Showing posts with label ‪#‎JeffcoStandup. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ‪#‎JeffcoStandup. Show all posts

Open Letter to Mr. McMinimee: Jeffco Schoolss Superintendent

Dear Mr. McMinimee:


I am a parent with two daughters who attend Jeffco Schools. Yesterday I received the Super
News update from you in my e-mail with some explanation about the closures at Conifer High
School and Standley Lake. As you explained the situation you concluded with this statement,
I’m not going to speculate on why teachers were absent.” This statement has left me confused
about your awareness of what is going on in your organization.

I have a little experience with district and teacher issues. Might I suggest a few reasons why
teachers might have called in sick or taken personal days on the same day?

1. The election of the schools board brought a promise of better fiscal transparency and
stewardship of public funds. However this board has given money to charter schools with
proven records of mismanagement of budgets, and no record of increasing student
achievement. Teachers working in schools that have increased achievement in reading and
math might have felt a little disrespected.

2. After the Board forced Mrs. Stevenson out, the search for your position was a sham.
Thousands of dollars were put into a national search-ironically to replace a nationally recognized
superintendent with a track record of improving student achievement. After taking consecutive
pay cuts and salary freezes for the past few years in an effort to keep the organization fiscally
afloat, teachers might have felt a little disrespected.

TCTA Legal Department -- Blaine Thoughts

Four years ago, the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) adopted new standards, known as TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills), for social studies textbooks in the state’s schools. The process ignited an international media storm. When it was done, even the explicitly conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute gave TEKS a D, on the grounds that it amounted to political and cultural indoctrination, a dash of mindless inclusivity, and brute memorization.  

Why Is This So Hard To Understand? AP US History

From The AP US History Webpage 

-- READ ME -- 

First Lines of Content


The AP® Program unequivocally supports the principle that each individual school must develop its own curriculum for courses labeled “AP.” Rather than mandating any one curriculum for AP courses, the AP Course Audit instead provides each AP teacher with a set of expectations that college and secondary school faculty nationwide have established for college-level courses.

AP teachers are encouraged to develop or maintain their own curriculum that either includes or exceeds each of these expectations; such courses will be authorized to use the “AP” designation. Credit for the success of AP courses belongs to the individual schools and teachers that create powerful, locally designed AP curricula.

The AP U.S. History course should be designed by your school to provide students with a learning experience equivalent to that of an introductory college course sequence in United States history. Your course should provide students with the analytic skills and factual knowledge necessary to deal critically with the topics and materials in U.S. history.

There are no specific curricular prerequisites for students taking AP U.S. History.

All students who are willing and academically prepared to accept the challenge of a rigorous academic curriculum should be considered for admission to AP courses. The College Board encourages the elimination of barriers that restrict access to AP courses for students from ethnic, racial and socioeconomic groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in the AP Program. Schools should make every effort to ensure that their AP classes reflect the diversity of their student population.

High schools offering this exam must provide the exam administration resources described in the AP Coordinator’s Manual.

http://www.collegeboard.com/html/apcourseaudit/courses/us_history.html


So I have to ask -- exactly what is the District Board and Williams going to Investigate?  THERE ARE NO LESSONS TO APPROVE OF!  Schools/Teachers using the Manual, following the EXAMPLES create their own lessons, and tests for their students. 

Julie Williams started this mess with the Kids, solely on the baisis of what she read about the AP USHistory posted by extremists on the Internet. She didn't check her facts. She didn't care about the Kids, her Schools, she only cared about her agenda. So, she incited a walk-out over nothing.  Please... Do something about this. 

The New York Times -- The New History


Board Violations -- Of the Repeated Type






Recall of Williams Appears the only measure to stop Obstruction of Education

Just read this article on Chalk Beat Colorado 

I didn't realize that the Jeffco Board Majority was being so obstructive to their student's education. While most of my interest in this area diminished with the AP Censorship, if I was a parent in this district I would be seriously concerned with what I'm hearing. 

This Julie Williams, who apparently has experience as an office manager in a medical office, and no experience or training at all in the field of education -- and after starting all of this because she didn't bother to read the instructions on the AP US History documents, but instead took the word of reactionists and extremist who also didn't read the instructions -- is doing more to disrupt education than anyone I've ever seen (Except perhaps the Governor of Texas). It really feels like she would prefer the schools to be closed. Several times she has been quoted as admiring the latest actions of the department of education in Texas -- which most people look at as a monumental travesty. Here are the instructions these people can't seem to find or read.

http://www.collegeboard.com/html/apcourseaudit/courses/us_history.html

I think Re-Call is in order. If only for this Williams woman who it appears is bent on destruction.

Oh.. and a look at Texas, who Julie Williams seems to be so enamored with..from News Week


...students reading Perfection Learning’s new textbook on American history will think Moses was right up there with John Locke and Charles de Montesquieu in influencing Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and their brethren. What role did Moses supposedly play? The textbook claims he contributed the concept that “a nation needs a written code of behavior.” Forget the biblical ignorance shown in suggesting Moses provided the code for a “nation” rather than for the Jewish people, who had no nation (failing to reach the Promised Land was kind of key to the Book of Deuteronomy). Forget the legal ignorance in suggesting the Constitution had anything to do with a “code of behavior” rather than establishing democratic government and the rights guaranteed to citizens. Forget the historical ignorance in suggesting that the first laws came from Moses when the sixth Amorite king of Babylon established one of the first written set of laws, known as Hammurabi's Code, hundreds of years earlier.
 I shudder every time I think of this... It is sedition and corruption of the highest -- and yet it is happening right now. 

"The "establishment of religion" clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion to another ... in the words of Jefferson, the [First Amendment] clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect 'a wall of separation between church and State' ... That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach. -- The United States Supreme Court

The article suggests that the publishers created these text books for Texas (under the board's direction) because Texas was such a huge purchaser of school text books (number one in the nation it seems). I think that the rest of the nation should insure that Texas is now their ONLY customer, for being so greedy that the students learning from these text books didn't matter to them at all. 

Seriously publishers.. shame on you. 

What We Learned in Colorado - Verify before Opening Mouth

So, we got through the Board Meeting and no one died, people were heard, the Jeffco School Board may or may not have learned that they are working for the people of their district, not the other way around and there were some serious displays of not only community pride, but civic understanding. 

So, now, we need to understand and come to grips with a rather .. well uncomfortable realization...

The whole bases of this argument was erroneous and misleading. At the core of this problem is the "facts being taught"  Every one was concerned with What was going to be taught, or what wasn't going to be taught, Censorship, Patriotism, all based on the Data of the AP History program -- well those facts don't exist yet. 

Yeah, I know.. embarrassing huh? That moment when you realize that your school board members can't read? yeah... 

The School Board member Julie Williams is mis-informed (Most likely this was an intentional lie to her as well). Since she didn't bother to research the information and verify it, I give her no absolution. She caused this whole mess through arrogant beliefs and should be removed from her position. She has no business being anywhere near a school -- except maybe to attend. 

The College Board AP system changed this year, so that it could encompass the vast amount of history the different states wished to focus on and teach. The ONLY goal that AP classes have (History or otherwise) is to prepare the student for College Level Learning.. that is very important to keep in mind. The difference between High School History and College History is really only one thing. 

In High School you learn and test for your ability to recall facts. i.e. What date was the Declaration Signed? 

In College you learn to analyze the information. Simply knowing the trivia is not enough, so a College Level question would be -- What Did the Declaration Declare? Analyzing the Declaration you might pick up on the realization that the words "United States" had never been used publicly before to describe the collection of colonies. Also you might consider, the opening paragraph stated, the representatives of the states were laying before "the opinions of mankind" the reasons "one people" had chosen "to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them." Those "powers of the earth" -- meaning other sovereign states -- were the immediate international audience for the Declaration. The United States intended to join them on an equal footing "as Free and Independent States" that "have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which independent States may of right do" 

So, really there is a vast difference between Trivia and Understanding The College Board considered this, and it appears that they came to the conclusion that It Doesn't Matter, however What information is being analyzed, only that the skill of analyzing is learned. So, the goal of the AP US History Framework was to create a tool, a program, in which the teacher could convey these skills. BUT the teacher could chose what ever History and Context, indeed even the Text Book she wished to use as her base data.

As Presented, so that the College Board could explain to the teacher how to use the Framework, it was necessary, of course, to provide SAMPLE data -- otherwise there would be a lot of blank spaces in the instruction manual. IT WAS NOT REAL DATA, just sample data. All of it NEEDED to be replaced by the teacher with REAL data, that she would provide. 

The SAMPLE data was misunderstood (I believe misrepresented on purpose by Larry Krieger a former AP High School History teacher), to be what the AP US History program was teaching... and nothing.. could be further from the truth. The School, or the State, or whoever is tasked with the project, is the sole and only provider of the Data the AP Framework will utilize during the course. 

Which is exactly what the AP US History Instruction page says on the College Board Web site.. have a look 

If you are interested you can check out my blog for further information

By the way.. Jeffco Students Rock!
#JeffcoStandup #Standup4kids

For those looking for Recall, this link is a good place to begin
http://ballotpedia.org/Laws_governing_recall_in_Colorado#Signature_requirement


The Falsified Controversies Surrounding AP History

I've been posting this message all morning to editors, school board members and any place else I can find. The falsifications and misinformation around the AP History course have spread far and wide over the Internet, with people buying into the claims and propagating the same fictitious information without ever checking the AP US History course to see if any of it is accurate.

None of it is... 



Q: Does AP US History Teach about our Country's Heroes?
A: I don't know. Does your School Teach about our Country's Heroes?
Q: Of COURSE WE DO!
A: Then of course the AP US History teaches about them... since it is taught with your  curriculum. 
Q: (?) oh...but...
A: He lied.
Q: oh...

This whole mess in Colorado with the High School and the Censorship.. it is all based on the false information given to Julie Williams about the AP US History program and framework. Not just her. It was also given to News Week, and it was very convincing, I mean.. why would anyone lie about something like that?

Then... things weren't adding up, and I went to the College Board website and looked the program over. What I discovered in only a few short minutes was that Larry Krieger has mislead everyone, with the intent of forcing the AP to go back to the old format.
Here is why...

Larry Krieger, owner and designer of InsiderPrep, and former AP History teacher, is the influence behind  Julie Williams in Colorado-- who, as she told  Breitbart Texas ..  the proposal they are trying to pass is to preserve US history from the progressive APUSH and it is similar to actions taken by the Texas SBOE.

"Texas passed its resolution against AP US History. In Colorado, people are talking about that," she said. "What does it hurt to look into this? Our students deserve to have the best, appropriate education possible," she added. "Without looking into this, we could be harming our students," she said. She indicated that over the past year "APUSH and a new fifth grade Sex Ed curriculum were slipped into the schools with little public knowledge."

Julie's claim that it was "slipped in" isn't correct, On Sept 10, 2014, the Colorado State Board of Education already discussed the issues that Larry Kieger has been fabricating and propagating regarding the 2014 AP History program. Larry Kieger invited himself into that meeting via telephone conference. The board  listened to arguments for over 90 minutes, and decided it was still acceptable for the State Schools. You can listen to that part of the Board meeting (here)

Texas dropped the AP on the testimony of Larry Krieger
Larry has been doing quite a bit of talking and writing.
Newsweek Interview with Larry Kieger
(my first encounter with this man)

By Krieger's own admission, there is nothing false or misleading or untrue inside the AP material. The College Board has said over and over that this is a Framework design and as such it negates all of these complaints against the AP History program. So let's pull some sheets shall we?

Let's look at the orchestrator of these complaints.

Larry Krieger owns InsiderPrep, which is a business that creates and sells books and materials to help a student prep for the AP classes and tests. -- Well, it did help up until this year. See, Larry's Prep course is based on the old study methods, where memorizing is more important than critical thinking.

The AP History program has changed drastically, in that it is only a Framework now, not a full course like it was in the past. So, there is no ..."series of chronological chapters that match the sequence of topics in the College Board’s official APUSH Course Description booklet." ... Which is how Larry Krieger's program is developed. AP is now a comprehensive, adaptable Framework.

Quote right off the AP Web site :
A new Curriculum Framework Evidence Planner helps teachers customize the framework by specifying the historical content selected for student focus. It can also be provided to students to track the historical evidence examined for each concept and as review for the AP Exam.
Schools and teachers develop their own curriculum for AP courses. Submitting a syllabus to the AP Course Audit ensures teachers have a thorough understanding of AP U.S. History course requirements and are authorized to teach AP.

See that one line? "Schools and teachers develop their own curriculum ..."

Meaning that the framework Can Be fully Right Wing Conservative, going over each of the founding fathers in detail and focusing on the deeds of courageous people... OR ... it could be middle of the road, focusing on the growth of the nation, or it could be both, or neither.

The idea behind this interesting change is -- There are simply too many areas of Local State History (which have been left out of the AP classes) to cover them all. Also, every district assigns a different value of importance to Local State History. There are over 14,000 School Districts in the United States.

David Coleman, now president of the College Board, came up with an idea which addressed this issue, and solved the problem. For 2014, AP created a Framework, instead of a static text design. This new design allows the teachers and districts to create a program suitable for their own use.

A Framework is exactly what it sounds like -- a list of guides regarding what will be on the AP Test -- areas which need to be addressed  by the curriculum. Then there is a Demonstration Curriculum, to guide the teacher in creating her own. This Demonstration Curriculum, is titled very clearly Sample Data, and then SAMPLE Curriculum. For a Demonstration to be useful, a Sample, filed in with Sample Data was required, otherwise you would be looking at blank pages.

Both Larry Kieger's claim and Julie's parroting out into the wind tunnels -- that something is missing -- is silly. It isn't missing ANYTHING. If it has a Left or Right or Conservative or Liberal bend, then it was put there by the school or the teacher, not AP. -- Think of it as Object Programming if you know something about that.

Except, there is a problem... a problem for Larry, anyway. See Larry's Prep and Study course no longer fit the AP History program, because there is no way of telling what the district is going to focus on ahead of time. So there is no Chapter to Chapter.. so basically his Prep courses are useless and no one is going to buy them. So... Larry is out of a job. Apparently he's not that happy about it either (and I have to admit I wouldn't be happy myself... but I wouldn't go around doing what he is doing).

Since Every school, indeed every teacher can create her own syllabi, paying attention to areas and focuses of history which are most in line with the state and local focus-- Larry has nothing to sell and his publications are no longer marketable. -- Unless he talks you into believing that the new AP Framework design is somehow bad.

This is very difficult to do, because there is nothing false, misleading or wrong with the facts or the framework. So, he has to go after something with a lot of emotion behind it, something that will cut through logic and distract you away from the very cool idea of putting together your own AP classes -- teaching the AP like you always thought it should be taught.

Thus begins Larry's impassioned propaganda campaign against AP History, where he takes out bits from the examples of the New AP, (A technique known as Cherry Picking), twists some things up to show bias (A technique known as Appeal to fear: exploitation of anxieties or concerns), while presenting Sample Data as the Real Data (A technique known as Disinformation), it is all up to the teacher and the school what to build with the Framework -- and then he begins screaming Leftist Democrat Indoctrination(A technique known as Labeling: use of dysphemistic terms to promote negative reaction), and banging on tables.
If you have the Facts, then negotiate with the facts. If you have the Law, then negotiate with the law. If you have neither, then bang on the tables and scream.
Larry has found new friends. People who are professional propaganda workers, like Jane Robbins, who joins him because she is attempting to discredit Common Core, and David Coleman was the Lead for the Common Core Project. Through Robbins, Larry meets others who are also working to stop Common Core and he bands up with them. Now he is coming to your School to spread these false claims.

The claims are very specific. They are not random. They are from a script which obviously Jane Robbins wrote for him. They are not just a list of items, they are a part of a propaganda method, which, in his book 'Mein Kampf', Adolf Hitler called "The Big Lie." So this is not just Larry coming to tell you a few things at the Board meeting. This is an attack, and it should be greeted like one. Because the Truth is, the AP History Course is exactly what you always wanted it to be.

Again... from the AP History area of the Web Site where you put together your State's AP Curriculum.

The AP® Program unequivocally supports the principle that each individual school must develop its own curriculum for courses labeled “AP.” Rather than mandating any one curriculum for AP courses, the AP Course Audit instead provides each AP teacher with a set of expectations that college and secondary school faculty nationwide have established for college-level courses.

AP teachers are encouraged to develop or maintain their own curriculum that either includes or exceeds each of these expectations; such courses will be authorized to use the “AP” designation. Credit for the success of AP courses belongs to the individual schools and teachers that create powerful, locally designed AP curricula.

The AP U.S. History course should be designed by your school to provide students with a learning experience equivalent to that of an introductory college course sequence in United States history. Your course should provide students with the analytic skills and factual knowledge necessary to deal critically with the topics and materials in U.S. history.

There are no specific curricular prerequisites for students taking AP U.S. History.

All students who are willing and academically prepared to accept the challenge of a rigorous academic curriculum should be considered for admission to AP courses. The College Board encourages the elimination of barriers that restrict access to AP courses for students from ethnic, racial and socioeconomic groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in the AP Program. Schools should make every effort to ensure that their AP classes reflect the diversity of their student population.

High schools offering this exam must provide the exam administration resources described in the AP Coordinator’s Manual.


http://www.collegeboard.com/html/apcourseaudit/courses/us_history.html



I hope this helps you to avoid all of the confusion and fabricated controversy so that you don't wind up like Texas. -- Glenn Hefley










Recent Posts and Time in the Trenches

This AP-History issue got under my skin with very little resistance from me, pulling me into several long days of research, and debate, looking for answers and putting out a great deal of effort in finding something, anything that would help to keep Colorado from going where Texas has gone. I was asked, "why?" last night. 

I don't know how much you understand about the position we have put our K-12 teachers in. They work many hours a week without pay. Expenses for supplies often come out of their own pockets. For the college degrees they have, they earn far less than others with the same and often those with lesser education and expertise. They are constantly up against troubles between the schools, the boards and the unions. Their voices are mute, their expertise and experience ignored, and still they teach. -- well.. they use to still teach.

As the Atlantic noted in a piece on teacher resignations: “…anywhere between 40 and 50 percent of teachers will leave the classroom within their first five years (that includes the nine and a half percent that leave before the end of their first year.) Certainly, all professions have turnover, and some shuffling out the door is good for bringing in young blood and fresh faces. But, turnover in teaching is higher than other professions.Approximately 15.7 percent of teachers leave their posts every year, and 40 percent of teachers who pursue undergraduate degrees in teaching never even enter the classroom at all."

Data shows that beginning teachers, in particular, report that one of the main factors behind their decision to depart is a lack of adequate support from school administrators (Ingersoll, 2003). Induction is less than adequate, programs change, new policies are often implement mid-year, the frustration level is high in this area. 

More than three-fourths linked their quitting to low salaries. But even more of them indicated that one of four different school working conditions was behind their decision to quit: student discipline problems; lack of support from the school administration; poor student motivation; and lack of teacher influence over schoolwide and classroom decision making. (Source: National Center for Education Statistics, 1994-1995 Teacher Followup Survey.)

Nearly  9% few teachers come into the trade, this is a trend that has been going on since 2007.

Face it, we have hacked and slashed and cut so often that even those who 'feel a calling' aren't answering any more. 

On top of this, there is a growing trend among law makers and politicians which seems -- nothing empirical but the gnawing feeling is there -- that public schools and teachers themselves are targets of a war. The final goal of this war is unclear, but there are several in congress and in heads of state which publicly declare the education system is unwanted. If you think about that for a moment, men and women in positions which require votes to maintain, actively proclaiming that the Department of Education should be abolished and projects like Common Core, which not only help teachers with induction, but provide by its design a national support group -- the possible objectives are a bit scary. 

Law Maker's who mark education as an unneeded public service (by degrees)

"We must also explore new ideas, such as giving parents alternatives to underperforming public schools through experimentation with voucher programs.  Finally, parental involvement and responsibility are integral elements of a successful education". -- Richard Shelby

Michele Bachmann
Bachmann would abolish the Department of Education, and she has said she would give all the money previously invested in the department to state and localities.

Newt Gingrich
Gingrich, who called the student-loan program an "absurdity," would not abolish the Department of Education, instead saying he would make it a research and education center. He would dramatically shrink the department and remove all of its regulations. Gingrich would support forcing more students into work-study programs.

Jon Huntsman
Huntsman prefers local control on education and plans to abolish No Child Left Behind. The former Utah Gov. defied No Child Left Behind in 2005 by signing a law that gave Utah's education standards priority over federal requirements.

Gary Johnson
Johnson would abolish the Department of Education, and he is an advocate for homeschooling.

Ron Paul
Paul's "Plan to Restore America" calls for the elimination of the Department of Education, among others. Though his plan makes no mention of what would happen to them, Paul does not intend to eliminate federal student-loan programs. He believes the student-loan aspect should be taken out of the federal government and handled elsewhere.

Rick Perry
Perry would abolish the Department of Education, and he believes the federal government should get out of education altogether. He has already castrated his own school system with budget cuts, and has even hailed the bringing in of a whole new text curriculum that melds in the religious beliefs of the state education board with the social studies and history text. (very scary)

Mitt Romney
Romney was in favor of eliminating the Department of Education in the 1990s but praised the department in 2007. He has been a supporter of No Child Left Behind and President Obama's "Race to the Top" program.

Rick Santorum
Santorum said he does not have a "hit list" of departments he wants to eliminate. He would not eliminate the Department of Education, but he wants it to play a less prominent role in higher education.

Blake Whitten, a UI statistics lecturer and faculty adviser for UI Youth for Ron Paul, said he favors eliminating the Education Department because the candidates' plans are proactive in making budgetary cuts before they're forced on students.

States are Funding Schools Less Now than 2008
At least 35 states are providing less funding per student for the 2013-14 school year than they did before the recession hit.  Fourteen of these states have cut per-student funding by more than 10 percent.  

At least 15 states are providing less funding per student to local school districts in the new school year than they provided a year ago.  This is despite the fact that most states are experiencing modest increases in tax revenues.
Where funding has increased, it has generally not increased enough to make up for cuts in past years.  For example, New Mexico is increasing school funding by $72 per pupil this year.  But that is too small to offset the state’s $946 per-pupil cut over the previous five years. 


The school systems have been going through changes for a long time but its never felt like they were under attack before. Worse, it also feels like they are abandoned by every one else. The rhetoric, the propaganda, the environment is eroding the system away. AP Programs are just the next step in that erosion and no, I don't think this particular situation is purposefully helping that erosion, but it is telling that a person or people can look at a system like education, and brush it aside, disregarding any level of importance or  worth to be above his own goal -- and then to find so many bystanders who were passive about it until the controversy, who are now eager to jump on the war horses with him -- with no investment or payoff at stake for themselves.

The game is afoot...

I've been actively on this topic of the AP controversy for a couple of weeks now, and going through forums, and comment areas for news sites, and often I'm the only voice in the crowd who views the value of program as something above political issues -- its value toward future college benefits outweighs issues which can be talked over during this year, and addressed during summer when it will not interfere with education activities. The agendas are always more important, and the urgency is astounding. 

Just from my own observations and in my own opinion, I would have to say that %75 of the commentators for articles like this one, never thought about the issue at the student level at all. I'm very sure that a higher percentage of the authors of articles like the one in News Week didn't consider this level of ramification. 


Apologies if all of this sounds too 'liberal' and touchy-feely. I really don't have a party preference. I vote as I feel -- per person per office. I don't have an agenda other than what I've described. I'm a novelist, a writer, and not interested in continuing the political effort beyond this issue. But this issue is important to me, and I do want to see it settled. 

Where the Wild Things Are...

Chess is a Wild game I've only been playing for a short time, but I've gained enough understanding to realize that the angles of ...