Archive for the ‘How the Common Core Initiative Hurts Kids, Teachers, and Taxpayers’ Category
This week, concerned parents of the Conejo Valley Unified School District in California held a forum about Common Core.
One of the first panelists in the video is Stanford Professor and Hoover Institute researcher Bill Evers, who shares facts, experiences, lively stories and teacher quotes that point out the absurdity of accepting the Common Core, on academic and on federalism-related issues.
Professor Sandra Stotsky is another panelist. Dr. Stotsky served on the official Common Core validation committee and refused to sign off on the standards because they do not prepare students adequately and because they reduce literary study.
Here’s the video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srYHUdSpuR0
Hooray, Hooray! Today, the Deseret News published my op-ed. Here’s the link and the text:
Utah state delegates officially disapproved Common Core when they passed the anti-common core resolution this year by a 65 percent vote.
Was that not enough for our state school board and governor?
Gov. Gary Herbert continues to promote the Common Core-dependent Prosperity 2020 initiative. And the state school board continues to label teachers and others who long to reclaim local control and who want legitimate, non-experimental education standards, “the misinformed.”
The fact is, we are not misinformed; we know what Common Core is, and we reject it.
The board won’t even respond to requests for specifics about what we’re so misinformed about.
Now, despite the Utah anti-common core resolution passing; despite the examples of Michigan, Indiana and other states passing time-out bills against Common Core implementation; despite Obama’s recent announcement that he plans to tax Americans to pay for Common Core technologies in his ConnectEd Initiative; still, Utah’s school board has not softened its rigorous-praise-of-Common-Core talking points and is moving it forward as if nothing is wrong.
In fact, the board markets Common Core as being beyond debate; it’s so minimalistic, so consensually adopted, so protective of privacy rights and so academically legitimate (none of which is true) that it is too big to fail and is beyond any future need for amendments (which is indeed fortunate for them, since there is no Common Core amendment process).
Something is truly amiss when experienced Utah teachers with credentials, like me, are perpetually rejected for requests to the state school board to discuss the pros and cons of Common Core. The board doesn’t want a two-sided discussion.
The board is silent on these simple questions:
Where is a shred of evidence to support the claim that Common Core improves education?
Where are any studies showing that the reduction of literary study improves college readiness?
Where is some evidence that slowing the age at which students learn math algorithms improves college readiness?
Where is any amendment process for Utah’s math and English standards, under the copyrighted Common Core?
How can one opt out of the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) tracking and the Common Core tests?
Where is the legal — constitutional — authority for people outside our state to set our local standards and to create and monitor our tests?
Why does Utah stand by while Obama announces that he will redesign schools and tax all Americans to pay for it, without Utah putting up a fight?
Why is there a spiral of silence culture now, that demands everyone pretend to agree; where is freedom of expression and freedom of speech in the common agenda, now that teachers and principals don’t speak out for fear of losing their jobs?
How on earth can anyone call Common Core “state-led” when unelected boards that operate behind closed doors, that are not accountable to the public, developed and copyrighted the standards, bypassing voters and the vast majority of teachers and legislators?
Where is the line-item cost analysis of taxpayers’ money being spent on Common Core technologies, teacher training and texts?
When will state leadership address Common Core’s specific damages with the people who elected these leaders to serve us, rather than bowing to every federal whim?
Will the board and governor ever stand up to the Department of Education’s tsunami of assaults on liberties?
Will they continue to fight against local teachers and citizens who rightfully demand local liberty and who rightfully ask for proven, non-experimental, amendable standards — following the example set by the national and world-leading education system in Massachusetts, prior to Common Core?
Truth in American Education also published the article. This one’s actually a later draft, and is a bit better, with links to references. http://truthinamericaneducation.com/common-core-state-standards/were-not-misinformed-we-know-what-common-core-is-and-we-reject-it/
The heavyhanded education reform machine, by which I mean both the federal Department of Education and the corporate education business machine that’s led by the Bill Gates/Pearson folks, could never get away with what they are getting away with, taking over public education, testing, privacy, and the direction of textbook alignment nationwide, if the average American understood –and demanded– his/her constitutional rights.
1. There’s the right to representation.
Remember the rallying cry of the American colonists against Mother England in the 1700′s? No Taxation Without Representation. I don’t see many people carrying signs down at the Capitol today that read, “No Education Without Representation.” Yet, under Common Core, we have no representation. Putting aside for a moment* the fact that it’s constitutionally illegal to even have nationalized education in this country– if it was legal, it should at least be representative! But the copyrighted Common Core standards are written behind closed doors by private, unelected groups (NGA and CCSSO) that have no public accountability and are not subject to the laws to which elected groups (like Congress) are subject. The two groups are tricky; for example, using the official sounding name of National Governors’ Association (NGA) one group fooled most of us into believing that they were a representative, legitimate governing group. No. NGA has some governors as members, but it is a private group with zero accountability to you or me.
We weren’t represented when our legislatures were bypassed and our states adopted Common Core as part of a grant application signed by only two Utahns.
And we weren’t represented when the money and influence of Bill Gates (not a public vote) produced the whole Common Core, partially by bribing the national PTA and countless other influencers to call this “state-led” and to call it good for kids. Even though it never was.
2. There’s the 10th Amendment* which we are now taking back.
It says that all powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved to the states, to the people! That means that education is reserved to the states, to the people. There is no such thing as accountability to the Department of Education– unless we stupidly accept grants with strings attached, from that department. Then we are accountable to whatever we agreed to under the conditions of the grant.
3. There’s the right to freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.
Many people still don’t realize that unreasonable searches are happening electronically, using schools to collect personal and family information about individual students. And too many of those who do realize it, are unalarmed.
As NSA whistleblower Ed Snowden recently explained, “The greatest fear that I have regarding the outcome for America of these disclosures is that nothing will change… People will know the lengths to which government is going to grant themselves powers– unilaterally– to create greater control over American society and global society but they won’t be willing to take the risk necessary to stand up and fight to change things, to force their representatives to actually take a stand in their interest…. the only thing that restricts surveillance activities are policy… They’ll say that because of the dangers… we need more authority… it will be turn-key tyranny.” (see minute 10:48)
4. There’s the right to pursue happiness.
–Not the right for groups to take away others’ happiness or rearrange the happiness distribution of citizens.
The pursuit of happiness for teachers and students is being threatened by new plans for the redistribution of teachers and of wealth, wrapped up in the education reforms that we’re all having rammed down our throats.
If you read the Executive Summary of Race to the Top, (RTTT was the original grant contest that lured states into the Common Core movement) you will see this on page 3:
(D)(3) Ensuring equitable distribution of effective teachers and principals.
What will this look like?
As one teacher recently noted:
“I can’t make teachers understand that the equitable distribution of effective teachers mean that they get moved if they do a good job. Principals don’t get this either. They will no longer have the ability to retain their best teachers. They will be placed. I can just imagine, a teacher does a good job and has high test scores, so her reward is to be placed in a failing school and as a bonus, she will now be deemed a “leader” charged with extra responsibilities on her new PLC team. That won’t possibly cause problems, will it? And what about the people who move into a certain attendance area because they like the teachers and principals? Schools will become revolving doors with no stability or consistency. We will be on a hamster wheel forever. Well, maybe when principals find out they will lose their best and brightest, they might stop drinking the Kool-aid. They’ve been fed a dribble of this for years and now they just accept it! By the way, this includes them as well. They will be rewarded by being moved to a turnaround government-run school… They have to begin actively recruiting minorities and start hiring a certain amount. No longer the best teacher for the job, but the best minority who might not be as good as [another] applicant. What happened to opportunity for all? When I interview for a job, I would like to think that I get a fair shot.”
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are founding American rights. Redistribution of wealth and redistribution of teachers is totally un-American.
Shine light on Common Core
By Donna Colorio
As I see it, our country is going through a major educational transformation and I ask myself, “Where are the parents?”
In 2010, a D.C.-based nonprofit called Achieve, under the guidance of the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, created what is now known as the “Common Core” standards. It appears that the goal is to create standardized learning throughout our country.
I hope this makes you ask yourself, “What is the Common Core?”
In my opinion, the lack of transparency is disturbing. In May 2008, The Gates Foundation started funding the promotion of the Common Core standards. In December 2008, the National Governors Association, Council of Chief State School Officers, and Achieve released their report “Benchmarking for Success.”
The first draft of the Common Core grade level standards was released to states in November 2009. The first public draft followed, on March 10, 2010. By that time, 40 states had already applied for Race to the Top phase-one grant funding.
If the new and largely untested Common Core standards were not adopted by a state by Aug. 1, 2010, the state would lose crucial points in Round 2.
Massachusetts applied for Race to the Top funds by the Jan. 19, 2010, round one deadline. Our Department of Elementary and Secondary Education adopted the Common Core state standards that July, with a goal to be fully implemented in 2013-14.
Just like that, essentially brand new curricular standards had re-oriented 17 years of curricular development and MCAS alignment, which had evolved in Massachusetts since passage of the Education Reform Act of 1993.
Now is it clear: Parents, elected representatives, school committee members and teachers appear to have been largely bypassed in the initial process of adopting the Common Core state standards.
Educational policy is too important to be decided this way. It ignores the very heart of the democratic process, and the value of thoughtful, deliberative, inclusive planning. As parents, we should be very concerned.
As a parent and School Committee member, I believe many questions still need to be answered:
How much local control of education do we lose to a nationalized-educational curriculum? Have the Common Core standards been piloted to show they work? Are the present Massachusetts educational standards (using the MCAS as a benchmark) better or at least equal to the Common Core? How much will this new standard cost the Massachusetts taxpayers (estimates are over $15 billion)? What kind of tests will be required as a result of the implementation of the Common Core? How are our disadvantaged or higher achieving students affected by this change in standards? What will the impact be on our teachers?
There is a secondary impact of the Race to the Top money. In 2012, there was a change in federal educational privacy law. According to the Massachusetts Department of Education website ( http://www.doe.mass.edu) a significant share of the Race to the Top money awarded to Massachusetts mandate enhanced data collection activities about our students. As parents, we should ask ourselves, “What type of questions are our students being asked? How much of this student data will be shared with the federal or state government? Do we want this data collected or shared?”
I have long believed that education is a state and local responsibility. As a member of the Worcester School Committee, I believe it is my job to ensure that our students are being taught to the highest academic standards and that curriculum is developed or chosen by our state and/or local authority.
Parents have the right to know what is happening with their child’s education. It seems that Common Core is yet another reform being pushed through too quickly with too many potential costs and lifelong learning consequences (remember Whole Language?).
Neither parents nor educators had a truly effective opportunity to study the standards, to enable them to exercise an informed and persuasive voice in the process or decision, prior to their adoption. Some Catholic and other private schools are also implementing the Common Core. As parents, we need to understand what we gain or lose with this decision.
A forum titled “Can Common Core Standards Make Massachusetts Students Competitive?” will take place at the Worcester Public Library, 3 Salem St., in Worcester from 6:30 to 9 p.m. next Tuesday, May 28. It is free and open to the public. The forum features English Language Arts curriculum author Sandra Stotsky and cost and accountability expert Ted Rebarber.
I encourage Massachusetts’ parents, members of school committees, state representatives and teachers to attend this one-time forum. Don’t be left in the dark.
Donna Colorio is an educator at Quinsigamond Community College and serves on the Worcester School Committee. She can be reached at email@example.com.
This op ed was published at Telegram.com and is republished with permission from Donna Colorio. http://www.telegram.com/article/20130522/NEWS/105229940/0/SEARCH&Template=printart
The forum mentioned in the article was filmed and viewable online.
Emmett McGroarty: “This is a mom-led movement, really… If you dig down deep enough, there’s a bedrock principle that almost all Americans can agree upon… that includes the idea that parents should have a say in what children learn.”
MSNBC: “Should the federal government have zero role?”
“Here’s the problem… They never answer the question: ‘Accountability to whom?’ You can’t have accountability running to the federal government and running to parents and local officials….
…I am against the federal government having a role[in education].”
USA Today has published an op-ed by Emmett McGroarty. The author quotes Alisa Ellis of Utah and Anne Gassel of Missouri, parents who typify the Mama and Papa bears in opposing Common Core.
From Alisa Ellis: “Administrators want parents like me to step back and be quiet, but we will not. These are my children, and my voice will be heard.”
From Anne Gassel: “Parents and their legislators were cut out of the loop. Even now we can’t get straight answers.”
McGroarty also writes that “Although Common Core is regularly described as “state-led,” its authors are private entities, which are not subject to sunshine laws, open meetings or other marks of a state-led effort.”
The author also points out that the federal government gave states the incentive to adopt the Common Core and to use aligned, federally funded standardized tests which, “with teacher evaluations geared to them, will act as an enforcement mechanism.”
McGroarty points out that Bill Gates has told the National Conference of State Legislatures that this is more than minimal standards: “When the tests are aligned to the common standards, the curriculum will line up as well — and that will unleash powerful market forces in the service of better teaching.”
Lastly, McGroarty points out that while Common Core developers claim the standards are “research and evidence based,” “rigorous” and “internationally bench-marked,” that’s not true:
He quotes Professor Sandra Stotsky, a member of the official Common Core validation committee, who wrote that the English standards of Common Core actually “weaken the basis of literary and cultural knowledge needed for authentic college coursework.” He also quotes Stanford professor James Milgram who concluded that the math standards “are actually two or more years behind international expectations by eighth grade, and only fall further behind as they talk about grades eight to 12,” and who also wrote that Common Core math doesn’t even fully cover the material in a solid geometry or second-year algebra course.
Read the rest of the article here: http://m.usatoday.com/article/news/2413553
Thank you, Emmett McGroarty, for pointing out the awful, hidden truth about Common Core, and for supporting parents in our quest to reclaim authority over what our own children will learn in our local schools.
I used to think of Alaska as one of the hero holdouts, because that state, along with Texas, Virginia, others, once flatly rejected Common Core. I remember reading with a mixture of awe and envy, how Alaska had opted out of the standards project in June 2009.
An Alaska Dept. of Ed spokesman, Eric Fry had once explained in a Heartland.org article that “We wanted to formulate our own plan… [Alaska] “would like to be the entity that declares its own standards.” http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2010/03/25/alaska-texas-reject-common-core-standards
That was then. This is now.
Alaska has now succumbed to the federal pressure and has officially and quite enthusiastically jumped into the nationalized education control trap.
Alaska will no longer be “the entity that declares its own standards.”
How did it happen? Well, Alaska decided to join the Common Core testing group called Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC).
Membership in SBAC demands that Alaska obey the decisions made by other, “governing” and “lead” states of the SBAC.
Of course, there was no vote by the Alaska legislature to decide to join Common Core. It’s an underhanded business, education reform. And what does it mean?
If you read the “Cooperative Agreement” between the SBAC and the Dept. of Ed, you will learn that despite the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and GEPA law, the SBAC members have agreed to obey every whim of the Department of Education and must:
“Provide updated, detailed work plans and budgets for all major activities identified in the recipient’s application, including but not limited to:
• development, quality control, use and validation of artificial intelligence for scoring;
• selection of a uniform growth model consistent with test purpose, structure, and intended uses;
• development of performance tasks (addressing items such as technical challenges of scoring, reliability, and large-scale administration of performance-based items);
• development of a research and evaluation agenda (addressing items such as validity, reliability, and fairness);
• development and delivery of the technology platform for assessment.
3) Actively participate in any meetings and telephone conferences with ED staff to discuss (a) progress of the project, (b) potential dissemination of resulting non-proprietary products and lessons learned, (c) plans for subsequent years of the project, and (d) other relevant information, including applicable technical assistance activities conducted or facilitated by ED or its designees, including periodic expert reviews, and collaboration with the other RTTA recipient.
4) Be responsive to requests from ED for information about the status of the project, project implementation and updated plans, outcomes, any problems anticipated or encountered, and future plans for the assessment system, including by providing such information in writing when requested.
5) Comply with, and where applicable coordinate with the ED staff to fulfill, the program requirements established in the RTTA Notice Inviting Applications and the conditions on the grant award, as well as to this agreement, including, but not limited to working with the Department to develop a strategy to make student-level data that results from the assessment system available on an ongoing basis…” (page 3, Cooperative Agreement.)
But citizens of Alaska are speaking out.
An Alaska economist, Dr. Barbara Haney, put together the following list of questions:
1)What elected officials were involved in the process to opt into SBAC?
1a) Upon what authority did the state of Alaska put our state’s education system under the authority of the state of Washington and the SBAC consortium? Doesn’t this violate the Alaska Constitution?
1b) Isn’t SBAC an example of an Agenda 21 style regional board? In fact, isn’t this agenda 21?
2) Isn’t it true that the real reason that SOA entered into agreement with SBAC is to get the RTTT money and the NCLB waiver? How much money exactly are we getting from RTTT? To whom will those funds be disbursed?
3)The Race to the Top grant defines College and Career read as follows:
According to the USDOE “College- and career-ready standards: Content standards for kindergarten through 12th grade that build towards college- and career-ready graduation requirements (as defined in this document) by the time of high school graduation. A State’s college- and career-ready standards must be either (1) standards that are common to a significant number of States; or (2) standards that are approved by a State network of institutions of higher education, which must certify that students who meet the standards will not need remedial course work at the postsecondary level.”
In other words, if you adopt the common core standards, you have career ready standards.
How do these new standards meet the needs of Alaska’s employers? (Specific references, specific industries, not platitudes). What career codes in Alaska’s economy are these standards keyed to? How does the SBAC test demonstrate this to Alaskan employers? How do these standards fit in with Alaska’s Manpower forecasts by AKDOL?
4) “Smarter Balanced is grounded in the notion that putting good information about student performance in the hands of teachers can have a profound impact on instruction and—as a result—on student learning.” http://www.edexcellence.net/commentary/education-gadfly-daily/common-core-watch/2013/by-the-company-it-keeps-smarter-balanced.html
Isn’t this teaching to the test?
Further, if that is so, then how will Alaska students perform well on the Common Core curriculum tests if they are not using the common core curriculum?
Isn’t this just the state’s way of bullying local districts into adopting the common core curriculum?
5) Another statement by SBAC to the State of MO in May 14, 2013 “This spring we are pilot testing the first 5,000 items and tasks we have developed with about a million students, engaging more than 5,200 schools drawn from all 21 of our governing states. The pilot test also serves as a beta test for our test delivery software. In addition to testing out our items, performance tasks, and software, the pilot test also gives us an opportunity to evaluate a variety of accessibility features for students with disabilities and English language learners.” http://www.edexcellence.net/commentary/education-gadfly-daily/common-core-watch/2013/by-the-company-it-keeps-smarter-balanced.html
Why is the state of Alaska not looking at established tests like ITBS and the ACT? Why are we using a test that doesn’t exist yet? Why are we using an experimental test?
How can SOA even argue that this is a test superior to other tests when the test hasn’t even been used anywhere?
Why was this test selected rather than ASPIRE, ITBS, or Alaska’s past NCLB test? Since that test is written for Alaska why couldn’t we continue to use it?
6) When SBAC was asked about their own cost structure on May 14, 2013 own cost structure, they stated:
“One element dominates the cost: approximately 70 percent of the vendor cost for summative assessments is tied to hand-scoring. Measuring the deeper learning required by the Common Core requires that students write extensively and much of that writing cannot yet be scored by technology. Paying teachers, faculty, and other content experts to score student responses is costly, but it is currently the only effective way to measure important elements of the Common Core.”
a) will Alaska Teachers be employed to grade Alaskan students?
b) isn’t this essentially what the original Alaska Test went to SBA testing? Didn’t we leave SBA testing due to this cost and alleged capricious nature of the grading system?
c) How then is the writing SBAC actually cheaper than the Digitcorp writing test?
Isn’t it true that SOA adopted this for the NCLB waiver and not because it is a superior test?
How does this test then become a superior instrument of evaluating student success?
7) In the area of English Language Arts (ELA), Smarter Balanced places these capabilities within its claims for both writing and for speaking and listening. In rural village schools there are some English speaking conventions are radically different from those in the roadway system. There is no way to avoid the obvious outcome that this test could discriminate against certain ethnic groups.
Has there been any effort to prepare these schools in speaking? Further, given that Hanley’s office indicates these schools will likely have a paper & pencil version of the test, how will the speaking component be evaluated?
8) SBAC funding ends Sept. 2014. In their comments to the state of MO on May 14, 2013, SBAC stated:
“At the conclusion of the federal grant, Smarter Balanced will transition to being an operational assessment system supported by its member states. The consortium does not plan to seek additional funds from the U.S. Department of Education.” http://www.edexcellence.net/commentary/education-gadfly-daily/common-core-watch/2013/by-the-company-it-keeps-smarter-balanced.html
How much will Alaska be expected to commit in the future of their funds? How does this break out on a per pupil basis (Vermont was told it would be $300 per student for the test alone). Where will this money come from?
Why did the state submit the members of the state to a new taxing authority?
Given Governor Parnell’s commitment to SB21 (now signed) and the short term revenue fall, where will the revenue come from in 2014 to pay for SBAC?
9) Pioneer Institute study on implementation show a staging acceleration in costs of SBAC. On average the costs are 4 times the amount given by the Race to the Top (RTTT) grant monies.
Will Borough Governments be expected to pay a share to SBAC? If so, have borough governments been informed for budgetary purposes?
How much will property taxes have to increase to meet these costs?
10) According to a CRESST study by UCLA & CA Board of Regents of SBAC and PARC dated May 2013 at http://www.cse.ucla.edu/products/reports/R823.pdf, page 9, second column, states
“Smarter Balanced plans to refine its specifications as it develops items and tasks, a contract for item development has been established, and item and task development are currently underway, as is a contract for specifying the test blueprint (see http://www.smarterbalanced.org/smarter-balancedassessments/ for the preliminary blueprints).
Why did the state of Alaska sign on to a test that is not yet written or tested? When there are clearly other tests available that are cheaper (by SBAC’s own admission) and comparable (according the Washington States’ OWN Washington Policy Center), why are we going with this far more expensive assessment?
11) The CRESST Report by UCLA on page 10 states, “However, collaboration may be incorporated into Smarter Balanced performance tasks, and metacognition may well be required in solving the complex, extended problems that both consortia plan as part of their performance task components.”
The use of group answers is a radical departure in Alaska State testing. How will group answers be used in scoring individual students? Will Alaska students be denied a diploma because they did not pass a group answer? Has the use of group answers been vetted in national testing norms? How will group answers be received by parents? Why does SOA DOE feel the use of group answers to be a superior measure of student performance over traditional methods of assessing individual students?
12) The CRESST Study further states on page 18 http://www.cse.ucla.edu/products/reports/R823.pdf
Both consortia have been optimistic about the promise of automated constructed-response and performance task scoring and have incorporated that optimism into their cost estimates for the summative assessment. Both are estimating summative testing costs at roughly $20 per student for both subject areas. In the absence of promised breakthroughs, those costs will escalate, there will be enormous demands on teachers and/or others for human scoring, and the feasibility of timely assessment results may be compromised.
(My note: Optimistic is academic way of saying full of excrement…) How will these escalating costs be met by the state of Alaska, particularly given that the full results of SB21 may not be realized?
13) Continuing on page 17: http://www.cse.ucla.edu/products/reports/R823.pdf the study states
“In addition to costs, extended performance tasks also offer a challenge in assuring the comparability of scores from one year to the next. Without comparable or equitable assessments from one year to the next, states’ ability to monitor trends and evaluate performance may be compromised.”
What this is saying that that this years scores cannot be compared to last years score (of course, there is no test yet either). So if there is no ability to make time series comparisons, how can you tell if a school is doing better or worse over time? This is a radical departure from past assessments used by SOA where there has been some degree of comparability over time. How can a school then look at last years results and this years results to measure improvement?
14) Continuing on page 19 of the CRESST Study http://www.cse.ucla.edu/products/reports/R823.pdf states specifically that SBAC is going against the grain of deeper learning assessments in their methodology.
“For example, Smarter Balanced content specifications include a relatively large number of assessment targets for each grade—on average 29 targets in mathematics and 35 targets in ELA. The claims, in contrast, reflect a reasonable number of major learning goals and represent the broad competencies that students need for college and career readiness. History suggests that focusing on discrete, individual standards is not the way to develop deeper learning, yet this is the strategy that states, districts, schools, and teachers have typically followed.”
Why is the State of Alaska then using an assessment of “deeper learning” that is designed in a way that history has shown will not reflect that deeper learning? Further, how will the curriculum used in schools reflect the acquisition of this deeper learning?
15) The CRESST Study on page 19 states, “Smarter Balanced has been very transparent in posting all of its plans and the results of its contracts. Yet, because its computer adaptive testing approach essentially individualizes test items to every student, it may be difficult to ascertain how well deeper learning is represented for every student or overall. The test blueprint will provide rules for item selection and presumably, those rules will include those for representing higher levels of depth of knowledge, but this is yet to be seen.”
If test questions are not the same for each student, then how can results be compared across students? Further, since the adaptive technology for the test does not yet exist, why is the state investing in it? Doesn’t this represent a radical departure from the traditional type of test given in SOA? Why does the state want to engage in this experimental test over other proven testing methods?
16) Many of the state’s schools do not have the equipment to offer this test on line. Who will be paying the cost of upgrading the school computer lines? Software? Computers? The purchase of additional computers?
The test hasn’t been field tested, validated, or normed. The test will not offer a result that is comparable from one year to a next for a given institution. The adaptive technology isn’t available yet. Many of the districts in Alaska do not have the technology to offer this test. The Consortium is out of money in Sept. 2014.The test is using a strategy that has been shown to reflect the sort of knowledge it claims to test (deeper learning). The $20.00 per test estimate is considered overly optimistic and costs are expected to escalate. In contrast, there are instruments that have been validated that have a certain cost. Further, as the study states on page 18 “… while built-in accommodations may be easier to accomplish, there will still be the validity challenge of establishing the comparability of accommodated and non-accommodated versions of the test.”
17) Further, if the state is not using the Core Curriculum, then why are we using an assessment that reflects the core curriculum?
Great questions. Thank you, Dr. Haney.
Good luck, Alaska.
The Federal government is altering America and shrinking liberty so quickly that it’s hard to keep up with all the destruction. Much of it is connected to education reforms.
There’s the removal of local control of education via Common Core tests/standards. There’s the removal of parental consent via the 50 federally placed (paid-for) State Longitudinal Database Systems (SLDS and P-20) which track all children and from which no student can opt out. There’s Obamacare and its mandate to support abortion, and its related plot to increase the numbers of medical facilities that are in public schools. There’s the IRS/FBI assault on privacy, which violates our Constitutional right not to be subject to unlawful searches and seizures and which plays in to the SLDS/P-20 tracking. There’s Obama’s ConnectEd Initiative, which taxes phone bills to pay for Common Core testing technology nationally, regardless of how any of us feel about the unvetted Common Core. But all of this is old news.
Today I learned that Obama is “redesigning” all high schools.
Here’s the link. http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/fact-sheet-redesigning-americas-high-schools
In part, the redesigning will “promote a rethinking of the high school learning experience” by using more “student-centered learning,” using more “wrap-around support services,” provide “career-related competencies,” doing “project-or-problem-based learning” do “structured work-based learning,” “redesigning school calendars,” and “expanding a comprehensive system of student support.”
It’s central planning. The “wraparound support services” were described by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in the interview below. Arne wants 6-7 days a week of school. He wants schools to be the center of society, rather than families being the center of society. He is a socialist.
Are we all?
The following videos are from last Tuesday night’s forum,”Can Common Core Standards Make Massachusetts Students Competitive?” at the Worcester Public Library in Massachusetts.
At minute 2:15 on the first video, adjunct professor Donna Colorio says, “The bottom line is that there are serious questions and overwhelming evidence that Massachusetts currently has a higher academic standard than the Common Core. Why, when we are among the top in the nation in academic standards and testing, would we change? After 17 years of revising our standards… would we abandon our standards and our curriculum? Just like that? These national standards are unproven, untested, and underfunded.”
At minute 3:04, Colorio says, “It was the best kept education reform secret yet. Do a little experiment. Ask random parents at your next meeting if they know what the Common Core is…. parents, elected representatives, school committee members… were largely bypassed.”
In this next video, Professor Sandra Stotsky speaks. She was the expert who served on the official Common Core validation committee and refused to sign off on the adequacy of the standards.
In this next video, Ted Rebarber of Accountability Works, speaks about the costs associated with Common Core.
To see all of the video clips from this forum, click here: http://www.youtube.com/user/EndCommonCore
In today’s Deseret News opinion piece, Matt Sanders makes the observation that similar, disturbing trends make the National Security Administration’s actions and the Department of Education’s actions snooping mirror images of each other. These trends are First Amendment violations, government overreach, and cradle to grave data tracking. The article also makes the point that on the local level, the Utah State Office of Education has provided no legal or operational assurances of student data privacy, although the USOE is quick to offer verbal assurances and to “soothe fears of ever more federalism by labeling opponents as detractors and alarmists.”
Sanders also writes:
“…[A]nother problematic revelation has roiled Washington, D.C. This time it goes beyond snooping around journalists looking for a scoop. It involves the National Security Administration collecting phone data on of Verizon customers.
This is a problem. A real problem. The U.S. federal government derives its power through the consent of the governed through a system of duly elected representatives acting as agents for their local populations. Additionally, the Constitution goes to great lengths to curb the tendency of government to overreach its bounds, and therefore set up a system of checks and balances.
… In light of the federal agency’s incursions, parents and lawmakers should likewise revisit the data privacy standards in Common Core testing approach… While Utah State Office of Education (USOE) officials verbally assured community members that they should not be concerned, they’ve provided no such assurance legally or operationally.”
Read the whole article: http://reframingthedebate.blogs.deseretnews.com/2013/06/06/3-reasons-why-nsa-snooping-worries-parents-and-lawmakers/
Now that North Carolina’s Lt. Governor is standing up to Common Core, many North Carolinians are taking notice. Will they stand up, too? https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KdCav9-2Ri4
How did the original Old Testament David really feel when he trod toward the original, actual Goliath? He saw a sweaty mountain of a man before him. David was short, underfunded, scared, scorned. He must have heard voices– laughing at him, or praying for him. He knew that logically, he ought to fail. There must have been fear. But also, David knew Goliath was more than just huge and famous; he was arrogant –and wrong, with nothing to support him but stupid bulk. Just like Common Core.
I say this in the context of my favorite part of a recent Civitas article about Common Core where Jane Robbins* states:
“Goliath should be very, very concerned about David! Parents and other concerned citizens have stood up to the lavishly funded special interests and have demanded a return of their constitutional right to control their children’s education. Common Core is not inevitable, and patriots can still prevail if they refuse to give in… the forces behind Common Core are wedded to certain buzzwords and talking points that have absolutely no evidence to support them – “rigorous,“ “college- and career-ready,” etc. – and that the promoters frequently resort to outright deception.”
Here’s more of that article:
Expert Highlights Dangers in Common Core Standards
Posted on May 17, 2013 by Bob Luebke in Education, Issues
Last fall public schools in North Carolina along with 44 other states began implementing Common Core Standards. The standards — developed by academic experts and private trade associations with the financial backing of several large foundations — have unleashed a brushfire of criticism, fueled in part by the controversial ideas behind Common Core, parental anger over the lack of input and dissatisfaction over how the standards are implemented in our schools.
To help our readers learn more about Common Core, we’ve asked Jane Robbins, a Senior Fellow with the American Principles Project and someone actively involved in the national fight to stop Common Core, to share with us her thoughts about Common Core Standards and what these changes mean for students and parents in North Carolina. What follows is a transcript of Jane’s responses to our questions.
Tell me why North Carolina parents should be concerned about Common Core.
Common Core is an attempt by private interests in Washington, DC, aided by the federal government, to standardize English language arts (ELA) and math education (and ultimately, education in other subjects as well) throughout the nation. By adopting Common Core, North Carolina has agreed to cede control over its ELA and math standards to entities outside the state. Not only does this scheme obliterate parental control over the education of their children, but it imposes mediocre standards based on questionable philosophies, constitutes a huge unfunded mandate on the state and on local districts, and requires sharing students’ personal data with the federal government.
Specifically, how will Common Core impact a child’s education?
In ELA, the child will be exposed to significantly less classic literature – the books and stories that instill a love of reading – and significantly more nonfiction “informational texts.” The idea is not to educate him as a full citizen, but to train him for a future static job. In math, the child won’t learn the standard algorithm (the normal computational model) for addition and subtraction until grade 4, for multiplication until grade 5, and for division until grade 6. Until then, the child will be taught what we used to call “fuzzy math” – alternative offbeat ways to solve math problems. He probably won’t take algebra I until grade 9 (meaning he’s unlikely to reach calculus in high school, as expected by selective universities), and will be “taught” geometry according to an experimental method never used successfully in K-12 anywhere in the world.
Aren’t Common Core standards supposed to be better than existing school standards?
That’s the claim, but it simply isn’t true. Even the Fordham Institute, which has been paid a lot of money by Common Core-financier the Gates Foundation to promote the standards, admitted that many states had better standards and others had standards at least as good. The Common Core website itself no longer claims that the standards are “internationally benchmarked,” and the Common Core Validation Committee was never given any information on international benchmarking. And one of the drafters of the math standards admitted in 2010 that when Common Core proponents talk about “college-readiness,” they’re aiming for a nonselective community college, not a four-year university.
How are teachers impacted under Common Core?
Seasoned teachers are likely to be unhappy with the educational “innovations” described above. And once the SMARTER Balanced national test is implemented in 2014-15, teachers will have to teach to this test because their performance evaluations will be tied to the test scores. The national test will be completely online, which means schools without sufficient technology will have to rotate their students through computer labs. (SMARTER Balanced suggests a 12-week testing window). This means students who are tested in the first week will have significantly less instruction under their belts than students who are tested later – but all teachers’ evaluations will be tied to the scores.
Is it true that local districts will be able to choose their own curriculum under Common Core? If all curricula will ultimately be tied to the standards, does that really matter?
The point of standards is to drive curricula. While local districts still have some choice over curricula, they are already seeing that their choices are narrowing, because all curricula must be aligned with Common Core. And the federal government is funding the two consortia that are developing the national tests and that have admitted they are creating curriculum models. Two former U.S. Department of Education officials concluded in a comprehensive report that, ultimately, the Common Core scheme will result in a national curriculum – in violation of three federal statutes.
Tell us more about the student database and what parents need to know.
Both the 2009 Stimulus bill and the Race to the Top program required states to build massive student databases. It is recommended that these databases ultimately track over 400 data points, including health-care history, disciplinary history, etc. Any of this data that will be given to the Smarter Balanced consortium as part of the national test will be sent to the U.S. Department of Education. USED can then share the data with literally any entity it wants to – public or private – because of regulations it has issued gutting federal student-privacy law.
North Carolinians should also be concerned about a new initiative called inBloom, which is a pilot program designed to standardize student data and make it available to commercial vendors creating education products. North Carolina is one of the nine states involved in the inBloom pilot.
How did all this happen?
Very stealthily. Private interests in Washington, funded largely by the Gates Foundation, decided in 2007 to try again (as progressive education reformers have in the past) to nationalize standards and curriculum. Thus began the development of Common Core. When the stimulus bill passed in 2009, the U.S. Department of Education used the money it was given to create the Race to the Top program. To be competitive for Race to the Top grants, a state had to agree to adopt Common Core and the aligned national tests. The commitments were due before the standards were released, and without the opportunity for involvement by state legislatures. So most states that adopted Common Core did so for a chance at federal money, and without legislators’ and citizens’ knowing anything about it.
In your view who’s behind the development of Common Core Standards and what are they trying to accomplish?
The standards were created primarily by a nonprofit called Achieve, Inc. in Washington, DC, and released under the auspices of two DC-based trade associations (the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, neither of which had a grant of legislative authority from their members to create national standards). Funding and support came from the Gates Foundation, as well as from other foundations including the Hunt Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy and Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education. The common denominator seems to be a belief that very smart elites in Washington are better able to direct our children’s education than we are. As for what they are trying to accomplish, two points: first, Bill Gates seems to favor a “Common Core operating system” that can be imposed on every school, everywhere, to increase efficiency: and second, the initiative seems directed at workforce development, not true education.
What have you learned from traveling around the country working with parents and groups who are fighting Common Core?
That Goliath should be very, very concerned about David! Parents and other concerned citizens have stood up to the lavishly funded special interests and have demanded a return of their constitutional right to control their children’s education. Common Core is not inevitable, and patriots can still prevail if they refuse to give in. I’ve also learned that the forces behind Common Core are wedded to certain buzzwords and talking points that have absolutely no evidence to support them – “rigorous,“ “college- and career-ready,” etc. – and that the promoters frequently resort to outright deception to get what they want. The ends justify the means, apparently.
How do you respond to concerns that withdrawal from Common Core will threaten Race to the Top funding or the No Child Left Behind waiver?
Regarding Race to the Top, several points: 1) nothing in the grant requires paying back the money if Common Core is discarded; 2) even if repayment were demanded, it should be only a fraction of the money actually paid out (since the commitments to Common Core and the SMARTER Balanced tests were only a fraction of the Race to the Top commitment); 3) even if full repayment were required, this would be much cheaper than continuing to implement the Common Core unfunded mandate; and 4) it is highly unlikely, from a political standpoint, that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan would require repayment, since he has claimed for two years that nothing about this program is a federal mandate – if he now imposes a huge penalty for North Carolina’s exercise of independence, he will be proving the point of the Common Core critics. Regarding the No Child Left Behind waiver, there is a way within the waiver application itself that allows a state to use standards other than Common Core. If North Carolina has its alternative standards certified by its major institutions of higher education, it can still qualify for the waiver (assuming it wishes to do so – the waiver simply exchanges one set of federal shackles for another).
Do you have any final advice on how parents can be actively involved in fighting Common Core Standards in North Carolina?
Yes. Educate yourselves and your friends by visiting truthinamericaneducation.com and stopcommoncore.com. Talk to your local school officials and school board members. Call your state legislators, your state school board members, and your Governor, and demand that they take action to restore North Carolina control over North Carolina education.
(For North Carolina, also visit stopcommoncorenc.org.)
Thanks to Jane Robbins, Dan Forest, and all the “Davids” in North Carolina, Michigan, Indiana and elsewhere for your excellent examples of standing up for liberty.
(*Jane Robbins also appears in this Common Core video series that is highly recommended, put out by the American Principles Project and Concerned Women of Georgia.)
On a radio station in Oklahoma this week, radio host (and former math teacher) Pat Campbell interviewed Jamie Gass, of the Center for School Reform at the Boston-based think tank, Pioneer Institute.
They covered the sad tale of Massachusetts, which in the 1990s had risen to become the leading state in education for the entire country, and which fell because of Common Core, throwing legitimate academic success away for a chance at the Race to the Top federal grant money– a gamble which coerced the state into dropping the high, independent standards for the very mediocre Common Core.
In the interview, Jamie Gass explained that Common Core is a fulfillment of Marc Tucker’s vision for socialist education, long ago outlined in his famous “Dear Hillary” letter to Hillary Clinton.
Gass now calls states like Texas “the smart ones” for holding on to state-level control of educational standards and rejecting Common Core. He mentions that Jimmy Carter and Lyndon Johnson signed laws long ago making sure that the federal government would stay out of local education. These are being bypassed by various means to implement the Common Core.
He also discussed the astronomical estimates of what Common Core will cost states to implement, and spoke about the low quality of the standards themselves.
The interviewer, Pat, commented that on the Common Core website, calculus is not even there. “Why would we want this?” he asked.
Gass gave as resources to listeners the following: www.pioneerinstitute.org, which has a toolbox with all the research the think tank has done, and the American Principles Project site, too, which has done a lot of work to study and expose the facts about Common Core.
Listen to the whole archived radio show here: http://www.1170kfaq.com/podcasts/patcampbell/209332381.html
North Carolina’s Lt. Governor Dan Forest speaks out about why he wants the state to follow Indiana’s lead in taking a time out to study Common Core before implementing this untested, one size fits all nationalization of education.
Three cheers for Dan Forest.
This open letter is published with permission from the author, liberal high school history teacher and former professor Paul Horton of Chicago.
The Honorable Tom Harkin
Chairman, Subcommittee on Labor,
Health and Human Services, and Education
Senate Appropriations Committee
June 3, 2013
Dear Chairman Harkin,
I was very saddened to hear that you have decided not to run for reelection as a United States senator. You have always represented the most honest branch of the Democratic Party and the long proud legacy of Midwestern prairie populism extending from James B. Weaver, to Williams Jennings Bryan, to Bob LaFollette, the Farm-Labor party, Paul Simon, George McGovern, and Tom Daschle. We could also count the comedian turned senator from Minnesota in this, but he needs a few more years of “seasoning.” I am sure that you are mentoring him in the tradition. Your friend and my senator, Dick Durbin, shares this tradition, but I am worried that he has cozied up too closely with the Chicago plutocrats to be an effective spokesperson for “the small fry.”
I write because you hold a very important position in congress that has oversight over Education. I am a history teacher, a historian, a leader of history teachers, and a critic of the No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top Mandates. I have thirty years of teaching under my belt, including service to the people of the great state of Iowa at Malcolm Price Laboratory School in Cedar Falls where I taught high school students and trained pre service history teachers at the University of Northern Iowa.
Your friend and colleague, senator Grassley, has sent you a letter expressing his concerns about the Race to the Top mandates and the Common Core Curriculum Standards, so I will not belabor the concerns that he has already expressed to you, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/04/19/common-core-standards-attacked-by-republicans/.
I would like to encourage you to call our Secretary of Education before your committee and ask him some hard questions about the way that the RTTT mandates were constructed. His responses to the concerns that many citizens have from all points on the political spectrum have been exceedingly evasive. He typically claims that those who are opposed to the RTTT mandates and the Common Core Standards are hysterical wing nuts who fully embrace Glenn Beck’s conspiracy theories about attempts to create a one world government: <http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/2013/04/paul_horton_of_common_core_con.html>.
In fact, despite the claims of a recent Washington Post story (<http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/tea-party-groups-rallying-against-common-core-education-overhaul/2013/05/30/64faab62-c917-11e2-9245-773c0123c027_story.html>), critics of the RTTT mandates and the CCS come from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and the libertarian wing of the Republican Party. In the national education debate, the status quo agenda that is being pushed comes from the corporate middle of both parties that is backed by many of those who have been the biggest beneficiaries of the current economic “recovery” in Seattle, Silicon Valley, and Manhattan (and Westchester County) and large foundations.
I humbly recommend that Mr. Duncan be called before your committee to answer some serious questions under oath about corporate and investor influence on Education policy. Mr. Duncan told a committee of congress that he did not want to “participate in the hysteria” surrounding the RTTT and the CCS. Because he is a public servant, it is his duty to serve the people of the United States. Part of his job is to be accountable to the public.
I recommend a few questions that any populist or progressive senator would have asked in the 1890s or early twentieth century:
1) How many of your staffers have worked for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation? Who are they, and why did you hire them?
2) What role did these staffers and Bill Gates have on the formulation of the RTTT mandates?
3) How much classroom teaching experience do the principal authors of the RTTT mandates have, individually, and as a group?
4) Why are these individuals qualified to make decisions about education policy?
5) Were you, or anyone who works within the Department of Education in contact with any representative or lobbyist representing Pearson Education, McGraw-Hill, or InBloom before or during the writing of the RTTT mandates?
6) What is the Broad Foundation? What is your connection to the Broad Foundation? What education policies does the Broad Foundation support? How do these policies support public education? How do these policies support private education? What was the role of the Broad Foundation in the creation of the RTTT mandates?
7) How many individuals associated with the Broad Foundation helped author the report, “Smart Options: Investing Recovery Funds for Student Success” that was published in April of 2009 and served as a blueprint for the RTTT mandates? How many representatives from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation assisted in writing this report? What was their role in authoring this report? How many representatives of McKinsey Consulting participated in authoring this report? What was David Coleman’s role in authoring this report?
8) Do you know David Coleman? Have you ever had any conversations with David Coleman? Has anyone on your staff had any conversations with David Coleman? Did anyone within the Department of Education have any connection to any of the authors of the Common Core Standards? Did anyone in your Department have any conversations with any of the authors of the Common Core Standards as they were being written?
9) Have you ever had any conversations with representatives or lobbyists who represent the Walton Family Foundation? Has anyone on your staff had any conversations with the Walton Family Foundation or lobbyists representing the Walton Family Foundation? If so, what was the substance of those conversations?
10)Do you know Michelle Rhee? If so, could you describe your relationship with Michelle Rhee? Have you, or anyone working within the Department of Education, had any conversations with Students First, Rhee’s advocacy group, about the dispersal foundation funds for candidates in local and state school board elections?
This is just a start. Public concerns about possible collusion between the Department of Education and education corporations could be addressed with a few straightforward answers to these and other questions.
Every parent, student, and teacher in the country is concerned about the influence of corporate vendors on education policy. What is represented as an extreme movement by our Education Secretary can be more accurately described as a consumer revolt against shoddy products produced by an education vendor biopoly (Pearson and McGraw Hill). Because these two vendors have redefined the education marketplace to meet the requirements of RTTT, they both need to be required to write competitive impact statements for the Anti-Trust Division of the Department of Justice.
Senator Harkin, I have a simple solution to this education mess. You represent a state with a great education system. In Iowa, there are great teachers in Cumming, Hudson, and West Des Moines. Most teachers across the country are dedicated, talented, and creative. They, and not Pearson, McGraw Hill, or InBloom , have a better sense about what is good for kids. Allow teachers to create national rubrics to evaluate authentic assessments and allow teachers to do their jobs and grade these assessments. We can save billions of dollars in a time of austerity if we do this. You have control over the disbursement of RTTT funds. These funds should go to teacher assessments, not assessments designed by people with little or no classroom experience. Likewise, these assessments should be graded by teachers, not by temporary employees or computers under the control of for profit corporations.
Let’s invest in our teachers to insure that this investment stays in our communities and states. Education vendors are not loyal to kids, parents, or states. They seek profit, and they will invest their proceeds wherever they can make the most money. It is time for some common sense. We need education policy for the small fry, not education policy for plutocrats.
I would love to speak to you and to your committee on these issues.
The very best to you,
The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools
former History Instructor, The University of Northern Iowa
Malcolm Price Laboratory School, Cedar Falls, Iowa
A growing number of the proponents of Common Core say they are opposed to the data mining that uses school-collected data.
How does this position even make sense? The two programs are so married.
1. President Obama’s the head cheerleader for both programs and he bundles them in his vision for education reform. Part of the Race to the Top application was an agreement for states to adopt Common Core Standards, and part was to have a State Longitudinal Database System (SLDS) that would match every other SLDS in the nation (using federal grants to build it.) Points were awarded to states who did both. Clearly, both Common Core and the SLDS data system were part of that federal reform package and both comply with the “Big Government” vision of socialistically controlled education. (The fact that our state –Utah– received no RTTT monies and isn’t part of RTTT, is irrelevant, since Utah still chose to remain bound under Common Core and the federally funded SLDS even after not winning any grant monies. Don’t ask me why. That decision makes no sense at all.)
3. At a recent White House event entitled “DataPalooza,” eScholar CEO Shawn T. Bay gave a speech in which he stated that although aggregate data is useful, it’s most useful to look at the individual consumer or the individual student. He said, too, that Common Core is so important to the open data movement, because Common Core is “the glue that actually ties everything together.”
Here is the video. http://youtu.be/9RIgKRNzC9U?t=9m5s
See minute nine to find where the data push depends on Common Core.
4. For those states (including SBAC-droppers like Utah
) who are still in any way connected
to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC
) there is the damning evidence found in a key document called the Cooperative Agreement
with the Dept of Education. Here you will discover that only the fiscal agent state, Washington, has any real authority over what happens in all the other states of the SBAC. Here you will also see the illegal moves of the Department of Education very clearly. The Department mandates synchronization of tests between the SBAC and the PARCC. It mandates the sharing of data on an ongoing basis. It mandates phone calls, conferences and much more sharing of testing information. This is completely illegal under GEPA law
and under the 10th Amendment. By triangulating tests and data between the SBAC, the PARCC and the Dept. of Education, they have created a nationalized system that removes local authority and the local voice.It troubles me
that the proponents of Common Core continue to call opponents like me “misinformed” when the opposite is obvious from source documents.
It troubles me that I actually go out of my way to request proof that we opponents are “erroneous” and “misinformed” and the proponents don’t even respond to the emails.
Proponents of Common Core seem to me to be increasingly uninterested in the truth. That troubles me most of all.
I am interested in the truth. I have no other object in this fight against Common Core except wanting academically legitimate, locally amendable and locally controlled standards.
I am a teacher and a mother, not a politician or lobbyist or even a reporter.
If I actually was a politician or reporter, here’s what I would take the time to study and then write. The article would be entitled:
“Putting the Pieces Together on the Data Mining - Common Core Puzzle.”
First, I’d call state technology directors in various states and I’d ask them the same questions about federal compliance issues surrounding data collection that I’ve asked our Jerry Winkler of Utah.
First, I’d clarify whether the technology director is aware of the federal requests for voluntary submission
of private student data (not in aggregate form). I would mention at least three federal sources: CEDS
. They’d likely be unaware (but maybe not).
Then I would ask the technology director what information is currently being collected by the state student surveillance system, the SLDS, (which all states have and use on the state level but which most states do not YET open up to the feds –except on an aggregate level.) This would vary from state to state.
Then I would ask the big question: Who makes the call on when these puzzle pieces will fit together in compliance with federal goals? Who has that authority in our state?
We have fitting pieces of the horrific, 1984-esque puzzle, but when will we choose to put it together?
We know that the feds are asking us to voluntarily share personally identifiable data, we know that the Dept. of Ed sneakily destroyed FERPA privacy law
to make data accessing easier; we know that we as states do collect it, and we know that we already share the aggregated form of student data.
What’s next? And who makes the call?
This week Alisa and I spoke in Star Valley, Wyoming at the Afton Civic Center. The event was filmed and I’ll post it when receive it.
What I learned:
Wyoming is in great shape to reclaim educational liberty and control. I’m almost jealous of the state’s position. Why?
1) Wyoming could walk away from the temptation of federal monies easily because it has strong education funding through state royalties.
“Each biennium, Wyoming gets about $1.6 billion to $1.8 billion in federal mineral royalty payments (FMRs), which account for a sizable portion of the state’s entire two-year $8.9 billion budget. More FMRs flow to Wyoming than any other state, largely because of extensive coal mining on federal land” – WyoFile.
2) Wyoming only recently (1 year ago) formally adopted Common Core. The amount of wasted money, time, teacher development and other Common Core-related waste that is happening in other states, has not happened there yet. It will be so easy to cut bait and walk away, because there’s not a lot of bait to cut.
3) Wyoming has an enviable state school board.
The Wyoming state school board only voted 8 to 4 to adopt Common Core. That means that a good chunk of the school board was opposed to it from day one. Enviable! (In supposedly conservative Utah each of the board members adore the Obama-pushed Common Core.)
Perhaps best of all, the Wyoming state superintendent, Cindy Hill, really gets it– she fights for local control of educational quality and liberty. She recently gave a speech to her state legislature about the foolishness of being federal-compliance-focused rather than having a “laser-like focus” on academic excellence.
Hill had refused to throw her state under the national testing bus and was severely punished for her wisdom. She was recently pushed aside and relieved of virtually all her powers and duties except for ceremonial and paperwork duties, because she opposed the federal-compliance mentality of the majority of the Wyoming School Board. Hill’s powers were reassigned –not by a vote, but by an appointment– to the new position: Director of Education, one who would dance the dance of federal compliance more cheerfully.
But Wyoming citizens rose up in protest, getting thousands and thousands of citizens to sign a petition to vote on the issue and to get Cindy Hill reinstated with her full powers.
4) Wyoming has strong, devoted people who value local control and are not willing to give it away.
Wyoming, we love you. Go, Fight, Win!
Sign the Wyoming Petition to STOP COMMON CORE here.
I watched this video, where the Salt Lake Tribune reporter asked Utah School Board Chair Debra Roberts whether Common Core took away classic literature –see minute 15:40.
Roberts laughed, said that she was an English major and would never support standards that were not strongly supportive of classic literature— and then, without answering, took the conversation in the direction of how important informational texts are.
The fact is, informational texts used to be taught where they OUGHT to be taught– in science classes, history classes, and other classes. But they are being force fed in all English classes now.
Certainly, some classic literature is still permitted in Utah schools under Common Core. But it has been dramatically reduced, especially at the high school level. Roberts would not admit this. WHY?
Debra Roberts’ signature (together with our former governor’s signature) put Utah’s former educational liberty under the thumb of the Common Core agenda. She’s been on the Common Core adoption team longer than our current governor. She cannot be ignorant of the truth.
She knows that Common Core emphasizes informational text and takes away classic literature. She knows that in elementary school, students may read 50% classic stories and 50% informational text; and she knows that the percentage of informational text MUST increase while the percentage of classic literature must decrease, so that when a student is a high school senior, he/she must have 70% of his/her English class reading be informational, while 30% max may be classic literature.
She and others on the state school board continue to call those of us who call for the whole truth, “misinformed” and ”erroneous.”
I requested an explanation of what exactly seemed “erroneous,” in the school board’s view, in the GOP resolution that Utah’s State Delegates voted to support last week.
I have not heard back from them.
I have also requested face to face meetings with board members and have been denied a meeting. Here I am, a credentialed Utah teacher, denied a meeting to discuss my concerns about Utah’s new Core Curriculum. Does that seem good?
I am willing to be proven wrong. One person could be wrong.
But I don’t think it’s fair to call all 6,000 petition signers at Utahns Against Common Core, plus the 1500— 2,000 state delegates who voted against common core at the resolution vote, plus the entire Republican National Committee, plus Sutherland Institute, Heritage Institute, Pioneer Institute, Cato Institute, Senator Mike Lee, Jason Chaffetz, and Rob Bishop, all “misinformed.” –Especially not in the same week that the chair of the board misinforms reporters about Common Core.
Utah’s Republican state delegates sent a clear message to the Governor, Utah legislators, and to the State Office of Education at Saturday’s GOP convention when 65% of the state delegates voted yes to support the resolution written by Utahns Against Common Core.
Utah’s delegates are calling on Governor Herbert and the Utah State School Board to withdraw from Common Core, and are calling on the Utah State Legislature to discontinue funding all programs in association with the Common Core Initiative.
If you missed the GOP convention, here’s what happened.
An ocean of people swarmed in from every corner of Utah to the South Jordan Expo Center Saturday to debate and vote upon the issues of the day. Present were the Governor and his bodyguard; legislators, activists, school board members; candidates for political offices, and 2,584 delegates. The swarm began before 7 a.m. and didn’t end until late in the afternoon.
At the Utahns Against Common Core booth there was a video loop showing the audience current, common core aligned textbooks that are approved for Utah schools. The booth also featured a handful of teachers and parents, answering questions about why they opposed Common Core. (The video that was looped is viewable here. For further analysis of these texts from a Utah mental health therapist’s view – see this video, too.)
There were more delegates clustered around the Utahns Against Common Core (UACC) booth than around any other, by a long shot. Many of the delegates signed the UACC petition, wore Stop Common Core buttons and stickers, and asked questions because of the conflicting (and may I point out, unreferenced) information coming from the State Office about Common Core.
I told delegates near our booth that I dislike the mandates of the common standards and I don’t believe for a minute that they are the solution to our educational problems. (It seems a no-brainer that it’s harmful, not helpful, to lessen the amount of classic literature that a child may read, and to delay the age at which students learn basic math algorithms, etc.)
But academics are not the key issue; academic problems can normally be fixed, but under Common Core there is not even an amendment process. These are copyrighted, D.C.-written, common standards.
Without a written amendment process, it’s a case of education without representation. It’s a case of giving up the ability to even debate what the standards for Utah children ought to be. It’s a case of allowing the federal government, and the philosophies (and money) of Bill Gates-Pearson Co., to micromanage local educational decisions.
Driving home, after four hours, I wondered if the resolution for local control would pass. It did not seem likely even though our resolution closely matched the Republican National Committee’s anti-common core resolution that had passed earlier this year in California.
But in Utah, the GOP committee had given our resolution an “unfavorable” rating, saying that the wording was inflammatory. The Governor was against us, having long been promoting Common Core and a related project, Prosperity 2020, very openly. The State Office of Education was against us and had been passing out pamphlets, fliers and stickers to “support common core” –and had sent mailers to delegates, telling them to support common core. (They used our tax money for this. Since when is tax money used to lobby for one side?)
And the media were generally against us. Both the Tribune and KSL had been covering this issue mostly from a pro-common core point of view.
So I was just thankful that we had gotten the opportunity to educate people at our booth. I hoped for, but didn’t expect, the miracle of the resolution passing.
Four hours later, I was completely stunned with the great news. Alisa, my friend and a state delegate, texted me one word: “PASSED!!!!”
Our resolution passed! It did match the feelings of a majority of Utahns. 65% of the elected state delegates in the State of Utah voted NO to Common Core.
It was a welcome surprise.
Delegate friends filled me in on the details of what I’d missed. I learned that the powers-that-be tried their best to muffle the resolution. They held it to the very end, after multiple speakers and presentations and other votes were held. Some even called for the meeting to adjourn before the resolution could be debated on the stage. There was a vote about whether to adjourn that was soundly defeated by the delegates.
Finally the resolution was debated. There were elecrifying speeches, for and against. Then there was the vote.
Sixty five percent voted for it to pass! That’s well over a thousand people, elected by their neighbors, from caucuses in every corner of Utah, who all said NO to Common Core. This is huge, huge news to teachers, school boards, parents, students, and politicians, regardless of which side of the argument you choose.
But it didn’t make the Tribune. It didn’t make the Deseret News. It didn’t make the Daily Herald or KSL.
Who knows why? Sigh.
Looks like we have to spread this one by social media, folks. There are powerful people who want to muffle the voice of WE, THE PEOPLE.
Let’s not let them get away with it.
Reposted from a School Book op-ed with permission from Professor Nicholas Tampio
May 17, 2013
Bill Gates Should Not Micro-Manage Our Schools
By Prof. Nicholas Tampio
The multinational software giant, Microsoft, once bundled its Explorer search engine with Windows, and refused, for a time, to have Windows run WordPerfect, a competitor to Microsoft Word. As head of Microsoft, Bill Gates wanted everyone to use the same program. As funder of the Common Core, I believe he wants to do the same with our children.
The Common Core is one of the most effective educational reform movements in United States history. Gates is a financial backer of this movement. Looking at this connection enables us to see why the United States should be wary of letting any one person or group acquire too much control over education policy.
Launched in 2009 and now adopted by 45 states, the Common Core articulates a single set of educational standards in language arts and mathematics. Although the Common Core claims not to tell teachers what or how to teach, school districts must prove to state legislatures or the federal government (via the Race to the Top program) that they are complying with the Common Core. The simplest and most cost-effective way for a school district to do that is to purchase an approved reading or math program.
The Common Core transfers bread-and-butter curriculum decisions from the local to the state and national level.
On the Common Core website, Gates applauds this development, stating that the initiative brings the nation closer to “supporting effective teaching in every classroom.” Here, I believe, one sees a link between Gates’s business and advocacy sides.
The Common Core may raise standards in some school districts, but one ought to read the literature with a critical eye. The Common Core has not been field-tested anywhere. The Common Core does not address many root causes of underperforming schools, such as hungry students or dangerous neighborhoods. And the Common Core has an opportunity cost, namely, that it forces thriving school districts to adopt programs that may be a worse fit for the student body.
We can learn a lesson from the recent history of the computing industry. Apple and Microsoft have pressed each other to make better applications, phones, notepads, and cameras. Though Gates may have wanted to vanquish Apple, Steve Jobs prompted him to improve his products, which in turn benefited every computer user. Competition brings out the best in people and institutions. The Common Core standardizes curricula and thereby hinders competition among educational philosophies.
Surely, one could say, certain standards are self-evidently good. A Common Core principle of first grade math is that students should “attend to precision” and “look for and make use of structure.” Just as a computer program requires each number, space, and function to be in its right spot to operate, so too the standards emphasize thinking in an orderly fashion and showing each step of the work.
In a new book, Letters to a Young Scientist, the Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson argues that the demand for precision can hurt the scientific imagination. Wilson celebrates the fanciful nature of innovation by reflecting on how Darwin formulated the idea of descent with modification while sailing on the H.M.S. Beagle and Newton discovered that white light is a mix of colored lights while playing with a prism. Though teachers sometimes need to write orderly equations on a blackboard, real progress comes “amid a litter of doodled paper.” Doodling is a prelude to a eureka moment, the fuel of scientific research.
Would it be wise to nationalize an educational policy that frowns on doodling?
One could argue about the details of the Common Core standards: how to strike the right balance, say, between fiction and non-fiction, humanities and sciences, doodling and straight lines, and so forth. And yet this approach concedes that America ought to have the same approach in every classroom.
America needs many kinds of excellent programs and schools: International Baccalaureate programs, science and technology schools, Montessori schools, religious schools, vocational schools, bilingual schools, outdoor schools, and good public schools. Even within programs and schools, teachers should be encouraged to teach their passions and areas of expertise. Teachers inspire life-long learning by bringing a class to a nature center, replicating an experiment from Popular Science, taking a field trip to the state or national capital, or assigning a favorite novel. A human being is not a computer, and a good education is not formatted in a linear code.
As a result of the Common Core, teachers in our school district must now open boxes filled with reading materials, workbooks, and tests from a “learning company.” How depressing and unnecessary. As Apple and Google have shown, great work can be done when talented employees are granted power and encouraged to innovate.
In regards to education policy, I’d prefer Bill Gates to have a loud voice in his school district, but a quieter one in mine.
Prof. Nicholas Tampio teaches Critical Theory at Fordham University.
Postscript from Professor Nicholas Tampio on why he began to study the Common Core:
Last spring, my son’s kindergarten education went from outstanding to mediocre in a blink. The teacher is a wonderful woman who lives and breathes her craft. For years, she developed innovative curricula and inspired children to love school. The year before my son started kindergarten, the high school valedictorian spoke at length about how this teacher sparked his curiosity in physics and space. He is at Stanford now.
In February, the teacher had to use a program designed to satisfy the Common Core criteria. She was required to open big boxes and follow a script. My son’s curriculum went from fresh to canned and, as could be anticipated, the classroom mood suffered. My son’s problem at the start of kindergarten was that he was too excited to learn (he would answer every question she asked, etc.). That “problem” disappeared.
I met with administrators and they were nice and helpful. But their hands are tied. The state signed up for the Common Core. The state wants proof that our school district is complying and the way to do that is to use a program.
My motivation, then, is simple: I want my kids to have a great education. When the rubber hit the road, the Common Core damaged our school district. I am confident that Americans, when presented with good arguments and evidence, will realize that the Common Core is a misguided initiative. The sooner the better.
Kansas is requesting help from all those who care for educational liberty nationwide. Do you have time to send an email or make a phone call?
The Kansas legislature is discussing whether to promote or oppose Common Core. What happens in other states affects our own.
Here’s the contact information for the Kansas Legislature.
Kansas House Roster 2013
Name District Capitol Phone Email
Rep. Alcala 57 785 296-7371 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Alford 124 785 296-7656 email@example.com,
Rep. Ballard 44 785 296-7697 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Barker 70 785 296-7674 email@example.com ,
Rep. Becker 104 785 296-7196 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Bideau 9 785 296-7636 email@example.com,
Rep. Boldra 111 785 296-4683 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Bollier 21 785 296-7686 email@example.com ,
Rep. Bradford 40 785 296-7653 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Bridges 83 785 296-7646 email@example.com ,
Rep. Bruchman 20 785 296-7644 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Brunk 85 785 296-7645 email@example.com ,
Rep. Burroughs 33 785-296-7630 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Campbell 26 785 296-7632 email@example.com ,
Rep. Carlin 66 785 296-7649 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Carlson 61 785 296-7660 email@example.com
Rep. Carpenter 75 785 296-7673 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Cassidy 120 785 296-7616 email@example.com ,
Rep. Christmann 113 785 296-7640 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Claeys 69 785 296-7670 email@example.com ,
Rep. Clayton 19 785 296-7655 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Concannon 107 785 296-7677 email@example.com ,
Rep. Corbet 54 785 296-7679 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Couture-Lovelady 110 785 296-4683 email@example.com,
Rep. Crum 77 785 296-6989 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Davis 46 785-296-7630 email@example.com,
Rep. DeGraaf 82 785 296-7693 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Dierks 71 785 296-7642 email@example.com ,
Rep. Dillmore 92 785 296-7698 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Doll 123 785 296-7380 email@example.com ,
Rep. Dove 38 785 296-7670 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Edmonds 112 785 296-5593 email@example.com,
Rep. Edwards 93 785 296-7640 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Esau 14 785 296-7631 email@example.com ,
Name District Capitol Phone Email
Rep. Ewy 117 785 296-7105 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Finch 59 785 296-7655 email@example.com ,
Rep. Finney 84 785 296-7648 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Frownfelter 37 785 296-7648 email@example.com,
Rep. Gandhi 52 785 296-7672 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Garber 62 785 296-7665 email@example.com ,
Rep. Goico 94 785 296-7663 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Gonzalez 47 785 296-7500 email@example.com ,
Rep. Grant 2 785 296-7650 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Grosserode 16 785 296-7659 email@example.com ,
Rep. Hawkins 100 785 296-7631 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Hedke 99 785 296-7699 email@example.com ,
Rep. Henderson 35 785 296-7697 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Henry 63 785 296-7688 email@example.com ,
Rep. Hermanson 98 785 296-7658 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Hibbard 13 785 296-7380 email@example.com ,
Rep. Highland 51 785 296-7310 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Hildabrand 17 785 296-7659 email@example.com ,
Rep. Hill 60 785 296-7632 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Hineman 118 785 296-7636 email@example.com ,
Rep. Hoffman 116 785 296-7643 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Houser 1 785 296-7679 email@example.com,
Rep. Houston 89 785 296-7652 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Howell 81 785 296-7665 email@example.com ,
Rep. Huebert 90 785 296-1754 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Hutton 105 785 296-7673 email@example.com ,
Rep. Jennings 122 785 296-7196 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Johnson 108 785 296-7696 email@example.com ,
Rep. Jones 5 785 296-6287 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Kahrs 87 785 296-5593 email@example.com ,
Rep. Kelley 80 785 296-7671 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Kelly 11 785 296-6014 email@example.com ,
Rep. Kinzer 30 785-296-7692 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Kleeb 48 785 296-7680 email@example.com,
Rep. Kuether 55 785 296-7669 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Lane 58 785 296-7649 email@example.com ,
Rep. Lunn 28 785 296-7675 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Lusk 22 785 296-7651 email@example.com,
Rep. Macheers 39 785 296-7675 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Mast 76 785-291-3500 email@example.com ,
Rep. McPherson 8 785 296-7695 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Meier 41 785 296-7650 email@example.com ,
Rep. Meigs 23 785 296-7656 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Menghini 3 785 296-7691 email@example.com,
Rep. Merrick 27 785-296-2302 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Montgomery 15 785 296-7677 email@example.com,
Rep. Moxley 68 785 296-7689 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. O’Brien 42 785 296-7683 email@example.com,
Rep. Osterman 97 785 296-7689 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Pauls 102 785 296-7657 email@example.com,
Rep. Peck 12 785 296-7641 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Perry 24 785 296-7669 email@example.com ,
Rep. Peterson 32 785 296-7371 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Petty 125 785 296-7676 email@example.com ,
Rep. Phillips 67 785 296-6014 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. J. Powell 50 785 296-7674 email@example.com,
Rep. Proehl 7 785 296-7639 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Read 4 785 296-7310 email@example.com,
Rep. Rhoades 72 785 291-3446 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Rooker 25 785 296-7686 email@example.com
Rep. Rothlisberg 65 785 296-7653 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Rubin 18 785 296-7690 email@example.com ,
Rep. Ruiz 31 785 296-7122 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Ryckman Jr. 78 785 296-6287 email@example.com ,
Rep. Ryckman Sr. 115 785 296-7658 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Sawyer 95 785 296-7691 email@example.com ,
Rep. Schroeder 74 785 296-7500 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Schwab 49 785 296-7501 email@example.com ,
Rep. Schwartz 106 785 296-7637 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Seiwert 101 785 296-7647 email@example.com ,
Rep. Shultz 73 785 296-7684 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Siegfreid 121 785 368-7166 email@example.com ,
Rep. Sloan 45 785 296-7654 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Sloop 88 785 296-7646 email@example.com ,
Rep. Suellentrop 91 785 296-7681 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Sutton 43 785 296-7676 email@example.com ,
Rep. Swanson 64 785 296-7642 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Thimesch 114 785 296-7105 email@example.com ,
Rep. Tietze 53 785 296-7668 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Todd 29 785 296-7695 email@example.com ,
Rep. Trimmer 79 785 296-7122 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Vickrey 6 785-296-7662 email@example.com ,
Rep. Victors 103 785 296-7651 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Ward 86 785 296-7698 email@example.com ,
Rep. Waymaster 109 785 296-7672 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Weber 119 785 296-5481 email@example.com ,
Rep. Weigel 56 785 296-7366 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Whipple 96 785 296-7366 email@example.com ,
Rep. Wilson 10 785 296-7652 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Winn 34 785 296-7657 email@example.com,
Rep. Wolfe Moore 36 785 296-7688 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Here’s a letter for reference:
Dear Kansas Legislator,
It might surprise you that a citizen of Utah is going out of her way to ask you to oppose the Common Core agenda taking root in Kansas.
I have studied the Common Core thoroughly. I urge you to study it closely.
1) It isn’t state-led, despite the rhetoric. Legislators and voters were totally bypassed. The NGA is not a constitutionally recognized entity to rule on the national stage.
2) The academic standards are highly controversial, are untested and are based on no evidence to support their theories (diminishing classic literature, slowing math, etc.)
4) THERE IS NO AMENDMENT PROCESS. The standards are under copyright. Local control is gone.
Here are some videos that will help you learn the agenda of Common Core.
Thank you for studying this issue very carefully.
Utah Teacher and Mom
There’s a very interesting article in the Atlanta Constitution-Journal. Apparently, the governor of Georgia feels the heat that the Common Core controversy has generated. He believes he can save the state from Common Core’s federal ties by writing an executive order against it.
A student from Colorado wrote today, asking this question. Does Common Core infringe on freedom of religion
I’m not a lawyer, but I am a thinker, and this is what I think:
The freedom to educate according to the dictates of local (parental and teacher) conscience is –without question– sorely infringed by Common Core.
So, if freedom of conscience is related to freedom of religion
, which I feel it is, then Common Core is guilty of bashing both.
Evidence of the harm done by the Common Core Initiative to individual freedom of conscience is found in many things, including:
4. Common Core tests, too, cannot be seen by parents or teachers (at least not in Utah.)
5. The testing groups are building model curriculum
which they will sell. No local voice in that.
6. Bill Gates and Pearson have partnered to build curriculum to align with Common Core, and both Gates and Sir Michael Barber (Pearson CEA) are socialists who have openly admitted they want to see America politically transformed to be more like England or other less-free countries, where there is top-down control. They have a near monopoly on all American textbooks today, through Common Core alignment.
7. There is no amendment process — no way at all to give a local voice to local conscience, concerning the common core system.
Being angry is not very productive. What we really need are active people who are working, writing op-eds, making videos, doing social media, speaking to legislatures and to school boards and holding virtual or actual rallies and presentations to raise public awareness. Activists are sorely, sorely needed to overpower the propaganda machine that Bill Gates and Obama have built to “support” common core.
For more understanding of the fundamental role of freedom of religion to freedom of education, read what Imprimis Magazine of Hillsdale College
has to say.
Common Core presentation- this week in Orem, Utah.
I appreciate Rep. Brian Greene’s recent statement on his Facebook page, in reference to the recent KSL article. He said that the state school board should not ask the Legislature “to validate the board’s adoption of Common Core by quashing public opposition to it. “
Funny how the state school board wants to make it clear that they have full authority over public education, but want the Legislature to validate their adoption of CC by quashing public opposition to it. If the Board is so committed to CC, they need to begin acting like the elected officers they are and take their message directly to the voters and stop acting like unaccountable bureaucrats.
The State School Board has unanimously passed two resolutions that state official positions on the Utah Core Standards and the security of personal student information.
Indiana’s Governor Pence has signed the ”Common Core ‘pause’ legislation” bill. It puts a time-out on Common Core implementation so that legislators, parents, teachers and school boards can have the time they were denied previously, to actually vet and analyze the Common Core educational system.
How I wish Governor Herbert would do the same.
How I wish we had a governor, newspapers, a state school board and local school boards whose actions showed they truly valued local control, that all-important principle of our country’s founding. But they do not. They prioritize being the same as other states over maintaining the power to run our own lives, and they value that common core over having academically legitimate, non-experimental standards.
It is a Utah tragedy. Not so in Indiana.
“The bill requires public input meetings and a new vote on whether to continue implementing the Common Core by the end of 2014 by the State Board of Education, which originally approved common Core in 2010.
Critics of Common Core, which was adopted by Indiana’s state board in 2010, say the criteria are less rigorous than Indiana’s prior standards and adopting them would mean giving up too much power over the setting of standards.
But supporters argue Indiana could fall behind by backing out, as textbook publishers and standardized test makers — including those who make college entrance exams — are moving quickly to adapt to the new standards.
“I have long believed that education is a state and local function and we must always work to ensure that our students are being taught to the highest academic standards and that our curriculum is developed by Hoosiers, for Hoosiers,” Pence said in a news release. “The legislation I sign today hits the pause button on Common Core so Hoosiers can thoroughly evaluate which standards will best serve the interests of our kids.”
Read the rest here.
Heritage Foundation hosted a multi-day conference recently in Orlando. Below is a video which is available at Heritage Foundation’s website and on YouTube, taken from a panel at that conference, which was followed by Q & A about Common Core.
Conference Keynote speaker Michelle Malkin, recipient of the 2013 Breitbart Award for Excellence in Journalism was an attendee at the panel that discussed the Common Core.
Panelists included Lindsey Burke of Heritage Foundation, Jim Stergios of Pioneer Institute, Ted Rebarber of Accountability Works, Heather Crossin of Hoosiers Against Common Core, and me.
None of us have enough time to process, comprehend and then fight against all of the intrusions on our time and our God-given rights and liberty.
But some things are more important than others. And fighting the adoption of Common Core-aligned science standards and textbooks must be high on the To-Do list.
Heartland Institute’s Joy Pullman explains it in a great article found here. http://heartland.org/policy-documents/research-commentary-common-core-science-standards
She writes: “Individual liberty advocates counter that centralization in education is as foolish and damaging as centralizing the economy. They note the ideological tendencies of science education toward politics as a substitute for actual science, particularly in the area of highly debatable global warming alarmism, which is falsely assumed as reality in these standards. The standards also promote a simplified understanding of science and are still incoherent despite revisions…. They ignore central scientific concepts and push a progressive teaching style that has been proven to erode student learning…”
Yet textbook companies are rewriting science to align to the false assumptions of common core, so even those states who wisely rejected the common core or who aim to do so, will likely end up with common core textbooks anyway.
Here’s a letter I wrote to my local and state school boards and superintendents today.
Dear Superintendent and School Boards,
Our homeschooling group attended the Leonardo Museum in Salt Lake City yesterday. What a wonderful museum. The Mummy exhibit was fascinating, the hands-on digital learning activities were great, the craft workshop and prosthetics exhibits and art were absolutely engaging for visitors of all ages.
But in the multi-room exhibit entitled “Human Rights Exhibit,” visitors were shown not only ecology art, but vocabulary words in the context of the claim that human behavior is killing plant and animal life –and will likely kill off the human race. There were paintings of futuristic apartment projects teetering dangerously close to the ocean, on islands and cliffs. The captions stated that because of the FACT of global warming and oceanic flooding, people will be living like this.
I use this as an example of the unscientific assumptions and lies being taught all around us, which are also loading the common core-aligned science standards and science textbooks coming our way.
Let’s not turn a blind eye to the ongoing politically-based rewrite of actual science. Let’s stand independent of this. Let’s actually teach the kids hard science based on settled facts as we did in all the wise years up till now.
For a detailed list of news articles and science reviews of Common Core science standards and textbooks, please read this.
We have Martell Menlove’s word that Utah will never adopt Common Core science and social studies standards. But with the majority of textbook companies belonging to the monopoly of the insanely unrepresentative system of Common Core, we as a state have to go out of our way to find true science for our kids. Let’s do it.
Thanks for listening.
Green Insanity in the Schools Update:
You have to read this woman’s blog. First, she and her husband protested the Disney-like green propaganda film that was shown to the elementary school children to “teach” them that humans are destroying the earth. Then she was banned from volunteering in the school. Then she was reinstated. Sigh.
Many people are still under the impression that “Common Core only sets a minimum standard.”
They believe localities are free to improve meaningfully upon the standards. I wish I could believe them. Why don’t I?
Bill Gates speaks about Common Core’s need to align all curriculum and tests together. After watching this, you cannot say that Common Core only consists of minimum standards. It’s a complete control package.
So what, you say.
So, one man says we’re aligning the standards to our monopoly-held textbook curriculum and the common core tests.
What can one man do?
Realize that Gates, the world’s 2nd richest man, has paid $5 BILLION to reform OUR education system– without going through the channels of state legislatures.
Gates paid unelected trade groups (NGA and CCSSO) who wrote and copyrighted the standards, as well as paying countless institutions to advocate for Common Core –before assessing the legitimacy of the standards– these include the national PTA, Harvard University, Education Week Magazine, etc., –they obeyed Gates’ directive to advocate for Common Core, or forfeit the grant money. Gates’ company, Microsoft, and Gates’ partners, notably Pearson, gain immeasurable financial benefits from this lockstep system which circumvents the American process of voters and legislatures who used to be in charge of major transformations of the American governance system.
Ask yourself this: how will any school or teacher give students much beyond the Common Core when merit pay and school closures depend upon getting high student scores on the Common Core tests, which are under mandate to be federally reviewed? Federal tax money being withheld is an additional carrot in front of our noses.
The tests will drive the curriculum. They are both to be based on Common Core, the unamendable and copyrighted standards we “voluntarily” adopted.
While top lawyers are advising our state legislatures not to worry– that we can “get out” any time we like, realize that David Coleman– lead architect of the ELA portion of Common Core (despite the fact that he’s not an educator and is openly hostile toward narrative writing and calls for the diminishing of classic literature in English classrooms)– this same David Coleman is now College Board President. He’s aligning the SAT and ACT to Common Core.
How effective will it be to drop out of common core later? The time is now. The time is before every textbook in the nation has been rewritten to align. The time is before all teachers are forced to teach to the test because of the narrowing of the curriculum to the standards and tests.
The time to say no to Common Core should have been before we adopted Common Core– but as you know, legislatures were bypassed.
We were never given the chance to say no.
So, the Common Core is a monster larger and more powerful than most people realize. But it can still be stopped and it must be stopped. WE are THE PEOPLE.
We know our rights.
We know Common Core is illegal.
It’s educationally illegitimate.
It’s costing us our birthright and not giving us even the mess of pottage in return.
Millions of parents and teachers are fighting to get rid of it.
If you haven’t already, please join us.
“There is much more involved here, than just a list of standards… if all the facts were known,
it would be more than obvious that the legislature would make the move to abandon Common Core.”
- Recently retired Utah Teacher Margaret Wilkin
Margaret Wilkin has given permission to post her letter to the Utah legislature. She retired last year from Canyons District.
May 4, 2013
Senator Aaron Osmond
South Jordan, Utah 84095
… On March 21, 2013, I was asked to return to the elementary school from which I retired last June, to give a presentation at their Literacy Night. Some of the parents and students I taught in the past came down to the room where I was to say hello. In the course of the conversation, a mother of one of the smartest and most conscientious students I have ever had, said that her daughter was struggling in math.
I was surprised, but told her mother that teachers are required to teach to a rigid schedule and must move on to the next unit of study, even if the students don’t understand it.
Sticking to the schedule is more important than spending the time making sure everyone understands.
I knew as a teacher what I didn’t like about Common Core, as well as what had taken place leading up to it, but I didn’t have any concrete facts; therefore, I couldn’t give the parents any verifiable information other than my own story. I have spent the last five weeks researching and learning about Common Core. There are so many facets to Common Core, and I still don’t know everything, but I know much more than I did five weeks ago and enough to know that even without my own experience, I could not support it.
This morning I saw the e-mail from Diana Suddreth, the STEM Coordinator at the USOE, asking the Curriculum Director in each school district in Utah to solicit “success stories” from teachers using Common Core standards. She has further stated in her e-mail that she has seen marvelous and exciting things happening in classrooms since the implementation of Common Core. She stated that these “success stories” are needed to counteract the “vicious attacks” by those opposed to Common Core.
Aaron, are you aware that you and Senator Weiler are named by Diana Suddreth as the only two legislators to contact with the Common Core “success stories”? Am I to understand that you and Senator Weiler are therefore supportive of the Common Core Standards for the State of Utah? If you are, I find this confusing since you have spoken so often of the important principle of local and State control of education. Common Core takes away local and State control, and puts the control into the hands of the Federal Government.
My response to Diana Suddreth is:
1. Utah has always had standards which teachers were required to follow. 2. It is not a matter of “voila” Common Core is here and at long last, wonderful things are happening in classrooms! Exciting and wonderful things happen in classrooms because of the teacher’s own hard work and creativity along with the freedom to decide how to best teach the standards that make for success in the classroom, NOT because a list of Federally mandated Common Core standards. 3. Tax payers asking legitimate questions of elected officials and those employed at the USOE, and having the expectation of them to have studied the issues more carefully than the people asking the questions “is not too much to ask”. Asking questions is not a “vicious attack”. This is the future of our children’s education at stake as well as millions of taxpayer dollars.
Here is my unsolicited “success” story about Common Core:
Please note that I am speaking only to what is happening in the Canyons School District and at the elementary level. And I am speaking out because I am retired. Those teachers in the school system are afraid of losing their jobs if they speak out against Common Core and against the policies of the District.
The teachers have been given a rigid schedule which MUST be followed. In the morning, there is to be three hours of reading and language arts followed in the afternoon by two hours of math. P.E. and computer time has been shortened from 45 minutes to 30 minutes once a week. That leaves 15 minutes of time each day for one of the following: music, art, science and social studies.
The teachers are monitored regularly by the principal, reading specialist and district personnel to make sure they are following the schedule.
Last year, when I was still teaching, the math portion of Common Core was put into place with the District’s purchase of the Pearson-Scott Foresman math series. As of last year, the “curriculum map” or math schedule did not match the organization of the book. So every night, I had to hunt, using many sources, for what I was to teach the next day in order to follow the curriculum map. This is still the case as of this year.
We were to teach certain concepts during specified blocks of time and sometimes these concepts had no relationship to each other. After the specified blocks of time are completed, the students are tested in the computer lab, mainly so that the district can make sure the teachers are following the schedule. Even if the students do not understand the concepts being taught, the teacher must move on to the next block in order to follow the mandated schedule.
This removes the teacher’s ability to teach according to the needs of her/his particular class. One of the basic tenants of teaching is: monitor and then adjust to the needs of your students. The schedule as required by the District makes this very difficult to do.
We skim over the surface of many concepts. If you have seen any of the ridiculous examples of teaching two-digit multiplication and addition that people have posted on Facebook, yes, I have taught this because it is on the test.
I was in the classroom through the time leading up to the implementation of Common Core, as math was being “dumbed down” and during the time when we were told not to teach multiplication facts, two and three digit multiplication and long division to fourth graders. How could any respectable teacher not teach this? This is not the case at the present time (times tables and long division and two and three digit multiplication are again being taught); however, the time allotted to teach these concepts is not long enough for many kids to grasp the idea.
My ability to be an effective math teacher was GREATLY diminished by having to follow the Common Core standards.
For this current school year, Canyons District purchased the Pearson reading series, “Reading Street” to match up with Common Core. (A perfectly good reading series which was not worn out was discarded. Why couldn’t this discarded series just have been supplemented with additional materials instead of wasting taxpayer money on new books?)
Reading and language arts, as in math, requires strict adherence to the schedule with regular monitoring by the principal, reading specialist and district personnel.
The students have 8 math and 6 reading computerized tests as well as three oral reading tests administered by the district. The upper grades have an additional test called MAZE. This does not count the end of the year testing in the computer lab. After the results are back the teacher is called into the principal’s office, along with the reading specialist, to account for the scores.
These tests are in addition to the regular weekly spelling, reading and math tests from the book publisher and teacher for the report card grades.
Speaking of report cards, we were told last year that the District was going to have workshops for parents so that they could understand the new report card which was going to be aligned with the Common Core standards. Wouldn’t the necessity of needing a workshop to teach parents how to interpret an elementary school report card, tell the District that this was a bad idea?
The lower performing students have just plain given up with this constant testing and will not even try any more. Teachers report that some of their students’ scores are actually getting worse. And again, teachers are called into the principal’s office to be grilled about what the teacher is going to do to bring up the scores, so that EVERY student is meeting the required benchmarks, when they are already doing everything they can to teach the material. Apparently, a child’s developmental readiness or ability is not taken in to consideration.
Is the child’s or teacher’s value only a test score?
The pressure on the teachers from the administration is INTENSE and many teachers say all they can do is teach to the test.
A second grade teacher recounted that she didn’t even dare have her class color a shamrock on St. Patrick’s Day because of the constant micromanaging by the administration and coloring a shamrock is not on the schedule.
Many teachers are saying they just can’t do this anymore. The joy and creativity of teaching in elementary school has been taken away by Common Core and the excessive testing. Kids and teachers both are burning out. Is this really what we want for our children?
Because of Common Core our freedom is being lost even down to the lowest level: the classroom.
There are MANY reasons to oppose Common Core. Here are just a few:
1. Data and assessment driven. 2. Adopted by the State School Board by accepting stimulus money and agreeing to the Common core standards before they had even been written. 3. Family rights to privacy, as spelled out in FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act), have been essentially amended making computer testing a major tool in gathering information about students that should remain private. This is known as Data Mining. 4. Adopting these standards takes decision making out of State and local school boards and districts, but, even more importantly, out of the hands of teachers and parents. 5. The State Legislature was bypassed by not being included in the decision of whether or not to adopt Common Core.
There are so many layers to Common Core. There is much more involved here, than just a list of standards. My experience is just one part, but an important part. Frankly, it seems to me that if all the facts were known, it would be more than obvious that the legislature would make the move to abandon Common Core.
I am not against Common Core because I have been around for SO long that I don’t want change, but because I can see the harm it is doing to my profession and to students. The freedom of the parents, teachers, school districts and states to choose what is best for them has been taken away and will be controlled by the Federal government.
May I recommend to you a video presentation explaining Common Core that has been posted on You Tube. It is one of the best presentations I have seen. If you type in Google “You Tube Subversive Threat to Education”, you should be able to find it. It is a current talk given to a group in Tennessee.
Thank you again for all the hours of service you give to our community and State.
He was very gracious and I appreciated his willingness to answer questions.
I asked him if he could verify the information I’d received from the state school board, that the reason that a Utah student is not able to opt out of the SLDS tracking system, is because of limitations of technology.
( I had received that idea from the state school board: “Current data systems do not allow for individual student data to be withheld from the data submission process.”
But Jerry Winkler told me that it’s not a technology limitation.
“It’s a policy question,” he said, and directed me to inquire further about the policy from Carol Lear, the top lawyer at the Utah State Office of Education.
I shuddered. I know more than I want to about Carol Lear, the top U.S.O.E. lawyer. Just FYI: Carol Lear told me last year that since “the whole point is to be common” — it was of no importance that there’s no amendment process to Common Core. She also told me she believed a cost analysis had been done on Common Core in Utah, when there had not –and still has not. She displayed zero respect for the 10th Amendment and the General Educational Provisions Act. and told me that she had never heard of the Cooperative Agreement and she thought it was a hoax. Finally, she refused to respond to further questions and told me to go talk the the public relations department. With no sense of valiance in defending states’ rights, would Lear balk at caving in to any request the federal Dept. of Education made of Utah?
Back to today:
I asked Jerry Winkler how compliant our state has been, so far, to the requests from the federal government at the Data Quality Campaign and the National Data Collection Model, those federal websites which request hundreds of non-academic data points about children from schools (including nicknames, family, voting, income, health and psychological information, etc.)
He verfied that Utah does submit information gathered by schools to the federal government, but assured me that right now, Utah is giving only aggregated (grouped) information to the federal government (He verified that this takes place at the portal called the Edfacts Exchange )
Winkler said that right now, Utah is keeping dis-aggregated data (personally identifiable data) inside the state at the SLDS database.
“Who or what would change that?” I asked, “At what point will Utah give in to federal requests to give up disaggregated (personal) data to the federal government, as well? Who makes the call to be more “compliant” with the federal requests?
Carol Lear, he said. She is the one who would make the call.
Jerry Winkler also told me he believed that students could opt out of being tracked by the State Longitudinal Database System at the local LEA level, but if the data was entered by the LEA, it would automatically be sent to the SLDS and Utah Data Alliance, at which point opting out would end.
I had not heard this. I will be asking my LEA how to accomplish that.
He had not heard of it.
The shortest, most important post I’ve written:
In addition to the Constitution’s 10th Amendment, a federal law called The General Educational Provisons Act (G.E.P.A.)
prohibits the federal government from directing education –very, very clearly:
“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…“
Read the rest here: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/20/1232a
Please ask an honest legislator to notice that Obama and Secretary Duncan openly promote Common Core –and use our taxes to give out grants for common core tests. Someone has to stop this.
Worth watching to the end.
Utah senator joins others in signing letter opposing the Common Core.
By Lisa Schencker
|Reposted highlights from Salt Lake Tribune article
First Published Apr 29 2013 06:48 pm
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah
, has jumped into the ongoing fray over Common Core State Standards
, signing a letter asking Senate budget leaders to “restore state decision-making and accountability.”Lee, along with eight other Republican senators, sent the letter to the chairman and the ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that funds education on Friday. The letter asks that any future education appropriations bill includes language prohibiting the U.S. Secretary of Education from using the money to implement or require the standards in any way, in hopes of eliminating “further interference by the U.S. Department of Education
with respect to state decisions on academic content standards.”
“The decision about what students should be taught and when it should be taught has enormous consequences for our children,” the letter says. “Therefore, parents ought to have a straight line of accountability to those who are making such decisions. State legislatures, which are directly accountable to the citizens of their states , are the appropriate place for those decisions to be made, free from any pressure from the U.S. Department of Education
In an interview with the Tribune Tuesday, Lee declined to comment on Utah’s adoption of the standards, saying his concern is with keeping the federal government out of state and local education decisions.
“If they choose to adopt them, I hope they do so because they’re relevant standards and local leaders think they’re good standards not because of any federal mandate,” he said of states’ adoption of the standards. He said, so far, he’s noticed “disturbing trends” in the direction of the federal government becoming overly involved in pushing the standards.
Utah proponents of the standards, however, have long fought against arguments that they were federally developed or imposed. The Utah state school board adopted the standards in 2010 in hopes of better preparing students for college and careers. The standards — developed as part of a states-led initiative — outline the concepts and skills students should learn in each grade, while leaving curriculum decisions up to local teachers and districts.
Critics of the standards point out that the federal government, several years ago, encouraged states to adopt the standards as they applied for federal Race to the Top grant money. They also point to a federal requirement that states adopt college- and career-ready standards in order to receive a waiver to No Child Left Behind .
But Utah did not win that money, and to receive waivers, states could adopt either Common Core standards or different standards of their choosing…
Another #Stopcommoncore Twitter Rally
Just a week ago Parent Led Reform rallied 2,493,308 Twitter users to #Stopcommoncore. A second Twitter Rally is planned for today, Thursday, May 2, at 9pm EST- 7pm MST to include participation of working parents, educators and citizens.
Parent Led Reform will host the rally as a collaborative project with Truth In American Education, designed to share the research diligently collected by parents and citizens concerned about the government’s push for national common standards in education.
This rally is an encore of the April 16 #Stopcommoncore Twitter event, which reached 2,493,308 Twitter users.
Karin Piper, spokesperson for Parent Led Reform, said, “Parent Led Reform opposes a lock-step approach to education that takes the focus away from the student and decisions away from the parent.”
The #Stopcommoncore Twitter Rally features a panel of experts who are planning on answering questions by the moderator, as well as taking live questions from Twitter users across the nation.
Panelists are Shane Vander Hart (Truth in American Education), William Estrada (Homeschool Legal Defense Association) Joy Pullmann (Heartland Institute), Ben DeGrow (Independence Institute), Emmett McGroarty (American Principles Project).
Follow our host and panel: @parentledreform @shulsie @shanevanderhart @BenDegrow @will_estrada @Joypullmann @approject @Truthinamed
Supported by Pioneer Institute, AFP, Heartland, Independence Institute, American Principles Project, Freedom Works, Home School Legal Defense Association
By Paul Horton, Chicago History Teacher
We need to look past our differences on curricular content and focus on freeing our schools from the grip of a well-intended, but horribly conceived attempt at instituting a national curriculum that lacks the consent of 99.9% of the American people.
The way forward in our movement against Common Core is for all groups to forget their differences and focus on the complete state and Federal repeals of NCLB and RTTT. We need to return schools to local control and this includes large urban school districts where mayors have complete control over schools like CEOs.
The Occupy and Tea Party movements need to show the rest of the American people that we can work together on issues that concern us all. Progressive Democrats and Conservative Republicans all want the best schools for all Americans so that we can move our country forward. We need to look past our differences on curricular content and focus on freeing our schools from the grip of a well-intended, but horribly conceived attempt at instituting a national curriculum that lacks the consent of 99.9% of the American people.
When we call this attempt into question, the DOE and the Chester Finns of the world have the gall to call us “conspiracy theorists.” This is the definition of absurdity.
Here is an action plan that we can all follow. We can worry about our differences when we have put this sad chapter in the history of American education to rest:
1) Everybody needs to write all of their public officials, district, state, and national every day with a simple copy and paste message: We want all state and Federal mandates associated with NCLB and RTTT repealed at all levels now! We want repeal legislation introduced now!
2) We will vote for no candidate from either major party or any independent group for any office that does not completely support the repeals above.
3) We want Arne Duncan fired immediately and we want those in the DOE who have served in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation fired immediately to return the control of the Department of Education to the people. We do not want anyone his replacement or anyone in the Department of Education who has worked with any corporate Education vendor. We do not want anybody in the Department Education who has worked with any Foundation or Think Tank that has sought to influence Education policy in the last fifteen years.
4) We want any state officer who has taken a trip from a corporate Education company fired, recalled, or voted out of office in the next election cycle. We are especially concerned about any state officer who has gone on any all-expenses-paid trip on Pearson Education’s dime.
5) We want local control of all school districts.
6) We demand that all public officials in State Boards of Education, Governors, state legislators, district boards, and DOE employees take 12th grade Common Core Tests. All of these officials who do not score proficient or better should be fired, recalled, or voted out of office during the next election cycle.
7) We support student strikes on high-stakes testing days. We support general strikes on scheduled high stakes testing day (K-21).
8) We will vote Educational leaders who have at least ten years of classroom experience. We do not anyone employed in leadership positions in the Department of Education who have not proven themselves as exemplary classroom teachers for ten years. We need to stop the war on experienced teachers. The New Education Class that has little or no classroom experience is engaged in a “Cultural Revolution” against experienced teachers.
— — — — —
Thanks to Paul Horton for permission to post his initiative.
After a whole year of never receiving an email response from Asst. Superintendent Judy Park, today she wrote back! Wow.
But. The billion dollar question was dodged again. It’s been dodged in emails for over a year. It was dodged twice more at last night’s Common Core (S.A.G.E./A.I.R.) presentation, both during and after the event. But I wrote an email asking it again.
Here it is, and here’s her answer.
My Question: Please direct me to documentation of the claim that the common core standards, upon which this test is built, are legitimate and that they have been empirically tested, rather than being the experimental idea of unelected noneducators?
Ms. Park’s Answer: You have received a great deal of information about the common core from Brenda Hales, Associate Superintendent. I would encourage you to direct your questions about the common core to her.
Another dodge! Another D O D G E!
Utterly, completely unbelievable!
This dodge is like building a house (a new Utah educational system) on quicksand (illegitimate standards) and insisting that everyone to keep admiring the roof (nifty technology) –and telling the homeowner (teacher/taxpayers/parents) who paid for the whole thing and will live in it for life, to quit asking the pesky questions about those sinking wobbly motions in the foundation, directing that homeowner to ask an irrelevant wallpaper hanger why the home was built in quicksand.
There comes a time when you either keep yelling at the t.v./radio/computer screen/newspaper, or you make a move.
Utah, I am asking you to make a move. Call. Write. Tell our Governor, School Board, legislature and U.S.O.E. that we deserve answers to these most basic of all questions that affect our children and grandchildren in dramatic ways, for the rest of their lives. Please act.
This is what I wrote to Assistant Superintendent Judy Park today.
Thank you for taking the time to partially respond to some of my questions.
Please– stop dodging the most important question, for me and for all Utahns.
“First, do no harm” applies to education as well as to medicine. Please show us proof that the USSB/USOE is doing no harm by implementing Common Core; this should be easy. Brenda Hales, the public relations person is not an academic expert; you are. By dodging the question to her it appears that you don’t even know whether Common Core is snake oil –or not.
Don’t teachers, parents and legislators deserve to know that hundreds of millions of dollars and hours and children’s minds all pushing toward Common Core implementation is being spent wisely?! Do we not deserve to see evidence and references backing up the oft-repeated claim that these standards are helpful?
Where is the study showing that long-term, lives are enhanced when high school seniors are deprived of 70% of their classic literature? Where is the study showing that long-term, students who are deprived of the knowledge of how to convert fractions into decimals, are blessed by that fact? Countless examples could be shared.
You serve on the CCSSO, the D.C. group which developed and copyrighted these unproven standards. You have been doing this longer than our State Superintendent and you stand uniquely qualified to answer questions about the academic legitimacy of the standards and about the lack of any empirical evidence to back up the U.S.O.E.’s claims– which have been replicated on every district website in this state– and which are false.
The standards are not serving children honorably. They take away from, rather than raise, Utah’s educational hopes. Less classic literature. Less traditional math. Slowing of the age at which algorithms are introduced. Less narrative writing. Less parental consent. No district-held control over the sharing of student data. And worst of all, the standards and connected reforms and mandates have robbed Utah of educational sovereignty, a constitutional right. We have no voice, no amendment process. For such a trade, the standards must surely be magnificent.
Yet you cannot even point me to the documentation that these standards are more than a blind experiment on our kids, written by noneducators and adopted at grant-point, rather than after thorough and honorable academic vetting in Utah?
This is an absolute outrage.
In the name of integrity, what are you going to do about it?
Last night at your presentation on Common Core tests, you promised to direct me to references documenting the truth of your statement: that the new common core AIR/SAGE tests are written by Utahns, for Utahs, in Utah. I am writing to request a direct link to that documentation. I appreciate your response.
You also promised to answer questions after the meeting; however, when I asked you mine after the meeting, you turned away from me and began to speak to a principal instead. The question remains unanswered: will you please direct me to documentation of the claim that the common core standards, upon which this test is built, are truly legitimate and that they have been empirically tested, rather than being the experimental idea of unelected noneducators?
While the testing technology is indeed impressive, it reminds me of admiring a shiny new roof on a building built on quicksand. Admiring the roof seems a bit pointless. I’m asking you to prove we’re not on quicksand. Can you?
Last night, a few of us were asking whether student behavioral indicators would be tested. You smiled warmly and said the test would only cover math, English and science.
However, in HB15, the legislation that created space for these new common core computer adaptive tests, it says:
59 (d) the use of student behavior indicators in assessing student performance;
I was unsure what student behavior indicators were until I read the recent explanation of a licensed clinical psychologist, who explained that it’s literally anything– anything from mental health evaluation to sporting events to social habits to family status and that measuring behavioral indicators gives results-readers “godlike predictive ability” over that child. Since A.I.R. is a behavioral research agency before it’s an academic testing company, according to its own website, this concerns me greatly.
Please explain how Utah parents can rest assured that their children will not be tested and tracked concerning anything other than math, English and science in light of this legislation and in light of A.I.R.’s stated purpose.
They really think they (the government) owns the children.
Education reform has redefined itself as the communist takeover of children by the government. You have to see this video to believe it.
This diminishing of parental authority is re-emphasized by the fact that in the common core tests, (the Linda Darling-Hammond- led CSCOPE and Common Core tests) parents cannot view the tests.
Why have our school systems have done this? When will a majority of parents and teachers join this fight for the children and fight to repeal the Common Core?
Please write or call our governor and school board. email@example.com
Tell them that you are opposed to Common Core which makes student data mining –without parental consent– possible. Tell them that you are opposed to the Common Core tests which are not viewable by parents, except for (in Utah) for a panel of 15 governmentally-appointed parents.
Tell them you want local control, especially parental control, back. Now.
Today, Utah Stories magazine interviewed Alisa, Renee and me. Here’s the clip.
Jeremiah Chaffee. Gerald Conti. Kris Nielsen. Stephen Round. Paul Horton. Susan Wilcox. Anonymous Utah Teachers. Anonymous California Teacher. Paul Bogush. David Cox. Chasidy White. Pat Austin. Stephanie Sawyer. Renee Braddy. Warriors. Heroes. Freedom Fighters. Teachers.
Common Core is a tragedy. Wake up, America. Listen to these teachers.
Some teach now; some have retired over Common Core. Each has spoken out and each needs to be heard. Today I want to highlight Gerald Conti, whose resignation letter was just published in the Washington Post.
Gerald Conti’s Letter:
“Data driven education seeks only conformity, standardization, testing and a zombie-like adherence to the shallow and generic Common Core…
Creativity, academic freedom, teacher autonomy, experimentation and innovation are being stifled in a misguided effort to fix what is not broken in our system of public education and particularly not at Westhill…
…The New York State United Teachers union has let down its membership by failing to mount a much more effective and vigorous campaign against this same costly and dangerous debacle… our own administration has been both uncommunicative and unresponsive to the concerns and needs of our staff and students …
This situation has been exacerbated by other actions of the administration, in either refusing to call open forum meetings to discuss these pressing issues, or by so constraining the time limits of such meetings that little more than a conveying of information could take place. This lack of leadership at every level has only served to produce confusion, a loss of confidence and a dramatic and rapid decaying of morale.
The repercussions of these ill-conceived policies will be telling and shall resound to the detriment of education for years to come. The analogy that this process is like building the airplane while we are flying would strike terror in the heart of anyone should it be applied to an actual airplane flight, a medical procedure, or even a home repair. Why should it be acceptable in our careers and in the education of our children?
… My profession is being demeaned by a pervasive atmosphere of distrust, dictating that teachers cannot be permitted to develop and administer their own quizzes and tests (now titled as generic “assessments”) or grade their own students’ examinations. The development of plans, choice of lessons and the materials to be employed are increasingly expected to be common to all teachers in a given subject. This approach not only strangles creativity, it smothers the development of critical thinking in our students and assumes a one-size-fits-all mentality more appropriate to the assembly line than to the classroom.
Teacher planning time has also now been so greatly eroded by a constant need to “prove up” our worth to the tyranny of APPR (through the submission of plans, materials and “artifacts” from our teaching) that there is little time for us to carefully critique student work, engage in informal intellectual discussions with our students and colleagues, or conduct research and seek personal improvement through independent study. We have become increasingly evaluation and not knowledge driven…
I am not leaving my profession, in truth, it has left me. It no longer exists. I feel as though I have played some game halfway through its fourth quarter, a timeout has been called, my teammates’ hands have all been tied, the goal posts moved, all previously scored points and honors expunged and all of the rules altered.
Read the rest.
By Susie Schnell
Education Week reports that hackers got into the Department of Education’s site and so they shut their site down indefinitely.
Baloney! No hackers got into the system. I’ll tell you what’s going on.
Researchers from around the nation have been gathering research from US Dept of Ed documents so we can get them to you directly from the source to prove everything we say. Because everyone is now linking to this site and because now we have so many national groups joining the fight, they pulled the curtain closed and are hiding behind it.
The Dept of Ed is hiding from US citizens! Not only do we have huge groups in every state looking daily at these documents now, but we also have the research crews of Michelle Malkin, Glenn Beck, Freedom Works, Fox News, United Families International and many others all across the nation for the FIRST TIME this week paying attention to what is going on with our education system and realizing we’re being lied to.
The same thing happened a few days after Agenda 21 was exposed nationally. After a year of researching the U.N. site easily, all of a sudden they went dark and no one can access their pages anymore. How dare they blame their lack of transparency on hackers. You know you are onto something really big when the entire U.S. Department of Education website closes down because you have exposed them. What a smokescreen!
– — – — – — –
Thank you, Susie Schnell, for researching and writing this post. I agree with Susie. Time will prove it to everyone, one way or another. In a reasonable amount of time, if the Department reposts what was there before, we’ll be proven wrong. Then there really were hackers desperate to get to the educational secrets that hadn’t been posted openly. Hmm.
But if time passes and the documents and speeches never resurface, then the Dept. of Ed really is deliberately hiding from the American citizen-researcher. Can you believe it?
Either way, we are not shut down, because we’ve saved the important documents and speeches offline.
The show will go on.