So much goes on every day concerning education reforms being pushed by the federal department of education and the understandable alarm of some states and some teachers. (To catch up, see:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/26/common-core-state-standards-center-on-education-policy_n_1233181.html and http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/statement-national-governors-association-and-state-education-chiefs-common-core )
—I don’t know where to begin.
So I’ll start here in Utah with brand new news. The Governor is announcing he will probably hold a special session to discuss approval of SB10. Not good!
SB10 accomodates the push of the state school board and its never well-publicized Common Core agendas, that promote more and more governmental and interstate controls over, and data collection via, Utah education: http://www.ksl.com/?nid=960&sid=20551186&title=herbert-contemplating-special-session-to-deal-with-high-school-tests-liquor-licenses&s_cid=queue-2
SB10 is a bill that might get passed unless many speak up. SB10 has a great sounding name: College and Career Readiness Assessment. –But wait a minute. We already had the ACT, the SAT, and a 10th grade basic skills competency. What does this new bill actually do?
1. requires schools to administer a new test that pushes kids into one of three tracks they can’t easily switch from: vocational school, 2 year college, or 4 year college track. This limits freedom to improve and change.
2. eliminates an assessment system pilot program
3. creates a differentiated diploma system that may label kids for life (low, middle or high diploma) especially now that there’s such an increase in data gathering/collection technologies in our state. (a HUGE increase, sponsored by ARRA stimulus money– this longitudinal database interfaces with other states and with the federal government as never before dreamed)
And there is more.
To understand this newly-trendy phrase “College and Career Readiness,” it is helpful to study a CCSSO document (not written by us, but meant to be “voluntarily adopted by states”. It’s meant to teach governors how to implement policy changes, across states. The document repeats the phrase 44 times.
The document is put out by the CCSSO, the same group that pushes us to believe Common Core was state-led, the same group that helped to pay for and promote and develop the Common Core State Standards.
CCSSO means “Council of Chief State School Officers,” and their document is called “Roadmap for Next Generation State Accountability Systems.” I have the PDF but don’t know how to post it here. (Techno geniuses, comment please.)
In that document, there are so many things that give me the creeps. Samples:
“Now that most states have the ability to collect and analyze vast amounts of data and information, we must leverage each element within the accountability system to utilize that information.”
Or this one: “states have demonstrated significant leadership… on issues such as common graduation rate calculations, P-20 data systems, [which track preschoolers through twenty year olds] and common state standards and assessments aligned with college and career expectations… learning from international models – so as not to be confined by the parameters and realities of the current system.”
So, what they are saying here is that the American states’ ways are confining and is not to be trusted– even though we have the best medical schools, the smartest technologies, the most coveted universities in the world. Our U.S. educational system, they say, is rock bottom and hopeless and so is our U.S. governmental system which “confines” us. This reminds me of the Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Ginsberg, who is sworn to be loyal to the U.S. Constitution but who went around on t.v. telling other countries not to copy our lousy U.S. Constitution when they were writing their own. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/02/06/ginsburg-to-egyptians-wouldnt-use-us-constitution-as-model/
These “progressives” are people who are “progressing” us away from the good our Founding fathers set up, toward more and more socialism and globalism. Look at the fruits of “educational reforms” handed down by the CCSSO, the NGA, Arne Duncan’s Dept. of Education under Obama, and WestEd. Not good!
So what are “accountability systems”? I think of them as governmental surveillance systems with a little bit of educational research intent, thrown in to make it look pretty.
It’s convenient for these political edu-experts to slide mass surveillance goals in under our radar, on the coattails of educational assessments. And we, just plain old teachers and citizens, seem to fall for it and thank them for it.
There is, of course, such a thing as legitimate survey and test taking, that truly serves research. But there is also, especially now, an emphasis that is to me, overkill on testing and surveying that collects way too much data and ties it to individually identifiable people, and it can and will be used to regulate people, for good or ill.
How do you like the idea of your kids being tracked with I.D. chips, like pets? It’s happening in parts of our country already. See: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/education/article/Students-will-be-tracked-via-chips-in-IDs-3584339.php#ixzz1vt9CHhWQ I can guarantee there are some parents who won’t see any problem with this. It will make them feel safer, knowing they can find their child at all times. No sloughing school. No kidnapping. (“So what if there is also no privacy?” they seem to think.)
The CCSSO document also says, under “Student Level Longitudinal Data System Requirements to Support Next-Generation Accountability Systems” that “States must not overlook the need for robust P-20 data [preschool to age 20 tracking systems] in order to generate and create the data necessary… As requirements under NCLB, and later ARRA, spurred states to develop and implement P-20 data systems, we now have a strong basis… for remediation and/or continuous improvement, must stem from the data generated….” Does “requirements under ARRA spurred states” and “p-20 data systems” not give you the creeps?
They go on:
“Lessons Learned from the USED Differentiated Accountability Pilot” says: ” Nine states are now implementing differentiated accountability plans approved by USED. These plans provide states with greater flexibility to determine appropriate interventions for schools and districts”.
Did they just use the term “appropriate interventions” on schools the way officials use the term on prisoners or addicts?
On this point, I’m going to leave the CCSSO document for a moment and show you what is going on in Texas. Because the U.S. Dept. of Education can’t force Texas to join Common Core, thanks to the strong leadership of Governor Rick Perry, poor Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is mad again. His efforts to take over national education of the largest state in the union are unsuccessful. But now, Arne Duncan, –like Wiley Coyote who never gives up– Duncan is trying to use money to thwart the sovereignty of Texas. Look: