Originally Sent: 5/23/2014

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

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Update on Tarr Amendments and Invitation to Attend Listening Tours

Homeschooling in Massachusetts.

Make your voice heard at a listening tour near you.

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

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Thank you for taking action to oppose the Common Core! Unfortunately, yesterday, all five of Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr’s amendments to the Senate budget were rejected. These amendments would have slowed the implementation of the Common Core by delaying the use the PARCC assessments. Next week, when the budget goes to the conference committee, we will likely ask you to contact the committee to add these amendments back into the budget!

We also wanted to remind you about the opportunity for your voice to be heard by the Department of Education! The Department has begun to host 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 4pm–6pm. You can find more information and RSVP here. See specific dates and locations below.

Action Requested

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

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 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. This amendment was defeated on a roll call vote 28-11. This means that more democrats voted in favor as republicans (there are only 4 republicans in the Massachusetts Senate - opposition to the Common Core is a bipartisan issue and unites many who care about local control, parental involvement and teacher creativity).

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 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 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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