Archive for the ‘Peter Greene’ Tag

Education Commander David Coleman’s New Essay   9 comments

dv

Mark Twain said that it’s easier to fool people than it is to convince them that they have been fooled.

Having tried and failed for (going on three) years to persuade Governor Herbert and the State School Board of Utah to withdraw from the Common Core Initiative and its snake oil data mining programs, I agree with Twain.

And I’ve stopped trying to figure out whether people who promote or go along with Common Core are witting villains or not, remembering my dad’s saying, that it doesn’t matter much if someone is a pawn or a knave; the results of their actions or inactions are the same.

Actual villains don’t have claws and fangs to tip us off, like characters in a Disney movie; they don’t even know they’re on team villain, in most cases. Out of ignorance and arrogance, most villains sincerely believe in their paths.

disney villian

 

Consider the case of David Coleman, who wrote the Common Core English Language Arts Standards and then snagged the gig of president of the College Board (the group that creates college entrance exams and writes the A.P. standards and tests).

Coleman’s villainy, in my opinion, really boils down to his own blinding pride.  As Homeschool Defense Association President Michael Farris smartly said: “I told Mr. Coleman… Just because you have a good idea (homeschooling in my case, Common Core in his case), it doesn’t mean that it is appropriate to force everyone in the country to follow your idea. And that is my central problem with the Common Core and all forms of centralized educational planning.”

It’s strange that Coleman, a non-teacher, a businessman, believed that he held the only vision for what was best for every American child’s education, and also sincerely believed that it was a veddy, veddy good idea to impose it, by unconstitutional means if necessary, on the entire nation.

Just watch the first minute of this video.

He admitted on this film that he went around talking governors into his vision. (It wasn’t the governors who thought of Common Core; it was Coleman.  Coleman didn’t realize that governors don’t have constitutional authority to represent voters in creating a national education system.)

But Coleman was so convinced of the superiority of his ideas that he successfully directed their imposition on K-12 schools throughout America, and then successfully altered college entrance exams to match his Common Core.  That’s a lot of power in one guy.

That’s a lot of nerve in one guy, too.  Where did he get the nerve to defy millions of teachers, years of time-tested tradition, simple logic and all due process?   I don’t know.

There have been excellent rebuttals to the David Coleman version of education– don’t know if anyone’s read them:  Dr. Thomas Newkirk, of University of New Hampshire, has written “Speaking Back to the Common Core,” one of my favorites.   Dr. Terrence Moore’s “The Storykillers” is another.

But recently, in response to Coleman’s completely mis-titled essay, “Cultivating Wonder” two additional educators have spoken up eloquently:  Professor Nick Tampio of Fordham University and teacher Peter Greene of Pennsylvania.

The purpose of my post today is to share what they have said.

Tampio’s and Greene’s reviews clarify what’s wrong with Coleman’s Common Core vision: 1) Faulty, narrow assumptions in the actual standards  2) The restrictiveness; in other words, even if the standards weren’t faulty, they are one person’s vision: we’re all stuck with his One True Vision.  Nobody else gets a voice.

Professor Nick Tampio writes that Coleman’s Common Core:

1.  Places “tight restrictions on what may be thought — or at least what may be expressed to earn teacher approval, high grades and good test scores.”

2. “Expects students to answer questions by merely stringing together key words in the text before them. This does not teach philosophy or thinking; it teaches the practice of rote procedures, conformity and obedience.”

3. Minimally discusses historical context or outside sources that may make material come alive.  “For instance, he suggests that teachers ask students, “What word does Lincoln use most often in the address?” rather than, say, discuss the Civil War.”

4. “Discourages students from making connections between ideas, texts or events in the world — in a word, from thinking. Students are not encouraged to construct knowledge and understanding; they must simply be adept at repeating it.”

5.  Imposes Coleman’s philosophy of education across all subjects. [Coleman] observes, “ ‘Similar work could be done for texts … in other areas such as social studies, history, science and technical subjects.’ Like a chef’s signature flavor, Coleman’s philosophy of education permeates the myriad programs that the College Board runs.”

6. Copies China’s test-centric system.  “U.S. schools have educated many successful intellectuals, artists and inventors. By contrast, the Chinese model of education emphasizes rigorous standards and high-stakes tests, pre-eminently the gaokao college entrance exam. Chinese policymakers rue, however, how this education culture stifles creativity, curiosity and entrepreneurship. The Common Core will lead us to the same trap. Educators should not discard what has made the U.S. a hotbed of innovation and entrepreneurship.”

7.  Disrespects student individuality.  “In perhaps his most famous public statement, Coleman told a room of educators not to teach students to write personal narratives, because “as you grow up in this world, you realize that people really don’t give a shit about what you feel or what you think.” This statement expresses, albeit more crassly, the same sentiment as his essay on cultivating wonder. He demands that students do what they are told and not offer their own perspectives on things.”

Pennsylvania teacher Peter Greene is likewise more than slightly annoyed at David Coleman.

Greene notes that Coleman is a “man who has singlehandedly tried to redefine what it means to be an educated human being.”

Greene writes, “Some reformsters may pay lip service to the accumulated wisdom of the vast army of professional educators; Coleman never does.”   Coleman “is not here to share some ideas and techniques teacher to teacher, but is here to give his superior insights to the nation full old lesser beings who are hopelessly lost and failing.”

In sum:

“Coleman repeatedly fails to distinguish between his own experience of the text and Universal Truth. This leads him to believe apparently that if he just figured something out about Bernardo, he must be the first person ever to see it, that his own reaction to a line is the universal one, that his path into the text is the only one, and that things that do not matter to him should not matter to anybody. Of all the reformsters, he is the one least likely to ever acknowledge contributions of any other living human being. For someone who famously said that nobody gives a shot about your thoughts and feelings, Coleman is enormously fascinated by and has great fait on his own thoughts and feelings.”

“…Coleman thinks a standardized test is really a great model of life, where there’s always just one correct answer, one correct path, one correct reading, and life is about showing that you have it (or telling other people to have it)…  what David Coleman doesn’t know about literature is what David Coleman doesn’t know about being human in the world. Life is not a bubble test. There is a richness and variety in human experience that Coleman simply does not recognize nor allow for.

His view of knowledge, learning, understanding, and experience is cramped and tiny. It’s unfortunate that circumstances have allowed him such unfettered power over the very idea of what an educated person should be.  It’s like making a person who sees only black and white the High Minister of National Art.”

—————————–

Thank you, Nick Tampio and Peter Greene.

Advertisements

Peter Greene: Common Core is a Bad Boyfriend   Leave a comment

peter_greene_100w

His  latest:  detecting a bad boyfriend is like seeing through Common Core.

“…The crying kids. When your boyfriend makes your kids miserable, that’s a sign that he’s toxic. When your educational reform problem sucks the joy of learning out of children, something is wrong.

The addictions. If bad boyfriend is an alcoholic, you can argue that he’s not the problem—it’s just the alcohol. But the truth is you can’t separate the two. The common core has a bad addiction to high-stakes testing, lesson micro-management, and invalid teacher evaluations. It’s technically true that CCSS and these other reform ideas are separate, but they come as a package.

The lies. If you catch bad boyfriend lying about his job, his age, and his family, all the charm in the world can’t keep you from wondering what else he has lied about. Common-core boosters claimed it was written by teachers, internationally benchmarked, and research based. Turns out none of that is true

The money. Money is not inherently evil. But when it turns out bad boyfriend has been taking money out of your purse, that doesn’t help the romance. Common-core-based reform keeps revealing new ways to suck money out of schools and deliver it to corporate interests.

The blaming. Bad boyfriend is sorry that he yells at you, but you shouldn’t have made it necessary. The common-core narrative asked teachers to see themselves as failures, regardless of what they could see with their own eyes…”

(Read the rest!)

Vanderbilt Law Review: Duncan’s Waivers Illegal   1 comment

imagesJYV33Q1V

 

Peter Greene, teacher, blogger and Huffington Post writer, has written another funny and fascinating ed reform article.  In this one, he highlights the findings of University of South Carolina law professor Derek W. Black.  Black’s soon-to-be-published findings include the following:

Two of the most significant events in the history of public education occurred over the last year. First, after two centuries of local control and variation, states adopted a national curriculum. Second, states changed the way they would evaluate and retain teachers, significantly altering teachers’ most revered right, tenure. Not all states adopted these changes of their own free will. The changes were the result of the United States Secretary of Education exercising unprecedented agency power in the midst of an educational crisis: the impending failure of almost all of the nation’s schools under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The Secretary invoked the power to impose new conditions on states in exchange for waiving their obligations under NCLB…. As a practical matter, he federalized education in just a few short months.”

Peter Greene divides the law journal article into four simple, easy-to-digest segments, and explains them.  You will laugh as you learn.

For example, under “Part I:  No Changing the Rules” Greene writes:  “When the feds pass a law, they have to lay out all the rules that do and will apply to that law. You can’t pass a law, start folks working under it, and then years later announce, ‘Oh, yeah, and by the way, we’ve changed this law about making cheese sandwiches so that it also covers sloppy joes, and also, if you don’t go along with us on this, we get to take your car.”Also, you can’t suddenly say, ‘We’ve given my brother-in-law the power to judge your sloppy joes.’  Conditions for receiving federal fund must be “unambiguous” and non-coercive.”

Both the funny and easy-to-understand analysis of Duncan’s illegal waiver-waving, and the official law journal publication by Dr. Derek Black, as soon as it becomes available to the public, must be read and shared.

Let’s stop the Department of Education’s lawless disrespect for constitutional local control of education –and protect our children– by learning and then sharing these facts widely.

U.S. Secretary of Education Punishes Children of Washington State as State Stands Up For Teachers   4 comments

washington state seal

by  Whitne Strain and Christel Swasey

 

Long ago, the horrific invading soldiers of Genghis Khan used children as shields.  Seeing innocent children sandwiched between defenders and invaders, few defenders would continue a defense.

That  image, from “The Miracle of Freedom: Seven Tipping Points that Saved the World” comes to mind as we watch the U.S. Secretary of Education’s recent war against what he sees as a noncompliant Washington State.

Washington State became a thorn in Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s side when the state refused to comply with the federal agenda that would  tie teacher evaluations to students’ Common Core test scores.

Washington State’s leaders had listened to teachers and parents; they then stood up to the unconstitutional federal demands and just said no. They would not comply with the damaging policy of tying teacher evaluation to student scores.

The federal response was a punch in the face: Duncan stripped Washington of its waiver from ESEA (aka No Child Left Behind).

Why is that a punch in Washington State’s face?  Losing the waiver means that Washington now will get reburied in the absurd, impossible NCLB mandates —and  will lose funding.

Duncan not only punished Washington state; he especially punished the state’s neediest children.

According to the Washington Spokesman-Review, “Washington is the first state to lose control over federal dollars used to help students in the poorest schools. The result: Districts will be forced to set aside the $40 million they had been getting for those student services”.

We wonder: how does Duncan sleep at night?

barack arne

Read his wordy, meaningless federal explanation letter here.  It is so verbiose and devoid of goodness that we won’t quote a single word.  But do read teacher Peter Greene’s clever and hilarious teacher’s translation of Duncan’s letter to Washington, it here  —  spot-on.

peter greene   Here’s Greene’s conclusion:

Washington got to ignore its violation of federal NCLB laws if they agreed to install Duncan’s own untried, untested, unproven, unsubstantiated but very specific prescriptions about how to use CCSS [Common Core] tests to evaluate teachers and principals…    Duncan doesn’t just believe that CCSS [Common Core] test-based measures of teachers and principals are a good idea. He doesn’t just deny every stone on the mountain made out of evidence that he’s wrong. He has given CCSS test-based measurement the full weight of federal law.  

So what will happen to Washington, and who will do it? Or will the legislators freak out and panic, installing Arne’s junk science system at the 11th hour to win back his Kingly affection? You can bet a few other states will be watching… “ 

 

Thank you, Mr. Greene.  Yes, we are watching.

 

Brilliant Teachers Expose Federal-Corporate Connivance   3 comments

school

First, here’s a list.

It’s a smattering of teachers’ names with links to what they have said or spoken.  Their experience and research make a powerful, nearly unarguable case for stopping corporate-federal Common Core.  They are current teachers, retired teachers, and teachers-turned-professors-or-administrators.

Malin Williams, Mercedes Schneider, Christy HooleyPeter Greene, Susan Kimball, Paul BogushLaurie Rogers,  Paul Horton, Gerald Conti, Alan Singer, Kris Nielsen, Margaret Wilkin, Renee Braddy, Sandra Stotsky, J. R. Wilson  Amy Mullins, Susan Wilcox, Diane Ravitch, Susan Sluyter, Joseph Rella, Christopher Tienken, Jenni White,  David Cox, Peg Luksik,  Sinhue Noriega, Susan Ohanian, Pat Austin, Cami Isle, Terrence Moore, Carol Burris, Stan Hartzler, Orlean Koehle, Nakonia HayesBarry Garelick, Heidi Sampson; also, here’s a young, un-named teacher who testified in this filmed testimony, and  an unnamed California teacher/blogger.

Notice that these teachers come from all sides of the  political spectrum.   It turns out that neither Democrats nor Republicans relish having their rights and voices trampled.

And alongside those individual voices are teacher groups. To name a handful:  the Left-Right Alliance,   132 Catholic Professors Against Common Core,  the United Opt Out teachers, the BadAss Teachers, Utah Teachers Against Common Core,  Conservative Teachers of America,  and over 1,100   New York professors. 

These teachers have really, really done their homework.

I’m going to share the homework of one brilliant teacher, a Pennsylvania teacher/blogger named Peter Greene who wrote  about what he called his “light bulb moment” with how the Common Core Standards exist to serve data mining.

Speaking of the millions of data points being collected “per day per student,” he explained:

“They can do that because these are students who are plugged into Pearson, and Pearson has tagged every damn thing. And it was this point at which I had my first light bulb moment. All that aligning we’ve been doing, all that work to mark our units and assignments and, in some places, every single work sheet and assignment so that we can show at a glance that these five sentences are tied to specific standards— all those PD [professional development] afternoons we spent marking Worksheet #3 as Standard LA.12.B.3.17– that’s not, as some of us have assumed, just the government’s hamfisted way of making sure we’ve toed the line.  It’s to generate data.  Worksheet #3 is tagged LA.12.B.3.17, so that when Pat does the sheet his score goes into the Big Data Cloud as part of the data picture of pat’s work. (If you’d already figured this out, forgive me– I was never the fastest kid in class).”

Peter Greene further explained why the common standards won’t be decoupled from the data collection.  His words explain why proponents cling so doggedly to the false claim that these Common Core standards are better academically (despite the lack of research-based evidence to support that claim and the mounting, on-the-job evidence to the contrary.)

He wrote:

Don’t think of them as standards. Think of them as tags.

“Think of them as the pedagogical equivalent of people’s names on facebook, the tags you attach to each and every photo that you upload.

“We know from our friends at Knewton what the Grand Design is– a system in which student progress is mapped down to the atomic level. Atomic level (a term that Knewton lervs deeply) means test by test, assignment by assignment, sentence by sentence, item by item. We want to enter every single thing a student does into the Big Data Bank.

“But that will only work if we’re all using the same set of tags.

“We’ve been saying that CCSS [Common Core Standards] are limited because the standards were written around what can be tested. That’s not exactly correct. The standards have been written around what can be tracked.

“The standards aren’t just about defining what should be taught. They’re about cataloging what students have done.

“Remember when Facebook introduced emoticons. This was not a public service. Facebook wanted to up its data gathering capabilities by tracking the emotional states of users. But if users just defined their own emotions, the data would be too noisy, too hard to crunch. But if the user had to pick from the facebook standard set of user emotions– then facebook would have manageable data.

“Ditto for CCSS. If we all just taught to our own local standards, the data noise would be too great. The Data Overlords need us all to be standardized, to be using the same set of tags. That is also why no deviation can be allowed. Okay, we’ll let you have 15% over and above the standards. The system can probably tolerate that much noise. But under no circumstances can you change the standards– because that would be changing the national student data tagging system, and THAT we can’t tolerate.

“This is why the “aligning” process inevitably involves all that marking of standards onto everything we do. It’s not instructional. It’s not even about accountability. It’s about having us sit and tag every instructional thing we do so that student results can be entered and tracked in the Big Data Bank.

“And that is why CCSS [Common Core] can never, ever be decoupled from anything. Why would facebook keep a face tagging system and then forbid users to upload photos?

“The Test does not exist to prove that we’re following the standards. The standards exist to let us tag the results from the Test.

“… Because the pedagogical fantasy delineated by the CCSS does not match the teacher reality in a classroom, the tags are applied in inexact and not-really-true ways. In effect, we’ve been given color tags that only cover one side of the color wheel, but we’ve been told to tag everything, so we end up tagging purple green. When a tagging system doesn’t represent the full range of reality, and it isn’t flexible enough to adapt, you end up with crappy tagging. And that’s the CCSS…   Decoupling? Not going to happen. You can’t have a data system without tagging, and you can’t have a tagging system with nothing to tag. Education and teaching are just collateral damage in all this, and not really the main thing at all.”

Read more here.

——————-

I’ll add more two points in support of Peter Greene’s words:

1-  First, the creators of Common Core and its copyright have openly stated that they work toward both academic standards’ commonality and data standards’ commonality –I suppose for the very reasons Greene outlined.  Check out the Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) –a Department of Education/private CCSSO partnered enterprise,  here.

2– Second, the federal grants that the states all swallowed, the data mining capability-hooks embedded in the juicy worm of funding, called “State Longitudinal Database System” grants, did specify that states MUST use interoperable data standards (search for SIF Framework, PESC model, CEDS standards, NDCM model) to track educational progress.

In other words, the 50 individual states’ database systems were designed so that they can, if states are foolish enough to do so, fully pool student and workforce data for governments or corporations– on an national or international level.

 

 

%d bloggers like this: