TEA Party Lawmaker Brings Bills to Repeal Math and English Standards for Schools

Debra Lamm MT Family FoundationTEA Party Rep. Debra Lamm (R-Livingston) is working in the legislature to repeal Montana’s math and english standards.  The standards are in place in at least 45 states. (I don’t know about Mississippi.)

The new standards have been implemented and embraced by educators in Lamm’s own district. But rather than representing her district’s public school classrooms, Lamm continues to work against their interests on behalf of her former employer – a lobbying group that represents the religious far-right.

Lamm used to work for the Family Foundation and in fact was the group’s top lobbyist and crusader against modern education standards until this year. She has stated that improved math and reading standards are connected to the workings of “the United Nations, UNESCO, the ‘New World Order,’ Marxism, Globalism, Islam, etc.” and the culmination “of an envisioned future of  ’dominant elites’ who have been working behind the scenes for over 100 years to ensure its adoption.” She has also worked closely on education policy with the wealthy Greg Gianforte of Bozeman, who builds museums that attempt to prove that dinosaurs lived 4,000 years ago. 

Lamm’s anti-education bills include:

 HB 376  – Prohibits enforcement of Montana’s math and english standards, also known as “common core” standards. HEARING WED FEB 18

HB 377 – An unconstitutional bill throws out Montana’s current academic standards for math and English. The bill dictates that Montana’s Board of Public Education set up a whole new standards review council to create a whole new set of standards. HEARING WED FEB 18

Both bills are bad for Montana and should not be passed.



47 Comments on "TEA Party Lawmaker Brings Bills to Repeal Math and English Standards for Schools"

  1. Pray for the Rapture. Let it be soon!

  2. It seems that Common Core is NOT a standard but an approach. The only standard that matters is how students succeed after matriculation. A good measure of that is the PISA assessment. http://www.oecd.org/pisa/keyfindings/PISA2012_US%20report_ebook%28eng%29.pdf I suggest taking note of page 12 of the report. Eye on the ball.

  3. On Today’s date (Feb 13th) in 1635 the first Public school was founded in what would become the United States. Public education is the foundation of our free Democracy, it is sad that the MT GOP continues to attack or Public schools, Democracy, individual freedom and personal Liberty. Garrison Keillor said it best – “When you wage war on the public schools, you’re attacking the mortar that holds the community together. You’re not a conservative, you’re a vandal.” ……Rep. Lamm and the Montana Family Foundation are vandals determined to destroy our freedom and the American way.

    • Kevin, please! Get beyond the rhetoric. http://www.edweek.org/ew/qc/2015/2015-state-report-cards-map.html In K-12 achievement Montana has only a C- grade. And that is only against other states, not world assessment against other countries. If you want to finger point in a partisan fashion, how about having back-to back Dem guvs, and a long serving Dem State Superintendent of Public Instruction? None of the partisan nonsense moves the bubble.

      • There’s that reading comprehension problem of yours, Craig. Kevin Curtis wasn’t being partisan. You were.

      • Education Week is not peer-reviewed and therefor should not be taken seriously.

        • Kevin, really? Explain then why is their Quality Counts survey funded by grants from the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Charles Steward Mott Foundation? You may not like what they write about Montana but they are highly regarded in providing reliable, researched K-12 education information.

  4. These Common Core standards are just the like same one-size-fits-all No Child Left Behind standards.

    • The common core method leads to an understanding of decimal places, and a method by which a student can estimate the answer in their head when they understand it. Anyone who does math in their head knows that one doesn’t think x – y equals what, but rather thinks what plus y equals x. Doing arithmetic algorithms with pencil and paper is as anachronistic as using a slide rule. There is almost no point in teaching that to a child.

      The people who claim to not be able to help their second graders with math homework absolutely slay me. They apparently have no ability to learn an alternative algorithm for second grade arithmetic, but they still think the math education they got was great? If you can’t understand an alternative way of looking at simple subtraction, why do you think children should grow up to be as inhibited in math as you are?

      • I had math, trig and algebra all the way through sophomore year of college. Even as a CPA, I’ve had but one or two uses for it. (They’ll never admit it, but my profession is heavily reliant on basic arithmetic.) Nice to know it exists and can be consulted if, say, I want to send a rocket ship to outer space, where Newtonian physics still rules, or build a staircase, but most of that time spent studying that stuff was an utter waste of my youth. Those who need it should study it, however, as part of individual training towards altitudes.

        What I think kids can use is some basic business math – some training in annuities, which is the heart and soul of credit card, student loan consumer and mortgage debt. They will soon after leaving school be fleeced and are not prepared for it. it would also help if they understood the insurance game, which indeed affects them throughout their lives. Also would not hurt that they knew something about advertising resistance, but you’d hear squealing of stuck pigs if you tried to prepare them for that circus. It’s basic critical thinking: what claims are being made In ads, what evidence supports them? Since advertising is nothing but lies, it’s a rich field for practical training.

        Our system is built around deep indoctrination of youth, thought control, so I am like a knight brandishing his sword at a mighty castle. Our leaders do not want thoughtful and skeptical citizens. They want consumers, soldiers, but an otherwise passive herd. Schools are doing their job, doing it well.

        • Don’t you think highly of yourself, Sir Quixote. You do realize that annuities, interest both for debit and credit, and amortization are all calculus, right? You’ve used calculus almost every day of your professional life; you’ve just been stupid enough to think that a calculator accomplished this feat of complex math without ever understanding how those basic skills have served you …

          I doubt you are open minded enough to see the connection, Mark, but here’s the truth of it: Things happen for a reason, and that reason is always physics, as described by math. Always.

  5. There is more than one valid way to teach addition and subtraction. That also goes for multiplication and division. All valid ways get to the right answer. That some methods are more cumbersome than others does not invalidate the Common Core.

    My concern with the Common Core is that it’s too state based. A lot of children with parents in the military or nomadic occupations move from town to town, from state to state, during the school year. A national curriculum would make their transition to a new school much less stressful academically. A child studying English and Geometry should be able to move seamlessly from Athens, GA, school to a Great Falls, MT, school.

    • Common core is the closest there has ever been to a universal curriculum in the United States by a long shot. I think over forty states have adopted common core standards.

      • Used to be called “No Child Left Behind” until it changed parties.

        • No Child Left Behind was more or less a series of standards based on tests that the Dept. of Education used to measure schools and their progress. Common core is curriculum; texts and methods that are the materials and means by which the instruction is done.

  6. Way on back in the late nineteen sixties, Lewis Ames elementary school in Littleton, CO, was one of many pilot schools for what was (at that time) called “the new math”. Students being taught “the new math” were consistently scoring higher in math aptitude at lower grade levels. I was one of them. To this very day, I can do math in my head, as can most who were taught the ‘new math’, much faster and without pencil and paper required for the “old way”. It works because it’s algorithmic, a different way of thinking about number sets. That seems awfully significant given the increasing prevalence of technology in our society.

    So to answer the question, Jeff, there is nothing wrong with “the old way”. But there are significant advantages to what is being taught in the common core math. True, some people have a problem thinking algorithmically and they are better off hacking problems out on paper, and carrying the 2 and 7-9 so carry the next 2 and … Not everyone will think of things in the same way. But if your beef with the Common Core is that it teaches kids in a way you aren’t familiar with, which by God was good enough for YOU, then I suggest your best efforts at improving education don’t go very far beyond sitting on your porch screaming at the kids to get off of your lawn.

    James, in my experience, your point is well taken. After moving to Montana, both my older brother and I were about 2 years ahead of our classmates. We were bored, and got in some trouble for it. When the instruction caught up it was even more jarring because we thought of things in a different way. The draconian force-feeding of how to do things was not from those who advocate new teaching methods but rather from those who demand slavish devotion to ‘the old ways’.

  7. We fear the things we don’t understand and the change that comes with it. I admit I have trouble breaking away from the mold, but having a 6 y/o daughter taking common core math I am starting to see the concept behind it and it works.

  8. Craig Moore makes a valid point above, check the outcome of our public schools. Kids lack critical thinking abilities, and get in line to take on huge debilitating education loans for degrees for jobs that don’t even exist. They join the military in droves, belieiving every lie we are told about our aggression abroad. They seem clueless about basic matters of personal finance, like compound interest. There is virtually no resistance in them to advertising and public relations. (I assume all of this is true of public school teachers too, as they are products of the system.)

    Education should set a person free. Ours puts them in chains. they enter school bright and curious, and leaves dumbed down and bored, often drugged as well. Whether NCLB or Common Core, the government message is the same: “Do not change what you are doing. We like our youth dumbed down as much as possible.”

  9. It’s the “Proud to be Stupid” bunch.

    Her argument breaks down because the “dominant elite” of the New World Order want their subjects less educated, not more educated.

    Watch out… Better math and reading skills might produce “critical thinking” abilities.

    • Only actual discipline in critical thinking produces critical thinking skills. Math and English, beyond a basic level of competency, are mere time sinks, justifications for making kids sit six hours a day in boredom. The who if the regurgitation system effectively kills individual spirit. Question is, was the system designed to do that?


      • “Who if” should read “question is if the regurgitation system … “. Don’t know where that came from.

        • It’s always fun when Mark has read a new book to regurgitate thoughtlessly while he condemns everyone else for not thinking deeply.

          I’ve been discussing John Taylor Gatto with my students for the better part of 14 years–and if Mark were ever to actually set foot in a public school, he’d see my critically thinking engaged students could crush his simplistic and absolutist positions in moments.

          • JTG is interesting, and I did read a book by him years ago. There’s a broad and rich school of critics on our lousy education system out there, but you should be rightly proud that you know one name. quick, now: Two second quiz: Name another, Bzzzz!

            The idea that you think you can advance JTG’s ideas by teaching his work in your classroom is your own peccadillo. You don’t see the contradiction, do you – kids forced to sit and listen to you, read what you tell them to read, be graded in how well they regurgitate, and you say that you’ve implanted critical thinking skills by this method. You have no clue that what you are doing to these kids, just as having them all read the same fricking book and speech on Vietnam, is shallow and pointless, like you

            Since you are unable to do anything more than make broad sweeping insults when confronted with critics, whom you eventually ban, I find it highly unlikely that your students are more advanced in the art of critical thinking than you. How can it be so, oh master? ps an I not judge the tree by its fruit? Have you not looked around you? Do you not see how we are adrift in stupidity?

            Pogie, I’ve followed your writing for years. You are dull, repetitive, predictable, unoriginal, canned and completely lacking in moral courage. To boot. I could easily pretend to be you and pull it off, so rote are your words. As someone witty once said, Americans schools and students alike suffer from half-dulled faculties.

            Your prize student, PW, is a classic regurgitation master, yet to have an original thought. Like you.

            • Hmmm. See, that’s the problem, Mark. You are not the standard critic. Just as the TeaPeeps have made up their minds and argue according to their own experiences, you argue based on your education and those who agree with your ‘experience’. You think you know a topic and then Ad Hominem against anyone who doesn’t have the special skills your “belief” has awarded only to yourself. Don is at a huge disadvantage because he’s arguing based on observation and participation in the process and you are arguing with the illusions in your head.

              As was pointed out clearly above, changes in teaching methods do lead to better critical thought. Teaching ‘new math’ is teaching algorithmic thinking, which is critical thinking in a manner you haven’t even contemplated; it teaches the value of efficiency. One can’t be critical if one does not think in comparisons, and frankly, you don’t. You have predefined what anyone else knows, that’s obvious. But what you can’t grasp, because you can’t think beyond your own belief, is that how people think of things cannot be supported or defined by how your experience has tainted your ‘belief’. You think in a circle, which is about the most uncritical manner one can do so. You have no idea how Don thinks, or his students, or me, or anyone. You have blinded yourself to the simple and obvious; the only thinkers you can even comprehend are those who think like you. That is evident in every single object you examine:
              the Internet,
              You seem to think that you know more about the effects of any object on another than anyone else, especially those who challenge your belief by engaging ion any of the activities surrounding those objects of your growing disdain. It’s circular reasoning, you concluding what you obviously already know, and demeaning others because your conclusions must be correct. You’ve proven those beliefs because you already ‘know them’. That is actually the opposite of critical thinking, Mark. It’s TeaPeep thinking.

              You are actually part of the problem, and not any part of the solution. You’ve concluded, quite erroneously, that math and science are just filler. Like the TeaPeeps, you question why people waste their time teaching math when we have calculating technology to do it for us. Leave the irony of that aside. If, as has been demonstrated. the Common Core can actually affect thinking skills, one would think you’d be in favor of it. Sadly, no, you want the baby thrown out with the bath water because you were tortured by nuns. You are the best example of how critical thinking is deeply reliant on math and science (whose language is math.) If you were a critical thinker, you would know that your sycophants, more scientifically astute than you, must cringe every time you write something as stupid as ‘velocity has nothing to do with force’, the foundation of Newton’s third law of motion. You are scientifically illiterate, Mark, betrayed by your own self-teaching of what is actual critical thinking and what is not. So don’t presume that you can tell anyone else how to think, or how critical their thinking is. You really have no clue about your own, and most certainly can’t have any about another’s.

          • I shoulda knowed Pogie was doing hit and run, skidaddled back to his nest. Thr man’s a moral coward thru and thru.

  10. All this preoccupation with “standards,” content and so-called critical thinking misses the elephant in the room. The brick schoolhouse, the busses, the books, and teacher lecturing in front of the class are all obsolete. Done, kaput. An obsolete mechanical-age environment naturally causes boredom and learning problems. It’s not that kids aren’t learning faster than ever, it’s that they’re not learning in school nearly as much or as quickly as they are in the environment outside school. This the “real” world they understand, the environment in which they thrive naturally.

    “We live invested in an electric information environment that is quite as imperceptible to us as water is to fish.” McLuhan (1969)

    • I take it a step further than that, in that I know that most learning is based on natural curiosity. School as we do it squelches curiosity, substituting a set of ideas and facts that heve to be learned and read back to the teacher. While this is going on, we are constantly testing them and advancing them based on test results, which introduces fear of being wrong. SAT’s are the crowning stress time for kids, hours piled on hours of fear of giving the wrong answer. Twelve years of that and you get kids unable to plunge into the world, explore, seek answers, be wrong keep trying, keep seeking. Being wrong usually stops them in their tracks.

      I agree that having to be in the building seven hours a day is harmful too.

      My own experience with my son was that his teacher in fifth grade was exasperated with him and wanted him tested for ADHD. I refused to allow the tests to be done by the school district in Billings, as I knew they wanted to drug him. I took him to a doctor at Children’s Clinic who worked with kids who spent a whole day with him evaluating him, and got the answer: “He’s merely bored.” The teacher, unable to get him drugged, had to assign him special projects to keep him occupied. I should have just taken him home. But at that age the most important thing going on is friendships, and I had to work.

      And the teachers who teach were taught as they are teaching and know no better.

  11. Enough of the Mark snark.Sounds like a bunch of MD’s in the 50’s,
    wanting to tell RN’s to do!

    • You might want to look around you and hope you’re not part of it , BW. It’s a very stupid country out there.

      If you haven’t noticed, well then, ahem, excuse me, carry on then sir. As you were.

  12. The roots of common core are deep and wide. The following article is actually quite good at explaining such roots – though it does leave out special interest groups- and makes an honest attempt presenting opposition to CC.

    There are real problems w/ some of the curriculum that has been implemented in schools.

    • Like NCLB, the basic idea is unchanged, called the “leaky jar” or other terms. You sit the kids down, fill up their heads with information without regard to their individual interests or abilities, and hope they retain enough of it to pass a test. After the end of the semester, it continues to leak, so that within weeks the entire content has escaped, replaced by other similarly useless information, similarly leaking.

      If the system is designed to stifle kids and dumb them down, it could not have been designed more effectively.

      • Put on your President-for-a-Day hat and tell us how to solve this problem, succinctly please.

        • Mark’s already given his answer, Greg. He wants a libertarian paradise where all are allowed to follow their dreams, explore their curiosities and find their joy, without the impediment of ‘lesser thinkers’.

          (I find that enormously funny given the arguments he’s had with a true libertarian, where Mark’s favorite repost was that libertarians were weak because their ideas had never been tried …)

  13. I’d start by identifying and comparing learning effectiveness indicators of environments inside and outside the traditional schoolhouse. Phase out what isn’t supporting effective learning and phase in strategies and practices that encourage learning. Remain flexible, adaptive.
    Here are links to others thinking about this: http://www.bobpearlman.org/Learning21/new%20learning%20environments.htm

    • Steve, if there is one thing you and I should be able to agree about, it is this: policy is neither very flexible nor adaptive save by the coercion of comparative advantage among those who can afford change. That is what this post is about, policy which offers or denies affordable change. Some would have it that we can’t have change because of nefarious others who seek to thwart our collective will. Others just think that change is bad. Still others, as this post highlights, only want change which favors their beliefs. In order to defend that stance, some want to destroy any effort at change that actually might show results.

      What is ridiculous is that those on the right want to leave policy alone, keeping it in the hands of the uninformed. Those on the far right, like Lamm, want to leave policy in the hands of God. The truly ridiculous part is among those of the left who want policy thrown out in favor of a new paradigm (as your link indicates). In case you haven’t noticed, that favors Lamm’s HB377 as sound policy. Seriously and politely asking, if Montana’s education standards and practices are thrown out in favor of ‘something new’, which do you think will claim primacy as policy, maker-based education? Or regressionist reliance on biblical instruction?

      One thing that will always muddy such discussion is this. The common core principles are geared towards fundamental learning, grades below 7. As your link indicates, alternative learning environments are geared towards those who know the fundamentals of math, science, and problem solving. If the manner of education you think superior is to ever come about, I would think you a fan of common core education. If nothing else, it teaches the very adaptability you favor.

  14. Mark, AKA in4it,

    Who’s doing the regurgitating?

    Not healthy or social to air your dirty laundry,
    in someone elses front yard.

    Or you to come here and puke!

    I agree with 2/14 Rob Kailey seminal statement!

    And add that maybe you are asking for help by repetitively parading your patterns
    here on Cowgirl!

    Do recognize your pattern!
    ??? incessant blaming others for your own dysfunctions???

    Your circular reasoning. Your mirror images.
    Your nabob negativism pattern. Your emotions. Your mixed-motives.
    Work through such like we all do then come here,
    and engage in social discussion!


    • People with a passive-aggressive personality have more limited abilities to reason with logical arguments and thoughts. Agree, or disagree? Why make it personal?

      Is your (“here” at MT Cowgirl) “social order” really that threatened by a single individual with a differing opinion? Isn’t that a distortion, scapegoating? You know, blaming “approved” enemies to shift blame and responsibility away from yourself, or members of your social group.

      • The answer to your latter question, Steve is obviously “no”. It assumes two things: 1) that ‘opinions’ are all of equal value and some ulterior motive must be behind rejecting another’s opinion. How very Faux News o you to bring it up. 2) You assume that disagreement implies threat. Mark isn’t threatening. Logic and reason simply have convinced most people that he’s just wrong.

        That’s the beauty of circular reasoning and conspiracy theory. It explains everything, shielding the believer from any question, critique or very real critical thinking.

    • I am one of the few here who does not glad hand and backslap. You people don’t want to discuss issues. You’re merely looking for moral and intellectual validation. That’s all that’s going on here.to do that, you have to exclude anyone with the contrary voice.

      Regarding what to be done with the kids, set them free to develop their own talents. Part of that is getting Them away from the buildings and Pogie’s and tests, but a larger part is to free yourself of the attitude that there are things that kids should not study, should not think or believe on the way to coming to grips the world and becoming critical thinkers. Giving them the “answers,” telling them what is allowed thought, is not learning. It is indoctrination.

      The groupthink, management of the group mind, testing , memorization regurgitation,.teaches kids to be afraid to be wrong, and dumbs them down. And as I said at the outset, the results speak for themselves, a very stupid country.

  15. Does anyone know when the public hearing on these bills will take place? The world is led by well educated people. Those that choose dogma over science will re-enter the dark ages while the rest of us move forward. Their savior will be so proud.

    Seriously, I’d like to know when the hearing on these bills is scheduled.

  16. Rep. Lamm is an active member of the Florida State Bar. She is best described as a carpetbagger.

  17. Highpoint, it’s even worse than that. She lives near me, yet is a Rep for a different district. She knew she couldn’t possibly beat the moderate Republican we have here in my district, so she ran in a different one. It’s legal here in Montana, but it leaves a foul taste in my mouth…, as does stale tea.

    • Thanks, Lee. You know times are changing in Park County, when an outsider like Debra Lamm wields more authority and commands more attention than insiders Sen. Nels Swandal and Rep. Alan Redfield.

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