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Why is America At War

Cross in the ashes of the WTC

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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!



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.


Pastor's Letter--An Invitation To Stand In the Gap



Flyer for Huntsville, Al


Flyer for Montgomery, Al