Archive for the ‘Cost’ Tag

Emmett McGroarty Video Interview: Stop Common Core   2 comments

Attorney Emmett McGroarty speaks about the national effort to stop Common Core. McGroarty leads the Preserve Innocence Initiative of the American Principles Project.

Boston Globe Op Ed: How Common Core Harmed Massachusetts   1 comment

In the upside down, inside-out world of education reform, one of the most glaring inconsistencies is the case study of Massachusetts, a state that led the nation in standards and high student test scores, a state that had actually achieved competitiveness with leading international competitors, yet a state that dropped all that success, dropped its own tried and true success formula, to apply for a Race to the Top grant which tied it to common standards: Common Core.

I’m sharing portions of a recent opinion editorial written by the former president of the Massachusetts Senate, Tom Birmingham, on the subject of how Common Core hurt Massachusetts.

The full article is here, at the Boston Globe.

Birmingham said:

“If you had told me on that hot day in Malden 20 years ago when Governor Bill Weld signed the Education Reform Act that over 90 percent of Massachusetts students would pass MCAS, or that the Commonwealth’s SAT scores would rise for 13 consecutive years, or that our students would become the first in every category in every grade on national testing known as “the Nation’s Report Card,” or that Massachusetts would rank at or near the top in international science tests, I would have thought you wildly optimistic…

I’m …troubled by the Commonwealth’s willingness to replace our tried-and-true standards and MCAS with totally unproven national standards and testing. This conversion will come at an estimated cost of $360 million for new textbooks, professional development, and technology…

Most of the lowest-performing states have adopted the standards, known as Common Core. Based on nationally administered exams, states like Alabama and Mississippi could not hope to attain Massachusetts’ standards.

In implementing the Common Core, there will be natural pressure to set the national standards at levels that are realistically achievable by students in all states. This marks a retreat from Massachusetts’ current high standards. This may be the rare instance where what is good for the nation as a whole is bad for Massachusetts.

Given our incontrovertible educational successes, those seeking changes should bear in mind the admonition of the Hippocratic oath: First, do no harm.”

Tom Birmingham, former president of the Massachusetts Senate, is senior counsel at Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP. He coauthored the Massachusetts Education Reform Act of 1993.

The Common Core Price Tag   1 comment

To Heck With Diamonds:

Common Core is Forever

By Jenni White

Reposted with permission from: http://restoreoklahomapubliceducation.blogspot.com/2013/02/to-heck-with-diamonds-common-core-is.html

Restore Oklahoma Public Education (ROPE) has been closely following the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) cost issue, since NO ONE in charge of public education in Oklahoma – including the purse string holders at the state legislature – have been able to tell Oklahomans what the Common Core will cost Oklahoma taxpayers.

I wrote an article last month that was published in the American Thinker titled “The Ed Tech Scam”, to shed light on the fact that the CCSS have become an unfunded state mandate – specifically in the area of technology requirements.

Yes, the CCSS lovers say,

“Adopting new materials isn’t really a cost of the Common Core, it’s just a cost in education of providing relevant materials to students that are there anyway.”

However, when you have at least one Oklahoma Superintendent honestly reporting (to a national education magazine) how pinched he is to get technology in place prior to the roll out of the Common Core tests, we are inclined to suspend belief.

Once you get into a testing situation, you have to be able to support it without interruption,” said Mr. Kitchens, who added: “I do not think this is going to be a cheap exercise at all.”

As we’ve reported previously, legislators cemented the Common Core State Standards into Oklahoma law in order to get Race to the Top funds without even a cursory review of draft forms of the standards as there were none available at that time. This would seem a clear violation of the public trust.

Legislators to taxpayers,

“Hey guys, you’re responsible for funding these, but we have no idea exactly what’s in them or how much they’ll cost the state or what they’ll do to Oklahoma education, but trust us.”
Obviously the trust wasn’t warranted. Currently, fourteen states have some form of legislation against the CCSS.

Clearly all is not well in CCSS-land.

Indiana recently threw out their Chief For Change (Jeb Bush/Foundation for Educational Excellence) state Superintendent Tony Bennett in favor of relatively unknown candidate Glenda Ritz, mainly because of flap over the cost and effectiveness of the Common Core State Standards. Directly on the heels of this upset comes legislation to force the Indiana state legislature to examine the cost of the Common Core before continuing their implementation.

Tony Bennett has not left the building, however. He now presides over the Florida State Department of Education, where, interestingly, the Florida state Board of Education is questioning whether or not the Florida education juggernaut is ready to roll out and administer the PARCC tests because of their cost.

“One hundred million won’t get done everything we need to get done,” Barbara Jenkins, superintendent of Orange County schools, told the board.
Hoosiers have already caught on to the fact that their former State Supe has gone to another state and told Floridians they just can’t afford the reform measures he was deposed for pushing inside their borders. I’m not sure how this could inspire confidence in any Common Core state.

Then there’s the fact that so much of today’s ‘education reform’ efforts have been tied to private funding by Bill Gates.

In a clear, well-researched article written for the Heartland Institute on this topic, Joy Pullman quotes Betty Peters’ (Alabama State School Board member) concerns,

“A lot of private foundations are making decisions that would normally be left up to a public institution that would be accountable to the taxpayers.”
As often as we have heard the word “accountability” from our Oklahoma State Department of Education, this should be an eye-opener.

How in the world can the Council of Chief State School Officers or the National Governor’s Association (architects of the Common Core State Standards, funded in part by the Gates Foundation) be held accountable to Oklahoma taxpayers for education ‘reform’ efforts such as the CCSS? They are all copyrighted so they can’t be modified yet the CCSSO and the NGA have a disclaimer;

“NGA Center and CCSSO do not warrant, endorse, approve or certify the information on this site, nor do they make any representation as to the accuracy, completeness, efficacy, or timeliness of such information. Use of such information is voluntary on your part. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process or service does not constitute or imply endorsement, recommendation or favoring by NGA Center and CCSSO.”
Then there is the Jeb Bush factor. As information trickles into the public domain reporting the methods in which the Foundation for Educational Excellence writes educational policy through Janet Barresi and other Chiefs for Change, jaws should drop. Why should Oklahoma taxpayers be supporting Florida education reforms – especially those shown not to be as successful as first advertised?

This session in Oklahoma, Senator Clark Jolley has drafted a bill (SB447) which will usher in yet another new education ‘reform’ measure. MORE new tests! Yes, Oklahoma has chosen to believe the CCSSO’s verdict that most students will fail the PARCC ‘assessments’ when they are to be instituted in 2014.

Certainly, Oklahoma’s public school students cannot fail these tests with so much riding on them (the A-F school designation for one). Consequently, not only is Senator Jolley advocating that we must buy another set of tests (formative tests) to be given up to four times per year before the summative PARCC tests come on line, but that we should support this plan by cementing it into law – as with all other Race to the Top education reforms Oklahoma is currently implementing – without RTT funds.

Why must these tests be written into law? Every teacher gives (or should give) formative tests over content taught – something akin to chapter tests. These allow teachers to see whether or not students are ‘getting it’ in time to re-teach or re-direct learning to improve concept understanding. Certainly, this type of testing is better than summative (high stakes) type testing, but why should Oklahoma teachers have another law to follow?

Oklahoma teachers have enough on their plate without being mandated to follow another type of test. Even formative tests can be misused in such a way as to force teachers to teach to the test and isn’t that all PARCC tests are doing?

It has come to my attention this week that a company called Bellwether Education Partners supplies this type of “transitional national achievement test”.

I did a little research on Bellwether and found they work with such organizations as Chiefs for Change and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

We know Dr. Barresi is a Chief for Change. One must wonder if there is a connection here as with the other education ‘reforms’ to which she’s been linked. Again, Oklahoma should not be implementing education ‘reforms’ simply because they are being done elsewhere or because another foundation is willing to ‘help’ Oklahoma with their implementation.

From what source is the money going to materialize to pay for these new tests? We haven’t even figured out how to pay for the PARCC tests. It must be taxpayer funded – all government is. Maybe that’s why Dr. Barresi has asked for a whopping $75 to $100 million in extra funding for next year. The press release sent out by her office lauding Senator Halligan and Senator Ford – from whom the funding requests were submitted – quotes Senator Ford as saying,

“We have three areas in education we must address, including statutory requirements to fund programs such as medical benefits, additional appropriations to pay for reforms we’ve already enacted, and additional funding at the local level that school boards can use to address specific needs in their individual districts,” said Ford, R-Bartlesville.
Why are you asking taxpayers to fund these reforms AFTER you enacted them into LAW, Senator Ford? Why should taxpayers be jumping up and down to fund ‘reforms we’ve already enacted’ when they haven’t originated in Oklahoma, were never read by those who enacted them, never had any functional testing demonstrating their efficacy and have been shown not to work in Florida from where they did originate?

Certainly, taxpayers deserve an answer to that question.

In closing, several interesting polls have come out recently regarding the Common Core.

Whiteboard Advisors, Education Insider “conducts an anonymous survey of a small group of key education influential (policymakers, though leaders, and association heads) to get their thoughts and commentary about the context of the current debate and possible outcomes.”
Their survey for February 2013 that polled ‘insiders’ on the Common Core show that support for PARCC testing is falling. In addition, 87% of respondents say they expect more states to drop out of the Common Core Assessment Consortia (like Alabama and Utah), “as they start to get a fuller picture for the implementation costs of assessments and professional development and get very unhappy about what they have signed up for in a budget constrained environment.”
77% of respondents believe schools will not have enough bandwidth to meet the Consortia’s recommended specifications in time for the tests to come on line.

The 2013 MetLife Survey of the American Teacher, shows that only a maximum of 24% of teachers and principals either believed the Common Core would improve student achievement or prepare students for college and the workforce (page 76).

So why are we doing this ed ‘reform’ thing again?

I get the sneaky suspicion it’s not about kids…

 

—– —– —–

Thank you, Jenni White and R.O.P.E.

Florida short $300 million for next year’s Common Core implementation   2 comments

The Orlando Sentinel reports that education leaders worry schools won’t be ready for common core in time to meet its mandates and that there’s not enough money for implementation.

By Leslie Postal,  reposted from Orlando Sentinel  February 18, 2013

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2013-02-18/features/os-schools-common-core-technology-20130218_1_new-standards-new-tests-florida-schools

Florida schools are scrambling to be ready for new Common Core academic  standards – and the new computer-based tests that go with them – by 2015.

At their meeting Monday in Orlando, some members of the State Board of  Education questioned if schools had made enough progress training teachers  on the language arts and math standards and on preparing for a new batch of  online tests.

“It’s now February. We have be ready to roll the next calendar year,” said  board member Kathleen Shanahan.

The state’s new “readiness gauge” shows more progress on the standards than  the technology, as many schools still don’t have the computers, bandwidth or  high-speed Internet access needed for the tests and the state’s overall  “digital learning” push.

The State Board requested more than $400 million for new school technology  in the next year, but Gov. Rick Scott has proposed a smaller hike of $100  million.

“One hundred million won’t get done everything we need to get done,” Barbara  Jenkins, superintendent of Orange County schools, told the board.

Education Commissioner Tony Bennett praised the new standards, which 45  states have adopted, as academic guidelines that “will transform the way our  students learn.” The new tests, he said, were key to making sure they are  well taught.

But he said there are “complexities” to implementing both, among them the  “technology readiness” of the 22 states, Florida included, that plan to use  the new tests from the Partnership for  Assessment of Readiness for College  and Career. They are to replace FCAT math, reading and writing exams.

He said within the next few months his staff will devise a “Plan B” in case  implementation cannot proceed as planned by 2015.

orlandosentinel.com/features/education/os-schools-common-core-technology-201
30218,0,5142892.story=

Why Won’t Utah Pull Out of Common Core? An Email Exchange   2 comments

Today’s string of interesting emails

(between my State School Board representative, Dixie Allen, and me)

 

On Sat, Feb 16, 2013 at 7:45 AM, <dixieleeallen@gmail.com> wrote:

There is some very informative information in this weeks Ed Week – Thought you might gain some valuable insight – if you have time to check it out.

Dixie

 ——–

 

Dear Dixie,

 

Thanks again for including me in your loop.

 

Were you aware that Ed Week, like so many organizations that promote Common Core, is a Gates’ product?

 

I can’t take Ed Week seriously because it is published by Gates’ funding and its articles support his unelected-dictatorial influence over American education policy.

 

Christel

 ——–

Christel – that saddens me because most of their articles are written by educators and of all the participants involved in education – I trust teachers, students and parents most.

I also believe it is important to keep an open mind.

Best Wishes,

 

Dixie

  ——–

Dixie,

 

Openmindedness is great, but sincerity does not trump truth. Teachers and parents have written articles on both sides of the Common Core debate. I hope you listen to all of us, not just those published by Gates. There are some teachers and parents whose side of this story has been published elsewhere, because Gates will never publish the side that hurts his well-intentioned but unrepresentative agenda.

 

Christel

 ——–

 

Yes Christel, I do — however, in Utah where we are the lowest funded state in the nation by a long shot for per student expenditure, it would be so costly to throw out the Core curriculum that we have adopted and try to put in place another curriculum — especially the way we have developed curriculum over the past many years I have been in education (over 30 years).

 

The way we have created core standards over time is to bring teachers and other educators together from all over the state and decide which standards work in specific curricular areas and grade level expectations. By adopting the Common Core we upgraded all the curriculum by grade level for both Language Arts and Mathematics. Up until that time our State ranked about a C in Language Arts curriculum and a B for our Mathematics curriculum. So the issue of rewriting the curriculum is just not economically possible for this state — the best we can do is take standards that we know work and change those that we don’t believe will work.

 

When a state like Utah funds education at such a low level, there are many parts of the educational process that we must borrow from others who have the funding to develop them. In some cases that has been other states, that allowed us to use some of their identified quality education practices — so you may be right that those with lots of money have influenced this core — however, I know from experience that our State Office and many experts in the fields of educational mathematics and language arts were really the ones who wrote the standards — not the Bill Gates of the world.

 

Please, in conjunction with your fellow educators who have concerns – share those concerns with us or the State Office of Education and allow us to work on improving what we can with the little funding we do have now and over time. But don’t ask us to throw out the Core, because we cannot afford to do that, either in time or money.

Thanks for your passion.

 

Dixie

  ——–

 

Dear Dixie,

 

Thanks for continuing to talk with me.

 

As you know, Utah districts are funded primarily by local taxpayers, then some by the state, and then a small fraction of funding comes from the federal government. So, the fact that the people who pay the most have the least say, and the people who pay the least have the most say, is absurd. I’m sure you agree.

 

We can’t afford NOT to toss out the core. Although we have invested tens of millions (at least) in the tests and standards and PD so far, this is a drop in the bucket. California and Mississippi and other states are publishing news articles about the painfulness of having to implement all Common Core’s platforms without having the financial support from those who invited us to join Common Core. It’s a huge burden that will only become heavier with time.

 

The cost of creating our own Utah standards need not be exorbitant. In fact, I can almost promise you that it could be FREE. Many of the top curriculum and standards writers in our nation are on the stop common core side of this debate. ELA standards have been posted and published for free, for use by us or any state, for example, here: http://www.uaedreform.org/wp-content/uploads/2000/01/Stotsky-Optional_ELA_standards.pdf

                       

Math standards, I am sure would also be available for free if we were to ask, from such giants in the math and curriculum fields as James Milgram, Ze’ev Wurman, Christopher Tienken, William Mathis, Jim Stergios, David Wright, and others who are true friends to education and to Utah.

 

The CCSSO/NGA have published that they solely developed the standards, so I don’t know how any Utahns can claim to have done it.

 

The CCSSO meetings are closed-door without transparency for some reason, so there is no way that we will ever be able to find out who really did what. Nor can we influence what they’re doing with social studies and science right now. Nor can we amend the many problems we see, and/or that teachers and parents will be seeing over the next few years. By then it may be way too expensive to pull out.

 

That’s why I feel the time is now. Thanks for listening.

 

Christel

 ——–

 

%d bloggers like this: