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FL Republican operatives order party leaders to violate goal of “educational choice”

Republican leaders in Florida received an email on the adoption of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in the state. The email was sent from former Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) chairs John Thrasher, Carole Jean Jordan, Al Cardenas, Tom Slade and Van Poole. Powerful political operatives all with close ties to Jeb Bush.

One of the RPOF stated goals reads, “Florida Republicans believe that faith, family and opportunity are what make America the greatest nation ever known in human history. To keep our state and nation on track, we encourage educational choice so that families can determine how to best prepare future generations for the challenges ahead.”

The email is in direct contravention of the goal of “educational choice so that families can determine how to best prepare future generations for the challenges ahead.” Using the RPOF goal as a bench mark an analysis paragraph by paragraph is in order. The  full email, with comments in BLUE, is provided for consideration.

Dear Florida Republican Leaders:

Like many of you, we have been following the conversation regarding a new education reform initiative soon to arrive in Florida schools the Common Core State Standards. Unfortunately, there has been a tremendous amount of misinformation about the movement to raise academic standards, especially among our fellow conservatives. As former chairs of the Republican Party of Florida, we wish to share our view on this effort and what it will mean for Florida?s students and our state’s future.We know that the most critical component for creating an even-playing field where every single individual has the opportunity to achieve greatness is education.

Even playing field means lowering American standards to meet those of the rest of the world. According to the UN, the international salary average is $21,500.  No cars, no air conditioning, no single family homes, according to the UN Biodiversity treaty.  Human Capital is taught that private property must take a backseat for the good of the collective. The students (human capital) should go to college and accumulate massive debt currently estimated at over $1 trillion. Debt that makes marriage, ownership of homes and cars nearly impossible. CCSS teaches collectivism, the one size shoe fits all, which is the antithesis of individual greatness.

A good system of education holds the power to keep America economically competitive and secure, while also lessening  future generations? reliance on government and entitlement programs.

American values and free market economics are not taught under CCSS.  Students are taught to rely on the government. Only collectivism through social justice is part of the training.  Today 80% of the Human Capital think it is the government’s job to take care of them. High school American History begins at 1865, missing the creation and reason for the American experiment.  

Florida once ran one of the worst public education systems in the nation. Now, as a result of conservative education reform based on stronger accountability and more choice, we have become a national leader in boosting student achievement.

There is no accountability. Currently Florida has: 8 Radical Islamic Gulen charter schools, 1 Communist Chinese Charter, UN MINI schools, global schools, International Baccalaureate programs, and the AICE program.  Many have reported on Islamic bias in texts used in social studies classes. The Florida Department of Education states,  “We do not look at proprietary programs.” Achievement levels have not been raised for public schools, rather Commissioner Robinson recommended lowering public school letter grading standards, which was recently approved by the Florida Board of Education.

Even so, our academic standards currently do not set the bar high enough for children to be globally competitive.

CCSS does not raise the bar as they are equal to or lower than the current Florida Sunshine State Standards.  A strong foundation in American values is no longer taught in Florida public schools. CCSS will not create a solid foundation for global competition. Instead of free market capitalism, the public private partnership (PPP) model promoted by CCSS and RTTT destroys competition with subsidies given to favored corporations. This is not free market capitalism.

This trend is mirrored in states across the country. On international assessments in Math and Science, American  students are embedded firmly in the middle of the pack. This hardly bodes well for America continuing as the dominant world power in the 21st Century.

Teaching debt management, unproven science and sustainability will not help America’s children, our future leaders.  American leadership will not improve using the training school to work CCSS model. Training to work is not educating. Training stifles innovation, creativity, and competition.

The nation’s Governors recognized this problem almost 15 years ago and  began a process that eventually led to states collaborating on the  development of Common Core State Standards.

Governors were told 15 years ago by Shirley McCune during the 1989 Governor Association on Education summit that: Students are HUMAN CAPITAL; Education’s purpose is to train students to work; The purpose of education was to transform society from individualism to collectivism and fact based education is not longer the primary focus of education. This “modern education” view has lead to CCSS and will increase the deterioration of public education.

President Obama has falsely and dishonestly tried to take credit for this initiative, but this was a state issue, and state leaders developed the solution needed. Lately, there have been a number of myths about this initiative. We would like to address these directly.

The program was created by the vendors who will benefit from the program, Gates, Bush, Pearson, Murdock and Obama’s (Soros) Progressive NGO think tanks.  It was then presented to the governors for them to sign here and get their RTTT money.  Material was not written and yet legislators signed on to “get the money”. No one looked at the CCSS content in the material.

Common Core is not a federal dictate or national mandate. States are free to adopt the standards or to not adopt them. And, if they have already adopted them, they are free to drop out at any point.

Agree and there is a movement in Florida to reject CCSS. Cash strapped states like Florida took RTTT money and adoption of CCSS was part of the grant. Legislators never saw the CCSS content yet they voted to accept money without reading and monitoring the program.  Many testified at education committee meeting explaining this and asked the legislators not to take the money but former Governor Crist had accepted the money already. All legislators did was rubber stamp RTTT without legislative oversight. 

Some have alleged that the new standards change laws around student data and privacy. They don?t. Regardless of adopting the Common Core,  states remain in control of their students? private information, just  as they are now. The federal government does not have access to  individual student-level data ? just aggregate information by school  on how students are performing. States must remain vigilant in working with local school districts to continue protecting student information.

The Republican chairs did not read the part in RTTT on page 18, that says “interested parties will be able to gather the information”  and “Make current and longitudinal data available for state and national research.”

The Common Core State Standards only set academic expectations in English and Math. They do not dictate curriculum.

If the CCS standards demand the human capital method of training as part of the assessments evaluation and are part of the passing grades, then CCSS dictates the curriculum.

The textbooks used,  the reading assignments handed down, the lesson plans employed by  teachers, and the thousand other methods or materials used to help students learn. The standards are merely benchmarks for what a student should know by the end of the year at each grade level, from K-12. Ultimately, local school districts and teachers remain in control of  their curriculum and in charge of their classrooms.

There is nothing wrong with having standards, standards are goals. Goals are good. However, forcing students to only use one method of learning to achieve goals is bad. CCSS forces students to reach their goals using the predetermined method described in CCSS.  There is no room for innovation or creativity. No one checks what the student reads.  Example: If the goal is to read 5 letter words – what words are the students reading?  How is reading 50% of instructional material promoting reading?

Some have expressed concern about Common Core?s impact on parental choice. Common Core State Standards in no way impact the right of  parents to choose the best educational opportunity for their child. We  already have academic standards; we are just raising the bar.

If all public schools follow CCSS then where is the choice? CCS is rated equal to or less than existing Florida Sunshine State Standards. Last year Commissioner Robinson lowered standards for schools to pass. If all standards require one size fits all with no choice than how do parents make choices?

Home school parents and parents with children in schools that do not receive state funding remain completely unaffected. In non-traditional  public schools that receive either voucher money or other state-funding, the current dynamic remains unchanged.

If all programs must comply with a one size shoe fits all CCSS standard, where do parents find non CCSS programs?  Even SAT and ACT will comply with CCSS. Eventually homeschooling will be eliminated and the role of local school boards diminished. CCSS is the nationalization of public educational. If there is no local choice or control why do we need school boards? If everything is done on a computer, then why are teachers necessary?

Any exercise of this magnitude will have its supporters and detractors, its legitimate criticisms and its inevitable conspiracy theories. The simple questions for Florida are these: Will these new standards ensure we provide our kids with a better education and the  taxpayers with a better return on their investment? Will the new  assessments be better than the existing assessments? Will students graduate high school more prepared for college and the workforce?

Why call proven concerns based on facts a “conspiracy theory”? Why are Republicans afraid of debate? NY and KY were the 2 states using CCSS.  Their standards and program failed miserably. Florida needs a test model as a sample before spending billions on the implementation of CCSS.

We believe the answer to these questions is “yes”. And, we are not alone. Common Core supporters include a wide swath of conservative leaders, including Mike Huckabee, Mitch Daniels, Haley Barbour, Bobby  Jindal, Chris Christie, Susana Martinez, Rick Snyder and our own Governor Rick Scott. And, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who led  the education reform efforts in Florida for eight years and initiated the turnaround of Florida schools, has been a strong proponent of  higher standards.

Follow the money. Why are taxpayers spending billions on CCSS?  Where are the results of a test model?  There aren’t any. Parents and legislators must demand a longitudinal test of the CCSS system before implementation. For example: 2 schools per district. 1 CCS and one traditional.  Let educators, parents and legislators see the results before Florida spends billions more on CCSS.

We’ve seen what high standards mean to students in Florida. In 1998,  nearly half of Florida?s fourth graders were functionally illiterate.  Today, Florida?s fourth graders and eighth graders are above the national average in Reading and fourth graders are above the national average in Math with eighth graders closing in on that benchmark. Best  of all, Florida’s Hispanic and African-American students are making the greatest gains, narrowing the achievement gap for the first time in our lifetime. Every leading indicator ? test scores, graduation rates, national rankings, participation and achievement in Advanced  Placement ? continues to rise thanks to higher standards.  But, we have to continue the fight.  Common Core does that.

How do  you know if there is no test? Also by what measure, FCAT?  According to the SAT and ACT as provided by NAEP, Florida has been flat for 30 years.  Lowering standards as Education Commissioner Robinson did, does not mean Florida is improving.  It just means the standards were lowered.

Finally, there are good conservatives on both sides of this issue.  Questioning the integrity of anyone involved on either side of this debate does not do our Party or this issue any favors. Why are you afraid of a debate? Why do you want Floridians to shut up and accept what you say when we know you never checked anything?  You are employed by us not us by Gates, Bush and the rest of the vendors benefiting from the unproven, untested, unmonitored programs. Shut up don’t connect the dots of corruption between Bush, Gates, Pearson, Achieve. Do not expose the false science model of Sustainable Development / social justice provided by the Earth Charter and UNESCO.

We implore our fellow Republicans to judge the Common Core State Standards by what they are: academic standards, not curriculum and not a national  mandate. You can learn more about the Common Core State Standards at  www.highercorestandards.org. Read them. Listen to what teachers say  about them. If you disagree, do so from an informed perspective.

Let’s see what are CCSS really is. One size shoe fits all training.  Training is not education. Untested, unproven system with no known long term cost. International benchmarks = UNESCO Social Justice = big government Global citizenship, not American citizenship. Elimination of private property by promoting “sustainable development” and “resilient cities” (controlled developments with controlled living.) Human Capital (students) are trained to do more for less while blaming mankind for all of the earth’s problems. Man made global warming hoax.Phony science of man made global warming a failed model.   spaceandscience.net UN Earth Charter replacing Bill of Rights School is to replace family Government is to replace God – Earth Charter, Declaration of Human Rights, replaces the Bill of Rights. Elimination of cursive writing so stidents cannot read founding documents or maintain individuality. Founders are demonized, students are taught the Constitution is a living breathing document. America is a slave country today. Jesus was a Palestinian and more if you just look at the texts.

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about this initiative and thank you for continuing to provide the strong leadership needed to  keep our Party strong and united in the Sunshine State.

Sincerely,

John Thrasher, Former Republican Party of Florida Chairman
Carole Jean Jordan, Former Republican Party of Florida Chairwoman
Al Cardenas, Former Republican Party of Florida Chairman
Tom Slade, Former Republican Party of Florida Chairman
Van Poole, Former Republican Party of Florida Chairman

Why are the Republicans promoting programs that support social justice? UN? and Global Citizenship over American citizenship? collectivism?

Here is the result of Florida’s education as exposed during the George Zimmerman trial by Rachel Jeantel’s sworn testimony: “I can’t read sir, I can’t read and write cursive.” Or listen to Andre Dunay describe American education: http://ac4pr.intuitwebsites.com/Andre–Duany–Seven-50-Architect.html?_=1374430859581

How many Florida legislators own Charter Schools?http://www.tampabay.com/news/education/k12/critics-say-florida-lawmakers-are-too-cozy-with-charter-schools/1206664

Below is the full text of the email:

Dear Florida Republican Leaders:
Like many of you, we have been following the conversation regarding a new education reform initiative soon to arrive in Florida schools? the Common Core State Standards.
Unfortunately, there has been a tremendous amount of misinformation about the movement to raise academic standards, especially among our fellow conservatives. As former chairs of the Republican Party of Florida, we wish to share our view on this effort and what it will mean for Florida?s students and our state’s future.

We know that the most critical component for creating an even-playing field where every single individual has the opportunity to achieve greatness is education. A good system of education holds the power to keep America economically competitive and secure, while also lessening future generations? reliance on government and entitlement programs.
Florida once ran one of the worst public education systems in the nation. Now, as a result of conservative education reform based on stronger accountability and more choice, we have become a national leader in boosting student achievement. Even so, our academic standards currently do not set the bar high enough for children to be globally competitive. This trend is mirrored in states across the country. On international assessments in Math and Science, American students are embedded firmly in the middle of the pack. This hardly bodes well for America continuing as the dominant world power in the 21st Century.

The nation’s Governors recognized this problem almost 15 years ago and began a process that eventually led to states collaborating on the development of Common Core State Standards. President Obama has falsely and dishonestly tried to take credit for this initiative, but this was a state issue, and state leaders developed the solution needed. Lately, there have been a number of myths about this initiative. We would like to address these directly.

Common Core is not a federal dictate or national mandate. States are free to adopt the standards or to not adopt them. And, if they have already adopted them, they are free to drop out at any point.

Some have alleged that the new standards change laws around student data and privacy. They don?t. Regardless of adopting the Common Core, states remain in control of their students? private information, just as they are now. The federal government does not have access to individual student-level data, just aggregate information by school on how students are performing. States must remain vigilant in working with local school districts to continue protecting student information.

The Common Core State Standards only set academic expectations in English and Math. They do not dictate curriculum, the textbooks used, the reading assignments handed down, the lesson plans employed by teachers, and the thousand other methods or materials used to help students learn. The standards are merely benchmarks for what a student should know by the end of the year at each grade level, from K-12. Ultimately, local school districts and teachers remain in control of their curriculum and in charge of their classrooms.
Some have expressed concern about Common Core?s impact on parental choice. Common Core State Standards in no way impact the right of parents to choose the best educational opportunity for their child. We already have academic standards; we are just raising the bar. Home school parents and parents with children in schools that do not receive state funding remain completely unaffected. In non-traditional public schools that receive either voucher money or other state-funding, the current dynamic remains unchanged.

Any exercise of this magnitude will have its supporters and detractors, its legitimate criticisms and its inevitable conspiracy theories. The simple questions for Florida are these: Will these new standards ensure we provide our kids with a better education and the taxpayers with a better return on their investment? Will the new assessments be better than the existing assessments? Will students graduate high school more prepared for college and the workforce?

We believe the answer to these questions is ?yes.? And, we are not alone. Common Core supporters include a wide swath of conservative leaders, including Mike Huckabee, Mitch Daniels, Haley Barbour, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, Susana Martinez, Rick Snyder and our own Governor Rick Scott. And, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who led the education reform efforts in Florida for eight years and initiated the turnaround of Florida schools, has been a strong proponent of higher standards.
We?ve seen what high standards mean to students in Florida. In 1998, nearly half of Florida?s fourth graders were functionally illiterate. Today, Florida?s fourth graders and eighth graders are above the national average in Reading and fourth graders are above the national average in Math with eighth graders closing in on that benchmark. Best of all, Florida?s Hispanic and African-American students are making the greatest gains, narrowing the achievement gap for the first time in our lifetime. Every leading indicator ? test scores, graduation rates, national rankings, participation and achievement in Advanced Placement ? continues to rise thanks to higher standards.  But, we have to continue the fight.  Common Core does that.

Finally, there are good conservatives on both sides of this issue. Questioning the integrity of anyone involved on either side of this debate does not do our Party or this issue any favors. We implore our fellow Republicans to judge the Common Core State Standards by what they are: academic standards, not curriculum and not a national mandate. You can learn more about the Common Core State Standards at www.highercorestandards.org. Read them. Listen to what teachers say about them. If you disagree, do so from an informed perspective.

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about this initiative and thank you for continuing to provide the strong leadership needed to keep our Party strong and united in the Sunshine State.

Sincerely,

John Thrasher, Former Republican Party of Florida Chairman
Carole Jean Jordan, Former Republican Party of Florida Chairwoman
Al Cardenas, Former Republican Party of Florida Chairman
Tom Slade, Former Republican Party of Florida Chairman
Van Poole, Former Republican Party of Florida Chairman

Karen Schoen

Karen Schoen originally from New York currently resides in the Florida panhandle, a former teacher, dean and business owner who became an activist and devotes her time speaking to groups throughout the United States educating Americans on UN Agenda 21 (a.k.a. Sustainable Development) Sustainable America, Resilient cities, Smart Growth, and New Urbanism. Karen has a Bachelor’s Degree in Education, minor in History and a Master’s Degree in Liberal Studies and post graduate credits from the New School of Social Research where she was trained in psychological manipulation now applied in schools. Karen has testified in front of the Florida Legislature, is a Director of Panhandle Patriots, a founder of the AgEnders (Americans ending Agenda 21) , Co- chair of the Florida Assessment Committee on Education and Director of the Save America Foundation.

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