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Speak Up! Utah Should Not Adopt Non-Objective, Common Science Standards   3 comments

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.

ngss

 

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):

http://www.corestandards.org/assets/Appendix_A.pdf

http://www.corestandards.org/assets/Appendix_B.pdf

http://www.corestandards.org/assets/Appendix_C.pdf

 

Common Core Appendix (For Math):

http://www.corestandards.org/assets/CCSSI_Mathematics_Appendix_A.pdf

 

Common Core Framework (Next Generation Science Standards):

http://sites.nationalacademies.org/dbasse/bose/framework_k12_science/index.htm

 

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

http://media.collegeboard.com/digitalServices/pdf/ap/ap-course-exam-descriptions/ap-us-history-course-and-/
exam-description.pdf

AP U.S. History Curriculum Framework Evidence Planner for Teachers (teachers manual)

http://media.collegeboard.com/digitalServices/pdf/ap/ap-us-history-curriculum-framework-evidence-planner.pdf

 

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”.

 

 

 next-generation-science-standards

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Open Letters: Common Core is Evil Posing as Good   10 comments

dixie

Dixie Allen, my State School Board Representative

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Sharing a long string of emails between my State School Board representative and me, from this week and last.
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Christel-

I hope that given the time you have spent the last couple of years discussing this issue, that you would understand that Utah has already adopted and put in place the Common Core Standard in Mathematics and English/Language Arts. We have added some standards and will contiue to update the Standards as needed – but we have already adopted and have wonderful teachers working on Curriculum and lesson design to effectively teach the Core.

If you have specific concerns with specific standards – please let me know.

Dixie Allen
Region 12
Utah State Board of Education

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Dear Dixie,

My purpose in sharing the article was to suggest that Utah’s State School Board, like so many boards and legislators nationwide, might consider halting or at least pausing Common Core as many other places are doing (or are seriously considering doing) given the amount of pushback that continues on this subject.

I am fully aware that Utah adopted Common Core!

Common Core is, frankly, evil posing as good. For the state school board to continue to deny this is either evidence of incompetence or it’s endorsement of these evils.

I do not use the word “evil” casually.

Common Core is evil because it is based on political power-grabbing that snuffed the voice of the people, a move that was based on dollar signs and not academic honesty. It was agreed to for a chance at federal cash.

It cannot back up its lies of “being an improvement” academically, since it’s totally experimental and untested. Similarly, it cannot back up its lie of being “internationally benchmarked” because it’s not internationally benchmarked.

It cannot back up its lie of being unattached to the federal government since it is tied like an umbilical cord to the Department of Education; the Dept. of Ed is officially partnered with the very group that created it (CCSSO) both in the standards and in common data technologies. The Department of Ed has contracts that mandate micromanagement of Common Core testing. There is much more –all documented online and you can prove or disprove it if you are honest enough to try.

And why should we– why should you, specifically, fight federal intrusion into education?

I am a teacher. Common Core diminishes teachers’ autonomy –and students’ well-being– through federally supervised testing that drives curriculum (or will, by next year when testing really kicks in) and by the federally funded SLDS data mining that amounts to “unreasonable search and seizure” of private effects.

While there are some harmless or even some good things in the standards themselves at the elementary school level perhaps, the standards do diminish classic literature especially for high schoolers, and they marginalize narrative writing, and dumb down high school math –as has been admitted even by its creators. (Click here to see this very short video link of this out loud admission of the math-dumbing, by Common Core creator Jason Zimba).

Even if this all were not true– if somehow standards did not diminish classic literature, marginalize narrative writing, and dumb down high school math, they are still AN ATROCITY, Dixie, from which you should be protecting the children of Utah. And the teachers of Utah.

Because they suffocate the spirit of liberty and independence.

1. COMMON CORE LACKS A REPRESENTATIVE AMENDMENT PROCESS.

If the Common Core Initiative was in harmony with the Constitution, it would be amendable by those governed by it.

Dixie, if this were legitimate, you and I would have a voice. But we do not.

Neither you as a state school board member, nor I as a Utah credentialed teacher, have diddly squat to say over what gets tested and taught in our math and English classrooms in Utah– because Common Core is only amendable by the NGA/CCSSO, according to their own words on their own creepy website.

Read it, for heaven’s sake! It states: “The Standards are intended to be a living work: as new and
better evidence emerges, the Standards will be revised.” (Revised by whom?)

Not you and not me.

Again, from the official Common Core site: (their caps, not mine) “ANY USE OF THE COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS OTHER THAN AS AUTHORIZED UNDER THIS LICENSE OR COPYRIGHT LAW IS PROHIBITED. ANY PERSON WHO EXERCISES ANY RIGHTS TO THE COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS THEREBY ACCEPTS AND AGREES TO BE BOUND BY THE TERMS… NGA Center/CCSSO shall be acknowledged as the sole owners and developers of the Common Core State Standards, and no claims to the contrary shall be made.”

2. IT LACKS CHECKS AND BALANCES. The use of checks and balances was designed to make it difficult for a minority of people to control the government and to restrain the government itself. If the Common Core Initiative– a nationalized system of standards, aligned tests, data collection and teacher accountability measures promoted federally– if this initiative were in harmony with the Constitution, it would not be held in the power of a minority of the people (of the NGA/CCSSO and of the Dept. of Ed which is partnered with CCSSO). It would have been vetted prior to implementation by the proper means outlined in the Constitution– but it wasn’t. As Alyson Williams pointed out, “There is no such thing in the U.S. Constitution as a council of governors… Governors working together to jointly address issues and create rules that affect the whole nation is not a legitimate alternative to Congress, our national representative body.”

3. IT LACKS AUTHORITY. If the Common Core Initiative was in harmony with the Constitution, it would have been born legitimately: but its only “authority” is the unprecedented assigning of money to the discretion of the Education Secretary without proper congressional oversight. From that Stimulus money came the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund and the Race to the Top grant programs that enabled the Department of Ed to get away with setting up their own, experimental rules for us to follow in exchange for the money – rules that normally would be determined by the States alone.

4. IT ALTERS THE LIMITS OF FEDERAL POWER. If the Common Core Initiative was in harmony with the Constitution, it would not be openly admitted even by its most notorious proponent, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, to alter the traditionally limited role of the federal government. Look:

Duncan said, in his 2010 “Vision of Education Reform” speech

: “Our vision of reform takes account of the fact that, in several respects, the governance of education in the United States is unusual. Traditionally, the federal government in the U.S. has had a limited role in education policy… The Obama administration has sought to fundamentally shift the federal role, so that the Department is doing much more… [THIS IS CLEARLY, CLEARLY UNCONSTITUTIONAL, DIXIE.] …the Recovery Act created additional competitive funding like the high-visibility $4.35 billion Race to the Top program and the $650 million Investing in Innovation Fund… America is now in the midst of a “quiet revolution” in school reform… In March of 2009, President Obama called on the nation’s governors and state school chiefs to develop standards and assessments… Virtually everyone thought the president was dreaming. But today, 37 states and the District of Columbia have already chosen to adopt the new state-crafted Common Core standards in math and English. Not studying it, not thinking about it, not issuing a white paper—they have actually done it.

Do you hear Secretary Duncan gloating over his ability to control us?

Yet the honorable Utah State School Board continues to promote the notion that we are free under Common Core. It’s a lie. The State School Board may be full of very good people like yourself, who donate to Sub-for-Santa and read to their grandchildren; but they are still guilty of passing along huge lies which they have received and believed from the pushers of the Common Core gold rush.

Common Core governance is a slap in the face to the work of the Founding Fathers.

We are rightly shuddering at the math disaster and the high-stakes testing, are rightly gasping at the lack of any cost analysis to taxpayers and at the privacy-robbing aspects of the Common Core agenda. But these arguments are secondary to the hairiest of the reform devils, the destruction of individual liberty and the end of local control of education.

Dixie, my dear representative! Please, please stand up to these people. Stop swallowing the hogwash. Stop allowing your peers on the board to spread the propaganda. It is not based in truth.

Christel Swasey
Utah Teacher

apple books

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Updating with more letters 1-17-14

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Dixie,

To answer your question, I taught public high school English for five years, University level English at UVU for two years, and public school third grade for two years. I have also been a home school teacher of fourth and fifth grade for two years. I began teaching in 1995, am still teaching, and my credential has never expired.

But. I don’t think my resume (nor yours) matters, though, because it is the principle of local and individual liberty that is the issue most harmed by the Common Core Initiative and the “Blueprint for Reform” that Common Core rides upon.

Educational experience and resumes don’t even come into the question; anyone can see through this if they take five minutes to use their brains.

I notice that you are still avoiding the issues I raised, and that you are unruffled by where the Common Core came from, or who gains financially at our expense from them, and who ultimately controls them –and thus who ultimately controls you and me and our grandchildren.

It is unfortunate that you will not confront these uncomfortable realities, very sad for the rest of us whom you are supposed to be elected to represent.

I’m forwarding news links that a Colorado principal forwarded to me today. I hope you become aware of not only the important reasons, but also the speed at which Common Core opposition is growing.

–Christel

Many State Legislatures 2014 Sessions to Debate Common Core Testing Issues
http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/01/08/15sessions_ep.h33.html
New York Assembly Speaker Says Case for Common Core Testing Should be Delayed
http://www.newsday.com/long-island/assembly-speaker-common-core-should-be-delayed-1.6752646
New York Teachers to Vote “No Confidence” in State Ed. Head for Ignoring Common Core Testing Moratorium Call
http://www.nystateofpolitics.com/2014/01/nysut-will-seek-no-confidence-vote-on-king/
New York Common Core Website Links to Offensive Test-Prep
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/01/11/common-core-chaos-ny-state-website-sends-kids-to-offensive-test-prep/
Florida Lawmakers Question Rush to Implement Common Core Exams
http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/01/08/3859588/lawmakers-question-timeline-for.html
North Carolina State Ed Board May Delay Move to Common Core Tests
http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/01/08/3516802/nc-education-board-wants-to-keep.html
New Testing Standards Stress Connecticut Educators
http://www.nhregister.com/social-affairs/20140108/new-testing-standards-stressing-new-haven-educators
Rushed Common Core Testing Rollout is Like Driving in the Fog
http://www.npr.org/2014/01/02/259082746/education-critics-say-common-core-standards-rollout-is-rushed
How Progressives Opposing Common Core Testing Should Deal with Strange Political Bedfellows
http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/2014/01/are_progressive_critics_of_com.html
FairTest Fact Sheet on Why a Common Core Testing Moratorium is Necessary
http://www.fairtest.org/common-core-assessments-factsheet
Educators Explain Alternatives to High-Stakes Exams
http://www.northjersey.com/news/239854621_Educators_air_academic_alternative_to_increased_student_testing.html
See Why and How Performance Assessment Works
http://www.fairtest.org/performance-assessments-succeed-new-york
Opt Out of Tests to Force a Balanced Assessment System
http://childrenaremorethantestscores.blogspot.com/2014/01/we-demand-balanced-assessment-system.html
Virginia Lawmakers Call for Fewer Tests
http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/virginia-lawmakers-call-for-fewer-sol-tests/2014/01/13/a7461654-789a-11e3-8963-b4b654bcc9b2_story.html
North Carolina Teachers Protest Plan to Give Third-Graders 36 Mini-Tests
http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/01/09/3519784/wake-to-give-more-tests-to-third.html
Rhode Island Expands Graduation Test Waivers
http://www.providencejournal.com/breaking-news/content/20140110-r.i.-department-of-education-expands-necap-waiver-for-high-school-graduation.ece
Mass. Teachers Reject Test-Based “Merit” Pay Bonuses
http://dianeravitch.net/2014/01/10/teachers-in-lee-ma-return-merit-pay/
Let’s Teach Students to Think Critically, Not Test Mindlessly
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-cooper/lets-teach-students-to-th_b_4556320.html
Weingarten: Teaching and Learning Over Testing
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/randi-weingarten/teaching-and-learning-ove_b_4575705.html
Standardized Testing Has Created Standardized Students with Useless skills
http://www.highlandernews.org/11749/standardized-testing-has-created-standardized-students-with-useless-skills/
Anthem for a High-Stakes Testing Era (with apologies to Country Joe and the Fish)
http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2014/01/anthem-for-high-stakes-testing-era-with.html
“Standardized,” the Movie, Screening Schedule
https://www.facebook.com/STANDARDIZEDtheMOVIE

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Christel,

It is good to know where you have experienced teaching and educational oversight. Thanks for sharing!

However, the concerns you share form the Colorado administrator still are mostly about the assessment programs. I hope that you are aware that we are developing our own assessments with the help of the AIR Company. We are doing everything we can to be in control of our Standards, Assessments and Data and I am convinced we are accomplishing our goals.

Thanks for your input, but would really like to see you look at what Utah is actually doing and not align us to other states, especially without checking out the facts as they apply to our state. It would be so good to have you working to help us improve our school system, rather than identifying what isn’t working across the nation. We still are trying to focus on improving education for the students of Utah and I believe we are making progress each and every year.

Best Wishes,

Dixie

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elephant

Dear Dixie,

It’s not just other states that are unhappy with Common Core tests. Utahns have plenty to say about Common Core tests and their AIR/SAGE $39 million dollar waste– costs to us not only in dollars but costs to student data privacy and costs to liberty from oppressive federal and corporate oversight of Utah’s own educational business.

Have you read Matthew Sanders’ Deseret News “Common Core Testing Fraught With Flaws” op-ed on AIR? Have you read Dr. Gary Thompson’s many writings and heard his testimony? Thompson, a Utah child psychologist, exposed how AIR tests are to embed subjective assessments which are illegal. He sees AIR subjecting all students, but especially more vulnerable populations (including African Americans, gifted students, autistic students, Latino students, Asbergers’ students) to what he names “cognitive child abuse”. Thompson has spoken out here in Utah and across the nation, notably at the Wisconsin Legislature, specifically about the huge problems with AIR and similar tests.

Dr. Thompson said: “AIR’s stated mission is to “to conduct and apply the best behavioral and social science research and evaluation towards improving peoples’ lives, with a special emphasis on the disadvantaged,” and any reasonable minded person, as well as a State Superintendent of Public Schools, should at least reasonably conclude that this billion dollar research corporation (AIR) with some of the brightest minds on the planet can design tests any way that they please, unless per contractual agreement and other applied constraints, they are expressly forbidden from doing so. Utah’s parents have been told in multiple town hall meetings by the USOE that they will never be able to have access to testing questions devised by AIR in order to ensure “test integrity.” Although I am impressed with USOE and various politicians who stated that 15 parents and a few politicians will be allowed to view the tests being designed by AIR, I question their qualifications to perform anything more than a cursory review of the questions being designed. Speaker of the House Becky Lockhart may be able to balance a complex state budget, but I doubt that she has the necessary background in psychometrics to perform a critical analysis of the issues that need to be examined.”

Matt Sanders expressed additional concerns with AIR/SAGE very concisely. I would love to see the state board answer his questions, and Dr. Thompson’s concerns, about privacy of student data under AIR/SAGE.

Sanders’ article, in the April 2013 Deseret News, said:

“A key component of the Utah Common Core implementation is a new online, adaptive testing system called Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence (SAGE). The the Utah State Office of Education (USOE) contracted to pay $39 million to American Institutes of Research, a Washington, D.C., behavior and social science research organization, to build and host the new testing environment.

I applaud innovation in education and believe the pursuit of standards to improve competitiveness a step in the right direction. I also believe adaptive testing shows some promise. Further, I admire the efforts made by USOE personnel to hold town meetings across the state to introduce the proposed new testing approach to educators and parents — at times encountering some hostility from parents concerned about their children being subjected to unproven educational systems.

At the SAGE introduction in Davis County, I observed many concerns raised by parents. While there, I also asked a couple of questions, but the answers left me wanting. Upon further reflection and analysis, I believe the SAGE approach is deeply problematic, and I put forth the following questions:

Where is the evidence?

Public sector projects should carry assurance of maximum societal benefit for optimal cost. For approval, they should present evidence from research and pilot or scaled tests of the proposed reform.

Despite substantial searching, I could find no defensible studies anywhere on the USOE website, and was given no assurance by state officials that any pilot studies underpin the wholesale changes. They have not cited, as would be asked of any high school research paper, any support for their reforms. Thus, the USOE has implemented new standards, new curriculum and has spent scarce state resources on an apparently untested, unproven testing approach.

How will student data be used?

The contract with AIR contains no explicit protections of student data collected in testing by the well-known federally funded researcher. Despite repeated questions to USOE officials, they could provide no reference statutory protection of student data. USOE should provide complete assurance to families and educators that data are protected and not available for personal identification.

One of the key objectives of the Common Core initiative is to provide means for inter-state performance comparisons. However, the USOE FAQ on testing indicates that, “There are currently no national norms for the new common core or Utah Core Standards … they cannot indicate where Utah’s students stand relative the common-core standards.” So no collaborative benefits exist for developing a unique Utah test.

Why not a different approach?

Consistent with its mandate, the USOE is appropriately concerned by the college readiness of Utah students. Rather than wholesale reforms dependent on unproven curricula and tests, why not direct efforts to proven methods with known cost effectiveness?

For instance, the USOE could be redirecting the $39 million to Utah school districts to reduce class size and invest in technology, increasingly necessary to accommodate Utah’s rising student population.

… Utah schools could adopt and adapt the use of ACT benchmark tests beginning in the 8th grade to determine college preparation progress. The ACT and SAT tests have long been considered robust indicators of readiness by educators and college admissions staff alike.

While the Common Core aims are admirably ambitious, the outcomes so far don’t seem to make the grade…” — Matt Sanders msanders@deseretnews.com TWITTER: Sanders_Matt

Another point is my own: It is clear to all Utahns (it’s stated on AIR’s website) that AIR is partnered with SBAC, which is under a stranglehold by the Department of Ed. SBAC is mandated to “share student data”, to “synchronize tests” with other national common core testing groups, and to give constant reports to the feds. By its partnership, thus AIR is entangled in the same stranglehold. That means Utah is entangled, despite what the state board claims and wishes.

I have yet to see any evidence that AIR/SAGE tests are purely math and English assessments. I have yet to see any evidence that the tests are even being developed by Utahns rather than by the psychometricians that the AIR website flaunts as spearheading all the works of AIR.

Again, thanks for talking.

Christel

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Christel,

I am well aware of all your quotes and concerns. Having served on the adoption committee for our new assessment with testing directors, superintendents, teachers and specialists in the field from districts and the state office, I have heard all the concerns and recommendations on our new assessment program. I also was privileged to meet with the parent committee that examined all the test items and helped correct a few minor problems, but heard nothing about any far reaching problems that hadn’t been noted and improved.

I also had the opportunity to oversee several of the pilot districts that used “computer adaptive assessment” which was then the North West Evaluation Association. The pilots were created by the State Board and Governor Huntsman after a year or so of looking at quality assessment programs. These districts had used the assessment to accomplish great growth in student scores for about five years. NWEA was one of the companies that applied to fill the role of our assessment program that had been funded and approved by the legislature. However, NWEA was not willing to write test items that addressed Utah’s specific Core Items. Thus our committee chose AIR because of their willingness to help us (teachers in the field) to help write items that addressed our specific Core Curriculum and they also had great recommendations from other educational entities throughout the nation.

It would be great if we did not have to invest so much in evaluation, but with Grading Schools and other legislation throughout our state and the nation, we must insure we are providing accurate information for the public and our schools. It has also been proven over the past few years that the Computer Adaptive Assessments have been valuable to teacher, parents and students, as it provides a clear understanding of what curricular issues students understand and what needs extra work and support. Testing is now and has always been an instructional support to help teachers, students and parents know how to help our students improve and be successful.

Now, as you suggest, it would be great if our legislature understood how important it is to fund lower class size, preschool education for “At-Risk” students and establishing enough funding to attract the best and brightest teachers to our classrooms. As the lowest per pupil funding in the nation, I really believe that both the State Office of Education and our district partners are doing the very best they can to provide a quality education for our students. Can we do more? SURE!! But the more takes funding and spending less energy and resources to fight battles that reflect on issues that we have already identified and attempted to solve.

Christel, it would be so nice if you would come to our Board Meetings and take in all that has and continues to be done to improve our standards, our curriculum support systems, our assessment and our commitment to quality educators and education for all of our students. Many people are working so hard to insure we are doing the best with what we can afford to provide the children of our state.

Thanks for the opportunity to discuss these issues, but hope you will come see the process in action and join with us to improve our education with a positive attitude and support system.

Thanks again!!

Dixie
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elefant

Dixie,

I guess I should thank you for the invitation to “join with you to improve education with a positive attitude” at school board meetings.

But I noticed at the State School Board Meetings that I went to in 2013 and 2012 that there was an elephant that filled the room; he was so big that people couldn’t even see around him and so loud that people couldn’t talk.

He stood so that people could not move. He silenced visitors who were in his way just by leaning on them, and his glare frightened teachers, parents, and students who had come to participate in the meetings. He had his feet on some children. He wore a huge banner with his name on it, but the school board used different language to name him than what he had named himself, if they spoke of him at all.

Oddly, the Board most often dodged elephant-related questions.

He attended the Wasatch District’s school board meetings too.

For two years now, he’s eaten endlessly at the expense of taxpayers –money which was reserved for the sacred use of school children and their teachers. He ate a lot.

He’s still eating. There is not enough food for him as well as for the children, yet the Board said it would rather feed him, for some reason. So the board asks the legislature to feed the children and the teachers. Because all the board’s money is gone to feeding the elephant.

A positive attitude?

I howl because I can not get the damn elephant off my children without your help.

You have the power. Please remove him.

Christel
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Christel,

Although you don’t name the “elephant in the room” — I surmise you see it as Federal Intrusion. I encourage you to really look at what the Federal Government does to help provide dollars for public education and the actual data that they and our state legislature ask for in policy and then help us find ways to insure that such data doesn’t compromise the individual rights of our students. Some data is absolutely necessary, but if we know specifically what data is problematic, we can look at those issues. From my point of view as an educator, I see that test data pulled together for teachers, schools, districts and the state helps us insure that we are providing a quality education. If we overstep the process in regard to trying to insure a quality educational system — we need to know specifics — not the letters to the editor or posting on facebook, twitter and etc., with no details as to what is the real problem.

We all want to improve and support public education. Hope you will help us, instead of continuing to state there is an “elephant in the room” — but with no definition of what the elephant is and how you see we can solve the problem.

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Dixie,

The elephant is the Common Core Initiative.

The Common Core elephant –its head is the set of experimental, untested, distorted standards which were neither written nor known about by Utahns before they were forced upon us.

I say “forced” because that is exactly what happened. The board never asked legislators, teachers, principals or parents to analyze these standards prior to throwing away classic standards. And if we speak against them now, we are labeled “insubordinate” or “misinformed”.

I say “distorted” because they are inappropriately “rigourous” for the youngest grades and inappropriately low, especially in math, for the high school grades.

The Common Core elephant– its heart is common data standards (via PESC) which Utah agreed to in its acceptance of federal grant money for the federal SLDS system. This is the heart of the data problem. We don’t have a state system; we have a federal system that we call the “state” longitudinal database. But there is nothing protecting private student data from being submitted to the federal Edfacts exchange nor to the federally partnered EIMAC/CCSSO national data collection vehicle.

Individual student data is none of anyone’s business beyond the district. Only the teacher and principal and parents need to know how a student is doing. Period. The end of the data story.

Governments grading schools is a wrong concept and should be fought but until that’s won, let them grade in aggregate form. That’s not what is happening. Even Superintendent Menlove is a member of the CCSSO, whose stated goal is to disaggregate student data.

I do not see any justification for Utah’s FORCED database (SLDS) from which no parent may opt her child out, according to this very board.

The Common Core elephant– its legs are the tests. The tests drive the future curriculum. They label teachers. They force the standards to center stage, stealing from other subjects and activities that the teacher would otherwise focus on, for example, Utah’s added standard of cursive or a teacher’s personal expertise and enthusiasm for things that go above or beyond Common Core.

Utah’s AIR/SAGE test’s alignment with all the other national common core tests are the death of its autonomy. And the federal say in these tests makes them illegitimate under the Constitution and GEPA law, which states: 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 .

Common Core is the elephant in the room because at the board meeting, nobody talks about it. They call it “Utah core.” They call them “Utah’s standards.”

Common Core sits on top of and drives EVERYTHING in Utah education today. It saps all our funding. It dominates all our teacher preparation. It dictates all new technologies. It defines our data collection. It is the basis for our $39 million dollar test. And alignment to Common Core is the ONLY prerequisite for any textbook to be used in a classroom anymore– content no longer matters; just common core alignment matters. I know this from speaking with the Utah curriculum committee.

One would think that Common Core must be remarkable and wonderful, to have such honored place in Utah, to wield such power. But it’s a joke. A joke on us. It costs us countless millions yet it’s academically distorted, is not even written by educators and has never been field tested!

It’s nothing that it says it is– not “globally competitive,” not “internationally benchmarked,” not “state-led” nor “state created.” It was David “Corporate” Coleman who on a whim decided informational text is better than classic literature, and he is the King of Common Core. Not only did he design the ELA, but now he runs the entire College Board where he aligns college entrance exams to his creation– not the other way around, as has been claimed. This is not college readiness. It’s corporate control of what that term even means anymore. We don’t get a say. The corporate elite, meaning David Coleman/Achieve Inc./Bill Gates/Pearson/CCSSO who are officially in partnership with Arne Duncan, are calling the shots. And why don’t they want us to have legitimate, high, classical college-ready standards? Because it costs too much money. This is clearly explained by Marc Tucker, CEO of the National Center on Education and the Economy .

Dixie, I have told you all of this before. You either don’t believe me or don’t think it matters.

Many people don’t want to call anything evil. But I believe there is no good if there is no evil, and I believe that good and evil do not form alliances. There are people and collaborations with whom we should not shake hands, no matter how pleasingly they present themselves to us. Because they are selfish; they are steal what is good and important away from us. They hurt us while promising us the moon.

Common Core is the excuse and the rallying cry for the robbers of autonomy and our local conscience in educational decision making. These people ride on the back of the elephant and get richer and more powerful all the way. These riders of the elephant include David Coleman and his corporations, the CCSSO, NGA, Pearson, Gates, Arne Duncan, and the corporations that sell Common Core aligned products. None of them care whether they’re selling snake oil or something real. They don’t care. They count on us to be too busy or too stupid to check their claims and their price tags.

Thanks for listening.

Christel
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Christel,

Wow — I really thought you might have a valid point with the intrusion element. However, as a teacher, principal, curriculum director and now a State School Board Member for now over 40 years total, I have to tell you some facts!

First – all of our standards for the State of Utah have been unproven — mostly because they were created by educators in the field and tested over time and revised over time. Over the years we have, as a state, created our own assessments with help of great talent at our State Office — but both standards and testing items are created by our state teachers and specialists and evaluated and revised over time. The Common Core is and will be the same — except there are several specialists at the university level who has helped us look forward to the ramifications of State and Federal Standards and how all students will be equipped for college and universities regardless of what state university or college they choose.

Secondly, as a Principal of elementary, a 5th grade center and a high school, I can attest that with our past “stair step curriculum” – using Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1 and 2, we lost almost a third of our students in being prepared to master the math curriculum for the high school. The standards for both the Mathematics and Language Arts for the Common Core is much more relevant to the investigative and inquiry expectations of both learning and work skills needed by our graduates.

Finally, Utah did not take any money specifically from the Feds for adopting the Common Core. We, along with 47 other states, found the standards higher and more relevant to the expectations of higher education and careers throughout the United States. Also, we had the support of our Governor and the Governor’s Association, the Chief School Officers and our Chief School Officer and almost all university professors and teachers we asked to evaluate the standards.

Bottom line, Christel, the Standards are a higher quality than what we have had previously and they have saved our state thousands of dollars, as we did not have to bring the specialists together by ourselves, but were able to share with the rest of the nation in the creation and evaluation of the standards.

I am sorry you see the Standards as the “Elephant in the Room” — because they are a very effective step forward toward a 21st century curriculum for our state and our teachers and students are rising to the level of the new standards very effectively. Even my elementary grandchildren now know how to substitute letters for numbers and solve for the unknown. Interestingly, as a high school junior I was the only one in my small high school that was taking Algebra — and that was only about 40 years ago. Needless to say our standards need to change over time and working together is much more effective than attempting to do it by ourselves.

Let me know if you want to find answers and work to help us move forward. I would like to have you working with us, instead of buying into the right wing rhetoric that you find on the internet.

Dixie
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Dixie,

Previous standards were not unproven; they were time-tested. Common Core is not time tested. ( Did you look at the article I shared about the “dataless decision making” that is Common Core, the link from Seton Hall University?)

Students have NEVER been deprived of classic literature or basic high school math in past sets of standards. They have never been pushed, for example, to write so many “boring” informational essays to the exclusion of narrative writing. They have not been given insurmountable, unreasonable obstacles to hurdle at first grade levels before. They have not been deprived of calculus in high school math before. This is all new. This is all totally unproven. This is so dangerous as we have no idea what the consequences will be, good or bad. We are putting unfounded, undeserved faith in people like noneducator David Coleman who wrote the ELA standards. We are putting all our eggs in a soggy paper basket.

Math: Thousands of Utahns disagree with your assessment of what good math teaching should look like. You are entitled to your opinion, but I can tell you that my son’s friends’ mothers (of children who remained in public school when I took my son out to home school him two years ago) now tell me their children cry and hate school, and ask their mothers (who are not as willing) to please home school them also. This is tragic. And these mothers always say the children’s cries of discontent center on the bad “new” math– which is Common Core math. These are fifth graders.

Money: We took millions from the feds for their ed reforms– which specifically included Common Core and SLDS. Utah took these many millions in exchange for adoption of four federal education reforms. Part of the money, $9.6 million from the feds, built the student-snooping system they wanted, which we now call the Utah State Longitudinal Database System. As part of that SLDS grant, we agreed to PESC common data standards. This agreement is stated on page 4 of section 1 (page 20 on the PDF) of Utah’s 2009 ARRA Data Grant: “The UDA will adhere to standards such as… the Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council (PESC)…”

“The State Core Model is a common technical reference model for states implementing state longitudinal data systems (SLDS). It was developed by CCSSO as part of the Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) adoption work with funding from the Gates Foundation…The State Core Model will do for State Longitudinal Data Systems what the Common Core is doing for Curriculum Frameworks and the two assessment consortia. The core purpose of an SLDS is to fulfill federal reporting (EDEN/EDFacts)…”

Those are their words, not mine.

Obama gave governors $53.6 billion from the “State Fiscal Stabilization Fund” contained in the federal stimulus. The money, used in exchange for the adoption of four federal ed reforms, was given conditionally: These reforms are detailed on the US Department of Education’s website. They are:

1.Adopt College-and-Career Ready standards [COMMON CORE] and high-quality, valid and reliable assessments [SAGE/AIR].
2.Develop and use pre-K through post-secondary and career data systems [SLDS].
3.Increase teacher effectiveness and ensure equitable distribution of qualified teachers. [FORCED REDISTRIBUTION]
4.Turn around the lowest-performing schools [ACCORDING TO THE FEDS’ DEFINITION, NOT OURS].

How anyone can say with a straight face that the feds aren’t involved with Common Core, is beyond me. They even redefined the term “college and career readiness” as “standards common to a significant number of states” which is only Common Core, on their federal site.

As for right-wing rhetoric or left-wing rhetoric, there’s as much left-wing rhetoric condemning Common Core (tests and standards and student data snooping) as there is right-wing rhetoric, anyway.

Left wing criticism of Common Core/SLDS: Diane Ravitch, Paul Horton, Mass Sen. Ed Markey (D)

Right wing criticism of Common Core/SLDS: Pioneer Institute, Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute, The Blaze network, Fox News network.

And there are right wingers who praise it –or refuse to condemn it– (notably Jeb Bush, Rush Limbaugh, Gary Herbert) just as there are left-wingers.

Thanks again for talking and listening.

Christel

———————-

Christel – since you choose to post my responses – I am through trying to help you understand the REAL truth.

So sorry!

Dixie

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Dixie,

I appreciated your openness, which seemed so much more courteous and open-minded than other USOE and USSB representatives have been to the teachers and public who have asked to talk with them about Common Core.

I am sorry that you aren’t comfortable with others reading your responses. I feel people have a right to know what their board representatives really think and what they see as the truth, especially where their children are concerned.

As you know, all state school board correspondence is open to the public via GRAMA legal requests as well.

Christel

——————-

Meme Unconstitutional Common Core Christel Swasey

Standing Room Only at Utah State Capitol’s Stop Common Core Meeting   3 comments

Legislators heard two and a half hours of public testimonies at last night’s Stop Common Core meeting at the Utah State Capitol Building which packed the Hall of Governors to overflowing.

Legislators claimed the first few rows of seats, and at least 500 people filled every chair while many people had to stand along the walls. The crowd and the legislators listened to two and a half hours of testimonies from teachers, parents and students.

Hundreds who wanted to speak out against Common Core were prevented by time. (Their written or filmed testimonies will be uploaded later at Utahns Against Common Core.)

Highlights:

— Teenage students speaking out against Common Core.
— Teachers, both current and retired, speaking out against Common Core.
— A licensed child psychologist speaking out against Common Core.
— Three (out of the seven members) of the Alpine School Board, Utah’s largest school district, each speaking out against Common Core, especially noting concerns about the common core-aligned standardized testing which ends liberty and local control.
— A legislator who rose to the enthusiastically cheering crowd and said, “We hear you. And we are going to work.”

The event was filmed and will be viewable soon. It was also covered by Channel 4 and by the Deseret News.

http://www.abc4.com/mostpopular/story/Utahns-gather-at-the-State-Capitol-to-voice/IA79JikQ2EmeaAnaG-M6LA.cspx

Indiana to Vote Wednesday to Repeal Common Core or Not   Leave a comment

In Indiana this week, parents, teachers and legislators are hotly debating the bill that may repeal the Common Core from that state.  If the bill passes, Indiana would once again be free to decide for itself what its standards for education and testing will be, and the bill would remove the 15% cap that now limits standards-raising for any state or locality, under Common Core.

The bill would also free teachers to teach as much classic literature as they felt was appropriate, rather than mandating that informational texts would be the majority of English readings.  The move would free teachers from the Common Core’s “constructivist,” student-guessing methods so that teachers and parents could decide whether direct instruction and traditional algorithmic teaching would be preferable for authentic college preparation.

Full article and video here: http://www.theindychannel.com/news/local-news/parents-teachers-rally-against-common-core-standards-in-indiana-schools

“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.

What Experts Realize About Common Core Standards: 2012   1 comment

  Is it smart to ignore the mathematical advice of a mathematician so highly regarded that he’s on the NASA advisory council?  Dr. James Milgram, Professor of Math at Stanford University, emeritus, had such serious reservations about the fuzzy math of Common Core (Obama’s educational movement) that Milgram refused to sign off on the standards’ adequacy– as an official member of the Common Core Validation Committee.*

  Dr. Milgram’s NASA Advisory Council bio:  http://www.nasa.gov/offices/nac/members/milgram-bio.html

Dr. Milgram’s specific concerns about Common Core math are recorded in the white paper put out by Pioneer Institute:   http://pioneerinstitute.org/pdf/120510_ControllingEducation.pdf

Meanwhile…

Dr. Sandra Stotsky, another Validation Committee** member, felt the same way about the Common Core English standards.

   Dr. Sandra Stotsky, Endowed Chair in Teacher Quality at the University of Arkansas

Dr. Sandra Stotsky and Dr. James Milgram not only refused to sign off on the standards, but have gone on to testify with a warning voice to state legislatures and school boards about the inadequacy of the standards.

Dr. Stotsky’s concerns about Common Core can be read here:  http://www.uark.edu/ua/der/People/Stotsky/Heritage_April_17_2012.pdf  and here http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/sandra-stotsky-offers-utah-the-best-ela-standards-in-the-nation/ and here http://www.uark.edu/ua/der/People/Stotsky/Comment_for_South_Carolina_April_18_2012.pdf and here http://www.uaedreform.org/People/stotsky.php

Meanwhile…

Sutherland Institute, a Utah-based think tank, gave two thumbs down to Common Core, based on three principles:

1. Utah standards should be broad in substance and application in order to preserve a personalized learning environment for each individual student.

2. Utah standards should be the best possible.

3. Utah standards should be independent, with the ability to be changed at will.

To read the executive summary: http://www.sutherlandinstitute.org/uploaded_files/sdmc/Common%20Core%20Executive%20Summary%20FINAL%207-9.pdf

To read the full report:  http://www.sutherlandinstitute.org/uploaded_files/sdmc/Common%20Core%20FINAL%207-9.pdf

And meanwhile…

                                            

And  Pioneer Institute,  a Boston-based think tank, partnered with American Principles Project to research the topic and they both gave two thumbs down to Common Core, based on five similar principles:

1. The Common Core Standards Are of Mediocre Quality and Rest on Questionable Philosophies

2. The Common Core Standards/Race to the Top Effort Violates Three Federal Statutes and Eliminates State Autonomy

3. The Common Core Standards Scheme Requires a Governance System that Will Further Impair State and Parental Rights

4. States and Their Taxpayers Will Incur Substantial Costs to implement Common Core

5. The Common Core Standards System Intrudes on Student and Family Privacy

                          Full text of formal white paper:  http://pioneerinstitute.org/pdf/120510_ControllingEducation.pdf

                                 Pioneer’s blog:   http://www.pioneerinstitute.org/blog/news/handwaving-away-opposition-to-the-national-standards/

And meanwhile…

    Pennsylvania’s bipartisan Commonwealth Education Organization has truckloads of links to articles on Common Core, that display why so many nationally respected education experts are sounding an alarm about Common Core:   http://www.ceopa.org/education-standards.aspx .

Happy Reading:

Common Core Standards

Dr. Bill Evers of the Hoover Institution discusses how the education is turning into a federal power grab that has profound effects for America’s children. While most advanced countries expect their children to learn algebra in the 8th grade, the federal government is setting a 9th grade standard. Is the new math worse than the old math? Is the Obama Administration deliberating setting lower standards for your children? Find out as Alexis Garcia brings you the latest from the front lines of US education policy.  >>link to video>>

*Summer 2012             THE COMMON CORE MATH STANDARDS             “I believe the Common Core marks the cessation of educational standards improvement in the United States. No state has any reason left to aspire for first-rate standards, as all states will be judged by the same mediocre national benchmark enforced by the federal government.” >>read more>>
*August 7, 2012             SOLVING THE TEXTBOOK-COMMON CORE CONUNDRUM             “Educational publishers have the resources to create comprehensive and effective materials that could significantly support teachers’ efforts to realize the promise of the new standards. Empowering well-informed adoption teams to make intelligent selections of effective instructional materials and then having teachers use them in the classroom are key steps in making the necessary changes to implement the new standards with fidelity.” >>read more>>
*August 6, 2012             UTAH DROPS OUT OF CONSORTIUM DEVELOPING COMMON CORE TESTS             “The state school board decided to withdraw Friday from a consortium of states working to develop tests based on new Common Core academic standards, after months of pressure from some conservatives.” >>read more>>
*Aug. 3, 2012             INDIANA SUPERINTENDENT: OBAMA ADMINISTRATION NATIONALIZED COMMON CORE STANDARDS             “At a Tea Party gathering last month, Indiana Schools Superintendent Tony Bennett expressed his concern with the growing federal overreach of Common Core education standards. ‘This administration has an insatiable appetite for federal overreach,’ he said. ‘The federal government’s involvement in these standards is wrong.’ ” >>read more>>
July 24, 2012             DON’T BUY THE SNAKE OIL OF COMMON CORE             “…the nation’s teachers will find it difficult to implement these standards. And that the training they received in the nation’s education schools is one of the major sources of their difficulty…The very effort to develop the national standards that have been sprung upon this country is a response (however poorly thought out and executed) to the dismal results of the ideas about curriculum and instruction prospective teachers and administrators have been taught by our education schools for over half a century.” >>read more>>
July 20, 2012             MILGRAM ON COMMON CORE vs. INDIANA MATH STANDARDS             Dr. James Milgram of Stanford University answers some questions about the Common Core Standards. >>read more>>             Related article:             July 17, 2012             JIM MILGRAM ON THE COMMON CORE MATH STANDARDS >>read more>>
July 19, 2012             COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS IS HEAVY ON THE ‘COMMON’             “The Common Core seems to create a façade of academic rigor to hide the perpetuation – or even proliferation – of mediocrity. The new standards supposedly will produce students who are ‘ready for first-year credit-bearing, post-secondary coursework in mathematics and English without the need for remediation.’ This suggests that all post-secondary coursework is created equal.” >>read more>>
July 17, 2012             STANDARDIZED TESTS OF TOMORROW BEHIND SCHEDULE, ACCORDING TO INSIDER SURVEY “(A) new survey, … suggests that ‘education insiders’ aren’t so sure that the one of the new tests will resolve all of the issues with standardized testing. Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed reported that they believe the Smarter, Balanced Assessment Coalition one of the two state-based consortia developing the tests, is on the wrong track.” >>read more>>
June 16, 2012             ROMNEY CAN SCORE BY HITTING OBAMA ON ACADEMIC STANDARDS “Where will the states get the money to pay for CCS? No one knows, except that it won’t come from the feds. States that are laying off thousands of teachers and cutting school days are expected to mortgage themselves to subsidize the publishing and testing industries. And for what? The Brookings Institute says the net benefit of the new standards for American students will be zero. Academic standards, by themselves, don’t do much.” >>read more>>
May 23, 2012             DESIGNING COMMON CORE TESTS FOR ALL PROVING A CHALLENGE             “Although more students with disabilities than ever are included in state testing programs, the task of giving these students high-quality assessments in the future that measure how adept they are at mastering the Common Core State Standards seems to have an endless number of hurdles to overcome before students face these new assessments in the 2014-15 school year.” >>read more>>
May 16, 2012             INCOMING COLLEGE BOARD PRESIDENT WANTS S.A.T. TO REFLECT COMMON CORE             “With $360 million in federal Race to the Top funds, all but five states are collaborating, in two groups, to design tests for those standards. Public institutions of higher education have pledged support to the idea of using a “college-readiness” cutoff score on those tests to allow students to skip remedial work and enroll in entry-level, credit-bearing courses. Leaders of that effort have been careful to emphasize that the common assessments will be used for course placement, not college admissions.” >>read more>>             Related article:             May 21, 2012             THE WRONG LESSON ON NATIONAL STANDARDS “The next time you would like to opine about why you and others should set national standards, curricula, and testing for America’s 50 million schoolchildren, I would ask you to reflect on your and your peers’ lack of even the most basic understanding of our Founding principles.” >>read more>>
May 10, 2012             NATIONAL CURRICULUM PLAN MAY FACE CHALLENGE “An influential group of conservative state lawmakers is on the verge of proposing model legislation to block the Common core national education standards that have been heavily promoted by the Obama administration.” >>read more>>
May 9, 2012             IS THE COMMON CORE JUST A DISTRACTION?             “One interpretation of the emphasis on developing the Common Core curriculum is that these debates provide a convenient distraction from potentially more intractable fights over bigger reform ideas like teacher evaluations, expanded school choice, or improved accountability systems.” >>read more>>
May 6, 2012             COMMON CORE RESEARCH IS ‘JUST ANOTHER PIECE OF MISLEADING ADVOCACY’             “What Dr. Schmidt presented is just another piece of misleading advocacy research, brought to you and paid for by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and channeled through the friendly services of Achieve (which received a recent $375K grant for advocacy from the Gates Foundation), the Foundation for Excellence in Education (which received a recent $1M grant for advocacy from the Gates Foundation), CCSSO (which received $9.5M last year from the Gates Foundation to promote the Common Core), and Chiefs for Change (funded by the Foundation for Excellence in Education).” >>read more>>
May 3, 2012             COLORADO BOARD OF ED REJECTS ADOPTION OF MULTI-STATE TESTING             “Colorado Board of Education isn’t the only body expressing concern of federal intrusion into education decisions traditionally made by states and local communities, and that sees national test-drafting and curriculum-drafting groups being “clearly all about” the eventual adoption of a national curriculum.” >>read more>>
May 2, 2012             CONTROVERSY OVER COMMON CORE SHOWS NO SIGNS OF SUBSIDING             “As the adoption of Common Core Curriculum is drawing closer, the critics on both sides of the political divide are attacking the efforts. Although the national standards that became the CC were envisioned as voluntary, after the Obama Administration made their adoption a prerequisite to the further granting of the No Child Left Behind waivers, conservative lawmakers, who saw the CC as federal overreach, started protesting.” >>read more>>
May 1, 2012             SELF-DEALING AMONG EDUCATION OFFICIALS             “I fully agree with Tom Loveless of the Brookings Institution who has been saying that in most instances higher standards don’t correlate with higher student achievement, but those states (like Massachusetts) that have used standards to drive the iron triangle of curricula, accountability and teacher quality, win big on student achievement.” >>read more>>
April 30, 2012             COMMON CORE STANDARDS DRIVE WEDGE IN EDUCATION CIRCLES             “A high-profile effort by a pair of national education groups to strengthen, simplify and focus the building blocks of elementary and secondary education is finally making its way into schools. But two years ahead of its planned implementation, critics on both the right and left are seizing upon it. A few educators say the new standards, supported by the U.S. Department of Education, are untested, and one Republican governor wants to block the measure, saying it’s a federal intrusion into local decisions.” >>read more>>
April 29, 2012             BATTLE LINES DRAWN IN COMMON CORE STANDARDS: WHOLE LANGUAGE VS. PHONICS             “(A) big argument has erupted over the Common Core Standards between those who know it is crucial for students to achieve mastery in sounding out words to the automaticity level vs. those whole language proponents who rely upon their prereading strategies (i.e., metacognitive strategies) that actually eliminate the need for students to be able to read the text.” >>read more>>
April 26, 2012             SARAH PALIN WAS A PROPHET ABOUT OBAMA’S EDUCATION TAKEOVER             “Sarah Palin was the first to recognize the problem: By participating in President Obama’s signature education initiative, the Common Core Standards, Alaska would lose control over its own curriculum.” >>read more>>
April 25, 2012             CONCERN ABOUNDS OVER TEACHERS’ PREPAREDNESS FOR STANDARDS, AS MANY TEACHERS NOT READY FOR THE COMMON CORE             “many teachers won’t be inclined to actually change what they are doing until they become familiar with the assessments aligned to the new standards.” >>read more>>
April 24, 2012             MATH TEACHING OFTEN DOESN’T FIT WITH NEW STANDARDS             “Many mathematics teachers are teaching topics at higher or lower grade levels—and for more years—than the Common Core State Standards recommend, according to preliminary results from new research. That finding suggests that when the new standards are fully implemented, many math teachers could face significant shifts in what they will teach.” >>read more>>
April 23, 2012             WHY STATES SHOULD HOP OFF THE NATIONAL STANDARDS BANDWAGON             “States across the nation are doing just that: reforming education by putting control back into the hands of parents and local leaders and empowering them with school choice. Common Core education standards would undermine these efforts by giving greater control to Washington. States that have adopted Common Core standards should reverse course and push back on federal control of standards and curriculum, ensuring that the needs of students—not Washington—come first.” >>read more>>
April 23, 2012             COMMON CORE MATH STANDARDS FAIL TO ADD UP             “The push to nationalize the content taught in public schools across the country should be of great concern to state leaders. The Common Core national standards effort represents a massive federal overreach into what is taught in local schools, further removing parents from the educational decision-making process, and likely to cost state taxpayers $16 billion over seven years just to implement.” >>read more>>
April 19, 2012             ANTI-COMMON CORE FLIER HITS DELEGATE MAILBOXES             Stakeholders in Utah fight the Common Core standards participation by their state. >>read more>>
April 18, 2012             DOES THE COMMON CORE MATTER?             “On the basis of past experience with standards, the most reasonable prediction is that the common core will have little to no effect on student achievement.” >>read more>>
April 16, 2012             ROBOT ESSAY GRADING “A direct comparison between human graders and software designed to score student essays achieved virtually identical levels of accuracy, with the software in some cases proving to be more reliable, a groundbreaking study has found.” >>read more>>
Related article:             April 30, 2012             ROBOT GRADERS BEHAVING BADLY “In Concord, MA, there was a print shop that had a sign: “Good, Fast, Cheap: CHOOSE TWO, the point being you could not have all three. It seems clear to me that the Deeper Learning Project of the Hewlett Foundation is looking for writing assessment that is fast and cheap. It is hard to beat 16,000 “scores” in 20 seconds.” The interview goes on to discuss just how “good” it can be. >>read more>>
April 16, 2012             STATES MUST REJECT NATIONAL EDUCATION STANDARDS WHILE THERE IS STILL TIME             “States and local school districts can have success improving their standards and assessments without surrendering control to Washington. Increasing transparency of outcomes in a way that is meaningful to parents and taxpayers, providing flexibility for local school leaders, and advancing systemic reforms that include school choice options for families will go a long way in improving academic outcomes while at the same time preserving local control of education.” >>read more>>
April 12, 2012             OBAMA’S 2013 EDUCATION BUDGET: COSTLY FEDERAL CONTROL EXPANSION             “At a time when American taxpayers are calling for fiscal restraint in Washington, including restraint at the Department of Education, the budget and blueprint create a path to continued federal profligacy. These are proposals that exacerbate the existing bureaucratic maze of federal programs and further remove educational decision-making authority from state and local policymakers.” >>read more>>
March 30, 2012             AN INTERVIEW WITH JAMIE GASS: THOSE PESKY LITTLE THINGS CALLED LAWS “It’s a very troubling development in our democracy, but especially in K-12 education, which is supposed to teach our schoolchildren about the basic tenants of the rule of law. When unelected DC education trade groups and private foundations are willing to work with federal officials to either violate or circumvent federal laws, something has gone seriously wrong. These laws that proscribe the limits of national standards, testing, and curricula are not just a list of recommendations, but clear and longstanding prohibitions.” >>read more>>
March 25, 2012             THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN (TEACHER-PROOF RIDES AGAIN)             “The process of implementing the Common Core Standards is under way in districts across the country as almost every state has now signed onto the Common Core, (some of them agreeing to do in hopes of winning Race to the Top money from Washington D.C.). The initiative is intended to ensure that students in all parts of the country are learning from the same supposedly high standards. As we looked through the exemplar, examined a lesson previously created by some of our colleagues, and then began working on our own Core-related lessons, I was struck by how out of sync the Common Core is with what I consider to be good teaching. I have not yet gotten to the “core” of the Core, but I have scratched the surface, and I am not encouraged.” >>read more>>
March 2012             AN UNCOMMON APPROACH TO COSTLY COMMON CORE EDUCATION STANDARDS “Almost every state in the nation has rushed to join the Common Core curriculum movement with hardly a thought of the cost, financial or otherwise. In most cases, however, the ‘states’ have barely been involved. Simply put, massive educational bureaucracies have signed on to the Common Core and have expected, and generally received, no interference from the three branches of government….The Common Core provides a perfect example of how quickly a state can lose control of its K-12 educational system. Obviously, curriculum is central to education.” >>read more>>
Summer 2012             THE COMMON CORE MATH STANDARDS: ARE THEY A STEP FORWARD OR BACKWARD?             “… Common Core marks the cessation of educational standards improvement in the United States. No state has any reason left to aspire for first-rate standards, as all states will be judged by the same mediocre national benchmark enforced by the federal government. Moreover, there are organizations that have reasons to work for lower and less-demanding standards, specifically teachers unions and professional teacher organizations. While they may not admit it, they have a vested interest in lowering the accountability bar for their members.” >>read more>>
March 1, 2012             THINK COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS ARE STATE LED? GET THE FACTS             A history of how Common Core Standards have been in the works for years and where it all began. >>read more>>
February 2012 NATIONAL COST OF ALIGNING STATES AND LOCALITIES TO THE COMMON CORE STANDARDS             “Implementation of the Common Core standards is likely to represent substantial additional expense for most states. While a handful of states have begun to analyze these costs, most states have signed on to the initiative without a thorough, public vetting of the costs and benefits.” >>read more>>
February 27, 2012             MEET THE CHILDREN WHERE THEY ARE…AND KEEP THEM THERE             “Say what you will about CCSS, but there are three big ideas embedded within the English Language Arts standards that deserve to be at the very heart of literacy instruction in U.S. classrooms, with or with or without standards themselves. ” >>read more>>
February 24, 2012             THE CORE CONUNDRUM             “Whether you think that is a worthy goal is beside the point. Over the last fifty years Congress has repeatedly told the executive branch of the U.S. government “keep out” of the school curriculum.” >>read more>>
February 24, 2012             ‘SAY I THREATENED YOU AGAIN, AND YOU’LL REALLY BE SORRY!’             “Why is Duncan lashing out? Quite possibly, he’s reacting to a recent spate of research and commentary attacking the Common Core based on its highly dubious legality, quality, and odds of success.” >>read more>>
February 23, 2012             WHY COMMON CORE STANDARDS WILL FAIL             “The idea that common standards might create efficiencies and motivations that raise achievement is disproved by what has happened in the many states that created their own standards. Those states still have some schools scoring very well and others scoring miserably. That variation has not declined, defying happy talk from Common Core advocates.” >>read more>>
February 16, 2012             TEAM OBAMA HIJACKS SCHOOLS’ CORE STANDARDS             “Last week, two of the top former lawyers for the federal Department of Education released a peer-reviewed report showing the administration violating or evading three separate federal laws by pressuring states to adopt a national core curriculum. Those laws exist for good reason: Control of educational content by the national government risks creating a national system of indoctrination, without local recourse to diversity of thought.” >>read more>>
January 2012             COMMON CORE STANDARDS AREN’T CHEAP             “Numerous states currently struggling in the midst of steep education budget cuts may have more fiscal problems than they realize. Though 45 states rushed to adopt Common Core standards in the past two years, many have not taken the time to evaluate what the adoption of these standards will cost them. States that jumped on the Common Core bandwagon in hopes of securing Obama administration grant money may find themselves increasingly strapped for cash in the next few years as implementation costs begin to accumulate.” >>read more>>
January 2012             KENTUCKY TEACHERS SHOW LITTLE PROGRESS UNDER COMMON CORE             “A new report by the National Council on Teacher Quality has claimed that the state of Kentucky has failed to show considerable improvements in the two years since it implemented Common Core standards.” >>read more>>
December 19, 2011             NATIONALIZATION TRAIN STARTS GOING OFF THE TRACK             “As the train moves further along and the full implications of nationalizing key aspects of the education system become more obvious to everyone, more and more people will jump that train. Without significant coercion it will be very hard to keep everyone on board until they reach the station where standards, assessments, and curriculum are all centrally imposed.” >>read more>>
December 4, 2011             CHOKING ON THE COMMON CORE STANDARDS             “In reality, then, these standards were written by highly educated adults who do not teach children at present and, possibly, never did. Unconnected to the scientific research on children’s intellectual and emotional development and the everyday realities of children’s needs, interests and behavior, these writers relied only the folklore of academia, fantasizing not only what children should be expected to know and do, but also what adults need to function in actual colleges and workplaces.” >>read more>>
November 28, 2011             IMPLEMENTING COMMON CORE COULD COST STATES $30 BILLION “Many states have not evaluated the cost of implementing the Core, notes a 2011 McGraw-Hill education brief, but will be working through implementation in the next three years, so by 2014 most changes will be in place….Beyond the taxpayer-paid costs of implementing the Common Core, states are weighing the perhaps even greater cost of ceding education authority to federal control.” >>read more>>
November 2, 2011             OBAMA ED AIMS AT U.S. TAKEOVER             “Home School Legal Defense A’s federal relations staff have read this 868-page bill, and we believe that while it does not directly impact homeschool freedom, the bill will 1) increase the federal role in education at the expense of state, local and parental control, and 2) will greatly increase the pressure on states to align their curriculum and standards, resulting in de facto national education standards…While some specifics that could be included in a final bill remain unclear, ‘the trend of national standards could lead to homeschoolers losing the freedom to choose the curriculum for their children.’…national standards would remove control from local boards and districts and allow ‘unelected bureaucrats, not parents’ to decide what subjects should be taught.” >>read more>>
October 20, 2011             THE MARXIST REDISTRIBUTION OF TEACHERS AND FORCED CCSS “Good news for schools on getting rid of AYP but if you’re successful, it’s time to chop that school up and send some of those teachers to failing schools to make sure they get quality teachers too. Oh, and don’t miss the great news that the Feds aren’t mandating national standards, they’ll just force you to be on “college- and career-ready” standards. Gee, I wonder where we can find national standards that will fit that bill? Oh yeah, the CCSS are available for use.” >>read more>>
October 11, 2011             NATIONAL FEDERATION OF REPUBLICAN WOMEN RESOLUTION             NFRW passed this resolution unanimously to ‘Defeat National Standards for State Schools’ >>read more>>
September 26, 2011             WITH WAIVERS, NATIONAL STANDARDS ANYTHING BUT VOLUNTARY             “Now, the conditions-based NCLB waivers, with their requirement for national standards, get to the heart of the matter: The Common Core State Standards Initiative has been pushed as far as it has gotten in large part by federal dollars and pressure. This push for national standards and tests has become a federal enterprise—and a dangerous direction for our nation’s education system.” >>read more>>
September 21, 2011             JAY GREENE’S TESTIMONY ON NATIONAL STANDARDS BEFORE US HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE “The progress we were making in education, however, stalled when we started significantly centralizing education and reducing the extent of choice and competition among districts. The policies, practices, and funding of schools has increasingly shifted to the state and national governments and greater uniformity has been imposed by unionization. The enemy of high standards and improving outcomes is centralization.” >>read more>>
September 14, 2011             SENATOR RUBIO TO SECRETARY DUNCAN: CAJOLING STATES TO ADOPT OBAMA EDUCATION REFORMS UNCONSTITUTIONAL             Rubio: “This initiative is an overstep of authority that undermines existing law, and violates the constitutional separation of powers.” >>read more>>
September 4, 2011             NATIONAL STANDARDS WON’T HELP, WON’T WORK             “They are executing plans for instruction in all grades and, eventually, common assessments in math and English language arts. It sounds great. But it won’t help and won’t work. Such specific standards stifle creativity and conflict with a two-century American preference for local decision-making about schools….We should focus on better teaching methods and better training of teachers, as well as school structures that help educators work more as teams.” >>read more>>
August 22, 2011             THE STEALTH STRATEGY OF NATIONAL STANDARDS “It was also interesting that once I pressed people to say why they supported nationalization out loud, the flaws and limitations of their arguments became apparent — even to themselves. Having to articulate your reasons can serve as a useful check on whether people have really thought something through.” >>read more>>
August 10, 2011             FEDERAL EDUCATION AGENDA DUMBED DOWN             “There seem to be few limits on how far the administration will go to foist its ill-conceived national standards upon states. That apparently includes slamming the door on the only escape hatch available to countless underprivileged students. What began with great promise has devolved into disaster.” >>read more>>
August 10, 2011             SCHOOLS MISLEAD BY DUMBING DOWN THE MEANING OF ‘PROFICIENT’             By offering waivers and removing the “failing” school label, the Education Department hopes to give states more flexibility and encourage them to raise standards by removing the risk they’ll be stigmatized by low test scores. But raising the bar isn’t the cure-all for states and school districts: Their students should be expected to reach it.” >>read more>>
August 4, 2011             EDUCATION TO RAISE TECHNOLOGY CONSUMERS INSTEAD OF TECHNOLOGY CREATORS             “This framework does not expect our students to be able to do any science, or to be able to solve any science problem. This framework simply teaches our students science appreciation, rather than science. It expects our students to become good consumers of science and technology, rather than prepare them to be the discoverers of science and creators of technology.” >>read more>>
June 24, 2011             CONFUSION OVER NATIONAL STANDARDS “If, as Bush and Klein argue, most states have woefully inadequate standards, isn’t it likely that the central bureaucracy you’re creating will gravitate to mediocrity rather than excellence? And isn’t that just what Common Core represents, given that its standards for what count as “college ready” are actually set below what you need to even apply to, much less succeed at, most colleges?” >>read more>>
June 2011             COMMON CORE SPARKS WAR “Despite all the financial inducements to cede state educational control to federal bureaucrats, counter-manifesto signatory Shelby Steele of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution urged Americans to consider the long-term consequences. ‘Decentralization has been the engine of educational innovation. We shouldn’t trade our federalist birthright for a national-curriculum mess of pottage,’ he said.” >>read more>>
June 2011             “COUNTER-MANIFESTO” CHALLENGES COMMON CORE STANDARDS “A coalition of more than 150 education reformers, state and federal policymakers past and present, teachers, and opinion leaders has released a manifesto opposing a state and federal government effort to establish a national curriculum and testing system.” >>read more>>
May 23, 2011             THE CORE BETWEEN THE STATES “ ‘Common Core’ is the name attached to 12 standards for mathematics and English Language Arts/Reading that 40-plus states have now adopted. These standards are to guide the development of common assessments and curricula for these states. A good many colleges and universities also use the name “common core” for the mandatory part of their curricula, but the capitalized Common Core is very much its own thing.” >>read more>>
May 9, 2011AGAINST A NATIONAL CURRICULUM “A national curriculum backed by national tests will stifle innovation, freeze the status quo into place, end state and local control of schooling and “impose a one-size-fits-all model on America’s students,” argues Closing the Door on Innovation, signed by 100 education and public policy leaders.” >>read more>>CLOSING THE DOOR ON INNOVATION: WHY ONE NATIONAL CURRICULUM IS BAD FOR AMERICA “A Critical Response to the Shanker Institute Manifesto and             the U.S. Department of Education’s Initiative             to Develop a National Curriculum and National Assessments             Based on National Standards” >>read more>>
April 6, 2011             STANDARDS OVERREACH, OR ACCORDING TO PLAN? “(J)ust by defining the goal you are driving curricula, stating what must be taught. Indeed, there would be no point to the standards if the intention weren’t in some way to affect curricula — what is actually taught in the schools.” >>read more>>
April 5, 2011 SCHOOL DISTRICT PETITIONS LEGISLATURE TO OPT OUT OF COMMON EDUCATION STANDARDS”A Massachusetts school committee has petitioned their legislature to opt out of Federal education standards which most states have adopted in attempt to get federal funding during lean budget times.” >>read more>>
September 27, 2010SCHOOL REFORM’S NEXT FRONTIERE. D. Hirsch says: Translate new standards into good curriculum that puts reading first >>read more>>
September 17, 2010             COMMON CORE STANDARDS FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS: A BAD IDEA “Children will never be adequately educated under a system run by bureaucrats handing out money and the teachers unions (the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers) spending the money in the classroom. The NEA and the AFT also have extraordinary millions of dollars extracted from their members to lobby for policies they want to have enacted by Congress, state legislatures and school boards and also to elect their favored political candidates.” >>read more<<
September 15, 2010             ARE WE READY FOR TESTING UNDER CCSS? “There’s a bumpy road ahead on the way to a successful Common Core State Standards (CCSS) movement. Already states and districts are examining the match between current standards, what they currently teach at various grade levels, and the CCSS. Of particular significance is that online tests will become the norm in the years ahead for many states.” >>read more<<
September 9, 2010             MARK YOUR CALENDARS “September 9 was the date that Checker Finn and the Fordham Institute began to turn against the national standards movement they so enthusiastically championed.” >>read more<<
September 9, 2010             SHAKY NEW STANDARDS FOR COLLEGE READINESS “It is not too early to ask what will happen when high school sophomores or juniors pass these high stakes tests and are declared to be “college-ready.” Will two or four year public colleges be required to place them in credit-bearing freshman courses if these students want to avoid meeting high school graduation requirements? Probably. It is also likely that college instructors will find themselves compelled, for the sake of survival, to adopt texts at the middle and high school level of difficulty in order to ensure that these “college-ready” students can read what is assigned, do the mathematics in them, and pass their college freshman courses.” >>read more<<
September 2010             THE DEBATE OVER COMMON CORE STANDARDS FOR K-12 IS HEATING UP “Although the idea of common standards at the state level has long been talked about by educators and policymakers, the movement received its most significant support last year. That was when the Common Core States Standards Initiative was announced, promoting the same set of standards for use in English-language arts and mathematics for grades K-12. The initiative won the backing of the National Governors Association as well as the Council of Chief State School Officers. Governors and chief state school officers from 48 states promised state-led efforts to develop core standards that will be based on research.” >>read more<<
August 25, 2010             THE NATIONAL STANDARDS COME WITH NO GUARANTEE “These standards and the upcoming assessments are a huge and long-shot gamble. That may be okay for a state and localities to do, when they are picking up 90 percent of the tab for K-12 education. It’s another thing when the feds pay a mere 10 percent of the cost of educating our kids and then insist that we be their guinea pig.” >>read more<<
August 12, 2010             WHAT CAN PARENTS EXPECT TO SEE IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS CLASSROOMS AFTER COMMON CORE’S STANDARDS BEGIN TO BE IMPLEMENTED? “A Worst Case Scenario—But Probably Not Far from Reality Common Core’s ELA standards assume that if English teachers are compelled to assign a lot of informational texts, students will learn how to read them. They won’t if these teachers don’t teach close, analytical reading.” >>read more<<
August 10, 2010             THE QUIET REVOLUTION DESERVES LOUD OPPOSITION “This “quiet revolution” isn’t about better educational options for American children. It’s about control, pure and simple.” >>read more<<
August 5, 2010             THE ASCENT OF AMERICA’S CHOICE & THE CONTINUING DESCENT OF AMERICA’S HIGH SCHOOLS “With an additional $30,000,000 to come to Marc Tucker’s NCEE from the USED’s “competition” for assessment consortia grants, his hare-brained scheme for enticing high school sophomores or juniors deemed “college-ready” by the results of the Cambridge University-adapted “Board” exams that he plans to pilot in 10 states (including Massachusetts now) comes closer to reality.” >>read more<<
August 4, 2010             ACQUISITION NEWS IN THE WORLD OF STANDARDS, TESTS “Some players in the common-standards-and-assessments arena have announced a business deal.” >>read more<<
July 30, 2010-08-06             PROFESSOR JAMES MILGRAM’S REVIEW OF COMMON CORE MATH STANDARDS             Professor Milgram’s Full Review with Detailed Grade Level Comments >>read more<<
July 29, 2010             STOTSKY ON THE COMMON CORE VOTE IN MASSACHUSETTS “There needs to be more public attention to the quality of Common Core’s ELA (and mathematics) standards. There also needs to be public attention to the methodology of the reports of several national organizations all claiming to show that Common Core’s ELA standards are among the best in this country, all being used to sway the vote of our state boards of education.” >>read more<<
July 29, 2010 ‘HARD TRUTH’ ON EDUCATION NEW, HIGHER STANDARDS FOR PROFICIENCY ALTER VIEW OF YEARS OF PERCEIVED GAINS “Erasing years of academic progress, state education officials on Wednesday acknowledged that hundreds of thousands of children had been misled into believing they were proficient in English and math, when in fact they were not.” >>read more<<
June 2, 2010             NATIONAL GOVERNORS ASSOCIATION & STATE EDUCATION CHIEFS LAUNCH COMMON STATE ACADEMIC STANDARDS “Today, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) released a set of state-led education standards, the Common Core State Standards, at Peachtree Ridge High School in Suwanee, GA. The English-language arts and mathematics standards for grades K-12 were developed in collaboration with a variety of stakeholders including content experts, states, teachers, school administrators and parents. The standards establish clear and consistent goals for learning that will prepare America’s children for success in college and work.” >>read more>>Math standards English Language standards Opposing view:             *May 21, 2010             WHY NATIONAL STANDARDS WON’T FIX AMERICAN EDUCATION: MISALIGNMENT OF POWER AND INCENTIVES “Abstract: American education needs to be fixed, but national standards and testing are not the way to do it. The problems that need fixing are too deeply ingrained in the power and incentive structure of the public education system, and the renewed focus on national standards threatens to distract from the fundamental issues. Besides, federal control over education has been growing since the 1960s as both standards and achievement have deteriorated. Heritage Foundation education policy experts Lindsey Burke and Jennifer Marshall explain why centralized standard-setting will likely result in the standardization of mediocrity, not excellence.” >>read more>>
May 10, 2010             DO YOU BELIEVE US NOW? “Pearson will not only provide the curriculum and test materials but will also provide teacher training and community support. I cannot even imagine how much the entire Pearson package will cost a local school district, but it will undoubtedly be a small fortune.” >>read more<<
December 29, 2009             Red Flags, National PTA, and Common Core Standards “Some general and well written articles have been published recently with serious concerns about the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI), a federal push to nationalize mathematics and reading standards in American public schools.* Other, more specific, articles have focused on the National PTA’s involvement. These reports should send an alarming signal to parents, educators and legislators as that group ‘positions itself as a key player at the front line of education reform” with regards to the CCSSI’.” >>read more>>
December 11, 2009             Alternative Needed to Common Core Standards “The new consortium would endeavor to create better and more rigorous academic standards than those of the CCSSI. These alternative standards will be truly internationally benchmarked. With over twenty per cent of the American population, such a consortium of states would easily qualify as “significant” as well. Such states might even be joined by other states that do not want to embrace the intellectually impoverished and internationally uncompetitive Common Core standards.” >>read more>>
January 6, 2009Racing to National Tests”While everyone in educatorland obsesses over the $4 billion competition among the states for Race to the Top (RTT) funding, the Education Department (ED) is readying a separate competition for less than one-tenth as much money that may nonetheless prove far more consequential for American education over the long term. I am referring to the upcoming announcement of how $350 million will be meted out to “consortia of states” to develop “common assessments” that are aligned with ‘common standards.’ “>>read more>>

January 14, 2010             FIRST, DO NO HARM “We Americans have had an allergy to tackling the content problem at any level—ignoring the fact that somebody (mainly textbook makers) must always be dictating content in the schools, even if it is trivial, fragmented, skills-based content. If the crafters of our standards don’t encourage or require content coherence and cumulativeness (just to name two necessary elements), they will have failed the most basic requirement of this task: First, do no harm. And they will have done little to improve the unacceptable stasis in American education.”>>read more>> January 14, 2010             U.S. COMMON-STANDARDS PUSH BARES UNSETTLED ISSUES “Elected officials and educators have been talking about establishing national, or common, academic standards for at least a half-century…..Some regard nationwide standards as a threat to the United States’ federal system and the widely supported principle of state and local control over curriculum.”>>read more>> January 22, 2010             OBAMA IS BRIBING STATES TO ACCEPT NATIONAL CURRICULUM “School reformers have cheered the Obama administration for using RttT to pressure states to be more receptive to independently managed charter schools and use student test scores in evaluating teachers. But if the feds are calling the shots via standards-setting and enforcement, charter schools will be accountable not to local parents but to Washington power brokers, and teachers will teach to tests manipulated by national special interests and be held accountable for results having nothing to do with academic excellence.”>>read more>> January 31, 2010             EDUCATION’S ‘CORE’             “No one will object if Massachusetts adopts new standards as good as the ones it now has. But draft Common Core standards for English and mathematics released Jan. 13 are unacceptably inferior – not for any “dumbing down,” but because they are incoherent and unusable by real teachers.”>>read more>> February 6, 2010             CRITICS: STANDARDS PUSH THREATENS ED GAINS “Caught between wanting to participate in the process {of helping with national standards} while protecting the high benchmarks already set for Massachusetts students, education officials insist they will settle for nothing less than the rigorous curriculum already in place. Critics, however, worry that the state could find itself pressured by the lure of federal grants and other incentives to adopt the new standards and undermine nearly two decades of achievements that have lead to national and international accolades.”>>read more>>

**The full list of the members of the Common Core validation committee included:

  • Bryan Albrecht, President, Gateway Technical College, Kenosha, Wisconsin
  • Arthur Applebee, Distinguished Professor, Center on English Learning & Achievement, School of Education, University at Albany, SUNY
  • Sarah Baird, 2009 Arizona Teacher of the Year, K-5 Math Coach, Kyrene School District
  • Jere Confrey, Joseph D. Moore Distinguished University Professor, William and Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, College of Education, North Carolina State University
  • David T. Conley, Professor, College of Education, University of Oregon CEO, Educational Policy Improvement Center (Co-Chair)
  • Linda Darling-Hammond, Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education, Stanford University
  • Alfinio Flores, Hollowell Professor of Mathematics Education, University of Delaware
  • Brian Gong, Executive Director, Center for Assessment (Co-Chair)
  • Kenji Hakuta, Lee L. Jacks Professor of Education, Stanford University
  • Kristin Buckstad Hamilton, Teacher, Battlefield Senior High School, NEA
  • Feng-Jui Hsieh, Associate Professor of the Mathematics Department, National Taiwan Normal University
  • Mary Ann Jordan, Teacher, New York City Dept of Education, AFT
  • Jeremy Kilpatrick, Regents Professor of Mathematics Education, University of Georgia
  • Dr. Jill Martin, Principal, Pine Creek High School
  • Barry McGaw, Professor and Director of Melbourne Education Research Institute, University of Melbourne; Director for Education, OECD
  • James Milgram, Professor Emeritus, Stanford University
  • David Pearson, Professor and Dean, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley
  • Steve Pophal, Principal, DC Everest Junior High
  • Stanley Rabinowitz, Senior Program Director, Assessment and Standards Development Services, WestEd
  • Lauren Resnick, Distinguished University Professor, Psychology and Cognitive Science, Learning Sciences and Education Policy, University of Pittsburgh
  • Andreas Schleicher, Head, Indicators and Analysis Division of the OECD Directorate for Education
  • William Schmidt, University Distinguished Professor, Michigan State University
  • Catherine Snow, Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • Christopher Steinhauser, Superintendent of Schools, Long Beach Unified School District
  • Sandra Stotsky, Professor of Education Reform, 21st Century Chair in Teacher Quality, University of Arkansas
  • Dorothy Strickland, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Professor of Ed., Emerita, Distinguished Research Fellow, National Institute for Early Education Research, Rutgers, The State University of NJ
  • Martha Thurlow, Director, National Center on Educational Outcomes, University of Minnesota
  • Norman Webb, Senior Research Scientist, Emeritus, Wisconsin Center for Education Research, University of Wisconsin
  • Dylan William, Deputy Director, Institute of Education, University of London

I cannot find each member’s analysis of the common standards.  But I did find out that Linda Darling-Hammond is an Obama insider and that she approved of Common Core. http://gothamschools.org/2008/11/19/its-official-linda-darling-hammond-heading-obama-policy-team/   The search goes on.

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