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FSCCC & Common Ground Testify to House Subcommittee on NAEP Proficiency Issue & Other Costs in HB 773 March, 2017

FSCCC and Common Ground testified about the very significant costs associated with HB 773 (SB 926) in the House Education Appropriations Subcommittee on March 28th , especially the devastating costs of the NAEP proficiency language. Video of the hearing is available HERE, with discussion of this bill beginning at 51:20. What follows are the prepared remarks of Dr. Karen Effrem, Marie Clare Leman, and Catherine Baer about different aspects of this very costly bill:
Dr. Karen Effrem (1:06:20)
Thank you Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. I am also with Common Ground and I am here to bring up a very important and what I hope is an unintended consequence of this bill.

According to the staff analysis and Amendment 1, this bill has a fiscal impact of $1, 247, 251 in recurring General Revenue funds to implement Section 2 of the bill. One of the major provisions of Section 2 is the cost for the effects of tying proficiency levels on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, also called the NAEP to Level 3 on the Florida Standards Assessment or FSA. We believe that this appropriation vastly under states the costs that will read more

Thanks to You SB 926 is Postponed: Media Round-up March, 2017

Thanks to your great efforts, SB 926, the so-called "Fewer, Better Tests" bill that doesn't actually remove any tests, was postponed amidst a flurry of late-filed amendment that no one had a chance to read. Common Ground and individual members were featured prominently in several media reports. Here are some excerpts:

Allison Neilsen of Sunshine State News - Fate of 'Fewer, Better Tests' Proposal Uncertain After Senate Committee Shelves Bill

On the whole, SB 926 has been sharply criticized by parent groups and lawmakers, who have called the bill "useless."

"[The bill] does not truly eliminate any tests, so it's a big misnomer but even more concerning is language in it that ties proficiency on FSA to the NAEP," Florida Stop Common Core Coalition executive director Karen Effrem told Sunshine State News. It will actually do grievous harm and it will be hugely expensive in human and financial terms."

Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon, who sponsors rival legislation to actually eliminate some tests in Florida, agreed.

"That bill has great talking points, but if you read it, it does nothing," Lee has said. "It's very, very important that we have legislation that matches our read more

URGENT! PLEASE CONTACT THE SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE ON TESTING BILLS! March, 2017


Details are below, but the Bush Foundation for Florida's Future bill carried by Senator Flores will not only NOT eliminate any tests, but it will drastically increase the failure rates, affecting school grades and property values. Senator Montford's SB 964 genuinely eliminates tests, and helps teachers, parents and students.

ALSO PLEASE SEE OUR PRESS RELEASE & OUR FACT SHEET ON THESE BILLS.
Please tell the Committee: I strongly oppose SB 926 as currently written. The NAEP proficiency language and competency based education language must be fixed or the bill should be voted down. I strongly support SB 964. Please hear it in committee and vote for it.

Senator Wilton Simpson (R) Acting Chairman
District: (352) 540-6074 Tally: (850) 487-5010

Vice Chair: Senator Debbie Mayfield (R)
District: (321) 409-2025 Tally: (850) 487-5017

Senator Gary M. Farmer, Jr. (D)
District: (954) 467-4227 Tally: (850) 487-5034

Senator Bill Galvano (R)
District: (941) 741-3401 Tally: (850) 487-5021

Senator Tom Lee (R)
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More Evidence of CBE Failure: Lake County Considering Stopping Program March, 2017



Karen R. Effrem, MD - Executive Director
As with other Bill Gates Foundation boondoggles, the personalized or competency based learning grant program we warned against last year may not be funded by Lake County now that the three years of grant funding has almost run out. As the Daily Commercial describes it, there are inconsistent test scores for the very high cost of $2.5 million per year:

The latest data on the new learning method released in 2016 compared Florida Standard Assessment scores and FCAT science scores for students in personalized-learning classes in third through 10th grades with those enrolled in traditional classes.
In some personalized-learning classes, the test scores far exceeded the district average, but in others, the proficiency level was below the school and district average.

Personalized learning, which gives students a voice and choice in the learning process, was funded for the past three years from a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The School Board must now decide whether to continue funding it to the tune of $2.5 million a year because almost all the grant funding has been spent.


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FINAL DEVOS CONFIRMATION VOTE TUESDAY 2/7 AT NOON! PLEASE CALL OR EMAIL SENATOR RUBIO February, 2017

After skating by with a one vote margin in her HELP Committee confirmation vote, two Republicans, Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Susan Collins (ME), have announced their opposition to her confirmation. Unless another Republican joins them, the vote will be 50-50 and the tie will be broken by Vice-President Pence. Besides Michelle Malkin , Susan Berry at Breitbart, Jane Robbins , and Joy Pullman at the Federalist, there has been near silence in the media. DeVos and the Jeb Bush team being placed at USED will read more

Effrem Report on DeVos Hearing & Vote Delay Covered by Breitbart January, 2017

Dr. Susan Berry of Breitbart News covered several major policy analysts' and activists' comments on the Betsy DeVos confirmation hearing as she also announced that the final U.S. Senate HELP Committee vote was delayed until January 31st due to significant concerns with one of DeVos' many complicated financial holdings:

The Office of Government Ethics released its report for DeVos after her hearing last Tuesday. One of the concerns reported by the NYT [New York Times] is that while DeVos said she had stepped down from the board of Neurocore, a Michigan company that operates biofeedback "brain performance centers" that offer alternative treatment for children and adults with diagnoses of attention deficit disorder and autism, she says she will still keep her financial interest in the company, valued at between $5 million to $25 million...

..."This is not an appropriate investment for the secretary of education," Richard W. Painter, an ethics adviser to former President George W. Bush, reportedly told the NYT...

Here are some quotes from Dr. Effrem that parallel our report read more

Dr. Effrem Presents FSCCC Legislative Agenda at the Charlotte County Legislative Delegation Meeting January, 2017

Here are the prepared remarks that Dr. Karen Effrem presented to the Charlotte County Legislative Delegation Meeting in Port Charlotte yesterday:

Good morning members of the Charlotte County delegation. I am Dr. Karen Effrem, a wife and mother of three and I am here on behalf of the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition, an organization made up of more than 50 groups from all over the state.
The Common Core, widely admitted to be rebranded as the Florida standards, have failed. Besides being academically inferior, developmentally inappropriate and psychologically manipulative:
They have not improved education outcomes in Florida or the nation, with falling or stagnant SAT, ACT, NAEP TIMMSand PISA scores.

The confusing Common Core Math techniques, "close reading" and the virtual elimination of fiction reading from classrooms are destroying children's love of learning and driving parents crazy

The standards are tied to assessments that are not useful in guiding instruction, developmentally inappropriate, time consuming, secretive, not fully validated and excessively expensive. Teaching to the test narrows the curriculum and online testing actually decreases learning time.

The Common Core aligned and constant Competency Based Education online testing, data collection and psychological profiling alarm and outrage parents.

Both long-standing and new research shows that 3rd grade retention is harmful and read more

National Parent Coalition Concerned About DeVos Rapidly Grows & Receives Major Press Coverage January, 2017

Do not forget to contact the U.S. Senators on the HELP Committee (Health, Labor, Education, and Pensions)! Betsy DeVos' rescheduled conformation hearing takes place tomorrow, January 17th at 5 PM EST with coverage available on C-SPAN.
Since that hearing was postponed, the national coalition letter's list of signatures has rapidly grown to include 15 national groups and publications and 61 state level organizations and experts from 28 states.

It has also received national coverage from Dr. Susan Berry at read more

BREAKING UPDATE: DeVos Confirmation Hearing Delayed Until January 17th! January, 2017



The US Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee has delayed the confirmation hearing of Secretary of Education designate Betsy DeVos originally scheduled for tomorrow until January 17th at 5 PM. While likely coincidental and not causal, it is extremely interesting to note that the Committee delayed the hearing for a week, citing Senate scheduling concerns within a few hours of receiving the parent coalition letter described in our last alert.

Please continue to contact the HELP Committee members to raise the very significant concerns about DeVos' positions and record regarding Common Core, Social Emotional Learning, data mining, and school choice laws imposing Common Core on private schools.

Thank you!
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FSCCC Joins National Parent Coalition Urging Senate to Ask Tough Questions of DeVos on CCSS, Privacy, SEL & More January, 2017


The U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee is scheduled to vet the nomination of Mrs. Betsy DeVos to be Secretary of Education on Wednesday, January 11th at 10 AM.

The Florida Stop Common Core Coalition (FSCCC) has joined a very large national coalition consisting of nearly 60 parent organizations, education experts and writers, and elected officials that are extremely concerned about Mrs. Devos' record and views regarding Common Core, parental and private school autonomy, data privacy, freedom of conscience, and federal education overreach. The coalition has written a letter containing questions HELP Committee members are requested to pose to Secretary-designate DeVos.

Some examples of these questions include:
We understand that your read more

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