Two Moms Against Common Core

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Letter Judge Jackson sent...

In another post I explain how Judge Jackson got some of the research I've been gathering.  After studying out the research, here is a letter he sent to his representative.

Dear Representative McIff:

Thank you for opening a dialogue with my daughter, JaKell Sullivan, regarding the "Common Core" research which she recently shared with us. I indicated that we would glean further information and share it with you. I am now reporting. At this point, I know more than was my original intent and the political pot on this issue seems to be overflowing into two separate schools of thought. Moreover, time is obviously of the essence due to the status of the political calendar.

The first school of thought in Utah comes from the Governor's Office and the State School Board. They are circulating a six page Q&A document: Utah's Common Core, Draft 2.22.12. It poses questions in three groupings 1. Frequently Asked Questions 2. Process 3. Implementation and Future Work. The next to the last question is: What is the role of the federal government in (Common Core) standards implementation? The answer is: The federal government has had NO role in their implementation. The first question on Page 2 is: Who is leading the Common Core State Standards Initiative? The answer is: The Council of Chief State State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center).

The second school of thought comes from several citizens, including concerned mothers and teachers who have done their homework. They have directed me to three basic underlying contract documents which Utah's Executive Branch has agreed to. They conclude that these documents grant control of "Common Core" standards and implementation to the Federal Government, namely the United States Department of Education, ie President Obama's staff.

Based on my examination of -
 1. Memorandum of Understaning/SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium/Race to the Top Fund Assessment Program: Comprehensive Assessments Systems Grant Application/CFDA Number: 84.395B,
 2. Smarter Balanced Assesment Consortium - Governance Structure Document, July 1, 2010, Amended November 22, 2011, and
 3. Cooperative Agreement Between the U. S. Department of Education and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and the State of Washington (fiscal agent) dated January 7, 2011, PR/Award #: S395B100003 and S395B100003A (190 pages).
- I Concur with the conclusion of the citizens.
My opinion is based on the plain language of these contracts as set forth in my Memo: To Whom It May Concern, Subject: Federal/State Common Core Initiatives and Standards, Dated April 12, 2012 (4 pages attached). The opinion has detailed analysis of each contract.

This opinion is also supported by a grant award notification letter (GAN) dated September 28, 2010 from Director Conaty of the U. S. Department of Education to Washington State Governor Gregorie. The award is for the Race to the Top Assessment Program. It is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on the basis of an approved budget of $159,976,843 for the Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium. The notice set a deadlilne of January 7, 2011 to finalize the above Cooperative Agreement which bears the same date. The GAN states that it will "include substantial involvement of the U. S. Department of Education".

FYI: I  have also attached a copy of National Federation of Republican Women Resolution, Defeat National Standards for State Schools, Adopted Unaniously at the NFRW 36th Biennial Convention, October 1, 2011 (1 page) .

In the interest of time, I am sharing this message with several other people. I invite them also to examine these materials and share their comments. Your cooperation and assistance are appreciated. Norman H. Jackson, Judge Utah Court of Appeals, Retired.

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