Some reasons why I oppose the LDOE Common Core Transition Plan released Nov 21

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If you have not seen it yet – Video from press conference

1. My child will still be taking a CC aligned test this year. As I stated yesterday, there are at least two states that have administered tests aligned to CC and both of those have had significant drops in their proficiency rankings. Those drops were predicted. They have been predicted for every state. Why should I think that Louisiana will be any different? I do not feel that children should be subjected to these tests until we can have more assurance that they have been more prepared for them. To give a child a test when you know he will likely be considered not proficient due to lack of proper preparation (by no fault of his own) is wrong.

2. The ability for a district to waive LEAP test results in 4th grade concerns me, also. I cannot wrap my head around the idea that these tests are supposed to be an indicator of what a child has learned, but if the school work shows that the child is indeed ready to advance they will be allowed to do so. Why are we making this exception this year, but not in previous years??? The only thing different this year will be the content of the test. It is still pencil and paper, so concerns about computer format are not applicable this year. If children who would normally pass the old LEAP test are deemed non-proficient this year it is solely because they have not been prepared in the classroom. If they have not been prepared how can we pass them to the next grade and expect them to succeed?

3. I also am concerned about the burden the waivers will place on districts having to make decisions on a case by case basis for a multitude of non-proficient results (again thinking along the lines of 60-70%). It seems like it could develop into a nightmare.

4. Holding off on computer testing for 3rd graders on the first PARCC assessment is a nice touch, but it does not address the question of how will we know if they will be able to do it in following years. Are there any studies being done to determine if 8 year olds are able to become proficient enough at typing so that it will not hinder their performance on assessments?

It sure sounds good to say that LDOE is working to alleviate concerns, but that is not the way I see it. I see it as a stalling technique to appease some of the opposition, all the while allowing Common Core to become more entrenched in our schools, because in reality Common Core implementation is not slowing down one bit.


Who are the members of the Accountability Commission?

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Meeting held November 21, 2013:

The meeting began with John White giving his presentation from the press conference earlier in the day and asking the Commission to recommend the proposal to BESE. The floor was opened to the members to comment and ask questions.

Here is a list of the members, with their final votes (a vote of yes means a recommendation of the proposal). I have also added some notes on what they talked about during the comment portion. See for yourself –

  • Patrice Pujol (left before voting took place) – Superintendent representative, Ascension Parish

­   Brought up concerns about PARCC readiness (school technology, children being academically ready, PARCC tests being ready). Ms. Pujol was the ONLY member to mention children in the entire meeting.

  • Debbie Schum (Yes) – Principal representative – LDOE’s Deputy Superintendent of College and Career Readiness; former Chief Academic Officer of New Orleans RSD

­   Spoke about the grade 8 – 9 transition plan, concerns about drop out rates.

  • Lee Ann Wall (Proxy not allowed to vote) – Proxy (did not find out for whom), Teacher

­   Spoke at BESE meeting supporting CC, involved in creating the Classroom Toolbox for teacher, member of the Louisiana Believes Teacher Advisory Committee.

  • Brandy Thomas (Yes) – Parent representative

­   Her only concern was keeping school letter grades so that parents would be able to see where their school stood.

  • Judy Vail (Yes) – Teacher?

­   Involved in creating the Classroom Toolbox for teachers. Ms. Vail point blank asked Debbie Meaux and Steve Monaghan why they do not support CC when the unions at the national level support them.

  • Steve Monaghan (Abstain) – Louisiana Federation of Teachers

­   Called White out on not being provided the plan in enough time to review before meeting, why collect VAM data on teachers if not going to use it?, holding school grades stable will cause concerns about LDOE manipulating data.

  • Debbie Meaux (Abstain) – Louisiana Association of Educators

­   Concerns about VAM, school grading, teachers not being prepared.

  • Stephanie Desselle (Yes) – Vice President of Public Policy for CABL
  • Brigitte Nieland (Yes) – LABI
  • Mickey Landry (Yes) – Charter School representative

­   Director of Choice Foundation, Feb 2013 (Lafayette Charter Academy and 2 other charters), former principal of Lafayette Charter Academy

  • Carol Price (Yes) – Teacher

­   Louisiana 2007 Teacher of the Year

  • Kyle Falting (Yes) – Teacher, Lincoln Parish

­   Involved in creating the Classroom Toolbox for teachers, member of the Louisiana Believes Teacher Advisory Committee. Some of you may remember him from the BESE meeting. Mr. Falting is the one who, when questioned by Garvey about teacher attrition due to CC, said that it was a good thing because it meant the “bad teachers” were getting out of the system.

  • Jeanne Burns (Yes) – Board of Regents
  • Brett Duncan (Yes) – Committee Chairman

­   Tangipahoa Parish School Board

The public was then allowed comments limited to 3 minutes each. There were 2 other speakers besides myself. In my comments, I pointed out that no one mentioned the children during the entire meeting. I gave the results of CC assessments done NY (only 30% proficient) and KY (40% proficient). I told them that tells me that the children have not been fully prepared to take these tests and questioned how that will affect them. I also told them that there was too much emphasis on the standardized testing in schools, using the example of my child beginning to worry about failing the LEAP test in 3rd grade.

The vote was taken. The recommendation passed and the meeting was adjourned.

St.Tammany Parish in Louisiana Drops Out of CCSS

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Diane Ravitch's blog

St. Tammany Parish is one of the state of Louisiana’s high-performing districts. Its board passed a far-reaching resolution declaring that it was dropping out of the Common Core standards and would not administer the PARCC assessments. Its resolution explained why it was not willing to participate in this disruption to its schools:

It objects to federal control of its curriculum;

The CCSS were written and implemented too quickly, without due deliberation;

Compliance with CCSS and PARCC involves huge expenses, in relation to equipment, upgrades, time, and effort;

It objects to the data-sharing agreements that are associated with CCSS;

It sees CCSS and PARCC as an unfunded mandate.

For these and other reasons, the school board said “no thanks.”




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Thank you Dr. Thompson!

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Continuation of previous post on Dr. Gary Thompson’s testimony to the Wisconsin Legislature

When faced with expert testimony about the new Common Core testing being unethical and harmful to children, Senator John Lehman and Representative Sondy Pope try to undermine Dr. Thompson by claiming ties to an “extremist fringe group”. Dr. Thompson was questioned at the hearing and made it very clear that he was not paid for his time, only travel expenses and accomodations amounting to little more than $1000. He even shows them the check. This is just more evidence of what we, as parents and citizens, are up against. Politics and businesses want Common Core, not the people.

Here is Dr. Thompson’s response to the letter.

So, again, I say thank you to Dr. Thompson for adding your expert testimony to the fight. We are ever grateful.

Dr. Gary Thompson Testifies to Wisconsin Legislature: Common Core Test is Cognitive Child Abuse

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This is a long video – about 45 mins – but he lays out a good case against the new tests coming out next year. I actually was cheering him on when he was responding to questions from the legislators. He shot them down one by one!


Dr Thompson

Dr. Gary Thompson of the Utah-based Early Life Child Psychology and Education Center traveled to Wisconsin to testify about the damages of Common Core to the Wisconsin Legislature.

You can watch his whole testimony by clicking here.

Below is a lively commentary by Dr. Thompson about his reasons for testifying boldly against Common Core both as a father and as a clinical psychologist.


Our Kids Are Bigger Than You: Final Thoughts on Wisconsin Common Core Legislative Testimony

by Dr. Gary Thompson

“All students are expected to participate in the state accountability system with only a few exceptions, as noted below. This principle of full participation includes EL students, students with an IEP, and students with a Section 504 plan…. The IEP, EL, Section 504, EL with disabilities, and EL on Section 504 team cannot exempt a student from the statewide testing requirements.”
-Utah State Office Of Education, 2013-14 Testing…

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USDOE Report on Promoting Tenacity, Grit, and Perseverence


Also known as the “Grit Report“. Have you heard talk about data mining, eye tracking? Have you seen the pictures of devices that are used? This is where that comes from.

New Methods for Measuring Behavioral Task Performance
Educational data mining (EDM) “develops methods and applies techniques from statistics, machine learning, and data mining to analyze data collected during teaching and learning. EDM tests learning theories and informs educational practice” (U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology, 2012, p. 9)
Learning analytics “applies techniques from information science, sociology, psychology, statistics, machine learning, and data mining to analyze data collected during education administration and services, teaching, and learning. Learning analytics creates applications that directly influence educational practice” (U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology, 2012, p. 9).
Affective computing is the study and development of systems and devices that can recognize, interpret, process, and simulate aspects of human affect. Emotional or physiological variables can be used to enrich the understanding and usefulness of behavioral indicators. Discrete emotions particularly relevant to reactions to challenge—such as interest, frustration, anxiety, and boredom—may be measured through analysis of facial expressions, EEG brain wave patterns, skin conductance, heart rate variability, posture, and eye- tracking.

The very fact that this is a report developed by the US Department of Education tells us that we need to get our children as far away from the federal government as possible. The first step is rejecting Common Core.

My response to Brett Duncan

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My response to comments by Brett Duncan, member of Tangipahoa Parish School Board.

Dear Mr. Duncan,

In response to some comments that you made to the media last week:

 First, I must disagree with your position that Common Core is not going away. It has hit on a very personal level for parents as it directly affects our children. I know that I will personally fight it every step of the way and I will not stop until it is gone. It is an experiment. There is no evidence to support it. The more people know about what is going on, and the more research they do, the more backlash there will be. For example, yesterday I spoke with a random sampling of about 30 parents picking up their children from school and only ONE was a proponent of Common Core.

Second, I certainly do not consider your saying that the St. Tammany resolution against Common Core is a publicity stunt to be, what you would call, “sincere and honest dialogue”. I consider YOUR remark to be the “political-slash-publicity stunt” in an effort to keep the real issues from being heard. St. Tammany has done what they feel is right for our children, our teachers, and our educational system. I commend them for this and I hope that other parishes will step up alongside them and say no to Common Core.

Thank you for your time and I hope that you will take the time to really read through the information that I am sending.


Terra Orgeron

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