Immediate Action needed to STOP Common Core in Montana

By | Montana | No Comments

HB 377, which would repeal and replace Common Core in Montana, is stalled in the Senate Education Committee.

HB 377 is VITAL in taking back the control of education in Montana and placing it in the hands of parents, teachers and local school boards where it belongs. Sen. Taylor Brown (R-District 22), who is the chairman of the House Education Committee, says he needs to hear stories and experiences about Montana’s public schools. We ALL have a child, or know someone who does, that has been impacted negatively by Common Core. Sen. Brown is also under the impression that the Legislature has a very limited role in enforcing Montana public education.

Montana Code Annotated 20-1-102 states, “It is the goal of the legislature that Montana’s public elementary and secondary school system, in cooperation with parents or guardians, create a learning environment for each student …” You can read the code in its entirety HERE.

Article X of the Monana Constitution states “It is the goal of the people to establish a system of education which will develop the full educational potential of each person. Equality of educational opportunity is guaranteed to each person of the state.” You can read more about education and Montana’s Constitution HERE.

Sen. Brown has argued that a past ruling of the Montana Supreme Court supports his belief that the role of the legislature is to fund public education. According to the Montana Constitution and Montana Code, this is a conflicting message. As noted above the goal of the people, which includes you, is to establish the educational system in Montana. More importantly is the fact that the legislature is to work in cooperation with parents or guardians to create a learning environment that benefits ALL students. If the legislature does not listen to us, the PARENTS, then they are violating the oath they have vowed to uphold:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, protect and defend the constitution of the United States, and the constitution of the state of Montana, and that I will discharge the duties of my office with fidelity (so help me God).”

The Montana Board of Public Education (BPE), the Office of Public Instruction (OPI) and local school boards have created a divisive educational environment that excluded parents with the adoption and implementation of the copyrighted Common Core State Standards Initiative. We cannot stand by and allow our elected legislators to do the same.

The fiscal note for HB 377 states “Typically, when the OPI undertakes a process for recommending revisions to accreditation standards to the BPE, the agency convenes a work group to develop the recommendations … These working meetings have not been closed to the public, but OPI has not consistently announced the meetings online nor put out press releases about the work group meetings.” You can find the rest of the fiscal note HERE.

Friends it is time to speak up TODAY. This bill NEEDS to be heard on the Senate floor. The only way this will happen is if YOU take immediate action.

First, pray that members of the Senate Education Committee would take a stand for parents and children in Montana. Pray that Sen. Taylor Brown, as the chairman of the committee, would take a strong stand for students, parents and teachers in Montana.

Take Action!

1. E-mail Sen. Taylor Brown at [email protected]. Tell him YOUR personal story about how Common Core has negatively impacted your child, grandchild, niece or nephew. Your story matters. Demand that Sen. Brown move forward with a vote of HB 377. Students, parents and teachers deserve a Montana solution with better educational standards than the federally created and funded Common Core.
2. Copy Sen. Llew Jones at [email protected] via e-mail with your personal story. Sen. Jones has worked with public schools in the past through his former computer technology company Jathco. We need to ask Sen. Jones to stand on our behalf as well.
3. Call 406-444-4800. Tell the operator you need to leave a message for each member of the SENATE Education Committee. The message is for each senator to vote YES on HB 377.
4. Forward this e-mail on to everyone you know. Encourage them to take the action steps mentioned above.

You can read HB 377 here.

It would be a travesty for this bill to die in the Senate Education Committee. You must act immediately. The longer this bill sits in committee the less likely it will pass out of committee and be ignored by our legislators. If we all take five minutes out of our day to pressure these senators, we can work to ensure this bill makes it to the senate floor. HB 377 deserves a vote by the senators who have been elected by the people of Montana. ACT TODAY!

Montana PTA and Chamber of Commerce Supports Common Core

By | Montana | No Comments

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 [email protected] as well as the Chamber board president Ron Yates at [email protected]. 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 [email protected] 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)

By | Montana | No Comments

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

By | Montana | No Comments

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.