Work to Stop Common Core at the Iowa Caucus

iowa_caucus_400_267The Iowa Caucus is fast approaching and while this is a non-Presidential election year it is vital that you attend the 2014 Iowa Caucus.  This is the first step in adding Stop Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards language to your party’s platform.  The Iowa Caucus will be held this year on Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 7:00p (be sure to come early).

If you don’t know where your precinct caucus is located, please call your County Auditor’s office, in your phone book and look under 1.) Your local county seat 2.) Your county name 3.) Auditor. Or visit the Secretary of State website at www.sos.state.ia.us.

You can also find Caucus locations by visiting http://www.iowagop.org/2014-caucus-page/ if you are a Republican or http://thecaucuses.org/ if you are a Democrat.

You can download a copy of the Caucus guide and planks here.

Caucus Proceedings Outline

It is possible that some items may be done in a slightly different order, depending on the caucus chairman.

  1. Sign In: Caucus participates are asked to sign in upon entering. If you are not enrolled in a party, you may be asked to indicate it as your party preference and asked to fill out a voter registration form.
  2. Call to Order. The caucus is called to order at 7:00pm by a Temporary Chairman.
  3. Elect Chairman and Secretary: The first order of business is to elect a Permanent Chairman and a Secretary who will run the proceedings from that point until adjournment.
  4. Nomination Papers: At this point the Chairman may circulate nomination papers for candidates running for federal, state and local offices.
  5. Elect Precinct Committee People: The Chairman will read a description of the duties of these individuals and they will be elected.
  6. Elect County Convention Delegates and Alternates: The Chairman will give an explanation of how many will be elected, the date of the County Convention, etc. If you want to run as a delegate, either have someone nominate you or you can nominate yourself by saying, “I nominate (your name) for County Convention delegate.” It is perfectly proper to ask anyone running where they stand on the Common Core State Standards and local control in education.
  7. Discussion of Platform Resolutions/Planks: (See Stop Common Core planks below) Resolutions/Planks passed by the caucus are forwarded on to the County Convention and may become a part of the state party platform.
  8. Other Business: The Chairman will now ask if there is any other business to come before the caucus.
  9. Adjourn: When there is no other business, the caucus will adjourn. Please stay until the end. Please have the below Stop Common Core planks with you at the caucus January 21 to submit to the Caucus Chairman when the discussion for party platform resolutions (see #7 above) are to be discussed and voted on. When they begin to discuss the platform, just raise your hand to be recognized and say: “I propose the following Stop Common Core planks.”

Planks to Stop the Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards in Iowa (explanation is italicized):

1. The Executive Branch should break the Memorandum of Understanding signed by Governors Culver and Branstad that required Iowa to accommodate Common Core Standards and states that Iowa would change laws in order to comply with non-specified data requirements yet to be established.

Iowa is part of the Smarter Balanced Consortium (SBAC), and according to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) p. 3 section (b) notes that states will implement a plan to address State law, statutes and regulation in order to comply with agreement.  You can read the MOU here – http://iowansforlocalcontrol.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Iowa-SBAC-MOU.pdf

2a. The Iowa Legislature should pass law(s) prohibiting the collection of intrusive non-academic data collection to protect students and parents from a growingly intrusive reach into sensitive and personal information.  (Any non-academic information necessary for participation in an assistance program can be voluntarily submitted upon application by parents.)

2b. The Iowa Legislature should pass law(s) prohibiting the transfer, selling, or sharing of student level academic data with the federal government or any 3rd party outside the state’s department of education.

The goal is to restrict private and sensitive data being used or sold outside local schools and state department of education.

3. The Iowa Legislature and/or the Iowa Executive Branch should opt out of Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium immediately.

According to the MOU Iowa can’t just pull out, we have to request permission to withdraw and it could be denied further exemplifying the concern over loss of local and state control to federal agencies and non-governmental agencies. (See SBAC MOU pg. 12 & 13, exit from consortium instructions)

4. The Iowa Legislature should fully reject nationalized, top-down Next Generation Science Standards which have been found by teachers and education policy experts to have poor lesson sequence, discretion of topics, and lacking in fundamental content.

Beyond the academic shortcomings, NGSS promotes controversial unproven theories as proven fact like global warming and evolution with no counterpoint allowed.  Kansas families are suing to stop NGSS in the schools.  See http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2013/10/01/kansas-families-sue-stop-national-science-standards by Joy Pullmann)  

5. The Iowa Legislature should halt mandatory implementation and funding for Iowa Core (which includes Common Core) which will save the state millions and give control back to parents, teachers, and local school boards.

Estimated cost for implementation is in excess of $186 million, with $130 million of the expenses upfront. Starting the process earlier rather than later could save Iowans from wasting the upfront money on a system experts say will continue to cost CCSSI states more money than non-CCSSI states. See http://iowansforlocalcontrol.com/2013/09/iowas-common-core-implementation-costs/

6a. We urge the legislature to once again take back the authority they relinquished in 2008 to the State School Board of Education (SF 2216) in determining academic standards as a guiding reference not a state mandate.

Citizens deserve input and accountability that comes through the legislative process.  The State School Board of Education is not elected and therefore, there is little or no recourse for the people.

6b. The Iowa Legislature shall have the capacity to set academic standards as a guiding reference or gold standard which local districts may accept or refuse in whole or in part which truly gives control back to parents, teachers, and local school boards

Our Founding Fathers knew the best form of government was that closest to the people where recourse was available. Local control gives a community accountability, transparency, the ability to correct issues, and protects property values by keeping schools strong.

You can download a copy of the Caucus guide and planks here.

About Shane Vander Hart

Shane Vander Hart founded Iowans for Local Control in 2012 which later merged with Iowa RestorEd. Shane also is the founder and editor-in-chief of Caffeinated Thoughts and the founder and president of 4:15 Communications, LLC, a social media & communications consulting/management firm.  You can connect with Shane on Facebook or follow him on Twitter and Google +.

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