"Words Have Exact Meanings" by Jeannie Georges

[Editor's note: keep in mind that Outcome Based Education is the same as Competency Based Education.  As criticism mounts, names are often changed to bewilder the public -- much like Common Core was renamed College and Career Ready, even though the program remains the same.]
 
"HIGHER ORDER THINKING SKILLS ARE ESSENTIAL to the current reform movement
popularly known as Outcome Based Education (OBE). Without this new thinking process,
children will not be capable of using the correct political and psychological thinking necessary to
meet the new outcome. " Don't let the terminology fool you -- they purposely use words whose
meanings are likely to keep you from asking questions.
 
One superintendent (or other change agent) after another has introduced it into local school
systems. They have been warned not to become overly anxious and implement it all at once -- so
that the parents won't see the bits and pieces put together. Everything is to be done piecemeal to
keep the goals as secret as possible. In this way, people will have plenty time to be conditioned
to accept the unacceptable.
 
Experimental programs will be brought in from the federal education laboratories and from
numerous other sources. Pilot schools will not keep appropriate records to document the results
of their experimental programs. Legislators will not ask for research before granting money for
more experimental schools. No accounting of tax money will be requested by representatives.
And year by year -- little by little -- every aspect of the national agenda for restructuring
education will be brought into each school.
 
Unless the parents, voters and office holders decide to find out what really is going on and stop it
before all representation is taken away.
 
The teacher's manual for Higher Order Thinking, Tactics for Thinking, referenced a book, which
made the following statement:
 
Comprehension may be regarded as relating what we attend to in the world around us... to what
we already have in our heads... Anything I cannot relate to the theory of the world in my head
will not make sense to me. I shall be bewildered.
 
It makes sense: if your understanding of the universe around you conflicts with some new
information you're given, you're not likely to understand or accept it. Worse, when an authority
figure demands that you accept the new confusing information, you reach a point of
bewilderment -- until you either accept the authority and the new information, or reject the
authority and retain your previous understanding (which is supported by the evidence of your
senses).
 
It's a well-known fighting tactic: bewilder your adversaries, keep them confused. Opponents are
easier to overwhelm when they don't know what's going on.
 
We hope to show you how our "educators" are using exactly those tactics, in exactly that manner
-- against you, the enemy. The purpose of this paper is to show you why -- and how -- our
educators are trying to be so bewildering: because the best way to control the population is to
catch them while they're young, while they don't know any better -- and program them to behave
the way you want them to. And thus we have behavioral psychologists receiving federal grants to
restructure our educational curriculum.
 
Some of the things taking place in education these days are so amazing that they will not likely
relate to what you think is going on in your school, county, state or nation. It will probably cause
you to be bewildered (if they have their way).
 
It is the behavioral psychologists, and those who have been trained by them for the purpose of
acting as change agents, who are out to bewilder everybody. They are hoping, if not certain, that
most people will be confused by the change of our thought processes (which will lead to a
change in our culture). But they don't think many will care enough to address the state of
bewilderment, let alone act to clear up any confusion. They're counting on it. Since bewilderment
typically leads to a sense of being overwhelmed, their radical reform is not endangered -- unless
the populace pulls together to defeat the "overwhelmed" attitude.
 
Statements, such as the following by Richard Paul, a noted supporter of Critical Thinking, ARE
overwhelming, and people do themselves no favor by ignoring them.
 
"(C)hildren become literally dependent, intellectually and emotionally, on them (parents)... In
this way, children are condemned to closed-mindedness... Children come to adulthood today as
intellectual; emotional, and moral cripples."
 
Paul is only one of many who have made this assessment. This elitist attitude is a driving force
which is emphasizing your child's emotional and mental needs over academic needs in school.
 
What he means is children must have their parents' values removed from their thinking; they
must change their attitudes and beliefs. This is fundamental to Outcome Based Education and it
is an objective of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS). While there are many areas we could
explore which deal with OBE, we need to address the thinking that is guiding the programs and
philosophies we are seeing, but haven't understood.
 
What we usually see are programs which are symptomatic of strange bewildering philosophies.
For example: Parents may object if children view a movie on masturbation. Or, it may be they
prefer their child use an alert mind instead of meditating. They may get upset with "dirty" stories
used in reading class. They may think sex education encourages sexual activity and drug
education increases drug use. More bewildering, with the new assessments, if the child gets a
letter grade the parent still doesn't know what the child is doing: is she good in math, or are her
beliefs judged as politically correct? Still more bewildering, longer school days and longer
school years are luring the children away from home. The teachers and principals are talking
about strategic planning, school restructuring, site-based management, team teaching,
interdisciplinary curriculum, and effective schools. The programs, the ideas, the consensus
building and complaints are endless. Parents protest against one particular implementation, so it's
modified or renamed -- and the parents walk away proud of having rescued their children from
the clutches of the evil programmers. Meanwhile, several other programs are quietly expanded.
Meanwhile, other programs are quietly introduced. Meanwhile, the steady flow of programs
quietly gets bigger and more harsh. Maybe the one detected program was merely a decoy...
 
We could spend endless days defining and describing each of these programs. But it is not
necessary if we understand the PROCESS of Higher Order Thinking.
 
Usually the programs will state they are being used to increase Higher Order Thinking Skills,
critical thinking, problem solving and decisionmaking. Who could object to such lofty terms as
these? They sound great, so why would anyone object? But that's exactly why those names were
picked -- to tug at your emotions, to soothe your suspicions...all the while meaning nothing close
to the meanings you'd ascribe to them. "These are the areas we should have been researching
years ago. It's because we assume they mean what they say, or that their terms mean, to them, the
same that they mean to us, we have neglected to study and scrutinize them. Those of us who
have explored the programs found them so alien to our way of thinking, we gave up, trusting our
kids' education to the experts. Heck, we certainly couldn't understand it, they must know what
they're doing. These terms, and the processes they represent, have "bewildered" us.
 
IT MAY HELP YOU TO UNDERSTAND this bewildering process if you look at some of the
components of HOTS separately.
 
First, the OBE facilitator wants to begin with a clean slate, so to speak. That is, they want a mind
free from prior knowledge or beliefs.
 
Then knowledge and the key to acquiring it (e.g. proper reading instruction) will be withheld.
 
After this, they begin the "process" with Mastery Learning i.e. stimulus/response, dialectic
thinking, and assessment-remediation (s/r) and re-assessment. (Stimulus/response is the same
process that is used to train animals.)
 
1. Clean The Slate
 
THE CHILDREN MUST HAVE their minds cleansed of prior beliefs, attitudes and values. (Of
course, if children begin going to school at three months of age, think of the time they'll save
later.) Altering the child's state of consciousness is one process to accomplish this. You might
call it spacing out (we sure would!); the programmers call it Meditation, Visualization or
Attention Control -- to make it sound credible, significant and worth-while.
 
All this is done under the pretense of teaching the child to relax, or maybe to visualize. So just
turn on the TV and "veg' out." (However, research has shown that our consciousness is turned off
-- not enhanced -- by these techniques.) Then the subconscious is fed the relevant information.
This is meant to affect the student's values, but teaching knowledge to the subconscious mind is
also advocated -- we'll get to this later.
 
By no small coincidence, if you're an authority that the child recognizes, it's a lot easier to
suggest things that the kid will readily accept.
 
The reason spacing out (Altered States of Consciousness) is used so frequently with OBE is to
clear the mind of whatever view of the world the child had in his head before he came to school.
In other words, it gives the behavioral psychologist a blank sheet. It shortens the time period for
changing values and thinking. After all, if a hypnotist can entertain an audience by convincing a
football player that he can't pick up a ten-pound chair, the facilitator should be quite capable of
convincing a child he is "successful" even though he can't read.
 
The move is towards day dreams, visualization, using pictures, and indeed, towards clearing the
mind for the programmer to re-program through stimulus/response. Parents play into the hands
of the psychologist or facilitator by allowing their children to space out by watching TV. In this
case, it isn't the content that hurts the child. It is the fact they are watching TV. The child who
sits in front of the TV with glazed eyes, mouth half open, tongue in the roof of his mouth. and
doesn't respond when he is spoken to, is practicing altering his consciousness. As the child
practices this behavior it becomes easier for the behaviorist to train him to alter his state of
consciousness. Children can quickly learn to go into an altered state of consciousness and the
more they practice the easier it is to do. That is: they can get into an altered state more quickly
and with each practice they can learn to go into deeper unconscious states.
 
2. The Dumb Down
 
BENJAMIN BLOOM STATES THAT knowledge is the base for Higher Order Thinking; In
contrast, Robert Marzano clarifies this to teachers-in-training with an overhead that says we have
too much lower order thinking (knowledge) in our present method of teaching.
 
Bloom's statement is intended to allay the fears of parents who have grown suspicious of the new
age of behaviorist education; but, as we will discover, knowledge is unnecessary for OBE. In
fact, armed with knowledge, a child will be better able to withstand and resist OBE -- he'd use
old-fashioned critical thinking and question the process -- so he'd be more of a threat to the
whole program; thus it is actually important for the facilitators to remove what knowledge they
can from the curriculum in order to implement OBE.
 
What Marzano means to suggest is that children can read volumes. They know geography and
history. They can recite the Bill of Rights and they've read the constitution. They can do algebra,
geometry and calculus. They are excelling in physics and chemistry. They could compete against
children from other nations all around the world.
 
But the parents are up-in-arms because their children just cannot think critically, cannot make
decisions and cannot solve problems. So Marzano is coming in as an educational superman to
rescue the children from their plight. Thus to begin the rescue of students from our old-fashioned
values, and teach them to solve problems and make decisions by the Higher Order Thinking
process, the knowledge base (content, or subject matter) is being systematically dumbed down. It
is being replaced by "process." We’ll cover these "processes" in a moment in steps 3, 4, and 5.
 
It doesn't matter what your school calls its processes; cooperative learning, critical thinking
strategies, integrated thematic instruction, future-sensitive training, global village class, earth's
children, or any other esoteric term. The children will still learn to read -- if taught phonics. They
will learn mathematics -- if taught arithmetic. Same for history, science and all the other basic
subjects. Instruction in academics will teach students today just as effectively as it did decades
ago.
 
Beware of any peculiar names; they are likely to be part of the OBE "process." Phonics are not
taught in OBE reading classes. Arithmetic is distorted. Knowledge is cast aside in favor of the
programs from the behavioral psychologists.
 
Children are left on their own to discover what the teacher (facilitator) is discouraging them from
learning.
 
Not only will the child be given less knowledge, but the knowledge they are given will not be
given as absolutely true. They are working from a philosophy that thinks there is no way to prove
that 2 + 2 will always equal four. This dumb-down process starts with whole language. The
average student will not read well and many will be labeled with some learning disability
terminology (e.g. dyslexia, attention-deficit disorder). The process will then proceed to the
deconstruction of the language.
 
"Altered states of consciousness" is also promoted as an asset to teach "academics." The child is
told to seek a special or inner guide or universal consciousness for all knowledge. If the teacher
can program the child in a subconscious state, then the child will believe that all learning is
intuitive. After all, the child will not know when or how he learned c-a-t spells cat. And he
certainly will not know why it spells cat, because by using whole language as a learning method,
he will not be required to learn the sound of the letters or the phonetic rules governing the sounds
and spellings of our words.
 
It isn't that schools just don't explain letters and sounds, or that sounds make words. They've
practiced this for years; they used to call it look-say reading. But now it is much worse. They are
teaching that words have NO meaning or they are giving words new meanings -- to further widen
the generation gap and cause confusion. Divide and conquer.
 
In addition, they are using words to depress, frighten and confuse our children. An ordinary
spelling book was reviewed by an interested mother. She listed occult words, New Age words,
long lists of words defined in such a way as to bring to mind natural disasters and accidents,
hostile and angry feelings, behavior disorders, fears, physical and emotional hurts, law-breakers
and their weapons, environmental and global concerns. Listed below are a few of those words
and the definitions they were to be given as the teacher recited them for the children.
 
point     The point of a knife.
tackle    The policeman tackled the fleeing burglar.
blow      The bad news came as quite a blow to him.
rock       The earth tremor rocked the house.
jar          The explosion jarred the building.
red         Having the color of blood.
 
More recently a parent complained of the "hurting" alphabet."' Instead of A being represented by
apple, it was represented by avalanche. And so the letters, A through Z, were nearly all related in
terms of pain or disaster.
 
The public is routinely deceived by "educators" who explain they are going to fix the literacy
problem with whole language (a look-and-guess process which is destined to lower the literacy
rate faster than ever). This is basic to Higher Order Thinking and to the critical thinking
assessments in Outcome Based Education. Without the ability to read well, the vocabulary is
dumbed down sufficiently to keep thought processes at a very elementary level -- for life.
 
3. Behavioral Modification
 
MASTERY LEARNING, THE OLD name for what's now called OBE, will be implemented. It's
the process of stimulus/response with the ever repetitious positive or negative reinforcement.
 
This process of Mastery Learning is nothing more than animal training stimulus /response
techniques -- more correctly called behavioral control, conditioning, or psychological
manipulation. Knowledge is not required -- because as anyone knows, an animal doesn't need
knowledge in order to be trained. And this is used in nearly all those "programs" parents find
objectionable: sex ed, drug ed, gang ed, death ed, multiculturalisin, environmentalism, group
therapy. The use of education jargon differs slightly, but they are discussing the same thing.
 
There is a deceitful abuse of our language by these behavioral psychologists and change agents
who call themselves educators. They will use a word whose meaning you approve of, so that
you'll accept their program without question, even though their use of the word has little relation
to the real meaning. They know you won't understand what they're talking about. Whole
language, higher order thinking skills, outcome-based education, the words are chosen because
they have meaning to you, different to what the terms represent to the behaviorists. Compare
their words and their actions to see what they mean by the use of their words. Do their words
match their deeds? Do they say they are starting with a knowledge base -- all the while replacing
academics with programming? Are they wasting instructional time with "fun" projects and more
"process"?
 
You can program a person to be a criminal or a saint, they say. They are "fixing" the nation's
pregnancy problems, drug, gang and suicide problems the same way."" They are going through a
"process" -- a very sophisticated psychological process; not instructing or teaching the student.
Educators have stated that the process is more important than the content." That's a bewildering
statement; but they state it as though they mean it. Do they mean what they say or do they only
use the terminology for the purpose of bewildering people? If they really do mean it, then they
would not care if farmers planted corn or cockle burr. Just as long as he went through the
"process." Nor would they care what was harvested; corn or cockle burr. Likewise, they wouldn't
care if Kellogg's processed corn or cockle burr. But, most important, they wouldn't care whether
they poured corn flakes or burr flakes in their cereal bowl. Right? So, do they really mean what
they say? Not likely!
 
When they advocate OBE, they certainly do not believe "any" process is acceptable. With OBE
there is a predetermined outcome. That means an exact process has to be used. Perhaps we are
being deceived and conditioned to accept burr flakes! (It's just an illustration, but metaphorically,
it's exactly what they're after: we should accept anything they give us, and be grateful for it.)
 
4. Dialectic Thinking
 
THOSE WHO ADVOCATE Higher Order Thinking call it a process for dialectic thinking. In
this instance, they are being truthful. But at the same time, they hope that most people will not
understand the meaning of the word. As proposed by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, a noted
philosopher, dialectic thinking is the process of thesis/antithesis/synthesis. It's the process
Marxists like to use in order to bring about a change in a society. Dialectic thinking is not
difficult to understand once it has been explained. It's just one of those things that has been
removed from the "knowledge base" of most Americans (our schools don't offer history any
more -- now, it's social studies). Typically, the American way of swaying the public was to
campaign and persuade and convince, openly and honestly -- sometimes with reason and logic,
sometimes with feelings and emotions. But Hegel's method, this dialectic thinking, is subtle,
deceitful, hard to pin down; it's difficult to fight because it's difficult to detect. Think about this
question: "When is it okay to steal?" Consider it for a moment before you read further. It's a
valid question, right? Except that it already assumes that stealing is indeed acceptable in some
cases; but how many students will have the perception -- let alone courage -- to challenge the
teacher on such a point?
 
Even if a student were to make such a challenge, the teacher could easily back up and say it was
a slip of the tongue, it wasn't meant to sound the way it did. Later, another example would make
an appearance, then another, and another, until one slithered past the student's careful scrutiny, to
subvert his convictions. Or values. Or beliefs.
 
So, dialectic thinking works like this:
 
Thesis -- This is what you or your child accepts as truth.
 
EXAMPLE: Mommy says it is always wrong to steal. So, never steal; it is WRONG!
 
Antithesis -- This can be anything that causes the child to question what is true.
 
EXAMPLE: (in a story) Billy's daddy had to steal so Billy wouldn't starve. IMPLICATION: Mommy could be
wrong. At least, it gets the child to "think" in a way he previously knew was wrong. QUESTIONING PROCESS: is
stealing, in this instance, permissible? Maybe stealing can be necessary.
 
Synthesis -- Mommy can be wrong, why even listen to Mommy; Mommy doesn't understand. In
short, Ma don't know squat. She hasn't had HOTS.
 
(Later the child may come to the next "new truth" and decide stealing is always okay, as long as
it is taking from the rich -- whoever he might think is rich. Many Americans who now vote have
apparently come to that conclusion; soak the rich -- heck, they can afford it, they deserve it...oh,
and give me a slice, I need it much more than they do.)
 
The student cannot hold two opposing, contradictory views at the same time -- no one can. That
is: if stealing is always wrong, it can't ever be right. It can't be bad, and at the same time, be
good. More important, he cannot stay within the context of the problem and still use the logical
thinking he has previously been trained in at home.
 
EXAMPLE: When solving the problem presented by the story, the student could suggest that Billy's daddy could get
a job, or go to a charity, for food. If the teacher is well trained in the ways of dialectic thinking, the teacher will
instruct the student to stay in the confines of the question and simply state whether stealing in that instance is okay
or not (There was a time when pupils were rewarded for "thinking outside the square." The dangerous ones who do
so today are primary targets for reprogramming-remediation.)
 
This is affective education ("feelings based"). The child is being asked to make a judgment based
on sympathy, not reason -- on feelings, not knowledge.
Knowledge is not required.
 
This causes disorganization of the mind and behavior. The new term is cognitive dissonance; it's
disintegration of behavior and mental breakdown. Maybe it would be easier to understand if we
were to say it causes mental illness -- a double-minded man. The way to escape this mental
dilemma is to fully accept the new thought process without reason (e.g. stealing isn't always
wrong) and abandon the old concept completely. (You can't believe that it's completely wrong to
ever steal, at the same time you believe that it's okay sometimes.) Now that we've driven a wedge
between the kid and his old thinking, the child has a new thesis from which to begin the next
session.
 
When two ways of thinking are presented, [1] the parents' (and the child's) and [2] the school's
(and the state's), to overcome this conflict of the mind, the child must make a decision. When
one view is pounded in, hour after hour, day after day -- assessed, remediated and reassessed;
when the child has to recite things which are embarrassing or considered wrong, he should give
in, if the behaviorists are correct. The synthesis, that point where the student just slightly
changed his thinking, can then be used as a new starting point to move the student on to another
slight compromise in his thinking.
 
This process (moving the child step by step, synthesis by synthesis, away from his prior
knowledge, convictions, values, and thought processes) may not be quick or easy. So now you
see the need for pre-school for babies as young as 3 months old and year round school for all
children. In fact, Attorney General Reno, called for early intervention -- as early as the prenatal
period -- as a means of ensuring that children have the chance to develop into "responsible
citizens" by stating: " ...(W)e've got to develop the continuum from the beginning...to make sure
that parents are old enough, wise enough, and financially able to take care of their children..."
This sounds a bit like people may have to pass an OBE assessment before they are allowed to
conceive. If the children can be taught the "correct" values, attitudes and beliefs from the
beginning, there will be no need for the long drawn-out process of compromising their old
thinking, step-by-step, to get them to the proper thoughts.
 
How efficient! Gotta conserve those resources! This process to create mental confusion, so that
the values and beliefs of another culture can be used to replace one's existing values, has been
referred to as cross-culturalization. It can be explained like this:
 
Each person, each family, each community and each nation, has a "platform" of beliefs that make
them who they are. By introducing this process of dialectic thinking, they are being undermined
by having the platform removed out from under them, one plank at a time. As one plank is gently
pulled out; another is gently pushed in to replace the removed one. If it is done cautiously
enough (and if the platform was not too sturdy to begin with it can be accomplished with greater
ease), no one will become aware of what has been going on. Everyone will accept the new
culture without resistance. In fact, they will not know they are standing on a new platform.
 
When all their liberties are removed at once, the people will rebel. But erode them away, one at a
time, and they will thank you for it. Perhaps you have noticed that our belief system has changed.
Think back a few years -- maybe ten, fifteen or twenty. Was homosexuality widely discussed?
Would you openly and without embarrassment discuss condoms? How many couples did you
know who were divorced? How many unwed mothers did you know? These traditional values
are changing by design. While the political right inched to the left, the left flew off the scale.
This is why those who are making the radical changes can turn on the traditionalist and call him
the radical. The traditionalist -- by standing on his principles -- has appeared to move to the right;
he's simply is not staying on the platform. It's been replaced by a new one.
 
Farther to the left.
 
5. Assessments, Remediation, Re-assessments
 
ASSESSMENTS WILL BE PERFORMED to be certain ALL the children have been properly
trained. The assessments will be done through what is called authentic assessments and
portfolios. This is not to be confused with academic testing.
 
If knowledge is removed all that is left is process and assessment. If knowledge is removed, and
the outcome is predetermined, then the process has to be controlled to properly "demonstrate" or
"perform" the expected outcome. This is outcome based education: demonstration and
performance, as many states call it. This is what you expect from mastery teaching and learning.
Responses are demonstrated or performed -- any monkey can "perform."
 
Intelligence, on the other hand, can be tested but not always performed. It's a human function
that the children are being deprived of, under OBE.
 
A reading specialist, Frank Smith, in Understanding Reading gives us information on B. F.
Skinner. He states:
 
"A response, quite simply, is a piece of observable behavior -- not an idea, or a prediction, or an
emotion, or a memory -- all of these are unobservable, and therefore in the behaviorist view
"fictions"...A stimulus, also quite simply, is an occasion for a response. A red light is the
stimulus for stopping a car...and the printed word cat is a stimulus for the spoken word "cat".
 
Positive reinforcement is anything that increases the probability that a response will recur in the
presence of a particular stimulus; negative reinforcement reduces that probability."''
 
Performance or demonstration of "learned" abilities will require teachers to abandon traditional
testing of intelligence. Teachers will be retrained to keep portfolios which the child or parent will
not be aware of. The portfolios will be kept from one class to the next; one year after another.
The authentic assessments, however, may be done by using a computer scanner to scan the
child's bar coded name and the bar coded behavior the teacher wanted to observe. Or the teacher
may videotape the students. This will be an ongoing process as teachers will be instructed to
observe behavior on the playground, in the school garden, at the ball games and on field trips, in
addition to the regular classroom mayhem. Of course, the scanner will make the data keeping
much easier as it will be electronically exchanged into the computer data system at night.
 
It sounds convenient; swipe the card through the machine and the teacher is done. But what if
Jennifer doesn't happen to fall directly into one of the categories expected by the computer? No
time for extensive notes or explanations; just file her under "authority-challenged."
 
Children will be subjected to positive and negative reinforcement (to get the proper responses) in
large doses as the schools move to co-operative learning, group counseling and peer dependency.
Rejection by the group -- a negative reinforcement -- is to be dehumanized. The group will not
proceed until ALL THE CHILDREN LEARN what has been determined to be necessary.
Imagine the peer pressure on a student who makes an attempt to exercise his integrity! The
teacher will assess and re-assess. All children will learn that hard work has no reward, and that
studying for a test is a waste of time (because they can simply take it, over and over again, until
they get it right). Positive and negative reinforcement will be repeated until every outcome is
accomplished by every student."
 
One teacher told the story of an elementary child who did not get a positive reinforcement (an ice
cream sundae with ANY kind of topping a child could want) simply because that child had taken
one lunch to school over a particular period of time. The "treats" were only for those children
who ate the school lunches every day.
 
One lunch from home and this child was no longer "part of the group."
 
This worked as both positive and negative reinforcement The children who got the sundaes
(positive reinforcement) may have thought it a worse punishment for the non-conformist to have
to sit and watch them eat their sundaes (the noneater was "different" -- an outcast) than to be
deprived of eating something good at a time when you are very hungry. So they (in theory)
would say to themselves, "I’ll always conform to the group. I don't want to be pointed out as
"different". And besides, I did what was right, and I got this reward. The punished child (again,
in theory) should feel so disgraced, the temptation to do anything different would never really be
appealing. But, just to be certain, the hunger also will help to negatively reinforce any
nonconformist act.
 
The children aren't the only ones subjected to this. For instance, a negative reinforcement aimed
at parents might be rejection from a committee, being snubbed by the educator you thought was
a friend, or receiving threatening or harassing phone calls. If you were nothing more than an
animal, as the behaviorists believe, you would quit the behavior which produced the unpleasant
result. Parents may withstand this treatment, but how could children be expected to withstand it
day after day, year after year?
 
All of this falls outside the realm of intelligence. This is the way to train a porpoise to perform at
Sea World, or an elephant to perform for a circus.
 
This is Mastery Learning -- OBE.
 
Here's another example: The difference in OBE and traditional academic instruction may be
understood by using the subject of citizenship as an example of how different the assessments
would be.
 
In traditional schools, with traditional testing, the student would be instructed in history,
geography, government, etc. He would be taught what the Constitution says; who wrote it and --
from historical documentation -- why. He would be taught about rights, privileges and
responsibilities. He would be taught what a democracy is; a republic, a dictatorship, oligarchy,
monarchy, anarchy. He would know the meaning of fascism, Nazism, socialism, slavery,
servitude and freedom. He would learn that actions have consequences. He would know that if
he failed to read, and participate as a good citizen, his nation could deteriorate.
 
He would be tested -- to be certain that he understood these academic things, so that as he
matured he could make informed decisions about values and duties. If he did not have the
knowledge to base good decision making on, he would repeat the classes.
 
In OBE, the student will be told what to do. That is, they must do "community service" (state
approved, of course), they must register to vote, they must recycle, they must join protests
(politically correct ones -- like writing their legislators to increase spending for schools) and they
must be tolerant of everyone and everything. (Everyone has diplomatic immunity -- except you
and your traditional values.) Just go along with the pack, and you'll get high marks in OBE.
 
Authentic assessments will then be done to judge the students' performance. How well can they
"demonstrate" what they have been stimulated to do -- what they have been programmed to do?
If they aren't demonstrating political correctness, they will be remediated and none of those in
the class will go on to the next lessons until they ALL succeed in demonstrating acceptable
behavior.
 
While most people do not connect whole language with stimulus/response, Frank Smith,
previously quoted, seems to make that connection: see c-a-t, say cat. Stimulus, response. Since
the confusion of the language has been recognized as a perfect way to split a culture" (when no
one knows what anyone else means by the words they use), the social planners would never
underrate its potential. So the children are taught to read by stimulus/response. If they see a
group of letters together, they are to respond by saying a particular word. That is far different
than learning the sounds in the language, learning the spellings for those sounds and then reading
words.
 
In reality, it is even worse than that in the modern classroom. The child may respond by saying
cat when they see the letters c-a-t together. Then again, they may respond kitten. Kitten would
not be graded as wrong. (Heavens, it might injure the child's self-esteem.) But, still worse, the
children are taught that they should guess what the words are if they don't know. They are to
create meaning from the words they don't know.
 
It works a lot like estimation in math -- but that's changed, too. In schools a few years ago, we
were taught how to do percentages. Then we were taught how to make a close estimate.
Businesses estimate all the time -- before they commit to a project, and once they commit, they
calculate everything down to the inch, to the penny, to the minute. If the estimate wasn't close, it
was wrong. But today it can't be wrong; after all, it is only an "estimate." So, they are estimating
meaning, without the knowledge base upon which the estimation would take place. And since it
is only an estimation, nothing can be wrong. This is Higher Order Thinking! The only thing
bewildering about it is that they give it a name like "Higher Order Thinking." It's not what you
would consider higher order thinking (we certainly wouldn't); and they hope nobody challenges
them on the definition of their term. We would probably call it something like Propaganda 101,
or Modern Conditioning. That's not so bewildering.
 
The idea of twisting and distorting the meanings of words (or, as they would have us believe,
that "words have no meaning") is not new. It is just that it is new to the United States.
Traditionally, Americans have recognized that some things are true; some are false. There could
be no truth if there was no such thing as meaning. This has been one of those huge bewildering
things that we have been unwilling to confront. If one were to hear a school administrator say "it
isn't where you are going, but the travel that's important," it would be far easier to ignore the
statement than to deal with it. After all, one would recognize that the administrator still returned
to his office every day. Was his destination important or not? Is he saying this to confuse
parents? Is his mind so messed up that he believes this? Is he a liar? Hmm? It is important to
recognize that the thought process, and therefore thinking, has radically changed in this nation.
We are actually losing the meaning of words. To complicate the situation more, some people
know the meanings are changing and take advantage of that. Those who don't know meanings of
words are changing simply become more bewildered, more easily confused -- and more easily
dominated.
 
There is a difference between a liar and someone who doesn't believe words have meaning. The
liar knows he is lying and most people can understand what is happening even if they don't like
it.
 
Think about trying to convince your parents that you came in before curfew when you (and they)
knew you were late. They and you knew you were lying. It was a right and wrong issue. You lost
You were wrong. If they were doing their job, you didn't really want to attempt lying again.
 
Today the thought process has changed. There are honestly people who believe that words don't
really mean anything. You might say your teenagers are to be in before 11:30. They may come in
at 12:15 and argue that they are on time. After all, 11:30 comes twice a day, fourteen times a
week, in different time zones. Time is relative. Heck, you probably didn't know what you meant,
either.
 
Try building a rocket that way. Or coordinating an invasion. Or running an assembly line.
Perhaps, most people would think we have simply become more loose with the use of our words.
For instance, in a world of robbery, violence, hatred, abuse, battery and so forth, everyone seems
to be in love with everyone. The performer who "loves" his fans; parents who can't interrupt
entertainment or hobbies but will call home to tell their children how much they "love" them.
And the child who is getting dressed to go out for the evening will no doubt tell her mother how
much she loves her. Mother may be called to the county jail in a few hours and be humiliated by
the child's behavior; behavior that would never have taken place if the child honestly loved and
respected the parent. The word "love" has lost all meaning in these situations. Yet it is still used.
In fact, it is used much more now than ever before. But a few years ago it wasn't necessary to say
it so much. Real love (with meaning) is demonstrated or displayed through behavior. To be more
accurate (and that is what words are for), parents who love their children put them before
themselves, and children who love their parents honor them with good behavior. And, perhaps,
the entertainer simply appreciates his fans, or their money.
 
This may be a simplistic illustration. But the performer, the parent and the child are not lying --
in the true sense of the word. Either they don't know the MEANING of the word 'love' or they
are not careful to use the proper word.
 
But the deliberate misuse of the meanings of words (the semantic deception) -- the new-age
terminology for what we once called "lying" -- is a powerful manipulation tool when placed in
skilled hands.
 
Outcome Based Education is hardly education -- it's animal training: if you bark when you hear
the bell ring, you'll get your treat. No understanding required. No intellect required. Just a desire
to gain approval. That's OBE.
 
And their Higher Order Thinking Skills actually have very little to do with thought; rather, it's
how well you get along with the group. How sensitive you are to the feelings of others. How
willing you are to measure yourself by anyone else's standards. How you're willing to be a
doormat for everyone else. How much your self-esteem depends on the approval of anyone,
absolutely anyone, besides yourself. How dependent you are on that approval. How far you will
go, the things you will do, to get that approval.
 
How easily and simply you can be controlled.
 
B. F. Skinner has repeatedly suggested that adequate methods of behavioral control are already
available and could improve the human condition tomorrow if we were not too timid to put them
into practice (emphasis added).
 
Behaviorists assert that all behavior can be understood -- in Skinnerian terminology "predicted
and controlled" -- by establishing habits through the reinforcement of a response in the presence
of a particular stimulus.
 
The hero in Walden Two (written by B. F. Skinner) states:
 
"Now that we know how positive reinforcement works...we can be more deliberate and hence more successful,
in our cultural design. We can achieve a sort of control under which the controlled, though they are following a
code much more scrupulously than was ever the case under the old system nevertheless feel free. They are
doing what they want to do, not what they are forced to do. That's the source of the tremendous power of
positive reinforcement -- there's no restraint and no revolt. By a careful cultural design, we control not the final
behavior, but the inclination to behave-the motives, the desires, the wishes. The curious thing is that...the
question of freedom never arises."
 
Maybe that is the situation today. Maybe it is as simple as clearing the minds of previous beliefs,
attitudes, behaviors and knowledge. Maybe all we need is the appropriate stimulus and the
proper reinforcement to develop constructive attitudes and values. Maybe there are some
superhuman behavioral psychologists and social planners who have their lives so wonderfully
whole and their act so completely together that they know what is best for everyone. Maybe they
can structure a utopian paradise, run by compliant human resources. Maybe.
 
Except, how can we know the button-pushers are going to push the right buttons? And who
pushed their buttons? And who programmed the button-pushers' button-pushers? They'll
confidently and smugly inform you that they have the background -- they were brought up in the
right environment, you see -- and that you just won't understand (your environment was
inadequate, got it?), so you just trust everything to them, and it'll all work out nice and lovely.
 
Now go away and let the busy programmers do their job. Here, have an ice cream cone, and
watch some TV. All comfy now?
 
Behaviorism. It's a question of control -- who has it, and over whom. They want the control over
the future via you and your kids.
 
So What's The Point?
 
THE ALTERNATIVE IS TO ARM people, beginning when they're children, with facts,
information and knowledge so that they can make their own decisions. Nobody would have
control over anybody; everybody would have -- and should have -- an opportunity to gather what
resources he needs to be able to make his own way: to profit from his knowledge or to squander
it, to improve his lot or to degrade it. This way, every individual has control over his own
destiny, in his own hands. But this is in dire opposition to what the behaviorists are after. If your
kids are armed with knowledge, they'll be much more difficult to control, to train, to program.
This gets in the behaviorist's way. It's a nuisance. An independent mind is difficult to enslave.
 
This is why it is important for you and your community to keep academics in the curriculum at
your local schools. HISTORY -- learn from the mistakes others have made. LANGUAGE --
learn how to communicate with fellow human beings, in writing and in speech.
MATHEMATICS -- learn how to use numbers as a powerful tool, to plan, to estimate, to
measure, and to build. SCIENCE -- learn to discover the secrets of the universe and how to make
them useful to mankind. VOCABULARY -- constantly improve your ability to reason by finding
more precise terms for your thoughts. And perhaps most important and basic of all, READING --
learn to benefit from the learnings of others; tap into their imaginations, their conclusions, their
discoveries; learn from their failures and their triumphs.
 
It is not enough to object to a program simply due to questionable content. Objectionable content
is not the reason to question a program, for even true academics may genuinely encounter
content which you'd find objectionable. The questionable behaviorist programs will only be a
small symptom of the huge disease spreading throughout our education system. Attack the virus,
not the inflammation. After a minor program is abandoned, another program -- or a modified
version of the same one, under a different name -- will take its place. Idling mere programs will
prove fruitless. Attack behaviorism, not just objectionable programs.
 
Stop the behaviorism. Anything that replaces academics is unacceptable -- IT WILL NOT DO.
Academics, academics, academics. Be sure your kids are learning facts, knowledge and informa-
tion -- not sensitivity, multiculturalism and global awareness.
 
Do not simply trust the education of your children to "the experts." It’s the future that's at stake --
your future, our future, and your children's future. Anything that takes the place of academics
should be questioned -- if not rejected outright.
 
The behaviorists claim that they have the right and the power to brainwash and control the
ignorant masses. They will have the power, if we give it to them, but they do not have the right.
So, the masses simply need to shed ignorance, overcome bewilderment, and overwhelm the
enemy by acquiring knowledge, using reason and logic, and out-working the planners.
 
 
 
 

Nashua Principal Nelson's Letter to Superintendent Conrad Regarding Smarter Balanced Assessments

Fairgrounds Middle School
27 Cleveland Street
Nashua, NH 03060
John Nelson, Principal - nelsonj@nashua.edu
Sharon M. Coffey, Asst. Principal - coffeys@nashua.edu
Telephone: 603-594-4393

 

TO: MARK CONRAD
JENNIFER SEUSING
KAREN CREBASE


FROM: JOHN NELSON


RE: SMARTER BALANCE TEST


This communication is to share the sentiment of the FMS staff as it relates to the Smarter Balance Test. As you know, our staff used the December Early Release to take this test with the goal that it would provide us with some insight how we might incorporate the “common core” and the format of the Smarter Balance Test into our instructional practices. We believe that we successfully incorporated the NECAP Test format and GLEs into our teaching practices, especially in our “Bell Activities. “


Although a few staff members shared that they believed that our test scores would improve over time, I was surprised with the responses from the FMS teachers when we gathered to debrief after taking the test. I was hopeful that we would have teachers sharing test vocabulary, ideas for test taking, and strategies to help prepare our students for the 2015 Smarter Balance Test. Instead, teachers shared frustrations they had when they were taking the test and disappointment in test format and the difficulties they had trying to use their computer to take this test.


The comments shared below come from successful dedicated veteran teachers. I have much respect for this staff and I not only appreciated the honesty of the staff in their response to the Smarter Balance Test; but, I am hopeful that the Nashua School District will accept these responses in a positive way and not look at the comments as “negative” or “unprofessional”. The FMS staff collectively believe that the Smarter Balance Test is inappropriate for our students at this time and that the results from this test will not measure the academic achievement of our students; but will be a test of computer skills and students’ abilities to endure through a cumbersome task.


Listed below are some of the concerns that were shared by our staff:

  • I feel sad for the students who have to take this test -- not many will be successful.
  • Much is said about “depersonalizing” information as part of a learning strategy. This is not how students learn.
  • There is too much “stuff” going on the screen at once. It is difficult to move the icons where you want them.
  • Students don’t know how to use the “mouse” everything for them is “tough screen”.
  • If you leave the screen for a short period of time the information on the screen will be gone when you return.
  • “I tried the grade six-grade math---it was humbling. It was scary.
  • I had technology problems. If kids have these problems they’ll just quit.
  • Double-wide monitors would help.
  • I am a huge fan of concept maps but notepad does not let you do that on Smarter Balance. You can’t even copy and paste from the notepad into the test.
  • This was more of a test on the computer skills than on the math concepts. If I was a student I would just pick out an answer and move on.
  • Too tedious—kids will get sick of it and just guess to move on.
  • Kids won’t even get past the computer directions.


These are just a sample of the concerns that were raised at this meeting. We did shift to “what do we have to do from now until the spring of 2015 to prepare students. Sample answers include:

  • Pay attention to the directions. Provide students with many opportunities to read directions for their assignments.
  • You can’t just read this test and then respond. Students need to highlight and take notes—especially during the audio questions.
  • Students need to learn to “read the question first”.
  • Students need to be able to go back into the text passages to pull out data that will support their answers.
  • Students need to read through the questions and all possible answers. Sometimes questions give the answers to other questions in the test.
  • Kids need to know how to do “note taking”.
  • We need to teach students “how to draw an inference”.
  • Students need to learn how to write a transition sentence between two paragraphs.
  • Students need to learn how to write using “the speakers” voice.
  • Students need to memorize formulas in this test.
  • Students will have difficulty writing in the boxes that expand because of the technology of the way the box expands.
  • Students will have trouble reading and understanding the directions and what is being asked by the question.
  • Is this test closely aligned to the “common core?” It is important that teachers know what the test will be assessing.
  • I am concerned that the math test is not necessarily testing students’ math abilities since there is so much reading. This test seems to assess how well the students read the math questions more than their math skills. Thus, because of the amount of reading, I question the validity of our receiving a math ability score.
  • When Measured Progress developed the NECAP there was a committee on bias to check for testing bias. Does Smarter Balance do the same? Also, math teachers were asked to evaluate the questions to eliminate unnecessary verbiage so that the Math was being tested.
  • The opening pages of directions and computer information was ridiculous. I didn’t read it---I’m sure my students won’t. Suggestions: We should have posters made of the most important and often used keys to post in each math classroom. Students need to practice making equations in Word, including the fractions symbol. We need to teach students to distinguish between on correct answer and many correct answers. There are questions that tell the students to choose the correct answers.
  • The test is difficult to navigate with so many keystrokes to juggle.
  • The page layout makes it eye weary even though you can expand the screen and zoom in and out.
  • The passages are lengthy and time consuming and made me consider just choosing “B” so I could move on.
  • Some terms in the reading seemed out-dated---“Plumb crazy and millwright” for example.
  • I had to use multiple skills and at the same time multitask—id—the audio portions require me to listen and at the same time read possible answers while constructing a well written paragraph in my head.
  • The test assumes the students are skilled in such areas as pre-reading and questions and if they are not , it assumes they will learn while taking the test to read the questions in advance of the reading.
  • There wasn’t a flow or cadence to the questions. The type or style of questions changed from one to the next.
  • The answers were not straight forward—for example on the math test they did not want the answer to the equation, they wanted to know if the answer was 2/3rd greater than what you started with. I understand this is import ant but this test will be exhausting for the kids.
  • The idea of the best answer and then there being 2 or more good and appropriate answers. It felt like a trick. We’re going to look bad for a few years.
  • I did 30 questions in an hour and then had to take a break. My eyes hurt and my shoulders felt strained. When I returned 5 minutes later the work was gone.
  • Each question is totally different than the one before it creating confusion which creates more confusion for the test takers.
  • Frustration level builds as your take the test creating mental despair---students will shut down.
  • Many of the math questions seemed to have no basis in the real world and skills that will never be used in life.
  • Students will need to be taught the technology skills for the test.—scrolling through screens, highlighting, scanning the questions, tough typing, and more.
  • The test does not encourage students to use writing webs, brain maps, organizers to assist with writing.
  • Summary: In my opinion, this test is a sad indictment of how disconnected the people who design the test are from the typical students in the classroom. Assessment is necessary but it should be designed to be developmentally appropriate for the students being tested. Assessment should also all for different methods to demonstrate competency rather than one computer model. This test is designed for one type of student—the verbal learner with exceptional executive functioning skills.
  • I took the Grade 7 Language Arts test which I believe is developmentally designed for adults, not seventh grade students. The questions were tedious and punitive. I’m not sure that any seventh grader in the St ate would be able to score well on this test. The worst part of this test was the directions. They were numerous and multifaceted. After observing middle school students take tests for over a decade, it is my firm belief that most kids will stop reading the directions because there are too many and they are far too complex. Students will fail this test and the test will destroy their confidence which is an important stage of their development. In addition, the results of this test will become a public relations night mare for the school and the school districts as children will fail in large numbers.

Parents have the Authority to OPT OUT or REFUSE Testing for their Child; Examination of Authority of Local School Boards

It is very wrong for bills to be written asking for permission for parental opt-outs or local control for local school boards.   Parents and local school boards can exercise those rights already.  We still live in a free society.  What the law does not explicitly forbid or require can be done.  The problem now being created by people who don't understand our basic political principles is that asking for opt-outs and local control implies that unless the law passes, parents and local school boards don't have these rights.

It is not illegal to refuse the Smarter Balanced Assessments. There is no law that states parents must submit their child to this educational abuse.  While your child may not obtain an approved "exemption" from this assessment, there is no law against parental refusals.

 

Even if Smarter Balanced Assessments were required specifically, you have the right and responsibility as a parent to refuse this horribly intrusive test.  In fact, the Supreme Court has backed up the inalienable right of parents to direct their children’s education.

Parents, do the right thing by your kids.  Be Brave.  Opt out.  Refuse the test.

 

All local school boards need to do is act on the legal authority vested in them by a public election.  State boards have only the statutory authority written down for them. 

  • Local school boards can reject Common Core (unless there is a state statute that says explicitly that state-board adopted standards must also be adopted by local school districts--and I know of only one state with such a statute). 
  • Local school boards can develop/adopt another set of standards, as several in NH are now doing. 
  • Local school boards can also develop/use their own tests for their kids. 

If state statute requires it, they have to give the state-developed tests. But local school boards, if they have adopted their own standards and own curriculum to address these standards, can reject the state-required test as incompatible with their own legally-adopted curriculum.  These conflicting positions will then have to be fought out at the state supreme court level.


But local school boards cannot punish local parents who opt out of these tests. Nor do state boards have any legal authority over kids in a public local school district.   Parents have the right to remove their child from school for what they deem a good reason (and they've been doing so for family vacations for years in the town I live in).  Schools cannot punish these parents.   If they schedule tests that the child wants to take, they must offer test make-up dates.

 
New Hampshire's Statewide Education Improvement and Assessment Program

RSA 193-C:1 Statement of Purpose. -

VI. The purpose of the statewide education improvement and assessment program is not to establish a statewide curriculum. It is, rather, to establish what New Hampshire students should know and be able to do and to develop and implement effective methods for assessing that learning and its application so that local decisions about curriculum development and delivery can be made.

193-C:3 Program Established; Goals. -

II. Since the program is not a minimum competency testing program, assessment instruments should be designed to reflect the range of learning exhibited by students. The assessment portion of the program shall consist of a variety of assessment tasks which can be objectively scored. The assessment instruments shall include, but not be limited to:

(a) Constructed response items which require students to produce answers to questions rather than to select from an array of possible answers.
(b) A writing sample.
(c) Other open-ended performance tasks.

III. The following criteria shall be used in the development of the program:

(a) Educational standards specifying what students should know and be able to do shall be clearly defined before assessment procedures and exercises are developed.
(b) The assessment exercises or tasks shall be valid and appropriate representations of the standards the students are expected to achieve.
(c) At each grade level assessed, the standards and expectations shall be the same for every New Hampshire student.
(d) Teachers shall be involved in designing and using the assessment system.
(e) Assessment frameworks and reports shall be understandable and widely disseminated to parents, teachers, administrators, other school personnel, school board members, teacher preparation programs, business people, government officials, and community members.
(f) The assessment system shall be subject to continuous review and improvement.

 


 

Competency-Based Education: a Bait and Switch Lobbying Effort Designed to Transform Public Education

The NH Legislature had no clue that they were opening Pandora's box when they passed Senate Bill 48, last year.  It barely mentioned "Competencies" or "Competency-based" instruction:

V. Competency-based strategies provide flexibility in the way that credit can be earned and awarded and provide students with personalized learning, including those that are offered through on-line, blended, and community based opportunities.

I-a. "Competencies" means student learning targets that represent key content-specific concepts, skills, and knowledge applied within or across content domains.

Senate Education Chair Nancy Stiles, the prime sponsor of this legislation, never told her fellow Legislators that all instruction in public schools moving forward would be transformed into Competency-based instruction and that the existing methods of instruction must be eliminated -- based solely upon an 18-word definition of the term "Competencies."

However, that is exactly the message that school districts are now receiving from the NH Department of Education after its new Minimum Standards for Public School Approval, Ed 306, were adopted earlier this year in January.  School districts must transition to Competency-based instruction or they will fail to meet the state's revised Minimum Standards.

These changes made in Senate Bill 48 were marketed as just another option in a long list of alternative learning options that would be made available to students alongside the more traditional methods of instruction.  Never in their wildest dreams did Legislators understand that traditional methods of instruction were going to be eliminated by this bill.

Read the newly revised Ed 306, Minimum Standards for Public School Approval. You will quickly notice that "Competencies" and "Competency-based" instruction is mentioned roughly 140 times in the 109-page document. These new regulations were waiting for Senate Bill 48, which barely mentions "Competencies," to be signed into law. The bait and switch marketing pitch given by Senator Stiles and the Department of Education officials completely misled Legislators.

[ N.B. Previous Ed 306 regulations mentioned "competencies" only 17 times, based upon no mention of "competencies" in statute.]

Legislators, school board members and parents had no clue what their objective was.  Suddenly, "competency-based" instruction is on center stage in all of our public schools.

The Commissioner of Education wasted no time, sending out her unauthorized Extended Cabinet of Regional Liaisons to each and every school district, meeting with district superintendents, principals and curriculum specialists on a monthly basis.  She also met personally on a monthly basis with all district superintendents to implement these new "competencies."

Legislators, school board members and parents are now confronted with a massive transformation of public education without any disclosure . . . once again.  This is no different in scope and magnitude than the state's previous adoption of Common Core and Smarter Balanced Assessments without adequate public disclosure or notice.

Many districts have already begun the task of incorporating these competencies into their programs of instruction.  How were they able to do this so quickly, unless of course, they were being told to begin this process of transformation before the new regulations were even adopted?   It is likely this implementation started well before these regulations were adopted earlier this year.

Mandating Competency-based instruction is a huge overreach by the Department of Education, which imposed regulations that vastly exceed the authority granted by the Legislature.

NH Public Middle School Collects Student Biometric Data in School Cafeteria

There are reports of biometric finger scans of public school students at Stratham's Cooperative Middle School this year.  When a middle school student attempts to purchase food from the school cafeteria he need to submit his finger for a ten point scan. Finger scans, like finger prints, contain private biometric data.


In a digital fingerprint often all ten fingers are "rolled" through a digital scanner.  With each finger roll, the digitization process digitizes the entire fingerprint including all areas of each fingerprint friction ridge and furrows.  The digitized information is large and is critical in being used to accurately defining the certainty of the identity of the individual.

In fingerscans, often only one or two fingers are used.  Further, the fingers are not usually rolled.  The individual merely places their finger on the scanner.  Further, not all areas of the digitized finger are used.  Normally, the finger scanner takes only certain points on the finger and then compares this quickly to its database to match up to a scan made during the initial registration by the identity.


A fingerscan is less accurate at verifying the identity of the individual than a fingerprint.

Students have their finger scanned in the beginning of middle school in 6th grade.  The head of food services says this biometric data will remain in the school's computer. When the student buys a school lunch, he must put his finger on the scanner to verify his identify.  School administrators believes this speeds up the lunch line and have been using this program for at least five years now.

Even students who don't buy school lunches have their fingers scanned.  Parents who object are given a form to opt out their child, but practice has been to scan those children anyway promising parents that their child's private biometric data will be erased later. How can any parent be sure that this data will ever be erased?

Without the biometric scan students would have to return to the use of their student ID cards when purchasing lunch at the school. How is this such a big problem?  Apparently many students forget their ID cards, so the school decides it's more efficient to biometrically scan all the students.

New Hampshire's privacy laws provide no protection against taking students finger scans.  Even the bill introduced by Rep. Neal Kurk this year does not prohibit districts from using and storing student finger scans. His bill only protects against biometric data being stored on the state's longitudinal data base, not district's data bases. 

Not surprising since Kurk worked exclusively with the Department of Education, not the people of this state, in crafting his "privacy" bill.  This was the bill that had a public hearing before the House Education Committee in the middle of a blizzard and then never rescheduled to allow for public input.  At the second hearing before the Senate Education Committee Kurk offered to take friendly amendments from the public, but failed to even acknowledge, let alone incorporate, the information provided in those amendments.

The department never bothered to disclose that districts were already taking biometric data from students, because it's not in their interest to do so.  As a result, Kurk's so-called "privacy" bill, HB 1587, is a very narrow piece of legislation that does not adequately address student privacy issues. This bill allows private student identifying information to go to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia with the "promise" that they will erase it after identifying the students.  Once again, no real reassurance for parents that their child's private information will remain confidential.

Rep. Kurk's bill now awaits the governor's signature. The department will no doubt claim that all our student privacy issues have been resolved with this bill.  Actually, even before this bill the department claimed there were no student privacy problems or any student data-mining. 

A bill submitted by Rep. Glenn Cordelli, HB 1586, addresses this concern, but the House sent it off to interim study along with other more effective privacy bills.

   
 

House Education Nails a Letter on the Door of the Department of Education Rather than Enacting Legislation

House Ed Committee votes to KILL SB 343..Dispositions remain!!

Parents are concerned about the increase in behavioral or dispositional questions on student assessments and surveys in public schools.  It's particularly upsetting, knowing that there is also a corresponding increase data tracking and data mining of private student information. 

Many parents would like to review and inspect these assessments, but there is no full disclosure of these materials.  Districts downplay behavioral surveys by releasing only a limited number of the benign questions.  There's a similar lack of disclosure for the  statewide assessment questions.

Legislation was brought forward to address this issue, prohibiting dispositional questioning. 

If you'd like to understand what dispositional questioning is, watch this six minute video for an explanation. Dr. Peg Luksik explains how Common Core testing embeds questions that result in behavior change without protest from the children.

However, the House Education sub-committee recommended killing this legislation to prohibit the dispositional questioning on New Hamsphire's statewide assessments. They voted (3-1) to ITL SB 343 on April 17, 2014.

These same legislators opposed dispositional questions on statewide assessments in critical legislation last year, SB 48.  This bill enabled NH to obtain its No Child Left Behind Waiver.  If they oppose dispositional questions, why did they recommend killing the bill? They claim there is no problem.  Parents are over-reacting.

They claim that a self-contradicting letter written to the NH Department of Education on February 18, 2014 by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia is all that is needed to protect public school students from social-emotional psychological or dispositional questions on the upcoming statewide assessments.

The letter claims that certain "dispositions" are necessary to succeed, yet the assessments "will be focused on testing only knowledge and skills."

Yet, in contradiction, the letter also states that "Smarter Balanced recognizes that college readiness encompasses a wide array of knowledge, skills, and dispositions, only some of which will be measure by the Smarter Balanced Assessments."

The department is being asked post this letter on its website to "protect" parents from dispositional questions. The Education Committee sees no need for legislation. The department was asked to post this letter by next Tuesday when the full committee is expected to make its final recommendation to the full House.

If you believe that legislation, not sticky notes, are needed to protect students, please contact the House Education Committee members as soon as possible. Ask for their support of a prohibition against dispositional questions on statewide assessments.

Phone numbers & emails for individual members: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/committees/committeedetails.aspx?code=H05

Or, contact the entire committee with: HouseEducationCommittee@leg.state.nh.us

Parents can't take a snapshot of a logically inconsistent note and bring it to court, hoping to obtain  remedy after the fact.  A law needs to be enacted to prohibit the use of dispositional or psychological questions from appearing on statewide assessments. 

State law has already dedicated an entire chapter, RSA 193-C, to the requirements of our statewide assessments, "Statewide Education Improvement and Assessment Program."  This is where the prohibition needs to be placed, not in a note nailed to a door. 

It's laughable that this Education Committee is reluctant to enact legislation.  Many parents and teachers have already claimed these assessments are overly psychological and constitute "child abuse." 

The results of the legislature's failure to act will be massive number of parents who will choose to OPT OUT their children next year. They will simply REFUSE to allow their children to take these assessments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wakefield NH School Board Votes to Reject the Common Core State Standards and Replace Them with the Old Massachusetts State Standards.

 

This is a video clip taken from the April 16th School Board meeting in Wakefield, NH.

The Board members are: Steve Brown, Chair, Bonnie Cyre, Vice Chair, Bob Ouellette Norma Joy and Relf Fogg. Also present are Michael Tursi, School Administrator, Jerry Gregoire, Principle.

The Board discusses an Agenda item regarding Common Core Standards. A brief discussion occurs before the vote to REJECT Common Core.

The vote was 4-1, yet the opposing vote came from a member who states that he dislikes the idea of loss of sovereignty over standards with Common Core.

Next the board votes for the district to adopt the old Massachusetts state standards. This vote was 4-0 with one abstention.  Relf Fogg abstained from voting. 

Chairman Brown remarked that he would like the district to seek the advice of Sandra Stotsky when implementing these  standards.  Sandra Stotsky helped develop the old Massachusetts English Language Arts standards and has publicly said that she is willing to help any district that wants to implement these standards without charge, except for her transportation expenses.

Stotsky recently came up to Manchester School District  to help them with the development of their academic standards and will be coming up for a second visit soon.

Unlike Manchester, Wakefield isn't developing or writing their own standards. They are avoiding all of the developmental work Manchester took on from October to May in developing their own academic standards. Wakefield is simply implementing the proven, bench marked old Massachusetts standards, which created the Massachusetts miracle.

Congratulations to Wakefield parents, teachers and students.  This is a huge win for local control. 

Parents have the RIGHT to Opt Out or Refuse to allow their Child to take Statewide Assessments, such as NECAPs or Smarter Balanced Assessments

Each and every year there are emotional struggles between parents and school and state officials over standardized testing. Can parents opt out their children from these assessments?  Unfortunately, many of these battles occur privately as individual families struggle one at a time without the support or even knowledge of the community.  Thankfully, some families publicized their struggle.  Unfortunately, the outcome is usually the same.

Whether it's the old NECAPs or the even more controversial Smarter Balanced assessments officials attempt to bludgeon parents into compliance with state law, which they misinterpret to their advantage.  State law,  RSA 193-C:6, requires districts to administer statewide assessments, but it does not say that children can be forced to take these assessments in opposition to the objections of their parent.  One principal went to far as to confine a student in his office, refused to allow her to call her parent, and insisted that she take the assessments in opposition to her parent's written instructions to the school or face immediate suspension.  This "principal of the year" violated multiple school policies, which does not allow a principal to bully a student against his parent's instructions, nor does it allow the principal to suspend a student without cause.

State law acknowledges that exemptions are allowed for certain students, but fails to explicitly define those exemptions.  The legislature allows the state board of education to create rules, definining "exemptions" and their rules were written in a very restrictive manner.  Here's an excerpt from the department's website:

Students with very serious, chronic, and fragile medical conditions can and do participate successfully in statewide assessment. However, there are rare and unique situations in which a student is unable to participate in any part of statewide assessment.  Such decisions must be made with the greatest care and restraint. Every student has the right to participate in statewide assessment in order to show what  he or she knows and is able to do as compared to state curriculum standards.

Rule of Thumb:

If the student can receive instruction, the student can participate in statewide assessment.

As result every year parents are badgered by school admininstrators.  Yet every year parents push back simply refuse to allow their children to take these assessments. This is the result of overly restrictive regulations: parent refusals have become time-honored tradition in New Hampshire.  Notice that parent refusals are given an honorable mention in the department of educations yearly summaries.

It is extremely important for parents to understand that they do not need to ask permission from their public servants to opt out of testing.  They must instruct their public servants in writing that they object to these assessments and that their child will not be taking them so there is no misunderstanding.