Restore Liberty and Learning in Elementary Education

Dear Maine Residents:

When I was collecting signatures to repeal the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) last fall,

many teachers as well as retired teachers in Bowdoin did not like the standards and were unable to

speak out against the standards for fear of their jobs. They are being micro-managed to death with

English Language Arts (ELA) and Everyday Math (ED) standards that are dumbed down. Chaos is

happening in NY right now with the computer assessment testing system and the NY teachers union is

no longer supporting the CCSS.

I have been told by a national education expert, Joy Pullmann of The Heartland Institute, that

the Teachers College ELA curriculum is not the best curricula. I do not know from our local teachers

what they think about Teachers College ELA. Dr. Sandra Stotsky’s ELA K12 curriculum was used in

Massachusetts before CCSS replaced it. Massachusetts was ranked the best in the country during the

last decade. Dr. Hirsch’s Core Knowledge Sequence ELA K12 curriculum is similar to the home

school curriculum that I use with my grandson. Each of these standards are ranked at the top and are

worthy for a public school system that now spends about $12,000 per student in Maine.

Tax payers have little or no leverage when the law makers and the Maine DoE keep telling the

public that they are getting free money from the US Department of Education. The last time that I

checked, I am paying taxes to four levels of government. What happened to that promise made 12

years or so about paying 55% to school systems? They said that they had a plan.

What is education and what should every parent ask the chief administrator of the schools:

What is the most important thing that you are going to teach my child and what will be the

condition of their soul when they leave public school?

The American founders thought education was very important and should be left to the local

government to be in control of civil education. The Northwest Ordinance was adopted by the Congress

of the Confederation in 1787 and they wrote that religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary

to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be

encouraged. A Liberal Arts education is the study of the ends of human life. The purposes for which

we live and what makes our happiness and what are our rights has been well understood for most of

American history. It is the ground on which you could develop the tools of leadership. You could lead

better if you know where you are going. The process of learning those things should not be controlled

by the government rather than the people who learn those things will lead the citizen body in

controlling the government. That ought to be part of a man’s religion to see that his country is well

governed. Knowledge of the past is the only foundation we have from which to peer into and try to

measure the future. Expert knowledge, however indispensable, is no substitute for a generous and

comprehending outlook upon the human story with all its sadness and with all of its unquenchable


The aim of education is truth, beauty, goodness, and virtue. Literature tells us the most

important things about life. It is how to be more human. Stories shape our view about the world. Plato

said whoever controls the poets’ and the story tellers’, controls the regime. So whoever controls the

narrative controls the economics, the politics, the family, the ways of believing, and the ways of

thinking. The children can be taught and not to be programmed like machines. No human can be a

human for any other human. Studying Latin actually improves vocabulary and grammar actually helps

people understand the English Language. There are beautiful things to know and life lived in the

knowledge of them is the best life. It is the reason that we look up to teachers if they are any good,

because they are dealing with what life is for. The old principle of education uses the Socratic

traditional method that asks the question. What is the right way for a human-being to live? The activity

of learning is knowledge and wisdom.

So why do the administrators speak with boiler plate responses about the CCSS and public

education? They state that the purpose of CC education is asserting that children will be college and

career ready with no proof and with no public debate. The Title One money is used for primary

education and is forced by the US DoE to share private information from the data collection and

mining from students and staff along with the assessment testing results. The CCSS accomplishes this

with the use of computer testing methods managed by a private contractor Smarter Balance Assessment

Consortium (SBAC) in 2015.

The CCSS has removed the greatest stories in the ELA standards written by Jane Austen, Mark

Twain, Dante, Plato, and Ben Franklin. They claim the purpose of education is job training, however

job training is the by-product of education. Human minds create jobs, not jobs creating humans. Jobs

do not make the human mind, the human mind makes jobs. Engines were made for men, not men for

engines. The new principle of education regards students as tools and factors of production in the

CCSS education. Children are human beings, they are not machines. The CCSS is a living work

just like the living Constitution and it is the way to control the teachers through the curriculum

whenever they deem it necessary from a private trade organization to social engineer with behavior

assessment testing techniques with the children.

Local teachers and parents can make changes to the local curriculum by adopting Dr. E.D.

Hirsch’s Core Knowledge ELA curriculum also used by charter schools and one public school in

Queens, NY or Dr. Sandra Stotsky’s ELA curriculum used in Massachusetts where they were ranked

the best system in the country during the past decade. I also highly encourage the use of Singapore or

Saxon Math by voting no on the school districts’ warrants until they change the curricula. I have been

told that Saxon Math is currently being used at St. Johns in Brunswick. RSU 24 is also using Saxon

Math and a school board member has told me that the parents and the teachers are very happy with the

math program. I think the teachers like it because they can expect parents will be able to guide their

children with their home assignments because they understand all standard processes or algorithms. I

use Saxon Math for home schooling my grandson. He is a full year ahead than his peers at Bowdoin

Central School.

The only leverage citizens have is to vote NO on all education warrants in May or June until

ED Math is changed to either Saxon or Singapore Math programs. These two math programs are

ranked as the best from Hillsdale College and The Heartland Institute. Think about what your child

will do when the batteries run out in their calculator collecting change at the store from the cashier.

You are welcome to contact me for file copies of the core knowledge sequence, curriculum, and

suggested books.

The de facto controllers of public education in America are philosophical and educational lightweights,

having appropriated a term owned by the educational traditionalists in order to institutionalize a

progressive educational agenda. If we the American people do nothing to take back the public schools,

and to require them to teach a true knowledge core of great books, then we will show that we have

completely lost sense of what those books are: our means of having a common conversation about the

common good of human beings and citizens.

You can go to,, and for info about CCSS. Go to to see

how Massachusetts developed a K-12 curriculum that was ranked the best in the U.S. and sixth in the


ENCL: What is Saxon Math?

Recommended Reading for Teachers, Grandparents, and Parents

Education for School Leaders and Teachers

Notes from The Story Killers by Dr. Terrence Moore

Notes from Cultural Literacy by Dr. E.D. Hirsch

Notes from The Knowledge Deficit by Dr. E.D. Hirsch

Notes from The Making of Americans: Democracy and Our Schools by Dr. E.D. Hirsch

Thomas Jefferson’s book list for education for a 15 year old

Scientific American: Why the Brain Prefers Paper

Home school choice and withdrawal letter to Maine DOE and MSAD75

Core Knowledge Foundation for curriculum and parent/teacher guide downloads:


An English Language Arts Curriculum Framework for American Public Schools Chief author:

Sandra Stotsky Professor Emerita, University of Arkansas, for use by any state or school district,

February, 2013, without charge:


Center for School Reform

Common Core Facts Compiled by Dr. Sandra Stotsky

Who developed Common Core’s standards? Three private organizations in Washington DC: the

National Governors Association (NGA), the Council for Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and

Achieve, Inc.—all funded for this purpose by a fourth private organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates


Who selected the members of the Standards Development Work Groups? In the absence of

official information, it seems that Achieve, Inc. and the Gates Foundation selected most of the key

personnel to write the high school-level college-readiness standards.

Who was represented on the Standards Development Work Groups that wrote the collegereadiness

standards? Chiefly test and curriculum developers from ACT, CB, Achieve, and NCEE.

Who was not represented on the Standards Development Work Groups? High school English and

mathematics teachers, English professors, scientists, engineers, parents, state legislators, early

childhood educators, and state or local school board members.

Are records of their meetings available? No. These groups had no open meetings and have never

provided access to any public comment or critiques they received.

What were the qualifications of the people selected to write the grade-level standards? The

“lead” writers for the grade-level ELA standards, David Coleman and Susan Pimentel, have never

taught reading or English in K-12 or at the college level. Neither majored in English as undergraduates

or has a doctorate in English. Neither has published serious work on K-12 curriculum and instruction.

At the time, they were unknown to English and reading educators and to higher education faculty in

rhetoric, speech, composition, or literary study. Two of the lead grade-level standards-writers in

mathematics did have relevant academic credentials but no K-12 teaching experience. Jason Zimba

was a physics professor at Bennington College at the time, while William McCallum was (and

remains) a mathematics professor at the University of Arizona. The only member of this three-person

team with K-12 teaching experience, Phil Daro, had majored in English as an undergraduate; he was

also on the staff of NCEE. None had ever developed K-12 mathematics standards before.

Who recommended these people as standards-writers, why, and how much were they paid? The

organizations that funded and developed the standards will not tell the public.

What was the ostensible purpose of the Validation Committee? NGA and CCSSO created their

own Validation Committee in 2009 (25 members initially) to evaluate the soundness, rigor, and validity

of the standards they were developing. They have never provided a rationale for those they chose to

serve on the Validation Committee.

Who were members of the Validation Committee? On it were one high school English teacher, one

mathematician, no high school mathematics teachers, some testing experts and school administrators,

and many mathematics educators (people with doctorates in mathematics education, or in an education

school, or who work chiefly in teacher education, and who usually do NOT teach college mathematics

courses). The one mathematician and the one ELA standards expert (Sandra Stotsky) on the Committee

declined to sign off on the standards.

What was the real purpose of the Validation Committee? To have members sign a letter by the end

of May 2010 asserting that the not-yet-finalized standards were (1) reflective of the core knowledge

and skills in ELA and mathematics that students need in order to be college- and career-ready; (2)

appropriate in terms of their level of specificity and clarity; (3) comparable to the expectations of other

leading nations; and (4) informed by available research or evidence.

What are the chief deficiencies of Common Core’s standards?

A. The standards are not internationally benchmarked.

B. The standards are not research-based.

C. The standards are not rigorous.

D. They omit high school mathematics standards leading to STEM careers, stress writing over reading,

reduce literary study in grades 6-12, use an unproven approach to teaching Euclidean geometry, defer

completion of Algebra I to grade 9 or 10, are developmentally inappropriate in the primary grades, and

use the high school English class for informational reading instruction.

What reports comparing Common Core’s standards with Massachusetts’ standards were used to

justify Massachusetts’ adoption of Common Core’s standards?

A. A report by Achieve, Inc. that was funded by the Gates Foundation.

B. A report by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute that was funded by the Gates Foundation.

C. A report by WestEd that was commissioned by the Massachusetts Business Alliance in Education

and funded by the Gates Foundation via the James B. Hunt Institute in North Carolina.

D. Reports by Massachusetts Department of Education-appointed local/state reviewers.

What conclusions did these reports draw? That there were no significant differences between

Common Core’s standards and the Massachusetts mathematics and ELA standards.

Why did Massachusetts adopt Common Core’s standards in July 2010? The state had been

promised $250,000,000 in Race to the Top funds if it adopted Common Core’s standards.

What are the major flaws in Common Core’s English language arts standards?

A. Most of Common Core’s reading standards are content-free skills.

B. Common Core’s ELA standards stress writing more than reading at every grade level.

C. Common Core’s writing standards are developmentally inappropriate at many grade levels and lack

coordination with its reading standards.

D. Common Core expects English teachers to spend at least half of their reading instructional time at

every grade level on informational texts.

E. Common Core reduces opportunities for students to develop critical thinking.

F. Common Core’s standards are not “fewer, clearer, and deeper;” they often bundle several objectives

into one statement and call it one standard.

References Mark Bauerlein and Sandra Stotsky. (September 2012). How Common Core’s ELA

standards place college readiness at risk.

place-college-readiness-at-risk/ R. James Milgram and Sandra Stotsky (September 2013).

Lowering the Bar: How Common Core Math Fails to Prepare High School Students for STEM.


Dr. Sandra Stotsky is ProfessorEmeritaof Education Reform at the University of Arkansas, where she

held the 21st Century Chair in Teacher Quality. She is credited with developing one of the country’s

strongest sets of academic standards for K-12 students as well as the strongest academic standards and

licensure tests for prospective teachers while serving as Senior Associate Commissioner in the

Massachusetts Department of Education from 1999-2003. She has also written several in-depth

analyses of the problems in Common Core’s English language arts standards. She is the author The

Death and Resurrection of a Coherent Literature Curriculum: What Secondary English Teachers Can

Do(Rowman & Littlefield, June 2012).

Cogs in the Machine Executive Summary No. 114 May 2014 from Pioneer

The era of “Big Data” has overtaken the field of education. New technology promises to transform

education, facilitating previously unimagined learning opportunities and, from a purely administrative

standpoint, allowing educators to complete in seconds what used to consume laborious hours. But the

new technology has a downside as well. It allows 21st -century disciples of foundational Progressive

John Dewey to accomplish what was out of reach before: collecting data on every child, beginning

with preschool or even earlier, and using it to track the child throughout his academic and professional

career. In this way, theoretically, government “experts” can determine what is successful in education,

what isn’t, and what sorts of education and training are most beneficial to produce workers for the

global economy. Aside from whether this dream is realistic, it presents myriad dangers to student

privacy. For many years the federal government has been using grants to induce states to build

increasingly sophisticated, identical student-data systems. More recently, the federal government has

worked with private entities to design and encourage states to participate in other related initiatives

such as the Data Quality Campaign, the Early Childhood Data Collaborative, and the National Student

Clearinghouse. The National Education Data Model, with its suggestion of over 400 data points on

each child, provides an ambitious target for the states in constructing their data systems. And whatever

parts of this warehoused information are given to the national assessment consortia aligned to the

Common Core State Standards (CCSS) will be made available to the U.S. Department of Education.

As technology advances, initiatives from government, private entities, and public-private partnerships

have sprung up to eliminate the technical obstacles to increased data-sharing. Although the ambitious

inBloom project has faded in the face of withering parental criticism, other projects abound: the

Workforce Data Quality Initiative, Unified Data Standards, MyData, ConnectEd, student-unit records,

and private companies’ education apps “donated” to schools in exchange for access to student

information. This treasure trove of student data is a hugely tempting target for hackers, who have

already begun their assaults.

None of the privacy protections currently in place promises reliable protection of student data. The

federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) has been gutted; Big Data makes

anonymization of an individual student’s information practically impossible; opting out of Common

Core tests, or replacing them with alternative tests, is of limited benefit; and the push to collect and

share student data may engulf even private-school and homeschool students.

Beyond the “filing cabinet” data that schools have long collected, the purveyors of “transformational”

education seek access to fine-grained information about students’ deeper selves – their attitudes,


mindsets, and dispositions. Ascertaining and altering these non-cognitive features, the proponents

believe, can improve education outcomes and shape students into the types of citizens (and workers)

the future economy needs. The mountains of physiological and psychological data that can be gleaned

from a student’s interaction with technology are considered fair game. Through two reports issued in

2013, the U.S. Department of Education has described and trumpeted the possibilities associated with

this type of data-collection.

These expansive data structures are intimately connected to Common Core, in several ways. Not only

will the data sent to the assessment consortia be made available to the federal government, but the

national standards create a unified “taxonomy” that facilitates common instructional materials and

technology for data-collection. Moreover, because Common Core focuses not on academic knowledge

but rather on “skills” that involve attitudes and dispositions, it paves the way for assessments and

digital platforms that measure such attributes.

Finally, the rush to collect and share students’ data implicates more fundamental problems. It turns

constitutional protections of individual autonomy and privacy on their head as government learns and

records more and more about each citizen. His private sphere – his personal sanctum – shrinks. Even if

government were to keep the information private, the very existence of a “dossier” is immensely

intimidating and inhibiting. This alters both civil society and the private realm, and not in the direction

of greater freedom.

A person’s right to his own information must be considered a property right. Especially in the area of

education, laws must change to grant parents control over the collection and disclosure of their

children’s data. And parents must educate themselves about what is really happening in the schools, so

that they can know what types of data are being collected and what is done with it. Parents must be

empowered to draw the line.

The reasons why I do not support Common Core.

 Our Constitution under the Tenth Amendment has no authority to mandate a centralized

education system in this country to go through nonprofit organizations, conveniently

circumventing open records and open meetings laws that apply to public bodies such as state

boards of education and legislatures.

 The Obama administration, notwithstanding three federal laws against federal interference with

curriculum and testing, is currently the exclusive funder and evaluator of national tests to

enforce Common Core that will roll out this coming school year.

 Proponents like to insist Common Core originated in a “state-led” process, but the truth is that a

group of private trade organizations commissioned a small group of consultants to write

Common Core behind closed doors.

 To this day, we have no idea what the people who wrote Common Core were paid and by

whom, who called what shots and why, the negotiations that took place, and more extremely

pertinent information.

 A slush fund called 2009’s “stimulus package,” and $4.35 B of that became a U.S. Department

of Education slush fund that the administration used to push states into adopting its policy

priorities during a panicky recession.

 It created a set of competitive grants that awarded extra points to states that adopted Common

Core and its tests, which were then (and still for the tests) sight unseen. Common Core was

actually published on June 2, 2010, but the Obama administration’s deadlines to sign onto it to

get priority for these funds were January 19, 2010 and June 1, 2010.

 A draft of Common Core was not even available until March 2010, after approximately a third

of states had already promised the federal government they would switch over to it.

 Thirty-seven business days after Common Core was released, and with little fanfare, a majority

of states had jumped into this massive, experimental shift for their education systems.

 To this day, only a handful has even sketched out what this will cost taxpayers financially, and

none have demanded hard data on whether it will be effective at improving education (good

thing, because none exists, and in fact studies tend to say standards are a waste of time


 The PR line says that Common Core is “internationally benchmarked” and “rigorous,” but

evaluations done both by organizations with financial reasons to favor Common Core, such as

The Fordham Institute, and by independent scholars conclude that not only will Common Core

graduate students prepared at best for a two-year community college (no normal person’s

definition of “internationally competitive”), several states already had better standards.

 I and many parents find that utterly unacceptable. These parents want more, and better for their

kids than “a step in the right direction.” 90 percent of the debate over Common Core would

instantly dissipate if states adopted the top-rated standards from Massachusetts or Indiana and

drop the Obama administration tests.

 Children right now in third and fourth grade do not have a second chance to learn what they

need ten years down the road when we finally figure out that Common Core didn’t give it to


 The Common Core with its tests grant direct federal access to kids’ personal information and

will micromanage teachers through new test-driven evaluations. Children are human beings,

they are not machines. Children are regarded as tools and factors of production with Obama-

Core education.

 The biggest concerns for me is the lack of academic quality and the technocratic central

planning Common Core demands.

 It is our American birthright to have a voice in the policies that govern our lives and our

futures, and for various governments and entities to be restrained from controlling what

rightfully belongs to parents and local communities.

The decision for state legislatures to make on whether to repeal the Core or not is really not very

complex. Do we want our children spending precious time on just any random ‘complex’ text that the

Common Core authors decide to slip into standardized exam, or that textbook publishing giants dig out

of their bottomless bins of mediocre writings?

Do we want young minds to be programmed with highly suspect political and cultural propaganda?

Do we want our children to be lured into reading of modern authors whose works revel in a jaded, anti

heroic, and often morally debased view of human life?

Or do we want students reading the classics? Which will they get more out of, which will better

prepare them for the world, which will more likely contribute to their own virtue and happiness?

The intent of Common Core is to erase any remnant of traditional learning in the English

classes of our public schools. They are deliberately killing off what is left of the great stories of

Western literature. Those who should be doing everything in their power to rekindle the imaginations

of young people, who spend too many hours catatonic in front of a computer or television screen, are

doing quite the opposite.

The Common Core authors clearly seek to add things to the curriculum that have never been

there before. It has been already been noticed that the Common Core has no particular commitment to

the Western, British, and American traditions in literature.

What famous figure in American history could be considered the architect of the American

character? Who was the first self-consciously American author? Who is the all-time favorite personage

and personality in American history? Benjamin Franklin should yield the answer to all three questions,

but there is no Benjamin Franklin in the Common Core. How inexcusable is this omission? Benjamin

Franklin’s Autobiography is considered not only an important historical work but also a literary

masterpiece as one of the two or three greatest autobiographies ever written along with Saint

Augustine’s Confessions. It is not just about Ben Franklin, it is also a moral tale about the making of a

country and particularly the virtues that are required to make a country great and prosperous. His early

self-education and his systematic attempts to arrive at ‘moral perfection’ are moments to anyone who

has ever read them as models of practicality, hard work, and humor. The reader might be inspired at

their own attempt with self-education and self-mastery. Franklin is also lessons that promoted

America’s distinctive can-do attitude, sense of individual responsibility, and benevolence for children

to read about.

Section one and three of the Declaration of Independence has also been omitted from the Common

Core English Language Arts. For example these two sections have four references to God which is the

frame work for the Constitution stated by James Madison. The first section is a universal statement of

our natural rights from the Laws of Nature given by God. When in the Course of human events, it

becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with

another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws

of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that

they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be selfevident,

that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable

Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights,

Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,—

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the

People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such

principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their

Safety and Happiness.

How does the Common Core promote superficiality and bias? We only need to know two rules of

standardized testing.

 Standardized Testing Rule Number One; the schools slavishly teach to the test. This rule applies

not only to what schools read but also to the format in which things are read.

 Standardized Testing Rule Number Two; the schools teach nothing beyond the test. All the

money lies in what is on the test. It does not pay to teach anything other than the test. Any list

generated by a testing organization or any set of readings in a textbook put out by a publishing

company somehow linked into a testing organization is exclusive. The teachers will not go

outside the sacrosanct list. The authors of the Common Core must know this, however many

teachers go outside the “core” of what they are told must be taught. The “core” is taught but

there is no time for other things for good teachers.

What is Saxon Math?

The one man who preached continuously and consistently that results matter in mathematics education

more than ideology was John Saxon. He said that leaders, who set up the programs for teachers to use,

had to be held accountable for the results of the students’ performance. Not surprisingly, the math

establishment declared war on him and he responded by fighting back—hard. A retired military combat

and test pilot, John did not shrink from his duty or his mission. In fact, his opponents learned that he

actually enjoyed a good fight for a good cause.


Do you have trouble understanding the strange math assignments in your child’s elementary and

middle school materials and don’t know how to help with those lessons? This isolates you from your

child’s “training” by the school system. This should not be allowed by any parent, no matter how much

smarter the educators make you think they are than you.

Do you know, for sure, if your child is receiving an elementary mathematics education that will prepare

him or her for on-level high school coursework and even for college or the workforce?

Do you know that ours is the only country in the world whose people think it’s acceptable not “to be

good” in math? Have you considered that people in third world countries know that genuine

mathematics is the language of science, logic and critical reasoning? Is it reasonable then to recognize

that we are growing dependent on those countries to provide us with mathematicians and scientists?

So the Common Core folks seem to think that using a calculator is all you need in life.. Maybe they

should read their own research. I vote for Saxon Math in public schools.. Learn more about Saxon

Math from Heartland’s Joy Pullmann:


Of all the pre-college curricula, the highest level of mathematics one studies in school has the strongest

continuing influence on all bachelor’s degree programs completion. Finishing a course beyond the level

of Algebra 2 (for example, trigonometry or pre-calculus) more than doubles the odds that a student

who enters postsecondary education will complete a bachelor’s degree.

United States Department of Education

Answers in the Tool Box: Academic Intensity, Attendance Patterns, and Bachelor’s Degree

Attainment —June 1999

Video Links about Common Core:

Dr. Peg Luksik ~ New Jersey and the Common Core State Standards dtd 10-04-2014


Common Core: The Government’s Classroom – Jane Robbins, American Principles Project dtd


BUILDING THE MACHINE – The Common Core Documentary dtd 03-31-2014

“Story-Killers: How the Common Core Destroys Minds and Souls” by Terrence O. Moore dtd


Setting the Record Straight on Common Core – Part 1 dtd 02-13-2014

Setting the Record Straight on Common Core: Part 2 dtd 03-06-2014

Charlotte Iserbyt on The Perils of Common Core dtd 01-03-2014

Jane Robbins- Common Core and Data Collection dtd 11-20-2013

ND Common Core Conference — September 9, 2013 — Highlights dtd 11-20-2013

Sandra Stotsky Discusses Common Core dtd 04-13-2013

Two Moms Against Common Core dtd 03-21-2012

For more information and the most current updates, please go to: