Elect Lisa Cummins!

Elect Lisa Cummins

Utah State School Board - District 11

Oquirrh Mountains - Wikipedia (CC BY 2.0)

About Lisa

 God, family, country.  That is what I believe in, in that order.  I am the wife to a wonderfully supportive husband, Don, and I am mother to 5 beautiful,  and intelligent children. My family has enjoyed living in Herriman for the last 11 years. 

What makes me unique in this race is that for the last 6 years I have been very active in my community, learning about the issues, meeting political leadership, and working with citizens on various issues. The biggest issue for me has been Common Core. I have put in lawyer-like hours researching and gathering evidence on the causes and effects of Common Core. I have traveled throughout the state on my family's time - and my dime -teaching parents, teachers, and Legislators about Common Core, answering their questions, and sharing what I have learned. I was also asked to be 1 of only 5 media/bloggers to be a part of the "We Will Not Conform" event held in Dallas, TX by Glenn Beck, as it was broadcast Nationally to many theaters.

My record and work have shown my consistent effort in fighting for the right of parents to maintain control over their childrens' education. I have shown, while stepping up for my own children, that Parents have a voice and we need to fight the crony outreach that  labels our children as "human capital".  Our children deserve better - not for economic reasons - but for their unalienable right to pursue their own happiness.

And now I will direct my efforts at the next level by winning the seat in District 11. All those currently running are parents, but I am the only one, without ulterior motives. I do not have large corporations, organizations, or other entities pushing me to run to meet their own interests. I stand on my own, out front. With your support, I will stand strong!

Utah State School Board, District 11, General Election Debate

Sutherland Institute's questions to the Candidates

Image courtesy of unknown, shared on Facebook. 

LISA CUMMINS, STATE SCHOOL BOARD 11

1. What is the purpose of education?

The purpose of education is to inspire, help develop of love of lifelong learning & show a path to the individual’s pursuit of happiness.

2. If you could change only one existing education policy during your tenure on the State Board of Education, what would it be, and why?

It would have to be the massive data being collected and siphoned to the State Longitudinal Data system. Close to $40 million of Federal grants have been given to Utah to collect our children’s data, without parental consent, allowing 3rd party shareholders to have access to that data. Data is gold in today’s world and shareholders are making lots of money off our children. The gathering violates the 4th Amendment of these children, and their collected educational results will never be erased.

3. In your opinion, what relationship should exist between the state Legislature and the State Board of Education in making education policy?

An equal measure of checks and balances, so that one side is not greater than the other.

4. In your opinion, what role is the federal government best suited to play with regard to education policy?

Under the 10th Amendment it states that all powers not delegated within the Constitution to the Federal Government, is there by given to the States. The Federal Government has no authority to dictate anything related to Education to the State of Utah.

5. What relationship should exist between the State Board of Education and the State Charter School Board?

I believe that there needs to be equal authority there. Traditionally, parents were the ones to set up Charter Schools, because of disappointment from the State public school system. It’s long past time to bring those parents to the table of how best to teach our children. The upcoming trend is to now have corporations become involved with opening Charters. I am very troubled by that, as public, private partnerships equate to Fascism. Again, the parents of the community need to be the majority at the table.

6. In 2010 Utah adopted the Utah Core Standards. Recently, some have advocated that Local Education Agencies should create academic standards instead of the State Board of Education. What level of government (local, state, federal) is most appropriate to create academic standards, and why?

Utah didn’t have an official set of standards until the State Board took it upon themselves to have that authority, in 1984. Then in 2000 or 2001 the Legislature codified it into law. Up until that time local districts had control of standards. Standards are best upheld at the local level where the community has had a vested opportunity in creating them. I’m not opposed for the State to basic set of graduation standards, and allowing the LEA’s to create additional standards that would meet that finishing goal.

7. Utah is suffering from a teacher shortage. What policies would help attract and retain quality public school teachers?

First off the laws need to stop punishing teachers on how they teach and what they teach. Many teachers have told me that they are now being given scripts on what to say in their classrooms. Why are we denying freedom and creativity in the classrooms? Reintroduce that and I think you’ll have teachers start to come back. The other of course is the issue of salaries. Utah is administration top heavy with many admins earning 6 figure incomes. Why? I don’t think we have a money issue. I think we have a redistribution issue.

8. Parents, students, and teachers are concerned with the amount of testing that is now required in school. What policies might help address these concerns?

The most obvious is too limit the amount of tests given. Let’s see we have the SAGE Summative, Online Writing Assessment, SAGE Interim, Dibels, WIDA ACCESS, ACT Explore, ACT Plan, ACT, SAT, NAEP, DLM (Dynamic Learning Maps), and all the other in classroom tests with the chapter reviews. Seriously!! Are we teaching kids to take tests for life or are we educating them for life?

9. Last year the State Board of Education approved a statewide digital teaching and learning plan called the Essential Elements for Technology Powered Learning. What’s your vision for technology in education?

Technology in the classroom is a recent phenomenon. It can add many positive elements in enhancing the learning of students. However, research is showing more and more that exposing elementary aged children to technology all day every day is not a good thing for brain development. Once children enter high school, of course proper usage is encouraged, with safety boundaries. I do not think it should be utilized for every subject, or every assignment. Again brain development is still occurring and fine motor skills associated with handwriting are still being developed. Wisdom and caution needs to be considered. Technology is a tool, not a means to educate entirely.

10. Bullying has become a national discussion. What policies would help protect students, inform parents, and help administrators deal with bullying?

I think the dialogue needs to change from “How to stop being a bully” to “How to stop being a victim.” We’ve developed a culture of social justice and needing administrative rules and laws to help solve our problems. It really needs to start with parents teaching their children about their individual worth and teaching them how not to be offended from someone’s ignorance. Aside from that at schools, need to punish where appropriate, detention, suspension, writing an essay on how to be kind. Let’s get back to basics of right and wrong.

11. Utah is known for its low per-pupil spending. Each year lawmakers are asked to increase school funding. Others argue the importance of how money is spent. With limited funds, what programs or initiatives would you hope to see funded first?

I addressed a little of this in the question concerning teachers. However here’s the other thing that does not get mentioned. Utah’s education budget for K-12 is over $5 BILLION, with one 1/3 of tax payer money funding education entirely. That’s huge! UT education also has roughly 107 acronym programs. Surely there is money to be found with some elimination of these programs and then we can decide where our money is best allocated.

12. National data suggest that early education has limited, short term effects on student outcomes. Some Utah early education programs have reported success through mid-elementary grades. Utah also uses UPSTART, an online program that allows children to access preschool at home. What is the best way to approach early education in Utah?

Quite simply I think Utah needs to get out of early education. Let me explain: In the May 24th meeting, Jordan School District reported a growing early education program benefiting many IEP families and they’ve seen great success. What concerns me is how they are recruiting these families. It was reported that in the JSD, over 20,000 families have had personalized home visits. What right does government, or a government entity have to go into a home to evaluate a family on how they’re raising and teaching their children? I’ve mentioned my concerns on data collecting. The goal is to collect data from birth to career! Why are we allowing our basic fundamental rights to be violated? And are parents aware of this when they enter in such programs?

13. Parental rights in education are protected in both federal and state law. What does it look like for the state to play a secondary and supportive role in education?

The State and LEA’s need to be aware of those federal and state laws. A yearly notice needs to be sent out to parents, teachers and administrators of parental rights, in full detail. SEA’s and LEA’s need to show respect of a parent’s decision and support of that decision. All decisions regarding children need to be finalized by parents. And parents need to be brought in for every administrative meeting with a child. Parents need to be aware of all data being gathered on their children, in full disclosure. Teachers should not undermine parents decisions in front of students, or punish students when parents have opted children out of testing. I am sure there are more ways to play a positive role in supporting parents and their authority as primary caretakers in their children’s education.

13445602_10157026739570500_8650291213371942000_n (1).jpg

ElEvating Utah's Education: Common No MOre Rally Speech

Thank you, Rod for the kind introduction and thank you Brian Halladay for putting this milestone event together. What an opportunity it is to be with all of you today. Almost 227 years ago the United States Constitution was pieced together, complementing the Declaration of Independence. Our Founding Fathers looked to the past of lost civilizations questioning their rise and their fall. They took to the writings of William Blackstone, John Locke, Frederic Bastiat, and a favorite of mine Baron Charles de Montesquieu. One of Montesquieu’s quotes is relayed that “To become truly great, one has to stand with people, not above them.” I am honored and humbled to stand with those who speak with me, as well as with those who are listening.

Since June of 2010, when I first learned of Common Core, what was once a handful of individuals who started to speak of the warnings of common core, has grown into thousands of parents and teachers crying out that we are not common and that these policies have failed miserably.

What began as “just standards” grew into umbrella policies of violations of the privacy of our children’s data, highly unusual amounts of testing, books that would embarrass our grandparents, history that has striped the pride of our heritage, a fattening of shareholders pockets, and forcing our teachers into absolute obedience to ever growing system of dominance and regulation.

2 years ago, I told the State Board of Education that if they wanted my children’s data, that a warrant would have to be provided. The warrant never came. And yes, perhaps it was a stretch, but the point was made that data being collected, that included social, behavioral, psychometric and over 400 other points, violated my child’s right to privacy. And at that time there wasn’t a law to notify parents of data breaches. Today, thanks to Rep. John Knotwell, we have such a law, but it is not enough. The 4th Amendment is still being violated through regulatory rules. And though Parents are acknowledged as the primary care takers of their children’s education, in both the United States Constitution and Utah State Constitution, I am very grateful that Parent’s Rights were acknowledged in statute, allowing for opting children out of the invalidated Sage testing. These two laws are little examples of small wins we’ve had along the way, but it hasn’t brought to the giant leap that needs to be made.

In his IV book in “The Spirit of Laws” regarding Education, Montesquieu relayed that in order to keep a Republic, as Benjamin Franklin hoped, one must have a love of virtue and that it needs to be the principal business of education. And the surest way of instilling it into children is for parents to set the example. Our children are gifts from God, they are not human capital. If we the people do not instill this love of virtue and I would add a love of learning, a despotic government will arise provide an education that will instill threats and punishments. As we have witnessed these last 6 years, a despotic education system as emerged, and it is threatening our children’s future.

President Abraham Lincoln’s quote that the Philosophy that is taught in the classroom, will be the government of tomorrow” is clearly evident today. With the policies in place, our children will not know what know what it means to pursue their happiness.

But today we have hope. We have a window of opportunity, to stand together as Utah State Parents, and declare that we are Common No More. Today, we as parents have decided that enough is enough, and our children deserve a happy, healthy environment where love of learning is the normal. No more endless hours of testing, no more long hours of inappropriate homework, no more positioning our teachers in a them vs us situation. Enough is enough. We are common no more.

It is time to rebuild with what we know has been time tested with liberty based principles and values. And I can all but guarantee; you will see your children and my children soar! We, as parents and educators, got this! To Governor Herbert, Utah State Legislators, State School Board members, and current candidates, I implore that now is the time to stand up to Federal overreach, stand up for our children, stand up for our teachers, stand up for Utah families, now before greater harm is done to our liberty. May God bless us in our righteous pursuit going forward!


The Issues

Local

  • School Choice - Parents are the primary caretakers of their children's education and have the right and responsibility to find a school that fits their family's needs, whether it is public, charter, private or homeschool.
  • Parents' Rights - Both the United States Constitution and the Utah State Constitution declare that parents are the primary caretakers of their children and the education offered to their children. For far too long parents have been told to trust the experts, even if that parent had concerns and felt that other options should be looked at.  Parents are the experts of their children, and the opinions of parents are highly valuable and should always be considered first.
  • Teachers Authority - The drive to inspire is what brings many to the teaching profession.  However, rules, regulations, competition have destroyed that spirit in teachers. Scripts are being handed to teachers to memorize.  The data being collected from teachers that has nothing to do with their experience and knowledge of their classroom is not conductive. Not to mention the meager starting pay.  With the education that teachers have received and the knowledge of the parents concerning the child, is the best team to consider what options are there for the child. District, State, and Federal administrations are no where near close enough to those minute details.

State

  • State School Board - Many times the roll of Board members to ensure teacher credentialing, distribute education monies, and over see State Standards and State Testing and Assessments.  But with today's Federal expansion of government, a State School Board member is to be the liaison between the Federal Government and the School Districts.  Board members must know the proper role of government and stand up for State sovereignty and our children.
  • Basic Standards - in 1984 the Utah State Board of Education started implementing standards.  In 2000-2001, it was added by statute that the USBE would create standards for the State. Up until that time, Local Districts developed their own standards. Because I believe in local control, and trust the educators at the local level, I believe Standards should be developed at the local community level. By law, the USBE makes those standards currently, but there is no reason to provide simple, basic standards that have been time tested, and allow local Districts to expounded up those standards.

Federal

  • Federal Overreach - The 10th Amendment of the Bill of Rights states "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."  No where in the United States Constitution have "We the People" given authority to the Federal government to dictate to the States what Education policies should look like.  Clearly the role of the Federal Government as expanded beyond its jurisdiction.
  • Education Funding - Utah's K-12 budget is just over $5 Billion. Less than 9% of that comes from the Federal Government for specific programs.  Some of those programs like the most recently talked about, Title IX, are not given to every school district. or every school.
  • Data Mining - Since 2011, Utah has received State Longitudinal Data System Federal grant money in the total sum of close to $40 million.  That money goes to hard ware and software development to collect the data from our children's testing.

    In December of 2011, then Secretary of Education, Arnie Duncan changed the regulations of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).  Now third party shareholders have access your children's data and they will profile them without your consent or knowledge.  It was declared "best practice" but not necessary to obtain parental permission. 
  • Every Student Succeeds Act - The new Education policy of the United States, it passed through Congress and signed into law in December of 2015.  This law replaces the name "No Child Left Behind" but significantly increases what we all hated about NCLB. 1061 pages have outlined everything from Independent schools, including homeschools and private schools, to teachers, charters, funding, homeless students, parenting classes, communities, revising of tax code, data collecting, technology, etc and the starting point of having State School Boards submit their State's Education Policies to the Department of Education for approval. -- This is extremely dangerous overreach. 

Get Involved

Join me in standing for Parental Authority, 

Local Control, & No Fed in Utah's Ed:

Years of involvement, engagement, and caring... Help me help our kids.

Join my SMS mailing list for real-time updates!



Contact Lisa

District 11

District 11 - Utah State School Board
SIMBLAWebsite Builder