Originally Sent: 5/1/2014

From the HSLDA e-lert service…
Home School Legal Defense Association

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Your Calls Working—More Action Needed!

Homeschooling in Massachusetts.

Please call today.



HSLDA staff attorney Mike Donnelly helps protect homeschool freedom in your community.
Read more >>

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Your calls made a difference as one of the “Orrall amendments” passed with the budget! Amendment No. 16 requires the Department of Education produce a cost-benefit analysis on using the new PARCC test.

Representative Keiko Orrall, a homeschool mom turned legislator, told HSLDA that your calls made a huge difference. She is very grateful but says there is still more to be done to halt implementation of the Common Core! The budget now moves to the Senate where we will ask you to take more action next week.

Representative Orrall has also proposed a separate bill, House Bill 4197, which would delay the implementation of the PARCC assessment pending the cost-benefit analysis. Defeating the assessments is a critical part of winning the battle against Common Core and why HB 4197 is extremely important—stay tuned.

In the meantime let’s keep the pressure on! The Department of Education recently held public hearings on the PARCC assessment as a replacement for the MCAS—but attendance was reportedly low. They need to hear from you. Let’s contact the Secretary of Education Matthew Malone, the Department of Education Commissioner Michael Chester, and the Massachusetts Board of Education and ask them to stop implementing the PARCC assessment.

Action Requested

Please contact Massachusetts Board of Education, the secretary of education, and the Department Of Education commissioner. Although the Common Core affects homeschooling families it is not necessary to speak as a homeschooling parent since this issue affects all parents in Massachusetts. Consider giving them the following message in your own words:

I oppose implementation of the Common Core-aligned PARCC assessment. The Common Core is a set of controversial standards developed by private organizations that are not research-based, tested or benchmarked. The Common Core advances a nationalized education system and removes what are proven contributors to educational success—the local involvement of parents, citizens, and local school committees. There has been virtually no legislative involvement in this dramatic shift from state standards and assessments to these unknown and untested standards and assessments. We need a proper financial analysis and review of the Common Core and its associated assessment before our state makes such a dramatic shift in our state education system.

Furthermore, our state spent a lot of money developing our own state standards and test, the MCAS. These have been highly successful, and Massachusetts is ranked number one in the nation for education. Why are we replacing our system with one that is unproven and untested? Shouldn’t this whole effort be stopped so that the people and their representatives can evaluate the wisdom of this course of action? Please stop the implementation of the Common Core and the PARCC assessments until the legislature is able to review all of this more carefully and for more public input. Thank you!

Matthew Malone
Secretary of Education
(617) 979-8340

Mitchell Chester
Commissioner of the Dept. of Education
(781) 338-3100
www@doe.mass.edu

Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
(781) 338-3102
boe@doe.mass.edu

Please share this with your friends. Homeschoolers cannot win this battle alone.

Background

Although Common Core is ostensibly a program of voluntary cooperation among states to create one set of content standards for all public schools in the whole country, HSLDA has grave concerns about this program, and more and more organizations are lining up to oppose it.

It’s touted as a program of “voluntary cooperation” among states: in fact, states are getting fistfuls of federal money to ditch their own carefully developed standards and embrace a national standard. It’s touted as being academically sound: in fact, it’s a “dumbing down” of standards that individual states already have. And while Common Core currently only applies to public schools, HSLDA’s long history of fighting against a national, one-size-fits-all approach to what children learn is due to our concerns that homeschoolers would one day be forced to use the same curriculum that all other schoolchildren are using. In fact, there is discussion of aligning tests that homeschoolers take to the Common Core, which would pressure homeschool parents to align their homeschool curriculum to what public school students are being taught. In addition, some of the supporters of the Common Core’s central databases are already discussing expanding their program to include the personal data of homeschool students.

Proponents talk about Common Core as a spontaneous movement of individual states working under the auspices of the National Governor’s Association. But through the federal Department of Education’s Race to the Top program, federal education dollars are used to lure states to adopt the Common Core, and this gives more power over the drafting of educational standards that will be used in schools all across the United States to federal education bureaucrats who are far removed from the parents and teachers at the local level.

For generations, Americans believed that Washington, D.C. should stay out of what local elementary schoolchildren learn. But Common Core threatens this historic tradition.

For more information about the Common Core and to watch HSLDA's half hour documentary on the Common Core go to www.hslda.org/commoncore

Thank you for all you do in defense of freedom for families in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts!

Very truly yours,

/signature/

Michael P. Donnelly, Esq.
HSLDA Staff Attorney

• • •

P.S. We greatly value you and your support—it is a privilege to serve you! If you or someone you know is not a member of HSLDA, will you consider taking a moment today to join or recommend us? Your support for our work enables us to defend individual families threatened by government officials and protect homeschooling freedom for all. Join now >>


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