Originally Sent: 6/20/2014

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

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Action Needed to Oppose Common Core Implementation

Homeschooling in Massachusetts.

Contact the Conference Committee today.

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

Dear Massachusetts Members and Friends,

Thank you to all who came to the public hearing on House Bill 4094 before the Joint Committee on Education this week! Despite the outpouring of testimony against the Common Core and the PARCC assessments, the bill was shot down by the committee. However, this hearing showed that the grassroots movement against the Common Core is stronger than ever and continuing to build. We need this support to grow further as we continue to oppose the Common Core’s implementation in Massachusetts.

We now need your help to ensure that Representative Orrall’s Cost Benefit Analysis for Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) passes in the Fiscal Year 2015 House Budget! This additional measure to the budget bill would require the department of education to conduct a cost-benefit analysis prior to implementing the PARCC assessments. This section was successfully added to the House budget in April and is now before the Conference Committee.

Action Requested

Please contact the members of the Conference Committee today and ask them to support Section 124 in the outside section of the budget. 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:

Subject Line: Support Outside Section 124 PARCC Cost Benefit Analysis

“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. 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 PARCC assessments before implementing such a dramatic shift in our state education system. Please support Section 124 of the outside section of the budget to implement a cost benefit analysis of the PARCC assessments so that the legislature is able to review all of this more carefully and seek more public input. Thank you!”

You can contact the members of the committee using the below information:

Representative Brian S. Dempsey, Chairman
House Committee on Ways & Means

Representative Stephen Kulik, Vice Chair
House Committee on Ways & Means

Representative Viriato Manuel deMacedo
House Committee on Ways & Means

Senator Stephen M. Brewer, Chairman
Senate Committee on Ways & Means

Senator Jennifer L. Flanagan, Vice
Chair Senate Committee on Ways & Means

Senator Richard J. Ross
Senate Committee on Ways & Means


In April, Representative Keiko Orrall—a former public school teacher and homeschooling mom who has been serving at the Massachusetts Statehouse since 2011—proposed a series of amendments to the House budget. These amendments would have struck a blow against the Common Core by putting the legislature in charge, making it harder for unelected bureaucrats to make any more sweeping changes to the educational system like Common Core. One of these amendments passed, requiring that the Department of Education produce a cost-benefit analysis on using the new PARCC test. The Conference Committee reconciles any differences in the House and Senate versions, and the budget must be approved by June 30.

The 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 experience in fighting against a national, one-size-fits-all approach to what children learn makes us concerned 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. This gives more power over educational standards 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 great state 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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