Originally Sent: 5/21/2014

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

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More Action Needed
to Stop Common Core!

Homeschooling in Massachusetts.

Voice your opinion!

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

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Yesterday, we asked you contact your state senator to encourage support of Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr’s five amendments to the Senate budget which would slow Common Core implementation in Massachusetts. If you haven’t yet, please call today! These amendments will be debated this week in the Senate, and your action is crucial to help pass them.

We also wanted to let you know about an opportunity for your voice to be heard by the Department of Education! Starting today, the department is hosting a series of listening sessions to get the public’s feedback on the PARCC assessments. These “listening tours” are your opportunity to directly tell the DESE why you oppose the Common Core assessments. Please consider attending one located near you; all sessions are from 4 p.m.-6 p.m. You can find more information and RSVP online. See specific dates and locations below.

Action Requested

Please contact your state senator today! 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 PARCC assessment. This assessment is neither tested nor proven and offers no obvious benefits over Massachusetts’ current educational assessment the MCAS. Furthermore, the PARCC Assessment is associated with the Common Core, a set of controversial standards developed by private organizations that was neither tested nor benchmarked. The MTA has just elected an anti-Common Core president which should send a message that teachers are not in support either.

Massachusetts has one of the top-ranked education systems in the country—why would we change to a set of untested and unproven standards? Why would we use a new test that is neither proven nor tested? I oppose the Common Core because it creates a nationalized education system and removes local involvement of parents, citizens, and local school committees. As a parent and citizen I am concerned that there has been virtually no legislative involvement in this dramatic shift from state standards and assessments to these unknown and untested standards and assessments. Senator Tarr’s amendments would require the proper financial and analysis and review to answer these and other questions before making such a dramatic shift in our state education system. Please support Senator Tarr’s amendments No. 462, No. 463, No. 465, No. 470, and No. 494 to the budget.

To find your state senator click here.

Consider attending one of the following “listening tours” about the PARCC Assessment and Common Core below:

May 21: Massachusetts Bay Community College, Mackenzie Auditorium
50 Oakland St., Wellesley Hills, MA

June 3: Bridgewater State University, John Joseph Moakley Center
131 Summer St., Bridgewater, MA

June 4: Merrimack College,Sakowich Campus Center (2nd floor conference area)
315 Turnpike St., North Andover, MA

June 10: Massachusetts Elementary Principals Association (MESPA)
28 Lord Rd., Marlborough, MA

June 12: West Roxbury Academy
1205 VFW Parkway, West Roxbury, MA

June 17: Berkshire Community College, Koussevitzky Arts Center, Room K-111
1350 West St., Pittsfield, MA

June 18: Cape Cod Regional Technical High School
351 Pleasant Lake Ave., Harwich, MA

June 19: West Springfield High School
425 Piper Rd., West Springfield, MA


Senator Tarr’s amendments:

Amendment No. 462, identical to Rep. Keiko Orrall’s amendment which passed the House, would require a cost-benefit analysis be performed by the Department of Education on using the new PARCC assessments.

Amendment No. 463 creates a legislative task force to provide an independent evaluation of the current Common Core standards.

Amendment No. 465 pauses the implementation of the PARCC assessment until the required analysis and reporting back to the legislature are completed.

Amendment No. 470 allows schools to obtain a waiver from the Common Core if the effort is not fully funded by the state.

Amendment No. 394 would repeal the PARCC assessments altogether. All these amendments should be supported.

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 “voluntary”: 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 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 (like the SAT) 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 being used to lure states to adopt the Common Core. 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 school children 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, click here.

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

Very truly yours,

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 enables us to defend individual families threatened by government officials and protect homeschooling freedom for all. Join now >>

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Home School Legal Defense Association • P.O. Box 3000 • Purcellville, Virginia 20134-9000
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