Superintendent Kirsten Baesler Didn’t Tell Me The Truth About Common Core Emails


Yesterday, after receiving a number of emails about it, I posted the audio of DPI spokesman Dale Wetzel appearing on the Jay Thomas Show. Many opponents of Common Core felt that Wetzel’s demeanor during the interview wad needlessly condescending to their side, and to be sure Wetzel was pretty blunt in his criticisms of Common Core critics including Dr. Duke Pesta.

Pesta is a homeschooling advocate who is headlining some anti-Common Core events in the state.

But my post about Wetzel was intended to comment on how ugly the Common Core fight has become on both sides. As a part of that, I mentioned that the Department of Public Instruction, under Superintendent Kirsten Baesler, has been sending out talking points criticizing Pesta. That prompted a call from Superintendent Baesler herself telling me that her office would never send out something like that. She gave me a little speech about her office was about ideas and facts, not attacking individuals.

That didn’t exactly square with Wetzel’s performance on the radio, where he pretty clearly went after Pesta personally (audio here), but I was willing to take Baesler’s word for it. If she said they weren’t sending out the Pesta emails to lawmakers and other state leaders, I’d give her the benefit of the doubt. So I corrected my post.

It turns out I shouldn’t have given Baesler the benefit of the doubt. A SAB reader forwarded me the email below in which you can see Rep. Mike Nathe, a Bismarck Republican, introducing a list of anti-Pesta talking points as something coming from DPI.

“I received this information below on this fellow from Dale Wetzel today who is now the Public Information Office for DPI,” writes Nathe in the email who also confirmed to me in a telephone conversation this morning that he did forward the emails and that his source was Wetzel.

So Baesler tells me her office is not sending out emails looking to undermine Pesta’s credibility on this issue, but that wasn’t true. The emails, if not originating with her office, were certainly being forwarded by her office. Maybe Baesler didn’t know about the emails. Maybe Wetzel was acting on his own. But he was still acting in his capacity as the PIO for DPI, and Baesler is the one who hired him.

Which brings me to another interesting question. Why were these emails being sent from [email protected]? That looks suspiciously like a private email address created to work around the public email system which, of course, is open to open records requests.

I’ve sent a request for information about the email address – why it was created and how it’s used – as well as an open records request for the last 30 days of emails to and from it.

The Common Core issue is a mess. Parents are upset. Teachers are upset. Accusations and conspiracy theories are flying, as are valid criticisms and rebuttals. But you have to wonder if the discourse around this issue might be a little cooler, and little more level-headed, if Baesler’s office was handling it in a more forthright manner.

Here’s a screenshot of the email.


Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • NDConservative

    Talk about losing one’s credibility. Ms. Baesler needs to come clean, apologize to all concerned including the citizens of North Dakota.

    • happyhappyhappy

      An apology won’t do anything unless we start hearing the truth, and actions speak louder than words.

    • Scratch

      Look for her on the next episode of “Pretty Little Liars.”

  • Guest Observer

    Time for some new leadership in DPI. Very disappointed to see Ms. Baesler engage in low handed tactics.

    • RCND

      Its all ok… because its for the children, or something

  • kevindf

    “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”

    • sundshine

      Oh, yes, Shakespeare! How true it is.

      • awfulorv

        Thank you so much. I’ve been reading, and hearing, that phrase for years and, for some reason, had always attributed it to Myron Floren, of the Lawrence Welk orchestra.

    • sbark

      The internet sure makes the political 3 shell game hard for the sheisters.

  • Guest


  • RCND

    Even if she tries to duck out by saying Nathe “misspoke” (or miswrote), and even if Nathe goes along with it, the talking points sure sound exactly like what her PIO was saying on the radio. So either he put them together, or if he didn’t he is using them. Either way DPI now owns them

    • sundshine

      This is the truth. DPI owns all of their deception, their intimidation tactics, the out and out lies. This is not the ND way! I know someone who has stacks of emails from DPI on Common Core. The deception is pervasive. We do not need Common Core dividing our teachers, parents, administrators, school board members. Let’s scrap it and write our own standards. I HOPE that ND schools did not trash their textbooks. That will be the next thing. We will be left without textbooks and will be forced to use CC materials because nothing else is available. We can not abide the destruction of state property to implement a systemic change, leaving our schools without proper materials. Does anyone know if schools are destroying textbooks?

      • Berger

        My kids’ principal told me that they bought all new books but the old ones are in storage, just in case. However, this is a private Catholic school but hopefully the public schools had the sense to do the same!

        • RCND

          Of course they didn’t. Catholic Schools have to generate their own revenue through tuition and church donations which support the school. Therefore they actually have to plan. Public Schools simply have to raise the mills or go chase other taxpayer funded resources, and thus can get away with reacting

        • sundshine

          Thank you, Berger. It would be a complete waste of money to throw out the textbooks.

  • Guest

    But…….you have to wonder about the mental ability of Representative Mike Nathe, who I’m thinking is the chairman of the ND House Education Committee not having the ability to understand what is the truth about North Dakota adopting Obama Core.


    (701) 319-1500

    • sbark

      maybe he was so naïve to believe the OCore principles that mirror “you can keep your doctor”, your ins. cost will drop 2500.00, and you can Keep your Ins if you like it……………I’m sure you still believe it all to this moment yet.—so then what is “your mental ability”?

    • Opinionated

      The truth is money… And we have plenty of it, they just don’t think they should have to ask for it in the education system…

  • Roy_Bean

    The cleansing effect of a little sunshine is amazing.

  • sbark

    The Ruling class self perceived Elites will move as a herd to protect themselves. The core group will attract those on the outside edge as they hope to be included if only for a time being or until thrown under the bus as collateral damage.

  • Adam

    I wish I could be a fly on the wall in her office right now.

    • sbark

      the media is already on the phone helping to build plausible deniability, or to construct personal attacks as needed. see it already below by post from “guest”

      • Adam

        Just would be fun to see her sweat.

  • The Whistler

    Truly education needs to be reformed. Doing it the “common core” way is 100% wrong. We need more innovation and not a monolith “you’ll do it the Federal Department of Education of else you lose your funding way.”

    I find it very telling that they aren’t fighting this guy with the truth about common core. If it wasn’t rotten they would do just that. Instead they are attacking the guy’s motivations.

    It’s the old saying about lawyers. If the law is on their side they argue the law. If the facts are on their side they argue the facts. But if neither the facts or the law are on their side they attack the other person.

    • sundshine

      EVERYONE: Go to Rate my Professor. com–Type in Dr. Duke Pesta, U of Oshgosh, Wisconsin. These are the type of professors we need in our schools. The students LOVE him

      • ec99

        That may not be the best indicator. Typically students only post on those sites when they really love or really hate a professor.

        • sundshine

          Well, if they really LOVE a professor doesn’t that tell us something? Wish I would have looked at Rate my Prof before a student I know to registered for classes at NDSU where profs berate students, don’t show up for office hours, flunk nearly half of students to make themselves look like geniuses. Now that I’ve looked some of these profs up, guess what, everything we saw and experienced was already reported by students. Rate my Prof is a valuable tool and a good indicator of quality or not teaching.

          • ec99

            Not really. Studies show that students rate their professors according to the grade they get for a course. Get an A, the prof is great. Get a C, not so much.

          • sundshine

            That’s not true. I have had students evaluate me on this site, and I can say, not true. Students feel free to share their “honest” feelings. I have also checked out many sites of professors I know. They seem to get the ratings they deserve, too.

          • ec99

            Have you submitted your results on Rate-A-Prof to chairs and deans at reappointment, promotion and tenure time? Do they accept them?

          • sundshine

            That’s a ridiculous question. So, you are not for students having the freedom to state what they really think about their professors? What is your point? I have top rate evaluations from each institution where I have ever taught, so those are the evals used, but you already knew that. My point is that it is uncanny how the Rate my Prof site comports with the overall internal evaluations. Of course, no matter how pathetic the internal evals might be, profs are not removed. So, one reliable site for students does become Rate my Professor. At least those doing the most crummy job will get public attention and students can decide what to believe.

          • ec99

            Not a ridiculous question at all, just a question as to what extent students who post on Rate-A-Prof are representative of how good a teacher a professor is. As I said, those who take the time to go to the site, have strong opinions pro or contra. What percentage of all your students have posted there? What percentage of Pesta’s students have posted? My bet is if it were the basis of a study, no one would accept it as a representative group. If you have gotten excellent responses, I congratulate you. But that does not render invalid the fact that students evaluate professors according to the final grade they got. Go to the Chronicle of Higher Ed and type in “student evaluations” in the search box for studies on the subject. My own view is that peer evaluations are more legitimate; they have taught, students haven’t.

            As for my comment on whether chairs and deans would accept those results in determining your future at your school, they wouldn’t.

          • tomorrowclear

            The vast majority of reviews on Rate My Professors are ratings from students in lower-division courses, typically freshmen and sophomores. A great percentage manage to work into their criticisms critiques of the grading procedures of the professor. I’m sure you can do the math on that.

            There are worthwhile reviews. Those tend to come from more experienced students who offer a bit more thought and have more intelligent critiques.

            I have observed a few profs who get negative ratings on the site who are excellent teachers, but they also have higher expectations than the parents and the previous teachers of these students and the students cannot adapt to a teacher who treats them like adults and holds them accountable.

          • sundshine

            Or for Pete sake. Peer evaluations? Putting students down because they haven’t “taught”? Do you think students are incapable of assessing a good teacher. You are a trip. I have been talking to students, as a professor, for decades. Students share experiences about other teachers. Students have a good eye and good minds for who can teach and who can not. I get the Chronicle newsletter. I have seen this already. There is something to it, but you put to much credence into one form of evaluation. Your peer eval thing kills me. The competition in high ed alone skews those results. One comment I’ve heard over and over is: “I have to agree with my professor to get a good grade on a paper. When I wrote what I thought, I failed.” Also, peer eval doesn’t cover issues like profs never showing up for office hours, profs who demean students in class and in office meetings, profs who are not prepared when in the classroom. Profs who teach, not the course material, but their own political views. Profs who seduce students. Profs who come to class with hangovers. The politically correct prof is the worst. This one is pervasive. I know. I’ve had to listen to these blow hards in the faculty lounges. The F word flying everywhere for Bush, conservatives. They create a hostile environment for anyone who doesn’t think like they do. Rate my Professor can uncover so much about a teacher. I love it!!! YOU my friend, can’t control it, and apparently, that makes you upset.

          • ec99

            When it gets right down to it, you are willing to lend credence to students’ reviews who have never taught a class. What on earth do they know about anything? This is like letting the privates grade the generals. What would your judgment of Rate-A-Prof be if you had gotten poor reviews? 18 year old’s views of a teacher have no validity.

          • sundshine

            Students don’t know anything? My grandfather was a genius. He was educated up until the sixth grade or maybe the 8th, the family isn’t certain. He educated himself by reading. He knew something about every country on the planet, a lot in fact. He was an inventor and built a factory. His products sold in many countries. He read Shakespeare and the Bible and I can tell you one thing for sure, like Bill Gates, he was not college educated, but he could have spotted a bad teacher at age 12. Your assumptions are ridiculous and your insults of young people exhibit contempt. Such idiocy should must have come from a college education.

          • tomorrowclear

            Whiny, excuse-making parents like you are at the heart of the problem of not only our education system, but our society. You are the parent with the bratty kids being obnoxious in the restaurant, ruining the meals of two dozen other people. You must understand, my parents assumed when a conflicting story came from me versus an adult, they assumed the adult was speaking the truth, not I. That is such a foreign concept to many of today’s parents, the missus actually thanked a parent last week for calling to verify a story told by her child rather than assuming an 8 year-old wouldn’t lie to her.

            Yes, my dear, let’s potentially deprive someone of their livelihood based upon what a 12 year-old or even a 20 year-old thinks of the job they’re doing.

          • Nought

            No sight to your grandfather but I have done all of those things but build a factory and I’m not genius. I certainly couldnt tell you who was a good teacher at age 12, heck I’d have a hard time now. I know who’s style works well for me be that doesn’t necessarily make them a good teacher.

            Goood on your gpa for his success though.

          • ec99

            What on earth does your grandfather have to do with this discussion? That was a completely different generation when education was valued. My father had a high school education and became president of a company. So what?
            You seem to get the cream of the crop students, the 20% who are prepared for college. You are spared the students who show up to class when they feel like it, who do D work and then complain they didn’t get an A. I get the impression that your ego is bolstered by good student evaluations and can’t stand the idea that what they say has no validity, given that their basis is you make class fun or are an easy grader.

          • sundshine

            Too much of the wrong type of education can destroy the imagination, the will, the soul, the mind. You’re thinking is canned. Think outside the box for a change. My grandfather and Bill Gates have everything to do with this discussion. They are both geniuses. Neither had a college degree. Both contributed to society with COMMON CORE. Imagine that!! No Common Core and they succeeded.

          • ec99

            The subject we have been discussing is the validity of student evaluations, not your grandfather, not Bill Gates, not thinking out of the box. My own view of Common Core is that it is just another attempt by the Feds to take over education. If you wish to discuss that, fine with me.

          • whowon

            There will never be a Bill Gates from the generation under CC…learn to read a government manual will keep them at the lowest possibility for advancement, individual thinking and entrepreneurship. Good little government workers.

          • JoeMN

            What other options do they have ?
            Rely completely on the judgement of the universities themselves ?
            RMP is nothing more than a tool students can use in their pursuit of a quality education.

            I know of one student who uses it solely to decide whether a particular prof speaks English well enough to be understood

    • Nought

      Except we didn’t take any money to implement common core so it isn’t a forced federal program so we’re good there.

      What kinds of innovations are you looking for? Robots? Time traveling talking canine professors?

      • whowon

        Is that you Dale? We got millions for the SLDS which in part was to share our data gathered on students with the federal government.

        • Nought

          Can you source it? I hear a lot of accusations, but no proof. I see appropriations from the feds for 37 states if they want it. No proof we took any. DPI says they didn’t, but I’m open to proof.

          Show me the money.

          I am too much btw, ty

          • teacher

            Here it says “In September of 2008, DPI applied for a federal grant to design, develop, and implement a North Dakota STatewide Longitudinal Data System also known as ndSLEDS to track k-12 student outcomes. In January 2009 DPI received a pre-award notice that it would receive the grant and began work on planning activities. After receiving the grant, the project was officially started in July 2009.”

          • Nought

            Thank you for the link!

            I’m no expert, could you correct me if I’m wrong this program is in place to expand data collection required by No Child Left Behind and the grants were applied for 2 years before we adopted the common core standards. It’s almost like they aren’t connected at all, but I’m probably confused. Like I said I’m no expert.

            Thanks again.

      • The Whistler

        Indiana got threatened by the feds now that they rejected common core.

        Indiana, which recently became the first state to withdraw from the new Common Core standards and just last week adopted its own testing standards, is apparently facing possible suspension of its No Child Left Behind waiver, which could badly jeopardize the state’s funding priorities.

        As far as your question. I think what we need is to use technology to supplement teachers in the education and tracking of kids’ education. If the technology finds kids need more help they should be able to get it and if they can work ahead they should have the chance to do that.

        That’s just my vision. There are probably other ways to improve education. I think we have to teach every kid to their ability to learn. A one size fits all federal plan MIGHT be good for the union teachers but it’s bad for the kids and bad for America.

        • Nought

          But we don’t live in Indiana…or at least I don’t. I’m talking about North Dakota, a state which as to now, to my knowledge has taken no money, decided on the state level on its own terms, by an overwhelmingly Republican and by most standards conservative legislature to implement the Common Core standard.

          Nothing in common core prevents exactly what you are talking about, in fact I agree, great idea. Get this law making body to fund and put it in place. Lets make North Dakota the intellectual center of the Midwest. I’d love it.

          • The Whistler

            Um, Indiana dropped common core and the federal government is threatening to take away their funding. So yes, we do take federal money and if Indiana is anything to go by the feds might take away our money if we don’t get along.

            I don’t care WHAT party adopted common core.

            The common core was sold as a just standards. In fact if you read the department of education’s (ND) website they make it out to be just that. But if you talk to your schools they are doing workshops and are getting new books to deal with the NEW ways of teaching.

            Don’t forget, I started this thread with saying I think we need reform in education. But if they aren’t transparent about it then you have to wonder why?

            When did the debate to adopt common core happen? I don’t remember it coming up until after it was a done deal.

          • Nought

            No money has been taken from Indiana though right? Waivers for no child left behind would be removed if a set of college ready standards weren’t adopted by the state.

            I had a bunch more but honestly what’s the point of the back and forth. My guess is that you haven’t read the standards you are against them in principle so no matter if they are actually better for the state or our kids you will oppose them on principle.

            I’m for common core because teachers and administrators who are my family and friends are for it. They are experts in education covering the entire gambit of the political spectrum from Looney Liberal sister to concealed carrying confidant. They all agree it’s better than what we have. I trust them more than I trust some guy hawking home school educational programs to augment his income. To each their own.

            With that I bow out you can have the last word.

          • JoeMN

            So your defense of Common Core is to adopt it solely for the money, then ignore it ?
            Please note that the same Federal government controlling the purse strings now, can (and will) eventually force Indiana to abide by CC standards.

          • Nought

            Actually, that isn’t even close to my “defense” of common core.

            My defense is that it is a better standard then the current state standard. I have verified this with family members who are teachers and admin in the state who’s judgement I trust.

            When I write a specification, I use a standard. It might get tweaked slightly based on conditions but it’s 99 percent the same from job to job. If I find a new better standard I adopt it. I don’t spend the time and resources to rewrite, test, litigate standard that available. It doesn’t make sense.

            The reality is 90 percent of the complaints about common core are ideological fear mongering. There are a few issues, but nothing worth not adopting these standards in nd. They might not be right everywhere but this is where I live.

            Is my position more clear?

          • JoeMN

            Yes it is.
            You accept that Common Core is the best you can do, and are so sure of Common Core that you willingly accept federal government arm twisting by way of withholding of federal funds
            And any push back is wholesale dismissed as “ideological fearmongering”
            Meanwhile it “just doesn’t make sense” to try to do better than a top down one size fits all states model of of public education.

            My view ?
            If Minnesota can do better in math standards, it can do better all around.

            It “doesn’t make sense” for North Dakota taxpayers to fund a Department of Public Instruction that does not have the will to produce world class public school graduates on it’s own.
            Is it any wonder NDUS looks outward for quality freshmen students ?

            To me Common Core is a classic example of the tail wagging the dog.
            Here we have a group of supposed top quality professionals who are charged with teaching our kids to learn from the local level on up..
            Instead they themselves seem content to line up and follow along with nationalized instruction.

          • Nought

            I agree with you, I do think common core is probably the best standard you are going to get in north dakota.

            Here is an easy, cheap solution coop Minnesota’s math standard. We could have done that 10 years ago. There is no genuine desire for excellence. Good enough is good enough is all too often the case.

            Who cares who developed the standard? If they developed this exact stand independently in the state and no one ever heard of common core people would be falling all over themselves at what a great job they did. It is 100 percent the source and not the material that people are complaining about.

            This standard is not perfect, but it is better than what we had and it’s better than what we will likely get if we opt out which is what we had before.

            I’m not trying to change your mind, that would be futile. I’m just making my point.


          • Waski_the_Squirrel

            I agree with this. I would have no problem at all with North Dakota borrowing Minnesota’s math standards. (I don’t know enough about their language arts standards to have an opinion on that.)

            I support Common Core because it’s better than what we have, and I think Minnesota’s is close enough in quality to Common Core that I could accept it.

          • Nought

            They might lose waivers if they don’t set minimum college ready standards which apparently they are concerned they don’t have. So fix your state standards and no waivers lost. What’s the issue?

            Just curious have you been involved in evaluating the previous changes in nd standards intimatey? Have you even read them? Have you read and evaluated common core? There is a lot of grinding of teeth by a lot of people who have never seen a state standard before. I have read them all btw and discussed them with family and friends who are teachers and administration. People o know and trust across the entire p o political spectrum. I’m comfortable with what I know.

            Anyway you get the last word. Enjoy!

          • JoeMN

            So fix your state standards and no waivers lost. What’s the issue?
            So it actually IS this same federal government which holds the purse strings (and doles out student loans and grants) that will indeed be defining college readiness standards, rather than the colleges themselves.

            Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

          • Nought

            Student loans and grants are given based on financial need. Did you go to college? Or maybe someone paid for it for you?

            I’m glad I could educate you further.

          • Lynn Bergman

            Overwhelmingly Republican, yes… Conservative, not quite… 2/3 (RepubliCrats) of the 2/3 that are Republican, or 4/9 (just under one half) are “selfish” conservatives, not “selfless conservatives”, leaving 5/9 big spenders (from both parties) in charge… THAT is the problem right now. Voters need to pay more attention to how their legislators vote AND not expect special interest handouts or very SOON North Dakota will be in the same fiscal mess as the US. That is why our governor is directing that submitted budgets restrain from excessive spending; no-one would want to be remembered as being the guy that was driving the train when ag and energy dried up at the same time and the train went over the cliff…

  • DelawareBeachHouse

    From The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel profile of Pesta. Geez, the John Birch Society. Some good fact-checking:
    Critics accuse him of making statements about the nationwide academic standards that are inflammatory, inaccurate or just plain absurd — such as his claim that a national sex education standard is coming.

    They also contend the national profile that the professor has gained poses a conflict of interest because he has a side business touting an alternative to Common Core for families who home school their children.

    Pesta moonlights as academic director for FreedomProject Education, an online school registered in Wisconsin.The curriculum for home-schooled students is “rooted firmly in Judeo-Christian values” and offers “a complete classical education for students from kindergarten through high school, free from public school spin and Common Core indoctrination,” according to its website. In that capacity, he is affiliated with the American Opinion Foundation, the nonprofit arm of the John Birch Society.

    Read more from Journal Sentinel:

    • Rob

      I should note that I’m not necessarily defending Pesta.

      I’m just not sure the way the DPI is going about rebutting him is kosher. If there are things the public should know about him, why not just say that out in the open?

      Secret email addresses and condescending radio interviews aren’t going to help.

      • DelawareBeachHouse

        No argument from me.

        Elsewhere: High school seniors’ performance in mathematics and reading has stagnated since 2009, according to a new round of results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

        • SCates

          Maybe reconsider edweek as a source. Like everbody else involved in this CCSS…bought and paid for by Bill Gates.

          “The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation supports coverage of the education industry and K-12 innovation in Education Week and on, and provides capacity-building support for Editorial Projects in Education,Education Week’s nonprofit parent company”. –

          • DelawareBeachHouse

            OK. Here’s the actual NAEP results:

            National average scores from the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) did not change from 2009. Among the 11 volunteer pilot states that participated in both the 2009 and 2013 assessments, 4 made gains from 2009 in mathematics and 2 made gains in reading.

      • Nought

        Although I’m pro common core or At least anti-anti common core based on political ideological over educational reasons, I couldn’t agree more with you. This does not help their cause. The DPI should be above this as a state institution.

    • whowon

      and your point? Less government, more responsibility? He has given a talk over 160 times across the US already.

      • whowon

        We aren’t talking about KKK…

        • DelawareBeachHouse

          Look. They’re kooks. If you want to effect educational reform, do not associate yourselves with them.

    • sundshine

      Yes, there are critics of Dr. Pesta. This is not news. There are parents, teachers, administrators and citizens critical of COMMON Core in nearly every state that adopted it. They are being criticized, too. Go to the New York Times and read their informative articles. So what if Dr. Pesta moonlights at FreedomProject. This is character assassination. I read the article you referenced long ago. Read Dr. Pesta’s Rate my Professor comments by students!!

    • Lynn Bergman

      The “National Sexuality Education Standards” of 2012 are here… take a look!

  • Opinionated
    • DelawareBeachHouse

      Would be skeptical of arguments mounted in The New American. It’s the magazine of the John Birch Society, the paranoid organization that believed Dwight Eisenhower was an active agent of the communist conspiracy. That said, I often do find items of interest in it.

      • Amanda P.

        The JBS was also the only org that identified Castro as a communist while our own government was promoting him as a freedom fighter committed to democracy. Go figure. After 50 years, it should be clear that JBS has been correct all along.

  • Guest

    Newsflash: People using Google mail for their professional organization can create any domain they would like as to not be harassed by anti-Common Core nuts who stalk and accuse you of being a socialist.

  • Alan J. Scholl

    I think perhaps Rep. Mike Nathe and the DPI in ND are using Common Core math… or making things up as they go along. Here is a quote from the article and email above: “a FreedomProject homeschool online education package can cost more than $30,000…”

    The FPE website, Program Guide, promotional flyer, and all the information on every single piece of material that has ever been printed, published, advertised, promoted etc. for the last five years regarding FPE tuition and costs all consistently quote the BASE ANNUAL TUITION OF $1,600….

    Here’s the live link to the enrollment page at FPE:

    This $1,600 even disregards the fact that nearly every single family qualifies and has qualified for 5-20% discounts for things like loyalty/returning students, introductory offers, early bird registration, conference discounts, etc.

    Even after adding the $100 Technology/registration fee, and tacking on the books/materials at between $150- $350 full retail maximum, and assuming someone completely ignores discounts and sales/package deals on materials, the MOST anyone could possibly spend for a year at FPE – full retail, all costs included – could not POSSIBLY exceed $2,050…or about 1/15 of what Nathe and the DPI are telling people it costs. Interesting…

    Oh, and by the way, neither Dr. Pesta nor FPE receive a single penny from the Common Core talks and educational efforts in any state or venue, funds are always raised by local people, by passing the hat and by donations, and the only costs covered in any case are direct costs of travel.

    Perhaps this factual misrepresentation… or outright lie… is a good indication that concerned people should take what Nathe, and the DPI have to say about other issues… Like Common Core State Standards…. with an similar, VERY large dose of skepticism…

    Alan J. Scholl
    Executive Director
    FreedomProject Education

    • sundshine

      Thank you for the clarification. Well then, the $30,000 amount was a lie. Kirsten Baesler said on the radio (Jay Thomas Show) that DPI received 100,000 comments from North Dakota parents. Then, she dropped that number to the thousands. DPI plays fast and loose with the facts. Thank you, Alan Scholl for solid info on the facts of this matter.

      • RCND

        According to him, and he has more credibility at this point than she does, he only charges travel expenses. It is too easy to figure out if he is fibbing on that as well.

    • Nought

      Some said that he has given 190 of these speeches, if that’s so, and he averages $1000 sale for each one, that’s not too shabby of a return for a little time.

      Maybe he sells more, maybe less I have no idea my numbers are wildly speculative, but regardless he isn’t ding it out of the goodness of his heart is safe to say. I’m certain it wouldn’t happen if the payoff wasn’t worth it.

      • sundshine

        Some individuals are motivated by principle. But you wouldn’t understand that. You only see $$$$. Sad.

        • Nought

          It seems a bit presumptuous to know what I would or wouldn’t understand don’t you think?

          Maybe I spoke too soon. You might not know me at all.

      • Alan Scholl

        Dr. Pesta gets and has gotten absolutely NOTHING for ANY of these talks. Period. I know that most humanists and leftists seem to have trouble understanding principled people, but this is a non-profit…. And the finances are an open book. Stop inventing fallacies to support what you wish was the case… Or worse, extrapolating what would motivate YOU onto other, morally motivated people.

        • Nought

          Double post.

          Btw, what’s an honorarium? I see it listed on your guys speaking engagements. I don’t have a mba from the univ of Phoenix so it’s a little over my head.

        • Nought

          Ok give me your email and I’ll send you my contact info so you can a copy of FreedomProject Educations financials. I’ll let you know everything I need when we talk.

          Btw I think it’s stupid you aren’t capitalizing, you must be some kind of socialist hippy who puts ideals ahead of business. In north dakota we’re capitalists son, so you should probably stay in Wisconsin in your little cheese eating commune and leave the big time to people who know what’s happening.

          Outside interests sending in some Shakespeare university professor telling us how to run our states education department Pft how east coast ivy league of you.

          They always think they know what’s best for us, like we are some rubes off the farm who can’t run our i own state.

          Wake up people

  • SCates

    While I look a little askance at thing like Rate My
    Professors it is interesting that at:

    Dr. Pesta is rated by 95 students on a scale of 0-5 as;

    4.7 for quality, helpfulness, and clarity while he only gets
    1.9 for easiness.

    I believe he as been a professor of Renaissance Literature
    (PhD Purdue) for over 20 years at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. So….since
    he is in the English Department, and based on the idea of associative guilt by
    contact with the other staff of that department…..he must be a leftist!

    • Nought

      He actually is a strict Catholic I believe and was fired from his job in Pennsylvania in 2002 for being tough to work with, he went to Lafayette after and then wi off the top of my head.

      Students seem to love him everywhere.

      Btw as someone left of center Ty for associating me with being tough smart and clear

      • whowon

        LOL, I believe…you are too much.

  • toomuchguvmint

    Even George Will can figure it out, but Baesler is not up to speed or is progressive liberal, or both. . “This is a thin end of an enormous wedge of federal power that will be wielded for the constant progressive purpose of concentrating power in Washington so that it can impose continental solutions to problems nationwide,” George Will

    “The advocates of the Common Core say, if you like local control of your schools, you can keep it, period. If you like your local curriculum you can keep it, period, and people don’t believe them for very good reasons,” George Will

  • yy4u2

    Which came first? The Dept of Education, teachers’ union, standardized testing, etc or the decline of the ameriKan student’s standing in the world?

    • sundshine

      Great question!

  • sundshine

    I wish all states could agree that we need to get the federal government out of education and testing. The department of Ed should be reduced by 80%. Take away their budget. Starve the beast. No Child Left Behind is hated by everyone with its testing and ratings and unfair practices. Common Core is No Child Left Behind on SPEED. Maybe Common Core will be the nail in the coffin of federal control of education. I hope so. It underscores how federal control is manipulative, deceptive, and unworkable. States can have a consortium of loose standards with unlimited freedom in how to teach those standards, with no federal government breathing down anyone’s neck. This is essential for success in education in America.

  • somebodysomewhere

    Not surprised. She has a history of deceit. Can’t change your true colors.

  • LTRJ

    As a delegate, I deeply regret supporting her – not directly because of this article but because she champions Common Core. Seeing that someone she has hired is using a gmail account in an attempt to circumvent ND open records laws is even worse. I will give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that she didn’t know Wetzel was doing this but it doesn’t matter at this point; I have lost all respect for her.

    • RCND

      I hold them both accountable for the email fiasco. She because the electorate has given her a position of trust, and yet she failed to set the right climate in her office supportive of integrity and transparency. He because he did it, and because as a former journalist who has used transparency laws in his favor, he should know better

      • sundshine

        Well-said. Perfectly put and logical. Thank you.

      • LTRJ

        That’s an excellent way to lay it out and I agree completely.

    • Nought

      You lost all respect for her although you’re giving her the benefit of the doubt and assuming she had no way of knowing?

      I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt that you didn’t know she wouldn’t know, thus I’ve lost all respect for you.

      • LTRJ

        Can you read? I said quite specifically that I have lost respect for her because of her support of Common Core; not because of this situation, although the recent revelations about this certainly don’t help her case any.

        • Nought

          I can read, your paragraph was poorly structured.

          Don’t worry I don’t know you so I never really had any respect for you to lose.

    • happyhappyhappy

      Interesting, were you on the resolutions committee? Dale painted the R state convention as a sloppy process .. Curious if you supported the resolution against Common Core?

      • RCND

        First she was given a letter of support (since the office is non-partisan) during the 2012 convention. Dale’s comments applied to the 2014 convention regarding resolutions. The party sorta forgot to vote on resolutions in 2012… another story. For him to claim the 2014 process was sloppy makes me think he didn’t attend the convention.

        In talking to delegates who participated in that process, they spent around 10 hours going through all recommended resolutions with a fine tooth comb. They had a couple phone conferences before the conference to do the same thing. Apparently there was a LOT of debate (thus the amount of time), and the final product reflected that debate. There was also a separate group that worked very hard on the Common Core resolution.

        There was criticism from Dale that the packet was sloppy. In checking I found that the committee was more worried about getting the draft done as soon as they could so it could be made available to delegates on the party website and in hard copy. Cleanup happened later after the convention. The cleaned up version is now on their website

        So, this guy is full of hot air

        • happyhappyhappy

          Thank you for clarification… After again listening to the audio, I would agree full of hot air.

      • LTRJ

        I did support the Resolution against Common Core. I’m not sure what was sloppy about the R state convention – I thought it went very well.

  • happyhappyhappy

    Maybe through SAB we will start to see some transparency in this state, it will be interesting to continue to watch it unfold. Teachers in other states get it- market based reforms, high stakes testing not the correct way to reform education. “The policies of Common Core have been misguided, unworkable, and a serious failure of implementation. At no time in the history of education reform have we witnessed the ideological ambitions of policymakers result in such a profound disconnect with the experiences of parents, teachers, and children”.

  • Waski_the_Squirrel

    Civility and honesty are important to any discussion. With all the misinformation out there about the Common Core, it would be too bad if the DPI undermines itself correcting this misinformation by allowing employees to behave in a less than civil or open manner. The debate is already so emotionally charged and this will add fuel to the fire, and it will have absolutely nothing to do with the Common Core itself.

    If Common Core ends up being removed in this state, it should be after an honest look at its merits and faults (with a superior replacement, not a promise). It should not occur because Common Core proponents assisted the opponents in their own demonization.

    I’ve been in education long enough to see a few fads. My fear now is that North Dakota will jump on the anti-Common Core fad without having a superior replacement in place. I fear that Common Core will be dropped with only a promise that something better will be created and we will end up with the same kind of thing we have now. I support Common Core because it is better than what we have now.

    Show me better standards, and I will support them. Don’t ask me to throw out something which is superior to what exists just on a promise that state teachers can create better. So far, we have not.

    • Nought

      You’re my common core hero

    • sundshine

      So Common Core is not a Fad Waski? Common Core is the fad–it involves date mining, advertising corporate products to children in CC tests, teaching to the test, social indoctrination of children, federal files on each child’s abilities, psychology, parents’ political affiliation, etc. The standards are meant to draw people like you in, brain wash you about what Common Core is–just a set of standards–and then get you to do the bidding for the federal government take over of education. You’ve fallen for the bait. Are you here to tell me you, as a teacher in ND, couldn’t help put some rigorous standards in place? Be a leader. Step up and tell DPI that you will work on rigorous state standards in ND. You can have the standards you want, but get off your duff and work for them them.

      • RCND

        Don’t suggest that. We would probably end up with a better program and smarter kids. Not fair to the rest of the country. We all have to be the same

      • Nought

        You have obviously done a lot of research on common core and feel passionately. Can you please source all of these accusations about it? They are some pretty serious deficiencies and if they are true they should be brought to light for everyone to read. It would be great if you could help us all out and link the fundamental resources where we can read about the data mining, social indoctrinating, advertising, the entire litiny.

        Please no blogs or the blaze kinds of links but fundamental resources would be awesome.

        Thank you so much!

        • sundshine

          I trust you are an adult. I have spent nearly four years researching Common Core. You can do the same. Who has time to try to educate you, an adult, who can read the New York Times, education journals, union publications, additional newspapers, etc. Go out and do secondary and primary research. You will find everything I referenced in my post. Start with yesterday’s article in the New York Times on New York Public school’s response to Common Core testing, which references the built-in ads in the tests. Have fun. This is a great research project for you. If you don’t read widely, you should. That way you will stay informed. You will be amazing at what you will find if you become a critical reader.

          • Nought

            So basically, no it’s not available. Gotcha.

            Btw, I couldn’t find them either.

          • sundshine

            You are a lazy one.

          • Nought

            You know me already any we just met:)

            Here we go, since you weren’t able to find anything to back you up I thought I’d help. It’s not 4 years of research, more like 14 minutes but here you go:

            it involves date mining – Data mining is not legally allowed

            The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 2008, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation amending the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Education Reform Sciences Act of 2002, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) prohibit the creation of a federal database with students’ personally identifiable information (i.e., information such as SSN).
            o Section 113 of HEOA: “Except as described in subsection (b) [relating to systems necessary for operations of specified Higher Education Act programs and previously in use by the Department], nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize the development, implementation, or maintenance of a Federal database of personally identifiable information on individuals receiving assistance under this Act, attending institutions receiving assistance under this Act, or otherwise involved in any studies or other collections of data under this Act, including a student unit record system, an education bar code system, or any other system that tracks individual students over time.”
            o Section 9531 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act :”Nothing in this Act (other than section 1308(b) [relating to a migrant record system] shall be construed to authorize the development of a nationwide database of personally identifiable information on individuals involved in studies or other collections of data under this Act.”
            o Section 182 of the Education Sciences Reform Act: “NATIONAL DATABASE- Nothing in this title may be construed to authorize the establishment of a nationwide database of individually identifiable information on individuals involved in studies or other collections of data under this title.”
            o Section 616 of IDEA: “(ii) Rule of construction.–Nothing in this title shall be construed to authorize the development of a nationwide database of personally identifiable information on individuals involved in studies or other collections of data under this part.”
            • The federal government is authorized to publicly report specific aggregate-level data only.
            • Federal law prohibits the reporting of aggregate data that could allow individuals to be identified.
            • The federal government does not have access to the student-level information housed in state data systems.


            Advertising corporate products to children in CC test – sort of true, brand names appeared in one test but apparently were not paid product placements.

            Representatives of the New York State Education Department and Pearson, the education publishing giant with a $32 million five-year contract to develop New York’s tests, said the companies did not pay for the exposure.

            “There are no product placement deals between us, Pearson or anyone else,” said Tom Dunn, an Education Department spokesman. “No deals. No money. We use authentic texts. If the author chose to use a brand name in the original, we don’t edit.”

            Pearson spokeswoman Stacy Skelly said neither the company nor the education department received any compensation for the mentions. And if any brand comes up in a passage, she said, “the trademark symbol is included in order to follow rights and permission laws and procedures.”

            Nike and Wrigley, the maker of Life Savers, said they were unaware they were mentioned on the tests. Other companies declined to comment or did not return messages.

            Some advertising experts said the idea of product placement on a test is inappropriate and fraught with peril.

            “If any brand did try to place there, what they would lose from the outrage would surely trump any exposure they got,” said Michal Ann Strahilevitz, a marketing professor at Golden Gate University.
            Kelly O’Keefe, a marketing professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, said he is a fan of brands, but there are places where they don’t belong.

            “Education, religion and civic life are places where brands are unwelcome,” O’Keefe said. “It would be wise for Pearson to avoid using brands in their testing even if they’re not paid for by the brand itself.”
            Others endorsed the position of New York state educators — that brand names belong on the tests because they are part of the world students inhabit.

            “Brands are part of our lives,” said Allen Adamson, managing director of the New York brand consulting firm Landor Associates. “To say they don’t belong in academia is unrealistic.”


            teaching to the test – possibly but that really can’t be controlled and really has nothing to do with common core, any standard that is verified with a test could be taught to. The ACT has preparatory classes. Do you really want to start to tell teachers how to teach?

            social indoctrination of children, federal files on each child’s abilities, psychology, parents’ political affiliation, etc. The standards are meant to draw people like you in, brain wash you about what Common Core is–just a set of standards–and then get you to do the bidding for the federal government take over of education.- no evidence of this anywhere.

            Who’s lazy now?

          • sundshine

            Very good. I applaud you. So you agree with me then.

          • Nought

            That I’m lazy yup you got me.

            That teaching to a test is possible but not proven and really if there is a test regardless of the standard that is going to occur, we can agree on that right?

            Ads in one test? Kinda but not really, ads denote something that was paid or battered for placement. I agree that product names should be removed. Its east to do that.

            The rest, which is really the important stuff don’t you agree? Pretty much flat wrong.

            So you’re about 25% correct. Its an F for sure but not a total fail. And you did get me on being lazy kudos.

            Maybe you we can catch up on Saturday when I’m running the marathon.

          • sundshine

            Good luck with the marathon. Stay hydrated!! No heart attacks.

      • Waski_the_Squirrel

        I have the standards I want. I was leery of Common Core until I actually read the standards and compared them with the existing standards in North Dakota. Perfect, no. But far better than what we had.

        I usually don’t accuse people who disagree with me of being brain washed. I firmly believe two intelligent people can look at the same facts and come to different conclusions about what can be done about them. When we resort to name calling or insults we essentially say that the opposing view was not reached through reason and research and is not worth listening to.

        I have actually helped write standards. Do you know why the science standards do such a terrible job with evolution? Because of fear that the public wouldn’t accept actual science. Do you know why the science standards have the ridiculous categories that aren’t actual branches of science? Neither do I. We were told that they were written in stone and we had to work with them. The whole process of writing standards in North Dakota convinced me that this state isn’t interested in rigorous standards. So, I have, in your words gotten off my duff and worked for better standards. I’m in there as an author and went away frustrated because all I could say was that what we created was less bad than what was before.

        Now Common Core is here, and it is better than what the state created. So, why would I fight something better? I like the Common Core. Its opponents aren’t offering me an alternative and I have no real reason to fight something I see as an improvement.

        As for all the rest about data mining or federal files and social indoctrination, I haven’t seen evidence for that. I’ve seen articles that cast aspersions on some of the people involved in Common Core or somehow linked to it, but not actual evidence. The social indoctrination isn’t in the standards and existed long before the standards. Both political sides have been doing it. Where is the actual evidence that it’s Common Core. I’ve seen horrible worksheets and projects that are clearly political indoctrination. They may even bear the name “Common Core” but the political part isn’t from the standards. It is an individual school or teacher. These same materials existed before the Common Core. I remember looking at them in my education classes in college and seeing them in the news. I even remember “values clarification” when I was in school. It is not new, and it is not part of Common Core.

        I posted a link explaining the product placement last night in a response to you. It made sense to me. I’m sorry if you don’t accept that explanation. I know that I’m working on a novel with some religious content. If it is ever published, and someone wanted to use it on a test, but censor out the religious stuff, I would refuse. My words, take or leave them. The authors of the passages used may have felt the same way, or the creators of the tests may have felt that changing the source text was wrong.

        • sundshine

          Your are a smart person. You’ve seen horrible worksheets that are indoctrination. That is your cue. You do not want to see the evidence for data mining. Do you read the New York Times or Wall Street Journal? Lots of articles online on these topics–two in the last 2 weeks. I compared the old and new English standards. The new ones are far too abstract. No matter–this should be up to the states. I am totally opposed to federal control of education. Period. That is where we differ. I don’t remember seeing the product post. Will look for it.

        • JoeMN

          The whole process of writing standards in North Dakota convinced me that this state isn’t interested in rigorous standards.


          And this alone is the very reason our public schools are in shambles

          No national standards, Common Core or otherwise stands a chance in such a toxic environment.
          Remember that this is the same state that claims for itself the mantle of responsibility for the education of every single child.
          Yet they can’t even arrive at an acceptable level of standards to insure these kids are competitive ?
          It would seem that some educrats in your state need to learn first hand the history of tar and feathers.
          However don’t bother look to Common Core for a solution.

          It simply is not living up to the much advertized results.

          • Waski_the_Squirrel

            They haven’t been in place very long, and hardly long enough to have much impact one way or the other.

            And I wouldn’t lay the blame entirely on the people you call “educrats.” There is plenty of blame that belongs to parents, teachers, and schools. We live in a society that values the idea of education, but not the actual act of education. Sadly, this is a nationwide problem.

          • JoeMN

            There is plenty of blame that belongs to parents, teachers, and schools.
            This is true.
            It’s interesting that advocates of CC invoke the educational success of places such as Korea, when the real difference here is a society that places an extremely high value on education.
            Locally, I get plenty of one on one face time with the school board when I attend meetings to suggest changes to class scheduling curriculum, finances, or other boring stuff.
            But extra curricular activities are another matter entirely.
            Then board meetings suddenly become standing room only.

            With that being said, I stand by my assertion that blame for ND’s poor state standards lie at the feet of those at the state level who lack the fortitude to improve them.
            The question isn’t whether ND can do better than CC
            Rather it’s “why don’t they” ?
            Taxpayers should be demanding a refund

          • Waski_the_Squirrel

            Right now we have a superior set of standards. If North Dakota decided to write its own, it would cost a $200 stipend per day per author, motel costs, food costs, mileage costs, the cost of substitute teachers in the schools giving up a teacher (anywhere from $80 to $120 per day), the cost of an external editor, and the cost of facilities to do the project. If the state is serious about good standards, this isn’t something to be done in just a few days.

            One of the mistakes made in North Dakota’s standards writing process was a lack of time or good guidance. Time was a matter of saving money. The rest was a matter of “the blind leading the blind.” I know what could be done better, but would it? The standards would need to go through several drafts and, to be done well, this should take two or more years. Not daily work, of course, but regular work. I think it could be done in the summers (which would save on substitutes).

            But the cost… Is it really worth it? We can see what has happened in Indiana. The standards produced had better be superior. As I said, I’m not convinced they would be. The Common Core standards are good standards. Is it worth the cost to the taxpayer right now to attempt to write new ones? What I fear is that the legislature will jump on the anti-Common Core bandwagon, scrap the Common Core, leave schools in limbo while DPI scrambles to write new standards, and we’ll end up with inferior standards. That’s why I want to see the alternative before anyone scraps the Common Core.

            There are plenty of people spouting off about how Common Core dumbs kids down and turns them into “Obamabots.” But, I wonder how many of these people have actually set the documents side by side and actually compared them. Usually if I ask about this, the argument turns into politics or else the other person telling me about things which aren’t even part of the Common Core. And this has been my biggest frustration.

      • tomorrowclear

        This “fad” has been going on for a long time. Interestingly, it’s usually been people of the right-wing persuasion calling for all sorts of standardized tests to ensure kids are making progress and teachers are competent. They especially love the latter. Now, in the midst of mass derangement syndromes, we have gullible dunces following a pied piper of conspiratorial nonsense named “Duke” to the tune of “The Government is Out to Get You.”

        I’ve been through Common Core training. Why don’t you tell us about the CC training sessions you’ve attended and all the malevolent machinations at work?

        • sundshine

          You go first tomorrowclear. In 2,000 words or less describe your Common Core training. I’m interested.

          • tomorrowclear

            Rather boring. Uneventful. CC is simply a new set of standards. Any teacher worth his or her salt can create imaginative lessons that fall within the standards. The ones who claim CC hamstrings them in planning are either lazy or incompetent.

            Like much of what is happening in the public sector, it is driven by what is happening in our corporate sector. Our corporate sector long ago fell in love with “metrics” and “data” to determine who is doing a good job and who isn’t. The public sector lagged behind, thankfully, but it has now infected the education system.

            Now, have you actually attended a training session?

          • sundshine

            My training is from my union newsletters, the New York Times, education journals, including a Bill Ayers piece, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, among many other publications. I’ve looked at CC textbooks and worksheets and compared English LArts standards with old standards. An actual session for teachers? No. I teach at a higher level, so I’m not admitted to those sessions. But once again, some of the standards are fine. I am opposed to the new materials used to teach the standards. The CC standards in Eng LA aretoo often abstract and vague. Regarding CC math, lack of materials is a problem, according to my tax account, her high schooler does not have a math book under CC. The worksheets are dismal. And the problems are so confusing a tax accountant can’t help her own son with his lessons. This is a common problem with CC in every state that is using it. Parents are not given resources to help with homework. The worksheet problems are confusing. Etc. But you said NOTHING about your training.

          • tomorrowclear

            Training mostly consisted of practice designing curriculum based off of these standards along with the conceptual framework behind the standards.

            You apparently don’t know this, but a teacher need not use those worksheets you mention. Not unless a principal requires it. If that’s so, the chances are high that the principal required teachers to do the same things long before CC. That is a problem with the administration and local officials, not CC and not the feds. Teachers who claim that standards force them to “teach to the test” are generally the unimaginative ones. You will not find a single competent principal who would require a teacher to use those worksheets in spite of a more imaginative lesson that still incorporates those concepts. Part of the problem, and I’ve said this for awhile, is that we hire school administrators in the public and private sector, based upon their education experience and not their experience managing people. If we did the latter, we would solve a lot of problems. Unfortunately, many of those principals and superintendents were bad teachers, which is part of the reason they decided to become administrators and no longer teach.

          • Waski_the_Squirrel

            This is exactly right. Bad materials have always existed and always will. A lot of the discussion on Common Core would be so much more useful if the discussion centered around what is actually in it.

          • tomorrowclear

            You could bet the farm most of these people have read none of the standards. One idiot was on the radio the other day claiming ND only did this to get federal dollars, which they haven’t. The person heard some loon on the radio or somewhere else say it, so it must be true. They have no skepticism, no common sense, no ability to discern who is likely to be telling the truth and who is trying to sell them something.

    • Opinionated

      Have you ever heard of the metric system…that was a complete failure. How many kids suffered needlessly and wasted solid years of math with this educational whim? If the purpose is to make us all the same smart, it will fail because my kids come from a two parent family, who provides them with life experience, watches the news as a family and have discussions over the kitchen table… So my kids will know more and there is not a dam thing you can do about it. We have library cards and are not afraid to use them

  • cherj

    Facts on Common Core at Jimmy Swaggert site; they have a cd/dvd of panel that was on Frances and Friends; and new book out ‘Conform’ by Glenn Beck that has several references. Michelle Malkin has also written a lot about it.

  • Ratbite

    It’s about time for the recall petitions to start circulating so we can get this LYING lib out of the DPI ASAP!!

    • DelawareBeachHouse

      Assuming you have children, are you satisfied with the rigorousness, the challenges, of their K-12 education? In my view, Common Core is a legitimate effort to raise the sadly too, too low standards of education in the United States. It’s a good response to the Lake Woebegone syndrome.

      Spare me the spite and political venom. Tell me how we make things better.

  • schreib

    I am very disappointed with Baesler. Common core is not for North Dakota. I have been seeing some of the BS math and the very biased science and social studies reading material. The gop platform is against it and the more we learn about it the more folks are opposed. There was NO input from the public on this. It is time for a referendum on this

    • Nought

      Here are some 6th grade common core math questions, they seem tougher than I remember for 6th grade but perfectly reasonable to me.

    • sundshine

      Baesler said she received 100,000 responses from the public on Common Core on the Jay Thomas show two days ago. Then, she walked to the number back to a few thousand. UFFDA. The lies!!

      • whowon

        when we we see this fake survey? Dale said he would send it to Jay! Oops…the survey they did provide shows 134 teachers and 4 parents…

  • schreib

    COMMIE CORE. That’s all it is. I am glad I was educated the old way where one saw results in education. The 3 R’s and a good dose of American History minus the PC

    • tomorrowclear

      Our school system utterly failed you.

      I’m looking forward to your brilliant response that invokes socialism, Obama, how the federal government has oppressed you in the last week and a bit about “RINOs” like Baesler. It’s kind of amusing how often you folks apparently get bamboozled by these characters, isn’t it?

      • schreib

        I have a number of kids in school. I am a product of the Minnesota school system in the 60’s and 70’s, I had excellent teachers that challenged us and wanted us to think for ourselves. My childrens’ teachers hate it and many teachers are afraid to say anything out of fear. I have read many materials my kids have brought home and have seen many references in a negative light of our founding fathers about “rich white men” or about how anthropomorphic climate change is fact. Their math does not teach the most expedient ways to multiply, add or divide. They make them draw stupid circles. And many reading lessons are highly inappropriate for their ages dealing with sexual content, and homosexuality and the like. I am a practicing nurse for 38 years and I have a double major in political studies, and MId- East South Asian studies.

        • Nought

          That is your local school system and has nothing to do with common core. If you have an issue to u should be talking to your principal or schooling board.

          By the way, they kinda were rich white men weren’t they?

          • schreib

            Not all. And many folks don’t know that a number of African American people owned their own slaves. After all our nation came out of a monarchy. And common core IS federal control of education. And it is through common core that they will try and indoctrinate rather than educate. Common core needs to go.

          • Nought

            The founding fathers really refers to the signers of the declaration of independence, don’t you think. I think most people associate those terms together.

            Clearly not every settler was rich and white.

          • tomorrowclear

            You’re priceless. Yes, that’s an important fact we should impart to our youngsters to appease people like you, that some black Americans had black slaves. Would you care to explain why you think that is important? You people almost make it too easy sometimes.

          • schreib

            Earlier generations built this country up. And folks like you, love to tear it down. And look at the mess we are in now due to lefty policies.

          • tomorrowclear

            Precisely, let’s make things up or, more importantly, ignore facts because it might hurt the feelings of people like you. It’s the same argument you geniuses use when I poke holes in your moronic religious beliefs. I’m supposed to stop doing it because your feelings get hurt. BTW, you didn’t answer my question: Should we talk about those things I mentioned or ignore them so your feelings don’t get hurt because I’ve disabused you again of your fairy tales? You couldn’t possibly be more insecure about your beliefs.

          • schreib

            You really need to be on meds. Liberals are so sensitive Geeese

          • tomorrowclear

            I do need to take my Prevacid, thanks for reminding me.

            I’m quite confident anyone with an IQ over room temperature can see from these last few posts who has taken offense and has avoided all pertinent questions.

          • sundshine

            You are a bully.

          • tomorrowclear

            Let me say this again: I don’t care that your feeling are hurt by words. If you cannot handle the words of an anonymous soul on the internet, then online forums probably aren’t for you. I’ve told this to numerous females like yourself whose feelings get hurt all too easily in places like this. That’s why these places are 90+% male.

            Instead of informing someone who doesn’t care how you feel about how you’ve been offended, why don’t you fashion some sort of response as to why we should not teach about genocide against American Indians, teach about the glaring contradictions among the “Founding Fathers,” about the realities of industrial capitalism and suppression of the freedoms of laborers? That would be much more of an intelligent contribution than registering your offense.

          • sundshine

            Oh dear. You really ARE a bully. Bullies don’t care about the feelings of others, only their own position. Scary stuff tc. Did you see the little girl from Fosston crying because of her bullies. I suppose you have no feelings for her? A good education in the humanities could help you. Why not sign up for a literature class? And why do you assume I am female?

          • schreib

            Well, it is history. NO sugar coating

          • tomorrowclear

            I don’t know anyone who would argue that it should never be uttered. The problem is that it’s insignificant and is only important to people who have issues with other races who use it to quite pathetically try to deflect some blame from whites 150 years ago for enslaving blacks. It’s the kind of thing that would get written in Texas academic standards but would get laughed at in any state where the average intelligence quotient of the population is above 85, which, of course leaves Texas out in the cold.

          • schreib

            Racism comes in All colors. I guess I am tired of the whole “evil white people” thing. Human beings all have their prejudices. The Aztecs sacrificed their enemies. One Indian tribe hated another. The Japanese slaughtered the Chinese, whom they believed inferior. ect, ect ect.

          • tomorrowclear

            Right, the enslavement of millions of blacks by whites is more or less comparable to the enslavement of a handful of blacks by other blacks. Well done.

            That is a fine strawman you’ve constructed. Tell me where precisely in our ND public schools, we have someone teaching that white people are evil. Give me the name of one public school teacher who teaches that. Just one. Now, how will you dodge fessing up to this latest bit of dishonesty you’ve regurgitated on the board?

            Notice, kids, that teaching students about what was actually done to Indians and blacks means teaching them “white people are evil.” Do you see how their simplistic little minds process things? I’ll bet “Duke” would approve of your message.

          • schreib

            Slavery has existed in history for thousands of years. And most of those slave masters were not white. And I never said that they teach that white men are evil. You are full of yourself

          • sundshine

            You go, Schreib. That is the truth.

          • tomorrowclear

            Stop confusing them. They’re on a nutball conspiratorial roll tonight. If they didn’t screw it up for the rest of us with this crap, I’d enjoy getting them even more worked up about this nonsense.

            I’m just waiting to hear how our blessed 2nd Amendment rights under assault fit into this diabolical plan by Big Brother and his accomplices like Baesler.

          • sundshine

            OK enough tc. You are getting way off topic. Genocide? What does that have to do with this subject? Rolling over the plains exterminating Natives was a sin. You know it and so does everyone on this board. No one condones that. So quit mixing Common Core with genocide. UFFDA already.

          • tomorrowclear

            Your fellow sinner introduced “PC history” into the debate. Don’t blame me when he supplies the rope to hang himself and I oblige.

        • tomorrowclear

          Others are ignorant enough to believe the nonsense you are trying to perpetuate, but, fortunately, some of us actually have experiences in modern classrooms and understand the BS you are spewing. If you desire fictional history that erases all those pesky things like genocidal policies against Indians, the protection of slavery by your demigod politicians of yesteryear and all the other stuff you want suppressed because it might hurt someone’s feelings, send them to one of the many religious nutball schools that start human history with Adam and Eve. You have never had a person teaching your kids about homosexuality in any context besides possibly a sex education class, which you have the power to remove your kids from if you so choose. Stop making things up. Even if this nonsense you’re claiming were true, you are free to send your kids to one of the nutball religious schools I mentioned where you rest assured your kids will dwell in blissful ignorance.

          • schreib

            YOU and folks like you are the intolerant ones. History is history. It is what it is. Even if PC clowns try and twist it into a narrative that fits into their view of their narrow world

          • tomorrowclear

            So, you would favor teaching about America’s genocidal policies, the inherent contradictions of your demigod politicians of yesteryear, the drudgery and dehumanization of the working classes during the rise of industrial capitalism and actual facts rather than fairy tales about how individual rights have been a cornerstone of this nation from the beginning and how there were more “freedoms” back then than there are now?

            Let me tell you something, dear about “political correctness.” Political correctness means an orthodoxy of thought with which you should not disagree. Put simply, it means things you say that you should not. That would be like when I say that our troops are not fighting for our freedoms. That’s a quintessential example of political correctness because it will inspire most of you and millions of others to take offense and tell me I shouldn’t be saying these things and how much it hurt peoples’ feelings. To nincompoops who get their knowledge from the AM dial and internet blogs, it means, “liberalism.”

          • tomorrowclear

            Should read, “That’s a quintessential example of political INCORRECTNESS.”

        • sundshine

          I’ve seen these highly inappropriate books. One advocates sado/masochistic sex for teens as normal. It’s just disgusting. I contacted DPI about this and Baesler thinks it’s just fine. She said something like: Common Core does not focus on content of literature. UFFDA. We need to fight this.

  • Mike Peterson

    What arrogance that an official on behalf of the public schools can accuse someone else of being motivated by money? As if the whole idea of treating our young people as a $$$ “pipeline” isn’t ironic enough? – Mike Peterson

    • sundshine

      Absolutely. This is the irony of irony. Advertise corporate products in the Common Core tests as was pointed out in the New York Times article about New York Common Core, but accuse Pesta of doing this for money. The absurdity belongs to Edward Albee.

  • tomorrowclear

    I would invite the non-loons reading this board to observe a recurrent pattern amongst the posters and the nincompoops calling in to the linked show: The persistent implication or outright complaint that the assessments are just too darn tough for our children. Mind you, these are the same geniuses complaining about how far our public school system has slipped. What was that phrase that Dubya’s speechwriter crafted…”The soft bigotry of low expectations?

    Don’t be fooled by their claims that this is all motivated by their desire to keep local control. If you think back, there was nowhere near this level furor coming from right-wingers back when NCLB was proposed.

    I wish some of you whose kids are long gone from school could observe many of the parents these days. It would all make sense very quickly.

  • schreib

    If they want to improve education, just look at an 8th grade final exam in order to enter High School from 1915. Most college educated folks would not be able to pass it with the dumbed down standards of today. Common core dumbs them down even more

  • Lynn Bergman

    FACTS from the Pesta talk this evening in Bismarck that I attended in the first row:
    1. Dr Pesta is an English PROFESSOR with online students in all 50 states and several foreign countries.

    2. His airfare and lodging were paid for,,, that’s it.

    3. The General Counsel of the US Dept of Ed. and his deputy resigned (or were fired?) after they told Arne Duncan that implementing Common Core was against the law.

    4. Indiana has backed out of Common Core.

    5. Occupy Wall Street has come out against Common Core.

    6. The NYEA had dumped Common Core.

    7. Florida had killing the testing provision.

    8. The Chicago Teachers Union headed by Karen Lewis has called for an end to Common Core.

    9. The 29 member privately selected review committee for Common Core has one excellent math expert and one excellent English expert on it, both of whom were registered Democrats and both of whom voted “no” on it’s revised version’s implementation.

    10. Arizona has four bills pending to end Common Core.

    11. Testimony has indicated extensive increases in psychological problems with students after implementing Common Core in NY, perhaps why they have dumped it…

    12. Some of the latest school buildings designed and constructed since Common Core’s implementation include on campus pharmacies to dispurse psychological drugs and morning after pills, among others.

    13. It is not a Democrat vs Republican Issue.
    I was as angry as I’ve ever been in my life after hearing what is happening to our country’s most precious resource, it’s innocent children, due to this mind controlling power grab… knowing that the intent HAD to be to “minimize the destructive content implementation” until AFTER individual states’ full acceptance of the “structure”, the “framework”, that was obviously intended to insure that no state would turn back the clock without severe repercussions, both economically and otherwise. What angers me most is to think how damaging the content will be in the future… This plot to dumb down America must end NOW! Ask a teacher who has worked under “No Child” or “Common Core” if you don’t believe this guy. Administrators, however, are riding a “gravy train” of pay increases so don’t be surprised that many support it.

    • whowon

      Nice summary! It was wonderful. The DPI crowd kept TRYING to smirk…it was becoming harder and harder as the night went on.

    • DelawareBeachHouse

      There is no greater conservative education reformer than Chester E. Finn, Jr., assistant secretary for education during the Reagan administration. He is a passionate — not paranoid — advocate for Common Core. Here’s his take on Peggy Noonan’s misguided column on the standards: “Almost, Peggy, But This Time Not Quite.”

      She’s right in many respects, but:

      “[She’s] not right to offer absolutely no alternative—unless, of course, she’s content with American K–12 education the way it is, which I know she isn’t.

      “And she’s not right to fail to note that the Common Core would have been—at least at this point in time—a sort of ambitious pilot program involving a smallish number of states that were serious about the implementation challenges, until the feds blundered into the middle of it with “incentives” that turned it into a sort of national piñata. (It does, however, remain absolutely voluntary for states, and I will shed no tears when those that don’t really want to put it into conscientious operation in their schools stop pretending that they will.)

      “And she’s not right to overlook how much of the pushback that she cites comes not from “harried parents,” but from formidable interest groups that really don’t want to change how they’ve always done things, whether or not such change would be good for kids or the country. I have in mind textbook publishers, test-makers, teacher unions, and political opportunists of every sort, lately and most prominently of the “tea party” persuasion, who will do and say anything to take down Obama and everything he’s for.”.

      • DelawareBeachHouse

        From Rob back in 2013….

        Despite High High School Graduation Rates, 28% Of ND College Students Need Remedial Classes

        “According to data obtained from the North Dakota University System, in fall of 2012 the freshman remediation rate (the number of incoming freshmen who had to take remedial classes to catch up to college-level courses) for the entire system was 27.7%, an increase from 23.1% in the fall of 2011.

        “The highest remediation rate in 2012 was Dakota College at Bottineau at 71%, the lowest was 12.75% at UND, but system-wide the rates are alarming.”


      • Waski_the_Squirrel

        The Fordham Foundation is a great resource on the Common Core and standards in general. The foundation has done a great job evaluating standards in all 50 states for many years.

  • Lynn Bergman

    From the National Sexuality Education Standards:

    ID.5.CC.1 Define sexual orientation as romantic attraction
    to an individual of the same gender or of a different gender

    Take a look… it gets even better!

    • DelawareBeachHouse

      This has nothing to do with Common Core State Standards. Read it, for goodness sake. It’s just the usual suspects among the liberal public health activists trying to get money for their cause. Your conflation shows how widely the Common Core is being misunderstood or misrepresented.

  • Uh, What?

    Who is John Galt?

  • sundshine

    Dale Wetzel sent the DPI mail on Dr. Pesta using personal email. I’m guessing he was told to do it by Baesler, but there is no proof yet. Please go to this link and comment!

    • whowon

      Just heard her on the radio…she did admit he did not follow protocol…said he didn’t do it from HER direction! Blew it off. She also said our standards are NOT Common Core, they are ND Standards BASED on CC! They keep digging their own grave. DPI website clearly has separate areas for the CC Math and ELA from the ND standards. Verbatim must be a word the DPI needs to understand. “The state of North Dakota has been invited to adopt the verbatim language and
      content of the Common Core State Standards in English language arts and
      mathematics. Adopting these Common Core State Standards as the state’s official
      content standards mean that the states next generation of content standards
      would contain the same rigorous college and career-ready standards as the
      majority of states nationwide. To adopt the Common Core Standards requires the
      state to not alter any actual Common Core Standards language, but would allow
      the state to include additional unique state standards or support language. If
      adoption were to occur, then assessment against the Common Core State Standards
      would be expected to begin in 2014.”

      • sundshine

        Thank you for the explanation of NC CC standards. This helps!!

  • blitherblather

    Where is Dale’s forwarding email address? You are just showing a email address which anyone could create. I could create an address at gmail using whatever name I wanted as long as it is not being used by someone else. You or I could be north dakota schools or dale wetzel or kirsten baesler. How did Nathe determine it came from dale? Nothing on the email gives concrete evidence dale or the dept is linked to the email Nathe sent. Looks like ya both are ASSuming or are you hiding the evidence? It does like this is a ploy for Pesta to turn folks against the public school system. There is alot of money for either side to benefit from.

  • RLM

    If you aren’t aware, FreedomProject Education is an organization that is under the John Birch Society. They started in the JBS offices in Appleton, and recently moved across the street to their new building.
    they are set up to provide a home school curriculum via video and the internet.

  • whowon

    185 Comments, why not showing up in most comments?

  • thequeendiva

    She still is at it. She has a long history of deception and manipulation.