Welcome

Please join Advocates for Academic Freedom (AAF). Membership is free because you and your time are our most valuable assets. Our goals are to assure the academic freedom of all American students, to advocate the development of critical thinking skills in all educational settings, and to facilitate academic environments which respect robust thinking and discussion in all classrooms. To achieve these goals, we will advocate for libraries of federally and state funded schools to provide materials representing a balance of various points of view regarding science, history, social studies, health, and civics classes. Our blog is filled with information, we encourage your feedback and participation.

Click on the title of any of the blogs listed below, you will be brought to a page where you can post your comments. We will review and release the comments to the blog within a day or so.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

HOPE YOU CAN ATTEND THIS EVENT!

Alice Linahan: 

I am excited to announce two amazing women to the CANiSEE The Solution line-up. Karen Schroeder with Advocates for Academic Freedom and Jeanine McGregor, writer, researcher and cognitive learning expert. For more information- Check it out by clicking this link. Then pass this info onto your friends and neighbors.http://womenonthewall.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/CanISee-the-Solution-5.28.2014.pdf
The CANiSEE The Solution Conference is just getting better daily. 
For more information- Check it out by clicking this link. Then pass this info onto your friends and neighbors.http://womenonthewall.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/CanISee-. See More



Friday, May 23, 2014

HELP THIS NATIONAL EFFORT TO STOP COMMON CORE

The National Governors Association supported the implementation of Common Core Standards. If the NGA would pull that support, it would be easier for states to eliminate Common Core. This letter is open to signatures from all 50 states. The number of signatures we gather is important! My goal is to get 20,000 plus signatures. Please encourage family, friends, and neighbors to sign this letter!!!! It takes just a few seconds and will make a huge difference in the battle against Common Core. The signature area has a box for organization. Advocates for Academic Freedom would be pleased if you put Advocates for Academic Freedom in that box. Thank you for your help and support.
THE LETTER:
Join American Principles Project, Eagle Forum, HSLDA, Pioneer Institute, Michelle Malkin and others urging Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, Chair of the National Governors Association, to end the Common Core State Standards Initiative.  Through this initiative the NGA has enabled corporations and other private interests to drive education policy which has compromised the power of parents.  So we are asking parents, educators and concerned citizens to add their names with ours in order to stop the Common Core State Standards.
Click on this hotlink to access letter: http://ngaendcommoncore.com/


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Transform Education through Public Humiliation



Biometric sensors and layers of testing to measure a child’s attitude and ability to learn are the latest solutions to problems in American schools. Although three major federal studies prove that these procedures may be damaging to learning and teaching, federal and state governments continue to waste almost a billion dollars to be complicit in harming the educational process. Using student data to justify public humiliation is the government’s real approach to assure education reform.

Most understand that children are born with a natural desire to acquire knowledge and develop skills because both empower the child and shape his identity. Toddlers meet each tumble with greater determination to try again. Perseverance or grit is needed for success in life. Most kids have it, but educational policies and data collection apparently stomp it out of many.
The U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology created a confusing report.  According to them, closing achievement gaps in schools requires technology to test and measure a child’s grit, tenacity, perseverance, social skills, attitudes, and independent intellectual ability. The same report admits that forcing a child to accomplish goals required by others can damage a student’s long-term retention, conceptual learning, and psychological well-being. Apparently, the feds don’t give a hoot.

Evidently, teachers will be held accountable for recreating our children in an image approved by the government. If a teacher fails, there will be serious consequences for the school, the teacher, and the student.

The Educational Technology report also reveals that the best interest of the student is NOT respected in accountability-driven climates that place extremely high expectations on students. The report admits that, under these circumstances, grit may not always be in the students’ best interest. So why hook up our children to facial expression cameras, posture analysis seats, and wireless skin conductance sensors?

Another study from the U. S. Department of Education finds little evidence that data collection improves instruction or student achievement. The study concedes that effective data use depends on authorities supporting educators who use and interpret the data. The government is expecting integrity in data interpretation when the person interpreting the data may lose her job if the interpretation is negative.
The Race to the Top and Teacher Preparation study claims that data is needed to identify institutions that produce poor teachers, to identify specific poor teachers, and to humiliate them publically into submission.

Dollars from Race to the Top were used by American Progress to recommend public reporting of poor assessment results because data collection alone will not inspire educational reform.  Transformation would result if shame or embarrassment were sufficient. The study complains that university teacher-education programs appear immune to the notion of professional shame. One recommended solution is to identify good teachers by collecting data and linking student data to a teacher and the college.

According to American Progress, every state has promised to use student academic achievement to assess teacher-education programs. Why should a college lose credibility if students taught by a graduate of that college should fail to learn?

Why should a college, a teacher, or a student be punished for circumstances that are beyond their control? Educators have no control over the failed federal policies that have been imposed on educational institutions. A child’s value system determined at home is not under a teacher’s control. The fact that personal tragedy limits personal performance is ignored. Depending on the number of traumas experienced, a student may need a full year to catch up. Why should a college, a teacher, or a student be chastised for this human condition?

Our children deserve the best educational experience possible, but the federal government has a history of imposing policies that have been harmful. It is time to hold the federal government responsible for supporting failed programs developed by experts and theorists who have never taught in a typical public-school classroom. Accountability is needed in education, but the data-mining programs are not the form of assessment needed.

The federal government and the state departments of education know that these forms of data collection will cause more harm than good.  When outraged parents pack school board meetings to present opt-out forms for these types of data collection, they are heard. When citizens flood state capitols to demand state autonomy of education, they are heard. When parents demand that the government back off and allow parents to make decisions regarding the educational experiences for their children, they are heard. If these programs are not stopped now, what will the future bring?


TO UNSUBSCRIBE, SEND YOUR REQUEST BY REPLYING TO THIS EMAIL.

Friday, April 18, 2014

WISCONSIN'S STATE-WIDE EDUCATION COMMITTEE ACTION ITEM ONE

The State-Wide Education Committee has developed three action items. Each will be explained in separate emails.

First, the Committee recommends that we notify parents immediately about the Wisconsin Youth Risk Behavior Survey High School Questionnaire and encourage parents to opt-out their children from that survey. The suggested process and opt-out letter are provided after a brief description of the survey.

The CDC has a copy of the survey used by most schools in Wisconsin and it includes a page that will get you copies of surveys available for other grade levels: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/yrbs/pdf/questionnaire/2013_hs_questionnaire.pdf

Some questions from the survey include but are not limited to:

1.     During the past 30 days, on how many days did you carry a gun?
2.     During your life, with whom have you had sexual contact: I have never had contact, females, males, females and males.
3.     During the past 3 months, with how many people did you have sexual intercourse? The choices given to students include none to 6 or more people.

THE WORDING OF THESE QUESTIONS IMPLIES THAT CHILDREN ARE EXPECTED TO HAVE PARTICIPATED IN THESE OBJECTIONABLE BEHAVIORS. CHILDREN ARE LED TO BELIEVE THAT THEY ARE NOT “WITH IT” IF THEY HAVE NOT TRIED THESE BEHAVIORS. CESA 6 has removed its copy of this survey from its website.

THE WISCONSIN YOUTH RISK BEHAVIOR SURVEY GOES BY DIFFERENT NAMES INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO: CESA 6 SURVEY, CESA 7 SURVEY, THE CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL SURVEY, ETC. The survey is also given at the middle school level. Some districts use the same survey for both grades and other districts modify the survey a bit for the middle school aged students. ASK YOUR SCHOOL TO PROVIDE THE NAME OF THE SURVEY (S) THAT THE DISTRICT IS USING AND ASK FOR A COPY OF THE SURVEY THEY USE.

PROCESS for protecting your child against this invasion of privacy:

1.     Contact your local district and ask to participate in a meeting of their Young Republican group
2.     Ask members of the Young Republican group for their and their parent’s contact information
3.     Invite the students and parents to a “social” event sponsored by your political group. During the event, share a copy of the survey with the parents. Introduce concerns about increased data collection efforts of the federal government. Inform parents that this data will follow their child for life. Encourage parents to opt-out of the survey and to become active members of your political group. Distribute a flier to parents about an upcoming Common Core presentation sponsored by your group and encourage parents to participate.


MAKE A FEW CHANGES AND THIS LETTER CAN BE USED IN ANY STATE

OPT-OUT OF THE WISCONSIN YOUTH RISK BEHAVIOR SURVEY
                                           QUESTIONNAIRES



Name of District Superintendent
Name of School District
Address of School District
Date of opt-out letter



Dear (Name of Superintendent):

Please opt-out (first and last name of child) from (Name of survey or surveys used by your school district).

The only personal information you are allowed to record about my child is the information I provide which is needed to help my child academically. That information is NOT to be shared with anyone other than the teachers and principals who work with my child during the (put in school year: 2014-2015) school year. That information is NOT to follow my child to the next school year. If the information provided continues to be relevant, I will offer that information to new teachers and administrators as I deem necessary.

Thank you for respecting my child’s right to privacy.

Sincerely,
Your Name
Your address
Your phone number

CC to all teachers and principals who work with your child and to the President of the school board.






(PARENTS MUST OPT-OUT EACH SCHOOL YEAR.)


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

RECREATING CHILDREN IN AN IMAGE APPROVED BY THE GOVERNMENT


Recreating Children in an Image Approved by the Government
Teachers will be held accountable, apparently, for recreating our children in an image approved by the government. If a teacher fails, there will be serious consequences for the school, the teacher, and the student.
Your child’s personality, attitude, and ability to learn will be diagnosed by educators through biometric sensors and layers of testing. Although federal studies prove that these invasive data collections may be damaging to learning and teaching, federal and state governments continue to waste almost a billion dollars to be complicit in harming the educational process.
Most understand that children are born with a natural desire to acquire knowledge and develop skills because both empower the child. Toddlers meet each challenge with greater determination to try again. Perseverance or grit is needed for success in life. Most kids have it, but educational policies and data collection apparently stomp it out of many.
According to the U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology, closing achievement gaps in schools requires technology to test and measure a child’s grit, tenacity, social skills, attitudes, and intellectual ability. Any missing characteristic will become an educational goal that the student must achieve. The same report admits that forcing a child to accomplish goals required by others can damage a student’s long-term retention, conceptual learning, and psychological well-being.
The feds create policies that strip tenacity from our students. They spend millions to research the role tenacity plays in academic success and then spend millions more to train teachers to restore a government approved level of tenacity into the very student whose personality they destroyed in the first place.
The Educational Technology report also reveals that the best interest of the student is NOT respected in accountability-driven climates that place extremely high expectations on students. The report admits that, under these circumstances, grit may not always be in the students’ best interest. So why hook up our children to facial expression cameras, posture analysis seats, and wireless skin conductance sensors?  In fact, many companies will become wealthy by obtaining access to this data.
Effective data use depends on authorities who will support educators who use and interpret the data according to directions provided by the U. S. Department of Education.  The government is expecting integrity in data interpretation from the person who may lose her job if the interpretation is negative.
The study called Using Student Achievement Data to Support Instructional Decision Making also reveals that there is little evidence that data collection improves instruction or student achievement.
Never the less, Race to the Top and Teacher preparation, developed by American Progress, explains that student data will be used to justify public humiliation of educators, educational systems, and the colleges that prepare new teachers.  Because data collection alone will not inspire educational reform,  American Progress  has used dollars from Race to the Top to recommend reporting poor assessment results that will provide sufficient public shame and embarrassment to transform teacher and student performance.
American Progress recommends that the government’s approach to education reform should include publically shaming teachers, students, and educational institutions for failing to implement federal policies adequately. Unfortunately, federal policymakers will not consider holding failed federal policies accountable.
Our children deserve the best educational experience possible, but the federal government has a history of imposing policies that have been harmful. It is time to hold the federal government responsible for supporting failed programs developed by experts and theorists who have never taught in a typical public-school classroom. Accountability is needed in education, but the data-mining programs are not the form of assessment needed.
The federal government and the state departments of education know that these forms of data collection will cause more harm than good.  Citizens need to pack school board meetings to present opt-out forms for these types of data collection.  State capitols need to be flooded with citizens who demand state autonomy of education. Community stakeholders should be the ones who hold their schools accountable—not the federal government. If these programs are not stopped now, what will the future bring?


Thursday, February 13, 2014

SAMPLE LETTER TO JOIN A CURRICULUM SELECTION COMMITTEE

SAMPLE LETTER TO JOIN A CURRICULUM SELECTION COMMITTEE

Name of Superintendent
Superintendent
Name of School District
Address of School District
Date of letter

Dear Superintendent [name]:

Please place me on the curriculum selection and writing committees for the upcoming history, social studies, science, and health curricula.

As a citizen I have a legal right and obligation to assure that the laws governing our state are being properly enforced. As a citizen, I have a right to participate in the development and implementation of academic and behavioral standards adopted by the district as defined under the [name of state] statutes governing [local control of schools or state laws regarding education].  [add if appropriate: As a parent I have a legal right to make educational decisions for my child including the quality of the curriculum taught in her school.]

Please make available the teacher’s manuals for every piece of [ put in subject and grades ie: health curriculum taught to grades K-4]. Please call me when the materials are ready and I will pick them up. May I borrow the materials for 20 days?

Please place my name on each of the curriculum-selection and writing committees requested and add my name to the list of people who are automatically notified of meeting times and locations. My e-mail address is [provide your email address and phone number].

Your immediate attention would be appreciated.

Your Name
Address
Phone number

Cc the [name of] President of the School Board