Archive for the ‘college and career readiness’ Tag
If you scour the official Common Core websites, ed.gov website, and the official speeches of Secretary Duncan and President Obama and the Pearson CEA on education, as many of us have done, you may at first knit your eyebrows in confusion.
It all sounds sweet.
How would education reforms that use such pleasant words ever be taking away my constitutional rights? Did the reformers really aim in completely opposite directions from their peachy words in arrangements and mandates and deprivations written elsewhere, in contracts and speeches and grant documents and regulatory changes on the same subject, written by the same groups of people?
Yes, they did.
Government and CCSSO/NGA sites come across as harmless, toothless, and positive, making it nearly impossible to interest the masses in fighting education reforms even though they are hurting our children and our country’s future. It’s even harder to change the direction of state school board members, governors and business people who also see nothing wrong with implementation of Common Core.
Why don’t they see the shackles?
It’s all about the language.
Daniel Greenfield at the Sultan Knish Blog has shed light on the deception. He illuminates the differences between the “new speak” envisioned by “1984” author George Orwell, and the actual “new speak” deceiving people in 2013.
Below are highlights from Greenfield’s explanation.
Read his full article here.
“Orwell’s mistake in 1984 was assuming that a totalitarian socialist state would maintain the rigid linguistic conventions of bureaucratic totalitarianism…. Liberal Newspeak is the hybrid product of advertising, academia and bureaucracy. It takes ideas from creative leftists, rinses them in conformity, uses techniques from the ad world to make them as safe as possible and then shoves them down everyone’s throat.
[In Orwell’s “1984”] Newspeak’s objective was to enforce linguistic schizophrenia… making opposition into a form of madness. Liberal Newspeak’s is less ambitious. It settles for muddling your brain.
Like modern advertising, its goal is to make you feel comfortable without actually telling you anything.
Liberal Newspeak is the chirpy announcer in a drug commercial soothingly telling you about all the fatal side effects while on screen couples have romantic picnics and go whitewater rafting.
That is the job of most of the news media… to be that announcer telling you that… your taxes will go up, your job will go to China and you will die, without getting you upset about the terrible news.
The dictionary of Liberal Newspeak is full of empty and meaningless words. Community, Care, Access, Sharing, Concern, Affordability, Options, Communication, Listening, Engage, Innovating and a thousand others like it are wedged into sentences. Entire pages can be written almost entirely in these words without a single note of meaning intruding on the proceedings.
… The techniques of advertising have been used to pluck up words that people once felt comfortable with and wrap them around the agendas…
Liberal Newspeak is concerned with making people safe while telling them absolutely nothing. It’s a new language that conveys reassurance rather than meaning. Its totem words are almost pre-verbal in that they mean nothing except “You are safe” and “We are taking care of you.”
That is what gibberish like, “We are improving access options for all community interest groups” or “We are striving to innovate while listening to everyone’s concerns” means. Daily life has become filled with meaningless pats on the head like that, which dedicated liberal newspeakers spew up like newborns. This empty babble says nothing. It’s the hum of the beehive. The signal that keeps all the drones headed in the same direction.
… It owes less of its perversity to Marxism than it does to Madison Avenue. The language that was used to convince millions to buy junk that was bad for them or that they didn’t need is used to convince them to buy liberalism.
While the implications of Liberal Newspeak are ominous, its tones aren’t. It deliberately embraces the feminine side of language. It strives to be comforting, nurturing and soothing. It never tells you anything directly. Instead it makes you read everything between the lines. It rarely answers questions. Instead its answers indirectly explain to you why you shouldn’t even be asking the questions.
… Its terminology is so vague that specific questions require a convoluted assemblage of words … There is no room for thoughts, only feelings. You can feel guilty in Liberal Newspeak. You can be outraged, self-righteous or concerned. But you can’t weigh one idea against another because it isn’t a language of ideas. It’s a vocabulary of emotional cues that could just as easily be taught to a smart animal.
… what they are really doing is maintaining conformity in the same way that the Soviet and Red Chinese engineers constantly discussing Lenin and Mao as inspirations for their work…Liberal Newspeak is full of terms about listening, engaging and sharing, but it’s a closed loop.
It’s language as a command and control mechanism for establishing conformity… It’s an unbroken loop of reassuring gibberish punctuated by bursts of anger at outsiders who are not part of the hive and don’t understand how important community access and engaged listening really are.
… It has emotions, but no ideas. Its purpose is to take an individualistic culture… and reduce it to a conformity that promises safety in exchange for never thinking again.”
COMMON CORE (AKA VOLDEMORT)
If you want to see one example of Greenfield’s idea applied to Common Core, simply look at the word Common Core.
It is the phrase that is most often unspoken. Like Voldemort.
In Utah, they call Common Core the “Utah Core”. In other states it has other names.
On the federal website, it is magically defined without even using the term at all!
“College and Career Ready Standards” are defined there as standards common to a significant number of states.
So any time –ANY TIME– you hear the phrase “college and career ready” you are being talked at, about Common Core.
But you don’t know that, or most people don’t.
You think it could be anybody’s legitimate definition of what makes a student prepared for a great career or a great college. Right? Nope. It means a mediocre standard that may or may not mean a student even studied as high as what used to be a normal course of high school math. (Just ask the NCEE or Jason Zimba.)
It’s all about the language.
The only way to fight manipulation of words and of truth is with its opposite: clear, direct, truthful language.
Thank you, Daniel Greenfield.
This video shows New Hampshire State Rep Emily Sandblade peppering the New Hampshire State School Board with questions about Common Core’s legitimacy.
The list of questions below is from at a parent-run site called “Math Wizards: Dedicated to Preserving and Promoting Mathematics in Education in New Hampshire.”
“List of Questions:
1) Are there plans on adding/changing the Common Core Standards in an effort to improve them? IF so, will the administration offer a detailed document so the public can see this? If not, why not?
2) What were the specific problems with the old NH standards (GLE’s)?
3) Are there other standards that are superior to Common Core and if so, why not focus on aligning w/those Standards?
If not, why not?
4) Are these standards internationally benchmarked? If so, which countries would you point to for a comparison?
5) Does the Administration believe the academic standards used in the district should be the best?
6) Will the teacher’s evaluation be tied to the standardized assessment? IF so by what percentage?
7) What evidence exists that Common Core will lead to better results?
8) Has anyone looked at or evaluated the new Smarter Balanced Assessment sample questions? If so, do they believe the Smarter Balanced Assessment is a good measurement tool for student proficiency in English and Mathematics?
9) What is the total estimated cost to the School District to implement Common Core?
10) Have they done any kind of cost/benefit analysis?
11) Are there any identified flaws with the English/Math Common Core Standards? If so, what is being done to correct those flaws? If not, has anyone in the district reached out to the two content experts on the Validation Committee to listen to their expert analysis and why they refused to sign off on the Math and English Standards?
12) Will the Administration commit to releasing the assessment questions to the public after students complete the testing?
13) What non-academic questions will be asked of the students on the new assessment?
14) Will parents be able to opt their children out of the new assessment?
15) Will parents be able to see the non-academic questions prior to their children taking the assessment?
16) Will Administrators support a policy that protects the privacy of the student and suggest a new policy to the Board?
17) How does the Administration plan on involving parents in the selection of textbooks/materials, etc?
18) Is the School District “technology” ready to implement CCSS and the new assessments? IF not, how long will that take and how much money will that cost local taxpayers?
19) What is the bandwidth capability of each school and have they run any tests to check the capacity?
20) If the bandwidth has not been tested, why not?
21) What specific actions has been taken to protect the teachers and set them up for success?
22) Does the school district have the IT staff to handle technological demands?
23) What specific adaptations and accommodations are being made for the special needs students?
24) How are the teachers aligning their curriculum to CCSS?
25) Are there additional costs to adding the Broadband for the district? IF so, what is the cost?
26) What is the timeframe for adding Broadband across all of the schools?
27) Schools began implementing CCSS 2012-2013, are there any findings that can be shared?
28) Are the CCSS definition of “college readiness” consistent with the requirements needed to enter a four-year university in the University of New Hampshire system? If not, what will the district do to alleviate that problem?
29) Do you agree that if a student graduates from a school that follows the “College and Career” readiness standards, that student will not be in need of remedial classes upon entering college?
30) Will the district evaluate graduates to see if they were in need of remedial classes? If so, will that information be made available to parents?
31) If students are graduating in need of remedial classes, what then is the course of action? Will district then need to fund new textbooks/curriculum, etc. to alleviate this problem?
32) Will Administrators commit to holding a public hearing on how Common Core will be implemented in the district? If so, will they commit to presenting all information, including info that is critical of Common Core so information is transparent to parents and residents?
Common Core is sold as a way to get your children to “think critically”. (Although the Common Core validation experts would argue that will not happen under Common Core Standards) If they really want to teach kids to “think critically,” why not present all of the critical information on Common Core to the parents too?
Why is the New Hampshire DOE running around town “selling” Common Core but refusing to offer ANY critical information or analysis on Common Core?”
An opinion editorial by Glenn Jacobs in today’s Daily Caller says that the Common Core should be renamed the “Lowest Common Denominator.” He suggests that American schools have been scientifically designed to prevent over-education, thus “ensuring workers who will never be tempted to better their stations in life.”
What do you think of that?
Considering the fact that common core creator Jason Zimba admitted that Common Core only prepares graduates for 2-year nonselective colleges or vocational careers, and considering the fact that top common core validation committee members refused to sign off on the standards; and considering the fact that career-orientation is one of the primary reasons that the younger children must now face common core tests, I really agree.
Glenn Jacobs also writes:
“Common Core is designed to churn out young people who will be educated enough to work, consume, and pay taxes, but who are not encouraged to be creative, or to use critical thinking, or to develop anything remotely characteristic of those who possess superior minds and the ability to achieve great things…. it should be students, not bureaucrats, who determine what path their lives take: be it as workers, scientists, entrepreneurs, engineers, architects, artists, or whatever.”
Of course. It should be up to the student, not up to a force-fed common test, and up to the government’s latest “need” list.
But nowadays, superior minds and the ability to truly achieve are damnable qualities in education reformer circles where collective, business-and-governmentally shared, top down control, are valued. Equity and equality and redistribution are the trendy words in education, far above concepts like individual superior achievement or individual worth. But what made America so great? Liberty. People showing off. People magnifying their gifts, not slowing down to fit into a common denominator.
Truly great achievements won’t happen in the educational future without freedom. Yet our Utah leaders fail to guard against these losses of freedom in education. The reformers want equity and equality so desperately that they are willing to sacrifice liberty and innovation– or maybe, they don’t realize that they have sacrificed it. But think it through: equity as defined by new U.S. Dept. of Education reports, now means forced, mandated redistribution of all things, including teachers, principals, standards, tests and money.
This sameness, the one-size-for-all that claims to ensure that no one can fail only ensures that no one can soar. This is their terrible plan.
It is, unapologetically, communism.
“…Common Core sets a very low bar for students. Its language arts component is so lacking that Dr. Sandra Stotsky, a professor emerita at the University of Arkansas and a member of the Common Core Validation Committee, refused to approve the program. Common Core’s mathematical component is no better. The Validation Committee’s Dr. James Milgram, a professor emeritus at Stanford University, also refused to sign off on Common Core, saying that the math standards are “as non-challenging as possible. … The Core Mathematics Standards are written to reflect very low expectations.”
However, many Americans are falling for the outright lie— the line that Obama’s “college and career readiness” catch phrase means raising, rather than lowering, the educational bar for high school graduates. They don’t fact-check. They don’t ask for empirical evidence. And they are fooled —or bribed into pretending to be fooled.
Even the Chamber of Commerce, the national PTA, and Harvard— are fooled by the words “rigorous” and “benchmarked” (or paid by Bill Gates) to assume that Common Core is an improvement –and most have not fact-checked claims of Common Core.
How dare I say that the special interest groups who copyrighted the Common Core, or my own governor, my President, my Utah Chamber of Commerce, my State School Board, and some of my favorite teachers, are all working toward a goal that will ultimately numb and dumb the population? (I realize that most of these people don’t realize what they are doing. Still, the effect happens, whether the intentions were good or not.)
The answer is that those who feel they are experts feel entitled to control the freedoms of the general population. They don’t care that we don’t want to be leashed. They are imposing a parental role over free adults. And weak people allow it.
Some believe that the economic stability of the state is ensured by the educational leashing and tracking of young citizens. But, after studying the promises used by proponents about Common Core, comparing them to government-produced reports and source documents, one can NOT reconcile common core claims with the truth. It becomes clear that proponents are either looking at a very narrow piece of the sky, or they are lying, or they are paid by others to pretend to believe the talking points.
Please read the many source documents with your own eyes, and plead with everyone you know to study these for themselves. Only by educating ourselves can we escape this disaster.
And it is a disaster. It is, truly, communism. Proof?
Multiple U.S. Department of Education reports show that the forcible redistribution of Americans’ earned wealth, and of teachers and principals, is a key goal of Common Core education reforms.
Redistribution of teachers, principals and wealth are tentacles of education reforms that most educators don’t see yet. Study “For Each and Every Child” — a Dept. of Education report. Study the videos of Linda Darling-Hammond, SBAC staff member and Obama advisor. Study the Executive Summary of Race to the Top. Do word searches for “equity” and “equality” and “redistribution.”
Those who do see, know that Common Core and its accompanying reforms are sobering and dangerous to personal liberty, to clusters of good schools, to ownership of locally-controlled education, and to innovative and independent thought.
Our children deserve not to have their teachers redistributed to worse (or better) schools by the government’s reforms. They deserve to learn more than a government-designed worker bee’s lowest common denominator version of learning. They deserve to be free to choose and change their life paths.
But Common Core tests and SLDS tracking systems coerce students into predetermined career paths, and U.S. Dept. of Ed documents push the forced redistribution of teachers, principles, and money.
Is this what we want, America?
Glenn Jacobs’ thoughts echo those of Daniel Coupland of Hillsdale College, who said:
“When a nation expands workforce training so that it crowds out other things that rightly belong in education, we end up turning out neither good workers nor good citizens… Yes, man is made for work, but he’s also made for so much more… Education should be about the highest things. We should study these things of the stars, plant cells, Mozart’s requium… not simply because they’ll get us into the right college or into the right line of work. Rather, we should study these noble things because they can tell us who we are, why we’re here… If education has become –as Common Core openly declares– preparation for work in a global economy, then this situation is far worse than Common Core critics ever anticipated. And the concerns about cost, and quality, and yes, even the constitutionality of Common Core, pale in comparison to the concerns for the hearts, minds, and souls of American children.”
The late, great C.S. Lewis couldn’t agree more. He wrote:
“Vocational training … aims at making not a good man but a good banker, a good electrician, a good scavenger, or a good surgeon. You see at once that education is essentially for freemen and vocational training for slaves. – C.S. Lewis
So when you hear the Utah Chamber of Commerce endorsing Common Core, when you see your local PTA endorsing Common Core, when you hear the Governor’s radio ads pushing Prosperity 2020, an appendage of Common Core, remember the thoughts of Jacobs, Coupland, and Lewis.
Free people are lifelong, joyful learners, and are not just technically-educated, government-ordered, cogs in the state machine.
David Coleman: Bye Bye, Classics
Countdown # 9
This is the second in a countdown series of introductions, a list of the top ten scariest people leading American education reform. (#10 on the list is posted here.)
David Coleman, lead “architect” for the English Language Arts (ELA) portion of the Common Core, is not an educator, but a businessman. Recently promoted to president of the College Board, he has promised to align the SAT with the Common Core that he built. He plotted education for K-12 students, and now he’s plotting it for postsecondary students, too.
How can a one-size-fits-all alignment make sense for all students –whether bound for a minimum wage job, a two-year college or the top university in the world– prepare each using a one-size-fits-all Common Core program? Either the lower-level students are to be pushed beyond reasonable expectations, or the higher level students are to be dumbed down. Or both.
Coleman is an outspoken antagonist to narrative writing and is no fan of classic literature, so he singlehandedly slashed most of it from the education most children in America will know, either already –or soon. Ask your kids, but remember, Common Core testing begins in 2014, so the intense pressure for teachers to conform to Common Core is yet to be fully felt.
What did Coleman do to Language Arts? He mandated that dreary informational text, not beautiful, classic literature, is to be the main emphasis in English classes, incrementally worsening as students get older.
What it looks like: little children in an ELA classroom may read no more than 50% classic literature. High school seniors may only read 30% classic literature. The other 70% must be informational text, which means everything from historical documents (um– why not read those in history classes?) to insulation installation manuals, presidential executive orders, environmental programming, and federal reserve documents. These are actually on the recommended reading list.
Another weird twist to Coleman’s Common Core is that he says students must “stay within the four corners of the text” as if that were possible. Context is not to be part of a discussion? Outside experience is not to be compared to the informational text? For a thorough, and eloquent, explanation of what has happened to English Language Arts because of Coleman’s influence, please read “Speaking Back to the Common Core” by Professor Thomas Newkirk of the University of New Hampshire.
What Coleman does not understand (–hmmm, maybe actual English teachers should have been invited to those closed-door meetings–) is that narrative is so much more than a style of writing.
Narrative isn’t just using the “I” word. It’s more than “What I Did Last Summer.”
Narrative is a pattern woven (often unconsciously) into every style of memorable writing, whether argumentative, persuasive, expository, etc. The best informational texts are narratively satisfying.
Coleman’s knocking down of narrative writing and slashing of it from academic standards is both ignorant and, to English teachers and astute kids, really confusing. For a funny, punchy review of the muddly ELA writing standards, read Professor Laura Gibbs’ “Inspid Brew of Gobbledygook”.
David Coleman is largely ignorant in the field of writing language arts standards. One member of the official Common Core validation committee, Dr. Sandra Stotsky, pointed this out and refused to sign off on the validity of the Common Core standards.
And David Coleman is not even nice, as you’ll see from the video linked here, where he mocks student narrative and uses the “sh–” word in a professional development seminar for teachers.
Lastly, Coleman’s large financial contribution to the campaign of Education Committee Senator Todd Huston (Indiana) whom Coleman hired for the College Board after his election, forms another branch of reasons that I can not trust this man to make wise decisions affecting children.
SLDS means: Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems.
SLDS is a citizen tracking program, and a grant program, that rewards states financially for participating. It’s also called P-20, which stands for preschool through age 20 (workforce) tracking. I see citizen tracking as creepy and Orwellian. What do you see?
The federal website shows, here– http://www2.ed.gov/programs/slds/factsheet.html — that SLDS was presented as a financial prize to states, a grant, under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It sounded good, but in reality, its purpose –besides the uneven redistributing of taxpayers’ money– is to track citizens (students).
The assumption was that everyone everywhere would approve of citizen tracking and would want to be tracked. A secondary assumption is that the government’s holding detailed, intimate information about its citizens would never be used against anybody wrongly, and that none of this has nothing to do with constitutional rights to privacy. (For more on that, click here: http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/rightofprivacy.html )
I highlighted the first element of data to be collected because it speaks about PII, personally identifiable information. PII can be a name, a social security number, a blood sample, handwriting sample, a fingerprint, or almost anything else. The fact that the government included “except as permitted by federal/state law” is VERY significant because the federal Department of Education did the dastardly deed of changing federal privacy law, known previously as the protective, family-empowering, FERPA law. The Department of Education did this without Congressional approval and are now being sued by the Electronic Privacy Information Center for doing it. But as it stands now, FERPA has been altered and won’t be put back to its formerly protective state. So parental rights over children’s data, and parental consent rules, have been cast aside. –All in the name of getting lots and lots and lots of data available, whether with malignant or benign intention, especially for federal use.
Here it is, pasted directly from the government site and available in English or Spanish:
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: $250 million
Type of Grant: Competitive
The program provides grants to states to design, develop, and implement statewide P-20 longitudinal data systems to capture, analyze, and use student data from preschool to high school, college, and the workforce.
Since it started in fiscal year 2005, the program has awarded grants worth $265 million to 41 states and the District of Columbia. The Recovery Act competition requires that the data systems have the capacity to link preschool, K-12, and postsecondary education as well as workforce data. To receive State Fiscal Stabilization Funds, a state must provide an assurance that it will establish a longitudinal data system that includes the 12 elements described in the America COMPETES Act, and any data system developed with Statewide longitudinal data system funds must include at least these 12 elements. The elements are:
- An unique identifier for every student that does not permit a student to be individually identified (except as permitted by federal and state law);
- The school enrollment history, demographic characteristics, and program participation record of every student;
- Information on when a student enrolls, transfers, drops out, or graduates from a school;
- Students scores on tests required by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act;
- Information on students who are not tested, by grade and subject;
- Students scores on tests measuring whether they’re ready for college;
- A way to identify teachers and to match teachers to their students;
- Information from students’ transcripts, specifically courses taken and grades earned;
- Data on students’ success in college, including whether they enrolled in remedial courses;
- Data on whether K-12 students are prepared to succeed in college;
- A system of auditing data for quality, validity, and reliability; and
- The ability to share data from preschool through postsecondary education data systems.
Tonight at 6:05, I’ll be on the Morgan Philpot show as a guest, speaking about this important issue and all its many tentacles, including the E.P.I.C. lawsuit against the Dept. of Education, the statements on data-mashing by Utah’s John Brandt and D.C.’s Joanne Weiss, letters I’ve received from the USOE on the subject of student tracking, and what we can do about it.
Tune in if you live nearby. KNRS.