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Reclaim Oklahoma Parent Empowerment

Empowering Parents – Not Bureaucrats

Month

January 2016

Oklahoma State Board of Education Approves Final Draft of New (Non-Common Core) Educational Standards

press release.jpg

Unfortunately, ROPE has a good deal of skepticism regarding the new Oklahoma Educational standards approved by the Board of Education today. Let me be clear here, the new standards were approved by the board just today, so none of us (at ROPE) would have had the opportunity to review them at this point.

It is important to note, however, that while the OSDE press release contained comments in support for the standards from many quarters, none of these were attributed to the experts that were invited by the Standards Steering Committee last February to consult on the standards writing process.

Though we would never be so dull as to suggest the organizations and individuals mentioned in the press release weren’t educational experts, were they standards writing experts? Where were comments from Dr. Larry Gray, Dr. Jane Scheilack, or Dr. Sandra Stotsky in the press release? These were standards writing experts called in to advise the Standard Steering Committee on the standards writing process.

In fact, after the third revision of the standards were released in October of 2015, Oklahoma Watch and ROPE posted a standards review by both Dr’s. Gray and Stotsky, and neither was terribly impressed. Mrs. Hofmeister has informed us that her office has sought comments from Dr. Stotsky and incorporated these in their standards revisions, but how do we know that? Pardon our skepticism here, but where are any public comments regarding the standards? Dr. Stotsky in her original presentation to the Standards Steering Committee suggested that all comments made regarding the standards be made publicly, ostensibly so changes to the documents could be seen by all Oklahomans. Clearly, Gray and Stotsky had specific concerns regarding the standards at that time. Had Oklahoma Watch and ROPE had not publicized their comments, who would have known their concerns? Legislators? The public?

Early on, ROPE complained to the State Department of Education concerning the lack of published public comment and were told that the standards documents were a work in progress and that allowing the public to see the ongoing process of developing the standards could hurt the reputation of the standards writers. Laypersons are not normally able to read and decipher the standards documents themselves. This is why standards experts were called on – to provide ‘expert’ advice – information the public could rely on.

We believe the only way the public can truly be certain that these standards satisfied the full measure of HB3399, passed by the legislature at the overwhelming request of the public, is to have the standards reviewed by the legislature via a public forum where comments from the standards writing experts and others can be heard. We do appreciate all the work of the standards writing committees and will be pleased to see the standards vetted in a public forum.

 

Jenni White

Education Director

Running List of Curricula, Courses, Online Resources and Books to Help Your Family’s Educational Journey

parents and kid

I’m beginning this list January 18 of 2016. I hope to add to it every time I find a resource that I believe would be helpful to Christian parents, so bookmark the page and keep looking back! If you have any great ideas, post them in the comments section and I’ll add!

CURRICULA

Learn Our History: Positive, Patriotic, And Unbiased History; Learn Our History is US history for kids at its very best!  Each exciting animated history film features a group of time-traveling history students who go back in time to see US history in the making.

COURSES

Homeschool Programming: Computer Programming Courses for Kids and Teens; Your students can learn to create their own websites, games, and smart-phone apps with our self-study curriculum.

ONLINE EDUCATION RESOURCES

Classical Conversations: Online resources, books and helpful information to anyone looking to homeschool or enhance their child’s public education.

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER

Religious Freedom Day – A Guide For Commemorating Religious Freedom At School;  This guidebook is intended to help all Americans join the President in celebrating Religious Freedom Day as well as to clarify students’ religious liberties.

BOOKS

How Should We Then Live: In this brilliant book Francis A. Schaeffer analyzed the reasons for modern society’s state of affairs and presented the only viable alternative: living by the Christian ethic, acceptance of God’s revelation, and total affirmation of the Bible’s morals, values, and meaning.

The Core: Teaching Your Child the Foundations of Classical Education:  In this book, Leigh Bortins gives parents the tools and methodology to implement a rigorous, thorough, and broad curriculum based on the classical model.

America’s Schools, The Battleground for Freedom: America’s Schools will inform, alarm, and provoke you to action for education that promotes scholarship and freedom.

Removing Parents from Public Schools

It is no accident, no coincidence. And it’s not just your imagination. There really is a steady trend by the government and the courts to remove the influence of parents from the public schools.

I’m not saying your child’s teacher or principal, or even your local school board, is out to get you. Nor am I suggesting some giant system-wide conspiracy, where some shadow organization is secretly working through all different channels to rob you of your rights.

It is something bigger and more dangerous than that.

What we are witnessing is the rise of an ideology, a statist mindset that actually believes that “expert” agents of the state can make better decisions for your child than you can.

In 1979 the Supreme Court held, “The statist notion that governmental power should supersede parental authority in all cases because some parents abuse and neglect children is repugnant to American tradition.” Parham v. J.R., 442 U.S. 584 (1979), at 603. Unfortunately, a growing, powerful minority no longer find that idea repugnant today.

Instead, they argue that because not all parents are experts in education, parents should not be trusted with educational decisions for their child. Education is far too important; it must be kept in the hands of the experts.

This trend is seen in court cases such as Fields v. Palmdale (2005),which held that parents have no say in what, when, or how their children are taught about controversial subjects in the public schools; and Parker v. Hurley (2007), which held that parents have no right to opt their children out of objectionable material, even if it does not involve a core curricular subject.

It is also seen in legislative action, such as Congress’s 2009 defunding of a voucher program in D.C. that allowed low income families to make school choices for their children. And that perfectly parallels a lawsuit brought in 2013 by the federal government against the state of Louisiana in an attempt to end a similar educational choice program in that state.

For those of you keeping score, our list now covers all three branches of the federal government: the judiciary, the legislative, and the executive.

Perhaps the greatest example of this intrusive statist mindset, however, has been the push to adopt the Common Core State Standards. Conceived by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and fleshed out by trade unions in D.C., the Common Core includes “curriculum standards” that all states must adopt in order to be eligible for federal “Race to the Top” education dollars.

Under Common Core, local school districts and even state departments of education are losing authority over education decisions to a smaller and more centralized group of “experts” who are further away from and less accountable to the real experts: the parents and local school teachers who know those children and work to meet their needs every day.

Common Core is also coupled with a scheme to create a national database of American students. Proponents claim it will allow educators to tailor curriculum to the individual student’s needs, but critics see it as a ploy to help big businesses exploit student data for advertising revenue.

Fortunately, parents have started to push back. Several states that adopted the Common Core have since reversed that decision; five states declined to adopt it in the first place. And other states where Common Core was implemented this school year are still seeing parents and lawmakers pushing to retake control of education from the centralized federal powers behind this program.

The ultimate way to push back, of course, will come in 2016 with our newly concerted effort to push the Parental Rights Amendment through the U.S. Congress. This Amendment to the Constitution will secure the “fundamental right” of parents “to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children,” including “the right to choose public, private, religious, or home schools, and the right to make reasonable choices within public schools for one’s child.”

If you have friends or family members, with children in the public schools, who are concerned about Common Core or about the loss of their ability to influence the culture in their child’s educational surroundings, be sure to let them know about the PRA. It will not let one family dictate the curriculum for an entire school, but it will allow parents to make choices for their own child, such as the choices that Fields and Parker took away.

Your tax dollars pay for the public schools. Yet elitist bureaucrats are making them unsafe for parental rights while pushing their own statist worldview. And anywhere unsafe for parents is unsafe for children.

Working together, we can reverse this trend and restore the rights of parents in the education of their children.

Full Text of Oklahoma’s Parents’ Bill of Rights

Parents with Child

Parents’ Bill of Rights

BE IT ENACTED BY THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA:

SECTION 1. NEW LAW A new section of law to be codified in the Oklahoma Statutes as Section 2001 of Title 25, unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:

A. This act shall be known and may be cited as the “Parents’ Bill of Rights”.

B. This state, any political subdivision of this state or any other governmental entity shall not infringe on the fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing, education, health care and mental health of their children without demonstrating that the compelling governmental interest as applied to the child involved is of the highest order, is narrowly tailored and is not otherwise served by a less restrictive means.

C. As used in the Parents’ Bill of Rights, “parent” means the natural or adoptive parent or legal guardian of a minor child.

SECTION 2. NEW LAW A new section of law to be codified in the Oklahoma Statutes as Section 2002 of Title 25, unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:

A. All parental rights are reserved to a parent of a minor child without obstruction or interference from this state, any political subdivision of this state, any other governmental entity or any other institution, including, but not limited to, the following rights:

1. The right to direct the education of the minor child;

2. All rights of parents identified in Title 70 of the Oklahoma Statutes, including the right to access and review all school records relating to the minor child;

3. The right to direct the upbringing of the minor child;

4. The right to direct the moral or religious training of the minor child;

5. The right to make healthcare decisions for the minor child, unless otherwise prohibited by law;

6. The right to access and review all medical records of the minor child unless otherwise prohibited by law or the parent is the subject of an investigation of a crime committed against the minor child and a law enforcement official requests that the information not be released;

7. The right to consent in writing before a biometric scan of the minor child is made, shared or stored;

8. The right to consent in writing before any record of the minor child’s blood or deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is created, stored or shared, except as required by Sections 1-516 and 1-524.1 of Title 63 of the Oklahoma Statutes, or unless authorized pursuant to a court order;

9. The right to consent in writing before the state or any of its political subdivisions makes a video or voice recording of the minor child, unless the video or voice recording is made during or as a part of a court proceeding, by law enforcement officers during or as part of a law enforcement investigation, during or as part of a forensic interview in a criminal or Department of Human Services investigation or to be used solely for any of the following:

a. safety demonstrations, including the maintenance of order and discipline in the common areas of a school or on student transportation vehicles,

b. a purpose related to a legitimate academic or extracurricular activity,

c. a purpose related to regular classroom instruction,

d. security or surveillance of buildings or grounds, and

e. a photo identification card; and

10. The right to be notified promptly if an employee of this state, any political subdivision of this state, any other governmental entity or any other institution suspects that a criminal offense has been committed against the minor child by someone other than a parent, unless the incident has first been reported to law enforcement and notification of the parent would impede a law enforcement or Department of Human Services investigation. This paragraph does not create any new obligation for school districts and charter schools to report misconduct between students at school, such as fighting or aggressive play, that is routinely addressed as a student disciplinary matter by the school.

B. This section does not authorize or allow a parent to engage in conduct that is unlawful or to abuse or neglect a child in violation of the laws of this state. This section shall not be construed to apply to a parental action or decision that would end life. This section does not prohibit courts, law enforcement officers or employees of a government agency responsible for child welfare from acting in their official capacity within the reasonable and prudent scope of their authority. This section does not prohibit a court from issuing an order that is otherwise permitted by law.

C. Any attempt to encourage or coerce a minor child to withhold information from the child’s parent shall be grounds for discipline of an employee of this state, any political subdivision of this state or any other governmental entity, except for law enforcement personnel.

D. Unless those rights have been legally waived or legally terminated, parents have inalienable rights that are more comprehensive than those listed in this section. The Parents’ Bill of Rights does not prescribe all rights of parents. Unless otherwise required by law, the rights of parents of minor children shall not be limited or denied. The Parents’ Bill of Rights shall not be construed to apply to a parental action or decision that would end life.

SECTION 3. NEW LAW A new section of law to be codified in the Oklahoma Statutes as Section 2003 of Title 25, unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:

A. The board of education of a school district, in consultation with parents, teachers and administrators, shall develop and adopt a policy to promote the involvement of parents and guardians of children enrolled in the schools within the school district, including:

1. A plan for parent participation in the schools which is designed to improve parent and teacher cooperation in such areas as homework, attendance and discipline;

2. Procedures by which parents may learn about the course of study for their children and review learning materials, including the source of any supplemental educational materials;

3. Procedures by which parents who object to any learning material or activity on the basis that it is harmful may withdraw their children from the activity or from the class or program in which the material is used. Objection to a learning material or activity on the basis that it is harmful includes objection to a material or activity because it questions beliefs or practices in sex, morality or religion;

4. If a school district offers any sex education curricula pursuant to Section 11-105.1 of Title 70 of the Oklahoma Statutes or pursuant to any rules adopted by the State Board of Education, procedures to opt out of a school district from providing sex education instruction to a child if the child’s parent provides written objection to the child’s participation in the sex education curricula;

5. Procedures by which parents will be notified in advance of and given the opportunity to withdraw their children from any instruction or presentations regarding sexuality in courses other than formal sex education curricula pursuant to Section 11-105.1 of Title 70 of the Oklahoma Statutes;

6. Procedures by which parents may learn about the nature and purpose of clubs and activities that are part of the school curriculum, as well as extracurricular clubs and activities that have been approved by the school; and

7. Procedures by which parents may learn about parental rights and responsibilities under the laws of this state, including the following:

a. the right to opt out of a sex education curriculum if one is provided by the school district,

b. open enrollment rights,

c. the right to opt out of assignments pursuant to this section,

d. the right to be exempt from the immunization laws of the state pursuant to Section 1210.192 of Title 70 of the Oklahoma Statutes,

e. the promotion requirements prescribed in Section 1210.508E of Title 70 of the Oklahoma Statutes,

f. the minimum course of study and competency requirements for graduation from high school prescribed in Section 11-103.6 of Title 70 of the Oklahoma Statutes,

g. the right to opt out of instruction on the acquired immune deficiency syndrome pursuant to Section 11-103.3 of Title 70 of the Oklahoma Statutes,

h. the right to review test results,

i. the right to participate in gifted programs pursuant to Sections 1210.301 through 1210.308 of Title 70 of the Oklahoma Statutes,

j. the right to inspect instructional materials used in connection with any research or experimentation program or project pursuant to Section 11-106 of Title 70 of the Oklahoma Statutes,

k. the right to receive a school report card,

l. the attendance requirements prescribed in Section 10-106 of Title 70 of the Oklahoma Statutes,

m. the right to public review of courses of study and textbooks,

n. the right to be excused from school attendance for religious purposes,

o. policies related to parental involvement pursuant to this section,

p. the right to participate in parent-teacher associations and organizations that are sanctioned by the board of education of a school district, and

q. the right to opt out of any data collection instrument at the district level that would capture data for inclusion in the state longitudinal student data system except what is necessary and essential for establishing a student’s public school record.

B. The board of education of a school district may adopt a policy to provide to parents the information required by this section in an electronic form.

C. A parent shall submit a written request for information pursuant to this section during regular business hours to either the school principal at the school site or the superintendent of the school district at the office of the school district. Within ten (10) days of receiving the request for information, the school principal or the superintendent of the school district shall either deliver the requested information to the parent or submit to the parent a written explanation of the reasons for the denial of the requested information. If the request for information is denied or the parent does not receive the requested information within fifteen (15) days after submitting the request for information, the parent may submit a written request for the information to the board of education of a school district, which shall formally consider the request at the next scheduled public meeting of the board if the request can be properly noticed on the agenda. If the request cannot be properly noticed on the agenda, the board of education of a school district shall formally consider the request at the next subsequent public meeting of the board.

SECTION 4. NEW LAW A new section of law to be codified in the Oklahoma Statutes as Section 2004 of Title 25, unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:

A. Except as otherwise provided by law, no person, corporation, association, organization, state-supported institution, or individual employed by any of these entities may procure, solicit to perform, arrange for the performance of, perform surgical procedures, or perform a physical examination upon a minor or prescribe any prescription drugs to a minor without first obtaining a written consent of a parent or legal guardian of the minor.

B. No hospital as defined in Section 1-701 of Title 63 of the Oklahoma Statutes may permit surgical procedures to be performed upon a minor in its facilities without first having received a written consent from a parent or legal guardian of the minor.

C. The provisions of this section shall not apply when it has been determined by a physician that an emergency exists and that it is necessary to perform such surgical procedures for the treatment of an injury or drug abuse, or to save the life of the patient, or when such parent or legal guardian cannot be located or contacted after a reasonably diligent effort.

D. The provisions of this section shall not apply to an abortion, which shall be governed by the provisions of Sections 1-740 through 1-740.6 and Sections 1-744 through 1-744.6 of Title 63 of the Oklahoma Statutes or any successor statute.

E. A person who violates a provision of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) or imprisonment of not more than one (1) year in the county jail, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

SECTION 5. NEW LAW A new section of law to be codified in the Oklahoma Statutes as Section 2005 of Title 25, unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:

A. Except as otherwise provided by law or a court order, no person, corporation, association, organization or state-supported institution, or any individual employed by any of these entities, may procure, solicit to perform, arrange for the performance of or perform mental health evaluation in a clinical or nonclinical setting or mental health treatment on a minor without first obtaining the written or oral consent of a parent or a legal guardian of the minor child. If the parental consent is given through telemedicine, the health professional must verify the identity of the parent at the site where the consent is given.

B. This section does not apply when an emergency exists that requires a person to perform mental health screening or provide mental health treatment to prevent serious injury to or save the life of a minor child.

C. A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) or imprisonment of not more than one (1) year in the county jail, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

SECTION 6. This act shall become effective November 1, 2014.

What Are ‘Parental Rights’?

The relationship between the parent and child is a fundamental building block of society. As we teach and guide our children, we are investing in the future of our family and the nation. The job we do today will be reflected in the quality of life our children enjoy tomorrow.

That is why our rights as parents are so important to understand. We know that we have the right to bear arms and most of us would defend that right with our lives. We have the right to privacy, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of association. But what about the right to raise our children as we see fit? What about our right to make medical decisions for our kids without interference by the government, DHS, or doctors we disagree with? What about the right to decide that our children are not ready for certain controversial lessons at school and to request that our child be exempted from those lessons?

In a lot of states, your ability to make those choices without restriction is limited. But, in Oklahoma, we are very fortunate because those rights are codified into state law and therefore protected. The Parent’s Bill of Rights secures these rights for every parent, trusting parents to know what is best for their children.

As a parent, you are in the best position to know what is best for your children. By knowing your rights and exercising them, you ensure that decisions made regarding your kids are made by you, not a bureaucrat, doctor or social worker.

And that protects your children.

I hope to blog at least weekly on topics to educate parents about their rights. I will be discussing the law and how it affects us and when legislation is pending that affects Parental Rights. I will keep you informed so you can help protect your fundamental parental rights. If you have any comments or would like more information feel free to contact me at parentalrightsok@gmail.com.

Tracey Montgomery

Oklahoma State Director for Parentalrights.org

Ten Myths About Mathematics Education And Why You Shouldn’t Believe Them

With the advent of Common Core came the further full-court press of progressive mathematics. For years now, as Common Core math has been pushed upon the American public public, parents and kids alike have banged their heads on their desks and dinner tables across the country, trying desperately to make sense of convoluted and drawn-out mathematics problems parents never had to conquer when they were in school.

A recent article from the Hechingerreport,

Back off parents: It’s not your job to teach Common Core math when helping with homework

made me so mad my head almost exploded. Seriously, that’s just the craziest nonsense ever. The whole idea of the article was essentially, “parents don’t help your own children with their math, because you can’t understand it anyway. Just make sure the work gets done, no matter what”.

How is this not the school and a subject – math – getting right in the middle between kid and parent, essentially making the kid think the parent is stupid, pulling them – and the family – apart?

For years, I’ve tried to help parents understand the differences between progressive and traditional math because there really is no way to fight progressive math if you don’t know what is wrong with it and what is better. It wasn’t until I saw this article that I realized I didn’t have to invent the wheel.

Ten Myths About Math is written by a number of really excellent math educators who have taken the time to write out each math myth and explain fully why it simply isn’t true. Please visit the article to print out the article, but I’m going to paste the myths and explanations in below so you can read them immediately.

Myth #1

Only what students discover for themselves is truly learned.

REALITY

Students learn in a variety of ways. Basing most learning on student discovery is time-consuming, does not insure that students end up learning the right concepts, and can delay or prevent progression to the next level. Successful programs use discovery for only a few very carefully selected topics, never all topics.

REFERENCES

Dixon, R., Carnine, D., Lee, D. Wallin, J., & Chard, D. (1998). Review of High Quality Experimental Mathematical Research: Executive Summary. Eugene, OR: National Center to Improve the Tools of Educators, University of Oregon.

Klahr, D. & Nigam, M. (2004). The Equivalence of Learning Paths in Early Science Instruction: Effects of Direct Instruction and Discovery Learning.Psychological Science, 15, 10, 661-667.

Becker, W. C. and Engelmann, S.; Sponsor Findings From Project Follow Through. University of Oregon.

John R. Anderson, Lynne M. Reder, Herbert A. Simon. Applications and Misapplications of Cognitive Psychology to Mathematics Education.

R. James Milgram, “What is Mathematical Proficiency?,” March, 2004. Invited address, First Workshop on Mathematics Education. Mathematics and Science Research Institute, Berkeley, CA.

Myth #2

Children develop a deeper understanding of mathematics and a greater sense of ownership when they are expected to invent and use their own methods for performing the basic arithmetical operations, rather than study, understand and practice the standard algorithms.

REALITY

Children who do not master the standard algorithms begin to have problems as early as algebra I.

The snubbing or outright omission of the long division algorithm by NCTM- based curricula can be singularly responsible for the mathematical demise of its students. Long division is a pre-skill that all students must master to automaticity for algebra (polynomial long division), pre-calculus (finding roots and asymptotes), and calculus (e.g., integration of rational functions and Laplace transforms.) Its demand for estimation and computation skills during the procedure develops number sense and facility with the decimal system of notation as no other single arithmetic operation affords.

REFERENCES

General reference: The algebra, pre-calculus and calculus teachers and professors who must remediate or flunk these children.

From 1998 issue of the Notices of the American Mathematical Society:

“We would like to emphasize that the standard algorithms of arithmetic are more than just ‘ways to get the answer’ — that is, they have theoretical as well as practical significance. For one thing, all the algorithms of arithmetic are preparatory for algebra, since there are (again, not by accident, but by virtue of the construction of the decimal system) strong analogies between arithmetic of ordinary numbers and arithmetic of polynomials.” (The above was quoted in an open letter to Secretary of Education Richard Riley in 1999, which was signed by 200 prominent U.S. mathematicians.)

The Role of Long Division in the K-12 Curriculum; David Klein (California State University, Northridge), R. James Milgram (Stanford University)

Myth #3

There are two separate and distinct ways to teach mathematics. The NCTM backed approach deepens conceptual understanding through a problem solving approach. The other teaches only arithmetic skills through drill and kill. Children don’t need to spend long hours practicing and reviewing basic arithmetical operations. It’s the concept that’s important.

REALITY

“The starting point for the development of children’s creativity and skills should be established concepts and algorithms… Success in mathematics needs to be grounded in well-learned algorithms as well as understanding of the concepts.”

What is taught in math is the most critical component of teaching math. How math is taught is important as well, but is dictated by the “what”. Much of understanding comes from mastery of basic skills – an approach backed by most professors of mathematics. It succeeds through systematically empowering children with the pre-skills they need to succeed in all areas of mathematics. The myth of conceptual understanding versus skills is essentially a false choice – a bogus dichotomy. The NCTM standards suggested “less emphasis” on topics needed for higher math, such as many basic skills of arithmetic and algebra.

“That students will only remember what they have extensively practiced – and that they will only remember for the long term that which they have practiced in a sustained way over many years – are realities that can’t be bypassed.”

REFERENCES

Kenneth Ross, Chair, Mathematical Association of America President’s Task Force on the NCTM Standards. (June 1997). Response to NCTM’s Commission on the Future of the Standards.

Basic Skills vs Conceptual Understanding; a Bogus Dichotomy; Hung-Hsi Wu, Department of Mathematics, University of California, Berkeley (American Educator, Fall, 1999).

Willingham, D. (Spring 2004). Practice Makes Perfect-But Only If You Practice Beyond the Point of Perfection. American Educator.

Algorithms, Algebra, and Access, by Stanley Ocken (Sep 2001).

In Defense of “Mindless Rote”, by Ethan Akin (Mar 30, 2001).

On the Algorithms of Arithmetic, by Ralph Raimi (2002).

Myth #4

The math programs based on NCTM standards are better for children with learning disabilities than other approaches.

REALITY

“Educators must resist the temptation to adopt the latest math movement, reform, or fad when data-based support is lacking…”

Large-scale data from California and foreign countries show that children with learning disabilities do much better in more structured learning environments.

REFERENCES

Miller, S.P. and Mercer, C.D., “Educational Aspects of Mathematics Disabilities.” January/February 1997, Journal of Learning Disabilities, Vol. 30, No. 1, pp. 47-56.

Darch, C., Carnine, D., & Gersten, R. (1984). “Explicit Instruction in Mathematics Problem Solving.” The Journal of Educational Research, 77, 6, 351-359.

Myth #5

Urban teachers like using math programs based on NCTM standards.

REALITY

“Mere mention of [TERC] was enough to bring a collective groan from more than 100 Boston Teacher Union representatives…”

REFERENCES

Editorial, “Mathematical Unknowns,” The Boston Globe, November 8, 2004, A10.

Myth #6

“Calculator use has been shown to enhance cognitive gains in areas that include number sense, conceptual development, and visualization. Such gains can empower and motivate all teachers and students to engage in richer problem-solving activities.” (NCTM Position Statement)

REALITY

Children in almost all of the highest scoring countries in the Third International Mathematics and Science Survey (TIMMS) do not use calculators as part of mathematics instruction before grade 6.

A study of calculator usage among calculus students at Johns Hopkins University found a strong correlation between calculator usage in earlier grades and poorer performance in calculus.

REFERENCES

Calculating the cost of calculators, Lance Izumi, Capitol Ideas, Pacific Research Institute, Vol. 5, No. 51, December 21, 2000.

W. Stephen Wilson, K-12 Calculator Usage and College Grades Educational Studies in Mathematics.

Myth #7

The reason other countries do better on international math tests like TIMSS and PISA is that those countries select test takers only from a group of the top performers.

REALITY

On NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” program on education in the U.S. (Feb. 15, 2005), Grover Whitehurst, Director of the Institute of Education Sciences at the Department of Education, stated that test takers are selected randomly in all countries and not selected from the top performers.

REFERENCES

Grover Whitehurst, Director, Institute of Education Sciences; on NPR Talk of the Nation, February 15, 2005;

Myth #8

Math concepts are best understood and mastered when presented “in context”; in that way, the underlying math concept will follow automatically.

REALITY

Applications are important and story problems make good motivators, but understanding should come from building the math for universal application. When story problems take center stage, the math it leads to is often not practiced or applied widely enough for students to learn how to apply the concept to other problems.

“[S]olutions of problems … need to be rounded off with a mathematical discus-sion of the underlying mathematics. If new tools are fashioned to solve a problem, then these tools have to be put in the proper mathematical perspec-tive. … Otherwise the curriculum lacks mathematical cohesion.”

REFERENCES

The Mathematician and Mathematics Education Reform; Hung-Hsi Wu, University of California, Berkeley; in Notices of the American Mathematical Society, 43(1996), 1531-1537).

Myth #9

NCTM math reform reflects the programs and practices in higher performing nations.

REALITY

A recent study commissioned by the U.S.Department of Education, comparing Singapore’s math program and texts with U.S. math texts, found that Singapore’s approach is distinctly different from NCTM math “reforms.”

Also, a paper that reviews videotaped math classes in Japan shows that there is teacher-guided instruction (including a wide variety of hints and helps from teachers while students are working on or presenting solutions).

REFERENCES

What the United States Can Learn From Singapore’s World-Class Mathematics System (and what Singapore can learn from the United States); American Institutes for Research; for U.S. Department of Education; January 28, 2005; Washington, D.C.

Siegel, Alan R. Telling Lessons from the TIMSS Videotape: remarkable teaching practices as recorded from eighth-grade mathematics classes in Japan, Germany and the US. Chapter 5 in “Testing Student Learning, Evaluating Teaching Effectiveness,” Williamson M. Evers and Herbert J. Walberg, Eds., Hoover Institution Press, May, 2004, pp. 161-194.

Myth #10

Research shows NCTM programs are effective.

REALITY

There is no conclusive evidence of the efficacy of any math instructional program.

Increases in test scores may reflect increased tutoring, enrollment in learning centers, or teachers who supplement with texts and other materials of their own choosing. Also, much of the “research” touted by some of the NSF programs has been conducted by the same companies selling the programs. State exams are increasingly being revised to address state math standards that reflect NCTM guidelines rather than the content recommended by mathematicians.

REFERENCES

On Evaluating Curricular Effectiveness; Judging the Quality of K-12 Mathematics Evaluations; National Research Council, the National Academies Press; September, 2004.

The state tests in Maryland have a number of 3 point problems in which students are awarded 1 point for performing the math correctly and 2 points for explaining it. It is thus possible to do the math right but get half the credit that another student gets with the wrong answer.

When my oldest child went to Kindergarten, I volunteered as a Helping Hand. Some days I worked in the library. My goal was to read all the books that were there, and the school librarian absolutely loved that. On Fridays, I volunteered for my daughter’s teacher, Mrs. D. She was a wonderful Christian woman and a great teacher. There were about three students in there that could already read, so she gave them extra projects and let them help other students which Carol loved to do. Things were going well, but then it happened…

Carol had stayed home sick one day, and the day she went back, she took a small framed picture of Jesus with her to put on her desk to help her feel better. When I came to pick her up, Mrs. D came out to the car and told me that Carol hadn’t finished her work and that she was still inside. Well, that was very strange indeed! I went into the classroom and Carol was fiercely coloring her project and was visibly distraught. She told me Mrs. D had made her put her picture of Jesus under her desk. I told her that Mrs. D had probably been given some wrong information and didn’t know what the rules were.

As we were leaving the room, Mrs. D was coming back in. She knelt down to Carol’s eye level and said, “Honey, I am so sorry that I upset you today. We just have to keep church stuff at church and school stuff at school.” As she stood back up to face me I said, “Actually, according to the Supreme Court case of Mergens vs. Board of Education, not only can she have that picture of Jesus on her desk, she can pass them out as long as she isn’t disrupting your class. If that is a policy in our schools, I will need to speak to someone because it is illegal.”

Mrs. D went white. She then suggested that I go see the Superintendent. We went home, and then Paul and I called and made an appointment with the principal. He told us that of course that wasn’t a school policy and that even if it was, he wouldn’t obey it. As it turned out, he had started the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in our school district years before when he was a coach. I brought him Student Handbooks on Christian Rights that had been provided to us from Jay Sekulow’s group, now called ACLJ. I had one for each campus in the school district.

Being an activist is just a matter of sticking up for what is right. My action was merely me protecting my child and all the children in my community from wrong ideas being spread. When opportunities like this arise, stand up and speak the truth and hold your ground. You can do it! You MUST!

 

What Families Do With School Choice

I’ve written for School Reform News at Heartland Foundation for several years now. In 2013 I wrote this article for SRN. This blog seems like a really great place to post this, as I think it will encourage all kinds of parents who might be interested in making an educational difference for their child/children.

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Madison, Wisconsin mother Mary Keaveny has enrolled her five children in three different kinds of schools.

The children, ages two to 16, all began learning at home, even the two with dyslexia. Clint, schooled at home until eighth grade, just finished his freshman year at a nearby Catholic school that offers a classical education.

“Clint is a really smart kid, way beyond my ability to school at this point,” Mary said. “He needs to debate and argue, and it’s hard to do that at home.”

Mary knew Clint was in the right place when “we got the greatest letter from one of his teachers, who said he wrote the most beautiful essay for his final.”

Mary is one of thousands across the country who are shepherding their children through a rapidly expanding field of K-12 education options that allow parents to fit education to each child’s changing needs.

Sports and Dyslexia
Thirteen-year-old Ryan Keaveny loves sports. Though always active in various leagues, befriending kids his age was a challenge because Ryan was homeschooled until 2012.

“Playmates would get scarce in the fall as they all went back to their public school sports teams,” Mary said. When the Keavenys moved in 2012, they found a small Catholic school right around the corner.

“Ryan has only 11 [total students] in his class,” Mary reports, “which is great because he now has friends and a teacher who can give him really individualized instruction to help with his dyslexia.”

Dyslexia and Online Learning
Mary has homeschooled Kevin, 10, and Megan, 8, who struggles with severe dyslexia and could barely read.

The family’s recent move, combined with new expenses, Megan’s dyslexia, and the ever-present needs of a two-year-old found Mary needing some accountability for Kevin and Megan.

She found the Hayward Center for Individualized Learning (HACIL) Virtual Charter School, a nonprofit online school chartered through the Wisconsin Department of Education. Because Wisconsin practices public-school open -enrollment, Mary receives a transfer credit of $800 per child to attend HACIL. This can help pay for internet service, books, and even enrichment classes.

Though Hayward is five hours from her home, Mary only has to make the trip when she wants to check out books from HACIL’s library and to present the kids for state testing—a requirement of program enrollment.

“I can homeschool again this year because of the support provided by HACIL,” Mary said, happily.

Pervading Beliefs
Lindsey Hodson of Middletown, Virginia, uses a mix of Montessori, Catholic, and home schools to satisfy the educational needs of her four small children.

“We don’t want our kids riding school a bus—we don’t like the lack of supervision. As Catholics, it’s hard to attend a school that doesn’t follow the liturgical calendar, and we like the fact that Catholic school classrooms all contain a crucifix and kids can pray and say the Pledge of Allegiance,” Lindsey said. “Catholic schools also maintain an ongoing sibling discount, which encourages procreation. They are very open to life.”

Catholic education has not fitted every one of her kids, Lindsey says. Because dyslexia has challenged her husband, Lindsey wants to closely supervise her children’s reading instruction. As with her first child, who starts second grade in fall 2013, she plans to teach her children to read before their first grade.

The Hodsons’ five-year-old son spent a year in Montessori school and will attend one day a week this fall because he learns differently than their other three.

“I need to work on getting this kid to be more of a self-starter like the others,” Lindsey explains.

Crying at School
Lauren Marshall had never considered an alternative to public school until her son, Dillon, came home from school crying one day. Dillon has ADHD and reading difficulties.

“I never thought of myself as an advocate for my kids,” the Tulsa, Oklahoma mother said. “I’d drop them off at school, go to work, and think they were fine.”

Laura took the next day off work to follow Dillon through third grade at his public elementary school. She was horrified to witness him climb under his desk and finally leave his classroom altogether.

Lauren quickly quit her job to educate Dillon and his younger brother, David, using curricula a teacher friend suggested. During the next several months, Dillon was also diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and dyslexia.

Online School to Voucher School
After two years at home, Dillon had improved significantly. Then, Lauren found K12 Online Schools. She loved the format but couldn’t afford the tuition. When K12 became available through the newly formed Oklahoma Virtual Learning Academy (OCVA) charter school several years later, she immediately enrolled both boys. For six weeks, her school district refused to allow her kids to transfer, but it ultimately relented.

After three years in OCVA, Lauren found Oklahoma’s Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship program for children with disabilities. That allowed Dillon to start ninth grade at Tulsa’s coveted Town and Country School specifically for children with Asperger’s.

The preparation David received through homeschooling helped him gain seventh-grade entry into Tulsa’s George Washington Carver Middle School, a magnet school where students earn attendance through high academic achievement. Otherwise, David would attend Nathan Hale Junior High, which received an “F” on the state’s annual academic report card.

Lauren is convinced: “If more parents understood the need to be involved, real changes in education could be made.”

Resources for Parents to Use to Begin Educating Their Children At Home

Though the vast majority of parents want the very best education possible for their children, few parents consider schooling their children at home for various reasons.

Some don’t believe they have the education necessary to educate their own children and that the experts in education are to be found in schools. Others work outside the home and believe they are unable to devote enough time to properly educating their children on their own. Often, those that are interested in homeschooling their children simply don’t know how to access resources necessary to begin.

Believe it or not, not only are there working parents and single parents who homeschool their children, but parents are much more ‘expert’ at raising and schooling their children than someone in a school that sees them only a portion of a day. Here are some ideas and resources to get any parent considering schooling their kids at home, on the way to a successful homeschool experience.

GENERAL OKLAHOMA HOMESCHOOL RULE 

Any parent may homeschool their child in Oklahoma simply by withdrawing them from school. It is best that you send your school a letter informing them you intend to remove your child/children in order they not be counted truant, and because it provides a record for your files in the event your homeschool would be challenged. Oklahoma does not require lesson plans, tests, or any other form of accountability from homeschooling parents, leaving parents free to educate their children in any way that works for them.

School Choice Options

EDUCATIONAL CHOICE OPTIONS IN OKLAHOMA (graphic copied from OCHEC.com)

Please note in the graphic above, that online schools such as K12.com, administered by the State Department of Education, though utilized by students at home, are NOT considered homeschooling. While these programs work for many, many families because they allow a child to work at their own pace, these programs are an extension of public schooling.

There are online private schools such as A BEKA Academy – , Freedom Project Education  (other private K12 online schools can be found here) that provide students the ability to log on and take virtual classes as desired by the parent.

OKLAHOMA ORGANIZATIONS DEDICATED TO ASSISTING HOMESCHOOLING PARENTS

Oklahoma Christian Home Educators’ Consociation (OCHEC) –  – has links to resources, support groups and answers to many questions frequently asked by parents interested in beginning the homeschool journey. They also have a Facebook page as well.

Oklahoma Homeschool provides curricula ideas and other information – . They are also on Facebook.

Our State Department of Education has homeschool resources at this link.

Home Schooling in Oklahoma covers a vast number of topics on everything from homeschooling as a single parent to methods for homeschooling and teaching aids.

The Homeschooling Mom is another great site for boundless information.

NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS DEDICATED TO ASSISTING HOMESCHOOLING PARENTS

There are many national organizations dedicated to homeschooling, but probably the best known organization with the widest reach is Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). HSLDA provides curriculum resources and legal advice in the event your homeschool or parenting would be challenged.

ORGANIZATIONS/COMPANIES THAT PROVIDE FULL HOMESCHOOL CURRICULA PACKAGES

Several organizations/companies provide full homeschool curricula packages. These allow parents to follow a predetermined course of study for any or all subjects instead of creating themselves. These are excellent choices for parents timid about homeschooling or who have limited time to devote to the process.

o Sonlight Christian Homeschool Curriculum
o A Beka Book
o Classical Conversations

Believe it or not, homeschooling in Oklahoma is accessible to nearly every family that wants it badly enough to make it work. Though this is by no means an exhaustive list, if you are interested in homeschooling your child, please visit any of the resources provided here and start researching your path TODAY!

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