Archive for January 2013

Developing Algebraic Habits of Mind (Not Gonna Happen with Common Core)   Leave a comment

“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.

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Don’t Mess With My Gold Rush: Or, Who’s Promoting Common Core and Why?   Leave a comment

I just did an Internet search using the term “common core implementation books” and got over eight million hits.

Corporations including Pearson, Microsoft and thousands of little mom and pop textbook writers you never heard of, seem to realize that Common Core implementation is the gold rush of this decade.

If the Common Core was honestly good for American education, maybe I could understand asking taxpayers to go more deeply into debt to pay and pay and pay…  for all the new teacher “professional development,” all the new software and hardware and endless consumables that implementation of national standards demands.

But taxpayers, parents and teachers, do you understand that Common Core is glutting corporate America while harming true literacy and numeracy?

But the truth is still the truth, no matter what story the spinners may spin about Common Core. All the shiny, colorful marketing for Common Core, all the repetitious uses of Common Core’s favorite phrases, “rigorous” and “benchmarked” and “state-led” and “college ready” cannot alter reality: common core is devastation to American education, privacy and autonomy.

With that introducation, please read Jenni White’s article in “American Thinker” on the subject:

     The Educational Tech Scam.  By Jenni White of ROPE (Restore Oklahoma Public Education)

Morgan Olsen: Parental Rights to Review Curriculum and Surveys   2 comments

The reason I’m reposting this article is that there are many things happening in schools that parents may not feel comfortable with, but most do not speak up because they don’t know their rights over their own children.

Many schools administer something called the “SHARP” survey.  Locally, here in Heber City, it’s done in schools.  But you can opt out.

SHARP is an in-your-face survey that asks very detailed, intimate, and intrusive questions, without attaching names to the results. So what could be wrong?

Proponents of “SHARP” or “Communities That Care” or other survey-based youth data collection instruments claim that the survey is a necessary way to assess whether children are involved in drugs, sex, alcohol, violence, or mental ill health.

Others say that these types of surveys may do more harm than good, by introducing children to the ideas of many deviant behaviors they would otherwise not have known about, and/or should be learning about from their parents in a loving, trusting environment rather than on a bubble sheet in a classroom.   Others also say that embedded in the language of the surveys are values that may not match those of the parents.  (For example, some surveys I have seen do equate gun ownership with gun violence rather than realizing that many homes have guns for protection, hunting and to demonstrate 2nd Amendment rights.  See: https://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/10-reasons-not-to-adopt-communities-that-care-ctc/ )

Children may not have the courage to tell school staff they would like to opt out, but you can send your school a letter to let your wishes be known at the beginning of the school year. Then your child will not be allowed to take the survey.

With that intro, here is Morgan Olsen’s article on your parental rights, with links to laws you can point to when you go to your school district with concerns.

What are my parental rights?

Published at Utahns Against Common Core website January 24, 2013. | By Morgan Olsen  |  Reposted here with thanks to Morgan Olsen.

http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/what-are-my-parental-rights/#comment-3322

When faced with incorrect school policies and practices, parents can easily feel overwhelmed and powerless. Throughout my Common Core research, I have gathered a few tidbits of law that can help you re-establish your parental rights in the education of your child. Exercise regularly your God-given right to advocate for your child’s best interest, and remind schools and government agencies that your child’s unique needs are better served with a parental representative over a hired one. No amount of social planning, exorbitant spending or teacher training can provide a better representative than an emotionally attached lifelong parent who’s most basic instinct and sacred duty is to lovingly protect, nurture, and guide their child. Regularly claim your God-given right and duty to advocate for your child’s best interest as their primary representative. For as the old saying goes, “Use it or lose it.”

FEDERAL LAW

Right to review Curriculum   (United States Code, Title 20 1232h)

1232h Protection of pupil rights

(a) Inspection of instructional materials by parents or guardians

All instructional materials, including teacher’s manuals, films, tapes, or other supplementary material which will be used in connection with any survey, analysis, or evaluation as part of any applicable program shall be available for inspection by the parents or guardians of the children.

Limits on Survey, Analysis, Evaluations, or Data Collection (United States Code, Title 20 1232h)

(b) Limits on survey, analysis, or evaluations

No student shall be required, as part of any applicable program, to submit to a survey, analysis, or evaluation that reveals information concerning—

(1) political affiliations or beliefs of the student or the student’s parent;

(2) mental or psychological problems of the student or the student’s family;

(3) sex behavior or attitudes;

(4) illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior;

(5) critical appraisals of other individuals with whom respondents have close family relationships;

(6) legally recognized privileged or analogous relationships, such as those of lawyers, physicians, and ministers;

(7) religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or student’s parent; or

(8) income (other than that required by law to determine eligibility for participation in a program or for receiving financial assistance under such program), without the prior consent of the student (if the student is an adult or emancipated minor), or in the case of an unemancipated minor, without the prior written consent of the parent.

Here is a brochure to help teach your children to say NO to these types of questions.

United States Code, Title 20 1232c

(c) Surveys or data-gathering activities; regulations

Not later than 240 days after October 20, 1994, the Secretary shall adopt appropriate regulations or procedures, or identify existing regulations or procedures, which protect the rights of privacy of students and their families in connection with any surveys or data-gathering activities conducted, assisted, or authorized by the Secretary or an administrative head of an education agency. Regulations established under this subsection shall include provisions controlling the use, dissemination, and protection of such data. No survey or data-gathering activities shall be conducted by the Secretary, or an administrative head of an education agency under an applicable program, unless such activities are authorized by law.

UTAH LAW

Activities prohibited without prior written consent (Utah Code Title 53A Section 302)

(1) Policies adopted by a school district under Section 53A-13-301 shall include prohibitions on the administration to a student of any psychological or psychiatric examination, test, or treatment, or any survey, analysis, or evaluation without the prior written consent of the student’s parent or legal guardian, in which the purpose or evident intended effect is to cause the student to reveal information, whether the information is personally identifiable or not, concerning the student’s or any family member’s:
(a) political affiliations or, except as provided under Section 53A-13-101.1 or rules of the State Board of Education, political philosophies;
(b) mental or psychological problems;
(c) sexual behavior, orientation, or attitudes;
(d) illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior;
(e) critical appraisals of individuals with whom the student or family member has close family relationships;
(f) religious affiliations or beliefs;
(g) legally recognized privileged and analogous relationships, such as those with lawyers, medical personnel, or ministers; and
(h) income, except as required by law.
(2) Prior written consent under Subsection (1) is required in all grades, kindergarten through grade 12.

Here is a brochure to help teach your children to say NO to these types of questions.

Right of the Parent to raise their child without undue government interference (Utah Code Title 62A Chapter 4a Section 201)

(1) (a) Under both the United States Constitution and the constitution of this state, a parent possesses a fundamental liberty interest in the care, custody, and management of the parent’s children. A fundamentally fair process must be provided to parents if the state moves to challenge or interfere with parental rights. A governmental entity must support any actions or allegations made in opposition to the rights and desires of a parent regarding the parent’s children by sufficient evidence to satisfy a parent’s constitutional entitlement to heightened protection against government interference with the parent’s fundamental rights and liberty interests.
(b) The fundamental liberty interest of a parent concerning the care, custody, and management of the parent’s children is recognized, protected, and does not cease to exist simply because a parent may fail to be a model parent or because the parent’s child is placed in the temporary custody of the state. At all times, a parent retains a vital interest in preventing the irretrievable destruction of family life. Prior to an adjudication of unfitness, government action in relation to parents and their children may not exceed the least restrictive means or alternatives available to accomplish a compelling state interest. Until the state proves parental unfitness, the child and the child’s parents share a vital interest in preventing erroneous termination of their natural relationship and the state cannot presume that a child and the child’s parents are adversaries.
(c) It is in the best interest and welfare of a child to be raised under the care and supervision of the child’s natural parents. A child’s need for a normal family life in a permanent home, and for positive, nurturing family relationships is usually best met by the child’s natural parents. Additionally, the integrity of the family unit and the right of parents to conceive and raise their children are constitutionally protected. The right of a fit, competent parent to raise the parent’s child without undue government interference is a fundamental liberty interest that has long been protected by the laws and Constitution and is a fundamental public policy of this state.
(d) The state recognizes that:
(i) a parent has the right, obligation, responsibility, and authority to raise, manage, train, educate, provide for, and reasonably discipline the parent’s children; and
(ii) the state’s role is secondary and supportive to the primary role of a parent.
(e) It is the public policy of this state that parents retain the fundamental right and duty to exercise primary control over the care, supervision, upbringing, and education of their children.

~Morgan Olsen

Michelle Malkin: Waking Up America to Stop Common Core   Leave a comment

Michelle Malkin is determined to wake America up to recognize what harm Common Core is doing to American K-12 education.

Most parents don’t even know what Common Core is.

In part II of her analysis of the Common Core, a nationalized education program heavily promoted, overseen and incentivized by President Obama’s administration, Malkin emphasizes the fact that the Common Core’s “cheerleaders’ claim that their agenda came from the bottom up is false. Flat-out false.”

She says that although the Washington, D.C., board of education “earned widespread mockery this week when it proposed allowing high school students — in the nation’s own capital — to skip a basic U.S. government course to graduate,” that this proposal “is fiddlesticks compared to what the federal government is doing to eliminate American children’s core knowledge base in English, language arts and history.”

Amen, sister.

Read Malkin’s articlehttp://michellemalkin.com/2013/01/25/rotten-to-the-core-part-2-readin-writin-and-deconstructionism/

Read “Betrayed” -Laurie Rogers on Common Core Math   Leave a comment

Here are highlights from a great article written to anyone who doesn’t understand what the problems are with common core math:  Full text: http://betrayed-whyeducationisfailing.blogspot.com/2013/01/common-core-leading-districts-to-adopt.html

In the article, Laurie Rogers, Washington educator, explains the term “student-centered” and shows why Common Core’s “student-centered” math is failing us.  She writes that:

“Many of America’s public schools have incorporated “student-centered learning” models into their math programs. An adoption committee in Spokane appears poised to recommend the adoption of yet another version of a “student-centered” program for Grades 3-8 mathematics.

It’s critically important that American citizens know what that term means.

… Student-centered learning has largely replaced direct instruction in the public-school classroom. It was pushed on the country beginning in the 1980s by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the federal government, colleges of education, and various corporations and foundations. Despite its abject failure to produce well-educated students, student-centered learning is coming back around, again pushed by the NCTM, colleges of education, the federal government and various corporations and foundations.

Despite the lack of supporting research for the approach, trillions of taxpayer dollars were spent on implementing it across the nation. Despite its grim results, trillions more will be spent on it via the Common Core initiatives….

Student-centered learning is designed to “engage” students in discussion, debate, critical thinking, exploration and group work, all supposedly to gain “deeper conceptual understanding” and the ability to apply concepts to “real world” situations. New teachers receive instruction in student-centered learning in colleges of education, and their instruction in the approach (i.e. their indoctrination) continues non-stop at state and district levels.

The popularity of student-centered learning in the education community rests on: a) constant indoctrination, b) ego, c) money, and d) the ability to hide weak outcomes from the public.

Ask yourself this: How does one actually quantify “exploration,” “deeper conceptual understanding” and “application to real world situations”? How do we test for that? We can’t, really, which helps explain why math test scores can soar even as actual math skills deteriorate.

With student-centered learning, teachers are not to be a “sage on the stage” – they are to be a “guide on the side.” Students are to innovate and create, come up with their own methods, develop their own understanding, work in groups, talk problems out, teach each other, and depend on their classmates for help before asking the teacher. Student-centered learning is supposed to be a challenge for teachers, whereas direct instruction is considered to be too easy (basically handing information over to students on a silver platter).

Ask yourself this: How much learning can be done in a class with 28 students of different abilities and backgrounds, all talking; a teacher who guides but doesn’t teach; and classmates who must teach each other things they don’t understand? How do students get help with this approach at home? What happens to students who don’t have a textbook, don’t have proper guidance, and don’t have any help at home? Direct instruction does make learning easier; that’s a positive for it, not a negative. Learning can be efficient and easy. How is it better to purposefully make children struggle, fail and doubt themselves?

…In student-centered learning, student discussion and debate precedes (and often replaces) teacher instruction. “Deeper conceptual understanding” is supposed to precede the learning of skills. But placing application before the learning puts the “why” before the “how,” thus asking students to apply something they don’t know how to do. How does that make sense?

In student-centered learning, it’s thought to be bad practice to instruct, answer student questions, provide a template for the students, teach efficient processes, insist on proper structure or correct answers, or have students practice a skill to mastery. It’s OK for a class to take all day “exploring” because exploration supposedly promotes learning, whereas efficient instruction is supposedly counterproductive. Children are supposed to “muddle” along, get it wrong and depend on classmates for advice and guidance. Struggling is seen as critical to learning. Getting correct answers in an efficient manner is seen as unhelpful.

Ask yourself this: How can “efficient” instruction be counterproductive? Math is a tool, used to get a job done. Correct answers are critical, and efficiency is prized in the workforce. Quick, correct solutions reflect a depth of understanding that slow, incorrect solutions do not. Students do not enjoy struggling and getting things wrong. For children, struggle and failure are motivation killers.

The focus of a student-centered classroom is on supposed “real-world application.” (My experience with “real-world application” is that it’s typically a very adult world rather than a child world, and that now, it’s also a political world with a heavily partisan focus.)

Ask yourself this: How does it help children to be enmeshed in an adult world of worries, prevented from learning enough academics, and basted in a politically partisan outlook? (It doesn’t help them, but it suits adults who want a certain kind of voter when the students turn 18.)

All of this is at the expense of learning sufficient skills in mathematics…

Gaps in perception:

•Proponents of the “student-centered” approach see themselves as hard workers, suffering with opponents who are stuck in the 18th century. The “deeper conceptual understanding” that they believe they foster in students seems more important to them than building math skills that consistently lead to correct answers.
•Proponents of direct instruction see the students’ weakening self-image and poor skills, and we view the student-centered approach as limiting and even unkind. Math skills and correct answers are the point of math instruction, and we don’t believe students can have “deeper conceptual understanding” if they lack procedural skills.

Proponents of student-centered learning like to call their approach “best practices,” “research-based,” “evidence-based,” and so on, but no one has ever provided verifiable, replicable proof that student-centered learning works better than direct instruction as a method for teaching math. There is actually a wealth of solid evidence to indicate the contrary.

… the stated mission of Spokane’s adoption committee is to “deeply” align to the Common Core. (Not to choose a curriculum that will – oh, I don’t know – lead students to college or career readiness?) In supporting their stated mission, committee members asserted that the Common Core was vetted by “experts,” so they believe the initiatives will produce internationally competitive graduates. They provided no data, no proof, no solid research or studies for their belief. And they can’t because there aren’t any. The Common Core initiatives are an obscenely expensive, nation-wide pilot of unproved products.

Welcome to public education: Another day, another experiment on our children, except that this time, there is strong evidence that this experiment – a rehashing of the last experiment – will again fail. Try telling that to education and political leaders. No one seems to see the evidence. When you tell leaders about it or show it to them, no one seems to care. Meanwhile, many of those leaders get tutoring or outside help for their own children. (FYI: I have never seen a professional tutor use the “student-centered” method to teach math to any child.)

The Spokane adoption committee’s mission of “deep” alignment to the Common Core has caused them to choose to pilot – you guessed it – several sets of new (and unproved) materials that are distinctly more “student-centered” in their approach, heavy on words and discovery, and light on actual math.

Kicked to the bottom of their preferences were proved and rigorous programs favored by homeschooling parents and tutors, including Saxon Mathematics* and Singapore Math*. Saxon got my own daughter almost all of the way through Algebra II by the end of 8th grade, most of that without a calculator. When I asked my email list and various online contacts for their preferences, the majority picked Saxon over every other math program, and by a wide margin.

But a member of the Spokane adoption committee – a district employee – told me the Saxon representative called Saxon “parochial” and that the publisher initially refused to send Saxon to Spokane because it was unlikely to be adopted. (“Parochial” means provincial, narrow-minded, or “limited in range or scope.”) Do you believe the Saxon rep would call his product narrow-minded and limited in scope? Saxon is efficient, thorough, clear and concise. If there is a stronger K-8 math program out there, I don’t know of it. Naturally, the Spokane adoption committee does not want Saxon.

One of the programs the committee did choose to pilot is Connected Mathematics, a curriculum already being used in Spokane, one of the worst programs on the planet, excoriated for decades by mathematicians from border to border and from coast to coast. The district employee assured me the committee is hiding nothing from the public, but the committee didn’t mention to the public that it is again piloting Connected Mathematics. They don’t seem to see its failure. They love its focus on student-centered learning. The devastation it wreaks on math skills appears to matter naught to them…”

Full text here:  http://betrayed-whyeducationisfailing.blogspot.com

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Thanks to Laurie Rogers for her research and her blog.

* Note:  Both Saxon math and Singapore math are now being rewritten to “align” with Common Core.  Only the older texts may be really trustworthy. -Christel

Dear Utah Legislature   Leave a comment

Dear Francis Gibson,

Missouri, South Carolina and Indiana have written legislation that could withdraw their states from Common Core.

I am writing to ask you to help pass similar legislation for Utah.

I was able to give a speech on this subject at the Weber County Republican Women’s group meeting this month. https://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/weber-county-republican-womens-meeting-speech-on-common-core/

I will attach the text of that speech here, so that if there is still any doubt in your mind that Common Core is a financial, academic, states’ rights and privacy-rights disaster, this will clarify the point.

I write to you because my own representative, Kraig Powell, has closed his mind on this subject.

Thank you for taking the time to read.

Please keep this in mind above all: the difference between what I am saying and what the proponents of Common Core are saying, is that my statements and claims are referenced and verifiable. The DOE’s and the NGA/CCSSO’s and the USOE’s all match, but all are empty claims with no provided references and no validation from empirical sources anywhere. Common Core is a massive, expensive academic experiment. An experiment! On our children.

We have been sold out, not by malice, but simply by the ignorance of our state school board and the former governor who signed us up.

My motive is pure, as a teacher and a mother who wants high quality education and actual freedom to change standards when we find some of them don’t match Utah’s needs and wants.

Thank you.

Christel Swasey

Heber City

Missouri Legislator Kurt Bahr to Introduce Common Core Withdrawal Bill   1 comment

Kurt Bahr

http://beforeitsnews.com/tea-party/2013/01/indiana-legislation-opposing-common-core-gets-a-hearing-2473980.html

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!

 

Scott Schneider

 

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?

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