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Lord, I thought I knew you,

   but know the winds have changed.

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then the season's storms blew by.

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 The wheat has been blowing in that field,

   While the laborers are so few.

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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

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Entries in nationalizing education (6)


States Do Not Have The Power To Change Common Core Standards And It Won't Lead To College Readiness--Get the Facts

“Dr. Sandra Stotsky’s Gift to America: An Education”

By Donna Garner



Dr. Sandra Stotsky, one of the foremost authorities on curriculum standards, has produced a set of English / Language Arts / Reading curriculum standards that she is offering FREE to any state and/or school district to use as an alternative to the nefarious Common Core Standards. 


Dr. Stotsky knows what students need to learn to become truly proficient in English; and her free standards document is easy to understand, is built upon the empirical reading research, and is scoped and sequenced so that big gaps do not exist from one grade level to the next.  Dr. Stotsky's ELAR document contains an emphasis on the traditional skills that help students to become well-rounded and educated adults.


Dr. Stotsky made herself available to the state of Texas when we wrote and adopted our own ELAR standards (May 2008), and her own free set that she just released a few days ago is similar in many ways.


States and/or school districts do not have to spend millions to write their own ELAR standards nor do they have to adopt the Common Core Standards which were written by people closely aligned with the Obama administration and its social justice agenda.


Here is the link to Dr. Stotsky’s free set of ELAR standards; they are a GIFT to this country given by a very generous and trusted expert who has given her life to help educate so many:



To read a brief bio of Dr. Sandra Stotsky, please go to the following link:



I personally have great admiration for Dr. Sandra Stotsky and am constantly impressed with her courage in going out all over this country to educate the public about the Common Core Standards and their unconstitutional development and many content weaknesses.


Excerpts from the following presentation by Dr. Sandra Stotsky:


Invited Testimony for a Hearing on Indiana Senate Bill No. 193


Sandra Stotsky

Professor of Education Reform Emerita

University of Arkansas

January 16, 2013


<< snip>>


1. Why Common Core's English language arts standards won’t lead to college readiness:  Common Core’s “college readiness” standards for ELA are chiefly empty skill sets and cannot lead to even a meaningful high school diploma. Only a literature-rich curriculum can. College readiness has always depended on the complexity of the literary texts teachers teach and a coherent literature curriculum.


Common Core's ELA standards have several major flaws:


Common Core expects English teachers to spend over 50 percent of their reading instructional time on informational texts at every grade level. It sets forth 10 reading standards for informational texts and 9 standards for literary texts at every grade level, K-12.  This is not what English teachers are trained to do in any college English department or teacher preparation program. College readiness will likely decrease if the secondary English curriculum prioritizes informational reading and reduces the study of complex literary texts.


Common Core’s 50/50 mandate makes it impossible for English teachers to construct a coherent literature curriculum. Common Core prevents a coherent curriculum from emerging since over 50 percent of their reading instructional time must address nonfiction or informational texts. What information are English teachers responsible for teaching? 


Common Core’s middle school writing standards are an intellectual impossibility for average middle school students. Adults have a much better idea of what "claims," "relevant evidence," and academic "arguments" are. But most children have a limited understanding of these concepts, even if Common Core’s writing standards were linked to appropriate reading standards and prose models. Nor does the document clarify the difference between an academic argument (explanatory writing) and persuasive writing, confusing teachers and students alike…



2.  Why Common Core’s standards lack a research base and international benchmarking: Common Core’s Validation Committee, on which I served, was supposed to ensure that its standards were internationally benchmarked and supported by a body of research evidence. Even though several of us regularly asked for the names of the countries the standards were supposedly benchmarked to and for citations to the supposed body of evidence supporting the organization and content of its standards, our requests were ignored.  I can only surmise that we received no reply because Common Core’s standards are not internationally benchmarked and there is no research to support the 50/50 mandate.


Reading researchers have since acknowledged there is no research to support Common Core’s claim that an increase in instruction in informational reading in English or other classes will make students college-ready. In addition, the organizations that developed these standards, as well as recent reports on the “validity” of Common Core’s standards financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, have failed to provide evidence that Common Core’s standards meet current entrance requirements for U.S. post-secondary institutions or major universities elsewhere.  


3. What leads to college readiness in secondary English classes: Two kinds of evidence show that the study of complex literature in the English class, not informational texts, leads to college readiness. The first is empirical: The focus of the Massachusetts 1997 and 2001 ELA standards, considered the “gold standard” among state ELA standards long before Massachusetts students scored in first place in grades 4 and 8 in reading on NAEP—and stayed there—was literary study (as Achieve, Inc. pointed out in its own reports). This emphasis is indicated by the list of white and black authors, male and female, in Appendix A. Bay State English teachers indicated approval in surveys in 1997 and 2001, and as recently as 2009 when department of education staff surveyed them to find out what changes they wanted, if any, in preparation for a routine revision. Less than a handful even bothered to reply. 


The second kind of evidence is historical: From about 1900—the beginning of uniform college entrance requirements via the college boards—until the 1950s, a challenging, literature-heavy English curriculum was understood to be precisely what pre-college students needed.  From the 1960s onward, the decline in readiness for college reading (acknowledged in the Common Core document) reflected in large part an increasingly incoherent, less challenging literature curriculum that was propelled by the fragmentation of the year-long English course into semester electives, the conversion of junior high schools into middle schools, and the assignment of easier, shorter, and contemporary texts—often but not always in the name of multiculturalism.


4. What students learn when they study complex literary texts: As ACT found, complexity is laden with literary features: It involves characters, literary devices, tone, ambiguity, structure, elaboration, intricate language, and unclear intentions. Contemporary selections on computer geeks, fast food, teenage marketing, and the working poor (suggested in a 2011 NCTE volume) are hardly the kind of material to exhibit ambiguity, subtlety, and irony. By reducing literary study, Common Core’s 50/50 mandate decreases students’ opportunity to develop the analytical thinking once developed in just an elite group by the vocabulary, structure, style, ambiguity, point of view, figurative language, and irony in classic literary texts.


Let me say something more about vocabulary.  It is well known that 18th and 19th century writers used a far broader vocabulary than contemporary writers do, even when writing for young adolescents (e.g., Treasure Island or The Black Arrow). The literary texts that were once staples in the secondary literature curriculum were far more challenging than contemporary texts (or the Young Adult Literature) frequently assigned.  And because the “literate” vocabulary that writers like Robert Louis Stevenson used was embedded in stories with exciting plots, students would absorb this vocabulary as they read challenging literature because exciting plots kept them reading (which we know is the main way we learn the meanings of most words).  


This vocabulary learning is in serious danger of never occurring because of the failure of Common Core’s ELA document to provide mechanisms that would guarantee students the opportunity to acquire the general academic vocabulary needed for college work. The missing components are easy to identify: no specification of the contents of literary/historical knowledge students need or the criteria for selecting texts for study; no list of recommended authors as in the Massachusetts framework; no historical period coverage requirements; no British literature aside from Shakespeare; and no study of the history of the English language. 


5.  Why Common Core’s standards cannot be changed:  The two organizations that developed Common Core’s standards have copyrighted their documents. States that have adopted Common Core’s standards cannot change one word of the standards in them, even if their teachers find the standards confusing, placed at inappropriate levels, or poorly written. States can add up to 15% of their own standards but must assess this 15% themselves. Indiana needs public schools responsive to Indiana parents, teachers, and other citizens… 



Donna Garner


Stand In The Gap For Our Children--Conference Feb 9th


Schedule of Guests for Sept 2011 City On A Hill

Please remember show airs M-F at 1:30 pm ct (player is on home page of and programs are recorded and available on player on home page (within 10 min after) and day later on podsite.

Sept 1- Hear an interview with Mr. Larry Sand of CTEN(California Teachers Empowerment Network) regarding how times have changed and what teachers are facing today.

Sept 2- Hear interview with Dawn Wildman and her Tea Party perspectives.  Why are the people that are wanting to move this nation back to the Constitution being called the villains? The ususal tool of the enemy is lies upon lies.

Sept 5- Hear re-airing of an earlier interview with Dawn Wildman, Sandra Stotsky and Jim Milgram about the common core standards which will lead to the end of parental rights over their children's education.  Putting Washington in charge of national standards is a dangerous thing--be warned and share.

Sept 6- Hear city on a hill perspectives on the state of our nation today.

Sept 7- Hear perspectives from one Kaylon Jones who sees the value of hard work and is issuing a cry for a new look at the bondage-- that welfare truly can become.

Sept 8- Hear historical perspectives from our two history teachers and learn in detail why Social Security is being called by Rick Perry as a Ponzi scheme.

Sept 9- Hear perspectives from Luca Bocci of Tea Party Italia on how socialism is crippling his nation and many others.

Sept 12- Hear perspectives from Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt( and our friend in Israel, Luden, about 9/11 and what is going on in the middle-east specially in Israel.

Sept 13- Hear perspectives from USMC SGT. (ret) John Bernard about 9/11 and the war on terror.  We are so grateful for his sacrifice and those of others such as his son Lance Cpl. Joshua Bernard.  God has indeed blessed America.

Sept 14- Hear perspectives from Dan Fraley our teacher of Hebraic Roots as he talks about those living in the middle east.

Sept 15- Hear perspectives from Don Simmons, author of The Unborn Series as we remind America of the price of lack of knowledge--it has meant the death of innocents.  Please get informed and help the most beautiful of God's creation--innocent tiny human beings--receive what we have---"life"...

Sept 16- Hear perspectives from this nation's foremost expert on healthcare--Grace Marie Turner( and one of this nation's staunch defender of freedom--Dawn Wildman(California Tea Party). joined by Ala State Rep Michael Ball and Elois Zeanah, Pres of AFRW.

Sept 19- Hear perspectives from parents trying to raise godly children and hear one of these precious children sing about the God of love and from whom all our blessings flow--specially the childrlen.

Sept 20- Hear perspectives from Lou Campomenosi of Campaign on Common Sense and get excited about what is happening in the state that has ended 134 years of bondage.

Sept 21 - Hear perspectives Dr. Daniel Shayesteh ( and Pastor Tom Anderson and get inspired as you hear about the power that can overcome the darkness and lead all of us into light.  There is no one beyond the reach of Christ--as Dr. Shayesteh proves (I consider him Iran's modern day Paul--he helped oust the Shah of Iran).  Let us not forget to pray for those in darkness.  He will share with us how God used King Cyrus and King Darius.

Sept 22 Hear perspectives from Patriot Pastor Lear who helped turn his state of New Hampshire into a red state amidst the blue. 

Sept 23- Hear perspectives from Col. John Eidsmoe (Foundation for Moral Law), USMC Sgt (ret) John Bernard and Vickie Behenna ( on what is going on in today's military and how we can help our defenders best.  Be sure to share as today's highly questionable strategy and rules of engagement must be studied by Congress--and that depends on you.  We will be studying an amendment recently passed HR 318.

Sept 26- Hear perspectives from Donna Garner a Texas Conservative Education Activist.  She is one of the leaders in the charge of exposing the truth about the behind the scenes manipulation of our children's minds through education.  A must hear for parents.

Sept 27- Hear perspectives from Ben Dupre (Foundation for Moral Law) on the latest in the culture wars.

Sept 28- TBA

Sept 29- TBA

Sept 30- Hear perspectives from Peyton Wolcott ( and Dawn Wildman (California Tea Party and National Board Member of Tea Party Patriots) about what's going on in Congress.  These two are specialists in following the money trail.  Get informed.





States Beginning To Figure Out They Will Be Left Holding The Bag With National Assessments They Can't Afford to Implement--Will Governors Be Seeing Wisconsin's Woes In Their Own States Soon?


The Other Shoe Drops:  National Testmakers Worried”

by Donna Garner



Summary of worries revealed in this Education Week article (posted below):


1.  High expectations for these national assessments may outpace the ability of states to pay for the technology required to administer them.


2.  Both of the consortia have to provide -- for each tested grade level and course -- benchmark assessments (a.k.a., periodic, formative) and summative assessments (a.k.a. finals).


3.  The consortia are worried that the tight timelines set by the feds won’t allow for well-done piloting of the assessments.


4.  Both consotia have to create formative and summative assessments that are of equal content and difficulty and which can be taken by all types of students.


5.  The national assessments were originally intended to save states money, but the federal grants contain no money for administering the assessments. 


6.  States are beginning to figure this out and are worried they will be left with national assessments they cannot afford to implement.


Donna Garner




Published Online: April 12, 2011

Includes correction(s): April 12, 2011

Experts See Hurdles Ahead for Common Core Tests

By Sarah D. Sparks


As America’s “next-generation” assessments for common core academic subjects begin to take shape through two state consortia projects, researchers and test developers alike are beginning to worry that expectations for the tests may outpace states’ technology and budgets.

Michigan and Louisiana education officials and leaders of the two consortia tasked with developing the new assessments—the 25-state SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium, or SBAC, and the 26-state Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC—discussed challenges to the tests at a panel here at the annual meeting of the National Council on Measurement in Education.

The panel was organized by the Council of Chief State School Officers, one of two Washington-based group that spearheaded efforts to create new common standards for college and career readiness, now adopted by 44 states and the District of Columbia.

The tests are expected to roll out in 2014, and “the amount of innovation we’ll be able to carry off in that amount of time is not going to be that much,” warned Joseph Willhoft, the executive director of the SMARTER Balanced Consortium. “There’s an expectation that out of the gate this [assessment] is going to be so game-changing, and maybe after four or five years it will be game-changing, but not immediately.”

Both consortia received grants through the federal Race to the Top Assessment competition created in the federal economic-stimulus law to develop new tests based on the common standards. Each consortium must develop computer-based tests for each tested grade level and subject, as well as optional interim benchmarking tests to allow teachers to monitor how students progress and change instruction accordingly.

Both groups are developing both the end-of-year summative tests that can be used by any state in the country, and the ancillary benchmark tests that teachers or principals can use to track the progress of individual students or groups throughout the year.

The SMARTER Balanced Consortium’s tests are intended to go beyond simply moving questions from a paper to a computer screen, to adapt the difficulty of each question as students progress on the test. Ideally, individual test items will be tagged with the accommodations allowed for students who require them based on a disability or limited English proficiency, according to Laura M. Slover, the senior vice president of the Washington-based Achieve, Inc., which is helping develop assessments for PARCC.

Yet all of that is still in the works.

“One of the biggest problems I’ve seen with state assessments and national assessments is they are typically not done on a budget and a timeline that allow people to go out and do the pilot testing and tryouts that you would like,” said Mark D. Reckase, a professor of measurement and quantitative methods at the University of Michigan. “I’ve looked at the timelines for this, and they are fast; there will be incredible pressure to just get it done.”

Moreover, making sure the tests will serve their intended accountability use has become trickier in the wake of high-profile, test-based teacher evaluations, such as that done in Los Angeles last fall. “If we are trying to look in a crystal ball about educator evaluation … That is likely to be the most difficult use of any data we put out and therefore requires the most thought and care in designing the models,” said Joseph Martineau, the director of educational assessment and accountability for the Michigan Department of Education, part of the SBAC.

PARCC plans to train thousands of teachers both in how the assessments will work and how the resulting data can be used for accountability or classroom instruction, said Ms. Slover. “One of the purposes [of the consortia project] was to really change assessment, both the way it’s done and the way it’s experienced by the students and teachers in the classroom,” Ms. Slover said. “As we think about how to transform the test to make it more useable for teachers, teachers have to embrace it and think it’s something being done for them and with them—and not to them.”

Mr. Reckase warned that mistrust of the new tests during the transition could cause delays. “There’s a tendency to want redundant systems, computerized and paper-and-pencil, … but that causes a whole other set of problems because now you have to make sure the two tests are equivalent and ensure they work for all students.”

Betting on Technology

Ms. Slover said the consortia are “betting heavily” that emerging technology will help them create tests that can balance accountability on multiple levels—from annual student achievement reporting to ancillary data used to evaluate programs and curricula—with formative test information to help teachers tweak instruction for different students throughout the year. “One cannot be done at the expense of the other, so balancing those is critical, and then you add the cost factor into that,” she said. “Innovation in technology happens at lightning speed, so we are betting heavily on the fact that in four years there will be a new way of doing things, that iPads will be easily accessible or that handheld devices will be very affordable and will change the way we do testing in our schools.

“But we’re betting on that, and it does worry me,” she said. “I think technology is not really fully embedded in the world of classrooms at this point.”

Even among classrooms with computer and Internet access, state officials agreed there are few brick-and-mortar schools that fully integrate technology into instruction, which may make it harder for students to adapt to taking tests via computer.

Changes Difficult

Scott Norton, Louisiana’s assistant state superintendent for student and school performance, said states must be careful to get the tests right in the first shot. While jointly developing tests was intended to save states money, the grants do not include money for administering the new assessments long-term, and it will be harder to make adjustments to the tests once they are completed, because so many states will need to sign off on changes.

“The cost makes me the most anxious,” Mr. Norton said. “In today’s world if we have a [testing] cost problem, we own that: We can print on lighter paper or something. I’m not sure that holds up when we don’t own it alone. If we get into a test we can’t afford, we’re really left holding the bag.”

Vol. 30, Issue 28



Can you protect the children like these Marines?

This is little-known story from the Pentagon on 09/11/2001:

During a visit with a fellow chaplain, who happened to be assigned to the Pentagon, I had a chance to hear a first-hand account of an incident that happened right after Flight 77 hit the Pentagon. The chaplain told me what happened at a daycare center near where the impact occurred. This daycare had many children, including infants who were in heavy cribs. The daycare supervisor, looking at all the children they needed to evacuate, was in a panic over what they could do. There were many children, mostly toddlers, as well as the infants that would need to be taken out with the  cribs.

 There was no time to try to bundle them into carriers and strollers. Just then a young Marine came running into the center and asked what they needed. After hearing what the center director was trying to do, he ran back out into the hallway and disappeared. The director thought, 'well, there we are-on our own.'

 About 2 minutes later, that Marine returned with 40 other Marines in tow. Each of them grabbed a crib with a child, and the rest started gathering up toddlers. The director and her staff then helped them take all the children out of the center and down toward the park near the Potomac and the Pentagon. Once they got about 3/4 of a  mile  outside the building, the Marines stopped in the park, and then did a fabulous thing - they formed a circle with the cribs, which were quite sturdy and heavy, like the covered wagons in the Old West. Inside this circle of cribs, they put the toddlers, to keep them from wandering off. Outside this circle were the 40 Marines, forming a perimeter around the children and waiting for instructions. There they remained until the parents could be notified and come get their children.

 The chaplain then said, "I don't think any of us saw nor heard of this on any of the news stories of the day. It was an incredible story of our men there. There wasn't a dry eye in the room. The thought of those Marines and what they did and how fast they reacted; could we expect any less from them? It was one of the most touching stories from the Pentagon.


Let us do our part to protect the children--Please help prevent the nationalizing of education.  A vote is set soon for states such as Alabama.  Get informed!!


Alert:   Nationalizing Education--Vote Set Nov 18th--As one mother has said, "our kids are not for sale". 

Last year, the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers agreed to sponsor the Common Core State Standards Initiative with help from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the United States Department of Education (USDE).  Goal were to develop common mathematics and English, Language, Arts (ELA) standards that states could supposedly voluntarily adopt.  USDE then included adoption of the standards as part of the application for states to qualify for “Race to the Top” education grants.  Most states agreed to it even before the standards were published in June. 


Here are warnings from Professor Jim Milgram and Professor Sandra who were in the national validation committee forming the standards.  In spite of what is being said by others these two were the experts in Math and ELA and here is what they say:

"How can the State Boards of Education make decisions when they haven't even read the standards? Many state's Board Member had never been initiated into what was in these documents.  What were the policy issues coming out of these documents and whether these analyses were truly were in a sense legitimate academic analysis...These are very serious issues about what self- government means at the state and local government level."--Sandra Stotsky,  professor in the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas, and holds the 21st Century Chair in Teacher Quality.

"...the requirement to automaticity on their own self- invented algorithms, was one of the political issues that came in at the last moment and it's  absolutely crazy.  And then there was an entire list of similar ones, that equally made no sense whatsoever in terms of the long term development of children's mathematical capacity." --  Dr. R. James Milgram, professor of Mathematics at Stanford University, member of NASA advisory council.

Bottom line is that CCSS is going to open the door wide to more indoctrination as the English is now going to be more about information and with Kevin Jennings in the USDE that is very troubling.   More dumbing down as in the math, children will learn their own way which could be wrong, and then- maybe a couple of years later the right way.  What input parents had by going to their school boards will no longer be there.  You have til Nov to contact Gov Riley (334) 242-7100 and State Board Chairman Dr. Morton (334) 242-9700 and tell them whether or not you want the Common Core States Standards.  The first regional meeting was last Tues in Mobile and only two parents went (most don't know).  

Meetings set for:

10/05/2010 Birmingham/Spain Park High School 5:30 p.m.
10/12/2010 Montgomery/Carver High School 5:30 p.m.
10/19/2010 Decatur/Austin High School 5:30 p.m.

See interviews on the podsite with these two professors


Common Core Standards--Parents Need To Ask Why Is There No Debate?

Part I






No More Local School Boards or State Boards?  Who will parents go to when state and local school boards no longer have input !

"How can the State Boards of Education make decisions when they haven't even read the standards? Many state's Board Member had never been initiated into what was in these documents.  What were the policy issues coming out of these documents and whether these analyses were truly were in a sense legitimate academic analysis-- a really serious issue of uninformed Boards of Education in this country which they would never do on most other issues.  These are very serious issues about what self- government means at the state and local government level."--Sandra Stotsky,  professor in the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas, and holds the 21st Century Chair in Teacher Quality.

 State Board Member, Betty Peters, says this sounds like a back door entry for a complete control of the federal government.  Many states voted before the final standards came out in June.  Race to the top grant money was an enticement so many states voted early on to accept the common core standard when they werent even completely finished.  Texas said no to it.


"There are two separate automacity requirements for all of the algorithms--one is their own construction and then the other is the standard algorithm.  Standard Algorithm always come a year or two later and so these students are going to learn their own way of doing things many of which are incorrect and then they're going to learn the standard algorithm and they're going to get totally confused.  The net effect in terms of learning is that they know neither approach verywell.  The second set of things-- the requirement to automaticity on their own self- invented algorithms was one of the political issues that came in at the last moment and it's  absolutely crazy.  And then there was an entire list of similar ones, that equally made no sense whatsoever in terms of the long term development of children's mathematical capacity." --  Dr. R. James Milgram, professor of mathematics at Stanford University.




Link to Part II on CSSI  Link to Part III