make-up, procedures, and outcome.
The lack of an authentic validation of Common Core’s so-called college-readiness standards (i.e., by a
committee consisting largely of discipline-based higher education experts who teach undergraduate
mathematics or English/humanities courses) before state boards of education voted to adopt these
standards suggests their votes had no legal basis. In this paper, I set forth a case for declaring the votes by
state boards of education to adopt either set of Common Core’s standards null and void—and any tests
based on them.
For many months after the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) was launched in early 2009,
the identities of the people drafting the “college- and career-readiness standards” were unknown to the
public. CCSSI eventually (in July 2009) revealed the names of the 29 members of the “Standards
Development Work Group” (designated as developing the two sets of “college-and career-readiness
standards) in response to complaints from parents and others about the CCSSI’s lack of transparency.
About half of the members were on the Mathematics Work Group, the other half were on the ELA Work
What did the ELA Work Group look like? Its make-up was quite astonishing: It included no English
professors or high-school English teachers. How could legitimate ELA standards be created without the
very two groups of educators who know the most about what students should and could be learning in
secondary English/reading classes?
CCSSI also released in July 2009 the names of individuals in a larger “Feedback Group.” This group
included one English professor and one high-school English teacher. But it was made clear that these
people would have only an advisory role – final decisions would be made for ELA by the Englishteacher-
bereft ELA Work Group. Indeed, Feedback Group members’ suggestions were frequently
ignored, according to the one English professor on this group, without explanation. Because both Work
Groups labored in secret, without open meetings, sunshine-law minutes of meetings, or accessible public
comment, their reasons for making the decisions they did are lost to history.
The two lead writers for the grade-level ELA standards were David Coleman and Susan Pimentel, neither
of whom had experience teaching English either in K-12 or at the college level. Nor had either of them
ever published serious work on K-12 curriculum and instruction. Neither had a reputation for scholarship
or research; they were virtually unknown to the field of English language arts. But they had been chosen
to transform ELA education in the U.S. Who recommended them and why, we still do not know.
Interestingly, no one in the media commented on their lack of credentials for the task they had been
assigned. Indeed, no one in the media showed the slightest interest in the qualifications of the standards
In theory, the Validation Committee should have been the fail-safe mechanism for the standards. The VC
consisted of about 29 members during 2009-2010. Some were ex officio, others were recommended by
the governor or commissioner of education of an individual state. No more is known officially about the
rationale for the individuals chosen for the VC. Tellingly, the VC contained almost no experts on ELA
standards; most were education professors and associated with testing companies, from here and abroad.
There was only one mathematician on the VC—R. James Milgram (there were several mathematics
educators—people with doctorates in mathematics education and/or appointments in an education
school). I was the only nationally recognized expert on English language arts standards by virtue of my
work in Massachusetts and for Achieve, Inc.’s American Diploma Project high school exit standards for
ELA and subsequent backmapped standards for earlier grade levels. There were no high school English
teachers on the VC until one was appointed in late fall in response to my complaints.
As a condition of membership, all VC members had to agree to 10 conditions, among which were the
Ownership of the Common Core State Standards, including all drafts, copies, reviews, comments, and nonfinal
versions (collectively, Common Core State Standards), shall reside solely and exclusively with the
Council of Chief State School Officers (“CCSSO”) and the National Governors Association Center for Best
Practices (“NGA Center”).
I agree to maintain the deliberations, discussions, and work of the Validation Committee, including the
content of any draft or final documents, on a strictly confidential basis and shall not disclose or
communicate any information related to the same, including in summary form, except within the
membership of the Validation Committee and to CCSSO and the NGA Center.
As can be seen in the second condition listed above, members of the VC could never, then or in the
future, indicate whether or not the VC discussed the meaning of college readiness or had any
recommendations to offer on the matter. The charge to the VC spelled out in the summer of 2009, before
the grade-level mathematics standards were developed, was as follows:
1. Review the process used to develop the college- and career-readiness standards and recommend
improvements in that process. These recommendations will be used to inform the K-12 development
2. Validate the sufficiency of the evidence supporting each college- and career-readiness standard. Each
member is asked to determine whether each standard has sufficient evidence to warrant its inclusion.
3. Add any standard that is not now included in the common core state standards that they feel should be
included and provide the following evidence to support its inclusion: 1) evidence that the standard is
essential to college and career success; and 2) evidence that the standard is internationally comparable.”
It quickly became clear that the VC existed as window-dressing—to rubber-stamp, not improve, whatever
standards were declared as college-and career-readiness and grade-level standards. As all members of the
VC were requested to do, I wrote up a detailed critique of the draft college and career readiness standards
in English language arts in September 2009 and critiques of draft grade-level standards as they were made
available in subsequent months. I sent my comments to the three lead standards writers designated at the
time,1 as well as to Common Core’s staff, to other members of the VC (until the VC was directed by the
staff to send comments only to them for distribution), and to Commissioner Chester and the members of
the Massachusetts Board of Education (as a fellow member). At no time did I receive queries, never mind
replies to my comments from the CCSSI staff, the standards writers, or Commissioner Chester and fellow
board members.
In a private conversation at the end of November, 2009, I was asked by Chris Minnich, a CCSSI staff
member at the time, if I would be willing to work on the standards during December with Susan Pimentel.
We had worked together under contract with StandardsWork on the 2008 Texas English language arts
standards and, earlier, on other standards projects. I agreed to spend about two weeks in Washington, DC
working on the ELA standards pro bono with Susan after being assured that she was the decision-making
ELA standards writer. I then called Susan to discuss the kind of changes I thought the November 2009
draft needed before we began to work together and to clarify that agreed-upon revisions would not be
changed by unknown others before going out for comment to other members of the VC and, eventually,
the public. I then sent an e-mail with the list of these possible changes to Chris (and asking for support
for Susan because she had indicated in our telephone conversation that she was not in fact the final
decision-maker for ELA standards). A week later, I received a “Dear John” letter from Chris, thanking
me for my comments and indicating that my suggestions would be considered along with those from 50
states and that I would hear from the staff sometime in January.
In the second week of January 2010, a “confidential draft” was sent out to state departments of education
in advance of their submitting an application on January 19 for Race to the Top (RttT) funds. (About 18
state applications, including the Bay State’s, were prepared by professional grant writers chosen and paid
for by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation—at roughly $250,000 each.) A few states included the
watermarked confidential draft in their application material and posted the whole application on their
department of education’s website (in some cases required by law), so this draft was no longer
confidential. It contained none of the kinds of revisions I had suggested in my December e-mail to
Minnich and Pimentel. Over the next six months, the Pioneer Institute published my analyses of that
January draft and succeeding drafts, including the final June 2 version. I repeatedly pointed out serious
flaws in the document, but at no time did the lead ELA standards writers communicate with me (despite
requests for a private discussion) or provide an explanation of the organizing categories for the standards
and their focus on skills, not literary/historical content.
One aspect of the ELA standards that remained untouchable despite the consistent criticisms I sent to the
standards writers, to those in charge of the VC, to the Massachusetts board of education, to the
Massachusetts commissioner of education, to the media, and to the public at large was David Coleman’s
idea that nonfiction or informational texts should occupy at least half of the readings in every English
class, to the detriment of classic literature and of literary study more broadly speaking. Even though all
the historical and empirical evidence weighed against this concept (and there was none supporting it), his
idea was apparently set in stone.
The deadline for producing a good draft of the college-readiness and grade-level ELA (and mathematics)
standards was before January 19, 2010, the date the U.S. Department of Education had set for state
applications to indicate a commitment to adopting the standards to qualify for Race to the Top grants. But
the draft sent to state departments of education in early January was so poorly written and contentdeficient
that CCSSI had to delay releasing a public comment draft until March. The language in the
March version had been cleaned up somewhat, but the draft was not much better in organization or
substance – the result of unqualified drafters working with undue haste and untouchable premises.
None of the public feedback to the March draft has ever been made available. The final version released
in June 2010 contained most of the problems apparent in the first draft: lack of rigor (especially in the
secondary standards), minimal content, lack of international benchmarking, lack of research support.
In February 2010, I and presumably all other members of the VC received a “letter of certification” from
the CCSSI staff for signing off on Common Core’s standards (even though the public comment draft
wasn’t released until March 2010 and the final version wasn’t released until June 2010). The original
charge to the VC had been reduced in an unclear manner by unidentified individuals to just the first two
and least important of the three bullets mentioned above. Culmination of participation on the committee
was reduced to signing or not signing a letter by the end of May 2010 asserting that the standards2 were:
1. Reflective of the core knowledge and skills in ELA and mathematics that students need to be college- and careerready.
2. Appropriate in terms of their level of clarity and specificity.
3. Comparable to the expectations of other leading nations.
4. Informed by available research or evidence
5. The result of processes that reflect best practices for standards development.
6. A solid starting point for adoption of cross-state common core standards.
7. A sound basis for eventual development of standards-based assessments.
The VC members who signed the letter were listed in the brief official report on the VC (since committee
work was confidential, there was little the rapporteur could report), while the five members who did not
sign off were not listed as such, nor their reasons mentioned or letters shared. Stotsky’s letter explaining
why she could not sign off can be viewed here,3 and Milgram’s letter can be viewed here.4
This was the “transparent, state-led” process that resulted in the Common Core standards. The standards
were created by people who wanted a “Validation Committee” in name only. An invalid process,
endorsed by an invalid Validation Committee, resulted not surprisingly in invalid standards.
States need to reconsider their hasty decisions to adopt this pig in an academic poke for more than
substantive reasons. First, there has been no validation of Common Core’s standards by a legitimate
public process, nor any validation of its college-readiness level in either mathematics or English language
arts by the relevant higher education faculty in this country. State standards typically go out for a lengthy
and timely public comment period (not usually during the summer when teachers and administrators are
not in their schools) and for revision before approval by a board of education.
Second, boards of education generally have no statutory authority to decide on college-readiness levels
for credit-bearing post-secondary courses. This is the prerogative of a board of higher education or board
of regents or trustees. State legislators seeking to explore the legitimacy of the votes taken by their
boards of education in 2010 might request an investigation by the inspector general in their attorney
general’s office. Inspector generals are by statute allowed to determine whether the process followed by a
state agency, committee, or board in making a policy decision abided by statutory authority and followed
appropriate procedures.
Third, there is nothing in the history and membership of the VC to suggest that the public should place
confidence in the CCSSI or the U.S. Department of Education to convene committees of experts from the
relevant disciplines in higher education in this country and elsewhere to validate Common Core’s collegereadiness
It is possible to consider the original vote by state boards of education to adopt Common Core’s standards
null and void, regardless of whether a state board of education now chooses to recall its earlier vote. Any
tests based on these invalid standards are also invalid, by definition.
1The lead ELA standards writers listed in 2009 were David Coleman, James Patterson, and Susan Pimentel.
2Keep in mind that the final version was not released until June 2, 2010 and many changes were made behind the
scenes to the public comment draft released in March 2010.