Archive for the ‘Anti-Common Core’ Tag
Utah parent Alyson Williams gave permission to share the following speech which she gave at last week’s Common Core informational meeting at the Utah State Capitol. Dozens of legislators as well as parents, teachers, students and school board members heard this speech.
I was reading recently about George Washington as a child. I’d heard the story of the cherry tree and his father, but there was another story with his mother that was new to me.
His mother had a prized peony bush. One day, with the sweetest of intentions, George picked some of the flowers and presented them to his mother. He was surprised when she was angry. Young Washington learned that actions taken with good intentions still have consequences.
I think there are those who brought Common Core to Utah with good intentions. But they seem to not understand that in making decisions that affect my children, they are in my garden, messing with my flowers.
In response to the complaints of Utah parents about the way Common Core came into our State, Board Member Dave Thomas wrote last week that we are “late to the party.”
I think that is like a policeman telling someone who’s house has been robbed that it’s their own fault because they weren’t home at the time of the theft.
The truth is I was home – but while I was watching the front door, the thieves snuck in the back door… and the the policeman is the one who gave them the key.
The Utah constitution gives authority to the State School Board to set academic standards. It does not say that they can outsource a role we entrusted to them to the National Governors Association who outsourced it to another group of so called experts. No meeting minutes, no public records, no obligation to even respond to the input of anyone who submitted it, including any input from our school board. As a parent and a taxpayer, this process cuts me out completely.
And now they’re surprised that I’m not pleased with the fistful of flowers they’ve shoved in my face. They only want to talk about how pretty the standards are.
When George Washington’s father learned about the flowers, he took the opportunity to help his son reflect on how his desire to be helpful didn’t change the fact that he’d done something he had no right to do.
There is no such thing in the Constitution as a council of governors or chief state school officers. Comparing best practices is one thing, but Governors working together to jointly address issues that affect the whole nation is not a legitimate alternative to Congress, our national representative body. If every state, or even most states have the same standards, we have de facto national standards. Those who brought Common Core to our nation, state-by-state, had no constitutional commission to do what they did. It’s a role they assigned themselves, and they did it in a way that circumvented constitutional representative processes.
So why am I talking to you, members of the legislature? I don’t want the legislature to act as a school board, or to set standards, but when the State executive branch or State school board act outside of their enumerated powers or try to delegate those powers to others who have no obligation to Utah voters, I think they should be held accountable. Isn’t that what the checks and balances of our Constitutional Republic are all about?
For me this is not only about my children’s education it’s about preserving the kind of constitutional government I hope they will inherit when they have children of their own.
According to our laws the role of the state is supposed to be secondary to that of parents, but as I’ve sought answers to my concerns in various meetings I’ve been dismissed, told I’m not an expert, been given Utah history lessons, and told that it’s a complicated issue in terms of the law. For me it is really simple: “These are my kids, it’s my garden! If you want to even get near my flowers you’d better come to the front door and ask!”
What a powerful, important speech. Thank you, Alyson Williams.
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 week, the vivacious president of the Alabama Federation of Republican Women spoke at the Wetumpka Tea Party meeting.
Here’s a video of the event.
“Would you like Obama in your child’s classroom? How about Bill Ayers?”
In a related forum, Alabamians United for Excellence in Education (AUEE) put out the following press release:
Sharon Sewell Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 334/324-0035
Donna Burrage Email: email@example.com Phone: 205/553-2888
CITIZENS TASK FORCE RESPONDS TO GOP HOUSE LEGISLATIVE AGENDA
Asks Alabama Legislature to Include Legislation that Returns K-12 Education to Parents
BIRMINGHAM, AL: A new citizens group, formed to return K-12 education to parents, responded quickly to the Alabama House Speaker’s press release about the legislative priorities of the Alabama Republican House members and specifically about the absence of a bill to protect Alabama values and states rights in education. The group, Alabamians United for Excellence in Education (AUEE), met on January 18th to discuss mutual concerns of how to protect Alabama children from becoming part of a national database, mandated by Common Core, and their curriculum being controlled by the federal government. The group feels that a bill to preserve state education sovereignty and to protect our children from becoming part of a national database and tracked without parental permission should be included as a top priority by the House.
Members of the citizens task force include parents, teachers, representatives from conservative organizations, and other concerned individuals who find that state’s rights and Alabama values are in jeopardy, and that Alabama has ceded its constitutional rights to decide what values and subjects our children study in schools.
Spokesperson and retired teacher Sharon Sewell, who served as a member of Alabama’s textbook committee, stated: “We support the House’s focus on protecting the constitutional rights of Alabama citizens, but we notice the absence of what we consider the top priority — preserving the constitutional rights of parents and the state to decide what values and subjects our children study in school. We are concerned about the transformational overhaul of K-12 now being implemented in our schools; and textbooks, which do not reflect Alabama values, are being aligned to Common Core. Our bill is the only bill under discussion that can return education decisions to Alabamians.”
Kathy Peterson, another member of this citizens task force, stated, “While I applaud the idea of the Speaker of the House appointing a ‘Commission on State Rights and Alabama Values’ to solicit input from the public, the meetings were not publicly advertised, so attendance was scarce.” Peterson stated she attended one meeting and commission members reported that the repeal of Common Core to return parental authority and local control was brought up at every meeting. “Therefore,” she stated, “I can’t understand why a bill to defund and repeal Common Core is not backed by the Speaker.”
Elois Zeanah, president of the Alabama Federation of Republican Women, stated: “I’m surprised that the Speaker did not choose to include repealing Common Core as a priority, especially since the school flexibility bill the Speaker cited does nothing to protect Alabama values, parental rights or state sovereignty in education. It’s urgent that the legislature withdraw from Common Core this year since Common Core will be fully implemented in 2014. We hope the House Caucus will add this goal to their priority list to protect Alabama citizens from the federal government.”
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Go, Fight, Win, Alabama!
I’m posting the bills from South Carolina, Indiana, and Missouri which have attempted to reclaim state educational decision-making for those states. I’m also posting the resolution unanimously passed by the Alabama Republican Women’s Federation, cosponsored by the Republican Women’s Federations from Delaware, Tennessee, Nebraska, etc.
So far, we have nothing like this in Utah, although at every political meeting I go to or hear about, the majority of citizens are extremely interested in getting our state free of Common Core.
Utah representatives, do you hear your constitutents?
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SOUTH CAROLINA S.604
South Carolina General Assembly
119th Session, 2011-2012
Download This Bill in Microsoft Word format
Sponsors: Senators Fair, Grooms, Bryant, Campsen, Bright and S. Martin
Introduced in the Senate on February 23, 2011
Summary: Common Core State Standards
2/23/2011 Senate Introduced and read first time (Senate Journal-page 19)
2/23/2011 Senate Referred to Committee on Education
A BILL TO AMEND ARTICLE 5, CHAPTER 1, TITLE 59 OF THE 1976 CODE, RELATING TO GENERAL PROVISIONS CONCERNING EDUCATION, BY ADDING SECTION 59-1-490 TO PROVIDE THAT THE COMMON CORE STANDARDS MAY NOT BE IMPOSED ON SOUTH CAROLINA.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Article 5, Chapter 1, Title 59 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
“Section 59-1-490. The State Board may not adopt and the State Department may not implement the Common Core State Standards developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Any actions taken to adopt or implement the Common Core State Standards as of the effective date of this section are void ab initio.”
SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
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INDIANA SENATE BILL No. 193
DIGEST OF INTRODUCED BILL
Citations Affected: IC 20-19-2-14.5.
Synopsis: Common core state educational standards. Provides that the state board of education may not adopt as standards for the state any common core educational standards developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Voids any action taken to adopt common core educational standards.
Effective: July 1, 2013.
January 7, 2013, read first time and referred to Committee on Education and Career Development.
First Regular Session 118th General Assembly (2013)
SENATE BILL No. 193
A BILL FOR AN ACT to amend the Indiana Code concerning education.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana:
SOURCE: IC 20-19-2-14.5; (13)IN0193.1.1. –> SECTION 1. IC 20-19-2-14.5 IS ADDED TO THE INDIANA CODE AS A NEW SECTION TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2013]: Sec. 14.5. (a) As used in this section, “common core standards” refers to educational standards developed for kindergarten through grade 12 by the Common Core State Standards Initiative. (b) Notwithstanding section 14 of this chapter, the state board may not adopt as standards for the state or direct the department to implement any common core standards developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative. (c) After June 30, 2013, any action taken by the state board before July 1, 2013, to adopt common core standards as standards for the state is void.
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MISSOURI SENATE BILL 210
FIRST REGULAR SESSION
SENATE BILL NO. 210
97TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY
INTRODUCED BY SENATORS LAMPING AND NIEVES.
Read 1st time January 24, 2013, and ordered printed.
TERRY L. SPIELER, Secretary.
To amend chapter 161, RSMo, by adding thereto one new section relating to the
Common Core Standards Initiative.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Missouri, as follows:
Section A. Chapter 161, RSMo, is amended by adding thereto one new
2 section, to be known as section 161.855, to read as follows: 161.855.
Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary,
2 the state board of education and the department of elementary and
3 secondary education shall not implement the Common Core State
4 Standards developed by the Common Core Standards Initiative. Any
5 actions taken to adopt or implement the Common Core State Standards
6 as of the effective date of this section are void. Common Core State
7 Standards or any other statewide education standards shall not be
8 adopted or implemented without the approval of the general assembly.
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NATIONAL FEDERATION OF REPUBLICAN WOMEN RESOLUTION
Defeat National Standards for State Schools
Passed Unanimously at the NFRW36th Biennial Convention Kansas City, MO – October 1, 2011
WHEREAS, The national standards-based “Common Core State Standards” initiative is the centerpiece of the Obama’s Administration’s agenda to centralize education decisions at the federal level;
WHEREAS, The Obama Administration is using the same model to take over education as it used for healthcare by using national standards and boards of bureaucrats, whom the public didn’t elect and can’t fire or otherwise hold accountable;
WHEREAS, National standards remove authority from States over what is taught in the classroom and how it is tested;
WHEREAS, National standards undercut the principle of federalism on which our nation was founded;
WHEREAS, There is no constitutional or statutory authority for national standards, national curricula, or national assessments and in fact the federal government is expressly prohibited from endorsing or dictating state/local decisions about curricula; and
WHEREAS, The Obama Administration is attempting to evade constitutional and statutory prohibitions to move toward a nationalized public-school system by (1) funding to date more than $345 million for the development of national curriculum and test questions, (2) tying national standards to the Race to the Top charter schools initiative in the amount of $4.35 billion, (3) using the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) to pressure State Boards of Education to adopt national standards with the threat of losing Title 1 Funds if they do not, and (4) requesting Congress to include national standards as a requirement in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary School Act (No Child Left Behind);
BE IT RESOLVED, That the National Federation of Republican Women vote to encourage all State Federation Presidents to share information about national standards with their local clubs; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That State Federation Presidents ask their members to (1) contact their State Boards of Education members and request that they retain control over academic standards, curriculum, instruction and testing, (2) contact their Congress Members and request that they (i) protect the constitutional and statutory prohibitions against the federal government endorsing or dictating national standards, (ii) to refuse to tie national standards to any reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, (iii) defund “Race to the Top” money, and (iv) prohibit any more federal funds for the Common Core State Standards Initiative, including funds to assessment and curriculum writing consortia, and (3) spread the word about the threat of a federal government takeover of education.
Submitted by: Alabama Federation of Republican Women
Elois Zeanah, President
Nebraska Federation of Republican Women, Delaware Federation of Republican Women, Wisconsin Federation of Republican Women, Georgia Federation of Republican Women, Tennessee Federation of Republican Women
California Republicans and Democrats are coming together to fight a common problem: the Common Core takeover of education.
At the Californians United Against Common Core website (CUACC) you can purchase Orlean Koehle’s book, “Common Core: A Trojan Horse for Education Reform” and see the growing list of Californian individuals and organizations opposing the Obama-backed initiative:
Eagle Forum of California – Orlean Koehle, President
Eagle Forum of Long Beach – Jeanne Goodin, President
Eagle Forum of Sonoma County – Carol Pascoe, Vice President
Pacific Justice Institute – Brad Dacus, President
Pacific Research Institute – Lance T. Izumi
David Geer – City Council Member Modesto
Redding Tea Party – Erin Ryan
Angela Weinzinger – President of Travis Unified School Board
Rosa Koire – Director of postsustainabilityinstitute.org – democratsagainstUNAgenda21.com
Nina Pellegrini – Californians For Property Rights
Heather Gass – President CitizensTownHall.org and East Bay Tea Party
The Before It’s News website states that Missouri Legislator Kurt Bahr is to introduce a withdrawal bill that will free Missouri from Common Core as Senator Scott Schneider has done in Indiana. Heroes, heroes!
Before It’s News states:
“…The point is that… Missouri [is] no longer in charge of … state education standards. They must now negotiate them with a number of other states. If you as a parent or a school district want something different in your schools you cannot have it.
This is the core issue (if you’ll pardon the pun) that we have with Common Core State Standards. There is zero local control. Teachers may not deviate from or alter the standards in any way. They are trademarked. There is no path for correction, even for obvious mistakes like a simple math error that was identified early on in the draft phases, but was still not corrected three drafts later.
There is no path identified for this because the roll out of these standards has been so fast there has been no time to consider everything that is needed for them to operate. That means that an error on the assessment will be repeated in 45 states and count against teachers in those states whose performance reviews now take into account how their students score on these assessments.
Contrast that to the way Missouri DESE has handled our GLE’s in the past. Yearly, teachers and districts were able to submit complaints or suggestions to DESE for ways to add clarity to our standards or identify errors that needed to be fixed. DESE had been reasonably responsive to this input and made most changes in a timely manner. That process will be completely gone by 2014 when Common Core is supposed to be fully implemented.
The one thing each district, and ultimately tax payer, will be accountable for is the cost of implementing the Common Core standards and assessments. No one really know what this cost is going to be for a number of reasons. Missouri’s DESE was not required to estimate this cost to each district, nor inform them that such costs were coming. If you ask your local shcool board or superintendent what their cost will be to implement Common Core, most of them will not know. More shocking will be the number of them who do not even know what Common Core is or that it is coming.
… There is currently only one approved vendor for textbooks, Pearson. One teacher has looked into buying a replacement ELA book for the new CCSS in her fourth grade class and found the new book to be two and half times as expensive as the one she had been using for the last several years. Districts will have little control over these costs, because they have virtually no control over the standards or assessments.
The assessments are an even larger portion of these costs as they are supposed to be done on line, which not only requires input devices like comptuers or tablets, but also sufficient broadband to accommodate all the students taking them at once. Once you add technology, you must also add a host of support staff to maintain and troubleshoot that technology, adding further cost to a district. In Missouri, we have no room in our state budget for these extra costs. That means local districts will have to find the money because the foundation formula is not going to give it to them.
Representative Kurt Bahr will be introducing legislation again this year to get Missouri out of Common Core.
If Indiana’s experience this week was any indication, he ought to find tremendous support for his bill here in Missouri, not only from public school families, but also from private school and homeschool families. Common Core is reaching in to all these education venues.
As the realities of Common Core, which is being rolled out in various districts right now, come to light, our representatives in Jefferson City should start hearing a lot more from their constituents who want us out of this federally pushed national standards program.”
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What I really want to know is, which Utah legislator will be leading the charge that Senators Schneider and Bahr have led in Indiana and in Missouri?
Read this letter to the editor by parent Heather Crossin.
It’s not surprising to see Stand for Children and The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation are rushing to defend the Common Core, as evidenced by their recent letters to the editor.
This is because they share something rather telling in common: The millions of dollars both have received from one of the primary drivers of the Common Core machine, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has invested more than $100 million into it.
Therefore, Common Core opponents have never had any doubt that the Fordham Institute, and its leaders, are strong advocates of it. In fact, when referencing the Fordham study “The State of State Standards-and the Common Core- in 2010,” which compares the quality of each state’s math and English standards against the Common Core’s, it is always noted that the report was funded, in part, with money from the Gates Foundation. What’s more, we make it clear that the careful timing of its release, within the short eight-week period most states had to adopt the standards, was likely intended to convince most states to adopt the Common Core, which is just the point. Even Fordham couldn’t help but give both Indiana’s math and ELA standards higher marks than the Common Core.
Reports are funny things — sometimes people actually read them, which is what anyone wanting to understand this report should do. The Fordham report categorized Indiana’s English standards as “clearly superior,” not “somewhat strong” as Fordham would now have you believe. Its reasons for doing so appear under the heading of “The Bottom Line,” in its critique of Indiana’s English standards, which states:
“Indiana’s standards are clearer, more thorough, and easier to read than the Common Core standards. Essential content is grouped more logically, so that standards addressing inextricably linked characteristics, such as themes in literary texts, can be found together rather than spread across the strands. Indiana also frequently uses standard-specific examples to clarify expectations. Furthermore, Indiana’s standards treat both literary and non-literary texts in systematic detail throughout the document, addressing the specific genres, sub-genres, and characteristics of both text types. Both Indiana and Common Core include reading lists with exemplar texts, but Indiana’s is much more comprehensive.”
Indiana should stay tuned, as Senate Bill 193, which is quickly gaining bipartisan support, has its first hearing on Wednesday. Those interested, will want to attend a rally at noon Wednesday inside the Statehouse, where national experts will be on hand.
In what is shoring up to be a David vs. Goliath, we shall see if the legislators will listen to the will of the people, who are armed with the truth, the facts and research, but lack paid lobbyists. Or will they side with those who have big money and corporate interests?
How Did David Coleman Persuade a Nation
To Drop All Things Beautiful From Schools?
I imagine if David Coleman were to value a diamond, he would base its worth solely on the fact that it’s the hardest substance in nature. The diamond’s beauty, its way of bringing people joy, or its history as the symbol of eternal romance, would not matter to Coleman. Just so long as the darn rock can drill through some stuff. That’s how he thinks about reading and writing.
This is why he has gotten rid of all things beautiful in education:
- No more cursive.
- No more traditional math.
- Very little classic literature, to make room for mostly informational text.
- Informational texts to include insulation manuals and Executive Orders, in the English classroom.
That’s Common Core. The perfect lockstep methodology for delivering whatever the person or people at the top consider to be appropriate for the rest of the nation. A potential propaganda machine with no amendability by local voices. It’s under copyright by the “sole developers,” the National Governors’ Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).
And the Common Core English standards were produced under the direction of David Coleman, who moved from being the national standards leader to being president of the College Board in one fell swoop.
Is this the man you want leading a nation’s educational standards?
Not me. In fact, I don’t want any one man having that much power over so many.
Remember back in B.C.C.? Before Common Core? We used to determine standards locally, not top-down from Washington. We were free to soar as high as Massachusetts, or to fail as badly as the worst of the worst. It was up to us.
It seemed almost that we remembered the spirit of the Constitution, the spirit of independence and local power, once upon that pre-common core time. The promoters of Common Core continue to claim it’s a grass-roots, state-led initiative. But who can honestly see it that way, when nobody even knew about Common Core until the elite groups that produced it, had already sold it to governors and state school boards without a public vote or any kind of vetting by the average teacher, parent or principal? It was an under-the-radar sneaky move that nationalized American education just like any other socialist nation’s educational system. And we are stuck with it, until enough people tell their school boards and governors NO.
As for David Coleman, he’s not a teacher and never has been. Somehow he still managed to acquire the job of central architect of the now mostly-national Common Core English Standards –and also, to repeat, to drill the fact into our collective conscious– he became president of the College Board and he is now aligning the Common Core standards with college entrance exams. Yes, the SAT.
My purpose for writing today is not to figure out how he wormed his way to such positions of power without any teaching experience. My purpose is to ponder the unlovely place he’s taking us, to shake us up and help us to see that he’s wrecking the beauty and effectiveness of real education.
The absolutely least lovely comment I’ve ever heard from any educator, ever, came from David Coleman:
“As you grow up in this world you realize that people really don’t give a shit about what you feel or what you think… it is rare in a working environment that someone says, ‘Johnson I need a market analysis by Friday but before that I need a compelling account of your childhood.’ That is rare”
It’s on this very short video clip:
What kind of legitimate educator would speak so narrowly about the purposes and benefits of writing narratively? Such a dreary-minded, utilitarian philosopher should not be honored with the leading of our nation’s K-12 –and now, also, our nation’s university– environment.
Bob Schaffer was the man who blew the whistle on Marc Tucker and Hillary Clinton’s plot to take over American education. Schaffer got their letter recorded in the official Congressional Record years ago. http://www.eagleforum.org/educate/marc_tucker/
Robert Scott was the very wise Education Commissionar who, together with Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, rejected Common Core for Texas –and enraged Sec. of Education Arne Duncan.
Bill Evers, who is a Hoover Institute, Stanford University research fellow, also served on Mitt Romney’s Education Committee. He spoke on the danger of Common Core education this summer, to a standing room only group in Salt Lake City.
Sandra Stotsky served on the official Common Core Validation Committee (and refused to sign off on the standards because, among other things, they cut out classic literature and call it improving education.)
Jim Stergios and Ted Rebarber spoke this summer, here in Salt Lake City, to our senate Education Committee, testifying of the alarming error it was to adopt Common Core on educational and on Constitutional grounds.
This is going to be a great meeting. If you get to go, please leave a comment here, letting others know what you learned.
So the left-wing mainstream media are not about to tell the American people how Common Core harms local autonomy. They support the left-wing.
And Obama and his right-hand man, Secretary Arne Duncan, love Common Core because Common Core creates the need to regulate education, testing and data collection nationally.
The Department of Education and Obama have been pushing Common Core from the start, but only when using a code word for it, (to keep up the facade that Common Core was a state-led idea, not a nationalized education plot) by calling it “college and career readiness” as defined on their ed.gov definitions page. http://www.ed.gov/race-top/district-competition/definitions
But what about Fox news? Won’t they report the whole truth?
Well, no. Fox won’t be reporting anything but positive propaganda about Common Core. Because Common Core is making Rupert Murdoch’s News Group and his Wireless Generation a lot of money.
Wireless Generation, a Rupert Murdoch group, is making lots of money from the political initiative called Common Core. They have a whole segment called “CCSS Implementation Services” on their website. Just like Pearson.
So how is the average parent of an American student ever going to find out what has happened to American Education if both the left wing AND right wing media outlets are financially motivated to present Common Core as a good thing?
It’s only going to be independent thinkers, educators, patriots, parents, talk show hosts and independent newspapers.
You have to do the research yourself. You literally have to search and find out who is selling what before you believe anything you hear about Common Core.
I believe in the groups who do not accept government funding, like Pioneer Institute, Heritage Foundation, Restore Oklahoma Public Education, Truth in American Education, Eagle Forum, American Principles Project, New American Magazine, John Birch Society, Concerned Women for America, Dump Duncan, and others. These are independent patriotic groups and therefore, I feel these can be trusted.
I was chatting with an acquaintance as we both watched our kids’ karate lesson today.
She said, “I don’t know what’s different this year. My kids’ teachers say that there are so many rules: ‘You can’t teach this. You have to teach this. It’s like the Nazis have moved in.’ “
She didn’t know what Common Core was.
This is the problem. Most folks still don’t know what it is. There was never a vote. There was never a t.v. infomercial. There was never a cost analysis given to taxpayers nor an academic analysis given to teachers when Common Core got made the tyrant king of American education.
I know because I am a teacher and my credential’s always been up to date, since I began to teach in the 90′s. And I didn’t get the memo.
Yet Common Core’s taken over. It’s in the process of forever changing the systems of education in over FORTY SIX STATES in the U.S.A.
And even in the states who were smart enough to reject the federal offer to join Common Core (via the Race to the Top grant application a few years back)– even those states are now being bought by Arne and Barack.
Sad to report: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan happily bypassed the wise state superintendents in states like Texas and Virginia who had rejected Common Core, and offered a brand new DISTRICT version (not state version) of the Race to the
Middle Top money.
The catch? The districts have to skip to the ever-so-common tune Arne and Barack are fiddling.
Oh, they have other words for it: Career-and-College Readiness is a favorite. But when you go to the ed.gov website and read the way they’ve nailed education reform definitions to the wall, you’ll see. Now, Career and College Readiness means you must teach Common Core, no more and no less; you must march lockstep with the nationalized education drumbeat Arne and Barack are drumming. You can’t (by their definition) be preparing anyone for college and career unless your standards are the same as “a significant number of states.”
That reminds me of Henry Ford’s Model T car ad.
“ANY CUSTOMER CAN HAVE A CAR PAINTED ANY COLOR THAT HE WANTS SO LONG AS IT IS BLACK.”
The famous line of the founder Henry Ford referred to the T model since, due to express production, no other color could dry as fast as black.
So, Obama/Duncan’s version is:
“ANY STATE CAN HAVE ANY ED. STANDARDS, SO LONG AS THEY ARE THE SAME AS COMMON CORE.”
(And as long as we hold the lock and key –no amendability– on these national standards. The lock? NGA/CCSSO copyright. The key? A U.S. Dept. of Education mandate that states can’t add more than 15% to what’s in Common Core.)
Does this sameness mandate not upset anyone? Especially since Common Core’s full of terrible rules like REMOVING AS MUCH CLASSIC LITERATURE as possible, SLOWING DOWN Jr. high and high school MATH, and totally ELIMINATING CURSIVE at any age.
Does the dumbing down of the older students’ standards not upset you? Does the force-feeding of the youngers ones not upset you?
I seriously attempted to persuade my friends this week to join me in creating a gigantic banner that would read: REPEAL COMMON CORE.
We’d bear the banner at this week’s “Meet the Candidates” events. Then we’d fly it over the State Capitol building. But this was a fantasy.
–We’ve talked ourselves blue in the face with Rep. Kraig Powell, Sen. Aaron Osmond, Governor Herbert, Lt. Governor Greg Bell, and others. They all think Common Core is dandy.
So do tons of teachers. –But not all. I know a few teachers who wish I’d flown over their schools in a small plane with a big banner.
But they won’t say this out loud. (Spiral of Silence.) They think they’ll lose their jobs. They’re supposed to buy the line that Common Core doesn’t hurt local control in any way, and that it improves education.
They are not supposed to ask why the data collection of students has changed so dramatically, why nonacademic data is now part of the personally identifiable information states are collecting via schools. They are not supposed to ask why there are no references to any real research showing that Common Core is viable or beneficial or better than the old system. They are not supposed to notice that it’s a socialist-communist style of national education now, where states no longer have sovereignty over their educational decision making. They are not supposed to ask why the copyright page of the Common Core standards says that CCSSO/NGA wrote the standards solely, and that “no claims to the contrary shall be made,” even while they were asked to help write portions of the standards. Empty gesture. Teachers had no voice.
Donna Garner has put together a list of resources for those who are just beginning the fight against the Common Core dissolution of sovereignty over American education.
Thank you, Donna.
9.25.12 — “Mitt Romney Takes Stand Against Common Core at Education Nation Summit” – http://caffeinatedthoughts.com/2012/09/mitt-romney-common-core-educ…
9.25.12 — “Romney: No Federal Support for Common Core” by Alyson Klein, EducationWeek – http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2012/09/mitt_romney_do…
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF ANTI-CCSI RESOURCES
(Most Recent First)
10.11.12 – “Is Common Core About To Melt Down” – by Neal McCluskey, Cato Institute –
10.9.12 –“Like Obamacare, Obama Core Is Another Power Grab” — by Phyllis Schlafly, President of Eagle Forum – http://nocompromisepac.ning.com/profiles/blogs/like-obamacare-obama…
9.30.12 – “Uncommon Allies Question a Common Core” – Editorial Board, JournalGazette.net – http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20120930/EDIT10/309309979/114…
9.28.12 – “States Beginning To Rebel Against Common Core Standards” – http://nocompromisepac.ning.com/profiles/blogs/states-beginning-to-…
9.28.12 – “South Carolina Could Regret Student Testing Scheme” – by Sen. Mike Fair – The State – South Crolina’s Homepage – http://www.thestate.com/2012/09/28/v-print/2459190/fair-sc-could-re…
9.27.12 – “The Pedagogical Agenda of Common Core Math Standards” by Barry Garelick — EducationNews.org –
9.23.12 – “Do Not Let the DOE Nationalize the Schools in Your State” – by Henry W. Burke, Donna Garner –
9.14.12 – “Fighting the Common Core Standards’ Social Justice Math” – by Oak Norton –
9.14.12 – “Nationalized Public Schools Almost Here in America” — by Donna Garner –
9.10.12 — “Obama’s Inferior English Common Core Standards” – by Donna Garner –
9.7.12 – “Should the White House Control What Your Kids Learn?” by Stanley Kurtz –
9.5.12 — “How To Indoctrinate Students’ Minds with Math” by Donna Garner –
8.27.12 – “Parents Need To Know About Student Data Privacy” by J. R. Wilson — EducationNews.org –
8.15.12 – “An Ominous Political Trend for Common Core-ites” – by Frederick M. Hess – Education Week –
8.12.12 – “Utah Teachers Speak out Against the Obama Administration’s Common Core Standards” – Utahns Against Common Core – http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/teacher-comments-on-common-c…
8.5.12 – “Caring Parents, Where Are You? – Common Core Standards and Big Bang Theory” – by Donna Garner –
5.16.12 – “Incoming College Board Head Wants SAT To Reflect Common Core” – by Catherine Gewertz, Education Week – http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/05/16/32collegeboard.h31.htm…
4.23.12 – “Common Core Math Standards Fail To Add Up” by Evan Walter, The Heritage Foundation –
4.17.12 – “Six-Minute Interview: Federal Takeover by the Obama Administration of Education Standards and Assessments” – Lindsey Burke, The Heritage Foundation
3.26.12 — “Two Education Philosophies with Two Different Goals” — by Donna Garner –
3.6.12 – “Handwaving Away Opposition to the National Standards” by Jim Stergios , Pioneer Institute –
2.20.12 – “Obama Imposing National School Curriculum” – by Bob Unruh – World Net Daily –
2.12 – “National Cost of Aligning States and Localities to the Common Core Standards” – The Pioneer Institute and American Principles Project White Paper –
12.28.11 – “Feds To Be Able to Track Your School Children’s Personal Information” by Donna Garner –
12.21.11 – “A National Education Standards Exit Strategy for States” – by Lindsey Burke –
10.27.11 – “Students Losing Their Right To Exress Their Opinions” – by Donna Garner –
7.27.11 – “National Standards and Tests: An Unprecedented Federal Overreach”—The Heritage Foundation – Lindsey Burke, Robert Scott, et al –
5.31.11 — “Liberals Interpret Themselves Liberally: Common Core Standards, Race to the Top” by Doug Lasken –
5.28.11 — “A ‘Common’ Education Disaster” by Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Annie Hsiao — Politico.com -- http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0511/55857.html#ixzz1NsJZQKOh
5.26.11 — “Race to the Cradle” by Neal McCluskey, The Cato Institute – http://libertylinked.com/posts/7408/race-to-the-cradle—-by-neal/V…
5.25.11 — “South Carolina Will Not Participate in Race to the Top” Spartanburg Tea Party –
5.22.11 — “The Three-Legged Stool: Obama, Duncan, Gates” by Donna Garner –
5.9.11 — “Association of American Educators Signs on in Opposition to National Curriculum” –
5.9.11 – “Why One Curriculum Is Bad for America” – by Jonathan Kantrowitz – 100+ signatories – http://blog.ctnews.com/kantrowitz/2011/05/09/why-one-national-curri…
4.12.11 — “The Other Shoe Drops: National Testmakers Worried” — by Donna Garner –
4.9.11 — “Congressmen: A Great Place To Cut Funding — National Assessments” — by Donna Garner – http://www.educationnews.org/political/153529.html
4.6.11 — “Standards Overreach, or According to Plan?” — by Neal McCluskey –
3.24.11 — “Obama’s Carrot and Stick Control of Our Nation’s Public Schools” – by Donna Garner – http://www.educationnews.org/commentaries/152238.html
3.20.11 — “Our Hope Rests with Congressman Kline” – by Donna Garner –
2.24.11 –“The Race to the Top Scheme” – by Henry W. Burke and Donna Garner –
2.24.11 – “Let’s Get Off the National Standards Train” by Henry W. Burke and Donna Garner –
2.14.11 — “Let’s Get off the National Standards Train” – by Henry W. Burke and Donna Garner – http://alinahan.wordpress.com/2011/05/11/lets-get-off-the-national-…
11.7.10 — “Open Letter to Parents, Legislators, School Personnel: Which Policy Are You Going To Promote?” – http://www.educationnews.org/blogs/102489.html
10.27.10 — “Bullying Agenda” – by Donna Garner –
10.23.10 — “What Is the Centers for Disease Control?” – by Donna Garner – http://www.educationnews.org/breaking_news/health/101841.html
9.16.10 — “Am I a Wacko Now?” – by Donna Garner – http://www.educationnews.org/commentaries/100137.html
7.29.10 – “Stotsky on the Common Core Vote in Massachusetts” – by Dr. Sandra Stotsky –
7.27.10 — “Where Have All the Caring Parents Gone?” – by Donna Garner -
7.10 – “Common Core Standards Still Don’t Make the Grade” — a Pioneer Institute White Paper — http://www.pioneerinstitute.org/pdf/common_core_standards.pdf
4.19.10 — “Marc Tucker’s Bologna” – by Donna Garner –http://www.educationnews.org/commentaries/89899.html
3.4.10 — “Obama’s Doublespeak” – by Donna Garner –
3.10 — “Fair to Middling: A National Standards Progress Report” – by R. James Milgram and Sandra Stotsky – The Pioneer Institute –
2.10 – “Why Race to the Middle” by Sandra Stotsky and Ze’ev Wurman – The Pioneer Institute – http://www.pioneerinstitute.org/pdf/100223_why_race_to_the_middle.pdf
1.29.10 — “Cradle-to-Career Plan by Obama and Duncan” – by Donna Garner –
1.13.10 — “Texas Tells Feds ‘Enough Is Enough’” – by Donna Garner –
12.11.09 — “Children and the Future of Our Country” – by Donna Garner – http://www.educationnews.org/blogs/7704.html
Keeping Kids Safe is Bill Wardell’s radio show. He invited Alisa Ellis, Renee Braddy and I on his show today to discuss data privacy issues, Common Core national education, and what most parents do not know about Common Core.
Great editorial from Heartland in Chicago, reposted:
Common Core Rollout Draws Parental Opposition Nationwide
By Robert Holland
As schools open this fall, battle lines are forming over the rollout of Common Core (CC) national standards, the specifics of which have only recently started coming to public attention.
On paper, the fight would appear to be a mismatch.
You have on the pro-CC side:
- The Obama-led U.S. Department of Education, the agency with the fastest-growing discretionary spending in the federal government (now approaching $70 billion) and a matching itch to dictate.
- Achieve, the corporate-led outfit that started marshaling big-business clout behind national standards in 1996, during the Clinton years.
- Inside-the-Beltway organizations such as the Best Practices Center of the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, which sponsored the handpicked Common Core writers.
- Not least, Microsoft magnate Bill Gates, whose foundation has pumped tens of millions of dollars over the past decade into educationist organizations, including the teachers unions, that back the Common Core agenda. Gates has gone even further by subsidizing think tanks on both sides of the education-reform divide in clear hopes of winning favor for the Common Core, which is to be linked with national tests administered online.
And on the anti-CC side of the battle, you have:
There are some dads, too, but moms are leading the anti-Common Core charge in a growing number of states. And by no means are they all conservatives.
Never underestimate the power of moms. Common Core opponents recently celebrated a possible harbinger of victories to come when the Utah Board of Education voted 12-3 to back out of the state’s membership in a federally funded consortium that is drafting a national test that will be linked with the Common Core.
In a similar reversal, Indiana schools Superintendent Tony Bennett, who had previously crowed about the state’s being in step with Washington on Common Core, reversed course and unleashed strong criticism of the Obama administration at a recent Tea Party gathering. “This administration,” said Bennett, “has an insatiable appetite for federal overreach. The federal government’s involvement in these standards is wrong.”
Interviews with activist moms in Utah, Indiana, and Georgia–just three of several hotbeds of opposition–indicated they all abhor the federal power grab, and they have other concerns in common. These include: the way parents have been kept in the dark about radical changes in their kids’ instruction, the heavy involvement of special-interest groups that are unaccountable to the public, and the mediocre quality of the national English and math standards.
Some subject-matter specialists have pegged the reading level of CC high-school English at the 7th grade, with a drastic de-emphasis of classic literature in favor of workforce-oriented material. And they say the definition of “college-readiness” in CC math corresponds with a nonselective community college, not a university.
In Indiana, Heather Crossin and Erin Tuttle are among the Hoosier parents who got an early warning last fall when their children brought home math worksheets and books they recognized as being of the “fuzzy” genre. Parental complaints resulted in a salesman for the text (Pearson’s enVision Math) coming to inform the parents “how lucky they were” to be getting one of the nation’s first Common Core-aligned textbooks.
Fired up, the two moms did their research and eventually began speaking to dozens of grassroots groups.
“We have found that most Hoosiers, including most legislators, have never heard of the Common Core until just recently,” Crossin said. “The majority of the teachers we have spoken to are just now being asked to transition to the Common Core, and they say they don’t like it. They cite the lack of clarity and quality.”
In Utah, Alisa Ellis is actively involved in the public schools six of her seven children attend. She says she “did not hear about this new direction until a year after we had adopted the standards.” As more parents learn for the first time what’s happening, “Our numbers keep growing. We have over 2,000 signatures on a petition, plus a dozen or so organizations that have signed.”
A parent-activist in Georgia, Sherena Arrington, is not optimistic the battle will be won soon, given that “taxpayers have yet to understand that their rights to representation in the educational policies of this state are being stolen from them.”
In many respects, the current moms-versus-monolith battle resembles that of the 1990s, when forces aligned with the federal Goals 2000 movement sought to force a national School-to-Work curriculum on all schools. Moms slowed down the juggernaut then. Don’t bet against them stopping it this time.
Robert Holland (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a senior fellow for education policy at The Heartland Institute, and author of Not With My Child, You Don’t (1995), a book about the parents’ revolt against nationalized K-12 education.
There is still plenty o’confusion in the state of Utah. Lawmakers are realizing that due to the Utah Constitution’s giving authority to the Board to determine educational issues, they are almost powerless (except to defund Common Core). The board seems skittish and embarrassed now that so many of us know the new standards are inferior and that our freedoms have been traded for what started out as a way to increase Utah’s chance at a federal education grant during an economic low. And some on the USOE and state school board ship seem to be steering toward the possibility of purchasing SBAC tests despite the fact that Utah just voted to cut membership ties with SBAC.
The board now admits it’s a federal program. Lawmakers are not fully aware yet of all aspects of Common Core, while the Board is digging in their heels about giving any references for their claims of increased rigor or local control.
It’s a great drama, but a sad one.
Illustration: After the meeting, Alisa Ellis and I asked School Board Chair Debra Roberts if we might get a chance to sit down and talk with her about all of this. She said, “We’ve already wasted $10,000 in Board time as this group has been sitting down with us so much.”
Really? We asked who they have actually been talking/sitting with. (I’ve never had the opportunity, but would like it. I have had the majority of my many emails ignored and was told “no” to a sit-down conference with USOE lawyer Carol Lear.)
Chair Roberts said, “Well, we’ve sat with Christel many times.” Hmm. I said, “I am Christel. And that is not true.”
She insisted it was. So, I asked who said that they had sat and talked with me. She didn’t say. I said that somebody has misinformed you or somebody needs to take a lie detector test.
She hurried away, refusing to even discuss sitting down with us. So did Superintendent Shumway. Strange. The board now seems afraid of the truth that might come out during a legitimate discussion with an educated citizen, and they simply will not give references for their claims nor will they sit down and talk like gentlemen. Or gentlewomen.
Both the Tribune and the Deseret News covered the historic meeting of the House and Senate Education Committee on Common Core at the State Capitol yesterday. But they failed to report on some of the more fascinating moments.
Like what? Well, they skipped the Data Alliance’s data-mashing discussion and skipped the probing questions legislators directed toward both the pro-Common Core, such as Utah Superintendent Larry Shumway (and his staff) and to the visiting experts who testified at the meeting, the heroes of Utah’s day:
Jim Stergios of the Boston-based Pioneer Institute and Ted Rebarber of the D.C. -based AccountabilityWorks
The papers also totally blew the hilarious part, where Rep. Moss’ rhetorical questions got “Yes!”es –called out by several audience members including me, after Rep. Moss asked, “Have these people even read the standards? Are they English teachers? Do they have Master’s Degrees?”
So, here are links to the local newspapers’ coverage of the event:
And here’s my version. Photos first, details follow.
Senator Howard Stephenson: he said if he were “the king of Utah,” he would follow the recommendation of the visiting education experts.
Representative Francis Gibson: he asked Stergios and Rebarber to clarify whether it was true that Massachusetts had had the highest educational standards in the nation [and had tested as an independent country, ranking in the top six internationally] before they dropped their standards to adopt Common Core. You could have heard a pin drop. Stergios answered: it was the very reason a Massachusetts scholar traveled to Utah to testify against Common Core.
Rebarber and Stergios: Why not brand Utah as the great state with courage to be independent of federal manipulation via Common Core?
Jim Stergios and Ted Rebarber have agreed to share written copies of their ten minute testimonies to the Utah legislature, but until I get a copy, here are a just few bullet points:
- The quality of the Common Core standards is mediocre. Cutting classic literature to make room for informational texts has been said by Dr. Sandra Stotsky to be weakening college prep, taking away from the richer and broader vocabulary of classic literature.
- The math standards are less rigorous; for example, they place Alg. I in high school rather than in middle school. Math lacks a coherent grade by grade progression. The Common Core experimental approach to teaching geometry has never been successfully piloted in the world.
- Stergios quoted Jason Zimba, math architect for Common Core, who said that passing the Common Core test in math will only show a student is prepared to enter a nonselective community college.
- Stergios said that CCSSO administrator Gene Wilhoit’s recent statement to the Utah School Board that “there’s no Common Core police,” is misleading. Stergios said that gentlemen’s agreements quickly become mandates, as the pattern of the Dept. of Education’s recent history shows. It is best to rely on what is in writing.
- Stergios mentioned the Race to the Top for DISTRICTS, which is brand new. This shows zero respect for state authority over education. There is a steady pattern of encroachment by the federal government on education.
- Common Core did not have adequate deliberation; after a 2 day approval and no public input, Utah adopted Common Core. Even Fordham Institute, a pro-common core think tank, rated Utah math standards higher prior to adoption of Common Core.
- Stergios said Utah should brand itself as independent, thus attracting more talent and economic growth by reversing the adoption of Common Core.
- Legislators hold the purse. There’s a separation of powers between the legislature and the State School Board, which holds the authority over determining standards. There’s also the Constitutional principle of checks and balances. The ESEA waiver shows the federal arm is tying funds to adoption of Common Core –or to a college program that the Dept. of Ed must approve. If legislators don’t approve of either the experimental, inferior aspect, or the federally-promoted aspect of the standards, they can withhold all Common Core funding. The school board will have to create independent standards.
- NAPE tests provide national results; SAT and ACT do not. They are only used by certain states, not all.
- SBAC’s passing scores are non-negotiable; the purpose is to define what proficient means. Utah can’t affect SBAC.
- Federal Dept of Education has herded states into a set of standards. The benefits for collaboration are over when all have the same standards, whether you call them Utah Core or Common Core. It is the same.
- Texas’ Robert Scott has said he would love to do collaborative work with other states, creating an item bank rather than exact common tests. There are other approaches and ways that don’t require everyone to be the very same.
- The legislature has a duty to protect the right of Utah citizens not to give up education to federal control. Protecting state sovereignty is a legitimate concern.
Of the nearly packed to capacity room, who spoke up or asked questions? Several lawmakers:
Rep. Ken Sumison:
Who spoke up from the Utah Data Alliance and NCES? One man:
And who spoke at lennnnggggth from the Utah State School Board?
Superintendent Larry Shumway
Assistant Superintendent Judy Park
(who used the word “thrilled” multiple times in the same sentence as “sharing with the Department of Education”)
–and Utah State School Board Chair Debra Roberts:
Chair Roberts said: “I don’t care what the federal government has to say…I will listen to Utah educators.” (But she refuses to speak for even five minutes to educators like me, who oppose Common Core. )
Others in the audience (non-speaking roles) included:
The Honorable Judge Norman Jackson: (who has thoroughly reviewed the legal aspects of Common Core and based on his assessment, recommended Utah reject Common Core)
Rep. Kraig Powell
who has been studying both sides of Common Core with interest
And the pro-freedom in education activist, Alisa Ellis, with many more citizens against Common Core restraints:
So, with the exception Aaron Osmond –who says he’s to the point of nausea because of how much he’s had to face Common Core controversy –most legislators and citizens and teachers still don’t understand what Common Core is. I make this judgement from having heard very important, basic questions asked by legislators.
Sen. Stephenson, Rep. Gibson, Rep. Nielsen, Rep. Moss, Rep. Christianson, Rep. Sumison and others asked good, probing questions and made clear, excellent points, such as Rep. Sumison’s “Whoever pays, makes the rules.” (He wasn’t referring to the fact that the legislators hold the Utah public purse, but to the fact that the federal government has financially incentivized Common Core.)
–I’ll get to the rest of the legislators in a minute.
First, all in the audience had to trudge through almost two hours of the Pro-Common Core Show led by Superintendent Larry Shumway and Judy Park.
Park reported on the No Child Left Behind waiver. Dr. Park bubbled and gushed about what she called her “thrill of sharing Utah’s work with the Department of ED” in applying for No Child Left Behind. She used the word “sharing” and “thrilled” multiple times. Superintendent Shumway said that he was “offended” that people “in this room” have implied that he gets something out of sitting on boards outside Utah other than providing a helpful service. He said he receives no pay for sitting on the board of CCSSO (The Council of Chief State School Officers). He did not mention another board he sits on, WestEd, which is the test writer for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC).
John Brandt and his staffer said the Utah Data Alliance is no threat to citizen privacy, although, he chuckled, “there are no guarantees,” and he admitted that “about 10 people will have clearance to access personally identifiable” citizen information.
The Q + A:
So: What did the legislators want to know? What did the pro and con answerers say?
When Rep. Moss asked her rhetorical questions and got “Yes!”es shouted out in response, Superintendent Shumway answered her, too: “Standards set a base line. Standards don’t set a cap.” (I thought: Really? What does the 15% speed limit on learning set by the Dept of Education, and copyrighted by NGA/CCSSO, do– if it does not cap our rights to educate as we see fit? Please.)
When Rep. Stephenson pointed to the academic reviews of Common Core that are unfavorable to the school board’s claims that the standards will increase rigor and strengthen legitimate college prep, Superintendent Shumway deflected the question. Waving aside official reviews by actual members of the only official national Common Core Validation Committee, professors who refused to sign off on the Common Core standards as being adequate, Superintendent Shumway said: “there’s no dearth of documents.” (The referenced reviews of Dr. Sandra Stotsky on English and by Dr. James Milgam on math are available in Exhibit A and B here: http://pioneerinstitute.org/pdf/120510_ControllingEducation.pdf and in many other places.
Rep. Christensen said he wants Utah to be independent and said, “Education is a local matter.” He was troubled by the”implicit recognition of federal supremacy,” illustrated by the majority of states having asked the federal government for waivers from No Child Left Behind. He added, “We’re going down a road” he is not happy about, illustrated by the fact he cited: a school board member said Utah had paid a $90,000 fine for noncompliance with No Child Left Behind.
In response, Superintendent Shumway said that there were various disclaimers in the No Child Left Behind application.
Rep. Nielsen asked if it was true that by 7th grade, under Common Core math, students would be two years behind world class standards. Jim Stergios responded that indeed, Common Core was a step backward for Utah, but it would be closer to one year behind. For other states, Common Core brings math standards back two years.
Rep. Nielsen stated concerns about local control, saying that the U.S. Dept of Education uses terms like “allows” this and “allows” that. Sup. Shumway responded that “We are navigating through compliated waters.”
Sen. Osmond and Sen. Stephenson asked cost-related questions: hadn’t Utah already borne the brunt of the online costs for technology to match Common Core? Ted Rebarber answered that the state should do a cost analysis as other states have done. Common Core requires transformative realignment to the national standards. Rebarber asked, “Why do it?” –Since the cost/benefit analysis shows Utah is giving away state authority while adding costs, for inferior standards or at best, very similar to previously held, state standards.
Sen. Stephenson asked about the “legitimate concerns about abandoning what districts are doing” concerning assessments. Sup. Shumway said, “We haven’t preselected any vendor [for testing]. We were careful not to create requirements that would exclude anyone.” Shumway invited any Utahn to go to schools.utah.gov and click on “popular links” and submit input on specific standards that Utahns find problematic. He said these must be academically central comments, not comments about state sovereignty over education.
Several legislators questioned the timing of simultaneously asking the public for feedback to change the standards when the test Request for Proposals (RFP) has already been written and the SBAC has long been in the test writing process. How could Utah’s changed standards match? (I would add, how do you think we’re going to get away with changing more than 15% of our standards when it’s copyrighted and the Dept. of Ed. is aiming for seamless commonality between states?)
Sup. Shumway said that the timetables are challenging.
Both Rep. Nielsen and Rep. Christensen were concerned with the costs of Common Core and the state longitudinal data system (SLDS), costs which have not been studied by Utah. The SLDS grant will run out in 2013.
Utah Technology Director John Brandt responded that he hoped the legislature would continue to fund SLDS, “this valuable tool.”
Valuable tool for whom? Children? Parents? Freedom lovers? –Excuse me while I run screaming from the room and cross-stitch and frame in gold the 4th Amendment to the Constitution.
The SLDS and Data Alliance is either–
- What John Brandt and his team said it is, yesterday: a state network of data (never to be shared with federal agencies) –a way to share preschool-to-workforce data about Utahns, among six state agencies (Dept. of Workforce Services, Utah State Office of Education, and more). Brandt assured legislators that personally identifiable portions of this data would be only accessed by about ten people in the state, but countless people can access the nonidentifiable portions of the data.
This makes more sense since Brandt belongs to the Dept. of Education’s research arm, the NCES, and he also belongs to -and chairs– the group that developed and copyrighted the Common Core standards, the CCSSO or Council of Chief State School Officers. NCES has a long-standing “National Data Collection Model” you can view here: http://nces.ed.gov/forum/datamodel/Information/howToUse.aspx
So Brandt is a fed, along with being the Technology Director for the state of Utah.
Relevantly, the Dept. of Education’s Chief of Staff, Joanne Weiss, has recently said that she’s combining or “mashing” data systems of federal agencies and is “helping” states (Oh, thank you!) by writing reports to assist them in developing research partnerships. She has said, “Politicians often warn of the law of unintended consequences—as if all unintended consequences are negative ones—but in the world of data, we should also be aware of the law of welcome surprises.” (Weiss at the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) annual conference. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/inside-school-research/2012/07/ed_urges_states_to_make_data_s.html Thanks, Ms. Weiss. That makes me feel better.
I will keep this in mind while I continue to study exemplary progressive collectivism such as China’s Ministry of Public Security, as I recall the “data sharing” on citizens in Germany’s 1940s, or as I enjoy George Orwell’s immortal “1984″.
Utah, let’s keep our wits about us.
Have to repost this one. From the Washington Post this week:
Eight problems with Common Core Standards
By Marion Brady
E.D. Hirsch, Jr.’s book, “Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know,” was published March 1, 1987.
So it was probably in March of that year when, sitting at a dining room table in an apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, my host — a publishing executive, friend, and fellow West Virginian — said he’d just bought the book. He hadn’t read it yet, but wondered how Hirsch’s list of 5,000 things he thought every American should know differed from a list we Appalachians might write.
I don’t remember what I said, but it was probably some version of what I’ve long taken for granted: Most people think that whatever they and the people they like happen to know, everybody else should be required to know.
In education, of course, what it’s assumed that everybody should be required to know is called “the core.” Responsibility for teaching the core is divvied up between teachers of math, science, language arts, and social studies.
Variously motivated corporate interests, arguing that the core was being sloppily taught, organized a behind-the-scenes campaign to super-standardize it. They named their handiwork the Common Core State Standards to hide the fact that it was driven by policymakers in Washington D.C., who have thus far shoved it into every state except Alaska, Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia.
This was done with no public dialogue, no feedback from experienced educators, no research, no pilot or experimental programs — no evidence at all that a floor-length list created by unnamed people attempting to standardize what’s taught is a good idea.
It’s a bad idea. Ignore the fact that specific Common Core State Standards will open up enough cans of worms to keep subject-matter specialists arguing among themselves forever. Consider instead the merit of Standards from a general perspective:
One: Standards shouldn’t be attached to school subjects, but to the qualities of mind it’s hoped the study of school subjects promotes. Subjects are mere tools, just as scalpels, acetylene torches, and transits are tools. Surgeons, welders, surveyors — and teachers — should be held accountable for the quality of what they produce, not how they produce it.
Two: The world changes. The future is indiscernible. Clinging to a static strategy in a dynamic world may be comfortable, even comforting, but it’s a Titanic-deck-chair exercise.
Three: The Common Core Standards assume that what kids need to know is covered by one or another of the traditional core subjects. In fact, the unexplored intellectual terrain lying between and beyond those familiar fields of study is vast, expands by the hour, and will go in directions no one can predict.
Four: So much orchestrated attention is being showered on the Common Core Standards, the main reason for poor student performance is being ignored—a level of childhood poverty the consequences of which no amount of schooling can effectively counter.
Five: The Common Core kills innovation. When it’s the only game in town, it’s the only game in town.
Six: The Common Core Standards are a set-up for national standardized tests, tests that can’t evaluate complex thought, can’t avoid cultural bias, can’t measure non-verbal learning, can’t predict anything of consequence (and waste boatloads of money).
Seven: The word “standards” gets an approving nod from the public (and from most educators) because it means “performance that meets a standard.” However, the word also means “like everybody else,” and standardizing minds is what the Standards try to do. Common Core Standards fans sell the first meaning; the Standards deliver the second meaning. Standardized minds are about as far out of sync with deep-seated American values as it’s possible to get.
Eight: The Common Core Standards’ stated aim — “success in college and careers”— is at best pedestrian, at worst an affront. The young should be exploring the potentials of humanness.
I’ve more beefs, but like these eight, they have to do with the quality of education, and the pursuit of educational quality isn’t what’s driving the present education reform farce.
An illustration: As I write, my wife is in the kitchen. She calls me for lunch. The small television suspended under the kitchen cabinets is tuned to CNN, and Time cover girl Michelle Rhee is being interviewed.
“On international tests,” she says, “the U.S. ranks 27th from the top.”
Michelle Rhee, three-year teacher, education reactionary, mainstream media star, fired authoritarian head of a school system being investigated for cheating on standardized tests, is given a national platform to misinform. She doesn’t explain that, at the insistence of policymakers, and unlike other countries, America tests every kid — the mentally disabled, the sick, the hungry, the homeless, the transient, the troubled, those for whom English is a second language. That done, the scores are lumped together. She doesn’t even hint that when the scores of the disadvantaged aren’t counted, American students are at the top.
If Michelle Rhee doesn’t know that, she shouldn’t be on CNN. If she knows it but fails to point it out, she shouldn’t be on CNN.
It’s hard not to compare Rhee with Jennifer, a friend of my oldest son. He wrote me recently:
…I asked Jenn if she was ready for school.
“I’m waiting for an email from my principal to find out if I can get into my classroom a week early.”
“Why a whole week?”
“To get my room ready.”
She teaches second graders. I ask her why she loves that grade. She laughs and says, “Because they haven’t learned to roll their eyes yet.”
But I know it’s much more than that. Her sister was down from Ohio for Jenn’s birthday, and when she asked her what she wanted, Jenn said she needed 18 sets of colored pencils, 18 boxes of #2 pencils, 18 boxes of crayons, construction paper, name tags and so on — $346 dollars total.
She’s been doing this for 25 years. I’m sure she makes less than I do, but they could probably cut her salary 25 or 30% and she’d still want to get into her room early.”
Rhee gets $50,000 a pop plus first-class travel and accommodations for putting in an appearance to tell her audiences what’s wrong with the Jennifers in America’s schools, and what clubs should be swung or held over their heads to scare them into shaping up.
Future historians (if there are any) are going to shake their heads in disbelief. They’ll wonder how, in a single generation, the world’s oldest democracy dismantled its engine — free, public, locally controlled, democratic education.
If they dig into the secretive process that produced the Common Core State Standards, most of their questions will be answered.
The following essays were written about Common Core by four teachers whose names are being protected. See http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/teacher-comments-on-common-core/
I just attended the Core Academy for math as an elementary teacher and was told for 4 straight days that the common core does NOT require math facts or the teaching of standard algorithms. I was taught how to teach solely using discovery learning or weird, unusable, at least with larger numbers, fuzzy math algorithms which actually make understanding place value unnecessary to solve problems requiring regrouping. What? I thought the core was supposed to help teachers REMEMBER to teach skills and standard algorithms … I am devastated and do not even know if I can teach in Utah if this is the direction we are going…aligning ourselves with Washington state which is all discovery and has some of the poorest performing math students in the country…where they still believe Terc Investigations is great Curriculum. May the saints preserve us all.
I teach in the ________ district. Our district is adopting the core and is very involved in training their teachers. I will be attending meetings at my school to receive training. What can I do, if anything to keep my job, but not be chained to teaching the core? Last year, we implemented the writing portion of the core. I followed the core. My students did not accomplish as much with the core, as with the program I had been using. This year, I am quietly going back to the writing program I used before. This year we will be implementing the core math curriculum, I think I will quietly take ideas that I like, but keep teaching what I know works. Any advice?
Last Tuesday, Rep. Kraig Powell hosted a forum in Heber on Common Core. In attendance at this meeting were a number of teachers and administrators including Wasatch Superintendent Shoemaker. At lunch, a teacher who is involved with trying to get Utah off Common Core, was speaking with Sup. Shoemaker and another long time teacher’s name came up that this teacher had student-taught under. The Superintendent told this teacher how fortunate it was that she student-taught under her because she was a master teacher. She told the Superintendent that this long time teacher told her she wasn’t thrilled with Common Core and the Superintendent replied, “I’m not surprised, a teacher like her wouldn’t be.” The exact note this master teacher had sent her was “too bad districts aren’t questioning [common core] instead of parents. As a teacher, I am having common core shoved down my throat. We’re back to the 70’s. Way to go on your endeavors. ”
I am a 3rd grade teacher at a Charter School in Utah. I am becoming very frustrated with Common Core, and I am starting to feel helpless, and feel that I am failing my students, which will one day affect me as they grow up and enter the workforce.
I attended the Math CORE Academy this summer and was told that Utah is not going to suggest a math book that will meet the new standards, instead I have to use whatever math book my school is using to create work for the students. It is incredibly difficult to teach the Common Core using Tasks with the math book we have, and I imagine it is just as difficult with any math book. First of all, it takes 2-3 hours to create a Task using a math book, I had to help create 2 at Core Academy. Secondly, the instructors encouraged us to leave out key pieces of information so that the students could construct their own knowledge. I cannot imagine elementary students doing well in Algebra or Calculus after spending years learning that whatever number they come up with is correct. I am frustrated that students are required to make a guess to solve the problem, and of course, they are correct, because any number they choose would work. They would then see that their classmates all chose different numbers, and yet all of the answers are correct? How confusing for an elementary student! I have decided to send these Tasks home as extra credit so that the parents in my class can see what to expect in the next school year. I am sure I will get many complaints that the problems are unsolvable, because important information has been left out! I believe that math has right and wrong answers, and that teaching students that any answer can be correct is foolish.
I am so upset that cursive has been removed from the Core! I had such a successful year last year teaching cursive. When I ask students during the first week of school what they are excited to learn in 3rd grade, at least 10 students say learning to write in cursive! I already had 2nd graders telling me they were so excited to be in 3rd grade so they could learn cursive. I am then supposed to deny them something they want to learn!? That is absurd! Even before the actual cursive instruction began, I had many students trying cursive on their own and asking if they were doing it correctly. My students became better readers because they learned cursive last year, seeing italics or cursive in books did not confuse them any more. Most of my students handwriting improved considerably once they could write in cursive, especially the boys’ handwriting. If I can’t teach cursive, the students will miss out on developing those fine motor skills- many suggest typing, but my students will only get keyboarding once a week, and yet I have set aside 20 minutes each day for them to learn cursive. I think it is also a way of self expression. I write in cursive all of the time; my signature is part of who I am. So, this generation will not be able to create a signature for themselves? Nor will they be able to read any handwriting other than print. It is so much fun for me and my students when I write on the board in cursive and they can read it! How empowering for them! They are all able to write faster in cursive, and even in third grade they realize this. They are learning to concentrate, and focus their attention- which is very helpful for all other areas of learning. They are learning to slow down, and watch what they are doing. They are learning the you have to work hard to get good at something, and yet they improve quickly enough that they are motivated to stick with it, they can see week by week that they are getting better. They are learning that practicing something over and over will help you get better. These skills are, in my opinion, only found in handwriting. There is nothing else that I can teach them that they can see improvement day by day, and that they can see themselves getting better at. Writing, math, science, social studies- none of these can show the student progression, nor help in motivating a student to keep trying. I am hoping that I can change my administrator’s mind about letting me teach cursive, but if they don’t I will certainly make sure the parents of my students know that I feel it is an important skill and I suggest that they teach their students at home.
If it comes down to being on the principle’s good side or doing what’s best for my 28 students, I’m going to do what’s best for my students. If I get fired, then I’ll look for another job and hope I can find one.
A friend just sent me this link. It’s sad.
But it explains a lot. It explains why Professor David Wiley is so passionately pro-common core, so defensive of the USOE and of the Dept. of Education’s terrible FERPA alterations that empowered the Common Core Initiative, and why he does not want to read past the first link on my rebuttal to the USOE’s statement written last week by Brenda Hales.
So, on page 25 of Utah’s ESEA Flexibility Request (the No Child Left Behind waiver) it talks about Professor D. Wiley. It says:
“Utah is a leader in developing and utilizing digital resources. For example, the USOE has entered into a partnership with Dr. David Wiley, an associate professor at Brigham Young University and a Senior Fellow for Open Education with Digital Promise, to research, develop and implement technologies that transform reaching and learning. The USOE staff, LEA and Higher Ed experts, and Dr. Wiley are working to develop online digital e-books that will be based on open-source materials. They will be available in a hybrid format for all Utah students. Teachers can use the digital or inexpensive print format (five dollars per book or less) to deliver instructional material to learners. Dr. Wiley is leading a successful pilot of open-sources science textbooks in Utah classrooms. By next fall, e-books based on Utah Core Standards [Common Core National Standards] will be available for secondary language arts and mathematics. The mathematics e-books will facilitate our transition to an integrated high school math model while the language arts e-books will contain heavier emphasis on content literacy and oral argumentative writing. [Notice, no classic literature or narrative writing because it's slashed under Common Core rules.] Digital resources are a key to designing and using highly relevant and responsive curriculum to Utah’s students. We also have a working relationship with Apple, use ITunes U and work with the Utah Education Network to provide resources aligned with the Standards. All of this can be found on the various content websites and linked to our CCSS website http://www.schools.utah.gov/core/. “
…I still do not think badly of Professor Wiley.
Nor of Brenda Hales. Nor of my own local school board. Why?
I don’t think they get it. I do not believe they are deliberately, knowingly selling out our kids and our privacy rights. They lack motivation to study it out and think about all the possible repercussions because their jobs and their egos hinge on their work for Common Core implementation in Utah.
Also, I am pretty sure these people don’t know what the Constitution’s about. They take for granted that it will be there to protect us, even while they act against its principles, by each step they take for Utah/America, toward more and more socialist/communist styled programs.
In case you forgot: The Constitution says that the people are the sovereign; not a consortium, and not a federal Department of anything. It says that separation of powers, that checks & balances idea, is the safeguard of rights; allowing the feds so much power over us is abusing the Constitution. It says the powers granted to the 3 branches are LIMITED, on purpose to never concentrate or centralize power but to keep it spread out in each locality; it outlines the principle of representation, which Common Core laughs at. There is no representation where there is no amendability of standards or of tests.)
And because these people, our Utah education system leaders, have not been valiant in detecting the problems brought by Common Core, such as detecting the subtle, powerful seeping away of control over education, and parental consent, and lost privacy rights; because they have not recognized it, and therefore have not stood up to it, the encroachments of Arne Duncan and his gang at the Department of Education increase.
Yes, we are in a terrible place, teetering on the verge of not being able to get out. We have lost many and are losing more and more liberties and rights of education and of privacy.
And David Wiley and the Utah State Office of Education are fine with it.
Alisa, Renee and I speak out about our opposition to Common Core.
I stumbled upon “Outside the Box,” another blog of another teacher who can’t stand Common Core. I will have to start keeping a list of blog links to teachers nationally who don’t believe the Common Core propaganda and who don’t want Common Core telling them what to do. It’s here: http://teacher-anon.blogspot.com/
This teacher is so mad –and so funny– that I have to repost part of her/his blog post here:
outside the box
where public education needs to happen. ~ musings from a highly-qualified, highly-effective, credentialed, enormously pissed off teacher… and sometimes i’ve just gotta use my outside voice.
Friday, June 15, 2012
Recently, my school district sent out a survey to teachers asking for input on the Common Crap Core National $tate $tandard$. The district has hand-picked a Common Core $tate $tandard$ Implementation Steering Committee to represent teachers and allow for transparency. Sadly, what my district tends to do is only select teachers who will passively, yet enthusiastically, suck down whatever Kool-Aid the district puts before them. If one is an advocate for doing what’s best for kids as opposed to corporations, well, don’t sit around waiting for a call to join a committee. And let me be clear: its not that my district evil, its just that they think they don’t have a choice, so they cowardly roll over and accept the truly bad ideas being shoved down from on high. Then the dominoes continue to fall as administrators push these bad ideas on teachers who are then expected to push them onto our students. This circle-of-educational-life truly sucks. No Hakuna Matatas from me. I’m seeing problems everywhere and it doesn’t look like they’re going to be going away any time soon.
So, though I doubt it will garner anything more than an eye roll and maybe an Oh, she’s the developmental one… followed by yet another eye roll, here’s my response to the survey:
Common Core $tate $tandards $urvey
1. What are you particularly excited about regarding the transition to CC$$?
· Is this a trick question? (I really wanted to say Are you #%!*$#% kidding me? but I’m trying to be somewhat professional.)
· And BTW – Most teachers don’t even know what the CC$ are or how they will impact our students and our profession.
2. What obstacles or issues do you foresee?
· Continued de-professionalization of teaching
· Teacher burnout from over a decade of top down mandates that have yet to close the achievement gap.
· Continued student burnout.
· Increased stress experienced by children, teachers and school districts due to increased high-stakes testing.
· Continued mislabeling of children as failures because they are not developmentally ready to master the standards.
· A further narrowing of the curriculum
3. What essential questions do you have regarding the $tandard$ or the transition?
· Why are only TK and K having to implement the CC$ in the 2012-13 school year? (Though I’d vote for NO one implementing them next year, or any year, for that matter!)
· Implementing the CC$ will be co$tly (follow the money): more profe$$ional development; more high-$take te$t$; more technology; new textbook$, etc. How can there be adequate funding for implementing all aspects of the CC$ when we are experiencing continued budgetary crises?
· The CC$ will require substantially more high-$take$ te$ting (Stephen Krashen predicts that testing will increase 20 fold.)
o More high-stakes testing = less teaching.
o More high-stakes testing = more teaching to the test.
o How are we going to protect our students from such abuse?
· The CC$ were NOT developed by classroom teachers or child development experts. We will still be in a ‘one size fits all’, test-centric environment, expecting ALL children to learn and master standards at the same pace. How will this benefit our children?
· Will our curricula become even more narrowed? (Hint: Yes)
· Will our curricula become even MORE test focused? (Hint: Yes)
· And, yes, are the CC$ developmentally appropriate at any grade level? (They aren’t at my grade level and they go against best practices based on rigorous, peer-reviewed research.)
· The CC$ diminishes the importance of fiction and personal narrative writing. Coleman, a leading idiot
author and smarmy
architect of the CC$, expressed his view of personal narrative quite succinctly: “[A]s you grow up in this world you realize people really don’t give a shit about what you feel or what you think.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pu6lin88YXU
Coleman is not an educator. Bill Gates, who bank rolled the CC$, is not an educator. Are we comfortable implementing standards that were determined by non-educators?
· Have we learned nothing from the failure of NCLB? Basing everything on one test score is lunacy. The most important things cannot be measured. Creativity in American students is declining. Duncan, Gates and Obama would never submit their own children to these mandates. Why are they submitting ours?
· Will the CC$ eventually be challenged in the courts as a violation of federal law that prohibits the federal government from imposing a national curriculum on our nation’s schools?
· How will implementing the CC$ close the achievement gap? Please be specific and cite peer-reviewed research to support your argument.
Interesting links addressing the CC$:
NCLB’s Lost Decade for Educational Progress: What Can We Learn from this Policy Failure?