Monthly Archives: July 2013

An Education for Our Day: What It Might Be

July 30, 2013

An Education for Our Day: What It Might Be
by Joyce Kinmont

As we’ve been studying Common Core, we can see that its full implementation will bring nothing but heartache.  It is a final step in the destruction of educational liberty.  If it were not for our church and the educational direction in which we are being taken, I would have no hope of escape.  But I do feel much hope for those of us who love freedom.  If we are able to avoid Common Core and maintain our right to choose our own methods of education, we have an opportunity for great growth.

In Utah an event was recently held in our state capitol.  Our legislators agreed to hear testimony from the citizens, and two and a half hours were set aside.  Five hundred of us attended.  Those who wanted to speak were allowed two minutes each to voice our concerns to approximately 30 legislators who came at the end of a full day of interim meetings.  State Senator Margaret Dayton, a freedom warrior, said the one good thing that has come out of Common Core is that we have hundreds of citizens who are educated and engaged.

So now we have to act.  Our first job here in Utah, and yours wherever you are, is to engage in your own state’s battle to stop Common Core.  For that you will have to search the web to see what’s happening in your state. Next we have to turn our attention to the upcoming school year.

It seems to be generally agreed by patriots that what has brought us to the sorry state in which we find ourselves is the failure of past generations to pass on to the rising generations the truth about America’s religion, history, and destiny.  That situation must be remedied in the home, with help from the Church and a few good mentors, teachers, and schools.

I have some thoughts about what might be happening and what we might do, and I hope you will share your own thoughts about these things.

Here are my musings about were we are now:

  1. Thousands of our youth have proven their faith and courage by their response to President Monson’s early mission call.  The emphasis President Benson and President Hinckley put on our reading the Book of Mormon and on each youth having his own set of scriptures is paying dividends today.  Our youth are awesome!

  2. This first wave of youth stepped forward after the October Conference last year.  In January the Church implemented new programs that will even better prepare those coming up in the ranks.

  3. Adults are stepping up to implement these new programs in Sunday School and Priesthood, and now I have heard that changes are coming to Seminary as well.  Our youth are and will be studying and learning by “acting” rather than being acted upon.  That is a huge fundamental shift that mean adults need to talk less and shift more responsibility to the youth.

  4. The newer emphasis being placed on studying current Conference talks, and the strong teachings of our Prophets and Apostles in CES Broadcasts, local conferences, and public discourses are adding to the momentum.  Years ago LDS bookstores carried the audiotape of a talk by President Benson’s son Reed entitled “TNT,” referring to the explosive from an earlier time but meaning “Today’s News Today.”  I remember TNT from old cowboy movies; my parents probably knew it from WW!!.  Today’s youth may not know what TNT is, but this seemingly small step propels us closer to our living prophets in a rapidly changing world.

  5. As an extra bonus, the early mission is surely eliminating some of the extended childhood culture we call “teenage.”  The high school years now need to be more focused and more serious.  As the culture of self-indulgence and play is replaced by responsibility and service, our youth will grow directly from children to adults, Joseph Smith style. Thank goodness!

  6. Seeing and feeling these changes in their older siblings, our younger children should be growing up with more maturity and sense of purpose.

  7. The Priesthood Session of April Conference seems to be almost a Mission Manual for our youth, somewhat reminiscent of Elder Perry holding up a Military Manual from his days in the Service.  Elder Callister gave us a pattern to follow.

Let’s look at “The Power of the Priesthood in the Boy,” Elder Callister’s message:

  1. The opening story declares “the Lord had reserved this blessing for a boy, to teach him a lesson that the priesthood in the boy is just as powerful as the priesthood in the man when exercised in righteousness.”

  2. Elder Callister gives “three key factors that contribute to such dramatic growth in the mission years”
    a.      trust
    b.     high expectations of the Mission President
    c.      training and retaining

  3. Then he suggests that we could apply these same principles to deacons quorum presidents.

  4. He includes a graphic to illustrate how the growth line might increase (p.52, Ensign, May 2013).

  5. He gives the example of a 12-year–old boy who taught a 25-minute lesson on the Atonement (p.54).

Look at that graphic in your Ensign. Do you think we could put a new line above the green dashes?

Here are my musings about how that might happen:

  1. The first thing I expect to see from the youth who are becoming active learners through the new Church methods is that they will rebel against the “acted upon” horror of Common Core.  The public schools, with or without Common Core, will not be capable of fulfilling the academic needs of the Lord’s army.  To save our youth from socialism and worse, and to obey our parental responsibilities, we will need to provide a religiously based education for them.

  2. Melchezedic Priesthood members are ordained to be kings and priests.  I assume the king part is the responsibility to govern.  Prophets have continually talked about our civic responsibilities, but the Saints have not listened well.  We seem to have the notion that reading scriptures and praying are sufficient, and engagement isn’t necessary.  Maybe the youth will engage.

  3. The first wave of missionaries has shipped out.  The waves behind them can prepare in both their spiritual training (priests) and their Constitutional responsibilities (kings).  That alone would make Elder Callister’s line move up.

  4. These youth could study American history, the Constitution, and economics outside of school hours or in a home school setting.  This should be done first in the family.

  5. The “curriculum” could begin with church sources.  Other good materials abound.  I am gathering a few possibilities to share soon.  From there the youth could search other trusted sources to their heart’s content, as active learners moved by the Holy Ghost.

  6. At some point another family could be invited into the home and the youth could teach their favorite lessons.  This could continue until the neighborhood or ward is covered.

  7. Groups of families might get together and the youth could teach, just as they are encouraged to do in their priesthood classes.  If a 12-year-old can give a 25 minute lesson on the atonement, why can’t a 12-year-old give good lessons on Joseph Smith’s Presidential candidacy, the Founding Fathers, the Founding Documents, orthe proper role of government in our current day?

  8. Bishops might even encourage members to get involved, in the spirit of President McKay’s letter (see below), which was given, I assume, before we were a major worldwide church and prophets had to be careful to protect members in communist countries.

  9. The outreach could expand to teaching other students, such as young children learning math and reading, or minority groups in struggling school districts learning English.

  10. There might be outside speakers arranged; there might be educational family outings or vacations.

  11. The youth will take it from there, getting involved in civic issues, using social media, websites and blogs, and things we haven’t thought of, to proclaim the gospel, history, and the proper role of government.  They can also develop ways to help those students who are trapped in the Common Core by countering the falsehoods being taught.

The objectives would be

  1. To help the youth get a good education outside of government dependency.

  2. To help the youth, especially the Aaronic priesthood, fulfill their requirement to “give meaningful service.”

  3. To help the youth spend their non-Sunday time more advantageously and move smoothly into missions and adulthood.

  4. To teach the nation what has been lost from our history.

This is not a program I am instituting or that I can develop or control; it will simply happen.  It is the Lord’s program as it is given to us in our church, carried into the rest of the week with expanded education and ministering.  It may become a “movement,” but it does not need it’s own leader or organization outside of the church.  It does need engaged parents and worthy mentors, and it needs the contributions of information from many sources.

Our youth will rise to the expectation of their “mission presidents.”  That would be you, mom and dad.  And let’s all rise to the expectation of those beyond the veil – former prophets, founding fathers, pilgrims, pioneers and all those who fought for liberty and are watching our day, ready to help when the time is right.

Please, please share your comments.


This Statement was given to me by a good and trusted friend.  I have retyped it from the brochure in which it was printed; there is no date on it.

A statement by President David O. McKay
concerning the position of
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
on Communism.

In order that there may be no misunderstandings by bishops, stake presidents, and others regarding members of the Church participating in nonchurch meetings to study and become informed on the Constitution of the United States, Communism, etc., I wish to make the following statements that I have been sending out from my office for some time and that have come under question by some stake authorities, bishoprics, and others.

Church members are at perfect liberty to act according to their own consciences in the matter of safeguarding our way of life. They are, of course, encouraged to honor the highest standards of the gospel and to work to preserve their own freedoms. They are free to participate in nonchurch meetings that are held to warn people of the threat of Communism or any other theory or principle that will deprive us of our free agency or individual liberties vouchsafed by the Constitution of the United States.

The Church, out of respect for the rights of all its members to have their political views and loyalties, must maintain the strictest possible neutrality. We have no intention of trying to interfere with the fullest and freest exercise of the political franchise of our members under and within our Constitution, which the Lord declared he established “by the hands of wise men whom raised up unto this very purpose” (D&C 101:80) and which, as to the principles thereof, the Prophet Joseph Smith, dedicating the Kirtland Temple, prayed should be “established forever.” (D&C 109:54.) The Church does not yield any of its devotion to or convictions about safeguarding the American principles and the establishments of government under federal and state constitutions and the civil rights of men safeguarded by these.

The position of this Church on the subject of Communism has never changed.  We consider it the greatest satanical threat to peace, prosperity, and the spread of God’s work among men that exists on the face of the earth.

In this connection, we are continually being asked to give our opinion concerning various patriotic groups or individuals who are fighting communism and speaking up for freedom.  Our immediate concern, however, is not with parties, groups, or persons, but with principles.  We therefore commend and encourage every person and every group who is sincerely seeking to study Constitutional principles and awaken a sleeping and apathetic people to the alarming conditions that are rapidly advancing about us.  We wish all of our citizens throughout the land were participating in some type of organized self-education in order that they could better appreciate what is happening and know what they can do about it.

Supporting the FBI, the police, the congressional committees investigating Communism, and various organizations that are attempting to awaken the people through educational means is a policy we warmly endorse for all our people.

The entire concept and philosophy of Communism is diametrically opposed to everything for which the Church stands – belief in Deity, belief in the dignity and eternal nature of man, and the application of the gospel to efforts for peace in the world.  Communism is militantly atheistic and is committed to the destruction of faith wherever it may be found.

The Russian Commissar of Education wrote: “We must hate Christians and Christianity.  Even the best of them must be considered our worst enemies.  Christian love is an obstacle to the development of the revolution.  Down with love for one’s neighbor.  What we want is hate.  Only then shall we conquer the universe.”

On the other hand, the gospel teaches the existence of God as our Eternal and Heavenly Fther and declares: “. . . him only shalt thou serve.” (Matt. 4:10.)

Communism debases the individual and makes him the enslaved tool of the state, to which he must look for sustenance and religion.  Communism destroys man’s God-given free agency.

No member of this Church can be true to his faith, nor can any American be loyal to his trust, while lending aid, encouragement, or sympathy to any of these false philosophies; for if he does, they will prove snares to his feet.

Celebrating July’s Holy Holidays

July 24, 2013

 Celebrating July’s Holy Holidays
by Joyce Kinmont
Happy 24th of July
The Fourth of July is always marked by parades, but in Salt Lake City the biggest parade of the year is held on July 24, Pioneer Day.  My favorite parade, by far, was one none of us attended.  It was held on July 24, 1849, two years to the day after the Saints had arrived in Utah.  It was a grand celebration and a parade to commemorate that arrival.
President Packer described it in his October 2008 Conference address, The Test.  He said that in spite of the persecutions the Saints had suffered, and although they were living in exile beyond the borders of the United States, they remained faithful to the Constitution.
It may seem puzzling, incredible almost beyond belief, that for the theme of this first celebration they chose patriotism and loyalty to that same government which had rejected and failed to assist them. What could they have been thinking of?  If you can understand why, you will understand the power of the teachings of Christ.
“If you can understand . . . .”   President Packer used those words several times.   I do understand that our pioneers knew and treasured the Declaration and the Constitution far more deeply than we do.  I believe they better understood the religious significance of those documents.
I think the significance of the young men carrying the documents in the parade rises from their responsibility to protect their families and communities.  The documents should have been their protection in the states, and it was the mobs who violated the principles, not any failure of the documents, that caused their suffering.  The Saints knew the documents were of God and were for all people.
I think the significance of the young women carrying the scriptures arises from their nurturing role and their future motherhood.  President McKay said motherhood is the closest thing to Godhood.  Mothers sacrifice their own bodies to bring others to this second estate.  Mothers nurture the children and provide their first gospel lessons.
As for the “silver grays,” President Packer explained the symbolism:  “These men were a symbol of the priesthood…”  My own realization is that since the men are ordained to the priesthood as “kings and priests” they are responsible to both governing and administer the gospel in their family and community by Holy principles.  The Declaration and the Constitution are Holy documents that contain the principles God gave to ancient prophets.
It disappoints me that we pay so little attention to our founding documents on our Holy July holidays.  Yesterday Glenn Beck had a man named Carlo on his tv program.  Carlo is one of the leaders of a 30,000 member “tea party” in Italy.  He came to America for a month to attend Glenn’s Man in the Moon event and to study how they might implement the principles in our founding documents in his own country.  How he loves our documents.
The 4th of July, Independence Day
The Declaration of Independence was approved in Congress on July 2, but the printed document was dated July 4.  John Adams had already written to Abigail on the 3rd:
The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.
For my family this year was truly “a great anniversary festival.”  The celebrations around the 4th were the same as always in our local communities, but there was a great festival in Salt Lake City because Glenn Beck was in town.  On the 5th my husband and I joined his celebration.  We spent Friday at the hotel handing out literature at the Common Core table, bagging books at David Barton’s table, listening to Senator Mike Lee’s speech, and talking to many wonderful people from all over the country.  That evening we attended the Freedomworks event and heard more fantastic speakers.  We were especially moved by Rafeal Cruz, the Cuban immigrant and father of US Senator Ted Cruz.
On Saturday evening thirteen members of our family, including five grandchildren, attended the Man in the Moon program.  We came hours early to stake out our place on the lawn. Yes, we got very wet.  No, we didn’t care.  Yes, we prayed with David Barton, saw the double rainbow, and knew that God was there.  Yes, the program was fantastic and inspiring.  And yes, all 20,000 of us will feel the lasting impact of the Man in the Moon’s message for a long, long time.
Oh, and after the Man in the Moon finished his story there were spectacular fireworks! 
Here’s what the rain and the rainbow looked like before the show.
Here’s a look at the Man in the Moon himself.
If you are fascinated by the flag ceremony you may want to watch this close up footage and this radio discussion about how the flag lowering was done.
If you are a subscriber to TheBlaze.com you probably watched the Behind the Scenes Documentary that aired July 12.  If you’re not a subscriber, you can sign up for a two week free trial.  There is so much good on that station; it is a living curriculum for any family.  Raj, who made the short before-the-show rainbow video, also hosts a wonderful children’s program called Liberty Tree.  For the teens and college students, Wilkow, is a great “civics” teacher who your teens and college students will enjoy.
From Church History
Today I reread The Test, but on the 4th of July I watched both President Packer and President Benson and wrote:
In 1997 the bicentennial of the Declaration of Independence was celebrated by our Church with great seriousness.  Ezra Taft Benson, then President of the Quorum of the Twelve, was in charge.  This morning I watched his October 1976 Conference Address, Our Priceless Heritage, which he gave at the end of the bicentennial celebration.  (I think he really wanted to call his remarks “America on Her Knees.”) He paid tribute to the Declaration and to the brave, inspired men who risked their lives to write and sign it:
The Declaration of Independence was to set forth the moral justification of a rebellion against a long-recognized political tradition—the divine right of kings. At issue was the fundamental question of whether men’s rights were God-given or whether these rights were to be dispensed by governments to their subjects. This document proclaimed that all men have certain inalienable rights. In other words, these rights came from God. Therefore, the colonists were not rebels against political authority, but a free people only exercising their rights before an offending, usurping power. They were thus morally justified to do what they did.
President Benson also paid tribute to pioneers and quoted President J. Reuben Clark, Jr. from his remarks on July 24, 1947 when he dedicated the This Is the Place Monument, at the mouth of Emigration Canyon where that first company of Saints stopped to survey the valley below.  President Clark asked:
 “Can we keep and preserve what they [those valiant patriots and pioneers] wrought? Shall we pass on to our children the heritage they left us, or shall we lightly fritter it away? Have we their faith, their bravery, their courage; could we endure their hardships and suffering, make their sacrifices, bear up under their trials, their sorrows, their tragedies, believe the simple things they knew were true, have the simple faith that worked miracles for them, follow, and not falter or fall by the wayside, where our leaders advance, face the slander and the scorn of an unpopular belief? Can we do the thousands of little and big things that made them the heroic builders of a great Church, a great commonwealth?”
We can and we must do at least a few little and big things.
I’ll be sending that article out very soon.  Today I just wanted to note these sacred and Holy days.

Common Core: Our Destruction or Our Opportunity, Part 2c: What Happened?

July 16, 2013

Utah Homeschoolers
Special Meeting with LEGISLATORS

Sponsored by a Coalition of Parents and Legislators Opposed to Common Core Standards in Utah Schools 
This is an opportunity for citizens to express
their concerns about COMMON CORE! 

WEDNESDAY, July 17, 2013
5:30 – 8:00 pm
Hall of Governors, 1st Floor, Utah State Capitol

You will be allowed to speak to the Legislators who attend, if you want to. The time limit is 3 minutes.
Come early, parking in East and North lots

LDS-HEA is one of the sponsors of this meeting.


Common Core:
Our Destruction or Our Opportunity?
From a Latter-day Saint Perspective
Part 2c: What Happened?
by Joyce Kinmont

We have talked about Common Core–the standards, the curriculum, the testing, and the data mining.  We have seen that it is a complete takeover of education by the federal government and private businesses that are not accountable to citizens.  Decisions are all removed from the local level and from parents.  The eventual goal is the complete federal control of education, employment, and health care.  This cradle-to-grave, high tech, people-controlling program is any despot’s dream.

I didn’t write about the role and influence of David Coleman, the main designer of the Common Core standards and the President of the College Board, because I am still learning about him.  Here is short video that curls my toes.  Coleman makes it clear that he is one of the main writers of Common Core, and he talks about the importance of data collecting in the past presidential election.  I am studying his ideas about curriculum, some of which are good, and I will eventually share them.

I also haven’t talked about the pre-K program or sex education.   Watch for them.  For now, we’ll finish up here and move on next time to the good stuff about how we might homeschool.

What Happened?
As people are waking up to the Common Core nightmare, they are asking, “What happened to our education system?  How did it happen so quickly?”  It happened because for generations we have not taught our children the story and principles of America.  And it didn’t happen quickly; Satan has been working on this for a long time.  Forced attendance and mandated curriculum at the expense of liberty began with Horace Mann in Boston, long ago, and John Dewey after him.  Eventually all religion and Americanism was removed from the curriculum.

Prophets have warned that it only takes one generation of untaught youth to destroy the church.  The same is true of our country, and there have now been many generations who have not been taught Americanism.

Did we have warning signs?  Plenty.  If you don’t have The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, buy or borrow a copy and read the chapters on Education and Country.  You’ll be amazed at the warnings he gave us.  You can also find many of President Benson’s older addresses online.  Although President Benson is hailed as the chief defender of the Constitution, the same warnings were given to us by many of our leaders and for a very long time. (Once we became a worldwide church their direct messages about socialism and communism stopped, I assume to protect the Saints in communist countries; but we are still without excuse for our ignorance.)

All Saints and all Americans, had they been properly taught, would have known that Common Core was wrong at first sight, as Mitt Romney did.  He said:

 “I don’t subscribe to the idea of the federal government trying to push a common core on various states. It’s one thing to put it out as a model and let people adopt it as they will, but to financially reward states based upon accepting the federal government’s idea of a curriculum, I think, is a mistake. And the reason I say that is that there may be a time when the government has an agenda that it wants to promote.”

Exactly.  Of course the government has an agenda, and of course he knows all about it.  He was teaching the principle.  There should be no federal involvement in education because there is no Constitutional authority, and there is no Constitutional authority because the Founding Fathers knew education should be left under parental control.

Unfortunately too many Saints welcome federal involvement in education.  Too many teachers believe in the big-government system they work for.

President Benson was fond of quoting a statement from President Joseph F. Smith:

“There are at least three dangers that threaten the Church within, they are flattery of prominent men in the world, false educational ideas, and sexual impurity.” (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed., Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939, pp. 312-13.) These three dangers are of greater concern today than when they were identified by President Smith.
– President Ezra Taft Benson, Valiant in the Testimony of Jesus, Ensign (CR), May 1982, p.62

Wouldn’t you say the first two apply?

President Benson warned us about the false ideas many times.  Today the Church is moving us forward in true teaching and learning methods that foster independent learning and the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. Common Core is moving us completely backwards.  We have to learn to separate ourselves from the false ideas that are rampant in the public schools most church members support.  Again, read his Teachings.

For many years I wondered what the “flattery of prominent men in the world” really meant. What harm does a little flattery thrown around do?  But I also wondered what the word meant to President Smith who was born in 1838. I looked in the 1828 dictionary and found:

1. False praise; commendation bestowed for the purpose of gaining favor and influence, or to accomplish some purpose.

Apparently “flattery” was a stronger word at one time, and yes, it is a serious problem.  I believe it is simply adult peer pressure, which can be very serious.

The Book of Mormon uses the word “seduced.”  President Benson said,

Secret combinations flourished because, as Helaman tells us, the Gadianton robbers ‘had seduced the more part of the righteous until they had come down to believe in their works and partake of their spoils’ (Helaman 6:38)… even as today.”
– Ezra Taft Benson, The Savior’s Visit to America, Ensign, p. 4. May 1987.

“Even as today”?  And that was 1987!  If the more part succumbed then, how hard must it be now?  I have Helaman 6:38-40 marked in my book in two colors so I won’t forget it.  I used to think of the Gadiantons as desperados, riding down from the mountains on horseback. (I might have been influenced by one of my favorite movies, The Magnificent Seven.  All Jr. High boys should watch it for the message about the male role of protection.)  In recent years I have pictured the Gadiantons in suits and ties, carrying briefcases, with their hideouts not so much in the mountains as in corporate and government office buildings.

I don’t think we should underestimate the pressures good people are often put under in the world.  People have jobs and professional reputations to protect; they have families to feed.  It is no small thing for them to put their security at risk for principle, especially if they are led away first by a small thread until they are captured.  We all like to think we can stand up to anything, but most of us have a caving point.  Our challenges will come. Our goal should be to develop faith and courage to meet the challenges, and wisdom to meet them wisely and with the Holy Ghost by our side.

The Last Word on Common Core
This article is my last word for now, but here is a first word but that we’ve just gotten.  This short video was made by Alpine UT School District Board Member Wendy Hart who gives insight into how our educators got themselves entrapped at the very beginning.  This video is full of evidence against the people in Utah who bought in to Common Core and did it strictly for the money.  Apparently no one involved thought about the Constitutionality of a national curriculum.  They did think use an insulting remark about the Constitutional Convention as a lame excuse for control and a false argument to justify the lack of parental notification.  And they did succumb to the administration’s pressure tactic to get a quick signature on the Memo of Agreement.  It’s all disgusting.

Utah signed the Memo, and in 2010 all but a few state Governors and State Superintendents affixed their signatures to the Race to the Top application.  The standards hadn’t been published yet, nor had the curriculum or the testing.  They had no idea – and still don’t – what the costs would be.  Doesn’t all this seem highly irresponsible?

They were “flattered” and bribed in the hope of winning a pile of Race-to-the-Top stimulus money!   Yes, it was an “enter to win” lottery. “Sign the paper and we will put you in the drawing for a pot of gold.”  It was all about the money.

Sorry, Utah did not win one of the money pots.  Of course not; does Washington like us? Did we vote for any of them?  I’m sure the Devil had a hearty laugh.  They pulled this off so easily.

Why did so many professional people make such disgusting, unprincipled decisions?  What were Governor Perry of Texas and the other governors thinking when they refused to sign?  Where did they get the courage to resist the “flattery” of folks like Bill Gates and David Coleman?

And why, oh why did the Utah’s Governor and State Superintendent, both fine LDS men, sign all of the children of Utah over to the control of the federal government.  They never told the parents what was going on.  When people started waking up and speaking out in opposition, the State Board and the Governor’s office responded by digging in their heels, maintaining their support for Common Core, and refusing to talk about it anymore. At least that was the case a month ago.  Today the State Board – and they have been especially nasty — is meeting behind closed doors with the Legislature to tell them why Common Core is good.  Tomorrow the Legislature will take comments from the public.  This is happening because the number of angry citizens is growing.

How hard would it be at this point for our governor to admit he made a foolish, expensive, and dangerous mistake?  Will that happen?  I feel both disgust and sadness for those who have already sold their souls.

Parental control of education is a God-given right, Constitutionally protected, and certainly worth fighting for.  And fight we will.  We are fighting for our children.

Buyer’s Remorse 
The national Common Core requires that students read more informational texts, and that’s what we have all been doing for the last two months.  We will end here with two must-read informational texts.  The first gives us sufficient reason to get out of Common Core; the second gives us hope that we can (although we know Satan won’t go away so we’ll have to stay vigilant):

The first article, California Schools to Train Kids to Sell ObamaCare, tells us all we need to know about Common Core, or at least enough information to see how absolutely diabolical it is.  This is an article from Heartland, which has other articles you might want to read with your children, such as the one on Zimmerman

The Beginning of Common Core’s Trouble is an excellent article about our “buyer’s remorse” as the states consider backing out of what is being called ObamaCore.  Here are the first two paragraphs:

When President Obama unveiled his Race to the Top initiative in 2009, the idea was to award $4.35 billion in federal grant money to states to replicate policies that boosted student achievement.  That quickly changed and the federal money was instead used to persuade states to adopt administration-backed nationalized K-12 English and math standards and tests. By last year, most states had adopted the standards, known as Common Core, and it seemed a foregone conclusion that the United States would join countries like France in having a uniform curriculum.
 
But what a difference a year makes. Today, a full-blown epidemic of buyer’s remorse has taken hold. Popular resistance is rampant and bills to pull out of Common Core are making their way through multiple state legislatures.

Did you notice the paragraph in the first article that reads:

“Teens are part of a ‘pilot’ program to test whether young people can be trained as messengers to deliver outreach and limited education to family and friends in and around their homes,” said Gayle Pollard-Terry, a LAUSD spokesman, in an email. “Teens will be educating adults that they already know (e.g., family or friends) and not other adults.”

I found that almost eerie because it is exactly what I am going to suggest we do: study as a family and then help our teens teach America’s story to friends and others in their neighborhood.  Without the grant.  With the Holy Ghost.

Read Elder Callister’s talk from the Priesthood Session of General Conference and you’ll see what I mean.   Give me a couple of weeks, and I’ll be sending more info out.  I’m excited!

JK

Common Core: Our Destruction or Our Opportunity? From a Latter-day Saint Perspective, Part 2b: About Common Core by Joyce Kinmont

June 29, 2013

It’s been a month since I sent out Part 2a. At the time I thought I could easily finish the rest before my husband and I left for Texas for to spend a couple of weeks with our family. As I was packing for the trip, I logged on to watch the Glenn Beck tv program that had been aired that day. What a surprise to find my Eagle Forum friends Gayle Ruzicka and Dalane England and Utah Senator Margaret Dayton on the show. (I later learned that Utah Representative Brian Greene was also there. I don’t know him so I didn’t realize he was there too.) They had all been at a seminar with people from other states to determine how best to get their states out of Common Core. I watched the program twice, got a couple hours of sleep, and then we left to catch our early morning flight.

Here are links to the program:
Utah Eagle Forum Vice President, Dalane England , in green.
Utah Eagle Forum President, Gayle Ruzicka , in purple. Regrettably, we don’t hear what she is saying due to a voiceover.
Utah Senator Margaret Dayton, a wise and courageous legislator. She is identified as she makes her comments.
Utah Representative Brian Greene – I don’t know him but I love him for being an active part of that meeting. Now he has 74 House members to convince.
If you have a legislator, even from another state, who would like to talk to Rep. Greene or Sen. Dayton, their emails are bgreene@le.utah.gov mailto:bgreene@le.utah.gov and mdayton@le.utah.gov

In Texas we spent two wonderful weeks with our daughter and her family. We got home late on a Thursday afternoon, and I went to the UHEA Convention on Friday and Saturday where I chatted with anyone who would listen about Common Core. Some had never heard of it; others thought they were safe as homeschoolers; some charter schools thought they could live with it; and so on. The next Wednesday I went to the state capitol. In all of these places, and in the emails that piled up while I was gone, I’ve learned much more about Common Core. It’s like a Texas tornado – the funnel cloud gets bigger and more frightening as it comes closer. (We didn’t experience a tornado ourselves, but our family drove us through the nearby neighborhoods where homes had recently been randomly damaged or destroyed. Texas wasn’t hit as extensively as Oklahoma was, but what we saw was sobering enough.)

As I read the new information, I began to feel a growing sense of a revolution taking place, mostly in cyberspace! Homeschoolers are right in the middle of it because we have a stake in protecting our right to make our own educational choices. Our emergency job is to chase the funnel clouds away, but our primary job is to build ourselves a stronger family school and help our neighbors do the same. I’m told that in Oklahoma many homes are built with steel walls in one room, anchored to the ground. Seems a good metaphor.

So let’s finish up quickly before the pile gets bigger (I wrote that two weeks ago, and the pile is still growing). Then I hope everyone will have signed up on the blogs of Oak Norton and Christel Swasey and whatever others might help you in your state. I also recommend, again, Glenn Beck and The Blaze tv, which is now available on some cable stations. You might want to visit Glenn’s Facebook https://www.facebook.com/GlennBeck page.

COMMON CORE
We have talked about the Common Core Standards and the Curriculum; now we need to look at the testing and the data mining.

Testing
The Common Core testing is computerized and adaptive, which means that each question asked is determined by the answer to the previous question. In the hands of those with a social justice agenda, this can be a dangerous indoctrination tool. Adaptive testing is also very expensive.

AIR (American Institutes for Research) is the company hired by the state of Utah to do our testing. They specialize in psychological testing, but in Utah we are assured they are only testing academics. I see no reason to believe that.

AIR will own the tests, and no one in Utah will be allowed access to the questions except for a panel of people who will be allowed to review them. That panel was a bone thrown out to appease the citizen opposition; there are only three parents on the committee. An adaptive test requires thousands of questions, so those three parents certainly won’t see all of them. They may just see sample questions rather than actual ones.

Although Utah has proudly paid $32 million to AIR for the English and Math tests, the tests have not yet been written. In one presentation we were told that they would be ready by early spring of 2014. Yet in state-wide presentations we were told that Utah’s tests will be so good that other states will line up to buy them from us. That made no sense to me. Are those other states just sitting around waiting?

The testing program also includes a complicated plan to equalize or adapt the questions to students in groups: high achievers, above average, below average, and under-achievers. The Assistant Superintendent of my district could not explain to me how the graded results of that system would look recorded on paper. Either he’s lying or, more likely, that part hasn’t been figured out yet either. In a public meeting it was explained that the higher achievers will get more difficult questions and the lower achievers will have less difficult ones on the same subjects. I fear these Progressives are so into redistribution and equalization that they are trying to equalize brains!

One blogger wrote his experience with an employment related adaptive test and said it was exhausting and emotionally draining. I also read about some children in New York for whom the Common Core testing was a horrendous, upsetting, tearful experience.

College entrance exams are being changed to align with the Common Core State(NATIONAL!) Standards. The Utah State Office of Education presenter John Jesse said in a public meeting that if Utah didn’t adopt Common Core “you could never move from Utah.” What I think he was referring to is that a) one of the talking points for Common Core is that school would be the same wherever a student moved, and b) the aligning of college entrance exams to the Common Core Standards and the Common Core Curriculum means your un-Common Core educated child will not pass the test and will not be able to get into college in any Common Cored state.

You might ask: Since Common Core is an indoctrination into Progressivism (or socialism, communism, social justice-ism, or whatever), why would any un-Cored student want to go to a college where the rest of the student body and the professors are Core-educated?

Of course the true expectation is that most students will not attend college at all; most will attend trade schools, and the choice will be made for them by their government early in life. In the letter we shared last time, Marc Tucker talked about essentially blackmailing businesses to voluntarily hire “apprentices” by threatening to pass a law requiring them to do so if they didn’t volunteer. Tucker also wrote that because parents want their children to go to “college” the word “college” must be used instead of anything that sounded vocational. He would add a few classroom courses to the vocational tracks. People aren’t really focusing on the Workforce component of Common Core. Read Tucker and warn your neighbors.

I think about how my homeschooled children were sought after as employees for their work ethic and their talents and abilities. Those qualities easily overrode their lack of a traditional education. Wouldn’t smart colleges and businessmen recruit unCored students? Or are we beyond that point now? The federal government has already proven its ability to take over businesses and control colleges. Homeschoolers could end up completely shut out of just about everything.

On the other hand, the Lord seems to be working on His own plan. Would he bother to have given us new direction in education and missionary work if we were going to lose it all to the “acted upon” program?

Data Collection
The fourth part of Common Core is “data mining,” the collection of hundreds of pieces of academic and personal information about students. This is the issue that seems to be most horrifying to parents.

In Park City UT, a ski resort town, high school students willingly wore sensory wrist bands which recorded stresses, posture, moods, etc. The students also willingly gave DNA samples without parental knowledge or permission. The samples were to be non-identified, but students were told if they would put their name on the envelope they would be entered in a drawing for an ipod. My own District Superintendent said in a public meeting that this project was done by the University of Utah and he would not have allowed it in our District. That was nice, and I relaxed just a little. I shouldn’t have.

At the recent meeting at my state capitol I sat in the audience as Judy Park, USOE (Utah State Office of Education) Associate Superintendent, made a presentation to a Senate committee. She and their six partners, one being Workforce Services, had just completed a five-year project which had been financed by a Federal grant. The legislators were told that the feds have no interest in the data. One asked where the data comes from, and Judy said much of it is fed to the state by Higher Education (such as the University of Utah — and BYU?).

The data shown at the meeting could be helpful. It included information such as student dropout rates in different areas of the state and entry level salaries in specific occupations for 1, 2, and 4 year degrees. But what data wasn’t shown? Do students and parents have access to this data? No. Will they? She didn’t say so. That makes believable the concern that data collections from numerous sources put in the hands of social planners will governor our children’s lives for the rest of their lives.

After the meeting I heard one of Ms. Park’s co-presenters talking with Senator Mark Madsen who was explaining to him that when the Feds pay for a program they can demand the information at any time. Apparently the man was sure that wouldn’t happen and felt the benefits outweighed any risk, because the Senator said, “That’s how we always lose liberty — for promised benefits.” I wished I had recorded that.

Ms. Park had conducted many of the public meetings that were held around the state, and she always assured the audience that no personal data would be shared. John Jesse, USOE Assessment Director, who works for her, presented at other meetings. At one I attended in Ogden UT a lady who must have been reading documents asked about the word “psychometrics.” Jesse said, Oh, don’t worry about that; it merely refers to number crunchers; there’s nothing psychological involved.” Then he took two or three other opportunities to throw out phrases like “We called in the number-crunchers.”

In a Judy Park presentation in Bountiful UT the psychometics question came up again and she gave the standard, misleading answer. Then a man in the back of the room stood up and said he works as a psychometrician and they do indeed work with psychological data.

Just to be sure, I did a search and quickly found that psychometricians are in the field of “psychology.” On The Wise Geek website I learned that “A psychometrician measures and analyzes personality characteristics, intelligence, aptitude and opinions. He also studies the viability of testing procedures, analyzes results, and develops new and improved testing techniques and approaches. Psychometricians are sometimes psychologists as well, but are also often employed in the fields of educational development or human resources.”

Psychological testing and influencing is the specialty of A.I.R. On their website under Education they say:

“AIR believes that reporting assessment data should go beyond simply stating how students performed on the test. Reports should help people change their behavior and inspire educators and parents to take action to improve curriculum, instruction, and student learning.”

I prefer the driver’s license approach: give me the book that tells me what I have to learn to be approved by the government for a specific purpose, such as road safety. Let me take care of my own learning difficulties. And how about a test on the Constitution and its major source book, the Bible, for voting privileges? And let me learn about my children’s needs through observation, study, and personal revelation. I don’t mind having teachers I can go to for wisdom, but it is not the government’s job to forcibly “help me change my behavior” or that of my children. Or to tell us what subjects we must study or who our teachers will be.

Data will also be collected by teacher observation. On a recent blog post, Christel Swasey spoke strongly about a disturbing Department of Education paper called Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perseverance.” “Creepy” is how she described it. Glenn Beck had shown the publication on one of his tv shows in March, when it had just been released. I don’t think anyone really understood it. I suggest you at least read Chapter 3 about measurement tools (p31 of the paper, p48 in the viewer).

Why the prominence of those three words: Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance? Why not Accuracy, Integrity, and Faith? Is this someone’s career project? Or a new religion? Or is it all just an excuse to play a sick psychological game? Creepy it is,

Here’s a quote from Chapter 3:

“Sensors provide constant, parallel streams of data and are used with data mining techniques and self-report measures to examine frustration, motivation/flow, confidence, boredom, and fatigue. The MIT Media Lab Mood Meter (Hernandez, Hoque, & Picard, n.d.) is a device that can be used to detect emotion (smiles) among groups. The Mood Meter includes a camera and a laptop. The camera captures facial expressions, and software on the laptop extracts geometric properties on faces (like distance between corner lips and eyes) to provide a smile intensity score. While this type of tool may not be necessary in a small class of students, it could be useful for examining emotional responses in informal learning environments for large groups, like museums.”

Oh, what fun they’ll be having in their classroom laboratories with our children as their guinea pigs.

Not all teachers want to play the data mining game. Many are already complaining about the amount of time they are required to spend recording information intended to “measure the growth and change in the behaviors and attitudes” of their students. They feel they are becoming “data drones.” How will they feel when they understand that the information is being shared for commercial purposes and for Orwellian experimentation?

Here is what Christel had to say about data mining on Glenn Beck’s program. Here is The Blaze with three segments on data mining. There are three videos on this page. The middle one plays last and is scary.

Now we are almost done, but, alas, I am going to stop again and call this Part 2b.

Just for fun, here’s a short video clip of Utah Senator Madsen. (This is not about Common Core; it is a response to a government nanny bill.)