When your student has an invisible diagnosis. 

Children with “invisible” diagnoses such as high functioning autism/Aspergers, or ADHD, which are often accompanied by executive functioning disorder and anxiety, can suffer without an individualized education plan (IEP). With the age inappropriate material and speed of common core, suffering in school can be exacerbated. Please read and bookmark the links included here, to ensure your child success in school under the current educational climate.  
Is your child doing well academically, yet struggling greatly? You may be told your gifted child, who is twice exceptional in that he also has Aspergers or ADHD, does not need or qualify for an IEP, since their grades are so high. Yet, he loses his homework which results in anxiety and stress. Perhaps you were told there was no reason for an IEP for your honors student, yet he sits alone in the cafeteria and cannot connect with the other children due to his social skills deficits. Or, perhaps you were pushed away from pursuing an IEP because your child tests well, but you see extreme anxiety every night at home. What if your child is repeatedly being disciplined in school for handing in messy assignments that are difficult to read, has inappropriate behaviors in class, or is picked on? Are these diagnosis related issues reasons to pursue an IEP? Why are the districts dissuading you? The answers might be below. 

So many parents are going through this.   Check out this list of top ten ridiculous comments from an IEP meeting- 

 “Ridiculous Statement #1

Your child’s emotional disturbance is not interfering with her academic performance so she doesn’t qualify for an IEP.

Fact:  There are 13 disability categories under IDEA.  In order to qualify for an IEP you must meet the definition of one of the 13 categories and by reason thereof NEED special education and related services.  One of the 13 disability categories is emotional disturbance and if that disability is interfering with the child’s ability to access the curriculum then by definition she has a need for an IEP.”

Read more: 



There actually are many possible classroom accommodations for students with aspergers or ADHD. 

“Classroom Tips for Students with Asperger’s Disorder

— Leslie E. Packer, PhD

In addition to the core deficits associated with having an Autism Spectrum Disorder, many students with Asperger’s will also exhibit tics, obsessive-compulsiveness, executive dysfunction, and ADHD, even though they may not be formally diagnosed with those disorders.

Some tips or strategies to consider after determining the student’s needs:

* Use visual organizers for daily routine, and highlight any changes in routine. Consistent routine and structure reduces stress for the student and the organization and consistency of your classroom environment is one of the key factors in managing the student’s deficits.

* Verbal skills tend to be a strength or relative strength, so whenever possible, use verbal cues that are short, direct, and concrete. 

* When presenting multi-step directions, pause between instructions on multi-step tasks and check for comprehension.

* Because abstract thinking is challenging, incorporate visual cues and graphics organizers for written expression tasks. Visual editing strips, like those described in the executive dysfunction section of this site, can help the student remember what to do and in what order.

* If the student appears to be getting agitated or headed for a “melt-down,” it may be due to stress from the particular situation or frustration. Avoid situations that might produce “sensory overload” for the student.

* Do not expect skills learned in one setting to generalize to another setting. Teach the skill and rehearse it in a variety of settings.

* Provide clear expectations and rules for behavior.

* Foster social skills by direct instruction and teach the student how to interact through social stories, modeling and role-playing.

* Because many students with Asperger’s have handwriting deficits, allow extra time for handwritten work and explore the use of word processors.

* If the student engages in perseverative questioning that interferes with classroom instruction, you can try instructing the student to write the question down and that you will meet with him after class to answer his question. If that doesn’t work, talk with the student, state that his questions are creating a problem for his peers and for you, and ask him what he thinks would work to help him not ask so many questions during class. You may wish to incorporate a private visual signal.

* Behavior modification plans may work well for some behaviors and some students, but it may engender some “robotic-like” or rigid behaviors.

* Be particularly sensitive to peer rejection and bullying. You may need to insure that there is added adult supervision in settings like the playground, in the cafeteria, on the school bus, and in the halls (if the students go from room to room on their own). Pre-plan with the student what she will say or do in particular situations if you expect that they will be difficult for her, then quickly review with her afterward how her plan worked.

* Arrange for the student to get speech and language services in school to help address the pragmatics of communication and conversational social skills. Provide small-group training in social skills.”

Read more examples of how an IEP would be beneficial for children with Aspergers:


A parent shares her thoughts on why an individualized educational plan was imperative to her child’s success.    
“As an elementary school student, my child had average and above average grades. However, around sixth grade, the advent of common core along with the added stress of middle school, changing classes and teachers during the day, and an active social life, his stress and anxiety levels increased.

It was suggested we test for ADHD, which could either be ruled out or the very cause for the negative moods and behavior changes. As soon as the diagnosis was made and a CSE district meeting resulted in an IEP being put in place, the positive changes were profound. The IEP ensured that my child had every tool necessary not just to “keep up”, but to succeed with confidence and his self esteem intact. He received just the right accommodations to relieve stress during tests, notes for homework, and assurance that he was keeping up with his peers. 

An IEP doesn’t guarantee good grades; it guarantees that every student receives a fair and appropriate education, and good grades aren’t even an indicator of that. Seeing my child strive to do his personal best, enthusiastic and well adjusted, not feeling inferior or less than was all I really wanted. The grades improving was a bonus.”
-Christine Tamke, New York.  

Common core is a struggle for so many students. The one size fits all approach, combined with age inappropriate material that moves way too fast, is crushing many students.  

Here are more related links- valuable resources to bookmark. 

















On common core and special needs children- 






Kindergarten common core is still inappropriate. 

School has NOT improved since the 50’s.  Play has been replaced by standards that are far too rigorous and age inappropriate. 
Nothing has changed with early childhood common core.  
Have you seen these expectations for four and five year olds in a full day program? 
“As a reader your child can:

* Read words on sight (examples: word wall words, classmate’s names, family names, labels and signs).

* Use the beginning letter or other known letters in words to read (cue) some words (partial phonemic awareness).

* Read level B to C emergent texts with purpose, fluency, and understanding. (Show samples of texts being read independently after practice. Include child-selected samples from the child’s book bag and samples from guided reading.)

As a writer your child can:

* Write little informational, narrative, and opinion compositions with a mix of invented and a few conventional spellings.

* Demonstrate some letter-sound correspondences when producing drawings and meaningful texts.

* Create meaningful independent compositions such as R U DF for Are you deaf?

* Read back her own writing in Standard English when short pieces are transcribed by the teacher and practiced over and over by the student. (Show examples of stories you have “published” by transcribing the child’s writing and pasting it under the child’s original “kid writing.”)

* Begin to use a few conventions such as appropriate capitalization, grammatical usage, and punctuation. (Show examples from the writer’s portfolio.)

As a speller your child can:

* Spell some high-frequency kindergarten-level spelling words correctly. (Show examples of spelling words you have taught.)

* Invent spellings of many unknown words with close letter-sound matches making them readable.”

What happened to the moratorium?


“Five- and 6-year-old kids now spend hours in their seats doing academic work, often with little or no recess or physical education, or arts, music and science. These kids are tested ad nauseam and expected to be able to do things by the time they leave kindergarten that some, perhaps even many, are not developmentally prepared to do.”

Read this. 


Developmentally Inappropriate: How Common Core Jeopardizes the Foundation of Learning and May Harm Some Children (VIDEO)


One kindergarten teacher who wishes to remain anonymous shared her thoughts. 
“I have taught kindergarten for 30 years. I watched the half day turn to full day. I remember arguing that it couldn’t become first grade. That they would need all the music, gym and art classes that were offered to all the students and that these things should be in the afternoon as young children are far more capable of learning academic content in the morning (my personal observations over teaching half day programs for many years). I also argued that the academic content needed to remain developmentally appropriate. That playtime (not centers or selected toys each day) was not negotiable. They must have full and unstructured free play where the teacher simply sits back and observes their social emotional development (which has also been wrongly standardized).

Sadly, kindergarten children in my school are in reading groups, participating in the Daily 5 reading workshop model, expected to do independent work while I work with small groups, we have a math program that is TOO HARD and developmentally inappropriate but touts being common core aligned which it really isn’t. Which should be a good thing, but it isn’t. 

Testing: I have to give a math and reading assessments bi-weekly (summative assessments), AIMSweb testing three times a year, MAP Testing 3 times a year, data collection meetings, behavioral assessments, and coming to Illinois soon KIDS Assessment which is a data collection nightmare most parents are unaware of. 

So, yea. It’s first grade and then some. I don’t know a kindergarten teacher who isn’t disgusted by all of this. Not one.”




Vouchers and special needs students.  

What is this new catch phrase under our new administration, known as school choice and vouchers? 


“School vouchers, also referred to as opportunity scholarships, are state-funded scholarships that pay (often partially) for students to attend private school rather than public school.”



School choice, vouchers, and so much talk about placing students anywhere but public schools. What happens to children who have disabilities and an IEP? How will they receive their services? Who oversees?  Do parents realize that this may be an issue? 

Please read-

Special Education: Vouchers and Betsy DeVos

Click to access COPAA_Voucher_paper_final_R6.pdf

Shawne Albero, a SEPTA president of a New York district, shares some information.  

“The enrollment of the student with disabilities in a private school with voucher monies is considered “parental placement”. Parentally placed students with disabilities may be eligible for services via the district in which the private school is located, not the private school itself. And that is dependent on whether or not the students falls into the percentage of students eligible- it’s called “proportionate share” of special education funds. A school district only has to service a percentage of students attending private schools via parental placement. The info on that can be found here:

Click to access idea.pdf

Private schools have no obligation to honor IDEA. They do not accept federal funds, and therefore do not fall under the jurisdiction of federal laws. This does not change (so far) when private schools accept voucher money. So, for example, in FL, when parents accept voucher monies from the McKay Scholarship, they waive their rights and their child’s rights to due process. If the IEP is not being administered properly, then parents have no recourse. Nor does the private school have to honor an IEP if it doesn’t choose to. 

Additionally, no longer an Iep, a plan would now be called an “ISP” or “Individualized Service Plan”, which is a limited menu of services that the home school district has determined it can offer to the private schools located within its boundaries. Keep in mind, the private school is not administering the ISP. Whatever accommodations and modifications made to the curriculum by the private school, are decisions that have no legal standing. A parent cannot pursue due process against the private school. Usually the services offered in an ISP are related services, such as Speech, OT, PT/ Consultation services for school staff, ex. a behaviorist/ Consultation and direct services for visually impaired students

Click to access IEP%20vs.%20Service%20Plan.pdf

Below is a comparison of state programs. Several studies have been made of school vouchers for typical students, but very few have been done on the efficacy of school vouchers for students with disabilities.

Click to access StatebyStateVoucherComparison.pdf

Many parents will point to the struggles their children with disabilities face everyday in the public schools as a justification to accept vouchers. The lack of training, the unfunded mandates, the failure of our schools to recognize the different types of instruction our students with LDs require, as well as social skills training to handle anxiety, or unexpected events.
If vouchers for students with disabilities come to NY- here are some important questions:
1. If training for special educators and general ed. teachers to understand issues such as executive function deficits, learning disabilities, social skills, etc. is already a low priority, what will happen when public school districts can simply offer vouchers? Will they abandon improving special education in the district bc they can influence those students to exit?
2. What happens when students with disabilities exhibit behavior issues in a private school? Or academic failure? They have no protection under IDEA in most states (meaning no due process recourse) so their parents don’t have any leverage.
3. Twice exceptional students are a population that are least likely to receive vouchers. What happens to them?
4. How do parents make up the shortfall between voucher amounts of $4000-$21000 if tuition at private schools dedicated to students with disabilities averages around $40,000?

Parents can obtain services for their child thru the “proportionate funds” even if they choose to enroll their child in a private school. But again, these are severely limited services. Remember, not all children will be eligible. Once the school district exhausts those funds for the year, that’s it. This depends on what the home school district agrees to. It’s very, very hard to get effective social skills training in many public school districts right now, so many are not equipped to service their own students, much less parentally placed private school students. This is what NYS says:

“Provision of Special Education Services-

The school district of location is responsible to provide special education services pursuant to the IESP developed for each eligible student. Services must be provided on an equitable basis as compared to other students with disabilities attending public or nonpublic schools located within the school district.  

The manner (how, where and by whom) special education and related services will be provided to students is determined by the district of location based on the consultation process and in consideration of the individual needs of the student. The final decision with respect to services provided to individual students is made by the CSE of the district of location. Services provided to parentally placed students may be provided on the site of the private school or at another location. ”


Special Education advocate Michele Hirsch adds:  

“If a private school is a state approved school,  then the laws would have to be followed. Below is a list of approved schools.”  

It is imperative that a parent be aware of if the desired school has been state approved. Many are not. 

One New York parent activist states her concerns –
“Services for a parentally placed private school child with a disability must be provided in accordance with a services plan. A services plan must describe the specific special education and related services that will be provided to a parentally placed private school child with disabilities designated to receive services. 

 See 34 CFR §300.138(b). The regulations in 34 CFR §300.137(a) explicitly provide that children with disabilities enrolled by their parents in private schools do not have an individual right to receive some or all of the special education and related services they would receive if enrolled in the public schools.
Here’s how it can work for a special ed student placed in a private school by “parent choice” (as opposed to a placement decision of the CSE which is entirely different). The district will provide funding for services necessary. It has to pay for OT/PT/Speech/behavioral consultant/ and sometimes even special education teacher services up to a certain allocated percentage. However, that’s where the school responsibility ends. There is no supervision of the students educational program if they are in a parent choice private school. If therapists aren’t showing up, it becomes the parents problem. Special ed teacher is out sick….oh well! There is no one supervising the staff providing services so the teacher may or may not be effective. There is no one looking at the student on a regular basis so no one is adjusting the program or goals as needed. Often times it is parents responsibility to find the teachers and therapists from an approved list that the district is legally allowed to pay. Some private schools will do this but not all, and it is not the school district’s responsibility. It really puts the onus even further on the parent to be vigilant. Plus travelling to the places where the service providers are can be a burden too. The whole thing can be exhausting, even if the private school agrees, enforcement is logistically a nightmare.”

Linked below is a study by the GAO showing that vouchers for private schools for SWDs can complicate administration of “equitable services”, aka: special education services, provided by the school district in which the private school is located. From the study: “…but officials in all four states GAO visited—comprising half of all private choice programs and two-thirds of participating students—said that vouchers and ESAs complicate their efforts to implement these requirements.” 

How the new administration proceeds with vouchers is unclear, but this has been a hot topic and one that will not be going away any time soon. What will happen to our students, and our special needs children? Remain vigilant. Ask your representatives. They serve YOU, not the opposite.  



KINDERGARTEN common core boot camp. 

Above is a KINDERGARTEN wall out of Ohio. As an adult, not even sure what it means. Perhaps it is missing the pictures of ABC’s and Clifford the Big Red Dog reading a book?
KINDERGARTEN rigor is wrong. This newest piece (of many) explains well the issues of expecting rigor from the youngest children. 


Teacher Sue Goncarovs, shares;

“(This article highlights) how the biological necessities of early learning are being dismissed and supplanted with developmentally inappropriate “standards.” A generation of children since NCLB have been impacted, and older teachers who know better are being targeted and forced out of their profession for speaking up.  

Devastation of a profession by a monopoly of greed. 
Devastation of a generation for the sake of profit. ”

From the article:

“We know from educational theory what works,” Minicozzi said. “Kids should be actively engaged. They should be outside. They should be moving, exploring. They should have multiple opportunities to explore at different times.” She worries that as schools adopt Common Core State Standards school administrators will continue to push more content and direct instruction into kindergarten.”

Also from above piece:
Hassani says they are expected to teach a 45 minute math block, a 45 minute reading block, 45 minutes of phonics, science, social studies and other special programming as well. That’s too many transitions for a young student and doesn’t leave enough time for the play-based and experiential learning that has long been a hallmark of kindergarten.

“The structure, the rigor of the day is too much for them,” Hassani said.” And that rigor is making kids more anxious about what’s coming up.” She has noticed in recent years that kids have a harder time paying attention because they are worried about the next transition. And she doesn’t have enough time to dive deeply into topics so she worries those same concepts will have to be retaught again later in students’ elementary careers…..“I still feel we are missing the boat with what’s developmentally appropriate.”

There is so much wrong. This piece highlights it in bullet points. 


Child advocate, whole-child education proponent, Tom McGuire, shares his thoughts. When you see the comparison, it is even more heartbreaking.  

“It elementally defies developmental theory and practice. A vast majority of many PK and Kinder programs were pretty magical places for tots to learn the initial depths of group norms and learning through well guided games and exploration.  

Happy Kids and a nurturing teacher started generations of children off into what became the main social and academic focal point.  

I pay $7.00 for cage free eggs that promise the chickens can access exercise, natural surroundings and fresh air.   
Hmmmm. Full day kindergarten, academic focus, testing regimen and increased seat time.
Chickens have come home to roost, so to speak.”

Educator Denis Ian, shares:

“Remember … this is all about kids … that’s why we’re here.
These are the expectations for children who are so young they barely have a past.
This is the childhood-killing reform that’s been shoved down the throats of teachers, parents … and worst of all … children. 

So, I should warn you all straight away … 
I’m an old father now. Suddenly, it seems. My sons have sons. I own lots of memories. I polish the sweet ones and never dust the ones that hurt. I mind time now. I didn’t used to. In fact, like lots of you, I was reckless with time. Not any longer.
Don’t be like me.
Mind those sweet moments with your children and seldom say “Hurry up!”. Don’t wish for anything except this very moment. Leave tomorrow alone. Tend to today.
Don’t let anyone hurry your child. 
Don’t let anyone sandpaper their softest years with grit or rigor … because there’s plenty of that stuff in the eight hundred months ahead. 
Don’t let anyone chase innocence out of your child’s life. It has its own cadence and rhythm … and it’s plenty fast enough. 
Don’t let others spin those clock hands faster than they already spin. 
Mind the numbers in your life as never before. Pay as much attention to the small moments as you do the big stuff … ’cause life has way more little moments that should not be missed.

Remind yourself that a five year old is sixty months on this planet. Less than 2,000 days old. They’re still brand new people! No one has the right to whisper anything about college or careers to a child determined to conquer the monkey bars. All adults should respect the Law of the Chair … if a child’s legs do not reach the floor … well … they are reality-exempt.

That eight year old … the one who sleeps in his Little League uniform? He’s a third grader. Not yet 100 months old. Let that sink in. Why is he rip-roaring mad at himself over some junk-test? That’s not the worry of an 8 year old. He should be anxious about base hits … not base line scores. His only career thought is what professional team to sign with … and that’s heavy enough. 

That music-blasting “tween” is maybe 150 months old. At that age their job is to not walk into door jambs … and to try to put a lid on some hormone havoc. They’re still closer to babyhood than adulthood. Why do we let schools bum-rush them into anxiety-hell over tests? Mother Nature has already over-supplied them with all the anxiety they can barely handle. Why don’t we just lay off ‘em … and let ‘em outgrow this messy moment? It’s bad enough as it is … leave it be. 

Maybe this will shake up your consciousness … and slow you down some. And maybe … maybe you won’t say “Hurry up!” quite so often. And perhaps you’ll remind that school to slow down … that there are children on board … and they are entitled to every last drop of innocence. 

Don’t let them kidnap your child into their warped world. If they think education is all about numbers, well, they’ve already forfeited their privilege to enjoy your child. 
Go to hell and back to protect childhood. Every day.”
-Denis Ian

What about play? It’s all but disappeared. 

There is a whole lot of talk about this state sanctioned child abuse, and yet we are years into common core and nothing has been reversed.  

One teacher is trying, again.  


Why is KINDERGARTEN stressful for the entire family? This is outrageous.  
Nothing that is said here is new. Parents and educators of the youngest children have been the fiercest opposition to education reform. Our words go unheard. 


Please also see:










Outrageous expectations from children who are under 60 months old. 

This is too mind boggling to not share.

In New York at least, many children start kindergarten at age 4.  Maybe they’ve been potty trained a year or so. Maybe they know how to hold a knife and fork properly, perhaps not. Maybe they don’t yet know how to ride a bike, even with training wheels. Almost certainly, many still hold their crayons with a fist grip. Most do not know how to write their letters. Many do not even know the letters as this is their first school experience. This may be their first time away from mommy. 
Yet, they are expected to read a passage and write independently for four minutes their thoughts on it.

Say again?
We thought there was no way this could be true. There is no “Snopes”, for common core assignments. So many of them seem so outlandish that we think they surely must be fake. At least, we hope so.
Then teachers come along and validate that, yes, this is a real assignment for a kindergarten class. Parents from California say their children have been given this assignment in the first few weeks of kindergarten. They are aghast.


Common core is educational malpractice. It is so egregiously age inappropriate that it’s nearly unbelievable to see this material and consider these assignments even possible. When big business writes standards for tiny children, things get ugly.  Career and college readiness for these children is just criminal.

What happened to coloring and free play and nap time? Where is puzzle time and teaching children to be a good friend?

Kiss your sandboxes goodbye. Welcome a different kind of grit.

Are you angry yet?

We sure are.

Also see http://nancyebailey.com/2015/11/16/the-power-of-picture-books-v-high-stakes-testing-common-core/

The new digital classroom. Where does opt out go from here? 

Part two of ‘COMPETENCY BASED LEARNING WILL REPLACE TESTING – the new digital classroom.’ 
See part one- 


CBE is the new trend. 

An Upstate New York parent shares this comment. She feels deceived and wants to let other parents know what to ask their schools:

“Hell hath no fury like a parent being decieved.

This is what we are being sold now with CBE. 

‘Technology based education is shiny, glittery, and new. Look at all the cool ways to interact! Our kids can learn from home, they can learn in the car, they will grow up to ‘become one’ with the technology that surrounds them. All the best schools are using online learning……. Our children need 21st century learning for 21st century jobs! We must hold teachers and schools accountable for the education of our children. Assessments are in bad, they take away instruction time, so let’s use technology to do ‘check ins’ on students, that way teachers can check for understanding in real time. No more week long assessments in our schools, we have technology now! No student will ever fall behind again, if the teacher uses data effectively!’
Don’t. Believe. A. Word Of It. Ask these questions of your district.

1) Show me the research that proves that technology based learning is better for children. 

2) Do online assignments require teacher interaction? Do they require student to student conversation? If the answer comes back with the terms ‘personalized’ or ‘independent’, that is a big red flag. Technology should amplify good teaching, NOT replace it. 

3) What is the projected cost of maintaining/updating the technology?How  about yearly online subscriptions? (Newsela charges $4000-$7000 per school per year, or $18 per student) Smart Bond money IS your money. Its a loan. You will pay it back.
Hell hath no fury like THIS parent decieved. We may not be able to stop it……but we dont have to allow it either.

-Written by An informed mom. 

Where does the opt out movement go next
New York activist Michelle Moore shares her thoughts on refusing all of it. She discusses the financial relevance of CBE and why it must be heavily scrutinized. Moore and many others believe that CBE needs to be rejected by parents to ensure the privacy and safety of the students:

“Opt out is Dead. The opt out we have become comfortable with is no longer effective. You know that nothing changed. So now what?

Computer based, personalized learning via a tablet is the end game. Why? Because it’s better? Nope. No evidence; in fact the evidence is contrary. 
Because the government is altruistic? Nope. That’s a silly idea. 

Why then? 
Because there are projected BILLIONS to be made off the data? 
Yes; it’s three-fold, in fact. 
First, the hardware and software are hugely profitable. 
Second, there are sustainable profits from data mining. 
Third, the workforce pathways are paved with job-ready human capital- aka: your child. 

It’s no longer about education in a traditional sense of human expansion, of creativity, innovative thinkers. It’s become about a managed collective, and the anticipated needed workers for the global workforce. 

Global Ed Tech and the Smart Classroom market is estimated to grow from USD 43.27 billion in 2015 to USD 93.76 billion, in 2020. North America is expected to experience a slower growth, though it is still expected to record high revenues. 


To increase market share and growth in North America the recent passage of ESSA was critical, and it has opened the floodgates. 
ESSA brought us here. 



Without the passage of ESSA we would not be here writing about CBE. Why did the unions support this? Did they really think anything good could come of it? 

Over the past 7 years these foundations were built. Annual common core standardized testing was merely a stall tactic. Never meant to measure learning, the standardized tests were extremely flawed and secret. BUT, they gave evidence of “failure” and in a big way where projected failures were 70%! And magically, the reformer magicians ensured this to be true. They manipulated cut scores and ignored public outcry. We were failing, they said! Headlines followed. You know the rest. 

Washington is spending millions of our tax dollars to ensure every child is digitally connected. USDOE even had the Secretary of Education on a Multi-State Bus tour to announce with fanfare the next big move toward Innovation Assessments (nationalized testing for equity). 

States have fooled taxpayers like in NY with the passage of $2 Billion dollar Bond to fund it (Smart Schools Bond Act) further and faster. And, our children (and possibly their children) will be paying back this LOAN. 

Your children are the key component in this digital plan: they are the widgets. 
True, opt out NOW, has changed. Now it is to refuse the data collections. 
Refuse the directory inventory dashboard SLDS data. 

Click to access FERPAoptoutform.pdf

What are the options?

Refuse technology, and demand paper and pencil, and teachers as the experts, rather than accept computer based programs that will replace teachers. 

A refusal form-   http://parentsacrossamerica.org/parents-digital-learning-opt-form-share/

The Competency based education delivery of social emotional learning (data mining) embedded for behavior manipulations is in every tablet program – full student tracking in 1:1 tablet use. 

How would parents refuse something so inclusive and nebulous?

New York educator John Sheffield shares the following;

“The following information may help in your optout endeavors in combination with the links provided. This can be used to support your rights as a parent where it comes to the education of your child.
Everything you need to know about opting out of harmful technology:

Everything You Need to Know About Opting Out of Harmful Technologies

Congressional notes that are applicable and powerful:

Supreme Court Rulings-
The 10th Amendment: 


“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

The 10th Amendment clearly states where federal power ends. No where did the framers even remotely give power of the education of the nation’s children to the Federal government.

This information supports a parent’s rights regarding the upbringing and education of their children.”

So what about the special needs students who benefit from education technology? There is a place for healthy, safe technology advancement. Is CBE meeting those criteria? 

Teacher Debbie Dermady says no:
“I have read so many articles and have seen the effects of iPad usage with special needs students. I think iPads are great interactive tools for any child, but with a set period of time. Those who place their students or own children in front of them to entertain/babysit them, just like tv, should realize the effect of doing so. There is nothing like a one to one teacher who can do much, much more. So you get a reward or reaction from the computer. A human reaction is ten times better and will enhance socialization-a critical need for all of us. Have you ever witnessed a classroom of one to one computer/iPad usage? I have. There is total silence. I as a teacher, do not want this. My classroom was always NOISY! That’s true learning! Now give the students an assignment with three to a computer and note-taking, that is where real learning takes place. Computers and all technology should be used as tools to ENHANCE learning from the teacher, not to serve as the answer.

In early 2000 I was a facilitator of online learning for PBS Teacherline. I have also been an online learner myself. I found the online learning to be a quick fix for those who want to hurry the process of learning. I found some of my students hurrying through and copying and pasting text information. I was not happy with that process. We all learn by doing. It’s the way life is. The best learning I have ever had is when my teachers taught the lesson, left you with questioning, and then had you work with a group to find the answers in relationship with said learning. Always leave your students questioning. It helps them become life long learners. I am tired of hearing about critical thinking lacking. I blame this on the way questioning is done. Some think teachers should be re-certified every so many years. I think PD is lacking all the time. It’s only about CC Crap or DATA. Time to share with each other is so important and there is very little time for this. Even our superintendent days were structured around data and CBE!”

More reading:

The Privatized Beaded Necklace “School of the Future”

A Grave New World


ABCs of Classrooms at Risk: DON’T just #OPTOUT




Please see part one of this series:


The Regents are just not that altruistic. Competency Based Learning will replace testing. 

This is the first installment in a two part series on digital learning.

If you don’t know what CBE is, better brush up fast! It’s been all over social media all month and it’s zooming in at breakneck speeds. 

Short version, it’s digital education.

Read here- 

Digital Curriculum: Questions Parents Should be Asking

What’s most interesting, is that the big money giants do just the opposite with their own children. They have no common core, and they have no digital screen learning. 


From the piece above- “In the heart of Silicon Valley is a nine-classroom school where employees of tech giants Google, Apple and Yahoo send their children. But despite its location in America’s digital centre, there is not an iPad, smartphone or screen in sight.

Instead teachers at the Waldorf School of the Peninsula prefer a more hands-on, experiential approach to learning that contrasts sharply with the rush to fill classrooms with the latest electronic devices. The pedagogy emphasises the role of imagination in learning and takes a holistic approach that integrates the intellectual, practical and creative development of pupils.

But the fact that parents working for pioneering technology companies are questioning the value of computers in education begs the question – is the futuristic dream of high-tech classrooms really in the best interests of the next generation?”

Why do the children of the elite not fall victim to the same unsound practices as the children of the masses? 

Educator Debbie Dermady shares her thoughts on CBE. 

“CBE/Online Learning is garbage learning. I can tell you because I have had to use iReady, one of those CBE programs you are talking about in my classroom. It is horrible to think that you are told 45 min a week for Math and 45 min a week for ELA will give the child individualized instruction and YOU, their teacher, all the bells and whistles for individualized assessment. Here is what happened. Students pre-tested, took lessons, mid testing, more lessons and end of lesson assessments. Garbage. Students would hurry through the lessons they found boring to get to the rest period that had games to play, and then try to take the tests. You could see how long the children used the lessons for. Many tried to get away with only a few minutes on each, thus their test scores showing evidence of this. The curriculum was always of a higher level with the students becoming very frustrated. Students were asked what they thought about this, as well as Castle Learning lessons and testing and various other online programs we have used over the last six years. They said they would much rather have teachers instruct them and do paper and pencil with lessons and with assessments. Kids think online learning is gaming. They want a game and they want to be entertained. If something is difficult, most kids feel frustrated and do not want to finish. If they do not see a “game” side to online learning, they are bored and just keep clicking away as quickly as they can. 

Online learning is fine for review, but should never, ever replace the teacher’s guidance with lessons and assessments. Here we go again…forgetting the “Human Factor.” I saw this coming in 1983 when I first started teaching computer technology. Since becoming a classroom teacher in ’92, I realized where we were going and started saying it was wrong. In 2000, I witnessed a PARCC process that stated student’s essays would be graded by a computer. The computers would look for higher vocabulary and give the student’s credit for those words, but not check about complete sentences, grammar, etc. That is when I said I would not let this happen. I continue to fight this garbage today. Students writing due to technology has worsened, not gotten better.  

How many of you that are positive about CBE really have watched this happening? If you truly have watched this, you know it is garbage. Let our kids slow down, and teach writing again. Writing (Printing or cursive, as long as it is readable) is an art form. It is a beautiful way to express yourself. Those who write in journals and on paper will realize what an important piece of history we must keep for the present and future. For me, opting out of tests INCLUDES online testing. Let teachers create tests once again. They were able to create wonderful assessments no computer can do. You see, they are able to really know their students, and that we are all different! Thank goodness we are! That’s America!”

What is wrong with a digital learning environment? Competency based learning can be excessive. Eliminating the teacher – student interaction, it can create an unhealthy environment, especially for the youngest students. 

 “In some classrooms technology is overused. This can lead to a variety of problems. Many students learn best by physically and mentally interacting with what they are studying. If most of the teaching is done using a computer, these students’ needs are not being met. Technology should be used to supplement the classroom curriculum, but should not be used as the sole source of learning.”

Screen time is a hoax, says TIME.  

Let’s discuss the Regents. Why the Regents change of tune? Simple. Common core reboot. Digital tracking of all students. College and career pathways that are easily manageable and recordable.  

The Regents, some newly appointed, are suddenly APPEARING to take a different tactic on support of the testocracy that has bloomed since common core began. Some are saying, “well, it’s a start! Maybe the Regents have wised up!” That is not the full story. The reason the NYS Regents have suddenly been admitting there are possibly too many tests, is because NYSED is ready for the next phase of common core and tracking our students; digital education- Aka COMPETENCY BASED EDUCATION. And they’ll blame the opt out movement for this switch, and market digital learning as a gift, a prize for those who steadfastly refused the testing to begin with. 


Tests under CBE will be subtle, parents will not know about them. They will be given right on the tablet every student has access to, thanks to the SMART BOND ACT (LOAN) that our grandchildren will be paying back. Embedded in every day lessons, they will be rolling in real time  and they will monitor constant progress. Ultimately, any proctor can stand in a room as a tech support representative, masters leveled teachers need not apply for digital classrooms. 



The Regents now have new blood, and they must address the forward march to CBE that Tisch, King et al, put into place. NYSED will of course parade educational consultants (sales people) before the new Regents, trying to sell them on CBE. Hopefully, they will stick to their new mission of only supporting researched based initiatives in educational policy, and not marketing brochures.  Can they earn our trust? 

What about opting out? 

Numerous bloggers have stated today that “opt out is dead.” That’s an oversimplification. What they mean is that we are entering the end game stage for the testocracy – a digital classroom.  
Testing will be much more subtle. Added will be more online classes to the 2035 agenda, which will be interspersed with this digital learning trend. There will be very little material written or available for home use as it will all be electronically provided. 

Note below:

Click to access GEF.Agenda_eng_full.pdf

What’s next? 

Each student will have data tags. All learning will be recorded based on a child’s student ID number that will follow them indefinitely. This is where common core was headed all along. The tests were just the path, a means to an end. 

How about this? Talent pipelines!! Edublocks and digital badges. For children!
Brave new world!






An earlier piece:


So, is opt out dead? Not really. But, it has morphed greatly. We now enter a whole new era of testing and data collection.  Proponents of CBE believe that relying on technology as the primary source to deliver education and for children to learn is a superior way to educate children, with an eye towards economies of scale. CBE, personalized learning based on technology, is designed to replace the Carnegie Unit, other wise known as “seat time”, where learning is taught by real teachers and documented and transcribed on the basis of what students “prove” they know and can do based on those lessons. In fact, the hallmark of CBE is built around the common core mantra that students must “show what they know”, CBE involves learning that does not include hands on lessons, real time interaction with teachers or socialization amongst peers.

Seat time manifesting in the Carnegie Unit, was created in the early twentieth century. Though it was never the intent, this calculation of number of instructional hours that children spend in seat time became a proxy for learning. However, in 2010, the wheels of change toward CBE began turning very swiftly when former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan claimed the Carnegie Unit was antiquated when he said: “A century ago, maybe it made sense to adopt seat-time requirements for graduation. … But the factory model of education is the wrong model for the 21st century.” 

Truth be told, CBE can be traced well before 2010. When the measure first emerged, it was based largely on the philosophy of behaviorism – a teaching methodolgy that purported to expand access to education to underserved, non-traditional learners and indeed, CBE is touted by supporters as the key to promoting educational equity between wealthy and underserved populations.

Whether CBE will actually level the playing field remains to be seen, in fact the jury is still out as to the educational benefits, or otherwise, of digital technology for children. Proponents of CBE rely on it and see it as a necessary wave of the future. What has not been adequately examined or addressed, is the fact that there are serious negative effects of using technology as the primary teaching source in the classroom, in fact, it cannot be disputed that technology can hinder the learning process and stymie child social, emotional and educational development. 
Until a clearer picture of CBE and its effects emerge, concerns voiced by CBE critics are legitimate. Many questions persist and it seems that parental vigilance and suspicion is most warranted.

Next, the second in this series on CBE and the new digital classroom. 

Additional contributions from Hudson Valley Parent Educator Inititive 

Children paying the ultimate sacrifice, thanks in part to devotion to rigor and grit. 

The emotionally needy child is being shafted by this embrace of rigor and grit … and this unhealthy devotion to testing-mania. And now, it seems, some are paying the ultimate sacrifice. 
Here is yet another case of in-school bullying culminating in a child’s suicide. Is there not a war on bullying? Or have schools more important issues to service? Children are taking their own lives. What ever could be more important than that?


If schools can be held answerable for student test-performances, surely they can be held accountable for their efforts to protect the lives of our most vulnerable children. And don’t dare talk of priorities. THIS is the ultimate priority.

Every school child is the responsibility of EVERY school staff adult. From the principal right through the custodial staff. Everyone has a job with an asterisk … and that asterisk is a child. Doesn’t matter if they’re the principal or the custodian … KIDS FIRST …. always.

Everyone has been wrongly distrated by this sick homage to this dreadful reform … even parents who are overwhelmed. 
No one wants to talk about this. 

Please examine the following. Even elementary Guidance counselors who normally would be devoted to counseling and guiding the students, have written in anonymously saying that their career has now become about testing and college and career readiness.  


And this;


Click to access 11b-4383_ES_Counselor_Guide_WEB_120213.pdf

From the piece below, the goal for guidance counseling under common core-

“1.Revise the job descriptions for school counselors so they focus on equitable education and on preparing all students for college and career.

2.Shift university training programs so they center on the school counselor’s role in educational equity and college and career readiness.

3.Align and tighten state credential requirements so that all school counselors get adequate school-speci c training, including college- and career-ready counseling, and practice using data to spur change.
4.Support working school counselors and principals through strong, embedded professional development to help develop effective college- and career- readiness programs.

5.Align school counselor evaluations to academic outcomes, including appropriate measures of college and career readiness.” 


Tomorrow is too late … safety-protocols must be established at once. 
Schools must make attentive counseling and nimble peer-intervention immediate goals. Guidance counselors have been dangerously distracted by this focus on college and career readiness … even in the youngest grades. Like their classroom colleagues, they, too, must pay queer homage to dangerous Common Core ideals few seem willing to acknowledge.
Anonymous elementary guidance counselors have declared that their careers have now become consumed with testing and student data. Tracking students has replaced meaningful student-assistance with real life issues and much needed social navigation. They want nothing more than to listen to children. They regret having signed on to a reform that is now bordering on madness. They miss talking to the children, providing council. That is what they went to school for. Now, they track and enforce grit. 

As one veteran observed …
“Is this how children should ever be treated? Are there not school campaigns to disarm bullies … and to champion kindness? … I sense adult ugliness seeping through a holy firewall that protects children. It seems too many are now comfortable ignorers … even when some ugly reality is staring them in the eye … A school has no place or space for anyone unable to plug into their memory bank for recollections of their own childhood. If one cannot stay linked with the memories of their own past, perhaps they shouldn’t be in the memory-making business at all.”

We have lost our balance … and now we are losing our children. 

Our guidance counselors are needed to protect the children. College and career can wait. 
It is not just the counselors whose focus has been wrongly stolen. Classroom teachers … absorbed in reform antics and their own job security … seem preoccupied with endless demands. They cannot be everywhere at every moment. But that does not absolve schools from being distracted from the real-world concerns of student bullying. And in some extra-alarming instances, school leaders themselves have set poor and disturbing examples by mistreating children whose parents resist reform intrusions.

This is not an indictment of hard-working school personnel. It is a plea to refocus the efforts of every building professional. Every child is more important than a test score or a percentile or any ranking. We must get back to basics.  Let’s practice what we preach. 

No life is worth losing. 

Even once is too often. 



This reform madness has now morphed into something beyond for educational practices. It is now in very dark territory.

Contributions from New York educator, Denis Ian.  

SUPERintendents leading the charge of change away from rigor.  

 Dr Hynes sent the following letter to ALL NYS superintendents to ask them to follow in his lead. The responses he got you could just about count on one hand.


This is the work of a top superintendent in our state. He knows the child centered view is what is right in his district and does not buy into what education has morphed into. Thank you Dr Michael Hynes. You are a true role model for the other superintendents in this country. If we could get the others to follow your lead, the tides would change with blinding speed from fed led ed and rigor and grit, to healthy, age appropriate, child centered learning. What children need. Not big money focused, but simply Child Centered. 


It seems there are very few individuals that are willing to risk their job for these children, except a select, brave and noble few. Those children whom live in his district are truly blessed. Dr Joe Rella and Dr Michael Hynes, thank you for keeping the children first and foremost, always. You are shining examples of who an educator and a leader should be. 


Are we losing the fight against common core? 

Are we losing or winning? Michael Bohr, The Contemporary Insurgent, shares his thoughts. 

“Why are we losing the fight against the Common Core?
By Michael Bohr, Contemporary Insurgent

We are not outnumbered. 
-Testing refusals are increasing exponentially every year, in every state. 
-polling data now shows an inversion of the percentages of parent’s and teacher’s opinions that show a majority are now against the CCSS as a whole.
-no Pro-CC candidate in the GOP Presidential Nominee field ever rose above 10-15% and if they did, they didn’t stay there long. In fact, short of John Kasich’s spoiler-candidacy, every one of them dropped out within 6 months or less despite available campaign funds on hand. (In contrast, the DNC only allowed proCC candidates (or in the case of Sanders, an obfuscatory candidate with an open mind) to even enter the field, and in the case of Sanders, cheated him out of the nomination.
-scores upon scores of video documentation of parents protesting Board of Ed meetings (in many cases being arrested for speaking out when the boards could not silence them through procedural acrobatics and intimidations)
-politicians en mass are either dodging the issue of CC, speaking in false platitudes and “solidarity” with concerned parents and educators… Though, in the case of the Democratic Party, advising party members to avoid the “3rd rail” of Common Core in their campaigns via internal emails and meetings. (A sure sign that they are indeed outnumbered and scared)
We are gaining ground in the press, state legislatures and courts:
-legislation to stop CC, as well as the testing and data collection components of the reforms, has been introduced in a super majority of state legislature across the nation, but with only modest recognition in DC
-a lower court in Missouri ruling that the PARCC/SBAC testing Consortiums are an unconstitutional violation of the Compact Clause
-Parents in NY State even succeeded in gaining ballot access (Stop Common Core) during the last gubernatorial election cycle, but were betrayed by Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino who, along with GOP operatives, summarily changed the “party” name to “The Reform Party” behind the backs of, and against the wishes of, the tens of thousands of Parents and Educators who gathered petition signatures and then voted successfully for its place on the ballot box.(Astorini supported George Pataki and then Jeb Bush during the GOP primaries, both proCC candidates who failed and withdrew)
-have sponsored (and in some cases successfully) parent and teacher candidates for BOE positions, down ticket primary challenges and 3rd party candidates.
-have received increasingly supportive news coverage it Common Core opposition from many, if not a majority, of all mainstream news organization.
So why is it that the Common Core Agenda appears to be steam rolling over our children and ourselves despite these successes and advances?
Why is it that, despite all this, parents are increasingly withdrawing children from Public Schools, in favor or charter, private and home schooling?
Simply put:
1)Big Politics

2)Big Money

3)Big Labor
Big Politics

We are getting our asses handed to us here! The GOP and DNC Leadership’s are in lock-step cahoots with each other. From the highest offices in DC and the States, right on down to the lowest Offices of local BOE’s, they are unified. as is evidenced by the passage of the ESSA and lack of congressional oversight of the US Dept of Ed to the increased weighting of tests on teacher evaluations to parents being arrested at local board meetings.
We, one the other hand, are mostly divided along political party (even between factions within a single party) and parent/teacher lines. This due to a combination of Big Politics playing us like a harp and….
Big Labor:

The collusion between Big Politics and Big Labor has essentially silenced teachers via “gag” orders and laws from the unions and state/district school administrations. This, of course, is in addition to the political oppression of politically non leftwing teacher union members as well. 
The Common Core system and its assault on tenure through the VAM component of the testing and evaluations, along with a highly intrusive data collection system for teachers (as well as students) constantly track and monitor anything a teacher may say or due to alert parents to the inadequacies and abuse of students by the system.
Perhaps the most egregious aspect of all of this is the complicity of the Teacher Unions and their leadership in signing on to, and propagandizing, the entire Common Core Agenda. 
Tens of millions of dollars from Big Money (corporations and foundations) and Big Politics (govt grants) have been given to the NEA and AFT, the nation’s two largest teacher unions, for “Professional Development” programs such as NEA’s TURN and use to indoctrinate teachers into supporting the CCSS, as well as being employed as huge slush funds for political and union cronyism.
Big Politics within the unions themselves have further damaged our fight as the Union Leadership has infiltrated many of the once “grassroots” organizations set up to fight the Common Core Agenda by supplying grants to, and approving “caucuses” for these organizations that have effectively divided teachers and teachers from parents. This, along with leadership coups in the once grassroots groups, have shifted the focus from fighting Common Core to gaining a seat at the table and only (half heartedly) fighting against test evaluation components and an illusory defense of tenure. Their missions now appear only to be to fight vouchers and charters and maintain the very hegemony over education by the government, specifically the increasing power to the Federal Government via the US Dept of Education, that has enabled, financed, regulated, legislated and directly led to the Common Core takeover of our schools. This, of course, leads us to the third leg of this Triumvirate of Educational Terrorism…
Big Money:
Fro the moment President Jimmy Carter established the US Dept of Ed, through the collusion of Sen Lamar Alexander with Sec. Of Ed Bill Bennet to prevent Ronald Reagan from dismantling the USDoEd, Presidents GHW Bush’s expansion, President Clinton’s “Goals 2000” and Mark Tucker and the “Dear Hillary Letter” (which was the structural blue print for CC), followed by Pres. GW Bush’s NCLB and Pres. Obama’s Race to the Top initiative, Big Money corporations and foundations have been at work behind the scenes to help get around Constitutional, law and regulatory restrictions. 
It must also be noted that the United Nations, through its UNESCO organization, has been a major player throughout all of this.

(The words “common core” first appeared in print in a 1984 UNESCO document, inspired by the UN’s Dr Robert Muller’s “World Core Curriculum”)
From the UN, corporations, foundations and trade organizations (including politicians from almost every administration and Party, along with unions like NEA, Aft and SEIU) have spent large sums of cash and political capital to force what is now the Common Core Agenda upon us.
The Gates Foundation, ALEC, Soros’ Open Society, Exxon, GE, Rupert Murdoch, the Walton Foundation (Walmart), the Carnegie Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Microsoft, Pearson Publishing, Scholastic, Eli Broad, Apple and an endless list of others, have all colluded to finance the Common Core Agenda through the takeover of Teacher Colleges, teacher replacements (Teach for America), Broad Academy principal and superintendent training; through Union run teacher “professional development” programs, legislation at the state and federal levels… All

With the singleminded goals of raiding the public treasury and creating docile and compliant workers for BOTH Corporate and Union interests that are politically mindless automatons for the ruling class of political elitists Dynasties.
All of these people and their corporations, foundations, trade organizations and stolen government institutions have conspired on a global scale to create a system for the production of Human Capital, to be exploited, handpicked and, when either no longer useful or initially useless, summarily disposed of through a variety of means. Such means include imposed poverty via manipulated markets and central banking systems, laws and regulations designed to limit individual freedoms and property rights, government and private prisons to be supplied with free-labor inmates from the aforementioned laws and regulations and an institutional “school-to-prison pipeline”, all

Of which is fed data from the Common Core’s SLDS (States Longitudinal Data System), which is designed to monitor every child (aka human capital) throughout their lives and determine their fate.
Big Money sees all of this as an investment that will pay them extreme dividends for generations to come. Spending a few billion dollars is nothing compared to the TRILLIONS of dollars and the inestimable political power that it will bring them.
And then there’s us.
Moms and dads, parents and teachers trying desperately to conduct a campaign of protest, while trying to see through the political fog, feed, cloth and shelter ourselves and our children and maybe enjoy a small slice of life if we can afford it.
We are a ragtag bunch of disorganized, ordinary people, of limited means, being assaulted from without and betrayed from within, who are up against the largest group of criminals in history!
And we scare the shit out of them!
Despite all they have going for them, and all that we have going against us… They are more afraid of us than we are of them.
Because we DO outnumber them and at some point, if we cannot find a political and legal solution (such as jailing them all for antitrust, RICO violations and crimes against humanity), we will rise up in revolution and insurgency, and seek their heads for pikes. This is

Not a threat, nor is it a call for

Violence… Rather, it is a recollection of historical precedent that has followed every manifestation of tyranny throughout human existence.
It is the inevitable consequence of the failures of all society’s governmental protections to function properly and justly.
Eventually, the people who have entrusted leaders with enforcing just law, take law back into their own hands.
Woe unto them who force our hand to full scale rebellion… And they know it.
We may not have won yet, but we have not lost either. 
For now, we are peaceful, if not

Civil anymore, and we should endeavor to remain peaceful… Until we no longer can.
Empires always fall, but The People always remain.
13 Colonies defeated the British Empire, Egypt and Rome fell to slaves and David slew Goliath… And so, we too shall prevail, despite the Leviathan before us and the Judas’ behind us.
They fight for greed and dominance, out of their hatred for our peasant ways…
We fight for our children and ourselves with a yearning for freedom and out of love for life.
We hold the advantage.
The High Ground is ours.
We are not losing!
-Michel Bohr, CI”
Find THE CONTEMPORARY INSURGENT on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/TheContemporaryInsurgent/posts/1263810293642708.