By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Saturday, March 7, Dr. Duke Pesta, a University of Wisconsin Professor, addressed a crowd of over 100 at Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Hoover on what he felt were the negatives of the controversial Common Core Curriculum currently being implemented across the state of Alabama.
The event was hosted by prominent Common Core opponents Amie Beth Shaver and former State Senator Scott Beason (R-Gardendale).
Dr. Pesta says that,
“With Common Core there is more indoctrination within texts and less discussion of a character’s morals and ethics. You have lobbyists in the ear of your politicians every day promoting this. The big corporate interest are promising the moon. The Gates Foundation and Pearson are offering grants and Microsoft computers at half price. If this were just about what the people of Alabama wanted you would have gotten rid of this two years ago.”
“All the information that I give today is meaningless unless you do something about it. The rationale behind this is sociology. This isn’t going to help education. It’s not going to make your kids better at math, at language, or at history it sociologizes it. Even if you think you like the standards, the indoctrination that comes with means that we can’t allow it to happen. We can’t stand for it.”
Pesta said that the common core people hired an outside committee to evaluate the standards and gave them carte blanche, the validation committee. That committee to validate had only one mathematicians and one English expert. The mathematicians was Professor James Milgram. He said of common core math that it is an absolute joke to think common core math will prepare your child for a career in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math). Milgram said that common core math will set our kids three years behind and we are already three years behind high performing countries.
Common core just refused to acknowledge the arguments of Dr. Milgram and the English expert and wrote them out of the documents.
Dr. Pesta said that,
“Common core cuts 50% of the literature out of the curriculum. They are pulling out stories and adding propaganda. All the views are one way handed to you from the federal government. Less Charlotte Bronte, less Shakespeare and replacing it with political stuff.”
“Working with textbook publishers like Pearson, they created 400 exemplar texts. Those 400 texts are the only ones associated with the Common Core curriculum. They lowered the overall reading at every grade level 50% more. Students are writing significantly more.”
“Students in Wisconsin were told to write about how the state is like a family and is even better than the family. One of the texts is the ‘Science behind Insulation.’ Science, Math, and Tech subjects replaced literature. There is no questioning of global warming and they are blaming America for it.”
“Another text is ‘The evolution of the Grocery Bag.’ The State of California outlawed plastic bags based on this work. Even White House talking points have been added to the literature texts. Obama’s Executive Order on strengthening Federal environmental standards is one of the texts.”
Pesta said that much of the texts are developmentally and sexually inappropriate for kids. A book by Toni Morrison contains shocking levels of sexuality. That is on the reading list for use by students as young as 8th grade. Black Swan is another.
“Why are they there? There is a reason why we are sexualizing children at a younger age. The purpose is social engineering. Even the reading assignments for third graders are loading and shocking. In one text Dad is having an adulterous affair in Moms bed. Parent are x-ing out assignments and sending them back undone. The older they are, the more shockingly inappropriate they are.”
Pesta suggested they are intentionally sexualizing children to promote conflict and drive a wedge between the parents and the child.
Pesta said that,
“Common Core is removing literature and replacing it with informational texts from the far left. I would not want the informational texts to be coming from the right any more than I would want them coming from the left. The benefits of teaching children classic stories is that it builds imagination and stimulates thought.”
Pesta said that with Common Core, much of what teachers are now doing is now scripted. US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (D) even came out publicly recently and said we have to stop referring to teachers as teachers they are facilitators.
“Teachers have knowledge that they pass on to their students while facilitators are just tools the state uses to pass on information. They don’t create the lessons anymore.”
“There is no evidence that they bench marked this internationally. In Dr. Millgram’s own words common core math is social justice math. It is a simple biological fact that not every kid can do math at a high level. 20 percent of the population are gifted at math, 20 percent struggle and the rest are somewhere in the middle. Common core people think this is not fair. Under common core algebra is not started until 9th grade. If we start Algebra in the 9th Grade we can not get to calculus in high school.”
Common core math makes every kid comfortable with the math they can do. It is more focusing on the process than the results. They put kids in groups of three and they come to an answer by consensus. The actual achievement of math is secondary.
Dr. Pesta said,
“When I took my one math class the math professor told me, ‘You are clearly an English person’ and gave me a C-; but when I was in second grade I was reading on a high school level. What would my life be if I were forced to stay on the level of my peers instead of being encouraged to excel at what I was good at?”
“Social justice dictates that all kids achieve equally. If you have an outcome that every kid can achieve then you are not teaching a high standard. Tell me how it is not socialism?”
“Children have different innate abilities. They are not common. They are not standard. Albert Einstein 80 years ago said you standardize automobiles you don’t standardize children. He and I both failed math.”
“You are prohibited from doing standard math in common core.”
Pesta showed a video of a child demonstrating how the new math works. An 8 year-old girl was given a problem like 1453 plus 1234. Instead of simply turning it into an equation of 1453 + 1234 = 2687 the child demonstrated how she was ordered to do math problems: she drew a big box represent 1000 four small boxes each representing 100, five little boxes each representing 10 and then I I I and then another thousand box, two hundred boxes, three little ten boxes and I I I I …..then she added up her collection of boxes….and got the wrong answer.
“This is not funny. There is no conceivable way you can ban the obvious way. Common core will not allow you to memorize multiplication tables. You don’t want to make things more abstract than they need to be. This is what is going on. I am not making this up.”
Jason Zimba who is the architect of common core math said in an interview, “This kind of math is not to prepare you for stem careers or for college math.” “I think it is a fair critique that it is a minimal definition for college readiness”
Pesta said that even Zimba acknowledges that Common Core Math is not for STEM It is not for selective colleges like UC Berkley. “This is the lie to the Chamber of Commerce and your business people. The National Chamber of Commerce has taken millions of $$$s from the Gates Foundation. They are also for amnesty and open borders. They want a low skill pool of workers. It is about workers. The Bush kids, the Obama kids will never have to study this your kids will. Do you think Jeb Bush’s kids will ever take this stuff? This is sociology. Why are you creating a math paradigm that does not prepare you for a career in math?”
Pesta said that Common Core texts are selected to break children down morally, to make them more libertine. What the schools mean by tolerant is tolerant of the position of the government not the positions of their parent or the church.
In California they are farther along in this than Alabama. By 6th grade Irvine California kids could not do math in their heads, they could not do multiplication tables so parents started hiring tutors. The schools were so threatened by this they sent home notes refusing to place children ahead who were working ahead of the class. We have lost numerous gifted programs in the last two years.
Dr. Pesta said that David Coleman wrote the American History portion of Common Core and is now rewriting the SATs to reflect Common Core. He rewrote the Advanced Placement tests on history. Over 400 history professors wrote a letter to David Coleman protesting the new history standards with all the inaccuracies. He responded back that facts don’t matter in history anymore.
Pesta said that the new history texts teach that America is a racist culture of imperialism. The new approved text, “Out of Many” has only two 2 paragraphs for George Washington; but 60 pages on Bill Clinton. Reagan gets just two paragraphs as well and says that Reagan is a liar who made up his own history.
The authors even warn that “Conservatives who want democracy and free enterprise presented more favorably are bothered by what they see as left-leaning texts.” And suggests that states not have textbook review boards anymore. Pesta said that the history of prostitution is talked about more than the founding fathers.
Pesta warned that Common Core is heavily involved in data mining. “The federal government built a huge facility to house your kid’s data in Bluffdale, Utah. The desert facility is so massive that it requires 4 million gallons of water a day just to cool the computers. Now that the government controls healthcare everything is healthcare. Numerous government agencies get all the data they collect on your kids. That information is shared with the Department of Defense, labor, Indian affairs, FCC, Social Security, Department of Prisons etc. They are using your schools to collect information about your kids…….Unbelievable.”
Sec. Arne Duncan said, “I think our kids should be open 12 to 14 to 15 hours a day.” They are attaching health care clinics to schools to provide birth control and abortion services in house……without telling the parents. Greenbay provides every kid breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the city schools regardless of income. They won a grant from the Obama administration to continue providing all three meals throughout the summer.
For the last 40 or 50 years our kids have been getting their ABCs and along the way they have been herded left. For the first time the ABCs and 1 2 3s are being subordinated to the sociology.
The teachers of New York are trying to get out of this now. Common Core is teaching abstract thought too early and it is hurting kids mentally and emotionally. The tests have turned kids off from education
“These are people who know exactly what they are doing. Why are your politicians doing it? I no long buy that they are ignorant.”
Dr. Pesta recommended the website: www.FPEUSA.org
Rainy Day Patriots Co-Chair Ann Eubank said that there is an opportunity for Gov. Dr. Bentley (R) to sign on and join Gov. Jindal’s law suit against Common Core. Attorney General Luther Strange (R) is interested but will not sign on unless Bentley does.
Ann Eubank said that she thinks the Common Core repeal bill will get out of the State Senate this year but the difficulty will be getting it out of committee in the Alabama House of Representatives, where the education policy committee is stacked with pro-common core representatives.
Former Miss Alabama Amie Beth Shaver recognized State Representatives Mooney and Matt Fridy who were both in attendance and former State Senator Scott Beason (R-Gardendale) for his role in starting the repeal movement.
Dr. Pesta said that home school is booming because of this.
K. Carl Smith said that We are being demonized. We have to learn that the other side is playing for keeps. Like slave masters did over 100 years ago government is trying to separate him from his job and then you don’t educate him. Become involved in the legislative process. We need people in both parties with the moral courage to tell the truth.
Sen. Beason is now the senior policy analyst for the Alabama Free Market Alliance. He said. “Your legislators are not ignorant of this issue. Even the leadership fully understand this issue; but politics is about fear and power. The leadership of the Business Council of Alabama (BCA) is strongly supportive of Common Core or the legislature would probably have repealed this two years ago. BCA is a direct subsidiary of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.”
The legislators don’t care. They are more scared of money being put into races against them than they are the will of the people. We have to mobilize. We have to have people in every legislative district who are constantly contacting their legislators and contacting other people in their district.
Beason said that we have the votes if we can get it on the floor. If there is a regret I have as a legislator is not using that nuclear option and shutting down everything in the Senate until this passed last year. I thought it would eventually come up for a vote.
Beason said that the bill to repeal Common Core this year is SB 101. The sponsors and cosponsors are receiving calls from pro-common core and BCA people. We need to call them and thank them for sponsoring SB 101
Eunie Smith is the President of Eagle Forum said that the bill itself would repeal common core and replace it with the standards that were in place before common core. Smith said that Alabama can take the best standards from around the country and incorporate them into our own state standards.
ACLU joins lawsuit over Alabama voting amid COVID-19 pandemic
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of several voters who are at greater risk from complications or death due to COVID-19.
The American Civil Liberties Union and its Alabama chapter have joined in a lawsuit attempting to make it easier for some voters to cast their ballot during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The American Civil Liberties Union and ACLU of Alabama joined in the lawsuit filed in May by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Southern Poverty Law Center and Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program against Gov. Kay Ivey and Secretary of State John Merrill.
The U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision last week blocked U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon’s order that would have allowed curbside voting statewide and waived certain absentee ballot requirements for voters in at least Jefferson, Mobile and Lee Counties.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of several voters who are at greater risk from complications or death due to COVID-19.
The lawsuit was also brought on behalf of People First of Alabama, Greater Birmingham Ministries, the Alabama State Conference of the NAACP and Black Voters Matter Capacity Building Institute.
With the Supreme Court’s decision, voters in the upcoming July 14 Republican runoff election will have to submit a copy of their photo ID and have either two adult witnesses sign their absentee ballot requests or have it notarized.
“Alabama is in the middle of a deadly and ongoing pandemic but is refusing to take common-sense steps to protect the public’s health and their right to vote for all elections in 2020. That’s why we are taking legal action,” said Alora Thomas-Lundborg, senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project in a statement.
“In the midst of an out-of-control pandemic, Alabama officials should be doing everything they can to ensure that all voters have a safe, fair, and equal opportunity to cast a ballot. Instead, officials have chosen politics over public health and safety. They are fighting to make it harder to cast a ballot and have that ballot counted. This litigation is crucial to ensure safe, fair, and equal opportunity to vote,” said Randall Marshall, executive director of the ACLU of Alabama, in a statement.
“As we head into preparations for the November general election with COVID-19 cases rising in Alabama, it is critical that our election officials take seriously the protection of voters, poll workers, and our democracy,” said Caren Short, senior staff attorney for SPLC in a statement. “In this critical election season, we are grateful to have Black Voters Matter Capacity Building Institute, the ACLU, and the ACLU of Alabama join this effort to ensure that every voter is heard. No voter should have to choose between exercising their fundamental right to vote and their health or the health of a loved one.”
Deuel Ross, NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund senior counsel, said in a statement that over the July 4th weekend, Alabama reported nearly 5,000 new coronavirus cases.
“Yet, state leaders insist on enforcing draconian restrictions on in-person and absentee voting that no other state finds necessary to combat the almost nonexistent issue of voter fraud,” Ross said. “These restrictions are needless in normal circumstances. They are deadly in a pandemic. At trial in September, we will work to make sure that state leaders comply with their constitutional duty to protect the rights and safety of all voters.”
In a Tweet on July 2, Alabama’s Secretary of State John Merrill expressed gratitude for the Supreme Court’s decision.
“With the news that we have received a Stay in this process, I am excited that the United States Supreme Court has ruled in favor of those who believe in strict interpretation of the Constitution and has decided to grant the Stay and not endorse legislating from the bench,” Merrill said in the tweet.
Fauci calls on governors in states with surging cases to issue mask orders
As COVID-19 deaths in Alabama passed 1,000 on Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci called on governors to issue face mask orders to slow the spread of the virus.
As COVID-19 deaths in Alabama passed 1,000 on Tuesday, a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force called on governors to issue face mask orders to slow the spread of the virus.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, when asked by APR whether he’d like to see governors in states with surging cases institute statewide orders to wear masks, said yes.
“I do believe a statewide mask order is important because there is a variability in people taking seriously or even understanding the benefit of masks,” Fauci said during a press conference, hosted by U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama on Tuesday. “Masks make a difference. It is one of the primary fundamental tools we have.”
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on June 30 extended her “safer-at-home” order until July 31, but declined to institute any further mandates despite surging new cases and hospitalizations.
Fauci also said that social distancing and the closure of bars are important to communities looking to slow the spread.
“Fundamental things like masking, distancing, washing hands, closing bars — if you do that, I think it will be a giant step toward interfering with the spread in your community,” Fauci said.
At least 1,007 people have died statewide from COVID-19, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.
New daily COVID-19 cases in Alabama dipped below 900 for the first time in six days, but just barely, with 888 new cases on Tuesday. Thirty-one percent of the state’s total confirmed cases have come within the last two weeks.
Alabama’s hospitals on Monday were caring for more COVID-19 patients than at any time since the pandemic began.
UAB Hospital had 86 coronavirus patients on Monday, the highest the hospital had seen. Huntsville Hospital had 72 COVID-19 patients on Monday, and the surge in cases prompted the hospital to cancel elective surgeries and convert three surgical floors to COVID-19 care, according to AL.com.
At East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika there were 41 COVID-19 patients on Monday, which was the highest the hospital has seen in weeks and not far from the hospital’s peak of 54 patients on April 11.
The average age of those becoming infected with coronavirus has dropped by 15 years since the beginning of the pandemic, Fauci said, which has lowered the overall death rate due to the virus, as younger people usually fair better, but not if that young person has an underlying medical condition.
“We are now getting multiple examples of young people who are getting sick, getting hospitalized and some of them even requiring intensive care,” Fauci said, adding that even those young people who have coronavirus but are asymptomatic can spread the virus to others, who may be more compromised.
Fauci warned against pointing to the overall declining death rate and becoming lax about coronavirus, and said that “it’s a false narrative to take comfort in a lower rate of death.”
“There’s so many other things that are very dangerous and bad about this virus. Don’t get yourself into false complacency,” Fauci said.
Dr. Don Williamson, president of the Alabama Hospital Association, told APR on Monday that it may take several weeks to learn whether the increasing number of those hospitalized in Alabama will worsen and require ICUs and ventilators, and possibly lead to a rise in deaths.
“We just don’t know yet. We don’t know which way we’re going to go,” Williamson said Monday. “We just know we got a whole lot more cases than we had a month ago, and we’ve got a lot more hospitalizations than we had a month ago.”
Asked about his thoughts on the state of the virus in Alabama, Fauci said that what’s alarming is the slope of the curve of new daily cases.
“When you see a slope that goes up like that you’ve got to be careful that you don’t get into what’s called an exponential phase, where every day it can even double, or more,” Fauci said. “You’re not there yet, so you have an opportunity, a window to get your arms around this, and to prevent it from getting worse.”
Speaking on what’s become the politicization of the wearing of face masks, Fauci said that politicization of any public health matter has negative consequences. President Donald Trump does not wear face masks in public, prompting concern from many that by doing so he’s suggesting to the public that masks aren’t needed. The issue is divided rather sharply along partisan lines.
In a recent Quinnipiac University poll, two-thirds of voters, 67 percent, said Trump should wear a face mask when he is out in public, but while 90 percent of Democrats and 66 percent of independents say the president should wear a mask in public, just 38 percent of Republicans said the same.
“I mean, obviously today, it’s no secret to anybody who lives in the United States that we have a great deal of polarization in our country, unfortunately,” Fauci said. “We hope that changes, but there’s no place for that when you’re making public health recommendations, analysis of data, or any policies that are made. That will always be a detriment to do that.”
Governor awards $18 million for COVID-19 testing in nursing homes
Gov. Kay Ivey on Tuesday awarded $18.27 million of federal COVID-19 relief money to the Alabama Nursing Home Association Education Foundation for coronavirus testing and surveillance in the state’s nursing homes. The Coronavirus Relief Fund money is to be used to test and monitor both nursing home staff and residents, according to a press release from Ivey’s office Tuesday.
“During the pandemic, it is critical we take care of our seniors and most vulnerable residents,” Ivey said in a statement. “Some of our largest outbreaks of COVID-19 were within nursing homes, and we must do everything possible to contain the spread within their walls. Protecting these vital members of the community, as well as the dedicated staff who take care of them, is precisely the intent of the Coronavirus Relief Fund.”
The $18.27 million for testing in nursing homes comes from Alabama’s approximately $1.9 billion in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funds.
“I am extremely grateful to Governor Kay Ivey and her administration for supporting the ongoing testing of residents and staff in our facilities,” said Brandon Farmer, president and CEO of the Alabama Nursing Home Association, in a statement. “This virus is not like anything we’ve ever seen and has hit our nursing homes and staff exceptionally hard. I am relieved to know we will have assistance to contain the spread of this virus and hopefully be able to eliminate it from our nursing homes.”
John Matson, communications director for the Alabama Nursing Home Association, told APR by phone Tuesday that testing for COVID-19 has been a financial burden on nursing homes “and this will go a long way in helping cover that and relieve that strain that our members are experiencing.”
There’s already been a great deal of testing among staff and residents across Alabama’s nursing homes, and the federal aid will only increase that testing and ensure that the cost of future tests will be reimbursed, Matson said. The organization continues to work out details of a plan to implement the testing and surveillance, and once those plans are ready the association will reach out to all nursing homes statewide to communicate that information, he said.
The nonprofit Alabama Nursing Home Association Education Foundation, is to provide a testing strategy and screening protocols and administer the federal aid, according to the release.
There had been 1,794 confirmed COVID-19 cases among residents in Alabama nursing homes as of June 21, the latest data made available by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Of those cases, 336 residents have died, according to the federal agency.
GOP candidate Tommy Tuberville leads Trump “boat parade” in Orange Beach
Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville rode in the lead boat in a “boat parade” on Sunday in Orange Beach, celebrating Independence Day and the launch of President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign.
Hundreds of boats participated in the Trump parade in the Perdido Pass area. WKRG TV estimates that more than 8,000 people joined. Orange Beach and Gulf Shores boats joined boats from Pensacola and Dauphin Island.
Trump supporter and Alabama Republican Executive Committee member Perry Hooper Jr. was also present.
“It was Awesome having Coach Tommy Tuberville on The TRUMP Boat at Orange Beach Alabama,” Hooper said. “Tommy was a Great Coach and he will be a Great US Senator. It’s Great To Be A TRUMP/ TUBERVILLE AMERICAN. Everybody was so Happy cheering for The President and Tommy on! Fun Day!”
Hooper is a former state representative from Montgomery.
Tuberville is a former Auburn University head football coach. The Arkansas native lives in Auburn.
President Donald Trump spoke at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota on Friday.
“Today we pay tribute to the exceptional lives and extraordinary legacies of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt,” Trump said. “I am here as your president to proclaim before the country and before the world, this monument will never be desecrated, these heroes will never be defamed, their legacy will never ever be destroyed, their achievements will never be forgotten, and Mount Rushmore will stand forever as an eternal tribute to our forefathers and to our freedom.”
Trump accused opponents of trying to dismantle America.
“Make no mistake. This left-wing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American Revolution,” Trump alleged. “In so doing they would destroy the very civilization that rescued billions from poverty, disease, violence, and hunger, and that lifted humanity to new heights of achievement, discovery, and progress. To make this possible, they are determined to tear down every statue, symbol, and memory of our national heritage.”
“President Trump has given several good Speeches,” Hooper said. “This Speech was by far his best! It was straight up AWESOME! His speech was all about the Greatness of America! President Trump loves our Country and its great History. President Reagan has given some of the best speeches ever. This speech topped Reagan’s best. As for Perry O. Hooper Jr., I would get in a foxhole and fight for him to the end. God Bless President Donald J. Trump and GOD BLESS THE USA!”
Trump faces a stiff challenge from former Vice President Joe Biden, who is leading in the polling.
Tuberville has been endorsed by Trump in the July 14 Republican primary runoff for U.S. Senate. Tuberville faces former Sen. Jeff Sessions.