A publication of Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots
January 2014, No. 26
Part IV: Regarding: Assembly bill 7994
NY Assembly Education Committee and
Senator Flanagan’s Committee:
Common Core MUST Be Repealed
“Frankly, I don’t think there is an alternative to the Common Core.
Those who argue for lower standards and that we should expect less
from students, I frankly think that they are wrong and that their view risks
undermining the long-term prosperity of our state and our country. We need to
ensure that our students graduate ready to work at the next level, whether that
be college or career, and the Common Core is the path to get there.”
John King, Jr., Commissioner of Education,
Common Core Forum, Jamestown High School, Jamestown, NY, December 4, 2013
Undermining the prosperity of our state and country?! The commissioner is parroting words right out
of Common Core. Unbelievably, Commissioner King feels there is no alternative to Common Core.
His own words reveal a man lacking knowledge and out of touch with the public: Lower standards?!
Expect less from students?! The Common Core is the path to get there?! Hogwash!!! Bunk!!! New
York citizens are arguing for higher standards, but ones that truly educate their children, not the
Common Core standards pushing political bias. Does King really believe there is no other path to
educating New York’s children and higher achievement? Or, is Commissioner King merely following
the “company line” of his bosses, the Board of Regents and the executive branch of our government?
Here’s a suggestion for the Commissioner: model New York standards on 1996 rigorous Massachusetts
standards. Children truly were educated under the 1996 standards, and Massachusetts ranked number
one in the country. Its NAEP scores also were laudable. But the commissioner already knows this!
King is on record when he informed the WNED forum audience (12-4-13) that he was an educator in
Massachusetts during that time, and that he had first-hand knowledge of improved achievement by
Massachusetts children. So, in spite of his comments during the Jamestown forum, he does know a
better alternative to Common Core! New York no longer has the reputation of being top state in the
nation, or even near the top. We starting losing that accolade 50 years ago when progressive educrats
began their assault upon our schools—all to the detriment of high achievement by New York children.
Moreover, we ask the commissioner to drop the trite phrase, “career and college ready.” Common Core
authors lack any understanding of what makes students college ready. Their interest is in developing
future workers for the “21st-century global economy,” another empty phrase. Have they forgotten that
America became part of the global economy in 1492? This isn’t new stuff to us. The phrase says
nothing about the future of our country, but it certainly demonstrates our ignorance of the past.
During the Jamestown visit by Commissioner King and Regent Emeritus Bennett (The Post-Journal,
Dec. 10, 2013), they observed classes at three schools, one being a grade 8 class at Persell Middle
School. Here the gentlemen saw students writing their own lesson plans. We are not informed of the
subject matter for the class. Mr. Bennett praised this classroom experience during an interview that
was aired on TV. Ostensibly, the teacher followed Common Core curriculum.
One is puzzled as to why a teacher would turn over such an important and critical function to students?
Would students have the background and knowledge necessary to write critical components for a lesson
plan? Are students even aware of what they need to learn? Isn’t developing lessons plans the key and
critical function for the teacher? The research-based components for writing lesson plans are:
• Anticipatory Set: recall previously learned material;
• Objective and Purpose: answers the question, “Why do we have to learn this stuff?”;
• Input: the essential information, designed activities, and instructional strategies (e.g.,
cooperative learning, lecture, experiment);
• Modeling Correct Performances: demonstrating how to do the task correctly;
• Checking for Understanding: provides the “monitor and adjust” function to ensure that
students are practicing exercises correctly;
• Guided Practice: providing feedback to prevent bad habits from forming, and increase
appropriate behavior; only when students perform the behavior appropriately is independent
work assigned;
• Providing for Independent Practice: homework (Gentile, 1990, p. 437).
Each component requires a person knowledgeable in content and delivery. Writing lessons plans is not
the job of students! That makes this exercise unethical, as well as inefficient, and a tremendous waste
of time. Mr. Bennett’s praise is inappropriate and falls flat!
More praise from Mr. Bennett at the WNED forum, this time for a Lafayette High School class
consisting of two teachers and 12 students: “The time given to each student differed. They get
scaffolding.” “Scaffolding” is the current buzzword for “help.” Individual time and scaffolding hardly
are earthshaking concepts with a 1:6 ratio! He added, “Readiness is better for careers than for college.
Students can go on so that they can get a job.” Let’s be real here: most teachers do not have small
classes of 12 students. A teacher with a class of 25-30 students does not have the luxury of
differentiated teaching; s/he must teach to the entire class. Again, Mr. Bennett’s praise falls flat.
The Current Situation
Reading: Our nation faced a reading problem before Common Core was implemented. On the 2013
National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), regarded as the nation’s report card, 30 percent
of grade 4 students in New York placed in Below Basic for reading, while 33 percent placed at Basic.
In other words, more than half (63%) of New York grade 4 students read poorly. Only 9 percent placed
at the Advanced level. Tragically for these high-performing children, under Common Core they will be
placed in their grade-level curriculum, whereas they should be accelerated to meet their needs. There
was a 26 point gap between those eligible for free/reduced lunch and those who are ineligible.
Grade 8 fared no better: scores flat-lined over the years NAEP was given to NY students. Twenty-six
percent placed Below Basic, with 41 percent placing at Basic. As with grade 4, more than half (65%)
of grade 8 students read inadequately. Five percent placed at the Advanced level. The gap between
those eligible for free/reduced lunch and those ineligible was 24 points.
Math: Similar to reading results, more than half (61%) of New York’s grade 4 children exhibit math
deficits. Eighteen percent of grade 4 children placed in Below Basic, while 43 percent placed at Basic.
Only one-third of New York’ grade 4 children are at the Proficient level. A mere eight percent placed at
Advanced. As with reading, children in Advanced category should be accelerated.
Grade 8 results found even fewer students (25%) placing at Proficient level. Sixty-six percent are in
Below Basic and Basic categories. Similar to grade 4, eight percent placed in Advanced.
An examination of the weak EngageNY Mathematics program provides strong indication that future
NAEP results will not improve. We were informed by Dr. R. James Milgram that students in this
program would be two years behind other developed countries by grade 5, and falling further through
the grades. Lead author Dr. Jason Zimba has degrees in astrophysics, physics, mathematics, and a
Ph.D. in physics, but no training in teaching young children. This is a very weak math program!
Tragically, the long-term future for supplying professionals in STEM (Science, Technology,
Engineering, Mathematics) careers is in jeopardy. Zimba stated that his math program does not prepare
students to enter these careers as they will not have opportunity to study pre-calculus and calculus in
high school. He also stated that EngageNY Mathematics does not meet requirements for admission to
selective colleges in the United States. Out goes Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Carnegie Mellon, College of
William and Mary, and many others. What a travesty!!! Zimba said that his math is geared only to
admission to community college. Additionally, EngageNY Mathematics is not research-validated, and
field-testing never occurred. Repeal this weak, restricted, untested math program! It’s a disaster!!!
New York citizens are not content with the above testing results. The public wants higher standards for
its children. Contrary to Mr. Bennett’s pronouncements that most people are onboard with Common
Core—in spite of the backlash he has seen—there is real consensus by parents, teachers, and the
general public that Common Core does not provide higher standards, and achievement levels will not
increase. In fact, the more the public learns about Common Core, the less they like it. This was very
evident at King’s December 4, 2013 forum in Jamestown. Although the commissioner heard the
anguish and passion in remarks from the public, he exhibited not a shred of sympathy, nor did he utter a
kind word of understanding to any. The audience and media were disconsolate by the public comments
of a 10-year-old boy who told of the stress he is under with excessive testing. No comment from King.
The December 12 forum at WNED studios in Buffalo was disgraceful. It’s purpose was not to obtain
honest feedback and opinions from those attending, but to control the flow of information and to stay
on-script. King never heard directly from the audience, only through emotionless, pre-submitted
questions. Obviously, questions could be screened to eliminate those not to his liking. The only
emotion inside was when an activist managed to enter the auditorium. Emotion, however, was seen in
abundance outside the studio where many people, bundled against the lake-effect snow and wind, held
signs up against Common Core.
What the audience and TV viewers saw was the King/Bennett dog-and-pony show, a constant replaying
of the same old tapes to convince New York residents that Common Core is The answer to New York’s
education problems. Obviously, many in the public are not buying this King/Bennett pig-in-a-poke
venture. Remember: Common Core has no research validation, and it never was field-tested prior to
publication! Our children are being experimented upon!
We did our homework. We know these things about Common Core:
• it is a political operation disguised as educational reform [The progressive Left is using the
public schools for its own political agenda. It is John Dewey’s wish-come-true: “I believe that
education is the fundamental method of social progress and reform.” And, “You can’t make
socialists out of individualists. Children who know how to think for themselves spoil the
harmony of the collective society, which is coming where everyone is interdependent.”]
• public education is controlled by a group of bureaucrats and unknown, unaccountable activists
[The progressive agenda will have a stranglehold on our children and all our schools. Arne
Duncan: “Our goal will be to work closely with global partners including UNESCO to
promote qualitative improvements and system-strengthening.”]
• “Common Core is a lesson plan for raising up compliant, non-thinking citizens.” [Words by
John W. Whitehead, Constitutional Attorney, The Rutherford Institute.]
• the commissioner, Board of Regents, and governor undermined and violated our laws [Isn’t
this grounds for prosecution?]
• the former commissioner engaged in unethical actions [Did he quit? Resign under protest?
Fired? The appropriate action was the latter.]
• the Federal government, by law, has no right to interfere with the right of states to educate their
children [Surely there were other options than for the Board of Regents to capitulate for 30
pieces of silver!]
• the concept of Federalism is violated [Shame on those who let this happen on their watch!]
• parents and teachers, those closest to children, are distanced from decision-making when
education is centralized [We hear weeping, do you?]
• “college and career ready” [Dumbed down K-12 schools inevitably lead to dumbed down
college programs and requirements, making a college degree meaningless. Are the Regents on
a deliberate course to destroy our schools and economy? Certainly looks that way!!!]
• political bias is present in curriculum materials [Is it ever!!! Common Core English Standards
are an attempt to impose a particular world view on students.]
• stacking the deck with radical multiculturalism [Students lacking knowledge are being
programmed with multiculturalism. Our nation was founded on universal principles: right and
wrong, liberty and happiness. Common Core’s emphasis on promoting radical multiculturalism
is antithetical to the concepts upon which America was founded, and sets out to undo our
cultural and moral heritage.]
• “critical thinking” is touted but in short supply [Read the Teacher’s Editions of Common Core
texts to find what a mockery is made of questions posed to students. See the grade 12 example
below, and weep.]
• Common Core standards are an example of bait-and-switch [Over and over again we were
told that the Standards are rigorous. This was to keep us in the dark so the Truth would not see
the light of day. Examination of the Standards reveals just how weak they are.]
• misplaced focus on 21st-century global economy jobs [Think Kodak when you hear these
words: “We will need a certain type of employee in the future.” Think John D. Rockefeller: “I
don’t want a nation of thinkers. I want a nation of workers.”]
• the curriculum is weak in spite of protestations from the commissioner, Regent Bennett, and the
other Regents [Have the Regents actually examined, closely, lessons in Common Core texts?
Hard to believe they have based on their comments.]
• top-down programs are antithetical to Americans; they remove control from We the People and
local school boards [Have we come to the point where we must say goodbye to the NY State
Constitution, Article XI, Section 1, and NY Education Law, Article 35 § 1709, Sections 3 and 5?
What a tragedy unless Common Core is repealed!]
• Race To The Top was about money, not about truly educating our children [Those 30 pieces of
silver again!]
• federal programs have horrible track records of waste [think Medicare and Medicaid],
mismanagement [think Medicare and ObamaCare], and higher taxes [the very thing we are
experiencing with ObamaCare].
Education in New York State Has Been High-Jacked!
If we want a true and realistic analysis of the tragedy of Common Core, then The Story-Killers: A
Common-Sense Case Against the Common Core, the newly-released book by Dr. Terrence O. Moore,
serves well as our guide. Moore, a professor of history at Hillsdale College, was founding principal of
Ridgeview Classical Charter Schools. He also helped establish a number of other charter schools
through Hillsdale’s Barney Charter School Initiative. What follows is Moore’s scathing denunciation
showing how the Common Core authors are in bed with the publishing companies:
It is to the textbooks—and particularly to the Teachers’ Editions—we must go to understand what is now
taking place in the nation’s schools and how the Common Core will be “implemented.” [W]ithout the
unquestioned, absolute, and unnecessary dominance of the publishing industry over the nation’s public
schools, the Common Core could hardly be imposed on those schools. By sending out clear signals to
textbook publishers, the authors of the Common Core can determine what gets read in class and how the
things that are read get taught. That nine-tenths of the nation’s teachers are wholly dependent on
textbooks for their interpretation of literature, various assignments, and decision of what gets read or
omitted in the first place, makes the whole enterprise of high-jacking the nation’s schools that much
easier. Thus has a real tyranny gained control of the nation’s schools. The links of the chain are easy to
follow. The authors of the Common Core, through the dictat handed down in the Common Core
documents and through mandatory testing, tell the publishers what to put in the textbooks. The
textbooks in turn tell the teachers what to teach and how to teach. The teachers tell the students what to
think—and not just about literature. If the Common Core is a lamentable and hostile coup d’école,
it should be in the literature textbooks that we find how the superficiality and bias and plain bad reading
manifested in the Standards themselves makes it way into the classrooms (pp. 184-185).
We can add to the above: what gets tested is what gets taught. Because the stakes are very high for
teachers—their jobs are on the line—NY teachers “teach to the test” using Common Core materials.
Teachers are aware that students are being poorly educated, but they fear retribution if they speak
openly. Moreover, under Common Core, English teachers are required to teach at least 50% fiction,
50% informational texts, even up to 70% informational texts by grade 12, leaving only 30% teaching
time for literature. What a barren landscape for NY students! As Moore says, “The question is simply
whether we want our students to spend their time in school reading a history of the grocery bag [or
worse, an EPA regulation] while they could be reading Homer or Shakespeare or Dickens.”
Adding to the problem for English teachers, Common Core literature texts contain history material,
which more correctly belongs in a history class. Will English teachers have the historical knowledge to
put complex historical issues into perspective for students? Hardly, especially since teachers are using
a scripted teacher’s edition. Here’s an example: Before reading anything of the Founding Fathers’
writings, students read comments by a modern author (Professor William L. Andrews) on a topic
intended to color their views. Students then are presented with this statement: “Patrick Henry
proclaimed, ‘Give me liberty or give me death!’ while owning slaves.” What follows is taken from the
teacher’s edition [Remember, students have not read and actual writings yet!]:
1. Begin the class discussion by having students name ideals that America was founded upon, based on
their background knowledge and Andrew’s essay. Have a volunteer write all the responses on the
board. Possible responses: Ideals include religious tolerance, individual liberty, and political equality.
2. Using this list, ask students to offer specific examples of how Jefferson and his contemporaries
embodied these ideals. Then, ask for examples of behaviors of early American leaders that did not
support these ideals. Possible responses: Students may point to the risks undertaken by leaders of the
Revolution such as Patrick Henry as proof of their intense commitment to their ideals. They may point
to these leaders’ slave-holding as inconsistent with their ideals of liberty and equality.
3. Have students offer ideas of judgments about the main question: Has the United States become
the country early citizens imagined? Encourage them to cite specific examples from their own
knowledge to support their opinions. Possible responses: Answers will vary, but students should
support their responses with specific examples and reasoned arguments.
4. To help conduct the discussion, use the Discussion Guide in the Professional Development Guidebook,
page 65 (Moore, p. 195).
Judgments? If students have not read sources from the period under review, how will they be able to
provide informed opinions? Background knowledge? Let’s get real here, students at this age have little
to none. The Common Core literature text completely misses the boat: a systematic, chronological, and
complete presentation of our nation’s history, documents, and literature is absent. Instead, hodgepodge,
bias, and tearing down America are the order of the day. Moore sadly writes: “The Common Core
authors seek to undo our moral and cultural heritage found in the great books, and to do so without
letting anyone know what they intend.”
The commissioner informed the public that he sees no alternative to Common Core, so no need to
change the current plan. Hard to believe, especially after reading Moore’s excellent analysis of the
English Language Arts component. If you still have doubts, consider this “teaching” lesson for grade
12: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, found in The British Tradition, a Common Core textbook published
by Pearson/Prentice Hall. The following is what students encounter for this unit in the textbook: Note:
Keep in mind that students never read the actual book!:
• Elizabeth McCracken, modern author, describes her childhood nightmares and movies she
watched [So what? It’s hard to see where McCracken adds anything to students’ knowledge
and understanding];
• Literary terms are introduced: “Gothic,” “Romantic” [Pretty weak stuff for grade 12]
• A reading strategy is introduced: making predictions [Wouldn’t it be difficult to make
predictions if one has not read the entire book?]
• By the sixth page of the unit, students read—not the book—Shelley’s introduction about
writing Frankenstein [Rigorous? Not by any stretch of the imagination!].
Advanced students receive the following invitation [Note: Again, students are not instructed to read
the entire book!]:
Enrichment for Advanced Readers: Have interested students read a segment of Mary Shelley’s
Frankenstein. Then, ask them to prepare book reviews comparing the Frankenstein monster to
Shelley’s description in her introduction to the work. Ask them to discuss how the book compares
with similar novels they have read.
Instead of requiring students to read Mary Shelley’s classic work, Frankenstein, the editors encourage
teachers to have students talk about monsters, draw pictures of monsters [remember, this is grade
12!!!], write an autobiography of a monster, dress up as monsters, talk about Saturday Night Live,
share their favorite skits from the program, and act out a Saturday Night Live script [see below].
Common Core labels these activities as “critical thinking.” Does this strike any thinking person as
critical thinking or educating youth? Again, informed opinions sorely will be lacking!
Here’s the skit from the Teacher’s Edition of The British Tradition, published by Pearson/Prentice Hall:
Villager #1: [to Head Villager] Well, maybe you’re the monster!
Head Villager: [shakes his head] I’m not the monster! [points to Frankenstein’s monster]
Look at ‘im! He’s got a square head and green skin!
Frankenstein’s Monster: Oh, great—now it’s a racial thing! You know what? You guys are a
bunch of fascists! [villager with a lit torch again steps too close] Seriously, du-ude! Get that
fire away from me!…
[Instructions in the margin of the Teacher’s Edition]
Point out the use of the term fascist. Explain its traditional political meaning and how it has been
extended to refer to any right-wing extremist group.
Would you call the language development and reading level of the above material “college and career
ready”? It’s all pretty low-level, don’t you think? See any evidence of “critical thinking”? Not there!
Moore calls it “Romper-Room progressivism.” We also can add: waste of time, waste of energy, and
more dumbing down of education in our state and nation.
Claptrap! That’s the appropriate word for this grade 12 silliness. This example (and Moore presents us
with many others) is evidence of why so many are so concerned over Common Core! Commissioner
King and his Regent bosses can tell us—ad nauseam—about the wonders of Common Core, but it will
not change the minds of those who have done their homework. The public is not stupid; they know
when they are hearing false words.
Pearson Education
Cries erupted from the audience December 4 in Jamestown regarding the investigation into Pearson,
the world’s largest education firm. Pearson, they said, was awarded a huge contract with New York
state after Dr. David Steiner, former NY Commissioner of Education, was provided expensive foreign
trips. Subsequent to Dr. Steiner’s trips, Pearson Education was awarded a five-year, $32 million
contract to administer New York state tests. There was no response from King or Bennett.
During the WNED forum, an activist gained entry and loudly raised the same concerns while quickly
moving through the auditorium. Interestingly, an article appeared in Financial Times, a publication
owned by Pearson, the next day (12/13/13): “The Pearson Foundation will pay $7.7m to settle
allegations by the New York attorney-general that it misused charitable assets, including via the
funding of school officials’ trips to educational summits, for the benefit of Pearson, its for-profit
backer.” Does anyone wonder why there is huge distrust of state education department officials and the
Board of Regents? Unethical behavior, corruption, and dog-and-pony shows do not go over well with
the informed public.
David Steiner dishonored his position and diminished his credibility by taking unethical “gifts” from
Pearson. Did the Board of Regents know about Steiner’s trips? How could they not know? Was there
complacency by the Board of Regents toward Steiner’s unethical actions? The key question is: Why
wasn’t the Pearson contract revoked when wrong doing was found? Pearson and Common Core are
synonymous. This is yet another reason why Common Core should be repealed in New York state and
the Board of Regents and commissioner replaced for violating our laws. The Board of Regents and the
commissioner have lost all trust.
The Standards
During the Buffalo Senate Standing Committee on Education, Senator John J. Flanagan, Chairman
(Oct. 16, 2013), Mr. Bennett informed the senators that the University of the State of New York was not
happy with entering high school graduates. Companies such as IBM complained that students were not
ready to start meaningful employment. As a result, new Common Core learning standards were written
because of business complaints and interests. Mr. Bennett praised the New York Standards several
times during the forums, saying that more will be expected from students. We now know that’s a lie!
The Introduction to New York State P-12 Common Core Learning Standards for English Language Arts
& Literacy states:
As specified by CCSSO [Council of Chief State School Officers] and NGA [National Governors
Association], the Standards are (1) research and evidence based, (2) aligned with college and work
expectations, (3) rigorous, and (4) internationally benchmarked. A particular standard was included in
the document only when the best available evidence indicated that its mastery was essential for college
and career readiness in a twenty-first-century, globally competitive society. The Standards are intended
to be a living work as new and better evidence emerges, the Standards will be revised accordingly.
Every one of the above enumerated points has been refuted. In other words, they are lies. Here are
statements written by Mark Bauerlein, professor of English at Emory University and Sandra Stotsky,
author of Massachusetts rigorous 1996 K-12 standards, in How Common Core’s ELA Standards Place
College Readiness at Risk, a Pioneer Institute White Paper (September 2012):
• Research and evidence based: “Common Core itself provides no evidence to support its
promise that more literary nonfiction or informational reading in the English class will make all
students ready for college-level coursework” (p. 3).
• Aligned with college and work expectations: “The history of college readiness in the 20th
century suggests that problems in college readiness stem from an incoherent, less-challenging
literature curriculum from the 1960s onward. Until that time, a literature-heavy English
curriculum was understood as precisely the kind of pre-college training students needed” (p. 1).
[see further explanation below] “[We] begin by explaining why college readiness will likely
decrease when the secondary English curriculum prioritizes literary nonfiction or informational
reading and reduces the study of complex literary texts and literary traditions” (p. 3).
• Rigorous: “Common Core has never claimed to strengthen either the high school English
curriculum or requirements for a high school diploma; it simply claims to make all students
‘college-ready.’ As our paper argues, it fails to ensure that goal…” (p. 3).
• Internationally benchmarked: This statement has been refuted. For the standards to be
benchmarked internationally, there would need to be “extensive research and direct
comparative analysis on the academic expectations of other leading countries,” said Jim
Stergios, executive director of Pioneer Institute. The Common Core website states: “The
standards are informed [emphasis mine] by the highest, most effective models from states
across the country and countries around the world, and provide teachers and parents with a
common understanding of what students are expected to learn. Consistent standards will
provide appropriate benchmarks for all students, regardless of where they live.”
“Benchmarked” has an entirely different meaning from “informed.” Moreover, Dr. Sandra
Stotsky wrote: “Despite making regular requests since September 2009 for evidence of
international benchmarking, I received no material on the academic expectations of other
leading nations in mathematics or language and literature.” For the New York State Standards
to state they are benchmarked is misleading. Actually, it’s untruthful!
Here are the real effects and aims of Common Core that will be imposed on schools, some of which
will be demonstrated in brief form below:
• insufficient, utopian, and radical aims of education;
• a set of substandard academic standards;
• a pseudo-science of textual “complexity” disguising the real intent of requiring students to read
things that would not be found in a traditional literature class;
• superficiality and bias in the choosing of those “texts for reading, to the disadvantage of the true
• simplistic and mind-numbing ways of reading any good literature that remains in the
• the continuing dumbed down of English classes;
• and a tyranny of textbooks that ensure teachers will force on student the absurdities and bias
that is the strange brew of the Common Core (Moore, p. 14).
Bauerlein and Stotsky wrote that it was literary study of uniform requirements for college entrance,
plus study of composition and rhetoric which played a central role in high school English curriculum in
1900. They stated, “At no time was the focus on literary study in the English classroom considered an
impediment to admission to a college; to the contrary, it was seen as an academic necessity [emphasis
in the original].” Since 1965, however, the high school English curriculum has weakened greatly,
resulting in high numbers receiving post-secondary remedial coursework. Add to this semester courses
and a plethora of electives replacing year-long English classes, along with a decrease in the level of
reading texts. The result was predictable: dumbed down middle school and high school reading led to
huge increases in remediation of basic skills in college, especially at the community college level
where more than 50 percent of students required remediation.
Since the four underlying premises listed above are proven false, will the NY P-12 Standards really
bring about increased achievement? See what you think. Here are three NY standards:
Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
• Read grade-level text with purpose and understanding.
• Read grade-level prose and poetry orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression on
successive readings.
• Use context to confirm or self-correct word recognition and understanding, rereading as
necessary (p. 24).
This standard is written identically for grades 3, 4, and 5. Wouldn’t that be called a cut-and-paste
boilerplate standard? The standard is written so vaguely that it’s meaningless. What constitutes
“sufficient accuracy and fluency”? We have no clue.
Here is more cut-and-paste boilerplate standard—the same standard for grades 6, 7, and 8:
Recognize, interpret, and make connections to narratives, poetry, and drama, ethically and artistically to
other texts, ideas, cultural perspectives, eras, personal events, and situations.
• Self-select text based on personal preferences.
• Use established criteria to classify, select, and evaluate texts to make informed judgments about
the quality of the pieces (p. 47).
We have a good idea where “self-select text based on personal preferences” will lead—not to any
classic literary work, we wager.
Cut-and-paste boilerplate for grades 9, 10, 11, and 12:
By the end of grade [insert grade level], read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas,
poems, in the grades [9-10; 11-CCR] text complexity band [see below for an explanation]
proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range. By the end of grade [10; 12],
read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, at the high end of grades [9-10
text; grade 11-CCR text] complexity band independently and proficiently (p. 48).
Scaffolding. There comes that buzzword again. We know nothing of the period in history to which this
standard refers. The state education department missed an opportunity to provide real significance and
historical sequence to student learning.
Bauerlein and Stotsky comment: The Common Core standards “are devoid of literary and cultural
content. They are generic reading skills, not academic standards [emphasis mine]. They can be
applied to The Three Little Pigs as well as to Moby-Dick, or to The Hunger Games as well as to
Federalist 10” (p. 27). We see that NY Learning Standards are empty standards; they do not lead to
rigorousness; they are not free of political bias; and they are boilerplate generality. This is what Moore
writes about the standards:
The standards game is a ruse. Standards are not the same thing as a curriculum. A curriculum, at
least one that is worth its salt, tells teachers what to teach. Specificity is the hallmark of a genuine
curriculum. The so-called standards that states adopt, however, consist in a vague set of “learning
objectives” that are either general skills or amorphous concepts surrounding an academic subject. For
the purposes of knowing what to teach and knowing how great literature ought to be taught, the socalled
standards adopted by most states are almost entirely worthless (p. 65). [See Appendix A for
Moore’s validated and effective classical curriculum]
Here are examples of well-written standards, the first by Bauerlein and Stotsky, the rest from Dr.
Stotsky’s “An English Language Arts Curriculum Framework for American Public Schools: A Model”
[see Recommendations below for further explanation of her model]:
RL.11-12.9. Demonstrate knowledge of eighteenth-, nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century
foundational works of American literature, including how two or more texts from the same period
treat similar themes of topics.
10.OP.1. Analyze the rhetorical features of well-known speeches from the “Golden Age” of American
oratory (e.g., by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass).
11.N.1. Analyze foundational documents written in the 18th or 19th century that have historical and
literary significance in American culture (e.g., George Washington’s Farewell Address, The Federalist
Papers, or the Declaration of Independence) with respect to their purpose, setting central argument,
supporting details, and the logic of their conclusion.
12.F.3. Relate a novel by a British author to the seminal ideas of its time (e.g., Dickens’ Great
Expectations or Bleak House).
New York’s standards are empty, devoid of meaning, and lacking explicit and pertinent content in
comparison to these four examples. That makes NY Standards worthless! Taken from the revision of
the 2001 Massachusetts English Language Arts Curriculum Framework, these standards require much
more demanding reading and literary study in the high school grades.
Kelly Gallagher, author of Readicide, reminds us that “classics found in the canon are there for a
reason; there is a wisdom, a universality of truth found in them that helps the modern reader to garner a
deeper comprehension of today’s world.” We might add, “and helps the student learn about her/himself
as well as serves as a guiding beacon for upright living.” Contrast Gallagher’s thought-provoking
words with these (found in Imprimis, Dec. 2013) by a professor of English, Agnes Scott College,
Georgia. Writing in the Teacher’s Guide for Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition,
he said: “Contemporary educators no doubt hope students will shape values and ethical systems as
they engage in these interactions, acquiring principles that will help them live in a mad, mad world”
[emphasis in the original]. Hope is in short supply when one views low-level, biased Common Core
Gallagher makes a strong case for providing students with individual paperback copies of the various
books, not huge textbooks that are weighty to carry around and which deter reading. Individual copies
permit students to engage in “close reading,” a focused rereading which hones analytical skills. To
accomplish this, however, students must be able to (1) read with a pencil in hand, and annotate the text;
(2) look for patterns in the things they notice about the text: repetitions, contradictions, similarities; and
(3) ask questions about patterns noticed: especially “how” and “why” (p. 101). Did we see any
universal truths in our grade 12 lesson example above? Nothing there!
Nancy Atwell, author of The Reading Zone (2007), provides us with an admonition: “Do not risk
ruining the reading of stories by teaching children to focus on how they’re processing them.” But this
is exactly what occurs in Common Core texts. Introductory stories are bland as pabulum for young
children (See Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa in the NY Standards Appendix as an example). For middle and
high school students, teacher questions are formulaic: focus is on analyzing, evaluating text, comparing
and contrasting—regarded as the Überstandard—boilerplate questions, and mechanical skills. The end
result is a bastardizing of great works of literature. Lost is human pleasure in reading a compelling
story and gaining insight about our fellow human beings. Lost is getting to know books in the same
way we get to know people and how much they teach about the world. This is why Moore calls
Common Core “the story-killers.”
Text complexity band: “Measures of text complexity must be aligned with college and career readiness
expectations for all students” (Appendix A, p. 8). How will this be accomplished? Quantitative
algorithms are better at determining text complexity, the standards inform us, because “quantitative
tools” will do a better job than human readers. Sounds pretty highfalutin! But is it true? Shouldn’t the
books students read be chosen by quality rather than “text complexity band”?
We’ve seen a half century of poor reading instruction, low-level reading skills, and dumbed down
reading material. Will this problem now magically be “fixed” by using Lexile Frameworks,
quantitative algorithms, and techy-sounding terms such as “text complexity band”? Hardly! No
amount of dog-and-pony shows touting the standards by the commissioner and his Regent bosses will
convince us that Common Core will upgrade education for New York students. Moore addresses the
reading issue:
Is the lack of complexity of texts in the schools the fundamental problem with students’ reading?
Wouldn’t it be simpler to say that the schools fail to use the proper methods of teaching reading (i.e.,
explicit phonics [emphasis mine]) in the early grades, that the stories students read during and beyond
the primary years are insipid, and that when the high schools finally begin to assign the classics the
teachers make mush out of them? (p. 94).
The last word on standards is Moore’s:
This is the standards game: big promises, no delivery. We are told in obscure language that students
will be reading complex books. When we look at the books, we find that they are not that complex.
The teaching of the books is also far form rigorous and often downright silly. Few ever bother to think
about what the students in public schools could be doing of real value since too few people still know
and not many are listening to those who do, certainly no one in state education bureaucracies” (p. 72).
“Which Way Is Forth?” Don’t Look to Common Core For the Answer
It’s clear that the Standards are not a curriculum. In reality, NY State Standards provide no clear
guidance to teachers, as noted above. Reminding us that the word “education” means “to lead forth,”
Dr. Larry Arnn, president of Hillsdale College, wrote in Imprimis (Dec. 2013) that the word “forth” is a
“value-laden” term. A true core curriculum is necessary in order to help students address the question,
“Which way is forth?” Isn’t it the responsibility of education via educators and a truly rigorous
curriculum to lay the groundwork that will help students answer that question? Without a true core,
however, there is only hodgepodge—the current New York State Standards, for example—and no
“leading forth.” Arnn further stated:
A true core has a unifying principle, such as the idea that there is a right way to live that one can come to
know. Compare that to the use of the same word in describing the latest bright idea of the education
establishment—the so-called Common Core—which is an attempt by bureaucrats and politicians to
impose national standards on American schools. When one looks into Common Core, it becomes clear
that it has no unifying principle. And it has destructive effects. [I]ts only stated object is career
Obviously, parents want their children to achieve productive and meaningful careers, but isn’t their first
concern that their children become upstanding, moral citizens?
An Appeal
Common Core’s dubious and heavy focus on “college and career readiness” sells out New York
students. Rigor? Not in evidence. Demanding content? Not there. Legislators, heed the words of Dr,
Terrence Moore:
The decision that state legislators have 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 a standardized exam, or that the 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 the 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 they most enjoy, and which will more likely contribute to their
own virtue and happiness? (Moore, pp. 113-114).
The ball is in your court, LEGISLATORS. You, more than others, have the legal responsibility,
obligation, and task to ensure that Rule of Law is observed. Rule of Law was originated to serve as a
check against the abuse of power. As you are well aware, it means that every citizen is subject to the
law, with no one above the law, and that includes the commissioner and the Board of Regents.
As Aristotle said, “Law should govern.” Under our New York State Constitution, it is the Legislature
that has legal oversight of the Board of Regents. Free people live under Rule of Law. Common Core
violates the concept of Rule of Law, thereby destroying our liberty and freedom.
Abuse of power is what we see with Common Core in New York state and nationwide from the illegal
actions of President Obama, Secretary Arne Duncan, Commissioner King, and the Board of Regents.
It is intolerable that such a complete consolidation and nationalization of public education has
occurred. Outrage is appropriate!
A huge public outcry went forth from King’s forums held across the state. Those who stepped forward
and passionately spoke did so for the many who were fearful, or unable to speak in public, or who
lacked knowledge about, but would be affected by, the destructive effects of Common Core.
It is commendable that the Legislature sees the danger for children if inBloom data collecting is
allowed to continue. What a travesty this would be to children and parents if it is not repealed.
New York citizens are very concerned. We have long recognized that achievement levels for New York
students need to be raised. Just to be clear: Common Core isn’t the answer!!! In STTPP Beacon’s
September 2013 issue (No. 23), we made a recommendation: Strengthen professional preparation of K-
12 teachers (p. 9). This call also comes from Dr. Sandra Stotsky (“Why We Must Raise the Bar for
Admission to an Education School,” January 15, 2013), author of the 1996 rigorous Massachusetts
standards. We won’t see achievement levels rise without accompanying reform in teacher education
admission and programs.
“Mediocre” is the word describing New York education. A major source of mediocrity in the public
school system, says Stotsky:
is academically under-qualified teachers, administrators, and education researchers, as well as illinformed
if not willfully ignorant policy makers who bring limited understanding of the evidence from
high quality education research as well as little if any successful experience to the task of strengthening
the school curriculum and increasing all students’ academic performance (p. 1).
Two deficiencies need addressing: (1) low-to-non-existent requirements for admission to education
schools and (2) under-qualified teachers and administrators—graduates of education schools—shaping
K-12 curriculum with the assistance of education faculty, not the necessary academic experts.
Stotsy states this regarding her role in writing the 1996 Massachusetts Standards: “The clear, contentrich
and pedagogically sound standards we developed in the English language arts, science,
mathematics, history, geography, economics, and civics would have amounted to little more than black
and white noise without an academically stronger corps of teachers to teach to them (and administrators
to ensure they were being taught to) (p. 3).
Relationship between student achievement and components of teacher education: More demanding
admission requirements to education school programs should be the first focus of reform. Students
who have academically competent teachers learn more. Research studies found that there is no
relationship between student achievement and master’s degree programs in education.
I. “Why We Must Raise the Bar for Admission to an Education School” by Dr. Sandra Stotsky
1. The state can raise the bar for admission into a teacher preparation program.
• Admission to an undergraduate program: Restrict admission to a teacher preparation
program to the top 10-15 percent of the cohort graduating from a regular high school.
• Admission to a post-baccalaureate program: Restrict admission to the top 10-15
percent of those graduating from college.
• Undergraduate eduction courses: These should not count toward an undergraduate or
graduate degree for anyone, including prospective teachers.
• Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A,T.): Abandon current master’s degree programs.
Leave in place M.A.T. teacher preparation programs where half of the graduate
coursework is in the discipline the aspiring teacher intends to teach.
2. The state can require a Master of Arts or Science degree in a subject taught in K-12
before admission to any program for school administrators.
• Few teachers earn a MA or MS degree in their subject area which demands subjectspecific
• K-12 curriculum directors and associate superintendents in charge of curriculum:
Generally, these people have no more than a major in the discipline they supervise.
Expert advice on secondary textbooks, course sequences, and course content in the
subject(s) supervised is needed by teachers, however, thus the need for MA or MS in a
subject taught.
3. The state can require a Master of Arts or Science degree in a subject taught in K-12
before admission to a doctoral program in curriculum and instruction.
• This requirement would upgrade the caliber of doctoral students.
4. The state can require applicants to doctoral programs in educational leadership or public
policy to demonstrate their ability to locate and analyze a body of research evidence
supporting a current major policy.
• Students must be able to distinguish between well-designed studies that permit
generalization and poorly-designed research or anecdotes.
5. The state can train prospective secondary teachers under the aegis of the academic
discipline they major in with pedagogical faculty attached to the discipline, not an
education school.
• This is a common European model.
• K-12 curriculum subjects need to be designed by discipline-based experts, not graduates
of education school programs.
6. The state can train prospective pre-school, kindergarten, and primary grade teachers in
two- or three-year pedagogical institutes, as do many European countries.
• A liberal arts major from a 4-year college would not be required.
• Finnish model:
◦ All prospective teachers in Finland are trained at only eight universities in the
◦ Students must graduate from an academic high school.
◦ Elementary teachers: Five-year program in Educational Science: BA degree
program (3 years) + master’s program in education (2 years).
◦ Subject teachers: BA degree (3 years) + master’s degree program in their subject
in the arts and sciences (2 years) + master’s program in education (2 years).
7. The state can require discipline-based faculty as well as pedagogical faculty to supervise
student teachers.
• Stotsky feels that this is the most important area to address.
Two additional Stotsky recommendations follow:
1. Adopt the Massachusetts licensure tests for prospective elementary teachers in both reading
fundamentals and in mathematics knowledge;
2. Abandon all PRAXIS tests and adopt all of the other licensure tests Massachusetts created or
revised. Align these with new New York State standards.
II. An English Language Arts Curriculum Framework for American Public Schools: A Model
Chief author: Dr. Sandra Stotsky, Professor Emerita, University of Arkansas, February 2013.
“For use by any state or school district without charge”
Retrieved at: 2013_ELA_Curriculum_Framework.pdf
These are the standards that made Massachusetts number one in the nation. There are 10 Guiding
Principles that guide the construction and evaluation of English language arts curricula. An effective
English language arts curriculum…:
1. develops thinking and language together through interactive learning.
2. develops students’ oral language and lilteracy through appropriately challenging learning.
3. draws on literature from many genres, time periods, and cultures, featuring works that reflect
our common literary heritage.
4. emphasizes writing as an essential way to develop, clarify, and communicate ideas in expository
persuasive, narrative, and expressive discourse.
5. provides for the study of all forms of media.
6. provides explicit skill instruction in reading and writing
7. teaches the strategies necessary for acquiring academic knowledge, achieving common
academic standards, and attaining independence in learning.
8. builds on the language, experiences, and interests that students bring to school.
9. develops each student’s distinctive writing or speaking voice. A Student’s writing and speaking
voice is an expression of self.
10. While encouraging respect for differences in home backgrounds, an effective English language
arts curriculum nurtures students’ sense of their common ground as present or future American
citizens in order to prepare them for responsible participation in our schools and in civic life
(pp. 4-6).
III. A New New York State Standards and Curriculum
Align Dr. Sandra Stotsy’s “An English Language Arts Curriculum Framework for American Public
Schools: A Model” with Dr. Terrence Moore’s “A True Core Curriculum” (see Appendix A below).
Students would receive the kind of liberal education that is designed to teach them how to be free. It
also will teach students how to be human and how to interact with other humans and institutions.
“College and career readiness” is misplaced focus. It is the human mind that creates jobs, not the other
way around.
I believe that both Dr. Moore and Dr. Stotsky would provide their services to New York legislators if
they were approached. Both Stotsky and Moore feel—as does the writer of this Beacon issue—a sense
of urgency: education must be upgraded, and Common Core must be repealed. Thomas Jefferson gets
the last word: “An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.”
Researched and written by Deann Nelson, Ed.D. for Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots
Appendix A
A True Common Core: Grades 9-12
by Dr. Terrence O. Moore,
Professor of History, Hillsdale College
Unlike the superficial “The Common Core,” with its list of random books and obscure articles, Moore’s
“A True Common Core” truly can claim the word “rigorous,” but certainly achievable. Students truly
will be educated and “college and career ready,” a phrase that is trite in “The Common Core” document
because of lack of evidence to support the concept.
Literature is arranged by time period, mostly in correspondence to historical texts (ancient, British,
American, modern). Readings work together, delivering a comprehensive story of human beings in
their attempt to achieve liberty and happiness through civilization. The curriculum consists of the best
that has been thought, said, done, and discovered. It is governed by logic and principle, with a clear
beginning point and a clear ending point. Teaching is done by means of Socratic discussion.
“A True Common Core” is preceded by a rigorous K-8 education, including mastery of basic skills,
beginning with explicit phonics for reading instruction in kindergarten. Students would have read the
following (and more) in Middle School: The Tempest, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, A Christmas Carol, To
Kill a Mockingbird, Fahrenheit 451, Animal Farm, Lord of the Flies, and Oliver Twist or Great
Freshman Year:
Ancient Literature:
Homer, The Iliad (the entire work)
A couple of Greek plays, e.g., Oedipus Res, Antigone
Selections from Plato’s Republic (on the poets, Allegory of the Cave)
Plato, The Apology (or read in history)
Virgil, The Aeneid (the entire work)
Roman poetry (students would also be in third-year Latin by grade 9 and reading some poetry)
Shakespeare, Julius Caesar (read in English class but taught when Roman Civil War studied in history)
Addison’s Cato (if time)
Genesis 1-4
The class focuses on grammar and composition and also entails the study of classic essays by Bacon,
Addison, Swift, Johnson, Orwell, et alia
Western Civilization I (Ancient History):
Herodotus, The Histories, on the Persian Wars, especially on the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae
Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War, (selections, especially Pericles, “Funeral Oration,” “plague
Speech”; The Melian Dialogue; debate on Sicilian expedition)
Plutarch, Lives of Lycurgus, Solon, Pericles, Alcibiades
Plato, The Republic, Book VIII on the regimes (monarchy, aristocracy, democracy)
Plato, The Apology (may be read here if literature pressed for time), also The Crito may be read, time
Aristotle, The Politics, Book I
Livy, selections on early Rome
Polybius, The Histories, Book VI
Plutarch, Lives of Cato the Elder, Julius Caesar, Cicero
Cicero, Catiline Oration (1st); select letters to Atticus and Quintus; De Officilis (selections)
Caesar, The Commentaries (selections)
Augustus, Res Gestae Divi Augusti
Tacitus and Suctonius on the Roman emperors
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
Documents from the Judeo-Christian Tradition: Ten Commandments, life of David, Sermon on the
Sophomore Year:
British Literature:
Le Morte D’Arthur (selection) of Beowulf
Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales (three or four tales)
Shakespeare, Hamlet and Macbeth, sonnets
Sir Francis Bacon, selected essays, including “Of Studies”
Milton, Paradise Lost (books IX and X at least)
Joseph Addison, select papers from The Spectator
Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (or Persuasion)
Charles Dickens, Hard Times (or A Tale of Two Cities)
British Romantic poetry
Western Civilization II (Medieval, Renaissance, Reformation, Enlightenment):
Tacitus, Germania
Acts of the Apostles (selections)
Augustine, Confessions (Books I, II, VIII), City of God (short selection)
Gregory I, Account of Benedict’s Life
Rule of Saint Benedict
Einhard, The Life of Charlemagne (selections)
Walter Scott, “Chivalry”
Magna Carta
Documents on the Investiture Conflict
Thomas of Celano, Life of Saint Francis
Thomas Aquinas, selection from The Summa
Petrarch’s Letters (to Homer, Cicero, et al.)
Petrarch, “The Ascent of Mount Ventoux”
Vergerius, “On Liberal Learning”
Leon Battistta Alberti, On the Family (selections)
Casstiglione, The Courtier (selections)
Vasari, Lives of the Artists, especially Michelangelo, Leonardo
Art of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, et alia
Machiavelli, The Prince (selections)
Luther, select documents including 95 Theses
Luther and Erasmus on the will
Council of Trent
The Thirty-Nine Articles (Anglican Church)
James I, The Trew Law of Free Monarchies
Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, on the state of nature
Isaac Newton, Principia Mathematics (selections)
John Locke, The Second Treatise of Government (especially Books II-V, IX)
Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, “of the Division of Labor,” (chapters I and II of Book I); “Of the
Expences of the Sovereign or Commonwealth,” (chapter I of Book V)
Rousseau, Discourse on Inequality (if not enough time in sophomore year, to be read to beginning of
senior year as prelude to French Revolution)
Junior Year:
American Literature:
Poetry of Anne Bradstreet
Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography (or in history)
Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter
Herman Melville, Moby Dick (the entire work)
Ralph Waldo Emerson, essays, especially “Self-Reliance”
Henry David Thoreau, selections from Walden
Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn
Poetry of Whitman, Poe, Longfellow, Dickinson, Hughes, Cullen, Frost, et alia
If time, a novel of Fitzgerald or Hemingway
Poetry of T. S. Eliot
Two or three short stories of Flannery O’Connor
American History to 1900 (two semesters):
The Mayflower Compact
John Winthrop, “A modell of Christian Charity”
Other colonial documents
Documents on the Great Awakening, including “Sinners”
Benjamin Franklin, documents on the Junto (discussion society), fires, education in Philadelphia, the
increase of mankind, “The Way to Wealth,” kite experiment
The Stamp Act documents
Benjamin Franklin, “Rules by Which a Great Empire May Be Reduced to a Small One,” “An Edict by
the King of Prussia”
Debate over Independence
Tom Paine, Common Sense (selections)
Virginia Declaration of Rights
The Declaration of Independence
George Washington, select letters, Circular to the States
The Northwest Ordinance
The Constitution of the United States and The Bill of Rights
Debates on the Constitution, including Anti-Federalists
The Federalist, nos. 1, 10, 39, 51 (overlap with Government)
Thomas Jefferson, on education and agriculture
Alexander Hamilton, Report on Public Credit and Report on Manufactures (selections)
George Washington, Farewell Address, Last Will
Other documents from early national period including Alien and Sedition Acts, VA/KY Resolutions and
Massachusetts Counter-Resolution (also in Government class)
Documents from Jacksonian period
Ante-Bellum documents, including Calhoun on nullification and Dred Scott v. Sanford
Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin (selections)
George Fitzhugh, The Sociology of the South (selections)
Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life…(or read in English)
Abraham Lincoln, “A Fragment on Slavery,” Speech on Dred Scott, “A House Divided,” The Lincoln-
Douglas Debates (selections), First Inaugural, Emancipation Proclamation, Gettysburg Address,
Second Inaugural
Frederick Douglass, “Self-Made Men”
Post-Civil War documents on Reconstruction, rise of wealth, Andrew Carnegie on wealth
Documents on populism, including Bryan’s “Cross of Gold”
Booker T. Washington, Up From Slavery & The Story of My Life and Work (selections)
Government (one semester):
Man as a “political animal,” Aristotle, The Politics, Book I
Natural rights studied through John Locke, Virginia Declaration of Rights, The Declaration of
Selections from debates at the Constitutional Convention
The Constitution of the United States
More intensive look at The Federalist, nos. 10, 39, 51, 70-74 (selections), 78
The Bill of Rights
Hamilton, Jefferson on the Constitutionality of the Bank
The Marshall Court, select cases, especially Marbury v. Madison, McCulloch v. Maryland, Gibbons v Ogden
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, selections on the energy of democracy, associations, and
tyranny of the majority
The Taney Court, especially Dred Scott v. Sanford
Lincoln on Dred Scott
Abraham Lincoln, War Message delivered on Fourth of July, 1861 (argument vs. secession)
Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments
Plessy v. Ferguson (and, later, Brown v. Board of Topeka)
W. Wilson, “What Is Progress?” “The New Freedom”
Amendments XVI-XIX
Franklin Roosevelt, “The Commonwealth Club Address”
The New Deal Court, e.g., Schechter Poultry v. U.S.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, “A New Bill of Rights,” S/U 1944
Ronald Reagan, “Encroaching Control,” March 1961
Lyndon Baines Johnson, “The Great Society”
Moral Philosophy (one semester):
Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue, chapter 1
Allan Bloom, “Our Virtue” and “Self-Centeredness” from The Closing of the American Mind
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man
Francis Hutcheson, James Q Wilson on the moral sense
Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (selections)
Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics, on the definition of virtue
Aristotle and Pieper on the four cardinal virtues
Cicero, De Officiis (On Duties), selections
George Washington and William Manchester on civility
Cicero and C. S. Lewis on friendship
Benjamin Franklin, et alia on work and entrepreneurship
Genesis 3-4 on man and woman
Traditional and Contemporary Marriage Vows
Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth visits Pemberley
David Fordyce, Elements of Moral Philosophy, marriage and parental duties
Richard Brookhiser, on Washington’s “fatherhood”
George Washington as Cincinnatus, his sense of duty
John Adams / Thomas Jefferson correspondence (selections)
Shakespeare, Henry V (read previously as summer reading)
Douglass Adair, “Fame and the Founding Fathers”
Herbert Butterfield, “The Role of the Individual in History”
Senior Year:
Modern Literature:
Brief recap / discussion of literature from previous grades
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment
Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis
George Orwell, 1984
Modern Poetry
One or two other short works of modern literature depending on time left in the semester
All students write 20-page senior thesis, anchored in two or more great books (or readings), one must
be from grades 9-11, on a topic meant to explain some aspect of human nature/society (e.g.,
heroism, faith, love, justice, etc.)
American History Since 1900 (1 s t semester of senior year):
Frederick Jackson Turner, “The Significance of the Frontier in Amrican History”
W.E.B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk (selections)
Plunkitt of Tammany Hall, “Honest Graft”
Theodore Roosevelt, Autobiography (selections), “The New Nationalism”
Woodrow Wilson, “The New Freedom”
Calvin Coolidge, speeches on the Boy Scouts, world peace, the press, the rule of law, and the
Declaration of Independence
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Commonwealth club Address; First Inaugural; State of the Union Address,
Walter Lippmann, “The Dominant Dogma of the Age”
Harry S. Truman, “The Fair Deal”
Congressional Rejection of the Fair Deal
Lyndon Baines Johnson, “The Great Society”
Ronald Reagan, “A Time for Choosing”
Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail, “I Have a Dream”
Daniel Patrick Moynihan, “The Negro Family”
The Sharon Statement
The Port Huron Statement
Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural, Remarks on Tax Reform Act, Farewell Address
Foreign Policy (in American History class, mostly in senior year:
George Washington, Farewell Address
Monroe Doctrine
W.G. Sumner, “The Fallacy of Territorial Extension”
Albert Beveridge, “The March of the Flag”
Woodrow Wilson, War Message and Fourteen Points
Charles Lindbergh,”America First”
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, War Message, December 1941
The Atlantic Charter
Winston Churchill, Address to Congress; “Iron Curtain” Speech, Fulton, MO
Harry S. Truman, “The Truman Doctrine”
George F. Kennan, “The Sources of Soviet Conduct”
NSC-68, U.S. Objectives and Programs for National Security
Ronald Reagan, Address to the British Parliament; Christmas Day Radio Address, 1982; Remarks to t
he National Association of Evangelicals, 1983 (“Evil Empire”); Remarks at the Brandenburg
Gate, 1987
Modern European History (two semesters):
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on Inequality
Abbé Sieyès, “What Is the Third Estate?”
Edmund Burke and Tom Paine on the French Revolution
Maximilien Robespierre, “Principles of Political Morality”
Benjamin Constant, “Ancient and Modern Liberty Compared”
John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (selections)
British Parliament, Debate on the Ten Hours Bill
Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto
Charles Darwin, On the Origin of the Species (selections)
Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morality (selections)
Otto von Bismarck, on German Unification
Max Weber, “On Bureaucracy”
V. I. Lenin, on Marxism, “What Is to Be Done?”
Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, selections
Winston Churchill, selected speeches including “Bolshevist Atrocities,” “Lenin,” “the Follies of
Socialism,” “Wars Come Very Suddenly,” “Germany Is Arming” (1934), “A Total and
Unmitigated Defeat,” “Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat,” “Arm Yourselves and Be Ye Men of
Valour,” “This Was Their Finest Hour,” “Give Us the Tools,” “Never Give In” (at Harrow),
“This Is Your Victory”
Economics (one semester): (an economics textbook also is used)
Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations (selections)
F.A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, chapters II, III, VI
Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom, chapters 1-III
John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory…selections
Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson
George Gilder, Wealth and Poverty, chapters III-VI

A publication of Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots
November 2013, No. 25
Attack on Individuality, Abstract Reasoning, and Mathematics
by Deann Nelson
(Opinion article submitted to The Post-Journal and Dunkirk Observer.
Copies also sent to Assemblymen Goodell and Graf and Senators Young and Flanagan)
Have you heard school administrators say something similar to the following: “Parents must
understand that Common Core is new and requires different teaching methods”? Hokum! The only
thing new is its name. Have the words “rigor” and “college and career ready” also been thrown your
way? These terms, too, are hogwash. There is nothing rigorous about Common Core, and it surely
does not prepare students for college.
Either administrators have forgotten—or they never knew—that the theories behind Common Core
have been around for more than 100 years. Policies and practices aimed at redesigning our economy,
reshaping us as human beings, and changing our society and what it values, have a long history of
terrible results: from John Dewey, using Karl Marx’s education theory, to Constructivism, New “Fuzzy”
Math, Whole Language Reading, Outcomes Based Education, Goals 2000 School to Work, and now,
Common Core, which also has a tie-in to Marxism. This information is not found in publications
pushed by the NY state education department, but it is accessible from multiple supporting documents.
A newly-published key resource is found on by Robin S. Eubanks, an attorney with a very
analytical mind: Credentialed To Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon. She also has a
Common Core is Radical Education Reform, part of a global strategy to control economic resources
and us citizens as well. This federal takeover of education is part of a movement to shift our country
toward a state managed society and economy. It targets student emotions in order to change their
values and behavior. This is to be accomplished, not through increased content knowledge, but through
21st-century education competencies: Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking, and
Creativity. Hardly the stuff of rigor.
Common Core is a rejection of fact-based instruction, the engine necessary for developing
individualism and logical, abstract reasoning. It shifts measurement of knowledge, so necessary to
creativity and inventiveness—think light bulb, automobile, computer, any invention—to measurement
of “outcomes” or “competencies.” It is loss of cultural knowledge about what made America and
Western Civilization unique.
Perhaps your child or grandchild expresses an interest in a STEM career: Science, Technology,
Engineering, Mathematics. Even Dr. Jason Zimba, author of Common Core EngageNY Mathematics,
states that it will not prepare students to enter STEM programs in college. Further, Zimba admits that
Common Core mathematics does not prepare students with the needed pre-calculus and calculus
courses required to enter selective colleges such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Cornell, Hamilton, SUNY
Albany, Colgate, Stanford, MIT, Carnegie Mellon, and many others. It is geared to community college
level only—Zimba’s words. Asian students beat the pants off American students in mathematics. By
the end of grade 7, our students already will be two years behind those in other countries, and falling
Dr. Zimba has degrees in astrophysics, physics, mathematics, and a Ph.D. in physics, but no training in
teaching young children. None! Astoundingly, there are no research studies validating EngageNY
Mathematics. The program never was field-tested on children in a few schools before it was published.
No one knows if it works! Our children are serving as guinea pigs for both the mathematics and ELA
programs. This is unethical! It also is a violation of our laws!
If you had a serious illness, would you go to a physician who said, “There is powerful research
validating a cure for your condition. I don’t use it, but my therapy might make you feel a little better
even if it doesn’t cure you”? You would cry, “Fraud!” “Scoundrel!” “Criminal!” EngageNY
Mathematics is analogous to the medical example: “Yes, we know other countries are far advanced in
mathematics. Yes, we know the powerful mathematics programs they use. But community college is
good enough for New York and USA students.”
Why is Commissioner King pushing curricula that are weak and lack any research validation?
Unfortunately, most administrators lack the necessary research background that would give them the
ammunition to stand up and say NO to such blatant abuse of our children. Consequently, We the
People have had to take on the task of standing up to the scoundrels usurping our education system.
Board of Education members are elected to represent the people in the district they serve. They, and
the superintendent hired, are not free to hijack our children’s education. Neither is Commissioner King
nor the Board of Regents free to engage in unlawful and nefarious activity .
Individual ability to reason abstractly at high levels is under organized attack. Those of us who express
concern about Common Core are greeted with cries by some that we are espousing “conspiracy
theories.” This is silly, of course. Proven facts and documented statements describe the coordinated

A publication of Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots
October 2013, No. 24

Part III: Letter of Concern: Assembly bill 7994
NY Assembly Education Committee and
Senator Flanagan’s Committee:
Common Core MUST Be Repealed

Large numbers of citizens in nearly every state that adopted Common Core are active in trying to overturn what they consider to be a travesty in educating children. Not only was implementation of Common Core an unconstitutional federal takeover of state responsibility for education, but the Board of Regents and Commissioner of Education violated New York state’s Constitution and education laws. Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots presented information in its publication, STTPP Beacon, parts I and II, regarding our concerns about Common Core in our state.

Part III is directed at concerns about EngageNY Mathematics. Dr. Sandra Stotsky and Dr. R. James Milgram have been active in putting out information (see STTPP Beacon, part II) about the very real weaknesses of Common Core: “college readiness” is a myth, and the mathematics standards lag substantially compared to other developed countries, as well as being insufficient in covering critical content. Moreover, the strategy used to teach children facts and operations is inefficient and questionable.

Parents are waking up to the real weakness of the mathematics standards as well as other serious concerns about this entire takeover. Scrolling through nearly every page of the mathematics curriculum for kindergarten, grades 1-3, and most of grade 4, puts fear into this examiner—especially when comparing the Common Core EngageNY mathematics curriculum with Direct Instruction’s math curriculum. Direct Instruction’s math programs have proven themselves over nearly 45 years of research validation, and they produce a huge effect size based on statistical meta-analysis. Statewide our children will be deficient in math knowledge because every district is affected. There will be no schools or districts using research-validated math curricula that have proven effectiveness. Legislators, that’s chilling!

As individuals, we seek medical treatment that is based on extensive research and experience. Shouldn’t the same standards apply to educating our children?

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics: Standards for Mathematical Practices

Legislator, think of yourself as a kindergarten (even grade 1) child to whom these “standards” apply, and see how silly they are [bracketed comments are mine]:

1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. [“Persevere?” That makes learning sound difficult. Shouldn’t we be making math easy, step-by-incremental step, so that you as a 5-year-old are successful and want to learn?]
2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively. [Aren’t those just fancy words for learning math?]
3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others. [Hard to believe that you as a kindergartner can do this when you lack the required vocabulary and concept development. Do you think the authors understood the meaning of “viable”?]
4. Model with mathematics. [What does this mean? The standard is not clear even to an adult, and you are a child.]
5. Use appropriate tools strategically. [What tools? Pencil? Crayon? Scissors? Remember, you are in kindergarten!]
6. Attend to precision. [Do you think the authors meant “accuracy”? That would make more sense, don’t you think?!]
7. Look for and make use of structure. [Structure in what? Numerical relationships? Number operations?]
8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning. [Does this mean regularity with the irregular screwy configurations starting in lesson 24 that’s leading you, a 5-year-old child, down the road to being math handicapped? It’s hard to “express regularity” when you don’t have adding numbers under your command, and they throw in the concept of “minus” so early in the game at lesson 35.]

Important question: Was Engage NY Mathematics field-tested on real children in real classrooms before it was implemented statewide? Field-tested means that teachers used the draft program in their classrooms; gave feedback to the authors about glitches; which the authors fixed; and gave back to the teachers to try again on the children. The process is repeated until there are no glitches and children demonstrate mastery of the content. Sometimes it requires abandoning a program and starting over. Furthermore, did these Ph.D. authors have actual experience in teaching math to young, beginning learners? Hard to believe they did based on the standards they wrote and modules they created.

Daro, McCallum, and Zimba (Feb. 16, 2012), authors of the standards and Common Core Mathematics, wrote the following in “The Structure is the Standards,” a 2-page document given to participants in professional development training, using power point “Tools for the Common Core Standards”:

Fragmenting the Standards into individual standards, or individual bits of standards, erases all these relationships and produces a sum of parts that is decidedly less than the whole….The standards are meant to be a blueprint for math instruction that is more focussed and coherent. The focus and coherence in this blueprint is largely in the way the standards progress from each other, coordinate with each other and most importantly cluster together into coherent bodies of knowledge.

This is not new, folks. Siegfried Engelmann did exactly this nearly 45 years ago when he authored Direct Instruction mathematics curriculum Distar Arithmetic I and II (K-3), followed by Connecting Math Concepts (grades K-8), and Essentials for Algebra. He also authored curricula in: reading, spelling, writing, correctives programs, and a host of others. His programs have extensive research validation; they work because they were field-tested before publication. In other words, teachers know they work!

The Importance of Research Validation

In his ground-breaking work, Visible Learning, Dr. John Hattie synthesized more than 800 meta-analyses based on more than 52,000 studies and millions of students. Hattie raises two questions: What data support teacher enhancement of teaching and learning? What is it that we wish to enhance? Educators need a barometer of what works best, a guideline as to what is excellent. Effect Size answers both questions.

An effect size tells about the effect—the power—of a particular experimental approach or intervention to increase achievement. Hattie found that a mean effect size—0.40—is the benchmark figure which provides the standard from which to judge typical and real-world effects. At 0.40 and above, all children learn; below 0.40, only some children learn. To put that effect size into perspective, an effect size of d = 1.0, indicates an increase of one standard deviation; it is associated with advancing children’s achievement by two to three years.

Direct Instruction (DI) curricula have an overall effect size of 0.59, well above the mean effect size of 0.40. The effect size for DI math programs, however, is a huge 1.11, a result of its focus upon strategy-based methods, guided practice, teacher modeling, using specific forms of feedback, using mastery criteria, and sequencing examples. DI does not use manipulatives. According to Hattie, least effective is the strategy of working within a peer group (effect size, 0.15), a strategy used in nearly every lesson in Common Core EngageNY Mathematics. Every effect size under the category “Teacher as Activator” (see below) is an integral part of Direct Instruction curricula. But note, also, the low effect size of gaming (ES = 0.32) in the opposite column: computer gaming is regarded as “learning” under Common Core [see Beacon 23]. How successful do you think that will be? Note also whole language reading, commonly used in schools, with an abysmal 0.06! Think of all the children exposed to this weak reading program.

Teacher as Activator Effect Size Teacher as Facilitator Effect Size
Feedback:Student to teacher is the most powerful feedback: what they know; what they understand; where they make errors; misconceptions; when not
engaged (no social and behavioral feedback) 0.73 Simulations and Gaming 0.32
Teaching Students Self-Verbalization 0.67 Inquiry-Based Teaching 0.31
Direct Instruction 0.59 Smaller Class Sizes 0.21
Mastery Learning 0.57 Individualized Instruction 0.2
Goals – Challenging 0.56 Problem-Based Learning 0.15
Behavioral Organizers 0.41 Whole Language – Reading 0.06
Source: Hattie, John, Visible Learning, 2009.

Question: Where is the list of studies validating Engage NY Common Core Mathematics? What is the effect size of this program that was implemented statewide? Surely, such information should be readily available to legislators and taxpayers, especially when implementation is forced upon districts all across the state. Wouldn’t you agree?

Schools are required to schedule lots and lots of tests. In fact, teachers complain that far too much time is spent on test preparation rather than on actual learning. Hattie reminds us:

We seem to have no barometers of success or failure to show what works and what does not work in education. Yes, we do have tests, lots of them, which we use to evaluate whether students have gained sufficiently. But this is not enough. An influence may “work,” but by how much, and how differently from other influences?…We should be asking, “What works best?”

Does EngageNY Common Core Mathematics Work “Best”?

We don’t even know if it works at all! The above critique of standards raises concerns, as does apparent lack of validating research. Just think of the tragedy if this program is a boondoggle! With every district using the same math program it seems a recipe for disaster. Remember the written critical response (“Closing the Door on Education Innovation: Why One National Curriculum Is Bad for America,” 2011) by many concerned citizens and educators to the Shanker Institute Manifesto and the U.S. Department of Education’s Initiative? Their concerns were these:

1. There is no constitutional or statutory basis for national standards, national assessments, or national curricula.
2. There is no consistent evidence that a national curriculum leads to high academic achievement.
3. The national standards on which the administration is planning to base a national curriculum are inadequate.
4. There is no body of evidence for a “best” design for curriculum sequences in any subject.
5. There is no evidence to justify a single high school curriculum for all students.

What follows are concerns regarding EngageNY Common Core Mathematics. Illustrations from the curriculum are supplied. Additionally, examples from Direct Instruction, a math curriculum with a huge effect size are provided from Distar Arithmetic I (kindergarten) and II (grade 1).

Concerns regarding Engage NY Common Core Mathematics

1. The program is unwieldy and cumbersome. Children are so inundated with drawing diagrams, circling groups of 5 and 10 dots, blocks, and various figures, that facileness with math facts and operations is lost. It does not appear that mastery of skills will be gained. There is not a lot of practice.
2. The use of number “bonds” is handicapping to children, especially when it comes to performing operations in addition and subtraction, even in multiplication and division. People simply do not think nor perform mathematical operations in this manner. Do you think that students in Singapore, Japan, Korea, or Finland would reach their high math performance levels if they were in programs like EngageNY? Hardly!
3. By grade 4, EngageNY Math is 2 years behind Direct Instruction programs in teaching concepts (no particular order):
• It wasn’t until grade 4 that an algorithm for borrowing in subtraction appeared.
• Place-value teaching seemed over the top and repetitive, and not really useful in its presentation.
• Nearly all facts presented were in horizontal format, but vertical is the format most commonly used, especially when adding several numbers.
• Column addition is quite delayed.
• Division also is delayed.
1. It is expensive. Each lesson requires 7-9 photocopied pages per student. For a class of 18 children, this means (using 7 as the average) approximately 126 sheets of paper per day just for math, plus the cost of colored ink, as many of the sheets have colored figures.
2. The program is inefficient. Many worksheets have few problems on them, adding to overall cost for a district, and providing limited practice.
3. One does not see the important cognitive concept of distributed learning occur where several different concepts are practiced daily. Distributed learning is crucial for reinforcing and maintaining learned material. It is an integral part all DI programs.
4. In spite of concerns of the authors about fragmentation, each kindergarten module deals with an entirely different concept. Additionally, in grades 1-4, many lessons are devoted to a single concept, meaning that previous learning is not being reinforced.
5. The language of math—that is, the learning and use of abstract symbols—is delayed substantially. Learning to use symbols is what makes math efficient and accurate. Frankly, it’s easy to get lost in all the dots and circling of X number of dots. Sample worksheets reminded one of excessive stimulation from hyped TV commercials or flashing advertisements on one’s computer screen.
6. There is too much talking by children to other children, called “student debriefs.” This becomes a waste of time. Explicit teaching by a knowledgeable teacher adds to children’s learning, and where the teacher evaluates learning by student responses and written work.
7. “Manipulatives do little to support the learning of mathematics,” wrote Dr. John Hattie. Children constantly were told to use concrete manipulatives, or their fingers and hands. Manipulatives such as cubes, beans, marbles, Rekenrek, or any other are unnecessary. They take up too much time, what is learned from them is trivial, and they interfere with learning the real language of math.
8. The strategies of carrying in addition and borrowing in subtraction are very delayed
9. Teaching numbers 10 – 19 is difficult because the names for these numbers are irregular, but this didn’t stop the authors. Place-value is taught by using a “hide the zero card.” Does this really teach the concept?

Samples from Common Core EngageNY: A-E (grades K-4)

It is difficult to see how this program will enhance mathematical knowledge of elementary school children. The program seems bogged down in myriad details to the point of ad nauseam. As noted previously, the use of number bonds is awkward, inefficient, slow, and seems contrary to how math is taught in high-performing countries. I would think that this program is very boring for students.

Numbers are broken down into component parts. It is these parts that are used in operations. Wouldn’t it be easier for students to work with the actual numbers? By the end of grade 4, students only are multiplying and dividing by one digit.

Samples from Direct Instruction’s Distar I (K-level. F-K) and II (grade 1, L-Q) + R/S (place-value)

There are three workbooks for each Distar level. Each lesson has two sides containing teacher guided work, plus independent work. The last lesson from each workbook is included. Pages are arranged for maximum efficiency. Distributed learning is very apparent. Children move step-by-incremental step through the 160 lessons, ensuring success.

Appendix H: Addition: 4 + 2 = □ “Circle the side you start counting on. Draw vertical lines under the 2. Touch number 4 with your pencil. Get it going with 4 and count each line. Write your answer in the box.”
• Already children are memorizing +1 facts because they have learned a rule: “When you plus 1, you say the next number.” Learning of rules is an important part of Direct Instruction. Saying rules appeared to be lacking in Common Core mathematics.
• The concept of place value is introduced with the small circle added to the digit in a ten’s number. The circle drops out in the middle of Distar II when children are very proficient in tens numbers. It does not take a host of dot arrays or dots in boxes to understand the concept of place value.
• Subtraction has been introduced.
• Children are given much practice in working addition and subtraction problems. In addition to choral repeating of facts with the teacher, children work with a partner in using flash cards for facts.
Appendix J
• Word problems: children get much practice. There is no point in making problems difficult while they’re learning basic skills. Complex word problems is not indicative of a better math program. Children need to be facile in using numbers before dealing with complex word problems.
• More/Less concept has been introduced.
Appendix L
• Multiplication has been introduced. 2 X 4 = □ “Count by 2 four times.”
• Vertical addition.
Appendix N, O
• Subtracting double-digit numbers
• Addition with carrying.
Appendix P, Q
• Word problems with multiplication.
• The “thinking girl” has memorized these facts.
Appendix R, S: (K-level)
• Place-value: each bundle represents 10.
• Vertical addition and subtraction.

A personal note: Last year I homeschooled my granddaughter for kindergarten using Direct Instruction Distar I and moving into Distar II for mathematics. She entered grade 1 this school year. The method of teaching Common Core EngageNY Mathematics is such a disaster, however, that we cannot allow her to remain in the class for math instruction. She will be confused and lose her current skills, which would be a travesty. She is far beyond her grade 1 peers in math knowledge because the DI program advances children. She has memorized all addition facts and many subtraction facts. She can add a column of figures and perform algebra addition. She is ready to start multiplication. I find it sad that so many children will be delayed, even handicapped, in their math knowledge acquisition with the Common Core math program.

I also used nearly every level of Direct Instruction math programs for tutoring children who were failing in our local schools. Most came for reading and math, but some needed spelling and writing in addition. I used Direct Instruction programs in all these subjects. Children ranging from age 5 to 15 came to me, usually three times per week. I provided these lessons free of charge. Most had been poorly taught. The schools wanted to place them in special education, but the parents refused. Several already were classified, however. Once these children recognized that they were able to learn, a new world opened for them.

Deann Nelson, Ed.D. prepared parts I, II, and III for STTPP Beacon.

Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots
Box 244, Jamestown NY 14701

Appendices Follow:

















A publication of Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots
September 2013, No. 23

Part II: Letter of Concern to NY Assembly Education Committee
Re: Assembly bill 7994: Common Core MUST Be Repealed

There are cases which cannot be overdone by language, and this is one. There are
persons, too, who see not the full extent of the evil which threatens them; they solace
themselves with hopes that the enemy, if he succeed, will be merciful….By perseverance
and fortitude we have the prospect of a glorious issue; by cowardice and submission,
the sad choice of a variety of evils. Excerpt from “The Crisis,” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

What is presented here also “cannot be overdone by language.” Our “enemy” is subtle and hidden, making the battle that much more difficult. Couched in rhetoric that we understand with a particular meaning, our “enemy” uses the same words, but gives them “his” own meaning. We must be vigilant, decipher the underlying meaning of “his” words—and fight back—or we will be defeated.


Read the chilling words of Bayard Rustin, aide to Martin Luther King, Jr. and planner of the 1963 March on Washington: “It is institutions—social, political, and economic institutions—which are the ultimate molders of collective sentiments. Let these institutions be reconstructed today, and let the ineluctable gradualism of history govern the formation of a new psychology” [emphases added].

Rustin (1965) argued in “From Protest to Politics” that the Civil Rights struggle remains as long as capitalism is in place. His goal was to put power into his vision: moving the world as it is to a world he thought it should be. “The civil rights movement,” Rustin said, “must evolve from a protest movement into a full-fledged social movement—an evolution calling its very name into question. It is now concerned not merely with removing the barriers to full opportunity but with achieving the fact of equality” [italics added]. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination and granted equality of rights, no matter the individual’s color, sex, religion, or age; it did not grant equality of outcomes.

While citizens in many states ponder—and work to thwart—federal overreach into states’ autonomous rights in education, President Obama, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and Harry Boyte, National Coordinator of American Commonwealth Partnership (ACP) and Director of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship at Augsburg College, are putting into motion Rustin’s “new psychology” via eponyms, Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI), K-12, and A Crucible Moment: College Learning & Democracy’s Future, touted as A National Call to Action. A Crucible Moment, was announced at the White House January 10, 2012; it was federally funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

Boyte, known through his writings and community work as a proponent of “repackaged” teachings of radical Saul Alinsky, wrote: “Rustin argued that the movement for equality requires institutional transformation, not simply moral exhortation. I see the civic transformations of colleges and universities, promoted by the American Commonwealth Partnership in partnership with the White House and the Department of Education as examples.” Secretary Duncan, speaking at the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr. March on Washington, extended the meaning behind Rustin’s and Boyte’s words: “Integration alone doesn’t guarantee a world-class education. Civil rights means having the same opportunities—and not just equal rights” [emphases added].

HISTORY 101 & THE U.S. CONSTITUTION: Forgotten by the President and Sec of Education?

Confusion reigns by many regarding our system of government. The words are: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic….” There it is—Republic. We are not a democracy form of government where majority rules, although the word “democracy” is used very liberally. We are a Republic, which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the people, administered by their representatives. That appears to be forgotten—and outright rejected—when one reads the documents pushing this transformation in U.S. education.

“Civil rights” means equality of RIGHTS, granted through several amendments to the U.S. Constitution: 13th, provide universal freedom; 14th, provide universal rights of citizenship; and 15th and 19th, provide universal voting rights regardless of race, color, or sex. Civil rights does not mean all having the same opportunities, as Secretary Duncan stated. No, it means: treated as equals in the protection of rights; equality before the law; equal roles as human beings. This philosophy is the foundation of our Western civilization: Each individual is entitled to a life whereby the individual creates opportunities for her-/himself through education, hard work, creativity, personal values, drive, ambition—not through governmental decree, manipulation, implementing unproven and unpiloted theories, and overthrow of what has been established via our laws. Friedrich Hayek, Nobel Prize-winning economist, philosopher, and prophet, wrote in The Road to Serfdom: “I am certain that nothing has done so much to destroy the juridical safeguards of individual freedom as the striving after this mirage of social justice” [emphasis added].

Alarmingly, what the Secretary proposes is what Germany perfected even before the Nazis came to power: “democratic socialism,” called “organization” or “planning,” and aimed at directing and altering the thinking of children. It is planning on a grand scale. This type of thinking also permeated Soviet socio-cultural psychological research. It is not a large step to see that this is where Common Core State Standards Initiative and A Crucible Moment are heading.

Those pushing CCSSI and Crucible see human personality in the classroom as malleable, therefore changeable. They are manipulative, and they make the assumption that they have the right and duty to alter the minds of citizens in our nation—especially those of children—even without parental consent. They are arrogant in saying they have the intelligence and capability to change children into the type of citizens they deem as desirable. They are destructive by their rejection of our Constitution, our laws, our heritage, and our traditional form of education—which has served us well for more than 200 years!

Ironically, the Secretary complains that Americans are lacking in historical and civic knowledge, yet it appears that it is he who skipped Civics 101 and The Constitution. With Secretary Duncan’s federal push into K-12 schools and state colleges and universities in nearly every state, including our own—contrary to NY state and federal laws (see STTPP Beacon, No. 22 for a list)—the established system of Federalism is made a mockery.

Liberty, the earned right for each of us to create our own opportunities, was won for us under incredible hardships and obstacles. It is up to the New York State Legislature not to let it become meaningless by embarking on the slippery slope of Common Core and A Crucible Moment. We must remember! Read the words of David McCullough (2005) from his book, 1776:

The [American Revolution for Independence] was a longer, far more arduous, and more painful
struggle than later generations would understand or sufficiently appreciate. By the time it ended, it
had taken the lives of an estimated 25,000 Americans, or roughly 1 percent of the population. In percentage of lives lost, it was the most costly war in American history, except for the Civil War.

BAIT-and-SWITCH TACTICS: Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) and A Crucible Moment (CM): College Learning and Democracy’s Future

Notice the bolded words in the following epigraph to A Crucible Moment’s introduction:

A socially cohesive and economically vibrant US democracy…require[s] informed, engaged, open- minded, and socially responsible people committed to the common good and practiced in ‘doing’ democracy…. Civic learning needs to be an integral component of every level of education, from grade school through graduate school, across all fields of study [emphases added].

Common Core State Standards Initiative and A Crucible Moment should raise red flags for everyone. These documents spell Danger! They violate our laws! The definition of words is changed leaving an unsuspecting public unaware that danger has entered their public schools and colleges. Hayek reminds us: “Nothing distinguishes more clearly a free country from a country under arbitrary government than the observance in the former of the great principles known as the Rule of Law….It is the legal embodiment of freedom.” Through the confluence of individuals, ideology, and opportunity, however, we are witnessing a takeover of New York State’s autonomous rights in education—a violation of law:

1. Individuals: A president with neo-socialistic leanings, whose major work experience was that of a community organizer, and whose vision of an expanded role for government includes: “social justice,” “fairness,” “equality,” “spread the wealth around,” “everyone must pay their [sic] fair share,” “global justice.” Didn’t the President take an oath to the primacy of the U.S. Constitution?
2. Ideology: Organizations and groups whose mission is that of American and global social justice, including the U.S. Department of Education: “To fulfill America’s promise in our global society, our education system at all levels, from early learning through higher education, must serve our nation both as its economic engine and its wellspring for democracy,” wrote Martha Kanter, Under Secretary, and Eduardo Ochoa, Assistant Secretary, in the document’s Introduction. They further stated: “The completion of postsecondary education and the acquisition of twenty-first-century critical thinking skills [see below] in the liberal arts and sciences are an economic necessity as well as a social imperative.” What promise? Don’t nations have the sovereign right to determine their own form of government? Didn’t we learn that lesson from the Arab Spring uprising?
3. Opportunity: Our state wanted money. Race To The Top represented an opportunity for the Federal government to “never let a good crisis go to waste.” Remember those words? Without any public hearings, the Board of Regents and Commissioner of Education bypassed the legislature, violated U.S. and New York state laws, and neglected to obtain consent from THE PEOPLE. A sellout for 30 pieces of silver? THE PEOPLE protest! THE PEOPLE oppose!

CCSSI is the K-12 vehicle used to prepare students to receive A Crucible Moment contents in college. We have seen teaching materials. Lessons are permeated with race, class, and oppression. Teaching facts is bypassed for heightening student emotions—not logic—which form the substance of classroom discussions. Programs such as The 10Cs: A Model of Diversity Awareness and Social Change [see below] are used to indoctrinate young minds. CCSSI is not a product for “This is the Knowledge NY Students Will Learn,” but a process of learning in “culturally relevant contexts.” Talk about scary!!!

“College and career ready” for all students is a stated goal. The new college graduate, now considered an educated person, will have these enumerated skills (in pithy form), thanks to William Cronon (1998), found on Partnership for 21st Century Skills website. The “educated” person will be able to:

1. Listen and hear.
2. Read and understand.
3. Talk with anyone.
4. Write clearly, persuasively, movingly.
5. Solve puzzles and problems.
6. Respect rigor as a way of seeking truth.
7. Practice humility, tolerance, self-criticism.
8. Understand how to get things done in world.
9. Nurture, empower people around them.
10. Follow E. M. Forster’s injunction: “Only connect . . .”
What is missing from Cronon’s list? Oh, yes, knowledge, content, analytical thinking, Truths—absolute essentials to be regarded as educated—along with well-developed skills for particular vocations. Here is the new definition for being an educated person from Partnership for 21st Century Skills, but common to many other organizations also getting a “piece of the pie” and “their hands into the“pot”: “Critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and global connections are…critical skills or attributes required to be successful in the 21st century economy.” Grade school to university, Cronon insists, our educational system will be regarded as successful “by how well we succeed in training children and young adults to aspire to these ten qualities” [emphasis added]. The “new learning” is about shaping children’s minds. How chilling is that ?!!!

Roger Shank, psychologist, computer scientist, and author of Teaching Minds: How Cognitive Science Can Save Our Schools, rejects literature, poetry, languages, economics, history, and principles of science as “they are not germane to this century.” “Not Germane” subjects are replaced with telecommunications, HTML, human issues such as communication, basic psychology, and “child raising.” “We need to rethink what it means to be educated and begin to focus on a new conception of the very idea of education,” writes Shank. Computers will take over Books. Online computer gaming is classified as “learning.” How’s that for creating mindless drones? Concerned parents? Out of luck!

What happened to nationalism? The word “global” is a key part of the new paradigm being promoted by multiple organizations and Secretary Duncan. His words are right out of UNESCO’s Millennium Development Goals: Ensuring environmental sustainability; Developing a global partnership for development; Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger; Achieving universal primary education, to name but a few. He said:

The United States can no longer meet global challenges like developing sustainable sources of energy, reducing poverty and disease, or curbing air pollution and global warming [italics added], without collaborating with other countries. And the U.S. cannot meet those global challenges, both here in our local communities or abroad, without dramatically improving the quality and breadth of civic learning and democratic engagement.
These new global and communal challenges will require U.S. students to develop better critical thinking skills and cross-cultural understanding. Fortunately, high-quality civic learning equips students with the very skills they need to succeed in the 21st century—the ability to communicate effectively, to work collectively, to ask critical questions, and to thrive in diverse workplaces.” (Jan. 10, 2012)

Global warming?! This issue has been refuted with scientific evidence by many reputable scientists. That doesn’t prevent the Secretary from hyping it for his purposes, though. Are we as a country in danger of losing our sovereignty? Are the writers of these documents, and the organizations supporting this progressive transformational paradigm shift in education—including the U.S. President and Secretary of Education—leading us by bait-and-switch tactics to Agenda 21? Here is a prime example of how bait-and-switch is used: J. Gary Lawrence, adviser to President Clinton’s Council on Sustainable Development for Agenda 21, said: “[W]e call our process something else, such as comprehensive planning, growth management or smart growth.” Lawrence admits to the President that he is fearful a freedom-loving public will be alerted and worried if he uses the correct name.

In addition to “equality,” a host of new-old words are connected to CCSSI and Crucible: “soft skills,” “relevant,” “real world,” “projects,” “tasks,” “authentic problem solving,” “higher order thinking,” “outcomes/objectives/standards/skills/competencies,” “whole being,” “feelings,” “values,” “transformative,” “global interdependence,” “consensus,” “critical thinking skills,” “relationships,” “social citizenship,” “group work,” “local, national, global generative civic partnerships,” “new paradigms.”

Words such as “learning,” “economically vibrant,” “rigorous” are used, but, as we have come to learn, their meanings have changed. What Hayek has to say on this has great significance for us:

The most effective way of making people accept the validity of the values they are to serve is to persuade them that they are really the same as those they have always held, but which were not
properly understood or recognized before. And the most efficient technique to this end is to use
the old words but change their meaning [emphasis added].

“Growth” is one of the outcomes for CCSSI, but not academic growth as one would expect, but growth in positive attitudes, group cohesiveness, and working together. See how meanings change? Crucible says that colleges and universities must provide “far more enabling” environments so students can use “their wisdom and passion to seek justice with keener insight into how to determine what is just, for whom, and under what circumstances.” How will this be realized? Each college must have a Civic Investment Plan with explicit learning outcomes. To “ensure institutional commitment,” accreditation and funding will be tied to “measurable outcomes” by students. Where is academic freedom in all this?

In an epigraph to Crucible’s section III, Ira Harkavy, University of Oslo, wrote: “If human beings hope to maintain and develop a particular type of society, they must develop and maintain the particular type of education system conducive to it.” Harkavy lives and works in a Scandinavian country with cradle-to-grave welfare security. It’s pretty clear what “particular type of society” he envisions for us: a complete dismantling of society as established under our U.S. Constitution. This he will do through a complete dismantling of our education system.

So—bait-and-switch is the ploy being used on unsuspecting Americans. Definitions of words banging our consciousness do not have the meaning we think. This is what is being foisted upon Americans in New York, and in most other states: Wholesale re-imagining of our K-12 schools and our state colleges and universities at our expense—but NOT by our agreement.


The theory behind CCSSI is not new; it has been around since the late 19th century, just under different names. It is social engineering. Altering basic human behavior. Economic catastrophe. Utopian:

• John Dewey’s progressive education: experiential learning and continuity, taught by teachers serving as “guides,” and with the school used as a social institution for social reform;
• Ralph Tyler’s Eight Year Study (1930s): organized learning experiences through action of the student, not the teacher, to meet certain objectives;
• Bronfenbrenner Ecological Systems Theory (1979): emphasizes environmental factors as playing the major role to development; influenced by Lev Vygotsky, Soviet developmental psychologist and Kurt Lewin, German-born psychologist;
• Transformational Outcome-Based Education (1980s-90s): student-centered learning by constructivist methods (e.g, project-based learning, whole language reading, block scheduling) versus traditional direct instruction;
• Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL): “social and emotional learning is a process for helping children…develop the fundamental skills for life effectiveness”; life-long learners who are self-aware, caring and connected to others, and responsible in their decision-making”; designed to physically alter the biological structure of the brain;
• ASCD (educators’ organization) Whole Child Common Core Initiative: Uses The 10Cs: A Model of Diversity Awareness and Social Change: 5 Cs of Awareness: Color, Culture, Class, Character, Context; 5Cs of Change: Confidence, Courage, Commitment, Conflict, Community. “Community” means “working collectively and collaboratively with others toward a shared vision.”

Learning—alarming, to us and many, many others in our state and across the country—has a new focus: changing beliefs, feelings, values, and behaviors. Reject the past. Create new values, patterns, attitudes, and beliefs. Reconstruct the student’s habits. Students are to be governed by their habits, not by their intelligence. This transformation is what is HIDING invisibly in our schools. CCSSI’s definition is a clone of this one from Tyler’s Eight Year Study:

The newer concept of learning holds that a human being develops through doing those things which have meaning to him; that the doing involves the whole person in all aspects of his being; and that growth takes place as each experience leads to greater understanding and more intelligent reaction to new situations.

According to Duncan and Company, all this pie-in-the-sky transformation will produce a “vibrant economy.” Bait-and-Switch! Bait-and-Switch! In reality, we will see a fast train to economic catastrophe. Deep knowledge is required to drive dynamic job growth and genuine innovation. With history as our guide, we see that CCSSI and A Crucible Moment are incredibly weak, ineffective, unproven, and destructive to education, destructive to our country, and destructive to our future economy in New York State. This is grand scale experimentation on a national level, with our children serving as guinea pigs.

Equality for All—enforced by governmental coercion—is where all of this appears to be heading. Our thanks to attorney Robin Eubanks for her incredible work in bringing these connections to light on her blog She laments:

Everything that has been a barrier in the past to the Overbearing State is being dismantled [and],
at the exact same time, the countries which have social democracy/welfare states for all, have found
it to be unsustainable. All those realities are being ignored, though, by politicians and Connected Businesses, wanting to preserve power, and economically unsophisticated voters and students
wanting free stuff at someone else’s expense.

Pioneer Institute published a White Paper September 2013 entitled, “A Republic of Republics: How Common Core Undermines State and Local Autonomy over K-12 Education,” by the Honorable Robert Scott, former Texas Commissioner of Education. Scott quotes researchers and scholars Sandra Stotsky and R. James Milgram, members of the committee who refused to sign off on the English Language Arts and Mathematics standards. Stotsky said the following to the Indiana legislature:

Common Core’s “college readiness” standards for English language arts and reading do not aim
for a level of achievement that signifies authentic college-level work. They point to no more than readiness for a high school diploma (and possibly not even that, depending on where the cut score
is set). Despite claims to the contrary, they are not internationally benchmarked. States adopting Common Core’s standards will damage the academic integrity of both their post-secondary institutions and their high schools precisely because Common Core’s standards do not strengthen the high
school curriculum and cannot reduce the current amount of post-secondary remedial coursework in a
legitimate way [italics added].

Milgram, a mathematician, echoed Stotsky regarding mathematics standards:

…there are a number of extremely serious failings in [Common] Core Standards that make it
premature for any state with serious hopes for improving the quality of the mathematical education
of their children to adapt them. This remains true in spite of the fact that more than 40 states have already adopted them…For example, by the end of fifth grade the material being covered in arithmetic and algebra in Core Standards is more than a year behind the early grade expectations in most high achieving countries. By the end of seventh grade, Core Standards are roughly two years behind…When we compare the expectations in Core Standards with international expectations at the high school level we find, besides the slow pacing, that Core Standards only cover Algebra I, much but not all of the expected content of Geometry, and about half of the expectations of Algebra II. Also, there is no discussion at all of topics more advanced than these [italics added].


What a Faustian bargain the Board of Regents and the Commissioner of Education made with the federal government: Give us money and we’ll give you our children! Gone was federalism in New York education. Gone was ethical action. One swift edict and Rule of Law was undone. In was Tyranny. Local control, established through our state constitution and education laws, was replaced by national standards that—by design and intent—will transform education for all children in our state and in the those other states that signed on to the standards.

Education for New York students has been usurped, weakened, and altered in ways that are unacceptable to THE PEOPLE. Legislators, take back New York education. Undo the damage inflicted upon our state. We suggest that you start here:

1. Repeal Race To The Top and Common Core State Standards Initiative;
2. Replace the current Board of Regents;
3. Replace the current Commissioner of Education;
4. Free our state colleges and universities from the edicts of A Crucible Moment.

Yes, our students need more study of history, as education historian Diane Ravitch and many others advocate, including Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots. An enlightened electorate is necessary for a democracy. New York doesn’t need a federal takeover of our state’s education in order to implement such changes. With greater learning and knowledge, some students may even become more civic-minded and involved as adults, but that would be an individual decision, not something foisted upon people through edict and manipulation by Secretary Duncan and the federal government.

Our Founding Fathers serve as examples of the power of education, self-taught in many cases. They possessed broad knowledge from reading books: classical studies, religious, political, historical, economic, philosophical studies; Greek, Roman, Anglo-Saxon, European, and English history. Our U.S. Constitution and form of government are the brilliant outcomes of their studies. If the legislature needs a modern-day model for history and civic study in our state colleges, there is none better than the curriculum at Hillsdale College (referred to as The Constitution College), and taught by knowledgeable, passionate teachers. Moreover, Hillsdale College has broadened its teaching to include on-line courses for any interested person. New York needs strong, sound education for our children. Please consider our input in the next section.


The words of Ron Edmonds, deceased black educator of the 1970s, still ring true today:

How many effective schools would you have to see to be persuaded of the educability of poor children? If your answer is more than one, then I submit that you have reasons of your own for preferring to believe that pupil performance derives from family background instead of school response to family background. Whether or not we will ever effectively teach the children of the
poor is probably far more a matter of politics than of social science and this is as it should be.
We can, whenever and wherever we choose, successfully teach all children whose schooling is of interest to us. We already know more than we need to do that. Whether or not we do it
must finally depend on how we feel about the fact that we haven’t so far. [emphasis added].

Edmonds wrote about teaching academics. Academic, cognitive learning served our country well for most of our history. It was weakened by the progressive movement which introduced whole language, whole math, developmentally-appropriate education, and which led to a dumbing down of the curriculum. It will be dumbed down much further with CCSSI and A Crucible Moment.

“No Excuses” Schools: reject the ideology of victimhood and demonstrate high achievement.

They fulfill Edmonds’s admonition about school response to family background. They make children competent academically. They create a culture of achievement. There is a coherent focus on instruction in academic skills. Teachers use instructional methods and materials carefully designed in field testing; teachers know they work! Memorization, assessment, and directed instruction all are used because they work in getting children to achieve academically. Parents want their children to attend “No Excuses” schools. Here’s why:

1. freedom: high-performing principals are freed from micromanagement; students flourish
2. small: school size
3. measurable goals: hard and fast rules are set for the entire school to attain
4. teachers: master teachers hired: intelligent, capable, and embrace the school’s mission
5. teacher training: these schools train teachers on site; current certification is not related to quality teaching
6. programs: rigorous, and tightly aligned with state (not CCSSI) standards
7. explicit teaching: concepts are taught to mastery levels
8. knowledge: focus on its acquisition
9. diagnostic testing: used for diagnosis of learning, and for adjustment of instruction
10. technology: used sparingly, generally for assessment and school management
11. environment: highly disciplined
12. accountability: teachers are held accountable for student learning
13. teacher assessment: frequent by the principal
14. effort: explicit focus on effort by student, not talent, as the determinant of success
15. behavior: focus on catching children being good rather than punishment.

Other recommendations needed:
1. Core Knowledge: We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Core Knowledge provides sequence and structure for content in American history, world history, civics, and geography, K- grade 6. Thinking skills only develop in children when content knowledge is present. Core Knowledge addresses Secretary Duncan’s stated “concerns” regarding U.S. civic deficits.
2. Strengthen professional preparation of K-12 teachers: Require a degree in a discipline, not in Education (too weak). This will improve K-8 level teachers. Students with the lowest SAT scores enter elementary education. Our best teachers are needed here, as they do in Finland.
3. No APPR, No Bonuses: Teacher evaluations based on student test scores is poor policy. Teachers cannot overcome student deficits from earlier grades. They wrongly are penalized with low performance grades, leading to demoralized teachers. Bonuses don’t work. APPR and bonuses weaken schools. Use #13 above.
4. Support / Strengthen: Teachers need support.
5. “The money follows the child”: Consider implementing this policy. It gives parents real choice, and puts pressure on schools for high performance.


“A society that puts equality ahead of freedom
will end up with neither equality nor freedom.”
Milton Friedman

Box 244, Jamestown, NY

A publication of Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots
August 2013, No. 22

Letter of Concern to NY Assembly Education Committee
Re: Assembly bill 7994: Common Core MUST Be Repealed

Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots urges the Education Committee to consider the information presented here, and recommend to the Legislature that Race To The Top and Common Core State Standards (CCSS), with its many tentacles, be repealed.

Race To The Top and Common Core Violate United States Law and NY State Law:

The Board of Regents and Commissioner of Education violated New York State law by willfully, knowingly, and intentionally signing on to a federal takeover of New York State education:

1. U.S. Constitution, 10th Amendment: “…any powers not specifically delegated to the federal government by the Constitution are reserved for the states and the people respectively.”
2. 20 USC 1232 – Sec. 1232a. Prohibition against Federal control of education: “No provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system, or to require the assignment or transportation of students or teachers in order to overcome racial imbalance.”
3. NY State Constitution, Article XI, Section 1: “The legislature shall provide for the maintenance and support of a system of free common schools, wherein all the children of this state may be educated.” Section 2: “It [Board of Regents] shall be governed and its corporate powers, which may be increased, modified or diminished by the legislature….”
4. New York Consolidated Laws, Education, Article 35 § 1709, Section 3: the board of education has power and duty “to prescribe the course of study by which the pupils of the schools shall be graded and classified”; Section 5: “to make provision for the instruction of pupils in all subjects in which such instruction is required to be given….”
5. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA, 20 U.S.C. 1232g): Protects the confidentiality of families. The Obama administration unilaterally made changes to FERPA definitions, thus removing confidentiality protection. Congress was circumvented.

Why Common Core Is a Disaster for New York State Education and Students:

1. Mandated cradle through workforce federal education program—without consent and knowledge of The People: all subjects, all grades, all schools, daycares, preschools, K-12, college.
2. Private organizations spearheaded Common Core: National Governor’s Association (NGA) and Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). Third parties with ideological agendas funded the venture. Some individuals benefited financially from their involvement.
3. Developing process suspicious: Not subject to freedom of information acts or sunshine laws.
4. Circumvention: Obama administration and Secretary of Education Duncan made unilateral decisions affecting every state, thereby circumventing the checks and balances of Congress. They also changed FERPA definitions.
5. One-size-fits-all model: An impossible model. NY state is very diverse: rural counties to huge metropolitan areas. Diversity is part of every school: disabled, English as a Second Language, low-performers, high-performers, minorities.
6. Local control bypassed: The authority of boards of education addressing local needs has been diminished greatly.
7. State Longitudinal Database System (SLDS): Multiple collection of massive personally identifiable information on students. The rights of parents regarding privacy and confidentiality for their child clearly are bypassed.
8. Educational choice and competition: Broad choice denied for parents. Competition removed for schools to improve.
9. Closes educational innovation: See “Closing the Door on Innovation,” (May 9, 2011) with 118 signatories. Found at:
10. Nationally-based standardized testing: NY standardized testing is replaced, resulting in increased costs to NY taxpayers.
11. New assessment = New teaching materials: These must be purchased by local districts, increasing the cost to taxpayers. Educational materials are slanted toward a progressive ideology promoting one-world order and emphasis on the United Nations.
12. ELA and Math standards never piloted: Common Core State Standards remain untested. Our children are serving as guinea pigs. Do the standards work? No one knows! Yet, rah-rah remarks by Jamestown’s superintendent to the public no doubt are typical: “We want people to understand that this tells us where we are in our trek up the mountain to conquer the Common Core…[T]he mountain is pretty large and pretty high. It will take more than a single year to really incorporate our change in instruction, and to help kids be able to perform at the levels that are expected of the Common Core learning standards.” How many times have we heard these same words in the past as one fad after another was experimented on our children?!!!
13. NOT internationally benchmarked: Originally, it was declared to be internationally benchmarked. The writers were forced to remove this label.
14. Standards are NOT rigorous: We are FAR behind Finland and other developed nations. CCSS will not close the gap, only distance us further.
15. College-readiness and grade-level standards: Most are empty skills. A fund of content knowledge is lacking.
16. Middle school writing standards: Developmentally inappropriate for average middle school students.
17. Teaching and use of standard algorithms in arithmetic: This is not completed until grades 5-6. Other developed nations are far ahead in regard to math teaching and learning.
18. Algebra I: Lower expectations. Teaching deferred until grade 9. Students will be more than 2 years behind international expectations by grade 7. Many students from other developed nations complete calculus before graduating from high school.
19. Informational reading in English + Approach to Geometry teaching: No research supports Common Core in these areas.
20. Interstate mobility rate: Estimated at less than 2 percent of K-12 school population. Mobility generally occurs within a school district, not between states.

Box 244, Jamestown, NY

A publication of Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots

November 2013, No. 25

Attack on Individuality, Abstract Reasoning, and Mathematics

by Deann Nelson

(Opinion article submitted to The Post-Journal and Dunkirk Observer.

Copies also sent to Assemblymen Goodell and Graf and Senators Young and Flanagan)

Have you heard school administrators say something similar to the following: “Parents must understand that Common Core is new and requires different teaching methods”? Hokum! The only thing new is its name. Have the words “rigor” and “college and career ready” also been thrown your way? These terms, too, are hogwash. There is nothing rigorous about Common Core, and it surely does not prepare students for college.

Either administrators have forgotten—or they never knew—that the theories behind Common Core have been around for more than 100 years. Policies and practices aimed at redesigning our economy, reshaping us as human beings, and changing our society and what it values, have a long history of terrible results: from John Dewey, using Karl Marx’s education theory, to Constructivism, New “Fuzzy” Math, Whole Language Reading, Outcomes Based Education, Goals 2000 School to Work, and now, Common Core, which also has a tie-in to Marxism. This information is not found in publications pushed by the NY state education department, but it is accessible from multiple supporting documents. A newly-published key resource is found on by Robin S. Eubanks, an attorney with a very

analytical mind: Credentialed To Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon. She also has a blog:

Common Core is Radical Education Reform, part of a global strategy to control economic resources and us citizens as well. This federal takeover of education is part of a movement to shift our country toward a state managed society and economy. It targets student emotions in order to change their values and behavior. This is to be accomplished, not through increased content knowledge, but through 21st-century education competencies: Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking, and

Creativity. Hardly the stuff of rigor.

Common Core is a rejection of fact-based instruction, the engine necessary for developing individualism and logical, abstract reasoning. It shifts measurement of knowledge, so necessary to creativity and inventiveness—think light bulb, automobile, computer, any invention—to measurement of “outcomes” or “competencies.” It is loss of cultural knowledge about what made America and Western Civilization unique.

Perhaps your child or grandchild expresses an interest in a STEM career: Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics. Even Dr. Jason Zimba, author of Common Core EngageNY Mathematics, States that it will not prepare students to enter STEM programs in college. Further, Zimba admits that Common Core mathematics does not prepare students with the needed pre-calculus and calculus courses required to enter selective colleges such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Cornell, Hamilton, SUNY Albany, Colgate, Stanford, MIT, Carnegie Mellon, and many others. It is geared to community college level only—Zimba’s words. Asian students beat the pants off American students in mathematics. By the end of grade 7, our students already will be two years behind those in other countries, and falling further.

Dr. Zimba has degrees in astrophysics, physics, mathematics, and a Ph.D. in physics, but no training in teaching young children. None! Astoundingly, there are no research studies validating EngageNY Mathematics. The program never was field-tested on children in a few schools before it was published. No one knows if it works! Our children are serving as guinea pigs for both the mathematics and ELA programs. This is unethical! It also is a violation of our laws!

If you had a serious illness, would you go to a physician who said, “There is powerful research validating a cure for your condition. I don’t use it, but my therapy might make you feel a little better even if it doesn’t cure you”? You would cry, “Fraud!” “Scoundrel!” “Criminal!” EngageNY Mathematics is analogous to the medical example: “Yes, we know other countries are far advanced in mathematics. Yes, we know the powerful mathematics programs they use. But community college is good enough for New York and USA students.”

Why is Commissioner King pushing curricula that are weak and lack any research validation?

Unfortunately, most administrators lack the necessary research background that would give them the ammunition to stand up and say NO to such blatant abuse of our children. Consequently, We the People have had to take on the task of standing up to the scoundrels usurping our education system. Board of Education members are elected to represent the people in the district they serve. They, and the superintendent hired, are not free to hijack our children’s education. Neither is Commissioner King nor the Board of Regents free to engage in unlawful and nefarious activity .

Individual ability to reason abstractly at high levels is under organized attack. Those of us who express concern about Common Core are greeted with cries by some that we are espousing “conspiracy theories.” This is silly, of course. Proven facts and documented statements describe the coordinated activities surrounding Common Core. This is not conspiracy, but current reality. Common Core is harmful to our children, to our economy, and to our cultural values. It must be repealed.

“If we continue to be a happy people, that happiness must be assured by the enacting and executing of reasonable and wise laws, expressed in the plainest language, and by establishing such modes of education as tend to inculcate in the minds of youth, the feelings and habits of ‘piety, religion and morality,’ and to lead them to the knowledge and love of those truly Republican principles upon which our civil institutions are founded.” –Samuel Adams, Address to the Legislature of Massachusetts, 1795

The Time is Right to Abolish the IRS!!!
An Open Letter to Congressman Reed
With one scandal occurring in quick succession after another—one loses count after awhile—we see
that our government is corrupt, abusive, and out of control. Certainly, the U.S. Constitution, the
bedrock document of our Republic, plays no part in the thinking of far too many administrators and
bureaucrats. Regarding the IRS scandal, Congressman Trey Gowdy’s words ring true: “[I]t strikes me
as a cultural, systemic, character, moral issue.” Because the problem is systemic, no amount of “fixing
around the edges” will remedy the problem.
The public is frightened of its own government, especially of the IRS. Think on it, Congressman: no
one in the IRS had the moral courage to speak out against the myriad squalid activities that unfolded in
the media. And this is the agency that will monitor implementation of ObamaCare?!!! Did you hear
the shudder that passed through all our members, Congressman? We need not lay out the problem for
you in detail; it has been documented sufficiently by this time. What our organization seeks from
you is your help with the cure. We urge you to be bold, no holding back. Actively work to garner
support from like-minded, even reluctant, persons in Congress. Apparently there are quite a number
already who want action and change. But, ACTION MUST OCCUR! Syndicated columnist Mark
Steyn proposes the cure.
Steyn links corruption with political needs: “This is a scale of depravity hitherto unknown to the tax
authorities of the United States, and for that reason alone they should be disarmed and disbanded – and
rebuilt from scratch with far more circumscribed powers.” Yea, yea, say Southern Tier TEA Party
Patriots. We propose that you and other Republicans introduce legislation abolishing the IRS, which
means replacement of our current cumbersome, antiquated tax code, which, as we see, is open to
corruption precisely because it is so horribly complex.
Much has been written about the Flat Tax, especially by advocate Steve Forbes, that makes it
appealing. The FairTax also appears to have a considerable following. Its advantages are explained
here. No doubt, some apply to the Flat Tax as well. But Flat or Fair, either is far superior to the current
code. Ben Crystall, a principal at Saltymoss Productions, argues: “With the FairTax, we get rid of
loopholes, offshore money-laundering and Constitutional abuses. Everyone pays his ‘fair share.’” “Fair
share,” along with “fat cats,” are two of the trite phrases President Obama touted in speech after speech
around the country. Well, a FairTax system would give credence to his “fair share” words. James M.
Bennett, nonpartisan activist for FairTax, wrote that income, payroll, estate, gift, and generationskipping
taxes are replaced with a tax on all goods and services sold at retail to a consumer. Businessto-
business transactions are tax-free. According to Bennett, to date, 58 members of Congress support
FairTax. Bennett (Jan. 23, 2013) further enumerated his reasons for moving to the FairTax:
1. Reforming the current tax code does not last. It continues to move in the direction of the
colossal giant. Recall Reagan’s efforts, which didn’t last.
2. With a flat tax system, Congress could add on a VAT or a sales tax when it wanted more
revenue sources.
3. Contrary to the Flat Tax, the FairTax does not tax exports and reinvested earnings.
Additionally, it lets the economy grow.
4. The flat income tax does not tax all consuming persons, whereas the FairTax does: legal
citizens, criminals, undocumented non-citizens. The shadow, underground economy can’t
5. The FairTax also helps government control its spending. Based on consumption, the
FairTax has a more stable and growing revenue base than the flat tax has.
6. The FairTax helps Social Security and Medicare in two ways: (a) stabilizing and growing
revenue streams, and (b) eliminating the payroll tax.
7. The FairTax is easier to implement than a VAT tax, which always is an add-on to other
taxes. Additionally, the flat tax taxes wages but leaves investment income and estates
The Rev. Mel McGinnis Makes Our Case:
At a peaceful demonstration in front of the IRS office in Jamestown, a sign said, “If we were deer, it
would be called poaching.” Other orderly demonstrations around the country had Department of
Homeland Security vehicles on site. Who needs a KGB, if you have an IRS? While the president’s
administration scrubbed references to “jihad” and “Islam” from its FBI training manuals, it has done all
it can to suspiciously target law-abiding citizens coalescing to exercise their freedoms. The IRS
demanded lists of books, Facebook and Twitter entries, donor lists, and even names of family members,
not to mention the contents of what was prayed. What more do you need for turning the initials of the
IRS into the IRI as in “Inquisition”?
When Congress issued a subpoena to Lois Lerner, she pled the 5th while the inquisition she forced on
citizens resulted in her getting bonuses and an administrative leave (a paid vacation). She had every
right to plead the 5th, but how did that make those who were mercilessly hounded feel when a
belligerent bureaucrat of the IRS conveniently pled the 5th?
An official for the Obama administration said that the law in this case was irrelevant. Wouldn’t it be
nice if we could say that the laws which the IRS lords over us are irrelevant? One thing it certainly
does is make the words from the President saying that everyone must play by the same rules ring
hollow. They’re just about as hollow as him touting transparency in his administration. Commentator
Greg Guttfeld is right: “This administration has the transparency of a burqa.”
The time is long overdue for abolishing the IRS. In the meantime, IRS special agents continue their
training with “assault rifles,” the kind that exist only to kill people, according to gun-grabber Piers
Morgan. “Are Americans that much of a target that you need that kind of capability?” U.S.
Congressman Jeff Duncan asked the IRS. Wondering why agents were in possession of AR-15s, the
IRS told the congressman that controls were in place to use them appropriately, like those controls to
prevent wasting taxpayer money on worthless, extravagant seminars, I suppose. I can see it now when
an incident over an inappropriate use of an AR-15 erupts, the IRS commissioner will say, “It was just
sloppy customer service.”
I sure would like to see RIP over the IRS….Oh, no, is that an audit coming over the horizon or an AR-
Box 244, Jamestown, NY 14701
STTPP and Other Rejecters of Common Core

1. anti-USA Constitution
• Federal government has no authority over education in U.S. Constitution
• 10th Amendment: “any powers not specifically delegated to the federal government by the Constitution are reserved for the states and the people respectively”
1. anti-Republic: “supreme power resides in a body of citizens…exercised by elected representatives
• issue never voted upon by our representatives in NY legislature
• decision made by Board of Regents
1. anti-New York Constitution
• NY legislature has authority over Bd of Regents
1. anti-states: top-down federal takeover; UN global education
2. anti-local control: BOE bypassed
• BOEs will become superfluous
• no control over local curriculum
• extremely costly to local districts: new textbooks, data collection
◦ Common Core tests taken online: very expensive
1. anti-grass roots
• top-down implementation
• parents/communities have no meaningful say
1. anti-excellence: Rush to mediocrity; lack of rigor
2. anti-quality: quality gap widens as students age
3. anti-common sense: move from local (small)/state (larger) standards to monolithic (nation) standards (characterized by rigidly fixed uniformity)
• Ex: Jamestown vs. NYC, Philadelphia, Tucson, East St. Louis
• Educational needs and problems differ from community to community
1. anti-paternal rights
• parents lost the freedom to direct their child’s education
• government takeover of our children: similar to Soviet Union
• to whom/where does parent go when there is a problem?
1. anti-student/family privacy rights: FERPA (20 U.S.C. 1232F; 34 CFR Part 99)
• national database (NY is in this database)
• private information will be shared between multiple organizations
• 400 data points collected
• discipline, family income, religious affiliation, parental voting record, health care history
• gear students into certain careers based on data profile
1. anti-research-based; anti-evidence-based: never piloted

2. anti-liberty
• **states can’t make any amendments to the standards if they see problems
• standards were written behind closed doors
1. anti-sunshine
2. anti-choice: private & charter schools must follow Common Core
3. anti-competition
• private schools, charter schools, homeschoolers subject to Common Core
1. anti-love of reading and literature*
• classic literature replaced by reading informational pamphlets, Obama orders/regulations
• “The failure to read good books both enfeebles the vision and strengthens our most fatal tendency—the belief that the here and now is all there is.” Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind
• Elementary grades: literature 70%, nonfiction 30%
• High school: literature 30%, nonfiction 70%
1. anti-excellence in math: US will be 2 years behind their peers in countries ranked above us on international tests
• standards not internationally benchmarked
• algebra I pushed to grade 9 from grade 8
• division postponed to grade 6 from grade 5
• traditional Euclidean geometry replaced with an experimental approach not pilot-tested in USA
• delays proficiency in addition and subtraction until grade 4
• **Ze’ev Wurman, math advisory expert:
◦ “I believe the Common Core marks the cessation of educational standards in the USA. No state has any reason left to aspire for first-rate standards, as all states will be judged by the same mediocre national benchmark enforced by the federal government. Moreover, there are organizations that have reasons to work for lower and less-demanding standards, specifically teachers unions and professional teacher organizations. While they may not admit it, they have a vested interest in lowering the accountability bar for their members….This will be done in the name of ‘critical thinking’ and ’21st-century skills’ and in in faraway Washington, D.C. Well beyond the reach of parents and most states and employers.”
1. anti-problem solving: local and state

Supporters of Common Core

1. propose one-size-fits-all model
• European countries have national standards: no correlation between national standards and results on international tests
• countries to do worse than USA also have national standards
1. illegal federal education takeover, but who cares?
• education is a state responsibility
1. weakens FERPA (federal privacy law): illegal, but again, who cares?
• using cameras to judge facial expressions
• an electronic seat that judges posture
• a pressure-sensitive computer mouse
• biometric wrap on kids’ wrists

1. forced sharing: private student data
• sharing between multiple organizations
1. tracking students preschool to workforce entry: 400 data points
• Campbell’s Law: “The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor.” Donald Campbell, American Social Scientist
1. testing for “creative thinking,” not knowledge
• “This sort of testing and emphasis has not only been shown to particularly and permanently keep poor and minority students behind, it moves education from the pursuit of knowledge to social engineering.” Joh Pullmann, The Heartland Institute
1. emphasis on affect (feelings)

2. progressive, liberal left-wing radicalism

3. social engineering

4. United Nations Agenda 21: world view emphasis, not USA focus

5. Common Core textbooks & testing monopolies
• Creators of standards now consultants to testing companies (conflict of interest)
1. pressure by federal government: Obama, Duncan, Bill Gates (money), and their minions (read: NY Board of Regents)

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” William Butler Yeats

Race to Nowhere
What was touted as a Race to the Top, and by inference a race to excellence in education for
New York students, has become instead a Race to Nowhere—dumbed-down education,
mediocrity. The carrot, of course, was MONEY! The stick, the Common Core State Standards
and the Common Core curriculum. Implement the standards, said President Obama and
Secretary Arne Duncan, or no money. As we have come to learn, both the standards and
curriculum are fraught with huge ethical and philosophical issues. Both are—well, see below:
STTPP / Other Rejecters of Common Core
• anti-U.S.A. Constitution
• anti-Republic: “supreme power
resides in a body of
citizens…exercised by elected
• anti-New York Constitution
• anti-states: federal takeover
• anti-local control: BOE bypassed
• anti-grass roots
• anti-excellence: lack of rigor
• anti-quality: quality gap widens as
students age
• anti-common sense
• anti-paternal rights: no say
• anti-student/family privacy rights:
FERPA (20 U.S.C. 1232F; 34 CFR Part 99)
• anti-research-based; anti-evidencebased
• anti-liberty
• anti-sunshine
• anti-choice: private & charter schools
must follow Common Core
• anti-competition
• anti-love of reading and literature*
• anti-excellence in math: 2 yrs behind
• anti-problem solving: local & state
Supporters of Common Core
• propose one-size-fits-all model
• illegal federal education takeover, but
who cares?
• weakens FERPA (federal privacy
law): illegal, but again, who cares?
• forced sharing: private student data
• tracking students preschool to
workforce entry: 400 data points
• testing for “creative thinking,” not
• emphasis on affect (feelings)
• progressive, left-wing radicalism
• social engineering
• UN agenda 21 world view, not USA,
western civilization roots and focus
• Common Core textbooks and testing
• pressure by federal government:
Obama, Duncan, Bill Gates (money),
and their minions (read: NY Board of
*“The failure to read good books both enfeebles
the vision and strengthens our most fatal
tendency—the belief that the here and now is all
there is.” Allan Bloom, The Closing of the
American Mind
The big, big question is: Where was the legislature when this travesty came down the pike?
How was implementing the Common Core State Standards and its curriculum possible without
any vote by representatives of the people? Our NY Constitution (Article XI, Section 1) says:
“The legislature shall provide for the maintenance and support of a system of free common
schools, wherein all the children of this state may be educated.” Did you get those words?—
the “state legislature,” “shall provide,” “all the children,” “educated.” Yep, the STATE
legislature, not the federal government!!!
And, guess what—the powers of the Board of Regents are controlled by—yep again, the state
legislature. According to §2, “It [Bd of Regents] shall be governed and its corporate powers,
which may be increased, modified or diminished by the legislature, shall be exercised by not
less than nine regents.” Were the regents afraid the legislature would zap the board’s power if
they ran this state-threatening, federally-proposed takeover before our representatives? Duh!!
Moreover, has everyone forgotten that the federal government is prohibited—yes,
PROHIBITED by law—from federalizing the curriculum? The Board of Regents made a
tactical decision involving short-term thinking and money. The end result was capitulation to
the federal government, deleteriously affecting our children, parents, employers, and everyone
in NY state for decades to come. Wouldn’t you think that the regents would know the law,
realizing that a federal takeover of NY education was a serious threat? Wouldn’t that danger be
enough to send them scurrying to warn the legislature and the people? Hard to believe they
were willing to sell out our state education system for 30 pieces of silver. By the way, where
was chancellor leadership? Tragically, a curriculum is being implemented that has not been
subjected to any freedom of information acts or sunshine laws. It never was piloted. NO ONE
knows if it works!!! Are NY children to be treated as guinea pigs? The answer appears to be
Yes! This dumbed-down curriculum is being foisted on NY children as well as those in most
other states. Where was the code of ethics that should have guided the NY Commissioner of
Education and the Board of Regents when they made their decision? In the tank, apparently.
We—Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots—urge legislators to take immediate action. You
must revoke New York’s involvement with the Common Core State Standards and curriculum.
Your authority and responsibility were usurped—unconstitutionally—when the Board of
Regents capitulated to a federal government takeover of New York education. It is the
authority of the state to educate and to strive for excellence for all children. It is not the state’s
function to comply with federal meddling in classrooms, nor implement a curriculum that
dumbs down education and abrogates federal privacy laws regarding children and families.
“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire,” wrote William Butler Yeats.
Hard to Believe!!!

“The Chamber of Commerce and Manufacturers Association proposed $860,500 in cost reductions with no pay cuts, freezes, nor any drastic head-count reductions and the City Council did not act on any one of these. Our recommendations were ignored,” wrote Todd Tranum, president/CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and executive director of the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier (“It’s Time to Change City Govt. Structure,” Post-Journal, Dec. 16, 2012). Didn’t act? Now, that’s really hard to believe says Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots (STTPP)!

Isn’t Chautauqua County ranked 5th in the nation for having the highest property taxes as a percentage of home values? Aren’t we ranked 4th in New York State for personal bankruptcy filings? Wouldn’t you think that Jamestown City Council would have made a very concerted effort to check out and implement every one of the Chamber’s recommendations? Apparently, no, and, once more, hard to believe! But, surely, doesn’t Council agree that suggestions proffered by the Chamber of Commerce/Manufacturers Association represent an excellent starting place?

Again, Mr. Tranum: “The city cannot simply cut itself out of its own ‘fiscal cliff.’ There has to be a focus on revenues.” Well, yes, wouldn’t you think?! Council, however, appears to be using the BPU as the city’s piggy bank. How about Council researching and finding models that emulate realistic budgets for poor economic /high poverty communities—such as those similar to Jamestown—where taxes are lower and are trending toward economic recovery?

Why is Council dragging its feet? Members, you were elected to City Council because: (1) you persuaded your constituents that you were committed to Jamestown; (2) in various ways, you represented yourselves as problem-solvers; (3) you know Jamestown taxes are unrealistically high and must be lowered; and (4) you undoubtedly recognize that any restructuring of city government, as called for by Mr. Tranum and others, would result in a more efficiently-run Jamestown.

Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots joins the Chamber of Commerce and the Manufacturers Association in saying, “Council, stiffen your spines. Get to work. Research and find good models. Market our city to increase the tax base.” It is imperative that Council lower city taxes, otherwise, who will want to stay—or come?

A Promise Made is a Promise Kept

“It is not the oath that makes us believe the man, but the man the oath.”

Constituents were jubilant when many Republican members of Congress—especially those new to Congress who received help from Tea Parties across the nation—signed a pledge not to increase taxes. In the eyes of honorable people, a pledge serves as a binding promise or agreement to forbear—in this case, to stand firm on not raising taxes. Yet, it appears that a number of those who signed the pledge now are recanting—including you, Congressman Reed. It was incredibly distressing to members of Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots to watch you make an announcement on public television recanting your pledge—especially after STTPP members helped with your re-election campaign. We urge you to rethink your recantation in order to regain the trust of your constituents.

What gives?! You and other Republicans in the House seem to have capitulated early in the process. Discussions about America’s fiscal cliff have not been underway that long. Why are you abandoning ship (read as “pledge”) so soon? Where are Republican proposals for reducing the deficit rather than raising taxes? Have Republicans contacted The Heritage Foundation for briefs, information, and advice? If the answer is no, below are points and ideas for public information and knowledge from The Heritage Foundation’s website:

Morning Bell: 11/27/12 “4 Reasons Warren Buffett Is Wrong on Tax Hikes”
• Tax hikes, especially those espoused by Warren Buffett, hurt jobs.
◦ Tax increases hit small businesses that create jobs.
◦ Families would be hit with $4,138 in higher taxes.
• Contrary to what Mr. Buffet says, tax hikes do prevent investors from investing. Heritage says that any time you tax something, you get less of it.
• Buffett says the wealthy aren’t paying a minimum tax. Heritage says we already have an Alternative Minimum Tax.
◦ The top 10% of earners in the US pay more than 70% of federal income taxes
◦ The budget can’t be closed by taxing the rich
• Buffett says we need to raise taxes to bring in more revenue for the government. Heritage says the problem is government spending, not government revenue.
◦ Slow-growing economy
◦ In 25 years, spending will be 35.7% of GDP

Issue Brief: 11/14/12 “Fiscal Cliff: What Congress Should Do” by Patrick Louis Knudsen
The Crisis:
• The crisis was made by the President and Congress
• Both sides agreed to extend all tax policies for 2 years
• Employers are reluctant to hire, resulting in slow job growth
• Growth in real gross domestic product plunged from 3.9% to 2.0% (3rd quarter)
• Budget Control Act (BCA) contained enforced sequestration
• Other problems added
◦ Doc fix: added to the problem
◦ Extended unemployment benefits: added to the problem
◦ Another debt-ceiling increase looms
Heritage Recommends:
1. Preclude Taxmageddon
• Extend all current tax policies permanently
• This would remove economic uncertainty generated by temporary measures
2. Prevent the defense sequestration
• Best option: Adopt a set of spending reductions to replace the entire $492 billion of indiscriminate cuts facing the Pentagon, or
• Replace the first year’s $55 billion
• Review the House reconciliation bill which offers a range os saving that can start the process
3. Do not raise taxes
• Reject any proposals to raise taxes
• Spending control is the answer to trillion-dollar deficits
4. Reject “grand bargains” and chimerical “bridges”
• Reject ad hoc procedures to dodge the fiscal cliff
• Reject a “grand bargain” on deficit reduction
• “Frameworks” or “bridges” should be resisted; they don’t work
5. Return to regular budgeting
• Restore sound and regular practice of congressional budgeting in order to control spending for the long term
• Use the “budget resolution”: Congress deliberately has failed to use this means since 2009 resulting in incoherent tax and spending practices which destabilized fiscal policy
6. Fix the problem, then move on
• If the budget process is broken, it was done so by Congress. Fiscal malpractice led to the approaching fiscal cliff
• Prevent huge defense cuts
• Prevent huge tax hikes hanging over the country
• Establish a stable foundation to tackle bigger fiscal problems.

Congress must act honorably and responsibly. Speak out, Congressman Reed. Let the voices of your constituents be heard: No tax increases!

Think About This!
By Jim Walker

Will it ever be possible to reform NY politics? My answer is a simple and direct NO! It has to do with who has the power and who is in charge. While New Yorkers constantly battle over Republican or Democrat, the truth is, we have had both and nothing changed. Democrats get a few points for honesty: they directly tell you that they will squeeze every dollar they can from you and turn it over to the unions to help them get re-elected.
Republicans, on the other hand, tell you they are for family values, reduced taxes, balanced budgets, and yet they cave to every Democrat whim. One example is Albany’s gay marriage act. Shelly Silver couldn’t do it. Andrew Cuomo couldn’t do it. But Dean Skelos, Senate majority leader, did it. Three of his republican hacks had to turn on their constituency to accomplish it. After their blinding revelation of the benefits of gay marriage, they dutifully passed the bill.
Honest Joe Bruno said that no bill goes to the floor without the express blessing of the majority leader, Dean Skelos. My senator and representative don’t send out notice of what is going on without saying how closely they are working with the Governor. They are so proud that the budget was delivered on time. Don’t look at the fact that it is larger every year.
Regarding the sale of the county home, taxpayers are prohibited by state law from voting on the issue. Politicians, regardless of party, fight to defend and maintain the status quo. It requires courage to step forward and fight for something that might cost them their job.
In a previous Beacon article, I quoted a study showing that New York has the least freedom of any state in the union. I wondered why and when that happened. It is quite simple: the voter is powerless. One of the most important national elections in our lifetime approaches. In New York, the incumbent will win. The electoral college vote from NY was secured two years ago. The popular vote is immaterial. Romney will win the popular vote, and Obama the electoral college. Guess who will be president for the next four years? The Republican party of NY will not support Ms. Long in her attempt to defeat Kristin Gillibrand.
Would you like to have recall, petition, open primaries, opportunity to vote on gay marriage, capital punishment, the size of soft drinks, whether your property taxes go up or not, repeal the Taylor act? We must regain the power to vote.
I enjoy the Erie county TEA party railing against their RHINOs, but notice it does no good. The TEA parties of NY must come together on this issue; many of them have been co-opted by NY Republicans. There is little we can do to make a difference in November. Finding a way to return power to the voter should be the primary goal. We need to find someone to help us get this before the public. The parties cannot choose the candidates; we need open primaries. It can be done and a growing prosperous NY would result. Remember, if given a choice between corruption and change, most New Yorkers will choose the former. I suggest that you just think about a New York where the voters/taxpayers are in charge.

STTPP BEACON – A Publication of Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots

October 2012, No. 16

Think About This!  By Jim Walker

   Will it ever be possible to reform NY politics?  My answer is a simple and direct NO!  It has to do with who has the power and who is in charge.  While New Yorkers constantly battle over Republican or Democrat, the truth is, we have had both and nothing changed.  Democrats get a few points for honesty: they directly tell you that they will squeeze every dollar they can from you and turn it over to the unions to help them get re-elected.

Republicans, on the other hand, tell you they are for family values, reduced taxes, balanced budgets, and yet they cave to every Democrat whim.  One example is Albany’s gay marriage act. Shelly Silver couldn’t do it.  Andrew Cuomo couldn’t do it.  But Dean Skelos, Senate majority leader, did it.  Three of his republican hacks had to turn on their constituency to accomplish it.  After their blinding revelation of the benefits of gay marriage, they dutifully passed the bill.

Honest Joe Bruno said that no bill goes to the floor without the express blessing of the majority leader, Dean Skelos.  My senator and representative don’t send out notice of what is going on without saying how closely they are working with the Governor.  They are so proud that the budget was delivered on time.  Don’t look at the fact that it is larger every year.

Regarding the sale of the county home, taxpayers are prohibited by state law from voting on the issue.  Politicians, regardless of party, fight to defend and maintain the status quo.  It requires courage to step forward and fight for something that might cost them their job.

In a previous Beacon article, I quoted a study showing that New York has the least freedom of any state in the union.  I wondered why and when that happened.  It is quite simple: the voter is powerless.  One of the most important national elections in our lifetime approaches.  In New York, the incumbent will win.  The electoral college vote from NY was secured two years ago. The popular vote is immaterial.  Romney will win the popular vote, and Obama the electoral college.   Guess who will be president for the next four years?  The Republican party of NY will not support Ms. Long in her attempt to defeat Kristin Gillibrand.

Would you like to have recall, petition, open primaries, opportunity to vote on gay marriage, capital punishment, the size of soft drinks, whether your property taxes go up or not, repeal the Taylor act?  We must regain the power to vote.

I enjoy the Erie county TEA party railing against their RHINOs, but notice it does no good. The TEA parties of NY must come together on this issue; many of them have been co-opted by  NY Republicans.  There is little we can do to make a difference in November.  Finding a way to return power to the voter should be the primary goal.  We need to find someone to help us get this before the public.  The parties cannot choose the candidates; we need open primaries.  It can be done and a growing prosperous NY would result.  Remember, if given a choice between corruption and change, most New Yorkers will choose the former.  I suggest that you just think about a New York where the voters/taxpayers are in charge.

STTPP BEACON – A Publication of Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots

August 2012, No. 15

The following articles by Skip Axelson inform the public about STTPP position on issues.  Originally, they appeared in The Post-Journal’s Readers’ Forum under different headlines.  They are worth a second read.


   A man was killed in a botched gun-running scheme sanctioned by our own U.S. Department of Justice.  Brian Terry—beloved son, friend, relative—was shot and killed with weapons that high ranking officials in our government knew would find their way into the hands of drug cartels.  The grief that his  parents feel must be doubly unbearable knowing the sordid story behind their son’s death.

In an attempt by Congress to investigate Fast and Furious, the chief law enforcer of the nation—whose job it is to enforce U.S. law—unbelievably engaged in stonewalling Congress.  Was there more to the story?  Was chief-law-enforcer withholding other sordid details from Congress?  We know he withheld documents.  Held in contempt by congress, chief-law-enforcer was supported in his refusal to comply by no less than the president himself.

Where is our outrage?  Why are we not speaking out, insisting that our chief law enforcer be made to uphold the law, and to cooperate and comply with the investigation by Congress?  A man dies senselessly while giving service to his country.  Shouldn’t that be reason enough for local gun clubs, those in law enforcement, and citizens concerned about coverups at the highest levels of government, to let their voices be heard?

Where Are Today’s Dietrich Bonhoeffers?

   Do you know about the American Center for Law and Justice?  It addresses issues regarding the unborn, the Constitution, freedom of religion, and a host of other causes that concern the Christian community.  It also serves to educate Christians on these matters.  It has become all too clear that too many Christians—those who attend church Sunday after Sunday—have not educated themselves on issues vital to our country.  In fact, many today have no idea what is occurring in their own country, nor in the world.  Unfortunately, far too few read little, if anything, of what is being published that should cause Christians to be on the alert.  Most disturbing, too many Christians receive little or no critical information from the pulpit.  An exception to this statement was the call by two Chicago clergymen—the Rev. Charles Lyons, Armitage Baptist Church, and Cardinal Francis George—for Chicago’s mayor not to disrespect the traditional view of marriage by Christians.  Their statement was made in response to attacks upon Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-Fil-A, for his public stance on the biblical view of marriage he and his family business associates hold.

Do you recall how Christians stood by in Germany during the rise of Nazism, how they closed their eyes to the all-too-real atrocities inflicted on their Jewish countrymen? Awaken, Christians!  Open your eyes and minds!  Liberty, that once stalwart principle of our Republic, now is bruised, disintegrating, and rapidly slipping away.  Here are two books well worth reading, both by Erwin W. Lutzer, that are mind-opening: “When a Nation Forgets God” and “Hitler’s Cross.”

Are Christians going to stand by and let Liberty erode to the point of no return?  Why not join with Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots in working to save this most cherished principle embodied in our Constitution?  We meet 7 PM every fourth Tuesday at the Lakewood American Legion.  You will find your participation to be instructive and rewarding.

STTPP BEACON – A Publication of Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots

February 2012, No. 14

He Did Quoth in Error  by Mel McGinnis –    Cheers for politicians using the Bible to quote scriptures in their context, but when quoting verses out of context to advance a political agenda, they need to be called on it.  A national leader at a prayer breakfast quoted Luke 12: 48: “To whom much is given much will be demanded” in order to justify increasing taxes on a targeted group of people.  There’s nothing in the context remotely suggesting anything to do with taxation. The context is about being watchful and prepared for the second coming of Jesus.  Government and taxes aren’t even mentioned once.  This national leader made it sound like “to whom much is given much will be demanded” means “the more people make, the greater percentage the government shall take.” You can hardly mangle the text more than that unless you’re more interested in hoodwinking the gullible than maintaining interpretive integrity.

   If this leader was intellectually honest, he would have avoided using the Bible altogether and gone instead straight to the Christian-hating Communist Manifesto.  Bluntly, it advocates taxing persons who earn more than others at a higher rate.  We have this now, only this leader wants to make the progressive income tax more manifesto-like.  It’s easier to spot Marxism when it’s upfront, but much harder when it’s tucked under the Bible. If he sincerely wanted to be biblical, he would have cited from the Bible how God implemented a 10% flat rate tithe and added, “Should a government take more in taxes than God demands in tithe?”

The national leader also cited the Golden Rule.  Once again, out of context, this leader used the verse to spread his agenda for coercing taxpayers to fund his brand of government-run compassion. First, any coercion in compassion is crony compassion.  Second, compassion is voluntary.  Government and compassion are inherently opposites.  Government is force.  Compassion is freely exercised.  While this leader seeks to put the Golden Rule into force, he yet favors the right to have unborn children killed.  Moreover, he supports forcing citizens morally opposed to abortion to be taxed to pay for the killing.  How would this leader like it if what is done lethally to the unborn was done unto him? Isn’t there a plank in the leader’s eye?

The name of the leader is not the real issue though you probably know who it is. Not to mention any names but his initials are Barack Obama. Oops….  The misuse of Scripture is the real issue, especially when it is used to trample on liberty.  At future prayer breakfasts, a politician careless with Scripture should just attend, sit still, and be prayed for.  Isn’t that what the prayer breakfast is about?

My Thoughts by Jim Walker –    I am affiliated with the Tea party in this country.  I live in New York where it is necessary to stay in touch with Tea Party politics throughout this country, otherwise I would view all politics through the cynical, clouded lens of NY.  I am Independent, but I have voted for Democrats and Republicans.  Republicans and Tea party are seeking a nominee for president of the United States.  The Democrats will send forth their incumbent President who is everything Tea Party members are against.  Being charming isn’t a requirement for being a good President and leader of the free world, demonstrated daily by President Obama.

  All legislators—county, state, and federal—need to be vetted on these points:

  1. For any bill, policy, or procedure, ask this question: Is this the government’s job?
  2. Whether state, federal, or county: Is this constitutional?
  3. The governmental entity I represent has no money or rights other than those taken from citizens whom I represent: Whom does this legislation benefit?  Whom does it harm?

Regarding Occupy Wall Street, they want “all debt forgiven.”  Who is to pay?  They want to eliminate big, immoral corporations.  Which ones?  What makes a corporation immoral?  Why is it necessary to destroy property, fight with police, and defecate in public places to make points?

I find three issues on which I am able to figure out compromise:

  1. Turning my constitutional republic form of government into to a socialist form of government.  We have compromised too many issues on this already.
  2. Most budget models agree we cannot raise enough money in taxes to continue our current level of spending, so  (a) we must have a budget, and (b) it must be no greater than our income.
  3. I don’t know how many babies should die so that we can compromise between a mother’s right to choose and an infant’s right to life.

The Republican Party is right on one thing: introducing a third party candidate will mean four more years of Obama.  To my way of thinking, these will be the last four years of the union.  Politicians operate on two principle: (a) Can I get re-elected? (b) How much can I get?  Neither serves me as a citizen and taxpayer.

Duped Again!  By Mel McGinnis –    The jobless rate is down, but the numbers don’t add up. We’re told that the unemployment rate stands at 8.3%, but look beneath the surface and you find that something doesn’t look right. In an article appearing on (Feb.7) called “By the Numbers,” Scott Silva wrote, “The government reported that 234,000 new jobs were added in January, bringing down the national unemployment rate to 8.3%. This would be great news…if it were true. But the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) is not reporting the actual unemployment rate.  If the BLS reported truthfully, the headline unemployment rate would be 11% for January, much worse than the number reported… Here’s why the true unemployment rate is grossly understated. The January data does not account for 1.2 million qualified workers who dropped out of the job market last month. This is the largest monthly reduction in the available workforce by the dropout of ‘discouraged’ workers ever.  The labor participation rate declined to 63.7% in January, down from 65.7% when the president took office. Many qualified workers have simply quit looking for jobs.” Add to that, the number of people on food stamps is also at a record level. It doesn’t stop there.

   Bob Beauprez on in the article “Government Assistance: Safety Net or Hammock” wrote, “One in five Americans—the highest in the nation’s history—relies on the federal government for everything from housing, health care, and food stamps to college tuition and retirement assistance. That’s more than 67.3 million Americans who receive subsidies from Washington. Government dependency jumped 8.1 percent in the past year, with the most assistance going toward housing, health and welfare, and retirement.  The federal government spent more taxpayer dollars than ever before in 2011 to subsidize Americans.  The average individual who relies on Washington could receive benefits valued at $32,748, more than the nation’s average disposable personal income ($32,446).  At the same time, nearly half of the U.S. population (49.5 percent) does not pay any federal income taxes… As of now, 70 percent of the federal government’s budget goes to individual assistance programs, up dramatically in just the past few years.”  Never mind those stats, just listen to the media repeat what the administration wants you to hear: the unemployment rate is 8.3%.This administration has opened a “fudge” shop and uninformed Americans are buying it.

STTPP BEACON – A publication of Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots

November 2011, No. 13

Fragile Democracy by Griff Smith (submitted by Skip Axelson)

   Friedrich Nietzsche hated Christianity because it teaches that God so loved the individual who believed in His Son that the person would live eternally with Him.  The common person became the focus of the cosmos rather than Nietzsche’s “superman” that all humanity was supposed to worship.  Our republican form of government is a reflection of the Christian concept of God’s interest in the welfare of the individual.  The nourishment of our “democracy” and individual freedom totally is dependent upon our moral wisdom, said George Washington.  In his Farewell Address, he stated:

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.  In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens… A            volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity.  Let it simply be asked where is the security for property, for reputation, for life if the sense of religious obligation desert the  oaths, which are the instruments in Courts of Justice?  Whatever may be conceded to the influence of  refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle…

Benjamin Franklin, too, voiced a warning for all American patriots that their constitutional freedom is a delicate crystal that may irremediably shatter: “I believe that this [Constitution] is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in despotism, as other [governments] have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other.”

To preserve the freedom of the individual American citizen, those who love our Constitutional Republic and its blessings to the common people must be moral, vigilant, and wise.  Children of freedom, pastors, politicians: Espouse the religious principles that will keep us free!  Do not flee from security to the fallacy of “separation of Church and state.”  Review—and remember—the First Amendment.  Two philosophies now vie for dominance in our  world—Constitutional freedom or Shari’ah law.  Only one will prevail.  Pastors, teachers, politicians—speak, for the hour is late, and the shimmering blade swiftly descends.

Tea Party to Re-elect Obama?  by Jim Walker

   The Tea Party has no ability to focus.  The only issue that matters is: can the opposition candidates defeat President Obama, and are they willing to work to re-establish a Constitutional Republic.  Many Tea Party members, as well as the Republican Party, are seeking the perfect candidate.  We only had one perfect candidate in either party, and while he did get elected, all he knows how to do is campaign.  The country is failing under his leadership.  Get over the idea that someone who agrees with you on every point, is politically correct in every statement, and who has never made a bad career call, should be elected.  The current list of candidates have been governors, filled other offices, or run businesses.  In other words, they all have made mistakes.  Only a couple have no business being president, but they would be better than the current administration.  Most Tea party/conservative voters say that if they don’t get their perfect candidate they will not vote. This election will all be about turnout; 40+ percent turnout of past presidential elections will return Obama for a second term.  In my opinion, we will send this great nation down the path of all the other failed societies of the past—Egypt, Rome, Great Britain.

   The 2012 election is not about immigration, balancing the budget, healthcare, social security, nor jobs.  It is about whether we will have a country and a society to take on these issues.  Three things must be done in this next  election: restrict Obama to one term; Republicans and Democrats must compromise in the House and Senate; and VOTE.

Voters must keep their eye on the goal; all issues are important and will need to be addressed by the next administration.  Congress should set the agenda which the president must carry out.  But if the next president is faced with a minimum of conservative members in the senate and house, we may not survive anyway.

STTPP BEACON – A Publication of Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots September 2011 No.12   

The Black Regiment: Liberty Defenders

by Deann Nelson (opinion article submitted to P-J)

   Drip!  Drip!  Drip!  Like a leaking faucet, Liberty, that shining principle of freedom under which we assumed we live, increasingly is assaulted and eroded.  Liberty is attacked by the very governmental power that was established in our Constitution to be the servant of “we, the people.”  More sieve-like now, the leaking faucet is hastening the pace of our country’s rush to tyranny: edicts, rules, laws, bureaus, ever-increasing regulations, czars, debt—all stifle the once vibrant principle of Liberty.

Our freedom against tyranny was victorious because of a tiny combat force in hard-won battles.  The fighting colonists were men steeped in the traditions and teachings of Christianity.  A virtuous America would be impossible to attain, they said, if political liberty was destroyed; the fight for civil Liberty became a sacred cause.  As John Adams stated: The Revolution “connected in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.”

Clergy played a vital role by teaching that religion undergirds political thought and resisting tyranny.  Clergymen, called the “black regiment” because of their black robes, helped build popular support for the war against England, and convinced the people that the populace had a sacred duty to start a revolution.  Religion provided the intellectual frame for understanding that the God-given rights of Americans were being trampled upon by the English King and Parliament.  Overthrow of tyrants was being obedient to God, said the clergy.  Innocent people need not wait to be attacked; they had sufficient cause to begin the assault.  “Self-preservation,” said preacher Simeon Howard, “is one of the strongest, and a universal principle of the human mind: And this principle allows of every thing necessary to self-defence, opposing force to force, and violence to violence.”

Congregationalist ministers in particular played a leading role in fomenting resistance, even open rebellion.  Interestingly, it is a Congregational minister today who is key spokesperson for the local Tea Party.  He and his church are to be commended for their activist role in fighting for Liberty.

Colonist prayers appealed to God for divine intervention, truth, and for justice to prevail and flourish.  In 1774, the Reverend Jacob Duché gave the first prayer of the Continental Congress containing phrases such as: “to Thee have they appealed for the righteousness of their cause”; “give them wisdom in Council and valor in the field”; “look down in mercy…on these our American States, who have fled…from the rod of the oppressor.”

Tyranny, in subtle and not so subtle ways, again threatens to enslave us.  Where is our modern-day “black regiment”?  Where are stirring public prayers and sermons calling parishioners to protect our Constitution, to defend Liberty?  Our Republic was conceived from Natural Law—laws already established by our Supreme Creator.  Have we become so politically correct, so apathetic in our behaviors, that we fail to see the danger lurking at our doorstep?  Where are awakening words from the pulpit to pierce our hearts, to arouse us to action.  Liberty is being strangled to death.  Banal prayers of the day won’t suffice.  Comfortable pews and stagnant religion won’t cut it.

John Dickinson, a Pennsylvania lawyer, wrote public letters during 1767-68 exhorting colonists to think beyond their immediate financial interests: “You are assigned by Divine Providence in the appointed order of things, the protection of unborn ages, whose fate depends on your virtue.”  Words written more than 240 years ago remain hugely applicable today!  “Protection of unborn ages.”    Consider the burdens politicians and our government are placing upon future generations.  Consider what impact you, your church, your social clubs can have if you decide: Enough is enough!  Preservation of Liberty is worthy of our most intense efforts.


See more in our BRR Library Page. Includes commentary on the “Separation, Church and State” misnomers, realities, true intent and definition.

and more in our MAIN LIBRARY under various headings and here and here for a better understanding of our Constitution and “The indissoluble bond: the Principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.”

STTPP BEACON – A Publication of Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots

September 2011, No. 11

Liberty! Oh, Liberty! We MUST Not Let You Perish! by Mel McGinnis

      The Rally for Restoring Liberty accentuated the imperative of freedom.  In times like this, as the nation’s economy sputters and reels, Beth Powers of Liberty Bus, a  speaker at the rally, sees the economy not merely slowing down but collapsing.  We see a bad hand dealt the economy in the form of phony stimulus measures and undisciplined spending.  Who is watching the other hand?  Powers is not concerned about the economy.  She is concerned about liberty.  A collapsed economy?  We can survive.  But collapsed liberty?  There’s no way America can survive!  This nation wasn’t built on a great economic foundation, but on an enduring foundation of liberty.  We were conceived, born, and grew in the land of the free, which provided the soil for reaping the bounty from our historic free-market economy.  Not the kind of intervening-managed economy by government politicians and bureaucrats today, intervening here and there, and putting their hands into everything—especially our pockets.  Whittling away at freedom, they apply a choke-hold on the economy.  The hand of government promising an improved economy has another hand which many aren’t seeing—a hand strangling freedom.

As the economy stalls and further declines, the masses will cry out for more help from the government at the expense of our freedom.  More people than ever are on the dole for food stamps.  A plethora of politicians in Washington and Albany will do all they can—in the name of compassion, of course—to use the economic crisis to clamp down on liberty of the very people who make the money but are forced to hand it over for handouts to the crying masses.  Compassion coerced is theft.  True compassion freely gives.  Our enduring liberty is at stake!

Remember when Glen Beck talked about the unrest and riots in the Middle East spreading to Europe.  It’s not stopping on their shores.  It’s about to strike ours.  September 17, US Day of Rage, is scheduled to erupt in our country with Marxists and pseudo-anarchists leading the way.  Will it be a puff of smoke? a fireball?  Ironically, September 17 also is Constitution Day.  They should put their minds to studying that document rather than having their boiling emotions spill onto the streets.

In response to one unfunded state mandate, the legislature unanimously endorsed a measure for the state to pick up the entire $7.5 billion Medicaid tab, especially since the 2% property tax cap the state imposed on counties has hardly a shred of mandate reform. We’ve got to start somewhere in getting this albatross off our backs.

Where Has Individual Freedom Gone In New York? by Jim Walker

Why did New York lose its freedom? Can we get it back?  The  Mercatus Center at George Mason University ranked states on how free they are: New York ranks 50th—least free!  How did this happen?  A slow evolution took place based on the idea that with enough regulation and laws all would be safe and happy.  It may have begun with the legislation that gave state and school employees’ unions significant power in exchange for not striking.  Unions always set out to buy management.  Our Assembly and Senate are management for the public employees’ unions which fund the campaigns of elected officials in return for support for legislation that benefits their membership.  This legislation was always introduced with the  promise, “ It was for everyone’s safety” or, “It’s for the kids,” with lots of paid media advertising.

Some 60 years later we are the highest taxed, most corrupt, least effective of the 50 states.  Governor Cuomo brags that the budget was passed on time, that we have an ethics committee to look at legislators when caught cheating, and that by allowing homosexuals to marry we have bestowed some additional rights to our citizens. This notion requires you to believe that the Government has a box full of rights to bestow on citizens as they see fit.  The truth is that all legislation infringes on someone’s rights while giving privileges to others.

Florida and New York have the same population numbers, yet NY’s budget ($138 billion) is double that of FL ($68 billion).  New York doesn’t have better roads, or better schools, or more efficient services, so what does that other $60 billion buy?  Can New York regain its status as a state of greater freedom? Well, I can only tell you what won’t get us there: It makes  no difference whether the majority is Democrat or Republican.  The Governor cannot do it, career politicians will not do it, with more than 50% of the population receiving welfare, Medicaid, or being a state, county, town, city, or school employee the voters can’t do it.  In addition, the NY Constitution does not permit voters to bypass legislators with a referendum.  No, our individual freedom in NY won’t return.

STTPP BEACON – A Publication of Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots June 2011, No. 10

Who Should Decide Children’s Learning?  by Skip Axelson

   Action is needed by taxpayers, parents of children, and anyone who wants to see improvement in public education.  We can’t continue down the proverbial wrong road.  Costs are out of control, tenure rules keep poor performers employed, graduation rates are poor, and children are kept in poor-performing schools because of politics and union bosses who give votes to politicians.  Proposed changes need to be made at the state level: our founding fathers gave the authority and obligation to educate children to the states, not to the federal government.

First and foremost, this means that the U.S. Department of Education must be eliminated, along with any idea of a national curriculum and national standards.  At the state level, control needs to be returned to local districts; this would result in downsizing the NYS education department by some 75 percent.  Further actions needed include: promote more charter schools, and eliminate binding arbitration and work rules which do not promote excellence in achievement.  All state aid should follow the student.

The decision belongs to parents to take their children out of poor-performing schools.  Options include: charter school; a high-performing school in another district; a private or church school; home schooling.

If these changes had been implemented in the past, parents would have had better control of their children’s education.  Competition is needed between alternative ways in order to raise the achievement level of children.  Clearly, better results are necessary.

What’s Not Working? by Deann Nelson

   To the detriment of children’s achievement, far too many school districts—Chautauqua County included—lurch from one pet fad theory to another with little evidence that the “new” idea will work.  It’s not as if research isn’t available to guide districts—it is—but the question remains: Why does research have so little impact on teaching and achievement?

Statistical effects of evidence from research studies can be converted to a common measure—the “effect size”—allowing quantification, interpretation, and comparison of achievement effects.  An effect size of d=0.5, for example, represents a one-grade leap in achievement; d=1.0 means a two-grade leap.  Few state or federal government policies directly affect teaching and achievement.  What does affect student achievement is active, effective teaching for all students, and implementing strategies with effect sizes greater than d=0.40.  Results  from such teaching demonstrate real-world differences and real-world change.

John Hattie, Professor of Education and Director of the Visible Learning Labs in New Zealand, analyzed and synthesized more than 800 meta-analyses (involving some 236 million students) over a 15-year period.  Results of his ground-breaking work were published in Visible Learning (2009).  Most teachers average effect sizes only between d=0.20 and d=0.40.  Speaking personally, Hattie said: “It is any teacher who does not achieve an average of d > [greater than] 0.40 per year that I do not want my children to experience.”

Why do most teachers achieve at such low levels?  A major factor is negligible outcomes (d=0.11) from weak teacher training programs.  Arthur Levine described teacher education as “the Dodge City of the education world.”: no identified standard approaches for where and how teachers should be prepared.  Moreover, teachers are not taught to use evidence-based practices—common practice for medicine and agriculture—which address the question: Which are the most productive strategies to adopt?

Here are a few of the myriad fads pushed by educators over the years, and their resulting low effect sizes on achievement: 1) Reducing class size from 25 to 15 (d=0.10-0.20): Billions of dollars spent on reducing the number of children per classroom, while other interventions proved much more powerful.  2) Whole language reading instruction (d=0.06): A disaster for children; missing from WL is phonics instruction which causes children to learn to read.  3) Multi-grade/age classes (d=0.04): effects are close to zero; teachers do not capitalize on multi-grade or multi-age classrooms to promote learning, nor do they group students into more homogeneous classes.  4) Retention (d = -0.16): Unequivocal negative evidence; the second greatest predictor of school drop-out.  A future Beacon issue will address high effect sizes for teachers as key agents and activators.

STTPP BEACON – A Publication of Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots May 2011, No. 9


    State politicians insist on tampering with marriage yet again.  And their legislative “contributions” to marriage?  They ranged from prohibiting interracial marriage to implementing no-fault divorce.  One city politician justifies the radical redefinition because the world is changing.  What?!  For something as shallow as the “world is changing,” people and politicians still buy into it.  The last thing our saturated-with-moral-relativism-nation needs is a)  politicians determining the definition of marriage from a flimsy standard based on their personal preference, or b) an authoritarian decision from politically correct courts.  Personal preferences and political-correctness—is this the best we can do for standards?

    Some trot out the “equal protection” clause in the Constitution to justify the change in definition.  The Constitution says nothing about marriage.  It is a matter left to the states and the people (see 10th Amendment).  Besides, English common law and natural law predate the Constitution, and absolutely nothing in them justifies such unnatural and truth-attacking changes.

The truth is: all people are image bearers of God and have the unalienable right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness endowed to them by Him.  The Creator who gives us our rights also reveals what marriage is: a covenantal union between a man and woman in mutual fidelity.  The well-being of society and children depend on it.  Any deviation from that standard has harmful consequences.  Why even entertain the notion of adding another deviation?  What’s more, deviation from the God-given definition of marriage undercuts the entire basis for unalienable rights.

In view of such an extreme idea, the advocates for any deviation need to answer these questions:

ñ  How is the image of God reflected through sexual unions He prohibits?

ñ  What do the advocates for deviation have in place to prevent further deviations by those who want marriage to include their relationships?

ñ  What society, rooted in the approval of deviant unions in any form, has advanced unalienable rights for the larger social order?

ñ  Are unalienable rights being questioned or redefined?

ñ  If so, what is the new basis for this deviation?

ñ  What are the consequences?

If these questions cannot be answered with moral clarity and historical precedence, a legitimate argument for marital deviation won’t be satisfactorily advanced.


     The issue of marriage surfaced once again in our state legislature; the matter must be addressed by the TEA       Party.  Many read “The 5000 Year Leap,” or attended the course by TARA (True Americans Restoring America).       Since we are a liberty group, we have a duty to uphold every freedom-affirming principle.  Principle #1: “The only reliable basis for sound government and just human relations is freedom on all fronts.”  Effort to change the definition of marriage by Gov. Cuomo and the legislature undermines the very foundation of government—natural law.  Nothing in natural law even hints at changing the definition to include arrangements other than one man for one women in mutual fidelity.

     Principle #26: “The core unit which determines the strength of any society is the family.  Therefore, government must protect and facilitate its integrity.”  State politicians intrusion to change the definition of  marriage attacks the principle of government’s duty: protect the family. These two principles alone provide the basis for the necessary advocacy and defense of preserving the definition of marriage as articulated through the Bible, English Common Law, and natural law upon which our nation’s and state’s founding documents are rooted. The motion passed at the last general meeting on April 24 was necessary, appropriate, and served the aims of the TEA Party.

STTPP BEACON – A Publication of Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots March 2011, No. 8

Union Reform Lo-o-o-ng Overdue by Mel McGinnis

Besides his party’s support of universal healthcare, expanded animal welfare laws, advocacy of healthy organic foods and vegetarianism, a minimum wage, progressive income tax, and gun control, a politician said, “As things stand today … unions in my opinion cannot be dispensed with.  On the contrary, they are among the most important institutions of the nation’s economic life.  Their significance lies not only in the social and political field, but even more in the general field of national politics.  A people… through a sound trade-union movement, obtain the satisfaction of their living requirements and at the same time, an education, will be tremendously strengthened in its power of resistance in the struggle for existence.  Above all …unions are necessary as foundation stones of the future economic parliament or chambers of estates.”  Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, or Barack Obama didn’t say it.  Adolf Hitler did in his infamous book Mein Kampf.

I scratch my head over signs in Wisconsin saying, “Hitler banned unions.”  Yes, he did, but he only did so in order to make the unions conform to big government.  Government unions in America kiss up to socialistic government. It’s no surprise to see revolutionary socialists linking arms with Wisconsin’s government unions occupying the state capital and leaving a bill to taxpayers for the mess they made.

The contribution private unions in the U.S. have made to the overall improvement of work conditions and compensation cannot be overlooked and underappreciated.  However, I resent having my taxes which pay, in part, the salaries of government employees, being used for union dues to advance an agenda I oppose.  Their pay, perks, pensions and privileges exceed on average those of us in the private sector.  We, the taxpayers, can no longer afford the extra cushion they have in their total compensation. Government unions, though, lock into big government candidates in order to keep the money flowing into union coffers and the government stocked to the hilt with union employees.  Union dues are, in turn, doled out in large campaign contributions to their favorite candidates.  So, where do our taxes, in part, eventually go?  To politicians and their campaigns.

“All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service,” said the hero of leftist New Deal politics, Franklin Roosevelt.  It’s long overdue: eliminate or, at least, curtail collective bargaining in the government sector.

Reverse the Levy by Jan Gernatt

I was irate December 30 when I paid taxes on four parcels of land.  A new enforcement fee of $150 per parcel now was in place.  To avoid delinquent fees, I was informed that all taxes must have been paid by December 10, 2010.  Even though I never received a letter informing of the updated fee schedule, the county worker was unsympathetic.  I must pay or be evicted.

I learned that the fee was added by county legislators.  I asked where the money goes for the enforcement fee.  I received no answer.  I paid $336 in taxes; with late charges, I still owe more than $600.

We the people have the right to know for what we are being taxed, and how the money is spent.  We have the right to say no!  We must stand up and fight!  Take our heads out of the sand!  Enough is enough!  Let’s get together and see what we can do to reverse this unfair TAX.  The more people who say no, the more likely we will be heard.  Property owners need to work to change this.  After all, we are the only ones paying, so our voices should be heard.  Those who aren’t paying shouldn’t have a voice.

Please contact Jan Gernatt: (716)753-7406 after 6 PM, or send your thoughts to 7064 Elm Flat Road, Mayville, NY 14757.

STTPP BEACON – A Publication of Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots

January 2011, No. 7

Wrong Target in Media’s Gunscope by Mel McGinnis

I extend my condolences and sympathies to those in Arizona who have been victimized by the murderous evil. I pray and hope that those who survived the deadly ordeal will continue to move ahead on the road to recovery. I commend those who heroically attended to the wounded and put their lives at risk for the sake of others.

I appreciate how our local media outlets have covered this heart–wrenching episode, but the same can’t be said for some national figures and outlets.  It is disturbing and repugnant to observe some personalities in the national media, like those in the New York Times, exploit this atrocity for the purpose of scoring political points and casting baseless aspersions on a legitimate group of citizens in the TEA Party and other well-known figures in politics and talk radio. While some politicians and pundits want to pin the blame on “rhetoric” in America, they fail to appropriately place the blame and responsibility on what was in the sick and sinful mind of the demented murderer, who showed no regard for God and the sanctity of human life. A substance abuser, heavy metal punker, displaying bizarre behavior frightening to professors and fellow students alike, a dabbler in the occult, psychopathic loner, despiser of God, hater of the American flag, and an admirer of the Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf hardly fits the profile of a member and friend of the TEA Party.

While there will be those seeking to exploit this even further by trying to advance an agenda to shut down voices that they don’t want to hear and chip away at the rights of citizens, the TEA Party will be on the vanguard of promoting legitimate, healthy, and peaceable measures to protect and preserve our God–given freedom.

Smart Savings, Not Harmful Cuts Needed in Education:

Proactive Government Action, Decreased School Budgets, Decreased School Taxes 

September and “sticker shock” are linked: school tax bill time.  Egregious?  Yes!  Predictable? Yes!  Yearly increase in taxes accompanied by sub-par performance of NY students, especially on international tests, and with New York on the brink of bankruptcy—something’s got to give.  Governor Cuomo threw down the gauntlet: “It’s not going to change if the conversation is the same conversation that happened in the Capitol in Albany for the past 10 years.  You have to speak up.  You have to rise up.  Democracy only works when you make it work.”  TEA Partiers did it before; we can do it again!  But policymakers also must get rid of harmful state policies by adopting proactive ones.  Speak up by sending copies of this Beacon edition to those listed at the end.    

Thomas Fordham Institute issued the following policy brief for state policymakers (January 2011): “Stretching the School Dollar.”  Authors Petrilli and Roza, stated: “For state policymakers, the charge is not only to implement the kinds of policy changes listed [below], but also to serve as leaders in the dialogue to pave a more productive path for public education.”:

1.      End “last hired, first fired” practices: Make layoff decisions based on individual effectiveness, not always laying off newest teachers.  Currently, there is one adult for every 8 students, and one teacher for every 14 pupils.  Terminate the least effective instructors/staff first regardless of number of years on payroll.  Eliminate unneeded or ineffective aides:aides don’t add value in terms of student achievement.  Or, use aides to “cover” classrooms where students are learning online.

2.      Remove class-size mandates: Districts need to experiment with targeted, outside-the-box approaches.

3.      Eliminate mandatory salary schedules:  Redesign teacher compensation with top-to-bottom makeover. Align teacher compensation with greater productivity and increased student achievement.  Instructional effectiveness and workload should be the focus.  De-escalate salaries:automatic “step increases” for spending another year in the classroom or obtaining more academic credits are not necessary in retaining staff.  Freeze pay.  Require “give-backs.”  Roll back the schedule by a few years.  Cap or phase out the master’s-degree bump and portions of longevity pay.

4.      Eliminate state mandates regarding work rules and terms of employment: Expand the work year for instructors (longer hours or new duties) as an alternative to reducing teacher pay.  Redesign sick leave and stop spending on substitutes.  Create incentives for teachers to use fewer sick days.  Eliminate “buying back” unused sick leave or vacation time when employees retire.  Assign non-teaching staff to serve as substitutes 5-10 days per year.  Districts must consider cost-efficient alternatives.

5.      Remove “seat time” requirements: Move to a competency-based approach where students move on when they have demonstrated mastery of standards.  Curtail mandated student-teacher ratios.  Utilize technology and community resources: use “hybrid” school models where students spend part of day learning online.  Differentiate instruction by dividing class into half online, half customized instruction.  Offer electives (e.g., photography) through recreation centers or community colleges, not high schools.

6.      Merge categorical programs and ease onerous reporting requirements: Policymakers identify outdated reporting requirements that can be streamlined, automated, or cut that add little value.  Use block grants to combine categorical programs.

7.      Create a rigorous teacher-evaluation system: Need a defensible method for differentiating among individual instructors.  Checkout Colorado and Tennessee.  Redefine tenure so ineffective teachers can be removed from classrooms.  New statewide approach to teacher tenure is needed.

8.      Pool health-care benefits: Require greater employee contributions to premiums and co-pays.  Consider a statewide health-insurance plan for educators, or implement strategies that rein in growth in k-12 health-care spending by adopting less-costly plans.

9.      Tackle the fiscal viability of teacher pensions: In determining trade-offs for stakeholders, accurately project liabilities.  Increase employee contributions to their pension plans.  Allow employees who leave early to take their pension benefits with them.

10.  Move toward weighted student funding: Simplify the state’s funding system.  Eliminate formulae which provide extra funding to small districts with declining enrollments.  Per-pupil amounts of funding are provided to local school districts and individual schools (e.g., charter schools): greater funding follows students with greater challenges.  Create financial incentives for consolidation, sharing services, and sharing superintendents.

11.  Eliminate excess spending on small schools and small districts: Use of digital technology for specialized courses, shared back office services, or merge.  Chautauqua County has several small districts that could merge.

12.  Allocate spending for learning-disabled students as a percent of population and manage special-education expenses better: Currently districts receive extra funds for each LD/special education student identified but not for early intervention.  Districts have no incentive for adopting reforms such as more powerful reading programs and other preventative measures.  Need a clearer focus on cost-effectiveness.

13.  Limit the length of time that students can be identified as English Language Learners: fund ELL only for a limited period.

14.  Offer waivers of non-productive state requirements: Districts should be encouraged to apply for waivers from state requirements.

15.  Create bankruptcy-like loan provisions: States declare bankruptcy in order to renegotiate collective bargaining agreements, vendor contracts, etc.

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo                 Assemblyman Andrew Goodell                        Merryl Tisch,

Governor of New York State                             Hotel Jamestown Bldg, Rm 809                       Chancellor, Bd of Regents

NYS Capitol Building                                         Jamestown, NY 14701                                       9 East 79th Street

Albany, NY 12224                                                                                                                              New York, NY 10075

                                                                                Sheldon Silver, Speaker,  Assembly

Lt. Governor Robert J. Duffy                            250 Broadway, Suite 2307                                               David Steiner, Com of Ed

State Capitol Building                                        New York, NY 10007                                          NYS Education Department

Albany, NY 12224                                                                                                                              Albany, NY 12234

                                                                                Dean Skelos, Senate Majority Leader           

Senator Catharine Young                                  55 Front Street                                                     Ron Canestrari, Assembly

700 W. State St.,                                                  Rockville Centre, NY 11570                                             Majority Leader

Olean, NY 14760                                                                                                                                 LOB 926                                              & nbsp;   Albany NY 12248

STTPP BEACON – A Publication of Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots

December 2010, No. 6


Heritage foundation reported (11/12/10), “Obamacare’s unfunded mandates are a fiscal time bomb set to explode state balance sheets across the country starting in 2014.  States can prepare for the worst by slashing discretionary spending where possible and lowering existing health care costs by repealing their own burdensome health benefit mandates.  But the only real solution is full repeal of Obamacare.”

Unfunded mandates provide no money, or inadequate funds, to state or local governments for performing certain actions.  Federal unfunded mandates are one-size-fits-all—whether they’re for diverse localities such as New York City or North Dakota—resulting in huge, unmanageable expenses.  Mandates most costly are: Americans with Disabilities Act, Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, and Fair Labor Standards Act.  They take control away from local governments, create stress, increase taxes, and reduce the ability of locals to create their own beneficial programs.  Federal unfunded mandates cost school districts an additional $2-$3million.

No Child Left Behind is an example of a “de facto mandate,” however.  The federal government did not mandate implementation of the law; states were free to opt out and run their own programs.  Brian Riedl, The Heritage Foundation, said that states enroll because the “deals are too good to pass up.”  Money that once had no strings attached (1965, states volunteered to implement the federal model for educating disadvantaged children) now has required federal goals (2001, No Child Left Behind).  No more free lunch.

Required mandates for school districts are adopted by the Governor, NYS Legislature, Board of Regents, and/or the Federal Government.  Each mandate requires administrative, clerical, and financial resources.  These commonly are perceived to be unfunded mandates: Megan’s Law, Fingerprinting of Potential Employees, Automatic External Defibrillators, Learning Standards, Character Education.  The list, unfortunately, adds nearly 70 additional unfunded mandates: from Annual Program Report to Wicks Law (Multiple Contractors for Building Projects)–with Comprehensive District Education Plan, Breast & Prostrate Cancer Screening (Employees’ 4 hours time off from work), and Required Student Body Mass Indexes falling in between.

The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA), 1995,   was enacted to keep congress from imposing unfunded mandates on state, local, tribal governments, and the private sector.  Any bill expected to cost states or local governments more than $50 million ($100 million for private sector), must be analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office.  If the mandate will cost $100 million for lower levels of government, Congress must show the funding source.

The least fair and largest pre-UMRA unfunded mandate is Medicaid.  Washington half-funds this program, but Riedl reported that 60 percent of Medicaid spending is for treatments and populations that states—NY included—voluntarily added to their own Medicaid programs.

The General Accounting Office stated: “There are multiple ways that both statutes and final rules perceive[d] as ‘unfunded mandates’ can be enacted or published without being identified as federal mandates with costs or expenditures at or above the thresholds established in UMRA…The findings raise the question of whether UMRA’s procedures, definitions and exclusions adequately capture and subject to scrutiny federal statutory and regulatory actions that might impose significant financial burdens on affected nonfederal parties.”

Stealth, hidden laws, irresponsible legislators—resulting in an enormous unfunded mandate tax burden.  Cato Institute says that only about 35 cents of every dollar spent on some programs actually gets to the intended sources because of layers of bureaucracy and inexcusable waste.  Neither cost estimates before enacting unfunded mandates, nor prohibiting Congress from enacting them is the answer, however.

Return to American federalism.  Remember article 2, section 8 of the 10th Amendment—“powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution…are reserved to the States…or to the people”?  Billions of dollars of unfunded mandates passed by Congress is a symptom of the “near-terminal state of American federalism,” says the Cato Institute.  As a start, Cato proposes (a) passing a constitutional amendment that prohibits the federal government from imposing any mandates (funded or unfunded) on state and local governments, and (b) repeal specific mandates.  Shift to a decentralized system of government.  Return to a strictly limited central government, the form our Founding Fathers conceived in the Constitution.

STTPP BEACON – A Publication of Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots

November 2010, No. 5


Steve DeJoseph recently resigned his position as a member of Southwestern’s board of education.  Frustration, feeling hamstrung, and disinterest by his board colleagues were his stated reasons.  DeJoseph said there are too many school districts in Chautauqua County.  As a possible solution, he proposed one “mega campus” for the entire county.  Does his proposal have any merit?

What at first blush may sound like a good idea, may not stand up under research scrutiny.  A study performed in 2001 by Duncombe and Yinger, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, found that consolidation does have merit—but under specific conditions.  Small, rural school districts can save money by consolidating: two 300-pupil districts can cut costs by over 20 percent; two 900-pupil districts can save 7 to 9 percent.

Possible consolidations, with projected total enrollments, are: (a) Clymer-Panama-Sherman (slightly less than 1700 students) would save the most; (b) Ripley-Westfield (approximately 1250); and (c )Fredonia-Brocton (2500).

Yes, a mega county district would have just one superintendent, but transportation costs would increase, as would teacher salaries.  Salaries are leveled to those of the highest-paying district in the county.

Would academic achievement be improved?  Bigger is not necessarily better.  Large, dysfunctional high schools are breaking up into small schools-within-a-school to better serve students.  Anonymity is a problem in large schools.  Students perform better, leading to higher graduation rates, when teachers in small schools know their students personally.

Use of liberal, progressive curricula, especially when accompanied by weak instruction, is another problem.  Nearly 40 percent of grade 3 children failed the state English Language Arts test at DeJoseph’s own school.  Slightly more than one-third of all Southwestern children in grades 3-8 failed the ELA, with 30 percent in grades 3-8 failing math.

Or, consider Jamestown where 47 percent in grade 3 failed the ELA, rising to 64 percent by grade 8!  Will  children  perform any better at a mega school?  Hardly!Consider Jamestown’s own mega high school.

Yet the need for excellence in math and science achievement has never been more important than the present for developing scientists and engineers.  Only 6.3 percent of NY students scored at the advanced level in math on international testing.  Twenty-nine countries outperformed our state. The researchers stated: “[T]he percentages of high-achieving students…in most [U.S.] individual states are shockingly below those of many of the world’s leading industrialized nations.  Results for many states are at a level equal to those of developing countries.”  Better instruction is crucial for our state and country!


We all need to be aware that history taught in college, elementary, and high school is the same—if it is taught at all.  Unfortunately, it is far from correct. We read that America is a democracy.  Not true.  The United States is a republic!  There is a huge difference between the two.  In a democracy, majority rules, with no protection for the minority.  A republic, however, offers protection for the minority, when it is run correctly.  Benjamin Franklin said, “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.”

A 5th grade McGraw-Hill history book contains the words “representative democracy” several times.  The text also states that our founding fathers wanted a strong central (federal) Government.  Our country was founded on the concept of small central government, with more power given to the states, and the most power given to citizens.  Misinforming children is another way of sending ignorant citizens out to vote when they become adults.  Will they know that freedom is being taken from them?

Misinformation and lies in our education system are part of a bigger plan to create U.S. citizens into becoming ignorant and compliant.  If we do not know our history, our rights, and our constitution, how will we know what is being taken from us?  Our country’s future depends on all of us getting smarter about our republic system of government.

Help stop the dumbing-down of our future teachers and students!

STTPP BEACON – A Publication of Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots

October 2010, No. 4


John Whitehead, constitutional attorney, author, and president of The Rutherford Institute, offers seven principles that form the basis for our freedoms, and which fortify our American system of government.  Americans are “clueless” about their rights, he says, because they are so easily distracted.  He  laments that U.S. schools no longer teach fundamentals of the Constitution or the Bill of Rights.  There is too much trust in politicians, and lack of knowledge about basics of government, Whitehead says, which results in “sliding ever closer toward authoritarianism.”  If citizens lack knowledge of how government functions, how can they hold government accountable?  Will they know when government has overstepped its bounds?

Free government sets forth the following principles: (1) Power corrupts: Thomas Jefferson admonished: “Let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.  (2) Governments exist primarily to secure rights: the purpose of constitutionalism is to limit the power of government, and to preserve and protect our rights.  (3) Rule of law: no one, including those who write the laws, is above the law.  (4) Separations of powers: three branches (legislative, executive, and judicial) are necessary because those in power tend to abuse it.  (5) Checks and balances: divides Congress into two houses; limited veto power granted to the president; a judiciary which reviews legislation in light of the Constitution.  (6) Representation: the people have a voice through their elected representatives to do their bidding.   (7) Federalism: government broken down into federal, state, and local branches, and further into counties, town, or cities.

In its document, Solutions for America, the Heritage Foundation writes that federalism must be revived.  The federal government has grabbed traditional roles previously assumed by the states in the areas of transportation, education, health, homeland security, and law enforcement.             Whitehead mourned: “While Americans wander about oblivious in their brainwashed states, their ‘government of the people, by the people and for the people’ is being taken away from them.”


Political analysts and newscasters say this election is dirty, mean, and off message.  Keeping off-issue worked well in the last presidential election; Obama promised change, but no one bothered to ask what changes.

NY is electing senators and representatives who claim their greatest accomplishment was the Health Care bill, yet not one mentions it in campaigning.  The largest tax increase in history will occur in January, via health care reform or failing to extend the Bush tax cuts. Families will lose an additional 15% income to the federal government. Question: Why does Obamacare have a specific clause prohibiting states from modifying Medicaid programs until 2014, causing $20 billion to NY property owners?  The national election is about who can fix broken economic policies in Washington.

There is only one issue in the NY Governor’s race: who will stop the economic train wreck?  Andrew Cuomo can’t reform Albany without permission from Sheldon Silver.  Carl Paladino?  Cuomo keeps telling us how crazy Paladino is because Cuomo has no intention of returning power to voters and taxpayers.

In New York the issue is simple: can New York businesses and taxpayers survive four more years of Sheldon Silver and his compliant Assembly, draining our resources and treasury.

Vote!  Look past slick media ads, and discern what candidates will do if elected.  Citizens will pay heavily if choices are business-as-usual: loss of homes; excessively high property taxes, which will exceed ability to pay; and loss of livelihood as more and more businesses leave NY.

STTPP BEACON – A Publication of Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots

October 2010, No. 3


Remember the biblical account of Esau, who sold his birthright for a pot of lentil stew?  Same story concerning the NY Board of Regents and education commissioner Steiner: sold out our state educational system for a pot of federal money.

   How so?  It started with the Common Core State Standards Initiative of the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, saying: “Today, we have different standards in every state and we need a common core of state standards to ensure all students, no matter where they live, are prepared for success in college and work.”

Remember the “stimulus bill”?  In order to get money through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, states agreed – sight unseen – to adopt common standards and assessments.  Obama also pressured states: “You want Title I money?  Gotta sign on to Common Core.”  Fifteen states said no thank you.  Unfortunately, NY, deep in deficit spending, was not in the pack of 15 who honored their state constitutions.

What about our NY state constitution?  Article 11, section 1 states: “The legislature shall provide for the maintenance and support of a system of free common schools, wherein all the children of this state may be educated.”  Education is our state’s responsibility, not the federal government’s.

Where next?  You got it, Obama is pushing national standards and testing.  Will they make our country more competitive?  Heritage Foundation says no way.  Moreover, “National standards and assessments would provide an infrastructure and yield information that lines up neatly for federal interventions.”  Hello, Socialism!!!

Heritage identified two factors that vie against improving student educational outcomes: (1) teachers union power, and (2) funding incentives.  Will national standards and tests alter these factors?  Are you kidding?!  Dumbed down curricula, that’s what we’ll see.  Federal school support, more Obama “spreading the wealth,” that’s what we’ll see.  Parents without power.  End of local control.  As former Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare Joseph Califano admonished, “In its most extreme form, national control of curriculum is a form of national control of ideas.”  How could you, Board of Regents?!

1st AMENDMENT ATTACK  by Robert Gaus

We are celebrating “Banned Books Week” again, where real forbidden works – books and images actually censored – are not mentioned.  They cannot be purchased, or seen on other media.

Yale University Press published “The Cartoons That Shook The World,” only after excising the cartoons and other historical illustrations of Mohammed.  Almost all American publications have yet to publish the famous cartoons, despite covering the story of the Danish cartoons.

Writers of Comedy Central’s “South Park,” who received a death threat in response to an episode concerning non-portrayal of Mohammed, were censored by the network.  They now cannot mention the name “Mohammed,” nor show his image (even in a bear suit.)

Seattle artist, Molly Norris, drew a very banal Mohammed cartoon to show her support for the “South Park” creators.  She quickly withdrew from the “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” campaign when it attracted national attention, plus the attention of  Anwar al-Awlaki, American born Muslim cleric based in Yemen.  He called for her death.  She left her job with an alternative weekly, and assumed a new identity.

As we pat each other on the back for being so broad minded, Ms. Norris is driven into what amounts to a witness protection, away from family, friends, and livelihood.  She took the 1st Amendment at face value, and misjudged our devotion to defending free speech, particularly when it involves Islam.  While underground, I hope Ms. Molly does not get a yen to see Uncle Remus sing “Zip a Dee Doo Dah.”  It also was censored.

STTPP BEACON A Publication of Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots

September 2010


Those who attended STTPP’s August 31st rally  heard a Republican candidate for governor who made sense, who seemed genuine, and who connected with his audience.  After living through years of dysfunctional NYS government with its let’s-see-what-else-we-can-tax attitude, Carl Paladino’s  commonsense approach to how he plans to govern was a breath of fresh air.

And–wow!–leaving Lazio in the dust by winning the primary with 63 percent of the vote certainly was a bellwether of a knockout!  Why does Paladino resonate with the people?  His platform of less government, on-time budgets, less regulations, create jobs, and–yeah!–lower taxes puts him smack in the pack with what many New Yorkers want.  He will need our help, though, to overcome the Democratic machine.  He wants to take a bat to Albany; his supporters–tea partiers, common folk–will be the force driving the bat.  Call your friends and neighbors and ask them to vote for Carl Paladino for governor.  We must change what is happening in Albany!


Remember when Obama was stumping the country spouting “hope and change you can believe in”?  Left out of his rhetoric were specifics he already was planning for we, the people. Left unsaid was his later-revealed  embarrassment, even dislike, for our country.  Missing from his speeches was his plan for scrapping the Constitution and erecting a socialist dictatorship controlled by multiple czars.  Who knew that his schemes for taking over major companies, expanding the power of the federal government, and ramming through a “health care” plan, with new Medicaid costs for states, was going to bankrupt states and the country?  He was oh so silent on the specifics.

The Center for Health Policy Studies (CHPS) published “Obamacare: Impact on States” (July 1, 2010).  They reported that the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) updated national health spending projections as a result of Obamacare.  Are you ready for this?  NY already spends $50 billion on Medicaid.  It represents 25 percent of Chautauqua County’s budget.  NY currently has 5,612,639 enrolled in Medicaid.  By 2014, that number will rise to 6,584,445, an increase of 17.3 percent. Hello, tax increase!  Medicaid costs for every state will increase from a low of 8.7 percent in Massachusetts to a high of 65.6 percent in Nevada.  Administrative expenses will add another 5.5 percent federal and state benefits costs.  States will pay 45 percent of administrative costs.

Plus, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate, Medicaid reimbursements to NY primary care physicians, called the “Doc Fix,” will be increased from $250 million to a whopping $455 million, the highest increase for any state!

When state Health Insurance Exchanges are required by 2014, CHPS stated: “The exchanges are also empowered to enroll anyone in Medicaid they determine eligible for the program, with states forced to share the resulting costs….”  Ominously, labeled Maintenance of Effort, states cannot make eligibility requirements more restrictive or they will lose all federal funding. Nor can they perform their own eligibility determinations, or even verify the accuracy of determinations made by the exchanges.    Taxpayers are being set up to take a massive hit!


“States are not mere agents of federal authority,” said the Center for Health Policy Studies.  “There is absolutely nothing that requires them to assist in implementing this misguided legislation.  [T]hey should…assert their rightful authority, resist, within the confines of the law and the Constitution, any inappropriate or unconstitutional exercise of Washington’s power and aggressively advance their own, better solutions.  They have a duty to represent their citizens.”

STTPP BEACON – Newsletter- now online

August 18, 2010

A Publication of Southern Tier TEA Party PatriotsAugust 2010

LIBERTY, freedom from despotic government, is front and central for TEA Party members with Obama’s plan to turn our country into a European-style socialist country, Obamacare legislation, lack of coherent immigration policy, out-of-control deficit spending, take-over of industry, miserable education system, weak response to Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and desecration of the U.S. Constitution, to name but a few.

The earliest symbol for “freedom” or “liberty,” now used by Liberty Fund, was taken from a clay document written about 2300 B.C. in Lagash, a city-state in Sumeria, now Iraq.

Even before the birth of Washington and Jefferson, two English libertarian writers–Trenchard and Gordon–wrote 144 newspaper articles in which they condemned tyranny and promoted natural rights and liberty.  They wrote under the title, “Cato’s Letters,” a name taken from Cato the Younger (95-46 B.C.), a Roman who was known for his stubbornness, tenacity, and moral integrity.

Cato’s Letters were reprinted widely in the American colonies; their influence was on a massive scale.  “Cato’s” denunciation of tyranny found a receptive populace among Americans. In fact, the American Revolution, radical and revolutionary, had its roots in libertarian ideology coming out of England!  Historian Clinton Rossiter said that Cato’s Letters “was the most popular, quotable, esteemed source of political ideas in the colonial period.”

Some letters present a striking parallel to present-day politics.  Can “Cato” re-inspire us to throw off this yoke of tyranny, progressivism, and dysfunctional, corrupt congress?

No. 2 “For if any crimes against the publick may be committed with impunity, men will be tempted to commit the greatest of all; that of making themselves masters of the state; and where liberty ends in servitude, it is owing to this neglect.”

“The resurrection of honesty and industry can never be hoped for, while this sort of vermin is suffered to crawl about, tainting our air, and putting every thing out of course; subsisting by lies and practising vile tricks, low in their nature, and mischievous in their consequences.”

STTPP: Obama-Pelosi-Reid?

No. 4  [N]ational credit can never be supported by lending money without security, or drawing in other people to do so…to be devoured by pick-pockets and stock-jobbers; a sort of vermin that are bred and nourished in the corruption of the state.”

“This is a method, which, instead of preserving publick credit, destroys all property; turns the stock and wealth of a nation out of its proper channels.”

STTP:  Subprime mortgages?

“If our money be gone, thank God, our eyes are left: Sharpened by experience and adversities we can see through disguises and will be no more amused with moon-shine.”

STTPP: Disguises?  Golly, sounds like Obama.

“But what we can have of them, let us have, their necks and their money…To begin with any other project, they will take for a confession, that there is a design to save them…but a method of justice presently entered upon, and impartially carried through, will give us patience under our burdens, banish all our fears, give credit to the public proceedings, and restore hope to the almost despairing people.”

STTPP: Project: Clean house in November!!!

Did You Know?

Lou Pritchett, Author, highly-rated National Speaker, and former 36 year VP of Procter & Gamble, wrote an open letter to President Obama: “You are the thirteenth President under whom I have lived and unlike any of the others, you truly scare me…Finally, you scare me because if you serve a second term I will probably not feel safe in writing a similar letter in 8 years.”

To read in full: or

Upcoming Events

Aug. 21  Picnic at Weeden Park, Randolph

Aug. 28  Restoring Honor Bus Trip to Washington, D.C.  3-Buses (filled)

Aug. 31 STTPP rally, Gov. CandidateCarl Paladino keynote speaker.  Frewsburg NY FireHall 7:00-9:00pm

Sept. 12    912March on DC Bus trip. Still taking reservations

Oct. 15  Liberty Bus………….TBA