Archive for March 2013
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
- Christopher Tienken - Professor at Seton Hall, NJ - http://vimeo.com/58461595
- Jane Robbins – American Principles Project - Stop Common Core video series: http://youtu.be/coRNJluF2O4
- Jamie Gass – Pioneer Institute – has been speaking about Common Core for many years; knows why Massachusetts had the best standards in the nation prior to Common Core. http://youtu.be/SBROaOCKN50
- Senator Kurt Bahr – Missouri legislator fighting Common Core http://youtu.be/25NTsQxj-zg?t=1m49s
- Senator William Ligon – Georgia legislator fighting Common Core http://youtu.be/ODz4X0GO-Fk?t=1m37s
- Senator Scott Schneider – Indiana legislator fighting Common Core http://youtu.be/TH9ZxVrn6aA?t=1m10s
- Dr. Bill Evers – Hoover Institute – Stanford University – http://youtu.be/LB014eno1aA
- Robert Scott – Texas commissioner of education – rejected Common Core: http://youtu.be/WcpMIUWbgxY?t=2m25s
- Diane Ravitch – liberal education analyst who just recently came out against Common Core http://youtu.be/ZkZUGpJJWy4?t=13s
- Dr. Sandra Stotsky, who served on the Common Core validation committee and refused to sign off on their adequacy: http://bcove.me/ws77it6d see min. 55:30
- Ze’ev Wurman, math analyst http://youtu.be/0cgnprQg_O0?t=22s
- Heather Crossin – Indiana mother fighting Common Core http://youtu.be/TH9ZxVrn6aA?t=54s
- Utah moms Alisa Ellis and Renee Braddy – http://youtu.be/Mk0D16mNbp4
- Jim Stergios – Pioneer Institute - http://bcove.me/ws77it6d see minute 30:00
- Jenni White – Oklahoma data collection expert - http://youtu.be/XTbMLjk-qRc and http://youtu.be/JM1CTJFUuzM
- Susan Ohanian – education analyst http://youtu.be/uJHkztNNFNk?t=23s
- Dr. William Mathis of University of Colorado http://youtu.be/46-M1hH0D1Q?t=23s
- Seattle Teachers who boycotted Garfield High School standardized testing. http://youtu.be/N5ODEoqZZHs
- Gary Thompson, clinical psychologist http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/glenn-beck-on-privacy-and-data-mining-in-common-core/
- Emmett McGroarty, American Principles Project http://youtu.be/wVI78lPCFfs?t=21s
- David Cox, teacher http://youtu.be/W-uAi1I_6Ds?t=22m28s
- Paul Bogush, teacher http://youtu.be/oaDniHquMVI?t=56s
- Sherena Arrington, political analyst http://youtu.be/QF337nKwx6M?t=6m35s
- Walt Chappell, Kansas Board of Education http://youtu.be/1S9jjNyXAE4?t=16m55s
- Bob Shaeffer, Colorado Principal /Former Congressman http://youtu.be/Fai4K2ZVauk?t=1m15s
- Lindsey Burke, Heritage Foundation http://youtu.be/1DOCH1YT6Uk
- Oak Norton, Agency Based Education http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_H7ds2Eb70&feature=share&list=PLjUrg_jASxd-BeEivpr4b7z7Ydc5mjGi4
- Neil McClusky – Cato Institute http://youtu.be/DK2kTdDudo4
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 6, 7, 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 education. Gates 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.
- 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.
- 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
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?
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/
- 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.
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.”
Here’s a link to the radio show where David Cox and I were guests of Rod Arquette last week.
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?
Arne Duncan: U.S. Secretary of Education
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“
“…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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Here is the whole show from last Thursday, March 14, 2013.
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.
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.
This next clip covers the part of the show where we discussed the ”no-parental-consent” school data mining.
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.
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.
(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.
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,
—- —- —-
Watch these videos: Stop Common Core: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coRNJluF2O4
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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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. :
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
Critical Thinking Press
BYU Independent Study
Writing Road to Reading (Spalding)
Core Knowledge Curriculum
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.)
Explode the Code
Excellence in Writing
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:
Rod and Staff Arithmetic
Life of Fred
Primary Language Lessons
Media Angels Curriculum
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.
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Thank you, Kristen, for your helpful research.