Montana PTA and Chamber of Commerce Supports Common Core

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On February 18, four bills, aimed at repealing and replacing Common Core in Montana, were heard by the House Education Committee. All of the individuals who spoke in support of Common Core and in opposition to HB 377 were part of the educational establishment except for two. Interestingly, two specific groups which spoke against the bills on behalf of their members were the Montana PTA represented by Dee Hensley-Maclean and the Billings Chamber of Commerce represented by John Brewer.

CWA of Montana presenting testimony on your behalf at that committee hearing.

Good news, it passed out of committee, and then on February 26, HB 377 passed out of the House! It is now time to tell the members of the Senate Education Committee to support HB 377 and HB 501. View action items and prayer focus below. Click here to read HB 377 and click here to read HB 501 as well as view their status.

Billings Chamber of Commerce’s Stance on Common Core:

Their website states:

“The Common Core State Standards are K–12 academic standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy. They were developed by states, and states voluntarily choose to adopt them.

Standards are a critical first step in improving America’s education system. They provide the necessary foundation for local decisions around curriculum, assessments and instruction. The Billings Chamber supports the Common Core initiative.”

Clearly the chamber is taking a stance on an issue it has not thoroughly researched. The standards are national standards by the Montana Board of Public Education’s admission (page 7).

You can read more about the chamber’s stance on education by clicking here and then clicking on either local, state or federal issues.

Nation PTA’s Stance on Common Core:

Their website states:
“Supports nationally agreed upon voluntary standards if they are derived by consensus at the state and local levels. Parents must be involved in this process.”

Parents were not involved in the process of adopting Common Core on any level. It is insulting to all the parent members of the PTA for their Advocacy Chair to speak for their members in support of educational standards in which the parents had no say! You can read more about the PTA’s stance on educational issues by clicking here.

Montana PTA’s Stance on Common Core:

The Montana PTA also sent out an e-mail asking their membership to call and oppose the four bills aimed at repealing Common Core in Montana.

Time is of the essence! Act and Pray TODAY!

Take Action:

  1. Please contact the members of the Senate Education and Cultural Resources Committee at 406-444-4800 and tell them to support HB 377 and HB 501. If you are told you can only leave messages for five members of the committee, please leave a message for the following: Taylor Brown (R-SD 28), Llew Jones (R-SD 9), Mary Sheehy Moe (D-SD 12), Sharon Stewart-Peregoy (D-SD 21) and Bob Keenan (R-SD 5).
  2. If you are a member of the Billings Chamber of Commerce, please e-mail John Brewer at as well as the Chamber board president Ron Yates at Tell them you do NOT support Common Core or the Billings’ Chamber speaking for you.
  3. If you are a member of the Montana PTA, please e-mail and tell them you are against Common Core and for local control of education. Let them know that as a member you do not appreciate the Montana PTA speaking for you.
  4. If you are a member of either the Billings Chamber of Commerce or the Montana PTA, please contact the board leadership and tell them you do not support Common Core. Send a letter to the editor of your local paper stating your concerns with Common Core and the stance these organizations have taken.
  5. If you know someone who is a member of either of these organizations, please encourage them to act.
  6. Pass this e-mail onto like-minded friends, family, pastors, etc. and ask then to pray and take action on this important issue.

Pray for the legislators who have not yet seen the cracks within Common Core. Pray they will see truth and will speak up in support of HB 377 and HB 501. Pray that those legislators, regardless of political party affiliation, who do not support Common Core, would speak truth and would speak boldly. Pray for John Brewer and Dee Hensley-Maclean, as well as their organizations and board of directors, that they would realize the dangers of Common Core and oppose it.

View Testimonies: You can view a video of all the testimonies here. Go to 00:59:47 to view CWA of Montana State Co-Director Kari Zeier’s testimony. John Brewer testifies at approximately 1:17:00 and then is questioned by Rep. Jeff Essmann (R-District 54) at 2:38:00. Dee Hensley-Maclean testifies at 1:43:00.

The cracks within Common Core are beginning to show. You are speaking up and making a difference! The time to speak loudly is now! Keep up the good work!

State Co-Director Kari Zeier Testifies Before the Education Committee in Opposition to Common Core By Supporting HB 377 (text)

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Testimony CC 2 18 2015

Education Committee
Support HB 377
February 18, 2015

Madam Chairwoman, members of the committee:

My name is Kari Zeier, and I am the State Co-Director for Concerned Women for America of Montana.
The reason we have Common Core in Montana is because the Montana Board of Public Education (BPE) adopted the standards on November 4, 2011. As you consider your vote on HB 377, please consider the following:

The BPE’s approved minutes from the November 3-4, 2011 meeting, regarding Mr. Michael Hall from OPI state, “Mr. Hall briefly discussed the history in moving to the Common Core standards and that the decision was made for Montana to move from the Montana standards to the national Common Core Standards.” By their own admission these are NATIONAL standards, not Montana’s standards.

MCA 5-5-224. Education and local government interim committee. The education and local government interim committee has administrative rule review, draft legislation review, program evaluation, and monitoring functions for the following executive branch agencies and the entities attached to agencies for administrative purposes:

  1. state board of education;
  2. board of public education;
  3. board of regents of higher education; and
  4. office of public instruction.

On November 14, 2014 at the BPE’s meeting, Deputy Superintendent of Schools Dennis Parman was discussing the public comments from the hearing regarding the adoption of the preschool standards with the Montana Board of Public Education. Mr. Parman said in regards to the resolution passed by the Education and Local Government Interim Committee, “… They have no standing, that interim committee has no standing in terms of their ability to tell you what to do or how to do it. That having been said, um, they sat down and they talked about it and they discussed it and there were concerns expressed.”

Legislative committees serve a vital purpose, are comprised of legislators who have been elected by the people of Montana and are empowered by state laws.

The fallacies within Common Core go beyond party lines. On January 24, 2015, the Washington State Democratic Central Committee passed a resolution opposing Common Core. It is time to stop playing politics and work together to create new educational standards for Montanans, by Montanans. Our teachers and children deserve better than what has been given to them. This mandate stifles the individual creativity of teachers by forcing them to teach to a national standard versus each individual Montana students’ needs.

Article X, Section 1 of the Montana Constitution states that it is the goal of the people to establish a system of education which will develop the full educational potential of each person. National standards put forth by a Board which disregards the legislative roles and processes hardly develops the full educational potential of each of Montana’s children. Furthermore, Common Core limits teachers and usurps local control through yet another federal overreach. We can do better and you have the authority to begin this process. Vote YES on HB 377.

Repeal Common Core in Montana

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House Bill 377 will be heard in the House Education Committee tomorrow, Wednesday, February 18, at 3:00 p.m.

HB 377 would repeal the Common Core Standards in Montana. This bill deals with the Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium (SBAC) testing, public officials being members of private organizations who could exert control over public schools through standards and curriculum, and lays out a process for creating new standards in Mathematics and English Language Arts in Montana. And that’s just the beginning. Click here to review the bill for yourself.

Let’s stand together and rid our state of Common Core and create an educational system that is good for Montana’s teachers and children!

Pray for each members of the House Education Committee by name. Pray they would see the truth of the federal overreach that is called Common Core. Pray they would have the strength to stand for righteousness not only in voting for this legislation but speak out in favor of it. May they see that Common Core is bad for Montana teachers and children regardless of party affiliation. You can find the members of the House Education Committee here.

Take Action!

  1. Call 406-444-4800. Tell the operator you need to leave a message for all of the HOUSE Education Committee Members. The message is for each member to vote YES on HB 377. That is it! The phone calls are powerful as the members of the committee receive a yellow slip for each message that is left. The more the better! This causes them to pay attention to what we, the people, are saying! Call TODAY!
  2. If you are able, consider attending the committee meeting tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. at the Capitol in Helena in room 137. You can either prepare a brief, one to two minute statement about why you are against Common Core or you may just state your name and ask the committee to vote YES on HB 377.
  3. Share this information with your family and friends. Ask them to take two minutes out of their day and call Helena and ask the House Education Committee to vote YES on HB 377.

More about HB 377:

  • Would create an Accredidation Standards Review Council.
  • Deals with funding if a school chooses not to adopt the Common Core Standards.
  • Would repeal the Common Core Standards in Montana.
  • Gives the control back to parents and teachers.
  • Would remove the SBAC testing as a requirement for the state.
  • Prevents public officals from being members of associations that could have control over public schools in Montana such as the National Governor’s Association and the Chief Council of State School Officers, both of which were integral in creating the National Common Core Standards.
  • Calls for the development of an Accredidation Standards Review Council. This council would effectively disperse the power and authority over public schools thus creating a more equal distribution of power.
  • Would prohibit the witholding of BASE aid if a district decided not to adopt the content standards.

Thank you in advance for praying and taking action on this important issue.

Victory! Montana High School Association Withdraws Proposal

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The Montana High School Association (MHSA) tabled its proposal to allow transgendered students to participate on the sports team with which they identify. THANK YOU to everyone who responded to our e-alert by contacting the MHSA board members and asking them not to move forward with this rule change.

Please keep your local high school principals in prayer as they continue to guide our children.

Thank you for standing for truth in these troubled times. Without you, this victory would not have been possible!

Montana High School Association Transgender Policy Consideration

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The Montana High School Association (MHSA) will be meeting this Friday, January 16, and Monday, January 19, to consider proposed language that would allow the following language:

“The MHSA allows all students, regardless of gender identity or expression, the opportunity to participate in a safe, competitive environment free of discrimination. The MHSA Executive Board shall designate criteria under which transgender student-athletes may request to participate in an activity sanctioned for a specific gender that differs from the student’s sex assignment at birth.

“For the purpose of this policy, the following definitions apply:

  1. Transgender Individual: an individual whose gender identity does not match the sex assigned to him or her at birth.
  2. Gender Identity: an individual’s deeply-felt innate sense of one’s own gender.
  3. Gender Expression: an individual’s external characteristics and/or behaviors that are culturally defined as either masculine or feminine (dress, speech, mannerisms, social interactions etc.)

“A member school may apply for gender identity eligibility for any student who meets all other eligibility requirements. The official MHSA form must be used.”

One hundred and seventy-nine school districts will be voting on this proposed policy; a 2/3 vote is needed for approval.

This is serious for our children and the future of our state. There is already policy in place for a competitive discrimination free environment in our high schools. There has not been a complaint thus far, and if the MHSA begins making special conditions for one group, then it opens the door for many other things. Concerned Women for America of Montana is concerned about the unintended consequences becoming a safety issue, and we want to work to protect all Montana children and athletes.

Helpful article by the Billings Gazette: Montana High School Association to vote on policy for transgender athletes.

ACT: Please contact your local high school Superintendent and/or Athletic Director and request that they do not vote for this. Click here and go to page 15 of the directory (page 20 of the PDF) and scan down until you find your county and then local high school.

Pray: Dear Lord, We ask for clarity for our confused culture. We know Your word says, “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female’” in Mark 10:6. So today, Lord, we pray that You would touch the hearts of the Superintendents and Athletic Directors who will be voting on this important issue. May they vote to keep the transgender issue out of the policy revisions and keep the policy as it currently reads. Amen.