Archive for the ‘dumbing down’ Tag

Kentucky University Student Speaks Up About Common Core   3 comments

shannon of kentucky

Guest Post by Shannon Crouch

Hello, my name is Shannon Crouch. I am a 20-year-old college student studying Mathematics and Statistics at Eastern Kentucky University.

I attended high school at Morgan County High School in West Liberty, Kentucky. I was a part of the graduating class in 2011 and though I did not receive this method of schooling I have seen it enacted in my brother’s high school career as he began Sophomore year in 2011-2012.  I also dealt with its repercussions as a Developmental Lab Instructor at Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) for the Department of Mathematics & Statistics.

My brother’s story

To begin, I will share a brief description of the classes my brother has undertaken these last three years. At the beginning of each school year, all students are given a pre-test to determine the student’s understanding of the oncoming class content. As the semester continues, all homework assignments are handouts that relate to a ‘weekly’ mini-subject (ex. for math: solving for zeros, logarithms, solving rational functions, etc.) that make up the course outline. I will use the term ‘week’ loosely to relay the expected time frame schools believe each mini-subject should be taught. Students are pre-tested and post-tested at the beginning and ends of each ‘week’ and they move into the next ‘week’ mini-subject if a defined majority of the class passes. If that majority does not pass, then the class must repeat the subject content until either the majority has passed –or it has been taught three ‘weeks’ in a row.

To convey the detriment of such a process on student learning in full needs more than just typed words, but nonetheless I will try.

In simple terms, this modular system of teaching causes the average student to be the only student to excel. To break that sentence down further and define the difference from ‘average’ students to others, we have to look at the system being used. Given a student who makes good grades in a class and passes these pre- and post-tests each time, the process of having to repeat the class hinders his or her development in the progression of studies, but also thinking of a student who is not passing the pre- and post-tests, he/she is being dragged along by the system, unable to understand basic subjects, but often passing the class because he or she has been able to copy off peers. Some would ask what difference this last case has to older developmental systems. In return to that question, I would like to point out the handouts. These handouts are created based on the subjects to be taught for each class and are the only required work for the class. Students are no longer required to put in individualized effort into using textbooks, writing out questions, or even using critical thinking.  These handouts are the perfect tools for a student to cheat with given that everything is outlined the same way.

My experience as a university math tutor

Taking a step away from its implementation, however, let’s look at the results some colleges and universities are seeing now. I will use Eastern Kentucky University as my example: According to statistics presented to us at orientation, when I enrolled in Fall 2011, approximately 48% of the incoming freshmen were required to take developmental math or Reading/English courses. This was before the implementation of Common Core –and you are correct in thinking that is a pretty high number.

The scarier thought, however, is information they shared in my job training as a developmental instructor and a tutor for the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. In the 2013-2014 academic year, approximately 60% of our incoming freshmen were required to take developmental Math or Reading/English classes. That means in a span of two years with Common Core Standards implemented in High Schools, college preparedness dropped by an extra 12% for students that enrolled to Eastern Kentucky University.

The effect seen at EKU frightens me as a student today and even as a future parent. This influx of developmental students tells me that our students are being pushed through high school without the literacy skills and basic math skills required to function in the world today. Students are being trained to pass the test rather than retain what they learn and so when it comes to their college readiness exams like the ACT, COMPASS, and KYOTE they fail to have the knowledge required to think through the questions they come across.

——————-

As an update to this story:  Shannon’s relative lives in Utah. She sent a copy of the above article to a member of her Wasatch County School Board.  This is what she received:

from: DEBBIE.JONES@wasatch.edu>

Subject: Re: Kentucky and Common Core
Date: March 13, 2014 at 8:33:22 AM MDT
It makes me sad that implementation of the standards isn’t going well for some districts, like the one in this story. I’m so grateful we have amazing teachers who are doing great things for students in our district.
Take care,
Deb
———————-
Shannon then wrote back:
———————-

Ms. Jones,

I was interested to learn that you believe the effects of common core in Morgan County are a result of poor teachers, but I feel that I must correct your assumption on this.
Morgan County has many amazing teachers, especially for their core curriculum in Math, Science, and English. One such teacher, Stacey Perry is a mathematics teacher. She is qualified to teach not only the required mathematics programs for high school but extends her knowledge to AP curriculum for Calculus I and Calculus II, with one of the highest AP Exam passing percentiles for AP Calculus in Eastern Kentucky.
I want to mention this in detail so that I can relay to you that it is not the desire of beautifully brilliant teachers such as Mrs. Perry to implement common core so poorly, but rather it has been forced on them via the agreements of common core with all states.
Please do not consider your district and state as having immunity because if you do then you will see your students declining in individuality, scholastic achievement, and critical thinking. If you have any concern for you future generations, take the matter seriously and question all that you are being told by Common Core representatives.

Shannon Crouch

Interview: Stanford University Scholar Bill Evers of Hoover Institute on Common Core – KFI Radio   2 comments

bill evers

https://soundcloud.com/#terry-anzur/commoncore030214

Click to hear this week’s KFI radio interview with Dr. Bill Evers on Common Core, on KFI AM, Los Angeles.  Dr. Evers is a scholar at the Hoover Institute of Stanford University.  He has been an outspoken critic of the Common Core initiative from the beginning of the movement.

In addition to this radio Q & A with Dr. Evers, you’ll get to hear some VERY lively clips of parents, including a terrible one I hadn’t heard before about “daddy-baby biology”. (It is an example of the kinds of negative “curricular” value shifting that’s trickling into school rooms now, as more and more local control goes away under the Common Core power shift.)

In this interview, Dr. Evers also reminds listeners that they can legally opt their children out of any test for any reason at any time.

Enjoy!

Video: Arkansas Mother Karen Lamoreaux Interviewed on Glenn Beck Show   2 comments

Click here to watch the t.v. interview with Arkansas mother Karen Lamoreaux on the Glenn Beck show.

Click here (or below) to view Karen Lamoreaux’s smashing testimony to her state school board.

On her t.v. interview, Lamoreaux noted that most state school boards are appointed, not elected and that of the twenty two states that are fighting back against Common Core, all are legislative fights; none are state school boards who have seen the light.

Teachers across the country are contacting her, saying, “Please fight this for us,” because teachers who are currently teaching in government schools are told by their leaders (state school board and down) that they may not speak against Common Core. So teachers rely on parents to stop the Common Core train wreck.

Lamoreaux also said:

“The standards are not the issue; it’s the baggage that comes with it.”

“It is not state-led. It is state implemented.”

Liar Liar Pants on Fire: Dr. Stotsky Exposes Marc Tucker   3 comments

pinocchio

Dr. Sandra Stotsky, one of the famous Common Core validation committee members who refused to sign off on the legitimacy of Common Core, is alarmed that N.H. legislators are being sold a false line by Mark Tucker about Common Core. She points out, among other things, that the Gates Foundation has “given millions to help Marc Tucker promote his own ideas on education in recent years” as it has given millions to promote Common Core nationwide. But there are more than financial incentives for Tucker, the CEO of the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE), a Center for American Progress (CAP) leader, and the infamous Dear Hillary letter author.

Tucker’s life’s work hangs on Common Core. He’s made it his mission to end local control, as a progressive socialist who openly fights Constitutional, representative America. The plot of his 1992 “Dear Hillary letter” falls apart without Common standards for control of data and control of education and workforce. He can’t let it fail.

Tucker’s infamous 1992 letter to Hillary Clinton showed Tucker’s (and Clinton’s) twisted agreement that a “new” system of government should micromanage every citizen’s life, cradle to grave, using schooling as the core for the centralized control. Creepy as can be.

Fast forward to May 2013 and still, you see Tucker’s creepy goals outlined in his report from the “Center for American Progress” in which Tucker stated that “the United States will have to largely abandon the beloved emblem of American education: local control.” He also dared write: “I propose to greatly strengthen the role of the state education agencies in education governance, at the expense of local control … [G]overnance roles of the local districts, as well as the federal government, would be significantly decreased. Independent citizen governing boards would be eliminated.”

tucker

Equally stunning is Tucker’s 2013 NCEE report called “What Does It Really Mean to Be College and Work Ready?” where he admitted that his goal for education reform is NOT to raise, but to lower standards.

His report reads:

“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.”

(Why don’t our state school boards share these reports with us? Why do they lead us to believe that “college and career ready standards” mean better than we had before?)

The same NCEE report goes on to say that the traditional high school English class, with its emphasis on classic literature and personal, narrative writing, is useless. The report implies that Common Core will save students from the near-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.”

In labeling classic literature and personal writing irrelevant, the NCEE underscores the Common Core/NCEE mentality: that only job prep matters, only the collective economy, not the liberty and potential of an individual.

With that introduction to Tucker’s motivations for promoting Common Core, here are highlights from Dr. Stotsky’s article on Tucker’s recent fibs in support of the Common Core agenda. (Read the whole thing at Pioneer Institute’s website.)

stotsky

Dr. Stotsky makes many important points, including the following:

1 “In October, members of the New Hampshire legislature heard Marc Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy, tell them more fibs than Pinocchio ever dreamed up. How many legislators will prove to be gullible Geppettos is another matter.”

2 “…all six of the “math experts” who “validated” Common Core’s mathematics standards are in an education school and/or spend their time on teacher education… [Dr. James Milgram, who refused to sign off on the legitimacy of the Common Core math standards], who has a doctorate in mathematics, was clearly the only mathematician on the Validation Committee. Tucker doesn’t know a mathematician from a mathematics educator.”

3 “It is true that Professor William McCallum, a consultant to Achieve, Inc., a mathematics professor at Arizona State University, and a lead writer of Common Core’s mathematics standards, asked the heads of many national mathematics and science societies for endorsements, and he received them. However, there is no evidence that any of their members ever read Common Core’s high school mathematics standards.”

4 “Nor is there evidence that any of their members disagree with Milgram’s judgment that there are no precalculus standards in Common Core or with Professor Jason Zimba’s acknowledgment that Common Core does not prepare high school students for STEM. If members of these organizations do endorse high school mathematics standards that intentionally do not prepare high school students for STEM, they should speak up…”

5 “Mitchell Chester, current Commissioner of Education in Massachusetts, did not commission any leading education research organizations to compare the Massachusetts standards with Common Core’s …Achieve, Inc., Fordham, and the MBAE all received funding from the Gates Foundation… It is also well-known that a Race to the Top grant for $250,000,000 was promised to Massachusetts if it adopted Common Core’s standards.”

6 “Tucker plays fast and loose with the facts, and in the future New Hampshire legislators and educators should make sure a fact-checker is on the premises for a debriefing after he speaks.”

Thank you, Dr. Stotsky.

Read the rest here.

Thomas Jefferson wrote: “But if it is believed that these elementary schools will be better managed by the governor and council, the commissioners of the literary fund, or any other general authority of the government, than by the parents within each ward, it is a belief against all experience.

America, do we you want that sterile, big-government factory vision of workforce-focus to control the nation’s children? How has it worked out for European socialist countries and the communist nations?

Why listen to Tucker and go with his (Common Core’s) flow? Why destroy the vision of our founders, where each caring parent and locality governed the child’s education?

Local control and freedom have made us the greatest nation in the world. Others flock to our universities! Others envy our technological and medical advancement!

Freedom works. Don’t throw it away, foolishly following schemers such as Marc Tucker, David Coleman, Sir Michael Barber, Bill Gates, and Arne Duncan –no matter how fancy the titles of their organizations sound.

We’re at a critical intersection of our country’s history. Our children’s futures and our country’s future depends on us seeing what these schemers are attempting to pull; depends on us standing up and simply saying, “No.”

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.

Fox News: Common Core is a Risky Experiment on Children – by James Milgram and Emmett McGroarty   4 comments

Do the math — Common Core = a massive, risky experiment on your kids

Yesterday’s Fox News editorial by Emmett McGroarty and James Milgram is staggeringly important. I’ve pasted excerpts. Plese read the whole article at this link.

Remember that James Milgram is a former NASA mathematician, Stanford math professor, and the only true mathematician to serve on the validation committee for Common Core (a mathematician, a math analyst, as opposed to just being a math teacher). He refused to sign off that there was adequate academic legitimacy to Common Core. This is why.

—————————————————————————————————————————————

“One of Common Core’s most glaring deficiencies is its handling of adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing numbers.
… The classic method of, for example, adding two-digit numbers is to add the digits in the “ones” column, carry the remainder to the “tens” column, and then add the “tens” digits. This “standard algorithm” works first time, every time. But instead of teaching this method, which enables students to solve problems quickly and routinely, Common Core creates a two-step process.

The first is to let students choose from several alternative algorithms (number lines, estimating, etc.) for doing one-digit additions, subtractions, and multiplications.

The second is probably to extend these student constructions to more complex calculations. (We say “probably” because the standards are not at all clear on this point.)

There is no point where the student-constructed algorithms are explicitly replaced by the very efficient standard methods for doing one-digit operations.

Why does Common Core adopt this convoluted method of teaching math?

The stated reason is that learning the standard algorithm doesn’t give students a “deeper conceptual understanding” of what they’re doing. But the use of student-constructed algorithms is at odds with the practices of high-achieving countries and is not supported by research. Common Core is using our children for a huge and risky experiment.

There are also severe problems with the way Common Core handles percents, ratios, rates, and proportions – the critical topics that are essential if students are to learn more advanced topics such as trigonometry, statistics, and even calculus.

As well, the way Common Core presents geometry is not research-based – and the only country that tried this approach on a large scale rapidly abandoned it.

In addition to these deficiencies, Common Core only includes most (but not all) of the standard algebra I expectations, together with only some parts of standard geometry and algebra II courses. There is no content beyond this.

Hidden in Common Core is the real objective – presenting the minimal amount of material that high-school graduates need to be able to enter the work force in an entry-level job, or to enroll in a community college with a reasonable expectation of avoiding a remedial math course.

There is no preparation for anything more, such as entering a university (not a community college) with a reasonable expectation of being able to skip the entry-level courses.

(Virtually no university student who has to take an entry-level math course ever gets a degree in a technical area such as the hard sciences, engineering, economics, statistics, or mathematics.)

Common Core thus amounts to a disservice to our students. It puts them at least two years behind their peers in high-performing countries, and leaves them ill-prepared for authentic college course work.

Those who doubt that this low-level workforce-development is the goal of Common Core should ponder the admission of Jason Zimba, one of the chief drafters of the math standards.

In a public meeting of the Massachusetts State Board of Education in 2010, Dr. Zimba testified that Common Core is designed to prepare students only for a non-selective community college, not a university… …”

Read the rest:

Dr. James Milgram, Professor of Mathematics at Stanford University, has extensive experience developing mathematics standards throughout the nation and served on the Validation Committee for the Common Core Standards.

Emmett McGroarty, serves as Executive Director of the American Principles Project’s Preserve Innocence Initiative which informs Americans about the dangers of centralizing education through the Common Core. He is co-author of “Controlling Education From the Top: Why Common Core Is Bad for America.”

Dr. Milgram has elsewhere written (responding to a request for clarification about math standards):

I can tell you that my main objection to Core Standards, and the reason I didn’t sign off on them was that they did not match up to international expectations. They were at least 2 years behind the practices in the high achieving countries by 7th grade, and, as a number of people have observed, only require partial understanding of what would be the content of a normal, solid, course in Algebra I or Geometry. Moreover, they cover very little of the content of Algebra II, and none of any higher level course… They will not help our children match up to the students in the top foreign countries when it comes to being hired to top level jobs.“

Video: College Board Accidentally Explains Dumbing Down AP to Match Common Core   4 comments

AP tests are aligning to Common Core. So, explain this, Common Core proponents: the reason to change college-credit AP tests to Common Core is to make sure that they were actually college-ready?

Um, that makes no sense.

This video is a must-see. Start at about 1:05 when the College Board representative says that Common Core doesn’t include Calculus.

By definition a college-credit test should be testing college-ready information. So, the only reason to change the AP tests is to hide the Common Core’s decline for true college-readiness.

That does make sense, since Common Core is a concession to national, agreed-upon, defined middle ground (mediocrity). While some states have risen to the new Common Core, other states have dropped their standards to adopt Common Core. That’s what collectivism does, folks. It erases excellence and success because it values sameness above soaring.

It makes sense, then, that college entrance exams and AP exams that are Common Core-aligned, will be dropping their standards, too.

Now that AP, SAT, and ACT tests are changing to be Common Core aligned, we can’t compare pre-Common Core to post-Common Core and will not be able to prove the massive failure that would most likely have been discovered in the near future.

This College Board representative in the video doesn’t come out directly and say that Common Core only prepares students for a nonselective two year college, but he might has well have said it.

Jason Zimba, a lead Common Core writer, did say it. So did Professor William McCallum of the University of Arizona, one of the three writers of the math Common Core standards:

“While acknowledging the concerns about front-loading demands in early grades, [McCallum] said that the overall standards would not be too high, certainly not in comparison [with] other nations, including East Asia, where math education excels.”

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

Boston Globe Op Ed: How Common Core Harmed Massachusetts   1 comment

In the upside down, inside-out world of education reform, one of the most glaring inconsistencies is the case study of Massachusetts, a state that led the nation in standards and high student test scores, a state that had actually achieved competitiveness with leading international competitors, yet a state that dropped all that success, dropped its own tried and true success formula, to apply for a Race to the Top grant which tied it to common standards: Common Core.

I’m sharing portions of a recent opinion editorial written by the former president of the Massachusetts Senate, Tom Birmingham, on the subject of how Common Core hurt Massachusetts.

The full article is here, at the Boston Globe.

Birmingham said:

“If you had told me on that hot day in Malden 20 years ago when Governor Bill Weld signed the Education Reform Act that over 90 percent of Massachusetts students would pass MCAS, or that the Commonwealth’s SAT scores would rise for 13 consecutive years, or that our students would become the first in every category in every grade on national testing known as “the Nation’s Report Card,” or that Massachusetts would rank at or near the top in international science tests, I would have thought you wildly optimistic…

I’m …troubled by the Commonwealth’s willingness to replace our tried-and-true standards and MCAS with totally unproven national standards and testing. This conversion will come at an estimated cost of $360 million for new textbooks, professional development, and technology…

Most of the lowest-performing states have adopted the standards, known as Common Core. Based on nationally administered exams, states like Alabama and Mississippi could not hope to attain Massachusetts’ standards.

In implementing the Common Core, there will be natural pressure to set the national standards at levels that are realistically achievable by students in all states. This marks a retreat from Massachusetts’ current high standards. This may be the rare instance where what is good for the nation as a whole is bad for Massachusetts.

Given our incontrovertible educational successes, those seeking changes should bear in mind the admonition of the Hippocratic oath: First, do no harm.”

Tom Birmingham, former president of the Massachusetts Senate, is senior counsel at Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP. He coauthored the Massachusetts Education Reform Act of 1993.

National Twitter Rally to #StopCommonCore April 16th   17 comments

 

Karin Piper, a freedom fighter at Colorado’s @Parent Led Reform  is leading a national #StopCommonCore Twitter  rally.  The rally is promoted and supported by Michelle Malkin, the Truth in American Education network and countless parent and teacher groups  for educational freedom nationwide.  The event begins Tuesday, April 16th at 10:00 and goes until 12:00.

@ParentLedReform is also hosting an expert panel and a multi-state coalition of organizations to talk discuss #stopcommoncore in conjunction with the rally.

Join LIVE via Twitter to listen or share your view about Common Core Standards.  Twitter is free and easy to join.

This is a public event.  Please share with your friends and neighbors.

Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform: # 9 – David Coleman   48 comments

David Coleman:  Bye Bye, Classics

Countdown # 9

This is the second in a countdown series of introductions, a list of the top ten scariest people leading American education reform.  (#10 on the list is posted here.)

David Coleman, lead “architect” for the English Language Arts (ELA) portion of the Common Core, is not an educator, but a businessman.  Recently promoted to president of the College Board, he has promised to align the SAT with the Common Core that he built.  He plotted education for K-12 students, and now he’s plotting it for postsecondary students, too.

How can a one-size-fits-all alignment make sense for all students –whether bound for a minimum wage job, a two-year college or the top university in the world– prepare each using a one-size-fits-all Common Core program?  Either the lower-level students are to be pushed beyond reasonable expectations, or the higher level students are to be dumbed down.  Or both.

Coleman is an outspoken antagonist to narrative writing and is no fan of classic literature, so he singlehandedly slashed most of it from the education most children in America will know, either already –or soon.  Ask your kids, but remember, Common Core testing begins in 2014, so the intense pressure for teachers to conform to Common Core is yet to be fully felt.

What did Coleman do to Language Arts? He mandated that dreary informational text, not beautiful, classic literature, is to be the main emphasis in English classes, incrementally worsening as students get older.

What it looks like:  little children in an ELA classroom may read no more than 50% classic literature. High school seniors may only read 30% classic literature. The other 70% must be informational text, which means everything from historical documents (um– why not read those in history classes?)  to insulation installation manuals,  presidential executive orders, environmental programming, and federal reserve documents.  These are actually on the recommended reading  list.

Another weird twist to Coleman’s Common Core is that he says students must “stay within the four corners of the text” as if that were possible.  Context is not to be part of a discussion?  Outside experience is not to be compared to the informational text?  For a thorough, and eloquent, explanation of what has happened to English Language Arts because of Coleman’s influence, please read “Speaking Back to the Common Core” by Professor Thomas Newkirk of the University of New Hampshire.

What Coleman does not understand (–hmmm, maybe actual English teachers should have been invited to those closed-door meetings–) is that narrative is so much more than a style of writing.

Narrative isn’t just using the “I” word.  It’s more than “What I Did Last Summer.”

Narrative is a pattern woven (often unconsciously) into every style of memorable writing, whether argumentative, persuasive, expository, etc.  The best informational texts are narratively satisfying.

Coleman’s knocking down of narrative writing and slashing of it from academic standards is both ignorant and, to English teachers and astute kids, really confusing. For a funny, punchy review of the muddly ELA writing standards, read Professor Laura Gibbs’ “Inspid Brew of Gobbledygook”.

David Coleman is largely ignorant in the field of writing language arts standards.  One member of the official Common Core validation committee, Dr. Sandra Stotsky, pointed this out and refused to sign off on the validity of the Common Core standards.

And David Coleman is not even nice, as you’ll see from the video linked here, where he mocks student narrative and uses the “sh–” word in a professional development seminar for teachers.

Lastly, Coleman’s large financial contribution to the campaign of  Education Committee Senator Todd Huston (Indiana) whom Coleman hired for the College Board after his election, forms another branch of reasons that I can not trust this man to make wise decisions affecting children.

Oklahoma Pastors’ Letter Against Common Core   10 comments

My hat is off to the wonderful pastors of Oklahoma who have joined together this week to write this letter to Oklahoma’s governor, state school board –and to all Americans.

http://www.restoreokpubliceducation.com/node/751

February 19, 2013
To the Honorable:
Governor Mary Fallin
Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb
State School Superintendent Janet Barresi
Members of the Oklahoma Legislature

 

The most concerning thing about last November’s Presidential election was not the outcome, but that almost 60 million people thought reelecting Barak Obama was a good idea. How did a man who openly supports unfettered abortion, homosexual marriage, record setting deficit spending and the redistribution of wealth garner the support of nearly 60 million voters? The reason: That is what the voters have been taught in an educational system that is controlled by the Federal Government.

Beginning with LBJ’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Federal Government began an unconstitutional power grab over public education. Then in 1991, President
George H. W. Bush tied American education into the standards set by the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization. Since then, every few years the Federal government rolls out the latest version of the same old UN standards. Whether you call it Goals 2000, No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, or Core Curriculum it’s the same old junk and we keep buying it.

The Founder’s design was for local control of education. Unfortunately, the school busses in my town still say “Edmond Public Schools”, but they really aren’t. They are the Edmond branch of an educational system controlled by Washington D.C. We voluntarily have sold our freedom for the sake of funds that come from a bankrupt government, that forces conservative, God fearing Oklahoma children to abide by the government mandated curriculum which is birthed by UNESCO with the intent on creating a sustainable earth
without borders.

We have kicked God out of school and replaced Him with Darwin and Marx. If there is no God, then government is the grantor of all rights including my Obamaphone and Obamacare. That is why American Exceptionalism is no longer taught, but evil American Imperialism is.

Rather than teaching our kids to be thrifty, hardworking and self-reliant, we are taught government dependency. Since God doesn’t exist, there is no absolute truth and consequently right and wrong has been replaced with tolerance and intolerance. We are taught that Islam is good and Christianity is bad. We are not taught to be good citizens (as our founders demanded) we are taught to be global citizens. We are taught about “rights”, but we aren’t taught responsibility. We aren’t taught that no one has a right to do wrong.

Core Curriculum may be the most dangerous Trojan Horse that has yet been brought to our gates for the following reason. With the new push toward the [Common] Core Curriculum Standards, the ACT and SAT tests are adjusting to reflect those same standards. All text books will then conform to these new standards as even “homeschool” and “private school” will be forced to be taught to the test. If we do not stop this program now, it will become America’s next Medicare or Social Security and millions of children will be lost inside a one size fits all system to create equal mediocrity among the new “global citizens.”

Let’s restore American exceptionalism and reject the [Common] Core Curriculum. We’re smart enough to make decisions about our own children and our own schools. Let’s return Oklahoma
Schools to Oklahoma control.

Sincerely,

Pastor Paul Blair, Fairview Baptist Church – Edmond

Reverend Dr. Perry Greene, South Yukon Church of Christ

Reverend Tim Gillespie, Seminole Free Will Baptist Church

Reverend Dr. Steve Kern, Olivet Baptist Church

Reverend Dr. Tom Vineyard, Windsor Hills Baptist Church

Reverend Gerald R. Peterson, Sr. Pastor, First Lutheran Church – OKC

Reverend Dan Fisher, Trinity Baptist Church – Yukon

Reverend Christopher Redding, Stillwater

Reverend Dr. Kevin Clarkson, First Baptist Church – Moore

Reverend Bruce A. DeLay, Church in the Heartland – Tulsa

Reverend Chilles Hutchinson

Reverend David Evans, Highland Baptist Church

Reverend Dr. Bruce A. Proctor
Reverend Dr. Jim D. Standridge, Immanuel Baptist Church – Skiatook

Reverend Donnie Edmondson

Reverend Paul Tompkins

Reverend Craig Wright, Faith Crossing Baptist Church – OKC

Reverend Jesse Leon Rodgers, Gateway Church of Ada

Reverend Ken Smith, Sunnylane Baptist Church

Reverend Dr. Charles Harding

Reverend Rod Rieger, Newcastle Christian Church

Reverend Ron Lindsey, Suburban Baptist Church

Glen Howard, Retired Pastor / Missionary and current host of Senior World Radio

Reverend Dr. Jim Vineyard, Pastor Emeritus, Windsor Hills Baptist Church

Reverend Brad Lowrie, CBC Edmond & Lighthouse Ministries

Jerry Pitts, Minister, Jones First Christian Church

Reverend Jerry Drewery, Norman First Assembly of God

Reverend Mark McAdow, First Methodist Church of OKC

Reverend Jack Bettis

Reverend Stephen D. Lopp, First Baptist Church – Jones

Reverend Pastor Mark D. DeMoss, Capitol Hill Baptist Church – OKC

Reverend Jason Murray, Draper Park Christian Church

Reverend Dr. Eddie Lee White, Muskogee

Reverend Mike Smith

Reverend Alan Conner, Northwest Bible Church – OKC

Reverend Dwight Burchett, Eastpointe Community Church

Reverend Bill Kent

Reverend Keith Gordon, First Christian Church – Crescent

Reverend Wendell Neal

Elder Gary Matthews

Elder Reed Downey, Jr.

Elder Don Crosson

Elder Michael Nimmo

Paul Sublett, Reclaiming America for Christ

Bob Dani, OKC High Noon Club

Charlie Meadows, OCPAC

Ronda Vuillemont-Smith, Tulsa 9.12 Project

Ralph Bullard, Christian Heritage Academy

Jack Clay, Christian Heritage Academy

John Merrell, Christian Heritage Academy

Sharon A. Annesley, Oklahoma Liberty Tea Party of Blanchard

Karen Yates, OKC 9.12 Project

Robert B. Donohoo, Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee

Jenni White, Restore Oklahoma Public Education

Lt. Colonel (Retired) Daniel M. Ward, OKC Tea Party

Joyce Stockton, Grady County TEA Party

Deb Corbett, ERWC

Don Spender, Oklahoma Second Amendment Association

Amanda Teegarden, OK-Safe, Inc.

Catherine White, Muskogee Patriot Townhall

- – – – – – – – – – – -

Amen.

Michelle Malkin: Common Core is Obama’s War on Academics   1 comment

  Watch out, Common Core.  Political analysis Michelle Malkin has stepped up to the plate.

Malkin’s New Year’s resolution is to use her syndicated column and blog space “to expose how progressive “reformers” — mal-formers — are corrupting our schools.”

http://michellemalkin.com/2013/01/23/rotten-to-the-core-obamas-war-on-academic-standards-part-1/

Rotten to the Core: Obama’s War on Academic Standards

  By Michelle Malkin  – (Part 1)

 

January 23, 2013 09:43 AM

…This is the first in an ongoing series on “Common Core,” the stealthy federal takeover of school curriculum and standards across the country.

…. Under President Obama, these top-down mal-formers — empowered by Washington education bureaucrats and backed by misguided liberal philanthropists led by billionaire Bill Gates — are now presiding over a radical makeover of your children’s school curriculum. It’s being done in the name of federal “Common Core” standards that do anything but raise achievement standards.

… In practice, Common Core’s dubious “college- and career”-ready standards undermine local control of education, usurp state autonomy over curricular materials, and foist untested, mediocre and incoherent pedagogical theories on America’s schoolchildren.

Over the next several weeks and months, I’ll use this column space to expose who’s behind this disastrous scheme in D.C. backrooms. I’ll tell you who’s fighting it in grassroots tea party and parental revolts across the country from Massachusetts to Indiana, Texas, Georgia and Utah. And most importantly, I’ll explain how this unprecedented federal meddling is corrupting our children’s classrooms and textbooks…

 

Full Text:

http://michellemalkin.com/2013/01/23/rotten-to-the-core-obamas-war-on-academic-standards-part-1/

Math Teacher Stephanie Sawyer on Common Core Standards   8 comments

Math Teacher Stephanie Sawyer

speaks out about the weak math in Common Core Standards.

Math Teacher Stephanie Sawyer was quoted on Diane Ravitch’s website saying the following about Common Core:

“…They pay lip service to actually practicing standard algorithms.

Seriously, students don’t have to be fluent in addition and subtraction with the standard algorithms until 4th grade?

I teach high school math. I took a break to work in the private sector from 2002 to 2009. Since my return, I have been stunned by my students’ lack of basic skills. How can I teach algebra 2 students about rational expressions when they can’t even deal with fractions with numbers?

Please don’t tell me this is a result of the rote learning that goes on in grade- and middle-school math classes, because I’m pretty sure that’s not what is happening at all. If that were true, I would have a room full of students who could divide fractions. But for some reason, most of them can’t, and don’t even know where to start.

I find it fascinating that students who have been looking at fractions from 3rd grade through 8th grade still can’t actually do anything with them. Yet I can ask adults over 35 how to add fractions and most can tell me. And do it. And I’m fairly certain they get the concept. There is something to be said for “traditional” methods and curriculum when looked at from this perspective.

Grade schools have been using Everyday Math and other incarnations for a good 5 to 10 years now, even more in some parts of the country. These are kids who have been taught the concept way before the algorithm, which is basically what the Common Core seems to promote. I have a 4th grade son who attends a school using Everyday Math. Luckily, he’s sharp enough to overcome the deficits inherent in the program. When asked to convert 568 inches to feet, he told me he needed to divide by 12, since he had to split the 568 into groups of 12. Yippee. He gets the concept. So I said to him, well, do it already! He explained that he couldn’t, since he only knew up to 12 times 12. But he did, after 7 agonizing minutes of developing his own iterated-subtraction-while-tallying system, tell me that 568 inches was 47 feet, 4 inches. Well, he got it right. But to be honest, I was mad; he could’ve done in a minute what ended up taking 7. And he already got the concept, since he knew he had to divide; he just needed to know how to actually do it. From my reading of the common core, that’s a great story. I can’t say I feel the same.

If Everyday Math and similar programs are what is in store for implementing the common core standards for math, then I think we will continue to see an increase in remedial math instruction in high schools and colleges. Or at least an increase in the clientele of the private tutoring centers, which do teach basic math skills.”

Give Your Children Dickens For Christmas – They Won’t Be Reading Dickens in High School   Leave a comment

I love Charles Dickens.

– Love his hilarious, witty words; love his vivid, unforgettable descriptions of people and places; love his improbable plot twists; love the Christian soul of his stories.

The Colton High School English Department, under the old, higher-than-common-core English standards, used to teach Dickens’ “Great Expectations” year after year to ninth graders at Colton High school –when I was a brand new teacher there in the 1990s.  I hadn’t read the novel before I taught it.   It was, unfortunately, not on the recommended reading list of the high school I’d attended in Florida.

But reading and re-reading “Great Expectations” so many times, as I taught the novel, I really fell in love with the book.  This love I gained also persuaded some students, mostly against their will at first, to love that novel, too.  It was fun.

But now, that seems to be over.

According to Pioneer Institute, the Boston-based thinktank, Charles Dickens literature is going away.  High school literature reading lists for Common Core standards allow for very few British writers.  Shakespeare’s on.  Dickens is off.  Why?  There’s no room when you have to make room for informational texts that include Presidential Executive Orders and Insulation manuals. Dickens, gone from US education?  It’s beyond ridiculous.

Jamie Gass and Charles Chieppo, of Pioneer Institute, have written an article on this very subject in this week’s Worchester Telegram & Gazette:  http://www.telegram.com/article/20121219/NEWS/112199945/1020/opinion&Template=printart

Gass and Chieppo write:

“While the brilliance of Dickens’ novels… will live on, they’re on the endangered list in America’s public schools….  Shakespeare is one of the very few British writers named in the nationalized English standards… [W]atching “A Christmas Carol” on television may be kids’ only exposure to the magic of Dickens’ characters.

… Dickens’ works have instructed generations of novelists and schoolchildren around the world. His characters capture the spectrum of vices and virtues found in human nature: Oliver Twist, Mr. Bumble, Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim, Pip, Estella, Miss Havisham, David Copperfield… many of these cleverly named characters speak the most enduring lines in the English language… Our children must read Dickens to grasp the universality of the human condition, compassion for human suffering, and the reality of human heroism… When the Ghost of Christmas Present comes to visit Ebenezer Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol,” he shows Scrooge two destitute children.

“This boy is Ignorance,” the Ghost says. “This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased…”
Could there be a clearer Dickensian omen for the price our country will pay if American public education turns its back on great literature?”

http://www.telegram.com/article/20121219/NEWS/112199945/1020/opinion&Template=printart
Postscript–
Well, I haven’t been back to Colton High school for many years.  But I have read “Great Expectations” on my own again.
I learned that there’s a new sign outside Colton High School today.  It looks like this:
I’m assuming that “Commited To High Standards” means bamboozled by Common Core, which doesn’t actually give high standards at all, but which dumps classic literature by the wayside in favor of informational texts, and which dumps cursive, and which dumps traditional math in favor of fuzzy math, and which does not allow any parent, teacher or principal to alter the national standards in any way.  (Why? Because the NGA/CCSSO copyrighted the standards and the US Dept. of Education hijacked them; Obama now claims he persuaded states to adopt them.)
When Dickens gets dropped because it’s not on the “rigorous high standards” train, the concept of what makes “high standards” has become fuzzy indeed.
Please, take your children to see “A Christmas Carol”.  Stuff a copy of a Dickens novel or an audio book into a Christmas stocking. Keep Charles Dickens alive in the hearts of American children.

Boston Herald Mourns: Common Core’s Dumbing Down Massachusetts Education   Leave a comment

I wish the media and the politicians in my dear state would fully wake up and see Common Core for the education disaster that it is.

I thought Utah was a pretty wise, pretty constitutionally-grounded state, as a whole.  And I used to assume Massachusetts –Pappa used to call it “Tax-achussetts” –was practically in Europe as far as socialism and  lousy “progressive” thinking goes. 

But now I wonder if some folks in Massachusetts are smarter than many folks in Utah –for loudly exposing the fallacy of Common Core,  which is supposed to benefit, not retard, American education. 

I’m thinking now about editorials.  I see some very smart ones coming from Massachusetts.  But do I see clear thinking, common core-questioning, stop-in-your-tracks editorials (like the Boston Herald piece I’ve reposted below) coming from Utah’s Salt Lake Tribune or Deseret News?

Nope.

 

The Boston Herald’s editorial this week said:        http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/opinion/editorials/2012/12/salute_and_warning

“Massachusetts eighth-graders are entitled to congratulations for their outstanding performance on the 2011 version of the Trends in International Math and Science Study examination. But adults should not expect such excellence under the state’s embrace of the dumbed-down “Common Core” national curriculum standards.

A sample of Massachusetts students, competing as a separate country, placed sixth among 63 entrants in math, and second only to Singapore in science.

The Massachusetts test-takers spent six years studying math and science under the rigorous standards adopted as a result of the 1993 education reform law that required passing the MCAS test to graduate from high school. This created the kind of momentum that clearly bolstered the TIMSS results. The squishy “Common Core” standards adopted in 2010 have not had time to undo that yet.

But just look at the new math standards. Students are not expected to be able to use the common algorithms for arithmetic operations, which are barely nodded at. They are expected instead to reason or intuit their way to answers and discover “principles.” While 12-year-olds struggle with this process, better left to high school or college, they miss a lot.

The state still gives an MCAS test, but the Common Core organizers expect to produce a new test for 2014, which should be based on the 2010 curriculum standards. “I find it hard to believe that adopting lesser standards would lead us to expect that we would improve,” commented Michael Sentance, secretary of education under Gov. Bill Weld.

The state’s new secretary of education, Matthew Malone, a veteran of four years as superintendent of the Brockton school system, ought to rethink the dumbing down of what had been high standards.”

http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/opinion/editorials/2012/12/salute_and_warning

Now that’s a significant editorial on state education.

David Coleman: Dropping All Things Beautiful From American Schools   1 comment

How Did David Coleman Persuade a Nation

To Drop All Things Beautiful From Schools?

I imagine if David Coleman were to value a diamond, he would base its worth solely on the fact that it’s the hardest substance in nature.  The diamond’s beauty,  its way of bringing people joy, or its history as the symbol of eternal romance, would not matter to Coleman.  Just so long as the darn rock can drill through some stuff.  That’s how he thinks about reading and writing.

This is why he has gotten rid of all things beautiful in education:

  • No more cursive.
  • No more traditional math.
  • Very little classic literature, to make room for mostly informational text.
  • Informational texts to include insulation manuals and Executive Orders, in the English classroom.

That’s Common Core.  The perfect lockstep methodology for delivering whatever the person or people at the top consider to be appropriate for the rest of the nation.  A potential propaganda machine with no amendability by local voices.  It’s under copyright by the “sole developers,” the National Governors’ Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).

And the Common Core English standards were produced under the direction of David Coleman, who moved from being the national standards leader to being president of the College Board in one fell swoop.

Is this the man you want leading a nation’s educational standards?

Not me.  In fact, I don’t want any one man having that much power over so many.

Remember back in B.C.C.?  Before Common Core?  We used to determine standards locally, not top-down from Washington.  We were free to soar as high as Massachusetts, or to fail as badly as the worst of the worst.  It was up to us.

It seemed almost that we remembered the spirit of the Constitution, the spirit of independence and local power, once upon that pre-common core time.  The promoters of Common Core continue to claim it’s a grass-roots, state-led initiative.  But who can honestly see it that way, when nobody even knew about Common Core until the elite groups that produced it, had already sold it to governors and state school boards without a public vote or any kind of vetting by the average teacher, parent or principal?  It was an under-the-radar sneaky move that nationalized American education just like any other socialist nation’s educational system.  And we are stuck with it, until enough people tell their school boards and governors NO.

As for David Coleman, he’s not a teacher and never has been.  Somehow he still managed to acquire the job of central architect of the now mostly-national Common Core English Standards –and also, to repeat, to drill the fact into our collective conscious– he became president of the College Board and he is now aligning the Common Core standards with college entrance exams.  Yes, the SAT.

My purpose for writing today is not to figure out how he wormed his way to such positions of power without any teaching experience.  My purpose is to ponder the unlovely place he’s taking us, to shake us up and help us to see that he’s wrecking the beauty and effectiveness of real education.

The absolutely least lovely comment I’ve ever heard from any educator, ever, came from David Coleman:

As you grow up in this world you realize that people really don’t give a shit about what you feel or what you think… it is rare in a working environment that someone says, ‘Johnson I need a market analysis by Friday but before that I need a compelling account of your childhood.’ That is rare”

It’s on this very short video clip:

 

What kind of legitimate educator would speak so narrowly about the purposes and benefits of writing narratively?  Such a dreary-minded, utilitarian philosopher should not be honored with the leading of our nation’s K-12 –and now, also, our nation’s university– environment.

No way.

Home School Association Denounces Common Core   Leave a comment

I’m reposting this article from the Home School Legal Defense Association:  http://www.hslda.org/docs/news/2012/201212170.asp

It’s important for homeschooling families to realize that Common Core is a movement that is transforming education for every one who ever wants to go to a college or university.  It’s deleting freedom and innovation for everyone, not just public school attendees.

December 17, 2012

Common Core State Standards Initiative: Too Close to a National Curriculum

William A. Estrada, Esq. Director of Federal Relations
 Will Estrada has been leading our efforts to defend homeschooling on Capitol Hill since 2006. As the oldest of eight kids, and a homeschool graduate who married a homeschool graduate, he has a passion for protecting homeschool freedom. Read more >>

Background

In 2010, the National Governors Association published their “Common Core State Standards” (CCSS). These were meant as voluntary math and English guidelines which individual states could adopt.

HSLDA and numerous other organizations grew concerned about this push to standardize what public school students are taught. HSLDA wrote two articles outlining our concerns, one in March of 2010, and one in June of 2010. We explained that states were being enticed by the federal government—through the Race to the Top program—to align their state curriculum with the CCSS, resulting in de facto national standards. We were concerned that this would lead to a national curriculum and national test, and that the pressure would grow for homeschool and private school students to be taught using this national curriculum.

During President Obama’s 2012 State of the Union speech, the president stated, “We’ve convinced nearly every state in the country to raise their standards.” How were the states convinced to adopt the CCSS? The simple answer—federal dollars. President Obama added adopting the CCSS as a criterion for states to gain points in the Race to the Top education federal grant program, regardless of whether the state already had comparable or superior educational standards. States with the highest points are more likely to win the competitive Race to the Top federal grants.

Forty-five states and the District of Columbia have adopted the CCSS since 2010. Only Alaska, Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia have not.

Are the Common Core State Standards a Good Idea for Public Schools?

Recently, there has been a growing controversy over whether the CCSS are even beneficial. Many states have spent years adopting their own state standards, only to throw them away in favor of the CCSS. Some commentators have said that the CCSS will weaken English learning and reduce analytical thinking. Others point to a weakening of math teaching. Still others point out that the CCSS will cost billions of dollars to implement—which could be deal-breaker for states struggling to implement the standards.

The CCSS by themselves are not necessarily controversial. They’re similar in certain respects to other state curriculum content standards for public schools. However, HSLDA believes that children—whether homeschooled, private schooled, or public schooled—do best when parents are fully engaged. And parents are most engaged when they know that they are in charge of their child’s education. Top-down, centralized education policy does not encourage parents to be engaged. The CCSS removes education standards from the purview of state and local control to being controlled by unaccountable education policy experts sitting in a board room far removed from the parents, students, and teachers who are most critical to a child’s educational success.

Will the CCSS Affect Homeschools?

The CCSS specifically do not apply to private or homeschools, unless they receive government dollars (online charter school programs have no such protection). However, HSLDA has serious concerns with the rush to adopt the CCSS. HSLDA has fought national education standards for the past two decades. Why? National standards lead to national curriculum and national tests, and subsequent pressure on homeschool students to be taught from the same curricula.

The College Board—the entity that created the PSAT and SAT—has already indicated that its signature college entrance exam will be aligned with the CCSS. And many homeschoolers worry that colleges and universities may look askance at homeschool graduates who apply for admission if their highschool transcripts are not aligned with the CCSS.

HSLDA believes that a one-size-fits-all approach to education crowds out other educational options, including the freedom of parents to choose homeschools and private schools. A common curriculum and tests based off common standards could be very harmful to homeschoolers if their college of choice refuses to accept a student’s high school transcript if it is not based on the CCSS. Homeschoolers could also have trouble on the SAT if the test is fundamentally altered to reflect only one specific curriculum. And our greatest worry is that if the CCSS is fully adopted by all states, policy makers down the road will attempt to change state legislation to require all students—including homeschool and private school students—to be taught and tested according to the CCSS. Common Core State Standards spreading

The National Governors Association first focused the CCSS on the general subject areas of math and English. However, there is now movement to create CCSS in numerous other subject areas. The National Governors Association is also urging states to align early education programs for young children.

This is also encouraged by the federal government’s Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge, a program which causes grave concerns to HSLDA.

Due to laws prohibiting the creation of national tests, curriculum, and teacher certification, governors and state legislatures are the only policy makers who can actually decide whether or not to adopt the CCSS. While the federal government has encouraged the states to adopt the CCSS through federal incentives, the states are completely free to reject the CCSS.

Further Action

  • To find out whether your state has adopted the Common Core State Standards, you can visit this website’s useful map. (Please note that this is the website for the common core state standards initiative.)
  • Contact your state legislators, including the governor, to discuss this issue with them. Ask them about their position on the issue. Find your governor’s current information here.
  • If you have a governor’s election coming up in your state, we encourage you to raise this issue with the candidates. Even if a state has already adopted the national education standards, a new governor will be faced with the costs of implementing these new standards and new accountability to the federal government.
  • Numerous states that have already adopted the CCSS are considering rejecting the CCSS. Now is the time to help raise awareness of this issue and educate yourself about the CCSS.
  • Because this affects all parents, and will not currently affect homeschool freedom, it is not necessary to identify yourself as a homeschooler.

http://www.hslda.org/docs/news/2012/201212170.asp

Other Resources

Math and Science Common Core State Standards

Eagle Forum: “Obama Core is Another Power Grab”

Indiana Superintendent: “Obama Administration Nationalized Common Core Standards Common Core Math Standards Fail to Add Up”

Eagle Forum: “Common Core Standards Aren’t Cheap”

Eagle Forum: “Common Core Standards Dumbing Down the SAT”

“Common Core Supporter: Maybe Opposition Not Paranoia”

http://www.hslda.org/docs/news/2012/201212170.asp

Common Core: “Obtuse Mumbo Jumbo”   2 comments

http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/common-core-caught-in-its-own-tangled-web/

Yesterday, Cato Institute published a great article that exposes some serious problems about Common Core “education.”

Here’s my favorite part.

Neal McClusky writes:  “I sure hope the Common Core doesn’t have lessons on ambiguity, because I don’t think the crafters grasp the concept. This explanation couldn’t be much more ambiguous, stating that English classes must focus on literature “as well as” nonfiction. Sure sounds like a 70-30 or 50-50 split could be mandated under that. This is, of course, exactly the kind of obtuse mumbo-jumbo one should expect from a document — and overall effort — that tries to simultaneously be revolutionary and innocuous. And wouldn’t it have been wonderful if this sort of thing had been hashed out before states were cajoled into adopting the standards? But then there would have been public disagreements, and all the silliness of people holding different opinions is exactly what destroyed past efforts to impose uniform standards on the country.”

Hilarious Washington Post Article on the Stupidity of Deleting Classic Literature   2 comments

The Washington Post has a hilarious article about the stupidity of deleting so much classic literature in high school English classes while calling Common Core education an increase in rigor.  Love it.  Reposting.

——————————————————————-

The Common Core’s 70 percent nonfiction standards and the end of reading?

By Alexandra Petri

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/compost/wp/2012/12/07/the-common-cores-70-percent-nonfiction-standards-and-the-end-of-reading/#comments

Forget “The Great Gatsby.”

New Common Core standards (which impact 46 out of 50 states) will require that, by graduation in 2014, 70 percent of books studied be nonfiction. Some suggested texts include “FedViews” by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, the EPA’s “Recommended Levels of Insulation,” and “Invasive Plant Inventory” by California’s Invasive Plant Council.

Forget “Catcher in the Rye” (seems to encourage assassins), “The Great Gatsby” (too 1 percenty), “Huckleberry Finn” (anything written before 1970 must be racist) and “To Kill A Mockingbird” (probably a Suzanne Collins rip-off). Bring out the woodchipping manuals!

 

I like reading. I love reading. I always have. I read recreationally still. I read on buses, in planes, while crossing streets. My entire apartment is covered in books. And now, through some strange concatenation of circumstances, I write for a living.

And it’s all because, as a child, my parents took the time to read me “Recommended Levels of Insulation.”

Oh, “Recommended Levels of Insulation.” That was always my favorite, although “Invasive Plant Inventory” was a close second. (What phrases in literature or life will ever top the rich resonance of that opening line? “The Inventory categorizes plants as High, Moderate, or Limited, reflecting the level of each species’ negative ecological impact in California. Other factors, such as economic impact or difficulty of management, are not included in this assessment.” And we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past has nothing on it!)

“It is important to note that even Limited species are invasive and should be of concern to land managers,” I frequently tell myself, in moments of crisis. “Although the impact of each plant varies regionally, its rating represents cumulative impacts statewide.” How true that is, even today. Those words have brought me through moments of joy and moments of sorrow. They are graven on my heart. I bound them as a seal on my hand.

My dog-eared, beaten copy of “Recommended Levels of Insulation” still sits on my desk. I even got it autographed. Their delay in making a movie of this classic astounds me. That was where I first learned the magic of literature.

“Insulation level are specified by R-Value. R-Value is a measure of insulation’s ability to resist heat traveling through it.” What authority in that sentence!

And then came the table of insulation values. I shudder every time that table appears. It is one of the great villains in the history of the English language. Uriah Heep and Captain Ahab have absolutely nothing on it. In fact, I do not know who these people are. I have never read about them.

“Wall Insulation: Whenever exterior siding is removed on an

Uninsulated wood-frame wall:

·           Drill holes in the sheathing and blow insulation into the empty wall cavity before installing the new siding, and

·           Zones 3–4: Add R5 insulative wall sheathing beneath the new siding

·           Zones 5–8: Add R5 to R6 insulative wall sheathing beneath the new siding”

I remember curling up with that and reading it over and over again. It was this that drove me to pursue writing as a career — the hope one day of crafting a sentence that sang the way “Drill holes in the sheathing and blow insulation into the empty wall cavity before installing the new siding and” sings.

But I doubt I will ever achieve this lambent perfection.

Look, I was an English major, so I may be biased.

People often, feelingly, write about a vague namby-pamby thing called the Magic of Literature. By the time you stagger out of one of these essays you wish that they had not been read to as children.

But I am not saying this as an advocate of the vague namby-pamby magic. I truly believe that everything you need is already there, in the greatest works of literature. If you want to fight your way through a thorny sentence, look no further than Shakespeare. If you are having trouble figuring out what equipment is necessary for the task you are about to perform, look no further than the Iliad, where Achilles has a similar problem.

Life is full enough of instruction manuals.

The best way to understand what words can do is to see them in their natural habitat, not constrained into the dull straitjackets of legalese and regulationish and manualect. It’s like saying the proper way of encountering puppies is in puppy mills. Words in regulations and manuals are words mangled and tortured and bent into unnatural positions, and the later you have to discover such cruelty, the better.

The people behind the core have sought to defend it, saying that this was not meant to supplant literature. This increased emphasis on nonfiction would not be a concern if the core worked the way it was supposed to, with teachers in other disciplines like math and science assigning the hard technical texts that went along with their subjects. But teachers worry that this will not happen. Principals seem to be having trouble comprehending the requirement themselves. Besides, the other teachers are too busy, well, teaching their subjects to inflict technical manuals on their students too, and  they may expect the English department to pick up the slack. And hence the great Purge of Literature.

These are good intentions, but it will be vital to make sure the execution is as good, or we will head down the road usually paved with good intentions. There, in the ninth circle, students who would otherwise have been tearing through Milton and Shakespeare with great excitement are forced to come home lugging manuals of Exotic Plants.

All in all, this is a great way to make the kids who like reading hate reading.

That’s certainly one way of addressing the reading gap.

—————————————–

Great article.  Thank you, Alexandra Petri.

Will Common Core Rescue or Worsen American Illiteracy Rates?   Leave a comment

     The New American magazine ran an article this week entitled “How to Eradicate Illiteracy in America,” by Sam Blumenfeld.

http://www.thenewamerican.com/reviews/opinion/item/13752-how-to-eradicate-illiteracy-in-america

Blumenfeld writes that according to the National Center for Education Statistics 2003 report,  43 percent of American adults are virtually illiterate.  But nobody seems to have noticed.

Blumenfeld writes that “The socialist curriculum is so deeply entrenched in the education system, that there is no possibility that the illiteracy-producing machine can be stopped. Such reform efforts as Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education can’t even begin to address the issue of illiteracy. They espouse the thinking of all previous establishment reformers: set standards and spend more money.”

Blumenfeld blames John Dewey for much of the illiteracy in America today.

“Today many children not only can’t read the Bible, they can’t read a newspaper. They can’t read, period. How did this situation come about? It all started in 1898 when socialist John Dewey proclaimed that the traditional primary school subjects that emphasized literacy, spelling, and arithmetic for the development of independent thinking, must be replaced by a new curriculum that emphasized socialization and group think.

Blumenfeld calls Dewey’s sales pitch baloney.  Dewey had written: “It is one of the great mistakes of education to make reading and writing constitute the bulk of the school work the first two years.  The true way is to teach them incidentally as the outgrowth of the social activities at this time. “

Blumenfeld explains, “The illiterate student doesn’t make rapid progress later. He becomes stuck in his illiteracy.”

Blumenfeld concludes that the only way to eradicate illiteracy is to go directly to the people affected by the programs that create illiteracy.

“This means creating a massive campaign for universal literacy that can only be successfully undertaken by conservative leaders who sincerely believe in the cause. They must want to help those who have been academically damaged and handicapped by the schools. And they must embark on a program to teach these people to read.”

Eco-Collectivist Values, Not Knowlege, To Be Taught in Schools   Leave a comment

The United Nations branch that oversees education, UNESCO, has issued documents, clearly displaying a plan to transform education worldwide into youth “global citizen” indoctrination.  Under this philosophy, actual learning of reading, writing, and math are old news, 20th century aspirations. But the learning of sustainable development is to the the essential literacy of the 21st century.  Quote:

“IN THE 21ST CENTURY, THE LITERACIES [OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT] WILL BE AS ESSENTIAL TO COMPREHENDING THE WORLD AS WERE THE TRADITIONAL SKILLS OF READING AND WRITING AT THE START OF THE 20TH CENTURY.”

- pg. 3 “New Vision of Education” and http://www.unesco.org/education/tlsf/mods/theme_a/popups/mod01t05s01.html

A seven-part video series below teaches how and why there really is a deliberate dumbing down of education happening in America today to make room for environmental/collectivist propaganda.

It’s seen as inefficient to teach children what we think of as academic knowledge.  Now, under the Sustainable Development movement, the U.N. and the Department of Education want to teach sustainable development and collective thinkingat the expense of traditional learning. 

This new mission of schools includes cutting out the teaching of individual liberty under the U.S. Constitution, or individual rights, or property rights, to make way for “global citizenship.”

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So, what can we do?

If you can’t afford private school or home school, then teach your children when you actually do have them close how to identify and see through the indoctrination.

Teach your children that there is such a thing as goodness and truth.  It’s not all relative.

Teach them that there is right and wrong, not just tolerance and intolerance. There is a God in heaven.

Teach them that the family is more important and more lasting than the government.  Individuals matter.  Property rights matter.  The U.S. Constitution protects individual rights like owning property, owning guns, and remaining free from unreasonable search and seizure.

And tell them that while recycling is fine, it’s never going to be more important than reading, writing and math.

Teaching Channel: Comic Books for Common Core   Leave a comment

Teaching Channel: Comic Books for Common Core.

The Dissident Professor, Mary Grabar, analyses “Comic Books for Common Core,” https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/teaching-nonfiction-entry-points a Teaching Channel video.

The professor disagrees that teaches should be taught how to persuade students that the abandonment of fiction, and classic literature, is good.  She disagrees with Common Core’s race toward informational texts for very profound reasons– and I agree!   Read it, read it.

The Dissident Professor explains how and why the move toward only using informational texts to teach the English language is a move toward indoctrination.

 

A New Kind of Problem: The Common Core Math Standards – The Atlantic   Leave a comment

A New Kind of Problem: The Common Core Math Standards – The Atlantic.

This article by B. Garelick addresses the fact that Common Core creates little mathematicians who cannot do math.

Betrayed: by Laurie Rogers   Leave a comment

Well worth reading: “Betrayed,” a blog forum that discusses current education issues.  http://betrayed-whyeducationisfailing.blogspot.com/2012/11/in-defense-of-direct-instruction.html

Site author Laurie Rogers, wlroge@comcast.net, also is the author of Betrayed: How the Education Establishment Has Betrayed America and What You Can Do About It (Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2011).

She dispenses valuable information and includes insights from her own child’s experiences with Common Core/Constructivist math.  A sample:

“Many educators believe children should learn math by struggling and failing, inventing their own methods, drawing pictures and boxes, counting on fingers, play-acting, continually working in groups, and asking several classmates for help before asking the teacher. This process of learning is called constructivism (also known as “discovery” or “student-centered learning”). Developed in the early 1900s, it was foisted on the country about 30 years ago, along with reform math curricula.

“Proponents call constructivism “best practices” (as if calling it that can make it so). The supposed value of heavy constructivism is one of the most pernicious lies told today about education…. I’ve come to see heavy constructivism as abusive to children. I don’t choose the word lightly. I’ve heard proponents say outrageous things rather than acknowledge that children don’t prefer constant discovery and group work…”

Full text:  http://betrayed-whyeducationisfailing.blogspot.com/2012/11/in-defense-of-direct-instruction.html

Rogers shares a great quote from C.S. Lewis:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. … Those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

Thank you, Laurie Rogers.

Rogers, L. (November 2012). “In defense of direct instruction: Constant constructivism, group work and arrogant attitude
are abusive to children.” Retrieved (date) from the Betrayed Web site:
http://betrayed-whyeducationisfailing.blogspot.com

Education News Piece: How Common Core Math Dumbs Down Students   Leave a comment

In today’s op-ed piece from Education News, Barry Garelick explains specifically how Common Core math will dumb down American students. Garelick writes that process is trumping content while teachers are not being allowed to teach or to demand memorization, but must be  just “guides” while students teach themselves.  Garelick writes:

“..The final math standards released in June, 2010 appear to some as if they are thorough and rigorous. Although they have the “look and feel” of math standards, their adoption in my opinion will not only continue the status quo in this country, but will be a mandate for reform math — a method of teaching math that eschews memorization, favors group work and student-centered learning, puts the teacher in the role of “guide” rather than “teacher” and insists on students being able to explain the reasons why procedures and methods work for procedures and methods that they may not be able to perform.

“I base my opinion on what I see being discussed at seminars on how to implement the Common Core…[M]aking sense of mathematics” sounds great on paper.  But what it means to those of the thoughtworld of the education establishment is what is also called “habits of mind” in which students are taught habits of analyzing problems long before they have learned the procedural knowledge and content that allows such habits to develop naturally.  They are called upon to think critically before acquiring the analytic tools with which to do so.

“… Such a process while eliminating what the edu-establishment views as tedious “drill and kill” exercises, results in poor learning and lack of mastery.”

Full article here: http://www.educationnews.org/education-policy-and-politics/the-pedagogical-agenda-of-common-core-math-standards/#comment-17598

Also, here are two youtube videos that explain the same issue with the “fuzzy” math teaching movement:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YLlX61o8fg

How Common Core’s ELA Standards Place College Readiness at Risk   1 comment

    A new white paper, “How Common Core’s ELA Standards Place College Readiness at Risk,” by Emory University English Professor Mark Bauerlein and University of Arkansas Professor Sandra Stotsky, was released this month by Pioneer Institute.  http://pioneerinstitute.org/pdf/120917_CommonCoreELAStandards.pdf

What are the highlights of this 44-page white paper?

Diminishing of  Literature:

College readiness will decrease under Common Core, say the paper’s authors, because secondary English curriculum in Common Core prioritizes informational reading and reduces the study of literary traditions.

“A literature-heavy English curriculum, properly constructed, yields college-readiness in reading better than an information-heavy English curriculum.  And we know of no research showing otherwise.”

The authors explain that Common Core provides no evidence to support its promise that more informational reading in the English class will make students ready for college-level coursework.

“We know of no research… to support that faith. Rather, the history of college readiness in the 20th century suggests that problems in college readiness stem from an incoherent, less-challenging literature curriculum from the 1960s onward. Until that time, a literature-heavy English curriculum was understood as precisely the kind of pre-college training students needed.”

Do Students Need More Than Reading Lessons in High School?

The paper also says that Common Core “yokes the English curriculum to a test of general reading ability” and transforms English classrooms into reading comprehension classes, even at the high school level.  Although Common Core does not specify that only English teachers will teach informational text, the authors feel that English teachers will bear the brunt of this mandate.

“It is hard to imagine that low reading scores in a school district will force grade 11 government/history and science teachers to devote more time to reading instruction. Instead, it is more likely that English teachers will be expected to diminish the number of their literary selections and align readings with test proportions.”

Politicized texts:

The authors bring up another point:  the stress on more informational reading in the English class will not only lead to a decreased capacity for analytical thinking, but will also raise political red flags: “Informational texts are often assigned today not for their complexity and promotion of college readiness in reading, but for their topical and/or political nature. Clear examples can be found in a volume published in 2011 by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) to show teachers how to implement Common Core’s standards…”

Artificial college readiness a camouflage for lowering academic challenge

The authors also speculate that perhaps “the case for more informational texts and increasing complexity (but not necessarily text difficulty) is a camouflage for lowering academic challenge so that more high school students will appear college-ready upon (or perhaps before) graduation.”

Conclusion

The authors recommend that because Common Core’s stress on informational reading is “misplaced” –and because it reflects standards built with “the limited expertise of Common Core’s architects,” standards that were “not developed nor approved by English teachers and Humanities scholars, nor were they research-based or internationally benchmarked,” –because of this, the professors recommend that those states who have adopted Common Core should 1) emphasize the literary-historical content that already exists in the standards and 2) should add an additional literature-based standard to address Common Core’s lack of literary content.  These actions, they say, are fully supported by Common Core.

“Far from contradicting Common Core, these actions follow its injunction that, apart from ‘certain critical content for all students, including…American literature and Shakespeare… the remaining crucial decisions about what should be taught are left to state and local determination.'”

http://pioneerinstitute.org/pdf/120917_CommonCoreELAStandards.pdf  (full text)

Marc Tucker vs. Marion Brady: Common Core Mediocre, Lockstep Education vs. Innovation and Time-Tested Pedagogy   Leave a comment

The 9th problem with the Common Core standards

-by Marion Brady

From The Washington Post.  Full text: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/the-9th-problem-with-the-common-core-standards/2012/09/16/723d240e-0071-11e2-b260-32f4a8db9b7e_blog.html?wprss=rss_answer-sheet

It’s an incredibly important argument between a smart, veteran eduator, Marion Brady, versus an extremist left-wing educrat, Marc Tucker (whose socialized-U.S -education plot with Hilary Clinton has been known and Congressionally recorded for decades.)  http://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2012/06/22/anti-liberty-plot-for-american-education-full-text-of-the-letter-from-marc-tucker-to-hillary-clinton-2/

Marion Brady’s main point, against Tucker and his Common Core:

  • Common Core centralizes control of education
  • micromanages classrooms (by non-educators)
  • blocks all innovation that’s not tied to the core
  • relies on destructive, simplistic tests that fail to take account of the fundamental nature of knowledge and of human complexity.

- And you can read Marc Tucker’s side of the argument here:  http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/top_performers/2012/09/8_problems_with_the_common_core_state_standards_i_dont_think_so.html

My first thought, upon seeing Marc Tucker’s name as author, in print, was, “What!? Marc Tucker can still get published? After his (and Hilary Clinton’s) socialist plot to take over education was made public, published as part of the Congressional records?! Help!”  –But read on.

Marc Tucker:

v. Marion Brady:

 )

From Brady:

“…Marc Tucker, long-time major player in the current test-based education reform effort, in an Education Week “Top Performers” blog, took me to task with a piece called  “8 Problems With the Common Core State Standards? I Don’t Think So.”

My Washington Post piece was a little over 1,000 words. Mr. Tucker’s response was twice that. If I were to respond point by point to his objections to my eight criticisms of the standards— which I’d really like to do — it would almost certainly double that word count. Few readers would stick with me for 4,000 words, even if editors were willing to publish them.

I’ll stand by my criticisms, but try to move the dialogue along by adding a ninth. I’d have included it before, but couldn’t squeeze it into a paragraph.

Mr. Tucker buys the conventional wisdom, that the subjects that make up the core — math, science, language arts, and social studies — “cover” the important stuff that kids need to know, from which it follows that anything that nails down more precisely what actually gets covered is a good thing. Ergo: the Common Core Standards.

He says, “…the core academic disciplines (the core subjects in the school curriculum) provide the conceptual underpinning for deep understanding of virtually everything we want our students to know.”

Most people agree, including most teachers, especially younger ones. That’s what they’ve been taught, and experience hasn’t yet caused them to question orthodoxy.

I disagree, not about the standards providing conceptual underpinning for the core subjects (which I’ve never questioned). I take issue with the contention that the standards provide “deep understanding of virtually everything we want students to know…”

I’m not alone. Buckminster Fuller, Kurt Vonnegut, Alfred North Whitehead, Felix Frankfurter, Harlan Cleveland, Neil Postman… and dozens of other nationally and internationally known and respected people are on my side of the issue.

But we have a problem. The idea we’re trying to get across isn’t part of the current education reform dialogue. That means that in a few hundred words, I have to try to introduce a new (and very abstract) idea, explain why it’s of fundamental importance but at odds with the standards, and offer an alternative.

Here’s that idea, as articulated by Peter M. Senge, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In his book, “The Fifth Discipline,” he says:

From a very early age, we are taught to break apart problems, to fragment the world. This apparently makes complex tasks and subjects more manageable, but we pay a hidden, enormous price. We can no longer see the consequences of our actions; we lose our intrinsic sense of connection to a larger whole.

That “larger whole” is reality. We want kids to make better sense of it. To that end, we send them off to study school subjects that explain various parts of it. We don’t, however, show them how those parts fit together, relate, interact, elaborate, and reinforce each other. When the bell rings, off they go to study a different subject that, as far as they can tell, is little or not at all related to the one they just left.

As this brief slideshow illustrates, this is a first-order problem, and the Common Core Standards ignore it. Locking the core subjects in place tells the world that America thinks a curriculum patched together in 1892 by 10 college administrators, a curriculum that reflects the industrial policy of the era, a curriculum that fails to acknowledge the fundamental, integrated nature of reality, is the best way to organize knowledge.

It’s not. Systems theory as it developed during World War II is far better. Period. It doesn’t replace the core subjects (which I’ve never advocated), just makes them working parts of a single, simpler, more efficient “master” mental organizer.

This is absolutely central to learning. Knowledge grows as we connect bits of it — as we discover relationships between, say, street width and sense of community, between birth order and certain personality traits, between capital investment decisions and political stability.

Compartmentalizing knowledge gets directly in the way of the basic process that makes kids (and the rest of us) smarter.

That systems thinking integrates knowledge isn’t an original idea. I’m just passing it along and offering a way to operationalize it.

A little story: Years ago I realized that what educators like John Goodlad, Neil Postman, Alfred North Whitehead, Ernest Boyer and others were saying in books, articles, and speeches wasn’t making any difference in what was actually happening in classrooms. Knowing it isn’t always easy to translate theory into practice, I wrote a course of study for adolescents that showed how systems theory could help them see the connected nature of all knowledge and the minute-by-minute way they were experiencing it.

I chose to write for middle schoolers because they hadn’t yet been thoroughly programmed by traditional instruction to compartmentalize what they knew, and because an earlier project I’d undertaken for Prentice-Hall, Inc. had led to friendships with several middle school principals around the country.

I contacted them. Would they be willing to pilot my course of study and give me feedback so I could refine it?

Nobody turned me down. Everything was in place for the fall of the year, then No Child Left Behind became law, and that was the end of that. I got letters and phone calls from the principals apologizing for having to back out of their commitment. It was clear to them that raising test scores, not improving kids’ ability to make better sense of experience, was now the name of the education game.

And so it remains. Over the years, with my brother’s help, I’ve continued to play with the course of study, thinking some rebel school system somewhere might pilot and help improve it, but the money and power behind the “standards and accountability” juggernaut probably make it unstoppable. The standards have been swallowed by just about everybody, and as soon as they’ve been digested, Pearson, McGraw-Hill, Educational Testing Service, and other manufacturers of standardized tests will be ready with contracts in hand for computerized tests in numbers sufficient to crash web servers.

The tests, of course, will build in a failure rate set by some faceless decision-maker — an easily operated spigot for meeting stockholder expectations. Open it — boost the failure rate — and up go sales of tests, test prep tools, instructional materials. And, of course, profits.

Even if I’m wrong about the eight other problems with the Common Core Standards (and I’m not), I don’t see any wiggle room on this one. If I’m right, the current reform effort’s centralizing of control of education, its micromanaging of classrooms by non-educators, its blocking of all innovation not tied to the core, and its reliance on destructive, simplistic tests that fail to take account of the fundamental nature of knowledge, and of human complexity and variability, will, in Senge’s words, exact an “enormous price.”

That price will be the inability of our children and our children’s children to cope with a future shaping up to be more challenging than anything humans have thus far faced.”

Thank you, Marion Brady.

Fox News: Obama’s biggest plan to socialize America may be his secret: Common Core   4 comments

   According to Stanley Kurtz, whose Fox News editorial is excerpted below, one of Obama’s biggest plans to create socialism in America comes in the form of Common Core education.  His book on the subject is in stores now:  “Spreading the Wealth: How Obama is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities.”

Kurtz says that Obama is quietly promoting a dumbed-down national curriculum (called “rigorous”) that is designed to  artificially suppress achievement gaps between urban and suburban students. Kurtz says that although the  right way to help poorly performing students is not to gut standards but to  raise achievement, still Obama is committed to defining performance down.   What a way to equalize college readiness.

Kurtz concludes that Obama’s ultimate goal is to erase the differences  between local school districts with a massive redistribution of suburban  education spending to the cities.

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/09/07/should-white-house-control-what-your-kids-learn-in-school/print#ixzz25oIO40oT

   By the way, if you also want to hear Stanley Kurtz speaking on the subject on the Mike Huckabee radio program, click here. http://jstsay.in/0006MD

Should the White House control what your kids learn?

   By

Published September 07, 2012

Adapted from “Spreading the Wealth: How Obama is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay  for the Cities” (Sentinel HC August 2012).

What if President Obama’s most ambitious attempt to transform American  society was also his quietest plan? You wouldn’t vote against the president on  account of a program you’d never heard about, of course. That, I’d wager, is why  President Obama has told the American public next-to-nothing about his plans to  undercut the political and financial independence of America’s suburban school  districts.

Obama is quietly busy making an end-run around our constitutional system,  which forbids federal control of what your children learn in school. Step one,  already well under way, is a dumbed-down national curriculum designed to  artificially suppress achievement gaps between urban and suburban students. The  right way to help poorly performing students is not to gut standards but to  raise achievement, yet Obama is committed to defining performance down.   That’s why the president’s ultimate goal is to erase the differences  between local school districts with a massive redistribution of suburban  education spending to the cities.

The 2008 controversy over Obama’s years of education work with that famously  unrepentant Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers has faded from view. For a  moment, it seemed as though Ayers’ radical education legacy would carry forward  into Obama’s presidency. That’s because Linda Darling-Hammond, Ayers’ favorite  education expert and head of Obama’s education transition team, was on a fast  track to appointment as secretary of education until her leftism alienated even  many Democrats.

  (LINDA DARLING-HAMMOND)

When Arne Duncan, who ostensibly backs demanding standards and tests, became  education secretary instead, it looked as though Obama had tacked center. He  hadn’t, and appearances to the contrary, neither had Darling-Hammond left the  scene.

  (BILL AYERS)

The core of the hard-left’s education agenda – a program shared by Obama,  Ayers, and Darling-Hammond alike – has three parts: 1) a politicized curriculum  that promotes leftist notions of “social justice,” 2) reducing “disparate  outcomes” between students in different districts by undercutting standards, and  3) a redistribution of suburban education funding to less-well-off urban  schools. Achieving these goals… requires the federal government  to usurp local control of K-12 schooling.

  (ARNE DUNCAN)

Obama is half-way there.

How did he do it?  Instead of submitting his controversial education  proposals to Congress and kicking off a vigorous national debate, Obama quietly  marked $4.35 billion of federal stimulus spending for his Race to the Top  education initiative. Since the stimulus bill was rushed through Congress with  barely any debate on economic policy, much less education, Obama never had to go  public with his plans.
By coordinating with outside groups not  accountable to the voters, like the deep-pocketed Gates Foundation, the White  House then orchestrated the creation of a national Common Core of education  standards, with an accompanying curriculum and tests.

Supposedly, these standards have been voluntarily adopted by more than 40  states. In fact, by effectively conditioning eligibility for Race to the Top  grants on participation in the Common Core, the Obama administration has forced  economically pinched states to surrender control of their school curricula to  the federal government. Cleverly, states have been pressed to sign on to the  Common Core before the actual standards, curricula, and tests are revealed in a  second Obama term. The entire scheme is arguably both illegal and  unconstitutional. Yet it is moving forward, and the public knows virtually  nothing about it.
A few conservatives have been fooled by the seemingly  traditionalist call for national “standards.”  Yet most conservative  education experts understand that the new national standards will be low, not  high. With so many pressing economic issues on the table, however, nobody’s  listening. Too bad, because the ultimate outcome of Obama’s education scheme  will actually be economic: a sweeping redistribution of suburban education  funding to the cities.
    Far from having departing the scene, Obama’s  former adviser, Linda Darling-Hammond, is at the center of this plan. She works  with the Smarter-Balanced Assessment Consortium, selected by the administration  to create the testing system for the new Common Core. Darling-Hammond has gone  out of her way to downplay her role with the Smarter-Balanced Consortium, but  the group’s own publications make it clear that she is effectively running the  show. So, although Darling-Hammond is the top national opponent of standardized  tests, she is now effectively in charge of designing a new K-12 testing system  for much of the nation. The result will be politically correct questions, and  standards that aren’t really standards at all.
That’s only part one of  the plan.  President Obama’s Department of Education has established an  Equity and Excellence Commission, charged with finding “ways to restructure  school finance systems to achieve equity in the distribution of educational  resources and further student achievement and attainment.” Conveniently, the  commission’s recommendations will emerge only during a possible second Obama  term. Darling-Hammond is a member of that commission, and if past experience is  a guide will have outsize influence on its recommendations.
Darling-Hammond has already made her intentions clear. She is pushing a plan to  add common “resource standards” to the new Common Core’s curricular standards.  That is, Darling-Hammond hopes to condition federal education aid on the  equalization of school funding across municipal lines. She has also proposed  allowing students to transfer across school district lines, with transportation  provided at government expense.
    The target here is the suburbs.   Obama and Darling-Hammond are both longtime supporters of the little-known “regional equity” movement, which aims to undercut the political independence of  America’s suburbs so as to redistribute suburban wealth to the cities.   Obama is too sharp politically to advertise this part of his program, yet  he is aggressively pressing it forward.
The right to educate your  children as you see fit has traditionally stood at the very center of the  American vision of self-government and personal liberty…  Agree or disagree, shouldn’t President Obama clearly explain his ambitious  redistributive plans for K-12 education – and America’s suburbs – so that they  can be discussed and debated during this epochal national election?

http://www.foxnews.comhttp://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/09/07/should-white-house-control-what-your-kids-learn-in-school

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Core? Not American Parents.   2 comments

Great editorial from Heartland in Chicago, reposted:

http://heartland.org/editorial/2012/09/04/common-core-rollout-draws-parental-opposition-nationwide

Common Core Rollout Draws Parental Opposition Nationwide

By Robert Holland

As schools open this fall, battle lines are forming over the rollout of Common Core (CC) national standards, the specifics of which have only recently started coming to public attention.

On paper, the fight would appear to be a mismatch.

You have on the pro-CC side:

  • The Obama-led U.S. Department of Education, the agency with the fastest-growing discretionary spending in the federal government (now approaching $70 billion) and a matching itch to dictate.
  • Achieve, the corporate-led outfit that started marshaling big-business clout behind national standards in 1996, during the Clinton years.
  • Inside-the-Beltway organizations such as the Best Practices Center of the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, which sponsored the handpicked Common Core writers.
  • Not least, Microsoft magnate Bill Gates, whose foundation has pumped tens of millions of dollars over the past decade into educationist organizations, including the teachers unions, that back the Common Core agenda. Gates has gone even further by subsidizing think tanks on both sides of the education-reform divide in clear hopes of winning favor for the Common Core, which is to be linked with national tests administered online.

And on the anti-CC side of the battle, you have:

  • Moms, everyday moms.

There are some dads, too, but moms are leading the anti-Common Core charge in a growing number of states. And by no means are they all conservatives.

Never underestimate the power of moms. Common Core opponents recently celebrated a possible harbinger of victories to come when the Utah Board of Education voted 12-3 to back out of the state’s membership in a federally funded consortium that is drafting a national test that will be linked with the Common Core.

In a similar reversal, Indiana schools Superintendent Tony Bennett, who had previously crowed about the state’s being in step with Washington on Common Core, reversed course and unleashed strong criticism of the Obama administration at a recent Tea Party gathering. “This administration,” said Bennett, “has an insatiable appetite for federal overreach. The federal government’s involvement in these standards is wrong.”

Interviews with activist moms in Utah, Indiana, and Georgia–just three of several hotbeds of opposition–indicated they all abhor the federal power grab, and they have other concerns in common. These include: the way parents have been kept in the dark about radical changes in their kids’ instruction, the heavy involvement of special-interest groups that are unaccountable to the public, and the mediocre quality of the national English and math standards.

Some subject-matter specialists have pegged the reading level of CC high-school English at the 7th grade, with a drastic de-emphasis of classic literature in favor of workforce-oriented material. And they say the definition of “college-readiness” in CC math corresponds with a nonselective community college, not a university.

In Indiana, Heather Crossin and Erin Tuttle are among the Hoosier parents who got an early warning last fall when their children brought home math worksheets and books they recognized as being of the “fuzzy” genre. Parental complaints resulted in a salesman for the text (Pearson’s enVision Math) coming to inform the parents “how lucky they were” to be getting one of the nation’s first Common Core-aligned textbooks.

Fired up, the two moms did their research and eventually began speaking to dozens of grassroots groups.

“We have found that most Hoosiers, including most legislators, have never heard of the Common Core until just recently,” Crossin said. “The majority of the teachers we have spoken to are just now being asked to transition to the Common Core, and they say they don’t like it. They cite the lack of clarity and quality.”

   In Utah, Alisa Ellis is actively involved in the public schools six of her seven children attend. She says she “did not hear about this new direction until a year after we had adopted the standards.” As more parents learn for the first time what’s happening, “Our numbers keep growing. We have over 2,000 signatures on a petition, plus a dozen or so organizations that have signed.”

A parent-activist in Georgia, Sherena Arrington, is not optimistic the battle will be won soon, given that “taxpayers have yet to understand that their rights to representation in the educational policies of this state are being stolen from them.”

In many respects, the current moms-versus-monolith battle resembles that of the 1990s, when forces aligned with the federal Goals 2000 movement sought to force a national School-to-Work curriculum on all schools. Moms slowed down the juggernaut then. Don’t bet against them stopping it this time.


Robert Holland (rholland@heartland.org) is a senior fellow for education policy at The Heartland Institute, and author of Not With My Child, You Don’t (1995), a book about the parents’ revolt against nationalized K-12 education.

Truly horrible math book: Common Core math text for Jordan and Granite school districts   3 comments

http://secmath1insync.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/secondary-math-book-1-final-2.pdf

    If you click on the link, prepare to be shocked.

It is a common core math book.

It models an absurd way to teach math.  And it pushes a terrible, negative agenda.

You can find questions relating to serial killers, food shortages, population control, drug lords, infectious diseases, oil spills, and loneliness.  You can also find dozens of questions that do not even remotely relate to mathematics at all but instead pushes collectivism, communal thinking and consensus.

Samples:

  • A serial killer is stalking the residents of Gloomy Falls, Mass., population 937. Every year the population

diminishes by 4.5%. How many residents are left after the killer’s three-year rampage? HOW WILL YOU

STOP HIM?

  • Strapped for cash, you decide to borrow money from a local crime lord. This turns out to be yet another

instance of poor judgment on your part. At 22% interest per year, how much will you owe on a loan of

%5,000 after one year? What about after three years?

  • The population of a country is initially 2 million people and is increasing at 4% per year. The country’s annual

food supply is adequate for 4 million people (now) and is increasing at a constant rate adequate for an additional

0.5 million people per year.  Based on these assumptions, in approximately what year will this country first experience shortages of food?

15. A student comes to school with the flu and infects three other students within an hour before going home. Each newly infected student passes the virus to three new students in the next hour. This pattern continues until all students in the school are infected with the virus…

  • Think of a time when you or someone in your group was left out of the discussion. Describe the situation.

Did anyone try to include that person? If not, why not? If yes, then how?  What might you have done to help with the situation?

  •  What has been your experience when someone in your group has made a mistake?
     How do you think a group should handle mistakes by other group members?
  •  Think of a time when you wanted to say something, or you did not understand something, but were too

afraid to say something. Describe the situation and why you did not say what you wanted to.  How do you wish you would have had handled the situation?

  •  Do you participate more or less than other group members? Why do you think you do so?
  •  Discuss how the amount of homework preparation you do for class affects your participation in group

discussions and how your preparation affects the grade your group receives?

Dear Superintendent Larry Shumway   1 comment

I wrote this letter to our State Superintendent today.  Do you think he’ll respond this time?  He never has before.  But hope springs eternal.

Dear Superintendent Shumway,

Although I have asked for a meeting with Carol Lear, with Judy Park, and with Brenda Hales, my requests have been turned down.

As you may know, I’m a Utah teacher with an up to date level II credential and a former English professor at UVU, and am concerned about Common Core nationalized education both for academic and liberty-based reasons.

I have tried to meet with your staff to discuss this in person. I would deeply appreciate a meeting to talk about these things, or a referenced, thorough email response to the following:

1.  What proof can you offer teachers and parents that Common Core standards are not equalizing education within such narrow limits that they actually dumb down the expectations for 4-year college readiness to cater to career readiness and 2-year nonselective college readiness? People as diverse as Stanford’s Michael Kirst and Jason Zimba, Common Core architect, have addressed this issue but Utah has not done so on the USOE website or elsewhere.

2. Why is the board citing the retiring CCSSO leader Gene Wilhoit’s verbal assurances that “there’s no common core police” rather than believing what our state has committed to in writing, which is the federal government’s 15% speed limit on adding to the non-amendable standards, being copyrighted (by NGA/CCSSO) ?

Fact: We need to be able to add more than 15%.  More than a year’s worth of math is missing for most grades, according to Dr. James Milgram, the only math professor on the Common Core Validation Committee.  Speed limit on learning is set in stone at 15% in writing.  Why is that okay with the Utah school board?  Please explain.

3. It has been claimed that many teachers actually had input into the writing of the standards; yet no one I know, including myself, was ever asked to help write the national standards.  And the copyright on the standards (held by NGA/CCSSO) states: NGA/CCSSO are the “sole developers” and sole owners, and “no claims to the contrary shall be made.”  http://www.corestandards.org/public-license

4.  Why was Common Core never piloted nor ever discussed in the public eye, with parents or teachers or legislators, before this transformative, experimental program was implemented across America?

5. How can Common Core avoid lowering standards for top-achieving students when “college and career readiness” means the exact same thing for 4-year college, 2-year college, and vocational school prep?

6. Why does Common Core diminish classic literature? What research supports this drastic change? What percentage of English Language Arts teachers and professors actually approve of this, or believe in the idea that this is increasing rigor and improving college prep?  Do you know?

7. Common Core claims to improve international competitiveness. Why then is Algebra I introduced in 9th grade under Common Core, but it was previously introduced in 8th grade in most states and is introduced in 8th grade in the amazing Asian countries?  Fact:  Massachusetts had the highest standards in the nation but dropped them to adopt mediocre Common Core.  Massachusetts even tested independently as an independent country, and ranked extremely high –but before Common Core.

8.  If it is true, as has been claimed, that Common Core is a state-led program, then why is the federal government incentivizing its adoption via grants (Race to the Top and Race to the Top for Assessments)?

9. Why is the federal government further incentivizing its adoption via No Child Left Behind waivers if there are no federal strings attached?

10. How can states afford Common Core in this economy?  Utah, like most states, hasn’t done a cost analysis.  Texas and Virginia did a cost analysis and both states rejected the offer to join Common Core.  (Texas estimated a $3 billion dollar implementation).

11.  Why can’t we have an open, referenced, well-publicized public hearing on common core with experts from both sides being heard in a non-confrontational, non-argumentative way?

The Granite District meeting was dominated by Ms. Roberts’ long speech, with only 2 minutes then given for hundreds of members of the public; and no experts were given time there from the opposition to common core side.

12. Why hasn’t the Longitudinal Database System and the P-20 student tracking system been made transparent to the public, so that parents who would prefer not to have their child and family tracked by the government, could choose to send their children to private school or homeschool?

Let’s talk openly about these issues, for the good of the students, the teachers, the taxpayers, the general public, and the cause of liberty as it applies to education under the U.S. Constitution.

Christel Swasey

Heber City

A Plea for Higher Educational Standards and Educational Freedom: Letter to Representatives and Senators   1 comment

     

Dear Representatives and Senators:

I’m writing to ask what steps the legislature plans to take to protect our citizens from Common Core’s mediocre standards and non-representation. Here are a few suggestions.

ACCOUNTABILITY

Included in the duties of the state school board to direct education is no authority to give their authority to direct education away, to forces beyond the Utah Constitution’s jurisdiction (forces that include NGA,CCSSO, Dept. of Ed, consortia, etc.) Can the state school board can be held accountable for that sobering overstep of Utah Constitutional authority?

The Utah legislature can add conditions or prohibitions to the funding that are provided to the School Board. An option would be to attach a requirement that funds cannot be used to implement Common Core as it currently stands, requiring a process that involves top scholars nationally to revisit the standards and revise them to ensure that math standards are truly internationally competitive. Similarly, something could added regarding the focus of English standards on classic literature rather than allowing the Common Core mandate of dominance for info-texts over classic literature and narrative writing.

COST ANALYSIS

It is appropriate for the Legislature to require a detailed cost analysis of what it has and will cost to implement Common Core.

INDEPENDENCE

Common Core annulment may loom as an embarrassing and awkward step for a few leaders, but to not end the arrangement is a much more serious mistake.  Right now, when only a handful of Utah schools have already implemented Common Core, it will be the easiest time for Utah to change course.  It may not even be possible, later.  As Jim Stergios of Pioneer Institute has said, “Gentlemen’s agreements quickly turn into mandates.”  We should agree to reject what we now recognize as literature-limiting, math-slowing, cursive-ending, un-Amendable standards.

TRANSPARENCY AND EDUCATOR INPUT

The USOE and State School Board is not listening to educators or citizens who oppose Common Core.  They claim to have spent time with us, but in reality, they flee from any discussion of the standards, especially with a credentialed Utah teacher like me, because I oppose the national standards.  I’ve been told “no” to a face-to-face talk with lawyer Carol Lear, and have had numerous written requests for references and verification of Common Core’s claims of “rigor” totally ignored by Superintendent Larry Shumway and USOE’s Brenda Hales.

SIMPLE FACTS

Disregarding the unanchored claims and promises (of CCSSO’s Gene Wilhoit, Sec. Arne Duncan, and the USSB/USOE) we are left with the legally binding, written facts, the simplicity of which are startling:

1. NGA/CCSSO is in charge of Utah’s standards.

2. NGA/CCSSO holds copyright.

3. US Dept of Ed sets a cap on the copyrighted standards at 15%. No amendment process exists.

4. Limitation of classic literature.

5. Limitation of math.

6. Common Core only prepares kids for nonselective community college, according to Common Core architect Jason Zimba himself.

 

7.  Common tests require giving data directly to the federal government, including nonacademic and family data.

 

8. No voice exists for Utah to change any of it –except to pull out of Common Core.

We do not want to be found siding with those who are trampling on freedom of education and the sacred right to privacy. This is one of the most important fights there could ever be– the educational decisionmaking power that touches our own children’s lives. Giving in to nationalized standards will set a precedent for more and more educational intrusion by forces who have no legitimate stakeholder vote.

I am asking you to be heroes to future generations of students and teachers in leading Utah’s reclamation of educational freedom and citizen privacy.  All of America is watching.

Sincerely,

Christel Swasey

Utah parent and educator

Heber City

Rigor or Dumbing Down? Common Core Sets Learning Speed Limit at 15   5 comments

    The fact is, Common Core limits learning.

There’s a defined speed limit on learning under Common Core.  Here’s the proof:

On the definitions page of the Race to the Top grant application (which hooked us to Common Core, even though we didn’t win the grant) it says this:

“Common set of K-12 standards means a set of content standards that define what students must know and be able to do and that are substantially identical across all States in a consortium.  A State may supplement the common standards with additional standards, provided that the additional standards do not exceed 15 percent of the State’s total standards for that content area.”

How does this hurt?

Well, it hurts everyone who adopted Common Core. Everyone but Texas and Virginia.

Here in Wasatch School District, where my kids go, it retarded our learning.  There is a “math bubble” of repetition for all 6th and 9th graders (ask the district; they’ll verify this; they made up the term!)  This meant that my child learned Alg. I in 8th grade prior to Common Core. Then she learned Alg. I in 9th grade, again, with Common Core.

The fact that Common Core proponents continue to call Common Core the answer to our educational problems, and the solution to so much college remediation being needed, is absurd.

We are forced by the 15% speed limit, as a district, and as a state, NOT to allow our 9th graders to learn more than 15% of what Common Core mandates for learning standards.

Am I angry?

Very.

But what can I do?  Anytime I try to get an answer from the district or the state school board they either completely ignore the question or write an official statement reiterating that this Common Core is creating college readiness and global competitiveness as never before.  They paint people like me with dismissive terms such as  “paranoid,” or “politically extreme,” or “a fringe group.”

When will anybody hold these people accountable for dumbing down our state’s educational system AND for selling out our freedom to ever change it?  YES, it’s true.  Common Core is not amendable. It’s under copyright. Here’s the link:  http://www.corestandards.org/public-license

The only way we can change this error is to WAKE PEOPLE UP and demand Governor Herbert gets us out of Common Core.

Working Around the Fact that Common Core Math Dumbs Down Our Kids   Leave a comment

I am happy that James Judd is the new director of human resources at Wasatch School District because he is an open-minded man. He took over two hours yesterday, to listen and to discuss the possibility of writing a more parent-friendly, “fed-wary” FERPA policy, and he also discussed the Common Core math sequence with me and four of my mom/teacher friends.

The sad news: he explained why my daughter lwas taught nothing in her 9th grade Common Core math this year.

There is “a bubble” of repetition, he said, for 6th graders and 9th graders.  This is because Algebra I used to be taught to 8th graders before Common Core came, and now it’s taught to 9th graders.  Yes, you read that right.  (See the mathematician’s review that explains this in detail –pg 14 and 26-28)  http://pioneerinstitute.org/pdf/120510_ControllingEducation.pdf

The same repeater “bubble” thing happens for the 6th grade kids, with their 6th grade Common Core math.  So Mr. Judd freedly admitted that for these groups of kids, Common Core just repeats a year of math.  That’s the implementation process of Common Core.  It makes me wonder how long it will take before parents start screaming.  Why did we never get to vote whether or not we’d do Common Core?  Why are we all forced to dumb our kids down? And when is the truth going to be publicized by the USOE or the USSB or the Dept. of Education or the CCSSO or the National Governor’s Association?

I wish the State School Board would have been more honest with us.  I wish instead of sending out fliers claiming increased rigor and higher standards, http://www.schools.utah.gov/core/DOCS/coreStandardsPamphlet.aspx

—they would have admitted that for many kids, Common Core math is going to be a step down.  Equality doesn’t always mean a step up.

I’m going to write to the local and state school boards about this.   Board@schools.utah.gov

Will you?

Here’s the email for the Utah state school board again: Board@schools.utah.gov

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