I have been writing articles about some documents which Wyoming Freedom in Education obtained, that exposes lies and corruption concerning Common Core in the Cowboy State.
If you have not read the first two articles, you can do so here:
Before I go on, I need to give you some background information.
On October 6, 2010, then Governor Dave Freudenthal and then Superintendent of Public Instruction Jim McBride, signed the “Memorandum of Understanding [of the] Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium [and the] Race to the Top Fund Assessment Program: Comprehensive Assessment Systems grant Application”.
During the summer of 2013, Current Governor Matt Mead and the interim director of the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE), Jim Rose signed the same application again, only this time they chose to make Wyoming a governing state of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC).
SBAC is one of two testing consortia designed to test the Common Core Standards. Participation in one of the two consortia was a requirement –along with adopting the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), implementing a Statewide Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) and tying teacher evaluations to student performance (mainly test scores) and a myriad of other things – to qualify for the Race to the Top grant.
Because Wyoming didn’t meet every qualification during the first application for the Race to the Top Grant in 2009, Governor Mead, and interim director, Jim Rose, wanted to reapply when the opportunity arose in the summer of 2013.
Is it a coincidence that Wyoming reapplied for the Race to the Top Grant during the same summer we became a governing body of SBAC?
Now, despite becoming a governing body of SBAC, the WDE, and State Board of Education (SBOE) have continued to say that “we haven’t decided if we are going to be using SBAC or not.”
On May 13th, 2014, Aerin Curtis with the Wyoming Tribune Eagle wrote about the “SBAC pilot testing” in Laramie County School District #1 (LCSD#1), and interviewed LCSD#1 director of instruction, Marc LaHiff. The Article includes the following:
“Schools signed up for the pilot test about a year ago, LaHiff said.
“It’s a little bit easier a year away to say, ‘We can do that,'” he said. “But when you’re in the middle of the testing, it’s (different).”
That the state hasn’t made a decision on which way it will be going with standardized tests hasn’t helped, he said.
“Since that decision wasn’t made, they’re left wondering, ‘Why are we doing this?'” LaHiff said. “They don’t know this is the test of the future, (so) they’re a little more reluctant to participate.”
At one point, the test was considered as a replacement for the PAWS exam. But it’s now unclear what will happen with state testing in the future.”
Now, this fall I confronted Julie MaGee with the WDE about Wyoming’s real plans to use SBAC, and she continued to say that even though we are now a governing state, the decision to move forward with SBAC has not been decided.
However, in the second section of the August 21, 2013 Proposal for Improving Student Learning at Scale: A Collaborative Policy Project, the WDE had this to say:
“A detailed description of necessary legislation to clear the way for implementation of the CCSS assessments. Wyoming needs to pass legislation this next session to enable a transition from our current PAWS assessment to the new CCSS assessment. We intend to use the relationships we develop through collaboration to identify successful legislation in other states to share with our key legislators.”
Did you notice any contradiction there? In August of 2013, the WDE made it sound like proceeding with SBAC was a done deal, yet even as late as May of 2014, they continue to tell the public that they haven’t decided yet.
And while finding this beautiful contradiction in this document was an exciting find, I want to end with something that will put a smile on your face.
For the second time in the first 4 pages of the “Proposal for Improving Student Learning at Scale: A Collaborative Policy Project”, the WDE blames you and me for standing in their way when it comes to Common Core.
In response to the question “What challenges may hinder the state’s success?” The WDE replies:
“The only real challenge we continue to have is misinformation among parents and conservative groups regarding CCSS. This misinformation is shared with state lawmakers which then has to be corrected by supporters of the CCSS in Wyoming. We are fortunate to have strong support among educators and business leaders for the CCSS so we feel confident in our efforts. In addition, our new Director used to be a State Senator in Arizona and has extensive experience talking to lawmakers about the benefits of the CCSS and the truth about how they were created.”
If by “misinformation”, they mean exposing the truth about the real initiatives and agendas behind the Common Core Standards, then guilty as charged.
As far as now former Director Richard Crandall goes, we can see that he was handpicked to help Wyoming get through the Common Core implementation, and to woo over our legislature, like he did when he lobbied for Common Core at the Oklahoma legislature, while he was still an Arizona State Senator.
Keep up the good work! The mere fact that in the first 4 pages of this proposal you and I, –and everyone in this state who has written and called our legislators, SBOE, WDE, local school boards, attended committee and board meetings– are mentioned as a source of irritation, is a wonderful thing.
A year and a half ago, they faced hardly any objections to the things they were doing, and now that the sleeping giant has awakened, it is much harder for them to sneak around.
Next week, I will continue to shed light on the Common Core Corruption going on in the Cowboy State.
Until then, enjoy the fact that we are making an irritating noise to those who seek to hinder our educational freedoms!