Unmasking the Charter Chicanery in Louisiana

Unmasking the Charter Chicanery in Louisiana

masks

Recently I was contacted by The Progressive to write an overview of charter schools in Louisiana.  I have been watching this “experiment” unfold from a fairly unique perspective.  My first look was as a State of Louisiana Employee just after charter schools were becoming established haphazardly around the state.  When I started at LDOE I was told of some of the misdeeds of previous operators, and I struggled alongside some of them to get their data reported accurately and in a timely manner.  Our initial operators were mostly standalone outfits and not altogether bad and some with the best of intentions if not the best business sense or relevant experience.  For the most part these early operators were homegrown and unconnected to external forces and influences and my bosses had no strong feelings about them either way.

As my tenure at the department lengthened, and new Education Reformer obsessed State Superintendents came to the fore like Paul Pastorek and John White, charters schools took on a new, more sinister dimension and set of goals.  I finally left the Department in February of 2012 to start my blog.  My naïve plan at the time was to reveal some of the misdeeds and to try and reverse the tide of all the negative trends and policies being enacted by out of state interests and pirogue-loads of out of state money.

What follows is the intro of my original piece I submitted.  My full piece was close to 5000 words and not entirely complete and my allotted space was maxxed at 2000 words.  I worked with the editors at The Progressive to streamline my piece, but I will be publishing parts of my original work in various future blog posts – so my time and research was not wasted.  I enjoyed the opportunity to work with some national media sources and I hope you find the pieces I will write now and in the immediate future informative and useful.  I start off with a brief into on the charter movement as we see it today.

Albert Shanker, a former President of the American Federation of Teachers Union (1974 – 1997) is sometimes credited with founding the modern charter movement in 1988.  His idea was to create an environment focused on serving the neediest students. The basic premise was for charters to work collaboratively with school districts and their most challenging students.  Ideas that proved the most fruitful would be shared and applied throughout the public systems to make them stronger and more responsive.  As originally conceived, Charter schools were to be R&D laboratories, and their research would be used for the benefit of all public school students.

In 1991 Joe Nathan and Ted Kolderie, education reformers from Minnesota, altered Shanker’s idea to one that would appeal to entrepreneurs, and squeeze out educators.

Nathan and Kolderie instead proposed that schools be authorized by statewide agencies that were separate and apart from local district control. That opened charter doors not only to teachers but also to outside entrepreneurs. Competition between charters and districts was to be encouraged.

By 1993 Shanker realized some significant flaws in his ideas and renounced support of his own idea, but by then it was too late.  Private industry and education reformers had spotted an opening, a new market, and would spend the next two decades ramping up resources and propagating propaganda to exploit it.

These resources would go to fund pro-privatization with an eye toward profit margins rather than children:

  • Candidates like Bobby Jindal, Barack Obama, Dannel Malloy and Scott Walker
  • Agendas like American Legislative Executive Council (ALEC) and Democrats For Education Reform (DFER)
  • Organizations like Teach For America (TFA), Stand For Children (Stand) and the Black Alliance For Educational Options (BAEO)
  • Charter Sponsored Media and Movies like NBCs Education Nation, Waiting for Superman, and Won’t Back Down

These groups cover vast swaths of the political spectrum and use a cunning and effective combination of statistical sleight-of-hand, repetitive messaging and empathic emotional pleas to lure people to their banners and crusade.  To the casual observer, which most folks are, these forces offer beacons of hope; hope to the messages of despair they themselves seeded beforehand.  Their messages are wrapped up in pleasingly packaged message so many of us find so compelling and alluring:

Free enterprise and American spirit and ingenuity will come to the rescue of our “failing schools” and flagging nation! 

Research institutions like the Cowen Institute at Tulane and CREDO (a conservative Hoover offshoot based on Stanford’s campus lend it a liberal air) were funded or founded with the express purpose of promoting charter schools.  Publicity campaigns were rolled out to advertise the higher standards and quality of charter schools.  Charter schools were initially advertised as having better academics (although usually with fewer certified teachers and less experienced teachers) and being less expensive (usually they are much more expensive when factoring costs to communities and grants).  Charter schools were marketed in much the same way as margarine, Vioxx, and cigarettes.   As is so often the case with miracle products, as the data is eventually analyzed objectively, and the full ramifications understood the tragic flaws are revealed.

Research now shows that charter schools are most often no better than public schools with the same demographics, and sometimes they are much, much worse.  Rather than admit defeat, pull their products, or actually try to make them live up their previous advertising the campaign was switched to one of “Choice”.

Amazingly, I was just informed today that even the head of the CREDO institute has grudgingly come to this conclusion on her own.

Her reasons for why states need to exert more control raised a few eyebrows. A self-described supporter of free markets, Raymond said a totally free market is not appropriate for schools.

“It’s the only industry/sector where the market doesn’t work,” Raymond said.

But it’s “Choice” with capital  C!  It has to be good, right?

Who doesn’t instinctively favor “choice” and freewill in a free society? It sounds liberating.  It sounds positive. Unfortunately it’s also an illusion.  Good “choices” only exist in clever online marketing ads sent to your Facebook account (with happy children of the same race as your own as determined by Big Data Algorithms) and in the mailers stuffed in your door handles and mailboxes.

Charter schools and their advocates go out of their way to obscure data and bash public schools so parents can’t make an informed choice.  States are run and overseen by officials bought with charter money to ensure this.  You can’t make a good choice with bad data and with only bad choices available.

“Parents can’t be agents of quality assurance,” Raymond said, stressing the need for better information to be available to parents as they pick schools.

When outsiders think of Louisiana and charter schools, they often think of Katrina and New Orleans.  New Orleans is now a 100% charter operated district. Charters are a manmade disaster heaped upon a natural one.  Hurricane Katrina was the once in a 100 year natural disaster that charter school operators and their allies chose to exploit.

I worked at the Louisiana Department of Education during this time.  I would learn later that while many New Orleanians were drowning in their homes, choking on the oily toxic flood waters, expiring from exposure on their rooftops, or furiously evacuating if they had the wherewithal, operatives at the Department and from the New Orleans area and State BESE board were meticulously conspiring to remake the city’s education system to their liking.   Many people perished, and we may never have a full accounting of the deaths.  On Monday, August 29th, 2005 canals were breached across New Orleans.  Public education also died that day.  Louisiana’s loss and the Nation’s shame was to become the Charter Movement’s gain.

The words of US Education Secretary Arne Duncan about Katrina will forever live in infamy for me and many of my friends, family and people.

…let me be really honest. I think the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans was Hurricane Katrina.

If you would like to see the next part of this story check out this month’s issue in The Progressive you can purchase a digital copy to support work of folks like me or wait until later this month when it is released.

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The Violence and Hatred of Common Core Fanatics

The Violence and Hatred of Common Core Fanatics

It may come as no surprise to those of you/us who have been trying to point out the deficiencies of Common Core, that our input is often met with derision, hatred, venom and now even threats of violence. When I first wrote an article about my experience in with Common Core about a year ago I admit I did not fully understand what was going on, and that I was perplexed and confused by the homework at times. Many of us were. I understand Engage NY Curriculum is not the same as the Common Core standards, but it is derived from them and entirely related and relevant to discussions of Common Core. Moreover, in Louisiana the only State approved Tier 1 resource that LDOE endorses is Eureka, which is the “paid” version of Engage NY. From what I’ve seen this year the only difference between the two is that districts have to pay for Eureka products, and the branding at the bottom of the resource worksheets.

I wrote an entry on my blog to explain how many parents were feeling and because no one in power was listening to the complaints and concerns of parents. Many of us felt marginalized and maligned rather than engaged or listened too. Many folks who embrace the standards, like this teacher that recently posted on my blog talked to us this way when we expressed our concerns:

Sarah Berry, teacher (and provider of Common Core Teaching materials?)

Are all you people Fin crazy? Not a one of you know what the hell you are talking about. If parents can’t add their doubles then we have a bigger problem than we realize. As for the author of the original article; spend more time doing research than criticizing curriculum that you have no idea about. You have no degree in curriculum development (that is obvious) nor do you have a degree in education, your expertise is that you have a child. Just like you have a background in mathematics; that’s right, you had math in school and you learned just fine. Again, obviously not if you don’t know the benefits of doubles. What addition facts give most first graders difficulty? Oh that’s right, you don’t know your doubles so how in the hell would you know 6+7 or 8+9 or 5+7 Doubles helps student make sense of new problems by using their prior knowledge, something you have obviously lost! 6+7 can be seen as 6+6+1 more and is called a doubles plus one. Or you 6+7 could be seen as 7+7-1 and is called doubles minus one. But since your head is so far up your ass and you can only see how “you” were taught, not the benefits of teaching kids the “mathematics” vs. the short cut. When you get your teaching degree, earn your masters in curriculum design, spend time actually in the classroom teaching students, work as an administrator along side professional teachers, then you can write a blog regarding Engage NY math curriculum. And please do all the teachers in your area a favor, don’t have another child just because you can!

I had reports of many parents across various school districts being addressed this way by their teacher and other Common Core proponents. Perhaps Sarah does have all the credentials she implies she has, but what she does not have is people skills or the ability to work well with others. She may not want me to have any more children, but I don’t want her to be “teaching” any more children or engaging with any more parents. Based on this comment I would judge her as a disgrace to her profession. Fortunately not all teachers feel the same way Sarah does or I would be waging a war on teachers the way Reformers do. I actually try to support teachers and engage them constructively and I don’t think they should be evaluated just on a test score tied to a student tied to Common Core, like most, if not all, Common Core supporters do.

As victories are being made across the country against Common Core, it is clear that the strategy of marginalized and mocking parents and making children cry as a measure of rigor is not working. Amazingly this type of antagonistic attack below does more to enflame passions and solidify positions, but I’m sure it made the poster of this comment feel superior for a little while.

Chris Jenson (parent?)

And there are alleged teachers who completely agree with you in the comments. Amazing. I feel forced to point out that, as an adult who went through the old educational system, your clear lack of cognitive ability and problem solving skills, and most horrifyingly the “teachers” who agree with you, are the most telling examples of why we needed education reform in the first place.

I have seen and endured (and sometimes deleted) many of the comments because of racists, classist, and bizarre defenses that included call me and other parents [Expletive] Libertards, an ignorant hillbilly, nazi [expletive], redneck Teabilly/bagger, educational knuckle dragger, etc. I’m sure many parents have endured these insults also. At meetings I’ve attended or others have attended we endured hour upon hour of insults at the hand of Common Core supporters from LABI, Stand For Children, the Louisiana Charter Association, APEL, TFA, Chas Roemer [BESE President) talking to his sister Caroline Roemer Shirley (head of Louisiana Charter Association), as well as representatives from Exxon. We don’t all wear badges to identify who we support and oppose, Senate Education Chair Senator Apel, and these folks were quite brutal and obnoxious in their assessment of our intelligence, possible inbreeding, and sincerity of our tears being shed. We do listen quietly, and nod, and the report back. You have shown your true colors and made us enemies, probably permanently.

This situation is really unfortunate. I have come to meet some teachers that I believe really believe (it appears largely faith based) that these standards will help children. These teachers literally preach the gospel of Common Core, as they tell us in 10 to 12 years we will begin to see the fruits of our labor. I do not have the background in teacher, nor do I have your faith in a system that is fundamentally overly bureaucratic and flawed and that refuses to admit to its shortcomings. I cannot have faith in something that was sold under false pretenses to the American Public and which continues to be sold with lies by proven liars, Reformers.

It may be that Common Core, developed slowly and truly collaboratively, introduced gradually and with forethought and consideration of all stakeholders could have been successful.

If Common Core had not been tied to High Stakes tests for grading teachers it might be easier for people to buy this is for children and not corporations that seek to privatize education.

If concerns had been addressed thoughtfully and respectfully and if there was some local autonomy in the adoption, and possible changes to areas that even the developers of Common Core have realized they had to make it might have been more palatable to folks.

If Arne Duncan had not forced this upon states through Race to the Top Grants and ESEA waivers to free states of impossible No Child Left Behind standards it would have had less of a Federal Takeover feel.

If the messengers of Common Core were not many times proven liars about charter schools, Value Added assessments of teachers, virtual schools, massive school closings of poor children’s schools, and purveyors of temp teachers over experienced and more expensive ones it would have been met with less immediate skepticism.

If Common Core had not been adopted sight unseen in many(most) states, like Louisiana, and a true discussion had taken place, it would have been hard to say this was done clandestinely. Lying about this situation and telling parents the standards were around for 4 years ignores the fact that many parents had not been exposed to it until recently. It was your job, as education leaders, to reach out to parents and engage them before this blew up in your faces. You failed to do that and now you have a mess. Parents immediately objected when they were exposed to it for the first time, but you (officials and official channels) ignored them and forced them to create a grassroots movement bound by social media to spread the word and oppose you. No matter how many times Will Sentell from the Advocate prints that it was around for 4 years (since 2010) without objection or controversy, it does not alter the fact that most parents and children were not exposed to it, and when they did they immediately freaked out and were completely marginalized, ignored and disparaged by even the Secretary of the Us Department of education.

“All of a sudden, their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought … and that’s pretty scary,” Duncan said at the event Friday.

Do these folks really not get it, or do they think they can simply bully and bulldoze their way over parents like they have been doing to our children and teachers for years?

Now that parents have former their own channels of passing information and started to rack up some victories in various states, some supporters of Common Core are getting scared, and getting angry. People like Michael Mulgrew, Head of the United Federation of Teachers, are directing their anger at the wrong people.

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/michael-mulgrew-defends-common-core-punch-face-tools-article-1.1895301

Teachers union honcho Michael Mulgrew unleashed a venomous screed directed at anyone who would dare threaten his beloved Common Core agenda.

 “If someone takes something from me, I’m going to grab it right back out of their cold, twisted, sick hands and say it is mine! You do not take what is mine!” the head of the United Federation of Teachers shouted in a speech at a convention last month in Los Angeles.

The rant was posted Thursday to the Ed Notes Online blog.

“And I’m going to punch you in the face and push you in the dirt because this is the teachers’!” added Mulgrew.

Punching parents in the face might seem like a good idea to Common Core supporters, since their lies have failed to convince parents, maybe fear and anger will force them to back down? I kind of doubt it though. What it has done for me is to settle into a state of resignation. I can see you guys don’t want to talk. When you did talk you lied, and we caught you. Then you lied some more and we caught you again. Then you ignored us and shoved this down our throats and mocked us. You told us no one gives a shit what we think or feel like David Coleman, architect of Common Core, because that’s really how you see the world and our place in it.

(You can see the Coleman clip in the link below)

http://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/tag/people-really-dont-give-a-shit-how-you-feel/

Now Common Core proponents are using strong-arm tactics and threats of violence and telling us we are too stupid to have any children for you to teach. I admit, I do not want you teaching my children either. Many parents have been pulling their children out of public schools to homeschool them to escape teachers like you. That will work for a time, but I know corporations are forcing Common Core in private schools and homeschool legislation is next. In fact, in order for parents to be allowed to continue to homeschool their kids, they must still teach them some Common Core to pass the required tests. This is why you will find many parents that are now homeschooling their children continuing the fight against Common Core.

Will we simply wait 12 years for things to work out? I doubt we would have to wait that long for these to change, but not because of the needs of students. Now that textbook and testing corporations are so intimately involved with these “Standards” and the textbooks and supplemental materials that go with them, we can be sure they will be changing pretty quickly in ways that force the previous textbooks and materials into planned obsolesce so they can sell more, more frequently.

I am tired of trying to convince people by showing them an example here or a lie there. This becomes a never-ending cycle of lies and examples and counter-examples. I will even concede that some of the content and standards appear fine or even good in some cases. When we redesign our own curriculum I hope to keep the good, discard the bad, but most importantly retain local control of what and how we teach without regard for High Stakes Testing, just High Quality Learning. What is clear is that this was done poorly and that those that support this initiative failed to address the concerns of all stakeholders, and have switched to even more aggressive tactics which have permanently poisoned the well of public support.

 

 

Arne Duncan has lost his mind

Arne Duncan has lost his mind

Arne Duncan (after hanging out with the Mayor of Toronto smoking from a mysterious pipe)

Unless you live under rock, if you follow education issues at all you no doubt heard this latest pearl of wisdom from the head of the US Department of Education.

“It’s fascinating to me that some of the pushback is coming from, sort of, white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were, and that’s pretty scary,” Duncan said, according to an account from Politico. “You’ve bet your house and where you live and everything on, `My child’s going to be prepared.’ That can be a punch in the gut.”

My first thought when I heard this was that Arne Duncan was trying to make sure the US Department of Education gets eliminated. I certainly expect this comment, combined with his other policies and epic overreach into local matters, will land eliminating the US department of Education front and center in the 2016 Presidential election.

In response to this a petition was launched on the Official White House website to call for Duncan’s removal: “This clearly demonstrates the complete lack of understanding he has and his utter contempt for the American people. He is both unqualified and unfit to lead the Department of Education and should be removed immediately.”

A group Facebook group called MAD, or Mother’s Against Duncan, also immediately formed. As of 11/19/13 at 10:30, a little more than 24 hours after the comments this site had over 3000 members . . . and growing.


When I had a little time to contemplate what Duncan said a few things occurred to me. He really, honestly thinks this is all about test scores. In his twisted world, kids and parents don’t exist as consierations, and learning is little more than a number of trend-line on a chart. The only learning and education that matters to him is one that can be measured, and he actually thinks everyone else thinks this way too. He has surrounded himself with people that think this, and insulated himself form the public, from parents, children and from learning. He can’t even comprehend that anyone might not give a damn about his ridiculous tests (that really do a better job identifying poor or mentally disabled students than they do “good” or “bad” schools or teachers.)

Perhaps it is time to show them how little we think about their tests and that our chief concern is not whether some highly paid educrat awards my school an “A” or “B” (while 40% of the students may be performing below grade level), but whether my child is learning and enjoying his school experience. I’m not sure about you, but my chief concern for my first grader and preschooler is not whether they score well enough on a color naming or counting test to get into a good ivy league school or rewarding career as a proctologist. I’m more concerned if my daughter’s friends like her or bully her, that she is safe and healthy, that she behaves well for her teacher and shows a good example for other kids, enjoys her recess and some fresh air, and has fun learning and growing not just math and reading (which she loves) but art, science, history and foreign languages. I want her education to be one of a wealth of opportunities and joy without the pressure of a career peering over her shoulder and monkeying around on her back. There will be time enough for that in second grade and the rest of her life, I’m sure.

The second thing that occurred to me is that this truly shows just how much Duncan has pushed and owned Common Core. Despite what your local school board or legislature has told you about how the federal government has little to do with Common Core, we have this racist, arrogant and dismissive comment from Duncan that reveals the truth. Let there be no mistake. Duncan was THE driving force behind Common Core. Gates put up hundreds of millions of dollars to promote it, but Arne Duncan put up billions, and he’ll be damned if you white suburban moms think you can derail his master plan with your pitiful concerns about your children and their learning.

Duncan has since tried to do some damage control.

In an interview with Politico, Duncan later acknowledged he “didn’t say it perfectly.”

I agree.

What he really meant to say was “No stupid ditzy stay-at-home soccer moms (regardless of their color or nationality) are going to derail one of my signature education masterpieces, Common Core. I spent billions dollars on this shiznat, and had to listen to Bill Gates tell me 100s of stories about how he cured malaria in Africa and how he should have destroyed Apple when he had the chance to get his support so it wouldn’t look like the federal government was illegally pushing a national curriculum. Melinda wouldn’t stop showing me that stupid paperclip assistant “Clippy” she invented. They even have bedspreads with that guy on it! I even had to change the meaning of the fricken word curriculum and get everyone to call these standards! Let’s see you change the meaning of word and break federal laws . . . stupid moms, of many races, creeds, colors and religions whom I despise and hold contempt for equally!”

Thank you for clearing that up for us, Arne.

I’m sure you will enjoy the private sector (working for your true masters Rupert Murdoch or Bill Gates) much more anyways.

Say “Hi” to Clippy for me!


Samantha Thibodeaux, SPED teacher from St John Parish, speaks out about CCSS, Jindal, White & Duncan

Samantha Thibodeaux, SPED teacher from St John Parish, speaks out about CCSS, Jindal, White & Duncan

I am Samantha Thibodeaux. I am a 14 year teacher of SPED in St. John Parish. I hold a bachelor’s in KHS, a master’s in health education and a master’s in Educational Leadership. I am one and a half years into my doctoral program. There are so many issues I would love to discuss today from needless professional growth plans to a flawed value-added system to a faulty COMPASS teacher evaluation system. But, I will stick to the topic at hand—Common Core.

Today, I come to you not just as an educator but a parent and soon to be grandparent to voice my concerns over the Common Core initiative that has been permitted by Gov. Jindal and the BESE board to infiltrate our schools and our students.

I do not ascribe to the notion that Gov. Jindal and the BESE board did not know the negative effect that this progressive agenda would have on our teachers, students and parents. What I do believe is the Gov. and the BESE board signed on to this defective agenda without doing a simple Google search to find out more on Common Core like the lack of empirical data to support this abomination and the Obama administration’s true intentions. Empirical data and robust research is imperative to any successful program. In a speech in 2010 to the United Nations, Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Arne Duncan stated:

“The North Star guiding the alignment of cradle to career education agenda, (let me say that again), cradle to career education agenda is Pres. Obamas goal that by the end of the decade America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. That goal CAN ONLY be achieved by creating a strong cradle-to career continuum that starts with early childhood learning and extends all the way to college and careers.”

Let’s just soak that in for a minute. This is not an agenda just for public education or just for students but will TRACK citizens for the rest of their lives. I could end my remarks there but there is more.

Are you familiar with the Common Core birth to five years standards? Birth to five year standards. This is beyond early childhood education. And Republicans have bought into the early childhood fairytale and Common Core puts this agenda on steroids.

Who is going to educate these children?

Where are the resources coming from?

How can a teacher be held accountable for growth in an infant?

Another goal of the Obama administration is that through Common Core students will be required to take action. Again Arne Duncan states:

“These new partnerships must also inspire students to take a bigger and deeper view of their civic obligations—not only to their countries of origin but to the betterment of the global community. A just and socially responsible society must also be anchored in civic engagement for the public good.”

He continues:

“The Obama administration has sought to fundamentally shift the federal role, so that the Department is doing much more to support reform and innovation in states, districts, and local communities.”

Remember this is 2010:

“But today, 37 states and the District of Columbia have already chosen to adopt the new state-crafted [another myth] Common Core standards in math and English. Not studying it, not thinking about it, not issuing a white paper—they have actually done it.”

I agree with Arne Duncan. This has not been studied, or thought out or even discussed in most states. And back to the lack of empirical data and robust research. I understand that most states, along with Louisiana, signed onto this agenda without the standards being completed or published.

Did anyone ask any questions? Gov. Jindal is a bright man. Where were his instincts when this was being presented? Where were his advisors saying to hold on-let’s do a little research?

The people of Louisiana TRUSTED Gov. Jindal. But not anymore.

Over the past several weeks, I have spoken to a couple of principals and master teachers in St. John and they have expressed concern about cost and lack of a coherent curriculum. One principal stated that this is education’s Obamacare. Where is the money because it is not trickling down to the schools? There are grave concerns over the lack of materials and incoherent messaging from the La. Dept of Ed. There is NO curriculum, there are NO textbooks. Yet, teachers are being held accountable for growth in students while implementing these standards that are developmentally inappropriate. One statement from a SPED teacher is:

“I have concluded that the materials and lack of time allotted for the topic at hand to be implemented have become nothing more than an academic trap designed for failure.”

Teachers have been demoralized by Gov. Jindal, John White and the BESE board. Teachers feel frustrated and insulted by continually being told that student learning targets need to be more rigorous, evaluations need to be more rigorous because John White didn’t get the numbers he was expecting. (By the way, if I spoke to each person in this room I am positive I would get just as many varying opinions on what “rigor” is.) Teachers feel further hurt and insulted when they were informed this year that they would be allowed to pre-test their students but post-tests had to be performed by someone other than themselves.

As I professional, I find that incredibly offensive. Not only does John White not trust me as a professional apparently he doesn’t trust me as a person. It doesn’t end there. It gets better. We were told that the Common Core standards would be incrementally implemented over the course of several years yet this summer school systems were instructed to begin full implementation of Common Core and mandatory full implementation would be in the 2014-2015 school year. This has been the pattern of the La. Dept of ed. Incoherent, disorganized chaos. Master teachers are instructed to look at other states to see how they have implemented Common Core and go to the LA. Dept of ed. website to view webinars. They do not have the time to review materials that are sent to them. Teachers are scrambling to find resources and materials. So, now Common Core has been thrust upon thousands of teachers without adequate professional development, with minimal, at best, support, without proper curriculum, without suitable materials and without acceptable levels of funding and you think this is going to be successful and end well for your administration. The depth of incompetence is mind boggling.

What is the intent here? Not with the Obama administration but with Gov. Jindal and John White!

Is the intent to get rid of experienced teachers to put in place inexperienced, naïve teachers that will follow like sheep and do whatever the La. Dept. of Ed says?

Is the intent to demoralize and insult teachers to the point of tears so they will no longer fight back? Ask yourself, what is the intention of the BESE board, Gov. Jindal and Superintendent White?

From where I sit, it is not to improve education in Louisiana, or hold teachers and students to quote unquote higher standards. I believe the intent is to control and manipulate the lives of educators and students in Louisiana; to track them from cradle to grave. And, as Arne Duncan said, “To fundamentally shift the federal role” in education. And apparently, Gov, Jindal is all in.

I would like to read part of a letter from an educator in Ascension parish:

“So many teachers feel as though their hands are tied, so to speak, and have taken early retirement or have just left the system. Many have said to me that they can’t live with themselves as they push kids beyond their breaking point. I was in many meetings last year where teachers were crying out of sheer frustration. They are, however, forbidden to express their frustrations to their superiors. They have little to no input now as “teachers” on what or how they will teach their students. It is a very sad situation. I believe that we will continue to lose our teachers at an even higher rate if we fully implement Common Core.”

“Parents have had no information regarding Common Core. No informational meetings, no written material sent home, no formal venue to be introduced to and ask questions about Common Core. Therefore, at first they made the assumption that it was in the best interest of their children. As homework began to come home, they realized they were less and less able to help. Just now are we seeing parents rising up and contacting their principals, administration, and school board members, asking to know what Common Core is, explaining how it is affecting their children.”

I have heard that Superintendents are threatening repercussions if a teacher publically opposes Common Core. I have heard that administrators are being pressured to implement standards that they feel are developmentally inappropriate. If John White believes so much in Common Core, why are the standards not featured on the Louisiana Believes website? Parents have to search to find the standards. That makes me suspicious of the motives of the La. Dept. of Ed.

Personally, I am sick and tired of Louisiana schools being used as experiments and students and teachers being used as guinea pigs for politicians.  In conclusion, I ask Gov. Jindal to stop Common Core in Louisiana. Abraham Lincoln stated:

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

Help stop the destruction of Louisiana. Help stop the destruction of our students and teachers. I know, personally, as a voter, I would respect Gov. Jindal more if he would admit his error, apologize to the people and STOP Common Core in Louisiana.

(BACKGROUND: I was asked to sit in on a meeting recently where some feedback from parents and teachers was being given. I came to give my support and lend my expertise in the illegal data sharing area and the inBloom fiasco we narrowly escaped from. I was both astonished and impressed by this statement read by Samantha and I asked her if I could share it with you. Not because I hadn’t heard much of this before for many teachers and parents, but by how vehemently she made these statements and how I saw everyone in the room nodding their heads in agreement. I don’t feel like a lone voice screaming into a whirlwind after hearing this. Thank you for sharing this, Samantha.

How many of you teachers and parents out there in Louisiana or across the nation feel as Samantha Thibodeaux does about Common Core, Arne Duncan’s, John White’s and Bobby Jindal’s education deforms, or your own harsh treatment at the hands of education deformers?   Feel free to post a comment here or send me your letters to crazycrawfish@yahoo.com ) Thanks!)