Archive for March 2013

Plea from Alabama 8th Grade Teacher   18 comments

 

I teach in Alabama, and will do anything I can do help defeat Common Core. We are experiencing a crucial week in Alabama. We have two bills, SB 190 and HB 254 to stop Common Core. SB 190 was not defeated, but “held indefinitely” in committee while they work on amendments.

The identical House bill, HB 254 was brought up in a subcommittee, and I was asked to speak at that hearing. I was told that we didn’t have the votes in that subcommittee, but that in the actual entire House, we are only TWO votes from knowing we have a passing vote. So the goal of my speech was to “buy time.” And that’s exactly what happened. I spoke from the heart, I cried, and so did many in the room. Again, it was not defeated, but sent to the entire House Committee to be “held” for more research.

This week, it is time to increase pressure on Governor Bentley. He’s ALWAYS been on our side. But we feel we need to kindly pressure him to force the legislators’ hands.

The governor’s office number is 1-334-242-7100, for anyone who’d like to leave a message to repeal Common Core. I think he really needs to hear from other states, to know it’s a huge national issue, and that he could pave the way for other states.”  –8th grade World History Teacher, Tuscaloosa County

The first state to successfully pull out of Common Core will greatly increase other states’ odds of pulling out. Please call!

Phone number for Alabama’s Governor Bentley 334-242-7100

On Common Core: Note from Bulgaria   8 comments

I received permission to share this email from Viktor Kostov of Bulgaria.

 

“The end result of  the full application of the Common Core will be fully socialized  communistic education, entirely controlled by the government…

I am speaking from the  reality of post-communist Bulgaria (Eastern Europe). The state  (government) Ministry of Education is the sole standard and source of  ANY thought on the philosophy of education (or lack thereof). Private  education is subject to the government’s a) permission and b)  curriculum. Homeschooling was unheard of until recently.

At a  conversation with the chair of the parliamentarian commission on  education last year I brought up the idea that the government-issued  diploma should not be the sole verification of one’s academic  achievement.

This was a novel idea to the gentleman — he was sincerely  amazed at the notion of a standardized test made up by educators  unrelated to the state; and that the purpose of government education  should be to provide an alternative for those who choose to, or cannot  school their children privately or at home. He and even a “right wing”  Bulgarian politician were stunned at the idea that a government school  should not be a factory for citizens (as many European states see  education).

Homeschooling here (Bulgaria), although now widely  debated due to the latest events and our efforts, is still a largely  non-existent category in the minds of the general public. The reason for this absence is in the worldview and the perception — the god of the  state provides knowledge for our children. For free.

This thinking is a  remainder from totalitarianism but is so deeply imbedded in the culture  that any thought of education free from government control and intrusion is political and social heresy. And biblical heresy for most Christians here (until the debate started about a year ago with the Child Law).

While America is still relatively far off from fully aligning all education  to a centralized government, that is the direction of the Common Core.  However, the introduction of a globalist agenda and the push to  socialism, so visible under the current federal government, will not let up any time soon in the U.S.

The issue of who controls education is deeply ideological, political, theological, value-based and  worldview-based. It is a faith-issue and religious freedom issue.

It is  even a matter of who do we worship — God or Caesar.

Viktor  Kostov, PhD
www.kmission.org

Videos: Meet Some Educational Freedom Fighters   3 comments

Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform: # 5 – Bill Gates   46 comments

Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform

Bill Gates: Scary Philanthropy

Countdown # 5

 This is the fifth in a countdown series of introductions, a list of the top ten scariest people leading education in America.  For numbers 67, 8 9 and 10,  click here.

The biggest philanthropist on earth comes across as the epitome of sincere, nerdy nice-guy.  And he probably is very nice and very sincere.  But does sincerity trump truth?

The truth is, Bill Gates’ herculean attempt to fund and market Common Core to Americans, and to circumvent the voting public on educational issues, is dangerously, dangerously misguided.

Thus,  not everybody is happy in philanthropy land.  The biggest philanthropist in the world got behind the unproven experiment  of Common Core and  –using money rather than the voice of the American voter– he pushed it into schools, circumventing any vetting  by legislative, educator or parent groups.

Gates’ astronomical wealth  has persuaded millions that Common Core is the solution to education problems,  the argument from everywhere,  approved (by him) and beyond debate.  But let me repeat the fact:  regardless of whether the standards are horrible or glorious, the truth remains that whenever unelected philanthropists are permitted to direct public policy, the voting public  gets cut out of the process.   It’s happening all over the U.S., but not just in the U.S.  The Gates-directing-world-education effect is happening everywhere.

Since Gates has no constituency he can’t be un-elected; so it’s not the the wisdom of experienced educators, but simply one man’s money that is directing implementation of  the controversial Common Core.  His  money has bought, besides technology, work groups, and a seat at the policy making table, extreme marketing success.

He’s got control of the education opinion factory.  When Common Core was debated at the Indiana State Capitol, who showed up to advocate for Common Core?  Stand for Children, which Bill Gates funds.  He also funds the League of Education Voters, the Center for Reinventing Public Education and the Partnership for Learning, all Common Core advocates;  Gates owns Editorial Projects in Education, parent of Education Week magazine.

No wonder, then, even educators don’t seem to know the full truth about Common Core.  They’re reading Education Week and  the Harvard Education Letter.  Translation: they are reading Gates’ dollar bills. (By the way: want to make some money selling out your fellow teachers?  Gates is searching for a grant recipient who will receive $250,000 to accelerate networking of teachers toward acceptance of Common Core. )

Wherever you see advocates for Common Core, you see Gates’ influence.  He gave a million dollars to the national PTA  to advocate to parents about Common Core.  He gave  Common Core developer NGA/CCSSO roughly $25 million to promote it.  (CCSSO: 2009–$9,961,842, 2009– $3,185,750, 2010–$743,331, 2011–$9,388,911 ; NGA Center: 2008–$2,259,780.)  He gave $15 million to Harvard for “education policy” research.  He gave $9 million to universities promoting “breakthrough learning models” and global educationGates paid inBloom 100 million dollars to collect and analyze schools’ data as part of a public-private collaborative that is building  “shared technology services.”  InBloom, formerly known as the Shared Learning Collaborative, includes districts, states, and the unelected Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).  The list goes on and on and on.

It’s hard to know exactly how much money Gates has put toward the promotion of Common Core because of the chameleon-like wording of  educational granting areas.  For example, he gave $3 million  Stanford University and $3 million to Brown University   for “college and career readiness.” (The average person wouldn’t know that college and career readiness is a code phrase defined as  common core by the Department of Education.)  Sometimes he’s promoting “support activities around educational issues related to school reform” for the CCSSO (common core developer) and other times he’s “helping states build data interoperability” –which not everyone would recognize as Common assessments’  bed-making.

According to Gates himself, he’s spent five billion dollars to promote his vision of education since 2000.

He really,  reealllly believes in Common Core.  So it doesn’t matter that Common Core is an experiment on our children  that’s never been tested and has been rejected by countless  top education analysts.  It doesn’t matter that Common Core is an un-American, top-down, nonrepresentative system  that state legislatures didn’t even get to vet.  Bill Gates wants it.

And not just in America– he wants global education standards.

Gates’ company, Microsoft, signed a cooperative agreement with the United Nations’ education branch, UNESCO.  In it, Gates said, “Microsoft supports the objectives of UNESCO as stipulated in UNESCO’s constitution and intends to contribute to UNESCO’s programme priorities.” UNESCO’s  “Education For All” key document is called “The Dakar Framework for Action: Education For All: Meeting Our Collective Commitments.”  Read the full text here:  http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0012/001211/121147e.pdf

So Gates partners with the U.N.’s educational and other goals via UNESCO’s  “Education for All”  which seeks to teach the same standards to all children (and adults) on a global scale.  Why is this a problem?  It supercedes local control over what is taught to students, and dismisses the validity of the U.S. Constitution, all in the name of inclusivity and education and tolerance for all nations.

At this link, you can learn about how Education For All works: “Prior to the reform of the global EFA coordination architecture in 2011-2012, the Education for All High-Level Group brought together high-level representatives from national governments, development agencies, UN agencies, civil society and the private sector. Its role was to generate political momentum and mobilize financial, technical and political support towards the achievement of the EFA goals and the education-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). From 2001-2011 the High-Level Group met annually.”

The six goals of “Education For All” are claimed to be internationally agreed-upon. On the linked Education and Awareness page of the U.N. website, we learn:

Education, Public  Awareness and Training is the focus of Chapter 36 of Agenda 21. This is a cross-sectoral theme both relevant to the implementation of the whole of Agenda 21 and indispensable”   http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/susdevtopics/sdt_educawar.shtml

Did you get that?  Education is indispensable for the U.N. to get its agenda pushed onto every citizen worldwide.  They just admitted it out loud.  They want a strong hand in determining what is taught worldwide.

So then we click on Chapter 36.  In 36.2 it says we should “reorient” worldwide education toward sustainable development.  (No discussion, no vote, no input needed on this reorientation plan, apparently.)  36.3 says:  “Both formal and non-formal education are indispensable to changing people’s attitudes…. It is also critical for achieving environmental and ethical awareness, values and attitudes, skills and behaviour consistent with sustainable development…  To be effective, environment and development education should deal with the dynamics of both the physical/biological and socio-economic environment and human (which may include spiritual) development, should be integrated in all disciplines, and should employ formal and non-formal methods”

The take-away?  What does Bill Gates agree to in his Microsoft – UNESCO partnership?

  • Environmental education will be incorporated in formal education.
  • Any value or attitude held by anyone globally that stands independent to that of the United Nations’ definition of “sustainable education” must change.  Current attitudes are unacceptable.
  • Education will be belief-and-spirituality based as defined by the global collective.
  • Environmental education will be integrated into every subject, not just science.

The stated objectives (36.4) include endorsing “Education for All,” and “giving special emphasis to the further training of decision makers at all levels.”

Hence the need for people like Gates to influence the training of decision makers.  When asked what matters most to him, Gates said: education.  His version of education. The Huffington Post reported:

“I’d pick education, if I was thinking broadly about America,” Gates responded. “It’s our tool of equality.”  Is it coincidence that equality and redistribution are also concepts that Linda Darling-Hammond, Chaka Fattah and Arne Duncan are promoting in the federal Equity and Excellence Commission?

How committed is Bill Gates to the United Nations having a say in American education?

In his annual letter, Gates emphasized the importance of  following the United Nations’ Millennial Goals and measuring teachers more closely.  One of those UN Millennial goals is to achieve universal education.  Also, Gates helped create Strong American Schools (a successor to the STAND UP campaign launched in 2006, which was an outgrowth of UNESCO’s Millennium Campaign Goals for Universal Education). It called for U.S. national education standards. (link 1) (link 2)

Also,  Gates’ Foundation funded the International Benchmarking Advisory Group report for Common Core Standards on behalf of the National Governors Association, Council of Chief State School Officers, and ACHIEVE, Inc. titled, “Benchmarking for Success: Ensuring U.S. Students Receive a World-Class Education.” This report showed the United Nations is a member of the International Benchmarking Advisory Group for Common Core Standards. (link)

It appears that Bill Gates is more than a common core philanthopist; he is a promoter of global sameness of education as defined by UNESCO and the U.N.

That’s scary.

School Data Collection Facts Summary   32 comments

 
  • Does every state have a federally funded, interoperable State Longitudinal Database System that tracks people throughout their lives?  Yes.
Every state has accepted 100% federally funded data collection (SLDS). The Data Quality Campaign  states:  “every governor and chief state school officer has agreed to build statewide longitudinal data systems that can follow individual students from early childhood through K-12 and postsecondary ed and into the workforce as a condition for receiving State Fiscal Stabilization Funds as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  A condition of getting the funding (ARRA money) was that the system would be interoperable.
  • Is the SLDS accessible by the federal government?  Yes.
The SLDS grant explains that the SIF (state interoperability framework) must provide interoperability from LEA to LEA, from LEA to Postsecondary, from LEA to USOE, and from USOE to the EdFacts Data Exchange.  The EdFacts Data Initiative is a “centralized portal through which states submit data to the Department of Education.”

The P-20 workforce council exists inside states to track citizens starting in preschool, and to “forge organizational and technical bonds and to build the data system needed to make informed decisions” for stakeholders both in and outside Utah. — http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/2/prweb9201404.htm

Is personally identifiable student information gathered, or only aggregate group data?  Personal, identifiable, individual data is collected.
  • Many of us in Utah were present last summer when UT technology director John Brandt stood up in the senate education committee and testified that there are roughly twelve people in the state of Utah who have access to the personally identifiable information of students which is available in the Utah Data Alliances inter-agency network of student data.  So it is not true that we are talking about only aggregate data, which leaders often insist.  The Utah School Board confirmed to me in writing, also, that it is not allowed for any student to opt out of the P-20/ SLDS/ UDA tracking system, (which we know is K-workforce (soon to include preschool) citizen surveillance.)
  • Is the collected private student data accessible to agencies beyond than state education agency?  Yes:
There are state data alliances that connect agencies.  The Data Quality Campaign states:states must ensure that as they build and enhance state K–12 longitudinal data systems, they also continue building linkages to exchange and use information across early childhood, postsecondary and the workforce (P–20/workforce) and with other critical agencies, such as health, social services and criminal justice systems.”
  • What data will be collected?  According to the new FERPA regulations, pretty much anything.  Social security numbers, psychometric and biometric information (see pg. 4 and 6) are not off the table.   According to the National Data Collection model, over 400  points.  Jenni White mentioned another federal model that asks for thousands of data points.
The types of information that the Department will collect includes biometric information (DNA, fingerprints, iris patterns) and parental income, nicknames, medical information, extracurricular information, and much more. See page 4 at  http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/pdf/ferparegs.pdf and see http://nces.sifinfo.org/datamodel/eiebrowser/techview.aspx?instance=studentPostsecondary
  • How does this affect parents?
Data linking changes being made in regulations and policies make former privacy protection policies meaningless. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) sued the Dept. of Education, under the Administrative Procedure Act, arguing that the Dept. of Ed’s regulations that changed the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act in Dec. 2011 exceeded the Department of Education’s authority and are contrary to law. http://epic.org/apa/ferpa/default.html
The Federal Register outlines, on page 51, that it is not now a necessity for a school to get student or parental consent any longer before sharing personally identifiable information; that has been reduced to the level of optional.

It is a best practice to keep the public informed when you disclose personally identifiable information from education records.”  http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-12-02/pdf/2011-30683.pdf

Dec. 2011 regulations, which the Dept. of Education made without Congressional approval and for which they are now being sued by EPIC, literally loosen, rather than strengthen, parental consent rules and other rules.  http://www.jdsupra.com/post/documentViewer.aspx?fid=5aa4af34-8e67-4f42-8e6b-fe801c512c7a

The Federal Register of December 2011 outlines the Dept. of Education’s new, Congressionally un-approved regulations, that decrease parental involvement and increase the number of agencies that have access to private student data: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-12-02/pdf/2011-30683.pdf (See page 52-57)

Although the Federal Register describes countless agencies, programs and “authorities” that may access personally identifiable student information, it uses permissive rather than mandatory language.  The obligatory language comes up in the case of the Cooperative Agreement between the Department of Education and the states’ testing consortium http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/sbac-cooperative-agreement.pdf

Effectively, there is no privacy regulation governing schools anymore, on the federal level.  Khalia Barnes, a lawyer at EPIC disclosed that these privacy intrusions affect not only children, but anyone who ever attended any college or university (that archives records, unless it is a privately funded university.)

  • Why did the Dept. of Ed need to alter FERPA regulations?

To match their data collection goals (stated in the Dept. of Ed cooperative agreement with testing consortia) which contracts with testing consortia to mandate triangulation of tests and collected data. This federal supervision is illegal under G.E.P.A. law and the 10th Amendment).   http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/sbac-cooperative-agreement.pdf

  • Who can access collected data?
The National Data Collection Model (the federal request for what states ought to be collecting) represents 400 data points schools should collect and “it is a comprehensive, non-proprietary inventory… that can be used by schools, LEAs, states, vendors, and researchers”.  Vendors are already using this.
  • How can we get free of this system?
Jenni White of ROPE (Restore Oklahoma Public Education) states that the only way to get free of this federal data collection invasion is to put political pressure on our governors to give that ARRA money back.  As long as we keep it, we are in data collection chains by the federal government; also, our increasing buy-in to common core exacerbates the educational tech scam on the corporate side. Dept. of Education infringements upon state law and freedom are explained in the white paper by Jenni White entitled “Analysis of Recent Education Reforms and the Resulting Impact on Student Privacy”  –  http://www.scribd.com/doc/94149078/An-Analysis-of-Recent-Education-Reforms-and-the-Resulting-Impact-on-Student-Privacy
  • What else is at stake?
Sheila Kaplan has provided expert testimony about the student data collection, but has also said that an educational data monopoly is an issue, too.  She explains that a group exists, including Bing, Yahoo, Microsoft, etc., that assigns high or low attention to content and directs internet traffic.  So if code uses hashtags and common core aligned taxonomies, your education data will get traffic.  If not, it won’t.  If you are searching for any educational data it won’t come up unless it’s using that coded taxonomy.  This wrecks net neutrality and is, in her educated opinion, an anti-trust issue of the internet. She mentioned the CEDS, (common element data system) that is ending net neutrality.  She also finds appalling the Learning Registry, funded by the Department of Defense and the Department of Education, which is a place for teachers to advertise for common core aligned products– all using stimulus money.
  • Why did the Dept. of Ed redefine FERPA’s meaning of the term “educational agency” to include virtually any agency and redefine “authorized representative” to mean virtually anyone, even a “school volunteer?

When FERPA is weak, linking of data allows easy access to data, both technologically and in terms of legal policy.  It also trumps other laws, such as HIPPA.  For example, as both Gary Thompson and Jenni White have pointed out, the new, weak FERPA law takes precedence over HIPPA (patient privacy) when medical or psychological services are provided in schools or when educational services are provided in jails.

In that document, states are obligated to share data with the federal government “on an ongoing basis,” to give status reports, phone conferences and other information, and must synchronize tests “across consortia”. This triangulation nationalizes the testing system and puts the federal government in the middle of the data collecting program.

For understanding of the motivation of the federal government, read some of US Dept. of Education Arne Duncan’s or Obama’s speeches that show the passion with which the federal agency seeks access to data to control teachers and educational decisions. http://www2.ed.gov/news/speeches/2009/06/06082009.pdf
  • Are teachers also to be studied like guinea pigs, along with students? Yes.
The Common Core of Data (CCD) is another federal program of data collection that studies TEACHERS as well as students.  It calls itself  “a program of the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics that annually collects fiscal and non-fiscal data about all public schools, public school districts and state education agencies in the United States. The data are supplied by state education agency officials and include information that describes schools and school districts, including name, address, and phone number; descriptive information about students and staff, including demographics; and fiscal data, including revenues and current expenditures.”  http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/
The system also allows the governments to track, steer and even to punish teachers, students and citizens more easily. http://cte.ed.gov/docs/NSWG/Workforce_Data_Brief.pdf
  • How does Common Core relate to the federal and corporate data collection movement?
 Chief of Staff Joanne Weiss at the Dept. of Education has been publicly quoted saying that “data-mashing” is a good idea.  Secretary of Education Arne Duncan gives speeches calling for “more robust data.” And at the recent White House Datapalooza, the CEO of eScholar stated that without Common Core tests being “the glue” for open data, this data movement would be impossible.

Oklahoma Rally Against Common Core Agenda   3 comments

Common Core is like the hull of a ship sailing out of a harbor, while still under construction.

Reposted from http://blog.newsok.com/educationstation/2013/03/25/representative-education-group-plan-rally-against-common-core/

Common Core will make sweeping changes to the education system in Oklahoma and the nation, but the cost-benefit analysis of these changes has yet to be scrutinized, according to one state lawmaker.

A rally will be held at noon, Wednesday, March 27, 2013, in the Oklahoma State Capitol building, Second Floor, west hallway of the Supreme Court offices. This rally will be sponsored by state Rep. Gus Blackwell (R-Laverne) and Restore Oklahoma Public Education (R.O.P.E.). Blackwell, Glenda Murphey, the Reverend Paul Blair, Traci Montgomery and Jenni White will be speaking about problems with the Common Core agenda.

Common Core was written into state law in 2010. It was one of four education ‘reform’ measures necessary to make the state competitive for a federal Race to the Top, Common Core became law before the standards were available for review or any research had been accumulated on their efficacy or cost. Oklahoma never received that grant. Now that the Common Core and its testing arm, PARCC, are being instituted across the state, districts must have hundreds of thousands of dollars in eRate grants and writing school bond initiatives to fund these mandates. Oklahoma taxpayers are being asked to fund these reforms through property tax, cell phone plans and an increase in the state education budget. The total cost of which is still unknown.

The Common Core changes will also necessitate changes to the increased collection of personal student data, student testing, teacher evaluation, and school performance. At a conference attended by Blackwell and sponsored by Common Core advocates, in the summer of 2012, Common Core was likened to the hull of a ship sailing out of a harbor, while still under construction.

“The fact of the matter is: Few people know the extent of the changes, driven by the private groups advocating this change, which will result in large profits for a few private companies.” Blackwell said.

This year, Blackwell authored House Bill 1907 to create a task force to study the cost of Common Core. Though the bill passed its committee hearing unanimously, Blackwell learned it would not be heard in the state Senate. Blackwell was able to reach an agreement with House leadership authorizing a long-overdue extended legislative study on the costs of Common Core in Oklahoma schools.

I do not think Oklahomans want to relinquish the local control of their schools or the state-guidance of standards to the nationalization of education, by a handful of elitists in Washington, D.C.,” Blackwell said.

“The Common Core State Standards must be brought to bear under public scrutiny before we move further into its implementation. Taxpayers should not bear the brunt of a program for which we know little about, even three years after its inception.”

Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform: #6 – Linda Darling-Hammond   23 comments

Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform

 Linda Darling-Hammond

Countdown # 6

This is the fourth in a countdown series of introductions, a list of the top ten scariest people leading education in America.

  For number 7 ,  number 8number 9 and number 10,  click here.

Don’t be fooled by her sweet-baby face.  Linda Darling-Hammond stands for one thing:  forced national redistribution of wealth.

Yes, really.

And does Darling-Hammond wear  powerful hats!   A pillar of the Common Core movement, she’s been helping run closed-door meetings of the standards since before they were created, as a member of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) Advisory Group since 2006.  She also leads (or plays key advisory roles) in all top educational bureaucracies, both governmental and corporate, including The Obama Administration, the National Governors’ Association, the  Common Core testing consortiaCSCOPE, WestEd, the American Institutes for Research (AIR), Alliance for Excellent Education, the American Educational Research Association, the National Academy of Education and many more.  She is a hero to communist reformer Bill Ayers. Why?  And what is she likely saying behind the closed doors?

Try this on for an explanation:  it’s a speech she gave last summer at a UNESCO conference in Paris.

In the speech, Darling-Hammond says that “we allow this extraordinary inequality” in America which may cause us to “innovate our way to failure.”  She shows a chart entitled “The Anatomy of Inequality” (see minutes 15:06- 16:00) that explains that taking away money from the areas of richer kids’ schools is a good idea (she mentions rich schools having too many swimming pools).

In her book, “A Flat World and Education: How America’s Commitment to Equity will Determine our Future,” she further explains why pushing for equity (communism) will solve the problems of education.  The book illustrates poverty’s effect on education (tell us something we didn’t know) and she comes to the false conclusion that a governmentally forced attempt at financial equity (redistribution) can create better education.  She doesn’t mention how this is to happen without harming individual liberty and without punishing the kids in financially stable schools.

Her ideas are being absolutely shoved down the throats of state school boards and legislators nationally.

And she is dead set on Common Core being the means to these ends.  Always has been.  She knew that others on the Common Core validation committee refused to sign off that the standards were legitimate; she was aware that common core would be an experiment on millions, implemented without any empirical data supporting its superiority claims. She not only supported this baseless decision making and the copyrighting and implementation of the common standards –but she’s now helping to write the common tests!

She provides professional development for CSCOPE teachers. (CSCOPE is the extremely controversial, secretive curriculum that parents cannot access, which now used in Texas schools.)

Darling-Hammond and her ideas are mentioned 52 times in the EEC report  For Each and Every Child, a “strategy for equity report” that she co-wrote.  In the words of Congressman Honda, another EEC member, it’s a “bold new vision on the federal role in education”  that wants to see “transformations in school funding.”

What does it mean that Darling-Hammond headed Obama’s  education policy team and is a member of Obama’s Equity and Excellence Commission (EEC)? What is she aiming to do for him?

Take a look at the EEC’s Opportunity to Learn Campaign.  Included in the “opportunity” is also the cessation of any semblance of liberty.  Dropping out is not an option; you can’t get suspended or expelled from school no matter how hard you try.  The EEC calls this “positive discipline.”  Also included in the “Opportunity to Learn Campaign” are “wraparound supports” such as extended learning time which might sound good until you realize that we’re moving away from a family-centered to a school-centered way of life that pushes parents to the periphery of children’s lives.

To translate:  Linda Darling-Hammond pushes for communism in the name of social justice, for a prison-like view of schooling in the name of extended opportunity, and for an increased federal role in education in the name of fairness.  She gets away with it because she comes across as sweetly compassionate.

But she scares me.   And people who listen to her scare me too.

Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform: #7 – Sir Michael Barber, CEA Pearson   19 comments

Sir Michael Barber:   Pearson CEA 

Countdown # 7

This is the fourth in a countdown series of introductions, a list of the top ten scariest people leading education in America.  For number 8number 9 and number 10,  click here.

Sir Michael Barber of England,  Chief Education Advisor at Pearson and Common Core promoter extraordinare, is also a global education standards promoter.

Did you catch that?  Global standards.  Barber wants every child in every country learning the same thing at the same time.  Barber talks about “sustainable reform” as “irreversible reform” and he directs education policy makers to “make it so it can never go back to how it was before.”

Talk about scary. So, freedom advocates (including me) are regularly labeled “misinformed” by state school boards and governors.  We  jump up and down, shouting at the top of our lungs that Common Core creates irreversible damage to traditional education and to local autonomy.  But our leaders assure us –I even heard the legislative lawyer advise our Senate Education Committee say that “We can get out of Common Core anytime we like.”

But you see, Sir Michael Barber, CEA of the world’s largest educational sales company, is openly selling “irreversible reform.”  

“If you want irreversible reforms, work on the culture and the minds of teachers and parents.” Otherwise, he says, people might repeal what’s been done because of their “wish for the past.”

Barber is praised and even quoted by  the U.S. Secretary of Education.  And Barber’s famous book, Deliverology 101, is dedicated “specifically for leaders of American Education reform.”  (Yes, the reformers who listen to those who are on this “Scariest People” list.)

At a recent British Education Summit, Barber gave a speech entitled “Whole System Revolution: The Education Challenge For the Next Decade“.  http://youtu.be/T3ErTaP8rTA  He likes the word “revolution” and he uses it a lot.  Just check out his twitter  stream.

Meanwhile, another British management guru, the president of Vanguard, John Seddon, says Barber is wrong.  Check out Seddon’s speech entitled “Why Deliverology Made Things Worse in the UK.”  Seddon says, “I don’t go around the world bashing Deliverology, but I think I should.”   Why?

Seddon says that Barber’s “deliverology” imposes arbitrary targets that damage morale.  He explains that Deliverology works because it’s merciless.  Deliverology, says Seddon, is “a top-down method by which you undermine achievement of purpose and demoralize people.”  http://youtu.be/2sIFvpRilSc

Barber uses his Deliverology method to push global education reform because, in Barber’s view, education reform is a “global phenomenon,” no longer to be managed by individuals or sovereign countries.  Education reform has “no more frontiers, no more barriers,” he said at the August summit on education.

But as we all know, under the U.S. Constitution, education is to be state-led, not a federal and especially not an internationally-determined, issue.

http://youtu.be/T3ErTaP8rTA

Sir Michael Barber has not been dubbed “a control freak’s control freak” for nothing.  Barber promotes global data collection and “whole system revolution” .  See the chart during his summit speech, displayed at 12:06 minutes, and pinpointed as:

Systemic innovation + Sameness of standards + Structure + Human capital

(Whenever anyone uses the term “human capital” I run screaming from the room.   It sounds like somebody owns the humans.  It sounds like slavery.  But add Barber’s passion for Mcstandardization and top-down structuring of systems and what do you envision?   Not self-determination.  Not freedom.  Not local control.)

“We want data about how people are doing. We want every child on the agenda,” he says.  At minute 6:05 (above) he specifies that “every child” means every “global citizen.”  –What’s wrong with being a global citizen, you ask?  Well, for starters, when you give yourself to the globe rather than to your nation, you lose your constitutional and property rights as they are swallowed up in a global governance system.

Absurdly, this British Pearson sales advisor, Barber, praises Common Core in American interviews. He says, “Can I congratulate the CFR for getting into this issue? I think it’s great to see education as an issue of national security…”

Then there’s the BBC interview. http://youtu.be/vTYMFzOv0wQ

In this clip, on the BBC show Hardtalk, Barber outlines what he sees as benefits of “private and public partnership (PPP).”  (In a nutshell, why I’m against PPPs: voters have no voice; unelected business people make government policy but business people have no voter consituency, thus no accountability. But PPPs are what globalists promote.  See: http://www.un.org/partnerships/unfip_partner.html )

Pearson “invests,” says Barber, by purchasing cheap schools in developing countries in partnership with governments. Pearson works hand in hand with both nongovernmental agencies (NGA and CCSSO) and with governmental agencies (U.S. Department of Education) to promote global education and Common Core. Because he sees global control of education and U.S. Common Core as one and the same.

Evidence? Look at 6:05 on http://youtu.be/T3ErTaP8rTA  –the August Summit speech.

Barber says that every country should have exactly the same definition of what it “means to be good at maths”.  At 4:00 he says that “citizens of the world” including every single child, “all 9 billion people who will be alive in 2050″ must know E(K+T+L) –which stands for (Knowledge + Thinking + Leadership) multiplied by the “ethical underpinnings” of environmentalism.

Barber explains that the “ethical underpinning” is “shared understanding” of earth “sustainability” that every child in every school around the world will learn.

Ethics, to Barber is all about global collectivism.  So is he a communist?  He certainly doesn’t use the word.  But he does talk about the need for America to remove its gun rights, to remove diversity to replace it with standardization, to install top-down control of systems, and to promote thinking as citizens of the world rather than as citizens of nations.  You do that math.

It wouldn’t be so bad if he was a loony bin off in a cabin.  But this man directs curriculum production for the largest curriculum producer on earth.  His company, Pearson, is everywhere.  Pearson textbooks and technologies are in virtually every school and university in America. Pearson does teacher professional development.  Pearson runs EnVision math.  Pearson does early childhood education assessment.  Pearson pushes millions to implement Common Core.

http://commoncore.pearsoned.com/index.cfm?locator=PS11Uz

Common Core is very big business for Pearson.  In fact, Pearson has long been partnered with Achieve Inc.,  a co-author of Barber’s “Deliverology 101.” And Achieve also helped write the Common Core.  Achieve says the company joined “with NGA and CCSSO on the [Common Core] Initiative, and a number of Achieve staff and consultants served on the [Common Core] writing and review teams.”  It’s BIG  business.

The Wall Street Journal quotes Pearson’s CEO on Common Core as a gold mine:

“‘It’s a really big deal,’ says Peter Cohen, CEO of Pearson’s K-12 division, Pearson School, ‘The Common Core standards are affecting literally every part of the business we’re involved in.’”

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303674004577434430304060586.html

When the BBC interviewer accused Sir Barber of leading Pearson to take over nations’ sovereign educational systems, Barber said, in defense, “I worked for government. I love government. I think government is a really important, a big part of the solution.”  Of course he does.  It’s all about Public Private Partnerships, the collusion of business and government under the guise of improving education.

Advising governments from the U.S. to Pakistan on how to implement nationalized education is Barber/Pearson’s specialty, according to the UK Guardian:
“… he has set up a US Education Delivery Unit (albeit as a private sector rather than government venture), co-authored books that claim to identify what makes national education systems successful, and taken the joint chairmanship of a taskforce in Pakistan to establish “national standards” in basic subjects. Now he’s becoming chief education adviser to Pearson, owner of Penguin Books and the Financial Times and also, in its own description, “the world’s leading learning company”, with interests in 70 countries…”

If Pearson were siphoning off American taxpayers’ money to sell books and technologies that would teach American to value America and to learn traditional math and other good things, I would not be writing this article; this is not a criticism of corporate greed.

It is a criticism of the American school boards, teachers and taxpayers who allow ourselves to blindly purchase countless Pearson technologies and teacher trainings when that organization and its curricular content is led by Sir Michael Barber, advocate of globally standardized education, of irreversible reforms, of global data collection, and of the dismissal of individual voices of representation through the promotion of public private partnerships.

 

Rod Arquette Radio Show Interview with David Cox and Christel Swasey   1 comment

 

Here’s a link to the radio show where David Cox and I were guests of Rod Arquette last week.

http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/rod-arquette-interview-with-christel-swasey-and-david-cox/

Q & A covers:

How much momentum is the Common Core pushback movement gaining nationwide?
What do people need to know about Common Core?
How does Common Core hurt education?  Why is classic literature diminished? 
Is there any actual evidence that the standards are of good quality?
Why were the standards written behind closed doors?  Who is getting rich with taxpayers’ funding of Common Core?
How does Common Core end local control of education?  Are unelected people and organizations making education policy for our children?
Are teachers afraid to speak out against Common Core?
Who paid the PTA to advocate for Common Core without showing any pros and cons?
How does the test data collection process change how education had been done in the past?
What can one person do?

Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform: #8 – Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education   13 comments

Arne Duncan:   U.S. Secretary of Education

Countdown #8

This is the third in a countdown series of introductions, a list of the top ten scariest people leading education reform in America.  For number 9 and 10 click here.

Before I begin,  let’s remember a few pesky laws that make it illegal for Arne Duncan’s Department of Education (as part of the Executive Branch) to tell any state what to do about any aspect of education.  States, not the federal government, hold authority  over education.  Period.

Under  1)  the General Educational Provisions Act (GEPA law) and 2) the U.S. Constitution, the Department of Education has zero authority.  You already know the Constitution gives states authority over education in the tenth amendment.  But did you know that federal GEPA  law  states this?

No provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system”)   Translation:  the Department of Education has no authority and nobody really knows why it exists at all.

This is, in some circles, common knowledge.

So topping the list of reasons that U.S. Secretary of Education Duncan is on the “Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform” list is this: he’s doing the wrong thing –and he knows it.

SECRETARY DUNCAN’S MICROMANAGEMENT PLANS

“…We have tried to flip the traditional tight-loose relationship between the federal government and the states, where the federal government had been loose

and:

“…We have pursued a cradle-to-career agenda, from early childhood programs through postsecondary graduation… [the] final core element in our strategy is promoting a career-to-cradle agenda.”

Part of that agenda involves the creation of a school-centered rather than a family-centered nation.  Duncan aims to make the schools the community center, to include health care clinics and after school programs and to extend school to fourteen hours a day, seven days a week.  He insists that America needs to extend learning time and says, “we have to learn to think very, very differently about time. I think our school day is too short.  I think our school week is too short.  I think our school year is too short.”

  • In a  June 2009 speech Duncan showed his aim to centralize power over education through tracking and data collection:

“[No Child Left Behind] let every state set its own bar and we now have 50 states, 50 different states all measuring success differently, and that’s starting to change. We want to flip that.”

“Hopefully, some day, we can track children from preschool to high school and from high school to college and college to career. We must track high growth children in classrooms to their great teachers and great teachers to their schools of education.”

Robust data gives us the roadmap to reform.” (Who exactly is the “us” in a country that constitutionally gives zero authority to the executive branch over education?)

  • In  2010 speech to Unesco Duncan showed how he  consciously –though illegally– grows the federal intrusion into states’ running of education:

Our goal for the coming year will be to work closely with global partners, including UNESCO”   –Wait a minute.  What business does UNESCO have in my state’s right to educate?   It’s  almost unbelievable that Duncan dares say this stuff out loud.  But it does get worse.

“Traditionally, the federal government in the U.S. has had a limited role in education policy.  The Obama administration has sought to fundamentally shift the federal role, so that the Department is doing much more…” 

Reread that quote. Then check G.E.P.A. law, above.  Really, Mr. Duncan?

Duncan has also admitted that the Common Core Standards were not state-led: “President Obama called on the nation’s governors and state school chiefs to develop standards and assessments,” he said, adding,America is now in the midst of a “quiet revolution” in school reform… To cite just one example, the department’s Race to the Top Program…” 

Quiet revolution is right.  Virtually no one knows what Common Core really is.

In the most ironic line, Duncan called Common Core assessments the tests teachers have longed for. Seriously, Mr. Duncan. “Teachers will have the assessments they have longed for“?  The truth is, teachers are lining up to sign a Dump Duncan  petition because –the petition states– Duncan coerces states into using high-stakes tests and student test scores in the evaluation of teachers, as well as using test scores as a basis for closing schools; Duncan excludes and demoralizes teachers and discourages creative pedagogy, instead pushing assessments and “teaching to the test.”

  • Most tellingly, we read Duncan’s Cooperative Agreement with the Common Core testing groups and we see even more micromanagement and data collection to come:

The Cooperative Agreement mandates that “the recipient [all the states under Common Core testing] will   …provide updated, detailed work plans and budgets for all major activities…  use and validation of artificial intelligence for scoring…. actively participate in any meetings and telephone conferences with ED staff…  collaboration with the other RTTA recipient… be responsive to requests from ED for information… Comply with, and where applicable coordinate with the ED staff … working with the Department to develop a strategy to make student-level data that results from the assessment system available on an ongoing basis… foster synchronized development of assessment systems”

SECRETARY DUNCAN’S PRIVACY-KILLING FERPA ALTERATIONS

Secretary Duncan altered longstanding federal privacy law (FERPA) and loosened its parental consent rules and redefined its key terms.  These alterations got his Department of Education sued by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, but for some reason, that doesn’t seem to be newsworthy.  According to Khalia Barnes, the lead lawyer on the E.P.I.C. case, they’ve had virtually no press on the law suit.

She also told me that few people realize that it’s not just children who will be hurt by the alterations to privacy law.  Any one, of any age, whose records are archived at any university that ever received federal funding, can have their data seen without their knowledge or consent.

The Department of Education has lied.  It said that the FERPA alterations would improve student privacy, while the opposite  is true.   The regulations exceed the agency’s legal authority and expose students to huge privacy risks. The new rules permit educational institutions to release student records to non-governmental agencies without obtaining parents’ consent. The rules broaden the permissible purposes for which third parties can access students records. The rules also fail to safeguard students from the risk of re-identification.

Not newsworthy at all.

SECRETARY DUNCAN’S REDEFINITIONS OF TERMS

Next, let’s look at the terms that our U.S. Secretary of Education has had  redefined  to better suit his purposes:

1) COLLEGE AND CAREER READINESS.   Did you know that ”college and career readiness” can now officially mean only one thing?  It means having the same standards as other states.   Odd!   Check it out on the ed.gov website.

2) AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE – Did you know that an “authorized representative”  has been redefined by the Dept. of Education (without Congressional approval) to expand privacy exemptions that had previously protected student privacy under FERPA law?  And reinterpretations ”remove affirmative legal duties for state and local educational facilities to protect private student data.”  Yes, the Dept. has been sued over this.    Yet, ”authorized representative” can now mean anyone who wants to see student data, even “a contractor, consultant, volunteer, or other party to whom an agency or institution has outsourced institutional services or functions…”  A volunteer can be “authorized” to see personally identifiable data without parental consent.

3) EDUCATION PROGRAM – Did you know that Sec. Duncan’s redefinition of “education program” now ”includes, but is not limited to” early childhood education, elementary and secondary education, postsecondary education, special education, job training, career and technical education, and adult education, “regardless of whether the program is administered by an educational authority.” That last part is almost funny.  But not.

4) DIRECTORY INFORMATION – Sec. Duncan made sure it would be allowable to “nonconsensually disclose a studentnumber or other unique personal identifier” and that directory information could include a name; address; telephone listing; electronic mail address; photograph; date and place of birth; major field of study; grade level; enrollment status,  dates of attendance; participation in activities and sports; weight and height; degrees, honors and awards received; and educational institution attended.

5) BIOMETRIC DATA -  in the Dept. of Education’s definition of “personally identifiable information,” biometric data means a record of one or more measurable biological or behavioral characteristics that can be used for automated recognition of an individual. Examples include fingerprints; retina and iris patterns; voiceprints; DNA sequence; facial characteristics; and handwriting.  That one wins the creepy award.

SECRETARY DUNCAN’S ROLE IN WEALTH REDISTRIBUTION

Of all the reasons Secretary Duncan is scary, the cherry on top is his role in the Obama wealth redistribution agenda.  With the help of Congressman Fattah (PA) and Congressman Honda (CA) Sec. Duncan was an architect  of the wealth redistribution program known as The Equity and Excellence Commission, which is sliding under the public radar disguised as education reform.

Congressman Fattah explained what he and Duncan and Honda created: “The Equity and Excellence Commission I worked with Congressman Honda to initiate and that has been established by Secretary Arne Duncan will begin to close the gap in resource distribution between rich and poor…”  The commission presents “a big and bold new vision on the federal role in education by recommending transformations in school funding structures.”

While Duncan more often employs the term “social justice” than the term “wealth redistribution,” the documents of his Equity and Excellence Commission reveal that they are one and the same.  And Duncan does push for both.  At a University of Virginia speech, Duncan said:  “Great teaching is about so much more than education; it is a daily fight for social justice.”  At an IES research conference, he said: “The fight for quality education is about so much more than education. It’s a fight for social justice.” 

FYI, social justice means governmentally-enforced financial equality; it means wealth and property redistribution.

We are not talking about philanthropy, compassionate, voluntary giving.  We are talking about force.

Renee Discusses Common Core Math: The Emperor Is Wearing No Clothes   6 comments

Here’s another GoogleHangout with Renee, Alisa and me. Renee relates the story of what happened when she asked a teacher at her daughter’s school what exactly her perception was of Common Core math.

What had been added to, or taken away from, how math used to be taught, she asked.

This elementary school teacher’s response illustrates the muddiness of the whole Common Core, and the way it’s held up by claims and fluffy consensus, not anything substantive, not anything worth the money, time, and liberty we’re giving up for it.

It’s almost, almost funny. –Except that it’s not.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dXqN3J18v0&feature=youtu.be

Chatting With Friends About the Glenn Beck Experience   1 comment

Alisa, Renee and I have been doing more and more of these Google Hangout filming chats.  So far we’ve interviewed Jenni White, Dr. Bill Evers, and Angela Weinzinger.  Today Renee and Alisa said they wanted to interview me, to talk about what it was like to visit the Glenn Beck t.v. show as a guest.  So we did.

Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform: # 9 – David Coleman   44 comments

David Coleman:  Bye Bye, Classics

Countdown # 9

This is the second in a countdown series of introductions, a list of the top ten scariest people leading American education reform.  (#10 on the list is posted here.)

David Coleman, lead “architect” for the English Language Arts (ELA) portion of the Common Core, is not an educator, but a businessman.  Recently promoted to president of the College Board, he has promised to align the SAT with the Common Core that he built.  He plotted education for K-12 students, and now he’s plotting it for postsecondary students, too.

How can a one-size-fits-all alignment make sense for all students –whether bound for a minimum wage job, a two-year college or the top university in the world– prepare each using a one-size-fits-all Common Core program?  Either the lower-level students are to be pushed beyond reasonable expectations, or the higher level students are to be dumbed down.  Or both.

Coleman is an outspoken antagonist to narrative writing and is no fan of classic literature, so he singlehandedly slashed most of it from the education most children in America will know, either already –or soon.  Ask your kids, but remember, Common Core testing begins in 2014, so the intense pressure for teachers to conform to Common Core is yet to be fully felt.

What did Coleman do to Language Arts? He mandated that dreary informational text, not beautiful, classic literature, is to be the main emphasis in English classes, incrementally worsening as students get older.

What it looks like:  little children in an ELA classroom may read no more than 50% classic literature. High school seniors may only read 30% classic literature. The other 70% must be informational text, which means everything from historical documents (um– why not read those in history classes?)  to insulation installation manuals,  presidential executive orders, environmental programming, and federal reserve documents.  These are actually on the recommended reading  list.

Another weird twist to Coleman’s Common Core is that he says students must “stay within the four corners of the text” as if that were possible.  Context is not to be part of a discussion?  Outside experience is not to be compared to the informational text?  For a thorough, and eloquent, explanation of what has happened to English Language Arts because of Coleman’s influence, please read “Speaking Back to the Common Core” by Professor Thomas Newkirk of the University of New Hampshire.

What Coleman does not understand (–hmmm, maybe actual English teachers should have been invited to those closed-door meetings–) is that narrative is so much more than a style of writing.

Narrative isn’t just using the “I” word.  It’s more than “What I Did Last Summer.”

Narrative is a pattern woven (often unconsciously) into every style of memorable writing, whether argumentative, persuasive, expository, etc.  The best informational texts are narratively satisfying.

Coleman’s knocking down of narrative writing and slashing of it from academic standards is both ignorant and, to English teachers and astute kids, really confusing. For a funny, punchy review of the muddly ELA writing standards, read Professor Laura Gibbs’ “Inspid Brew of Gobbledygook”.

David Coleman is largely ignorant in the field of writing language arts standards.  One member of the official Common Core validation committee, Dr. Sandra Stotsky, pointed this out and refused to sign off on the validity of the Common Core standards.

And David Coleman is not even nice, as you’ll see from the video linked here, where he mocks student narrative and uses the “sh–” word in a professional development seminar for teachers.

Lastly, Coleman’s large financial contribution to the campaign of  Education Committee Senator Todd Huston (Indiana) whom Coleman hired for the College Board after his election, forms another branch of reasons that I can not trust this man to make wise decisions affecting children.

Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform   12 comments

Michelle Rhee: Putting Students Last

Countdown # 10:

Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform

This is the first in a countdown series of introductions,  a list of the  Top Ten Scariest People Leading American Education. 

 

It’s so troubling to see local and state leaders put their trust –and our childrens’ minds– in the hands of people who openly work to destroy the great American tradition.

It’s been said –and I agree– that American liberties are being lost because of the strange coalition of three unlikely groups:  the well-intentioned, the slothful, and the subversive.

This series will focus on the third group, the subversive.

Watch the antics of the people who lead the educational philosophies of our nation.  Topping my list of educational subversives: Common Core architect/College Board President David Coleman; Common Core testing advisor  /Obama campaign advisor Linda Darling-Hammond; Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Sir Michael Barber, who is CEA of Pearson Education; and Dept. of Education consultant Bill Ayers.

Today I will introduce Michelle Rhee, President of StudentsFirst.   She is a self-proclaimed radical left wing progressive   “change agent”.     This Harvard graduate, former chancellor of D.C. schools and White House darling is  rumored to be the logical replacement for Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

Her book, “Radical,” was published last month.

It is troubling to read about the scandal in which Rhee was accused and partially acknowledged the erasing by adults of wrong answers and correcting student tests dishonestly to make the scores appear higher than they really were.

And it is very troubling to see how little student learning really means to her.  From American Thinker:

“Michelle Rhee, founder of StudentsFirst, had gotten into a discussion with former teacher Robert Pondiscio, of the website Core Knowledge, about curriculum. Pondiscio had just finished listening to a speech Rhee gave at the Manhattan Institute on December 16, 2010, when he asked her if she could comment on the importance of curriculum.

Here’s the exchange:

Pondisco: “I had the opportunity to talk briefly with Rhee about my reform game -curriculum, teaching and learning…

“I know you have a lot on your plate,” I concluded. “But I’d urge you to at least keep curriculum in mind.”

“The last thing we’re going to do,” she replied with a chuckle, “is get wrapped up in curriculum battles.”

A stunning reply if you think about it.

The poster child for bare-knuckle reform, who moments earlier was urging her listeners to “embrace conflict,” has no stomach for a debate about what kids should learn in school.

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2013/03/suspect_common_core_standards_linked_to_studentsfirst_former_board_members.html#.UUkTCyJvIaY.email#ixzz2O62fGLq3
Rhee has been criticized endlessly by a California teacher whose blog about absurd education reforms  includes posts decrying common core, data madness, and Michelle Rhee.  At that blog I also found this Dr. Seuss-styled satire –about Michelle Rhee.

Interview: Stanford Scholar and District School Board President Speak Out Against Common Core   9 comments

Alisa, Renee and I interviewed Dr. Bill Evers, from Hoover Institute at Stanford University, and Angela Weinziner, the president of the Travis District School Board, also from California. We asked how Common Core is impacting California’s education and the economy.

Highlights:

Dr. Evers tells the story of how an error found in the elementary level English standards about long and short vowels could not be corrected. The standards had already been printed and sent to the states. It was too late to course correct, even on a small matter. How will we course correct on large matters? There is no amendment process.

Angela Weinzinger explains that few parents or school board members really understand what Common Core is all about. She asks parents to speak out and voice their concerns.

Dr. Evers explains what “competitive federalism” is and what its benefits are to education.

White House Hosts “Datapalooza” built on Common Core Tests   10 comments

Did you see the recent view that  Missouri Education Watchdog has taken on “Datapalooza” at the White House?  Most telling is a pleasant sounding speech by eScholar CEO Shawn T. Bay, given at the White House, in which he states that although aggregate data (not individual) is useful, it’s most useful to look at the individual consumer or the individual student. He says, too, that  Common Core is so important to the open data movement, because it’s “the glue that actually ties everything together.”

Common Core tests begin in 2014.  The tests are to be the vehicle for the nationwide student data collection, both academic and nonacademic.  Without Common Core, the federal and corporate invasion of privacy could not be effective.  I do not think many people, including the speaker in this video, understand the underhanded (nonconsensual) alterations to privacy law of the Department of Education.

Here is the video.  http://youtu.be/9RIgKRNzC9U?t=9m5s

At about minute nine, he explains how the data push depends on Common Core State Standards.

Interview: Data Collection With Jenni White of Oklahoma R.O.P.E.   5 comments

There may be someone in America who has studied the education data collection scheme more than Jenni White of Restore Oklahoma Public Education. But I haven’t found that person. Here’s a video interview that Alisa, Renee and I filmed with Jenni this week.

Highlights:

What is the State Longitudinal Database System?
Why does every state track every citizen with the SLDS?
What is the P20 system?
Why did the federal government pay every state many millions to build the system?
Why did they require states to build interoperable systems if they were not to share data outside the state?
How do schools, prisons, hospitals and military agencies now share data?
Is this really just career path assistance or is it citizen surveillance?

The Full Glenn Beck TV Show on Common Core 3-14-13   10 comments

Here is the whole show from last Thursday, March 14, 2013.

Common Core Covered On Glenn Beck TV – March 14, 2013   3 comments

Right after the show 14Mar2013.

It was a privilege to speak with Glenn Beck on his t.v. show on Thursday, along with Utah teacher David Cox of  Odyssey Charter School , Emmett McGroarty of the American Principles Project, and Sherena Arrington of Stop Common Core in Georgia.  I’m posting three clips from the show.

This first portion of the show is a clip of Glenn Beck introducing common core and its “Equity and Excellence Commission” which aims to use the educational system to redistribute;  to redistribute not only exactly the same standards and testing nationwide, but also the nation’s wealth.  Glenn calls the Common Core issue bigger than any other issue facing America today.

http://www.video.theblaze.com/media/video.jsp?content_id=25729047&topic_id=24584158&tcid=vpp_copy_25729047&v=3

The next clip introduces the scarily non-traditional Common Core math, the dumbing-down via “student-centered” rather than teacher-directed instruction; and shows –my favorite part–  the moment Glenn was stunned to find out that state legislatures were not a part of the adoption of Common Core, in any state.

     Notice when Sherena Arrington describes this.  She calls it the executive branch being “off the chain.”   Great choice of words.  Off the chain– like a mad bulldog.  Yes, there is a chain and American needs to stay attached to it because it’s an umbilical cord to mother freedom.  It’s a chain forged by the U.S. Constitution, the process of voter representation, the importance of due process and the separation and balance of powers.

http://www.video.theblaze.com/media/video.jsp?content_id=25729091&topic_id=24584158&tcid=vpp_copy_25729091&v=3

 

This next clip covers the part of the show where we discussed the “no-parental-consent” school data mining.

http://www.video.theblaze.com/media/video.jsp?content_id=25729151&topic_id=24584158&tcid=vpp_copy_25729151&v=3

I mentioned one of the seminal documents of the Common Core movement, the Cooperative Agreement between Secretary Arne Duncan and the SBAC testing group, which says that the SBAC and PARCC (the other testing group) have to synchronize their tests and data, and that student-level data (personal, identifiable data) must be shared. That creates a national testing system, nationalizing education just like China or any socialist/communist country.   This is so offensive, considering the fact that both the Constitution and U.S. GEPA law (General Educational Provisions Act) specify that the federal government may not direct or supervise educational programs or curriculum or tests in any way.

Then I brought up the fact that the Department of Education went behind Congress’ back to alter FERPA law (privacy law) so that parental consent is no longer a legal requirement to access student information. The National Data Collection Model asks for hundreds of data points to be collected on our loved ones, including family income, religion, nicknames, psychological issues, and so much more.

Yes, the executive branch is way off the chain and does need to be brought to account by Congress.  By We, The People.

Thank you, Glenn Beck.  Thank you for exposing to parents and other viewers nationwide what common core is really all about:  it’s so much more than just academic standards.

The Blaze TV to Interview Teachers Against Common Core Tomorrow   32 comments

 

Glenn Beck’s TV show, The Blaze, will be interviewing teachers who are speaking out against Common Core on tomorrow afternoon’s show.  4:00 their time; 3:00 Utah time.  One of those teachers will be me.

http://www.video.theblaze.com/about/how_to_watch.jsp

(You can get a free two week trial membership to the Blaze TV at the link above.)

David Cox, a fifth grade teacher from American Fork, Utah will also be on the show.

I hope many, many people tune in.  We need everybody in the nation to be talking about Common Core so we can push back, repeal it, reclaim our lost freedom over education, get student privacy back, and ensure real education for our children and grandchildren in years to come.

One Woman Speaks Out: An Open Letter to the People of Illinois   6 comments

I received permission to post this letter from a woman in Illinois who is trying to rally others in the state to stand up against Common Core.  If you live in Illinois, please contact her at StopcommoncoreIllinois@yahoo.com

Thank you, Heather.

 

 

Dear People of Illinois,

Recently I’ve done some research on Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and have questions regarding how CCSS will affect the students, taxpayers, teachers, and parents of Illinois. I hope you do your own homework and see these questions demand to be answered by our State government!

First, where can we see Illinois’ cost analysis of what CCSS will cost us, the taxpayers? Currently, Illinois is one of the top states with the highest property taxes. There are projected numbers of upwards of $700 million to fully implement CCSS in Illinois alone. (Not to mention on going cost of yearly testing, keeping computers up to date for the testing, and teacher training.) Where will this money come from, in our already struggling state? (http://www.accountabilityworks.org/photos/Cmmn_Cr_Cst_Stdy.Fin.2.22.12.pdf)

Second, what if CCSS is not working for our students, where is the amendment process? As a parent where will my voice be heard if I am unhappy with the way these standards are being implemented? Currently, from my research, we have no amendment process; we are locked in to CCSS with no way out and no voice! This is education without representation! Please note these standards have not been tested in real classrooms with real students and are considered “experimental”!

Third, those in favor of CCSS claim that these standards were state-led, if that were the case where was the public invitation to discuss these standards and why can we not see who is currently writing the science and social studies standards? Why the secrecy if these standards are so excellent? Also, when the Illinois State Board of Education approved CCSS they claim, in the minutes of the meeting, that “Parents, teachers, school administrators and experts from across the country together with state leaders….have led the effort to develop a common core of state standards.” And, “Teachers have been a critical voice in the development of the standards.”

In my research I find this to not be the case. If it is the case, can you please let me know when the teachers of Illinois came together to have a “critical voice” in the development of CCSS? Teachers of Illinois, were any of you invited in this process? (Link to minutes: http://web1.isbespr1.isbe.net/board/meetings/2010/june/rules.pdf)

Fourth, Race to the Top application was turned in January 19, 2010 which committed our state to CCSS, in order to receive $400 million dollars and this was five months before the standards were even complete (and the testing portion is yet to be completed). The standards were completed on June 2, 2010 and the Illinois State Board of Education approved these standards just 22 days later on June 24, 2010. In the minutes of their meeting it clearly states that there is “no legislative action” needed. Did the legislation even know this was taking place back in 2010?

Who would approve to implement something without even seeing what it was they were implementing? It could be compared to getting married without meeting your mate before hand! Ludicrous! (http://www.isbe.state.il.us/racetothetop/pdf/phase1/application.pdf)

Fifth, the Constitution assigns education to the states, not to the federal government. Also, the federal General Education Provisions Act states, “No provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United State to exeerciseany direction, supervision or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any education institution, school, or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks or other printed or published instructional materials by any education institution or school system…” In light of this please explain why our state has agrees to intense micromanagement by the federal government under Common Core testing? We are the “state” and why do we have no say? (http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/sbac-cooperative-agreement.pdf)

As you can see I have a few alarming concerns about the CCSS (Not to mention the fact that CC lowers math standards in Illinois, that there will be less fiction used, that there will be a rather large data base gather on our students that parents don’t have to know about, that teachers will also have more data tracking, which will foster the “teach to the test” mentality, and that even now more standards are being written behind closed doors!)

My hope is to see the legislature of Illinois write a bill that brings the control of state standards back to state control! Yes, the purse strings of Washington are powerful, but these are our children and should not be subject to people in Washington deciding what is best for them.

I see Common Core as education without representation, which flies in the face of what America was founded on!

Do your own homework! Spread the word! Call the government (reps, senate, school boards) and demand answers!

Thank you for your time,

Heather

—-  —- —-

StopcommoncoreIllinois@yahoo.com

Watch these videos: Stop Common Core: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coRNJluF2O4

 

Common Core Science Standards Launch   2 comments

Hot off the press– a NASBE press release that lets us know Common Core science standards are on their way to local schools –unless parents, teachers and legislators rise up and say no.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Steve Berlin
March 7, 2013

703-684-4000 , ext. 1118

NASBE Launches Next Generation Science Standards Policy Initiative

Arlington, VA — As states work to implement new math and English standards, policymakers from 26 lead state partners are participating in the development of the voluntary Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for K-12 education, which are now nearing completion. The National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) is embarking on a yearlong initiative to provide state board members with information, analysis, and resources about the new standards so they are fully prepared to make the best, evidence-based decisions for their states. The project is supported by a $319,000 grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York.

NASBE has been a leader in the effort to assist states as they adopt and implement the Common Core State Standards, and it will apply that experience to help state board members understand the development, history, and future of the Next Generation Science Standards. The development of the science standards – now in their second draft, with a final version expected in March – is being spearheaded by Achieve in conjunction with the National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

“State education policymakers, like many others, are working hard to answer the national call for greater emphasis on science, and the Next Generation Science Standards will provide them with a critical tool to do this,” said NASBE Deputy Executive Director Brad Hull. “But the existence of the NGSS is just a first step. The state board members who must adopt them need targeted resources and opportunities to discuss the meaning, content, and policy implications of the standards in order to effectively do their jobs. NASBE, in partnership with other education stakeholders, including those involved in the NGSS development as well as other state-level policy organizations, is uniquely positioned to provide this assistance to state boards.”

The NGSS are focused on four areas: physical science; life science; earth and space science; and engineering, technology, and practical applications of science. The standards, which were built upon on a vision for science education established by the Framework for K-12 Science Education, published by the National Academies’ National Research Council in 2011, seek to move science instruction from an inch-deep, mile-wide approach to one that is centered on deeper learning and helping students grasp concepts that stretch across traditional scientific disciplines.

During the year, NASBE will host regional symposia at which state board of education members can develop adoption plans and conduct policy audits to identify other policy areas affected by the NGSS, such as assessments, teacher professional learning, and educator licensure. In addition, NASBE staff will provide state board members with online and print resources, webinars, and toolkits – all with a special emphasis on communications – to help inform policymakers and other local, district, and state-level stakeholders.

***

The National Association of State Boards of Education represents America’s state and territorial boards of education. NASBE exists to strengthen State Boards as the preeminent educational policymaking bodies for citizens and students. For more, visitwww.nasbe.org.

Taking Back Childhood: Dr. Nancy Carlsson-Paige   Leave a comment

In a new Christian Post article, author and professor Dr. Nancy Carsson-Paige calls the Common Core Initiative “the most top-down thing I’ve ever heard of in education,” and adds, “It’s hard to believe, in a democratic country like this,  this could’ve actually happened.”

She feels that for the younger grades especially, Common Core is damaging.

“I’m very concerned about the harm that is created when you put inappropriate  expectations on a nation of young children, you give them all kinds of damaging  messages as well as increasingly eliminate their opportunities for healthy and  genuine learning,” Carlsson-Paige said.

Read the article:  http://www.christianpost.com/news/common-core-harms-kids-early-childhood-expert-says-91457/#TvqYwuATjTiZwZyT.99

THE CONNECTION: CSCOPE (TX Fed Ed) – COMMON CORE (our state)   6 comments

The Blaze published a new article that explains the connection between CSCOPE, the non-transparent curriculum that’s raising controversy in Texas, and the Common Core, the D.C.-written national standards that our state has unfortunately adopted.  The article reports that Common Core attempted to purchase CSCOPE as a national curriculum.  I would like to see evidence of that fact; if true, then all the claims of the Common Core, that these were “just standards, not national curriculum” were lies.  I am reposting the entire BLAZE article below.  Thank you, Glenn Beck.

— — — — —

The Blaze article:  CSCOPE: Exposing the Nation’s Most Controversial Public School Curriculum System

In February, Texas announced that the state, along with the Texas Education Service Center Curriculum (TESCCC,) would enact major changes to the controversial curriculum management system dubbed CSCOPE. The system received a litany of complaints from faculty members and parents alike concerning its lack of transparency (parents were allegedly not permitted to review lesson-plans), lack of oversight from the State Board of Education, and for allegedly imposing oppressive working conditions for faculty members.

CSCOPE was created so that teachers could frame their year around teaching points required by the state. Lessons, which are written by CSCOPE staff and current and former teachers, can be updated and delivered online, making it more cost-effective than standard textbooks.

To note just how off-color some of the CSCOPE curriculum is, consider that the Texas CSCOPE Review, an independent watchdog group, uncovered an out-of-date, optional CSCOPE lesson-plan on terrorism — “World History Unit 12 Lesson 07″ — which allegedly likens the Boston Tea Party to “an act of terrorism.”

The system also recently asked students to design a flag for a new socialist nation.

To glean greater insight, Glenn Beck invited special guests David Barton and Pat Gray, along with teachers Mary Bowen, Stan Hartzler and Texas State Sen. Dan Patrick to discuss what is truly going on within their state’s education system.

Barton explained that CSCOPE is referred to as “instructional material” and not “curriculum,” therefore is not subject to regulation by the State Board of Education. The historian also brought in artifacts of Texas public school curriculum to showcase just how different it is today and to mark, year-by-year, the increasing application of political correctness in lesson plans.

Using a chart, Barton documented and mapped out core CSCOPE material, which eliminates national values, Americanism or rather, American exceptionalism, the study of federalism and majority rule (the core of our constitution) along with patriotic symbols like the Liberty Bell. Christopher Columbus, Rosh Hashanah and Christmas are all relegated to the dustbin along with American military history. Equality and a belief in justice is replaced by “fairness” and instruction on American propaganda and imperialism.

Disturbingly, Beck and Barton noted that the worst is yet to come. Showcasing a lesson plan for grades 1-3, Barton revealed CSCOPE’s list of “heroes,” which comprises a dozen secular progressives and only three conservatives or political moderates.

According to a previous report from TheBlaze, teachers complained that they were expected to deliver the curriculum verbatim and only on days allotted by the CSCOPE lesson plan. Even if students were unable to absorb the lesson, teachers were allegedly directed to progress to the next lesson regardless. TheBlaze also reported that teachers were “asked to sign a contract that would prevent them from revealing what was in the CSCOPE lessons or face civil and criminal penalties.”

The controversial program’s website states that CSCOPE is a comprehensive online curriculum management system developed and owned by the Texas Education Service Center Curriculum Collaborative (TESCCC), a consortium composed of the 20 ESCs in the state.” It goes on to explain that the CSCOPE system provides curriculum framework for grades kindergarten through 12 across a broad range of subject areas.

The online description might raise red flags for some when it states that the CSCOPE content is regularly updated based on, among other criteria, “feedback collected through various stakeholder groups in the collaborative, including individual teacher submissions through the CSCOPE website and the School District Advisory Committee, comprised of district representatives from all participating regions of the state.”

What, or rather who, comprises CSCOPE’s collaborative and stakeholder groups? That question and a myriad others are what critics hope to get to the bottom of.

But while the groups to which CSCOPE appears relatively beholden may sound alarms for critics, the actual researchers CSCOPE credits with providing the basis for its curriculum seem to be formidable industry veterans by and large. Those educators include Robert Marzano, Fenwick English, John Crain, Heidi Hayes Jacobs, Grant Wiggins, Jay McTighe, H. Lynn Erickson, and James Barufaldi.

CSCOPE has been adopted by some 75 percent of Texas schools and the aim was to implement a national adoption of the management system. However, CSCOPE reportedly refused when Common Core Standards sought to purchase the system as the national curriculum standard. It is by far and away, one of the more hotly contested topics in the current education debate and much mystery still remains as to CSCOPE’s core tenets.

Beck noted that secular progressivism, further, the notion of communal life and collectivism, is at the system’s core. Other points of contention concerning CSCOPE curriculum include lesson-plans positing that Christopher Columbus was an “eco-warrior” and, when referring to the famed explorer’s journal, all references to God and Christendom were removed.

Students are also posed with hypothetical scenarios concerning historical figures and have allegedly been asked to take a position on population growth. Students were even subject to a lesson framed around the idea that “Christianity was a cult,” Beck noted.

CSCOPE’s director, Wade Labay has defended his curriculum and maintained that controversy has stemmed from misconceptions.” For instance, he said that framing the Boston Tea Party as an act of terrorism was merely one teacher’s way to engage students in the day’s lesson.

State Sen. Patrick, who chairs the Senate Education Committee, has led the CSCOPE hearings, bringing the controversial system to public light. He pushed CSCOPE to allow parents to view curriculum and to lift  gag-orders on teachers. Patrick explained his experience bringing CSCOPE to task and revealed what he believes is in store for his state.

Hartzler, who taught math for nearly four decades, retired early because of CSCOPE. He said that he was written nearly a dozen times for not following the system’s lesson plan and maintains that CSCOPE is dumbing-down American students. He said he tried his best to follow the lesson plans, but simply could not.

Bowen, who is currently forced to use CSCOPE in her school district, feels that schools are now more like factories that send children out into the real world from an assembly-line that has not even given them the basics. She spoke to Beck despite the fact that CSCOPE had set up disciplinary consequences for doing so.

Bowen said that the lessons were mediocre at best, often “riddled with errors” and that “tests were invalid.”

“There’s tremendous coercion. It’s an incredibly oppressive environment.” She added that there have been teachers who were fired for speaking out to the school board.

Bowen also explained that teachers spend “one out of every five” days testing students, and that those tests provide data for the government’s use.

When asked what they tell parents who are inquisitive about their child’s lesson-plans, Hartzler said he violated his gag-order “right away.” He said he showed the parents why the students were struggling and where they should go from that point on.

Beck said that President Obama will look to move forward with implementing CSCOPE or such systems within a short time-frame. The panel said concerned Americans should send letters to the Attorney General and that emergency legislation should be enacted to help teachers push back.

Because Stalking is Creepy –Especially When the Government Does It   Leave a comment

Michelle Malkin’s true to her word. She said her New Year’s Resolution would be to expose the truth about Common Core, and she’s well on her way. Her fourth installment in the series “Rotten to the Core” is out.

In “The Feds’ Invasive Student Tracking Data Base” Malkin brings up the fact that while millions of Americans worry about government drones spying on citizens from the skies, millions are unaware that Washington is already spying on us using a web of recent “education reforms” known as the Common Core Initiative.

Malkin shares a link to the National Data Collection Model which asks states to report intimate details of an individual’s life, including bus stop times, parental names, nicknames, languages spoken, and more.

Reading her article made me think of last year’s “child privacy no more” revelation.

Last year, when I first learned these student data tracking facts, I contacted my state school board to ask if there was an opt-out privilege.  Could my public school attending child NOT be intimately tracked by the state’s SLDS data collection system?  The answer came back, eventually.  They said NO.  They blamed it on the technology: the technology doesn’t allow us to opt certain children out.

Agencies mashing data = citizen surveillance but under the nice concept of "sharing".

The idea of “data driven decision making” has become a passion to many educrats, corporate icons  and government leaders (Think Obama, Duncan, Joanne Weiss,  –or Utah’s  own John Brandt, David Wiley, and Judy Park).

“Data Driven” is a  concept used as justification  for behavior that in the end amounts to corporate/government stalking of children –without any parental consent.

I’m not using the word “stalking” facetiously. Does the governmental obsession with personal data collection differ from stalking?

Individual stalkers have their reasoning for doing what they do, that makes sense to them, just as gleaning student data without parental consent  that makes sense in Utah’s education leaders’ own heads, too.

I can think of only one answer to the question of how these differ:  an individual stalker tends to stalk just one person at a time and rarely “inspires” millions to help stalk.

So what do we do? Let’s look at our options. We can:

1. Dismiss facts and call student stalking by government a silly conspiracy theory –even though there’s nothing secret about it– as many do.

or–

2. Wake up, stand up and tell our state leaders that we and our children have had enough.

J.R. Wilson: Parents Need to Know About Student Data Privacy

Our Governor’s To-Do list:

1. Read the Constitution closely and think about what freedom looks like, in comparison to what Utah leaders promote;

2. Shut down Utah’s SLDS, P-20, and Prosperity 2020 systems;

3. Fire John Brandt, Judy Park, the Utah Data Alliance staff, and everyone who works as if “1984″ was an instruction manual for school improvement;

4. Stop accepting money and directives from the Dept. of Ed.;

5. Cancel membership with the National Governors’ Association;

6.  Get rid of the trojan horse of Common Core which serves the tracking goals of the federal and corporate elite;

7. Insist that only parents of school-aged children, people who honor freedom, not socialism –and know the difference– serve on any school board;

8.  End cradle to grave tracking in the state.

Georgia Doing “Everything in its Power to Release Itself” From Common Core   1 comment

Senator William Ligon of Georgia led a recent press conference to discuss the reasons Georgia will do  “everything in its power to release itself from the commitment of the Common Core and the P.A.R.C.C”.

Jane Robbins,  Tish Strange, Sandra Stotsky, Ze’ev Wurman and others also spoke at this press conference.

 

Senator William Ligon explained more about SB 167 in his Facebook update from last week: “Capitol Update: Feb. 25 – March 5″

Review of Action on SB 167 (Legislation to Withdraw from Common Core)

Prior to last week’s hearing on SB 167 before the Senate Education Committee, Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick) told members of the press that it was time to withdraw Georgia from its participation in the Common Core State Standards Initiative and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).

The Common Core Georgia Performance Standards (CCGPS) were adopted on July 8, 2010 under Governor Sonny Perdue‚s administration as part of the state’s efforts to comply with the Federal Race to the Top (RTTT) grant. The Common Core represents the first attempt at nationalized curriculum standards in math and English language arts (ELA) for grades K – 12. The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is responsible for the development of assessments that will be aligned to the Common Core.

“Though I am sure the previous administration had the best of intentions when deciding to apply for Race to the Top, the lack of accountability to the parents and taxpayers of this state is stunning,” said Sen. Ligon. “First of all, there has been no thorough cost analysis of what the unfunded mandates will cost Georgia’s taxpayers at either the state or the local level to implement and maintain the terms of the grant.”

“Secondly, allowing a consortium of states to work with non-profits and other unaccountable parties to develop our standards without open public oversight is untenable in a country of free people, especially considering that Georgia’s taxpayers support K-12 education with approximately $13 billion of hard-earned dollars every year,” Sen. Ligon explained. “Georgia needs to have a transparent, democratic process of developing curriculum standards and a means to ensure more direct accountability at the local level. Our educational system should not be accountable to Washington bureaucrats, but to the people of this state who pay the taxes and to the parents who have children in our public schools.”

Lending his voice of support to the effort, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle stated, “The most important task we face each Legislative Session is finding ways to strengthen and reform the education of Georgia’s children. I believe that Georgians know best how to educate our children, not Washington, D.C. bureaucrats. I look forward to working with Sen. Ligon on this important issue to ensure that we‚re able to continue making decisions about the education of our children right here in Georgia rather than having curriculum standards enforced from Washington, D.C.”

During the press conference and at the hearing, Sen. Ligon was joined by Dr. Sandra Stotsky, who served on the Common Core Validation Committee and as senior associate commissioner in the Massachusetts Department of Education; Ze‚ev Wurman, a visiting scholar at the Hoover Institution and former Senior Adviser at the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development in the U.S. Department of Education; Jane Robbins, a Harvard-trained attorney and Senior Fellow with the American Principles Project; and Dr. Jim Arnold, Superintendent of Pelham City Schools, GA.

In addition, a number of grassroots organizations, parents, citizens, and K-12 as well as collegiate educators offered testimony in support of SB 167 at the hearing which took place before a standing-room only crowd. Groups included organizations such as Concerned Women for America, Americans for Prosperity, American Principles Project, Georgia Conservatives in Action, Citizen Impact, the Conservative Leadership Coalition, the Georgia Republican Assembly, the Capitol Coalition of Conservative Leaders, among others.

Action has been deferred on the legislation due to the fact that time constraints and the dynamics of the Senate would prevent the bill from reaching the House this session even if it had passed the committee.

Sen. Ligon will take up the bill next January, as well as SB 203, the companion legislation to establish a transparent, democratic process for the adoption of curriculum standards.

Ethics in Education Leadership   7 comments

There’s a fine line between watching a state leader hold multiple roles in business and politics that are a bit too close for comfort, and having  a leader hold multiple roles that clearly create unwarranted favoritism –or even corruption.

I don’t know exactly where this line falls.

But I’ve noticed an uncomfortable “two-hats-wearing” pattern with some businesspeople-turned-politicians.  And it’s harming the process of proper vetting, voice and vote of “We, the People.” The people’s debate never takes place.  The business-side-of-education “experts” rise to positions of political authority and they then make the calls.  I am not comfortable with it.

Two examples: Todd Huston of Indiana and Aaron Osmond of Utah– both are Republicans and both are youngish family guys, seeminlgy “nice guys”.

But each is employed by education-product sales companies while also serving in the state legislature in positions that influence decisions about which educational products will be needed, and will be purchased, using state tax dollars.

Huston works for the College Board, whose president financially contributed to his political campaign.  Osmond works for Certiport-Pearson which has huge contracts with the state, and would probably have more if Osmond’s recent bill had passed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The president of the College Board, David Coleman, recently gave Todd Huston a large (his second largest) campaign contribution, of $10,000.  Other campaign contributers included Stand for Children, another controversial political group.  David Coleman also hired Huston to be  Senior Vice President of the College Board.

(Remember:  prior to running the College Board, you will recall, Coleman served as chief architect of the ELA portion of the Common Core Standards. Coleman’s now working to alter the SAT to match his creation, the Common Core.   Surely Huston has a role to play in that.  David Coleman, Todd Huston and Aaron Osmond,  are each influencing governmental education policy despite the fact that they work for these educational business companies.)

Will we file this information under “Things that must be exposed and changed” or just “Things that make you go hmmm”?

It’s more than corporate aggression that comes into play. The organizations (Pearson, and now Coleman’s version of the College Board) hold extreme philosophical positions that many are  uncomfortable with.

For example, Pearson pushes the idea of having not just every state, but every country using the exact same educational standards, and Pearson pushes public-private-partnerships, which means having business and government collude over education policy and funding.  These ideas are promoted in the very public speeches of Pearson’s CEA, Sir Michael Barber.

Meanwhile, Coleman, the College Board president, pushes for the minimizing of classic  literature and mocks narrative writing– and he doesn’t do it politely.

These people are not educators.  They are businessmen– setting education policy.

I remember watching Senator Osmond, in a Senate Education Committee meeting last summer when Ted Rebarber and Jim Stergios testified that Common Core was set to harm Utah education.  Senator Osmond was visibly agitated by their testimonies, and said that “the train had left the station” concerning Common Core, and he said that people should stop talking about the problems with Common Core.

 His company sells Common Core implementation products.  It wouldn’t do for him to side with Rebarber and Stergios, would it?

This two-hat wearing circumvents the American process of representative government.  We trust our leaders to be objective enough to weigh options openmindedly.  Someone whose paycheck comes from education technology and testing can not possibly be objective.  Osmond, Huston and others in similar career paths should not be in roles of education policy making over a state.

We should  question the financial and philosophical motivations of our education leaders.  We should not allow the niceness of these individuals to wilt our resolve to make sure we are doing what is actually right for our children and not harming our educational system irreparably.

Mark Rice and Me: Common Misadventures in Common Core   1 comment

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-rice/common-core-math_b_2781092.html

This article needs wide exposure.

 

Misadventures in Common Core

By Mark Rice – reposted from Huffington Post

My daughter — a bright, fun-loving 8-year-old who isn’t easily rattled — was reduced to tears in school yesterday. Apparently, while working on a math lesson involving fractions, she wasn’t “getting it” the way that she thought she should, and her frustration mounted and her eyes welled up and, later, when her teacher talked to her in the hallway on the way to gym class, she lost it and she cried and cried.

I know this because her teacher — a committed professional who does wonderful work with her class of third-graders — cared enough to call us at home to tell us. When asked, she said that lots of kids were feeling frustrated by this particular lesson. The reason, we learned, is New York’s recent embrace of the “Common Core” that has been adopted by 46 states. It’s the latest experiment put into place by educational policy experts who continually jockey to get the newest big ideas into the classroom.

When I first heard about the Common Core, I was excited. Many of the college students I teach are unprepared to do the kinds of textual analysis and critical thinking that I expect of them, and what I had heard about the Common Core made it seem promising. One article that I read in The Atlantic made it sound, well, revolutionary.

Maybe it will be. The Common Core might turn out to be one of the best reforms in K-12 education in decades. It’s all still pretty new and its cumulative impact on the intellectual development of students might turn out to be a great thing. What I know right now, though, is that it is asking third graders to approach math in ways that seem terribly unsuited to them.

I don’t just mean things like the worksheet that included a rectangle divided into six sections with written instructions asking students to shade one-fifth of it.

[Note: As I wrote the above sentence, my daughter -- who had been in bed for an hour and should have been asleep -- came downstairs in tears, saying that she was still upset by what happened in math class. After talking about her frustrations, she fell asleep beside me on the sofa.]

No, I’m not talking about the typographical error on an official New York State Common Core third-grade math worksheet, though such a boneheaded mistake does little to inspire confidence.

What I mean by math problems unsuited to third-graders are ones that go something like this: Two kids are served brownies. One kid, “Julian,” eats one-half of a small brownie and the other kid, “Debbie,” eats one-eighth of a big brownie. Julian claims that he ate more than Debbie (because one-half is more than one-eighth). The students are asked to explain why Julian’s claim is false, using words and pictures, and then use words and pictures to make that supposedly false statement into a true statement.

I guess that what the students are supposed to realize is that because the brownies are different sizes (though what kind of adult would cut unequal-sized brownies for kids?), one-half isn’t necessarily bigger than one-eighth. That’s true, but without knowing the size of each brownie, there really isn’t enough information to determine which brownie piece is bigger. Maybe Julian really did eat more than Debbie.

More to the point though, is this question: How in the world is that problem supposed to help a third-grader learn fractions? Third-graders are concrete thinkers and they are just learning the basics of fractions. Why throw in a poorly-written word problem that asks them to explain an abstract concept such as the idea that one-eighth of a larger whole may be bigger than one-half of a smaller whole? Until they fully understand the basics of halves and eighths — and unless there is a picture showing the relative sizes of each whole — such abstractions only muddy the waters of learning.

Then there is the problem of dividing a “whole” into two “halves,” calling each half a new whole, and then asking the students to divide the new whole into new halves. My daughter looked at the problem and she knew that she wasn’t seeing two new wholes. She was seeing two halves of the original whole that still stared back her from the page.

More insidious still is a worksheet that seems determined to confuse students by its use of two very similar sounding, and similar looking words. The instructions for Column A read: “The shape represents one whole. Write a fraction to describe the shaded part.” Below the instructions are a variety of shapes with different fractions shaded. The same shapes and shades are found in Column B. This time students are instructed: “The shaded part represents one whole. Divide one whole to show the same unit fraction you wrote in A.”

These third grade students are expected to keep in mind not only the lesson on fractions, but also the fine distinction between the words “shape” and “shade” in determining wholes and fractions. It’s absurd.

I don’t know how my daughter will do in math today or in the coming weeks. I hope that with her teacher’s guidance, and with the support of her mother and me, she’ll make the adjustments she needs to make in order to regain her confidence in understanding the math concepts that she was already beginning to understand before the new standards and their worksheets came along.

Until then, we’ll just keep reassuring her that the problem isn’t her ability to understand math; the problem is how she’s being asked to understand math. The problem is the experimental “big idea” that she’s unknowingly become part of.

— — — — —

Thanks to Mark Rice for his article. 

At Wasatch High School, where my teenager goes, there have been no math books for two years and there won’t be any next year either.  I know this because I called and asked.

No textbook.  No online book. No resource for parents or students, other than the offer to have parents attend class with the student.  Or afterschool tutoring.  Still booklessly.

This is the case because Wasatch High (or the school board– not sure who made the call) has decided to “lead” the state in implementing the Common Core.  So rather than to take some time –full implementation and testing must be done in 2014– Wasatch started implementing immediately, booklessly.

Math teachers just “make it up” and make daily worksheets from the standards themselves, but without real instruction.  These worksheets don’t look like a math book by any stretch of the imagination.  They are virtually instruction-free.  And my teenager can’t stand it.

I wish there were private schools in the Heber Valley but there are not. My options are to homeschool my teenager, or put up with a THIRD year of no book and no traditional math.

Thank you, Utah State School Board, for truly messing up children’s academic lives and calling it wonderful.

— —- —

While I’m on the subject of how incredibly frustrated I feel with the Utah State School Board and the State Office of Education, I will share a thread from facebook.  Joel Coleman is the state school board member who comments here, and Wendy Hart is a district school board member who understands how bad common core really is.  Joel does not. :

Kris Kimball I’m against the lower Math and Language Art standards in Common Core. I’m against the State School Board signing onto Common Core without any public or legislative input or without any cost analysis as to what this would cost our state. I’m against Common Core’s one size fits all approach that has never worked in education. I’m against nationalized assessments that will drive our curriculum and do away with local control in our schools.
  • Joel Coleman C’mon, we have to be straight here, we can’t keep repeating the same falsehoods in good conscience. The financial analysis was required before the money was appropriated by the legislature 3 years ago.  In fact, the costs dropped from $80M with the previous standards to $5M, so we actually saved a whole boatload of money. There was the same public input (including legislators) as there always is when adjusting or adopting the new Utah core standards for math and English.  And clearly we’re not using nationalized assessments – we’re developing our own using Utah produced questions and reviewed by a board of Utah citizens as required by Utah law.
  • Alisa Olsen Ellis Joel Coleman – you’re right – it’s time to be straight.  We’ve spent thousands of hours researching this.  How many have you spent?  I understand that you are on the inside track but I have only had 1, that’s right 1, email returned to me from Brenda Hales.  1 – that is unbelievable to me.  I’m glad that you feel so confident with the numbers put out by the State Office but I would like to see an independent cost analysis done.  This is not simply about standards.  You need to look at all of the reforms we’re putting in place to first, comply with our Race to the Top application, (I know we didn’t win but we never reversed – aside from the assessments- any of our commitments) and then look at the NCLB waiver very closely.  There is a lot to this.  Have you read the National Governor’s Implementation guide where they suggested states may have to hide some of the costs associated with implementing Common Core?  They suggested increasing class sizes.
  • Alisa Olsen Ellis The one email I was sent spouted the same lines we’ve heard from the beginning, un-sourced of course.  I did however get forwarded an email that you wrote the Lieutenant Governor attaching a 204 page document with the comment that here’s all the info those opposing Common Core “claim to have never received”.  Did you send it to me?  That document had the same rhetoric too.  They didn’t even get the committee Sandra Stotsky was on right.  I would encourage you to look around the Country and you’ll notice our outrage is not isolated to UT.
  • Alisa Olsen Ellis And same ole’, same ole’ doesn’t cut it in this case.  We’ve NEVER adopted standards like this before and we’ve never agreed to them before they were even written.  That is just absurd, in my opinion.
  • Anissa Wardell The “core” of this issue is that USOE is not being straight with any of us. Utah has implemented new standards, shifting the entire state and requiring districts to enact new training, new curriculum, and new assessments, and the state has somehow saved us $75 million? Where did you get that $5 million dollar figure? I would love to see how we have saved $75 million dollars.
  • Joel Coleman Simple, the $5M is what the legislature gave for training – that’s the implementation cost.  The rest of the costs are the same as before.  Previously they gave about $80M.  It’s not that complicated.
  • Alyson Oldham Williams Joel Coleman could you direct us to where we can see those figures? I’ve looked over the appropriations documents going back to 2008 and can’t find what you’re talking about. Thanks!
  • Renee LaPray Braddy Joel Coleman, you should talk to the districts.  Alpine is finding that they are spending a lot on implementing Common Core.  It seems as though the districts will be absorbing the majority of the cost.  I don’t think it is asking too much to have a cost analysis.  Do you?
  • Wendy Hart Brenda Hales said at Rep. Powell’s forum in Heber that in Utah, we never have enough money for this sort of thing, so the districts have to work it into the cycle of purchasing materials and professional development.
  • Wendy Hart What it does do is reset the spending priorities of the local districts. We would not have spent nearly $1M additional on professional development costs, not would we have purchased new math books. I would have preferred to reduce class sizes.
  • Renee LaPray Braddy Joel Coleman, have you seen this recent study in NY? “There are serious challenges to this federal program’s validity, and the research upon which it is based. Without substantive validation, New York State and U.S. taxpayers are funding a grand and costly experiment that has the potential to take public education in the wrong direction at a time when we need to be more competitive than ever before.”

Common Core Plague Hits Independent Curricula Companies   37 comments

Popular Home School Curricula and Common Core

By Kristen Chevrier

Reposted from http://homeschoolwise.com/2013/03/02/popular-home-school-curricula-and-common-core/

After learning that some very popular home school curricula have aligned their programs with Common Core, I decided to do some research. I will be keeping a running list of those who have and have not aligned with Common Core. I would appreciate your input.

After learning that some very popular home school curricula have aligned their programs with Common Core, I decided to do some research. I will be keeping a running list of those who have and have not aligned with Common Core. I would appreciate your input.

Having curricula that meet (or exceed) Common Core standards is not the same as aligning a program with Common Core. And having elements of Common Core in a program does not make it all bad. What is important in choosing any study materials is that you are aware of what your child is learning.

While we are on the topic of curricula: Many people come into home schooling thinking that they must have a completely planned curriculum and follow it exclusively. Not so. You have much more flexibility to address the needs and interests of individual children if you are willing be creative. While there are benefits to having a standard curriculum for the basics, it’s okay to create your own by picking and choosing materials from any source that suits your needs. Don’t get stuck in a box. Be flexible. Embrace your instincts. And actively choose to be your child’s guide.

Here is what I have found, so far:

Common Core-Aligned or Receiving Funding from Common Core Proponents:

Right Start Math

MathUSee

Math Mammoth

Critical Thinking Press

BYU Independent Study

Writing Road to Reading (Spalding)

Core Knowledge Curriculum

BJU Press

Alpha Omega

K12

Appear to be acknowledging where they align with CC, but not necessarily changing to align:

Singapore Math (Please see statement by Jeffrey Thomas, President and Co-Founder of Singapore Math in the comments below.)

Saxon Math

Explode the Code

Excellence in Writing

Easy Grammar

Khan Academy (Khan Academy is funded by some of the same people who fund and promote Common Core, but the videos are pre-CC and not likely to be re-made to align with CC. )

Currently Not Aligned with Common Core:

Ray’s Arithmetic

Rod and Staff Arithmetic

Life of Fred

Miquon Math

Teaching Textbooks

Jacob’s Math

Euclid’s Elements

McGuffey’s Readers

Simply Grammar

Primary Language Lessons

Apologia Science

Sonlight Curriculum

Media Angels Curriculum

Christian Light

Abeka

Kiselev’s Math

This is not an exhaustive list. I will add to it as I find more information. Please feel free to give input.

If you are using one of the programs that has aligned with Common Core I encourage you to write to or call the publisher and let them know how you feel about it.

— — — — —

Thank you, Kristen, for your helpful research.

Secretary Arne Duncan: Reading, Writing and Redefining Terms   6 comments

Words are powerful.

Redefining words is risky business because the redefining can change everything.

One who knows this truth is our nation’s Department of Education Secretary, Arne Duncan. He has a history of going out of his way to alter the definitions of words.  He did get the Department of Education sued  for doing this, but did anyone notice?

Okay. Let’s start paying attention.

Our U.S. Secretary of Education has officially redefined :

1) COLLEGE AND CAREER READINESS.   Did you know that “college and career readiness” can now officially mean only one thing in American schools?  It only means having the same standards as other states.   Odd!   Check it out for yourself.

2) AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE – Did you know that an “authorized representative”  has been redefined by the Dept. of Education (without Congressional approval) to expand privacy exemptions that had previously protected student privacy under FERPA law?  And reinterpretations “remove affirmative legal duties for state and local educational facilities to protect private student data.”  Yes, the Dept. has been sued over this.    Yet, “authorized representative” can now mean anyone who wants to see student data, even “a contractor, consultant, volunteer, or other party to whom an agency or institution has outsourced institutional services or functions…”  A volunteer can be “authorized” to see personally identifiable data without parental consent.

3) EDUCATION PROGRAM – Did you know that Sec. Duncan’s redefinition of “education program” now “includes, but is not limited to” early childhood education, elementary and secondary education, postsecondary education, special education, job training, career and technical education, and adult education, “regardless of whether the program is administered by an educational authority.” That last part is almost funny.  But not.

4) DIRECTORY INFORMATION – Sec. Duncan made sure it would be allowable to “nonconsensually disclose a studentnumber or other unique personal identifier” and that directory information could include a name; address; telephone listing; electronic mail address; photograph; date and place of birth; major field of study; grade level; enrollment status,  dates of attendance; participation in activities and sports; weight and height; degrees, honors and awards received; and educational institution attended.

5) BIOMETRIC DATA -  in the Dept. of Education’s definition of “personally identifiable information,” biometric data means a record of one or more measurable biological or behavioral characteristics that can be used for automated recognition of an individual. Examples include fingerprints; retina and iris patterns; voiceprints; DNA sequence; facial characteristics; and handwriting.  That one wins the creepy award.

But that’s not all.

When Sec. Duncan’s not redefining words to loosen parental consent law over student privacy, or siphoning off states’ sovereignty over their own testing systems, he’s giving speeches.

Whenever he’s not talking about social justice, he’s talking about international education.  Whenever he’s not talking about international education he’s talking about social justice.

Arne Duncan clearly wants schools to teach global  social justice.  But what does Sec. Duncan mean when he says  “global citizen” and  “social justice”?

“Global Citizen”

In his speech at International Education Week, Duncan praised globalist Sir Michael Barber, and glowingly used the terms: “global citizen,” being “internationally engaged” and “globally competent,” and playing on the “world stage”.  He never once said “United States citizen.”  –Why the omission?  And what is the cost of this omission to students who will grow up without learning to prize Americanism?

“Social Justice”

At a University of Virginia speech, Duncan said:  “Great teaching is about so much more than education; it is a daily fight for social justice.” 

At an IES research conference, he said: “The fight for quality education is about so much more than education. It’s a fight for social justice.” 

To the average American, “global citizenry” and “social justice” might sound like positive things.  But look them up.  “Global citizenship” ultimately submits American citizenship and sovereignty to a global collective.

And social justice means governmentally-enforced financial equality; it means wealth and property redistribution.  We are not talking about philanthropy, compassionate, voluntary giving.  We are talking about force.

George Washington explained:  “Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a  dangerous servant and a fearful master.”

Teachers for social justice are to be  “change agents” to engrain principles of “social justice” to their young captive audiences.  Such children are taught that “justice” means government can and should “redistribute the wealth.”  –But how do you re-something if you haven’t done it in the first place; government bureaucrats didn’t give us land or money, so they can’t re-give it; they can only take it.  They can only negate individual financial status by assigning one person’s money or assets to another, by force.

Yes, by force.

So, how well are teachers and school districts following the advice of the Secretary of Education and “teaching for social justice“?

Teacher’s colleges are pushing it.  Parents –at least in some places– are fighting it.  Even our local school district  has a vision statement that says: “We believe in enculturating the young in a social and political democracy.”

At  http://www.radicalmath.org/ for example, you’ll find hundreds of lesson plans for teachers to teach “social justice” (which is redistribution of property and money) to math students.

There are endless books and lesson plan websites prodding teachers to use social justice in their lesson planning.

      

An unfortunate fact is that most teachers simply don’t know that social justice is not a neutral term; at least, it is not neutral in the way that Arne Duncan, Linda Darling-Hammond, Bill Ayers, and other renowned promoters of the phrase, use it.

One of the leaders in “Teaching Social Justice,”  William “Bill” Ayers, a former domestic terrorist, explained (see video below) at a New York University “Change the Stakes” meeting that the Left should use schools to promote a left wing agenda. He said, “If we want change to come, we would do well not to look at the sites of power we have no access to– the White House, the Congress, the Pentagon,” but added, “We have absolute access to the community, the school, the neighborhood, the street, the classroom…”

Such shamelessly biased promotion of left-wing idealogy is, sadly, what most “social justice” books and lesson plans teach.

Parents, read your children’s textbooks.  Tell your school that you want to start a parents’ review committee to study school texts before they are adopted.  If we sit idly by, the “teachers for social justice” who wish to indoctrinate our children into an overtly socialist/communist idealogy will absolutely get their way.

 

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