Not with my child you won’t: Psychological Damages of Common Core Analyzed by Joan Landes   29 comments

NOT WITH MY CHILD YOU WON’T

Guest Post by Joan Landes

joan landes

Joan Landes, a Utah mental health therapist, has spoken out in opposition to Common Core.  The speech posted below comes from a recent conference where she spoke.  She has given permission to post her findings here, and they are also posted on her blog here:  Not with my child you won’t!

Thank you, Joan Landes.

National Educational Standards are Based on Myths and False Premises

Myth 1: International standardized tests are important indicators of international competitiveness

Fact: The U.S. has never scored well on these tests, but still led the world in all economic indicators.

  • The international tests began in the mid-sixties and the most important test, PISA began more recently. Since the 1960s, the U.S. has led the world in every significant prosperity indicator including patents, research and development funding, business formation, growth in productivity (Baker, 2007). During this time, the number of years that U.S. students topped the international test scores? None. (Ravitch, 2013)
  • High test scores are negatively correlated with national indicators of innovation and entrepreneurship (Baker, 2007). China and Singapore know this and are worried (Zhao, 2012).
  • Twenty-five years ago, mediocre scores triggered biased groups to warn “that America’s inadequate education system and workforce skills imperiled our competitiveness and future. Their warnings were followed by a substantial acceleration of American productivity growth in the mid-1990s, and by an American economy whose growth rate surpassed the growth rates of countries that were alleged to have better prepared and more highly skilled workers”(Strauss, 2013).

students taking standardized test

Reuters/Vincent Kessler

Myth 2: International tests prove American students don’t perform as well as other industrialized nations’ students.

Fact: The tests don’t compare “apples to apples” for many reasons.

  • For instance, the scores from China come only from Shanghai which is the richest and most educationally elite city in China, which forbids migrant children and represents a mere 2 percent of the students in China. (Nisan, 2013).
  • U.S. scores, by contrast, are a much more representative sampling of our complex demographics. In fact, students from affluent suburban school districts in the U.S. are very competitive with other students. The student groups who don’t perform well tend to come from dysfunctional families and communities of which the U.S. samples contain more than most other OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) nations (Strauss, 2013; Carnoy & Rothstein, 2013).
  • The score spread between all countries is fairly narrow. Between the highest performing state in the U.S. and the highest performing nation in the world (Taiwan) in 2009 is only about a 10% difference in raw scores (Schneider, 2009).  Even the spread between Taiwan and the lowest performing “state” (Washington D.C) is only about a 30%. So, that would mean Taiwan scores an “A”, Massachusetts an “A- or B+” and Washington D.C. earns a C-.
  • The validity and reliability of the test itself is under serious question (Carnoy & Rothstein, 2013). Translations may not be good, scoring has not been validated and many student groups are not tested (Schneider, 2009). Many countries “cheat” on the test by using non-representative sampling and by “teaching to the test” to increase student scores (Stephen, 2013).

Myth 3: We should seek to emulate China and Singpore’s rigid educational system because they score well on standardized tests.

Fact: China and Singapore are very low on indices of innovation and creativity.

    • High test scores are inversely related to high levels of creativity and innovation. Merely 473 innovations from China were recognized by the world’s leading patent offices outside China in 2008 versus 14,399 from the United States. (Zhao, 2012).
    • Other indicators of happiness/prosperity/creativity are also inversely related to high test scores (Baker, 2007).

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Steve Jobs, founder of Apple

A noted expert on Asia predicted at the World Economic Summit: “The next Apple, the next Google will come, but probably not in China, at least not in the 100 years . . .If China wants (to have an Apple or Google), it must rebuild its education system.”

Another expert states: “Standardized, narrow, and uniform educational experiences, high-stakes standardized testing, (and) a push for conformity . . .  are . . . identified in China and Singapore’s education system for destroying the nations’ creativity and entrepreneurial spirits” (Zhao, 2012).

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Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple

Steve Wozniak from Apple said of rigid systems like Singapore, “When you’re very structured almost like a religion . . . Uniforms, uniforms, uniforms . . . everybody is the same. Look at structured societies like Singapore where bad behavior isn’t tolerated. You are extremely punished. Where are the creative people? Where are the great artists? Where are the great musicians? Where are the great singers? Where are the great writers? Where are the athletes? All the creative elements seem to disappear” (BBC, 2011).

The highest performing nations on the tests (China, Singapore, India, Korea) are moving away from constant testing and rigid structure while the U.S., with the Common Core assessments are diving headlong into old methods that will kill innovation.

In fact, an educational “superstar”, Finland, has NO assessment program until the end of high school, shorter school days and a 3 month break in summer, and very little homework. Furthermore, school is not compulsory until age 7! (Hendrickson, 2012). In addition, the national curriculum is not used to roll spindle and mutilate students and teachers through punitive assessments. The nation has a very “hands-off” attitude toward individual schools and understands that individual customization of curriculum and independence of teachers and schools creates the best results overall (Hendrickson, 2012).

  • After an average level of educational achievement is attained, further emphasis on tests is counterproductive to innovation (Baker, 2007).

“Among high-scoring nations, a certain level of educational attainment, as reflected in test scores, provides a platform for launching national success, but once that platform is reached, other factors become more important than further gains in test scores. Indeed, once the platform is reached, it may be bad policy to pursue further gains in test scores because focusing on the scores diverts attention, effort, and resources away from other factors that are more important determinants of national success.” (Baker, 2007)

Myth 4: We should embark on a national, top-down restructuring of educational standards such as Goals 2000, Outcome-Based Education, No Child Left Behind and the Common Core Standards to improve our scores and thus future prosperity.

Are you kidding?

Fact: National Standards in themselves do not determine student excellence. Both the highest and lowest performing nations have national standards. National standards/programs don’t correlate with high achievement on international testing.

But what does make a difference?

Unique state standards do make a difference in student achievement when combined with other layers of teacher requirements, moderate levels of subject mastery assessments and customizable programs for individual students. Massachusetts had a true state-led effort to craft excellent standards and supports. This process was transparent and involved years of public debate and input before a consensus was reached. The results were the envy of the rest of the U.S. and, even with the disparate SES, managed to compare favorably on international tests with the highest performing students in the world.

Using the 50 states as individual laboratories, each state and even each district can learn from the successes and failures of the others. An excellent example of this process is our neighbor to the north, Canada.

When international testing commenced, Canada occupied the middle of the pack, similar to the U.S. They have about 24% of students who are immigrants. But within a few decades, Canada was able to shoot to the top tier, while the U.S. remained stuck. What did Canada do? Did they fund a federal department of education, impose a draconian, coast-to-coast set of uniform standards, assessments and eventually curricula?

No, they did not (Edwards, 2013).

In fact, Canada’s educational system is much less structured than ours. They don’t have a national department of education or provide any federal funding. Each separate province (similar to States) is very competitive with the other provinces and seeks through a process of competition to quickly innovate and implement strategies which make real differences for students (Macleans, 2010). The gains have been real and well-documented by research. This kind of real evidence is what should drive educational decisions—not the machinations of special interests, crony governmentalism, and federal bribes from the Department of Education.

With monolithic national standards, students are effectively trapped with nowhere to escape for a better education. Unless they move to Canada.

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Common Core Standards ignore recent research in neuroscience

Science/Research findings are of limited value and can be biased. If the findings of a particular study don’t sound intuitively correct, be very skeptical. Poor science has been used in the past to justify very harmful practices.

Example of the limits of Science: Marasmus

In the early part of the 20th century babies in orphanages were dying at an alarming rate. Scientists were flummoxed. They called the fatal disease “Marasmus” (Montagu & Matson 1979). Assuming the mortality rate was due to bacteria, they prescribed strict separation for the babies from touching or contact. Only ultra-hygenic feeding and diapering were allowed with no extra handling.

The babies continued to die as if in a plague.

Finally, some bright soul decided to start cuddling and hugging the babies. They stopped dying and started thriving. “Marasmus” was nothing more than the deprivation of attention and love (Stout, 2005).

Programs like Common Core Standards may be the “marasmus” of the 21st century. Will our children have to suffer because of badly researched programs?

No experts on child development, mental health, or neuroscience helped to craft Common Core

  • CC is based on old motivational science from the 1910s and 1930s with B.F. Skinner.
  • He studied “stimulus-response” patterns to learn how to manipulate animals and people.
  • A Skinnerian Box
  • Skinner developed ways to train people and animals through the coercion of punishments and rewards.
  • He even had his own baby daughter in a glass box crib for the first years of life although he said the contraption was a solution to keep her warm without bedclothes (Snopes, 2014)

Did B.F. Skinner really put babies into boxes?j

Skinner considered this box a great advancement in childrearing

Problems with using punishments and rewards as motivation

  • External reinforcers tend to lose effectiveness over time
  • External reinforcers usually take significant time/effort to administer properly
  • External reinforcers are often expensive
  • External reinforcers often leave subjects feeling manipulated and dependent on external control
  • External reinforcers abrogate freedom
  • External rewards tend to diminish intrinsic motivation (Timms, 2013)

Current Neuroscience finds that human learning occurs best in loving relationships

Child in a Factory

Unlike factory production methods from the 1910s, recent findings from neuroscience support the idea that relationships foster better, faster and more permanent learning for children (Cozolino, 2013).

Stressors from Common Core Assessments can interfere with two important types of learning

  • Cognitive learning: Facts, procedures, memory, etc.
  • Emotional learning: Interpreting others intent, expressing and identifying feelings, self-soothing, risk-taking, etc.

Common Core over-testing creates anxiety

Common Core Assessment partners SBAC and PARC add even more testing than NCLB requires at present. In addition their tests are longer and the consortiums encourage interim testing 2 or 3 times during the year besides the year-end test-weeks. In addition, these tests will be used improperly to decided teacher evaluation and sometimes pay, school rankings, child-progress and possibly even graduation (FairTest, 2014).

Spring Has Sprung, Let The Test Anxiety Begin

Test Anxiety

Common Core over-testing creates an environment of “conditions of worth”

Children need to feel intrinsically loved and valuable. Failure at tests, and even the testing itself can stress even the most resilient children. The are convinced that their worth is based on their performance.

Vulnerable children respond negatively to even normal stressors

  • Children who have been abused, neglected or traumatized often display alarming responses to stress– especially outside of a safe, loving relationship. (Cozolino, 2013; Adams, 2014).
  • Studies show that mammals and human that experience little nurturing in early childhood result in lower abilities to emotionally regulate themselves. (Raabe & Spengler, 2013)

Current neuroscience shows how early stress creates later emotional dysregulation

cry your eyes out

Emotional Dysregulation– crying

  • Epigenetic studies show how the relational stress of maternal deprivation or early trauma creates genetic changes in protein synthesis resulting in the failure to uptake cortisol. This results in longer periods of distress to smaller triggers. (University of Utah, 2014; Weaver et. al, 2004)

Common Core Will Widen the Achievement Gap and Hurt the Most Vulnerable Children.

  • 20% of students in school have a “serious” mental/emotional condition that could receive a DSM diagnosis (NIH, 2013)
  • Examples: Depression, anxiety, bi-polar disorder, suicidality, self-mutilation, addictions, obsessions, compulsions, panic disorder, reactive attachment disorder, phobias, oppositional defiant disorder, ADHD, trichotillomania, etc.
  • Sexual and other abuse is not rare. Approximately 20% of girls and 10% of boys have been sexually abused and have many resulting emotional, cognitive and behavioral problems. (Bolen, 1999)
  • Many more students have experienced physical/emotional abuse and neglect and other traumatizing factors which create problems for learning (Childhelp, 2014; Adams, 2014)

Traumatized children are the most vulnerable of all

Common Core Doesn’t Allow for Individualized Needs of Traumatized Children:

  • Healing relationships first (Adams, 2014)
  • Development of neglected neural modalities
  • Relief from assessments which can create anxiety, depression and avoidance symptoms

The following harms are predictable

  • The most vulnerable children will fall further behind the rest of the students.
  • The achievement gap will widen (Adams, 2014)
  • Vulnerable children will react more dramatically

Expect More

  • Expect more mental disorders
  • Expect more anti-social behavior
  • Expect more school shootings
  • Expect more self-harming and suicides

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School violence will likely increase

How Should We Be Teaching Vulnerable Children?

With conditions of supportive relationships and few other resources, even traumatized students will tend to blossom (Cozolino, 2013, Adams, 2014).

Marva Collins taught “unteachable” inner city students in her home with practically no resources and they learned Shakespeare in third grade! Why? She first established a relationship! “I don’t care how much you know until I know how much you care”  (Cozolino, 2013)

Marva Collins– she did miracles with “unteachable children” because of relationships

Relationships are Better Motivators Than Material Rewards

Children will perform better because of a relationship (I want my teacher to be proud of me!) more than for material rewards (I earned a candy bar!). Psychic rewards tend to be more powerful than material rewards.

Optimal Brain Development Requires Early Activation of Many Learning Modes

  • Visual processing: drawing, painting, animation, and art appreciation, optical illusions, Where’s Waldo, video games.
  • Auditory processing: foreign language, music, reading aloud, being read to, singing
  • Emotional centers: identifying emotions, reading emotions on others, self-soothing strategies, emotional expression in safe environment (drama)
  • Spatial/movement processing centers: building/manipulating objects, dance, sports, games, puzzles, cursive handwriting
  • Memory centers: short term memory, long-term memory

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Common Core Neglects Many Brain Modalities

  • Common Core focuses huge amounts of time developing the left, prefrontal cortex activities in children to the neglect of other modalities. This will result in later difficulties in synthesis required for higher order thinking tasks such as creativity, innovation, critical analysis, perseverance in the face of opposition, etc. (Young & Doidge, 2013).

Common Core Reduces Experience with Literature

Common Core’s mandates for informational texts over literature deprive student’s brains of context (relationships). Stories/narratives foster larger areas of brain activation and memory activation than dry facts (Cozolino, 2013) Kids tell stories for a reason. The context gives meaning and meaning signals to the brain to remember (Cozolino, 2013)

Literature teaches both cognitive and emotional skills that informational texts can’t teach

One of the most important mental health purposes of education is to teach children to be empathetic, kind, to delay gratification and to become sensitive to their internal self-talk (conscience). Literature can assist with this through social learning. If these skills are not developed, the child becomes a heartless “clever devil” or as C.S. Lewis described, “Men without chests.” (People with active intellects and libido, but no heart or compassion). More admirable literature, not less, is what is need for children’s resilience.

Good literature embues the reader with compassion and empathy

Common Core Assessments Violate Student Privacy and Professional Ethics

Hundreds of assessment points on students and parents have been authorized by the DOE  (NCES 2014) including substance abuse, record of child protective services, illnesses, affiliations, etc. These are information points which in the medical or mental health profession would be protected by HIPAA regulations.

New FERPA Changes Violate Privacy

Because the Obama administration made significant, executive changes to FERPA, student information can now be accessed by corporations, school personnel or any other entity that the state approves.

medical-malpractice-2

Trained professionals would be heavily fined or punished under the same circumstances

If doctors or psychologists did this, they would be fined at least $100,000 for each instance. And they could lose their license because of breach of confidentiality.

Why can the government get away with this violation?

Common Core is Completely Untested

Common Core Standards are completely untested experimentally yet are being inflicted on virtually every student in the entire U.S. from K-12 with NO PREVIOUS TESTING. This is an egregious violation of basic ethics and good science and shows the developers’ absolute disregard or ignorance of potential harms to children. The EPA conducts more testing for the food dyes in Kool-Aid than has been conducted on Common Core which kids will live with for 8 hours a day for 12 years.

No Hard Evidence Supports Common Core

Unlike other professions, educational bureaucrats are not using “evidence-based practices.”

Instead of funding yet another untested scheme, we must demand “Evidence-based Education”.

Show us the evidence FIRST.

Common Core Aligned Curriculum Provides Validation for Radical Lessons Which Can Harm Children.

CC alignment makes it more difficult for parents to challenge because the administrator appeals to the authority of the standards, “But it’s Common Core aligned!” However, the developers are careful to distance themselves from curriculum development so they can’t be held responsible for damaging lessons. We as parents can’t let them have it both ways. Either the Standards are RESPONSIBLE for the curriculum that is validated by “alignment” or they shouldn’t allow the label “Common Core Aligned.”

Numerous Examples Exist of Radical Curricula “Aligned” or Even Officially Recommended by Common Core:

The examples are multiplying every day, but here are just four problematic sources:

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Toni Morrison, author of “The Bluest Eye”

ELA recommended books for 11 graders (Common Core Standards, 2012)

  • The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison (Landes, 2013) Graphic child sex abuse depictions. Landes is a mental health professional who asserts that this book could endanger youth who are victims of sexual abuse by forcing them to relive their trauma while justifying the perpetrator.
  • Dreaming in Cuban, by Cristina Garcia (Berry, 2013) Graphic sex depictions.

Other texts/books aligned with Common Core

  • The Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison (Kane, 2013) Graphic rape depictions.
  • Voices in Literature and Writing, (Landes, 2013) Teaches first-graders how to create propaganda and trains them in mental health cognitive distortions.

References

29 responses to “Not with my child you won’t: Psychological Damages of Common Core Analyzed by Joan Landes

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  1. If this is true it needs to be stopped now!!!

    • Do some reading yourself. Here is a great place to start, the standards themselves:

      http://www.corestandards.org/

      Form your own opinions, but please do so with an open mind. Maybe find some opinions on both sides. Maybe consider the opinions of people with degrees in Education… Teachers who are teaching the standards, working with them in the classroom. In my experience most Educators feel the standards are a step in the right direction. I feel like they are a step in the right direction, they aren’t perfect, no one feels that way, but they a good start to the change our educational system desperately needs. Don’t let inflammatory articles like this one color your opinions before you do your own research. Also, please don’t confuse standards with classroom management. They are not the same thing.

      • So what about the children. We have come to the point where nothing is too horrible for our children. It is not surprising that we have come to the point in our society to where we are pushing this Common Crud on the schools. And there is so much out there and so many opportunities to give them and we end up with this. They are better off in a little one room school and a few books than this. They would learn to think better. Our children deserve the best and this is the worst we can give them. We have teachers in our schools locally who are quiting teaching because of
        Common Crud, one teacher said because it has ruined him emotionally because of what it is doing to the children. Then we punish the children for how they turn out.

    • This is such a biased piece of writing, containing many half-truths. She has manipulated quotes to try to back up her bias.I can use this in the classroom with students and have them analyze all of the logical fallacies and the gross manipulation of “facts.” She writes about Finland being hands-off, but fails to mention that they have one of the most sophisticated and rigorous teacher training systems in the world, and by the time a teacher is fully credentialed, they are true experts. This allows a hands-off approach. So as to not comparing apples to apples, she is doing the very thing she is criticizing.I think it’s a shame that people are passing on this propoganda as “facts” about the common core. The fact that this is happening is proving the need for common core, and the need for us to help students develop critical thinking skills so that they can see through propoganda like this. Check your “facts.” (hint- that wouldn’t be here)

      • Mickey, If you have your students analyze pieces for logical fallacies and gross manipulation of “facts”, kudos to you. I only hope that you do this with pieces on both sides of an issue.

  2. What can parents do about this? I can’t stand it, and my children are very smart, but aren’t getting an opportunity to learn anything because the math “skills” they learn are so stupid and don’t make any sense. I need some more information about this and I would like to figure out what I can do to help my child be a successful adult with more than a fourth grade education.

    • A great place to start — rather than simply calling the new math techniques “stupid” — is t learn them yourself. Sometimes a teacher will meet with you to explain some of the concepts. At first I thoughi it didn’t make sense, but then found that soe basic math concepts were starting to click for us in new ways. As someone who is slightly dyslexic, I wish this had been around when I was younger. Sometimes change just takes some patience and openmindedness :) good luck!

  3. What do we do about school superintendents and school board members who claim ‘their hands are tied’ because Common Core is now the law in Utah? Why do we hire/elect them in the first place if they cannot be accountable to their constituents and local parents?

  4. All of you are seem very motivated to stop this and do something. Find a Stop Common Core group in your state and join them. See what other parents in your area are doing. Call your superintendents out because most likely they signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) when RTTT was being decided in your state. Get on the phone with your state school boards and legislatures. They most likely have filed and passed bills in order to full fill the mandates having to do with RTTT. As parents, you are the biggest advocates for your children. Don’t let them be harmed by this horrible experiment. If you are in Florida, look us up at Florida Parents Against Common Core http://www.flpacc.com and there are tons of groups on Facebook that share lots of information. Education Freedom Coalition is a great one.
    Most states are fighting this so join in and we can all make a difference. Parents are the ones who will wake up the legislatures and governor to do something. But the more parents, teachers, and taxpayers make noise they have to listen. Search this blog and Christel has great resources you can tap into to help.
    Good luck to all of you and we will support you as move forward. Just let us know if you need help.

    Debbie Higginbotham
  5. Reblogged this on Chowchilla Patriot.

  6. You rock! It is time for logical recourse! Dialectical materialism, carl rogers, skinner and kinsey need exorsism from culture they are toxic and parents need to wise up!!!! Educate yourselves!!!
    Thank you!

  7. I should have stopped reading here:

    “Did they fund a federal department of education, impose a draconian, coast-to-coast set of uniform standards, assessments and eventually curricula?”

    I respect your right to form an opinion about Common Core as a United States citizen and a parent, but you take this too far. Common Core is not federally mandated or created. It is National in the sense that every state has had the chance to review it and adopt the standards or pass. They was created to try to change a very broken educational system. What we’ve been doing isn’t working. (Change is scary though, so it must be bad.) The Common Core Standards are a set of standards developed by a large body of people with experience in the education world, which you (at least according to the small bio on here) don’t have. It is based on research, lots of it, on what will help our children to succeed beyond high school. It is not forced on States, each state has/had the right to choose to adopt the standards, or not, some haven’t (so they can continue to be “individual laboratories” and experiment on our children). Common core is not, nor will it ever be a curriculum. It will not create totally uniform schooling, but it has the ability to create consistency, which can be good for children of say, military parents, who move, a lot. Consistency throughout the country could mean fewer children with gaps in what they learned because of a move. I don’t know that Common Core is THE answer, but I believe as an educator, that it is a step in the right direction.Common Core’s aim is to create more depth in our education, to focus learning on skills that will be necessary to succeed in real life. Perfect it isn’t, but what in this life ever is?

    Oh and the bit about Skinner, that is just plain disgusting. Common Core is a list of standards, it simply outlines what is believed to be the body of knowledge a student of a particular age should know and understand. It does not mention Skinner, or the use of external motivators, or punishment and reward. In fact, it has no bearing on classroom management approaches. Standards, of any kind, have nothing to do with how an individual state, district, school, or teacher chooses to manage their classroom. It does not tell them how to teach teach, punish, reward, or otherwise interact with their students. To even suggest it does, shows your ignorance.

    Spreading fear is not helpful. Change is not always a bad thing.

    • *They were created….
      Serves me right for trying to write at midnight.

    • I stopped reading when you tried to say that the standards were adopted by all States “who had the chance to review and either accept it or pass”. That is absolutely wrong. The States were forced to adopt the standards before they were even finished. They either adopted them or lose federal funds. Period. Therefore, they were forced on them by the Federal government via fear tactics through threat of reduced funding. It’s how they’ve gotten quite a few things forced into education. This article is spot on.

      • From what I can tell, that was not the case. They were offered money to adopt Common Core, but not so much that it made it impossible to say “no”.

        • They were offered millions of dollars and if the states didn’t conform, they lost the waiver, meaning money. Washington state just lost theirs.
          You really don’t know what you’re talking about.
          This Common Core crap has cost billions of dollars that could have gone to building schools and hiring more teachers. Remember when they said that was the problem with our schools?
          Now they teach to the test.
          My daughter worked on nothing but math for two weeks to prepare for the MSP test here in Wa. What about reading, writing, science? Very frustrating.

    • This post is full of misinformation.

  8. I read most of this article with intent to share. Then I read to the end – and the points that you make have nothing to do with Common Core. You’re talking about literature which forms the canon, for a reason – that it challenges, that it provokes, that it inspires discussion. As a teacher, I would never willingly do harm to children; at the same time, proposing censorship for books that are fundamental to our culture does no one good. I suppose I’d say ‘Stop while you’re ahead’ on the arguments written here.

  9. I think I see.
    I am made in the image of God.
    I am expected by God to fulfill His plan for his creation.
    He expects me to know and understand and improve myself as well as the environment around me.
    Curriculum is now being defined and structured by “experts” who have no clue of the above.

    If the parents do not have control over their children’s education then there is no way to progress.
    Eliminate the federal department of education.
    Restrict the control of state and local school boards by having tax money following each child as determined with parental consent.

    Of course those people who do not follow the way of God are simply going to design themselves off the face of the earth. (Birth rate is too low for them to reproduce their way of thought}

    Amen
    Bob Strimpel Sr.

  10. Although there are some grammatical errors in the above article, it brings about the age old problem with academia: standard versus personalized challenges. The teacher reflects the student; schools must provide a solid step for the child to leave home (and return again) safely. The rest is simple.
    It is not Hamlet’s Shakespeare who ended with, ‘The rest is silence.’ Instead, if you are still stumped as to how to teach, I suggest breathing practice; the rest is relience.

    Former-edress for Todd T Cash
  11. Very Well researched article that brings out real problems. We need to to do something about it besides trying to teach the kids by ourselves. The system should provide our kids the tools for growth and progress.

  12. There are several flaws in this argument, the first being the fact that the person writing them is not an expert in education, not an expert in learning theory, not an expert in research, but a Mental Health Therapist with a Master’s of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Therapy – not Educational Psychology, or any other field that might have a strong background in science. Criticizing a move toward national standards by criticizing testing is a poor argument as well, as they are indeed two separate things. The reason for a common core is that the disparity between the level of education is alarming, and it prevents state school boards populated by fundamentalists from including mythology in science curricula, for one example. I can’t see how making sure that American students learn the same thing from state to state, and use evidenced-based methods is a bad thing.

    Aside from addressing the argument as to whether the federal government should focus on education as part of its role, the author displays her ignorance regarding the science of learning theory. B.F. Skinner discovered operant conditioning in animals, outlined in 1938’s Behavior of Organisms, but the fact that these simple principles of learning, that the outcomes of our behavior shape that behavior, were fully explored well into the 1950’s and 60’s, bringing forth an amazing science of Applied Behavior Analysis that changes the lives of people every day, in homes, schools, sports, business and industry. Skinner did not develop “ways to train people and animals through the coercion of punishments and rewards”, but discovered the principles of operant learning that govern our behavior, and have been demonstrated over and over again. Techniques based on these principles (mostly positive reinforcement- the idea that the addition of an appetitive consequence following a response increases that response) have improved the lives of children and adults with autism and developmental disabilities, have yielded evidence-based effective educational technologies like Direct Instruction and Precision Teaching, and have increased productivity, safety, and profits for organizations around the world. Overjustification theorists from the 1970’s and misguided individuals like Alfie Kohn have long postulated that rewards decrease motivation, but these simple conclusions are drawn from research that fail to account for motivational factors and other phenomenon regarding rates of responding that the behavior analytic field can explain.

    The fact is, that when objectives for learning are developed, when validated methods of instruction are utilized, and when measurement of performance is used to evaluate the effectiveness of those methods, student learn. Unfortunately, there are few in the field of education who are appropriately trained to evaluate the research, so evidence-based methods get put aside in lieu of fad approaches, like brain-based learning, another example of research leading to poor conclusions. There is no empirical support for brain-based learning, or different learning styles (other than that the brain is of course involved, but we could develop a new diet based on brain-based eating just as easily!), but there is a foundation of over 75 years that demonstrates that we learn through repetition with contrast. We do what works for us, and stop doing what doesn’t. Develop teaching methods based on these principles, and you have a recipe for success.

    As to the claims regarding mental health diagnoses and the prediction that they will increase, I’m sure the pharmaceutical industry hopes so — but the majority of the “conditions” and “disorders” are merely descriptive — descriptions of behavior that cannot be used as causes, and the utility of the DSM is increasingly in question. Assessment of skills doesn’t cause stress or anxiety when the skills have already been developed to fluency, and assessment is frequent and used to give positive feedback on performance. Saying that common standards are bad for our country’s mental health is a stretch but if you can directly demonstrate a functional relationship between tests and mental illness, I’d love to review the research.

    So, there may be arguments against common core standards, but might it be the case that those who don’t want accountability are those whose performance might be in question? Whatever the case, the best arguments against common core weren’t made here, and folks might want to look at the qualifications of those who speak out. I’d be happy to read the thoughts of teachers, principles, educational researchers, etc., folks whose training might be relevant to the topic at hand.

    • Okay, sure. I’ll engage. I am a physician with fellowship training in academic medicine and MS thesis on teaching and learning. I am also a US Presidential teacher and author.
      Point one: I disagree that one must be an, “expert in education” to comment on education. I have read a great deal of educational literature and find it to be quite simple and easy for any layperson to understand. “It isn’t brain surgery.”
      Point two: The author was not critical of testing. She was critical of frequent, high-stakes testing. There is a big difference. I know, because I get paid quite a bit to tutor Chinese kids who are trying to get high SAT scores to get into US colleges. I can train kids to get 800s. I trained my own to do this. I am ashamed, because the process does not facilitate learning. It facilitates getting an 800. I assume you are not an educator, or you would know exactly what I am talking about. And I know exactly how standardized tests work, because my husband writes them for doctor certification boards. However, doctor boards are different. They are PASS FAIL and they create a baseline level for scoring, because “getting a perfect score on medical boards” would be a waste of time and I know it, and so do the people who create medical boards. We actually NEED to LEARN important stuff, not practice trivial pursuit, because you would be dead next time you go to the ER if doctors could not think for themselves in a critical situation.
      Point three: EVIDENCE BASED–do you know what that means? It seems that you do not. Because “Common Core” is not evidence based. At all. In fact, they want to do a very bad nationwide experiment (WITH NO CONTROL GROUP) on your children. If you know science, as you claim, you would know that uncontrolled experiments are worse than useless. This experiment would NEVER pass the IRB at the medical school. (research ethics). Common Core has never been subjected to even the smallest pilot study in the RCT style. Therefore, it is not evidence based.
      Point four: The Skinner evidence: the whole operant conditioning thing works to train animals. YES it also works to train humans. But this is training, not learning. Jump! How high? This is the Chinese way. I know, because I teach Chinese kids. However, the motivation is all internal motivation. True learning is best accomplished by internal motivation. Rewards and punishments is nice for a circus pony, but not for your children. Yes, a small amount of operant conditioning is okay, but children will never be innovative thinkers or life-long learners when they have been “trained” instead of “educated.”
      Point five: There has been a 500% increase in rates of anxiety and depression among American young people over the past 50-60 years. This has been documented through the MMPPI testing. Granted much of this is due to the breakdown of the traditional family. But much of it is due to increasing pressure for high stakes testing. (I am old. I took my SAT back in the 1970s and did not study one second for it, and nobody else studied for it either.) However, another well proven educational truism is that setting the bar TOO HIGH for certain learners absolutely stops their motivation and effort. There needs to be appropriate challenge for different groups of students. A uniform standard fails the 15% tail of both sides of the bell curve, damaging 30% of children. There is no such thing as a “Common” standard for diverse students. That is simply a fact.
      Point six: Read my new book coming out on the subject, being published out of Sichuan University, where they are seeing the colossal failures of their own system and they are looking for answers.

      One final point: follow the money. David Coleman is president and ceo of the College board$$$ and Bill Gate$$$$ is developing testing software which will be mandatory for your school district$$$ to purchase. It is big business. I can only hope that Common Core is better than Windows 8, because Windows 8 sucks hard.

  13. I agree wholeheartedly with Corey L. Robertson. Thank you for the excellent response to this article. I sense that Joan Landes has her marasmuses confused. I hope Mr. Robertson’s response provides some clarity for readers.

    Marian K. Congdon, BCBA
  14. What a fantastic reply by Corey Robertson. This article is sadly flawed and not based on research but on common fallacies. I am glad the comment by Corey was published and I hope stays!

  15. I have personal experience with CC with both of my children. I have seen it work as it has been in our state for over a year now. I have dealt with the tears and I have dealt with the administrators that are pushing this load of rubbish. I have personally seen the lesson plans. They are shocking and leading my children down the wrong path. I had enough when I had a teacher tell me of my 6th grader that P.E. was far more important that academics. That was the last straw in a litany of stupidity I heard from different educators on hoe wonderful CC was and give it a chance. I pulled them out and am home schooling. Last year during standardized testing they tested far above the state average in their grade level. In my state you can sign up for the state tests as a home schooler as an indicator. I am sure there are many factors involved to achieve this goal for my children but what I see is smarter, more creative, happier and more adjusted children. They are kinder and problem solve more effectively with their friends and I have noted that in watching them and the difference in the past few years. Whether the article is “half truths” or “incorrect” as others have stated, I for one, am a parent who has seen the results of CC (albeit limited in time) and am confident in my decision to get my kids out of the current system.

  16. Who ever is reading this testimony today should please celebrate with me and my family because it all started like a joke to some people and others said it was impossible.My name is james,CEO Udegbe Ventures and i live in Ghana.I am businss man and business was going real well till about 9year ago something terrible happen.i lost all my goods which i have imported from china,as time goes on i lost it all.to even get food to eat was a problem and my wife packed out of my house because i was unable to take care of her and my kids at that particular time. i manage all through seven years, no wife to support me to take care of the children and there come a faithful day that i will never forget in my life i met an old friend who i explain all my difficulties to, and he took me to a spell caster and the name of the Temple is called, OGBONI spiritual temple, i was assure that everything will be fine and my wife will come back to me.after the wonderful works of DR.OGBONI,today i am back in business and even much bigger.if you must kwon am now one of the richest man in my country.i advice you if you facing any problem in life,just know that there is no problem without a solution for there is no problem too big for Dr OGBONI to solve,do contact him via email on :ogbonispelitemple@hotmail.com
    LONG LIVE DR.OGBONI AND THE gods of his ancestors!!!

  17. Reblogged this on brickwalls2.

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