Archive for the ‘Stop Common Core’ Tag
Kansas is requesting help from all those who care for educational liberty nationwide. Do you have time to send an email or make a phone call?
The Kansas legislature is discussing whether to promote or oppose Common Core. What happens in other states affects our own.
Here’s the contact information for the Kansas Legislature.
Kansas House Roster 2013
Name District Capitol Phone Email
Rep. Alcala 57 785 296-7371 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Alford 124 785 296-7656 email@example.com,
Rep. Ballard 44 785 296-7697 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Barker 70 785 296-7674 email@example.com ,
Rep. Becker 104 785 296-7196 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Bideau 9 785 296-7636 email@example.com,
Rep. Boldra 111 785 296-4683 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Bollier 21 785 296-7686 email@example.com ,
Rep. Bradford 40 785 296-7653 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Bridges 83 785 296-7646 email@example.com ,
Rep. Bruchman 20 785 296-7644 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Brunk 85 785 296-7645 email@example.com ,
Rep. Burroughs 33 785-296-7630 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Campbell 26 785 296-7632 email@example.com ,
Rep. Carlin 66 785 296-7649 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Carlson 61 785 296-7660 email@example.com
Rep. Carpenter 75 785 296-7673 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Cassidy 120 785 296-7616 email@example.com ,
Rep. Christmann 113 785 296-7640 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Claeys 69 785 296-7670 email@example.com ,
Rep. Clayton 19 785 296-7655 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Concannon 107 785 296-7677 email@example.com ,
Rep. Corbet 54 785 296-7679 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Couture-Lovelady 110 785 296-4683 email@example.com,
Rep. Crum 77 785 296-6989 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Davis 46 785-296-7630 email@example.com,
Rep. DeGraaf 82 785 296-7693 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Dierks 71 785 296-7642 email@example.com ,
Rep. Dillmore 92 785 296-7698 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Doll 123 785 296-7380 email@example.com ,
Rep. Dove 38 785 296-7670 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Edmonds 112 785 296-5593 email@example.com,
Rep. Edwards 93 785 296-7640 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Esau 14 785 296-7631 email@example.com ,
Name District Capitol Phone Email
Rep. Ewy 117 785 296-7105 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Finch 59 785 296-7655 email@example.com ,
Rep. Finney 84 785 296-7648 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Frownfelter 37 785 296-7648 email@example.com,
Rep. Gandhi 52 785 296-7672 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Garber 62 785 296-7665 email@example.com ,
Rep. Goico 94 785 296-7663 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Gonzalez 47 785 296-7500 email@example.com ,
Rep. Grant 2 785 296-7650 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Grosserode 16 785 296-7659 email@example.com ,
Rep. Hawkins 100 785 296-7631 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Hedke 99 785 296-7699 email@example.com ,
Rep. Henderson 35 785 296-7697 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Henry 63 785 296-7688 email@example.com ,
Rep. Hermanson 98 785 296-7658 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Hibbard 13 785 296-7380 email@example.com ,
Rep. Highland 51 785 296-7310 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Hildabrand 17 785 296-7659 email@example.com ,
Rep. Hill 60 785 296-7632 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Hineman 118 785 296-7636 email@example.com ,
Rep. Hoffman 116 785 296-7643 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Houser 1 785 296-7679 email@example.com,
Rep. Houston 89 785 296-7652 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Howell 81 785 296-7665 email@example.com ,
Rep. Huebert 90 785 296-1754 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Hutton 105 785 296-7673 email@example.com ,
Rep. Jennings 122 785 296-7196 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Johnson 108 785 296-7696 email@example.com ,
Rep. Jones 5 785 296-6287 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Kahrs 87 785 296-5593 email@example.com ,
Rep. Kelley 80 785 296-7671 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Kelly 11 785 296-6014 email@example.com ,
Rep. Kinzer 30 785-296-7692 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Kleeb 48 785 296-7680 email@example.com,
Rep. Kuether 55 785 296-7669 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Lane 58 785 296-7649 email@example.com ,
Rep. Lunn 28 785 296-7675 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Lusk 22 785 296-7651 email@example.com,
Rep. Macheers 39 785 296-7675 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Mast 76 785-291-3500 email@example.com ,
Rep. McPherson 8 785 296-7695 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Meier 41 785 296-7650 email@example.com ,
Rep. Meigs 23 785 296-7656 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Menghini 3 785 296-7691 email@example.com,
Rep. Merrick 27 785-296-2302 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Montgomery 15 785 296-7677 email@example.com,
Rep. Moxley 68 785 296-7689 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. O’Brien 42 785 296-7683 email@example.com,
Rep. Osterman 97 785 296-7689 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Pauls 102 785 296-7657 email@example.com,
Rep. Peck 12 785 296-7641 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Perry 24 785 296-7669 email@example.com ,
Rep. Peterson 32 785 296-7371 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Petty 125 785 296-7676 email@example.com ,
Rep. Phillips 67 785 296-6014 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. J. Powell 50 785 296-7674 email@example.com,
Rep. Proehl 7 785 296-7639 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Read 4 785 296-7310 email@example.com,
Rep. Rhoades 72 785 291-3446 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Rooker 25 785 296-7686 email@example.com
Rep. Rothlisberg 65 785 296-7653 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Rubin 18 785 296-7690 email@example.com ,
Rep. Ruiz 31 785 296-7122 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Ryckman Jr. 78 785 296-6287 email@example.com ,
Rep. Ryckman Sr. 115 785 296-7658 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Sawyer 95 785 296-7691 email@example.com ,
Rep. Schroeder 74 785 296-7500 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Schwab 49 785 296-7501 email@example.com ,
Rep. Schwartz 106 785 296-7637 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Seiwert 101 785 296-7647 email@example.com ,
Rep. Shultz 73 785 296-7684 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Siegfreid 121 785 368-7166 email@example.com ,
Rep. Sloan 45 785 296-7654 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Sloop 88 785 296-7646 email@example.com ,
Rep. Suellentrop 91 785 296-7681 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Sutton 43 785 296-7676 email@example.com ,
Rep. Swanson 64 785 296-7642 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Thimesch 114 785 296-7105 email@example.com ,
Rep. Tietze 53 785 296-7668 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Todd 29 785 296-7695 email@example.com ,
Rep. Trimmer 79 785 296-7122 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Vickrey 6 785-296-7662 email@example.com ,
Rep. Victors 103 785 296-7651 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Ward 86 785 296-7698 email@example.com ,
Rep. Waymaster 109 785 296-7672 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Weber 119 785 296-5481 email@example.com ,
Rep. Weigel 56 785 296-7366 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Whipple 96 785 296-7366 email@example.com ,
Rep. Wilson 10 785 296-7652 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Winn 34 785 296-7657 email@example.com,
Rep. Wolfe Moore 36 785 296-7688 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Here’s a letter for reference:
Dear Kansas Legislator,
It might surprise you that a citizen of Utah is going out of her way to ask you to oppose the Common Core agenda taking root in Kansas.
I have studied the Common Core thoroughly. I urge you to study it closely.
1) It isn’t state-led, despite the rhetoric. Legislators and voters were totally bypassed. The NGA is not a constitutionally recognized entity to rule on the national stage.
2) The academic standards are highly controversial, are untested and are based on no evidence to support their theories (diminishing classic literature, slowing math, etc.)
4) THERE IS NO AMENDMENT PROCESS. The standards are under copyright. Local control is gone.
Here are some videos that will help you learn the agenda of Common Core.
Thank you for studying this issue very carefully.
Utah Teacher and Mom
Start at second 23 to see and hear the parents, teachers and students speaking out against Common Core.
There’s a very interesting article in the Atlanta Constitution-Journal. Apparently, the governor of Georgia feels the heat that the Common Core controversy has generated. He believes he can save the state from Common Core’s federal ties by writing an executive order against it.
A student from Colorado wrote today, asking this question. Does Common Core infringe on freedom of religion
I’m not a lawyer, but I am a thinker, and this is what I think:
The freedom to educate according to the dictates of local (parental and teacher) conscience is –without question– sorely infringed by Common Core.
So, if freedom of conscience is related to freedom of religion
, which I feel it is, then Common Core is guilty of bashing both.
Evidence of the harm done by the Common Core Initiative to individual freedom of conscience is found in many things, including:
4. Common Core tests, too, cannot be seen by parents or teachers (at least not in Utah.)
5. The testing groups are building model curriculum
which they will sell. No local voice in that.
6. Bill Gates and Pearson have partnered to build curriculum to align with Common Core, and both Gates and Sir Michael Barber (Pearson CEA) are socialists who have openly admitted they want to see America politically transformed to be more like England or other less-free countries, where there is top-down control. They have a near monopoly on all American textbooks today, through Common Core alignment.
7. There is no amendment process — no way at all to give a local voice to local conscience, concerning the common core system.
Being angry is not very productive. What we really need are active people who are working, writing op-eds, making videos, doing social media, speaking to legislatures and to school boards and holding virtual or actual rallies and presentations to raise public awareness. Activists are sorely, sorely needed to overpower the propaganda machine that Bill Gates and Obama have built to “support” common core.
For more understanding of the fundamental role of freedom of religion to freedom of education, read what Imprimis Magazine of Hillsdale College
has to say.
Is it logical to say that writing and literature will be effectively taught by all subject teachers? All teachers do not have adequate training in grammatical, literary and editing background teach writing and literature. But our Utah State Office is claiming that this will be the case. A letter, seen below, from Tiffany Hall of the Utah State Office of Education, will serve as evidence.
The USOE is telling legislators and parents that nothing is really being taken away by Common Core, but informational text is being added to English literature in all classes and across all subjects:
“The study of literature is not limited or reduced by the Standards,” writes Tiffany Hall of USOE, “Rather, we are looking at a more comprehensive view of literacy that includes a focus on reading information text in all content areas—and not just reading, but reading and writing with purpose and understanding in every subject area.”
Does that make sense? Can you imagine P.E. teachers, math teachers, and woodworking teachers effectively sharing the burden of teaching reading and writing skills, including literature and informational texts? This is how we cut down on remedial college work?
Before I post the USOE’s letter, here are two messages from Dr. Stotsky– a video, (above) and an explanation (below) from an email I received this week dealing with the misleading statements being put out by the Utah State Office of Education.
Dr. Sandra Stotsky, as you recall, served on the official Common Core Validation Committee and refused to sign off on the validity of the standards because they were so academically weak.
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Sandra Stotsky
This needs to be explained over and over again. The reading standards for ELA are divided into 10 informational standards and 9 literature standards. That division goes from K to 12. It affects high school English as well as middle school English.
It means that over 50% of the reading instruction must be devoted to informational reading and less than 50% to poetry, drama, and fiction. The 30/70 division is from NAEP and is for the selection of reading passages on NAEP reading assessments. It is specifically NOT for the English curriculum.
Just because David Coleman thinks that the NAEP chart is for the English curriculum doesn’t mean that it is. He does want informational reading in other subjects. But he refuses to clarify his stupid misunderstanding of the NAEP percentages. He doesn’t know how to read tables and charts.
If Tiffany really thinks the 30/70 split means what she thinks it does, ask her how the English teacher can take care of 30% literary reading on a weekly basis (or daily basis) when she only teaches English 20- 25% of the school day or week. Where is more literary reading to be done to get kids up to the 30% Tiffany thinks kids should be doing? What other classes will literary reading be done in, if 30% of what kids read every day or every week must be literary and the English teacher is only 1 of 5 subject teachers?
–Dr. Sandra Stotsky
From USOE’s Tiffany Hall:
I appreciate your concern about the Utah Core Standards limiting the study of literature in English classes. I studied and have taught English literature, and if I felt that students were not going to be reading high-quality literature as a part of their K-12 education, I would be devastated.
The study of literature is not limited or reduced by the Standards. Rather, we are looking at a more comprehensive view of literacy that includes a focus on reading information text in all content areas—and not just reading, but reading and writing with purpose and understanding in every subject area. You are correct that we already have these informational books; we are now focusing on using them more effectively, and in supplementing them with authentic reading from the appropriate content discipline.
On page 3, the Standards state “The Standards insist that instruction in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language be a shared responsibility within the school. The K–5 standards include expectations for reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language applicable to a range of subjects, including but not limited to ELA. The grades 6–12 standards are divided into two sections, one for ELA and the other for history/social studies, science, and technical subjects. This division reflects the unique, time-honored place of ELA teachers in developing students’ literacy skills while at the same time recognizing that teachers in other areas must have a role in this development as well.”
This section continues on page 4, where there is a table indicating the recommended distribution of literary and informational passages by grade. This table shows a 50-50% split between literary and informational text in grade 4; 45-55% in grade 8; and 30-70% in grade 12. However, this refers to reading over the entire school day, not in a student’s English Language Arts course alone. The Standards strive to balance the “reading
of literature with the reading of informational texts, including texts in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects…” The level and quality of reading informational text in all subjects is a critical element of creating independent readers who can read and understand a wide variety of texts that are present in career and college settings.
So what do the Standards say about reading in English Language Arts courses? In addition to literature, they also include literary nonfiction. A good example of what these two categories mean can be found page 65, where literary fiction and literary nonfiction texts are sampled. These are not required texts; the choosing of texts remains a local decision. These are offered to illustrate the range of high-quality reading. For example, these are the sample texts listed for students in grades 11 and 12:Literary Fiction:
“Ode on a Grecian Urn” by John Keats (1820)
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (1848)
“Because I Could Not Stop for Death” by Emily Dickinson (1890)
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925)
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (1937)
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry (1959)
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri (2003)Literary Non-Fiction:
Common Sense by Thomas Paine (1776)
Walden by Henry David Thoreau (1854)
“Society and Solitude” by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1857)
“The Fallacy of Success” by G. K. Chesterton (1909)
Black Boy by Richard Wright (1945)
“Politics and the English Language” by George Orwell (1946)
“Take the Tortillas Out of Your Poetry” by Rudolfo Anaya (1995)
These selections have merit for their content and their writing. An ELA teacher has the opportunity to link themes and subjects across the full range of literary choices: novels, poems, dramatic works, essays, speeches, memoirs, etc. As an English teacher, I always tried to provide a variety of reading choices for students. Great literary works are how we understand other people, other times, and other cultures. Students need examples of many kinds of great writing.
In Appendix B, found here http://www.schools.utah.gov/CURR/langartsec/Language-Arts-Secondary-Home/APPENDIX-B.aspx, the Standards provide a list of exemplary texts. (These are not required texts, but rather examples of appropriate reading selections.) Please look at the Table of Contents, beginning on page 5, for a listing of readings organized by grade level. You will notice informational readings are included in addition to stories and poetry. Informational reading is an important part of helping students answer questions and learn content in the elementary classroom. However, the topics and presentation are interesting and grade-appropriate. At the elementary level, all subjects are generally taught in the same classroom and by the same teacher, so a wider range of topics is included in these lists.
You’ll notice that by the grades 6-8, the examples of Informational texts have been grouped by content area (ELA, History/Social Studies, and Science, Mathematics, and Technical Subjects); the ELA texts are literary nonfiction. And, you will probably also notice that the lists of fiction and poetry contain many of your favorites—there are certainly many of mine, including Chaucer, Faulkner, Hemingway, and Shakespeare.
I completely and fundamentally agree with your statement, beautifully written: “Great writing creates great writers. We learn how to write best from studying great literature. We learn about shared values. We learn the consequences of both good and bad choices without having to experiment personally. We learn about our rich culture and heritage when we study the works of Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson and others.” And when I look at the suggested readings in the Standards, these readings are reflected. They are the study of English and Language Arts.
I am not sure from whence the claim that we are replacing literature with “tracts from the EPA” or “dry technical writing” stems. As you have seen in the Standards, the writing is high-quality, appropriate, and interesting.
The Standards outline reading in all the content areas, including writing created by and for scientists, historians, engineers…every field has writing and communication that is important to the work that field supports. While I might not pick up a computer programming manual to read for fun, I know that there are many people who would, and I’m grateful that we are all different in our interests and reading. I am also glad that teachers in all the content areas will choose appropriate informational texts for their students to read and develop content knowledge and communication fluency. As a concerted effort, as a collaborative school, students will have the opportunity to read and learn what they will need to know in our society.
And I will always believe that includes Macbeth and To Kill a Mockingbird.
Thank you for your concern. I hope that examining the evidence—the actual Standards document—has assured you that students in Utah are reading high-quality literature in their ELA classrooms—and reading high-quality writing in all the content areas.
Tiffany Hall, MA, M.Ed.
K-12 Literacy Coordinator
Teaching and Learning
Utah State Office of Education
Please note: Utah has a very broad public records law. Most written communications to or from state employees regarding state business are public records available to the public and media upon request. Your email communication may be subject to public disclosure.
Guest post by Wendy Hart
One of the things that has been irritating and frustrating me is the comprehension that the end game of all of this is a complete lack of choice when it comes to education. It will only take a few years, because we have jumped on this bandwagon so quickly.
I think, if you get a chance, it is important to note that if Utah had adopted standards in isolation, there wouldn’t be the level of concern. (Of course, that was one of the “selling points”… commonality.) What the State Board says about “being able to change them” is technically true. They could drop Common Core standards at any time.
However, in 5 years, due to market forces, there will be nothing left to go to. Who will develop those standards, and what textbooks and professional development resources will we have? Nada!
When your ACT and SAT match Common Core, when all your textbooks and teaching materials are Common Core aligned, where is the market for anything “outside the box”? It was a brilliant move: 45 states signing on all at the same time. It will make the work of the other 5 irrelevant.
We MUST opt out and get a large group of the other states to opt out PRIOR to the SAT/ACT realignment. Once that’s done, it will be almost impossible to go back. Who or what, at that point, will have the power and desire to change it?
In the end, if I DON’T want my kids “aligned” with Common Core, what are my options? For the short term, I can do private school. But within 4 years, my prediction, just when my oldest is ready for college, the SAT/ACT tests will align, and if I haven’t been “on board”, he will be at a disadvantage. It just makes me ill.
Thank you, Wendy Hart, for this insightful, important statement.
Have you called your favorite Indiana legislator yet today?
317- 232-9600. 317-232-4567. 317-232-9677
Yes, I know we may not be from Indiana. But what happens elsewhere, affects our local freedom.
See what one Ohio resident wrote:
“I am from Ohio. My kids are grown, but I am active in opposing Common Core. God bless you in your fight to stall Common Core in Indiana.
This morning, I sent an e-mail to Indiana Speaker, Brian Bosma. The text was as follows:
“SB1427 must be called down for a vote!
The parents and residents in Indiana are fighting for time and the Indiana House of Representatives must allow this important bill to come to a full vote! You must hear the will of the people and parents of Indiana and you must call SB1427 for a vote!
SB1427 addresses Common Core Curriculum! The education of the children is too important to pass through any state without intelligent discussion and the involvement of the parents and residents.
I do not live in Indiana, but as a resident of Ohio, I am watching what happens in states across America. Common Core is just becoming known and there is growing and fierce opposition nation wide! I believe there is great cause for concern. Common Core has, quite frankly, been foisted upon the entire nation in secret. Please allow Indiana to be a stand-out state who upholds representative government!
Please bring SB1427 to the floor for a vote in the great state of Indiana!
Kathy L Johnson
Call the Indiana Governor at (317)232-4567. Call the Indiana House 317-232-9600 . (Ask to speak to whoever you want, or to Speaker Brian Bosma.) Another number for Bosma: 317-232-9677
Did you watch the Deseret News live feed of the Davis District meeting tonight?
I had an “A-ha!” moment, as I again watched Judy Park of the Utah State Office of Education present information about the Common Core tests.
I realized that Judy Park just does not know the answers to the big, big questions that are being asked. She isn’t actually being dishonest; she is simply clueless. It’s tragic. I feel almost sorry for her.
What makes me say this?
One example: When parents asked about the data collection issue she seemed to be blissfully unaware that the Utah State Longitudinal Database System collects personally identifiable information on every student –without parental consent and without any opt-out alternative.
“There’s federal laws. There’s all the protection in the world,” she said, and added a little simile:
As banks can’t give away your money, databases can’t give away your personally identifiable information, she said.
– Does she not know that there’s a huge lawsuit going on right now because the Department of Education has loosened and ruined privacy regulations so entirely that parental consent has been reduced from a legal requirement to an optional ”best practice”??
– Does she not know that the State Longitudinal Database System is federally interoperable, and that that was one of the conditions of Utah receiving the grant money to build the SLDS in the first place?
– Does she not know that the SLDS is under a (totally unconstitutional) mandate to report to the federal government via the “portal” called the EdFacts Exchange?
– Has she not seen the hundreds of data points that the federal government is “inviting” states to collect and share on students at the National Data Collection Model?
– Has she never studied the Utah Data Alliance and the Data Quality Campaign?
– Is she unaware that the Federal Register (following the shady alterations by the Dept. of Ed to federal FERPA privacy regulations) now redefines key terms such as who is an authorized representative and what is an educational agency, so that without parental consent and without school consent, vendors and corporate researchers can access data collected by the SLDS (State Database)?
– Does she not know that state FERPA is protective and good, but federal FERPA is utterly worthless because of what the Dept. of Education has done?
Ms. Park said:
“FERPA [federal privacy law] doesn’t allow that,” and: “I don’t believe that,” and “Personally identifiable information is not even in our state database.”
Dear Ms. Park! I wish I could believe you.
But last summer, at the Utah Senate Education Committee Meeting, we all heard (and Ms. Park was in the room) when Utah Technology Director John Brandt stood up and testified that “only” a handful of people from each of the agencies comprising the Utah Data Alliance (K-12, Postsecondary, Workforce, etc.) can access the personally identifiable information that the schools collect. He said it to reassure us that barring dishonesty or hacking, the personally identifiable information was safe. But he simultaneously revealed that the schools were indeed collecting that personal information.
Why don’t our leaders study this stuff? Why, why?
Even Ms. Park’s secondary title, which is something about “federal accountability” is disturbing. It’s an illegal concept to be federally accountable in the realm of state education. Has nobody read the 10th Amendment to the Constitution at the State Office of Education? Has no one read the federal law called the General Educational Provisions Act, which forbids —FORBIDS— the federal government from supervising, directing or controlling education or curriculum in ANY WAY.
I am not the only one flabbergasted at what I saw and heard on that live feed of the Davis District meeting today.
This portion is reposted with permission from clinical psychologist Gary Thompson.
I’m mortified at USOE.
I’m half tempted to shoot off (another) letter to the State Superintendent of Schools demanding that they stop all future “informational”meetings until they themselves either know the correct answers, or can be honest and simply state, ” we are investigating these issues currently, and we will get back to you when we know the answers.”
Anything other than that is pure deception, and if they (Judy Park, ect) are deceiving tax paying parents, then they should be asked to resign from their positions of trust. If I here one more meeting filled with deception and plausible deniability, I may take it upon myself to publicly ask for those resignations myself in a very public manner that will make the my Glen Beck appearance look like minor league.
It is just common respect. THEY asked for my letter of assistance and clarification. Attorney Flint and myself spent an entire weekend drafting it for them and the parents in our community.
Their response over a week later?
Not even a thank you note….and then they have the gall to present a LIVE feed to the entire State filled with definitive answers to parents questions that not only could they not answer during our 2 hour in person meeting, but asked for our assistance to clarify the issues they did not understand.
How hard would it had been to simply say, “We do not know.” ???
Ms. Parks response to questions regarding adaptive testing to children with learning “quirks” (out new name for disabilities) was so devious and deceptive that I had to turn it off.
Alisa Olsen Ellis, don’t you ever stop this fight as long as you have life in you.
God bless you.
— — —
Please, if you live in Uintah District, attend the meeting about the Common Core (AIR/SAGE) tests to be presented by the USOE on
April 25, 2013 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm at the Maeser Training Center 1149 North 2500 West Vernal,UT 84078 USA
Miners used to use canaries as early warning systems. They would evacuate the mines when the canaries, who were more quickly sensitive to toxic substances than humans, were suddenly sick or dead.
On the issue of Common Core, there are canaries– sadly, children, who are being used as guinea pigs in this educational experiment called Common Core.
New York was one of the first states to unveil the common core tests. And things aren’t going so well.
A Tough New Test Spurs Protest and Tears
New York Times
Students at the Hostos-Lincoln Academy in the Bronx blamed the English exams for making them anxious and sick. Teachers at Public School 152 in Manhattan said they had never seen so many blank stares. Parents at the Earth School in the East Village were so displeased that they organized a boycott. As New York this week became one of the first states to unveil a set of exams grounded in new curricular standards, education leaders are finding that rallying the public behind tougher tests may be more difficult than they expected. Complaints were plentiful: the tests were too long; students were demoralized to the point of tears; teachers were not adequately prepared. Some parents, long skeptical of the emphasis on standardized testing, forbade their children from participating.
This year’s NYS/Pearson ELA exams: an Epic Fail
NYC Public School Parents
The reviews are in, and the consensus among parents, students and teachers is that this year’s NYS/Pearson ELA exams were even worse than expected. The tests were too long, the questions confusing even for teachers, and many students ended up in tears. See just a sample of observations below. Is this what Chancellor Walcott meant when he said, “It’s time to rip the Band-Aid off” , or Regents head Merryl Tisch, when she explained, “We have to just jump into the deep end”? [Note: read the comments for details about these deeply flawed new tests.]
Field Tests: Unfair Burden on Students
Embedded in this week’s English Language Arts exams are field test questions. They do not count toward the test score. They are being tried out so the publisher can see how the items work and decide which ones to use next year. I wonder if parents should have the right to give or deny permission for their children to participate in what is essentially research for Pearson LLC, the for-profit test publisher?
Common Core and Pearson-for-Profit
Alan Singer, Huffington Post
Pearson is one of the most aggressive companies seeking to profit from what they and others euphemistically call educational reform, but which teachers from groups like Rethinking Schools and FairTest see as an effort to sell, sell, sell substandard remedial education programs seamlessly aligned with the high stakes standardized tests for students and teacher assessments they are also selling. Pearson reported revenues of approximately $9 billion in 2010 and generated approximately $3 billion on just digital revenues in 2011. If it has its way, Pearson will soon be determining what gets taught in schools across the United States with little or no parental or educational oversight.
NY-NJ to provide millions in subsidies to Pearson
The British media giant Pearson PLC, whose holdings include Pearson Education, a testing and textbook publishing company that produces the NJASK tests, will receive large subsidies from NY & NJ to relocate 1300 jobs away from its facilities in Upper Saddle River in Bergen Co. NY will give Pearson $50 million in subsidies to move 630 jobs to NYC and NJ will provide $66 in subsidies to relocate 650 jobs to Hoboken.
Don’t tweet? Don’t fret. Watch coverage of the #stopcommoncore Twitter Rally via On Point Broadcasting- complete with a pre- and post- show. Log in to watch at 11am EST today. http://www.onpointbroadcasting.com\onpointtv
America, we need to get smart about education reform. Fast.
Lesson one: when education reformers use the term “rigorous,” they mean to impress you. Don’t be impressed. One size fits all education can never be rigorous for every student. That’s like calling a mile run “rigorous.” It might be rigorous for the couch potatoes but it won’t be for the athletes. The term is meaningless when applied to every child and stripped of teacher input.
Lesson two: when education reformers use the term “high quality teacher,” they mean their version. Don’t buy the assumption that what they call a high quality teacher is what you imagine when you think of a great teacher. The new high quality teacher must be “effective” as a data-collector, test-prepper, and political indoctrinator of environmental and social justice agendas. Gone are the days when good teachers were characterized by benevolence, spontaneity, creativity, love, nurturing, and intellectual openness and honesty. A high quality teacher to the Dept. of Ed means one that pushes the line that the government wants pushed, one that no parent got to vote on.
Lesson three: when education reformers use the term “education reform,” they mean their version. It’s a tightly controlled, standardized, data-collection focused, collective-not-individual focused, environmentally-obsessed, social-justice promoting, uncreative form of education that has little to do with what a particular student needs or wants. Don’t buy the assumption that it’s actually improving education the way a reasonable parent or grandparent would want education to be improved! Ask for evidence and empirical studies to back up claims– always.
Lesson four: when education reformers use the term “internationally competitive,” they mean to intimidate you. Don’t be intimidated. The truth is that America turns out so many highly qualified college graduates that we can’t even employ them all. We are incredibly competitive internationally. Not only are we smart, but we are creative because we have been free. We innovate miracles in medicine, technology, entertainment and agriculture because we have not been stifled as so many other countries are. Watch this video.
Lesson five: when education reformers name-drop, (Harvard, Stanford, Fordham Foundation, Manhattan Institute, the P.T.A., etc.) they mean to marginalize you. Don’t be moved. Common Core is educational malpractice and many –even in academia– know it. Common Core is an untested experiment being pushed without empirical evidence as a foundation. Harvard, Stanford and countless other supposedly intellectual institutions have been literally bought with Bill Gates’ foundation money –bribed to say that the naked emperor is wearing clothes– and these establishments have, by taking Gates’ bribes, lost their ability to question the validity of the Common Core. Don’t listen to anyone’s academic reviews who has been paid to say Common Core is valid. That’s not honest; that’s gold digging.
Lesson six: when education reformers say Common Core is “state-led,” they mean to reassure you that it’s no threat to your constitutional rights. Don’t be fooled. There’s nothing state-led about Common Core. Legislators were completely bypassed. There was never a vote. There was never a public discussion. Most people in most states still don’t even know what the term Common Core means, much less feel they led the process. The standards were developed stealthily behind closed doors in Washington, D.C., by the NGA/CCSSO, two unelected groups who copyrighted the standards and who have provided no amendment process for any state to alter a single strand of a standard. And the federal government claims credit for pushing the standards on the states. Just listen to Sec. Duncan’s and Pres. Obama’s speeches on the subject. For example, see Sec. Duncan’s 2010 speech on “The Vision of Education Reform“:
“In March of 2009, President Obama called on the nation’s governors and state school chiefs to “develop standards and assessments that don’t simply measure whether students can fill in a bubble on a test, but whether they possess 21st century skills like problem-solving and critical thinking and entrepreneurship and creativity.” Virtually everyone thought the president was dreaming.
But today, 37 states and the District of Columbia have already chosen to adopt the new state-crafted Common Core standards in math and English. Not studying it, not thinking about it, not issuing a white paper—they have actually done it. Over three-fourths of all U.S. public school students now reside in states that have voluntarily adopted higher, common college-ready standards that are internationally benchmarked. That is an absolute game-changer in a system which until now set 50 different goalposts for success.
The second game-changer is that states have banded together in large consortia to develop a new generation of assessments aligned with the states’ Common Core standards.”
The unconstitutional, detrimental, top-down nationalization of education and usurpation of states’ rights to determine education has clearly and without question, occurred.
The thing that remains unclear is this: what are Americans going to do about it?
Last night at your presentation on Common Core tests, you promised to direct me to references documenting the truth of your statement: that the new common core AIR/SAGE tests are written by Utahns, for Utahs, in Utah. I am writing to request a direct link to that documentation. I appreciate your response.
You also promised to answer questions after the meeting; however, when I asked you mine after the meeting, you turned away from me and began to speak to a principal instead. The question remains unanswered: will you please direct me to documentation of the claim that the common core standards, upon which this test is built, are truly legitimate and that they have been empirically tested, rather than being the experimental idea of unelected noneducators?
While the testing technology is indeed impressive, it reminds me of admiring a shiny new roof on a building built on quicksand. Admiring the roof seems a bit pointless. I’m asking you to prove we’re not on quicksand. Can you?
Last night, a few of us were asking whether student behavioral indicators would be tested. You smiled warmly and said the test would only cover math, English and science.
However, in HB15, the legislation that created space for these new common core computer adaptive tests, it says:
59 (d) the use of student behavior indicators in assessing student performance;
I was unsure what student behavior indicators were until I read the recent explanation of a licensed clinical psychologist, who explained that it’s literally anything– anything from mental health evaluation to sporting events to social habits to family status and that measuring behavioral indicators gives results-readers “godlike predictive ability” over that child. Since A.I.R. is a behavioral research agency before it’s an academic testing company, according to its own website, this concerns me greatly.
Please explain how Utah parents can rest assured that their children will not be tested and tracked concerning anything other than math, English and science in light of this legislation and in light of A.I.R.’s stated purpose.
Today, Alisa and I spoke with Chicago History teacher Paul Horton about Common Core and his group, Citizens Against Corporate Collusion. A few highlights:
1. What’s wrong with high stakes testing?
2. How does Common Core turn teacher artisans into teacher widgets?
3. Dept. of Ed Secretary Arne Duncan graduated from the high school where Horton teaches; what does Horton say about Sec. Duncan?
4. Why does Pearson Company stand to face legal trouble?
5. What does Horton see Bill Gates doing Common Core pushing for?
6. Why are Democrats and Republicans increasingly seeing eye to eye on the need to stop common core?
Here’s the segment.
Connecticut Principal of the Year: Advice to Politicians about High-Stakes Testing.
On the above-linked article at Diane Ravitch’s blog, I read the letter written by the 2012 principal of the year about Common Core Tom McMorran.
He explains why Common Core is unacceptable. He pokes fun at the masses of people who say they support it without having any evidence for its claims of improvement to education. “Elvis is alive: 50 million fans can’t be wrong.”
In a nutshell, the principal says:
“Hard-nosed business practices (which I do not believe business men or women apply to their own concerns) have [no] place in a school…. there is a better way, and it is for all of us educators to embrace our responsibilities as professionals and act from Informed Professional Judgment. I am saying that we can either define ourselves or accept the so-called reform that is happening to us.”
Amen, Principal McMorran.
- Christopher Tienken - Professor at Seton Hall, NJ - http://vimeo.com/58461595
- Jane Robbins – American Principles Project - Stop Common Core video series: http://youtu.be/coRNJluF2O4
- Jamie Gass – Pioneer Institute – has been speaking about Common Core for many years; knows why Massachusetts had the best standards in the nation prior to Common Core. http://youtu.be/SBROaOCKN50
- Senator Kurt Bahr – Missouri legislator fighting Common Core http://youtu.be/25NTsQxj-zg?t=1m49s
- Senator William Ligon – Georgia legislator fighting Common Core http://youtu.be/ODz4X0GO-Fk?t=1m37s
- Senator Scott Schneider – Indiana legislator fighting Common Core http://youtu.be/TH9ZxVrn6aA?t=1m10s
- Dr. Bill Evers – Hoover Institute – Stanford University – http://youtu.be/LB014eno1aA
- Robert Scott – Texas commissioner of education – rejected Common Core: http://youtu.be/WcpMIUWbgxY?t=2m25s
- Diane Ravitch – liberal education analyst who just recently came out against Common Core http://youtu.be/ZkZUGpJJWy4?t=13s
- Dr. Sandra Stotsky, who served on the Common Core validation committee and refused to sign off on their adequacy: http://bcove.me/ws77it6d see min. 55:30
- Ze’ev Wurman, math analyst http://youtu.be/0cgnprQg_O0?t=22s
- Heather Crossin – Indiana mother fighting Common Core http://youtu.be/TH9ZxVrn6aA?t=54s
- Utah moms Alisa Ellis and Renee Braddy – http://youtu.be/Mk0D16mNbp4
- Jim Stergios – Pioneer Institute - http://bcove.me/ws77it6d see minute 30:00
- Jenni White – Oklahoma data collection expert - http://youtu.be/XTbMLjk-qRc and http://youtu.be/JM1CTJFUuzM
- Susan Ohanian – education analyst http://youtu.be/uJHkztNNFNk?t=23s
- Dr. William Mathis of University of Colorado http://youtu.be/46-M1hH0D1Q?t=23s
- Seattle Teachers who boycotted Garfield High School standardized testing. http://youtu.be/N5ODEoqZZHs
- Gary Thompson, clinical psychologist http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/glenn-beck-on-privacy-and-data-mining-in-common-core/
- Emmett McGroarty, American Principles Project http://youtu.be/wVI78lPCFfs?t=21s
- David Cox, teacher http://youtu.be/W-uAi1I_6Ds?t=22m28s
- Paul Bogush, teacher http://youtu.be/oaDniHquMVI?t=56s
- Sherena Arrington, political analyst http://youtu.be/QF337nKwx6M?t=6m35s
- Walt Chappell, Kansas Board of Education http://youtu.be/1S9jjNyXAE4?t=16m55s
- Bob Shaeffer, Colorado Principal /Former Congressman http://youtu.be/Fai4K2ZVauk?t=1m15s
- Lindsey Burke, Heritage Foundation http://youtu.be/1DOCH1YT6Uk
- Oak Norton, Agency Based Education http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_H7ds2Eb70&feature=share&list=PLjUrg_jASxd-BeEivpr4b7z7Ydc5mjGi4
- Neil McClusky – Cato Institute http://youtu.be/DK2kTdDudo4
Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform
Bill Gates: Scary Philanthropy
Countdown # 5
This is the fifth in a countdown series of introductions, a list of the top ten scariest people leading education in America. For numbers 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10, click here.
The biggest philanthropist on earth comes across as the epitome of sincere, nerdy nice-guy. And he probably is very nice and very sincere. But does sincerity trump truth?
The truth is, Bill Gates’ herculean attempt to fund and market Common Core to Americans, and to circumvent the voting public on educational issues, is dangerously, dangerously misguided.
Thus, not everybody is happy in philanthropy land. The biggest philanthropist in the world got behind the unproven experiment of Common Core and –using money rather than the voice of the American voter– he pushed it into schools, circumventing any vetting by legislative, educator or parent groups.
Gates’ astronomical wealth has persuaded millions that Common Core is the solution to education problems, the argument from everywhere, approved (by him) and beyond debate. But let me repeat the fact: regardless of whether the standards are horrible or glorious, the truth remains that whenever unelected philanthropists are permitted to direct public policy, the voting public gets cut out of the process. It’s happening all over the U.S., but not just in the U.S. The Gates-directing-world-education effect is happening everywhere.
Since Gates has no constituency he can’t be un-elected; so it’s not the the wisdom of experienced educators, but simply one man’s money that is directing implementation of the controversial Common Core. His money has bought, besides technology, work groups, and a seat at the policy making table, extreme marketing success.
He’s got control of the education opinion factory. When Common Core was debated at the Indiana State Capitol, who showed up to advocate for Common Core? Stand for Children, which Bill Gates funds. He also funds the League of Education Voters, the Center for Reinventing Public Education and the Partnership for Learning, all Common Core advocates; Gates owns Editorial Projects in Education, parent of Education Week magazine.
No wonder, then, even educators don’t seem to know the full truth about Common Core. They’re reading Education Week and the Harvard Education Letter. Translation: they are reading Gates’ dollar bills. (By the way: want to make some money selling out your fellow teachers? Gates is searching for a grant recipient who will receive $250,000 to accelerate networking of teachers toward acceptance of Common Core. )
Wherever you see advocates for Common Core, you see Gates’ influence. He gave a million dollars to the national PTA to advocate to parents about Common Core. He gave Common Core developer NGA/CCSSO roughly $25 million to promote it. (CCSSO: 2009–$9,961,842, 2009– $3,185,750, 2010–$743,331, 2011–$9,388,911 ; NGA Center: 2008–$2,259,780.) He gave $15 million to Harvard for “education policy” research. He gave $9 million to universities promoting “breakthrough learning models” and global education. Gates paid inBloom 100 million dollars to collect and analyze schools’ data as part of a public-private collaborative that is building “shared technology services.” InBloom, formerly known as the Shared Learning Collaborative, includes districts, states, and the unelected Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The list goes on and on and on.
It’s hard to know exactly how much money Gates has put toward the promotion of Common Core because of the chameleon-like wording of educational granting areas. For example, he gave $3 million Stanford University and $3 million to Brown University for “college and career readiness.” (The average person wouldn’t know that college and career readiness is a code phrase defined as common core by the Department of Education.) Sometimes he’s promoting “support activities around educational issues related to school reform” for the CCSSO (common core developer) and other times he’s “helping states build data interoperability” –which not everyone would recognize as Common assessments’ bed-making.
According to Gates himself, he’s spent five billion dollars to promote his vision of education since 2000.
He really, reealllly believes in Common Core. So it doesn’t matter that Common Core is an experiment on our children that’s never been tested and has been rejected by countless top education analysts. It doesn’t matter that Common Core is an un-American, top-down, nonrepresentative system that state legislatures didn’t even get to vet. Bill Gates wants it.
And not just in America– he wants global education standards.
Gates’ company, Microsoft, signed a cooperative agreement with the United Nations’ education branch, UNESCO. In it, Gates said, “Microsoft supports the objectives of UNESCO as stipulated in UNESCO’s constitution and intends to contribute to UNESCO’s programme priorities.” UNESCO’s “Education For All” key document is called “The Dakar Framework for Action: Education For All: Meeting Our Collective Commitments.” Read the full text here: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0012/001211/121147e.pdf
So Gates partners with the U.N.’s educational and other goals via UNESCO’s “Education for All” which seeks to teach the same standards to all children (and adults) on a global scale. Why is this a problem? It supercedes local control over what is taught to students, and dismisses the validity of the U.S. Constitution, all in the name of inclusivity and education and tolerance for all nations.
At this link, you can learn about how Education For All works: “Prior to the reform of the global EFA coordination architecture in 2011-2012, the Education for All High-Level Group brought together high-level representatives from national governments, development agencies, UN agencies, civil society and the private sector. Its role was to generate political momentum and mobilize financial, technical and political support towards the achievement of the EFA goals and the education-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). From 2001-2011 the High-Level Group met annually.”
The six goals of “Education For All” are claimed to be internationally agreed-upon. On the linked Education and Awareness page of the U.N. website, we learn:
“Education, Public Awareness and Training is the focus of Chapter 36 of Agenda 21. This is a cross-sectoral theme both relevant to the implementation of the whole of Agenda 21 and indispensable” http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/susdevtopics/sdt_educawar.shtml
Did you get that? Education is indispensable for the U.N. to get its agenda pushed onto every citizen worldwide. They just admitted it out loud. They want a strong hand in determining what is taught worldwide.
So then we click on Chapter 36. In 36.2 it says we should “reorient” worldwide education toward sustainable development. (No discussion, no vote, no input needed on this reorientation plan, apparently.) 36.3 says: “Both formal and non-formal education are indispensable to changing people’s attitudes…. It is also critical for achieving environmental and ethical awareness, values and attitudes, skills and behaviour consistent with sustainable development… To be effective, environment and development education should deal with the dynamics of both the physical/biological and socio-economic environment and human (which may include spiritual) development, should be integrated in all disciplines, and should employ formal and non-formal methods”
The take-away? What does Bill Gates agree to in his Microsoft – UNESCO partnership?
- Environmental education will be incorporated in formal education.
- Any value or attitude held by anyone globally that stands independent to that of the United Nations’ definition of “sustainable education” must change. Current attitudes are unacceptable.
- Education will be belief-and-spirituality based as defined by the global collective.
- Environmental education will be integrated into every subject, not just science.
The stated objectives (36.4) include endorsing “Education for All,” and “giving special emphasis to the further training of decision makers at all levels.”
Hence the need for people like Gates to influence the training of decision makers. When asked what matters most to him, Gates said: education. His version of education. The Huffington Post reported:
“I’d pick education, if I was thinking broadly about America,” Gates responded. “It’s our tool of equality.” Is it coincidence that equality and redistribution are also concepts that Linda Darling-Hammond, Chaka Fattah and Arne Duncan are promoting in the federal Equity and Excellence Commission?
How committed is Bill Gates to the United Nations having a say in American education?
In his annual letter, Gates emphasized the importance of following the United Nations’ Millennial Goals and measuring teachers more closely. One of those UN Millennial goals is to achieve universal education. Also, Gates helped create Strong American Schools (a successor to the STAND UP campaign launched in 2006, which was an outgrowth of UNESCO’s Millennium Campaign Goals for Universal Education). It called for U.S. national education standards. (link 1) (link 2)
Also, Gates’ Foundation funded the International Benchmarking Advisory Group report for Common Core Standards on behalf of the National Governors Association, Council of Chief State School Officers, and ACHIEVE, Inc. titled, “Benchmarking for Success: Ensuring U.S. Students Receive a World-Class Education.” This report showed the United Nations is a member of the International Benchmarking Advisory Group for Common Core Standards. (link)
It appears that Bill Gates is more than a common core philanthopist; he is a promoter of global sameness of education as defined by UNESCO and the U.N.
Here is the whole show from last Thursday, March 14, 2013.
It was a privilege to speak with Glenn Beck on his t.v. show on Thursday, along with Utah teacher David Cox of Odyssey Charter School , Emmett McGroarty of the American Principles Project, and Sherena Arrington of Stop Common Core in Georgia. I’m posting three clips from the show.
This first portion of the show is a clip of Glenn Beck introducing common core and its “Equity and Excellence Commission” which aims to use the educational system to redistribute; to redistribute not only exactly the same standards and testing nationwide, but also the nation’s wealth. Glenn calls the Common Core issue bigger than any other issue facing America today.
The next clip introduces the scarily non-traditional Common Core math, the dumbing-down via “student-centered” rather than teacher-directed instruction; and shows –my favorite part– the moment Glenn was stunned to find out that state legislatures were not a part of the adoption of Common Core, in any state.
Notice when Sherena Arrington describes this. She calls it the executive branch being ”off the chain.” Great choice of words. Off the chain– like a mad bulldog. Yes, there is a chain and American needs to stay attached to it because it’s an umbilical cord to mother freedom. It’s a chain forged by the U.S. Constitution, the process of voter representation, the importance of due process and the separation and balance of powers.
This next clip covers the part of the show where we discussed the ”no-parental-consent” school data mining.
I mentioned one of the seminal documents of the Common Core movement, the Cooperative Agreement between Secretary Arne Duncan and the SBAC testing group, which says that the SBAC and PARCC (the other testing group) have to synchronize their tests and data, and that student-level data (personal, identifiable data) must be shared. That creates a national testing system, nationalizing education just like China or any socialist/communist country. This is so offensive, considering the fact that both the Constitution and U.S. GEPA law (General Educational Provisions Act) specify that the federal government may not direct or supervise educational programs or curriculum or tests in any way.
Then I brought up the fact that the Department of Education went behind Congress’ back to alter FERPA law (privacy law) so that parental consent is no longer a legal requirement to access student information. The National Data Collection Model asks for hundreds of data points to be collected on our loved ones, including family income, religion, nicknames, psychological issues, and so much more.
Yes, the executive branch is way off the chain and does need to be brought to account by Congress. By We, The People.
Thank you, Glenn Beck. Thank you for exposing to parents and other viewers nationwide what common core is really all about: it’s so much more than just academic standards.
I received permission to post this letter from a woman in Illinois who is trying to rally others in the state to stand up against Common Core. If you live in Illinois, please contact her at StopcommoncoreIllinois@yahoo.com
Thank you, Heather.
Dear People of Illinois,
Recently I’ve done some research on Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and have questions regarding how CCSS will affect the students, taxpayers, teachers, and parents of Illinois. I hope you do your own homework and see these questions demand to be answered by our State government!
First, where can we see Illinois’ cost analysis of what CCSS will cost us, the taxpayers? Currently, Illinois is one of the top states with the highest property taxes. There are projected numbers of upwards of $700 million to fully implement CCSS in Illinois alone. (Not to mention on going cost of yearly testing, keeping computers up to date for the testing, and teacher training.) Where will this money come from, in our already struggling state? (http://www.accountabilityworks.org/photos/Cmmn_Cr_Cst_Stdy.Fin.2.22.12.pdf)
Second, what if CCSS is not working for our students, where is the amendment process? As a parent where will my voice be heard if I am unhappy with the way these standards are being implemented? Currently, from my research, we have no amendment process; we are locked in to CCSS with no way out and no voice! This is education without representation! Please note these standards have not been tested in real classrooms with real students and are considered “experimental”!
Third, those in favor of CCSS claim that these standards were state-led, if that were the case where was the public invitation to discuss these standards and why can we not see who is currently writing the science and social studies standards? Why the secrecy if these standards are so excellent? Also, when the Illinois State Board of Education approved CCSS they claim, in the minutes of the meeting, that “Parents, teachers, school administrators and experts from across the country together with state leaders….have led the effort to develop a common core of state standards.” And, “Teachers have been a critical voice in the development of the standards.”
In my research I find this to not be the case. If it is the case, can you please let me know when the teachers of Illinois came together to have a “critical voice” in the development of CCSS? Teachers of Illinois, were any of you invited in this process? (Link to minutes: http://web1.isbespr1.isbe.net/board/meetings/2010/june/rules.pdf)
Fourth, Race to the Top application was turned in January 19, 2010 which committed our state to CCSS, in order to receive $400 million dollars and this was five months before the standards were even complete (and the testing portion is yet to be completed). The standards were completed on June 2, 2010 and the Illinois State Board of Education approved these standards just 22 days later on June 24, 2010. In the minutes of their meeting it clearly states that there is “no legislative action” needed. Did the legislation even know this was taking place back in 2010?
Who would approve to implement something without even seeing what it was they were implementing? It could be compared to getting married without meeting your mate before hand! Ludicrous! (http://www.isbe.state.il.us/racetothetop/pdf/phase1/application.pdf)
Fifth, the Constitution assigns education to the states, not to the federal government. Also, the federal General Education Provisions Act states, “No provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United State to exeerciseany direction, supervision or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any education institution, school, or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks or other printed or published instructional materials by any education institution or school system…” In light of this please explain why our state has agrees to intense micromanagement by the federal government under Common Core testing? We are the “state” and why do we have no say? (http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/sbac-cooperative-agreement.pdf)
As you can see I have a few alarming concerns about the CCSS (Not to mention the fact that CC lowers math standards in Illinois, that there will be less fiction used, that there will be a rather large data base gather on our students that parents don’t have to know about, that teachers will also have more data tracking, which will foster the “teach to the test” mentality, and that even now more standards are being written behind closed doors!)
My hope is to see the legislature of Illinois write a bill that brings the control of state standards back to state control! Yes, the purse strings of Washington are powerful, but these are our children and should not be subject to people in Washington deciding what is best for them.
I see Common Core as education without representation, which flies in the face of what America was founded on!
Do your own homework! Spread the word! Call the government (reps, senate, school boards) and demand answers!
Thank you for your time,
—- —- —-
Watch these videos: Stop Common Core: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coRNJluF2O4
Popular Home School Curricula and Common Core
By Kristen Chevrier
Reposted from http://homeschoolwise.com/2013/03/02/popular-home-school-curricula-and-common-core/
After learning that some very popular home school curricula have aligned their programs with Common Core, I decided to do some research. I will be keeping a running list of those who have and have not aligned with Common Core. I would appreciate your input.
After learning that some very popular home school curricula have aligned their programs with Common Core, I decided to do some research. I will be keeping a running list of those who have and have not aligned with Common Core. I would appreciate your input.
Having curricula that meet (or exceed) Common Core standards is not the same as aligning a program with Common Core. And having elements of Common Core in a program does not make it all bad. What is important in choosing any study materials is that you are aware of what your child is learning.
While we are on the topic of curricula: Many people come into home schooling thinking that they must have a completely planned curriculum and follow it exclusively. Not so. You have much more flexibility to address the needs and interests of individual children if you are willing be creative. While there are benefits to having a standard curriculum for the basics, it’s okay to create your own by picking and choosing materials from any source that suits your needs. Don’t get stuck in a box. Be flexible. Embrace your instincts. And actively choose to be your child’s guide.
Here is what I have found, so far:
Common Core-Aligned or Receiving Funding from Common Core Proponents:
Right Start Math
Critical Thinking Press
BYU Independent Study
Writing Road to Reading (Spalding)
Core Knowledge Curriculum
Appear to be acknowledging where they align with CC, but not necessarily changing to align:
Singapore Math (Please see statement by Jeffrey Thomas, President and Co-Founder of Singapore Math in the comments below.)
Explode the Code
Excellence in Writing
Khan Academy (Khan Academy is funded by some of the same people who fund and promote Common Core, but the videos are pre-CC and not likely to be re-made to align with CC. )
Currently Not Aligned with Common Core:
Rod and Staff Arithmetic
Life of Fred
Primary Language Lessons
Media Angels Curriculum
This is not an exhaustive list. I will add to it as I find more information. Please feel free to give input.
If you are using one of the programs that has aligned with Common Core I encourage you to write to or call the publisher and let them know how you feel about it.
— — — — —
Thank you, Kristen, for your helpful research.
Professor Thomas Newkirk of the University of New Hampshire has laid out the problems with Common Core in Speaking Back to the Common Core. It is well worth our time to read every word. He eloquently addresses each of the following points that characterize Common Core:
1. Conflict of Interest.
2. Misdiagnosis of the problem.
3. Developmental inappropriateness.
4. A sterile view of reading.
5. Underplaying role of narrative.
6. A reform that gives extraordinary power to standardized tests.
7. A bonanza for commercialism.
8. Standards directing instruction.
9. Drowning out other conversations.
Newkirk explains this so well that I find myself reading and re-reading his words. Not all articles are created equally. This one is above and beyond. I’ll post the first half and then the link:
Speaking Back to the Common Core
The Common Core initiative is a triumph of branding. The standards are portrayed as so consensual, so universally endorsed, so thoroughly researched and vetted, so self-evidently necessary to economic progress, so broadly representative of beliefs in the educational community—that they cease to be even debatable. They are held in common; they penetrate to the core of our educational aspirations, uniting even those who might usually disagree. We can be freed from noisy disagreement, and should get on with the work of reform.
This deft rollout may account for the absence of vigorous debate about the Common Core State Standards. If they represent a common core—a center—critics are by definition on the fringe or margins, whiners and complainers obstructing progress. And given the fact that states have already adopted them—before they were completely formulated—what is the point in opposition? We should get on with the task of implementation, and, of course, alignment.
But as the great rhetorician Kenneth Burke continually reminds us, all arguments are from a debatable perspective— there is no all-encompassing position, no argument from everywhere. The arguments that hide their controversial edges, their perspective, are the most suspect. “When in Rome act as the Greeks” he advises us. So in that spirit I would like to raise a series of concerns.
1. Conflict of interest. It is a fundamental principle of governance that those who establish the guidelines do not benefit financially from those guidelines. We don’t, for example, let representatives of pharmaceutical companies set health guidelines, for fairly obvious reasons. But in the case of the CCSS, the two major college testing agencies, the College Board and ACT, were engaged to write the standards, when it was obvious that they would create products (or had created products) to test them. The College Board, for example, almost immediately claimed that “The SAT demonstrates strong agreement to the Common Core Writing Standards and there is very strong agreement between the skills required on the SAT essay and the Common Core State Standards” (Vasavada et al. 2011, 5). In fact, the College Board claims that there is also a strong alignment between other products, the PSAT/NMSQT and Redistep, which starts in eighth grade.
Clearly, there is a conflict of interest here.
2. Misdiagnosis of the problem. A central premise of the CCSS is that students are not reading difficult enough texts and that we need to ramp up the complexity of the texts they encounter. I would argue that the more serious problem is that students cease to read voluntarily, generally around middle school—and fail to develop the stamina for difficult texts (Newkirk 2008). Once they get to high school, they are “overmatched” by standard books like Lord of the Flies and To Kill a Mockingbird (Smith and Wilhelm 2002)—and they resort to SparkNotes and other strategies that allow them to avoid reading the books. This evasion is epidemic in our schools. Increasing the complexity of what they read—and requiring books like Grapes of Wrath in ninth or tenth grade, as recommended by the CCSS—will only exacerbate the problem. In order to develop fluency and real reading power (that will enable students to tackle the classics), students need abundant practice with engaging contemporary writing that does not pose a constant challenge (or maybe a range of challenges) to them. The reading workshop models of Penny Kittle and Nancie Atwell provide a much more plausible road map for creating readers who can handle difficulty.
3. Developmental inappropriateness. It is clear now that the designers of the CCSS took a top-down approach, beginning with expectations for eleventh and twelfth graders and then working down to the earlier grades. The process, it seems to me, is one of downshifting; early college expectations (at least what I do in my college classes) are downshifted to eleventh or twelfth grade, and the process continues right into kindergarten. The target student texts in Appendix C are clearly those of exceptional, even precocious students; in fact, the CCSS has taken what I see as exceptional work, that of perhaps the top 5 percent of students, and made it the new norm. What had once been an expectation for fourth graders becomes the standard for second graders as in this example:
Write informative/explanatory texts in which they [i.e., second graders] introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points and provide a concluding statement. Normally this would be the expectation of an upper-elementary report; now it is the requirement for seven-year-olds.
It might be argued that high standards, even if they are beyond the reach of many students, will still be useful in raising performance. But if legitimately tested, these standards will result in a substantial proportion, in many schools a majority, of students failing to meet them—thus feeding the narrative of school failure (already the case in Kentucky). Given the experience with the unrealism of the No Child Left Behind demand for 100 percent proficiency, it seems to me unwise to move to a new set of unrealistic expectations.
4. A sterile view of reading. Another serious issue is the view of reading that underlies the standards. This view is spelled out by two authors of the English/Language Arts standards, David Coleman (now President of the College Board) and Susan Pimentel (2011) in a set of guidelines that are designed to help publishers align their material. It is a revealing and consequential document that helps us move beyond generalities to the way standards are to be taught (and most likely tested). Much of what Coleman and Pimentel say is appealing. I like the focus on thoughtful reading—and rereading. I agree that discussions can move away from the text too often (I can think of many examples from my own classes). I like the idea of helping students engage with challenging texts. And I like that they urge publishers to refrain from making pages so busy with distracting marginalia that they come to resemble People magazine.
The central message in their guidelines is that the focus should be on “the text itself”—echoing the injunctions of New Criticism during the early and mid-1900s. The text should be understood in “its own terms.” While the personal connections and judgments of the readers may enter in later, they should do so only after students demonstrate “a clear understanding of what they read.” So the model of reading seems to have two stages—first a close reading in which the reader withholds judgment or comparison with other texts, focusing solely on what is happening within “the four corners of the text.” And only then are prior knowledge, personal association, and appraisal allowed in.
This seems to me an inhuman, even impossible, and certainly unwise prescription. Test it out yourself on the opening to Jennifer Egan’s
A Visit from the Goon Squad:
It began the usual way, in the bathroom of the Lassimo Hotel. Sasha was adjusting her yellow eye shadow in the mirror when she noticed a bag on the floor beside the sink that must have belonged to the woman whose peeing she could faintly hear through the vaultlike door of the toilet stall. Inside the rim of the bag, barely visible, was a wallet made of pale green leather. It was easy for Sasha to recognize, looking back, that the peeing woman’s blind trust had provoked her. We live in a city where people will steal the hair off your head if you give them half a chance, but you leave your stuff lying in plain sight and expect it to be waiting for you when you come back. It made her want to teach the woman a lesson. (2011, 3)
My own reading focus was on Sasha’s thought process, how she is beginning to rationalize the taking of this woman’s wallet. But when I shared this opening with female readers, many of them picked up the detail of the yellow eye shadow, something I had totally ignored. What kind of woman wears yellow eye shadow? What do you say about yourself when you wear it? Combined with the fact that Sasha seems familiar with bathrooms in swank hotels, some speculated that she was a prostitute (not a bad guess as it turns out). But these readers were hardly staying in the four corners of the text; they were using their knowledge of makeup and the message it sends. It’s what readers do.
To get down to practicalities, there is bound to be great confusion about what a “text-dependent question” is. Must that question stay within the “four corners of the text” and not draw on prior experience or knowledge? Purely literal questions can be confined in this way, but any inference or judgment rests on some information not in the text (as in the case of the eye shadow). Even language itself evokes a world beyond the text. As two Stanford psychologists put it: “The bare text is something like a play script that the reader uses like a theatre director to construct in imagination a full stage production” (Bower and Morrow 1990, 44). We can never stay within the four corners of the text—even if we tried…
5. Underplaying role of narrative. The CCSS present us with a “map” of writing types that is fundamentally flawed—because it treats “narrative” as a type of discourse, distinguished from “informational” and “argumentative” writing. In doing so (and the CCSS are not alone in this), they fail to acknowledge the central role narrative plays in all writing, indeed in human understanding. Mark Turner, a cognitive psychologist and literary critic, puts the claim this way: “Narrative imagining—story—is the fundamental instrument of thought. Rational capacities depend on it. It is our chief means of looking into the future, of predicting, of planning, of explaining”…
Read the rest: http://heinemann.com/shared/onlineresources%5CE02123%5CNewkirk_Speaking_Back_to_the_Common_Core.pdf
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Thanks to Professor Newkirk for his research, talent and the time spent on this topic –which must not be drowned out by the loud messages of those who benefit financially from the fact that few understand what Common Core really is.
Last night, the Rod Arquette radio show discussed Common Core again with Alisa Ellis speaking. Here’s the podcast.
Across the nation, many people are beginning to raise concerns about implementing Common Core in our schools.
Wondering what you can do? Here are some suggestions that add to what you’ll find in Truth in American Education’s action center tool kit.
1) Check this map of the U.S. to see if legislative educational liberty movements are happening in your state.
2) Check this spreadsheet to see if there are people fighting common core in your state and join them.
3) If nothing is happening at all in your state, do an internet search for Race to the Top application (name your own state) and find the application from Jan. 2010
4) Go to your state school board’s minutes site and find out at which meeting the CCSS were approved (June 2, 2010 the standards were finalized… states such as Illinois approved them 22 days later!)
5) Like “Truth in American Education“ because this is a main hub for national cooperation.
6) Start speaking to friends, teachers and family about common core — many use Facebook FB, Twitter, Pinterest, email, etc.
7) Call or write your state representatives.
8) Sign your state’s educational liberty petition or start one. If you need assistance, ask people from other states for help.
9) Attend local and state school board meetings and visit or call your state superintendent to find out who actually cares about this issue. Sample questions to ask:
- Where can I read our state’s cost analysis for implementing Common Core and its tests?
- What is the amendment process for Common Core standards if we find out they are not working for us?
- Where can I see for myself the evidence that Common Core standards have been proven to be of superior quality and that they are internationally benchmarked?
- Where can I see for myself evidence that Common Core’s transformations (deleting cursive, minimizing classic literature, moving away from traditional math, etc.) –will benefit our children?
- What is the American process of representation of individuals in the Common Core education and assessments system?
- Does it seem good that the meetings of the standards writers (the CCSSO/NGA) are all closed-door meetings?
- I read that there is a 15% cap on a state adding to the Core; so what do we do if we need to add a whole lot more to actually prepare our children well?
- Although I have been told that Common Core is state-led, I missed the invitation to discuss this before it was decided for me and my children; please explain the analysis and vetting process for the upcoming national science and social studies standards.
- The Constitution assigns education to the states, not to the federal government. Also, the federal General Educational Provisons Act (GEPA) states: “No provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system…“ In light of this, please explain why our state has agreed to intense micromanagement by the federal government under Common Core testing.
This week, the vivacious president of the Alabama Federation of Republican Women spoke at the Wetumpka Tea Party meeting.
Here’s a video of the event.
“Would you like Obama in your child’s classroom? How about Bill Ayers?”
In a related forum, Alabamians United for Excellence in Education (AUEE) put out the following press release:
Sharon Sewell Email: email@example.com Phone: 334/324-0035
Donna Burrage Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 205/553-2888
CITIZENS TASK FORCE RESPONDS TO GOP HOUSE LEGISLATIVE AGENDA
Asks Alabama Legislature to Include Legislation that Returns K-12 Education to Parents
BIRMINGHAM, AL: A new citizens group, formed to return K-12 education to parents, responded quickly to the Alabama House Speaker’s press release about the legislative priorities of the Alabama Republican House members and specifically about the absence of a bill to protect Alabama values and states rights in education. The group, Alabamians United for Excellence in Education (AUEE), met on January 18th to discuss mutual concerns of how to protect Alabama children from becoming part of a national database, mandated by Common Core, and their curriculum being controlled by the federal government. The group feels that a bill to preserve state education sovereignty and to protect our children from becoming part of a national database and tracked without parental permission should be included as a top priority by the House.
Members of the citizens task force include parents, teachers, representatives from conservative organizations, and other concerned individuals who find that state’s rights and Alabama values are in jeopardy, and that Alabama has ceded its constitutional rights to decide what values and subjects our children study in schools.
Spokesperson and retired teacher Sharon Sewell, who served as a member of Alabama’s textbook committee, stated: “We support the House’s focus on protecting the constitutional rights of Alabama citizens, but we notice the absence of what we consider the top priority — preserving the constitutional rights of parents and the state to decide what values and subjects our children study in school. We are concerned about the transformational overhaul of K-12 now being implemented in our schools; and textbooks, which do not reflect Alabama values, are being aligned to Common Core. Our bill is the only bill under discussion that can return education decisions to Alabamians.”
Kathy Peterson, another member of this citizens task force, stated, “While I applaud the idea of the Speaker of the House appointing a ‘Commission on State Rights and Alabama Values’ to solicit input from the public, the meetings were not publicly advertised, so attendance was scarce.” Peterson stated she attended one meeting and commission members reported that the repeal of Common Core to return parental authority and local control was brought up at every meeting. “Therefore,” she stated, “I can’t understand why a bill to defund and repeal Common Core is not backed by the Speaker.”
Elois Zeanah, president of the Alabama Federation of Republican Women, stated: “I’m surprised that the Speaker did not choose to include repealing Common Core as a priority, especially since the school flexibility bill the Speaker cited does nothing to protect Alabama values, parental rights or state sovereignty in education. It’s urgent that the legislature withdraw from Common Core this year since Common Core will be fully implemented in 2014. We hope the House Caucus will add this goal to their priority list to protect Alabama citizens from the federal government.”
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Go, Fight, Win, Alabama!
Perspectives in Education: Scott Schneider
Posted by NUVO Editors on Thu, Jan 17, 2013
Confronting the Common Core Standards
By Indiana State Sen. Scott Schneider
The Common Core Standards (CCS) were developed by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Chief Council of State School Officers (CCSSO) and written by a Washington, DC non-profit called Achieve. The new standards dictate what will be taught in English and math for grades K-12.
Indiana educators had little to no input in the writing of these standards as evidenced by the list of contributors released by the developers.
Many Hoosiers, including myself, are concerned that adopting the CCS was a significant step backward from the nationally recognized education standards Indiana previously had in English and math. I am worried that CCS was pushed on Indiana without proper review of what it will mean for students and teachers, which is the impetus for Senate Bill 0193, which would prevent the Indiana State Board of Education from using any educational standards developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative.
Proponents of the Common Core Standards which are being implemented in 2012-2014 for English and math promised to use international benchmarks. Indiana’s former standards used this standard, but Common Core has not met this qualification.
Experts testified that CCS documents point to no country or region as the comparison country. In fact, members of the standards validation committee repeatedly asked for evidence of international benchmarking and received nothing. Therefore, five members of this committee refused to sign off on the CCS.
More than 500 people attended a Jan. 16 Senate Education Committee hearing on my bill. The committee will vote to send it to the full Senate as early as next Wednesday, Jan. 23.
While the education system in Indiana may not be perfect, solutions should come from the teachers and parents involved in the daily activities of educating our children.
But under new CCS rules, Indiana cannot change or delete any of the standards because they are copyrighted by the developers the National Governors Association and the Chief Council of State School Officers.
Historically, Indiana held sole control over our student test (I-STEP). Now, a consortium of 22 states, of which Indiana is a member, is developing a new measuring stick for students and teachers called thePartnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).
While the new CCS agreements allows states to add some material to the standards, this information would not be covered on the new PARCC test, which determines adherence to the CCS. In the world of high-stakes testing, I find it unlikely that anything that is not tested would be taught.
Little is known about what this test will look like and how it will be scored, yet its influence is evident as teachers and school districts are under tremendous pressure to meet performance standards.
The current state of education has many people feeling left out of the decision-making process. With the adoption of the CCS, distance grows between teachers, parents and local education policy makers. The topdown, centralized approach of the CCS does not allow for the voices of teachers and parents to influence decisions; this dynamic also fuels frustrations among parents and teachers about the influence of highstakes testing.
Because of the Common Core Initiative, there are now 22 states deciding how we test Indiana students, what cut scores will be, how we define students with disabilities, etc. The loss of power is enormous. Indiana elects her Superintendent of Education for a reason, so that decisions are made by someone we choose. We should never cede this control to any outside organizations.
When academic standards and high-stakes testing are no longer in the hands of the people of Indiana, we lose control over the important policies to which students and teachers are held accountable.
Improvements in our schools will only come through the local efforts of Hoosiers in the field; any measure that removes them from the decision-making process is wrong.
State Senator Scott Schneider is a Republican from Indianapolis. First elected to the State Senate in 2009, Schneider is a former member of the Indianapolis-Marion County City County Council. He is a board member for the Indiana Schools for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the recipient of School Choice Indiana’s 2012 Charter School Warrior of the Year Award.
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Many thanks to Senator Schneider and to Hoosiers Against Common Core.
I’m posting the bills from South Carolina, Indiana, and Missouri which have attempted to reclaim state educational decision-making for those states. I’m also posting the resolution unanimously passed by the Alabama Republican Women’s Federation, cosponsored by the Republican Women’s Federations from Delaware, Tennessee, Nebraska, etc.
So far, we have nothing like this in Utah, although at every political meeting I go to or hear about, the majority of citizens are extremely interested in getting our state free of Common Core.
Utah representatives, do you hear your constitutents?
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SOUTH CAROLINA S.604
South Carolina General Assembly
119th Session, 2011-2012
Download This Bill in Microsoft Word format
Sponsors: Senators Fair, Grooms, Bryant, Campsen, Bright and S. Martin
Introduced in the Senate on February 23, 2011
Summary: Common Core State Standards
2/23/2011 Senate Introduced and read first time (Senate Journal-page 19)
2/23/2011 Senate Referred to Committee on Education
A BILL TO AMEND ARTICLE 5, CHAPTER 1, TITLE 59 OF THE 1976 CODE, RELATING TO GENERAL PROVISIONS CONCERNING EDUCATION, BY ADDING SECTION 59-1-490 TO PROVIDE THAT THE COMMON CORE STANDARDS MAY NOT BE IMPOSED ON SOUTH CAROLINA.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Article 5, Chapter 1, Title 59 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
“Section 59-1-490. The State Board may not adopt and the State Department may not implement the Common Core State Standards developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Any actions taken to adopt or implement the Common Core State Standards as of the effective date of this section are void ab initio.”
SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
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INDIANA SENATE BILL No. 193
DIGEST OF INTRODUCED BILL
Citations Affected: IC 20-19-2-14.5.
Synopsis: Common core state educational standards. Provides that the state board of education may not adopt as standards for the state any common core educational standards developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Voids any action taken to adopt common core educational standards.
Effective: July 1, 2013.
January 7, 2013, read first time and referred to Committee on Education and Career Development.
First Regular Session 118th General Assembly (2013)
SENATE BILL No. 193
A BILL FOR AN ACT to amend the Indiana Code concerning education.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana:
SOURCE: IC 20-19-2-14.5; (13)IN0193.1.1. –> SECTION 1. IC 20-19-2-14.5 IS ADDED TO THE INDIANA CODE AS A NEW SECTION TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2013]: Sec. 14.5. (a) As used in this section, “common core standards” refers to educational standards developed for kindergarten through grade 12 by the Common Core State Standards Initiative. (b) Notwithstanding section 14 of this chapter, the state board may not adopt as standards for the state or direct the department to implement any common core standards developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative. (c) After June 30, 2013, any action taken by the state board before July 1, 2013, to adopt common core standards as standards for the state is void.
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MISSOURI SENATE BILL 210
FIRST REGULAR SESSION
SENATE BILL NO. 210
97TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY
INTRODUCED BY SENATORS LAMPING AND NIEVES.
Read 1st time January 24, 2013, and ordered printed.
TERRY L. SPIELER, Secretary.
To amend chapter 161, RSMo, by adding thereto one new section relating to the
Common Core Standards Initiative.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Missouri, as follows:
Section A. Chapter 161, RSMo, is amended by adding thereto one new
2 section, to be known as section 161.855, to read as follows: 161.855.
Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary,
2 the state board of education and the department of elementary and
3 secondary education shall not implement the Common Core State
4 Standards developed by the Common Core Standards Initiative. Any
5 actions taken to adopt or implement the Common Core State Standards
6 as of the effective date of this section are void. Common Core State
7 Standards or any other statewide education standards shall not be
8 adopted or implemented without the approval of the general assembly.
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NATIONAL FEDERATION OF REPUBLICAN WOMEN RESOLUTION
Defeat National Standards for State Schools
Passed Unanimously at the NFRW36th Biennial Convention Kansas City, MO – October 1, 2011
WHEREAS, The national standards-based “Common Core State Standards” initiative is the centerpiece of the Obama’s Administration’s agenda to centralize education decisions at the federal level;
WHEREAS, The Obama Administration is using the same model to take over education as it used for healthcare by using national standards and boards of bureaucrats, whom the public didn’t elect and can’t fire or otherwise hold accountable;
WHEREAS, National standards remove authority from States over what is taught in the classroom and how it is tested;
WHEREAS, National standards undercut the principle of federalism on which our nation was founded;
WHEREAS, There is no constitutional or statutory authority for national standards, national curricula, or national assessments and in fact the federal government is expressly prohibited from endorsing or dictating state/local decisions about curricula; and
WHEREAS, The Obama Administration is attempting to evade constitutional and statutory prohibitions to move toward a nationalized public-school system by (1) funding to date more than $345 million for the development of national curriculum and test questions, (2) tying national standards to the Race to the Top charter schools initiative in the amount of $4.35 billion, (3) using the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) to pressure State Boards of Education to adopt national standards with the threat of losing Title 1 Funds if they do not, and (4) requesting Congress to include national standards as a requirement in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary School Act (No Child Left Behind);
BE IT RESOLVED, That the National Federation of Republican Women vote to encourage all State Federation Presidents to share information about national standards with their local clubs; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That State Federation Presidents ask their members to (1) contact their State Boards of Education members and request that they retain control over academic standards, curriculum, instruction and testing, (2) contact their Congress Members and request that they (i) protect the constitutional and statutory prohibitions against the federal government endorsing or dictating national standards, (ii) to refuse to tie national standards to any reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, (iii) defund “Race to the Top” money, and (iv) prohibit any more federal funds for the Common Core State Standards Initiative, including funds to assessment and curriculum writing consortia, and (3) spread the word about the threat of a federal government takeover of education.
Submitted by: Alabama Federation of Republican Women
Elois Zeanah, President
Nebraska Federation of Republican Women, Delaware Federation of Republican Women, Wisconsin Federation of Republican Women, Georgia Federation of Republican Women, Tennessee Federation of Republican Women
Dr. Christopher Tienken of Seton Hall has spoken out against Common Core because it’s made such wide-reaching education policy– based on dataless claims.
He speaks of the “educational crisis myth” and of “educational malpractice.”
In this video, he explains how the Common Core fails us. He calls Common Core an anti-intellectual, illogical version of “imitate and regurgitate” rather than teaching innovation, creativity and meaningful, high quality education.
So where should we go?
Tienken says we must end standardization. We should commit to a guiding paradigm that puts the interests and abilities of individuals first. He says, “We can do better than myths, fears and lies; we need to expand, enrich and diversify.”
Incredibly well done video:
In an op-ed this month in the Orange County Register, Robert Holland of Heartland Institute explains why private schools, religious schools and home schools are becoming increasingly involved in the anti-Common Core movement.
By ROBERT HOLLAND / For the Register
Defenders of home schooling are beginning to worry about the Common Core K-12 standards morphing into a national curriculum that will stifle the family-centered creativity that has fostered high rates of achievement and growth for home education.
Their concerns are well-founded, even though the official Common Core State Standards (CCSS) as originally adopted in 2010 don’t expressly apply to home or private schools.
Unfortunately, many private and parochial schools, including those of 100 Roman Catholic dioceses across the nation, already are adopting the CCSS prescriptions for math and English classes as they start rolling out in public schools. Their debatable reasoning is that the rush of most state governments (45 so far) to embrace the national standards means publishers of textbooks and tests will fall in line, thereby leaving private schools with no practical alternatives for instructional materials.
The Home School Legal Defense Association sees an even more insidious intrusion on educational freedom stemming from the vaunted “college- and career-ready standards,” and it most assuredly is not about to throw in the towel.
In a Dec. 17 web article, the HSLDA’s federal-relations specialist, Will Estrada, noted that 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 home-schoolers worry that colleges and universities may look askance at home school graduates who apply for admission if their high-school transcripts are not aligned with the CCSS.”
Besides the potential of home-schoolers being placed at a severe disadvantage by the SAT’s alignment with a single curriculum, “our greatest worry,” Estrada concluded, “is that if the CCSS is fully adopted by all states, policymakers down the road will attempt to change state legislation to require all students – including home school and private school students – to be taught and tested according to the CCSS.”
The linkage of the SAT to the nationally prescribed academic content is far more than a hypothetical threat. Former Rhodes Scholar David Coleman, a chief architect of the Common Core, embraced that very objective before taking over as the College Board president in October.
An Education Week report in October reached the surprising conclusion that religious schools are prominent among private institutions beginning to adopt the Common Core. Not all private schools are hopping on the bandwagon, of course.
An official of the National Association of Independent Schools spoke of the centrality of “local control, school by school, of what to teach and how to teach” and emphasized that “decision-making through a national effort runs counter to our very being.”
A middle-road approach is the Common Core Catholic Identity Initiative by which educators from parochial schools and Catholic universities hope to develop ways Catholic values can be integrated into instruction based on the Common Core standards. A fair question to ask is how appealing such compromised schools will be to parents seeking to use tax credit scholarships or vouchers to find alternatives to government-controlled education.
One might think truly independent-minded educators would want to examine skeptically government-subsidized standards that already are compelling English teachers to cut out many of the classics of children’s literature in favor of boilerplate text issued by government agencies. Because home-schoolers have had to fight continuously for their educational freedom, it really isn’t surprising that they ultimately are the ones to see through the folly of education nationalization in a tremendously diverse country, and to identify ways to fight it. Estrada makes this relevant point:
“Due to laws prohibiting the creation of national tests, curriculum, and teacher certification, governors and state legislators 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.”
The HSLDA is reminding parents that they can make a difference by raising this issue with governors and legislators and those who aspire to those positions. Home-schoolers have been instrumental in stopping federal overreach before, and they could do it again. The Common Core is not a permanent fixture – states can repudiate it as too costly, too shallow and too intrusive.
Robert Holland is a senior fellow for education policy with The Heartland Institute.
From Gretchen Logue, Missouri Education Watchdog:
“I would have thought astute business people would have realized a long time ago that you shouldn’t sign on to any public school plan that had no price tag, had no specifics and would be controlled by private corporations held unaccountable to the taxpayers whose money they were using.
Would the Chamber of Commerce endorse such a plan in private industry? Would they support a business plan that had no budget, no oversight? Would they endorse a construction project with no blueprint and only promises of grandeur?
Of course not. Then why is the Chamber endorsing CCSS? The processes used and the product promised by CCSS is what I described above. If the Chamber endorses such pie in the sky promises of CCSS that have no research to back them up, and the Chamber thinks THAT is common sense, Indiana is in deep trouble.” -Gretchen Logue, Missouri Education Watchdog, commenting on an Indiana Barrister editorial.
That ridiculous editorial is here: http://www.indianabarrister.com/archives/2013/01/indiana_chamber_show_common_sense_on_common_core.html,
Gretchen Logue also points out that the editorial insinuates taxpayers should like the fact that private corporations now have authority “to own the copyright to the standards and assessments used in teaching their children…and if a parent or a school district should find some of these items objectionable, they have no due process to stop using it in their schools.”
Full blog post here: http://www.missourieducationwatchdog.com/2013/01/common-core-wars-heating-up-in-indiana.html
Tiffany Mouritsen, another Utah mother against Common Core, has been researching a very important aspect of Common Core, the American Institutes for Research (AIR).
AIR is the Utah School Board’s unfortunate choice for national Common Core testing. Millions and millions and millions of our tax dollars are going to A.I.R. right now.
And for what? Federally promoted tests that align to unamendable standards written by a questionable research group to cost us endless amounts of tax money, to stress out our kids, to tightly control our teachers, and to make nobody (okay, a handful of replaceable politicians and a load of educational product-selling corporations) actually smile.
AIR markets its values, which includes promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual agendas for teens, and publicizes its client list (George Soros and Bill and Melinda Gates, of course, are listed) –on the AIR website. Check it out for yourself. http://www.air.org/focus-area/human-social-development/?id=138
Read Tiffany’s review, here. http://sunlightandstars.blogspot.com/2013/01/utah-american-institutes-for-research.html
Read Utahns Against Common Core’s review, here. http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/is-the-usoe-the-most-subversive-utah-agency/
“Giving students problems to solve for which they have little or no prior knowledge or mastery of algebraic skills is not likely to develop the habit of mind of algebraic thinking. But the purveyors of this practice believe that continually exposing children to unfamiliar and confusing problems will result in a problem-solving “schema” and that students are being trained to adapt in this way. In my opinion, it is the wrong assumption. A more accurate assumption is that after the necessary math is learned, one is equipped with the prerequisites to solve problems that may be unfamiliar but which rely on what has been learned and mastered. I hope research in this area is indeed conducted.”
Full text posted at Education News: http://www.educationnews.org/k-12-schools/developing-the-habits-of-mind-for-algebraic-thinking/
Developing the Habits of Mind for Algebraic Thinking
by Barry Garelick
The idea of whether algebraic thinking can be taught outside of the context of algebra has attracted much attention over the past two decades. Interestingly, the idea has recently been raised as a question and a subject for further research in a recent article appearing in American Mathematical Society Notices which asks, “Is there evidence that teaching sense making without algebra is more or less effective than teaching the same concepts with algebra?” I sincerely hope this request is followed up on.
The term “habits of mind” comes up repeatedly in discussions about education — and math education in particular. The idea that teaching the “habits of mind” that make up algebraic thinking in advance of learning algebra has attracted its share of followers. Teaching algebraic habits of mind has been tried in various incarnations in classrooms across the U.S.
Habits of mind are important and necessary to instill in students. They make sense when the habits taught arise naturally out of the context of the material being learned. Thus, a habit such as “Say in your head what you are doing whenever you are doing math” will have different forms depending on what is being taught. In elementary math it might be “One third of six is two”; in algebra “Combining like terms 3x and 4x gives me 7x”; in geometry “Linear pairs add to 180, therefore 2x + (x +30) = 180”; in calculus “Composite function, chain rule, derivative of outside function times derivative of inside function”.
Similarly, in fourth or fifth grade students can learn to use the distributive property to multiply 57 x 3 as 3 x (50 + 7). In algebra, that is extended to a more formal expression: a(b + c) = ab + ac.
But what I see being promoted as “habits of mind” in math are all too often the teaching of particular thinking skills without the content to support it. For example, a friend of mine who lives in Spokane directed me to the website of the Spokane school district, where they posted a math problem at a meeting for teachers regarding best practices for teaching math.
The teachers were shown the following problem which was given to fifth graders. They were to discuss the problem and assess what different levels of “understanding” were demonstrated by student answers to the problem:
Not only have students in fifth grade not yet learned how to represent equations using algebra, the problem is more of an IQ test than an exercise in math ability. Where’s the math? The “habit of mind” is apparently to see a pattern and then to represent it mathematically.
Such problems are reliant on intuition — i.e., the student must be able to recognize a mathematical pattern — and ignore the deductive nature of mathematics. An unintended habit of mind from such inductive type reasoning is that students learn the habit of inductively jumping to conclusions. This develops a habit of mind in which once a person thinks they have the pattern, then there is nothing further to be done. Such thinking becomes a problem later when working on more complex problems.
Presentating problems like the button problem above prior to a pre-algebra or algebra course will likely result in clumsy attempts at solutions that may or may not lead to algebraic thinking. Since the students do not have the experience or mathematical maturity to express mathematical ideas algebraically, algebraic thinking is not inherent at such a stage.
Specifically, one student answered the problem as 1 x (11 x 3) + 1, which would be taken as evidence by some that the child is learning the “habit” of identifying patterns and expressing them algebraically. Another student answered it as 4 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 = 34.
Rather than establishing an algebraic habit of mind, such problems may result in bad habits. It is not unusual, for example, to see students in algebra classes making charts for problems similar to the one above, even though they may be working on identifying linear relationships, and making connections to algebraic equations. By making algebraic habits of mind part of the 5th-grade curriculum in advance of any algebra, students are being told “You are now doing algebra.” By the time they get to an actual algebra class, they revert back to their 5th grade understanding of what algebra is.
In addition, the above type of problem (no matter when it is given) is better presented so as to allow deductive rather than inductive reasoning to occur.
“Gita makes a sequence of patterns with her grandmother’s buttons. For each pattern she uses one black button and several white buttons as follows: For the first pattern she takes 1 black button and places 1 white button on three sides of the black button as shown. For the second pattern she places 2 white buttons on each of three sides of one black button; for the third 3 white buttons, and continues this pattern. Write an expression that tells how many buttons will be in the nth pattern.”
The purveyors of providing students problems that require algebraic solutions outside of algebra courses sometimes justify such techniques by stating that the methods follow the recommendations of Polya’s problem solving techniques. Polya, in his classic book “How to Solve It”, advises students to “work backwards” or “solve a similar and simpler problem”.
But Polya was not addressing students in lower grades; he was addressing students who are well on their way to developing problem solving expertise by virtue of having an extensive problem solving repertoire — something that students in lower grades lack. For lower grade students, Polya’s advice is not self-executing and has about the same effect as providing advice on safe bicycle riding by telling a child to “be careful”. For younger students to find simpler problems, they must receive explicit guidance from a teacher.
As an example, consider a student who stares blankly at a problem requiring them to calculate how many 2/15 mile intervals there are in a stretch of highway that is 7/10 of a mile long. The teacher can provide the student with a simpler problem such as “How many 2 mile intervals are there in a stretch of highway that is 10 miles long?” The student should readily see this is solved by division: 10 divided by 2. The teacher then asks the student to apply that to the original problem. The student will likely say in a hesitant voice: “Uhh, 7/10 divided by 2/15?”, and the student will be on his way. Note that in this example, the problem is set in the context of what the student has learned — not based on skills or concepts to be learned later.
Giving students problems to solve for which they have little or no prior knowledge or mastery of algebraic skills is not likely to develop the habit of mind of algebraic thinking. But the purveyors of this practice believe that continually exposing children to unfamiliar and confusing problems will result in a problem-solving “schema” and that students are being trained to adapt in this way. In my opinion, it is the wrong assumption. A more accurate assumption is that after the necessary math is learned, one is equipped with the prerequisites to solve problems that may be unfamiliar but which rely on what has been learned and mastered. I hope research in this area is indeed conducted. I hope it proves me right.
Barry Garelick has written extensively about math education in various publications including The Atlantic, Education Next, Educational Leadership, and Education News. He recently retired from the U.S. EPA and is teaching middle and high school math in California.
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Thanks to Barry Garelick for permission to post his article here.
The Before It’s News website states that Missouri Legislator Kurt Bahr is to introduce a withdrawal bill that will free Missouri from Common Core as Senator Scott Schneider has done in Indiana. Heroes, heroes!
Before It’s News states:
“…The point is that… Missouri [is] no longer in charge of … state education standards. They must now negotiate them with a number of other states. If you as a parent or a school district want something different in your schools you cannot have it.
This is the core issue (if you’ll pardon the pun) that we have with Common Core State Standards. There is zero local control. Teachers may not deviate from or alter the standards in any way. They are trademarked. There is no path for correction, even for obvious mistakes like a simple math error that was identified early on in the draft phases, but was still not corrected three drafts later.
There is no path identified for this because the roll out of these standards has been so fast there has been no time to consider everything that is needed for them to operate. That means that an error on the assessment will be repeated in 45 states and count against teachers in those states whose performance reviews now take into account how their students score on these assessments.
Contrast that to the way Missouri DESE has handled our GLE’s in the past. Yearly, teachers and districts were able to submit complaints or suggestions to DESE for ways to add clarity to our standards or identify errors that needed to be fixed. DESE had been reasonably responsive to this input and made most changes in a timely manner. That process will be completely gone by 2014 when Common Core is supposed to be fully implemented.
The one thing each district, and ultimately tax payer, will be accountable for is the cost of implementing the Common Core standards and assessments. No one really know what this cost is going to be for a number of reasons. Missouri’s DESE was not required to estimate this cost to each district, nor inform them that such costs were coming. If you ask your local shcool board or superintendent what their cost will be to implement Common Core, most of them will not know. More shocking will be the number of them who do not even know what Common Core is or that it is coming.
… There is currently only one approved vendor for textbooks, Pearson. One teacher has looked into buying a replacement ELA book for the new CCSS in her fourth grade class and found the new book to be two and half times as expensive as the one she had been using for the last several years. Districts will have little control over these costs, because they have virtually no control over the standards or assessments.
The assessments are an even larger portion of these costs as they are supposed to be done on line, which not only requires input devices like comptuers or tablets, but also sufficient broadband to accommodate all the students taking them at once. Once you add technology, you must also add a host of support staff to maintain and troubleshoot that technology, adding further cost to a district. In Missouri, we have no room in our state budget for these extra costs. That means local districts will have to find the money because the foundation formula is not going to give it to them.
Representative Kurt Bahr will be introducing legislation again this year to get Missouri out of Common Core.
If Indiana’s experience this week was any indication, he ought to find tremendous support for his bill here in Missouri, not only from public school families, but also from private school and homeschool families. Common Core is reaching in to all these education venues.
As the realities of Common Core, which is being rolled out in various districts right now, come to light, our representatives in Jefferson City should start hearing a lot more from their constituents who want us out of this federally pushed national standards program.”
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What I really want to know is, which Utah legislator will be leading the charge that Senators Schneider and Bahr have led in Indiana and in Missouri?
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.”
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…
“4equity2″ is the name of a teacher who wrote the following story as a follow up comment on Diane Ravitch’s blog: http://dianeravitch.net/2013/01/13/a-math-teacher-on-common-core-standards/
Another Math Teacher Speaks –
“Today I participated in a math PD [professonal development] held in our state capitol. Before embarking on the actual content of the training session, the facilitator had teacher participants read related Common Core Standards. The quiet was broken by occasional gasps, sighs, and moans before the now oft repeated objections were verbalized.
We’ve read them before. Nothing new. And these were same old criticisms and objections that have been raised in previous math PD’s across the country, for sure.
Next, we looked at a few of the sample test items that would be used to assess the new standards.
The facilitator, wanting to keep us on track, I am sure, said, “Look, this is way it’s going. We need to get used to it, There is nothing we can do.”
Someone near my table called out, “Yes, there is!”
All eyes turned toward me. Did I just say that?
“What?” I was asked. “What can we do?”
“We are teachers, yes. But we don’t have to be passive – play the part of victims. We are also parents and citizens. We can opt our own children out of testing, and we can talk to friends and neighbors about doing the same. We need to use the power we have as citizens – not just teachers – to turn this around.”
One woman raised her arm with a clenched fist, and stated, “I like that!”
These few words from an “invisible” and “voiceless” teacher who has been empowered through this blog and others in realizing that she is not alone spoke out. It felt good. I just might do it again.
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Thank you, 4equity2, whoever you are. We need more teachers like you.
Speaking of which…
Talking to a friend tonight, I heard a sad story. My friend’s neighbor, who is a teacher, said she was recently written up for insubordination, for refusing to attend another Common Core meeting. She said to my friend that “if the government doesn’t get out of our schools, they will destroy them.”
A History Teacher’s Message to America
About Common Core Standards
by C.E. White
This week, President Obama will be sworn into office as the 45th President of the United States of America.
As a history teacher, I was elated to learn he would be placing his hand on two Bibles, one belonging to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the other belonging to President Abraham Lincoln, when he takes the oath of office to lead our great nation. Dr. King and President Lincoln helped define civil rights for America…historical heroes who transformed the idea of justice and equality.
As jubilant as I am that President Obama is symbolically using the bibles of two of the greatest Americans in our nation’s history, I am saddened that this administration seems to have forgotten what Dr. King and President Lincoln promoted regarding education.
In Dr. King’s “Letter from the Birmingham Jail,” he stated “the goal of America is freedom.” As a teacher, it is such an honor to teach America’s children about freedom and patriotism. However, over the past few years, I began to learn about a new education reform initiative called Common Core Standards. A few years ago, when I first heard of Common Core, I began doing my own research. My students represent the future of the United States of America, and what they learn is of utmost importance to me. I care about their future, and the future of our country.
My research of Common Core Standards kept me awake at night, because what I discovered was so shocking. I discovered that Common Core Standards is about so much more than educational standards. I wanted so badly to believe these changes would be good for our children. How can “common” standards be a bad thing? After all, isn’t it nice to have students learning the same exceptional standards from Alabama to Alaska, from Minnesota to Massachusetts?
As a teacher, I began to spend nights, weekends, summers, even Christmas Day researching Common Core, because these reforms were so massive and were happening so quickly, it was hard to keep up with how American education was being transformed. I quickly began to realize that the American education system under Common Core goes against everything great Americans like Dr. King and President Lincoln ever taught. The very freedoms we celebrate and hold dear are in question when I think of what Common Core means for the United States.
One of my favorite writings about education from Dr. King is a paper entitled “The Purpose of Education.” In it, he wrote “To save man from the morass of propaganda, in my opinion, is one of the chief aims of education. Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction.”
When I sit in faculty meetings about Common Core, I hear “curriculum specialists” tell me that Common Core is here to stay and I must “embrace change.” I am forced to drink the kool-aid. These specialists don’t tell us to search for facts about Common Core on our own, they simply tell us what the people paid to promote Common Core want us to know. Didn’t Dr. King want us to separate facts from fiction? Why are we only given information from sources paid to say Common Core is a good thing? Isn’t that the exact same type of propaganda Dr. King discussed in his writings about education? Shouldn’t we discuss why thousands of Americans are calling for a repeal of the standards?
I am told that I must embrace Common Core and I infer that resisting the changes associated with Common Core will label me “resistant to change.” As a teacher, I definitely believe our classrooms are changing with the times and I am not afraid of change. Teachers across America are hearing similar stories about how they should “feel” about Common Core. This is a brainwashing bully tactic. It reminds me of my 8th graders’ lesson on bullying, when I teach them to have an opinion of their own. Just because “everyone’s doing it,” doesn’t make it right. In regards to Common Core, I am not afraid of change. I am just not going to sell-out my students’ education so that Pearson, the Gates Foundation, David Coleman, Sir Michael Barber, Marc Tucker and others can experiment on our children.
I agree with Dr. King, which is why I am so saddened at how propaganda from an elite few is literally changing the face of America’s future with nothing more than a grand experiment called Common Core Standards. Our children deserve more. Our teachers deserve more. Our country deserves more. Education reform is the civil rights issue of our generation, and sadly, parents, teachers, and students have been left out of the process.
President Lincoln once said “the philosophy of the classroom today, will be the philosophy of government tomorrow.” With Common Core, new standardized tests have inundated classrooms with problems of their own. Teachers find themselves “teaching to the test” more and more. These tests violate our states’ rights. I wonder if parents realized that all states aren’t created equal in Common Core tests? Shouldn’t all states, under “common” standards for everyone have everyone’s equal input on how students are tested?
What about privacy under Common Core? Why didn’t local boards of education tell parents about the changes to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act? Do parents realize their child’s data, including biometric data such as fingerprints and retinal scans, is being placed in a state longitudinal data system and shared with others?
If our philosophy of the classroom is to violate states’ rights, use children and teachers as guinea pigs, and hide from parents the fact that their child’s data is no longer private, it can only be inferred that the philosophy of government tomorrow will do the same. What is America becoming?
As I watched President Obama place his hand on the bibles of Dr. King and President Lincoln, the history teacher in me was overjoyed to watch such a patriotic moment in U.S. history. And yet, I was crushed at the realization that if we do not stop Common Core and preserve the United States educational system, the philosophy of our government tomorrow will not be the America we know and love.
Jamie Gass, of the Boston-based thinktank Pioneer Institute, speaks at a news conference as Indiana Senator Scott Schneider and Hoover Institute Scholar Bill Evers observe.
Indystar article by Jill Disis explains what’s being debated in Indiana about Common Core: http://www.indystar.com/article/20130115/NEWS05/130115032/Sen-Scott-Schneider-reintroduces-bill-withdraw-state-from-Common-Core-standards
Here are highlights from the Indystar article–
Jamie Gass of Pioneer Institute spoke this week at a news conference in support of Indiana Senator Scott Schneider’s proposal to withdraw Indiana schools from the Common Core Initiative.
Senator Schneider has stated that ”Common Core nationalizes education and dumbs down Indiana’s previous academic standards.” Common Core is a program ”backed by President Barack Obama’s administration,” and ”the administration offered states an incentive to participate by tying federal grant money to the program,” the Indystar reported.
Independent sources say the Common Core makes traditional methods of teaching and learning more challenging. For example, Bill Evers, a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and former U.S. assistant secretary of education for policy, attended the news conference in support of Senator Schneider’s bill.
Evers explains that the Common Core method of adding two numbers together is less useful for learners: “Normally, you start from the ones (column) and you normally start by borrowing or what’s otherwise called regrouping… There are some other ways, some alternative, not-as-good ways.”
But in a Common Core Indiana math book, children are instructed to add from the 100s column and move left-to-right.
“You can do it that way, but it’s harder to teach.”
Proponent of Common Core Larry Grau, the Indiana State Director of Democrats for Education Reform, said “Common Core doesn’t change the way things are taught.”
Larry Grau, Director of Indiana Democrats for Education Reform
Full article: http://www.indystar.com/article/20130115/NEWS05/130115032/Sen-Scott-Schneider-reintroduces-bill-withdraw-state-from-Common-Core-standards
One Step to New Standards, One Giant Leap of logic
By Alyson Williams
Did the people get the chance to debate the pros and cons of accepting a national curriculum?
Some steps are more significant than others.
When Neil Armstrong took his first step onto the moon, everyone knew it was the beginning of a new era. It was the “space age” and it seems everything from the appliances we used in our homes to the way we thought about foreign policy changed.
While far less inspiring, I compare the step my state took to comply with Common Core, to a trip to the moon. Education reform is hardly new, but in adopting “national” standards, or standards controlled by an outside consortium in a process that circumvented all the traditional policy-setting paths of “we the people,” we have entered uncharted territory. That one step, over a long-maintained boundary in education, makes it more significant.
“No nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in this race for space…” John F. Kennedy said when introducing his ambitions for space exploration to the country.
I’ve heard a similar argument – appealing to our competitive nature, and our fear of falling behind other nations – used in favor of sticking with Common Core. Our children’s future and our nation’s prosperity and security depend on it I’m told. Okay, I’m a Whitney Houston fan. I too believe the children are our future. But opposition to Common Core is not opposition to progress, nor is it ignorance of the challenges my children face in the future.
I see a greater threat to my children’s future in NOT insisting we adhere to established systems of checks and balances in the crafting of policy. Upholding our Constitution and resisting government overreach is what will keep us from falling behind other nations because this, and primarily this, is what sets our nation apart in the first place.
Bill Gates, whose foundation funded every aspect of Common Core standards, spoke to the National Conference of State Legislators saying, “If your state doesn’t join the common standards, your kids will be left behind; and if too many states opt out—the country will be left behind. Remember—this is not a debate that China, Korea, and Japan are having. Either our schools will get better—or our economic position will get worse.”
Hmmmm. Do the people in China, Korea and Japan get the chance to debate issues like this? Exactly.
Come to think of it, did the people of Utah get the chance to debate the pros and cons of accepting a national curriculum? No. What Chinese attribute are we trying to emulate here – high math test scores, or top-down policy making? Do we really believe that we can’t have the former, without the latter?
This point was discussed this week in a public “debate” of sorts between two of the country’s high-profile voices on education policy, Marc Tucker and Yong Zhao. (http://zhaolearning.com/2013/01/17/more-questions-about-the-common-core-response-to-marc-tucker/)
Tucker: Without broad agreement on a well designed and internationally benchmarked system of standards, we have no hope of producing a nation of students who have the kind of skills, knowledge and creative capacities the nation so desperately needs…
Zhao: This I will have to respectfully disagree with. The U.S. has had a decentralized education system forever (until Bush and Obama) and it has become one of the most prosperous, innovative, and democratic nations on earth. The lack of a common prescription of content imposed on all children by the government has not been a vice, but a virtue. As Harvard economists Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz wrote in their book The Race between Education and Technology: “We must shed our collective amnesia. America was once the world’s education leader. The rest of the world imported its institutions and its egalitarian ideals spread widely. That alone is a great achievement and one calls for an encore.”
The third man to walk on the moon, Charles Conrad Jr. also said something that resonates with my feelings on the Common Core. He said, “Whoopee! Man, that may have been a small one for Neil, but it’s a long one for me!”
Presented as simple cause and effect steps between policy and anticipated outcomes, some of the assumptions of how we’ll benefit from these standards defy gravity of reason and leave me mentally drifting in midair, wondering how they got from point A to point B.
Just one example of this is in Utah’s Race to the Top Grant application. On page thirty-two I read, “Expanding our mathematics initiative, while implementing the new core, will help us increase our capacity to deliver high-quality mathematics instruction, which will increase our high school graduation rate and increase college enrollment.”
So, if we just get the teachers to be more “high-quality” because they’re using the new standards, more kids will graduate and enroll in college? That seems like a bit of an oversimplification. I’d love to see the study that supports that conclusion. What? No references for this claim?
I’m not an expert on writing grants, or standards for that matter, so maybe the rules are different. All I know is if I’d submitted a paper to my high school English teacher as lacking in rhetorical support or references as this I’d have flunked the assignment.
Technically, I guess we did flunk. Utah was not awarded that grant, but it wasn’t for that reason. This statement from the document sent to Utah explaining why our grant was rejected is especially telling:
“Utah, however, has presented evidence through its statements that the State is not taking the lead at developing fiscal, policy, and public support for LEAs; its leaving that to LEAs to do themselves.”
In other words, Utah didn’t get the grant because there is still too much local control afforded to each local school district. I can’t help but feel that this exposes the true landing point of these reforms – a shifting of control away from LEAs and away from the state.
Now, before someone reiterates the claim that this is a “state-led” initiative I have to ask this question, “To which branch of government does the National Governor’s Association belong?”
The NGA is a trade organization, not a constitutional representative of the states. The writing of the standards started and ended there. The NGA and Council of Chief State School Officers (another trade organization) hold the Common Core State Standards copyright.
The only participation of the actual states was whether or not they would adopt the standards – with federal dollars hanging in the balance. Even the decision to comply with the standards eluded traditional legislative process or input by teachers or parents who actually live in Utah. For the average parent wanting to stay involved with her children’s education, the process of advocacy now may as well involve a trip to outer space.
The leaps of logic don’t end with the grant application. The standards themselves are lacking in substantive references.
In a 2011 article entitled “Common Core State Standards: An Example of Data-less Decision Making” Christopher H. Tienken, Editor of the AASA Journal of Scholarship and Practice, wrote:
“When I reviewed that ‘large and growing body of knowledge’ offered by the NGA, I found that it was not large, and in fact built mostly on one report, Benchmarking for Success, created by the NGA and the CCSSO, the same groups that created these standards; hardly independent research.
The Benchmarking report has over 135 end notes, some of which are repetitive references. Only four of the cited pieces of evidence could be considered empirical studies related directly to the topic of national standards and student achievement.
The remaining citations were newspaper stories, armchair magazine articles, op-ed pieces, book chapters, notes from telephone interviews, and several tangential studies.”
Common Core centralizes curriculum in a way that Americans have resisted on Constitutional grounds for our entire existence as a nation, in exchange for what appears to be the most expansive, most expensive education experiment in this country ever – and our children will be the lab rats.
Will we be surprised then, if the outcomes are not what we were promised?
I worry that if we are beguiled into accepting these standards, along with the over-testing, intrusive tracking, and loss of local advocacy – not because they’ve proven effective but because they have been advertised to us as the only path to our children achieving the 21st century equivalent of man’s first steps on the moon – we will live to regret it.
Even if the outcome is neutral, I have to consider that the legacy of Common Core also includes a burden of debt, and further erosion of freedoms with increased government control.
Principles of limited government (federal AND state) and self-determination are just as important in education policy as they are in crafting policies for healthcare, or protecting a free market. Abraham Lincoln said it this way, “The philosophy of education today, will be the philosophy of government tomorrow.”
We gain inspiration from past events like the Apollo moon landing, and we gain wisdom in the things history has taught us about the consequences of not resisting increasing government intrusion into the lives of individuals.
Maybe Common Core and all the other programs of centralization and equalization being pushed on us lately are like to going to the moon – not because we are aiming high, but for another reason.
For a nation that has enjoyed freedoms and prosperity unlike any other on the earth, the stark contrast between that way of life compared to the outcomes of more common principles of government might seem like going from the Garden of Eden to what Buzz Aldrin described, while standing on the surface of the moon: as “magnificent desolation.”
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Thanks to Alyson Williams for this article.
Before you read the article from Idaho Reporter—
Idaho mother-of-eight, Stephanie Zimmerman, reported that prior to her five minute testimony, those gathered had to watch a 50-min. infomercial about the wonders of Common Core. Then, after Zimmerman was allotted five minutes, there was additional time given for rebuttals.
“Something seems out of balance here,” Stephanie Zimmerman wrote.
Here’s the link to the report, which I’ve reposted below as well:
“This will do to education in Idaho, what Obamacare is doing to health care in Idaho,” believes Boise resident Stephanie Zimmerman concerning a national education program, the Common Core Standards Initiative.
A mother of eight children, Zimmerman was offering testimony before the House Education Committee Thursday during an informational hearing about common core, which the state Department of Education supports.
At issue is the idea of Idaho becoming compliant with the program. The goal is to have K-12 curriculum standards of all 50 states. Begun in June of 2009, the initiative is supported by both the National Governors Association, and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna is the immediate past president of the schools’ group.
“Shouldn’t we all come together, to improve the educational opportunities of students nationwide?” asked Luci Willits, of the Idaho Department of Education. Willits was promoting Idaho’s compliance with the nationwide initiative, but called it a “state-led initiative.” According to her, Idaho is already compliant with the nationwide standards in the areas of English, Language Arts and Mathematics.
The common core agenda is being adopted in states as diverse as Vermont and Oklahoma. In 2010, state officials in neighboring Utah adopted the common core standards in both the disciplines of mathematics and language arts. But, according to the Salt Lake Tribune, controversy erupted there once evidence of standardization emerged in classrooms.
Zimmerman, who is affiliated with the nonprofit Pioneer Institute in Massachusetts (a group that opposes the common core initiative), told members of the committee that her son is a freshman in high school and is already studying calculus. “Calculus isn’t supposed to happen during the freshman year (under common core), but he’s advanced,” Zimmerman told the committee, and noted that in her view, her younger children will be held back from advancing beyond their grade level as the common core initiatives are more fully implemented.
Rep. Steven Harris, R-Meridian, asked Dr. Carissa Miller of the Idaho Department of Education, who was present at the hearing, to respond to Zimmerman’s concerns. Miller denied that the initiatives hold students back, or interfere with their advancement.
“Right out of the gate, I shared some of her concerns,” Rep. Wendy Horman, R-Idaho Falls, told IdahoReporter.com after the committee hearing about Zimmerman’s apprehension. “I don’t want to see us adopt a national curriculum, but I don’t think this (common core) is a national curriculum. I believe this truly is a state-driven effort.” Horman has served on the Bonneville School Board for 11 years, and said she wanted to know more about Zimmerman’s concerns.
“I voted for the common core standards, but I agree that we have to watch these things very carefully,” said Rep. Linden Bateman, R-Idaho Falls, in the committee hearing. “More innovation comes from a de-centralized system, rather than a centralized system. Let’s watch this very carefully, and not move towards a national curriculum.”
“Candidly, there have been efforts by the U.S. Department of Education to co-opt this state-led initiative,” noted education committee chairman Rep. Reed DeMordaunt, R-Eagle. “I’ve spoken about this with Superintendent Luna, and he’s spoken about it with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Superintendent Luna assures me that if this moves towards a nationalized curriculum, Idaho will back out of the initiative.”
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.”
Here’s a link to the full text of the United Nations’ Agenda 21 global transformation plan: http://habitat.igc.org/agenda21/index.html
I take particular interest in these three chapters: 25, 24, and 36, as a teacher and as a mother.
Chapter 25 – the one about children: http://habitat.igc.org/agenda21/a21-25.htm
Chapter 24- the one about girls: http://habitat.igc.org/agenda21/a21-24.htm
Chapter 36- the one about education: http://habitat.igc.org/agenda21/a21-36.htm
If you are new to governmentspeak, you won’t see many red flags. It’s not until you slow down and really think about what they are writing (and not writing) that you begin to see how twisted this Agenda 21 really is.
From Chapter 25: “Ensure access for all youth to all types of education… ensure that education… incorporates the concepts of environmental awareness and sustainable development throughout the curricula…”
Did you catch that? Throughout curricula, that means in every single class– spelling, grammar, science, English, math, history, technology, art, languages, sports, student government, debate, home economics, and the rest– students must be learning environmental awareness and sustainable development? Does that not strike you as dogmatic- almost crazy?
Also from Chapter 25: ” Consider…recommendations of… youth conferences and other forums that offer youth perspectives.”
–On first reading, that sounds fine, right? Listening to young people. What could possibly be wrong with it?
Well, look up “Delphi Technique” when you have some time on your hands.
There are sustainability youth “conferences” happening right now that are clearly little more than the globalists’ politically motivated indoctrination camps.
After youth spend time ”dialoging” about environmental issues –where the dialogue is being controlled by Agenda 21 activist facilitators– those facilitators will take the youth recommendations back to headquarters. Nice. Here’a a link to such a youth conference. All 14-year-olds and up are cordially invited to be totally immersed in the green, anti-sovereignty, anti-constitution, pro-collectivism, pro-communist, environmental agenda: http://www.agenda21now.org/index.php?section=home
It should not be creeping into our schools. But it is.
Teachers are being taught to teach sustainable development across the curricula.
The U.S. Department of Education is pushing it. http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/greening-department-education-secretary-duncans-remarks-sustainability-summit
Secretary Duncan says in the above linked speech, “Educators have a central role in this… They teach students about how the climate is changing. They explain the science behind climate change and how we can change our daily practices to help save the planet. They have a role in preparing students for jobs in the green economy. Historically, the Department of Education hasn’t been doing enough in the sustainability movement. Today, I promise you that we will be a committed partner.”
And here: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001433/143370e.pdf Unesco promotes “Guidelines and Recommendations for Reorienting Teacher Education to Address Sustainability”
It’s obvious that teachers are being pushed in the direction of Agenda 21 without knowing it’s a political agenda. The Agenda 21 tenets, such as the supposed importance of limiting human reproduction, of limiting building, sports or recreational activities that touch grass, oceans or trees; of limiting airplane and car use, or of believing that there is human made global warming, are not settled facts among scientific communities (or in religious ones, for that matter.) Yet teachers are supposed to teach them as settled facts, as doctrine.
Please have the courage to say no if you are a teacher, a school board member, a principal, or a parent.
Even if you happen to believe in the tenets of Agenda 21, such as global warming, population control, or putting plants above or equal with humans’ needs, do you believe that all children should be subject to these teachings, regardless of what their parents or teachers or churches believe?
Shouldn’t a child be taught to weigh competing theories and judge empirical evidence for his/herself, rather than accepting a dogma blindly? Isn’t that what education is supposed to mean?
Yukon College Professor Bob Jickling’s article on this subject is worth reading: “Why I Don’t Want my Children to be Educated for Sustainable Development”
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
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.
The independent voices of New York City public school parents have published an article about the ridiculous quota –under Common Core’s mandated chopping of that which is valuable– which calls for using 50% less classic literature for elementary schools and 70% less classic literature for high school students.
They make the point that David Coleman has never taught a day in his life, yet he’s the man who dictated this quota.
They make the point that Common Core is being widely promoted as the miracle that will cure all that ails education, everywhere.
Great article. http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com/2012/12/what-we-talk-about-when-we-talk-about.html
Bob Schaffer was the man who blew the whistle on Marc Tucker and Hillary Clinton’s plot to take over American education. Schaffer got their letter recorded in the official Congressional Record years ago. http://www.eagleforum.org/educate/marc_tucker/
Robert Scott was the very wise Education Commissionar who, together with Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, rejected Common Core for Texas –and enraged Sec. of Education Arne Duncan.
Bill Evers, who is a Hoover Institute, Stanford University research fellow, also served on Mitt Romney’s Education Committee. He spoke on the danger of Common Core education this summer, to a standing room only group in Salt Lake City.
Sandra Stotsky served on the official Common Core Validation Committee (and refused to sign off on the standards because, among other things, they cut out classic literature and call it improving education.)
Jim Stergios and Ted Rebarber spoke this summer, here in Salt Lake City, to our senate Education Committee, testifying of the alarming error it was to adopt Common Core on educational and on Constitutional grounds.
This is going to be a great meeting. If you get to go, please leave a comment here, letting others know what you learned.
Our Job Is Not To Indoctrinate
By Utah Teacher Susan Wilcox
We are being duped.
My trust of our district people led me to just go along with many things that I was not aware would be so controlling. At the end of the year, while we were cleaning out things and had little time to talk, they called us together to ask if they could spend the money on SRA courses that were excellent (in their opinion) – brought NO SAMPLES, and we agreed.
– In one short moment, we had changed from our own lesson plans to nationally written materials.
When we got them during the summer, there was no training yet for using them; they were piled on our shelves and one district person said to just pick them up and get going; the other said wait for training. (I’m not sure they even knew what they were doing.)
After being trained, I was excited at first with how well these were put together. Then I noticed the green agenda in there and political stuff that could be controversial, and just thought I was being “old fogie” in my thinking.
There were sideline comments about extinction of certain animals. It was the SRA Reading Mastery program, and the 2nd year we switched to another program by the same company.
It was more directly teaching reading skills. It didn’t have a lot of writing in it, but what it had I liked.
The problem is – I was between a rock and a hard place; we, as teachers, were directly responsible for their IEP goals, and these programs did NOT serve the IEP goals for each of my students. In my own training and part of my OWN resolve to help Special Education students, I determined to copy and read NIGHTLY their goals when preparing lessons. I don’t know WHAT could be more important (since parents sign this document and it is a legal paper of what this child NEEDS..) than following the individual needs of a student. I never felt there was any place or time to express these things within the district. They just plowed forward training us.
It was kind of exciting that a course would be followed when students transferred in the district, so they would have the same course going on. There were other selling points, but in the end there is no better course for a student than the inspired lessons of a loving eacher, who lives with that child for hours every day – even more hours than their parents see and work with them.
It is a sacred trust to me, and I was NOT happy to have that taken away. It is the reason good people choose to be teachers. We realize that PEOPLE are our most important resource, and we want to mold and train them to have the skills they need.
Our job is not to indoctrinate in ANY way. That is a parent’s privilege and borders on religion.
I felt SO outcast in the schools. Everyone is just worried about keeping their jobs and talk REALLY softly when expressing their feelings, when what they FEEL is what they should be loudly acclaiming.
Teachers have to express in private because they are afraid of losing their jobs. I will no longer hold back, because I don’t have and don’t WANT a job in the public sector again. I held out to help my husband get retired and pay off debt so we could free ourselves. I hope to be of value to the WONDERFUL teachers in our schools, who need our help.
Since I taught resource, I only listened in the faculty room to teachers who were very upset, but stayed calm to keep their jobs. They need those of us who are in a good situation to help to do exactly that.
I don’t like our unions because, at least in Utah, they have done nothing to help our teachers. They can’t speak up because the unions have no power to save their jobs and side with the district in defending them.
But I wish the district could record faculty room talk…they would find out that most of the teachers feel pressured, blamed for everything that goes wrong with parents, and end up being the beating stick in education, when we are actually the only ones saving those students between what they need and what is coming to them.
I was told to read a script to my resource students – SRA Reading course, and it did not serve the IEP’s of my students.
I did a much better job designing lessons for EACH student as I prayed over my stewardship as a teacher. I greatly resented being told my methods were not research-based, and therefore not acceptable.
I researched the files of my students, and I don’t know what better research a teacher could do but read the entire written history of each student, and follow through with a lesson plan for what they needed.
The direct instruction was very nicely designed. It was easy and saved time for all the ridiculous paperwork in Special Education. But I only taught half day and did paperwork the rest. I wanted to be more effective to my students.
Since music is being cut, my chances were better at business at home. I always did better at home – I got up to $6000 in grants to run a children’s orchestra over a period of 25 years from outside sources, but always felt like “WHY do I have to do this OUTSIDE the schools?” – They were my dream classes in orchestra.
The district held me back. I am not happy though that only kids who could pay a community school fee got my expertise. The schools should unleash teachers and their talents and stop all the accountability nonsense. They can use those programs on teachers who have not done well and evaluate them…to help them. These programs stops teachers from planning – and wearies their day. It takes their attention away from planning and doing a good job. I am very against the focus on teachers as though THEY were the problem.
I home schooled, half-and-half, with my own children. They were too smart for the wasted time in the public school.
This doesn’t feel like the America I once knew. The time to speak up strongly has come for me. I am not holding back. I read a lot and study the issues, but I know the feelings I have I can always trust in the situations I encounter. I go by those…they don’t fail me.
By Susan Wilcox
The author of this wordpress site thanks Susan Wilcox for sharing her story.