|To: Alabama Legislators
From: Eunie Smith, President Eagle Forum of Alabama
Apparently you have received misinformation regarding Eagle Forum’s position on an Article V Convention. Please read carefully Eagle Forum Board Member Andy Schlafly’s short statement following, forwarded to me on 5/3/15:
“I completely oppose an Article V Convention. It is a dangerous threat to our values and our Nation. Congress or judicial activism would likely require that the voting at such a convention be in proportion to population, and thereby dominated by liberal states. They would probably put a right to abortion and homosexual marriage into the Constitution, and repeal the Second Amendment. There is nothing good that can result from an Article V Convention, because Congress and the Courts will not feel restrained by a new amendment any more than they comply with existing text. Even proposing an Article V Convention has the harmful effect of devaluing the Constitution we cherish.
The original Constitutional Convention was made possible by rules of secrecy against media interference. That is impossible today, and thus the liberal media would obtain the result it wants. Pinning one’s hopes on an Article V Convention today is like a bankrupt man turning to gambling to solve his family’s financial problems. Hard work, in electing good people who defend our existing Constitution, is what is needed. The pie-in-the-sky, dangerous proposal of an Article V Convention should be rejected. (11/16/2014)”
Andrew L. Schlafly, Esq.
Proponents of a Constitutional Convention have insisted that a Convention could be limited to the one issue of a Balanced Budget. However, Yellowhammer quoted the House Sponsor as saying that the “Convention would be limited to a small set of issues….” Unfortunately, such limiting is wishful thinking because a convention once convened, is a law unto itself. All it takes is a majority proclaimed by the chairman of the Convention, and anything goes.
Open Letter to ALABAMA LEGISLATORS
From: Eunie Smith, President
Leslie Whitcomb, Education Chairman
Sadly, the latest NAEP results place Alabama dead last on Math and English, a significant decline from where we were before Common Core when Alabama had been trending upward. The 2011 Alabama State Department of Education document here touted:
“In 2011 Alabama moved from near last to 25th in the nation in overall grades and scores [Education Week assessment] … 12th in the nation for standards, assessments and accountability… data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) showed a historic gain of eight points in fourth grade Reading for Alabama public school students – the … highest gain ever in NAEP recorded history. Since then, Alabama has maintained its progress in NAEP assessments.” But that was before common core implementation in 2012 in Math and 2013 in English. See graphs and charts below.
According to PARCA,
“The National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) is a battery of tests given every two years
to a representative sample of students in all 50 states. The test is designed to serve as a national scorecard, allowing comparison of educational performance across the states.
The 2015 results are out. They’re disappointing for the nation at large, and for Alabama, in particular.
In 2015, Alabama’s average math score, in both 4th and 8th grade, was the lowest of any state.Between 2013 and 2015, Alabama’s average score declined in both grades.
Among U.S. states, Alabama had the lowest percentage of students scoring proficient in 4th
and 8th grade. Only 26 percent of 4th graders and 17 percent of 8th graders scored high enough on the NAEP to be considered grade-level proficient in math.
While Alabama’s higher poverty rate puts it at something of a competitive disadvantage in national comparisons, a deeper look shows it’s not Alabama’s demographics skewing the results. Name the group – black, white, Hispanic, poverty and non-poverty – all perform worse than their peers in all other states.” (The PARCA Perspective, October 2015) http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs111/1106394189560/archive/1122648222121.html
According to nationally recognized standards expert Sandra Stotsky,
“NAEP scores nationally did not go down because (1) Common Core standards are more demanding and (2) teachers need more professional development. They went down because Common Core is dumbed down math, and NAEP still includes test items based on what we expected kids to be taught by/in grade 4 only 10 years ago. Today, our kids can’t get these tests right because their classroom curriculum (based on CC math standards) has been dumbed down, [confuses, and neglects the basics]. Nor can our upper elementary grades do well on NAEP test items in reading when their language arts curriculum has eliminated the great children’s literature that got them to read – especially boys.”
Dr. Stotsky, in a 2011 press conference in Montgomery, advised Alabama to continue with its standards upon which success was building instead of adopting the unproven and flawed common core regimen. State Board members Betty Peters and Stephanie Bell listened and voted against common core.
Again, more than half of Common Core states showed historic declines on 2015 NAEP – declines that have not been seen since the early 90s when the NAEP began, but Non-Common Core States showed NO decline on NAEP!!!!
It’s not just NAEP scores that confirm the inferiority of Common Core. ACT scores of Alabama students as shown in The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2015 Alabama report shows that only 16% of Alabama students meet the benchmark in all four subjects. Further, the percentage is down five percentage points from 2014. See report here.
For Alabama students, clearly Common Core is a Failure with a capital F!
Who will rescue students from further failure now? According to Math Standards expert Dr. James Milgram’s research, 4 years of common core type math in California beginning in 1992 resulted in irreparable damage. California then ditched those standards and returned to what works. Alabama is in its 4th year, as we have pointed out to you before. When will you ditch the flawed regimen that is common core?
But what would you use? Just like Alabama has done for years, a committee of professionals and parents could convene. They could use as a template for Math the pre-common core standards that put California first in the nation; and for English, the acknowledged best were pre-common core Massachusetts. There are other proven sound standard sets upon which to build.
There is no limit to what our teachers could do for their students if they were no longer constrained by common core and were equipped with the basics that have worked for generations.
You will surely agree with us that it is unfair to our students not to address this ASAP and reverse course before it gets any worse.
All NAEP Scores for Alabama eighth grade students fell since the implementation of Common Core with the exception of eighth grade ELA. In this instance, the white and black student scores were basically flat with Hispanic scores up 6 points, which raised the overall score by 2 points.
Impact of Common Core on Alabama education
Alabama Accomplishments 2011 prior to impact of Common Core
Average Mathematics grade 4 public schools all students: By jurisdiction
Average Reading grade 4 public schools all students: By jurisdiction
Average Mathematics grade 8 public schools all students: By jurisdiction
Average Reading grade 8 public schools all students: By jurisdiction
FOR REAL ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT, PLEASE VOTE FOR SB60 TO REPLACE COMMON CORE (ALABAMA COLLEGE AND CAREER READY STANDARDS) WITH THE PROVEN BEST OF THE BEST IN THE NATION.
|May 22, 2015An Open LetterDear Alabama Legislator,The deep and sustaining desire that every child in Alabama will be given the best education possible to be ready to act upon God’s leading in his or her life is surely important to you.
To that end, please consider finding more creative solutions than what is offered in the one size fits all Common Core curriculum. Because we live in a one stop, instant coffee type of environment, we can be misled to believe that something like Common Core will fit the desired bill; but mounting research indicates that COMMON CORE will do more harm than good; hurting most those least able to pull themselves up out of the current educational environment of muck and more. All children need to and deserve to access their full God-given potential. By design, Common Core treats every child as a statistic to be measured by standardized tests.
The following statement from the Chicago Teachers Union in opposition to Common Core is relevant: “Common Core eliminates creativity in the classroom …We also know that high-stakes standardized testing is designed to rank and sort our children and it contributes significantly to racial discrimination and the achievement gap among students in America’s schools.” 9/8/2014 This sorting of students in Alabama based on the color of their skin or their parents income and the setting of lower achievement goals for African Americans than Caucasians has been widely reported. If teachers are told to expect less from minorities, they are likely to get less.
Additional concerns regarding Common Core are the lack of access to parents and local communities in contributing to what children are taught and how they are tested. Please ask yourself this: “Will our students be indoctrinated against the values of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness enshrined in our Constitution?” These American values remain part of the sustaining success of our nation. Yet, there is a not so subtle erosion of these values. By design, Common Core will only add to this decline. When Common Core is fully implemented, parents and our local communities will have little to no control over what is taught to our children through nationally prescribed Common Core assessments and the curriculum that has been developed to match those assessments.
Also, with the full disclosure features of Common Core, invasive, non-academic personal and family data being kept on state data bases will be at risk, with little or no guarantee that they can and will be protected.
As public Servants, you have the power to really assist children, their families and the communities you represent; please regain control over education in Alabama by passing the Alabama Ahead Act (SB101, HB424) ASAP. You can enable students to rise to new heights instead of holding them down to the lowest common denominator.
May God bless you – especially in your legislative endeavors that impact so many people.
Alveda Celeste King
|May 13, 2015
To: Governor Robert Bentley
Members, Alabama Senate and House
From: Eunie Smith, Eagle Forum of Alabama
You are in our prayers as you make the hard, limited-government choices that result in the most cost-effective government and the most liberty for our citizens. We wish to share the following four points with you as you wrestle with budget decisions. Explanations follow.
1. It is NOT a foregone conclusion that the Poarch Creek Indians will have any gambling going forward.
The push for a compact is premised on the notion that Indian gambling is here to stay, and therefore we might as well tax it. This is a false premise! It is being used to convince conservative legislators who would otherwise oppose gambling to give up and support a compact!
The Alabama Attorney General has a strong case pending in the federal Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (in Atlanta) that could be decided in a matter of weeks. If the appeal is successful and the Attorney General eventually wins the case, it will undermine the right of the Poarch Creek to conduct any gambling operations in Alabama!
For over five years, the issue of “electronic bingo” has been fought out in case after case in Alabama state courts. It is this form of gambling that has been conducted up until now on both Indian and non-Indian land in Alabama. Just a few months ago, in a case called Houston County Economic Development Ass’n. v. State (November 21, 2014), our Alabama Supreme Court issued a ruling that finally settles the matter once and for all: so-called “electronic bingo” is illegal under Alabama law. Only paper bingo is allowed. Now that this ruling is in place, there is good reason to believe that the federal courts will take notice and rule that, since this gambling is illegal under Alabama law on non-Indian land, federal law will not permit it on Indian land either.
In addition, the case brought by the Attorney General also includes a sound argument that the land on which all of the Indian gambling is being conducted in Alabama was not even properly taken “into trust” for the benefit of the Poarch Creek tribe. In a 2009 case called Carcieri v. Salazar, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that only Indian tribes recognized as such by the federal government in 1934 could benefit from land taken into trust for them by the Secretary of Interior. Alabama’s Poarch Creeks were not recognized as a tribe until the 1980’s!
2. We’re not just talking about gambling on Indian Reservations.
If we enter into a compact with the Poarch Creek Indians, non-Indian gambling bosses will never let us hear the end of it. They will keep pushing until they have the same rights. Once we “cross the Rubicon” and become a gambling state, the political pressure from non-Indians to be treated “equally” will be relentless. (The tools available will include massive political contributions to those who favor increased gambling and equally massive contributions to recruit and support opponents for those who oppose increased gambling.)
The result of gambling expansion is NOT more reliable net revenue to the state. However, the costs are reliable: more addictions, more family breakdown, more divorces, increased crime, increased law enforcement and public assistance programs, business and restaurant closings … See http://stoppredatorygambling.org/
3. Gambling Interests will Take Control of Politics in Alabama.
In Mississippi today, whenever a new law is proposed in the legislature, the first question legislators ask is “Where are the casinos on this?” Do we in Alabama really want to turn control of our state politics over to the gambling bosses?
Right now the two biggest donors in Alabama state politics are the Alabama Farmers Federation and the Business Council of Alabama. Of course there are other “players,” but these are the two dominant forces. But if we legalize casinos, the amount of cash generated will easily swamp the combined political resources available to current donor groups. The gross profits from three or more Las Vegas style casino operations could easily exceed $2 million dollars a day. Whether Indian or non-Indian, the gambling money is huge, it is politically minded and it will likely not be chasing after conservative candidates. Gambling money will control Alabama politics. (While there is talk of restricting political participation by casinos, this is only being proposed as to Indian casinos; and, besides, substantial First Amendment questions exist as to whether any such restrictions will be enforceable.)
Make no mistake: Signing a compact with the Indians will usher in a new era in which gambling bosses will control Alabama politics. They will have much more influence than most people realize over who we elect to our courts, as our Governor, and as our representatives in Montgomery and even in Washington.
4. There is Another Way – Un-earmarking and combining the budgets
“The solution to Alabama’s budget ‘crisis’ is so simple it will blow your mind,” according to Yellowhammernews, which explains that there will be a surplus in education trust fund tax revenues this year of $287 million! This is almost exactly the same amount as the projected shortfall of $290 million in this year’s general fund budget! So without one dollar from gambling interests, the State already has enough money to fund essentially the entire deficit! What is required is that we un-earmark all or even just part of the excess money that is now restricted. And much of this money can be un-earmarked simply by an act of the legislature.
Additionally, the legislature can continue to cut out inappropriate expenditures; and it is time to combine our education and general fund budgets. If 47 other state legislatures can manage dollars used for education without a separate budget, so can Alabama. Please consider these options as you move forward.
We are excited to announce that we have a commercial airing now on the Rick and Bubba Show (WZZK), regarding Dr. James Milgram’s warning of the “irreversible harm” that is likely to occur after four years of Common Core Math. Alabama students are currently experiencing their third year. See the text of the ad below, or you may click on the link to hear it (will not play on Explorer). Then contact your Senator and Representative and ask them to support SB101 in the Alabama Senate and HB424 in the Alabama House of Representatives. Visit our “Find Your Legislators” tab here to find and contact yours.
Students in Alabama will soon embark on their 4th year of common core mathematics. Professor James Milgram, a national expert on school math standards, has a warning for Alabama parents. “Alabama friends, you need to be aware that four years of common core math can do students irreversible harm based on our experience in California”. Professor Milgram knows what he’s talking about. He authored the 1997 California Standards proving to be the best math standards in the nation. His advice to us: “Ask your state Senator to support Senate Bill 101 in the Alabama Legislature”. Go now to Alabamaeagle.org. There you can email your state legislator directly. Ask your state Senator to support Senate Bill 101, and repeal common core. “Protect Alabama students from the irreversible damage”. Again, that’s Alabamaeagle.org. Paid for by Eagle Forum of Alabama.
Following is the resolution that was unanimously approved by representatives of the 1.1 million member Alabama Baptist Convention in November 2014 which called for the repeal of the Common Core State Standards in Alabama. Please forward this resolution to your pastor and ask that he share it with his state senator and representative with the request that they stop the miseducation and indoctrination of our children by supporting SB101 to replace common core with sound, superior standards. SB101 has passed the Senate Education Committee and is in the Senate Rules Committee chaired by Sen. Jabo Waggoner. We need it to get to the floor quickly so that the House will have time to act. You may also want to print the resolution yourself to give to your representatives.
Information on how to find your senator and representative is here.
The following documentation appeared on the resolution that was submitted to the Resolutions Committee.
 Comprehensive Counseling and Guidance Model for Alabama Public Schools
 http://www.talladegacountygop.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Appendix-24-BCA-Praises-AlaStandards.pdf http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/12/questionable-quality-of-the-common-core-english-language-arts-standards; http://pioneerinstitute.org/download/lowering-the-bar-how-common-core-math-fails-to-prepare-high-school-students-for-stem/
This week we learned of the impending danger for Alabama children if we don’t stop Common Core in THIS legislative session. Stanford Professor James Milgram is the acknowledged national expert on Math standards writing. Based on a huge set of data on the failed 1992 California standards written by the same Phil Daro who was the lead author for the Common Core standards, Dr. Milgram addressed the following question:
“ ‘ How long would it take for a student initially in the Phil Daro 1992 program before its low level and erroneous perspective on mathematics would have produced irreversible damage?’ What the data showed was that if a student had been in the program for four or more years … statistically they never recovered… So you have a situation with the Common Core mathematics standards where you have a limited window and you pretty much know what is going to happen … because the guiding ideas behind it are the exact guiding ideas behind the 1992 CA standards.”
Alabama students are being tested on their THIRD year of Common Core math. Next year – their FOURTH year – will be too late for most Alabama students. They will never recover from the irreversible damage as experienced by California students.
For the full text of Dr. Milgram’s letter, click the link below.
The Senate Education Committee will be voting on Senator Rusty Glover’s SB101, the Alabama Ahead Act, that will repeal Common Core, this Wednesday, April 15th. Please contact the committee members, thank them for hearing us at this past Wednesday’s hearing and ask that they vote FOR SB101. Brewbaker, Chairperson; Ross, Vice Chairperson; Bussman, Figures, Marsh, McClendon, Pittman, Sanders, Shelnutt.
SB101 will re-establish local and state control of education; terminate implementation of the Common Core standards; direct the State Board to replace these standards with the Math and English courses in use immediately prior to Common Core; convene Course of Study committees to update these standards and improve upon them using the pre-common core standards from states whose national scores ranked no less than the top 10%; implement these proven, improved standards and aligned assessments; prohibit imposition on Alabama of other such national standards or assessments that cede control away from Alabamians.
See the short DVD by Utah Mental Health Therapist Joan Landes that stresses the urgency of putting a stop to Common Core. She spoke with some House and Senate members at the Alabama Statehouse last year. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJVswWCNk24
You may want to look up her credentials and send it to your representatives.