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This Guy Just Destroyed Right Wing Politics In One Epic Rant

(Editor’s note: I found this rant on facebook and contacted the author to get permission to publish it. Thank you Monty for allowing us to share your epic rant)

Headshot-800x600

LaMonte M Fowler

By LaMonte M Fowler

I feel the need to drop a little truth on y’all. So buckle up…I’m about to be politically incorrect.

We don’t need to take America back. No one stole it. It’s right here…you’re sitting in it. Chillax.

Mexico isn’t going to pay for the wall and we’re not going to deport millions of people and break up families. If you think either one is a good idea, you’re not smart and probably not a person I want to hang out with.

We don’t live in a democracy. Technically we are a Federal Republic. But in reality we are ruled by an oligarchy. If you don’t know what that is, look it up. Reading will do you good. You probably need to do more of it.

FoxNews, CNN, and MSNBC have an agenda and are not “fair and balanced” or in any way unbiased. I’ll reiterate…read more. Read newspapers (even online ones). Read lots of opinions and sources and then (stay with me here), THINK! Form your own opinion based on as many facts as your can brain can tolerate.

Speaking of facts…there actually is a difference between facts, opinions, and propaganda. You should learn the difference. (Another opportunity to show off your mad reading skills.)

Science is real. We know things because of science. Don’t be afraid of it. You have an iPhone and Facebook because of science. It’s your friend.

Global warming or “climate change” as the cool kids call it IS REAL. Anyone who tells you it’s not real is not a smart person and probably should not be dressing themselves or caring for children.

Racism exists. And you are probably a little racist and should work on that. Seriously.

American Christians are not under attack. We are not being persecuted. We wield so much power in this country that politicians pretend to be Christian just so we will vote for them. No one is trying to take your bible away from you. The gay people are not destroying our families—we don’t need any help from them, thank you. We do a fine job of that by ourselves. So stop saying we are persecuted. You sound stupid.

Poor people need help. If you’re not helping them but complaining about how the government helps them with your money you are not a nice person.

Be nice to the people who teach your children. Don’t send them nasty emails or yell at them. Their job is 10,000 times harder than your stupid job. You are not a professional educator so just shut your mouth and be thankful someone is willing to teach your offspring.

You don’t know what Common Core is. You think you do, but you don’t unless you’re a teacher. So stop complaining about math problem memes on Facebook. You can’t do the math anyway.

ISIS is not an existential threat to the United States. We do not need to rebuild our military. Our military is the strongest, scariest, most badass killing machine the world has ever seen. So stop being afraid and stop letting politicians and pundits scare you.

Guns do in fact kill people. That’s what they are designed to do. If you feel you need a gun to protect yourself in America, you are probably living in the wrong neighborhood and should move before you go out and buy a gun. There are like a billion places to live where you won’t need a gun, or even need to lock your front door.

If you do own a gun, then make sure you know how to use it really, really, really well. Seriously…get some training because you still don’t know how to record stuff with your DVR. Go to the gun range and shoot the thing a lot. Learn how to clean it properly and be able to disassemble it and reassemble it with your eyes closed. It’s a freaking gun and it deserves that level of care, proficiency and respect. And for God’s sake, keep it locked up and away from your kids.

If you are even a little bit crazy, sad, or pissed off…you shouldn’t have a gun. And the Founding Fathers would totally agree with me.

Stop being suspicious of American Muslims. I guarantee the guy sitting next to you in the cubicle at work is probably more of a threat to you than any Muslim. He has to listen to your uninformed ranting day after day and has probably already imagined very colorful and creative ways to end you.

Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and all the rest are ENTERTAINERS! Stop getting your opinions from them. (Here’s where that reading thing can really be an advantage.)

Stop sharing Facebook memes that tell me to share or else Jesus won’t bless me with a laundry basket full of cash. That’s not how prayer works. And I don’t want money delivered (even from God) in a laundry basket. Nobody ever washes those things out and they just keep putting nasty dirty clothes in them. Yuck!

We are the United States of America and we can afford to house every homeless veteran, feed every child, and take in every refugee and still have money left over for Starbucks and a bucket of KFC.

Unless you can trace your family line back to someone who made deerskin pants look stylish and could field dress a buffalo, you are a descendent of an immigrant. Please stop saying that immigrants are ruining our country. Such comments are like a giant verbal burrito stuffed with historical ignorance, latent racism, and xenophobia, all wrapped in a fascist tortilla.

That’s all for now. I feel better.


Author Bio

LaMonte is an author, missionary, and business consultant who lives Chicago, Illinois. When he is not writing science fiction novels or helping his clients, you can find him serving the people along the Amazon River in Brazil. You can learn more about his work at www.lamontemfowler.com.

4-21-15 AFT-NH Legislative Update: Common Core Standards And Pension Reform

Things moved slowly this week at the State House. The full House met on Wednesday and passed the following bill:

SB 101: prohibiting the State from requiring implementation of Common Core standards. This bill prohibits the Department of Education and the State Board of Education from implementing the Common Core standards in any school or school district in this state. This bill clarifies that districts don’t have to adopt the Common Core Standards but a district still needs to have high quality standards. AFT-NH believes that if any standards are to work we need to ensure that in each district the following are in place when implementing them:

  • There needs to be planning time for understanding the Standards and time to put them into practice,
  • We need opportunities to observe colleagues implementing Standards in class,
  • Provide teachers with model lesson plans aligned to Standards,
  • Ensure textbooks/other curricula materials align with Standards,
  • Communicate with parents on the Standards and the expectations of students,
  • Develop best practices and strategies along with coaching to help teachers teach content more deeply,
  • We need to ensure all districts have the equipment and bandwidth to administer computer-based assessments,
  • Make sure we have fully developed curricula aligned to Standards and available to teachers,
  • Assessments need to be aligned to Standards indicating mastery of concepts,
  • Professional development and training in the Standards need to be offered,
  • We need to develop tools to track individual student progress on key Standards

This coming Thursday, April 23, 2015 the Special Committee On Employee Pensions will be meeting at 10 am in LOB 104. They have two bills that they will be discussing

  • HB 369: establishing a defined contribution retirement plan for public employees and
  • HB 556: establishing a cash balance plan for public employees in the retirement system.

We need to keep in mind the following about our pension system:

  • New Hampshire’s retirement system benefit for public workers should set a standard, and be something for larger employers to mirror in the state.
  • Public service should be viewed as a respectable vocation; a commitment by workers of service and dedication to their home state.  Public service is an investment in New Hampshire and retirement security creates a financial cornerstone of the NH economy.
  • The current annual pension benefit is just over $19,000.  Nearly 70% of the state’s 28,000 pensioners receive less than $25,000 per year.
  • Each dollar “invested” by New Hampshire taxpayers in the pension system supports $7.55 in total economic activity in the state
  • Studies have found that public sector workers’ compensation – including benefits – is slightly lower than that of their peers in the private sector with the same education and experience.
  • Police officers and fire fighters are not eligible for Social Security.
  • All of our public employees contribute their own money into pension funds.
  • Defined-benefit pensions held by public employees are much more cost effective than 401(k)-style retirement plans, costing roughly half as much to provide the same level of retirement benefit to workers such as police officers and firefighters, librarians and teachers, and other public-sector workers.
  • Pensions help reduce employee turnover and thus boost worker productivity.

AFT-NH will continue to advocate for:

Security in retirement is something every worker deserves after a long, successful career in public service.  Our workers, after dedicating their working life to educating children, enforcing the law, fighting fires and helping our communities function every day, have earned a benefit that must allow them to retire with dignity.

The benefit should ensure a predictable cost for the employers and employees, who pay into it throughout their careers. It should create, and sustain, a high-quality workforce. It should attract talented younger workers to invest a lifetime in public service, in turn adding value to the state’s economy.

In exchange for a lifetime of service, our workers need to rely on defined and predictable retirement security that is protected against inflationary pressures. Their benefit should ensure sound, long-term investment options and strategies that will result in post-retirement stability, despite the economic concerns of today.

Instead of encouraging the idea that working for the public sector is less valuable than working for the private sector, New Hampshire’s retirement system benefit for public workers should set a standard, and be something for larger employers to mirror in the state.

Public service should be viewed as a respectable vocation; a commitment by workers of service and dedication to their home state. It is service that adds value to the quality of life for NH citizens and visitors. Public service is an investment in New Hampshire and retirement security creates a financial cornerstone for the NH economy.

In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President

Have you visited the AFT-NH Facebook page and clicked “Like Us”? Please do so today!
You can also follow us on Twitter at @8027aftnh.
Late breaking news appears on Facebook!

Upcoming Hearings

Monday, April 20

Senate FINANCE, Room 103, SH
Sen. Forrester (C), Sen. Little (VC), Sen. Morse, Sen. Reagan, Sen. D’Allesandro, Sen. Hosmer
AGENCY PRESENTATIONS ON THE BUDGET AS PASSED BY THE HOUSE
Department of Health and Human Services:
9:00 a.m. Budget Overview
10:00 a.m. Public Health
11:00 a.m. Medicaid Business & Policy (including Medicaid Managed Care)
12:00 p.m. Break
1:00 p.m. Continuation of Medicaid Business & Policy
2:00 p.m. Commissioner’s Office
3:00 p.m. Office of Human Services
EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW

Tuesday, April 21

Senate EDUCATION, Room 103, LOB
Sen. Reagan (C), Sen. Stiles (VC), Sen. Avard, Sen. Kelly, Sen. Watters
9:00 a.m. HB 347, relative to payment of wages of certain hourly school district employees.
9:20 a.m. HB 604, relative to the use of mixed use school busses by special education pupils.
9:40 a.m. HB 610, relative to a school board vote on the reassignment of a pupil.
10:00 a.m. Hearing on proposed amendment #2015-1333s – establishing a children’s savings account program, and relative to the bonding authority of the city of Dover to HB
577-FN-A-L, establishing a children’s savings account program.
EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW

Senate FINANCE, Room 103, SH
Sen. Forrester (C), Sen. Little (VC), Sen. Morse, Sen. Reagan, Sen. D’Allesandro, Sen. Hosmer
2:00 p.m. EXECUTIVE SESSION ON PENDING LEGISLATION

House CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY, Room 204, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on
SB 72, relative to confidentiality of police personnel files and establishing a commission to study the use of police personnel files as they relate to the Laurie List,

House LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES, Room 307, LOB
1:00 p.m. Executive session on SB 186, reestablishing the commission to study soft tissue injuries under workers’ compensation and to study the feasibility of developing a first responder’s critical injury fund.

House MUNICIPAL AND COUNTY GOVERNMENT, Room 301, LOB
10:15 a.m. SB 242-L, relative to amending the budget in towns that have adopted official ballot voting. The public hearing will include consideration of a non-germane amendment which ratifies the result of a warrant article in the town of Franconia. Copies of the amendment are available in the Sergeant-at-Arms’ office and online.

House TRANSPORTATION, Room 203, LOB
11:00 a.m. SB 234, establishing a committee to study the use of law enforcement details and flaggers for traffic control on municipally maintained roads.

House WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
10:00 a.m. Full committee work session on SB 113-FN-A-L, relative to video lottery and table gaming.
2:00 p.m. Executive session on SB 113-FN-A-L, relative to video lottery and table gaming.

Wednesday, April 22

Senate FINANCE, Room 103, SH
Sen. Forrester (C), Sen. Little (VC), Sen. Morse, Sen. Reagan, Sen. D’Allesandro, Sen. Hosmer
AGENCY PRESENTATIONS ON THE BUDGET AS PASSED BY THE HOUSE
9:00 a.m. Department of Transportation
EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW

House FINANCE – (DIVISION II), Room 209, LOB
1:00 p.m. Work session on SB 151-FN, requiring inclusion of home educated pupils in the definition of average daily membership in attendance.

Thursday, April 23

House MUNICIPAL AND COUNTY GOVERNMENT, Room 301, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on
SB 242-L, relative to amending the budget in towns that have adopted official ballot voting,

House SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON EMPLOYEE PENSION PLANS, Room 104, LOB
10:00 a.m. Full committee work session.

Tuesday, April 28

House WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
10:00 a.m. Continued public hearing on SB 213-FN-A-L, establishing a committee to study the formula for distribution of meals and rooms tax revenues.

Wednesday, April 29

10 am House in Session

Thursday, April 30

10 am Senate in Session

Tuesday, May 5

Senate FINANCE, Representatives’ Hall, SH
Sen. Forrester (C), Sen. Little (VC), Sen. Morse, Sen. Reagan, Sen. D’Allesandro, Sen. Hosmer
3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. HB 1-A making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017.
HB 2-FN-A-L relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.
6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. HB 1-A making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017.
HB 2-FN-A-L relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.
Please note: These hearings will be streamed live via the Internet at the following web address:
http://nhgencourt.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=1

House HEALTH, HUMAN SERVICES AND ELDERLY AFFAIRS, Rooms 205-207, LOB
10:00 a.m. Kids Count presentation.

Friday, May 15

Every Child Matters in NH and Child and Family Services of NH are pleased to extend an invitation to all members for “Walk a Month in My Shoes” Poverty Simulation on Friday, May 15th at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord. Breakfast and registration will open at 8:00 a.m. The simulation will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end by noon. Please stay for lunch and an afternoon discussion about poverty in our state with NH experts on this topic. Our goal is to simulate the challenges faced by low-income children and their families as they try to survive from month to month on limited resources. We guarantee that this event will have you talking and thinking about poverty in new ways. There is no cost to attend this event. Breakfast and lunch will be provided to our guests. Space is limited so please RSVP by April 24th by calling (603) 856-7517 or emailing mlbeaver@everychildmatters.org

Friday, May 22

In recognition of your support, the New Hampshire Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Association cordially invites you to the 23rd Annual New Hampshire Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Ceremony. The ceremony will be held on Friday, May 22, 2015, beginning promptly at 10:00 a.m., on the Memorial Site in front of the Legislative Office Building. The ceremony will proceed rain or shine. Refreshments will be served immediately following the ceremony. Please do not hesitate to contact Major Kevin Jordan of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department at 602-271-3128 if you have any questions.

ANHPE: New Hampshire’s Common Core debate reaches a new low

The Common Core debate has entered a whole new stage. Exhibit A is an oped today in the Union Leader.  It’s by Betsy McCaughey, the fact-challenged author of the Obamacare “death panel” meme.  Here’s a sample:

“Move over Obamacare. Mid-term elections will also be referendums on ObamaCore.

“Contrary to what the public is told, Common Core is not about standards. It’s about content: what pupils are taught. In the Social Studies Framework approved on April 29 by New York state’s education authorities (but not parents), American history is presented as four centuries of racism, economic oppression, and gender discrimination. Teachers are encouraged to help students identify their differences instead of their common American identity. Gone are heroes, ideals, and American exceptionalism.”

If I understand Ms. McCaughey, the message is,”We failed to kill Obamacare so we’ll see if we can do a death panel thing on Obamacore.”  (Just for the record, there is no “Social Studies Framework” in the Common Core State Standards.)

Exhibit B is the windshield flyer left during the wonderful Common Core forum presented last night by Rep. Carolyn Gargasz (R-Hollis) and Rep. Melanie Levesque (D-Brookline).  Five amazing teachers, along with State Board of Education chair Tom Raffio, NHDOE’s Heather Gage, Nashua Community College president Lucille Jordan and business advocate Fred Kocher spoke about how well the Common Core is working in Hollis/Brookline and around the State.  I’ll post more about the forum itself, held at Hollis/Brookline High, when the video is available but here is the flyer:

Anti Common Core Windshield Flyer fin

Political opponents of the Common Core have lost five big votes in the Legislature. The debate now seems to have entered an entirely new stage.

UPDATE 6/17/14: My wife thought the tone I’d taken this morning was a “bit sharp,” as she put it.  And, really, I agree.  I apologize for the intemperate outbreak.  That’s just the opposite of how I think this debate should be carried on.  So I’ve edited this post to point out what I think are inaccurate assertions about the Common Core, but do it without quite as much attitude.

“Is the Common Core good for New Hampshire families and children.” Hear both sides. May 19, St. Anselms

The forum is sponsored by Cornerstone.  Seating is limited so it is important to RSVP here.

Here’s the flyer:

“Is the Common Core good for New Hampshire families and children.”

Common Core State Standards: A Public Forum

Join us for an informative exchange between supporters and opponents of Common Core.  National and local experts and activists and the chair of the New Hampshire State Board of Education will participate in a forum explaining Common Core and why they either support or oppose the Common Core standards.  We will also welcome audience questions at the end of the discussion.

Panelists include:

Supporters of Common Core

Tom Raffio: President and CEO of Northeast Delta Dental and Chairman of the New Hampshire State Board of Education

Dr. David Pook: teacher at Derryfield School and Granite State College, education consultant and contributing writer of the Common Core English Language Arts standards

Bill Duncan: Retired software entrepreneur, granddad, education advocate and founder of Advancing New Hampshire Public Education

Opponents of Common Core

Jamie Gass: Director of the Center for School Reform at Pioneer Institute

Emmett McGroarty: Executive Director of Education at American Principles Project

Ann Marie Banfield: Education Researcher and Education Liaison for Cornerstone Action

Date: May 19th

Time: 7pm to 9pm

Location: St. Anselm Institute of Politics

Seating is limited. Please RSVP

 

 

AFT’s Weingarten to Pearson: Lift Gag Order on Testing, Meet with Stakeholders

AFT President Weingarten  (Photo by Bruce Gilbert)

AFT President Weingarten (Photo by Bruce Gilbert)

WASHINGTON— In conjunction with the annual Pearson shareholder meeting in London, AFT President Randi Weingarten today released a letter sent to Pearson executives, board members and shareholders calling on the corporation to remove “gag orders” preventing educators from expressing concerns about Pearson-developed tests and to meet with educators, parents and other stakeholders to address their concerns regarding these tests. Pearson is the largest testing company in the world and derives 57 percent of its profits from the U.S.

Representatives from the AFT are at the shareholder meeting this morning to deliver the letter and discuss the concerns of educators, parents, students and shareholders. The AFT also launched an online action allowing educators, parents and others across the world to make the same demands of Pearson executives and board members.

“Principals and teachers in New York who recently administered the Pearson-developed Common Core tests have said they are barred from speaking about the test content and its effects on students,” wrote Weingarten. “This appears to be a result of a Pearson contract term that has been construed as disallowing them from expressing their concerns and views. …On behalf of teachers, parents, students and your shareholders, including our pension plans, I ask you to immediately remove these prohibitions (referred to as “gag orders” in the press) from existing and future contracts.”

Weingarten continued, “These gag orders and the lack of transparency are fueling the growing distrust and backlash among parents, students and educators in the United States about whether the current testing protocols and testing fixation is in the best interests of children. When parents aren’t allowed to know what is on their children’s tests, and when educators have no voice in how assessments are created and are forbidden from raising legitimate concerns about the quality of these assessments or from talking to parents about these concerns, you not only increase distrust of testing but also deny children the rich learning experience they deserve.”

Weingarten’s full letter to Pearson can be found below.

April 24, 2014

John Fallon
Chief Executive
Pearson PLC
80 Strand
London WC2R ORL
UK
john.fallon@pearson.com

Glen Moreno
Chairman
Pearson PLC
80 Strand
London WC2R ORL
UK
Glen.moreno@pearson.com

Dear Mr. Fallon and Mr. Moreno:

I was deeply disturbed to read recently in the New York Times and other newspapers of the issues teachers, principals, parents and students raised about Pearson tests. Principals and teachers in New York who recently administered the Pearson-developed Common Core tests have said they are barred from speaking about the test content and its effects on students. This appears to be a result of a Pearson contract term that has been construed as disallowing them from expressing their concerns and views. Elizabeth Phillips, the principal at Public School 321 in Brooklyn, N.Y., summarized these concerns in a recent New York Times opinion piece. On behalf of teachers, parents, students and your shareholders, including our pension plans, I ask you to immediately remove these prohibitions (referred to as “gag orders” in the press) from existing and future contracts.

These gag orders and the lack of transparency are fueling the growing distrust and backlash among parents, students and educators in the United States about whether the current testing protocols and testing fixation is in the best interests of children. When parents aren’t allowed to know what is on their children’s tests, and when educators have no voice in how assessments are created and are forbidden from raising legitimate concerns about these assessments’ quality or talking to parents about these concerns, you not only increase distrust of testing but also deny children the rich learning experience they deserve.

Continuing these practices may also have severe financial consequences for your corporation. Growing mistrust and concerns by parents, teachers and others over the asserted lack of transparency at InBloom appears to have been a driving factor in the company’s recent decision to end operations.

This is the third consecutive year that Pearson’s standardized tests have led to headline risk and reputational damage to the company. We’re concerned that Pearson is using gag orders to cover up-rather than address-problems with its standardized tests. If Pearson is going to remain competitive in the educational support and testing business, the company must listen to and respond to the concerns of educators like Elizabeth Phillips who report that the company has ignored extensive feedback.

Parents, students and teachers need assessments that accurately measure student performance through questions that are grade-appropriate and aligned with state standards-especially since standardized tests have increasingly life-altering consequences for students and teachers. By including gag orders in contracts, Pearson is silencing the very stakeholders the company needs to engage with. Poll after poll makes clear that parents overwhelmingly trust educators over all others to do what is best for their children; educators’ voices, concerns and input should be included in the creation and application of these assessments.

We intend to bring these concerns to the attention of senior management, the board and other shareholders during your annual meeting on Friday, April 25. We also are asking that you meet as soon as practical with stakeholders to discuss a comprehensive response to their concerns and to this serious threat to the company’s reputation, brand and share price. If you have representatives in the United States who meet with potential customers routinely to sell Pearson products, we believe you also can meet with stakeholders.

We look forward to your reply. Pearson must move quickly to address a serious and emerging threat to its brand, business model and ability to generate long-term value for shareholders.

Sincerelv.

Randi Weingarten
President

3-31-14 AFT-NH Legislative Update: Smarter Balance Testing and A ‘Thank You’ To Legislators

Now that crossover has come and gone both chambers will start working on each other’s bills.  Both chambers have till May 15th to act on these bills.

I would like to thank all the representatives that supported us on the following bills:

AFT-NH supported the recommendation of Ought To Pass as amended on HB 1494-FN, relative to administration of the New Hampshire retirement system and authority of the board of trustees. The amended version ensures this is just a housekeeping bill that establishes a procedure for the determination of the costs of purchase of service credits, clarifies the ability to earn service credit while on a salary continuance plan, changes the date for the approval of the comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR), adds a penalty for employers who fail to timely remit data on compensation paid to retired members, and repeals obsolete provisions.

AFT-NH was also in support of the Inexpedient To Legislate on HB 1228, establishing a commission to investigate the procedure for public employee collective bargaining. There have been many committees/commissions that have studied this issue and too often, it only seems to open the door for destructive legislation.  Rather than risk opening a Pandora’s Box with a study commission, let’s prepare specific legislation to remedy some of the problems already identified in previous study committees.

We are disappointed that the following bills were defeated: 

HB 1105-FN-L, relative to aid to school districts for costs of special education. AFT-NH supported this bill because it would have lifted the current cap of 72% on catastrophic special education funds and fully funded it. With this cap of 72% the state has downshifted roughly $8 million to communities. Catastrophic aid is a state fund that helps local district with exorbitant special education costs for our severely disabled children.

HB 1114: which sought to establish a minimum state expenditure for school building aid of $50,000,000 per fiscal year. This bill would have put a floor to building aid not a cap. For the past six years many district have not been able to afford completing upgrades, repairs or build new buildings because of the cost. Keep in mind, 50% of our school buildings are over 60 years old and many need infrastructure upgrades necessary for a 21st century learning environment.

Common Core and The Smarter Balance State Assessment

There were several bills voted on in the House that were related to the Common Core and the Smarter Balance state assessment. Knowing that both of these will be moving forward in New Hampshire we need to ensure that all schools have the following in place:

  • There needs to be planning time for understanding the Standards and time to put them into practice.
  • We need opportunities to observe colleagues implementing Standards in class.
  • We must provide teachers with model lesson plans aligned to Standards,
  • Ensure textbooks/other curricula materials align with Standards,
  • Communicate with parents on the Standards and the expectations of students, AND
  • Develop best practices and strategies along with coaching to help teachers teach content more deeply.
  • We need to ensure all districts have the equipment and bandwidth to administer computer-based assessments, AND
  • Make sure we have fully developed curricula aligned to Standards and available to teachers.
  • Assessments need to be aligned to Standards indicating mastery of concepts,
  • Professional development and training in the Standards needs to be offered, AND
  • We need to develop tools to track individual student progress on key Standards.
  • We need to make sure the assessments inform teaching, not impede teaching and learning.
  • Assessments need to support teaching and learning, and must align with curriculum rather than narrow it.
  • Assessments should be focused on measuring growth and continuous development of students instead of arbitrary targets unconnected to how students learn.
  • Assessments should be diverse, authentic, test for multiple indicators of student performance and provide information leading to appropriate interventions that help students, teachers and schools improve, not sanctions that undermine them.
  • The development and implementation of assessments must be age appropriate for the students, and teachers need to have appropriate computers to administer such assessments.
  • These assessments must contribute to school and classroom environments that nurture growth, collaboration, curiosity and invention—essential elements of a 21st-century education that have too often been sacrificed in favor of test prep and testing.

If you have any questions or concerns please email me at lhainey@aft-nh.org.

Thank you!
In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey

Please visit www.aft-nh.org and AFT-NH Facebook page and clicked “Like Us”?
Late breaking news appears on our web site and on Facebook!

UPCOMING COMMITTEE HEARINGS

TUESDAY, APRIL 1

Senate FINANCE, Room 103, SH
1:00 p.m. HB 1146, establishing a committee to study the feasibility of funding a kindergarten
to college/career ready program and a universal college savings account.
1:30 p.m. HB 1489-FN-A-L, establishing a committee to study the establishment of a fund to
reimburse costs associated with firefighters who have cancer.
Executive Session May Follow

Senate JUDICIARY, Room 100, SH
10:30 a.m. HB 1435, requiring law enforcement officials to disclose specific information relating
to a police checkpoint.

House EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION, Room 306
10:30 a.m. SB 395-FN, relative to the retirement classification of the Director of the Division
of Forests and Lands.
11:30 a.m. SB 418, relative to the proclamation of firefighters memorial day.

House MUNICIPAL AND COUNTY GOVERNMENT, Room 301, LOB
11:30 a.m. SB 236, relative to delivery of the final budget and recommendation of the municipal
budget committee to the governing body.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 2

Senate EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION, Room 100, SH
9:30 a.m. HB 1152-FN, terminating the benefit program for call, substitute or volunteer firemen
administered by the New Hampshire retirement system.
10:00 a.m. HB 1398-FN, allowing the retirement system to make payments in lieu of payments
to estates in certain instances.
10:30 a.m. HB 1617-FN, permitting the retirement system to access death, marriage, and
divorce records of the division of vital records administration for the administration of
RSA 100-A.
Executive Session May Follow

House ELECTION LAW, Room 308, LOB
10:00 a.m. SB 120-FN, relative to political contributions and expenditures and relative to
reporting by political committees.

House LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES, Room 307, LOB
1:30 p.m. SB 295, prohibiting an employer from using credit history in employment decisions.

THURSDAY, APRIL 3

Senate HEALTH, EDUCATION AND HUMAN SERVICES, Room 103, LOB
9:00 a.m. HB 1488-FN, establishing the New Hampshire program on educational support for
military children.
9:20 a.m. HB 1587-FN-L, relative to the collection and disclosure of student data.
Executive Session May Follow

House FINANCE, Rooms 210-211, LOB
11:15 a.m. SB 339-FN, relative to instituting a credit card affinity program in which fees
received are directed to offset the retirement system’s unfunded liability.

House FINANCE – (DIVISION I), Room 212, LOB
1:30 p.m. Work session on SB 339-FN, relative to instituting a credit card affinity program in
which fees received are directed to offset the retirement system’s unfunded liability.

TUESDAY, APRIL 8

House EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
11:00 a.m. SB 335-FN, (New Title) establishing a commission to study career and technical
education centers.

LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES, Room 307, LOB
10:15 a.m. SB 207-FN, relative to paycheck equity.

12:30 p.m. LOB 305-307: All legislators are invited to a showing of the acclaimed documentary “Inequality for All” which features Robert Reich, economics professor, best-selling author, and former U.S. Secretary of Labor, as he demonstrates how the widening income gap is having a devastating impact on the American economy. The film is described as “a passionate argument on behalf of the middle class.” The showing is open to all. This event is part of the film’s “50 State Capitals Tour” this winter and spring, designed especially for Legislators and policy-makers.

THURSDAY, APRIL 10

Senate JUDICIARY, Room 100, SH
9:00 a.m. HB 1624-FN, modernizing the juvenile justice system to ensure rehabilitation of
juveniles and preservation of juvenile rights.
Executive Session May Follow

House EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
10:00 a.m. SB 343, relative to the duties of the statewide education improvement and
assessment program legislative oversight committee and repealing the school
administrative unit legislative oversight committee.
11:00 a.m. SB 350, relative to the transfer of adequacy aid calculation data from the
Department of Education to the Department of Revenue Administration.
1:15 p.m. SB 348, establishing a commission to study sexual abuse prevention education in
elementary and secondary schools.

TUESDAY, APRIL 15

House EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
10:00 a.m. SB 355, relative to access to social media by educational institutions.
11:00 a.m. SB 414-FN, relative to Medicaid-funded services provided as a part of a child’s
individualized education program.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16

12:30 p.m. 62 North Main Street:  Big Money and Politics – New Hampshire is the highest per-capita recipient of outside special-interest money. Learn about the efforts to address this issue at the state level, understand the federal landscape and what you can do about it. This presentation, including a panel discussion led by the Coalition for Open Democracy and Americans for Campaign Reform, is part of New England College’s education series to take place at the college’s new Concord facility. Walk south on North Main, Located on the clock tower side, near the Norway Bank, three-minutes from the steps of the State House.

THURSDAY, APRIL 17

10:00 a.m. Senate in Session

MONDAY, APRIL 21

CHARTER SCHOOLS AND OPEN ENROLLMENT LEGISLATIVE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE (RSA 194-B:21), Room 100, State House
11:30 a.m. Regular meeting. Presentation by Paul Leather, Deputy Commission Department of Education on HB 435.

Bill Duncan of ANHPE, Response To A Barrington, NH, Middle School Teacher’s Critique Of The Common Core

Larry Graykin, Barrington Middle School English teacher, recently posted a guest editorial opposing the Common Core on NH Labor News.  He brings a lot of credibility as a teacher, but I do have questions about his post.

First, why does Mr. Graykin rely so much on secondary sources and outside experts when he could draw upon has his own classroom experience and that of his peers in Barrington and around the state?  He uses familiar references that are in general circulation but his classroom is more interesting and credible.  Mr. Graykin is in his classroom every day and can make a valuable contribution to the discussion based on the results he is seeing – or not – as he uses the new standards.

Here are some examples where I think Mr. Graykin’s own experience would have served him better than the experts.

Are the standards developmentally appropriate?

The debate about what’s developmentally appropriate to teach young children is decades old but it reappears these days framed as whether the Common Core is developmentally appropriate.

There is a fundamental reality to acknowledge here first.  The Common Core does set a higher standard.  Expectations for our students, especially those from low-income families, have been too low.  We see it in low graduation rates, high college remediation rates, low college completion rates…and, of course, in poor results on the international tests.

The changes we must make to meet these higher standards are difficult.  Not every school and every leadership team will be prepared or will have the support needed to make this transition easily.

So it’s not surprising that some think the new standards are too hard.

But why go all the way to Connecticut for  a quote from an elementary school principal concerned about the standards?  Mr. Graykin could just walk over to the Barrington Elementary School and write about what he finds there. Whatever he reports, pro or con, would be a contribution to the conversation because he could provide context and insight.

Teachers down the road at Sanborn Regional think that the standards are entirely developmentally appropriate – that it’s just a matter of how you teach.  Maybe he’d find that in Barrington and his concerns would be addressed.  Or maybe not.  Either way, readers would get some deeper insight from the exchange.

But are the new standards a big enough leap forward to justify these new concerns about developmental appropriateness?  New Hampshire’s previous set of standards, adopted in 2006, were called the Grade Level Expectations (GLEs).  When you compare the Common Core math standards to the GLEs, the new standards are clearly more focused on a smaller number of topics each year, but the topics themselves are not that big a jump in difficulty.

Kindergarten math:  Here is a comparison of the GLEs to the Common Core math standards.  Much of the concern about developmental appropriateness focuses on kindergarten,  so look at that comparison in particular.  The two standards look pretty close to me.

It is true that Dr. Milgram, whom Mr. Graykin cites as an authority,  thinks the kindergarten standards are a problem but when you look (here and here, for instance), Dr. Milgram’s argument doesn’t hold up.  In any case, experience in Barrington’s kindergarten classrooms would be more interesting than that of a retired California math professor.

Second grade writing: Mr. Graykin goes on to say makes that the writing expectations for elementary school children are too high.  He cites June 2010 commentary by UNH English Professor Tom Newkirk as his authority.  (Prof. Newkirk expanded on that in this 2013 essay.)

One of Prof. Newkirk’s major complaints about the Common Core is that the standards for “informational writing” in the second grade are not developmentally appropriate.

But how different are the Common Core standards from New Hampshire’s former GLEs.  Here is what GLEs said about informational writing for the second grade:

In informational writing (reports or procedures only), students effectively convey purpose by: Establishing a topic

  • students demonstrate use of a range of elaboration strategies by: Including details/information relevant to topic and/or focus
  • students demonstrate use of a range of elaboration strategies by: Using sufficient details/pictures to illustrate facts
  • students organize ideas/concepts by: Providing a concluding statement

And here is the equivalent informational writing Common Core standard, called “informative/explanatory writing” for the second grade:

“Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section.”

The Common Core standards is much simpler, but the expectations of the second grader are clearly similar.  So Prof. Newkirk goes to an appendix to try to make his point.  He says,

“The target student texts in Appendix C [of the Common Core standards] are clearly those of exceptional, even precocious students; in fact, the CCSS has taken what I see as exceptional work, that of perhaps the top 5 percent of students, and made it the new norm. What had once been an expectation for fourth graders becomes the standard for second graders…Normally this would be the expectation of an upper-elementary report; now it is the requirement for seven-year-olds.”

If you look at the appendix, though, there is no sample informative/explanatory essay for second graders.  Here is one for the end of the third grade.  That would certainly represent “exceptional, even precocious” work for a second grader.

Prof. Newkirk is a respected teacher of writing and runs a well-regarded writing program at UNH.  But he has strained so hard to reach the desired conclusion in this case that he got his facts wrong.

Rather than drawing on this kind of academic debate about pushing second graders too hard, why wouldn’t Mr. Graykin just ask a Barrington second grade teacher?  Whatever she said would be a real contribution.

Poetry in middle school

Mr. Graykin says,

“There are NO standards for the writing of poetry.  None.”

That’s kind of true, but it’s a longer story.  The Common Core standards actually pay more attention to poetry than the GLEs did.

Here are the GLEs for writing poetry.  There are no poetry writing standards at all until the 7th grade and then there are only what’s called “local” standards.  That means that poetry is not tested on the NECAP, the statewide annual assessment.  And, when you think about it, how could the annual state assessment test the poetry writing proficiency of all students?  Would parents even want that?

The Common Core standards do make suggestions for poetry readings in every grade.  Here are the grade 6-8 reading “exemplars,” suggestions the standards make for the Barrington Middle School.  The actual selection is left up to Mr. Graykin but the list of suggested poets includes Longfellow, Whitman, Carroll, Navajo tradition, Dickinson, Yeats, Frost, Sandburg, Hughes, Neruda.  Not bad.

As the standards say here, although poetry writing is not part of the standards, the teaching of many types of poetry and other creative writing is left to the discretion of the teacher.

So the Common Core standards take pretty much the same position about poetry that the GLEs did – teach poetry but don’t make proficiency in writing poetry a testing goal for every American student.  Seems pretty logical to me.

In addition, while the NECAP did not use poetry readings in its eighth grade test, the Common Core test (in New Hampshire it’s Smarter Balanced) usespoetry readings throughout its testing.  So poetry actually plays a stronger role now that it did before.

Mr. Graykin says parenthetically that his school can’t change the standards because they are copyrighted and only 15% can be added.  The 15% rule is and urban myth.  Has anyone ever seen it acted upon?  How would that even happen?

Here is the very flexible copyright.  And teachers and school districts all over NH are using that flexibility to change their standards to meet local needs.  Here are Manchester’s changes, in process.  Sanborn Regional does it.  Many other districts do.

Mr. Graykin should feel free to assign as much poetry as he wants.

Narrative and fiction in middle school: Mr. Graykin’s assertion that there is no reference to fiction writing is incorrect.

Narrative writing –  defined as “creative fictional stories, memoirs, anecdotes, and autobiographies” – is an important part of the Common Core standards in every grade.

The 8th grade Common Core standard for the narrative writing says,

3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.

a. Engage and orient the reader by establishing a context and point of view and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally and logically.

b. Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, and reflection, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.

c. Use a variety of transition words, phrases, and clauses to convey sequence, signal shifts from one time frame or setting to another, and show the relationships among experiences and events.

d. Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to capture the action and convey experiences and events.

e. Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on the narrated experiences or events.

This standard clearly supports teaching as much fiction writing as the teacher decides is appropriate.  A teacher who thinks that fiction is more important than autobiography or memoir can make that choice.  The same techniques of narrative writing apply.  It’s the writing techniques, not the specific genres, that the standards want students to master.

For comparison, here is the GLE 8th grade standard for narrative writing:

In written narratives, students organize and relate a story line/plot/series of events by…

  • Creating a clear and coherent (logically consistent) story line
  • Establishing context, character, motivation, problem/conflict/challenge, and resolution, and maintaining point of view
  • Using a variety of effective transitional devices (e.g., ellipses, time transitions, white space, or words/phrases) to enhance meaning
  • Establishing and maintaining a theme
  • Providing a sense of closure

Could they be any closer?  So why all the new complaints about the Common Core?  Is it because New Hampshire developed its former standards with only a few New England states and participated, as hundreds of our teacher did, with many states to develop these standards?

Mr. Graykin and Prof. Newkirk may have criticisms about federalism, but the points they make about the standards themselves don’t hold up.  The standards will surely need to evolve, hopefully based on the experience of classroom teachers like Mr. Graykin.  But the political side of the debate doesn’t add much.

2-23-14 AFT-NH Legislative Update : Issues of the Week — Charter Schools and Common Core

The House Education Committee held several hearing and made recommendations on many bills this week, but many more bills remain to be worked on by the Committee.

Several of these bills dealt with charter schools. I will start calling them public charter schools when they:

•    Accept all children that walk through their doors,
•    The entire teaching staff should be certified,
•    They would take on all the responsibility of educating special education students and not rely on the local school system to offer services,
•    They would take on the responsibility of transporting the students to school.
•    In short they would have to follow all the laws and rules that current public schools follow.

Let’s keep in mind that the funding for charter schools comes from Federal grants, the state of New Hampshire, and in some cases from local property tax dollars.  Unlike public schools, most charter schools are approved by the State, not the local community,in which they operate, thus eliminating local control but requiring local taxpayer support.

When a charter school opens, your local tax dollars, taken from your local school district budget, must pay for services for special education students attending the charter school.  If a charter school opens in your community your tax dollars are going to transport any student that lives in your community attending the charter school.  All of this is mandated by State law, and in a time when budgets are tight charter schools seem to be coming back and asking for more and more. And you have no say in the matter unless our local elected state leaders stand up and say “No more!”

What we need are laws and regulations requiring full transparency in how charter schools operate and making them directly and openly accountable to the public for student performance and their admissions and enrollment policies.  We need stronger policies mandating respect and support for teacher and staff voice in school policy and program, identification of potential conflicts of interest via disclosure requirements, and the use of public funds in the same rigorous manner required in our public schools.

After their Winter break the House Education Committee will be making recommendations on several Common Core and Smarter Balance assessments and data collections.  Let me repeat where we stand on this issue:

We believe in assessments that support teaching and learning, and that are aligned with curriculum rather than narrow it.  Assessments should be focused on measuring growth and continuous development of students instead of arbitrary targets unconnected to how students learn. Assessments should be diverse, authentic, test for multiple indicators of student performance and provide information leading to appropriate interventions that help students, teachers and schools improve, not sanctions that undermine them.  Development and implementation of such tests must be age appropriate for the students, and teachers need to have appropriate computers to administer such assessments.  Because each district is at different stages in their teacher/staff development and student curriculum changes that meet Common Core Standards and the assessment of their students, the Department of Education should waive the Smarter Balance testing deadline for at least another two years. – See more at: http://nh.aft.org/legislation/aft-nh-legislative-update-february-9-2014-0#sthash.wtI9u20y.dpuf
Elsewhere, the full Senate voted to defeat SB 322: relative to the renomination of teachers. AFT-NH believes it is time we move back to supporting our teachers in New Hampshire. Three years is long enough to deny teachers their due process when non-renewed. When decisions with such high stakes are being made, all staff should be given reasons why, and should be given time to improve though an improvement plan.  We are disappointed in this vote and would like to thanks all the Senators who did vote with us. To see which senators voted with us click here.

If you have any questions or concerns please email me at lhainey@aft-nh.org.
Thank you!
In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey

Please visit www.aft-nh.org and AFT-NH Facebook page and clicked “Like Us”?
Late breaking news appears on our web site and on Facebook!


UPCOMING COMMITTEE HEARINGS


MONDAY, MARCH 3

WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
1:00 p.m. Subcommittee work session on HB 492-FN-L, relative to the legalization and regulation of marijuana.

TUESDAY, MARCH 4

CHILDREN AND FAMILY LAW, Room 206, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on
HB 1206, relative to juvenile placement in shelter care facilities and at the youth development center,
HB 1236, establishing a committee to study supervised visitation centers,
HB 1260-FN-L, relativeto communication of the cost of services provided under the children in need of services (CHINS) program to parents.

EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
9:00 a.m. subcommittee:
HB 1239-FN-L, relative to the implementation of new educational standards,
HB 1508-FN, terminating state participation in the common core educational standards.

10:00 a.m. subcommittee
HB 1239-FN-L, relative to the implementation of new educational standards.

10:30 a.m. Subcommittee
HB 1586-FN, relative to student and teacher information protection and privacy,
HB1587-FN-L, relative to the collection and disclosure of pupil data.

11:00 a.m. subcommittee:
HB 1432, delaying implementation of certain statewide assessments and studying the effects of delaying implementation of certain curriculum changes in the public schools,
HB 1238, relative to access to assessment materials.

1:00 p.m. Executive session on
HB 1432, delaying implementation of certain statewide assessments and studying the effects of delaying implementation of certain curriculum changes in the public schools,
HB 1239-FN-L, relative to the implementation of new educational standards,
HB1587-FN-L, relative to the collection and disclosure of pupil data,
HB 1508-FN, terminating state participation in the common core educational standards,
HB 1262, relative to student assessment data privacy,
HB 1496, relative to the objectivity and validity of student assessment materials,
HB 1238, relative to access to assessment materials,
HB 1586-FN, relative to student and teacher information protection and privacy.

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION, Room 306, LOB
11:00 a.m. Executive session on
HB 1101-FN, relative to the recovery of overpayments by the retirement system and establishing a committee to study the policies and procedures of the retirement system for benefits wrongfully paid,
HB 1130-FN-L, relative to the Northeastern Interstate Forest Fire Protection Compact,
HB 1152-FN, terminating the benefit program for call, substitute or volunteer firemen administered by the New Hampshire retirement system,
HB 1493-FN-L, relative to members of the retirement system working after retirement, and relative to membership of political subdivision officials appointed for fixed terms.

FINANCE – (DIVISION III), Rooms 210-211, LOB
10:00 a.m. Work session on HB 1624-FN, modernizing the juvenile justice system to ensure rehabilitation of juveniles and preservation of juvenile rights.

LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES, Room 307, LOB
10:15 a.m. Executive session on
HB 1189, relative to temporary worker rights,
HB 1228, establishing a commission to investigate the procedure for public employee collective bargaining.

MUNICIPAL AND COUNTY GOVERNMENT, Room 301, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on
HB 1285, relative to recommendations by the department of revenue administration regarding municipal fund balance retention,
HB 1560-FN-L, prohibiting the use of funds received from a political subdivision of the state to lobby.

WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on
HB 1633-FN-A-L, relative to expanded gaming in New Hampshire.

WEDNESD AY, MARCH 5

Senate Executive Departments and Administration, Room 100, SH
9:00 a.m. EXECUTIVE SESSION ON PENDING LEGISLATION

10:00 a.m. House in session

THURSDAY, MARCH 6
1:00 p.m. House in session

WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
10:30 a.m. Full committee work session on
HB 1415-FN, establishing a robotics education fund in the department of education.

TUESDAY, MARCH 18
WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on
HB 1415-FN, establishing a robotics education fund in the department of education.

The Common Core is right for a STEM career

Common Core opponents use any hook they can for their critiques.  Recently, Dr. James Milgram, one of two former academics traveling the country to make the case against the Common Core, sent this testimony to the House Education Committee recently.

Here’s my response in the Concord Monitor.

Have you heard that the Common Core math standards don’t prepare our children for STEM careers?  Don’t believe it.

Preparing students for careers in science, technology, engineering, and math has been one of Governor Hassan’s highest education priorities. She emphasized the importance of the Common Core in her State of the State address and went on to announce her new STEM task force.

New Hampshire businesses thinks the new math standards get it right too.  The Business & Industry Association of New Hampshire (the BIA), the New Hampshire Coalition for Business and Education, New Hampshire’s Advanced Manufacturing Educational Advisory Council and many CEO’s have all endorsed the Common Core.

Thousands of educators and experts participated in developing the Common Core State Standards for math. Hundreds worked on and gave feedback to the various committees involved. Every major mathematical society in America is on record endorsing the standards.  The New Hampshire Teachers of Mathematics thinks so as well.

Actually, most every math teacher you talk to thinks provides the preparation our students need – except James Milgram, a retired math prof who travels the country opposing the Common Core.

Dr. Milgram recently submitted testimony to the House Education Committee in support of the several anti-Common Core bills.  He tells the committee some ancient history about the math standards in California and stories about who said what to whom as the Common Core standards were being developed.  But he does not actually critique the standards.

In fact, Dr. Milgram concludes by saying,  ”In spite of the issues raised above, it is true, first that Core Standards are considerably better than the old New Hampshire Math Standards, and second, that much of the material in them is very well done. In fact Core Standards are better than the standards of 90% of the states…”

Then he finishes that sentence by saying that all those political problems make the Common Core standards “entirely unsuitable for state adoption.”

His recommendation is that New Hampshire put together a few good math teachers from “top New Hampshire universities such as Dartmouth” and tweak the Common Core standards.

Actually, New Hampshire math teachers from schools around the State have already done that.  Guided by NHDOE, they commented on early drafts and saw their comments used.

And the process continues today. The annual conference of New Hampshire math teachers next month is entirely devoted to the Common Core.  Many math teachers share their teaching methods in statewide networks the New Hampshire Department of Education has set up.

Day-to-day, math and science teachers meet in their schools to figure out the best way to use the new standards in their classrooms.  And they’ll tell anyone who asks that they appreciate the Common Core standards.

As the Alton School Board was voting to reject the Common Core a few months ago, Richard Kirby, sixth grade English and mathematics teacher at Alton Central School, told the board that the Alton Teachers Association welcomes the Common Core standards, saying ”It offers new challenges to students to become problem solvers, critical thinkers and technologically literate,” he said. “It raises the bar for grade levels and individuals.” (Laconia Sun, 9/17/13)

Carol Marino, 6th Grade Math teacher at Sanborn Middle School, told me, “The Common Core is much more focused.  We can spend more time on a topic and really delve into it deeper.  And we have continuity across the grades.  It just makes so much more sense to me.”

As Dave Juvet, senior vice president of the BIA, said when a sponsor of the anti-Common Core legislation asked if he had read the critics of the Common Core, “My belief is they represent a small, small, small minority of those who worked on the development of the Common Core standards.”

via The Common Core is right for a STEM career | Concord Monitor.

5 Bad Bills: A Small Group Of Legislators Push To End High Academic Standards In New Hampshire

This week, the House Education Committee is finishing up hearings on five anti-Common Core bills  – bills that seek in one way or another to end New Hampshire’s use of the Common Core and any future academic standards, including the Next Generation Science Standards.

The push comes mainly from a small number of legislators (here is their recent press conference), established opponents of New Hampshire public education.  In the last Legislature, Lenette Peterson supported bills to abolish DOE, end compulsory school attendance, lower the dropout age and repeal universal kindergarten.  Al Baldasaro and J.R. Hoell were cosponsors or supporters most of those same bills.  As a member of the House Education Committee, Ralf Boehm supported bills to end universal kindergarten and lower the dropout age.  In addition, freshman legislators David Murotake andGlenn Cordelli are sponsors on most of the anti-Common Core bills.

HB 1508-FN (testimony here) is a one sentence bill that seeks to “terminate all plans, programs, activities, and expenditures relative to the implementation of the common core….any assessments and instruction based upon such standards.” Prime sponsor: Lenette Peterson Cosponsors: Alfred Baldasaro, Pamela Tucker, Patrick Bick, Jeffrey Harris, David MurotakeJane Cormier, Donald LeBrun, Jeanine Notter, William Infantine.

House Education Committee Chair Mary Gile recessed last Thursday’s packed public hearing on HB 1508 (here’s the Union Leader report) until next Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 3:00.

HB1432 will be heard by the House Education Committee Tuesday morning at 10:00 in LOB 207.  The bill effectively ends the Common Core by delaying use of the standards and the tests for two years.  It also requires a study of educational impact, privacy and funding issues and hearings in each Executive Council District.  While there is no fiscal note attached, there would clearly result in substantial costs and uncertainties.  Prime sponsor: David Murotake Cosponsors: Ralph BoehmGlenn Cordelli, John Kelley, Andy Sanborn.

HB 1496 would prevent the Smarter Balanced Assessment from being used.  The bill is a collection of blog quotes about what’s wrong with the Smarter Balanced test.  The sponsor is J.R. Hoell

HB 1397 (here is the public testimony) asks the Democratic House to establish a Republican study committee to investigate charges that NHDOE disobeyed the law by promoting the Common Core.  Prime sponsor: Jane Cormier Cosponsors: J.R. HoellGlenn Cordelli, Joseph Pitre, Sam Cataldo

HB1239 -FN-L (here is testimony on the bill) would establish a new process for adopting academic standards in New Hampshire, requiring benchmarking and implementation cost analysis based on extensive new data provided by each of New Hampshire’s 172 school districts.  Like HB 1432, the bill requires the department to hold hearings in each Executive Council District.  Prime sponsor: Glenn Cordelli.  Cosponsors: Ralph BoehmJ.R. Hoell, Jeffrey Harris, David Murotake, John Reagan, Sam Cataldo, Dick Marston.

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