Breitbart Details DeVos Funding Behind Pro-Common Core & SEL Website December, 2016


Dr. Susan Berry at Breitbart detailed the influence of the DeVos fortune in promoting education news, Common Core, and social emotional learning which we described in our last blog post about the debate over SEL between Allison Crean Davis whose employer works with a number of DeVos-related entities and whose article was published on T74, the DeVos funded website:
The education reform website founded by former CNN anchor Campbell Brown is supporting Donald Trump's education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos with the disclaimer that DeVos' family foundation provides funding for the site.

Education Week writer Mark Walsh recently observed DeVos "has a friend" in Brown, who founded education news site The 74. He adds DeVos' selection puts Brown in "an awkward position" in that The 74 is advertised as an independent education news site. Brown herself, however, advocates for school choice and charter schools exactly the main causes DeVos espouses.
The disclaimer on Brown's site reads as follows:

The Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation provides funding to The 74, and the site's Editor-in-Chief, Campbell Brown, sits on the American Federation for Children's board of directors, which was formerly chaired by Betsy DeVos. Brown played no part in the reporting or editing of this article. The American Federation for Children also sponsored The 74's 2015 New Hampshire education summit.

In a recent column at The 74, Brown writes:

Social media attacks aren't famous for accuracy, but it's a pity that Betsy DeVos has been so misleadingly caricatured since Donald Trump asked her to serve as secretary of education last week.
Not just because she's a friend. Also because her attackers needlessly reopen late-NCLB fault lines and deepen the clamor that follows Trump everywhere.

Brown adds that DeVos will work hard at "pushing to improve whatever model is working -- traditional or charter or voucher or something we haven't yet imagined."
Berry also notes that Campbell Brown defended close DeVos friend and major Common Core proponent Jeb Bush. She then goes on to discuss the above-mentioned SEL debate by Common Core defender Davis:

However, in another recent article at The 74, Allison Crean Davis, a senior advisor at Bellwether Education Partners, bemoans, "Promising, well-intended initiatives, like the Common Core Standards, burn and struggle to survive even before there is a shared understanding of their potential, much less evidence of their impact."

Davis continues in support as well of the integration of social emotional learning (SEL) into schools and criticizes Federalist writers Jane Robbins and Karen Effrem for their warning about the dangers of including psychological learning as part of the curriculum children are exposed to at school.

Davis writes:

This article is the journalistic equivalent of yelling "fire" in a theater, designed to have folks crawling across the floor to the nearest exit. It's as if the authors are saying: Don't think. There's danger. Escape! To which I say: Calm down. Harness one of the "subjective" social emotional skills in question, self-management. Instead of panicking, work to understand the rationale behind the push for more social emotional learning in schools and how the still-emerging science presents some limits to the work.
Characterizing the inclusion of SEL into curriculum as another "march of science," Davis encourages the "exploration of the value of social emotional characteristics in schools."

Robbins and Effrem, who assert the teaching of social and emotional qualities belongs not to the government, but firmly to parents who may be assisted by faith communities, respond:

Davis is firmly in the "government" camp. (So are the pro-Common Core and pro-SEL organizations working with her employer, Bellwether Education Partners, such as the Philanthropy Roundtable--chaired by Betsy DeVos--the Gates Foundation, and Jeb Bush's ExcelinEd.) Her article mentions parents only once, in connection with paraphrasing and dismissing our arguments. Instead, she emphasizes the need to focus on "science" uber alles.

Berry concludes by quoting Jane Robbins who accurately describes the way elitists like DeVos and Jeb Bush work to have their way in education policy:

"Jeb Bush and his ideological compatriots, including DeVos, advance what could be called a 'government-foundation cartel' model of educational policy-making," she writes. "Private foundations funded by wealthy individuals (who themselves may be dilettantes with no real experience in education) contribute ideas, and frequently personnel, to the government to achieve their policy goals."
While Robbins notes Congress or state lawmakers may rely on "research" funded by such foundations to make policy decisions, she also observes that often the actual decisions are made by the administrative state, i.e., unelected federal and state executive agencies. This state of affairs explains why so many parents and citizens want to see the U.S. Department of Education eliminated.

Rep. Foxx Wants to Decrease the Federal Role In Education December, 2016

North Carolina Representative Virginia Foxx has been selected to lead the US House Education and Workforce Committee upon the retirement of  Rep. John Kline.

Here's the great news - She has said that she opposes lifting the prohibition on creating a student unit record that would create a lifelong student data dossier. Hopefully this opposition will also apply to gathering social-emotional data in SETRA. She also has said that she wants to roll back the excesses of the Obama administration in education and health policy. From Politico:

FOXX IN THE HOUSE: Virginia Foxx wants to dismantle the Education Department and erase Barack Obama's education legacy -- and she's poised to become one of the Hill's power players with the authority to do that. The 73-year-old GOP lawmaker and former community college president is poised to assume the leadership of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, and she wants to veer far away from what she regards as Obama's wrongheaded approach. "I'm going to push to diminish the role of the federal government in everything it's in that isn't in the Constitution," Foxx said in an interview in her district in North Carolina. "That's education, health care. All the things that the federal government does that it should not be doing. I'm happy to diminish its role."

However, Foxx did also vote for the Every Student Succeeds Act with all of its many problems. Still, we remain hopeful and look forward to see what she will do.

Donald Trump Chooses Pro-Common Core School Choice Advocate Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education November, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump, who had promised to "drain the swamp," "stop Common Core," "make education local," and greatly scale back the US Department of Education  has chosen Michigan billionaire Betsy DeVos to be his education secretary.  The decision is receiving wide praise by those that support Common Core, such as former Governor Jeb Bush and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.  

Grassroots parent groups that wanted a Common Core foe like Dr. Bill Evers, Dr. Sandra Stotsky, Dr. Larry Arnn, or Dr. William Jeynes are far less happy. Joy Pullmann, managing editor at The Federalist had written in Conservative Review just before the announcement:

His transition team reported Trump's "discussion with Ms. Betsy DeVos was focused on the Common Core mission, and setting higher national standards and promoting the growth of school choice across the nation." See that "setting higher national standards"? That's an education establishment euphemism for Common Core. National standards are what Common Core was designed to be. Pursuing them is how we got Common Core.

Setting "high standards" is the job of parents and local communities, not the U.S. education nanny. Tying "high standards" to school choice is also troubling, because this is again bureaucrat-speak for "requiring all private schools to teach Common Core using the control mechanism of tests."

When DeVos touts "school choice," she's pushing an education agenda that includes requiring all the schools that take voucher money to use state-determined curriculum, like Common Core. This is how she has used her millions of dollars in the past. If she's education secretary, we have every reason to believe it's how she'd use even more power.

Frank Cannon, president of the American Principles Project said in a statement released just a few hours ahead of the announcement:

"President-elect Trump rightly slammed Governor Jeb Bush for his support of Common Core on the campaign trail. Betsy DeVos would be a very Jeb-like pick, and the idea that Trump would appoint a Common Core apologist as Secretary of Education seems unlikely. We remain hopeful that Trump will pick a Secretary of Education who will return control over education to parents and local school districts someone like Bill Evers, Sandra Stotsky, or Larry Arnn and not someone who will simply rebrand and repackage the failed Common Core standards that were so thoroughly rejected by voters in both the GOP primary and in the November election."
Here is Dr. Effrem's statment as quoted in the Sunshine State News: 

"The special interests reigned over the interests of parents..."She's pro-Common core despite what she says on her website," Effrem told SSN.  "It is a betrayal of the promise that Donald Trump made to get rid of Common Core, make education local and listen to the forgotten men and women of the United States, particularly parents."
More analysis will be forthcoming.

Breitbart: Parents Groups Urge Trump to Appoint Anti-Common Core Education Secretary November, 2016

Dr. Susan Berry of Breitbart News highlights the potential schism between parent supported anti-Common Core officials and the pro-Common Core, corpratist estabishment candidates to run the US Department of Educaation (USED). Here is an excerpt:

The grassroots groups have been fighting against federal intervention in education for years. They've activated email alerts in light of what has been released as Trump's short list of possible candidates for U.S. Education Department (USED) secretary. The list includes:
  • U.S. Rep. Luke Messer of Indiana, a supporter of school choice who backed Jeb Bush in the GOP primary and has been an ardent supporter of the new massive education law, Every Students Succeeds Act;
  • Former Florida education commissioner Gerard Robinson, who was also a member of Jeb Bush's Chiefs for Change and is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
  • Eva Moskowitz, the pro-Common Core CEO and founder of Success Academy Charter Schools;
  • Michelle Rhee, the pro-Common Core former chancellor of Washington, D.C. public schools and the founder of Students First, an organization whose board of directors once included Common Core architect David Coleman and math standards writer Jason Zimba.
  • Tony Bennett, the ousted Indiana superintendent of public education who was investigated for fraud and resigned later as Florida commissioner of education;
  • Dr. Ben Carson, former neurosurgeon and 2016 GOP presidential candidate;
  • Williamson M. Evers, Hoover Institution education expert who has been vocal in his opposition to Common Core and federal intervention in education.

Dr. Carson has since declined a cabinet position and the only person on that list against Common Core is Bill Evers, who has been fighting it since 2011. 

Parent group leader from across the nation are concerned and want to help President-elect Trump keep his promises to stop Common Core, make education local and decrease the size and scope of the US Department of Education:

"When Donald Trump talked on the campaign trail about 'the forgotten men and women' of America, many of us who have been fighting Common Core in the trenches felt like he was talking to us," says Heather Crossin of Indiana, who adds that many parents have lost a voice in their children's education.

"We are counting on President-elect Trump to stand up and fight for us against the powerful special interests, who not only profit off of Common Core but who pull the strings of the vast majority of politicians in both parties," she explains.
Dr. Karen Effrem of Florida also points to Trump's promise to end Common Core and make education local once again.
"Choosing pro-Common Core, establishment people like Tony Bennett, Michelle Rhee, or Eva Moskowitz would be a complete betrayal to those parents in every state who helped elect him," she says.

While on the campaign trail, Trump said Common Core is a "disaster" and that Washington, D.C. should leave education to states and local school districts. Most of Trump's recent discussion about education has been in the area of school choice.

Other strong candidates acceptable to parents include or shoulc include English Standards expert Dr. Sandra Stotsky, Dr. Peg Luksik, Dr. William Jeynes, and former Texas education Commissioner Richard Scott. More details about each are available HERE.

Please help Donald Trump remeber those "forgotten" parents that work to get him elected. Send a short note to the transition team at or tweet to @realDonaldTrump, @stevenkbannon and @transition2017 and include hashtags: #KeepYourPromises #DontForgetParents #EversforEd  #StotskyforEd #LuksikforEd #JeynesforEd.

Thank you!



Common Core Played an Important Role in Election Outcomes at All Levels! November, 2016

Congratulations to the winners & thanks to those who got in the arena! Now we must hold their feet to the fire! Common Core and high stakes testing was a significan issue at every level of government. Here is a summary of the results:

President of the United States - Donald Trump is elected the 45th President of the United States. We congratulate him with hope and prayers that he will follow through on his promises to "get rid of Common Core and make education local." Much will have to be discerned about this because his education  pronouncements were not very detailed. Getting rid of Common Core is an extremely popular platform plank. Let us hope that his promise to get rid of Common Core as so desired by the "forgotten" parents of America will not be undermined! Stay tuned for news as FSCCC unites with other grassroots organizations across the nation to help him accomplish this. You may offer suggestions to his transition team HERE


Congress - The House remains in Republican control with a loss of 5 seats for the GOP, with two being from Florida. Of the 4 House races we discussed, 3 anti-Common Core/#EndFedEd candidates were victorious. We congratulate new Congressman-elect Brian Mast in CD 18, and incumbent Congressmen Ron DeSantis (CD 6) and Ted Yoho (CD 3) on their strong re-elections! (Yoho and DeSantis both courageously and presciently voted against ESSA) We also congratulate Congressmen - Elect Matt Gaetz (CD 1) and Neal Dunn (CD 2). We thank Wayne Liebnitzky for making Common Core a campaign issue in CD 9 even though he did not prevail. 


Brian Mast
Ron DeSantis
Ted Yoho
Although likely coincidental instead of causal, it should be noted that both Florida congressional incumbents that lost their seats, John Mica (CD 7) and David Jolly (CD 13) voted for the tyrannical, Common Core continuing Every Student Succeeds Act.

The Republicans also retain control of the Senate. In Florida Senator Marco Rubio was re-elected. He voted against ESSA and is generally anti-Common Core, but needs guidance on student privacy.

State Legislature - Here are the results of the two key senate races we discussed in our last alert:
 Congratulations Senator-Elect Mayfield!
Congratulations Senator-Elect Steube!
County Superintendent & School Board Races - Our extensive review of candidates' positions on Common Core, high stakes testing, and other important issues has been updated to reflect the winners in each race. Analysis of the results shows that although the establishment forces won some races, voters still strongly oppose these issues and whether the candidates are true in their opposition or not, they were forced to deal with them:
Of the Winners in these 57 Races:
29/57 (51%) Opposed Common Core (CCSS), High Stakes Testing (HST) or both
4/29 (14%) had statements opposing Common Core
11/29 (38%) had statements indicating opposition to high stakes testing or the number of tests
14/29 (48%) had statements opposing both CCSS and HST or the number of tests
8/57 (14%) Supported CCSS, HST, or both
20/57 (35%) Had No Position on CCSS or HST (able to be found after internet search or listening to forum/interview)
There will be much work to do in both Tallahassee and Washington DC to promote academic excellence and restore parental rights, student privacy, and local control. Thank you for all you do to protect the hearts and mind of our children! 

Another State Rejects CASEL SEL Standards Push October, 2016

Georgia has joined Tennessee in rejecting the Collaborative for Academic Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) effort to impose social and emotional learning (SEL) standards in eight different states. It is wonderful to see states pushing back on this corporate/foundation funded national effort.

Georgia's State School Superintendent Richard Woods stated one of the very important dangers of the CASEL effort, "However, it is equally important that we as a state maintain control of our decision making and not place any additional burdens on our schools."​ 

Please read more detail about the dangers of SEL and about how CASEL is trying to push ahead anyway in this article: Schools Ditch Academics For Emotional Manipulation by Jane Robbins of the American Principles Project and Dr. Effrem published at The Federalist.

Great News! States Starting to Resist CASEL/Fed Social Emotional Standards Onslaught September, 2016

Kudos and thanks to the parent and citizen activists in Tennessee that have caused their legislature to reject the grant for free-standing, Common Core style social emotional learning (SEL) standards from the federally and foundation funded group CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning) that we discussed in our recent alert!

Dr. Effrem's article at Education Liberty Watch was also picked up by Truth in American Education. Here is an excerpt:

TNDOE also said that these SEL standards would be integrated into every area of learning, but then claimed there would be no assessment and no student data collection. It is nice to see that they may be listening to the main concerns, even if only in an effort to deflect them, from many organizations and parents across the nation. However, research from Joy Pullman of the Heartland Institute, Jane Robbins and Emmett McGroarty of the American Principles Project, and Shane Vander Hart of Truth in American Education as well as from us here at Education Liberty Watch and our related organization, The Florida Stop Common Core Coalition, make that highly unlikely if not impossible to believe. SEL with affective data mining is the Holy Grail for Common Core, for corporations seeking a compliant workforce, and for government busy-bodies. Here is an example of another prominent group besides CASEL pushing SEL via Common Core:
ASCA [American School Counselors Association]  "Mindsets & Behaviors align with specific standards from the Common Core State Standards through connections at the competency level."

As all of these documents show, social emotional standards are highly subjective and dangerous to freedom of thought and conscience, as well as privacy. They also perpetuate the false notion that it is the government schools' responsibility to inculcate these values in place of parents and religious institutions; allow for indoctrination on controversial non-academic issues; and place more emphasis on job skills than on academics.

Many thanks to the Family Action Council of Tennessee (FACTN)Tennessee Eagle Forum (TNEF) and Tennessee Against Common Core for standing up to protect the families of Tennessee in this matter.  All three groups alerted their members and warned legislators. Here is part of apodcast from FACTN:

This initiative is a potential Trojan Horse for social engineering in our schools.  If we do not take action and contact our legislators, our children may be taught values at school that conflict with values being taught at home.

TNEF alerted its members with this information from the EdWeek article about the multistate effort and its many problems (problems admitted even by this very pro-government and Gates Foundation-funded education publication):

What about that tricky issue of measuring social-emotional learning? The controversial approach has been heavily discussed lately because the Every Student Succeeds Act, t or ESSA, requires states to add an "additional indicator" to their school accountability systems in addition to traditional factors, like student test scores...But many prominent researchers have questioned the validity of self-reported student surveys, which are most commonly used to measure SEL. And some have said it's problematic to use those surveys for high-stakes accountability purposes.
Tennessee Against Common Core also sent out an important and helpful alert.
Although we are very happy that Tennessee was able to reject the CASEL  standards, and there may be more good news coming from other states soon, these are the first battles in a long war. Tennessee  is using other SEL standards and these must be fought just as vigorously. As Dr. Effrem stated:
Let us celebrate this victory in a battle, but continue the fight of the long war. Stay tuned for more updates. As Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, so wisely said, "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." Thank you for all you do to protect the hearts and minds of our children! And to CASEL, we say, "Game on!"

ICYMI Media Coverage - FSCCC Primary Wrap-Up Carried by Multiple Outlets September, 2016

FSCCC is grateful to both Truth in American Education (TAE) and The Tea Party NetworK for carrying the good news of your great grssroots efforts and our voter guides! The TAE post has already received nearly 500 shares. Please stay tuned for more campaign updates on how Common Core is affecting the November elections and keep up the great work! Also please consider supporting our continuing coverage of the elections and so many local, state and national Common Core related issues!


Judge Rules in Favor of Opt Out Families in 1st Phase of 3rd Grade Retention Lawsuit August, 2016

Karen R. Effrem, MD - Executive Director

Congratulations to the parents and students willing to take a stand as well as Opt Out Florida Network and attorney Andrea Mogensen! Leon County Judge Karen Gievers rendered her ruling in the temporary injunction phase of the 3rd grade retention lawsuit on August 26th. There is much excellent analysis which will be summarized below, but in a nutshell:
1) The judge said that children could not be held back solely for not having taken the 3rd grade FSA. She cited Florida Statute 1008.25(5) (c) (6), which says that parents must be notified:

"That the statewide, standardized English Language Arts assessment is not the sole determiner of promotion and
that additional evaluations, portfolio reviews, and assessments are available to the child to assist parents and the school district in knowing when a child is reading at or above grade level and ready for grade promotion." (Emphasis added)
Gievers was particularly harsh in her criticism of Hernando County for doing this.
2)  All of children retained were not given proper notice of reading deficiency, offered intensive remediation, and not told about the portfolio option, all of which the law clearly requires. Most or all of the children did not have this deficiency. The districts were ordered to give proper notice to all children and include the portfolio option.
3) She ruled that the minimal participation method of opting out is compliant with the law:
"Contrary to the Defendant School Board's contention, other evidence showed that the Hernando children did participate in the test, albeit minimally. [The statute does not define participation; the children were present on time, broke the seal on the materials and wrote their names, thus meeting their obligation to participate]."
4)  She required the Florida Department of Education (FL DOE) to properly supervise the districts in following the law t by giving parent the proper notices as discussed above:

"The request for injunctive relief against the State Education Defendants is granted. The Education Commissioner
and Florida State Board of Education shall properly notify County School Boards that the statutory Notice of Deficiency and remediation processes must be followed for every student participating in the FSA in any way who does not achieve at least a Level 3 score, must notify the County School Boards that the portfolio option must be offered, grade 3 students with no reading deficiency should not be retained, but should be promoted."
Here are links to some of the coverage:  
This is the first part in a very long process as the FLDOE and counties are already filing appeals and the actual lawsuit will not start until October, but there is now hope for more parental rights and that the state and the school districts will have to follow the laws passed by the legislature which is supposed to work according to this very good diagram from the Opt Out Florida Network:

 It will also be important to elect legislators who understand that parental rights, local control, and actual teaching, instead of just teaching to a test should far outweigh the influence of big government, corporations, think tanks, and politicians. See our voter guides in key races to help you make those decisions.

Common Core & FSCCC Voter Guides a Major Issue in SD 12 between Gee, Baxley, & O'Toole August, 2016

The central Florida senate race between businessman David Gee and current Reps. Dennis Baxley and Marlene O'Toole is becoming intense in the last few days before the August 30th primary. There has been significant media coverage of the Common Core issue as well as our voter guide for the district.

David Gee did an ad discussing Common Core.

extensively explained our ratings of the three candidates:

The coalition graded Gee with an "A-" rating after thoroughly researching his stance on Common Core, as well as the positions of his opponents state Rep. Dennis Baxley and state Rep. Marlene O'Toole.

The grades were released in a report that consisted of the researched evidence to support the reasoning for each of the candidates' received grades. 

Although a political outsider, Gee has been vocal in his opposition to the initiative through his website and debates, which has drawn the endorsements of those who are anti-Common Core according to the report.

The longtime businessman was also recognized by the coalition for his proposed efforts to eradicate Common Core in contrast to his opponents.

Baxley received a "D," a grade that is described in the coalition's report as "no effort or even statements on the Common Core system or much in education, and or has received pro-Common Core endorsements, and or has sponsored or co-sponsored bad pro-Common core system legislation."

While Baxley has released campaign mailers that seemingly expressed his involvement to stop federal overreach in areas such as education, the group disproved his claims by indicating his lack of support for anti-Common Core bills.

The coalition also pinned him together with others in legislation for only voting to "remove the name of the standards from statute," thus keeping the education initiative alive.

O'Toole, chairwoman of the Florida House Education Committee, received an "F" for "blocking" anti-Common Core bills, yet allowing pro-Common Core bills to pass, the report stated. She has also received special acknowledgment in 2015 and 2016 on the Foundation for Excellence in Education's honor roll, which was founded by former state governor Jeb Bush.

The group also cited a news article, which reported that the Commission on Ethics "found she did not properly disclose financial voting conflicts of interest," and a video where O'Toole suggested that avoiding the standardized tests "was not an option."

"This voter guide shows in detail that my opponents have not been telling the truth about their records. Representative Baxley claims to be a fighter, but has been missing-in-action when it comes to defending local control of our education system. Worst yet, Representative Marlene O'Toole has spoken against Common Core while preserving the entirety of the program. O'Toole claims to put service ahead of politics, but she only serves her Pro-Common Core financial backers," said Gee in a press release.

The Miami CBS affiliate has also been covering the race and mentioned the importance of the Common Core issue:

In the primary, O'Toole has had to explain her position on Common Core, a set of national education standards. She said lawmakers never voted on the standards adopted by the state Department of Education.

Lawmakers have modified the standards, including eliminating any reference to the name "Common Core," while giving local districts more control of instructional materials and prohibiting the use of student biometrics, she said.
They do not mention that merely removing the name of Common Core does not do anything to fix the standards that despite the few cosmetic changes are still Common Core with their aligned and validity challenged assessments. And although the prohibition of biometric data collection is welcome, nothing is being done about the hundreds and as admitted by tech companies, the millions of data points including psychological data collected on children without consent.

Anti-Common Core activists in the Lake County area have further illustrated the information in our voter guides by explaining that Dennis Baxley has not really done anything to fix the standards except for removing the term from statute. The photos also highlight the pro-Common Core nature of his significant endorsements:


Here is the text describing these photos from the public Facebook post: 

Did you know that Dennis Baxley running for Senate District 12 "suggest" he is not a fan of Common Core, but he is endorsed by Associated Industries of Florida. AIF's 2016 Session Priorities include "continue the successful implementation of Common Core Standards..." While serving in Tallahassee he Sponsored and Co-Sponsored (0) Anti-Common Core Bills. Do not be fooled! Do your homework!
Please vote informed!

Joe Gruters - An Original Advocate of the Common Core Rebrand August, 2016

The Common Core standards's devastating failure, unfolding like a slow motion train wreck, and the parental backlash to them, have derailed many politicians this year. Joe Gruters, a Republican candidate for Florida House District 73 with many ties to the party establishment and understanding that trend, claims in surveys and forums that he wants to get rid of Common Core. While it is commendable that he helped secure the Sarasota Republican Executive Committee support for an anti-Common Core resolution, people should be fully aware of .the other side of his Common Core activity. 

As a trustee of Florida State University and very active in the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF), he was invited to participate in the 2013 Governor's Accountability Summit, where they basically ignored and suppressed parental concerns about the standards and concentrated more on the testing and accountability system even though they are based on these incredibly flawed standards.  Still, understanding that something must be done to deal with the parental fury, Gruters took the first step in what would be come the massive Florida Common Core rebrand that started with the governor's executive order in September 2013, moved on to the sham public hearings, the name change of Common Core to the Florida Standards by the State Board of Education and then the "lipstick on a pig" legislation that merely removed the term "Common Core" from statute.

Here is what Gruters said:

Whether this was his original idea or he was just doing what he was told by the governor and the Department of Education is immaterial. Tragically, to the great harm of students and teachers in Florida, instead of replacing Common Core with real academic standards like those in Massachusetts or Indiana, the state did exactly what Mr. Gruters suggested. Now we have declining SAT scores, unjust retention of reading proficient third graders based on not taking a validity challenged test, a teacher shortage, and many other problems. While FSCCC dies not endorse individual candidates, we also do not countenance deception and do not believe that  any candidate that engages in it should be rewarded at the ballot box. 

Please ask these questions of your candidates before you vote:

1) Do you support Common Core (many are likely to say "No")
2) Do you believe that Common Core is out of the state of Florida as Governor Scott and Jeb Bush have proclaimed? (If they answer yes, please show them the information at these links!)
3) If you think Common Core is still in Florida, what will you do to see it removed?
4)  If you oppose Common Core, what did you do during the last year or term to get rid of it? (for incumbents, some of whom supported anti-Common Core bills in the legislature after they knew they would not be heard).
FSCCC Common Core and Related Education Issues Comparison

We have answered these questions by examining the candidates' records and statements.  Our review for House  District 73 is as follows:

Joe Gruters (R) -  Grade D-

Steve Vernon (R) - Grade A-

James Golden (D) - Not graded due to lack of information
The chart with details, links and the grading scale we used is available in this document.
Vote informed and beware Common Core Deceivers!


Holder Joins Workman in Common Core Deception August, 2016

Allison Neilsen's list of articles regarding false claims of Common Core opposition is growing.  In addition to Ritch Workman in Senate District 17, she wrote about Doug Holder''s deceptive anti-Common Core claims in his campaign mailer.  Here is an excerpt:

Senate hopeful and former state Rep. Doug Holder wants Floridians to vote for him because he fought against Common Core, but anti-Common Core activists say that's not the case.<--break->

In a mailer obtained by Sunshine State News, Holder claims he was a "fighter" to abolish Common Core and "create sensible Florida standards" for Florida students. 

The mailer, which was paid for by his political committee Floridians for Equitable Government, goes on to say Holder will promote local control and limit standardized testing, support parental choice and promote high standards to prepare students for careers.

Florida anti-Common Core groups seem puzzled by the mailer, however, since they don't recall Holder being involved in their anti-Common Core movement over the years.

"I can personally attest that Holder has NEVER been involved in any anti-Common Core efforts in this state," said Karen Effrem, executive director of Florida Stop Common Core Coalition.

Sadly, Ms Neilsen may be quite busy before this year's primary and general elections are over with all of the big business and education establishment manipulation that is happening as politicians try to escape the wrath of parents due to the utter failure of
Common Core.  Please check this website often and vote informed! Here are 4 questions to ask any candidate about their alleged anti-Common Core records:
1) Do you support Common Core (many are likely to say "No")

2) Do you believe that Common Core is out of the state of Florida as Governor Scott and Jeb Bush have proclaimed?

3) If you think Common Core is still in Florida, what will you do to see it removed?

4)  If you oppose Common Core, what did you do during the last year to get rid of it? (for incumbents, some of whom supported anti-Common Core bills in the legislature after they knew they were dead)

And after our review of the anti-Common Core records of the candidates involved in the District 23 race, we release the following grades for the candidates in this race (for details and the grading scale, please check HERE):
Former Rep. Doug Holder - F

Businessman Rick Levine - B-

Commissioner Nora Patterson - C-

Rep. Ray Pilon - A+

Rep. Greg Steube - B+


Professor Frank Alcock -C

Mr. Frank Cirillo - C-

Thank you!




Media Continues to Contrast Mayfield's Strong Anti-Common Core Record with Workman Contradictions July, 2016

Another publication closely monitoring the District 17 Republican Senate primary between Reps. Debbie Mayfield and Ritch Workman and a statewide radio talk show host both continue to contrast the anti-Common Core records of the candidates as did my recent letter to the editor.

Here is an excerpt from Kathleen Sloan's well written article in explaining Workman's problems:

Ritch Workman has some explaining to do, but he's not returning calls or email. He and Debbie Mayfield both Republicans who hold state house seats, both reaching term limits and both running for state Senate District 17 will face off during the primary election Aug. 30.

Workman bragged in a recent campaign ad that he had "voted to remove Common Core from our schools," which brought down the wrath of anti-Common Core groups who never saw him in the trenches, pushing for legislation to oust Common Core standards. 

Workman appeared clueless when he used the verb "voted."

Then-Education Commissioner Eric Smith, appointee of the Florida Board of Education, signed off on President Obama's "Race to the Top" program in 2010, promising to adopt the Common Core standards.

In exchange, the state got $700 million to switch to new standards, new curriculum and new testing. But there was no public hearing, legislation, rule-making or other opportunity to vote for or against anything.

Since his initial gaffe, Workman has posted on his website: "Ritch worked with Governor Rick Scott to issue executive orders severing ties and funding from the Federal education takeover."

Again, Workman appears clueless. In the first place, it was Scott's appointees on the Florida Board of Education who approved Eric Smith's adoption of Common Core. Second, if Workman was even remotely familiar with Scott's Sept. 23, 2013 executive order addressing educational standards, he wouldn't touch it with a 10-foot pole.

The order renamed Common Core the Florida Standards and dropped the state's job overseeing the flow of federal funds related to the programs.

But the name change and step back from administering funds is seen as a sham by anti-Common Core forces.

"It's putting lipstick on a pig," said Karen Effrem, executive director of Florida Stop Common Core Coalition. "It's still 99.1-percent Common Core. It's FED-ED."
Sloan then rightly contrasts Workman's wery spotty record with Mayfield's dedicated work against the standards and other components of the Common Core system:

Mayfield, on the other hand, has consistently carried the anti-Common Core banner. She authored House Bill 25 two years ago, which sought to stop Common Core standards and assessments from being implemented.

Mayfield's bill died in the Education Appropriations Subcommittee a year after it was introduced, but did its job, Zorc said, adding pressure and "forcing the conversation about Common Core."

Mayfield's bill mandated public hearings be held on the Common Core standards and assessments in every senate district. "You know how many we had?" Mayfield said in disgust. "Three."

The bill also sought to prevent the state Board of Education from giving power to the federal government ever again, forbidding a contract which "cedes to an outside entity control over curricular standards or assessments."

Mayfield is currently advocating the education commissioner's position become an elected one, to break up the coziness among the Board of Education and the Governor's office, giving citizens a voice.

In a similar vein, statewide radio talk show host Ed Dean, who also does a column at Sunshine State News made the strong contrast (starting at 4:20) in a similar way, also making an excellent point about how Mayfield's bills were squashed because the pro-Common Core establishment did not like them:


"Debbie Mayfield is the one who wanted to push to get rid of Common Core. And by the way, and I'm not holding water for Debbie Mayfield, but when Ritch Workman talks about, "Well Debbie Mayfield hasn't gotten anything accomplished," because the Republican establishment  in Tallahassee underneath Ritch Workman who is the House Rules Committee, which is a very powerful position killed bills like Debbie Mayfield's."

Workman is now putting out deceptive ads saying he had "appealed directly - and successfully -  to Governor Scott to take executive action and sign the legislation that repealed Common Core" and that  Mayfield "voted with every single  Democrat to keep Common Core" As with the bill Rep. Janet Adkins sponsored in 2014, all it did was to remove the term "Common Core" from statute.

Even Politifact has in this case correctly figured out how inaccurate his statements are on his votes and alleged work to remove Common Core from Florida.  They rated his statements as "Mostly False."

Another Workman mailer asserts that he is the "workhorse that you can count on to continue the fight against Common Core."  So which is it? Is Common Core repealed from Florida or is he still fighting against it? As accurately queried by another anti-Common Core group,  "These two ads are contradictory, thus untrustworthy.  Is Common Core in our schools or not?"

These many contradictions by Workman are likely in a large part responsible for Mayfield's very large lead in two different polls (HERE and HERE)


TC Palm Publishes Effrem LTE Clarifying Mayfield - Workman Roles in Common Core July, 2016

Thanks to the TC Palm newspaper in the Vero Beach area for publishing Dr. Effrem's letter-to-the-editor that further describes  Rep. Debbie Mayfield's great work against Common Core in contrast to Rep. Ritch Workman's flatly false assertions that he "led the fight to abolish Common Core." Here is the letter:

Karen Effrem, Port Charlotte
Letter: Mayfield true warrior against Common Core; Workman is a poser

Florida parents are deeply concerned about the destructive effects of the Common Core standards and tests. Despite a deceptive rebrand as Florida Standards, Florida still suffers under Common Core.

In the Senate District 17 primary between Rep. Debbie Mayfield, Rep. Ritch Workman and Michael Thomas; it is critical to choose wisely.

Workman's first ad stated falsely that he "led the fight to abolish Common Core." His second ad misleadingly stated he "voted to remove Common Core from our schools."

As executive director of the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition, an organization of over 50 different groups from all over the state fighting Common Core, I can attest to having never seen or read about Rep. Workman being involved in anything remotely related to Common Core opposition. His claimed vote to remove Common Core appears to be merely removing the term from statute.

In sharp contrast, Mayfield's anti-Common Core record is stellar. Listening to concerned constituents, understanding the dangers early on, and speaking around the state, she authored six bills and resolutions dealing with Common Core-related issues.

Her dedication has been noticed and applauded by national organizations like Truth in American Education and American Principles in Action.

Regarding Common Core, the evidence is clear. Mayfield has been a true anti-Common Core warrior. If Workman so wildly exaggerates his record on this, what else should voters know?


Common Core Tyranny Continues in Cradle of American Revolution July, 2016

Karen R. Effrem, MD  - Executive Directort

Massachusetts, cradle of the American Revolution did not expand its cherished history of standing up to tyranny. Just days before America celebrated its 240th birthday; the state's Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) blocked a citizen petition to replace the highly defective Common Core standard with highly acclaimed and effective Massachusetts English and math standards from appearing on the 2016 ballot.

Per Jane Robbins of The Pulse 2016, the most depressing part of the issue is that the lawsuit was likely funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation money:

The SJC thwarted this citizen-empowerment effort based not on the substantive issues presented by the petition, but rather on the technical question whether the different provisions of the petition were sufficiently "related" to satisfy the statute governing such initiatives. The opinion was written by Justice Margot Botsford, who was appointed to the court by the governor (Deval Patrick) who brought Common Core to Massachusetts.

Regardless of technicalities, the most significant -- and depressing -- aspect of this case is that the powerful interests behind Common Core were able to crush a citizens' revolt against the scheme. Money apparently was no obstacle to the ten individual plaintiffs who sued to derail the petition. The law firm representing them, Foley Hoag, is a silk-stocking firm that doesn't come cheap, but the towering legal bills didn't seem to be a problem. Wonder why?...

...And sure enough, one thing these groups have in common is boatloads of money from the ubiquitous Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Education blogger Andrea Dillon has followed the money trail and discovered that since 2012, Gates has poured over three quarters of a million dollars into MBEA. The largest donation, $350,000, came as the anti-Common Core petition was being circulated and certified. As Ms. Dillon asks, could a lawsuit be part of the "operating expenses" for which this generous sum was given?
Shane Vander Hart of Truth in American Education quoted the deep disappointment of End Common Core Massachusetts in their statement:
No emotions can express how disappointed we are with the decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court today.

Parents, educators, and concerned citizens collected over 100,000 signatures to put this critical question on the ballot, and their voices have been silenced by this disastrous ruling.

This ruling is an example of big special interest money using intimidation tactics with scores of lawyers and public relations machines to do what is best for them and drown out the voices of the people.  The special interests behind Common Core do not want an open and fair debate about education in Massachusetts, so they rely on legal maneuvers and technicalities to control public education in Massachusetts.

The ones who really lost are the students.  They are the ones most negatively affected by this ruling.
We are not sure what the next steps may be, but we are exploring all of our options.  There was never a doubt in our mind that if the truth was brought before the voters in November, Common Core would have ended in Massachusetts and the very best standards in the nation would have been restored.

The special interests may have won this time, but ultimately the people will prevail and overcome a corrupted system that does not represent the children and their future.
We will continue to fight for our children and try to make sure Massachusetts has the best possible education for our students.
These parents will not give up and neither must we. Just as the Patriots of Lexington and Concord did in 1776 against overwhelming odds, the parents of Massachusetts and America must be willing to sacrifice "our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor" to protect the minds and hearts of our children and grandchildren in order to have "education for a free nation."

Workman Called Out for Wildly Exaggerating Anti-Common Core Work July, 2016

Allison Neilsen of Sunshine State News did another excellent investigative piece showing the absolutely false claim of Rep. Ritch Workman that he "led the fight to abolish Common Core" in one of his campaign adsHis second ad misleadingly claims he, "voted to remove Common Core from our schools."  Dr. Effrem was interviewed. Here is an excerpt

SSN looked further into Workman's claims and found he has sponsored no bills relating to abolishing Common Core in Florida out of the 46 bills he sponsored over the last three years. 

Workman's involvement has been so little in the fight against Common Core that anti-Common Core groups are hearing his name and asking: "Who?"

"It infuriates me," said executive director of Florida Stop Common Core Coalition Karen Effrem on the ad. "He hasn't been involved with any of us and we have done multiple events around the state and he was never at any of them, ever."

Workman will face off against Rep. Debbie Mayfield for Florida's Senate District 17 in the primary election, and Workman's comments about abolishing Common Core are problematic in the eyes of anti-CCSS activists.

Mayfield has been generally beloved among anti-Common Core activists, who have turned to her for support in their education policies since 2013. 

To them, Workman's words feel especially hollow since they say he hasn't even shown up or contacted them to push reforms in the Sunshine State.
Workman then dug himself a deeper hole by denigrating the efforts of Rep. Debbie Mayfield, his opponent in the Republican Senate primary for Florida District 17, who has been by far and away the greatest anti-Common Core champion in the House.  Here is part of a conversation on Twitter between Dr.. Effrem and Workman:

It is highly ironic that Workman would both so grossly inflate his anti-Common Core record and denigrate the work of Mayfield who has filed more bills, resolutions, and memorials than any other member of the Florida House against Common Core, invasive high-stakes testing and federal interference in education.  She has worked with FSCCC and many other groups, spoken around the state and been mentioned by national organizations like Truth in American Education and  American Principles in Action.

Regarding Common Core, the evidence is clear. Debbie Mayfield has been a true anti-Common Core warrior, while concernsrkman's ads mislead.   If he so brazenly exaggerates his record on Common Core, something that is so easily verifiable, he must not have very much respect for the intelligence and concerns of his  potential constiutents.  What else do District 17 voters need to know about this man?


FSCCC Joins Liberty Counsel & Nationwide Coalition to Oppose Mindset Profiling in NAEP June, 2016

Latest Press Release

Liberty Counsel
, an international legal, media and policy organization with an emphasis on religious liberties protected by the First Amendment, sent a letter to several congressional committees regarding the very problematic and illegal plan of the National Assessment Governing Board to assess mindsets and other non-cognitive, socioemotional factors in the 2017 version of the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP). This letter was signed by eight national organizations including Education Liberty Watch and 69 state organizations in 29 different states, including the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition (FSCCC). Here is a summary of those concerns according to Liberty Counsel Attorney Richard Mast, the author of the letter:

The NAEP is poised to violate federal law by collecting extremely sensitive psychological/socioemotional data on children; it will do so in a necessarily subjective manner;  it contains a substantial risk of exposing the subject children to possible negative consequences in their later schooling and employment careers, to the extent that even supporters of such assessments are concerned; and it will entrust extremely sensitive data to agencies that are no longer governed by serious privacy law and that have proven they cannot or will not keep personal student data secure.

These proposed changes constitute potential parental rights violations, and expose the children to a litany of harms in the present and in the future. Thus, any efforts to ask questions concerning mindsets and other socioemotional parameters and to collect that data via the NAEP should be halted immediately.

"We are extremely pleased and thankful that Liberty Counsel and so many organizations around the country have joined this important national fight for student data and psychological privacy," said Dr. Karen Effrem, executive director of FSCCC and president of Education Liberty Watch. "Congress must do its due diligence and properly exercise its oversight authority to stop these obvious statutory and constitutional violations and this continued federal overreach before the privacy and futures of our students are further harmed. We urge our members to help educate their members of Congress about this issue and to be sure to opt their children out of this very invasive test."
Karen R. Effrem, MD
888-376-5550 (office)


What You Can Do:
1) Make sure your members of Congress see this letter and demand that the planned psychological profiling of our children be stopped.
2) Also educate your congressional representatives on the dangers of social emotional research in SETRA S 227, the Strengthening Education Through Research Act by giving or sending them this one page handout.
3) Educate your candidates for Congress on these very important privacy issues
4) PLEASE support us in this David and Goliath battle against the Washington Education Cartel trying to control the lives and futures of our children and grandchildren! 
Thank you for everything you are doing to protect the hearts and minds of our children!

Collier County Groups Take Stand Against Transgender Edict June, 2016

Kudos and many thanks to the Salt and Light Advisory Council, Collier Citizens for Student Privacy and Safety, and Representative Matt Hudson for their great efforts convening a rally and press conference on June 14th. The purpose was to bring awareness of community opposition to the harmful, unconstitutional, and illegal edict from the Obama administrations's justice and education departments requiring access to bathrooms, locker rooms, and sports team for any student that requests it based on the ephemeral concept of gender identity intead of on biological sex. They planned to present a resolution to the Collier County School Board that evening. The event included a prayer for the victims of the Orlando shooting; an explanation of the resolution by Greg Harper, president of the Advisory Council, a statement by Rep. Hudson regarding the lack of constitutionality of the edict, a discussion of the psychological and ethical ramifications and a final prayer by Father Michael Orsi, also of the Council. The video also contains footage of a simultaneous rally opposing the citizen/parent resolution. Here is the video of the event:

Collier County Salt and Light Council Press Conference from William Hughes on Vimeo. Please click on the blue button to watch the video on Vimeo.

The school board did not vote on the resolution. The board attorney explained the potential loss of $57 million in federal funding. but likely said little about how much money would be freed up by not having to comply with oppressive, byzantine federal regulations. Board member Erika Donalds attempted to add it to the agenda of next month's meeting, but did not prevail. We thank her for that effort. Here is video coverage  from NBC 2 in Naples and below are some other photos from the rallies by the Naples Herald.

The Pulse 2016 Publishes Effrem Response to Invasive Data Mining Op-Ed June, 2016

Thanks to The Pulse 2016 for publishing Dr. Effrem's latest post on the dangers of student data privacy in response to US News & World Report's frightening op-ed lauding invasive affective data mining that psychologically profiles our children in the name of promoting the absolutely awful Next Generation Science Standards.  Here is an excerpt:

Gobert, whose company develops the software she lauds (no conflict of interest there), attempts to justify both the invasive data-mining and the NGSS, which have received poor reviews from many, varied organizations. She raises the favorite bogeyman of the establishment -- American students' 21st place in international rankings of science performance, supposedly endangering US global competitiveness. Yet, she ignores contrary data and research showing no correlation between these rankings and national economic performance.
More alarming is this paragraph, containing the kind of language that sends parents running for the exits of public schools and possibly towards attorneys:

Educational data mining offers more than the traditional statistics used on typical, multiple-choice tests. These high-fidelity data are in the form of log files from mouse clicks within the digital learning environment. They also measure and monitor things like students' saccadic eye patterns as students learn from visual and textual information sources, data from sensors tracking facial expressions and posture, and more. These data are all fine-grained, reflecting students' learning processes, knowledge, affective states . . . . [emphasis added].

Such devices were illustrated and described in a 2013 report called Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perseverance: Critical  Factors for Success in the 21st Century by the US Department of Education's Office of Technology (USOT) (since removed from the website due to parental backlash):

This is yet another reason to urge your members of Congress to oppose SETRA and to put affective data mining protections in any reauthorizations of FERPA or PPRA.

Education Implications of Tonight's Presidential Primary Results May, 2016

Anti-Common Core Senator Ted Cruz suspended his presidential campaign this evening. With pro-Common Core John Kasich mathematically out of the race, Republicans are left with Donald Trump who has called education a core function of the federal government while stating he opposes Common Core. 

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton supports the standards, voted for No Child Left Behind  and Bernie Sanders supported ESSA.

As with everything else, we will need to stay tuned to see what happens with education in this, our beleaguered republic.  In the mean time, please help us continue to fight SETRA and the assessment of mindsets in the NAEP.

Help Alabama Fight Invasive Corporate-Backed Data Mining Bill HB 125! April, 2016

Kudos to Alabama Eagle Forum for taking on the fight of an invasive data mining bill, HB 125, which establishes a longitudinal database with very few privacy protections.  It is backed by the Business and Workforce Councils of Alabama, the type of state level corporate and government groups that have been pushing the inferior, inappropriate, and indoctrinating Common Core Standards; the invasive tests, and career tracking that will be possible with these databases. 

Here is a description of the bill and the Alabama Eagle Forum's concerns as reported by the Alabama Political Reporter:

Proponents argue that this is necessary for workforce developments.  Opponents argue that this is government spying on kids.

Alabama Eagle Forum opposes the legislation.  The conservative group wrote: "The Alabama State Longitudinal Database System Bill or House Bill 125 would create two new State agencies with no accountability and almost unlimited authority.  These agencies' sole purpose would be to collect information on private citizens. HB125 is currently on the move. Call your AL Representative and Senator tell them to oppose now!"

HB125 would create the Alabama Office of Education and Workforce Statistics.  This bill will apply to all public school students and workers leaving public education. Eagle Forum writes, "It will collect private information on individuals, potentially through their entire lives. The purpose of this bill is to collect information on students, and monitor them indefinitely. As the bill states, 'to create the Alabama Longitudinal Data System to provide for the matching of information about students from early learning through postsecondary education and into employment.' (pg. 1) The stated goal of the legislation is to, 'guide decision makers at all levels.' (pg. 3) No clear basis or need for this mass amount of data collection on private citizens including students is provided. The bill contains only vague promises of confidentially with no actual method of protection or limitation on the data collection power of these new agencies. The bill claims to provide protections but provides none. The protection and the maintenance of confidentiality of collected educational data, including compliance with the Federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and all other relevant state and federal privacy laws, and all relevant state cyber security policies, (pg. 5)."

Eagle Forum wrote, "There are currently no State or Federal laws which apply to this bill in regard to protecting students' personally identifiable information such as name, social security number, or family information.  Even if all the information collected were dis-aggregate (meaning not on-its-own enough to identify an individual) it is still dangerous. Dis-aggregate information becomes personal information once you have just a few data points. Eagle Forum of Alabama opposes HB125, as it would create two extremely powerful agencies and violate the rights of Alabamians. If the government is going to seek any private information from citizens, they must provide a sound basis or get a warrant."

The author of this bill is the chairwoman of the House Education Committee, Terri Collins, who sadly has blocked an excellent data protection bill, HB 267, by Rep. Arnold Mooney that was supported by a coalition of organizations as diverse as Alabama Eagle Forum and the Alabama chapter of the ACLU and for which both the American Principles Project and FSCCC/Education Liberty Watch were consulted. 

The efforts to gather data on and psychologically profile our children are growing exponentially as we have discussed in our recent alerts on the Florida sexual orientation survey and the dangers of the federal Strengthening Education through Research Act (SETRA - S. 227).  Please - if you are in or have family members or friends in Alabama, urge them to contact their Alabama senators before May 3rd to stop this bill! Thank you!

Florida Gender Identity Survey Shows Need for Psychosocial Data Mining Protection April, 2016

An Orange County public school teacher was suspended and then resigned after giving the following "White Privilege" survey in Spanish class that asked questions about sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, and disability status:


Collecting data about religious affiliation, but not any of the other parameters in this survey, is a violation of current Florida statute 1002.222:

1002.222 Limitations on collection of information and disclosure of confidential and exempt student records.--
(1) An agency or institution as defined in s. 1002.22(1) may not:
(a) Collect, obtain, or retain information on the political affiliation, voting history, religious affiliation, or biometric information of a student or a parent or sibling of the student...

The Orange County school system said that they do not collect this type of information on their students and rightly suspended this teacher who then resigned. However, this is only one example of controversial curricula, standards, and assessments that are being perpetrated on our children, even young children. Here is an example of a gender identity standard in the Common Core aligned federal Head Start standards, which governs the new preschool program imposed on the nation in Every Student Succeeds Act: 

Here is the definition of Gender Identity from The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in a pre-K curriculum called Making Room in the Circle:
"Refers to a person's internal, deeply felt sense of being either male or female, or something other or in between. Because gender identity is internal and personally defined, it is not visible to others."

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) publishes curriculum discussing gender identity and sexual orientation issues for preschool aged children. Here is an excerpt from their book Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves (Derman-Sparks, L. & Edwards, J. (2010) Washington DC: National Association of Young Children Excerpts from Chapter 7 Learning About Gender Identity and Fairness, p. 91) listing some of the organizational "anti-bias" teaching goals in this area:

Children, regardless of gender, will participate in a wide range of activities necessary for their full cognitive and social-emotional development (Anti-Bias Education [ABE] Goal 1)
Children will demonstrate positive feelings about their gender identity and develop clarity about the relationship between their anatomy and their gender role (ABE Goal 1)
Children will talk about and show respect for the great diversity in appearance, emotional expressiveness, behavior, and gender roles for both boys and girls (ABE Goal 2)
Children will recognize unfair or untrue messages (including invisibility) about gender roles. (ABE Goal 3)
Children will practice skills for supporting gender role diversity in their interactions with peers. 
There are many other standards especially for young children that call for teaching and assessing other psychological parameters and use them for student and teacher accountability even though experts in both education and mental health admit that this is very subjective and very difficult to do:

"I do not think we should be doing this [using SEL for accountability]; it is a bad idea," said Angela Duckworth, the MacArthur fellow who has done more than anyone to popularize social-emotional learning, making "grit" -- the title of her book to be released in May -- a buzzword in schools...She resigned from the board of the group overseeing the California project, saying she could not support using the tests to evaluate school performance. Last spring, after attending a White House meeting on measuring social-emotional skills, she and a colleague wrote a paper warning that there were no reliable ways to do so. "Our working title was all measures suck, and they all suck in their own way," she said. (Emphasis added)

Challenges Involved in Infant and Early Childhood Diagnosis
·         "Diagnostic classifications for infancy are still being developed and validated..."
·        "Lack of longitudinal outcome studies"
·        "Broad parameters for determining socioemotional outcomes are not clearly defined" (Emphasis added) 
Many other areas of federal law and policy and global education are promoting social emotional learning (SEL), assessment, and data mining, such as:

It is clear from many sources that the goal is to indoctrinate children into a specific worldview starting at a young age and then use curricular and state assessments to monitor if those viewpoints have been inculcated. Those that do not will have a harder time passing the state tests, getting into college, or getting their desired job. Teachers that do not toe the line will lose their jobs and benefits and schools and districts will lose their funding.  

If you want to preserve academic education, privacy and freedom of thought, please do the following:
  • Contact your US House member and tell them they cannot vote for SETRA - S 227 until the social emotional research language is removed and FERPA is updated with psychological profiling protection language. The House is not in session May 2-6, so you can visit their district offices or attend town halls and take some or all of these materials:
one page information sheet on SETRA that you can email or give them.

handout containing the photos and references regarding these social emotional standards discussed above.

list of quotes and references showing how subjective, non-sensical, and even dangerous it is to assess or screen children on social emotional or mental health parameters.

summary of a recent House hearing on privacy and research containing references, conclusions and recommendations.
Here is a handout that explains all of the statutory, constitutional, and parental rights problems with this idea.


New at The Pulse 2016 - Kasich Wins Praise from Corporate Education Establishment April, 2016

We are grateful to The Pulse 2016 for publishing FSCCC executive director' Dr. Karen Effrem's latest article on the education politics of the 2016 presidential race, titled "Kasich Wins the Prais of the Corporate Education Establishment." Here is an excerpt:

Obviously, this list [supporting Common Core, using tests for accountability, etc.] is exactly the opposite of what many parents want, especially those that are fighting for academic qualityfreedom of thought, educational freedom such as to choose to opt out, and data privacy for their children.  It is also why many presidential candidates are out of the race, including most prominently Jeb Bush and Chris ChristieEducation Week, considered one of the top establishment education publications, is funded by Bill Gates, the world's largest funder and proponent of Common Core. The blog then goes on to describe how well Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Governor John Kasich fits those criteria:
  • Has expanded the number of voucher programs in the state and is a big believer in charter schools. In fact, the number of students in charters in the state has continued to rise. However, in response to corruption and performance issues plaguing the states' charters, last year, Kasich signed into law a bill designed to address Ohio charters' most significant woes.
  • Signed into law an accountability system that uses A-F grades to measure school performance;
  • That A-F accountability system, as well as the state's teacher evaluations, use test scores as a significant component, and the state (albeit just for one year) administered the federally funded PARCC exam;
  • Despite heavy pressure in Ohio, and despite the sentiment among many GOP presidential primary voters, to do otherwise, Kasich has stood by the common core and the state has ultimately stuck with the standards;
  • In 2011, Kasich signed into law and supported a measure to strip teachers' unions (and other unions) of most of their collective bargaining powers. Voters, however, ultimately gave the law the thumbs-down at the ballot box that same year.
The article then goes on to explain how strong Hillary Clinton is on these criteria, which makes her education philosophy quite similar to that of Kasich:

Back when she was Arkansas' first lady, she participated in the push to improve content standards and supports the common core strongly. She has backed charter schools, even doing so in 2007 before a teachers' union convention and getting jeered in the process. And she previously backed a bill in Congress to provide Teach for America, long a target for criticism from teachers' unions, direct federal funding. On Monday, she told Newsday, a New York paper, that she wouldn't opt her granddaughter out of the state's common core exams, even as she called the state's rollout of the standards "disastrous."
The blog then notes that because Clinton has been more critical of charters and less in favor of using test scores for accountability during the 2016 campaign, ultimately, Kasich gets the highest rating for implementing and supporting the corporate/government/foundation agenda, including that of Jeb Bush's Foundation for Excellence in Education:

Among the candidates, then, it could be argued Kasich's record and his campaign rhetoric best match the priorities laid out by various groups such as the Foundation for Excellence in Education [Jeb Bush's group], StudentsFirst (which recently announced its merger with 50CAN, a like-minded organization in several respects), and others.

This great praise and support by the establishment is exactly why Kasich received an 'F' grade on the American Principles Project's Common Core Report card and on many other reviews, why he has only won his home state of Ohio, and why his only path to the Republican nomination would be the unlikely scenario of leapfrogging over Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, the top two contestants in the delegate count by far in the Republican contest. Supporting Common Core, calling parents who disagree hysterical, and diminishing student privacy are not the ways to win friends and influence people, especially parents.

Slightly Less Bad House Version of Competency Education Bill Passes Senate March, 2016

After Senator Alan Hays (R-Umatilla) tremendous efforts to add some common sense protections regarding choice and career tracking were rebuffed yesterday by SB 1714 bill author, Senator Jeff Brandes, the Senate took up the House version of the bill, HB 1365, and passed it 31-6 today.  We are very grateful to Senators Hays, Aaron Bean (R- Fernandina Beach), Rob Bradley (R- Orange Park), Dwight Bullard (D-Miami), Charlie Dean (R- Inverness), and Travis Hutson (R - Jacksonville) for their likely to be prescient choice to vote no.

The good news is that the House version of the bill does not assume district or statewide implementation of the competency based education program before the results of the pilot are in, so although difficult for the districts involved, it will not spread beyond Lake, Pinellas, Palm Beach, and Seminole Counties, at least at this time. And, the application does not have to show a vision of district wide implementation as part of the application.

The bad news is that  very incorrect information about data privacy and career tracking was stated during the debate on Senator Hays' amendment:

Senator Brandes - Data for the pilot program is not collected on individual students, but only on schools
This is not correct for two reasons - 1) The very nature of CBE programs is based on massive amounts of individual data collection from projects, online curriculum and frequent assessments; and 2) One cannot tell the success of a CBE program without data on how students do.  Here is information from two of the counties involved:

Lake County
"LCS [Lake County Schools] will devilop
op a mechanism to allow students to have some voice and choice in how instruction is delivered and how mastery is evidenced, based on data in the learner profile."

"Pinellas County Schools plans to personalize learning by: Launching Lealman Innovation Academy in partnership with the New Tech Network in 2015-16. The school will serve as a model of innovation and personalized learning for other district schools to emulate."
New Tech Network
"The smart use of technology supports our innovative approach to instruction and culture. All classrooms have a one-to-one computing ratio. With access to Web-enabled computers and the latest in collaborative learning technology, every student becomes a self-directed learner who no longer needs to rely on teachers or textbooks for knowledge and direction. We use Echo, an online learning management system to create a vibrant network which helps students, teachers, and parents connect to each other, and to student projects across the country."
"Tools to support school-wide, project-based learning
Course agendas
Project management tools
Outcome-based gradebook
Student journals
Discussion forums
Peer feedback tool
Behaviour tracker tool
Tools to award and encourage
School and Network-wide groups
Ssenator Brandes - Answered "no" to a question by Senator Joe Negron asking about career tracking in the bill
While technically correct that the bill itself does not require career tracking, Florida statute already requires a career plan as young as 6th grade which will only e made worse by CBE:Current Florida statute that Senator Hays was trying to amend requires a class in 6th, 7th, or 8th grade that  "must result in a completed  personalized academic and career plan for the student..." (Paragraph (e) of subsection (1) of section 1003.4156).  The State of Florida or any governmental entity absolutely does not have the constitutional authority to tell a child that they have to take a class to make such a momentous decision as their academic or career path as young as 11 years old if they do that career course in 6th grade.  The statute does not currently require them to follow the career path, but that is the end result of the assessments and data collection, especially online, that happens as a result of the course, and that will be made much worse by the competency based education programs.
How many times did one change one's mind between the 6th grade and when you started doing what you are doing? A key purpose of CBE is to move toward digital badging where they do teaching, assessing and data collection based on workforce skills instead of knowledge. Once it is in Johnny's electronic file that his career plan made in 6th, 7th, or 8th grade that includes fuzzy, subjective psychosocial assessments that project a kid should be a truck driver (nothing wrong with truck drivers) instead of an accountant, lawyer, or whatever, Johnny's high school class offerings are going to shunt him into being a truck driver instead of college prep.
Or if a student chooses a career path at the end of 8th based on this course, then finds he doesn't like it or does not do well in that, he has lost much time to switch to college prep or even another career track.  The benefit of a traditional education program is that a student has broad based academic knowledge that can be used in ANY career and they can change their minds later.  If they are taught knowledge, they will have the habits of mind to be able to develop the "21st century skills" of communication, collaboration, etc. If they focus too early on narrow, specific job skills, they may not learn the requisite knowledge to pivot into other things.
This is career tracking by default, not fiat, but is just as tyrannical as what they do in planned economies. This has been the plan for a very long time:
Here is a quote from Marc Tucker, head of the National Center for Education and the Economy, and a great friend of Hillary Clinton's as well as the current head of the Data Quality Campaign (a corporate backed womb to tomb education data gathering entity that partners with The Foundation for Excellence in Education) from back in 1992 explaining that his vision was:
"to remold the entire American system" into "a seamless web that literally extends from cradle to grave and is the same system for everyone," coordinated by "a system of labor market boards at the local, state and federal levels" where curriculum and "job matching" will be handled by counselors "accessing the integrated computer-based program."
Here is a quote from a recent report (2013) on global education and workforce training that is very focused on this kind of effort and shows great progress towards Tucker's vision:
Platforms for crowd investing like Upstart that "allows to invest up to US$ 200,000 into a talented young person who then shares a small share of their income over 5 or 10 years). This model...can soon become a mass solution as big data models of competence profiles would allow to estimate the most beneficial educational & career tracks."

Thank you for all you have done to try to stop this bill.  We have made progress in that five Republicans actually stood up to a Gates and Jeb Bush foundation backed bill.  We must build on this progress, parents in the affected districts must exercise their opt-out rights as reassured by Senator Brandes, and work toward increased privacy rights for students in the next session.

URGENT ALERT: Debate & Final Vote On Competency Education Bill Starts Today March, 2016

URGENT ALERT - The Senate will be voting later today on SB 1714, the data mining, psychological profiling, career tracking Competency Education Pilot Program! We are deeply grateful to Senator Alan Hays for filing an amendment to try to at least stop the involuntary shunting of children into certain careers based on the needs of business and subjective psychological assessments.  Because we have no assurances that even this mild, common sense protection will be accepted and because the amendment will NOT change the overall outcome of this bill, we are still urging opposition for the following reasons. (Details are available HERE):
  1. Documents from both Pinellas and Lake Counties admit that teachers will be turned into "facilitators" harming the teacher-student interaction and eventually resulting in teacher layoffs.
  2. Two of the four counties listed in the bill have not received grant funding at all making us wonder from where the funding will come.  
  3. Gates grants and programs have a long track record of failure, costing Hillsborough $24 million more than they received for a failed teacher program and Gates was involved in the invasive inBloom data mining project that sought to share data without consent in several states spurring lawsuits. as the cartoon shows, districts are being addicted to "free money" and then will be in worse financial shape than ever.
  4. Many quotes from proponent organizations, including the Gates Foundation, show that the goal of these programs is to do the majority of the teaching online, with constant assessments, data mining, and affective or psychosocial profiling of our children.
  5. Because of still weak data protection laws, this data will still be collected and shared with third parties without parental consent.
  6. Lake County that has received a Gates grant for this has already spent $8 million more out of taxpayer funds than they have received.
In addition, the omnibus or "Train" bill, SB 524 also contains this same bill language, as well as other bad provisions and should be opposed as well.

1)      Urge your senators to vote NO on both SB 1714 and SB 524. Contact information is below the cartoon and you may use the talking points above.
2)      Contact Rep. Ray Rodriguez, the House author of HB 1365 at 850-717-5076 and tell him you do not want the House and Senate versions to be reconciled.
3)      Express grave disappointment with the handling of this bill to Senator Brandes (850-487-5022) and tell him you do not want this bill to proceed
4)      If you are in Lake, Pinellas, Seminole, or Palm Beach Counties, let your school board know that you do not want them to continue or start this program, as the case may be, and that you do not want your child to participate if they choose to ignore you.
5)      If you live in other Florida counties, tell your board that you do not want this type of invasive, expensive and likely to fail program in your county.  


Send a mass email to:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Or call and or email individual senators at:
Senator Joseph Abruzzo
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5025
Senator Thad Altman
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5016
Senator Aaron Bean
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5004
Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5030
Senator Ron Bradley
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5007
Senator Jeff Brandes

Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5022
Senator Oscar Braynon
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5036
Senator Dwight Bullard
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5039
Senator Jeff Clemens
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5027
Senator Charles Dean
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5005
Senator Nancy Detert
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5028
Miguel Diaz de la Portilla
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5040
Senator Greg Evers
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5 
Senator Anitere Flores
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5037
Senator Don Gaetz
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5001
Senator Bill Galvano
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5026
Senator Rene Garcia
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5038 

Senator Andy Gardiner
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5013
Senator Audrey Gibson
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5009
Senator Denise Grimsley
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5021
Senator Alan Hays
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5011
Senator Dorothy L.  Hukill
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5008
Senator Arthenia L.  Joyner

Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5019
Senator Jack Latvala
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5020
Senator Tom Lee
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5024
Senator John Legg
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5017 
Senator Gwen Margolis
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5035
Senator Bill Montford
Tallahassee Office - Same as District office
Senator Joe Negron
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5032
Senator Garrett Richter
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5023
Senator Jeremy Ring
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5029
Senator Maria Sachs
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5034
Senator David Simmons
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5010
Senator Wilton Simpson

Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5018
Senator Christopher L.  Smith
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5031
Senator Eleanor Sobel
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5033
Senator Darren Soto
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5014
Senator Kelli Stargel
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5015
Senator Geraldine Thompson
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5012
116 Cousley Drive SE
Port Charlotte, FL 33952
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URGENT ALERT Competency Ed Bill Being Rammed through Senate Two Ways March, 2016

URGENT ALERT: The corporate education masters and their foundations are so anxious to obtain the lucrative education and psychosocial data on Florida's children, that they are determined to ram through BOTH the stand-alone data mining, psychological profiling, career tracking bill, otherwise known as the competency based education pilot program, SB 1714 as well as the same language as part of a multi-part omnibus or 'crazy train' bill, SB 524.
When the stand-alone bill disappointingly passed the Appropriations Committee last week, we were still optimistic that there could be some common sense protective amendments as the author, Senator Jeff Brandes, had promised Senator Alan Hays in committee, before the bill went to the floor and a plan to pursue significant student data protection legislation next year.  Since the committee vote on SB 1714, we have found out that the language of 1714 has also been included in 524 and despite multiple efforts through this morning, there is no new amendment language as of this writing.   

Proponents of this bill keep saying that CBE is not computerized teaching via data mining, psychological profiling, and dumbed down low level workforce training skills. Yet here is an excerpt from an email from a Lake County mother describing the program in the Lake County Schools:

As far as personalized learning [CBE], it was presented at a school board meeting after several classrooms had completed or were in the middle of the pilot program. Chairs were replaced with Yoga Balls, different shapes of desk were purchased, classrooms were painted bright colors. They speak about "flipping the classroom" which means having the students view the lessons at home for homework and then coming into the classroom and doing the actual homework together with the teacher. Great concept in High School and some teachers already do this, [but the] huge hurdle is that not all the kids have access to view the lesson at home. On an elementary level using Stations is basically what they are doing. Most "excellent" teachers already use this concept and have been for a very long time.  Lake County's reality is that we do not have enough computers for a child to begin his day and end his day on one. We have not even fully engaged Personalized Learning in Lake and we are already facing an $8 million deficit[from what has been given in grants]. What some of us can not get over is at every meeting they approve more staff to take trips to "view" or "train" for personalized learning. It's to different locations each time? You can find below the latest news article in our local paper.
The Florida Legislature, the Bill Gates Foundation and the Jeb Bush's former Foundation for Excellence in Education apparently need some remedial education programs of their own.  Despite Bush's support for Common Core, data gathering and the behemoth federal education bill destroying his presidential campaign; despite Senator Rubio's support for an analogous massive data gathering bill for college students and the workforce decreasing his grade in the Common Core Report Card; despite the long record of failure for Gates education programs; and despite massive opposition to the data mining and psychological profiling of competency based education by many groups in Florida and across the nation, this pilot program appears to be on track to pass the Senate either later today, Thursday March 3rd or Friday, March 4th. It will then be reconciled with a quite similar, but not identical House bill. This bill is every bit as bad, if not worse than the data mining bill, SB 878, of 2013.

1)      Urge your senators to vote NO on both SB 1714 and SB 524. Contact information and a sample email are available at the United for Florida Children website and there is a summary of the problems with CBE with quotes and references HERE.
2)      Contact Rep. Ray Rodriguez, the House author of HB 1365 at 850-717-5076 and tell him you do not want the House and Senate versions to be reconciled.
3)      Express grave disappointment with the handling of this bill to Senator Brandes (850-487-5022) and tell him you do not want this bill to proceed
4)      If you are in Lake, Pinellas, Seminole, or Palm Beach Counties, let your school board know that you do not want them to continue or start this program as the case may be and that you do not want your child to participate if they choose to ignore you.
5)      If you live in other Florida counties, tell your board that you do not want this type of invasive, expensive and likely to fail program in your county.  


ALERT! Please Call to Oppose Competency Based Education Bill! February, 2016

The Competency Based Education (CBE) programs we warned of in our most recentblog post are nearly cone moving through the legislature. HB 1365 has passed the House.A slightly different Senate bill 1714 is getting it's final committee hearing on Thursday, February 25th from 10 AM to 5 PM. This is the last best chance to stop this bill! The main concerns about this bill are as follows:
  1. SB 1714 presumes district-wide implementation of the CBE program well before the results of the pilot program are in (see lines 39-41).
  2. According to the Gates Foundation website, there is Gates grant money for this type of program in Lake ($7 million) and Pinellas Counties ($3.3 million), but not for Palm Beach and Seminole.  Will state or country taxpayers or both have to pick up the slack to fund these expensive, technology-driven programs?
  3. The Gates Foundation and technology based education programs in general have a long track record of failure as happened in Hillsborough Countycosting the taxpayers $24 million.
  4. There is no language protecting student data privacy from sharing with third party corporate vendors, no protection for student psychological data privacy and no language specifically allowing students, parents, schools or districts to opt out of this program if it fails like other Gates programs have, if academic learning and progress is harmed, and if privacy is violated. 
  5. Educational and emotional profiling and data mining is the cornerstone of these types of programs.  The data is shared with third party vendors and the federal government without consent. 
There are detailed references for these assertions and more at: 

Here are the email addresses that may be copied and put in a single email to the
Appropriations Committee followed by phone numbers.  Please contact these senators and ask them to vote this bill down or protect privacy and choice in a much stronger way.
Florida Senate -Committee on Appropriations - Members
Copy and paste these emails addresses to send a bulk email:, ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Chair: Senator Tom Lee (R)
E-mail -
District Office - (813) 653-7061
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5024

Vice Chair: Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto (R)
E-mail -
District Office - (239) 338-2570
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5030 

Senator Thad Altman (R)
Twitter: @SenatorAltman
E-mail -
District Office - (321) 868-2132
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5016

Senator Anitere Flores (R)
Twitter: @Senator_Flores
E-mail -
District Office - (305) 270-6550
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5037

Senator Don Gaetz (R)
E-mail -
District Office - (850) 897-5747
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5001

Senator Bill Galvano (R)
E-mail -
District Office - (941) 741-3401
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5026

Senator Rene Garcia (R)
E-mail -
District Office - (305) 364-3100
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5038

Senator Denise Grimsley (R)
E-mail -
District Office - (863) 386-6016
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5021

Senator Alan Hays (R)
E-mail -
District Office - (352) 742-6441
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5011

Senator Dorothy L.  Hukill (R)
E-mail -
District Office - (386) 304-7630
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5008

Senator Arthenia L.  Joyner (D)
E-mail -
District Office - (813) 233-4277
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5019

Senator Jack Latvala (R)
E-mail -
District Office - (727) 793-2797
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5020

Senator Gwen Margolis (D)
E-mail -
District Office - (305) 571-5777
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5035

Senator Bill Montford (D)
E-mail -
District Office - (850) 487-5003
Tallahassee Office - Same as District office

Senator Joe Negron (R)
E-mail -
District Office - (772) 219-1665
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5032

Senator Garrett Richter (R)
E-mail -
District Office - (239) 417-6205
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5023

Senator Jeremy Ring (D)
E-mail -
District Office - (954) 917-1392
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5029

Senator David Simmons (R)
E-mail -
District Office - (407) 262-7578
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5010

Senator Christopher L.  Smith (D)
E-mail -
District Office - (954) 321-2705
Tallahassee Office - (850) 487-5031

The Florida Stop Common Core Coalition was pleased to co-sponsor this Call to Action
hosted at coalition partner, UnitEd for Florida Children's website and joined by the following additional organizations:

New at The Pulse 2016 - Bush Donors & Partners Fund Big Student Data Grab February, 2016

Many thanks to The Pulse 2016 for publishing Dr. Effrem's latest article on the corporate crony ties between Big Data and Jeb Bush. This cabal is pushing the effort of the federal government to psychologically profile our kids via Strenghtening Education Through Research Act (SETRA - S 227) and the push for Competency Based Education that promotes dumbed down, psychosocial workforce skills instead of authentic academic education.

Here is an excerpt: 

Just as the Common Core pushing textbook publishing giants like Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Pearson have had financial incentive to support Jeb Bush and his now former organization, the Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE), corporate cronyism is also alive and well via those companies involved in Big Data.

The Data Quality Campaign (DQC) is a corporate-backed front group that spends all its time trying to portray the ugly and invasive womb-to-tomb data grab and psychological profiling of our children as helpful, necessary, and the government's right...

...With whom does DQC work to achieve these goals that are in opposition to privacy and parental rights? There are several important connections to Jeb Bush and FEE. Their website lists FEE as a partner, and the following screenshot shows some of their funders:

Primary voters need to be aware of this information just as they should know the education records of all of the other candidates.

The Pulse 2016 Publishes Effrem Article on Rubio Involvement with Common Core January, 2016

The Pulse 2016 published Dr. Effrem's most recent article that mostly covered Senator Marco Rubio's association with Common Core related to his support for Race to the Top and Arne Duncan as described in the Tampa Bay Times. The article also discussed former Governor Jeb Bush, Donald Trump, and Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. Here is an excerept:
Obviously, Race to the Top and Arne Duncan were the means the Obama administration used to impose and spread Common Core that was aided by Bush and his Foundation for Excellence in Education as Rubio correctly pointed out. Bush also took credit for the Common Core cementing and Fed Ed expanding Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) while Rubio, to his credit, voted against the initial Senate version. However, Rubio failed to vote against cloture or the final version of ESSA or the omnibus that increased funding for the tyrannical federal programs that are in ESSA.
Leary clearly explains the damage that Bush's support of Common Core has done to his campaign:

Bush's support is clear as is the damage it has done to him in the presidential race.

Although Rubio's record is far better than Bush's on the Common Core system, it is far from perfect. In addition to what is shown above, we have documented the major contributions to Rubio by Common Core billionaires Bill Gates and Paul Singer, and our friends at the Pulse 2016 have shown that Rubio is pushing the invasive data mining bill, The Know Before You Go Act.  This bill seeks to have the federal government collect data on students throughout their lives just to be able to provide information to others about which colleges and majors provide the best jobs. This contributed in large part to the Florida senator's merely average grade of a C on Common Core by American Principles in Action. Privacy expert Barmak Nassirian, Director of Federal Relations and Policy Analysis for the American Association of State Colleges said:

Tracking autonomous free individuals through most of their lives in the name of better information for the benefit of others may be justifiable, but its extremism should at the very least be acknowledged and addressed. 

Rubio has recently been echoing the strong opposition both to the Common Core (by criticizing Chris Christie) as well as talking about abolishing the US Department of Education. Senator Ted Cruz has been forcefully stating these positions since at least 2011, according to Donna Garner, a long-time activist from Cruz's home state of Texas. Cruz was also the first candidate to sign Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly's pledge against Common Core.  Ultimately, though, Rubio's opposition to the standards and the US DOE has not been as strong and long standing as that of Cruz and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, both of whom received grades of A- on the APIA report card. 

Garner also points out that although billionaire businessman Donald Trump expresses opposition to Common Core, he has given liberally to the politicians that put the terrible system into place:

Our country needs to turn a deaf ear to Donald Trump's recent anti-Common Core comments. It is Donald Trump who used his vast wealth to give campaign donations and/or to support publicly the Democrats who perpetrated both ObamaCare and Common Core.  These include Obama, Rahm Emanuel, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, Charlie Rangel, John Kerry, and Bill Gates:  6.22.15 "How Donald Trump Helped Democrats Pass Obamacare" -- by Marc A. Thiessen Washington Post --

Voters need to be discerning in their choices especially when it comes to the freedom, futures, and privacy of their children.

Please read the whole article and share!

Important Bills to Support in Tallahassee - Mayfield, Hays, Garcia, Pilon, Plascenia, Montford January, 2016

The Florida Legislature is back in session. We will be analyzing a number of education bills so that you can take proper action. Here are several good bills being offered that we will be monitoring and supporting in this session to deal with the ongoing tragic consequences of Common Core and high stakes testing.  Please support these by asking your legislators to co-sponsor and vote for them in committees and on the floor. We are extremely grateful to all of the sponsors and co-sponsors:

  ELECTED COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION - HJR 767 (Mayfield; Murphy, Pilon; Rehwinkel Vasilinda; Rodríguez, J.)/ SJR 942 (Garcia, Latvala, Bullard) - If approved by both chambers of the legislature, this very good measure that has bipartisan support would go directly to the 2018 ballot as a constitutional amendment. It would return the commissioner of education to an elected position and make him/her along with the governor and the three other elected members of the cabinet the state school board instead of the unaccountable, appointed school board we have now that gave us Common Core and worsened the high stakes testing mess.  It would return accountability for education back to the voters.  

Please contact your legislators right away to support this! A template resolution for your organization to support this resolution is available HERE.

Plasencia and Cortes, B. Ahern; Antone; Berman; Cortes, J.; Geller; Gonzalez; Harrison; La Rosa; Latvala; Miller; Plakon; Raulerson; Rehwinkel Vasilinda; Steube; Sullivan) / SB 1002 (Hays; Brandes; Soto; Sobel - This bill requires public schools to provide 30 minute per day of free play recess through grade 5 that cannot be withheld due to academic or punitive reasons. It is up for a hearing in the House K-12 Subcommittee on Tuesday, January 26th.  Please attend if you can and contact your legislators to support this common sense child helping bill.____
3) STATE SOVEREIGNTY: HM 983 (Mayfield)/SM 1384 (Hays) -  After the ESSA and ridiculous $1.1 TRILLION omnibus  passed further expanding the federal role in education, this non-binding resolution is still very important to get the ball rolling on the states re-establishing their 10th amendment rights. HERE is an excellent, but non-YouTube video interview with Rep. Mayfield discussing the measure. 
5) INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS: HB 899 (Pilon; Ahern, Antone, Beshears, Caldwell; Costello; Eagle; Gaetz; Grant; Mayfield; Santiago; Stone; Sullivan; Tobia)/SB 1018 (Hays; Hutson; Benacquisto) The purpose/intent of the original SB 864 was to assign constitutional responsibility for all instructional materials to school boards, and require a transparent policy/process for school boards and parents to remove objectionable materials. Due to several loopholes in FS 1006.283, the spirit and intent of the original bill are currently being ignored by many school districts in Florida. The purpose of this bill is to fix these loopholes and restore more local control by allowing elected school boards to "meet or exceed the state standards" and thereby choose excellent curriculum and overcome some of the many flaws with Common Core. This bill also needs sponsors right away.  Please follow the action recommendations of our friends at the Florida Citizens Alliance who are spearheading efforts on this bill.
5) ACCOUNTABILITY PAUSE & REVIEW: HB 1135 (Mayfield and Plascenia)/ SB 1124 (Montford) -  This bipartisan measure continues the work of cleaning up the mess of the transition from FCAT to FSA, the 2015 testing debacle, and the sham validity study. It gives incomplete school grades for this past year and requires a full review of Florida's accountability system.

FSCCC Review of Bush Education Plan Published on the Pulse 2016 January, 2016

The Pulse 2016 published Dr. Effrem's latest article, a review of Jeb Bush's education plan titled: Six Reasons Jeb's Plan Fails to End Federal Tyranny in Education.  Here is the introduction and list of concerns:

Former Florida Governor and presidential candidate Jeb Bush released his education plan on January 18th.  In it, he tries hard to sound like he cares about and supports local control and parental autonomy. In fact, the document, on pre-K through grade 12 issues, is merely a kinder, gentler form of federal tyranny that continues unconstitutional government involvement in pre-K, high stakes testing, data mining, and K-12 education in general. The plan fails on multiple important fronts:
  1. Federal Involvement in Education
  2. Preschool
  3. Title I and IDEA Portability
  4. Data Collection and Data Privacy
  5. Promotion of Charter Schools
  6. Continued Dependence on a Flawed High Stakes System

We appreciate our ongoing partnership with the Pulses 2016 and the American Principles Project.  Please read the whole article and share!

Executive of Textbook Publisher Supporting Bush Foundation Admits Common Core is a Crony Capitalist Scheme January, 2016

A stunning new Project Veritas undercover video documents what parents and activists have been saying for many years. Common Core is not at all about raising academic performance and excellence for children.  It is about making money for textbook publishers. In this short video, now fired Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) executive, Dianne Barrow, admits:

  • She "hates kids," and she's "in it to sell books. Don't even kid yourselves for a heartbeat."
  •  "It's all about the money."
  • "You don't think that the educational publishing companies are in it for education do you? No, they're in it for the money."
  • "She has worked for textbook giant Pearson; "everyone has worked for Pearson. They own the world. You know? They just do underhanded things."
  • "The fact that they have to align the educational standards is what they have to do to sell the books."
  • "Well, they [publishers] can't sell anything unless it's aligned to Common Core."
  • "They [publishers] didn't lobby for them [standards] to be put in place, but they lobby but now they go after the money."

Here is the entire video:

One of the important ways publishers like Houghton Mifflin and Pearson  "go after the money" is supporting former Florida Governor Jeb Bush's now former foundation, The Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE). As shown in the screen shots below, both HMH and Pearson have contributed substantially to FEE and its annual national summit. The Washington Post chronicled how FEE paid for legislators' expenses to attend these meetings where corporate lobbyists had full access to the legislators. As has been extensively documented by writers and researchers like Michelle Malkin and Breitbart's Dr. Susan Berry, as well as other organizations like In the Public Interest, after these large donations and the summits, FEE often lobbied for legislation or policy that would help these companies.




Bush's support for Common Core and for the tyrannical Every Student Succeeds Act has cost him dearly in the presidential primary. Despite his claim and that of Senator Lamar Alexander that Common Core is "over as an issue in a federal race," parents and activists remain furious at Bush and other establishment candidates who do or did support Common Core, like John Kasich, Chris Christie, and Mike Huckabee, all of whose poll numbers are even worse than Bush's nationally. After spending over $60 million, the best polling performance Bush has had recently is a breathless report by the media that he is in second place in New Hampshire. In reality, he is ahead of John Kasich by 0.1 percentage point and in a five-way tie with Kasich, Christie, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio for second place within the poll's 4.1% margin of error, meaning he could in reality be in 6th place in that poll as he is in the latest Monmouth poll released yesterday showing him in 6th place at four percent.  Bush is also in 6th place in the RCP average for New Hampshire. Nationally, Bush has slipped to 6th place in the RCP average with 3.8%. He is indeed as portrayed by the political cartoon website Grrrgraphics, the "Incredible Shrinking Jeb." This is thanks to you, the parents of America making clear that they will not support presidential candidates supporting the destruction of the lives, futures, and privacy of their children with Common Core and its associated psychological profiling and data mining.  Thank you! Fight on!

Federal Psych Profiling Bill & Data Mining Bill is Back! The Pulse 2016 Publishes Effrem Article January, 2016

ACTION ALERT! THIS BILL CAN COME UP ANY TIME! Like the zombie movie character Freddie Krueger that refused to die, the federal psychological profiling and data mining bill, Strengthening Education Through Research (SETRA, S. 227) has been resurrected by Senator Lamar Alexander and it Big Data backers .  This bill that you helped us stop in February was rammed through by Senator Alexander on a voice vote after ESSA and the omnibus budget passed right before the holidays.  It expands psychological research on school children, strengthens state longitudinal databases that are or soon will be linked into the prohibited national student database and contains other privacy horrors.

Thanks to American Principles Project and the Pulse 2016 for publishing Dr. Effrem's article on this very important topic excerpted here:

Here is a recap and update of what we wrote earlier about the extremely serious problems with SETRA:
SETRA reauthorizes the 2002 Education Sciences Reform Act (ESRA) that has been very problematic, because it started the concept of state longitudinal databases, evaded the prohibition on a national database by creating "national cooperative education statistics systems,"  allowed personally identifiable information to go to international agencies, and removed the  previous penalties of fines and imprisonment for misusing individual student data. SETRA continues or worsens all of that. Here are four major problems with SETRA (A detailed analysis of these points is available HERE):
1. SETRA seeks to expand federal psychological profiling of our children.
Section 132 of the bill (page 28, line 16-21) inserts the following:
"and which may include research on social and emotional learning, and the acquisition of competencies and skills, including the ability to think critically, solve complex problems, evaluate evidence, and communicate effectively..." (Emphasis added).
The US Department of Education (USED) is already in flagrant violation of the Tenth Amendment.  The amount of data collected on individual children, families, and teachers via USED through this law and the weakening . . .  of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) . . .  is appalling and [violates] the Fourth Amendment as well.  To then give the federal government the right to research the thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and behaviors of free American citizens, especially innocent children, is completely unacceptable . . . .
2. SETRA only appears to prohibit a national database, but actually promotes it.
Section 157 of the bill takes out the word "national" and ostensibly prohibits a national database. While this appears to be an improvement, it unfortunately doesn't do anything to stop the egregious loss of privacy that has happened since ESRA established the "national cooperative statistics systems" and "state longitudinal databases" in 2002.  These databases have become more invasive via The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA, Stimulus), Race to the Top, and the America COMPETES Act.  In addition, they are relying on outdated and weak student privacy laws (FERPA and PPRA), there is no enforcement mechanism, and we have seen how the federal government repeatedly and flagrantly violates its promises not to extend its authority, as with Race to the Top, Common Core, and the national tests.
3. The bill continues to rely on a severely outdated and weakened Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

(FERPA) to protect student privacy.Both ESRA and SETRA refer to FERPA (20 USC 1232g) . . .  and require data privacy to be handled according to that law.  However, FERPA passed in 1974 long before the presence of interoperable databases and cloud computing.  It also only discusses sanctions on entities that mishandle the data and those [sanctions], which used to include fines and imprisonment, were severely weakened when ESRA was passed in 2002.  Students, families, and teachers whose sensitive personal and family data about everything from "social and emotional" issues to genetic data in newborn screening data have no redress.  According to an investigation by Politico, education technology companies are "scooping up as many as 10 million unique data points on each child, each day." (Emphasis added) Finally, FERPA has been severely weakened via regulatory fiat to gut consent requirements and broaden access to data by federal agencies and private entities.
4. SETRA continues the large loophole that renders PPRA ineffective in preventing nosy social questions in curriculum and assessments.
PPRA, cited in section 182 as 20 USC 1232h, prohibits the collection of psychological, political, religious, and other sensitive data in surveys, but not in curriculum and assessments such as in Common Core.
In addition to the Rep. Tim Ryan's gushing admission during ESSA floor debate, here is another of many pieces of evidence that a key purpose of the Common Core standards and aligned assessments is to psychologically manipulate and profile our children:
"ASCA [American School Counselors AssociationMindsets & Behaviors align with specific standards from the Common Core State Standards through connections at the competency level. (Emphasis added)"

SETRA is not listed on the House of Representatives schedule for the week of January 4th, but will likely come up very soon, probably on the consent calendar. Fortunately, if only one House member objects and calls for a recorded vote, we'll see who in the House believes in the psychological invasion of our children. Please call your House member at 202-224-3121 and ask him or her to object to SETRA if it appears on the consent calendar. It should be removed from the consent calendar and, at the very least, the social emotional research language should be removed via amendment.  If it is to be passed regardless of these serious objections, it must be done via a recorded vote. Any politician who supports exposing our children's psyches to the federal government should at least have to do so in the light of day.

Further Evidence of Bipartisan & Corporate Corruption & Betrayal on ESSA & Common Core January, 2016

In addition to the evidence we provided in our statement at the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 100% Democrat support, the Obama administration's glee to so rapidly sign it, and their declaration that few if any states will get out of Common Core because of the way the law is written, there is new evidence of collusion between the Obama administration and Republican leaders House Education Chairman John Kline, Senate Education Chairman Lamar Alexander, and Speaker Paul Ryan.

The following are excerpts from a Politico Pro article as analyzed by our friend Emmett McGroarty at American Principles Project:

In Duncan's own words, speaking of Alexander and Kline:
We had many, many conversations behind the scenes . . . . And I said for us to support it, they'd have to shed their far, far right [i.e., constituents who support the Constitution and oppose Common Core] . . . . I honestly didn't know if they'd have the political courage to do that. But they both said they would and they did. I give them tremendous credit for that.

And here he recounts his interaction with Ryan:
About a month before [final Senate passage of the bill], I ran into Speaker [Paul] Ryan and we just talked briefly. I asked if he was going to back this, whether he's willing to take on the far right. I just asked him straight up. And he said, "Absolutely. We're going to back this." And, he did. That's when I thought it had a real shot.

Here is where Duncan describes the tactics of the Republican betrayal:
We were intentionally quiet on the bill they asked us specifically not to praise it and to let it get through. And so we went into radio silence and then talked about it after the fact. . . . Our goal was to get this bill passed intentionally silent on the many, many good aspects of the bill . . . [W]e were very strategically quiet on good stuff . . . .

So Alexander, Kline, and Ryan asked the Administration to keep quiet while they slipped its policies into the bill that they would then market to their "far right" as something that overturned those policies. The "far right" wasn't fooled [witness the letter from over 200 parent groups in 46 states], but many, many members of Congress were.

And then Duncan took a victory lap:
The final thing is we have every ability to implement, to regulate the law . . . it's just a Washington typical storyline. . . .  And candidly, our lawyers are much smarter than many of the folks who were working on this bill. There are some face-saving things you give up, some talking points you give up, which we always do because we're focused on substance.  And we have every ability to implement.  That's all I've ever wanted.

So, just as we warned, the talking points put out by Kline and Alexander's committees were just that, talking points with all of the substance of wet toilet tissue. Add all of this to the fact that Democrat Rep. Tim Ryan freely admitted on the floor of the House that one of the main purposes of Common Core is psychological manipulation...

...and that the CEO of Exxon Mobil, Rex Tillerson, besides blackmailing states like Pennsylvania and Florida to continue Common Core or risk losing his corporation's business in their state, has also freely admitted in a panel discussion quoted in Fortune Magazine that our precious children are mere "products" of the public school system," "defective" ones at that, and  only chattel to be molded whatever way the corporate masters like he and Bill Gates deem appropriate...  

"I'm not sure public schools understand that we're their customer--that we, the business community, are your customer," said Tillerson during the panel discussion. "What they don't understand is they are producing a product at the end of that high school graduation."

The Exxon CEO didn't hesitate to extend his analogy. "Now is that product in a form that we, the customer, can use it? Or is it defective, and we're not interested?" American schools, Tillerson declared, "have got to step up the performance level--or they're basically turning out defective products that have no future. Unfortunately, the defective products are human beings. So it's really serious. It's tragic. But that's where we find ourselves today."
... and that Tillerson wrote about 21st century global skills in his letter that all but blackmailed Pennsylvania  into immediately implementing Common Core instead of delaying it as the parents of the state wanted...  (The US DOE and multiple other organiations have admitted that these 21st century skills are non-cognitive and psychosocial in several Orwellian reports showing their plans to carry out affective data mining and psychological profiling and manipulation of our children using Common Core)...

... and what we have is very clear evidence of crony capitalism large companies joining with the leaders of both parties to manipulate and use our children as fodder or drones for the corporate state.

The proponents of this system that has failed everywhere and every time it has been tried may think they have won with ESSA, but they are only fueling the rise of the outsiders and constitutional conservatives in the presidential election like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Ben Carson, as well as the growth and influence of the US House Freedom Caucus (87% of whom voted against ESSA), the Tea Party Caucus and other freedom minded groups within Congress to stand for the rights of parents and scale back the unconstitutional role of the federal government in education, as well as ever important state and local elections to reclaim state sovereignty. as more and more parents see what is being done to their children, it will also add momentum to the calls to boycott corporations like Exxon, Pearson, and Microsoft. Game on.

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