Archive for the ‘white paper’ Tag

Protecting Kids: Pioneer Institute’s Call to Action for Parents, Schools, Congress   Leave a comment

stealth assessment babyI’m posting today to draw attention to Cogs in the Machine, an important white paper published last year by Pioneer Institute, written by Jane Robbins, Joy Pullman and Emmett McGroarty.   It’s about public-system-assisted big data collection –and how Americans can protect their kids.  The paper includes specific, effective action points for parents, schools, state- and nationally-elected representatives.  The length of the white paper, though, makes me think few will read down to find these treasures, so I’m posting just the final recommendations here.  Please read (and share)  the whole white paper when you can.   If you click here and scroll down to the end, you can read the whole paper, and much more easily.  Pasting from the pdf is causing tight spacing that I don’t know how to fix.
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The white paper’s policy recommendations for parents, schools, state and national lawmakers:
This report  has discussed dangers that unchecked data-collection poses to individuals and the United States as a whole. 
What are some ways to check these dangers?
 
PARENTS: 
• If your child has any sort of computer login or participates in any computer program (say, a computer vocabulary game or computerized tests) as part of school, his or her data is being automatically logged and compiled through these devices. If this concerns you, ask your school to explain how they will protect your child’s privacy. If these protections are not satisfactory, ask the school to modify its contract with the technology provider to guarantee it will not sell or indefnitely compile your child’s information.
• If your child’s school is implementing digital-learning platforms, insist on an explanation of what kinds of information will be compiled through those platforms. Will the software record data about your child’s behaviors and attitudes ratherthan just his academic knowledge? If so,and if you object to this data-collection, opt out.
• If you child is using a vendor’s education apps, verify that the vendor is not mining your child’s data to use for marketing or other purposes.
• As always, be vigilant about what happens in your child’s classroom. Read all notices schools hand out about data-and information-sharing, and don’t sign off on anything you don’t understand. Choose not to provide information when the reasons someone wants it are not explained to your satisfaction.
• When your child takes a standardized test, demand to know what data the assessment will collect and to whom it will be disclosed. Find out if the test measures non-cognitive attributes such as self-control, home environment, etc. If any answers are unacceptable to you, opt out.
• Be especially wary of having healthcare services provided to your children at school. These are not subject to thetighter privacy protections required of non-school healthcare providers.
You are entitled to know what information your school has already collected about your child, and to correct any errors in that record. All you have to do is ask someone in charge at your child’s school.
Demand that state lawmakers pass strong legislation protecting your child’s information.
SCHOOLS:
When you sign contracts with technology providers, include clauses that require the vendor to erase student-level information after the contract term has ended, forbid the vendor from selling or sharing student information with any other entity unless mandated by law, and as far as possible provide for student anonymity by using ID numbers and random logins rather than personal identifiers such as names, email addresses, and especially Social Security numbers.
STATE POLICYMAKERS:
• Introduce and vote for legislation to correct the relaxation of FERPA.  The legislation should include penalties that will make it not worth a company or nonprofit or agency’s while to disobey the law. It is also essential for states to pass student-privacy laws because, even if FERPA is restored or strengthened, the more bulwarks against excessive data-collection, the better. Further, laws made closer to the people who must follow them offer better protection to citizens and the ability to tailor laws to the needs of each state.
• Require state departments of education, local school systems, and schools to include tight privacy protections in all contracts with vendors, contractors, cloud computing services, and so forth.
• Limit the information the state demands that schools collect to the least data required to comply with federal mandates in exchange for federal funds.
• Prohibit state departments of education from accepting federal grants that include any data-collection mandates without prior review and public approval by the legislature.
Be wary of investing in and implementing any digital-learning platforms without understanding exactly what capabilities they have for compiling data on students, such as measuring psychological resources and other affective assessments. No such platforms should be used without full explanation of their data-collection capabilities to, and consent by, parents.
Amend any state laws that require parents to opt out of automatic data-collection and require them instead to opt in. Also amend state laws that penalize parents or children for choosing to opt out of state tests.
• Hold town hall meetings on private and government data-collection.
• Pass comprehensive laws to address the state’s authority to collect, whether directly or through private sources, personal data and its authority to pass that data on to others, including the federal government and private entities. 
NATIONAL LAWMAKERS:
Immediately reaffirm the original privacy protections of FERPA and seek to strengthen that law with one fit for the digital age, which affirms individuals’ ownership of their own private information.
Prohibit federal agencies from demanding or accepting student-level data from, or disclosing such data to, any private entity or any health, labor,workforce, social services, education, or other agency.
• Replace demands for data in exchange for federal education funds with federal laws that block grant such funds to states with freedom to spend their education dollars as they see fit. This is the model of the A-PLUS Act, a good step toward sending unproductive and intrusive federal education mandates at all levels.
• Pass legislation that recognizes the right of the individual to exploit (i.e., prohibit the exploitation of) his or her personal information. Such legislation would, ofcourse, have to specify at what point such a right of action vests in the individual (at what point of data collection and manipulation may an individual take action).”

The Indomitable Jenni White of Oklahoma   9 comments

jenni white

Jenni White, cofounder of Restore Oklahoma Public Education (R.O.P.E.) is a remarkable mother of five who writes research papers on ed reform with her children at the kitchen table, runs the organization of R.O.P.E., writes a lively education reform blog, creates videos, and also finds time to go (or sends a friend) to monitor each public meeting of the state department of education. Jenni’s videos, essays, memes, and white paper research are exceptional.

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She’s very smart, and she’s very, very funny!

Attending the state meetings allowed Jenni/R.O.P.E. to discover (and share) that Oklahoma (like all 50 states) tracks students in a State Longitudinal Database. Attending meetings is also how Jenni and R.O.P.E. realized that Common Core was a network of corporate collusion that uses taxpayers and schools for their gigantic, uniform market base. Reading countless government documents and contracts added to the knowledge base, and now, R.O.P.E.’s website teaches the general population of Oklahoma vital, little-known facts about state and federal education reforms that are hurting children, teachers and taxpayers.

Einstein says

She puts a lot of fun into the dysfunction of education reform, with blogposts like “What Would Einstein Think of Common Core?” or “Critical Thinking and the Common Core – Snake Oil Salesmanship At Its Best!” or “The Dirty Little Secret of Common Core” or “Jeb Bush’s Common Core Valentine.”

She has given permission to repost her writing. Here’s a favorite:
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WHAT WOULD EINSTEIN THINK OF COMMON CORE?

I commented on an article today regarding Michigan’s attempts to shake free from the Common Core. Many of the comments came from sadly misinformed individuals who seem to believe that “common” is good and anything to which a large number of others subscribe must amount to some kind of awe-inspiring notion, spawning my concern that none apparently had mothers like mine, who constantly queried, “If Mary was going to jump off a bridge, would you?”

One man began his comment with this, “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” (Sign hanging in Einstein’s office at Princeton)

This thought captured my imagination thoroughly. I have been blessed to know a man named Dr. Everett Piper, the President of Oklahoma Wesleyan University. I love to hear him discuss the horrors of Common Core from a philosophical perspective, not only because he is such an excellent orator, but because people tend to forget the philosophical point of view – the notion that ideas shape the human condition and ideas reduced to commonalities do not advance the human condition.

The best opponents of Common Core predicate their arguments on fact – in stark opposition to proponents who tend to use half-truths and lies upon which to base their case – but the philosophy behind our Common Core concerns are palpable and real and I believe we need to advance these arguments at least as often as we tout our facts.

In this thought, I penned the following response:

The Common Core State Standards were written by several individuals – without education degrees I might add – who then, knowing national standards are against federal law, sent them out through a private organization – Achieve – to the nation’s governors and superintendents with the promise of federal money waiting in the wings – 500 BILLION dollars through Race to the Top – if they adopted them for their state sight unseen. It happened here in Oklahoma exactly as it happened in Michigan and all other adopting states.

Granted, the term “Common” was used to mean ubiquitous, however, another meaning for “Common” is the OPPOSITE of “individual”, which begs the question: How in the world can America continue to be seen as the most innovative country in the world when states fully intend to collaboratively adopt standards to “commonize” all students across all states?

How do you INCREASE student knowledge levels by pulling successful students down to the level of the ‘common’?

Are there really that many low performing students in every school in every state in the nation that we need to stop everything to bring them up to the ‘common’ level of each class?

Do we bring down 25 kids for 1 kid or even 6 kids in a class?

If so, then what are we doing to the other 21?

The simple, straightforward answer is that we’re dumbing them down – there is no other characterization possible – and we can’t scream “civil rights” for those at the bottom without inquiring about the “civil rights” of the individuals in the majority being pulled down.

For those of you in the Chamber of Commerce sect, how do you convince a company to come to Michigan when your students will be taught in a thoroughly homogenous way, forcing out uniqueness, drive and imagination – the very qualities necessary to produce the Einstein’s and Edison’s of this world?

How well do you think Einstein would fair with the Common Core?

Do you think we would have had a Theory of Relativity with the Common Core…well silly question…of course we would – the Common Core is nothing if not ‘relative’ among every state and every child.

Common Core is what it is – nonsense dreamed up by well-connected philanthropists (Carnegie, Broad, etc) and innovator/billionaires such as Bill Gates, with a dollar to be made in the education “industry”.

I hope no one escapes the irony imbued in the fact that these people who worked and scrapped and sacrificed to make their dreams reality – who reached the pinnacle of success by truly innovating in America – suddenly seem to forget that the great thing about America – the thing that gave them the ability to get to the top – was the variety inherent in every aspect of the American condition – the FREEDOM to receive the best education one could seek out from the very variety contained within.


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Thank you, Jenni White.

A Republic of Republics: Robert Scott on Common Core   7 comments

Robert Scott is the former Texas Commissioner of Education and the man responsible for the heroic “No Thanks” that Texas gave to Common Core, back when virtually every other state was swallowing that pill for a shot at the Race to the Top millions.

This week, Pioneer Institute has published a white paper by Robert Scott that explains why preserving the local control guaranteed in our U.S. Constitution demands stopping funding for Common Core. It is called “A Republic of Republics: How Common Core Undermines State and Local Autonomy over K-12 Education“.

Its summary states:

“… the United States has witnessed a sweeping effort to dramatically alter how educational systems are governed and standards and curricula are developed. … the federal government has succeeded in fundamentally altering the relationships between Washington and the states… participating states have ceded their autonomy to design and oversee the implementation of their own standards and tests. The implications of ceding this autonomy are varied. Not only do some states risk sacrificing high quality standards for national standards that may be less rigorous, all states are sacrificing their ability to inform what students learn…”

That last line is the hardest punch in the gut to any of us, from Common Core: “All states are sacrificing their ability to inform what students learn.”

We may see great damages from Common Core’s confusing math, limitation of classic literature, discouraged cursive, or creation of a monopoly on thought throughout the textbook publishing industry. And yes, all these things are bad.

But the real and incomparable tragedy is the loss of control, and the twin fact that those who have lost it refuse to admit it’s gone.

This is why Robert Scott’s paper is so important. It helps expose the lie that the general public has been led to believe. That lie is everywhere; just look around you. All over countless official school board websites in various states who have fallen victim to Common Core, you see the same thing: a claim that local control remains in place, under Common Core.

But as Robert Scott explains, Common Core is a control grab by the federal government partnering with private groups, circumventing We, The People:

“… my original response to the effort was one of “wait and see.” If something truly remarkable came out of such a process, it would be foolish for Texas not to incorporate it into our curriculum frameworks. Unfortunately, that was not the offer. Once we were told that states had to adopt the so-called Common Core State Standards in English and math with only a marginal opportunity for differentiation, it was clear that this was not about collaboration among the states. It was about control by the federal government and a few national organizations who believe they will be the ones to operate this new machinery.”

I have to comment. Those “few national organizations” that Mr. Scott referred to include two big-boys’ clubs that I can not stomach: the National Governors’ Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) . Its members are not elected by the public, and they’re under no sunshine laws for accountability or transparency to taxpayers.

They work under the radar. The un-transparent and private groups have no authority to be setting state or national educational standards, yet they do it anyway. They are even the basis upon which Arne Duncan labels Common Core a “state-led” movement.

These groups happen to include many (but not all) governors and superintendents. These groups form the backbone of Common Core governance and exclude all states from any amendment process to the shared standards. These groups solely developed and copyrighted the standards –by their own claim. And they were funded, by the multi-millions by Bill Gates, another influence we can’t un-elect. These groups represent a big part of the problem: public-private-partnerships (P3) totally circumvent local authority and voter’s voices. And they run contrary to the spirit of Constitutional respect for local control. Who voted them in? Nobody. Yet they birthed Common Core which has almost entirely taken over American schooling and testing.

This “new” governance system is a direction we have to turn around from or risk losing all local autonomy.

Robert Scott writes: “…if we continue down the current path to national education standards and tests, the United States stands to lose that which makes our education system unique among nations: our long tradition of state and local autonomy. It is important to remember that American schools were established in towns and cities by parents and community members who saw the value of formal education. This organic approach ultimately led to a system of compulsory education overseen by each state, but until now, the tradition of local schooling has largely been maintained. American public schools are governed by local school boards and committees comprised of parents and community members. Even at the state level, citizens with an understanding of local norms and interests drive decision-making processes around standards and curricula. These facts beg the question: If we nationalize standards and testing in this country, what is the real impact of the likely loss of state and local autonomy and input?”

Please read the rest.

Notre Dame Conference Address of Dr. Sandra Stotsky: Common Core’s Invalid Validation Committee   12 comments

notre dame conference

On Monday, at the University of Notre Dame, Dr. Sandra Stotsky will present a white paper about Common Core’s validation committee at a conference entitled “The Changing Role of Education in America: Consequences of the Common Core.” It is posted below.

A few of powerful points from Dr. Stotsky’s paper:

1. “One aspect of the ELA standards that remained untouchable despite the consistent criticisms I sent to the standards writers… was David Coleman’s
idea that nonfiction or informational texts should occupy at least half of the readings in every English class, to the detriment of classic literature… Even though all the historical and empirical evidence weighed against this concept, his idea was apparently set in stone.”

2. “The standards were created by people who wanted a “Validation Committee” in name only. An invalid process, endorsed by an invalid Validation Committee, resulted not surprisingly in invalid standards.”

3. “Because the Work Group labored in secret, without open meetings, sunshine-law minutes of meetings, or accessible public comment, its reasons for making the decisions it did are lost to history.”

4. “There has been no validation of Common Core’s standards by a public process, nor any validation of its college-readiness level in either mathematics or English language arts by the relevant higher education faculty in this country… It is possible to consider the original vote by state boards of education to adopt Common Core’s standards null and void, regardless of whether a state board of education now chooses to recall its earlier vote. Any tests based on these invalid standards are also invalid, by definition.”

Dr. Stotsky has permitted widespread publication of her paper, and it is posted here.

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Common Core’s Invalid Validation Committee

Sandra Stotsky


Professor Emerita, University of Arkansas

Paper prepared for a conference at University of Notre Dame

September 9, 2013

Common Core’s K-12 standards, it is regularly claimed, emerged from a state-led process in which experts and educators were well represented. But the people who wrote the standards did not represent the relevant stakeholders. Nor were they qualified to draft standards intended to “transform instruction
for every child.” And the Validation Committee (VC) that was created to put the seal of approval on the drafters’ work was useless if not misleading, both in its membership and in the procedures they had to follow.

I served as the English language arts (ELA) standards expert on that committee and will describe today some of the deficiencies in its make-up, procedures, and outcome. The lack of an authentic validation of Common Core’s so-called college-readiness standards (by a committee consisting largely of discipline based higher education experts who actually teach freshmen and other undergraduates mathematics or English/humanities courses) before state boards of education voted to adopt these standards suggests their votes had no legal basis. In this paper, I set forth a case for declaring the votes by state boards of education to adopt Common Core’s standards null and void—and any tests based on them.

For many months after the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) was launched in early 2009, the identities of the people drafting the “college- and career-readiness standards” were unknown to the public. CCSSI eventually (in July) revealed the names of the 24 members of the “Standards Development
Work Group” (designated as developing these standards) in response to complaints from parent groups and others about the lack of transparency.

What did this Work Group look like? Focusing only on ELA, the make-up of the Work Group was quite astonishing: It included no English professors or high-school English teachers. How could legitimate ELA standards be created without the very two groups of educators who know the most about what students should and could be learning in secondary English classes? CCSSI also released the names of individuals in a larger “Feedback Group.” This group included one English professor and one high-school English teacher. But it was made clear that these people would have only an advisory role – final decisions would be made by the English-teacher-bereft Work Group.

Indeed, Feedback Group members’ suggestions were frequently ignored, according to the one English professor on this group, without explanation. Because the Work Group labored in secret, without open meetings, sunshine-law minutes of meetings, or accessible public comment, its reasons for making the decisions it did are lost to history.

The lead ELA writers were David Coleman and Susan Pimentel, neither of whom had experience teaching English either in K-12 or at the college level. Nor had either of them ever published serious work on K-12 curriculum and instruction. Neither had a reputation for scholarship or research; they were virtually unknown to the field of English language arts. But they had been chosen to transform ELA education in the US. Who recommended them and why, we still do not know.

In theory, the Validation Committee (VC) should have been the fail-safe mechanism for the standards. The VC consisted of about 29 members during 2009-2010. Some were ex officio, others were recommended by the governor or commissioner of education of an individual state. No more is known officially about the rationale for the individuals chosen for the VC. Tellingly, the VC contained almost no experts on ELA standards; most were education professors and representatives of testing companies, from here and abroad. There was only one mathematician on the VC—R. James Milgram (there were several mathematics educators—people with doctorates in mathematics education and, in most cases, appointments in an education school). I was the only nationally acknowledged expert on English language arts standards by virtue of my work in Massachusetts and for Achieve, Inc.’s American Diploma Project high school exit standards for ELA and subsequent backmapped standards for earlier grade levels.

As a condition of membership, all VC members had to agree to 10 conditions, among which were the following:

Ownership of the Common Core State Standards, including all drafts, copies, reviews, comments, and nonfinal versions (collectively, Common Core State Standards), shall reside solely and exclusively with the Council of Chief State School Officers (“CCSSO”) and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (“NGA Center”).

I agree to maintain the deliberations, discussions, and work of the Validation Committee, including the content of any draft or final documents, on a strictly confidential basis and shall not disclose or communicate any information related to the same, including in summary form, except within the membership of the Validation Committee and to CCSSO and the NGA Center.

As can be seen in the second condition listed above, members of the VC could never, then or in the future, discuss whether or not the VC discussed the meaning of college readiness or had any recommendations to offer on the matter. The charge to the VC spelled out in the summer of 2009, before the grade-level mathematics standards were developed, was as follows:

1. Review the process used to develop the college- and career-readiness standards and recommend improvements in that process. These recommendations will be used to inform the K-12 development process.

2. Validate the sufficiency of the evidence supporting each college- and career-readiness standard. Each member is asked to determine whether each standard has sufficient evidence to warrant its inclusion.

3. Add any standard that is not now included in the common core state standards that they feel should be included and provide the following evidence to support its inclusion: 1) evidence that the standard is essential to college and career success; and 2) evidence that the standard is internationally comparable.”

It quickly became clear that the VC existed as window-dressing; it was there to rubber-stamp, not improve, the standards. As all members of the VC were requested to do, I wrote up a detailed critique of the College and Career Readiness Standards in English language arts in the September 2009 draft and
critiques of drafts of the grade-level standards as they were made available in subsequent months. I sent my comments to the three lead standards writers as well as to Common Core’s staff, to other members of the VC (until the VC was directed by the staff to send comments only to them for distribution), and to Commissioner Chester and the members of the Massachusetts Board of Education (as a fellow member).

At no time did I receive replies to my comments or even queries from the CCSSI staff, the standards writers, or Commissioner Chester and fellow board members. In a private conversation at the end of November, 2009, I was asked by Chris Minnich, a CCSSI staff member, if I would be willing to work on the standards during December with Susan Pimentel, described to me as the lead ELA standards writer. I had worked with her (working for StandardsWork) on the 2008 Texas English language arts standards and, earlier, on other standards projects. I was told that Pimentel made the final decisions on the ELA standards. I agreed to spend about two weeks in Washington, DC working on the ELA standards pro bono with Pimentel if it was made clear that agreed-upon revisions would not be changed by unknown others before going out for comment to other members of the VC and, eventually, the public.

A week after sending to Minnich and Pimentel a list of the kind of changes I thought needed to be made to the November 2009 draft before we began to work together, I received a “Dear John” letter from Chris Minnich. He thanked me for my comments and indicated that my suggestions would be considered along with those from 50 states and that I would hear from the staff sometime in January.

In the second week of January 2010, a “confidential draft” was sent out to state departments of education in advance of their submitting an application on January 19 for Race to the Top (RttT) funds. (About 18 state applications, including the Bay State’s, were prepared by professional grant writers chosen and paid for by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation—at roughly $250,000 each.) A few states included the watermarked confidential draft in their application material and posted the whole application on their department of education’s website (in some cases required by law), so it was no longer confidential. This draft contained none of the kinds of revisions I had suggested in my December e-mail to Minnich and Pimentel. Over the next six months, the Pioneer Institute published my analyses of that January draft and succeeding drafts, including the final June 2 version. I repeatedly pointed out serious flaws in the document, but at no time did the lead ELA standards writers communicate with me (despite requests for a private discussion) or provide an explanation of the organizing categories for the standards and the focus on skills, not literary/historical content.

One aspect of the ELA standards that remained untouchable despite the consistent criticisms I sent to the standards writers, to those in charge of the VC, to the Massachusetts board of education, to the Massachusetts commissioner of education, to the media, and to the public at large was David Coleman’s
idea that nonfiction or informational texts should occupy at least half of the readings in every English class, to the detriment of classic literature and of literary study more broadly speaking. Even though all the historical and empirical evidence weighed against this concept, his idea was apparently set in stone.

The deadline for producing a good draft of the college-readiness and grade-level ELA (and mathematics) standards was before January 19, 2010, the date the U.S. Department of Education had set for state applications to indicate a commitment to adopting the standards to qualify for Race to the Top grants.

But the draft sent to state departments of education in early January was so poorly written and contentdeficient that CCSSI had to delay releasing a public comment draft until March. The language in the March version had been cleaned up somewhat, but the draft was not much better in organization or substance – the result of unqualified drafters working with undue haste and untouchable premises.

None of the public feedback to the March draft has ever been made available. The final version released in June 2010 contained most of the problems apparent in the first draft: lack of rigor (especially in the secondary standards), minimal content, lack of international benchmarking, lack of research support.

In February 2010, I and presumably all other members of the VC received a “letter of certification” from the CCSSI staff for signing off on Common Core’s standards (even though the public comment draft wasn’t released until March 2010 and the final version wasn’t released until June). The original charge
to the VC had been reduced in an unclear manner by unidentified individuals to just the first two and least important of the three bullets mentioned above. Culmination of participation on the committee was reduced to signing or not signing a letter by the end of May 2010 asserting that the standards were:

1 Reflective of the core knowledge and skills in ELA and mathematics that students need to be college- and career ready.

2. Appropriate in terms of their level of clarity and specificity.

3. Comparable to the expectations of other leading nations.

4. Informed by available research or evidence.

5. The result of processes that reflect best practices for standards development.

6. A solid starting point for adoption of cross-state common core standards.

7. A sound basis for eventual development of standards-based assessments.

The VC members who signed the letter were listed in the brief official report on the VC (since committee work was confidential, there was little the rapporteur could report), while the five members who did not sign off were not listed as such, nor their reasons mentioned. Stotsky’s letter explaining why she could not sign off can be viewed here, and Milgram’s letter can be viewed here.

This was the “transparent, state-led” process that resulted in the Common Core standards. The standards were created by people who wanted a “Validation Committee” in name only. An invalid process, endorsed by an invalid Validation Committee, resulted not surprisingly in invalid standards.

States need to reconsider their hasty decisions to adopt this pig in an academic poke for more than substantive reasons. There has been no validation of Common Core’s standards by a public process, nor any validation of its college-readiness level in either mathematics or English language arts by the relevant higher education faculty in this country. And there is nothing in the history and membership of the VC to suggest that the public should place confidence in the CCSSI or the U.S. Department of Education to convene committees of experts from the relevant disciplines in higher education in this country and elsewhere to validate Common Core’s college-readiness level. It is possible to consider the original vote by state boards of education to adopt Common Core’s standards null and void, regardless of whether a state board of education now chooses to recall its earlier vote. Any tests based on these invalid standards are also invalid, by definition.

Get Wise, America: Defining Terms of Education Reform   3 comments

America, we need to get smart about education reform. Fast.

Lesson one:  when education reformers use the term “rigorous,” they mean to impress you.  Don’t be impressed.  One size fits all education can never be rigorous for every student.  That’s like calling a mile run “rigorous.”  It might be rigorous for the couch potatoes but it won’t be for the athletes.   The term is meaningless when applied to every child and stripped of teacher input.

Lesson two: when education reformers use the term “high quality teacher,they mean their version. Don’t buy the assumption that what they call a high quality teacher is what you imagine when you think of a great teacher.  The new high quality teacher must be “effective” as a data-collector, test-prepper, and political indoctrinator of environmental and social justice agendas.  Gone are the days when good teachers were characterized by benevolence, spontaneity, creativity, love, nurturing, and intellectual openness and honesty.  A high quality teacher to the Dept. of Ed means one that pushes the line that the government wants pushed, one that no parent got to vote on.

Lesson three: when education reformers use the term “education reform,” they mean their version.  It’s a tightly controlled, standardized, data-collection focused, collective-not-individual focused, environmentally-obsessed, social-justice promoting, uncreative  form of education that has little to do with what a particular student needs or wants. Don’t buy the assumption that it’s actually improving education the way a reasonable parent or grandparent would want education to be improved!  Ask for evidence and empirical studies to back up claims– always.

Lesson four: when education reformers use the term “internationally competitive,” they mean to intimidate you.  Don’t be intimidated.  The truth is that America turns out so many highly qualified college graduates that we can’t even employ them all.  We are incredibly competitive internationally.  Not only are we smart, but we are creative because we have been free.  We innovate miracles in medicine, technology, entertainment and agriculture because we have not been stifled as so many other countries are.  Watch this video.

Lesson five:  when education reformers name-drop, (Harvard, Stanford, Fordham Foundation, Manhattan Institute, the P.T.A., etc.) they mean to marginalize you.  Don’t be moved.  Common Core is educational malpractice and many –even in academia– know it.  Common Core is an untested experiment being pushed without empirical evidence as a foundation.  Harvard, Stanford and countless other supposedly intellectual institutions have been literally bought with Bill Gates’ foundation money –bribed to say that the naked emperor is wearing clothes–  and these establishments have, by taking Gates’ bribes, lost their ability to question the validity of the Common Core.  Don’t listen to anyone’s academic reviews who has been paid to say Common Core is valid.  That’s not honest; that’s gold digging.

Lesson six:  when education reformers say Common Core is “state-led,” they mean to reassure you that it’s no threat to your constitutional rights.  Don’t be fooled.  There’s nothing state-led about Common Core.  Legislators were completely bypassed.  There was never a vote.  There was never a public discussion.  Most people in most states still don’t even know what the term Common Core means, much less feel they led the process.  The standards were developed stealthily behind closed doors in Washington, D.C., by the NGA/CCSSO, two unelected groups who copyrighted the standards and who have provided no amendment process for any state to alter a single strand of a standard.   And the federal government claims credit for pushing the standards on the states.  Just listen to Sec. Duncan’s and Pres. Obama’s speeches on the subject. For example, see Sec. Duncan’s 2010 speech on “The Vision of Education Reform“:

“In March of 2009, President Obama called on the nation’s governors and state school chiefs to “develop standards and assessments that don’t simply measure whether students can fill in a bubble on a test, but whether they possess 21st century skills like problem-solving and critical thinking and entrepreneurship and creativity.” 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. Over three-fourths of all U.S. public school students now reside in states that have voluntarily adopted higher, common college-ready standards that are internationally benchmarked. That is an absolute game-changer in a system which until now set 50 different goalposts for success.

The second game-changer is that states have banded together in large consortia to develop a new generation of assessments aligned with the states’ Common Core standards.”

The unconstitutional, detrimental, top-down nationalization of education and usurpation of states’ rights to determine education has clearly and without question, occurred.

The thing that remains unclear is this:  what are Americans going to do about it?
 

New Research From R.O.P.E Finds Federal Overreach of Children’s Privacy   1 comment

The “Restore Oklahoma Public Education” research team has done it again.

Read this tremendously detailed explanation of how the federal government is robbing United States citizens of their privacy, using schools as data collection vehicles and redefining even nonacademic student data collection (blood type, nickname, mental health) a federal entitlement.

 

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