Stop Common Core in Michigan http://stopcommoncoreinmichigan.com Thu, 26 Mar 2015 13:32:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.3 Update on STEM and 3rd Grade Reading http://stopcommoncoreinmichigan.com/2015/03/update-on-stem-and-3rd-grade-reading/ http://stopcommoncoreinmichigan.com/2015/03/update-on-stem-and-3rd-grade-reading/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 19:45:55 +0000 http://stopcommoncoreinmichigan.com/?p=1549 The Senate Education Committee voted to pass SB 169/170 STEM diploma bills out of committee on Tuesday.  The House Education Committee is not scheduled to take up the companion bill at this time.  Please continue to call and let your Senators and Representatives know you do NOT support SB 169 and SB 170 and HB […]

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The Senate Education Committee voted to pass SB 169/170 STEM diploma bills out of committee on Tuesday.  The House Education Committee is not scheduled to take up the companion bill at this time.  Please continue to call and let your Senators and Representatives know you do NOT support SB 169 and SB 170 and HB 4284,  HB 4285.

Of particular disappointment to me was the  “YES” vote by my own Senator Colbeck (R) who sits on the Education Committee.  The STEM diploma legislation erodes local control and does NOT protect homeschoolers from discrimination.   These are two issues he has stated he is strongly in favor of protecting.

The very fact that Lansing is  proposing a STEM endorsement ONLY obtained by going through the MDE makes it very clear that districts have lost some control    Local districts teach the STEM track beginning in 7th grade using MDE (NGSS and CCSS) approved curricula.   Local districts transmit names to the MDE.  The MDE transmits the endorsement back to the district and to CEPI.   The STEM diploma is NOT local control but MDE control!  

SB 169 allows homeschoolers to go to the MDE to opt-in to obtain the STEM credential.   However, the parent must send a “certification” that states the student has met “substantially the same” requirements.  The language of this bill is subject to the interpretation of the MDE.   What sort of “certification?”   What does “substantially the same”  mean?  In the age of “accountability” does anyone really expect the MDE to honor a parent’s word?   Remember, this is the same MDE that put SBAC into M-STEP despite the 2014 budget.  This is the same MDE that took bake sales way from local schools until Senator Colbeck passed a bill restoring local decision-making power. This is the same MDE that is trying to tell parents they can’t opt out of M-STEP when they actually can. Sorry, but  when you give the MDE an inch they take a mile unless someone stops them.

The word “transmit” is also an interesting word choice.  The endorsement for public school students will likely be through Parchment, an electronic transcript generator. Parchment is the ONLY vendor currently approved to transmit credentials for schools in nearly a dozen states.   A paper  endorsement transmitted to the parent is meaningless in a P20 seamless system where data accessed by various stakeholders.  Matthew Pittinsky, CEO of Parchment said,

“Students are now poised for greater success in their postsecondary and professional efforts through the electronic exchange of their learning credentials.”

The homeschooler with the credential in a paper file is not in the same position. The Data Quality Campaign makes it clear that paper in a box may contain valuable information but if it is not electronic and “it isn’t linked longitudinally, it isn’t connected to any other set of data about my child to complete the picture.”  How the MDE plans on to “transmit” is a loophole that gives the homeschooler no advantage but potentially gives the MDE more control.   We are not required to give the “bigger picture” but without it the endorsement is meaningless. Anyone who believes this language will protect homeschoolers from discrimination does not understand the P20 system or is complicit in helping to build it.

Of course, this is all said to be voluntary..  But where does a homeschooler who does not opt-in stand in relation to those who obtain the endorsement?  They have NO standing; otherwise what is the point of a credential?   SB 169 is bad policy and contains enough loopholes to become a noose around the homeschooler’s neck.

I have not been able to find out who wrote the language in SB 169.  Sen Proos aide told me it was written by INCH, and Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).    However, staff at HSLDA and INCH tell me it was written by Sen. Proos.  Strange that no one wants to claim authorship for a bill that is supposed to help protect homeschoolers.  Did anyone check to see if the MDE was “tweaking” SB 169 in a dark closet?

Stop Common Core in Michigan OPPOSES this legislation and ANY legislation that creates a career credential beginning in 7th grade.   This is the first credential of six possible career credentials.    Michigan is the first state but will NOT be the last.

Here are our recent posts on STEM and why we OPPOSE the STEM endorsement credential.

STEM and the Role of Education
STEM Legislative Update
STEM Diploma Debate Heats Up

Third Grade Reading

The House Education Commitee is scheduled to hear testimony Thursday on 3rd grade reading proficiency.   Scheduled to present is The Foundation for Excellence in Education.  The Foundation for Excellence in Education is Jeb Bush’s organization.   Here’s what how the foundation describes what they do,

Founded by former Governor Jeb Bush in 2008, the Foundation for Excellence in Education’s (ExcelinEd) unique contribution is working with decision makers on developing and implementing reform policies. We are a hands-on, how-to organization that provides model legislation, rule-making expertise, implementation strategies, and public outreach.

Bush’s reform strategy is common core and more.    Anytime he is involved in education,  parents and educators can plan on losing more control and input.   His “model” is to create a standardized centralized P20 system across the nation.    Stop Common Core OPPOSES legislation on 3rd grade reading and we OPPOSE Jeb Bush meddling in Michigan education!

We will keep you udpdated on both the STEM and 3rd grade reading as the legislation progresses.

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Action Alert: STEM Diploma Hearing http://stopcommoncoreinmichigan.com/2015/03/action-alert-stem-diploma-hearing/ http://stopcommoncoreinmichigan.com/2015/03/action-alert-stem-diploma-hearing/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 21:07:45 +0000 http://stopcommoncoreinmichigan.com/?p=1540 Last week was the first time the House and Senate Education Committees held hearings on the STEM Bills. We suspect they plan to vote tomorrow in the Senate Committee and Thursday in the House Committee. We believe this is being fast tracked.  Why the rush?  Something as important as credentialing our students should have a […]

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Last week was the first time the House and Senate Education Committees held hearings on the STEM Bills. We suspect they plan to vote tomorrow in the Senate Committee and Thursday in the House Committee. We believe this is being fast tracked.  Why the rush?  Something as important as credentialing our students should have a FULL vetting and the voice of parents MUST be part of the discussion.  Being first in the nation to pass the STEM credential is not a good thing if the action is the wrong thing.

Please call your Representative and Senator and let them know you OPPOSE HB 4284 & HB 4285 and SB 169 & SB 170.
Amanda Price (517) 373-0838 and Phil Pavlov (517) 373-7708.

Here are our recent posts on STEM and why we OPPOSE these bills and the endorsement credential.

STEM and the Role of Education
STEM Legislative Update
STEM Diploma Debate Heats Up

The Michigan STEM partnership is not bashful about admitting their attachment to P20, Common Core, and Next Generation Science Standards. 

Governor Snyder believes the P20 seamless pathway puts our children on a pathway to success.   But educating for a job is a pathway to servitude.

HIllsdale College Professor Daniel B. Coupland said it well,

“As long as students are told that the end of education is a job or a career, they will forever be servants of some master.”

“If education has become –as Common Core openly declares– preparation for work in a global economy, then this situation is far worse than Common Core critics ever anticipated. And the concerns about cost, and quality, and yes, even the constitutionality of Common Core, pale in comparison to the concerns for the hearts, minds, and souls of American children.”

Please contact Senator Pavlov and Rep. Price and let them know very firmly that you OPPOSE the STEM endorsement.   If possible, attend the Senate Education Hearing on Tuesday and speak directly to the lawmakers.  They NEED to hear from you and not the big business!

COMMITTEE: Senate Education

DATE: Tuesday, March 24, 2015

TIME: 12:00 p.m.

PLACE: Room 110, Farnum Building, 125 W. Allegan Street, Lansing, MI 48933

 

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MDE confirms parents are “within your rights” to refuse M-STEP! http://stopcommoncoreinmichigan.com/2015/03/mde-confirms-parents-are-within-your-rights-to-refuse-m-step/ http://stopcommoncoreinmichigan.com/2015/03/mde-confirms-parents-are-within-your-rights-to-refuse-m-step/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 18:06:00 +0000 http://stopcommoncoreinmichigan.com/?p=1534 Good news!  Parents you can OPT OUT with confidence!  An email from the MDE states you have the right to refuse under current law. A credible source sent us an email written by Chad Bailey at the MDE Division of Accountability Services.  He wrote in response to a parent requesting information about opting out. Bailey […]

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Good news!  Parents you can OPT OUT with confidence!  An email from the MDE states you have the right to refuse under current law.

A credible source sent us an email written by Chad Bailey at the MDE Division of Accountability Services.  He wrote in response to a parent requesting information about opting out. Bailey states the facts directly and correctly, “First and foremost please let me make clear that under both federal and state law (Michigan School Code 380.10) you are fully within your rights to refuse participation in state assessments. “

This is the email (slightly edited for privacy)  from Chad Bailey of the MDE in its entirety,

From: “Bailey, Chad (MDE)”
Subject: RE: SECOND REQUEST FOR INFORMATION consequences for refusing M-STEP
Date: March 17, 2015 3:00:14 PM EDT
To:
Ms.
I apologize for the delayed response. Thank you for your email and your interest in understanding the effects of refusing to allow your student to participate in the state assessment. First and foremost please let me make clear that under both federal and state law (Michigan School Code 380.10) you are fully within your rights to refuse participation in state assessments. I have tried below to answer your questions as directly and concisely as possible but if you have additional questions please let me know.
1) What are the consequences for my son’s teacher, school, and district when we refuse the test?
· To fully understand how this will impact your son’s teacher you will need to talk with your local administrators and school board as that is a local decision. How the data are used by and for teachers is determined locally by your district’s administrators and school board.
· The impact on your school and district will be as follows:
o Your son’s non-participation will count against the school’s and district’s participation rates.
o Schools and/or districts whose participation drops below the participation targets receive an overall color of RED on the Michigan School Accountability Scorecard.
2) What does it mean when we are told that we are not permitted to refuse the test? I cannot find anything in the Michigan school code that spells out any consequences, or even references a parent’s responsibility in this matter. Is there specific language anywhere?
· Under both federal and state law (Michigan School Code 380.10) you are fully within your rights to refuse participation in state assessments.
· However, as your questions above acknowledge there may be consequences to that choice. For example, some districts require participation to determine eligibility to some programs or services and others require participation in high school as a condition of graduation.Again, it is important that you check with your local administrators and school board to determine how they choose to use the results of state assessments.
Again, if you have any additional questions please let me know.
Chad Bailey
Accountability Specialist
Office of Evaluation, Strategic Research, & Accountability
Division of Accountability Services
Michigan Department of Education
Regarding consequences to the school, according to a Spring 2015 Assessment Transition Slide 5 produced by the the MDE Office of Standards and Assessments there is NO penalty to the school.  The information is for “informational purposes” with “No Priority, Focus, or Reward labels for the schools.”
Picture 20
Parents you can opt out with CONFIDENCE.   Please share this post with friends and families on Facebook, Twitter, and in your school district today.
To learn more about how to opt out, see this post,

How to Opt-Out with FAQ

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STEM and the Role of Education http://stopcommoncoreinmichigan.com/2015/03/stem-and-the-role-of-education/ http://stopcommoncoreinmichigan.com/2015/03/stem-and-the-role-of-education/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 18:30:26 +0000 http://stopcommoncoreinmichigan.com/?p=1523 Thank you to all who have been making calls to the Senate and House Education committee regarding the STEM diploma bills.   Social media is abuzz and lawmakers phones are lighting up as parents realize that the goal of education has changed and a “STEM diploma” is not just about science, technology, engineering, and manufacturing.   The […]

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Thank you to all who have been making calls to the Senate and House Education committee regarding the STEM diploma bills.   Social media is abuzz and lawmakers phones are lighting up as parents realize that the goal of education has changed and a “STEM diploma” is not just about science, technology, engineering, and manufacturing.   The goal of the STEM diploma is SOCIAL engineering to train and track students at an early age for the workforce. This post is a bit lengthy but please read it in its entirety so you can understand why we oppose the STEM diploma so strongly.

Education is no longer K12.  Governor Snyder articulated a “new vision” for education that now spans from P-20  “PRENATAL to life long learning.”   He said,

“I want to emphasize a vision of P-20.  A PRENATAL to life long learning.  We have to get beyond the old models of saying there are silos for K12,  silos for community college, for higher ed,  for preschool.  They shouldn’t be separate.  They can be separate institutions.  not to threaten the institutions. But shouldn’t we make it a seamless system.  Where a student in that system doesn’t have to figure out all these tough choices but can just focus on success…and understanding it starts even at the prenatal stage and looking at is the expectant mother getting the right diet, the right primary care…”  (Emphasis added.)

Common Core, Kindergarten Entry Assessments, a high-stakes third-grade reading, career pathways, a STEM diploma, and more are all part of the infrastructure that builds the P20 seamless system.   Data, taken from coursework and assessments, is the gas that moves the student along the P20 pathway;  this is career tracking where the state makes the “tough” choices based upon the demands of the workforce not the dreams of the child.

The Common Core gets much of the media attention which allows the other aspects of the P20 system to go forward unnoticed and without much opposition.  Thankfully, in Michigan we have Melanie Kurdys keeping an eye on the legislature and keeping us all informed about what they are doing.

If you are not familiar with the STEM diploma debate happening in Lansing.  You can read why we OPPOSE SB 169, SB 170, HB 4284 and HB 4285 here.

The Senate Education hearing was Tuesday, you can read her update here.

The House Education hearing on STEM was Thursday.   Melanie Kurdys attended the hearing and provides a compelling exchange that gets to the root of the issue,

Today in the House Education Committee, as the committee was doing an excellent job discussing the pros and cons of the STEM Certification bills, a very important question was asked:

Is it the job of the government to prepare a workforce?

Stunningly, in my opinion, a business leader in favor of the bills said yes, it better be.

I have heard Governor Snyder use this reference as well. He has shared his vision of a seamless system P-20, pre-natal into the workforce, developing human capital ready to work. He said it again at the Economic & Education Summit a few weeks ago.

Governor Snyder said this is a “new vision” but is it?  Where did this idea come from? Why does it have so much momentum? Here are some interesting quotes that will help us uncover the modern origin of this reform scheme:

Purpose of the reform -

“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”

What is the result?

“Taken together, we think these ideas constitute a consistent vision for a new human resources development system for the United States”

What must be done?

“Radical changes in attitudes, values and beliefs are required to move any combination of these agendas.”

How does Common Core fit?

“Legislation to accelerate the process of national standard setting in education was contained in the conference report”

Whose words and idea are these?

Marc Tucker, friend and adviser to President Bill & Hillary Clinton

What does Tucker believe must be abandoned in this P20 national education scheme?

“The United States will have to largely abandon the beloved emblem of American education: local control.” ~ Marc Tucker

Tucker and the Clinton’s team of education advisers failed to get the his initiative known as Goals 2000 implemented; however, the goal did not die when Clinton left the White House.  The reformers took their reform goals to the states.  Tucker is now the head of  the National Center on Education and the Economy writing reports and lobbying around the country for a national standards and accountability system.  Clinton’s education adviser, Michael Cohen, went on to become President of Achieve.    Early in his tenure as President of Achieve, Cohen said,

“What is conventionally thought of as national standards-that is, the federal government leads, it picks somebody to write them, and it puts it out there for states to use-I’m increasingly unconvinced that that’s the way to get there,”

Cohen and Achieve worked with the National Governors Association to convince both Democrat and Republican Governors to adopt Common Core.  Common Core was the necessary first component to a national P20 centralized national education pathway.   A national diploma was also a goal of Achieve through the American Diploma Project.  And using the playbook that brought us Common Core they are working through the states to make it happen.  Which brings us back around to the STEM diploma.

If Michigan adopts the STEM diploma it will be the “first” state to offer it but not the last.   How do you get a national diploma or credentialing system…one state at a time.

“The Michigan STEM Partnership is also working with 10 other states interested in creating a quality STEM education culture across the Midwest region.”   Once we have a majority of states implementing the same STEM diploma the US will then have its first de facto national diploma in STEM.  From there they can build on and create credentialed diplomas for other career pathways to build the P20 seamless system for workforce development.

And make no mistake about it the STEM diploma is part of the P20 pathway.  The Michigan STEM partnership is not bashful about admitting their attachment to P20, Common Core, and Next Generation Science Standards. 

Our Mission
The Michigan STEM Partnership is the connector and statewide communicator between employers, educators, students, parents, and legislators, providing strategic support for the effectiveness and sustainability of STEM education in order to prepare Michigan learners to reach their full potential in a fiercely competitive economy.

Our Vision
The Michigan STEM Partnership positively impacts economic development by connecting the P-20 education system to relevant world-class skills, academic ambitions and rewarding career pathways. Leveraging our extraordinary Michigan assets, STEM education serves the workforce needs of STEM fields and the creative demands of a diverse, innovative and thriving Michigan economy.

Goal 4: Actively connect STEM initiatives and programs
The Partnership supports rigorous academic curricula such as the Common Core Curriculum Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards while at the same time supporting new approaches to teaching those curricula using methods such as project-based learning to promote student engagement in learning, and the development of problem-solving, communication, and teamwork skills.

Senator Proos and Representative Price introduced the STEM bill in Michigan but the idea did not originate with them.  Whoever persuaded them to push this on Michigan clearly understands this “system of education” and how all these pieces fit and either knowingly or naively are implementing Marc Tucker’s grand strategy.

Governor Snyder and business leaders in Michigan believe it is the role of government to educate our children for the workforce. But is the role of education to put children on a prenatal to career P20 seamless pathway to meet workforce demands?

It’s up to US, as parents and citizens, to tell them “It better NOT be!”

Please continue to call House and Senate education leaders and tell them you OPPOSE SB 169, SB 170, HB 4284 and HB 4285.

Rep. Amanda Price (517) 373-0838
Rep. Holly Hughes (517) 373-3436
Senator John Proos (517) 373-6960
Senator Phil Pavlov (517) 373-7708

 

 

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STEM Legislative Update http://stopcommoncoreinmichigan.com/2015/03/stem-legislative-update/ http://stopcommoncoreinmichigan.com/2015/03/stem-legislative-update/#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2015 18:44:37 +0000 http://stopcommoncoreinmichigan.com/?p=1518 Melanie Kurdy’s attended the Senate hearing on the STEM Diploma and offers this update. ​An unfortunate turn of events in Michigan. Our “conservative legislators” including John Proos, Phil Pavlov, Amanda Price and Holly Hughes are sponsoring bills we have been warning people about for quite a while. SB 169, SB 170, HB 4284 and HB […]

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Melanie Kurdy’s attended the Senate hearing on the STEM Diploma and offers this update.

​An unfortunate turn of events in Michigan. Our “conservative legislators” including John Proos, Phil Pavlov, Amanda Price and Holly Hughes are sponsoring bills we have been warning people about for quite a while.

SB 169, SB 170, HB 4284 and HB 4285
Will award a state endorsed certificate to a high school diploma for taking 6 math and 6 science courses approved by the Department of Education. I have attached testimony I gave at the Senate Education Committee yesterday. As I have said before, there are four key reasons not to support this:

1) It is unwise to create a “class system” in Michigan which is not supportive of all students. Having a STEM diploma creates a “better” path, leaving the students not on this path to believe they are on the “failure track”. A high school diploma should carry the full credibility of a robust education for all graduates regardless of their preferences of study. This is especially important as we consider renewing our commitment to Career Technical Education as a respected alternative course of study.

2) All specific course information is already provided on high school transcripts. Colleges and universities currently use high school transcripts to determine the coursework and student achievement in their determination for entering freshman. In this manner, employers determine the courses appropriate to preparation for their field.

3) Michigan Department of Education should not control diploma designations and course requirements. Control of the diploma designation becomes a politically driven process based on Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards rather than an educationally sound process controlled locally by teachers, parents, community members and employers. (Approved courses will be based on Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards, not traditional, highly effective and highly regarded courses.)

4) The alternate pathway designation begins in 7th grade, limiting a student’s ability to change their mind. 7th graders are typically 13 or 14 years old, perhaps aware of their personal preferences, but not ready to make career defining decisions.

I attached my testimony for your consideration. The first two pages are testimony, the last two provide more background information.

If you have not seen this Glenn Beck video, take 10 minutes and watch it. We are headed to a seamless P-20 system, pre-natal to employment, to create “human capital” (Governor Snyder) or “product, for business, with skills” (Steve Arwood new director of the Work Force and Economic Development Department established by Snyder). They are “fundamentally changing the purpose of education” to workforce development for the benefit of businesses, not the well-being of our children. Data about our children, used to tag them as to their proper role in the workforce is the goal.

Intentionally or unwittingly, Republican representatives we recently re-elected to Lansing are playing into the hands of this change. As I sat in the hearing yesterday, “Group Think” was on display. My lone voice was tolerated, but not heard. I believe Amanda Price is beginning to understand, but Proos and Pavlov seemed resolved to this idea, unmoved by my arguments. As Beck says at the end of this video, our “good” leaders are being played and they just don’t see it.

Please call these four folks and your rep and senator. Spread the word. Momentum is building as the Governor uses all his power to implement his “River of Opportunity” which will end up being a tsunami of lost freedom and liberty.
Amanda Price (517) 373-0838
Holly Hughes (517) 373-3436
John Proos (517) 373-6960
Phil Pavlov (517) 373-7708

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STEM Diploma Debate Heats Up http://stopcommoncoreinmichigan.com/2015/03/stem-diploma-debate-heats-up/ http://stopcommoncoreinmichigan.com/2015/03/stem-diploma-debate-heats-up/#comments Mon, 16 Mar 2015 16:45:04 +0000 http://stopcommoncoreinmichigan.com/?p=1506 The Michigan Senate Education Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing this Tuesday on the STEM credentialed diploma (SB 169 and SB 170).  If passed, the bills introduced by Senator Proos and Representative Price would make Michigan the first state in the country to create a STEM certification for high school diplomas.   From Mlive,  “Proos’ […]

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The Michigan Senate Education Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing this Tuesday on the STEM credentialed diploma (SB 169 and SB 170).  If passed, the bills introduced by Senator Proos and Representative Price would make Michigan the first state in the country to create a STEM certification for high school diplomas.   From Mlive,  “Proos’ bills would require high school students to take six credits of math and six credits of science approved by the Michigan Department of Education, along with all other requirements for high school graduation.”

We OPPOSE SB 169 and SB 170.

Like Common Core, the STEM credentialed diploma is more state control at the expense of local control and true choice in education.   It is an essential part of the P-20 “prenatal to workforce” seamless pathway that Governor Snyder and Lt. Governor Calley vigorously promote.    This allows the state increasing control of graduation requirements and certification for other career pathways.

We have created a detailed document STEM Designation on High School Diploma(2) on the reasons why we OPPOSE the STEM credentialed diploma.  Here are four main concerns,

  • It is unwise to create a “class system” in Michigan which is not supportive of all students.  Having a STEM diploma creates a “better” path, leaving the students not on this path to believe they are on the “failure track”. A high school diploma should carry the full credibility of a robust education for all graduates regardless of their preferences of study
  • All specific course information is already provided on high school transcripts.  Colleges and universities currently use high school transcripts to determine the coursework and student achievement in their determination for entering freshman. In this manner, employers determine the courses appropriate to preparation for their field.
  • Michigan Department of Education should not control diploma designations and course requirements. Control of the diploma designation becomes a politically driven process rather than an educationally sound process controlled locally by teachers, parents, community members and employers.
  • The alternate pathway designation begins in 7th grade, limiting a student’s ability to change their mind. 7th graders are typically 13 or 14 years old, perhaps aware of their personal preferences, but not ready to make career defining decisions.

STEM Designation on High School Diploma(2)

There is growing strong concerns about the impact STEM credential will have on private and home education, given that the credentialed diploma is only obtained by using MDE approved curricula and in public schools.

“We recognize that education is unique to each child, and we have worked hard to ensure our schools give every student a chance for a successful career,” said Pavlov, R-St. Clair, chair of the Senate Education Committee. “Allowing students to earn this STEM certification and place it on their diplomas and transcripts helps them improve their college resume and their chances to land a well-paying job.”  (Sen. Proos website on STEM diploma)

If this is passes, then home and private educators will be at a DISADVANTAGE simply because they do NOT use the curricula approved by MDE for STEM and thus their transcript would lack the coveted credential.  Students in public school who were not pre-selected for STEM in middle school will also be at a disadvantage and less likely to move into a STEM field.

 STEM credentialed diplomas will destroy choice for children and educational choice for all.

Senator Pavlov is the chair of the Senate Education Committee.   Please contact Senator Pavlov, Senator Proos, Representative Price, and your OWN Senator and Representative, to voice your concern about the impact STEM credentials will have on our children and our freedom.

Senator Pavlov:  (517) 373-7708.

Senator Proos   (517) 373-6960

Representative Price (517) 373-0838

 

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How to Opt-Out with FAQ http://stopcommoncoreinmichigan.com/2015/03/how-to-opt-out-with-faq/ http://stopcommoncoreinmichigan.com/2015/03/how-to-opt-out-with-faq/#comments Fri, 13 Mar 2015 00:06:40 +0000 http://stopcommoncoreinmichigan.com/?p=1496 The evidence is clearly mounting against M-STEP (SBAC repackaged).  Parents are ready to opt-out.  It is very encouraging to see parents taking positive action on behalf of their children.  However, we recognize that opting out can be confusing and intimidating.   Let’s face it, nobody likes being called into the principal’s office and few go there […]

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The evidence is clearly mounting against M-STEP (SBAC repackaged).  Parents are ready to opt-out.  It is very encouraging to see parents taking positive action on behalf of their children.  However, we recognize that opting out can be confusing and intimidating.   Let’s face it, nobody likes being called into the principal’s office and few go there voluntarily.  But you are the parent and opting out is a viable option no matter what they say or do; so you must go and stand your ground.

How to Opt-Out

1.   Read the post, “Yes, Opting-Out is a viable option” and “M-STEP is a joke” to bolster your confidence that you are making a wise decision and acting in the best interest of your children.   The law and the facts are on YOUR side.

2.  Print and fill out two copies of the Thomas More opt out form (below) for EACH student you plan to opt out..   This is NOT a document to REQUEST your student be opted out but document  to INFORM the school your student WILL NOT be taking M-STEP.  Forms must be filled out for EACH student and taken to there respective school.   Here is the form:

Student Privacy Protection Opt-Out Form – Thomas More …

3.  Take the completed forms to your school.   Each copy should be signed and dated by the school principal to document the form was received.   The school will keep one copy and you will keep one copy for your records.

4.  If the school principal refuses to sign the form then simply note the name of the person who refused on both forms with the date and time you visited the school.  Leave one copy on the counter, take your copy, and politely exit the building.

5.  Inform you student’s teachers and counselors that they will not be taking the M-STEP and discuss alternative arrangements during the time of testing.  We have received notes from parents in many school districts where the principal has been cooperative and very willing to allow students to do alternative activities during assessments.

6.  Talk with your children and explain why they will not be taking the M-STEP.   Guide them in providing polite responses if they are asked any questions.   Make sure they know what to say or do if the teacher/counselor tells them to take the test.  Let your student know they should call you immediately if there is any indication that the decision to opt out is not being honored.

7.   If the principal or counselors request a meeting you are under no obligation to meet.  However,  if you agree to a meeting take someone with you and take copious notes.  Ask for documentation for all assertions that you are not allowed to opt out or that the school will lose funding or that the law says they must take the test.   You do not owe them an explanation or reasons why you are opting out.   Listen and tell them your will consider their thoughts for next year but for this year, your student is opting out.  Do not back down.  Stand firm.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are there any consequences to the student for not taking the M-STEP?

No.  M-STEP is a summative assessment and will NOT impact your student or their grade.  A summative assessment is used to measure the effectiveness of a program.  Because M-STEP is only being used in 2015,  there is no basis of comparison and no ability to measure progress.  The law does NOT require students to TAKE the test only that schools administer it.  If you are told the law says your child MUST take the test, ask them to cite the law.   There isn’t one.

2.  Are there any consequences to the school?

School officials often tell parents that they MUST test ALL students or lose federal funding. This is NOT true.    NYS Allies for Public Education has a detailed explanation but bottom line, “The school does NOT lose funding if there is less than a 95% participation rate on state tests.”   Further the Michigan revised school code  states,

Rights of parents and legal guardians; duties of public schools. [M.S.A. 15.4010 ] Sec. 10. It is the natural, fundamental right of parents and legal guardians to determine and direct the care, teaching, and education of their children. he public schools of this state serve the needs of the pupils by cooperating with the pupil’s parents and legal guardians to develop the pupil’s intellectual capabilities and vocational skills in a safe and positive environment.”    THE REVISED SCHOOL CODE (EXCERPT) Act 451 of 1976 380.10

The public schools must cooperate with YOU not the feds, Gov. Snyder, or private corporations for profit.  That is the essence of local control.   The Michigan Constitution gives the State Board of Education authority to guide the general education of students; however, it balances that power with the natural and fundamental rights of parents to direct the education of their individual children.  Assessments, implemented by the state, are NOT required to be taken by students.  Period.  Intimidating or bullying you to cooperate with the school is wrong.   Do not be intimidated.  The law and the facts are on YOUR side.

A school district does NOT lose funding if there is less than 95% participation on state tests. – See more at: http://www.nysape.org/if-my-child-refuses-state-tests-will-my-school-lose-funding.html#sthash.jt1OfcIj.dpuf
A school district does NOT lose funding if there is less than 95% participation on state tests. – See more at: http://www.nysape.org/if-my-child-refuses-state-tests-will-my-school-lose-funding.html#sthash.jt1OfcIj.dpuf
A school district does NOT lose funding if there is less than 95% participation on state tests. – See more at: http://www.nysape.org/if-my-child-refuses-state-tests-will-my-school-lose-funding.html#sthash.jt1OfcIj.dpuf
A school district does NOT lose funding if there is less than 95% participation on state tests. – See more at: http://www.nysape.org/if-my-child-refuses-state-tests-will-my-school-lose-funding.html#sthash.jt1OfcIj.dpuf

3.  Is there a benefit to taking the M-STEP?

No.  The MEAP was offered in 2014.  The M-STEP is offered only for 2015.  A new test (unknown) will be offered for 2016.  There is NOTHING to be gained this year because assessing growth is difficult when three different tests are used.   That’s not just me saying it but school officials also.  Grandville Public Schools Superintendent Ron Caniff said this about the M-STEP. “Our challenge is that this is a one-year interim assessment. I’m not sure how meaningful that will be for us because we can’t compare results,”

4.  We received a letter from the school stating our request to opt out was denied.  What should we do?

First, do NOT panic or be intimidated.  Remember, you did NOT request permission to opt out but simply informed them your student IS not taking the M-STEP.   Remember, the school must work in cooperation with you.  Politely remind them this was not a request and that your student will not be taking the assessment.   There is NO law saying that students must take the assessment only that the state shall administer it.

Several parents have received letters from school principals or attorney stating that they cannot opt out. While the letters sound intimidating and official,  most conveniently exclude the THE REVISED SCHOOL CODE (EXCERPT) Act 451 of 1976 380.10 which gives parents the natural and fundamental right to direct the education of their children.  They usually only cite federal laws such as ESEA, NCLB, and other acronyms that are designed to make you believe that they have the right to deny your “request.”   Ignore all the legalese and ask them cite the Michigan law which says your child must take the M-STEP.   There isn’t one.  Period.  Stand your ground and opt out.

Finally, what we have written is for informational purposes only.  If you have a specific legal question, the Thomas More Law Center has made themselves available to help anyone who uses their form.  Please contact them if you have specific concerns with your school officials.   Visit their website and resource page regarding Common Core.

The battle for control of our children’s education is fought and WON when parents take a stand against the state and private interests seeking profits.

Your authority as a parent is restored when you exercise your right to opt out and direct the education of your child once again. 

If you have chosen to opt out, please share your experience in a comment or at  the Stop Common Core in Michigan Facebook page.  We want to hear from you!  Your experience may be the encouragement that emboldens another parent to take a stand!

 

 

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M-STEP is a Joke…Opt-Out! http://stopcommoncoreinmichigan.com/2015/03/m-step-4-9-million-joke-opt/ http://stopcommoncoreinmichigan.com/2015/03/m-step-4-9-million-joke-opt/#comments Wed, 11 Mar 2015 20:24:35 +0000 http://stopcommoncoreinmichigan.com/?p=1475 In a previous post I asked, “Is the MDE cheating on M-STEP?”  after learning that the Michigan Department of  Education (MDE)  recklessly spent $4.9 million on SBAC membership fees in order to obtain the questions for the “new” M-STEP.  Not only is the MDE purchase against the current budget signed last year which mandated a […]

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In a previous post I asked, “Is the MDE cheating on M-STEP?”  after learning that the Michigan Department of  Education (MDE)  recklessly spent $4.9 million on SBAC membership fees in order to obtain the questions for the “new” M-STEP.  Not only is the MDE purchase against the current budget signed last year which mandated a new MEAP and a halt to the transition to SBAC, the membership fees were ruled  “illegal” by a Missouri judge.

And what did we get with our $4.9 million?  Take a look at a sample fifth grade question found in the M-STEP powerpoint created by Robyn (Seifert) Decker at Ottawa ISD.  M Step ppt

(For readability, click picture to enlarge.)

M-STEP Sample Grade 5

M-STEP Sample Grade 5

This question is a joke!  Apparently a & b should be stricken and the phrase, “riders on the bike path next to the road can move faster” highlighted but honestly I found the whole thing confusing.   I can only imagine the frustration a fifth grader would feel.

What are students learning with all this crossing, highlighting, and clicking?  After taking a sample test, a student group was asked:  “What would your friends and students in other classes need to know in order to be successful with this online test.”  Their responses, taken from the same power point, revealed that it isn’t actual knowledge that makes a student successful on this test:

“The bubble in the straw is VERY important”

- Ethan, grade 3

If the blinky line isn’t in the box  where you want your words to go,  you can press the letters all you want….. words won’t appear.
- Brittney, grade 3

“I thought it was confusing that the computer let you to click on more than one answer. You had to be careful to unclick when you changed your mind or you could put in two or three answers to one question.”

- Ben, 11th grader

Yes, parents your student may be an excellent writer or able to calculate complex equations in their head, but if they don’t get the blinky line in the box or remember to unclick a different answer they will likely fail.  But no worries the teachers are forced into wasting precious classroom time and  practicing every day to make sure your student knows how important the bubble in the straw is to their success.

Parents, opt-out your kids out, the M-STEP is an insult to their intelligence and a worthless waste of time.

M-STEP is a joke.

Please Read: Six Reasons Why You Should Opt-Out of M-STEP and then print out the Thomas More opt out form and take it confidently to your school.  Tell them your children will not be taking the M-STEP this year.

Student Privacy Protection Opt-Out Form – Thomas More …

 

 

 

 

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Yes, Opting-Out of M-STEP is Viable! http://stopcommoncoreinmichigan.com/2015/03/yes-opting-m-step-viable/ http://stopcommoncoreinmichigan.com/2015/03/yes-opting-m-step-viable/#comments Tue, 10 Mar 2015 15:35:34 +0000 http://stopcommoncoreinmichigan.com/?p=1483 We’ve been receiving reports from parents who–after notifying their school that their child is opting-out of the M-STEP assessment–have been told  by school officials that opting out is “not a viable option.”  This is FALSE. Parents CAN and MUST opt out their student out of M-STEP. The rumor that opting out is not viable appears […]

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We’ve been receiving reports from parents who–after notifying their school that their child is opting-out of the M-STEP assessment–have been told  by school officials that opting out is “not a viable option.”  This is FALSE.

Parents CAN and MUST opt out their student out of M-STEP.

The rumor that opting out is not viable appears to be coming from a blog post on the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals website.

The premise of the post is that the Constitution gives the State Board of Education leadership and supervision over public education in Michigan.  (Mich. Const., Art. VIII, § 3) HOWEVER, the law also acknowledges that it is the natural and fundamental right of the parent to direct the education of children and the schools serve the needs of the students by cooperating with the parents.  (THE REVISED SCHOOL CODE (EXCERPT) Act 451 of 1976 380.10)

So if your school principal tells you that opting out or refusing the test is NOT viable, do not be intimidated. Stand your ground.   You can and should opt out of the M-STEP.  Here are six reasons why:

Six Reasons to Opt-Out of M-STEP

1.  It’s your right to Opt-Out! The schools work for YOU! It’s the law!

THE REVISED SCHOOL CODE (EXCERPT) Act 451 of 1976 380.10
Rights of parents and legal guardians; duties of public schools. [M.S.A. 15.4010 ] Sec. 10. It is the natural, fundamental right of parents and legal guardians to determine and direct the care, teaching, and education of their children. The public schools of this state serve the needs of the pupils by cooperating with the pupils’ parents and legal guardians to develop the pupils’ intellectual capabilities and vocational skills in a safe and positive environment. HistoryAdd. 1995, Act 289, Eff. July 1, 1996

2.   M-Step violates the Michigan budget signed by Gov. Snyder.  M-STEP  is Smarter Balanced repackaged.

The Michigan legislature passed a budget last year preventing the Michigan Department of Education from spending money on  Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBAC).   Instead of following the law, the MDE officials created a “new” test called M-STEP and, with a $4.9 million membership fee, then filled it with SBAC questions.  Read more here at our post, “Is Michigan Cheating on M-STEP”.  The MDE must be held accountable and students should NOT take the test.

3. Membership fees in the SBAC group is unconstitutional and violates numerous federal statutes.

From the Washington Post, “Cole County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Green ruled that SBAC itself is “an unlawful interstate compact to which the U.S. Congress has never consented, whose existence and operation violate the Compact Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Article I, § 10, cl. 3, as well as numerous federal statutes;

4.  M-STEP is a meaningless one-time test used only for 2015.

School officials admit that this test is meaningless.  “Our challenge is that this is a one-year interim assessment. I’m not sure how meaningful that will be for us because we can’t compare results,” Grandville Public Schools Superintendent Ron Caniff said about the M-STEP.  (MLive Schools prep for new M-STEP)

A one-time test serves the interests of the state, NOT the student.  The test is painfully long with NO meaningful benefit to the students.

5.  Opting-Out allows your child the freedom-to-learn.

Opting out tells the schools to spend more time teaching than testing.  High stakes testing must stop.  Can you imagine Thomas Edison being told he had to sit and take a standardized test?  When you opt your student out of testing, they can be given meaningful work which expands their knowledge and curiosity.   You may discover that you have the next Thomas Edison,  something a standardized test will never be able to determine.   It’s time to end the testing mentality and get back to teaching.

6. Opting-Out stops Common Core State Standards and P20 education for the workforce.

Gov. Snyder said in 2013,  “I want to emphasize a vision of P-20.  A PRENATAL to life long learning.  We have to get beyond the old models of saying there are silos for  for K12,  silos for community college, for higher ed,  for preschool.  They shouldn’t be separate.  They can be separate institutions, not to threaten the institutions. But shouldn’t we make it a seamless system?  Where a student in that system doesn’t have to figure out all these tough choices but can just focus on success…and understanding it starts even at the prenatal stage and looking at is the expectant mother getting the right diet, the right primary care…”

 Opting-Out IS VIABLE!  

Print out the Thomas More opt-out form below and confidently take it to your student’s school.  

Student Privacy Protection Opt-Out Form – Thomas More …

Please share this post with other families who need to know their rights.  It’s time parents not bureaucrats or business leaders determine what happens in our schools!

For help learning how to Opt-Our and answers to FAQ see this post,

http://stopcommoncoreinmichigan.com/2015/03/how-to-opt-out-with-faq/

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Is the MDE Cheating on M-STEP? http://stopcommoncoreinmichigan.com/2015/03/mde-cheating-m-step/ http://stopcommoncoreinmichigan.com/2015/03/mde-cheating-m-step/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 03:47:46 +0000 http://stopcommoncoreinmichigan.com/?p=1470 Before Michigan students sit down before their computers to take the “new” M-STEP assessment, officials at the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) must sit down before state lawmakers and answer a few challenging questions of their own. The Michigan budget signed last year was fairly clear that there would be no funding for a transition […]

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Before Michigan students sit down before their computers to take the “new” M-STEP assessment, officials at the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) must sit down before state lawmakers and answer a few challenging questions of their own.

The Michigan budget signed last year was fairly clear that there would be no funding for a transition to  Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBAC).  But apparently the MDE spent the money on SBAC anyway.   The MDE is spending  $4.9 million in a membership fee to the Smarter Balanced Consortia to  get the privilege of using SBAC  questions

“State Education Department spokesman Bill DiSessa says paying the fee allows Michigan to include Smarter Balanced test items in the new M-STEP tests that are replacing the 44-year-old MEAP tests this spring.”

This is absurd! The state budget said no funding for SBAC and the MDE turns around and spends $4.9 million in membership fees that includes the questions.  Then the MDE  created a “new” test, stuffed it with the SBAC questions, and called it M-Step.   Is the legislature going to let them get away with this?

Alleged cheating on the budget restrictions is serious enough but in this case the SBAC membership with fees  could also be “illegal.”   The Washington Post reports,

A Missouri judge said the state’s membership in a federally funded testing consortium charged with creating an assessment aligned with the Common Core standards is illegal. And what’s more, he ruled that the state should stop paying fees to the group, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.

If it’s illegal in Missouri then  it is possible there  are illegalities in Michigan as well.  The MDE must explain what’s going on  and be held accountable to state lawmakers and families all across the state who are currently stressing over the M-STEP.

Kids are being threatened with suspensions if their parents don’t show up for a mandatory MSTEP meeting in Detroit.  State lawmakers should suspend the pay of MDE officials until they show up before a Joint House and Senate Education Committee for a mandatory M-STEP meeting in Lansing.

Contact Senator Phil Pavlov  (517) 373-7708 and  Representative Amanda Price  517-373-0838  and ask them when they plan to schedule the hearings because you want to be there to hear the MDE answer.

Parents, if lawmakers refuse to take action in Lansing and investigate the alleged cheating and illegalities then tell your students to refuse to answer questions on the M-STEP. 

Opt out and Refuse the Test. 

The  Thomas More Law Center has provided forms here…

Student Privacy Protection Opt-Out Form – Thomas More …

 

 

 

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