Original source documents arm honest people who want to know the truth about Common Core to take back the reins of control.
This is important because proponents are increasing false advertisements about Common Core. They’re also hiding the Common Core Inititative under different names, such as “Utah Core” or “Indiana Core“. Unfortunately, well intentioned people whom we trust to tell us the truth often simply don’t know the whole story. It is up to us to find out for ourselves.
Please go go directly to source documents to fact-check claims being made by proponents of Common Core.
(This slightly updated syllabus was shared in a previous post. It is republished today because Alisa, Renee and I are speaking in Vernal tonight and we want to point our Vernal friends to solid information. If anyone wants to come to the meeting tonight, you are welcome. There is, of course, no charge and the event begins at 7:00.)
Link to tonight’s Vernal, Utah, meeting: 204 E 100 N, Vernal, UT 84078 (435) 789-0091
A Source-Focused Analysis of the Common Core Initiative
- The General Educational Provisions Act – This law prohibits the federal government from directing or supervising education: “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…” The Dept. of Education, by forming multiple official partnerships with corporate America, has gotten away with breaking this law.
- U.S. Constitution – Amendment 10 – “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” The disregard by the Dept. of Education for the authority and diversity of individual states’ educational pathways must be stopped.
- Utah’s Race to the Top Grant Application– Utah got points from the federal government for having a SLDS database system. (This tracks children without parental consent or knowledge. There’s no legal opt-out for SLDS child inventorying. Corporations, in partnership with state SLDS systems, collect millions of data points on children, without parental consent. ) Also in the Race to the Top Grant Application document, see that Utah got more points for having adopted Common Core. This was how we got in. Despite not winning the grant money, we remained in these systems.
- The No Child Left Behind Waiver– This shows the 15% cap the federal government put on top of the copyrighted, unamendable (by states) common standards. So states are allowed to add frosting and sprinkles to state standards, but they have no say in what goes into the cake itself.
- The State Longitudinal Database System (SLDS) Grant– All states have one. This is a federally paid-for database that every state in the US now has. It tracks students within the state. Aggregated data ion students is sent from this system to the federal EdFacts Exchange. Parents can not opt their children out. (They can and probably should opt out of Common Core tests, however.)
- The lawsuit against the Department of Education– The Electronic Privacy Information Center has sued the DOE for destroying the previously data-privacy protective federal FERPA. The lawsuit explains that parental consent is a best practice, not a mandate, prior to data sharing; it shows that terms were redefined, that personally identifiable information, including biometrics, can be shared, and that agencies have legal access to private data of students.
- The report entitled “For Each And Every Child” from the Equity and Excellence Commission – This report was commissioned by Obama. It reveals that forced redistribution of wealth is a main reason for the national education system.
- The Cooperative Agreement between the Dept. of Education and the testing consortia – Even though Utah escaped the SBAC and is not bound by the Cooperative Agreement directly, Utah’s current testing group, A.I.R., is partnered with SBAC. This document shows clearly the mandates for synchronizing tests and sharing student data to mesh testing companies with federal aims and agents. Its only claim to binding authority is money.
- The speeches of Secretary Arne Duncan on education – He states that Common Standards were Obama’s idea and that the federal government is moving to play a larger role in education. Also, the speeches of President Obama on education – Obama’s top 4 education goals: control data, common standards, teachers, and to take over low-performing schools.
- The speeches of the CEA of Pearson Ed, Sir Michael Barber – Barber wants every school on the globe to have the exact same academic standards and to underpin every standard with environmental propaganda. He also pushes for global data and stresses the term “sustainable reform” which he calls “irreversible reform”.
- The speeches and actions of the main funder of Common Core, Bill Gates – He’s funded Common Core almost completely on his own; he’s partnered with Pearson; he says “we won’t know it works until all the tests and curriculum aligns with the standards” and he’s writing curriculum for his “uniform customer base” –all children and all schools.
- The speeches of David Coleman, a noneducator, the architect of the Common Core ELA standards and now promoted to College Board President -He mocks narrative writing, he’s diminished the percentage of classic literature that’s allowable in the standards. He’s not been elected, he’s never taught school, yet he’s almost singlehandedly altered the quality and liberty of classrooms. As he’s now the College Board President, he’s aligning the SAT to his version of standards.
- The Dept. of Ed report: Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perserverance– behavioral indicators are sought by the federal government. They may include monitoring children using cameras, posture chairs, and bracelets. (see graphic, mid-report.)
- Federal data collection websites such as the EdFacts Exchange, the Common Education Data Standards, the National Data Collection Model, and the Data Quality Campaign, sites because three of these four ask us to give personally identifiable information on students, from our state database. -The first link shows what we already give to the federal government; the others show what the federal government is requesting that we share, which includes intimate, personally identifiable information. See Common Core creators’ data management branch, EIMAC of CCSSO, with its stated mission to disaggregate student data. The EIMAC/CCSSO link also shows the official partnership of the federal government with corporate Common Core.
- The Official Common Core Standards – English and Math standards. Here you will see Common Core calling itself a “living work” meaning that what Common Core is today, will not remain. There is no amendment process for states to have a voice in altering the commonly held standards because they’re under private copyright. See a recommended reading list in Appendix B that includes “The Bluest Eye,” a pornographic novel.
- See academic testimonies of the official Common Core validation committee members who refused to sign off on the legitimacy of the standards; other professors have also testified that Common Core hurts legitimate college readiness. See in contrast the motive of Common Core promoters such as Marc Tucker of the Center for American Progress who report that “the United States will have to largely abandon the beloved emblem of American education: local control. …[N]ew authority will have to come at the expense of local control.”
- Federal Definition of College and Career Ready Standards – the federal government hides the phrase “common core” from public view by using the term “college and career ready standards” in its documents. Know that they are the same thing.
- Common Educational Data Standards – The same private groups (NGA/CCSSO) that created Common Core have also created Common Educational Data Standards, so that student data mining and citizen tracking is interoperable and easy. Coupled with the breakdown of family privacy law (federal FERPA, altered by the Dept. of Education) we see that children’s data lacks proper protections, and that students are being used as compulsory, unpaid research objects.
- Follow the money trails – Study what advocacy and development of common standards Bill Gates has paid for; see how his unelected philanthropy affects education and its governance, and see how his partnerships with Pearson, with the United Nations and others monopolize the U.S. and global education markets, excluding voters as public-private partnerships make decisions, instead of voters or elected representatives such as school boards or legislators making decisions.
Connecticut Against Common Core hosted Seton Hall University professor Dr. Christopher Tienken last month. Start at minute 4:22 for Dr. Tienken’s speech.
Dr. Tienken talks about intended and unintended consequences of any treatment –including educational “treatment,” to children. He explains how important it is to have evidence for the need and the effectiveness of Common Core, which he refers to as “the latest round of standardization.” He defines himself not as others do, as “anti-Common Core” but more “pro-evidence”. He assesses education reforms through the lens of evidence, sourcing all of his statements and writings against Common Core, which you may read at his website and in the many academic journals in which he has been published.
He challenges the assumptions that underlie advocacy for Common Core.
For example: What if the results of the international test are not meaningful? –We might not be lagging at all in international competitiveness. None of the international tests can tell you the quality of a national education system nor can they predict the economic future. That’s not just an opinion; that’s his job, he says –reading 400 page technical manuals on international testing. Only about 6,000 kids in a country take these tests, and they may not be at all representative of the rest of the kids in that country. In China and Singapore, for example, most students aren’t in high school when the tests are administered. Only the wealthiest kids take these tests, not second language learners and others. These tests, he says, are sensitive to factors outside of school. PISA and TIMMS tests, for example, measure skills akin to the 19th century. Innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship, skills that drive economies today, are not even measured.
Why do Americans think that one narrow test (not evidence based) will be the ultimate predictor of student and national economic achievement?
Dr. Tienken later breaks out the charts to show how well the United States is actually doing, showing the misguidedness of Common Core’s foundational claims.
Watch the video to hear the rest. It’s great.
By JaKell Sullivan and Christel Swasey
Common science standards, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are gleefully trending all over the nation now, birthed by the same folks who pushed Common Core English and Math (Achieve, Inc., David Coleman’s baby and US Delivery Institute, Pearson CEA Michael Barber’s baby.
Many states have rejected, or are wisely in the middle of debating rejecting, the common science standards.
South Carolina utterly rejected them. Wyoming’s legislature rejected them, in a move Truth in American Education called “a victory for objectivity and neutrality in science education.” (Read Wyoming citizens’ testimonies and more on Wyoming’s decision here.)
Meanwhile, in Kansas, Citizens for Objective Public Education (COPE) have filed a federal law suit against the state school board and the state department of education for pushing NGSS in violation of the first and fourth amendments to the Constitution. In Kentucky, legislators wrote a bill to potentially reject the NGSS science standards, while Ohio passed a bill that made multi-state control of standards — including science standards– illegal.
So what about Utah? Aren’t we discussing this and vetting these standards thoroughly here? No, we are not.
Here in Utah, no legislator has written any bill to consider rejecting NGSS. Search the internet, and you’ll find there’s nothing in the legislature nor in recent news at all about NGSS in Utah.
A year ago there was. The then-chairwoman of the state school board Debra Roberts promised that Utah had no plans to adopt the NGSS standards although Utah would revise science standards. She said, “they will be uniquely Utah standards”. That turned out to be untrue.
Quietly, under the public radar, Utah’s Office of Education (USOE) is rushing forward to align with the national science standards without public knowledge. I did a quick word search on the Utah State Office of Education website for “Next generation science standards” and found 143 references to it in USOE-published pdf’s and professional development conferences. Right now, a Utah science standards review committee is reviewing Utah’s current science standards and is comparing them with NGSS national science standards.
According to a Utah law HB342, a committee including a handful of parents must “review and recommend” to the board any new revisions to curriculum. Some of those parents aren’t happy about being herded toward approving matching Utah’s science standards to NGSS science. They say it’s abundantly clear that the Utah State Office of Education wants the NGSS standards here in Utah.
Of course, the feeling is mutual; NGSS wants to be in Utah. That’s obvious since “Education First” of Utah (partner of NGSS) rolled out their (uncalled-for) five-year plan for Utah’s education system recently– and it so happens that “Education First” is not only partnered with the co-creators of NGSS: Achieve and US Delivery Institute but it also heavily promoted Common Core in propaganda mailings to the Utah legislature last year. Most likely, Education First will be promoting NGSS in similar legislator mailings and Prosperity 2020 radio spots– after they’ve been adopted, as was the case with Common Core.
Still, by law, it’s not Education First or its partners who have authority to set education policy or standards or create five-year plans. Even the USOE lacks that authority. It’s only the State School Board –with the assistance of the parent committee– who is supposed to weigh in.
Profound problems are being reported by the few parents who are allowed to weigh in on these standards.
1- First, oddly, some of the same individuals are serving on both the new science standards writing committee and the review committee. That is like the judge judging himself.
2- Second, the “new and improved” Utah science standards currently being “reviewed” by parents just so happen to be 99.9% the same as the national, standardized Next Generation Science Standards, according to parents currently on that committee.
3- Third, parents note that even thought the Utah State Office of Education (USOE) does not have legal authority to make new science standards for Utah schools; the Utah State School Board does; yet the board has not been in charge of this science standards-altering process; the USOE took it over.
4- Fourth: NGSS science standards –to which Utah’s aiming to align– do come from the same private business people who brought us Common Core math and English standards: Achieve Inc., David Coleman, etc. , yet the claim is that these science standards have nothing to do with Common Core.
5- Fifth: Most importantly– NGSS are not scientifically neutral or objective. The NGSS Frameworks and Standards promote every tenet of a belief system called secular humanism, as listed in Humanist Manifesto III. This is not separating church and state; it is creating a dogma of anti-religion as a religion.
To understand #5, jump to the Kansas law suit on this issue.
In December of last year, Citizens for Objective Public Education (COPE) filed suit in federal court against the Kansas State Board of Education and the Kansas Department of Education to stop implementation of science standards designed for every child in the United States. Why?
The suit says that NGSS science standards aren’t objective nor neutral science standards. Rather than showing multiple beliefs about the origin and end of life, they adhere religiously to the humanistic/atheistic view of science, which is, ironically, pushing religion: the anti-religion religion. This violates the Constitution’s first and fourteenth amendments. NGSS pushers try to argue that anyone opposed to NGSS is for teaching another religion in the classroom. Actually, the opposite is true. It is the NGSS which promotes its religion of atheism and secular humanism represented in NGSS. That’s not only not objective, not neutral, and not scientific; it’s also a violation of law. Pushing secular humanism and atheism (and controversial environmental issues) as if they were settled facts is, ironically, unscientific.
In the words of John Calvert, lead counsel for the plaintiffs:
“This case is actually about a concealed Orthodoxy that requires all explanations provided by science to be materialistic/atheistic.”
A press release from Citizens for Objective Public Education states, “The Orthodoxy is not religiously neutral as it permits only the materialistic/atheistic answers to ultimate religious questions. The concealed use of the Orthodoxy in [Frameworks & Standards] has the effect of promoting the core tenets of non-theistic religions like Atheism and Religious (secular) Humanism.”
The press release lists mechanisms and strategies used by the NGSS Frameworks and Standards to establish the materialistic/atheistic worldview:
- Systematic omissions and misrepresentations
- Teaching materialistic/atheistic ideas to primary children whose minds are susceptible to blindly accepting them
- Programs designed to become habits of mind
- Implicit exclusion of theists from provisions that require education to promote “equity,” diversity and non-discrimination
How did NGSS (and how did Common Core) make such strides across America? Here’s how.
1. State Offices of Education now only exist to pedal federal programs that are administrative in nature, not Constitutional. We’ve strayed not only from our national Constitution but from our Utah Constitution also. Rather than allow the state school board to truly set standards, the USOE offices run the educational show, unaccountable to anyone.
2. Both the Common Core Standards and NGSS and the new AP History Standards come with Appendices and Federal Frameworks and implementation handbooks to control adoption, curriculum and how teachers teach.
The NGSS come with a written Framework in order to control what/how teachers teach. What is tested is what will have to be taught.
Does anyone wonder why SAGE tests, already administered statewide last year, INCLUDED SCIENCE questions? Wasn’t the original claim that Common Core standards just included math and English? Nope. The AIR/SAGE tests were already set up to test the NGSS from the start. The Utah State Office of Education (USOE) knew that we would essentially be adopting the NGSS.
The USOE’s deceptive relationship with AIR and deceptions to the State Board and to parents of Utah have to be stopped. The USOE knows that the Common Core Standards’ Appendices and NGSS Framework will control what/how teachers teach and they know that SAGE tests are already set up to test NGSS.
The parent committee to review the science standards is a mockery of the Utah law that set it up. Meanwhile, NGSS also goes out of its way to create, in its NGSS Implementation workbook a long list for states of useful “Members of a Guiding Coalition” but parents are excluded from the recommended coalition member list. Oversight? Hardly.
The guiding coalition of those who should adopt and implement NGSS standards is officially defined this way: “a small group of highly visible and credible leaders who share your aspiration and will sustain your effort and will implement NGSS in the face of pushback...” (This reminds me of the way the USOE has gone out of its way to marginalize, demonize, or simply ignore parent pushback while it told the public that appendices and frameworks would not control Utah education at the local level.) Here are those links, for reference:
Common Core Appendices (For English Standards):
Common Core Appendix (For Math):
Common Core Framework (Next Generation Science Standards):
Note that the Science Standards report admits the purpose of its framework: “Students will make the greatest strides in learning science and engineering when all components of the system—from professional development for teachers to curricula and assessments to time allocated for these subjects during the school day—are aligned with the vision of the framework.”
3. The College Board, under the direction of David Coleman, Common Core’s architect, is revamping ALL AP Courses to include Federal Frameworks to control curriculum and pedagogy. For example:
AP U.S. History Curriculum Framework
AP U.S. History Curriculum Framework Evidence Planner for Teachers (teachers manual)
4. Big-Government and Big-Business both within Utah and elsewhere are profiting from federal reforms that these Appendices and Frameworks require of states. This includes federal programs to retrain principals and teachers to “trust that data” and federally funded programs to implement 1-to-1 technology in schools.
Last week, the Governor’s committee chair, Rich Kendall, along with the Salt Lake Chamber and Education First, unveiled their 5-year education plan. No teacher or school board or parental input was needed. This plan hinges on Common Core’s English and math standards now (and will no doubt eventually include all of Utah’s standards that will be aligned to Common Core for the profit of business, not to profit or protect our children.
Education First and the Governor’s Prosperity 2020 really must believe that parents don’t see what’s going on. The entire standards review process is political theater—and parents, teachers, and local school districts are being played for patsies.
5. The Appendices and Federal Frameworks function to dismantle local education control because he who controls the testing, controls the teachers. These Frameworks are embedded into the AIR/SAGE tests and in 1-to-1 technology, coming to our schools via federal funding.
6. As the Federal Frameworks work with business powers to dismantle local education control, we will see our representative form of government dismantled. The Federal Executive Branch is effectively corralling states by using administrative law, bypassing Constitutional law.
Let’s stop the “Next Generation Science Standards”.
Open Letter From NV Mom
Dear Mr. Petrilli:
It is near impossible to catch my breath between your compulsory admonishments on “embracing the core.” I continue to read them and I continue to reject them. Your reasoning is unsound and, frankly, I simply disagree with you. So, I have a question for you Mr. Petrilli.
What if I just don’t want my children to be taught under the Common Core State Standards or any aka there of, period?
I do not understand this game of tug-of-war over my children. In polite society, Mr. Petrilli, when a mother says “No, thank you” on behalf of her child, she means “No, thank you.” It is not code for “verbally abuse me until I lay my child at the altar of Thy-Will-of-Bill-Gates-Be-Done.”
My mind ponders at length the accomplishments of Bill Gates. He is an excellent example of the American dream. Bill Gates capitalized on American freedom to live as he pleased; to learn in a way that fit him; to create and build for himself and his family. The irony that Bill Gates is now using his amassed millions to usurp that same freedom from American families and to pigeon-hole the nation’s children into a standardized learning that suits him is grotesque and unjustifiable.
I had the privilege this past week to meet some of the national moms standing against this federal rush for our children. I looked long and hard at each of them because I was looking for something specific. What I found was a group of moms: funny, wise, sharp, thoughtful, sincere, caring, focused, genuine, and much more. I didn’t find what I was looking for though. I didn’t find any bullies.
The mothers in this fight are not the bullies – white, suburban or otherwise. What we are is the last line of defense, in some cases, the only line of defense for our children. I’m afraid our silence has been mistaken for complacency. Maybe we were quiet when we should have spoken. That’s on us. But we are speaking now. We tried polite. We tried firm. We tried loud. When we are not being ignored we are being labeled.
If the pushers could stop the diversion tactics for just five minutes they would be able to recognize the point of failure immediately. The “architects” did not start with the children in mind, whereas, mothers always begin with their children in mind. The writers begin with job placement – moms begin with giving life. The writers think assessment – moms think development. The writers think corporate boardroom – moms think sandbox. Life is an unfolding of an individual’s soul and spirit – it is not a race of the mindless clones to the factory time clock.
Here is my admonishment to you Mr. Petrilli – I love my children and Bill Gates will run out of money before I ever run out of love for my children.