In the recent analysis of the DeVos nomination, it was mentioned that T74, a DeVos Family Foundation funded website published a critique of Jane Robbins's and Dr. Effrem's Federalist article warning of the dangers of social emotional learning (SEL) and that the author's employer had connections to many pro-Common Core and SEL groups: The T74, a pro-Common Core education blog funded by the DeVos Family Foundation carried a post attacking the Federalist article written by Jane Robbins and myself as the "journalistic equivalent of yelling 'fire' in a theater" without substantively answering our concerns. The author works at Bellwether Education Partners, whose partners include (surprise, surprise) DeVos' PR [Philanthropy Roundtable], Bush's FEE [Now called ExelinEd], and the Gates Foundation, all major supporters of Common Core and of SEL.
Here is an extensive excerpt of the rebuttal to that misguided critique published in the Federalist today: In response to our recent article in The Federalist exposing the dangers of so-called social emotional learning (SEL), Allison Crean Davis argues that parents have nothing to fear from governmental monitoring and manipulation of their children's psychological states. Writing for a new organization called The 74 (funded by the DeVos Family Foundation), she urges that Americans wait for the "iterative march of science" (no, we don't know what that means either) to help us figure out the best way to implement and measure SEL in schools.At the outset Davis likens SEL to Common Core: a "promising, well-intended initiative" that should be given a chance to work. Now there's a comparison that will ease parents' minds.It's also interesting that she wants education to be more like medicine, yet bemoans the fact that benighted parents didn't wait for the "research" to come out on Common Core before opposing it. If the Common Core scheme had followed the pattern of medical research, the standards would have been tested on small Read more
Karen R. Effrem, MD - Executive Director
President-elect Donald Trump has selected Michigan billionaire; Republican mega-donor, and school choice advocate Betsy DeVos as his Secretary of Education. The corporate, big government Republican establishment, such as Jeb Bush, his Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE), Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, as well as groups that have received her large contributions, are thrilled with her appointment. Key education freedom leaders like Frank Cannon, president of the American Principles Project who called her a "very Jeb-like pick"; Joy Pullman, managing editor of The Federalist; and grassroots parent anti-Common Core groups in Michigan, Oklahoma, we here in Florida, and around the nation are justifiably concerned.Understanding her future boss' promise to get rid of Common Core, as well as how fatal it was to the presidential campaigns of her friend and fellow FEE board member, Jeb Bush, whom she supported, and others that Donald Trump beat, she put out a hastily constructed statement on Twitter and her website the day she was appointed, alleging her opposition to Common Core, stating that she is "not a supporter-period," because it had turned into a "federalized boondoggle":Here are several important things to know about DeVos based on her rhetoric quoted above; her record as documented by the Stop Common Core in Michigan parents who have experienced her brand of education reform firsthand, and other sources.1) DeVos used Jeb Bush's "high standards" euphemism for Common Core Her mention of "high standards" in her website statement and the report of having discussed "higher national standards" in the Trump Transition Team readout of her November 19th meeting with the president-elect, are identical to Jeb Bush's efforts to deflect criticism of his Common Core support before and during his failed presidential campaign right down to the "Period.": Education Next: You have been a steadfast Read more
PHOTO CREDIT - 2016 THE PULSE
As Senator Marco Rubio moves up in the polls after three strong debate performances, his own record, as well as the financial connections of the major donors for his campaign are starting to undergo significant review. For those that care deeply about downsizing the federal role in education, that means examining monetary ties to Common Core, testing and data mining.Rubio has done very well in his speeches, the one debate where he or anyone was able to talk about Common Core and votes related to Common Core and the overreach of the federal government via the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) currently known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). He is to be thanked for voting against the final ECAA/No Child Left Behind rewrite and for Senator Cruz's amendment on state sovereignty in testing in that mammoth federal bill. He received a solid C, but not higher, on the Pulse 2016 Common Core report card because of his "Know Before You Go Act" which will require a boatload of student data mining, but has room for improvement.Unfortunately, the bloom may be coming off his anti-Common Core rose due to significant donations from two of the largest funders of Common Core in the nation and the world. The first are two donations totaling $3000 from Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates. Gates recently said in an Atlantic interview that " representative democracy is a problem" in regard to climate change. Rubio is the only one of the seventeen Republican candidates that received any political contributions from Gates in the period covered in this chart. PHOTO CREDIT - RAMIN TALIE/GETTY IMAGES
The other major donor and perhaps more influential for Rubio, is Wall Street billionaire Paul E. Singer. The following excerpts from an excellent Breitbart article by Dr. Susan Berry explain Singer's foundation: Singer "founded the Paul E. Singer Foundation, whose work thus far has 'focused on supporting research and scholars in the areas Read more
Republican Senators Ted Cruz (TX) and Rand Paul (KY) earned the best grades of A- while not surprisingly, former Governor Jeb Bush and current Ohio Governor John Kasich received failing grades for their positions and actions on Common Core. The graded review of 16 Republican candidates was done by the American Principles in Action group. The full report card is available HERE.The report was based on how well candidates by their statements and actions have answered three questions: 1.) Have they spoken out and acted against Common Core?Statements opposing Common Core must acknowledge that the standards are of low-quality, fail to meet the expectations of high-performing countries, and contain language that controls the curriculum and instructional methods used in the classroom. Recognition of these deficiencies is central in determining whether a candidate's actions have been a sincere effort to replace the Common Core with high standards or to simply rebrand it under another name.2.) Do they understand and have they made a specific commitment to protect state and local control of education from further federal intrusion?In particular, we are looking for candidates who understand how the federal government intrudes onto state decision-making and who advocate for structural changes to prevent such intrusions. Moreover, the candidate must understand that the intended division of power between the federal government and the state is meant to ensure that people can shape state and local policies. He must understand how the breakdown of that division destroyed the safeguards that could have, and likely would have, prevented Common Core.3.) What efforts has the candidate made to protect student and family privacy interests against the rising demands of industry and central planners for more personal student data?Such interests include the right of parents to control what type of information is collected (e.g., social and emotional information, behavioral history, Read more
Karen R. Effrem, MD - Executive Director
Sadly, despite clear and detailed warnings from parents, teachers, activists, and policy experts, the US Senate passed its rewrite of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB)/Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) called The Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA S1170) on July 16th by a vote of 81-17. Three Democrats voted against the bill because of not enough government control, but nonetheless did the right thing. It is extremely clear that big government and big business interests, who are supporting pro-Common Core candidates like Jeb Bush, John Kasich, and Hillary Clinton, are colluding to cement federal control over American education.We would like to thank the following senators for their opposition votes to the overall bill: NAYs --17
Blunt (R-MO)Booker (D-NJ)Crapo (R-ID)Cruz (R-TX)Daines (R-MT)Flake (R-AZ) Lee (R-UT)Moran (R-KS)Murphy (D-CT)Paul (R-KY)Risch (R-ID)Rubio (R-FL) Sasse (R-NE)Scott (R-SC)Shelby (R-AL)Vitter (R-LA)Warren (D-MA)
Florida's other US Senator Bill Nelson did not vote on the bill or any amendments as he is recovering from cancer surgery. We wish him well.Three of the five presidential candidates in the Senate Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Marco Rubio (R-FL) voted no. Bernie Sanders (I-VT, a member of the Socialist Party running for president as a Democrat) voted for the bill. The fifth, Lindsey Graham (R-SC), did not vote. Senator Sanders offered one amendment on youth unemployment that was rejected (see below). Senators Rubio and Graham did not offer any amendments to the bill, nor did they make any statements about it afterwards. Here are the statements of Cruz, Paul, and Sanders: Cruz: "While this bill makes some improvements to the status quo, it ultimately falls short of empowering parents and local school districts. To that end, it is a missed opportunity for meaningful change."Decisions regarding our children's future should be placed in the Read more
Karen R. Effrem, MD - Executive Director
The wind may be leaving the sails of Jeb Bush's ship Air of Inevitability. His big lead is eroding in poll after poll as parent and taxpayer outrage about his involvement in and undying support of Common Core and the accompanying invasive, punitive, and invalid tests. As other candidates truly enter the race, instead of pretending to be "strongly considering" it, there is more anger about his perceived skirting of campaign finance laws, the appearance of his continued iron fisted control of Florida Legislature and GOP, his testing policies that have metastasized to other states and to federal law, and continued scrutiny of his past financial dealings.Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times said this about Bush and Common Core in his recent article about how Jeb's claim to still be considering a presidential run so as to be able to skirt campaign finance laws and gather more money: At some point this year, however, Bush may find his non-campaign campaign makes primary voters start to doubt his honesty as much as they do his positions on Common Core and immigration reform.
That was a follow-up to Smith's note about Bush's Common Core position in relation to Florida Senator Marco Rubio's now officially announced run: He [Rubio] must have sufficient money to communicate. This may be the first election in which billionaires pick a presidential nominee and that's good news for Rubio. Bush is likely to raise far more money than any other Republican candidate, but he faces so much hostility and skepticism in the base due to his last name and his support for Common Core education standards that he may need all that money.
During that speech, Rubio also took a shot at Bush's air of inevitability RUBIO: I've heard -- I've heard some suggest that I should step aside and wait my turn.AUDIENCE: No. It's your turn.RUBIO: But I cannot. Because I believe our very identity as an exceptional nation is at stake, and I can make a Read more
The last several weeks have been encouraging for parents and taxpayers that want to see a presidential candidate stand for the Tenth Amendment regarding education and against the federal over reach of Common Core and the associated tests and data collection system. Three Republican US senators have declared their candidacy for the highest office in the land: Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Marco Rubio of Florida.Senator Ted Cruz declared at Liberty University in Virginia and said in his speech, "Instead of a federal government that seeks to dictate school curriculum through Common Core...imagine repealing every word of Common Core.
Senator Rand Paul has always been against Common Core and has been innovative enough to introduce federal budget legislation to de-fund the US Department of Education (2011 - S162) He did not mention Common Core or education during his speech, but many statements at various events including in Florida as well as his co-sponsorship of various bills and amendments have shown that he is strongly against the standards.
Senator Marco Rubio just declared at the Freedom Tower in Miami. He also has said on numerous occasions that he is against the standards. His speech did not specifically mention Common Core, but did talk about school choice and affordable higher education.
And opposite the three Republicans, Hillary just days after announcing her candidacy, defended Common Core in Iowa, saying:
"Wow, that is a powerful, touching comment that I absolutely embrace. You know when I think about the really unfortunate argument going on around Common Core it's very painful because the Common Core started off as a bipartisan effort, it was actually non-partisan, it wasn't politicized, it was trying to come up with a core of learning that we might expect students to achieve across our country no matter what kind of school district they were in, no matter how poor their family was, Read more
Karen R. Effrem, MD - Executive Director
Despite lots of money and trying to project the aura of inevitability, Jeb Bush is having a lot of problems in polls and surveys even here in his home state of Florida. A poll by Gravis Marketing that came out this past week showed that he is in a dead heat with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker:
Head-to-head, former Florida governor John E. "Jeb" Bush barely beats his acolyte Sen. Marco A. Rubio in the Feb. 24-25 Howie Carr/Gravis poll of 513 registered Republican voters, but in an open field Bush is in a virtual tie with Wisconsin Gov. Scott K. Walker with Rubio finishing third..."Pitted against each other, Bush is at 40 percent and Rubio is at 36 percent," said Doug Kaplan, the managing partner of Gravis Insights, the Florida-based firm that conducted the poll. The poll carries a margin of error of 5 percent. The total may not round to 100% because of rounding.But, when the field is opened up to other candidates, the dynamic changes, he said. "We are seeing the early stages of two-man horse race between Bush and Walker."In the open field, Bush still leads with 23 percent to Walker's 22 percent, he said."But, Bush v. Walker is, again, inside the margin of error," he said."Rubio is popular, but in his home state, he is taking a back seat to Bush v. Walker," he said. "Even among Hispanics, Bush takes 24 percent, Walker 23 and Rubio, a Cuban-American, comes in third with 11 percent--roughly, his same level of support across the state's Republicans in an open field."By law, Rubio cannot run for both president and for reelection to the Senate, but, he does not have to make that decision until May 2016and by then, the primary season will be winding down anyway.The other GOP hopefuls offered in the survey fared like this:
Michael Huckabee 10 percent
Dr. Benjamin Carson 8 percent
Gov. Christopher J. Christie (R.-N.J.) 6 percent
Sen. Randal H. "Rand" Paul (R.-Ky.) 5 Read more
Apparently seeing his poll numbers tank in what is probably a significant part due to his support of Common Core, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has changed his position on the standards. Here is a set of his contrasting statements on Common Core courtesy of the New Jersey Star Ledger: Here is what he said in 2013 at a charter school
"We are doing Common Core in New Jersey and we're going to continue. And this is one of those areas where I have agreed more with the President than not. And with Secretary Duncan. I think part of the Republican opposition you see in some corners in Congress is a reaction, that knee-jerk reaction that is happening in Washington right now, that if the president likes something the Republicans in Congress don't. If the Republicans in Congress like something, the president doesn't."
And here's what he said Tuesday in Iowa:
"I have grave concerns about the way this has been done, especially the way the Obama administration has tried to implement it through tying federal funding to these things. And that changes the entire nature of it, from what was initially supposed to be voluntary type system and states could decide on their own to now having federal money tied to it in ways that really, really give me grave concerns. So we're in the midst of re-examination of it in New Jersey. I appointed a commission a few months ago to look at it in in light of these new developments from the Obama administration and they're going to come back to me with a report in the next, I think, six or eight weeks, then we're going to take some action. It is something I'm very concerned about, because in the end education needs to be a local issue."
Governors Bobby Jindal and Mike Huckabee have also changed their positions. Star-Ledger columnist Tom Moran calls this position change a "flip-flop. Regardless, this now leaves Jeb Bush as the only major potential Republican 2016 presidential candidate who is openly supporting Common Read more
Karen R. Effrem, MD - Executive Director
Former governor and potential presidential candidate Jeb Bush will be holding a closed fundraiser and an open education forum tomorrow in Tallahassee. Many on both sides of the aisle have concerns about that candidacy. He has been protested by anti-Common Core groups and Republican activists. The Florida Bad Ass Teachers (BATs) and the Democrat Party will be protesting the event tomorrow. Other potential Repbulican presidential candidates are criticizing Bush's support for Common Core: Ted Cruz was on ABC's This Week and said:
"If he [Bush] chooses to run, it certainly looks like he's going to, he's going to have to make the case to Republican primary voters concerning his record, concerning certainly his support for Common Core, concerning his policies on immigration. And I think we'll have a debate on that," Cruz added. "But at the end of the day, I think Republicans are looking for a leader. What I would urge every Republican thinking about running to do, and this is true of senators, of governors stand up and lead. I'd be thrilled if six months from now we have a half-dozen Republicans standing and leading and making the case that there is a better way we can get back to the free-market principles and constitutional liberties that built this country and made this country a shining city on a hill."
Bobby Jindal said in a speech to the American Principles Project:
"Local parents, local teachers, local leaders need to make these decisions," Jindal said at a luncheon sponsored by the American Principles Project, a conservative group that has rallied opposition to the Common Core nationwide. "In our entire history as a country, we've never allowed the federal government to make these decisions for us. Now is not the time to start...."..."Trust these moms," Jindal said. "I have more confidence in the moms in this room than I do in any collection of bureaucrats."
Multiple exposes Read more
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