Ethan Update Number 2 - Bill Filed to Prevent State Common Core Test Hassle of Severely Disabled

In follow-up to the heartbreaking story of Ethan Rediske, a severly disbled boy who passed away while his family was being hassled for documentation as to why he wasn't taking the FCAT, legislators have seen the patent absurdity of it all.  Rep. Karen Castor-Dentel (D-Maitland), Rep. Gyndolyn Clarke-Reed (D-Deerfield Beach), and Rep. Linda Stewart (D-Orlando) have filed HB 8595, the Ethan Rediske Act. (See State Impact's coverage here). This bill would allow the individual districts to permanently waive testing for severely disabled children in consulation with families and medical providers, instead of having to beg the state for relief every year.  Let us hope that families in the Rediske's situation will be spared this ridiculous bureaucratic harrassment.

Faces of Common Core Video Shows Emotional Toll of Inappropriate Common Core Standards

In follow-up to our post last week about the damage caused by the ridiculously developmentally inappropriate Common Core standards and curriculum, we are very pleased to announce the release of an excellent video called "Faces of Common Core."  Produced by Traci Isaacs, a Florida mother of two and education advocate; and Meg Norris, a Georgia mother, teacher and doctoral candidate, this brief, but powerful video shows the stunning stupidity of the methods used to teach math to young children and how powerless their parents are to help them.  It also shows what distress and unhappiness Common Core math is causing our children and how it is destroying the love of learning.  Please take five minutes of your time to watch it and then share it widely. You may also find their group on Face book at Faces of Common Core. Thank you! 

Developmentally Inappropriate Common Core Lessons Taking Toll on Children

This  heart-rending photo encapsulates the torture that is Common Core, especially for young children.  Instead of being taught the standard algorithms, they are forced to needlessly struggle with developmentally inappropriate content, especially in math, to the point that award winning principal Carol Burris of New York rightly "said the Common Core required children to grapple with topics in mathematics that are in many cases taught a year earlier than before and 'in a more difficult way.' 'I fear that they are creating a generation of young students who are learning to hate mathematics,' she said." The algorithms used are so complicated that even college educated parents are at a loss to help their struggling children, harming the parent child relationship and further isolating parents from their child's education.

This needless stress and destruction of the love of learning is why we fight Common Core.  Do not let them do this to your child or grandchild. Join us in this fight and support us in this cause.

Update - Boy Dies While Family Still Hassled About FCAT

Eleven year old Ethan Rediske, the little boy we told you about that was in hospice care, near death due to complications of brain damage and cerebral palsy died on February 7th.  His family was still being hassled about paperwork for a waiver from Florida's standardized test, the FCAT.  According to the video below, the heartless educational bureaucracy is more concerned that too many children don't escape profiling via these corporate sponsored social engineering tools, because it might affect school grades, than it is about leaving a family to say good bye to their dying son and mourn his loss:

This has got to stop.  Children are much more than test scores.  Please help us remove this insane Common Core system from the state of Florida.

Another Education Radical Decides "Children Belong to All of Us," But We Are Making Progress

According to this story in the Christian Post, another elitist radical, ivory tower academic wants to do away with thousands of years of human history and have children raised by the collective.  In the appalling tradition of Hillary "It Takes a Village" Clinton and MSNBC's Melissa Harris Perry who believes that we must "get over that kind of private notion that children belong to their parents," but that "they belong to whole communities;" Paul Reville, an education professor at Harvard and former Massachusetts secretary of Education, said, "The children belong to all of us," in explaining why states should adopt the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

Reville, speaking at a conference for the Center for American Progress, no fan of America's founding principles, also said,  "To be sure, it's always a small voice [that opposed the Common Core] and these voices get amplified in the midst of these arguments of people who were never in favor of standards in the first place and never wanted to have any kind of testing or accountability ... But those are a tiny minority. The argument about where [Common Core] came from, I think privileges certain fringe voices about states' rights and federalism, and things of that nature."

Not only is Reville not in agreement with thousands of years of tradition affirmed over and over by the US Supreme Court that it is parents that are in charge of the raising and education of their children, but he is apparently also not aware of the many groups on his side of the political spectrum that oppose Common Core.  These would include the Florida Progressive Democratic Caucus, The Badass Teachers' Association, and the over 600,000 member New York State Teachers' Union.

Opposition to Common Core comes from all points on the political and philosophical spectra.  It is the individual vs the corporate and big government elite.  Yet, there is evidence that we are holding our own, if not turning the tide:
  • Jeb Bush admitted in December of 2013, "Right now, I would say, it's [the fight over Common Core] a draw at best."
  • Our friends at Missouri Education Watchdog uncovered a presentation by a PR conglomerate hired to push Common Core, showing that support for Common Core is soft with only 27% of people even having heard of it:
  • ...AND even better - When people hear both sides of the argument, Common Core drastically loses support:

So even though people like Reville are annoying, take heart, we the moms, dads, grandparents, teachers, students, and small business people that want "education for a free nation" are making a difference in protecting the hearts and minds of our children and America's future.

Out of Control - Florida Bureaucracy Demands Testing Paperwork for Dying Boy

Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post's Answer Sheet blog reports the heartbreaking story of the merciless Florida education bureaucracy that is hounding the mother of a brain damaged and dying boy to complete paperwork that her son is not able to take the Florida standardized assessments (FCAT).  Here is an excerpt:

Andrea Rediske's 11-year-old son Ethan, is dying. Last year, Ethan, who was born with brain damage, has cerebral palsy and is blind, was forced to take a version of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test over the space of two weeks last year because the state of Florida required that every student take one. Now his mom has to prove that Ethan, now in a morphine coma, is in no condition to take another test this year.

Ethan wasn't the only brain-damaged child in Florida to be forced to take a standardized test; I have written in the past about Michael, another Florida boy who was born with only a brain stem -- not a brain -- and can't tell the difference between an apple and an orange, but was also forced to take a version of the FCAT last year. (See here, here and here.) There are many others in Florida and across the country as well.

Why does Florida -- and other states, as well as the U.S. Department of Education -- force kids with impaired cognitive ability to take standardized tests? Because, they say, nearly every child can learn something and be assessed in some fashion.  Even, apparently, a boy born without a brain.

Here is the note that mother Andrea wrote to a member of the Orange County School Board and an Orlando Sentinel columnist:

Rick and Scott,
I'm writing to appeal for your advocacy on our behalf. Ethan is dying. He has been in hospice care for the past month. We are in the last days of his life. His loving and dedicated teacher, Jennifer Rose has been visiting him every day, bringing some love, peace, and light into these last days. How do we know that he knows that she is there? Because he opens his eyes and gives her a little smile. He is content and comforted after she leaves.

Jennifer is the greatest example of what a dedicated teacher should be.  About a week ago, Jennifer hesitantly told me that the district required a medical update for continuation of the med waiver for the adapted FCAT. Apparently, my communication through her that he was in hospice wasn't enough: they required a letter from the hospice company to say that he was dying. Every day that she comes to visit, she is required to do paperwork to document his "progress." Seriously? Why is Ethan Rediske not meeting his 6th-grade hospital homebound curriculum requirements? BECAUSE HE IS IN A MORPHINE COMA. We expect him to go any day. He is tenaciously clinging to life.
This madness has got to stop. Please help us.
Thank you,

This appalling example of the Florida education establishment reducing every child, even a dying one with brain damage, to a test score is just a glimpse of what will happen as the full Common Core regime is implemented.  This mentality was fostered by Jeb Bush and is being pushed by him as he seeks to impose Common Core on the Florida and the whole nation.  Let us renew our efforts to prevent that from happening.

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