missouriballotissue

 

Are you puzzled about which way to vote on Amendment 3 on Tuesday, November 4?  From Ballotpedia:

Official Ballot Title:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:

  • Require teachers to be evaluated by a standards based performance evaluation system for which each local school district must receive state approval to continue receiving state and local funding;
  • Require teachers to be dismissed, retained, demoted, promoted and paid primarily using quantifiable student performance data as part of the evaluation system;
  • Require teachers to enter into contracts of three years or fewer with public school districts; and
  • Prohibit teachers from organizing or collectively bargaining regarding the design and implementation of the teacher evaluation system?

Decisions by school districts regarding provisions allowed or required by this proposal and their implementation will influence the potential costs or savings impacting each district. Significant potential costs may be incurred by the state and/or the districts if new/additional evaluation instruments must be developed to satisfy the proposal’s performance evaluation requirements.

 

Diane Ravitch wrote about the Amendment yesterday and she is adamantly opposed to teacher evaluations having to be approved by the state agency, DESE, as this has never been a constitutional power of that agency.  The idea of ‘local control’ will be an antiquated term.  Those opposing Common Core State Standards wish she would acknowledge that these evaluations are based on the common assessments arising from the ‘common set of standards’ states had to adopt via the State Stabilization Fund agreement and that the teachers’ unions would be more vocal in their opposition to the CCSS.   Was this effort by Rex Sinquefield a first move to allow DESE to implement its control over the teacher evaluation process to determine teacher effectiveness?  Remember, one of the four assurances, along with adopting a common set of standards, was to make sure teacher effectiveness be instituted for equity:

 

ARRA funds should be used to improve student achievement, and help close the achievement gap. In addition, the SFSF requires progress on four reforms previously authorized under the bipartisan Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the America Competes Act of 2007:
  1. Making progress toward rigorous college- and career-ready standards and high-quality assessments that are valid and reliable for all students, including English language learners and students with disabilities;
  2. Establishing pre-K-to college and career data systems that track progress and foster continuous improvement;
  3. Making improvements in teacher effectiveness and in the equitable distribution of qualified teachers for all students, particularly students who are most in need;
  4. Providing intensive support and effective interventions for the lowest-performing schools.


It was discovered that the Commissioner and one of Sinquefield’s organizations he has heavily funded, Children’s Educational Alliance of Missouri (CEAM), were involved in the crafting of the Amendment.  From  Missouri Education Today: Common Core, Teacher Evaluations, The “Coalition of the Willing” and the Nuclear Option:

 

ceam and teacher eval 1

 

That ‘advocate of the ballot initiative’ would be Katie Casas of CEAM which is funded by Rex Sinquefield.  The collusion between a private organization and the state agency to determine educational policy is similar to NGOs crafting the Common Core State Standards.  Individuals and privately funded special interest groups work with governmental agencies and officials so their reform agendas will be adopted.  That’s  not representative government in action.  That’s an oligarchy in action.  And this oligarchy changes the research to make it more palatable for the voters.  ‘Significant unknown cost’ to local districts is changed to ‘cost unknown’ by the now retiring Commissioner.  And it’s a wonder the taxpayers don’t trust DESE to tell the truth:

 

Fiscal-Wkst-wNicastro-notes

 

Read some of the comments from Ravitch’s article (she had originally defined Sinquefield as ‘far right’ vs ‘rich extremist’ in the title) on this Amendment:

 

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Also, is there anything on there that’s a radical departure from the position of the Obama Administration/Democrats?

For all I know they’re quietly backing it.

I can’t find a dime’s worth of difference between “far Right” ed reformers and ed reformers in the Democratic Party, other than slightly different rhetoric in the 3 months before an election. The Democratic Party has adopted the entire “far Right” education agenda. Arne Duncan could have written that.

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Chiara, I’m grinning at your phrasing because NC’s state superintendent told me “there wasn’t a dime bit of difference between the Common Core and standards NC was already drafting.” So, therefore, we took the money. And the standards. (But they are gone now, sort of).

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MEW note: This confirms our concern that the assessments will be aligned to the Missouri Learning Standards, aka Common Core State Standards.  If the teachers don’t fight the CCSS, they will be assessed on assessments aligned to the CCSS.

We just went to a mandatory “professional development” 3 hour ‘class’ last week (read: total waste of time) to ‘unpack the NEW Florida Standards!” where representatives from the state DA (Differentiated Accountability) squad were present to monitor and correct our speech and though and intimidate our practice (read: Educational Gestapo).

When I continuously referred to the “Mathematics Florida Standards” and “Language Arts Florida Standards” as CCSS one of the Gestapo officers attempted to correct me.

I immediately did a side-by-side comparison of the “new” standards and pointed out how they matched verbatim, other than a less-than-15% difference, as required by RTTT. She didn’t attempt to correct me again.

Sometimes I get by with pushback and although it is a small victory it feels mighty good!

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MEW note: Missourian Mary Byrne weighs in:

How productive is it to refer to anyone as far-right or far-left when discussing the redesign of governance through the redesign of teacher evaluations and contract as a state, rather than local power? I live in Missouri and I have campaigned against Amendment 3 on behalf of (what the media calls) conservative legislators who believe in local control of schools and teacher contracts by local non-partisan school boards; these same boards having the responsibility to be accountable to parents who are their children’s first, and life-long teachers. What Mr. Sinquefield’s advisors tell him and what he supports is not right or left, it’s just plain wrong. What Democrats have done in collaboration with Mr. Sinquefield to get value added modeling as a component of the NCLB waiver (there is no difference in VAM in either document) is just as wrong. So let’s drop the directionality terms that cause fractions where none should exist.

Read the State of the State Standards 2010. The only conclusion the Fordham folks could draw was that America needed a national set of standards. They couldn’t come up with the recommendation to ditch NCLB because that would have been inconsistent with the agenda of the Common Core Cabal in Washington DC, including Gates and every NGO he funded there. UnAmerican? Globalists don’t care about what is American. Re-read Lou Gertsner’s (Achieve Inc) advice to Obama in the Washington Post to abandon local control; Marc Tucker’s (NCEE) recommendations for state control of education; and Chester Finn’s (Thomas B.Fordham) statement in his farewell post that “local control needs to be reinvented”. The reason NCLB wasn’t ditched, is because Gates-Duncan and company didn’t want it ditched, they wanted to use it as a tool. If we’re smart about this, everyone who loved education and appreciates it as the hallmark of citizens living as free people in our American republic will work to eliminate both common core and NCLB. Do you suppose we can stop the identity politics long enough to accomplish that?

What Finn is proposing is that we somehow convince parents that their schools are not good . . . In a nutshell, the phrase, “never waste a crisis” applies, however, the full statement is incomplete. What is left to nuance is, “. . . that we create.” What you are getting at is a sense of being manipulated by elitists, financial, bureaucratic, and academic, who believe they can make decisions about your children’s lives better than families can. They achieve the manipulation of the general population through the manipulation of student test scores. I’m in Diane’s camp on national standardized testing — it has very little to do with real education. It is useful, however, for shaping public opinion so as to “nudge” the general public toward a conclusion about the need for “centralized everything” run by the government elitists. And while you brought up the topic of fear of the Lord — I like to fall back on the “Big 10″ when I’m trying to discern what’s going on and what to do about it. #5 is “Honor thy father and mother.” As far as I can tell, that does not translate as “fatherland” and “motherland”. It translates as local control.

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Vote NO on Amendment 3 and resist the ‘nudging’ by Sinquefield, CEAM and Chris Nicastro.  Time to ‘nudge’ back.

Published on November 2, 2014

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