AFA of PA ACTION ALERT
November 5, 2012
State Moves to Implement National Standards!
This is rather lengthy, but it includes necessary background information to help you understand the efforts by outside groups and the federal government to take over our education system.
As everyone’s attention is riveted on Tuesday’s election the Pennsylvania Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) is moving to plug Pennsylvania into the national Common Core standards. by changing Chapter 4 education regulations without proper public or legislative hearings! Public comments close today!
There has been no open and transparent public debate on the national standards or their impact! What little bit of local control that Pennsylvania still has on education will be totally lost to federal control! The IRRC is deliberately moving forward in this effort to implement these massive changes while the legislature is not in session and everyone’s attention is on the election.
Back in January, PA accepted $41 million from the federal government with the provision that we implement national standards. There has only been one outside analysis done on the costs to PA taxpayers. The Pioneer Institute says it will cost us over $650 million to implement this initiative.
Under “Proposed Regulations” on this page, you can click on “Download proposed regulations” to read the changes. Here are some of those changes:
1.) Changes graduation requirements for public, AVTS, charter and cyber charter schools
2.) Revises Commonwealth academic standards to reflect Common Core Standards
3.) Prohibits parents from reviewing state assessment tests unless the review is to determine conflicts with their religious beliefs. (This is supposedly to address “assessment security concerns.”)
4.) Students must demonstrate proficiency on the Keystone Exams as a requirement for high school graduation.
A little background from the Pioneer Institute: The Common Core idea arose not from the states, but from private organizations pursuing their own agenda — with the help of the federal government. This effort has been going on for decades, but its current phase began in 2007. That year the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Eli Broad Foundation pledged $60 million to inject their education vision, including uniform “American standards,” into the 2008 campaigns. In May 2008, the Gates Foundation awarded the Hunt Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy a $2.2 million grant “to work with governors and other key stakeholders” to promote the adoption of national standards. The National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, both Washington, DC-based trade organizations, began accepting foundation grants for purposes of starting the Common Core Initiative and pushing the Standards. In December 2008, they set down their vision to the Obama transition team through a Gates Foundation-funded report entitled “Benchmarking for Success.”
The reform steps outlined:
1.) Upgrade state standards by adopting a common core of internationally benchmarked standards.
2.) Leverage states’ collective influence to ensure that textbooks, digital media, curricula, and assessments are aligned to internationally benchmarked standards
3.) Revise state policies for recruiting, preparing, developing and supporting teachers
4.) Hold schools and systems accountable through monitoring, interventions, and support
5.) Measure state-level education performance globally.
The stimulus bill was signed into law in February 2009. That created a $4.35 billion earmark for states “that have made significant progress.” Enter the Race to the Top competition between states to distribute the stimulus money through two rounds of grant awards. And . . . guess what Pennsylvania “won” $41 million in January to implement these national education standards! And that brings us to the IRRC’s efforts to rush these changes through while everyone is concentrating on this all important election.
As the Pennsylvania School Board Association notes: “According to PDE, these are online assessments that will take 5-7 hours to complete and must be done at school in the presence of a teacher certified in the subject area that the student is testing in. The teacher is expected to act as a tutor to monitor the work, offer feedback and provide remediation to guide the student to success. Will schools be expected to hire additional staff to accommodate this requirement, or will they be expected to take teachers out of their regular classrooms to do this? How will students who must complete 5-7 hours of project work be expected to make up the work they miss from their regular classrooms?”
Does the idea of national standards concern you? Click here to read the remarks of those who have left a public comment so far.
Idaho, South Carolina and Indiana have stopped their headlong rush into national education standards and Pennsylvania can too!
You can leave a public comment expressing your concerns with the IRRC (be sure to note IRRC Number 2976) by using the contact form here or simply emailing them to firstname.lastname@example.org They can also be faxed to (717) 783-2664.
Note these are ‘public comments’ and will be posted on the IRRC website. Remember TODAY is the deadline.