Archive for the ‘anti-commoncore’ Tag

“Insipid Brew of Gobbledy-Gook” – Professor Laura Gibbs on Common Core Writing Standards   8 comments

University of Oklahoma professor Laura Gibbs has given her permission to post her pointed observations

 about the Common Core writing standards here:

COMMON CORE WRITING STANDARDS = BLAH BLAH BLAH

by Laura Gibbs

In light of the brouhaha about David Coleman, Common Core and informational reading, I thought I would see what I could find out.

I went to the language arts standards and, as always, I found the usual blah blah blah – http://www.corestandards.org/the-standards/english-language-arts-standards – but there is nothing that gives any clue about balance; if there is a hidden agenda to drive out fiction in favor of non-fiction, that is not clear from the standards. However, what is clear from the standards, in my opinion, is that they offer NOTHING of substance to really change how writing is being taught in this country.

As someone who teaches writing, esp. narrative writing, I find nothing here that makes me feel like students who go through this Common Core system will be any better prepared than the students I have now.

ADDENDUM: I did post about what I personally would prefer to see here: https://plus.google.com/111474406259561102151/posts/RfejMC8wH5A

Worse, reading through the standards makes it really hard for me to understand how and why people take this kind of thing seriously.

I’m a practical, problem-solving kind of person. I don’t see how these standards do anything practical here to help us in the problems that students face in their writing skills. Note the conscious use of the word SKILLS here –

I believe very much in the teaching of skills, but the blah-blah-blah of these standards does not give me a vocabulary of skills I can use to develop a curriculum and inspire my students to see themselves as skilled writers. Instead, I see here an insipid brew of gobbledy-gook that MASQUERADES as being a sequence of standards, but really – what is happening here between Grades 6 and 12, during six years of students’ lives as writers? I would really like to hear from any teachers out there who find the way these standards are written to be helpful in any way, shape or form in guiding a writing curriculum:

Here is the Grade 6 standard for narrative writing:
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.
Grade 7: verbatim identical to Grade 6
Grade 8: verbatim identical to Grade 6
Grades 9-10: Now it says “well-chosen details” instead of “relevant descriptive details”… huh? Were they just embarrassed to keep copying and pasting from one grade to the next?
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
Grades 11-12: verbatim identical to Grades 9-10

It’s too tedious to really do this for all the substandards, but here’s just one example of a narrative writing sub-standard:

Grade 6:
Provide a conclusion that follows from the narrated experiences or events.
Grade 7: Oh look, now the conclusion “reflects on” the narration, instead of just following from it:
Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on the narrated experiences or events.
Grade 8: Verbatim identical to Grade 7.
Grades 9-10: Oh look, now they have decided that we are going to study not “narrated experiences or events” but “what is experienced, observed, or resolved over the course of the narrative” – in other words, we will change one blah-blah-blah for another blah-blah-blah.
Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on what is experienced, observed, or resolved over the course of the narrative.
Grades 11-12: Verbatim identical to Grades 9-10.

Just to prove I am not being a Momus here, let’s take one more substandard:
Grade 6:
Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to convey experiences and events.
Grade 7: verbatim identical to Grade 6
Grade 8: Oh look, now we will “capture the action” (I guess we were not capturing action before now):
Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to capture the action and convey experiences and events.
Grades 9-10: Oh look, now instead of “relevant descriptive details” we have “telling details” (???), and now instead of “capture the action and convey experiences and events” we will “convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters.” That is worse than no change at all – just one kind of blah-blah-blah replacing another kind of blah-blah-blah.
Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters.
Grades 11-12: verbatim identical to Grades 9-10.

Now, I personally find this kind of puffery to be a waste of time, but if we are going to engage in such puffery at least it should accomplish something, right?

But what this tells me is that teachers are going to be doing the same thing as they teach writing between Grades 6 and 12. Which is probably a good reason just to abolish the factory-based model of putting students in grades anyway, ha ha… but I suspect it is instead just a way for the textbook publishers to publish separate, expensive textbooks for every grade – even though the SO-CALLED “standards for narrative writing” in Grades 6-12 are not changing in any meaningful way from grade to grade.

Laura Gibbs (Ph.D., UC Berkeley) teaches mythology and folklore at the University of Oklahoma.

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

I love Charles Dickens.

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

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

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

But now, that seems to be over.

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

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

Gass and Chieppo write:

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

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

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

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

Resource List   Leave a comment

Donna Garner has put together a list of resources for those who are just beginning the fight against the Common Core dissolution of sovereignty over American education.

  Thank you, Donna.

http://nocompromisepac.ning.com/profiles/blog/show?id=6457500%3ABlogPost%3A28400

9.25.12 — “Mitt Romney Takes Stand Against Common Core at Education Nation Summit” — http://caffeinatedthoughts.com/2012/09/mitt-romney-common-core-educ…

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9.25.12 — “Romney: No Federal Support for Common Core” by Alyson Klein, EducationWeek http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2012/09/mitt_romney_do…

CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF ANTI-CCSI RESOURCES

(Most Recent First)

10.11.12 – “Is Common Core About To Melt Down” – by Neal McCluskey, Cato Institute —

http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/is-common-core-about-to-melt-down/

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10.9.12 –“Like Obamacare, Obama Core Is Another Power Grab” — by Phyllis Schlafly, President of Eagle Forum —  http://nocompromisepac.ning.com/profiles/blogs/like-obamacare-obama…

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9.30.12 – “Uncommon Allies Question a Common Core” – Editorial Board, JournalGazette.net — http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20120930/EDIT10/309309979/114…

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9.28.12 – “States Beginning To Rebel Against Common Core Standards” — http://nocompromisepac.ning.com/profiles/blogs/states-beginning-to-…

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9.28.12 – “South Carolina Could Regret Student Testing Scheme” – by Sen. Mike Fair – The State – South Crolina’s Homepage http://www.thestate.com/2012/09/28/v-print/2459190/fair-sc-could-re…

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9.27.12 – “The Pedagogical Agenda of Common Core Math Standards” by Barry Garelick  — EducationNews.org —

http://www.educationnews.org/education-policy-and-politics/the-peda…

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9.23.12 – “Do Not Let the DOE Nationalize the Schools in Your State” – by Henry W. Burke, Donna Garner —

http://educationviews.org/do-not-let-the-doe-nationalize-the-school…

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9.14.12 – “Fighting the Common Core Standards’ Social Justice Math” – by Oak Norton —

http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/jordan-sd-rips-out-unsolvabl…

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9.14.12 – “Nationalized Public Schools Almost Here in America”  — by Donna Garner —

http://educationviews.org/nationalized-public-schools-almost-here-i…

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9.10.12 — “Obama’s Inferior English Common Core Standards” – by Donna Garner —

http://educationviews.org/obamas-inferior-english-common-core-stand…

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9.7.12 – “Should the White House Control What Your Kids Learn?” by Stanley Kurtz —

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/09/07/should-white-house-contro…

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9.5.12 — “How To Indoctrinate Students’ Minds with Math” by Donna Garner —

http://educationviews.org/how-to-indoctrinate-students-minds-with-m…

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8.27.12 – “Parents Need To Know About Student Data Privacy” by J. R. Wilson — EducationNews.org

http://www.educationnews.org/parenting/jr-wilson-parents-need-to-kn…

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8.15.12 – “An Ominous Political Trend for Common Core-ites” – by Frederick M. Hess – Education Week

http://www.frederickhess.org/2012/08/an-ominous-political-trend-for…

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8.12.12 – “Utah Teachers Speak out Against the Obama Administration’s Common Core Standards” – Utahns Against Common Core — http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/teacher-comments-on-common-c…

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8.5.12 – “Caring Parents, Where Are You? – Common Core Standards and Big Bang Theory” – by Donna Garner —

http://libertylinked.com/posts/10007/caring-parents-where-are/View….

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5.16.12 – “Incoming College Board Head Wants SAT To Reflect Common Core” – by Catherine Gewertz, Education Week http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/05/16/32collegeboard.h31.htm…

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4.23.12 – “Common Core Math Standards Fail To Add Up” by Evan Walter, The Heritage Foundation

http://blog.heritage.org/2012/04/23/common-core-math-standards-fail…

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4.17.12 – “Six-Minute Interview: Federal Takeover by the Obama Administration of  Education Standards and Assessments” – Lindsey Burke, The Heritage Foundation

http://online.wsj.com/video/opinion-standardizing-schools-/FA09455F…

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3.26.12 — “Two Education Philosophies with Two Different Goals”  — by  Donna Garner —

http://libertylinked.com/posts/9703/2-education-philosophies-with/V…

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3.6.12 – “Handwaving Away Opposition to the National Standards” by Jim Stergios , Pioneer Institute —

http://jaypgreene.com/2012/03/06/handwaving-away-opposition-to-the-…

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2.20.12 – “Obama Imposing National School Curriculum” – by Bob Unruh – World Net Daily

http://www.wnd.com/2012/02/obama-imposing-national-school-curriculum/

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2.12 – “National Cost of Aligning States and Localities to the Common Core Standards” – The Pioneer Institute and American Principles Project White Paper

http://www.pioneerinstitute.org/pdf/120222_CCSSICost.pdf

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12.28.11 – “Feds To Be Able to Track Your School Children’s Personal Information” by Donna Garner —

http://teabook.org/profiles/blogs/feds-to-be-able-to-track-your-sch…

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12.21.11 – “A National Education Standards Exit Strategy for States” – by Lindsey Burke —

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/12/a-national-educati…

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10.27.11 – “Students Losing Their Right To Exress Their Opinions” – by Donna Garner —

http://libertylinked.com/posts/8754/students-losing-their-right/Vie…

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7.27.11 – “National Standards and Tests: An Unprecedented Federal Overreach”—The Heritage Foundation – Lindsey Burke, Robert Scott, et al —

http://www.heritage.org/events/2011/07/national-standards

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5.31.11 — “Liberals Interpret Themselves Liberally: Common Core Standards, Race to the Top” by Doug Lasken —

http://www.flashreport.org/featured-columns-library0b.php?faID=2011…

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5.28.11 — “A ‘Common’ Education Disaster” by Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Annie Hsiao — Politico.com ––  http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0511/55857.html#ixzz1NsJZQKOh

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5.26.11 — “Race to the Cradle” by Neal McCluskey, The Cato Institute — http://libertylinked.com/posts/7408/race-to-the-cradle—-by-neal/V…

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5.25.11 — “South Carolina Will Not Participate in Race to the Top” Spartanburg Tea Party —

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.org/2011/05/25/sc-will-not-participa…

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5.22.11 — “The Three-Legged Stool:  Obama, Duncan, Gates” by Donna Garner —

http://libertylinked.com/posts/7461/the-three-legged-stool/View.aspx

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5.9.11 — “Association of American Educators Signs on in Opposition to National Curriculum” —

http://www.educationnews.org/ed_reports/edu_assoc_articles/155783.html

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5.9.11 – “Why One Curriculum Is Bad for America” – by Jonathan Kantrowitz – 100+ signatories — http://blog.ctnews.com/kantrowitz/2011/05/09/why-one-national-curri…

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4.12.11 — “The Other Shoe Drops: National Testmakers Worried” — by Donna Garner —

http://www.educationnews.org/ednews_today/153790.html

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4.9.11 — “Congressmen: A Great Place To Cut Funding — National Assessments” — by Donna Garner — http://www.educationnews.org/political/153529.html

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4.6.11 — “Standards Overreach, or According to Plan?” — by Neal McCluskey —

http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/standards-overreach-or-according-to-…

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3.24.11 — “Obama’s Carrot and Stick Control of Our Nation’s Public Schools” – by Donna Garner —  http://www.educationnews.org/commentaries/152238.html

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3.20.11 — “Our Hope Rests with Congressman Kline” – by Donna Garner —

http://www.educationnews.org/commentaries/151843.html

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2.24.11 –“The Race to the Top Scheme” – by Henry W. Burke and Donna Garner —

http://www.educationnews.org/ednews_today/108436.html

2.24.11 — “Let’s Get Off the National Standards Train” by Henry W. Burke and Donna Garner —

http://alinahan.wordpress.com/2011/05/11/lets-get-off-the-national-…

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2.14.11 — “Let’s Get off the National Standards Train” —  by Henry W. Burke and Donna Garner —  http://alinahan.wordpress.com/2011/05/11/lets-get-off-the-national-…

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11.7.10 — “Open Letter to Parents, Legislators, School Personnel: Which Policy Are You Going To Promote?” —  http://www.educationnews.org/blogs/102489.html

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10.27.10 — “Bullying Agenda” —  by Donna Garner —

http://www.educationnews.org/commentaries/opinions_on_education/101…

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10.23.10 — “What Is the Centers for Disease Control?” – by Donna Garner — http://www.educationnews.org/breaking_news/health/101841.html

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9.16.10 — “Am I a Wacko Now?” – by Donna Garner — http://www.educationnews.org/commentaries/100137.html

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7.29.10 — “Stotsky on the Common Core Vote in Massachusetts” – by Dr. Sandra Stotsky

http://jaypgreene.com/2010/07/29/stotsky-on-the-common-core-vote-in…

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7.27.10 — “Where Have All the Caring Parents Gone?” – by Donna Garner –

http://www.educationnews.org/commentaries/insights_on_education/968…

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7.10 – “Common Core Standards Still Don’t Make the Grade” — a Pioneer Institute White Paper — http://www.pioneerinstitute.org/pdf/common_core_standards.pdf

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4.19.10 — “Marc Tucker’s Bologna” – by Donna Garner —http://www.educationnews.org/commentaries/89899.html

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3.4.10 — “Obama’s Doublespeak” —  by Donna Garner — 

http://ramparts360.wordpress.com/obama%E2%80%99s-doublespeak/

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3.10 — “Fair to Middling: A National Standards Progress Report” – by R. James Milgram and Sandra Stotsky  – The Pioneer Institute —

http://www.pioneerinstitute.org/pdf/100402_fair_to_middling.pdf

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2.10 – “Why Race to the Middle” by Sandra Stotsky and Ze’ev Wurman – The Pioneer Institute — http://www.pioneerinstitute.org/pdf/100223_why_race_to_the_middle.pdf

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1.29.10 — “Cradle-to-Career Plan by Obama and Duncan” —  by Donna Garner —

http://www.educationnews.org/ednews_today/39076.html

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1.13.10 — “Texas Tells Feds ‘Enough Is Enough’” —  by Donna Garner —

http://www.educationnews.org/ednews_today/29200.html

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12.11.09 — “Children and the Future of Our Country” – by Donna Garner — http://www.educationnews.org/blogs/7704.html

http://nocompromisepac.ning.com/profiles/blog/show?id=6457500%3ABlogPost%3A28400

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