Tag Archives: Common Core

The Next Steps Toward Religious Education | Three Reasons for Home/Private Schooling

July 30, 2014

Common Core: Report on Glenn Beck’s We Will Not Conform

LDS Homeschool Conference, Aug 8-9, UT

One more LDS Homeschooling conference is being held this summer, on Aug 8-9 at Utah Valley University in Orem UT.  This conference is offered by long time homeschoolers Thom and Tresta Neil. The Neil’s are extremely well organized and their speaker lineup looks fantastic. I was delighted to see that at least two of the speakers invited class attendees to read a selection beforehand. There is also a youth conference.  If your financial and family situation allows, I encourage you to attend. I will have a table in the vendor area, which is open to the public, so please come by and visit whether you are attending the conference or not.

Some people have thought this was my convention, but it is not. We held our last LDS-HEA Conference in 2007.  By then my “staff” had all grown up and moved on, and I was worn out.  My place in the homeschool movement now, as I see it, is to be a voice for the Lord’s educational program.  I believe the time has come to speak boldly, though I realize I am preaching to the choir.

The Next Steps Toward Religious Education

A few days ago my husband presented me, with fanfare, the newly arrived AugustEnsign, opened in a two page spread to the article, “Home, the Heart of Learning” (p.28).  It said, “The primary place of teaching and learning is the home.” I also watched the 2014 Learning and Teaching in the Home and the Church videos, and loved them.

The article spoke of learning being “centered” in the home. I picture a beam of light illuminating the home where education is part of the family culture.  Whenever a family member leaves for education, a portion of the light moves with him, and he goes to a tutor who also lives in a beam of light. The Church is also a place he goes, and the light is certainly there.  I like to say the office is at home and every home a school.

The Ensign article went on to emphasize developing the habit of continual teaching in the family.  Once homeschoolers obtain the mindset and habits of inspired teaching and learning (if they don’t already have it) they are only inches away from every home a celestial school, and inches away from obtaining for themselves and their children a truly religious education.

What came as a shock to me was that I had already been planning to propose a few “Pondering” activities, which I intended to put in a handout on my table at the Neil’s conference (and I still will). One would say something like this:

  • Our Heavenly Father sent His own Son to parents who would provide a fully religious education.  If you look under Education in the LDS Bible Dictionary, you will find that, “The ‘religious question’ could not exist in Jewish education…”  What would it feel like to have all of education be religiously based?  What did it mean for Mary and Joseph?  How and what would Mary teach her son?  How and what would Joseph teach?  How would the boy Jesus and other 12-year-old youth in his village be different from our youth their age?Can you picture, or feel, what education in your home might be if all of it were taught from a religious perspective?  Can you picture the Holy Ghost shining down on your home as a shaft of light and everything being taught by that light?

Please feel free to refine my “Pondering” activity and share your thoughts, experiences, and questions. This is just the first of many Ponderings we need to do.  Maybe your words will help others.

Now for the bold part, which has been on my mind for some time. These are my strongest opinions, so hold on:

Three Reasons for Home and Private Religious Education

1.  Government schools are not spiritually, morally, or physically safe
It is time for all parents to really examine the wisdom of sending our children to the schools of Babylon which are working models of everything anti-Christ.  Not only are our children indoctrinated in falsehoods, but they practice the behaviors and thinking patterns of the anti-Christ as they are controlled by bells and tests and computer screens and evil philosophies.  Once Common Core is fully implemented, our children will be nothing more than objects to be acted upon.  Even if Common Core is stopped, the same people with the same philosophies will simply pull back and wait for everyone to go back to sleep and then move forward again.

We can no longer put a bubble over our local school and allow things to happen there that we would not allow anyplace else.  We can not justify evil in the name of “learning to live in the real word” or of “being missionaries.” Our youth are gasping for air.  Many develop coping strategies, such as spending lunch hour in the Seminary building, “Where I feel safe,” or “finding a quiet place to read a few scriptures on an iphone.” Those who don’t find a way to cope fail, and thus we have an epidemic of “failure to launch.”

We tell our youth to hold to the rod, don’t get off The Path; then we plant them firmly on the other path. It’s one thing to live in Babylon and not be of Babylon; it is another thing to be enrolled, controlled, converted, perverted, and force-fed poisonous philosphies by Babylon.

Why did this happen?  Because parents and schools stopped teaching the rising generations religion and morality, and society began to crumble.  In December 1962, President McKay said: “By making [prayer] unconstitutional, the Supreme Court of the United States severs the connecting cord between the public schools of the United States and the source of divine intelligence, the Creator himself” (Religion in Public Life, Elder Dallin H. Oaks).  The cord is cut; American schools as they once were, and as we wish they still were, are no longer.  Anything that is still good, including great teachers, is not part of the current plan and will not endure.  Someday all may be restored, but in the meantime, our children need to be rescued, not abandoned to “social justice” and Marxism.

2.  There is an opportunity cost
The “opportunity cost” to our children is enormous. Because the great bulk of their time is taken up by the Babylonian education, there is no room in their day in which to obtain a good Christian education.  Nor do they have the spiritual hunger to invest in that education, or even the hunger for the less rigorous pursuits of great music and literature.  Their love of learning has been extinguished.

In the seventh grade at American Heritage school in American Fork UT, the students meet in a beautiful, peaceful classroom.  On the wall is a large picture of General George Washington kneeling in prayer.  The students study true American history from original sources, and at the end of the year they write a final essay listing 50 proofs that America was founded as a Christian country.  I find that inspiring.  And simple.  If enough families would do this, we might save America.

3.  The Lord wants us to have a religious education
Do anti-Christ educations prepare us for Zion?  Will anti-Christ schools be welcomed there? Or does the Lord want a Christian education for His children?  It certainly seems the Church is slowly moving us in that direction.  Will homeschoolers ignite the fire?  What will a religious education look like in our homes?  What will it be like in a ward?  A stake?  Should this be another Pondering activity?

I wonder if we could find 50 proofs that the Lord wants a religious education.  Maybe some families or some groups of families should try this and report.  If anyone who lives near me wants to meet together to talk about these ideas, I’d love to participate.  My head is swimming with thoughts ready to be joined by yours.


Please, please go see Dinesh D’Sousa’s America, Imagine the World Without Her if you can.  It is wonderful. Here’s a debate with D’Sousa and Bill Ayers.

Common Core Is Out in Oklahoma and Louisiana! Hurray!


Folks in Oklahoma began their celebration cautiously when the state legislature passed a comprehensive bill to opt out of Common Core because they still had to wait for Governor Mary Fallin to sign it. As current Chair of the National Governors’ Assn. that might take some courage. Encouraging emails were sent to her from all  over the country. When she did sign the new Oklahoma law, parents in many state were cheering!  Then South Carolina followed!  Hurray again!  Then yesterday Louisiana. Hurray! Hurray! What will the federal government do now?  Of course Oklahoma must be punished. Remember, Arne Duncan, the federal Secretary of Education, wants schools open “12 hours a day 12 months a year, 6 or 7 days a week,” complete with three meals a day and medical clinics; and he holds the federal purse strings. Please check your Constitution to see what the proper role of the federal government is for education.  

In Louisiana apparently everyone is happy except the State Superintendent of Schools who is outraged.  “We are not willing to subject our children to last minute changes to throw our system into educational chaos,” he said.  Haven’t we all been in chaos all year, especially the children?  Courage everyone.  Hold steady and pray.  This will be a long, ugly battle.  A small part of a few deadly tumors have been removed, but the body is still riddled with cancer.  As long as the federal government is involved and as long age the schools practice compulsion and Godlessness, government education will not improve enough to satisfy the commandment to “trust no one to be your teacher…except he be a man of God, walking in his ways…” (Mosiah 23:14). The bad guys may pull back a little — but then parents will relax and go back to sleep and the evil will increase again.  So has it been from the beginning  

The Gates Foundation, pulling back a little in response to Oklahoma?   Sexualization I said I’d send you the link to the Sexualization Standards that are reported to be implemented in many schools next year, not as stand alone classes but as part of the curriculum.  I’d rather not burden you with this, but here they are: The Standards are blatantly national and are copyrighted by the Future of Sex Education, whoever they are.  Obviously this is a document open to change.  The philosophies of the people who created the document and will be supplying the “skills” and curriculum are not up to LDS standards. The Utah State School Board says they will not adopt the program, but we have no reason to trust them.  Keep a watchful eye on your state, and encourage your friends and neighbors to Escape Common Core through home and private school.                            


Escape Common Core

May 26, 2014

Escape Common Core
by Joyce Kinmont

On Conference Saturday mornings, my husband and I attend a private breakfast meeting in Salt Lake to learn about current issues. For the most recent breakfast, I was invited to prepare a short talk on Common Core, which I titled “Escape Common Core.” My goal was to make every word count. I don’t know how well I achieved that goal, but after the presentation I moved the goal post and stopped counting words, references, and comments and ended up with more than 20 pages of information. It is now on the website, linked to the text explaining the video on the front page, center column. There is enough information there to keep folks busy for a while. It’s a Primer for learning three things: a) Our prophets have warned us that the schools are destroying our children, but we haven’t listened, b) the Lord wants us and our children to have a religious education but we haven’t listed, and c) the Church is giving us the pattern for teaching our children.

Here is the talk:

For the written script and notes, please go to our website. The website has two addresses, one that is shorter to type and one that is easier to remember or to tell people over the phone:

LDS Home Educators Assn website: http://www.ldshea.org or
Every Home a School: http://www.everyhomeaschool.org

Common Core: Oozing in Through the Side Door

October 31, 2013

If, by the grace of God, we are able to stop Common Core in state legislatures, it isn’t really going away.  The same people will still be running education in our country, and their goals won’t change.  They may have to take a step back and try some different approaches.  Oh, wait!  They already are using different approaches.  They got caught sneaking in the back door when no one was watching, but they have other gigs going.  Now they are blatantly oozing their way in the side door.  I never thought I’d see a headline with the words “Cradle to Career,” but here we are in Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County.  (bolding and comments are mine)

  • Salt Lake City launches cradle to career education initiative
    By Christopher Smart, The Salt Lake Tribune, Oct 23, 2013
    They’re calling it the Capital City Education Collaboration Agreement. [Is there a Capital City in your state? Or do they mean something else since they spelled Capitol incorrectly?]
    Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and Salt Lake City Schools Superintendent McKell Withers joined with officials Wednesday from half a dozen agencies and organizations to begin forming an education framework “to cultivate a college, career and civic-ready environment.”
    This is a symbolic event that binds us to a mission to do more for Salt Lake City kids from the time they are born to the day they enter college,” Withers said.
    The initiative, organized by the National League of Cities, is an outgrowth of the Lumina Foundation program that focuses on education and success. The League of Cities selected Salt Lake City in 2011 to participate. It is one of eight participating U.S. cities, according to League spokeswoman Majorie Cohen.  Among those joining Salt Lake City and the Salt Lake City School District in the initiative are the University of Utah, Salt Lake Community College and the Salt Lake Chamber. One of the group’s goals is to “identify and provide access to education and career pathways for all youth and families,” according to the mayor.
    This is a first of its kind for us to bring private and public sectors [unelected, just like Common Core] together in a commitment to shared goals,” Becker said. “Plans don’t mean anything unless they are embraced by the people involved.”
    Members of the new alliance will meet regularly to establish, among other things, fundraising resources and strategies and develop long-range planning and goal setting, according to the mayor’s office.
  • Getting a jump on life, one Utah preschooler at a time
    The Salt Lake Tribune Oct 24 2013
    Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams and councilmen Sam Granato and Richard Snelgrove received first-hand evidence Thursday of the benefits stemming from a $350,000 county investment in a private/public partnership to boost preschool education.
    At McAdams’ behest, the county council allocated the money to enable an additional 600 disadvantaged children to get into previously full Granite District preschools this fall. The county money is a triggering mechanism that will help the United Way to use $1 million in private funds from Goldman Sachs and the J.B. & M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation to expand preschools.
    (picture heading)  McAdams believes giving more children a better early start on life will help them become meaningful community contributors, decreasing future expenses for the county’s criminal justice and behavioral health systems.

It is true that the financial drain on schools because of low achieving students is enormous.  This may be one of the unsolvable problems of a society in free fall.  If we can’t teach the mothers and improve the families, we can’t stop the problem.  Notice that the next article is out of Washington. Hmmm.

  • Utah selected to host after-school learning summit
    Deseret News  Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013
    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Utah Afterschool Network has been selected by theNational League of Cities as one of five networks nationwide to host a statewide Mayoral Summit on Afterschool and Expanded Learning in 2014.
          Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker will co-host with the network, the Utah League of Cities and Towns, and other partners to bring together city leaders, state agency officials and school and community partners to focus on expanding after-school opportunities for children and youth in the state.
    “Education is the foundation of a sustainable community 

    and paramount to the social and economic viability for all cities in our nation,” Becker said. “It is essential that children have an equitable opportunity for extended learning and enrichment through constructive after-school programming.”
    The network will receive $9,000 in grant funding and strategic planning assistance from the National League of Cities. Additionally, the Utah Afterschool Network will partner with the Utah League of Cities and Towns and mayors to host the summits with the funding support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and The Wallace Foundation.
          More information will be available through the presentation “Municipal Leadership for Afterschool Learning” on Thursday, Sept. 12, at 3 p.m. at theAnnual Utah League of Cities and Towns Convention at the Sheraton Hotel, 150 W. 500 South in Salt Lake City.

This article didn’t mention preschool, but remember that Arne Duncan, Secretary of the Department of Education, wants schools open 6-7 days a week, all day, breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  He was well into that program as Superintendent of Chicago schools.

What used to be K-12 recently became PK16 which meant preschool through college, and has now become P20W, meaning prenatal into the workforce.  If you need a good Halloween scare, just watch this six minute video out of Oregon.

All this bad news seems fitting for Halloween.  We’ll have some good news next time. Promise. 

Stan Ellsworth – American Ride – The Gettysburg Address – Common Core Update – Columbus

September 21-27, 2013
Stan Ellsworth, American Ride, and The Gettysburg Address

I love Stan Ellsworth’s American Ride program on KBYUtv, but I’d never had any indication that anyone else knew about the program, not even the homeschoolers. I was surprised when Stan was announced as the speaker for the September 17 Constitution Day Celebration in Layton, Utah.  Stan is a “biker” and the American Ride episodes I’ve seen were filmed in the East, so I never suspected that KBYU produced the program or that Stan actually lives in Draper, Utah. (He is originally from the South).  A former football player, a coach, a history teacher, and a film maker, Stan is a hero figure to kids, and he is certainly loved by the hundreds of people who let their enthusiasm for him be known last Tuesday night (Sept 17).

Stan had visited a school in Southern Utah that morning.  He taught the students about the Gettysburg Address and challenged them to memorize it for the 150th anniversary of its delivery on November 15. I waited at the end of a very long line after the program to ask the homeschoolers’ question: how did he teach the Gettysburg address?  He reached in his pocket and pulled out a 4×6 card with the Gettysburg Address on one side and the website address www.gettyready.org on the other.

This morning, after being out of town for three days, I was catching up on email, and I found that Utah Policy, which posts daily newspaper headlines, had posted an essay by Utah Lt. Gov. Greg Bell, titled “Honoring the Gettysburg Address.”  What!  Is everybody reading it?  Yes.  Lt. Governor Bell challenged everybody – families, service organizations, teachers, students, and civic leaders – to dig in, and he pointed us to the GettyReady website for resources, saying “The GettyReady challenge is this: Learn it. Understand its deep meaning. Learn to love the essential American republican principles which it so elegantly restates. Teach it to those around you.”

Then I remembered –  Stan had mentioned that the Governor had flown him up from his school presentation in Southern Utah that morning.  Maybe Lt. Gov. Bell had hosted the event and the plane ride.

Next I found this long headline (without caps) from the Deseret News:  Do you know all 272 words of the Gettysburg Address?  Utah students kick off memorization challenge.  Again, the GettyReady website was referenced.  The site was put up by public school entities, lawyers, KBYUtv, and others.  Many resources are given, including American Ride. I don’t know how reliable they all are.  Then a friend reminded me that the schools will be teaching the Progressive version of Lincoln.  Of course!  The Gettysburg Address is part of Common Core curriculum!  I remember seeing David Coleman on a video saying something like, “I just wrote a curriculum for the Gettysburg Address.  It takes at least three days and should take six.”  Then he went on to talk about Martin Luther Kings letter from Birmingham Jail, which he thought should take 10 days.  I’ve never found the curriculum itself, but I did see a video of one of Coleman’s employees teaching teachers how to present the Gettysburg lesson.  She only went over the first lesson of the three, and all she did was talk about the vocabulary.  I kept thinking, “Is this all?  What a waste!”

Note:  This newsletter was originally finished by Saturday night, and all I had to do was reread it in the morning and push the button. — but my computer locked up.  On Monday I went into a “stop the presses” mode and thought I needed to studying more and I needed to find the Gettysburg lesson. So now new paragraphs are mixed in.

I found the Exemplar (lesson plan) for the Common Core Gettysburg Address, to download.  There are some good ideas in it but I did see some problems.  First, I wouldn’t want my children/students to rewrite the address; I would want them to understand it as it is written and come to love the beauty of the words.  Secondly, and most important, I disagree completely with the closing point that there could be debate over whether America’s founding was at the time of the Declaration or the Constitution, and that Gettysburg changed America from “the United States are” to “the United States is.” meaning that the “nation preceded the states, in time and importance…”  or that the federal government trumps the states.  That notion destroys the concept of Federalism, or States’ Rights.  It is completely, totally wrong.

If you read this Exemplar and see anything else that is troublesome, please share your comments.

Because the children in Utah public schools, and probably in other states as well, will be studying this Common Core lesson and being told a fundamental mistruth, I suggest that you go to David Barton’s website, Wallbuilder’s.com, and download the mp3 of “God in the Constitution.”  It will cost just $4.95, and you will see that the two documents are tied together and how the Constitution was grounded in Biblical teachings.  Knowing this will also make next year’s reading of the Old Testament more meaningful.

November 19th marks the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address.  Learn it.  Understand it.  Teach it.  In Utah, students will be reciting the Gettysburg Address all over the state, and what will they be learning?  Be prepared to teach truth where you can.  And enjoy Stan Ellsworth’s American Ride episodes on the Civil War on KBYUtv.

Common Core Update:  Disagreement in the Districts  
The  R- 6 A School District in East Newton, Missouri has passed a resolution to stop Common Core, stating that it is “designed to manipulate states and facilitate unconstitutional federal overreach to standardize and control the education of our children for the purposes of workforce planning.”  Can a District opt out?  No. This was just a Resolution; the contractual documents were signed on the state level.  But hooray for the local district anyway!  They are caught in the middle.  Their teachers are unhappy.  The parents are unhappy.  If the students aren’t unhappy yet, they soon will be.  This is where the real turmoil is going to be, and this is not the first local district to speak out.

On the opposite extreme, there was the man near Baltimore who dared to ask a question during the school board Common Core presentation.  He was removed from the room by a security guard, then arrested and charged with 2nd degree assault.  Another citizen happened to video it, and the video went viral.  The Rutherford lawyer said on Glenn Beck’s show that he would love to represent the dad.  I don’t know if the city was listening, but the charges were dropped; however, the city made it known that they “had cause,” a move meant to scare anyone else from speaking out.

I will say that when a frustrated person stands up and talks over people in a meeting, he has to expect something to happen next.  Maybe we need to be careful how we handle such meetings. Maybe there are smarter ways to do these things. Maybe we need to attend in groups, working together. My suggestion would be: 1) record everything on video.  “Think evidence” my lawyer friend says.  2)  Ask that the presenters state the rules of the meeting and the times (how long the presentation will be, how much time will be given to answering questions, what time the building will close, etc.)  Ask beforehand and get the answer in writing if possible.  In Baltimore the man was accused of not following the rules of the meeting.  I’m sure the board laid the rules out beforehand. I’ve been to such meetings and I’ve seen the strategy.  In this care the board made a presentation, took written questions, then played a video, and then answered selected questions. They do get to make the rules; you get to vote them out of office.  3) Sit patiently through their skewed, drawn out presentation.  Record it.  4) Then have someone scan the questions as people turn them in so you will have a record of what was asked.  5) Sit patiently through their video.  Record it if they don’t stop you.  Don’t fight it; it’s probably online anyway.  I assume that in Baltimore they were sorting out the questions while the video was playing.  6) Sit patiently through the answering of the questions. Record everything.  6) Then go home and put it all out on social media — the boring presentation, the questions that weren’t answered, etc.  7) Call another meeting and walk the streets giving people a good piece of literature and inviting them to watch the video of the last meeting and then to come to your group’s meeting. We need to be firm, professional, and kind.  These people are also being threatened by someone above them.

And now, as I was proof reading for a final time, comes one more school district superintendent this one from Idaho  God bless him.

Columbus Day
A man much maligned in public schools is Christopher Columbus.  If you search the Church website you will find quite a few good references to him, enough to assign out some to each family member.  And there is a good book, Christopher Columbus, a Latter-day Saint Perspective, by Church educator Arnold Garr, written from the viewpoint that Columbus “was not just a skilled, courageous sailor but was also a chosen instrument in the hands of God.”  The book is out of print, but it is available on Amazon Kindle and there are several used copies available.  Be sure to investigate the temple endowments that President WIlford Woodruff administered vicariously to many eminent men and women in the St. George temple.  Four men were made high priests:  Washington, Franklin, Wesley, and Columbus.

Happy homeschooling,
and now I’m leaving again, for a week, again without internet!

PS  After listening to one of Larry Arnn’s addresses again (I think it was The Founders’ Key), I read Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address and noticed something very interesting.  Dr. Arnn had said that the only way to change government is through elections, which gives us time to think before we act.  He knows Lincoln well.  I read the First Inaugural, and Lincoln said:

By the frame of the Government under which we live this same people have wisely given their public servants but little power for mischief, and have with equal wisdom provided for the return of that little to their own hands at very short intervals. While the people retain their virtue and vigilance no Administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can very seriously injure the Government in the short space of four years.
My countrymen, one and all, think calmly and well upon this whole subject.

That is certainly the intended way, but I think Lincoln also mentioned another way to stop presidential mischief: defunding.  Here is what he said:

Doing this [preserving the Union] I deem to be only a simple duty on my part, and I shall perform it so far as practicable unless my rightful masters, the American people, shall withhold the requisite means or in some authoritative manner direct the contrary. I trust this will not be regarded as a menace, but only as the declared purpose of the Union that it will constitutionally defend and maintain itself.

Our U.S. House of Representatives voted to defund Obamacare.  Senator Mike Lee and Representative Ted Cruz led the fight, and they are both really good men who have spent their whole lives, from childhood, studying and loving our Constitution (as did Rand Paul).  Their legislation defunded only Obamacare; all other government funding would have continued. Getting the bill through the Senate was not possible, but at least they didsomething and they got the attention of the American people.  Or at least some of them.  The hours of testimony Senator Cruz gave explaining why Obamacare is bad were not covered by the mainstream news outlets.  Here is a clip from TheBlaze.com that will give you an idea of Senator Cruz’s character.

And if you are confused about what is going on, here is Senator Lee’s explanation.

Will our Union “constitutionally defend and maintain itself”?  Isn’t it the same issue today — the balancing of power between the states and the feds.  Did Lincoln get it right?  Will we?

Common Core: What the State Board Knew and What They Are Doing to Cover What They Didn’t Do About What They Knew

August 13, 2013

Common Core:
What the State Board Knew and What They Are Doing to Cover
What They Didn’t Do About What They Knew
by Joyce Kinmont

I’d like to be done with Common Core and just concentrate on homeschooling, but the battle continues so I will simply send you short updates.  I hope you are engaged in the battle in your state.

Wendy Hart is a school board member from the Alpine School District in Utah.  We learn from her short video that the Utah State School Board knew full well that national standards were being developed, and they did not put up a fight.  If you watch it, you may agree with my thoughts:

  1. The Utah State School Board and their employees knew in 2009 that the federal government was setting national standards.   The word “national” was frequently used.  Calling them “state standards” was a slight of hand that came later.
  2.  In a June 2009 presentation to a legislative committee, newly appointed Superintendent Larry Shumway discussed very briefly whether it would be better to at least “be at the table.” One legislator suggested that by doing so they would be “endorsing” the national standards.  I’d wish I could call Representative Holdaway a hero and say that he then mounted his horse and rode through the night warning, The Fed’rals are coming! The Fed’rals, are coming!  No, he resigned from the legislature to become a lobbyist for the teacher’s union. But . . . there were 18 other legislators in the room.  I guess no one saw the problem, so our children just slipped through the cracks.
  3. The question of “being at the table” is valid, but it was never deeply explored.  There should have been a real discussion about the level of influence we might have at the table, if any; about Constitutional principles; and about giving up our Federal money.  The Legislature should have been deeply involved in the discussion.  All parents should have been invited — these are our children whose freedom they were so casually signing over.  I was able to tell the current State Superintendent this at a public meeting recently; he listened but he didn’t hear.
  4. The “extremely tight turnaround” the federal government gave the school board for no good reason was a low integrity manipulation.  The board might have just said No!  A senior citizen newspaper that recently appeared in my mailbox contained an article on avoiding frauds:  “If someone says you have to take an offer immediately or you will miss the opportunity, it is likely a scam.” Do we want our schools run by people who seem to lack wisdom and integrity?
  5. Acquiescing in “showing that you are part of the group” is giving in to peer pressure. Can they not stand up to pressure?  We may all have our breaking points, but do we want our schools run by people who give in so easily?
  6.  So casually did they accept the standards! Brenda Hales had no concern. The rest apparently followed her lead.  This was all before the standards were even written!  And did you notice that they had to petition Washington for approval? Actually the standards don’t really matter as much as the curriculum and testing that will be forced upon our children to mold their thinking.
  7.  And then there is the money.  “No small chunk of change.”  Do we want our schools run by people who will give up liberty for money?  And don’t forget that this was stimulus money that we and our children will be paying back for the rest of our lives.
  8. I was surprised by the insulting remark which obviously originated from Washington and was parroted by Ms. Hales about not wanting the process to “end up being like the Constitutional Convention, have it last two or three years….” The comment reveals the collective distain for things we hold dear.
  9. In view of the knowledge the State Board and their employees have that Common Core is the product of the federal government and its corporate associates, the School Board and their employees should stop their dishonest attempt to convince the public that Common Core standards, curriculum, testing, and data collecting are State products and are without federal control.  Some of them should be submitting their resignations.  (I can’t help but wonder why Superintendent Shumway resigned after 3 ½ years.)

The public meeting I referred to was actually a protest at the Board’s August meeting, called because it was discovered that the board is engaging in a major PR campaign to counter the pushback they are getting from citizens.

Over a hundred of us showed up that morning, on a day’s notice, to protest this expenditure of our own tax dollars.  Most stayed outside carrying signs while the rest of us attended the meeting.  Only four people were given slots to speak in the meeting, for 2 minutes each.  Then the Board left for their other meetings and those inside joined those outside. 

Superintendent Menlove, who has only been Superintendent since January, came outside to see the protest.  Apparently someone asked him to please listen to the concerns people had not been able to share, and he agreed.  We went back into the empty board room and he listened to us for a good hour, but as I said, he didn’t seem to hear.  He is hired by the State School Board to implement their decisions, and that’s what he is going to do.  I feel badly for him.

I am convinced that those running our public schools in Utah have no desire to stop Common Core.  Hopefully the Legislature will do something; but whatever happens, our best choice is to do the hard work of making our home our children’s first temple of learning.  And we must warn our neighbors.

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!


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.

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

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.)