Special needz studentz and the Black community

As I read this post, it dawned on me that I strongly believe that Arne Duncan and his corporate goons actually thought Common Core would slide through with little opposition because he has the misguided notion that parents do not care about their children enough to get involved. This post reiterated for me the fact that our government is racist, I believe, and assumes that most of us are too. That couldn’t be further from the truth; however, I believe that Arne and corporate owners/executives project their issues onto us. That’s right, project, issues like racism, and I believe they have attempted to create friction between the races and nationalities in this country. Well, I have news for them: I am colorblind, and most of the many, many people I engage with are as well. I do, however, strongly believe that African-Americans and Hispanics are taken advantage of and manipulated more than the rest of the population, and Common Core makes this ever more obvious. As I have said before, and I am going to repeat millions of times in the coming years, we ALL need to fight for and with each other.

Moorbey'z Blog

by Laura Savage

Having a child with autism who receives special education in public school is a challenge. It can be more difficult for parents of low income, as is my circumstance. I’ve tried different routes to navigate a very difficult and, at times, confusing system. The myriad of acronyms and policy to be familiar with are overwhelming and it can feel as if you are alone in the process – your family against your school district.

Nadir, 12, and Laura Savage, web
Nadir and Laura – Nadir is 12 now, has a mustache and is taller than mom!

During my journey of trying to advocate for my son, Nadir, I have had to take legal action against the school district, to file suit because of disagreement with the district about the services or placement of a student they propose. I filed suit twice against two different districts and had an attorney draft a letter because…

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Common Core and FAPE: On a Slippery Slope

Common Core will damage this child

Common Core will damage this child

Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) is mandated under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and it means your child has the right to a public education that is free and that emphasizes special education and related services that are “designed to meet their unique needs” and to “prepare them for further education, employment and independent living.” 20 USC 1400(d).

This means that children with IEP’s need to receive “meaningful educational benefit.” Before I go any further, I want to help clarify what that means.

On June 28, 1982, in the .S Supreme Court decision, Board of Education of the Hendrick Hudson Central School District, Westchester County et al., versus Rowley by her parents Rowley et ux., the Court held that the requirement of FAPE is met when a child is provided with personalized instruction with sufficient support services to benefit educationally from that instruction.

DB v. Sutton, 07-cv-40191-FDS (D.Mass.2009)required that at a minimum the school district must provide students with “a meaningful, beneficial educational opportunity.”  Polk v. Central Susqehanna, 3rd Ci. 1988, further defined it by stating that educational opportunities must be “meaningful not merely trivial or ‘de mimimus’.”

In Cypress-Fairbanks Indep. School District v. Michael F., the Fifth Circuit Court quoted from Rowley and concluded that “the educational

Common Core will damage this child as well.

Common Core will damage this child as well.

benefit that an IEP is designed to achieve must be meaningful.” In order to determine whether an IEP meets this standard, the Cypress-
Fairbanks court identified four factors: (1) the program is individualized; (2) the program is administered in the least restrictive environment (in the regular classroom as much as possible); (3) the services are provided in a coordinated and collaborative manner; and (4) positive academic and nonacademic benefits are demonstrated.

Hearing officers and courts also consider whether or not the child is advancing from grade to grade and/or is making passing grades regardless of whether the child is at grade level. The Rowley decision itself it states “The grading and advancement system thus constitutes an important factor in determining educational benefit.  Children who graduate from our public school systems are considered by our society to have been ‘educated’ at least to the grade level they have completed, and access to an ‘education’ for handicapped children, is precisely what Congress sought to provide in the Act.”

Why did I just explain all of that to you?

Because Common Core violates IDEA and makes it impossible to provide FAPE for students with IEP’s.

By mandating that all students meet the same standards in their respective grade levels, regardless of ability, Common Core ignores the intricacies presented by disabilities, as well as mandated provisions such as Individualized Educational Plans that are”designed to meet their unique needs.”

Further, it makes it impossible to create meaningful and measurable goals based on Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP), which means starting with baseline information about a child’s knowledge and skills and then developing appropriate goals for progress. Many students with disabilities are not able to perform at grade level, but they are able to learn and to progress.

Example of an appropriate goal: Johnny has a learning disability that makes it difficult for him to process information that he reads. He is in the fifth grade and currently reads at a second grade level. He comprehends 5% of common sight words for third grade reading levels. After identifying what reasonable progress should look like (based on historical evidence), as well as supports and services, an appropriate goal might read “Johnny will increase comprehension of third grade sight words from 5% to 45% by December, and from December to May, Johnny will increase comprehension fro 45% to 90%.

Example of an inappropriate goal (based on the same information) Johnny’s reading skills will be proficient at his grade level by the end of the 2013-2014 school year.

The second example is what Common Core dictates.

I reblogged a post a few days ago entitled “Special Needs Out of Luck with Common Core” in which Jill Stine, a Trainer at The Center for College and Career Readiness, openly admits that Common Core does not address special needs students or provide for appropriate accommodations.

This decimates the ability of a student with disabilities to benefit at all from his or her educational experience. In fact, meaningful educational benefit comes to a screeching halt. Common Core puts students with disabilities at the bottom of a very steep corporate-made hill made of steel and ice–harsh, cold, slippery, unnecessary, brutal and impassable–and then tells them to climb it, blind and with no climbing tools. Alone.

When did Arne Duncan and his corporate goons decide that this was ok?

All children CAN learn!

All children CAN learn!

When did it become alright to throw out federal protections that took years to obtain, and that have been strongly upheld by courts, including the Supreme Court?

And how do they sleep at night?


Reader from China: Why Chinese Students’ Test Scores Are So High

Do we want to follow in China’s footsteps?

Diane Ravitch's blog

This fascinating and informative comment was just posted in response to Tom Loveless’s earlier article about how Shanghai gets high scores by excluding the children of migrants from its schools and how OECD allows China to exclude the PISA scores from provinces with less than stellar results. As you will see, there is no coddling” in China. Instead, the pressure on students to study and compete for college entry is relentless.

The reader writes:

As a Chinese native living more than 50% of time in US during the last 20 years, I’m not at all surprised by the result.

Let me talk a little bit about China style. I’m not judging which is better, China or US – it’s just different ways of living, it’s just plain facts.

Two facts are unbelievable for normal US people in terms of the education of kids in China, and as I knew, somewhat…

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Common Core Attempts to Shove Parents Out the Back Door

Know the facts about Common Core!

Know the facts about Common Core!

The Common Core State Standards Initiative violates so many Constitutional protections, further written in stone by a number of Supreme Court decisions and federal statutes, that it puzzles me how anyone could be so blatantly propose and attempt to put into practice the provisions of the Common Core. The only logical conclusion I can reach is that they really think parents are stupid.

I am reading too many stories of questionable curriculum content in which students were actually told “Don’t discuss this with your parents.” Children are required to participate in standardized testing, objectionable lessons and activities, and parents are put off more and more.  There is a move to extend the age to compulsory school attendance and homeschooling is under attack as well. This is a problem.

Arne and the corporate goons want to extend school days to twelve hours. They want us out of the way so they can indoctrinate…I mean raise our kids.   As Arne put it, ““And Mom isn’t waiting at home at 2:30 with a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich. That just doesn’t happen in many American families anymore.” By the way, it happens in my family. I am a single mom, starving writer for the express goal of being home when my daughter is not in school and to be more involved with her education.  Nice try, Arne!

I will give you a brief rundown of some of the case law strongly supporting parents’ rights that Common Core is ignoring.

Meyer v. Nebraska upheld parents’ rights by affirming “the natural duty of the parent to give his children education suitable to their station in life…”  Clearly the preferences of the parents in educational matters outweighed those of the government. The court further emphasized, “The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees the right of the individual … to establish a home and bring up children, to worship God according to his own conscience.”

Pierce v. Society of Sisters confirmed Meyer v. Nebraska and parents’ right to direct the upbringing of their children with regard to religions matters and to direct their children’s education. The decision in Pierce, struck down an Oregon education law which, required all children ages eight and sixteen to be educated in public schools. The Court stated

“Under the doctrine of Meyer v. Nebraska, we think it entirely plain that the Act of 1922 unreasonably interferes with the liberty of parents and guardians to direct the upbringing and education of children.

The Pierce decision also upheld parents’ rights to protect their children from government standardization, making it clear that children “are not the mere creature of the state…”

The Supreme Court’s decision in Prince v. Massachusetts clearly admitted that parents held the highest responsibility and right to control the upbringing of their children, not the State.

It is cardinal with us that the custody, care, and nurture of the child reside first in the parents, whose primary function and freedom include preparation for obligations the State can neither supply nor hinder.” 

Later, Griswold v. Connecticut, emphasized that the state cannot interfere with the right of a parent to control his child’s education, and that the right to educate one’s child as one chooses is guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. The Court further stated 136173206_2936389167_f730a77a64_z_answer_5_xlargethat this right was applicable by the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

In 1972, Wisconsin v. Yoder upheld the Pierce decision by declaring:

“This case involves the fundamental interest of parents, as contrasted with that of the state, to guide the religious future and education of their children. The history and culture of Western civilization reflect a strong tradition of parental concern for the nurture and upbringing of their children. This primary role of the parents in the upbringing of their children is now established beyond debate as an enduring tradition.”

The 1996 decision in M.L.B. v. S.L.J. firmly voiced that the choices about marriage, family life, and the upbringing of children were ranked as “of basic importance in our society,” again emphasizing that the rights sheltered by the 14th Amendment against the government’s “unwarranted usurpation, disregard, or disrespect.” This particular case involved the State’s authority to permanently sever a parent-child bond. The Court’s decision unequivocally upheld parents’ rights in general.

The Supreme Court stated in the 2000 decisions of Reno v. Flores “There is a presumption that fit parents act in their children’s best interests,  there is normally no reason or compelling interest for the State to inject itself into the private realm of the family to further question fit parents’ ability to make the best decisions regarding their children,” and Troxel v. Granville, “The state may not interfere in child rearing decisions when a fit parent is available.”

Further, in 1978, Congress enacted the Protection of Pupil Rights Act, which gives parents the right to inspect educational material–ALL educational material, which would include anything used in the course of providing instruction to our children. Think internet sites, search engines, text books, hand outs…don’t be shy about asking. It’s YOUR right!

A parent has the right to remove a child from objectionable classroom instruction and/or activity. Three clauses in two different amendments lay the solid foundation for these constitutional provisions: the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause, and the First Amendment’s Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses.

The American Center for Law and Justice provides some good examples to further illustrate these provisions:

“The potential scenarios faced by Christian parents typically fall into two basic categories—those that involve some degree of student coercion, and those that involve mere “exposure” to objectionable or offensive ideas. An example of the first scenario would be a school curriculum requiring students to participate in mock homosexual wedding ceremonies. Such an activity can be challenged on First Amendment free speech grounds because such a compulsory ritual forces children to endorse speech to which they are morally opposed. Although some lower courts have not been receptive to recent parental challenges to school curricula, the constitutional underpinnings of parental rights in this area are well established. The First Amendment Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses, combined with the Fourteenth Amendment’s fundamental liberty interest of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children, form a strong foundation upon which parents can assert their right to opt their children out of objectionable school material or activities. The higher the degree of coercion on students to participate in, or otherwise endorse the classroom activity, the stronger the constitutional argument in favor of a parental opt-out right.”

What can parents do?

They can get involved! Write a few letters to Congressmen, read to become more familiar with parents’ rights and how they are being stolen, talk to other parents, hold a few meetings to educate other parents, run for school board, and becoming involved in educational policy making.

Just please, stand up and speak out.  Silence is deadly.


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