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Truth in American Education vs. “A Complete Resource Guide for Utah’s Core Standards”   1 comment

http://truthinamericaneducation.com/common-core-state-standards/debunking-misconceptions-the-common-core-is-state-led/

Of all the things that the Truth in American Education site has posted, my favorite thing is that title.

Truth in American Education.  The title itself teaches a fact most Americans still don’t realize: that there are loads of lies parading as education reform improvements that need exposure via verifiable, well researched facts.  It does not matter if good people with good intentions, merely parroting information received from other organizations, tell those lies in all sincerity.  Sincerity does not trump truth.  Facts are still facts and the consequences for all of us are huge for aligning our school systems with such lies.

Our children’s futures are at stake, yet few parents stand up.  Why?  For those of us who are naturally nonconfrontational and trusting, the title, Truth in American Education, is a wakeup call that we should ask questions, verify claims and demand references for promises being spoken by authority figures in education reform today.  We should know our educational rights under the Constitution and know our rights as parents.  Don’t take unreferenced promises as answers.

Speaking of which: today I became aware of a 204-page document put out by the Utah State Office of Misinformation Education.

It’s called “A Complete Resource Guide  On Utah’s Core Standards.”

You can access the 204-pager here:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B745qngYVLvVWXRFeU9MRUIzRTQ/edit?usp=sharing

http://www.schools.utah.gov/core/Utah-Core-Standards/CommonCoreResourceGuide.aspx

Dr. Sandra Stotsky, an education scholar and whistleblower, one who is often quoted at the Truth in American Education website, happens to have read the 204-page Utah document, “A Complete Resource Guide  On Utah’s Core Standards.”

Stotsky previously served on the official Common Core Validation Committee and was among those who refused to sign off that the Common Core standards were, in fact, adequate.

Of “A Complete Resource Guide  On Utah’s Core Standards,” Stotsky states, “lies and unsupported claims” abound in the document.

She also writes:

“the writers didn’t even get the committee I was on right.  I was appointed to the Validation Committee, not the Standards Development Committee, and along with the one mathematician on the Validation Committee (and 3 others) declined to sign off on the final version of Common Core’s standards.

The writers keep repeating ad nauseam that Common Core was a state-led effort.  Everyone knows most of the effort was financed by the Gates Foundation and that Gates chose the standards writers who had no qualifications for writing K-12 standards in either ELA or math (David Coleman and Jason Zimba).

… I frankly can’t spend time on people who can’t document with citations their claims.   What country was used for international benchmarking?  Where’s the evidence?
The document simply repeats the false claims made by CCSSO from the beginning.”
— —– —
Despite not being willing to spend time rebutting a resource guide that fails to document its claims with citations, Dr. Stotsky took the time to bust 5 myths that the document contains:

1. Myth (Lie): Common Core was a state-led initiative.

Truth: Common Core was funded and directed behind-the-scenes by the Gates Foundation at every step. Gates funded NGA and CCSSO to serve as the front organizations, selected key people to be on the standards development committees (mostly from testing agencies), and funded many organizations, including the Fordham Institute and the PTA, to promote its adoption. Fordham was funded in particular to ensure that Common Core’s math and ELA standards (no matter what their condition) were given a high grade in a comparison review so that most states would accept the lie that CC’s standards were fewer, clearer, and more in-depth than whatever they had. Most states were willing to accept this lie because the USDE dangled RttT funds before their eyes. Gates and the USDE worked together on the incentives to states. Gates also funded the writing of many states’ applications for RttT funds by hiring consultants to write the applications for them.

2. Myth (Lie): Common Core’s standards were developed by the states—or by experts.

Truth: CC’s standards were written by people chosen by the Gates Foundation to write the standards: David Coleman and Jason Zimba, in particular. Coleman had no credentials for writing ELA standards, had never taught at any grade level, and was not a literary scholar. (Nor had his associate—Susan Pimentel. She had taught only in Head Start and had no degree in English.) Zimba, too, had never taught in K-12 mathematics, and had no experience in developing or writing math standards.

3. Myth (Lie): Common Core’s standards are internationally benchmarked.

Truth: Common Core’s standards were never internationally benchmarked because they couldn’t be. They are about two grades lower than what most other countries accept as “college readiness”. No countries have ever been mentioned by CCSSO as “benchmarking” countries.

4. Myth (Lie): Common Core’s standards prepare students for college or university.

Truth: Jason Zimba told the Massachusetts Board of Education in March 2010 that college readiness in mathematics means readiness for admission to a non-selective community college. (This is recorded in the minutes of the meeting.)

5. Myth (Lie): Common Core’s ELA standards promote literary study.

Truth: Coleman’s 50/50 mandate requires English teachers to teach to 10 informational reading standards and 9 literary standards each year. His mandate reduces literary study because English teachers must add informational texts to their curriculum. There is no research base showing that an increase in informational reading in the English class leads to greater college readiness. Just the contrary. The evidence, historical and empirical, shows that a focus on reading and discussing complex literature in high school leads to college readiness.

——————
What more can I possibly add to Dr. Stotsky’s clear corrections to the Utah State Office of Education?
–Maybe an acronym translator:
ELA – English Language Arts
NGA – National Governors’ Association (the group that with CCSSO created Common Core)
CCSSO – Council of Chief State School Officers (the group that with NGA created Common Core)
USDE (U.S. Department of Education)
RTTT – Race To The Top (a competitive grant opportunity that the federal government used to incentivize Common Core adoption to the states)
PTA (Parent-Teacher Association, a national group that promoted Common Core because Bill Gates paid them to)
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Open Book Test On Common Core – For Parents   9 comments

The official Common Core websites make the program sound good.  The Department of Education promotes it.  The purveyors of Common Core implementation guides make it sound magnificent.  Many educators have said they support it.

At the same time, research groups, think tanks, parent groups, university professors and increasingly, more and more teachers,  stand against it.  So who’s to believe? How can you get to the truth?

Truth is truth, no matter what story the spinners may spin about Common Core. The repetitve use of Common Core’s favorite words, “rigorous” and “benchmarked” and “state-led” and “college ready” cannot alter reality.

But, rather than repeat myself further, and rather than to ask you to read hundreds of articles and reviews others have written, I have a new approach today.

I’m offering you an open book test.

Do the research for yourself.  You will most likely find that Common core is a shaky experiment that dilutes good education, invades data privacy, robs states of autonomy, breaks the law (General Educational Provisions Act, and 10th Amendment to the Constitution) and it’s about to break the taxpaying public.

This is like one of those little craft kits you can buy at the county fair.  The bulk of the work has been done for you; just put the pieces together and call it your own.

Welcome to A Common Core Open Book Test:

        •Is the Common Core Initiative legal?

See: General Education Provisions Act Law (GEPA law): “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, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system”    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/20/1232g

See: U.S. Constitution- 10th Amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”  http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights_transcript.html

 

       • Are the Common Core standards really un-amendable and copyrighted?

http://www.corestandards.org/public-license

 

  •  Who are the sole developers of Common Core?

http://www.corestandards.org/public-license

   

         •How serious are the privacy issues involved in Common Core tests?

EPIC lawsuit against Dept of Ed. http://epic.org/apa/ferpa/default.html

Fox News http://youtu.be/wVI78lPCFfs

CNN http://youtu.be/EkwN-cwC810

Reader-friendly explanation: http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/christel-swasey-responds-to-brenda-hales/

SLDS (state longitudinal database system)  http://nces.ed.gov/forum/datamodel/Information/faq.aspx

UTREX grant that meshes data all the way up to feds: http://nces.ed.gov/Programs/SLDS/state.asp?stateabbr=UT  (also see John Brandt’s online powerpoint, page 6).

National Data Collection Model database attributes http://nces.sifinfo.org/datamodel/eiebrowser/techview.aspx?instance=studentPostsecondary “Assurances” here:

Federal supervision, triangulation of tests (illegal under G.E.P.A. law) http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/sbac-cooperative-agreement.pdf

 

          •Are the Common Core math and English standards themselves helping or hurting education for kids?

http://www.uaedreform.org/wp-content/uploads/2000/01/Stotsky_Testimony_for_Colorado.pdf

http://www.aasa.org/uploadedFiles/Publications/Newsletters/JSP_Winter2011.FINAL.pdf

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/12/questionable-quality-of-the-common-core-english-language-arts-standards

http://www.aasa.org/uploadedFiles/Publications/Journals/AASA_Journal_of_Scholarship_and_Practice/Winter_10_FINAL.pdf

http://zhaolearning.com/2013/01/02/five-questions-to-ask-about-the-common-core/

http://www.uaedreform.org/sandra-stotsky/

http://parentsacrossamerica.org/james-milgram-on-the-new-core-curriculum-standards-in-math/

https://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/mathematician-and-education-advisor-zeev-wurmans-new-paper-on-common-core-math-standards-are-decent-for-younger-grades-but-rob-high-school-students/

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/11/a-new-kind-of-problem-the-common-core-math-standards/265444/

http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/common-core-sparks-war-over-words-among-literature-teachers/

  •    Has a budget been created or a cost analysis been done?

http://www.accountabilityworks.org/photos/Cmmn_Cr_Cst_Stdy.Fin.2.22.12.pdf

http://truthinamericaneducation.com/common-core-assessments/brookings-student-testing-costs-states-1-7-billion-a-year/

http://www.eagleforum.org/educate/2012/jan12/common-core-standards.html

http://www.sunherald.com/2013/01/19/4416545/pascagoula-schools-preparing-early.html

http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2010/03/25/alaska-texas-reject-common-core-standards

http://www.educationnews.org/education-policy-and-politics/california-wants-a-tax-hike-to-pay-for-common-core/

 

   •Has Common Core been led by states or by the federal government?

http://www.keepeducationlocal.com/claims-vs.-facts.html

http://truthinamericaneducation.com/common-core-state-standards/debunking-misconceptions-the-common-core-is-state-led/  (reader friendly)

http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/the-common-core-lie/  (less readable but provides links to prove it was not state led)

See the Race to the Top grant – federal incentivization of Common Core: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CDIQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.schools.utah.gov%2Farra%2FUses%2FUtah-Race-to-the-Top-Application.aspx&ei=PSQDUaKkLvCWyAGb8YDACw&usg=AFQjCNFk2icoHCsO-TViXtbkFHJQWizg5Q&sig2=4re2ypxeoPF7RuhE00opug&bvm=bv.41524429,d.aWc  (page 28 Utah agreed to Common Core in this federal document before public or legislative vetting had taken place)

  •          How can states escape?

Exit strategy: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/12/a-national-education-standards-exit-strategy-for-states

— —- —-

Finally, a motives check:

Ask yourself:  who are the people standing against the Common Core?  Are they gaining financially from it?  Well, I am one of the fighters, and I’m not gaining.  I receive not a penny, nor ever will, for this work.  I deliberately reject offers of ads on this blog, so that readers can –I hope– trust it as a labor of love from a parent and teacher, and not a labor of personal gain.  Why spend hundreds of hours writing to legislators, school boards, parents and members of the media to fight against Common Core’s continued implementation?

Next, ask yourself this: why do many of the loudest proponents of Common Core never reference their claims?  They claim grandeur for these standards, but nothing is verified, nothing is solid.  Also, many proponents happen to be corporations that are making a lot of money to implement texts and tools for the Common Core.  (Bill Gates’ Microsoft. The Pearson company’s lobbyists and Pearson company’s CEA Sir Michael Barber. Even the national PTA received $2 million from Gates to promote Common Core.)  And lastly, ask yourself this: why is there no transparency or clarity, and why the secretive meetings, of the CCSSO –the developers of the standards; and why is there no amendment process for a principal, parent or teacher who sees a problem with these national standards?

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