Archive for the ‘bill gates’ Tag

FULL COMMON CORE DOCUMENTARY MOVIE NOW ONLINE   11 comments

Breaking News:  The HSLDA has just released its Common Core documentary movie on its website.

It is free to watch and can be viewed in full here:  http://commoncoremovie.com/

–Or here:

Please watch and share!

 

 

Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform # 3: Marc Tucker   2 comments

Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform:

#3

Marc Tucker, President of National Center on Education and the Economy

tucker

Countdown # 3

This is the seventh in a countdown series of introductions, a list of the top ten scariest people leading education in America.  For number 4, number 5, number 6, number 7,  number 8number 9 and number 10,  click here.

Just like like the others on this Top Ten list, Marc Tucker comes across as a nice guy; he carries no pitchfork, wears no horns, debates politely.

Yet Marc Tucker has openly worked for decades to  “strengthen the role of the state education agencies in  education governance at the expense of “local control”  and insists that “the United States will have to largely abandon the beloved emblem of American education: local control.” (See links below.)  He wants to alter the actual quality of U.S. education, also.  For example, he hopes to remove “the policy of requiring a passing score on an Algebra II exam for high school graduation” because he feels that overeducating the masses is a waste of collective tax money.

These goals and others are published by Tucker at the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) and  the Center for American Progress.    The NCEE, the organization over which he presides, is paid millions  to promote these damaging ideas by Common Core main-funder Bill Gates.

Tucker’s ideas have garnered widespread acceptance.  He speaks at countless education conferences; for example, he’s spoken at the Annenberg Institute,  the Public Education and Business Coalition, at Kentucky’s Conference on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, the Aspen Institute, at numerous colleges  and universities and has testified to state legislatures about education.

And these ideas are nothing new.  In Tucker’s infamous 1992 letter to Hillary Clinton, now part of the Congressional Record, he outlined his vision of a communist-styled pipeline of education and workforce that would control individuals from early childhood through workforce.  He and Hillary shared the vision: “to remold the entire American system for human resources development…  This is interwoven with a new approach to governing… What is essential is that we create a seamless web…  from cradle to grave and is the same system for everyone — young and old, poor and rich, worker and full-time student. It needs to be a system… guided by clear standards… regulated on the basis of outcomes…” 

Can anyone distinguish between that Tucker quote and actual, literal  Communism for me? I see no difference.

That was in 1992.  It seemed conspiratorial at that time.  But it’s openly pursued today by Tucker and by his associates on the Top Ten Scariest list).

Fast forward to 2007.

In a report entitled “Tough Choices for Tough Times” Tucker’s NCEE implied that America had the constitutional authority, and suggested that America should: develop national standards, tests and curriculum;  create “personal competitiveness accounts,”should “create regional competitveness authorities,” should provide “universal early childhood education,” should tie teacher evaluation to teacher pay, and more.  Remember, Common Core national standards weren’t adopted by the majority of states (or even offered via the Race to the Top grant) until 2009-2010.  But Tucker had this going on long ago.

Fast forward to 2013.

The Center for American Progress published this report in which Tucker asserted, among other things, that “the United States will have to largely abandon the beloved emblem of American education: local control.”

Here’s a little taste of what his report proposed:

If Americans are  going to decide which level of government we want to run our education systems,  the only realistic choice is the state. No one wants a national education system  run by the federal government, and the districts cannot play that  role.    [Why wouldn't local school districts serve in that controlling role? --Too "we the people" for Mr. Tucker, perhaps?]

…Each state needs to consolidate in its state department of  education the policymaking and implementation authority that now resides in a  welter of state-level commissions, agencies, and other independent  bodies.  And the United States will have to largely  abandon the beloved emblem of American education: local control. If the goal is  to greatly increase the capacity and authority of the state education agencies,  much of the new authority will have to come at the expense of local  control.

….I  propose to greatly strengthen the role of the state education agencies in  education governance, at the expense of “local control…”   The line of political accountability would run to mayors and  governors through their appointees…  governance of the  schools, higher education, early child- hood education and youth services would  all be closely coordinated through the governance system… I propose that a new  National Governing Council on Education be established, composed of  representatives of the states and of the federal government, to create the  appropriate bodies…”

Did Tucker really think that “we, the people” would roll over and give in to his constitution-slaughtering dream to end local control and to permit governmental tyranny over education?

Don’t go refill your soda yet.  There’s more.

In 2013, Marc Tucker also put out this document at the National Center on Education and the Economy, that says out loud that it’s not important under Common Core to have high educational standards in high school; that it’s silly to waste time educating all high school graduates as high as the level of Algebra II.

Tucker thus pushed for an emphasis on the lowest common denominator, while also marketing Common Core as a push for “rigorous” academics.

Read for yourself:

“Mastery of Algebra II is widely thought to be a prerequisite for success in college and careers. Our research shows that that is not so… Based on our data, one cannot make the case that high school graduates must be proficient in Algebra II to be ready for college and careers. The high school mathematics curriculum is now centered on the teaching of a sequence of courses leading to calculus that includes Geometry, Algebra II, Pre-Calculus and Calculus. However, fewer than five percent of American workers and an even smaller percentage of community college students will ever need to master the courses in this sequence in their college or in the workplace… they should not be required courses in our high schools. To require these courses in high school is to deny to many students the opportunity to graduate high school because they have not mastered a sequence of mathematics courses they will never need. In the face of these findings, the policy of requiring a passing score on an Algebra II exam for high school graduation simply cannot be justified.”

So, Tucker’s NCEE report goes on to say that traditional high school English classes, with their emphasis on classic literature and personal, narrative writing, is useless. The report says that Common Core will save students from the worthless classics with its emphasis on technical subjects and social studies via the dominance of informational text in the Common Core classroom:

The Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts (CCSSE) address reading in history/social studies as well as science and technical subjects, and in so doing may increase the relevance of high school instruction.”

Did you catch that?  Tucker and the NCEE  just trashed English literature, calling it irrelevant. And, in calling classic literature and personal writing irrelevant, he underscores the socialist mentality: that only job prep matters, only the collective economy, not the mind and soul of the individual.

In 2014, Marc Tucker wrote an article entitled “On Writing” in which he suggested the country should “hold our teachers accountable for the quality of student writing” –saying that incentivizing teachers would increase college level literacy.  (To Tucker, teachers and students seem to be lab rats.  Hand out larger government chunks of cheese and the rats will do whatever you like.)

Teacher Mercedes Schneider shredded Tucker’s “On Writing” arguments hereSandra Stotsky,  Cherilyn Eagar Diane Ravitch, Paul Horton and  Susan Ohanian have written important points about Marc Tucker as well.

Lastly, for those who follow the money trail:  Marc Tucker and his NCEE have accepted many millions from Common Core-builder/funder Bill Gates. So has the Tucker-publishing, CommonCore – friendly Center for American Progress.

Gates is Funding U.S. Department of Education Directly   3 comments

Here’s a must-read.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is accepting the “philanthopy” of Bill Gates, putting our nation and its children directly in Gates’ deep pocket.

Not okay.  Wake up, America.   Our rights and voice are being buried under truckload after truckload of government-embraced corporate “philanthopy.”

And thank you, Mercedes Schneider. (I want to point out that Ms. Schneider, the author of this research, is a teacher.)

Read her research on the subject here:

Gates Is Funding U.S. Department of Education Conferences and “Innovations”.

What’s the U.N.’s “Global Education First Initiative” and “Academic Impact”–and what do they have to do with Common Core?   8 comments

This post is long. But I cannot “byte” these pieces apart for easier consumption. They have to be seen as a whole.

Thanks for reading –and sharing. Unpaid parents and teachers like me (and there are many of us) –have to report, because the so-called “real” reporters are failing to give us real reports with actual evidence and fact-checkable links about what is going on in education.

Today I’m reporting that the Common Core developers (in corporate and governmental partnerships) and the United Nations’ global education developers (also in corporate and governmental partnerships) are working hand in hand to deliberately take away classical education. Yep. They call it “whole system revolution.”

Actual classic literature and classic math takes up too much time that the globalists desire to use to teach environmental “education.” (Why? It sounds so nutty.)

The reason is both sneaky and evil. The one-world-government believers (U.N., Sir Michael Barber, Bill Gates, and others) want big power and big money, and that comes when they get rid of pesky things like loyalty to a country, local control and local rights, –all easily done when they circumvent the voice of the people by creating public-private partnerships. –Which is exactly how Common Core’s developers have done what they’ve done. (Links and specifics on that, below)

This puts our most basic rights and liberties at risk. If we have no actual representation, no actual say in how education is run, what is to be taught, or whether our children will have to attend these nonrepresentative systems, what do we have?

Let me bring you to some sites to show what I mean.

Did you know that there was a global monitoring report on education put out by the International Bureau of Education at the U.N.?

Did you know that last year, the U.N. launched a “Global Education First Initiative”?

What is the “GLOBAL EDUCATION FIRST INITIATIVE“?

global education first initiative

The Global Education First Initiative is the United Nations’ Secretary General’s new program, launched last year. (See http://www.globaleducationfirst.org/ )

It states that it plans to:

1. Put every child in school.
2. Improve the quality of learning.
3. Foster global citizenship.

This might sound nice to some. But think about it.

1. “Put every child in school”? Will this pit the government against some parents? (What if the student’s physical or other circumstances mean he or she should not be in school? What if the U.N.’s definition of school differs from yours or mine? What if the school is a danger to the student?) The word “every” can be tyrannical as easily as it can be compassionate.
2. “Improve the quality of learning” ? Whose definition is meant by “quality” of learning? Newsflash: the UN’s “global” and “sustainable” definition of education is not about classical education, nor is it about teaching time-tested truths.

It’s full of politics in “environmental stewardship” lessons, an environmental focus used as a facade to teach that individual freedoms and individual property rights should be destroyed for the global, collective, environmental “good”. (But again, whose definition of “good”? See globalist/Common Core Implementation Guru, Sir Michael Barber’s international speech where he explains that “ethical underpinnings” of global education are nothing other than an intensely environment-bent focus.) So when they say “quality of learning” they are not talking, for example, about helping more students learn calculus in high school, as you might assume. –In fact, the globalist NCEE has called Algebra II “too much” math for high schools.

They are talking about teaching students to be prepared to sacrifice country loyalty, religious loyalty, and God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of property– anything for the global green collective. The U.N.’s education arm, UNESCO, has endless documents which preach the same doctrine: environmentalism IS the new global education.

This leads us to #3.

3. “Foster Global Citizenship”? As opposed to what– local citizenship, national citizenship? Yep. What global citizenship really means is global law and global punishment. They talk about the obliteration of local and individual liberty. They make the United Nations a governmental god.

Don’t believe this?

Check out Article 29 of the U.N.’s Declaration of Human Rights which states that “rights and freedoms may IN NO CASE be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.”

http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml#a29

Please read that out loud.

RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS MAY IN NO CASE BE EXERCISED contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.”

My question is: What purposes or principles could possibly deserve more weight than human rights and freedoms?

I’ll answer the question for myself: one purpose and principle of the U.N. that the U.N. feels deserves more weight than human rights is “sustainable growth“.

But free agency is more important than the U.N.’s “sustainability” principle. Freedom is a God-given natural right that every person can claim and no person nor government has a right to steal, no matter how pretty their reasoning.

My rights should only end when I aim to destroy the freedoms of others; that’s why we have laws– to protect individual freedoms and rights. Article 29 of the U.N.’s Declaration of Human Rights is perversion.


Because the U.N. believes that it should destroy individual rights when they conflict with the U.N.’s designs, it flat out believes in tyranny. It believes that it knows better than anyone and that it has more authority than anyone.

One of my religious leaders, Elder James Faust, spoke about the United Nations’ “sustainability” phraseology, in a 1994 speech at Brigham Young University entitled, “Trying to Serve the Lord Without Offending the Devil.”

faust

Elder James Faust said:

“Much controversy surrounded a recently concluded United Nations International Conference on Population and Development held in Cairo, Egypt. No doubt the conference accomplished much that was worthwhile. But at the very center of the debate was the socially acceptable phrase “sustainable growth.”

This concept is becoming increasingly popular. How cleverly Satan masked his evil designs with that phrase.

Few voices in the developed nations cry out in the wilderness against this coined phrase “sustainable growth.” In Forbes magazine of September this year, a thoughtful editorial asserts that people are an asset, not a liability. It forthrightly declares as preposterous the broadly accepted premise that curbing population growth is essential for economic development. The editorial then states convincingly that “free people don’t ‘exhaust resources.’ They create them” (Forbes, 12 September 1994, p. 25).

Those who argue for sustainable growth lack vision and faith. The Lord said, “For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare” (D&C 104:17).

That settles the issue for me. It should settle the issue for all of us. The Lord has spoken.”

Elder Faust, a man I recognize as an apostle of Christ, just said that the phrase “sustainable growth” is being used as a tool of Satan to try to curb population growth in the name of economic prosperity, and that those who argue for “sustainable growth” (U.N.) are lacking “vision and faith”.

I say Amen.

Just as I don’t believe in the assumptions of “sustainable growth” nor of the “Global Education First Initiative,” I do not believe in the U.N.’s “Academic Impact” program.

—————

WHAT IS “ACADEMIC IMPACT“?

academic impact UN

The United Nations is not content simply to push their version of education on children. They also mean to push it on university students via the initiative called “Academic Impact.”

What is the “Academic Impact”?

The stated purpose is to bring together “universities committed to the goals and values of the United Nations.”

academic impact we believe

Why should we oppose this?

The United Nations has a stated opposition to individual liberty if it conflicts with U.N. dogma. The United Nations places itself above countries’ and individuals’ freedom.

Why would ANY university or college join the “Academic Impact” movement? Doing so means that the institution agrees with the U.N.’s Declarations, which –I am repeating this because it’s so important– openly states:

Article 29- “rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.”

Please tell your local colleges and universities and schools to RUN from the United Nations’ “purposes and principles”. Don’t JOIN with them, for heaven’s sake.

Now, what does all of this have to do with Common Core?

Everything!

You won’t see it in the text of the standards but you will find it in the network of individuals and corporations and governments that worked in harmony to develop, fund, market, implement and entrench Common Core’s power grab everywhere.

The Common Core is the globalists’ approved method for making sure students in the U.S. can be tracked and compared, and also that they will not be able to be exceptional, very easily. Everyone must be the same.

See this: http://asiasociety.org/education/learning-world/global-roots-common-core-state-standards for more evidence of the globalists fawning over the United States’ acceptance of Common Core to reach their global goals.

For evidence of this globalist-approval of Common Core, study globalist (and Pearson CEA) Sir Michael Barber who has been praising and pushing and profiting from Common Core and its alignment with globalist goals, all along.

Worldwide, Pearson’s CEA is pushing the idea of partnering governments and corporations (which circumvents voters).

Public-private partnerships (such as Pearson and Microsoft’s partnership with the U.S. Department of Education, via the U.S. Council of Chief State School Officers acting as middleman, is a case like that old song:

elbow two

“The hipbone’s connected to the thighbone, the thighbone’s connected to the kneebone, the kneebone’s connected to the shinbone…”

These groups that promote Common Core, whether globally or locally, are all partnered and connected with MONEY and not by any vote by the people’s voice:

Pearson is officially partnered with Microsoft. Microsoft’s officially partnered with UNESCO. (UNESCO is the education arm of the U.N.)

The owner of Microsoft and partner of Pearson, Bill Gates, is partnered with, or the creator of, Common Core, having given millions to Common Core’s developers, CCSSO and NGA, and to its paid promoters, the National PTA and Harvard and Fordham Institute and Jeb Bush and many, many others.

elbow

“The hipbone’s connected to the thighbone, the thighbone’s connected to the kneebone, the kneebone’s connected to the shinbone…”

Pearson AND Microsoft are corporate partners of the Council of Chief State School Officers. And the Council of Chief State School Officers is officially partnered with the National Governors’ Association and have developed and copyrighted the Common Core together.

The U.S. Department of Education and the Council of Chief State School Officers are officially partnered to collect national Common Core data.

The U.S. Department of Education is financially partnered with SBAC and PARCC test creation and data collection.

No potty breaks. We’re not done.

ankle two

“The hipbone’s connected to the thighbone, the thighbone’s connected to the kneebone, the kneebone’s connected to the shinbone…”

Pearson’s CEA, Sir Barber, is on the Board of Directors of U.S. Education Delivery Institute. He also has made Pearson the lead implementer of Common Core nationwide. And Pearson’s CEA is a directing force behind Common Core test creation at PARCC. Pearson’s Sir Barber wrote the book “Deliverology” for American educators to help them implement Common Core (like good little globalists.)

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Pearson’s CEA Sir Michael Barber are as mutually fawning as can be. Secretary Duncan quotes Barber and praises his “Deliverology” methods (which are controversial in their ruthless aim to “deliver” without regard for people). See Secretary Duncan’s Vision of Education speech to UNESCO.

And Barber is equally cozy with Duncan. He retweets Duncan’s tweets on Twitter all the time. Think about that. Our U.S. Secretary of Education is holding hands with the head of the largest educational sales company on earth.

“The hipbone’s connected to the thighbone, the thighbone’s connected to the kneebone, the kneebone’s connected to the shinbone…”

And the CEA of the world’s largest educational sales company, (who is cozy with the U.S. Secretary of Education, who, like Duncan, loves and praises Common Core) happens to believe that education reform is a “global phenomenon,” and reform is no longer to be managed by individuals or sovereign countries; education reform has “no more frontiers, no more barriers.”

Pearson’s Sir Barber shows a chart during this summit speech, displayed at 12:06 minutes, which he calls his goal of ”whole system revolution,” pinpointed as the sum of the following addends: systemic innovation + sameness of standards + structure + human capital.

–Whole system revolution? Human capital? What awful word choices, even for a global-control-freak.

Sir Michael Barber admits that he’s after your privacy, too: “We want data about how people are doing. We want every child on the agenda.” (6:05)

Who will control or protect global student data? And what if my desire to maintain my rights to privacy, conflicts with the U.N.’s article 29 “purposes and principles?”

What then?

Deseret News to Live Stream Common Core Debate Tonight   5 comments

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Tonight’s much-anticipated Common Core debate, featuring Alpine school board member Wendy Hart and mother Alyson Williams arguing against Common Core, versus two state school board members, Dave Thomas and Tami Pyfer arguing for Common Core, will be live-streamed by the Deseret News.

Additionally, it will be featured on http://www.deseretnews.com later today and on http://watchit.deseretnews.com.

If you want to attend the event in person, here is the time and address.

(Note: a Logan newspaper mistakenly wrote the start time to be 7:00. It is actually 6:00.)

Where: Mount Logan Middle School at 875 N. 200 E. Logan, Utah.
When: January 6th, 2014, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Who: The public, legislators and press will be there. Moderator: radio personality Jason Williams of KVNU’s “For the People.”

The public is invited to submit questions for the debaters to: jasonthe@gmail.com or kvnuftp@gmail.com.

Please come and bring friends.

Live Stream/ Youtube link:

40 Questions for Common Core Debaters   7 comments

state school board picture photo utah

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Utah radio personality Jason Williams of KVNU’s “For the People” has asked the public to submit questions for next week’s Common Core debate, which will take place at Mount Logan Middle School on January 6th, 2014, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. in Logan, Utah, at 875 N. 200 E.

Submit questions to: jasonthe@gmail.com or kvnuftp@gmail.com.

Legislators have already committed to attend the debate. I hope thousands of teachers, parents, grandparents, students and reporters show up.

The debaters will be Alpine School Board member Wendy Hart and mother Alyson Williams (against Common Core) versus state school board members Dave Thomas and Tami Pyfer (for Common Core). The event will be moderated by radio personality Jason Williams.

I sat down to write a few questions and ended up with 40. Some are borrowed from Professors Yong Zhao, Professor Christopher Tienken, Dr. Sandra Stotsky, Dr. Daniel Coupland and others. I hope Mr. Williams has time to ask them all.

40 COMMON CORE DEBATE QUESTIONS

1. Is Common Core constitutional? Why or why not?

2. How important is the defense of local autonomy and local control of schools, to you personally –and does Common Core affect local control in any way? Yes or no?

3. The Common Core itself calls itself a “living work” and it admits that the document will change. Does the Utah State School Board have authority over the copyrighted Common Core “document” to change the document itself? ( To clarify: this is not a question of adding 15% as the Common Core governance allows a state to add in-state, but we are asking about changing the national standards themselves.) Yes or No?

4. Can Utah voters remove from positions of power the people who hold copyright over Utah’s Common Core standards (Board of Directors of CCSSO/NGA) if we do not approve of the direction of Common Core? Yes or No?

5. Are those who hold copyright over Common Core subject to transparency (“sunshine” laws) –so that the Utah State School Board can supervise the decisions which affect and govern Utahns? Yes or No?

6. Where can I read for myself how the states-led (inter-state) amendment process will work when we want to change something in the Common Core standards, if a process exists?

7. Where can I see for myself the evidence that Common Core standards have been field tested prior to implementation, so they were proven to be of superior academic quality, if testing evidence exists?

8. Professor Christopher Tienken of Seton Hall University has called Common Core “educational malpractice.” Regardless of how you feel about Common Core, how would you recognize educational malpractice if you saw it; what would be its hallmarks?

9. Would widespread mandating of experimental, untested standards constitute educational malpractice?

10. Where can I see for myself the specific countries and specific standards to which the Common Core standards are “internationally benchmarked” if such benchmarking exists?

11. Where is the American process of representation of individuals in the Common Core education and assessments system, if it exists?

12. Where can I see for myself empirical, researched evidence (not opinion) that Common Core’s increasing informational text and decreasing classic literature will benefit children, if it exists?

13. Where can I see for myself empirical, researched evidence that Common Core’s move away from traditional math toward constructivist math will benefit our children, if it exists?

14. Many mathematicians and math experts, even including Common Core architect and advocate Jason Zimba, have pointed out that students who want to take Calculus in college will need to take more math than Common Core math courses in high school. What should the Utah State School Board do to make sure Utah students are truly prepared for STEM careers despite Common Core’s low math standards?

15. A mathematician is one who has an advanced degree in advanced mathematics; a math educator is one who has an advanced degree in educating students on any level of math. How do you feel about the fact that there was only one actual mathematician on the Common Core validation committee, Dr. James Milgram, and that he refused to sign off because he said the standards were not legitimate math for college preparation?

16. Several official documents show that there is a 15% cap on a state adding to the Core; we also from Common Core architect Jason Zimba and validation committee member James Milgram that Common Core math does not prepare students for STEM math careers; then how are Utahns to prepare for STEM careers?

17. If local Utahns break through the common core academic ceiling and add more than the allowable 15% to their local standards, how will that 15% be taught using common core aligned math and English tests and texts?

18. Although we have been told that Common Core was state-led, no citizen in this state received an invitation to discuss this, before math and English standards were decided. To make sure this does not happen again, please explain the vetting process for Utah teachers and parents, before we add upcoming national science, national social studies, and national sex ed standards.

19. Which element played a larger role in Utah’s decision to adopt Common Core: the chance to win Race to the Top grant money, or a thorough review of the Common Core academically? Please give evidence for your answer.

20. Where can I read our state’s cost analysis for implementing Common Core standards, tests and professional development costs?

21. Does the Common Core essentially discriminate against talents and interests that are not consistent with their prescribed knowledge and skills?

22. What roles does the Utah State Longitudinal Database System (SLDS)play in reporting to the federal Edfacts Exchange and to the national E.I.M.A.C./CCSSO data collection machines?

23. How do you respond to the question asked by Christopher Tienken of Seton Hall University? He said:
“This is not data-driven decision making… Yet this nation will base the future of its entire public education system, and its children, upon this lack of evidence. Where is the evidence to support the rhetoric surrounding the Common Core standards?”
24. Do you see Common Core’s emphasis on testing as potentially harming American creativity and entrepreneurial fields in which U.S. graduate have historically led the world– or do you see this emphasis on standardization and testing as simply creating more individuals who are very good at taking tests– like students in some Asian countries– without any harm being done to creativity or love of learning?

25. The Constitution assigns education to the states, not to the federal government. Also, the federal General Educational Provisons Act (GEPA) states: “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 …“ In light of this, please explain why our state has partnered with those who agree to micromanagement by the federal department of education such as the CCSSO.

26. Which portions of local autonomy have been traded for federally-lauded Common Core standards and tests?
27. What types of legal protections does student data have in writing that can protect us from the federal government and vendors and researchers– in light of recent changes to FERPA privacy regulations, and in light of the federally funded and federally-reporting State Longitudinal Database System (SLDS) that is partnered with the CCSSO (and PESC) under Utah’s SLDS grant agreement?

28. Why has the Utah State School Board not stood up against federally-partnered and SBAC-partnered Common Core tests to defend local control?

29. For students in the United States to be globally competitive, they must offer something different, that is, something that cannot be obtained at a lower cost in developing countries. High test scores in a few subjects can be achieved in most developing countries, so how could Common Core increase global competitiveness for U.S. students?

30. How can any test predict global competiveness or economic growth?

31. What empirical evidence do you have that high Common Core test scores could result in higher levels of innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship?

32. If countries like Estonia, Hungary, Slovenia, Vietnam, Latvia, and Poland routinely outscore the U.S. on standardized tests such as PISA, why isn’t their per capita gross domestic product or other personal economic indicators equal to those in the U.S. (World Bank, 2013)? In other words, what evidence do we have that pressuring students to focus on standardized testing will improve the U.S. economy?

33. Are you aware, that when you disaggregate the data by percentages of poverty in a school, the U.S. scores at the top of all the international PISA tests? (see Riddle, 2009) In other words, why are we pushing Common Core when our previous system of local control and freedom worked better academically than other countries’ governmentally standardized systems?

34. Companies like Boeing and GE are allowed to give their technology, utility patents, and know-how to the Chinese in return for being able to sell their products in China (Prestowitz, 2012). Can U.S. emphasis on standardized test scores create global competitiveness, really, or is it more likely that we should change the policy of allowing U.S. multinationals to give away our technological advantages, to increase our global competitiveness?

35. Are you aware that 81% of U.S. engineers are qualified to work in multinational corporations – the highest percentage in the world (Kiwana, 2012) while only 10% of Chinese engineering graduates and 25% of Indian engineers are prepared to work in multinational corporations or corporations outside of China or India (Gereffi, et al., 2006; Kiwana, 2012)?

36. Are you aware that the U.S. produces the largest numbers of utility patents (innovation patents) per year and has produced over 100,000 a year for at least the last 45 years? No other country comes close (USPTO, 2012).

37. Are you aware that adults in the U.S. rank at the top of the world in creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship –and that those adults were educated during a time of NO state or national standards (Tienken, 2013)?

38. To what extent do you agree with this statement? “Common Core is a standardized education philosophy that transmits prescribed content via nationally aligned standards, aligned tests and aligned texts; the previous system was less organized, more loosely monitored, less unified, but spent more time on creativity, individual exploration and innovation.”

39. How do you feel about the funding of the Common Core: one unelected businessman– Bill Gates– funded the Common Core initiative, paid the PTA and the pro-Common Core think tanks (Fordham Institute, Manhattan Institute, Foundation for Educational Excellence) that advocate for it, he partnered with Pearson, the largest educational text sales company in the world to market it, that he publically calls American schools his “uniform customer base”, and that he has said that his goal is for Common Core tests, curriculum and standards to align? See Gates’ public speech here.

40. How do you feel about Secretary Arne Duncan’s stated goals for national Common Core Educational Standards and Common Data Standards? To summarize, a few of Duncan’s stated goals are:

–1) to have the federal government take more control over American schools than ever before,
–2) to make schools (not families) be the community centers, open 6-7 days a week, 12 months a year, 14 hours per day; and
–3) to partner the federal department of education with the copyrighters of the Common Core (CCSSO) for both education standards AND for data collection standards.

———————-

THE CONTINUAL WEARYING a.k.a. THE SQUEAKY WHEEL

(More thoughts on the ongoing Common Core debate:)

If you aren’t going to attend the debate, please use these questions or your own to create more strong pushback from the Common Core disaster.

This is America! We are the people with the power to make things right when we see that they are wrong. This is not a land of centralized power, dictatorship, socialism. This is a land of liberty, where the local people self-govern. We have to wake people up to see that freedom matters– and that Common Core surely takes it away from our children.

We can use the beautiful American processes of debate, of real representation, and of constitutional balances of powers that are supposed to defend freedom and local autonomy.

If everyone who cared deeply about the damages of Common Core were to weary the school boards and governors with questions –repeatedly, weekly, persistently, patiently, unceasinglyCommon Core could not stand.

Common Core has no legs –except expensive marketing legs and lies– to stand on.

It has no academic pilot testing, no written amendment process for states to retain local control, no privacy protections for its tests’ data collection processes, no wisdom, no international benchmarking, no chance of improving “global competitiveness,” no heart, no state-led history, no commitment to local control; no hope to develop any real love of learning; no common sense.

What it does have is millions upon millions of dollars gambled on this takeover of American schools as a “uniform customer base” and many more millions spent on marketing its unsupportable talking points.

But it lacks the important stuff.

Parents (and teachers) can win back local control. We care more deeply about our children and about legitimate education than the proponents care about our children or Common Core.

We just have to be the squeaky wheel.

unrighteous judge parable

Remember the parable of Jesus from Luke 18:

“There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:

And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.

And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;

Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.”

Weary them, weary them.

We can write or call newspapers and t.v. stations.

We can politely and persistently pester our governor: 801-538-1000 or 800-705-2464 (Utah’s Governor Herbert’s number).

We can politely and persistently pester the principal and others in the school districts and especially make sure to pester state and local school board members, who are supposed to REPRESENT US, not Arne Duncan, Bill Gates, or Sir Michael Barber.

Here is the Utah State School Board’s address: board@schools.utah.gov

Here is the state superintendent’s address: martell.menlove@schools.utah.gov

Here is the governor’s education counselor’s address: ckearl@utah.gov

If you want to get 2 minutes to testify about these things at the monthly state school board meeting, contact secretary Lorraine at: Lorrain.Austin@schools.utah.gov

School Counselors Required to Push Common Core   4 comments

school counselor

I feel sorry for school guidance counselors. There’s a document out called “Role of the School Counselor in Utah Core” that says:

“You [the guidance counselors] are often the first line of defense in honoring the validity of the Utah Core State Standards.”

How many school counselors do you think became counselors so that they could serve (without pay) as marketing agents for the Gates-Pearson-Duncan power machine? I wonder if any school counselors are asking the state school board or their local superintendents on WHAT grounds they should honor the Core’s supposed validity. –Or is even the asking now seen as being insubordinate?

School counselors are supposed to “honor” the validity of UNVALID standards.

Does anything about this seem right to you?

VALID?

Doesn’t the word “valid” imply passing a validity test?

Common Core is both academically and politically invalid.

It’s 100% untried, experimental, and was rejected by its key validation committee members. It has a governance system over states that is contrary to the Constitutional way.

Surely at least some of the school counselors know these things.

The document quotes Jeb Bush: “The Common Core State Standards are an example of states recognizing a problem, then working together, sharing what works and what doesn’t.”

JEB BUSH.

Yikes. Jeb Bush, of all people, is not about to tell the truth about Common Core. Jeb Bush is funded by the very “philanthropist” who funded the entire Common Core and all its marketing, the one and only Bill Gates. Jeb Bush as a neutral, trustworthy source? Not even close!

But his statement is a lie even if it wasn’t coming from a Gates-bought man. Because Common Core is not, and never has been, an example of states “working together”. States didn’t ever “share what works and what doesn’t” to create the Core. That never happened, no matter how many times proponents claim that it did.

It was a group of D.C. businessmen that created the Common Core Standards without input from any Utah representatives nor Utah educators. There’s nothing state-led about it!

Nor did any state (or anyone) ever test these experimental standards. Ever.

This document for school counselors fails to mention, too, that no state has been given any authority by the Common Core Initiative to “work together” in the future, either, to amend or ever ALTER these commonly-held, supposedly states-controlled standards.

In truth, only the D.C. businessmen who created the standards can alter them because the standards are bound under copyright by D.C. businessmen. And they’re not accountable to voters.

So where’s the voice of the people in all of this?

School counselors are being pressured to believe and repeat actual falsehoods to students and parents.

INTERNATIONALLY BENCHMARKED?

Guidance counselors are told in the document that the standards are internationally benchmarked, which is another lie. As Dr. Stotsky has explained, “we are regularly told that Common Core’s standards are internationally benchmarked. Joel Klein, former head of the New York City schools, most recently repeated this myth in an interview with Paul Gigot, the Wall Street Journal editor… Not mentioned at all… is Klein’s current position in a company that does a lot of business with Common Core. An Exxon ad, repeated multiple times during a recently televised national tennis match, also suggested that Common Core’s standards were internationally benchmarked. We don’t know who influenced Exxon’s education director. Gigot never asked Klein what countries we were supposedly benchmarked to. Nor did the Exxon ad name a country to which these standards were supposedly benchmarked. Klein wouldn’t have been able to answer, nor could Exxon have named a country because Common Core’s standards are not internationally benchmarked.

On what planet are the Common Core standards in fact internationally benchmarked?

STATE-LED? NO FEDERAL ROLE?

According to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, “In March of 2009, President Obama called on the nation’s governors and state school chiefs to develop standards and assessments”.

So the President claims he thought up Common Core.

But school guidance counselors are reading that “The Federal Government played NO role in the development of the Common Core State Standards.”

Confusing? Not really.

There are unarguable proofs to rebut the “no-federal-control-of-standards” claim.

There’s a federal cap of 15% on Common Core in the ESEA flexibility document, meaning that the federal government is telling states that they can’t add more than 15% to their standards if they’ve accepted Common Core.

There’s a federal review of Common Core tests.

Obama claimed he asked American governors to create common standards.

Duncan and Obama advocate for Common Core as they alter the meaning of the term “college and career ready standards,” –(click on it)– the term is now officially redefined on the federal website as being standards “COMMON TO A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF STATES” –on the ed.gov website!

Duncan promised that he and Obama would enlarge the federal role in education. He announced in a speech to UNESCO, “Traditionally [Constitutionally] the federal government in the U.S. has had a limited role in education policy… The Obama administration has sought to fundamentally shift the federal role, so that the Department is doing much more“. Clearly, Duncan and Obama have unconstitutional aims in controlling states’ educational systems. They are not hiding their aims very well.

There is also the top-heavy federal controls mandated for beneficiaries of the Common Core test grant called “Race to the Top for the Assessments” for (SBAC and PARCC testing consortia members.)

There is also the outrageous, official Department of Education partnership with the unelected D.C. club (CCSSO) that wrote and copyrighted the Common Core Standards –as well writing the Common DATA standards. Then we have the federal carrot of money going directly from the federal Department of Education to individual DISTRICTS that accept Common Core. Next there are federal reviews of Common Core tests. And there is federal data collection by federally partnered EIMAC/CCSSO and the federal EDFACTS data exchange, of information gathered by Common Core tests. And don’t forget President Obama’s Blueprint for Reform, which includes STANDARDS as well as data collection and teacher controls and more.

This lie is repeated, as counselors are told in the document’s “helpful talking points” section, that Common Core was a state-led effort “spearheaded by governors and state school chiefs” –assuming counselors (and all of us) are too stupid to realize that governors and school chiefs have ZERO authority over creation of unconstitutional, national education standards and do not represent voters on a national stage.

So on what planet is it a true statement that there is no federal role in the Common Core?

NO HARM TO CLASSIC LITERATURE?

The next “myth” that the document addresses is “the standards do not limit reading to non-fiction but promote a balance between literature and non-fiction works”.

The fact is that Common Core standards will drive the Common Core aligned tests and thus will drive the teaching.

Common Core standards do reduce the amount of classic literature that a student may be exposed to, and that limitation level increases gradually so that by the time a student is in high school, only a small percentage of his/her reading may be literature; most of it must be informational text, the types of nonfiction reading assignments that used to be given in history, science, journalism, or health classes. Now it’s invaded the sacred territory of the English classroom, to the marginalization of stories, and in my view, also to the detriment of the love of reading.

The English professor who served on the Common Core validation committee and refused to sign off on the validity of the standards, Dr. Sandra Stotsky, explained in a white paper:

“Common Core’s “college-readiness” standards for ELA and reading are simply empty skill sets… As empty skill sets, Common Core’s college-readiness standards for ELA and reading cannot strengthen the high school curriculum, and they cannot reduce post-secondary remedial coursework in a legitimate way. Instead, they weaken the base of literary and cultural knowledge needed for authentic college coursework… Common Core expects English teachers to spend over 50 percent of their reading instructional time on nonfiction and informational texts such as seminal U. S. political documents, court decisions, and scientific and technical manuals. This is not what English teachers are trained to do in any college English department or teacher-preparation program… Common Core makes it impossible for English teachers to construct a coherent literature curriculum in grades 6-12, since most of the reading curriculum in those grades must address nonfiction and informational topics. Information about what? Will test developers select informational texts from science, history/social studies, and mathematics that English teachers have never been expected to teach?”

On what planet is there no harm to classic literature (to student learning of it) under Common Core?

STUDENT DATA PRIVACY?

Next, the school counselors’ document says that it is a myth that “implementation of the standards requires the collection and retention of personally-identifiable student data“.

First, a few questions: Can I, (barring homeschool) opt my child out of the Common Core aligned curriculum in any public/charter school in Utah? Of course not; it’s the new (although WRONG) normal.

Second: Can I opt my child out of being tracked by the SLDS (State Longitudinal Database System)? No. Not according to the Utah State School Board.

(If Common Core and student data tracking are completely unrelated, as the document claims, then why are both mandated by the state school board and why do new core tests link the two?)

Third: Even if I opt my child out of taking the Common Core math and English tests, can I opt her out of taking Common Core-aligned college entrance exams, to keep her information from reaching the State Longitudinal Database Systems and the federal reporting exchanges? How?

Common sense shows us that Common Core and common data systems are intertwined. But here’s more than common sense: links to proof.

If you go to the website of the CCSSO, that private D.C. club to which some superintendents belong, that same club that created and copyrighted Common Core, you will read this:

“The Common Education Data Standards Initiative is a joint effort by CCSSO and the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) in partnership with the United States Department of Education.” So the Department of Education has partnered officially with the CCSSO/Common Core makers to also create a Common Data Standards Initiative.

When Utah accepted a $9.6 million grant to build a federally-stipulated student longitudinal database in Utah, it also agreed to the PESC model, a CCSSO creation funded by the Gates Foundation. The PESC Model, in its own definition, “includes early childhood, elementary and secondary, post-secondary, and workforce elements, known as “P20,” and establishes comparability between sectors and between states.”

PESC states that it “will do for State Longitudinal Data Systems what the Common Core is doing for Curriculum Frameworks and the two assessment consortia. The core purpose of an SLDS is to fulfill federal reporting…”

Did you read that? The core purpose of SLDS is to FULFILL FEDERAL REPORTING. Creepier and creepier. Why even call it a “State” database? Why not just call it a federal database housed inside our state?

I find this alarming. Here is the evidence:

The agreement is stated on page 4 of section 1 (page 20 on the PDF) of Utah’s 2009 ARRA SLDS Data Grant: “The UDA (Utah Data Alliance) will adhere to standards such as the School Interoperability Framework (SIF), the Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council (PESC) and other XML schemas.”

We see clearly that Utah agreed to PESC common data standards in exchange for federal money. And the PESC “will do for State Longitudinal Data Systems what the Common Core is doing for Curriculum” and the purpose of the $9.6 million SLDS was “to fulfill federal reporting.”

But wait, there’s more.

The Common Core federal grant for Common Core testing, also known as the “Cooperative Agreement,” says that states receiving this grant money must “Comply with, and where applicable coordinate with the ED staff to fulfill, the program requirements… 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 for research, including for prospective linking, validity, and program improvement studies; subject to applicable privacy laws.” (And recall that the Department of Education shredded the previously protective privacy laws.)

Democratic Senator Edward markey of Massachusetts wrote a letter to Secretary Arne Duncan months ago, to which Duncan has not yet responded. In it, the Senator asked Duncan to explain why he had altered previously protective student privacy regulations known as FERPA.

Equally bad is the lack of safety for student data in the hands of the vendors of Common Core-aligned educational products. A New York Times article this week says that “when school districts are transferring student information to cloud service providers, by and large key privacy protections are absent from those arrangements,’ said Joel R. Reidenberg, a law professor at Fordham who led the study. ‘We’re worried about the implications for students over time, how their personal information may be used or misused.’”

The NYT article also states that “privacy specialists, industry executives and district officials say that federal education privacy rules and local district policies are not keeping up with advances like learning apps that can record a child’s every keystroke or algorithms that classify academic performance. Without explicit prohibitions on the nonacademic use of the information, specialists warn that unflattering data could hypothetically be shared with colleges or employers, to the detriment of the student” and that “under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, schools that receive federal funding must generally obtain written permission from parents before sharing students’ educational records. An exception allows school districts to share student information with companies, like those providing student information systems, without parental consent.”

So, on what planet does Common Core have nothing to do with federal student data collection or vendor data collecting?

A TRAGIC EXPERIMENT ON OUR FUTURE

Tragically, the entire underlying assumption that the Common Core standards are in fact an improvement, rather than a detraction from education, is totally questionable.

Though we wouldn’t allow a doctor to operate on our children without first vetting his surgical theories, yet state school board members and our governor are allowing children to be subjected to experimental standards that rest on zero research data– and there is no empirical data for unpiloted experimental standards. (For more on that, read Seton Hall University Professor Christopher Tieken’s article and video on “Dataless Decisionmaking” and the educational malpractice of Common Core.)

At what point does a parent raise her voice?

At what point does a teacher just say no?

At what point does a guidance counselor stand up for truth?

If I were a school guidance counselor, I would find a job at a private school, independent of Common Core.

If I couldn’t find another job, I would tell my students and inquiring parents that Common Core is a controversial topic and that they should research it for themselves.

I would tell my principal and school board that I did not become a guidance counselor to promote unproven theories of businessmen, noneducators, federal agencies and racketeers.

I would call out the lies of all the Common Core pushers, and not let them make me one of them.

7 Links to Evidence of Federal Control of Common Core   8 comments

arne barackk

Folks, there can be no question that the federal government is using Common Core to take away our freedoms.

So why do many people still believe that “there’s no federal control of Common Core”? Because trusted education leaders are not being forthright with –or are not in possession of– the truth. Here in Utah, for example, the Utah State Office of Education, has a “fact-versus-fiction” pamphlet which still says that the standards “are not federally controlled.”

The fact is that states that adopted Common Core standards are being co-parented by two groups in partnership, neither of which takes seriously the constitutional rights of the states to govern education locally: these partners are 1) The federal government and 2) Private trade clubs financed by Bill Gates– NGA and CCSSO.

So first, here’s evidence of terrible federal controls: (click to fact check, please)

1. Federal micromanagement in Common Core testing grant conditions and now, Race to the Top grant lures that go directly to districts and ignore state authority over districts.
2.Federal ESEA 15% capped waiver conditions that deny states the right to add more than 15% to our standards;
3. Federal reviews of tests
4. Federal data collection
5. Federal
disfiguration of previously protective FERPA laws that removed parental rights over student data;
6. President Obama’s four assurances for education reform which governors promised to enact in exchange for ARRA stimulus funds;
7.Obama’s withholding of funds from schools that do not adopt Common Core as read in his Blueprint for Reform (aka The Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act) which says, “Beginning in 2015, formula funds will be available only to states that are implementing assessments based on college- and career-ready standards that are common to a significant number of states.”

barack arne

And here’s evidence of unelected, corporate controls of Common Core:

1) Common Core copyrights (and “living work” alteration rights) are held solely by two unelected, private clubs, the superintendents’ club (aka CCSSO) and a governors’ club (aka NGA).
2) These two clubs’ Common Core creation was influenced and funded not by voters/taxpayers, by the politically extreme Bill Gates, who has spent over $5 Billion on his personal, awful version of education reform– and that dollar amount is his own admission.
3) No amendment process exists for states to co-amend the “living work” standards. The “living work” statement means that OUR standards will be changed without representation from US as the states; it will be controlled by the private trade groups CCSSO/NGA.
4) Bill Gates and Pearson are partnered. (Biggest ed sales company partnered with 2nd richest man on earth, all in the effort to force Common Core on everyone.)
5) The speech of corporate sponsor Bill Gates when he explains that “We’ll only know [Common Core] this works when the curriculum and the tests are aligned to these standards.” This explains why he is giving away so much money so that companies can be united in the gold rush of creating Common Core curriculum.
6. Virtually every textbook sales company now loudly advertises being “common core aligned” which creates a national monopoly on textbook-thought. This, despite the fact that the standards are unpiloted, experimental (in the words of Dr. Christopher Tienken, Common Core is education malpractice.)
7. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and many huge corporations (ExxonMobil) are loudly selling Common Core as a way of creating wealth, despite the standards’ untested nature.

The federal partnering with the private groups like CCSSO/NGA, means that mandates and thought-monopolies of Common Core are truly beyond even legislative control. –Because they are privately controlled, they’re beyond voters’ influence.

This is why nothing short of an outright rejection of all things Common Core can restore us to educational freedom.

Why should you care? Why should you fight this, even if you don’t have children in school? Because of the Constitution.

The Constitution sets us apart as the only country on earth that has ever truly had the “freedom experiment” work. This makes us a miraculous exception. Why would we ever shred the Constitution by accepting initiatives that disfigure our representative system?

The G.E.P.A. law states that “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…”

So the federal government is prohibited from creating tests or instructional materials– but the private groups NGA and CCSSO, funded by Gates, are not! This is why the federal Department of Education officially partnered with these unelected, private corporate interests –groups which are not accountable to G.E.P.A. laws, to teachers, principals, taxpayers, voters or children. (This may also explain why Arne Duncan goes to such great lengths to distinguish between standards and curriculum. Everybody knows that standards dictate curriculum like a frame dictates the height and width of a house. But GEPA law doesn’t use the word “standards.”)

We are in unrepresented dire straits: In no way do voters or teachers (or states themselves) control what is now set in the Common Core standards.

This is true in spite of the so often-repeated “the standards are state-led” marketing line. Don’t believe the marketing lines! So much money is money being spent on marketing Common Core because of Bill Gates. Gates sees this whole Common Core movement as a way to establish his (and Pearson’s) “uniform customer base.”

Watch Gates say these words in his speech if you haven’t already. This speech needs to be widely known, especially by school boards –so that we can boycott this monopoly on thought and on our precious taxpayer dollars.

Please don’t let people keep getting away with saying that the Common Core is free from federal controls, or that “we can add anything we want to it” and “there are no strings attached.” It simply isn’t true.

(How we wish that it was.)

arne barack

My, What Big Data Teeth you have, Grandmother: An Open Letter to Utah Legislators   7 comments

Dear Utah Legislator,

I’m writing to you as a mother to ask you to put a stop to the use of Utah’s school systems as snooping agents on our children.

Corporate and federal partnerships and Utah state data systems and interstate partnerships now watch and track our children without anyone having asked for parental consent to do so.

Some Utah leaders are working hard to fortify privacy rights, I know. But many powerful organizations, departments and corporations are working hard to ignore, dismiss, or stop any efforts to defend student privacy– all with great intentions but absolutely without authority.

The result is a data collecting and sharing network that represents loss of parental authority and loss of individual privacy.

In recent years, Utah built and is now using a federally structured and paid-for ($9.6 M) State Longitudinal Database System (SLDS) from which no parent is permitted to opt their child out.

This lack of liberty should be a red flag.

But few Utahns know that their child is being tracked and very few know that they can’t opt out of that tracking.

Fewer still know that there’s a Utah Data Alliance (UDA) that links K-12 data, collected by schools, with higher ed., with the State workforce and other agencies.

Utah’s UDA has agreed to use the Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council (PESC) State Core Model –which means all of our data will be interoperable and sharable across state lines. The PESC’s State Core Model aligns different states’ SLDS data systems so that they all match.

I am not saying that Utah agencies are sharing private data yet; I am saying that there’s nothing strong preventing them from doing so and that school systems are moving in the direction of more and more data commonality and disaggregation of student data. (see point 4 at that link.)

Countless entities have lined up with a “Data Quality Campaign” to make sure all their data points and technologies match, so that student information can be pooled.

Federal FERPA laws, previously protective of student data, have now been grossly loosened, and federal agencies including the NCES and the Department of Education, as well as White House events such as “Datapalooza” and White House Chiefs such as Joanne Weiss, are encouraging us to pool data, while (weakly) noting that student privacy is, of course, important. Yet proper protections are missing.

The Department of Education does a two-faced dance, asking for “robust data” and altering FERPA on the one hand, and insisting that they don’t even collect student data when speaking to the press. The U.S. Department of Education’s intentions are, however, revealed in the student-level data-sharing mandate in its cooperative testing agreements and in the contrast between what Secretary Arne Duncan says and does.

The PESC model was developed by the unelected, private trade group, CCSSO, as part of the Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) funded by the Gates Foundation. (CCSSO is the same private group that developed and copyrighted Common Core standards). The PESC Model, in its own definition, “includes early childhood, elementary and secondary, post-secondary, and workforce elements, known as “P20,” and establishes comparability between sectors and between states.”

PESC states that it “will do for State Longitudinal Data Systems what the Common Core is doing for Curriculum Frameworks and the two assessment consortia. The core purpose of an SLDS is to fulfill federal reporting…”

I find this alarming. You might find it hard to believe that Utah is lined up with it.

So here is the evidence:

The agreement is stated on page 4 of section 1 (page 20 on the PDF) of Utah’s 2009 ARRA Data Grant: “The UDA will adhere to standards such as the School Interoperability Framework (SIF), the Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council (PESC) and other XML schemas.”

Here is the PESC State Core Model abstract.

“1.0 Abstract

The State Core Model is a common technical reference model for states implementing state longitudinal data systems (SLDS). It was developed by CCSSO as part of the Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) adoption work with funding from the Gates Foundation…The State Core Model will do for State Longitudinal Data Systems what the Common Core is doing for Curriculum Frameworks and the two assessment consortia. The core purpose of an SLDS is to fulfill federal reporting (EDEN/EDFacts)…
The Model [can replace] 625 distinct Federal reporting types with record-level data collections.

… The Model is designed to address unique, complex P20 SLDS relationships, business rules, and entity factoring… It addresses student-teacher link, common assessment data model, and comes pre-loaded with Common Core learning standards.

The State Core Model consists of three principle artifacts… All three artifacts can be downloaded and used without charge or attribution from [the EIMAC group site].”

Data Baby

And, what is EIMAC? In case you hadn’t heard of EIMAC: it’s the branch of the CCSSO that “advocates on behalf of states to reduce data collection burden and improve the overall quality of the data collected at the national level.” Yes, they said that out loud. They collect data at the national level without authority nor any representation.

But, but– (we say) –Aren’t we protected by GEPA law and by the Constitution from any sort of “accountability” to federal agencies in educational matters or privacy matters including “unreasonable searches”?

Not if our legislators don’t defend these rights.

According to the PESC document, on page 5, we are drowning in “federal accountability”. There are at least 625 federal reports mentioned at PESC. A few include: http://www.pesc.org/library/docs/Common%20Data%20Standards/State%20Core%20Model%2011-17.pdf

EDEN – EDFacts 79 file types
CRDC – Civil Rights Data Collection 2 parts
SFSF – State Fiscal Stabilization Fund 33 indicators, 3 descriptors
MSRI – Migrant Student Records Exchange Initiative
CSPR – Consolidated State Performance Reports 191 Indicators
OSEP – Office of Special Education Programs 34 indicators
IPEDS – Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System
CCD – Common Core Data (fiscal) Financial data collected in survey format
SDFSCA – Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities Act Data are collected in CSPR
M-V – McKinney-Vento Collected through CSPR.
Perkins – Perkins Act
RTTT – Race to the Top N/A
TIF – Teacher Incentive Fund 6 Sections
N or D Annual Report of Neglected and Delinquent (N or D) Children Collected through CSPR”

—————–

To clarify: the document that signed us up for PESC is the Utah application for the ARRA grant for a SLDS database. (This document resulted in Utah receiving $9.6 million from the federal government, none of which was used for actual education, but only to build the student database (SLDS).)

That SLDS grant application talks about authorizing de-identification of data for research and it says that individuals will be authorized to access personal student information in the various Utah agencies that belong to UDA.

Who are these individuals? How many of them are there? Why does the UDA trust them with information that parents weren’t even told was being gathered on our children?

NON-COGNITIVE AND PSYCHOLOGICAL DATA, TOO.

Starting at page 87, we read how non-cognitive behaviors that have nothing to do with academics, will be collected and studied by school systems.

These include “social comfort and integration, academic conscientiousness, resiliency, etc.” to be evaluated through the psychometric census known as the “Student Strengths Inventory. (SSI)”

The SSI inventory –your child’s psychological information– will be integrated into the system (SLDS) and there are plans to do this for earlier grades, but for now it’s for 11th and 12th graders. Demographic information is captured while administering the test and SSI data will be given to whomever it is assumed needs to see it. (This is not a parental decision but a state decision.)

INTEGRATING STUDENT PSYCHOMETRIC CENSUS DATA INTO THE SLDS SYSTEM:

The SLDS grant also promises to integrate our psychological data into the SLDS (that database which the feds paid for/pushed on us.)

“Utah’s Comprehensive Counseling and Guidance programs have substantial Student Education Occupation Plan, (SEOP) data, but they are not well integrated with other student data. With the introduction of UtahFutures and the Student Strengths Inventory (SSI) and its focus on noncognitive data, combining such data with other longitudinal student level data to the USOE Data
Warehouse
the UDA. Both the USOE (K-12) and the Postsecondary Outcomes and Data Needs
sub-sections will address these needs.”

(My, what big data collection teeth you have, Grandmother!The better to integrate you with, my dear.)

Next, on page 87 of the same grant, Utah’s application for the ARRA money, it says:

“… psychosocial or noncognitive factors… include, but are not limited to educational commitment, academic engagement and conscientiousness, social comfort and social integration, academic self-efficacy, resiliency… Until recently, institutions had to rely on standardized cognitive measures to identify student needs.
… We propose to census test all current student in grades 11 and 12 and then test students in grade 11 in subsequent years using the Student Strengths Inventory (SSI) – a measure of noncognitive attitudes and behaviors.”

So the Student Strengths Inventory (SSI) is a “psychometric census” to be taken by every 11th and 12th grade student in Utah. That’s how they’re gathering the psychological data.

But that’s not the only way psychological data is being taken in Utah schools. “Behavioral indicators” are also required to be collected by the Common Core tests, those math and English A.I.R. or SAGE tests, as Utah House Bill 15, aka the Common Core Computer Adaptive Testing Bill, demands.

What can we do?

markey images

Massachusetts Democratic Senator Edward Markey has taken action. He articulated his concerns on this subject in a letter to Secretary Arne Duncan. Other legislators around the nation are writing bills to take protective action for student privacy.

I hope all Utah legislators read Senator Markey’s letter, peruse the PESC and ARRA (SLDS) grant documents, look into the SSI surveys, study the machinations of Secretary Arne Duncan,and then take action to put an end to the unreined and ever-growing network of entities which collude for profit and for other, various control-related reasons, to dismiss the vital right of student privacy.

This would mean ending the “partnerships” by Utah with: the CCSSO, the Data Quality Campaign, the PESC State Model, the SLDS interoperability framework, the National Data Collection Model, the CEDS program of EIMAC; it would mean creating proper protections inside the Utah Data Alliance, and most of all, it would mean establishing permission from parents prior to any student SLDS surveillance.

Thank you.

Christel Swasey
Utah Mother

Video: Arkansas Teen Scholar Against Common Core   5 comments

My jaw is on the ground.

Not only is teen Patrick Richardson’s powerpoint presentation excellent, but as a kid –free of the parental panic that is quite paralyzing to many adults– he finds humor in the horror story of the takeover of U.S. education!

For example, at minute 16:48 Patrick says:

“How will student data be collected? This is another funny topic when you start asking people who are supposed to know the answers, because they swear up and down that they aren’t collecting this data, they never will, they never have. They tell you no. Bottom line is, they’re sort of being bypassed too.

Then he goes on to show exactly how it’s happening.

I LOVE THIS BOY!

Patrick Richardson is the 2013 version of the boy in “The Emperor’s New Clothes” who dares say out loud, that the darn emperor is stark naked. And he’s right.

At the Arkansas Against Common Core site, you will find this video, and an introduction to the remarkable Patrick Richardson. The site explains:

“Grace Lewis, founder and organizer of Arkansas Against Common Core, did not know the power she would unleash when she asked a technologically savvy local youth to help her create a website for Arkansas Against Common Core. Patrick Richardson, a then 15 year old youth with high personal standards and a vast interest in technology, answered that request when he presented Mrs. Lewis with an organized, well researched, fact based website… shocked and elated, Mrs. Lewis asked Richardson if he would also like to speak at the upcoming House and Senate Joint Education Committee Interim Study on Common Core. He was up to the challenge and showed up at the hearing with a presentation that completely amazed everyone including the Joint Education Committee and the State Department of Education. No one was prepared for Patrick’s well researched power point presentation on the money trail behind Common Core. He left many with dropped jaws and stunned faces.”

Read the rest.

Common Core Eerily Like Challenger Launch   2 comments

In January 1986 I was a high school student in Orlando, watching out the window as the Challenger Space Shuttle launched about fifty miles away. Christa MacAuliffe, the first teacher in space, was being launched with a seven member crew.

shuttle challenger

Then we all saw the explosion in the sky.

The plumes represented total failure and the deaths of seven people. Christa MacAuliffe perished along with every one of the seven members of the Challenger crew– a horrible, history-scarring launch. But.

What wasn’t widely known until years later was that the Challenger disaster had been avoidable.

Avoidable!

Top engineers had alterted NASA not to launch. Memos had been circulated. Calls had been made but ignored. Groupthink had taken over.

help memo challenger

NASA chose to ignore legitimate concerns –under financial and cultural pressures. That decision to ignore proved disasterous to the entire country.

Today, launch-executives of Common Core (including School Boards/PTA/NGA/CCSSO/Bill Gates’-funded thinktanks) are choosing to ignore concerns because of financial pressure. This will prove disasterous to the children and teachers now being launched into Common Core.

The morning of the Challenger’s launch, Florida temperatures were very cold.

ice and challenger launch pad

As NASA has documented:

NASA remembered that the builder of the shuttle, Morton-Thiokol, had been concerned about low temperature launches and made a call to the Utah headquarters.

“A manager came by my room and asked me if I was concerned about an 18 degree launch,” recalled Morton Thiokol engineer Bob Ebeling. “I said ‘What?’ – because we’re only qualified to 40 degrees. I said, ‘What business does anyone even have thinking about 18 degrees, we’re in no man’s land.’”

The O-rings had never been tested below freezing.

The Senior Representative for Morton Thiokol, at the Kennedy Space Center, Alan McDonald, refused to sign off that the project was ready and safe; he said temperatures were too cold to safely use the booster motors Morton Thiokol had built.

But his supervisors in Utah OVERRULED HIM and faxed a signature to NASA indicating that the company approved the launch anyway. (Doesn’t this remind you of the way the state school boards are overruling concerned, local superintendents, teachers, parents and administrators?)

It wasn’t just the temperatures on that day that were a problem. It wasn’t just the fact that they hadn’t tested the O-rings at these temperatures. Problems had been percolating all along. Months earlier, in October 1985, engineer Bob Ebeling had sent out a memo with the subject heading, “HELP!”

The purpose of Ebeling’s memo was to draw attention to dangerous structural errors in engineering. Roger Boijoly, yet another Morton Thiokol Engineer, validated Ebeling and McDonald, saying that the management’s style, the atmosphere at Morton Thiokol, dis-allowed dissent. (Doesn’t this description remind you of the atmosphere of the State Office of Education which treats dissenting voices on Common Core as “misinformed” and insubordinate?)

Boijoly testified that “Many opportunities were available to structure the work force for corrective action, but the Morton Thiokol management style would not let anything compete or interfere with the production and shipping of boosters. The result was a program which gave the appearance of being controlled while actually collapsing from within due to excessive technical and manufacturing problems as time increased.”

Why were these whistleblowers ignored? This question lingers. Many university courses use the Challenger disaster as a case study in the dangers of groupthink and the importance of listening to dissenting voices –even when listening means risking great financial and cultural pressures.

(See samples of university case studies of the Challenger ethics/groupthink disaster here and here.)

Today, the Florida Department of Education uses this image on its website, calling it “Countdown to Common Core.” It is eerie but it’s real.

Eerie logo or not, most states in the US are launching these un-vetted, un-tested, un-piloted, un-constitutionally governed Common Core standards. And whistleblowers who testify that this launch must be stopped, are being marginalized and scorned, rather than being heard.

florida countdown common core launch logo

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Here are five parallels between the launch of Common Core and the launch of the 1986 Challenger.

1. In both cases, teachers were placed in harm’s way yet they nobly and confidently took on the high-risk role.

2. In both cases, there was a lack of pilot testing and a lack of proper study of the structure of the thing that was to be launched.

See Professor Christopher Tienken’s condemnation of the launching of Common Core without pilot testing in his research paper, here. See the side-by-side studies of pre and post Common Core academic standards, commissioned by Senator William Ligon of Georgia, here. See Pioneer Institute’s white paper on the rapid, unvetted implementation of Common Core across the nation, here.

3. In both cases, leading experts risked reputation and careers to be whistleblowers, to stop the doomed launches.</strong>

See expert educators’ testimonies here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here.

4. In both cases, whistleblowers were marginalized and leadership forged ahead, heedlessly.

See how the U.S. Secretary of Education and his corporate allies and pseudo-governmental allies deride the increasing number of dissenting voices.

5. <strong>In both cases, there was no escape hatch provided for those who chose to be onboard.

In the case of the Challenger shuttle, evidence suggests that some if not all of the people on board were alive during part or all of the descent of the cabin after it detached from the rest of the shuttle. It took over 2 minutes for the cabin to crash into the Atlantic. Might lives have been saved if there had been an escape system?

Launch escape systems had been considered several times during shuttle development, but NASA’s conclusion was that the shuttle’s expected high reliability would PRECLUDE THE NEED for one.

In the case of the Common Core launch, again, high expectations for reliability have apparently precluded the need for an escape hatch. While states may technically drop out of the Common Core initiative at any time, it becomes about as realistic to do so as it was for Hansel and Gretel being able to find their trail of crumbs in the woods that might have led them to freedom; with each passing day, that likelihood diminishes.

States are investing hundreds of millions upon hundreds of millions nationwide to create technological infrastructures, teacher trainings, textbook repurchasings, and public advocacy programs to implement Common Core. They are not likely to pull out.

States staying in do try to make these standards feel locally owned, by changing the name from “Common Core” to “Utah Core” or “California Core,” or by adding some of the federally permitted 15% to the Common Core.

But the nationally aligned tests will never take any 15% into account. (How could they? Differing would mean states’ standards were no longer “common.” And then comparisons from state to state would not be useful to the data hungry corporations and governmental “stakeholders” who crave that student testing data)

And if states were to try to get together and actually significantly alter and improve the commonly held standards, GOOD LUCK.

The Common Core State Standards are under private copyright and there’s no amendment process offered outside of that private club which claims to be the “sole developers and owners” of the standards.

—————————————————————————————-

Anybody see see an actual, functioning escape hatch for Common Core?

What happens if we decide, down the line, that we don’t like how things are going? How can we regain that control, that copyright, that states-owned amendability of state standards, and that privacy (pre-S.L.D.S?)

I don’t see proper testing or vetting in the history of these standards. Do you?

I don’t see proper discussion of whistleblowers’ concerns. Do you?

I don’t see proponents caring at all for the well-being of the children and teachers being launched without their consent on this thing. Proponents are driven by money and by indebtedness to funders and by the desire for greater power over our children and over all people.

It is time to stop the Common Core launch.

And if we can’t stop this launch– if our leaders choose to ignore all reason and ignore the voices of those who not only have elected them, but who are the first authorities over the children– then it is time to take action and pull our children off the machine.

shuttle challenger

Florida Mother of Six Fights “The Machine” of Jeb Bush and Bill Gates, FLA Legislature   5 comments

“All these groups want accountability from our children but I demand accountability from them – Debbie Higginbotham, Florida mother

jeb bush

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debbie h

FLORIDA’S FIGHT FOR EDUCATION: FREEDOM FROM “THE MACHINE”

By Debbie Higginbotham

In every state across this great nation, parents, grandparents, and great Americans are speaking out loudly against Common Core and the Race to The Top Agreement (RTTT). And they should!

Each state has their grassroots groups and coalitions marching to their state capitols demanding answers on why their children have been sold to the Federal Government.

When I started this personal crusade to save my children’s educational freedoms about a year ago, I had no idea what I was going to encounter. I am just a mom who is enjoying raising six beautiful children with no political aspirations nor experience in debating these political cronies.

Every state has their mountains to climb when fighting CC and ridding their state of these horrible standards and mandates all enclosed with the RTTT. Here in Florida most of our battles are the same, but we are fighting a white elephant in the room as well. That white elephant is Jeb Bush and his foundations and other groups he has “founded” that are promoting “higher standards”.

Many refer to Jeb Bush and his cronies as “The Machine”.

When originally talking with school board members and legislators– and being told that Common Core was here to stay and there was nothing I could do about it, I knew something was not right with this whole thing.

Some legislators were giving me the smile and wink –and I thought I was making progress.

It was pleasing to know, at the time, that my elected officials were taking my complaints to heart because this was going to affect their children as well.

I quickly started doing more research and that old saying of “follow the money trail” came to light so true and it wasn’t just looking into Bill Gates anymore, but looking into Jeb Bush and his involvement with Gates and his continuing efforts to alter Florida’s education system for his own political gain and a bid for the White House.

Those winks and nods were just that, empty promises.

The more I was learning, it soon disgusted me. How can a man with no elected accountability from voters have such an influence on my children’s education?

Everywhere I turned I was hitting the same roadblocks and that was “The Machine”. It wasn’t only Jeb Bush but I came to find out through more digging that Jeb Bush has pretty much bought and paid for almost all of the Republican legislators in office right now, including Governor Rick Scott. Even Lobbyists have a loyalty to him.

Jim Horne is the prominent one.

Back in August, Rick Scott called for an education summit to make it look like he was making an effort of hearing all sides of the education issues. He never showed up at the summit he’d called for, but then decided to further his political career and make decisions about Florida’s children over a bottle of an alcoholic beverage and dinner
on a Thursday evening with “The Machine” and its allies, Chair of the State Board of Education Gary Chartrand, and Republican Rep John Thrasher.

Most recently, Governor Rick Scott issued an Executive Order to withdraw from PARCC and resign from being the lead state. http://www.fldoe.org/news/2013/2013_09_23-2.asp?style=print

He also stated he would hold three district hearings to give parents and experts opportunities to voice their concerns on specific standards within Common Core. Great move on the Governor’s part, but the response from all of us was that this is just smoke and mirrors. Scott was only trying to pacify us, the parents, while still keeping “The Machine” happy.

When will this man stand on his own two feet? Even more disturbing is in the last few days our Education Commissioner, Pam Stewart, has come out and said that even though the hearings will be held, it will not change any outcome continuing with the implementation of Common Core.

REALLY! That just goes to prove it is all smoke and mirrors.

Everywhere we turn this white elephant shows up uninvited! There are little worker bees “The Machine” spreads throughout the state to try and shut us down. They make it their life each day to seek out moms like me and try to prove that we are misinformed about Common Core and how Florida needs higher standards and accountability from our children and teachers.

ACCOUNTABILITY!? Who is holding “The Machine” accountable?

Who is holding the NGA and CCSSO accountable? Let’s not forget ACHIEVE!

All these groups want accountability from our children but I demand accountability from them and what they believe to be best for my children. They have nothing better to do than come after moms and dads like me and call us misinformed! Only my husband and I, the true authorities, know what is best for our children.

“The Machine” has even promoted radio ads to be played boasting the standards on how they will give our children higher learning. The group “Conservatives For Higher Standards” was also involved with making and promoting the ad. We know those two have close ties to each other. The ad also touts making getting into college a fair playing field, no rote memorization, helping kids learn more, and states can opt in or our of the standards along with the lie that there are no DC mandates.

We are working on a counter ad to make sure our voices are right with theirs, and we are not backing down.

We are going to call their lies out.

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debbie higginbotham

Debbie Higginbotham is a mighty but tiny, very adorable, very-pregnant-with-her-seventh-child, mother and fredom fighter, who currently homeschools all but her oldest child.

She can be reached via Florida Parents Against Common Core. (www.flparentsagainstcommoncore.com)

Thank you, Debbie.

Video: Dr. Christopher Tienken Speaks Out in New York   1 comment

Dr. Christopher Tienken spoke at a conference on Common Core held in New York this month. His hard-hitting speech, posted below, includes the powerful, shattering truth that there’s no evidence to support the claims of Common Core proponents. The emperor is wearing no clothes.

“Major policies that we impose on children and parents should have evidence to support their effectiveness.” -Dr. Christopher Tienken, Seton Hall University

After you watch the speech, read Dr. Tienken’s scholarship, book chapter excerpts and previously released video about Common Core at his website.

Study the Common Core Money War   4 comments

This week’s Politico article entitled “The Common Core Money War” made me snort. While the authors admitted that the Gates Foundation has spent almost 200 million pushing Common Core on the masses, they asserted that opponents of Common Core (that would be people like me) are “backed by an array of organizations with multimillion dollar budgets.”

Not very funny. Not very true.

I am an example of the opposition to Common Core. I may be just one mom/teacher/voice against Common Core. But I can testify that I have never received a penny for any of my work against Common Core, and neither have my friends in this battle.

We spend countless hours researching government documents and attending boring school board meetings, write hundreds and hundreds of blog articles based on hours of research; plead with legislators and our governor; speak to groups and to the media. Our “stop common core” work is very tightly sandwiched time, budgeted between teaching school, changing diapers, doing laundry, being wives and mothers and church people.

We don’t sleep a lot and our houses aren’t all that tidy. We do this because it MUST BE DONE.

We are protecting our children and our Constitution. This is the only reason we work so hard.

We lose money in this fight; we pay for all our photocopies and the gas in our cars to drive to give speeches all over Utah. Notice: the reason there are no donate buttons on this blog, and the reason I haven’t paid WordPress the $100 they charge to get rid of their ads at the bottom of my page, the reason I don’t choose to accept ads or to make money off this blog is simple: I think I would lose credibility if this became a paid job for me. I think I would watch my words too carefully, be too careful of who I might offend, be afraid to speak out of my heart, be afraid to quote religious leaders or business leaders. WordPress is the only entity making money off my anti-common core fight.

There may be salaried folk at FreedomWorks or some of the think tanks that are against Common Core, but none of them are paid off by the conflict-of-interest, Microsoft-owning, Pearson-partnering Leviathan of all Grantmaking, Bill Gates.

And almost all of the Common Core proponents are paid by Gates. Follow the money trail: National PTA: paid by Gates to advocate. Harvard: paid by Gates to advocate. Jeb Bush: Paid by Gates to advocate. National Governors’ Association and Council of Chief State School Officers: Paid by Gates to develop and advocate for the Common Core.

But Politico is right about one thing: there is definitely a Common Core Money War going on. Lots of people ARE GETTING SO RICH because of the Common Core gold rush.

Just today in the Salt Lake City paper, Deseret News, I saw this little doozy: Companies are announcing plans to bring over a thousand new jobs to Utah. Guess what almost all of them are? Common Core jobs. Jobs that are Common Core dependent.

The article states: “The School Improvement Network provides tools and resources to educators to help them improve their teaching ability and meet the needs of all students. Over the 10-year life of the agreement, the company will pay out more than $5.9 million in new state wages… School Improvement Network will pay more than $15 million in new state taxes and invest more than $10 million in capital expansion at the Utah-based offices….’Utah is increasingly known as the emerging Wall Street of the West,’ Gov. Gary Herbert said. “The opening of the new office by Indus Valley Partners demonstrates the capabilities of Utah’s educated and hardworking workforce’”

Governor Herbert is more concerned with Utah making money by using Common Core technologies and Common Core sales products than he is concerned with making sure we haven’t been sold snake oil. But we have.

The Governor’s never done a cost analysis on Common Core although he promised us in a face to face meeting that he would.

He’s never looked into the fact that Common Core is an unpiloted experiment on children that throws out time-tested classical education and local control of education in favor of a collective notion of federally supervised and funded tests and standards.

I don’t care how much money Common Core implementation could make for our state. So could legalizing gambling, prostitution and drugs. It’s so wrong.

Common Core’s an academic scam, a prime example of –in Dr. Chris Tienken’s words– dataless decisionmaking. It’s a crime against the Constitutional right to determine education locally. Its tests are a robbery of student privacy and student time.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/education-common-core-standards-schools-96964.html#ixzz2fG7XltoA

Stop Common Core.

Professors Provide Proof Georgia Math and English Standards Were Better Before Common Core   Leave a comment

In July (2013) a report was issued (at the request of Georgia Senator William Ligon) that compares Georgia’s pre-Common Core standards to Georgia’s now-adopted Common Core standards.

Oh, boy.

You can read the full reports at the Senator’s web page, here and you can see the web page of Dr. Mary Kay Bacallao, the Georgia math professor who provided the report, here. You can also read the report of Dr. Sandra Stotsky who provided the English Language Arts segment for Senator Ligon’s report, here.

There are a few vital highlights that I want to share.

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From Dr. Bacallao’s math report:</strong>

“What is missing in the new Common Core Math Standards? A few examples:

- Mean, median, mode, and range — gone in elementary grades.

- The concept of pi, including area and circumference of circles – gone in elementary grades.

- The Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic (prime factorization) – gone completely.

- Using fractions, decimals, and percents interchangeably — gone completely.

- Measurement -density – no measurement instruction after 5th grade.

- Division of a fraction by a fraction – gone in elementary grades.

- Algebra — inadequate readiness in the elementary grades and pushed back one year (from middle school – 8th grade – to high school – 9th grade). This means the majority of Georgia students will not reach calculus in high school, as expected by selective universities.

- Geometry — simple skills such as calculating the area of triangles, parallelograms and polygons are no longer taught in elementary grades.”

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Highlights from Dr. Stotsky’s English Language Arts report for Georgia:

“1. Georgia should re-adopt its previous standards with some revisions spelled out below because they are far superior to Common Core’s. They emphasize reading far more than does Common Core, they stress the kind of reading (literary study) that fosters critical thinking, and they serve as far better guides to the kind of reading that secondary students in Georgia should be assigned in the school curriculum whether they choose to go to an institution of higher education, go into an occupational trade, or go into the military.

2. Georgia should base its state assessments in reading and literature on its previous standards, not on Common Core’s inferior English language arts standards. It would be a waste of the taxpayers’ money to base state assessments on a set of standards that needs to be completely revised, if not abandoned.

3. Georgia’s legislators should ask literary and humanities scholars at their own fine universities to work with a group of experienced and well-trained high school English teachers to design a readiness test in reading and literature for admission to Georgia’s own colleges and universities. They should also ask engineering, science and mathematics faculty at the University of Georgia and the Georgia Institute of Technology to design a readiness test in mathematics and science for admission to Georgia’s own higher education institutions, as well as the syllabi for the advanced mathematics and science coursework this faculty wants to see Georgia high school students take. Georgia can do much better than Common Core’s standards or tests for these purposes. Georgia does not need federal education policy-makers (or test developers) to decide what admission requirements to Georgia’s colleges and universities should be in reading, literature, mathematics, or science.

4. Before Georgia uses its previous ELA standards to guide classroom curriculum and state testing, the legislature should require them to be reviewed and vetted by experienced Georgia high school teachers and literary scholars at its own colleges and universities.
a. Some standards belong at the graduate level.
b. Some standards are repetitious, superfluous, or non-accessable.
c. The Reading Across the Curriculum (RC) standards should be removed. They are inappropriate for English teachers and English classes.
d. All of the standards for “multicultural” literature should be folded as appropriate into grade 8 or the high school courses for American, British and world literature. High quality literary works by “multicultural” authors are part of one of these bodies of literature and should not be isolated.”

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Post Script:

The fact is, the Common Core standards are an unpiloted experiment. School boards and governors signed on to them via federal coercion, to get a shot at the Race to the Top grant money. It was never about academic superiority. (That part about “international competitiveness” and “rigor” has always been an unverifiable claim / lie.)

So as brilliant and helpful as the above explanations are in educating Americans about the tragic weaknesses of Common Core, I still feel that ultimately, long term, the discussion –about whether Common Core Standards are worse or better in any given state– barely even matters. It’s always been about control of the American people and their schools; it’s never really been about raising educational standards.

Georgia (and every other state that adopted Common Core) should reject Common Core, yes. –But not primarily for the reason that previous standards were better. The standards should be rejected because they rob states of their Constitutionally guaranteed right to determine educational standards locally.

Nationally controlled education systems have been a well-known hallmark of tyrannies throughout modern history. The only thing standing between Americans and modern day kinglike tyranny is our separation of powers and our clearly defined state sovereignties outlined in the U.S. Constitution. And Common Core disrespects that– in pursuit of collectivity; of monopoly on thought, curriculum and education sales products.

Common Core pushes the nationalization of education not only federally (the Dept. of Ed used grants as a lure and NCLB waivers as a threat) but also corporate-wise (Common Core uses the biggest ed sales company on earth –Pearson– that is officially partnered with the 2nd richest man in the world –Gates–to create one size fits all curriculum and a uniform customer base.) This public-private partnershipping circumvents the American voter. We are left on the sidelines.

Just yesterday I was speaking with a friend about her kindergarten teacher/friend who says that she loves the Common Core standards, because teachers used to introduce new letters to kindergarteners too slowly and now they do many more letters fast.

(Here, I took a deep breath. I’d heard this so many times before: one can always find teachers who like Common Core, just as you can find teachers who hate Common Core. But the argument misses the more important issue: of future control of standards.)

I said, “Ask the teacher what she’d think if Common Core’s writers next year announced that they will be introducing all 26 letters of the alphabet on the first day of kindergarten. Think about it. If Common Core has the power to raise a standard in an area, it also has the power to lower it– or to raise it so high that it hurts children. The point is, why should the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors’ Association hold the right to sit there in D.C. and tell us in our state how fast to introduce kindergarterners to the letters of the alphabet?”

Common Core is education without represenation. Whether the standards are academically better or worse is NOT the issue. Whether school boards, teachers and parents remain free to chart the course for their own students is the issue.

Those who hold the power over Common Core Standards (the private, unaccountable organizations that hold the copyright on these standards: NGA and CCSSO) can and will change them. They could take Dr. Bacallao’s and Dr. Stotsky’s recommendations and turn out new and improved Common Core standards. Or they could take the advice of the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) and actually lower national education standards further and further. Not kidding. The NCEE actually says this out loud: “Mastery of Algebra II is widely thought to be a prerequisite for success in college and careers. Our research shows that that is not so… Based on our data, one cannot make the case that high school graduates must be proficient in Algebra II to be ready for college and careers… the policy of requiring a passing score on an Algebra II exam for high school graduation simply cannot be justified.”

So arguing about the academic value of the Common Core standards seems to me a little bit pointless. Good or bad, they still put us in a position of helplessness by their governance structure and testing structure and data collection schemes.

Good or bad, the Common Core standards still leave us out of decisionmaking regarding national or local standards for learning and testing. They leave us powerless and unrepresented. As American education has morphed into the opposite of freedom and self-determination under the Common Core agenda, we’ve also become powerless to alter the data-mining (without parental consent) that is such a huge part of the Common Core. Interoperable databases are aligning all states’ standards, tests, teacher accountability systems and technological capacities (interoperabilities) –under federal supervision.

Isn’t it ironic that the Common Core debate is barely even about education –it’s about political and corporate power.

We The People, are losing our constitutional rights and freedoms.

Fight back. The stakes could not be higher. We are talking about the liberty of our children. Don’t let Common Core win.

September 4 2013 371

Huffington Post Audits the Gates-Led –not State-led– Common Core   2 comments

Yesterday the Huffington Post published “A Brief Audit of Bill Gates’ Common Core Spending.” I learned from this article.

I already knew that Bill Gates spends billions implementing his personal version of education reforms –without any approval from American voters, without any authority other than his cash.

I already knew that Gates had singlehandedly paid for the development, creation and marketing of Common Core, which the Post noted, “demonstrates (sadly so) that when one has enough money, one can purchase fundamentally democratic institutions.” (The only part of Common Core that the federal government funds is common testing and interoperable longitudinal database set-up.)

I already knew that those promoting CCSS are deliberately misleading the public to believe that Common Core is ‘state-led’ when it is in fact “Gates-led.”

I already knew that with the help of Gates’ funding and connections, “strong state-federal partnerships” were colluding to accomplish the actually illegal goal of creating national education standards.

But I didn’t know, before reading the article, the extent to which Gates was involved in Common Core’s twin sister, the personal student data collection racket.

The article pointed out:

Gates gave $47.1 million to CCSSO …with the largest amount focused on data “access” and “data driven decisions“:

… Gates funded CCSSO an additional $31.9 million, with the largest grants earmarked for CSSS implementation and assessment, and data acquisition and control:

… [Gates' stated] Purpose: to support the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) in helping States’ to build their data inoperability capability

… Purpose: to partner with federal, state, public, and private interests to develop common, open, longitudinal data standards Amount: $3,185,750 …” (The list, when you read the whole article, is much longer.)

Also, I did not previously know that the company that Common Core lead creator David Coleman (a noneducator) started in 2007, Student Achievement Partners, has no work other than CCSS. They live and breathe to push Common Core on all of us.

David Coleman first created the SAP company. Then he led the creation of the Common Core standards, on which his company depends to survive. Then, when Coleman moved over to the radically influential position of College Board president, he aligned college entrance exams to his creation, Common Core. He benefits from the whole deal at the expense of legitimate education and local control, as does Bill Gates, who has now partnered with the word’s largest education sales company, Pearson, to create more money-making curriculum for all of us who are trapped under the Common Core.

I am not against people making tons of money. That’s not the issue; American capitalism and entrepreneurship are wonderful inventions.

What I oppose are these unrepresentative, public-private partnerships (often called P3′s). All Americans ought to oppose the circumvention of the American voter by any “philanthropy” that creates new governance structures over previously representative educational systems.

Who is Gates’ constituency? Who elected him? Nobody. And nobody can vote him out –except by not cowering to his grantmaking wand.

As the author of yesterday’s Huffington Post article put it:

“So much Gates cash, and so many hands willing to accept it. Bill Gates likes Common Core. So, he is purchasing it. In doing so, Gates demonstrates (sadly so) that when one has enough money, one can purchase fundamentally democratic institutions… Can Bill Gates buy a foundational democratic institution? Will America allow it? The fate of CCSS will provide crucial answers to those looming questions.”

Read the whole article here.

Three Things to Simplify Your Fight Against Common Core   2 comments

More and more sinister facts about Common Core are surfacing. Proponents are running scared. They are glossing over, avoiding, lying about and making fun of, those in possession of the powerful and ugly truths about Common Core.

For example, there’s a taxpayer-funded Utah propaganda campaign that the Utah State School Board is to employ this year to “correct the misinformation” that the board members won’t actually, directly address, at all. (See page 232-236 of the 518-page document) There’s the fact that the USOE refers to critics of Common Core as “The Common Core Crazies” in teacher development trainings. This has been verified to me directly by multiple teachers who’ve attended Utah teacher conferences this spring and summer.

Open debate is out of style. Freedom of speech, thought or expression seem politically incorrect. Proponents of Common Core are opposed to discussing pros and cons, and certainly won’t reference, source, or provide documented empirical studies (because they don’t exist) to prove the claims of Common Core’s proponents to be true.

This fear of standing in light should signal to honest seekers of truth that there’s something very wrong: intellectual honesty (defined by empirical evidence and pilot testing of new programs) and freedom of speech and thought (defined by two-sided conversations) are concepts that the proponents of Common Core dismiss in favor of hand-me-down,Gates-funded “talking points.” It’s: One Size Fits All. (“If the shoe doesn’t fit, you still have to wear it.”)

You may have seen the back and forth of national education analysts and former governors and assorted others.

These attacks, aimed at critics of Common Core, is actually great news: It’s evidence that we are making a dent in this power-grabbing beast.

Please remember three simple facts to spread the truth and to cut through Gates’ marketing noise:

It’s a shaky academic experiment; it slashes local control; it’s the glue in the unconstitutional surveillance program.

1) Common Core is an academic experiment on our children that will affect not just K-12 but also universities.

Nothing they say changes its experimental nature. There’s no empirical testing that’s ever been done, no pilot study, no proof that these standards are academically an improvement. It’s just marketing– the repetitive use of the misused words “rigorous” and “internationally benchmarked” which, just as any grocery item that’s labeled “new and improved” — isn’t remotely new or improved. But who fact-checks? And yes, we should be rattled; these are radical changes: less literature; untested, way-different math. The time-tested, classical instruction’s flown out the standardized-common-testing window with the massive increase of testing. The ACT/SAT/GED/AP are all aligning to the experiment. And don’t forget about the massive increase of nonacademic student data-mining linked to the Common testing. It’s not small potatoes, folks.

2.) Common Core circumvents local authority and hands power to those who are furthest from the children/teachers.

The copyright by NGA/CCSSO is one proof. The 15% rule of the feds, that disallows soaring, is another proof. The micromanagement of the feds over the testing is another. The lack of any coming together to create a state-led amendment process is another proof. The monopoly on thought (via all texts being aligned, all ACT/SAT/GED/AP tests aligned) is another. There is no local control when the standards and tests are created from “on high.” There is no legitimacy when the standards and tests are experimental in nature and lack empirical validity. So even if the standards WERE excellent, states/districts have no control over those entities (NGA-CCSSO) who can alter them without our consent, sooner or later. When you lose control, you lose control. It doesn’t come back.

3) Common Core tests further entrench the surveillance of teachers and students by the government without parental consent.

If you remember these three points– and know where the links are to document them, you can stand up to the bullies, or to those who are uneducated about what Common Core is really all about.

All the opinion editorials in the world are not going to make the day night, or night day. Truth is truth whether people choose to believe it or not.

Intimidated? Stand Strong Against the Bully of Common Core   8 comments

I’ve spoken with one of the highest-ranking education leaders in Utah about Common Core. His primary reason for wanting Utah to remain tied to Common Core was to make Utah’s children ready for the altered college testing; ACT and SAT are now aligning to Common Core. I pointed out to this man that lemming-like adherence to Common Core, regardless of the fact that these standards are LOWERING high school graduation requirements for most states, and are ending local control of education, might be unwise. But he wanted to be a lemming. (Not his exact words.) If ACT/SAT was aligning, Utah would align. Hmmm.

Do you think it’s never going to become household knowledge that these standards are unpiloted, untested, and that they dumb down high school graduates? Do you really think that the ACT, SAT, and other tests will maintain their former levels of respect and authority once people realize that they’ve lowered themselves into the academic murk of Common Core math and its diminishment of classical English standards that used to lead out with classic literature?

Already, the truth is seeping into the general consciousness. The ACT and SAT are going to lose credibility with thousands if not millions, of Americans.

Proponents of Common Core are running scared. We are onto their racket. So, evidence that damns Common Core and its appendages is disappearing, lately. Did you notice that the video where the current College Board President David Coleman, (lead architect on Common Core English standards) curses and demeans student narrative writing– is gone? The video where MSNBC spokesperson Melissa Harris-Perry promotes collectivism/socialism, saying that “we have to break away from the notion that children belong to their parents–” is gone! Even our local Utah State Office of Education broke the link to the portion of their “Utah Core Standards” that said that Utah only modified our local standards after getting permission from the unelected D.C. group called CCSSO. Gone!

But proponents can’t cover up everything. The evidence trail is so wide and so damning. Dozens and dozens of links to documents, videos and government reports are still online and openly available. Please read them. Share them.

What I really think about the whole now-college-consuming monopoly of Common Core, via David Coleman making sure that every formerly respected college-related test in America now aligns with his Frankenstein (Common Core): it’s just a puffed up bully tactic, an intimidation technique. Without long-term muscle.

When I see articles describing how the ACT/SAT/GED/AP/textbooks/K-12 testing are ALL ALIGNING to this new monopoly on thought: Common Core? I think it’s no scarier than any other schoolyard bully intimidation game.

Why? Because we can choose not to fall for it, no matter how many big name companies and institutions Bill Gates’ dollar bills have persuaded to “endorse” Common Core alignment.

We can choose to opt out of the now experimentally-aligned tests, and we can still get our kids into good colleges. We can stand strong and have higher expectations for colleges and schools, and work to make sure alternatives materialize.

Liberty– and legitimate, time-tested education: That’s where I’m placing my bets.

Because what do the proponents of Common Core really have? Nothing real, just marketing and money. They don’t own our children’s futures.

They just want us to think they do.

You Are Invited: Common Core Cottage Meeting in Syracuse, Utah- Tomorrow   1 comment

Tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. there will be a Common Core informational meeting at a home in Syracuse, Utah. If you live nearby, please feel free to stop by and bring a friend. Dalane England and I will be speaking about the Common Core. Address: 2532 South 1300 West, Syracuse, Utah, 84075.

We plan to answer the following questions:

What is Common Core, and why are so many people fighting day and night to repeal it?
Does it harm my child?
Did all citizens and legislators get a chance to vet Common Core prior to its adoption by the state school board?
How does it kill local control of education, of privacy and of local values?
Why is it constitutionally threatening? / How are voters shut out of the decision making processes of Common Core?
Why don’t teachers or principals dare speak out against it?
Why must Utah’s state school board ask permission from unelected D.C. groups to modify ed standards in Utah, under Common Core?
How does unwanted student (and teacher) data mining and tracking rely on Common Core tests and standards?
Why has the Department of Education been sued for its Common-Core-test related changes to the Family Educational Rights Privacy Act?
What are intended and unintended consequences of having students take the Common Core tests?
How does Common Core affect homeschoolers and charter schoolers?
How is parental consent of student information sidestepped by the Common Core agenda?
Who paid for Common Core’s development, tests, and trainings and who will pay for Utah’s future Common Core costs?
Who gets wildly rich when Common Core aligned curriculum are virtually the only salable education products in America?
Why are both the Utah Chamber of Commerce and Utah’s Governor involved in promoting Common Core as part of Prosperity 2020?
What does the anti-common core legislation look like in those states that are withdrawing from Common Core –and can we do this in Utah?
Is there any evidence that Common Core can raise academic success or economic success in Utah? / Was there ever a pilot study or a field test of the standards? / Which lead creator of Common Core admitted that these standards only prepare students for a nonselective 2-year college?
Why did the main creator of Common Core get promoted to be president of the College Board and how will it dumb down college standards?
Which source documents from the Department of Education mandate teacher redistribution, sharing of student level data, not adding more than 15% to the standards in any state, and asking permission of D.C. groups to make amendments to these common standards?
How do we reclaim our now-lost educational power?

Another Unbearably Long Email Discussion With UT Board Member Dave Thomas   2 comments

For anyone who can stand to plow through it, here’s another letter I wrote in response to Mr. Thomas’s response to my response to his response to my questions posted in the Deseret News op-ed last month.
____________________________________________________________

Dear Mr. Dave Thomas,

Please remember that I am not your enemy. I am a fellow Utahn, a mother, and a teacher. I hope for great schools and happy kids and teachers. I hope for the maintenance of local control of education. That is the goal here. Just to clarify.

On Evidence: You said: I actually gave more than Fordham’s opinion (although I might add that the Fordham study is the most extensive that has been done). I included the source material that backs up the Common Core standards in math and English language arts. You claim that the standards are not research based, but every time you are given the research your response is simply to ignore them. Common Core uses the “best practices” in both the United States as well as internationally. My research shows the Common Core standards not to be experimental, but an increase in quality and rigor over Utah’s prior standards. Math and ELA experts at our Utah colleges and universities agree with me.

I say: Even your fellow board member, Dixie Allen, admits that there is no evidence to support claims that Common Core will improve education; so she bases her approval of Common Core on trust –that those who wrote the standards had the best interests of students at heart. This is like buying a car, trusting that it won’t break down, trusting that its claims to improve gas mileage are correct— but never having test-driven it –or never even reading about someone who had actually test driven it. Since Common Core has never been piloted, it cannot be more than an experiment. You say that professors agree with you, but I, too, quote names of professors at BYU, UVU, Stanford University, Seton Hall University, University of New Hampshire, University of Colorado, etc., who do not agree that Common Core will “increase quality and rigor” in math.

On the Reduction of literature: You said:

Your response is to simply brush off the actual language of the standards and assert that “its common knowledge” that informational texts will be the main type of reading in English classes. Actually, that’s not common knowledge, because it is inconsistent with the actual standards. Both informational texts and classic literature will be taught in English classes. As I noted, the 70-30% ratio that is being touted as being exclusive to English classes is actually across the entire curriculum. Hence math, science and social studies teachers will not be teaching literature, but will be teaching the vast majority of the informational texts. Again, there is nothing in the Common Core ELA which states that the main teaching in English classes will be informational texts at the expense of literature. If you have some precise standards which state this, then I would like to see them because I can’t find them. As for textbooks, there are plenty of textbooks that have come out asserting that they are common core aligned. Most are not. Teachers and school districts will need to be vigilant in selecting textbooks and other instructional materials that truly align to the Utah core standards.

I say: Common Core increases informational text and reduces classic literature. For proof, in addition to actually reading the standards themselves, in addition to looking at Common Core curriculum sales companies’ interpretations of the standards, in addition to reading debate on the subject in the New York Times and Washington Post, in addition to listening to testimonies of Professor Stotsky and others, you can simply watch ELA chief architect David Coleman’s video speeches to teachers. Remember that he is not only the ELA architect, but now President of the College Board, aligning his radical ideas to the SAT. Watch his contempt for narrative writing and his preference for informational text. Watch his sterile view of reading. Is this what you, or most teachers, or most Utahns, believe in and hope for, for our children? I have never seen a believable or clear explanation of how that 70%/30% split would be accomplished across all subjects. Are there trainings for math, science, and P.E. teachers on how to teach English Language Arts in the Common Core Academies of Utah?

On Math Problems: You said:

Actually, the majority of math professionals are trending in the direction of an integrated model, as the National Math Panel suggests….

Dr. Milgram certainly dissented from the Validation Committee, but he was not the only mathematician on the Committee – there were a total of 5. In fact, there were 18 math professors on the Math Work Group and another 9 on the Feedback Group. I point to Dr. Wu because he was another one of the authors of the California Math Standards. The reality is that the vast majority of math educators support the Common Core math standards, including our most prominent Utah math professors. I find it interesting that you find it offensive that experts from outside Utah were involved in creating the Common Core State Standards, but you rely upon Dr. Milgram and other outside experts. Notwithstanding, I also rely upon our inside Utah experts who overwhelmingly approve of the Common Core Math Standards. Why don’t they have as much influence on you as Dr. Milgram?

I have found it interesting that Dr. Milgram does not seem to endorse any math standards that he, himself, has not personally written. He didn’t like our 2007 Utah math standards either….

As for the majority of Utahns never being able to weigh in? There were a total of three 30 day comment periods before the Utah Board adopted the standards.

I am not a math expert, although I have taught elementary school level math. Yet, this much I know: there is no universally endorsed math belief. There are math wars raging. So it is not true that “most” math professionals are believing in or trending toward any single math style. This math war issue needs to be vetted by the Utah public and by Utah teachers, not by a tiny group of mostly non-educators who make up our school board.

As for the majority of Utahns being able to weigh in on the math or English? My teaching credential has never lapsed, yet I never even received a letter or an email of any kind, letting me know that my entire future career would be drastically different because Common Core had come to town. It is absurd to think that Utah teachers or other citizens would surf onto the USOE website frequently enough to have been aware of Common Core’s adoption or of the public comment period.

To the claim that there were 5 “mathematicians” on the Validation Committee: Not everyone who has the word “mathematics” in his title is a math expert. As Dr. Milgram explains: “each of the others mentioned as ‘mathematicians’ on the validation committee actually has his or her advanced degree (if any) in mathematics education, not mathematics. I suppose that there is a general confusion about this distinction since both subjects have the word mathematics in their description. But there is actually a vast difference. The mathematical knowledge of virtually all U.S. citizens who call themselves mathematics educators stops with ratios and rates, not even algebra or calculus. Most of them are assumed to have had calculus in college, but typically it didn’t stick, and when I or my colleagues talk with such people we have to be very careful, as their knowledge of the actual subject is spotty.”

So Dr. Milgram was, in fact, the only mathematician, by this definition, on the Validation Committee, and the only one who really understood what preparation is required for higher-level university mathematics.

But as math-standards-drafter Jason Zimba has admitted, Common Core is not designed to prepare students for such courses – only for math at nonselective community colleges.

Even Common Core proponents admit that the math standards were not drafted by “70 math experts” but rather by three men: Jason Zimba, Phil Daro, and William McCallum (only McCallum had any previous experience writing standards). The other members of the two groups established as the “development team” (especially the large Feedback Group) frequently saw their contributions ignored, without comment. Because the drafters worked in secret, without open-meetings scrutiny or public comment, it’s impossible to know any of the thought processes that went into creating the standards. The only thing we know for certain is Zimba’s admission (see above) about the low level of the Standards, and McCallum’s comment that the math standards would not be “too high,” especially compared with the high-achieving Asian countries.

Sources:

http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2013/06/07/five-people-wrote-state-led-common-core

http://boston.com/community/blogs/rock_the_schoolhouse/2011/11/myths_about_national_standards.html

http://www.nga.org/cms/home/news-room/news-releases/page_2009/col2-content/main-content-list/title_common-core-state-standards-initiative-validation-committee-announced.html

http://www.uaedreform.org/wp-content/uploads/2000/01/Stotsky-Invited-Testimony-for-Georgia.pdf

On Amendability: You said:

With respect to Utah, there is no 15% cap. Such was certainly discussed by the NGA and CCSSO, but the 15% cap rule did not make it into the actual public license. The public license allows free use of the standards without any 15% cap. I have read the Utah NCLB Flexibility Waiver, and there is no 15% cap in that either. I admit that I have not researched the Race to the Top requirements because Utah did not receive a grant and is not bound by such. The Utah State Board of Education has never asked for permission from anyone to modify our Utah core standards and as long as I am on the Board never will.

There is a 15% cap. You are right that the copyrighters didn’t place it; but the federal government and its associates did. The same language is repeated in many places, including in the Race to the Top grant application, Race to the Top for Assessments, in the documents of SBAC, PARCC, and Achieve, Inc., and it was also previously in the ESEA, but has been removed. For example, see http://www.achieve.org/files/FINAL-CCSSImplementationGuide.pdf

You said that the board never asked permission to alter Utah’s standards, yet on the Utah Core Standards document online, to which the link is currently broken, it said “Modified by Permission.”

On Data Collection: You say:

While admitting that the Common Core State Standards do not require data collection, you assert that the “Common Core agenda” does. I am not aware of such an agenda. Certainly the President has such an agenda, but the President is not part of the Common Core Initiative, although I admit that he wants to be. He certainly would like to use the Consortiums to collect data, but we are not members of SBAC.

You assume that AIR will violate our agreement and Utah law, and share Utah private student data with SBAC. We have received written assurances from AIR that they will not be sharing such data. Hence, you assume wrongdoing where there is no evidence of such.

Your answer, however, did not address my concerns – which are with NAEP. The National Education Data Model is not being used by Utah and will not be used by Utah. NAEP, however, is a different story. I have tremendous concerns over NAEP.

I say: It doesn’t matter whether the corporate groups (Bill Gates/Pearson/Achieve/AIR) or the federal groups (Obama/Duncan/Linda Darling-Hammond) first pushed national, Common Core standards and the data collection agenda, which moves hand in hand with the common tests and standards. Both groups are shamelessly power-grabbing. The two groups are equally unwelcome to monopolize Utah education standards and tests.

It matters who here in Utah will put a stop to it.

The corporate – public collusion creates a loss of local voices and local control in multiple ways. Those at the top benefit financially and control-wise, when they can persuade all of us to believe in their collectivist ideology.

You may not have read the report by the President’s Equity and Excellence Commission entitled “For Each And Every Child.” In it, we learn that redistribution of resources is the whole point of the “education reform” agenda, Common Core or whatever you want to call it. Redistribution– of money and of teachers and principals. A total loss of local control. This top-down redistribution can not be accomplished if those governmental bodies and corporate bodies at the top do not have access to personally identifiable information about teachers, as well as of students.

We cannot separate data collection issues from Common Core reforms. They work hand in hand.

To protect Utah citizens from groups gaining improper access to student data, we need more than assurances. (I am not interested in evidence of wrongdoing; we need impenetrable knowledge that such improper access is impossible) I mean that we need to end Utah’s use of the federally promoted and funded and nationally interoperable State Longitudinal Database System (SLDS). We should at the very least make parents aware that personally identifiable information on their student is being collected, and make an opt-out form available widely.

On Testing: You said:

Unlike SBAC, we control our own CAT. AIR is our contractor who works for us, not for SBAC. So I see a big difference between SBAC and AIR. The tests given and the questions asked are approved by the State Board, not AIR. We have a 15 member parent committee who also reviews all of the questions. With respect to “behavorial indicators,” AIR is not free to ask any questions about Utah students. Behavioral indicators has been interpreted by the State Board to mean only graduation data, grades, school discipline and attendance – nothing more. AIR has no ability to collect the data which you fear them collecting. While AIR does behavioral research, that is not what they are tasked with in our contractual arrangement. AIR is one of the premiere computer adaptive testing providers – that is what we contracted with them to do.

I say: AIR is partnered with SBAC and is philosophically aligned (and contractually connected) with George Soros, the Clintons, Microsoft/Gates, and the U.S. Department of Education, to name a few.

What evidence do we have that Utah, not AIR and its partners, has full control over the AIR common core-aligned test? How can we ever go beyond the 15% Common Core alignment rule for common core aligned tests? What are the actual writers’ names and qualifications for AIR tests for Utah? What qualifies the State Board to approve questions while Utah teachers and principals cannot? Why can’t all parents– not just fifteen– see the questions? Have you read what Utah psychologist Dr. Gary Thompson has advised us on this subject?

On Constitutionality: You said:

The State Board completely controls the standards and testing as it pertains to the Utah core standards. Of this I have first-hand knowledge.

I say: The State Board has zero say in what will be written on the NGA/CCSSO produced Common Core standards, nor can they affect its future changes which will be handed down, top-down, to all the states who adopted Common Core. The State Board has no evidence that is can write AIR/SAGE tests to any standard that it desires, beyond the 15% rule for Common Core aligned tests.

On Spiral of Silence: You say:

Once again, I see no evidence of such. Provide to me a name and contact information of a teacher whose job was threatened by speaking out against the Utah Core standards.

I say: No, I will not provide to you the names of the Utah teachers and other staff who I have personally spoken with, who feel that their jobs are threatened if they who dare speak out about Common Core. I have already provided you with the names of those who have retired who are speaking out. And I can promise you that there are many who currently teach, who wish they dared.

On Not Being State-Led: You say:

This assumes that the Common Core Initiative is a federal led effort. There is no evidence of such. Simply because President Obama wants to claim credit for something he didn’t do, does not make it so. I believe he also got a Noble Peace Prize for not doing anything either. These trade organizations are state led – the elected governors and state superintendents control them. 48 state boards of education joined them in the Initiative. The federal government was expressly excluded and no federal funds were used. The states often act through their trade associations as a collective group. The National Governors Association does that on a regular basis. It was in my capacity as a member of the National Association of State Boards of Education and member of the Utah State Board that I confronted the US Department of Education. You assume that the elected governors, state superintendents and state school boards do not control their own associations. I can tell you that in my experience that is not the case.

I say: Is the NGA or CCSSO accountable to the public? No. Do they have open door meetings or financial transparency? No. Were they elected to determine my local school district’s policies in educational matters? No. Do they have a right to assume governance and influence over my child or over me as a teacher, when I have not elected them nor can I un-elect them? No. These groups are not representative of the states. Not even all superintendents belong to CCSSO. Not even all governors belong to NGA. It’s all outside the framework of our founding.

State-led implies that Congressmen and Representatives led and vetted it, in the American way, which is by voter representation. This was never the case. It is not honorable to continue to call this “state-led” because it implies something that it never was– a movement with actual representation.

On Cost: You say:

Tell me who those teachers are so I can confirm this. I find this hard to believe because none of our textbooks have ever been aligned to our core standards. We have intentionally put forth a 5 year implementation of the Utah core standards so that textbooks are bought on the same current cycle. Line items on the costs of teacher development and textbooks are available through the Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst as well as from the Utah State Office of Education. Those budgets do not show any measureable increase in the amount spent on either teacher development or textbooks. In fact, you find that over time, the teacher development monies have significantly decreased.

I say: No, I will not provide to you the names of the Utah teachers and other staff who I have personally spoken with.

Governor Herbert agreed in a face to face meeting that a cost analysis should have been done, and was not. He agreed to have one done. He has not. All we have is your word for it. Nothing is on paper. This is not fiscally responsible, especially considering that the largest chunk of Utah tax monies go toward education, and in this case, toward implementation and marketing of Common Core in Utah.

On NAEP: You say:

…the horse you’re riding, the 2001 Massachusetts standards, are the dressed up federal NAEP standards. Dr. Stotsky sits on the NAEP Steering Committee for the Reading Framework. Dr. Driscoll, the Commissioner of Education of Mass, has stated that they aligned their standards and curriculum to NAEP. You will find that I am not a believer in NAEP.

I say: Honestly, I have not studied NAEP very much. So I asked friends in Massachusetts. They told me this, which I will not right now take time to verify, but you and I should both study it further, obviously.

“NAEP only has assessment standards–for its tests. It has no curriculum standards. Stotsky helped to develop curriculum standards in MA. They were approved by the teachers in the state. Stotsky is not on any NAEP committee. To get $250,000 in Race to the Top money, MA adopted Common Core. Gates funded evaluations that were intended to show Common Core standards were better than MA own standards.”

In closing, Mr. Thomas, I am sure you and I would both have a better summer if we actually met face to face rather than spending so much time writing unbearably long emails back and forth.

Please let me know if this is a possibility.

Christel Swasey

Video: Citizens of New Hampshire Speak Out Against Common Core   3 comments

I really enjoyed watching this  New Hampshire video, which was filmed at a curriculum and instruction meeting of the Manchester school board.

Citizens were allowed to speak for three minutes apiece.

http://manchestercommunitytv.pegcentral.com/player.php?video=ded36c2e6dc5d55415f5b053f1880a83

Testifiers included several high school students, as well as parents and other citizens before the local school board.

At 22:35 a graduating high school senior speaks about how “we forget about the high achieving students” in the misguided effort to comply to government policies and financial carrots and not allowing enough AP and honors classes.  He says,  “Time and time again we look at the middle, we do look at the bottom… that also affects the higher achieving students.”  He is so right.

Most eloquent and impressively source-based is the seven minute testimony of Anne Marie Banfield.   (ending at minute 20:00 and picking up again at 26:25 – 30 when another testifier gave her three minutes to Anne Marie.)

At minute 31:10 a woman spoke (directly to the high school students who were in attendance as testifiers ) saying that in the past a principle might have said to a child who was getting detention, “that’s going to go on your permanent record” as a threat, but now because of the SLDS systems, absolutely everything that a student does, good or bad, is going to be used as part of everyone’s permanent record.  “It’s none of their business!” she said.

Then the listeners gave their loudest applause.

The fact that these testimonies were given at a local, not state, school board meeting is evidence to me that it’s individual localities that make a difference, not top-down, far-flung policies from D.C. groups with official sounding names like CCSSO and NGA.

It’s the individual voice that matters.

We the People are individuals, not a coagulated, collective mind as defined by the self-proclaimed know-it-bests: Duncan, Barber or Gates.

Local school boards can make a difference.

 

Here are the words of a wise member of another local UT school board member, who will remain anonymous here:

 

“One of the main reasons, in my opinion, Common Core and all of its predecessors have had any traction at all is because we, as a society, have mostly given up on the idea of local control of educationWe’ve bought into having “experts” tell us what and how our children will be taught.  I’m not opposed to experts, but parents need to be the biggest experts.  Local control is exactly what will fix this problem.  However, most people don’t know what local control would look like.  We drop our kids off at the door, volunteer for PTA, and sometimes go into the classroom.  Some fellow school board members in another district were actually in shock when I mentioned that one of the problems with Common Core was that parents were left out of the process.

“Do you really think parents should be involved with standards and curriculum?”
“Yes, I really do.”

Back to the point.  In our city, a few years back, we put together a rotating group of people to attend city council meetings and report back.  It wasn’t much, but it made a huge difference.  It only took a commitment of attending 2 meetings/year.  And, of course, the more people you can get to attend, you can either have a greater impact or reduce the number of meetings each person needs to attend.

If you had 20 or 30 people in each school district, depending on the number of meetings they hold, you could certainly set something up like that. 

The beauty of it is 1) the content of the meetings will change when “outside people” are present.  I can personally attest to this.  If the press isn’t there and if “regular people” aren’t there, it has a different feel.  2) there is an organized group of people to show up for any and all public hearings (like budgets) or if there is an issue of concern.  You don’t need to worry about how to get in touch with people, you just email the group and they show up. 3) You end up with a “head’s up” on all new issues.  In our district, there is public comment allowed in every board meeting.  And having members of the public voice comments and concerns actually has a greater impact than just the individual board members.  If you are a board member in the minority, then your voice is often dismissed because of that minority status.  Having people in the public show up to voice a similar concern give weight to the board member’s concerns.  I tell people that the elected officials are just the tip of the spear.  The people need to be behind that spear providing the force.

People keep asking, “What do we use in place of Common Core if we are successful?”  The actual answer is: Local Control. 

If we don’t backfill with more involved, and locally concerned parents and taxpayers, then there will be another creation, just like Common Core or maybe worse, that will take it’s place.  Power abhors a vacuum.  So, we need to step up and get back to the system that used to work, once upon a time. 

And even if your local district isn’t going in the right direction, it’s a lot easier to replace the local school board than the CCSSO. 

My two cents.”  

-from a school board member of a local school board in Utah.

—————————————–

 

Thank you to the school board member who shared those “two cents.” 

I completely agree.

Cherie Zaslawsky: Brave New Schools   5 comments

Brave New Schools

Guest post by California English teacher Cherie Zaslawsky

The much touted Common Core Standards (CCS) Initiative that is being pushed as a silver bullet to improve our schools is not simply the latest fad in education: CCS is actually an unprecedented program that would radically alter our entire K-12 educational system, affecting content (i.e. curriculum), delivery (largely via computer), testing (also via computer), teacher evaluations (connected to test scores), as well as creating an intrusive database of sensitive information from student “assessments.” This program, for all the protestations to the contrary, represents the nationalization of education in America, extinguishing any semblance of local control. Furthermore, it was essentially developed at the behest of billionaire Bill Gates, who also funded it to the tune of some $150 million, and who clearly thinks he knows what’s best for everybody else’s children. (His own are safely ensconced in private schools).

California adopted the Common Core Standards (CCS) Initiative on August 2, 2010, only two months after the standards were released. Nor has this multi-billion dollar program ever been piloted anywhere! It’s a nationwide experiment—with our children as the subjects.  Nor was CCS ever internationally benchmarked. In California, as in most states, there was no time to devote to studying the intricacies of the program, vetting it, or introducing it to the public. Instead, Race to the Top money was dangled in front of state legislatures, and 45 states sprang for it, but 16 of these states at last count are already seeking to withdraw from the program.

Parents need to understand the implications of the Common Core Standards. These standards, which amount to a national curriculum via bundled tests, texts and teacher evaluations, would severely degrade our local schools. How? By lowering the standards of high-performing schools to make them “equal” with low-performing schools, in a misguided attempt to reach what its proponents call “equity” or “fairness” by mandating the lowest common denominator for all schools. True, this would close the muchballyhooed “achievement gap”—but only by dumbing down the education of the best and brightest to better match that of the unmotivated and/or less academically gifted.

The idea that all students should perform identically sounds eerily like something out of  Mao’s China. What happened to our relishing of individual talents and uniqueness? Would we lower the standards for the best athletes to put them on a par with mediocre athletes to close the “performance gap” in, say, high school football?

How do a few of the experts view this program? Dr. James Milgrim of Stanford University, the only mathematician on the Common Core validation team, refused to sign off on the math standards because he discovered that by the end of 8th grade, CCS will leave our students two years behind in math compared to those in high-performing countries. And according to Dr. Sandra Stotsky, the respected expert who developed the Massachusetts standards, widely regarded as the best in the nation, “Common Core’s ‘college readiness’ standards for ELA are chiefly empty skill sets and cannot lead to even a meaningful high school diploma. Only a literature-rich curriculum can. College readiness has always depended on the complexity of the literary texts teachers teach and a coherent literature curriculum.”

As English teacher Christel Swasey notes:  “We become compassionate humans by receiving and passing on classic stories. Souls are enlarged by exposure to the characters, the imagery, the rich vocabulary, the poetic language and the endless forms of the battle between good and evil, that live in classic literature.”  Instead, students will swim in the murky waters of relativism where all things are equal and no moral compass exists. We should not be surprised if they are also encouraged to view history along the lines of multiculturalism, “social equity,” and the Communitarian glorification of the collectivist “global village.”

Consider how drastically literature is being marginalized (30%) in favor of “informational” texts (70%) in the 12th  grade, with a maximum of only 50% literature ever, throughout middle and high school English classes. The switch to a steady diet of “informational” texts virtually ensures that students won’t be learning to think critically or to write probing, analytical essays, let alone to develop the love of reading and appreciation for the literary masterpieces of Western culture. Put in practical terms, it means that instead of reading Hamlet, Great Expectations and Pride and Prejudice, your child will be reading computer manuals and tracts on “climate change,” “environmental justice,” and the virtues of recycling.

And the price of mediocrity? In California, implementation cost is estimated at $2.1 billion, with $1.4 billion as upfront costs—mainly for computers (every child needs one—along with special apps—could that be one reason Bill Gates poured a cool $150 million into this program? Perhaps giving new meaning to the word “philanthropist”…) along with training teachers to navigate the complicated new programs. Even though it’s been proven—as if we needed proof—that children learn better from real live teachers than from staring at LCD screens.

In addition, tests and “assessments” will be taken on computers—resulting in the harvesting of personal data that amounts to a dossier on every child, including choice tidbits about Mommy and Daddy.  And what is to stop the powers-that-be from using these assessments and test results to “re-educate” “politically incorrect” students who show too much independence?

Clearly Common Core is a disaster in the making.  So what can we do? The simplest solution is to insist that our school boards turn down the carrot of federal funding and reject Common Core in order to preserve the integrity of our local schools through local control and to continue to allow our teachers to use their creativity in the classroom. The price of compliance with Common Core, however tempting monetarily speaking, is just too high— the mortgaging of our children’s future.

——-

Thanks to Cherie Zaslawsky for permission to publish her essay here.

Professor Nicholas Tampio: On Gates’ Micromanagement of Education   4 comments

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.

http://www.schoolbook.org/2013/05/17/bill-gates-should-not-micro-manage-our-schools/

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.
I present some of these points in my Huffington Post piece: Do We Need a Common Core?

It’s Happened: The Marriage of Pearson and Gates   11 comments

Pearson and Gates have joined forces. 

Why is a Pearson and Gates combination a nightmare for America, for anyone who cares about competitive free enterprise, constitutional rights regarding education, and local control?

First, a few facts:
1. Pearson, led by Sir Michael Barber, is the biggest education product sales company on earth.
2. Bill Gates is the second richest man on earth, a man who has almost single-handedly funded and marketed the entire Common Core movement.

Gates previously partnered with UNESCO to bring a master curriculum worldwide in his “Education For All” program.  Gates openly values extreme socialism and says that it’s much better than American constitutional government. Listen to Gates at minute 6:20 on this clip. Gates says, “We’ll only know this works when the curriculum and the tests are aligned to these standards.”

Pearson’s CEA is Sir Michael Barber, a man whose company colludes with governments worldwide in public-private-partnerships (soft fascism) and believes that children’s data should be gathered on a global scale. Barber pushes his version of “sustainable educational revolution,” worldwide, explaining that sustainable education reforms meanit can never go back to how it was.”  See his speeches on YouTube and his Twitter feeds.

These two mega forces for globalizing and standardizing education have now come together.

In a New York Times article on the partnership, Susan Neuman, a former Education Department official in the George W. Bush administration who is now a professor at the University of Michigan, was quoted:

This is something that’s been missing in all the policy statements on the common core: a sequential curriculum,” Dr. Neuman said. But she worries that Pearson has few rivals.

Pearson already dominates, and this could take it to the extreme,” she said. “This could be problematic for many of our kids. We could get a one size fits all.”

Indeed.

So when my state school board says that Common Core is just a set of minimum standards, not a curriculum, I will point them to this:  the biggest monopolizer of textbooks, technologies and teacher training–Pearson– has now partnered with one of the wealthiest foundations on earth to create a one size fits all curriculum.

Where will private schools and others go to buy books, who don’t want Common Core-aligned curriculum?  How will others stay in business with such huge competition?

 

City on a Hill Radio Interview   3 comments

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/cityonahill/2013/04/15/christel-swasey-against-common-core-so-should-all-parents

Here’s the link to today’s radio interview about Common Core at City on a Hill radio.

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

Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform

Bill Gates: Scary Philanthropy

Countdown # 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s scary.

School Data Collection Facts Summary   34 comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8th Grade Teacher: You Don’t Get Harmony When Everyone Sings the Same Note – VIDEO   3 comments

There’s an 8th grade teacher by the name of Paul Bogush in Connecticut, who writes a blog called BLOGUSH.  He says:

“I don’t think anyone would teach using a unit on tolerance given to them by the enemies of civil rights.  No teacher would put up with that.

But yet, teachers (including myself) will start off this year fully supporting the Common Core in the classroom.

I feel as though every day when I come home I need to take a shower, because I have spent my day in bed with the enemy.”

Strong words.

Bogush has researched the corporate web of common core promoters, has studied the standards themselves, has felt the pressure of having to teach lessons that feel, he says, more like advertisements than education, and  recently, he’s made a video that expresses his feelings about Common Core.

The video’s funny.  It’s smart.  And it’s sad.

The funny part is when he shows the absurdity of micromanagement on the sports field.  A coach lifts a player up under the armpits to make sure she’s jumping high enough.  A coach runs right behind a soccer dribbler, almost making it impossible for the player to play.  You get the idea.

Then he says:  If micromanagement doesn’t work in the field, why would it work in the classroom?

He points out that Common Core standards tell a teacher what, when, and how to teach –and it comes from people who are not teachers, and who don’t know HIS kids.  This, he notes, also comes with 13 years of continuous testing of the little ones.  Sad music plays as the video ends.  Worth watching.

 

Why Won’t Utah Pull Out of Common Core? An Email Exchange   2 comments

Today’s string of interesting emails

(between my State School Board representative, Dixie Allen, and me)

 

On Sat, Feb 16, 2013 at 7:45 AM, <dixieleeallen@gmail.com> wrote:

There is some very informative information in this weeks Ed Week – Thought you might gain some valuable insight – if you have time to check it out.

Dixie

 ——–

 

Dear Dixie,

 

Thanks again for including me in your loop.

 

Were you aware that Ed Week, like so many organizations that promote Common Core, is a Gates’ product?

 

I can’t take Ed Week seriously because it is published by Gates’ funding and its articles support his unelected-dictatorial influence over American education policy.

 

Christel

 ——–

Christel – that saddens me because most of their articles are written by educators and of all the participants involved in education – I trust teachers, students and parents most.

I also believe it is important to keep an open mind.

Best Wishes,

 

Dixie

  ——–

Dixie,

 

Openmindedness is great, but sincerity does not trump truth. Teachers and parents have written articles on both sides of the Common Core debate. I hope you listen to all of us, not just those published by Gates. There are some teachers and parents whose side of this story has been published elsewhere, because Gates will never publish the side that hurts his well-intentioned but unrepresentative agenda.

 

Christel

 ——–

 

Yes Christel, I do — however, in Utah where we are the lowest funded state in the nation by a long shot for per student expenditure, it would be so costly to throw out the Core curriculum that we have adopted and try to put in place another curriculum — especially the way we have developed curriculum over the past many years I have been in education (over 30 years).

 

The way we have created core standards over time is to bring teachers and other educators together from all over the state and decide which standards work in specific curricular areas and grade level expectations. By adopting the Common Core we upgraded all the curriculum by grade level for both Language Arts and Mathematics. Up until that time our State ranked about a C in Language Arts curriculum and a B for our Mathematics curriculum. So the issue of rewriting the curriculum is just not economically possible for this state — the best we can do is take standards that we know work and change those that we don’t believe will work.

 

When a state like Utah funds education at such a low level, there are many parts of the educational process that we must borrow from others who have the funding to develop them. In some cases that has been other states, that allowed us to use some of their identified quality education practices — so you may be right that those with lots of money have influenced this core — however, I know from experience that our State Office and many experts in the fields of educational mathematics and language arts were really the ones who wrote the standards — not the Bill Gates of the world.

 

Please, in conjunction with your fellow educators who have concerns – share those concerns with us or the State Office of Education and allow us to work on improving what we can with the little funding we do have now and over time. But don’t ask us to throw out the Core, because we cannot afford to do that, either in time or money.

Thanks for your passion.

 

Dixie

  ——–

 

Dear Dixie,

 

Thanks for continuing to talk with me.

 

As you know, Utah districts are funded primarily by local taxpayers, then some by the state, and then a small fraction of funding comes from the federal government. So, the fact that the people who pay the most have the least say, and the people who pay the least have the most say, is absurd. I’m sure you agree.

 

We can’t afford NOT to toss out the core. Although we have invested tens of millions (at least) in the tests and standards and PD so far, this is a drop in the bucket. California and Mississippi and other states are publishing news articles about the painfulness of having to implement all Common Core’s platforms without having the financial support from those who invited us to join Common Core. It’s a huge burden that will only become heavier with time.

 

The cost of creating our own Utah standards need not be exorbitant. In fact, I can almost promise you that it could be FREE. Many of the top curriculum and standards writers in our nation are on the stop common core side of this debate. ELA standards have been posted and published for free, for use by us or any state, for example, here: http://www.uaedreform.org/wp-content/uploads/2000/01/Stotsky-Optional_ELA_standards.pdf

                       

Math standards, I am sure would also be available for free if we were to ask, from such giants in the math and curriculum fields as James Milgram, Ze’ev Wurman, Christopher Tienken, William Mathis, Jim Stergios, David Wright, and others who are true friends to education and to Utah.

 

The CCSSO/NGA have published that they solely developed the standards, so I don’t know how any Utahns can claim to have done it.

 

The CCSSO meetings are closed-door without transparency for some reason, so there is no way that we will ever be able to find out who really did what. Nor can we influence what they’re doing with social studies and science right now. Nor can we amend the many problems we see, and/or that teachers and parents will be seeing over the next few years. By then it may be way too expensive to pull out.

 

That’s why I feel the time is now. Thanks for listening.

 

Christel

 ——–

 

Eduschuyster Article: Corporate Edu-Opportunism in Minnesota   1 comment

For full effect, this article really needs to be read out loud.

Eduschuyster exposes some ugly truths about corporate edu-opportunism.

Full Text Here: http://edushyster.com/?p=1653#more-1653

Minneapolis: Land of 10,000 Rephorm Miracles

 The Twin Cities’ Venture Academy is already raising expectations—not to mention a boatload of cash—despite the fact that the school hasn’t opened yet.

‘Tis the season for miracles and today I give you a miraculous one indeed. Imagine a school so excellent, so innovative that it has succeeded in raising expectations and boosting achievement before its doors have even opened. Where is this miracle occurring? Reader: it’s time to squeeze into your ski pants and slip the insulator over your wine box. We’re headed to Minneapolis, or as I like to call it, the Land of 10,000 Rephorm Miracles.

2 Cool 4 School
Today the Rephorm Express is making but a single stop: the Twin Cities’ Venture Academy. Alas we can’t go inside to see the excellence as the school won’t officially open its doors until August 2013, but breathe in the frosty air, reader, and the scent is unmistakable: audaciousness. Now hater, I know what you’re thinking: how can a school be handed a gold star before it admits a single student? Meet my edu-visionary friend Bill Gates, who just named named Venture one of 20 winners of the Next Generation Learning Challenges award, which identifies breakthrough school models, because next generation learning knows no boundaries.™

Also, we know that Venture is different because of its totally cool job titles. Whereas old school union-stifled public schools are filled with space occupiers with titles like “LIFO lifer” and “clock watcher,” Venture Academy has a Chief Learning Officer AND a Chief Entrepreneurship Officer. And the stuff they do at the school is way cooler and more innovative than the achievement gap widening that happens at a failing public school—or at least it will be when Venture actually opens. They don’t “teach,” reader, they “transfer” and “coach.” And forget about old school educating—Venture is about Growing Good People™ and Try-Measure-Learn-Iterate-ing™. And how cool is this? During all-school assemblies, students will be encouraged to celebrate “marvelous mistakes” by sharing weekly failures and what they’ve learned.

Wanted: MacGyvers

Did I mention that Venture Academy is hiring? Old, union-stifled teachers need not apply though. Venture is only interested in what Chief Learning Officer Kerry Muse describes on his blog, Blend My Learning, as the “MacGyvers” of education: mission-driven, able to think on his feet and solve complex problems in resourceful and creative ways, and as a scientist he also has in-depth content knowledge. If you’re baffled by this particular pop culture reference allow me to translate: using his Swiss Army Knife and knowledge of a few common scientific principles, the innovative educator at Venture Academy “MacGyvered” a solution to what had long seemed like an intractable problem: poverty, which, by the way, is not an excuse.

The Next Big Thing

But will tricked out job titles and a mad entrepreneurial ethic really be enough to ensure that Venture Academy is able to prepare poor minority students for college? Absolutely, reader. You see Venture embodies the Next Big Thing: blended learning, which will FINALLY reverse our schools’ long slide into suckage by filling them with cool new hand-held devices. And we already know that this approach is guaranteed to succeed because the people peddling the hand-held devices keep telling us this. The only thing holding Operation Big Blender back is that it costs so much to employ living, breathing, teachers that there isn’t enough dough left over to purchase the miracle blenders. Note to LIFO lifers: this is a different kind of blender then the one you fire up at 3:07 PM and, on very special occasions, in the teachers’ lounge.

Miracle.com

That’s why Venture Academy is guaranteed to be a success—it’s the model of the very School of the Future™, one where edu-stuff, helpfully provided by an endless and evolving parade of edu-vendors, is the real star of the show. Best of all, before it even opens its doors, Venture Academy has already joined the ranks of Minneapolis’ growing roster of miracle schools: institutions that teach the EXACT SAME STUDENTS as the city’s union-stifled public schools but with EXTRAORDINARY, OUTSTANDING and AUDACIOUS results. Venture Academy will soon be working miracles with these exact same students—as long as they meet a few simple requirements.

Are you a MacGyver of education? Send comments to tips@edushyster.com.

- – - – - – - – -

Thank you, Eduschuyster, for keeping us informed about educorporate goings-on in Minnesota.

Chart Explaining Who Controls Common Core   2 comments

 

Click for sources:

http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/FlowchartSources.pdf

Thanks to Alyson Williams for this compilation of research.

Alisa Ellis: On the Global Education Agenda   Leave a comment

At a recent conference of “Agency Based Education,” Alisa Ellis spoke about the goals of the U.S. Department of Education as they align with the United Nations’ “Universal Education” goals.  This informative video explains how the nice-sounding plans of the United Nations actually harm us.  They take away parental rights over children and take away teachers’ and school boards’ rights about what will be taught in local schools.

 

Fiction vs. Nonfiction Smackdown: Washington Post   Leave a comment

For those who still believe Common Core is “rigorous” and good for kids, here is a must-read from Jay Mathews and the Washington Post. 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/fiction-vs-nonfiction-smackdown/2012/10/17/cbb333d0-16f0-11e2-a55c-39408fbe6a4b_print.html

Fiction vs. nonfiction smackdown

By , Published: October 17

There is no more troubling fact about U.S. education than this: The reading scores of 17-year-olds have shown no significant improvement since 1980.

The new Common Core State Standards in 46 states and the District are designed to solve that problem. Among other things, students are being asked to read more nonfiction, considered by many experts to be the key to success in college or the workplace.

The Common Core standards are one of our hottest trends. Virginia declined to participate but was ignored in the rush of good feeling about the new reform. Now, the period of happy news conferences is over, and teachers have to make big changes. That never goes well. Expect battles, particularly in this educationally hypersensitive region.

Teaching more nonfiction will be a key issue. Many English teachers don’t think it will do any good. Even if it were a good idea, they say, those who have to make the change have not had enough training to succeed — an old story in school reform.

The clash of views is well described by two prominent scholars for the Pioneer Institute, a Boston-based public policy group, in a new paper. Sandra Stotsky of the University of Arkansas and Mark Bauerlein of Emory University say the reformers who wrote the Common Core standards have no data to support their argument that kids have been hurt by reading too much fiction. They say analyzing great literature would give students all the critical thinking skills they need. The problem, they say, is not the lack of nonfiction but the dumbed-down fiction that has been assigned in recent decades.

“Problems in college readiness stem from an incoherent, less-challenging literature curriculum from the 1960s onward,” Bauerlein and Stotsky say. “Until that time, a literature-heavy English curriculum was understood as precisely the kind of pre-college training students needed.”

The standards were inspired, in part, by a movement to improve children’s reading abilities by replacing standard elementary school pabulum with a rich diet of history, geography, science and the arts. University of Virginia scholar E.D. Hirsch Jr. has written several books on this. He established the Core Knowledge Foundation in Charlottesville to support schools that want their third-graders studying ancient Rome and their fourth-graders listening to Handel.

Robert Pondiscio, a former fifth-grade teacher who is vice president of the foundation, quotes a key part of the Common Core standards making this case:

“By reading texts in history/social studies, science, and other disciplines, students build a foundation of knowledge in these fields that will also give them the background to be better readers in all content areas. Students can only gain this foundation when the curriculum is intentionally and coherently structured to develop rich content knowledge within and across grades.”

The Common Core guidelines recommend fourth-graders get an equal amount of fiction and nonfiction. Eighth-grade reading should be about 55 percent nonfiction, going to a recommended 70 percent by 12th grade.

Bauerlein and Stotsky say that could hurt college readiness. The new standards and associated tests, they say, will make “English teachers responsible for informational reading instruction, something they have not been trained for, and will not be trained for unless the entire undergraduate English major as well as preparatory programs in English education in education schools are changed.”

Pondiscio says he admires Bauerlein and Stotsky and doesn’t see why English classes have to carry the nonfiction weight. Social studies and science courses can do that. The real battle, he says, will be in the elementary schools, where lesson plans have failed to provide the vocabulary, background knowledge and context that make good readers.

Those who want the new standards say learning to read is more than just acquiring a skill, like bike riding. It is absorbing an entire world. That is what the fight in your local district will be about.

Does U.N.’s Agenda 21 Education Mandate Push Common Core in USA?   29 comments

What Does Common Core Have To Do With the U.N.’s Agenda 21 ?

 –And Why Should You Care?

  There’s an interesting article about Obama’s call for the U.S. to pay for education of the world.  It’s “A Global Fund for Education: Achieving Education for All” that you can read in full here:  http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2009/08/education-gartner


Its summary states: “In order to realize the world’s commitment to ensuring education for all by 2015, important innovations and reforms will be needed in the governance and financing of global education. In 2008, Presidential Candidate Barack Obama committed to making sure that every child has the chance to learn by creating a Global Fund for Education. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has recently called for a new architecture of global cooperation…  A new Global Fund for Education… must be capable of mobilizing the approximately $7 billion annually still needed to achieve education for all, while holding all stakeholders accountable for achieving results with these resources. None of these objectives will be achieved without a major rethinking of the global education architecture and an evolution of current mechanisms for financing education… Achieving these two Millennium Development Goals, and the broader Education for All Goals… will require more capable international institutions.”

I have to ask three questions as I read this:

  • Since when do nations collectively finance global education?
  • Since when has the whole world agreed on what should be taught to the whole world?
  • Since when is the United States of America reduced to “accountable stakeholder” status over its own educational and financial decisionmaking?

So Obama created a global education fund, using U.S. taxpayer money.  I don’t remember voting on this.

And Hilary Clinton is misusing the word “inclusiveness” to now mean “no more independent sovereignty for anyone.”  Meanwhile, there’s a United Nations/UNESCO program called “Education For All” that involves the same ideas and the very same key people as “Common Core”.  And there’s also an “Education, Public Awareness and Training” chapter in the U.N.’s Agenda 21 goals.

Both the U.N.’s educational goals (via UNESCO and “Education for All” ) and “Common Core” do sound very appealing on the surface.  Each seeks to educate by teaching the exact same standards to all children (and adults) on a national or a global scale.  But both supercede local control over what is taught to students, and both dismiss the validity and importance of the U.S. Constitution implicitly.

Both UNESCO’s educational goals and Common Core are, coincidentally, heavily funded by activist and philanthropist Bill Gates, one of the wealthiest billionaires on earth.  http://www.eagleforum.org/links/UNESCO-MS.pdf  ( Link to Gates’ Microsoft/Unesco partnership)

Gates gave the Common Core developer/copyright holders, NGA/CCSSO, about $25 million dollars to promote his special interest, Common Core.  (See CCSSO: 2009–$9,961,842, 2009– $3,185,750, 2010–$743,331, 2011–$9,388,911 ; NGA Center: 2008–$2,259,780 at http://www.keepeducationlocal.com .

Gates partnered with UNESCO/U.N. to fund “Education For All” as well.  See  http://bettereducationforall.org/

The “Education For All” developer is UNESCO, a branch of the United Nations.  Education For All’s key document is called “The Dakar Framework for Action: Education For All: Meeting Our Collective Commitments.”  Read the full text here:  http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0012/001211/121147e.pdf

At this link, you can learn about how Education For All works:

http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/themes/leading-the-international-agenda/education-for-all/international-cooperation/high-level-group/

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

   The six goals of “Education For All” are claimed to be internationally agreed-upon. But since much of what happens with the United Nations threatens the sovereignty of the United States and all sovereign nations, I do not recognize that these goals, or anything else for that matter, are “internationally agreed-upon.”  Do you?

For everyone on earth to totally agree, we’d have to submit to a one-world government with a one-world constitution that would override any individual country’s constitution.  There are some great thoughts on this subject here:   http://www.keepeducationlocal.com/

But in the U.N.’s own words:

“Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, Governments, and Major Groups in every area in which human impacts on the environment.  Agenda 21, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and the Statement of principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests were adopted by more than 178 Governments at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janerio, Brazil, 3 to 14 June 1992.  The Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was created in December 1992 to ensure effective follow-up…” See:  http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/agenda21/

So Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of action to be taken by everyone.  We all apparently have been signed up to agree, whether we agree or not.  I’m already getting the communist creeps.

But most of us haven’t even heard of Agenda 21 nor do we know anything about “sustainable development”.

On the linked Education and Awareness page of that same U.N. website, we learn:

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

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

So then we click on Chapter 36.  The “indispensable” implementation tool they are describing are your children’s American public schools.  Yes, really:

36.2 says they plan to “reorient” worldwide education toward sustainable development.  (No discussion, no vote, no input needed on this reorientation plan, apparently.)

36.3 says:  “While basic education provides the underpinning for any environmental and development education, the latter needs to be incorporated as an essential part of learning. Both formal and non-formal education are indispensable to changing people’s attitudes so that they have the capacity to assess and address their sustainable development concerns. It is also critical for achieving environmental and ethical awareness, values and attitudes, skills and behaviour consistent with sustainable development and for effective public participation in decision-making. To be effective, environment and development education should deal with the dynamics of both the physical/biological and socio-economic environment and human (which may include spiritual) development, should be integrated in all disciplines, and should employ formal and non-formal methods

The take-away?

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

The stated objectives (36.4) include endorsing “Education for All,” achieving “environmental and development awareness in all sectors of society on a world-wide scale as soon as possible”; and to achieve the accessibility of environmental and development education, linked to social education, from primary school age through adulthood to all groups of people; and to promote integration of environment concepts, including demography, in all educational programmes, and “giving special emphasis to the further training of decision makers at all levels.”

Does that not sound like quite an agenda?

But it gets worse.

Under “Activities,” we find:

Governments should strive to update or prepare strategies aimed at integrating environment and development as a cross-cutting issue into education at all levels within the next three years. This should be done in cooperation with all sectors of society…. A thorough review of curricula should be undertaken to ensure a multidisciplinary approach, with environment and development issues and their socio-cultural and demographic aspects and linkages.”

So, if a country like the USA, for example, has a Constitution and G.E.P.A. laws that states that its federal government has absolutely no legal right to supervise or direct state school systems, then what?  How can it be done?

 I’ll tell you how!   Just get a U.S. President to circumvent Congress and the states’ right to educate.  Just use nongovernmental groups like the NGA/CCSSO to write and copyright new national educational standards.  Just pay groups to do what you are not legally authorized to do. Just create “Race to the Top” grants.  Just promote a socialist education system but call it a state-led Common Core.  Then get zillionaire philanthropist Bill Gates to promote and pay for most of it.

And that is what has happened.

Enough info for today?  Oh, no.  Not even close.

They go on to say how countries should pay for all the reorientation and values/attitudes changing for all people.  And there’s even a media-to-museum rebranding blitz outline:

In 36.10:

“Countries… should promote a cooperative relationship with the media, popular theatre groups, and entertainment and advertising industries by initiating discussions to mobilize their experience in shaping public behaviour and consumption patterns and making wide use of their methods. Such cooperation would also increase the active public participation in the debate on the environment. UNICEF should make child-oriented material available to media as an educational tool, ensuring close cooperation between the out-of-school public information sector and the school curriculum, for the primary level. UNESCO, UNEP and universities should enrich pre-service curricula for journalists on environment and development topics;

    

(f) Countries, in cooperation with the scientific community, should establish ways of employing modern communication technologies for effective public outreach. National and local educational authorities and relevant United Nations agencies should expand, as appropriate, the use of audio-visual methods, especially in rural areas in mobile units, by producing television and radio programmes for developing countries, involving local participation, employing interactive multimedia methods and integrating advanced methods with folk media;

(g) Countries should promote… environmentally sound leisure and tourism activities… making suitable use of museums, heritage sites, zoos, botanical gardens, national parks…”

So, it should be pretty clear that there is a huge re-education program happening to all countries, the aim of which is to change people’s attitudes toward believing in “sustainable development” and environmental education.  If it’s picking up litter, some other innocuous program, fine; spend trillions without taking a vote to make sure we all think alike.  Stupid but harmless.  On the other hand,  what if, what IF, it’s something we DON’T all agree upon? There are hundreds of countries.  Even if it were just up to China* vs. the U.S. to define “sustainable behavior” how would we ever agree?  Paper or plastic?  Paper wastes trees; plastic creates landfills.  These “green-defining” issues are endless.

But the problem, in a nutshell, is simply:  Whose version of “sustainable” do you want to re-educate everyone to believe –assuming that you can accept massive-scale propagandizing for the promotion of one single belief system, under which people didn’t get a representative vote)

  
*Sustainable thinking includes limiting by abortion the number of babies allowed to be born, in order to have control over population growth. The Chinese “One Child Policy” was introduced by the Chinese Government in 1979 with the intention of keeping the population within sustainable limits even in the face of natural disasters and poor harvests, and improving the quality of life for the Chinese population as a whole. Under the policy, parents who have more than one child may have their wages reduced and be denied some social services.” (BBC)
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