Author Topic: Common Core Education And More About Federal Government Control  (Read 76745 times)

Ross

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Re: Common Core Education And More About Federal Government Control
« Reply #200 on: September 20, 2014, 09:33:16 PM »
You Can Thank the
Department of Education
for This…

May 29, 2014 By Matthew Burke

The Department of Education was created by former President Jimmy Carter in 1979, giving federal bureaucrats a pathway to control of what was previously the greatest educational system in the world.

And is it working, despite the billions (and growing) of taxpayer money being sucked out of the economy?

This week, FOX News’ Jesse Watters interviewed college-age youth at Jones Beach in Wantagh, NY, to ask some very basic history questions that every American should know.

Watters asked the scantily dressed beachgoers questions like, “Who did America fight in the Revolutionary War,” and “Who won the Cold War,” and “What was the Civil War about?”

The answers are hilarious in an uncomfortable and disturbing sort of way. You can thank the Department of Education for the answers.

http://www.tpnn.com/2014/05/29/you-can-thank-the-department-of-education-for-this/

{I forgot to mention there is a video on the web site of scantily dressed beachgoers answering questions.}
« Last Edit: September 20, 2014, 09:41:08 PM by ROSS »

Ross

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Re: Common Core Education And More About Federal Government Control
« Reply #201 on: September 25, 2014, 06:21:05 AM »
OKAY, THIS MAY ONLY BE ON THE STATE LEVEL BUT IT SHOWS ONE OF THE MANY DEMEANING FACTORS IN EDUCATION.

Las Vegas schools consider
teaching
5-year-olds
about masturbation

September 24, 2014


LAS VEGAS  – School districts across America continue to push the sex education boundaries, seeking to teach controversial subjects to students at younger and younger ages.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports the Clark County School District – the 5th largest district in America – is seeking parental input on an idea to “expose students to a lot more a lot earlier.”

Considered changes include education of homosexuality as early as ages 5 through 8, and giving everyone “respect regardless of who they are attracted to.”

School children of that age range would also be taught that “touching and rubbing one’s genitals to feel good is called masturbation.”

School officials began airing the curriculum at “closed-door” meetings of parents that were invitation only.

That didn’t sit well with the ones that weren’t invited and they showed up at the school board meeting to eviscerate the idea.

“You want to teach my 5-year-old how to masturbate?” said parent Julie Butler, according to the paper.

“We certainly should not be teaching five-year-olds that masturbation and pleasuring one’s body is good and that a 12-year-old should know about the very details of anal and oral sex,” another parent said, reports KTNV.
 
According to Fox 5, parent Ronald Withaeger said to school board members, “‘Masturbation should be done in a private place.’ That’s kindergarten through third grade. You’ve got to be kidding me. There’s no need to know that at that age.”

A high school student told the board, “I think I went through about 20 pages and I couldn’t continue with it because some of the stuff was just too disturbing to me at the age that I am and I’m 17-years-old.”

“I felt (the meeting) was quite limited in scope and who was able to attend,” another parent, Nicole Luth, said.

The district has long promoted abstinence, only recently “exposing students to contraceptives and safe-sex practices if they decide to have sex,” according to the Review-Journal.

It’s now exploring a “comprehensive” sexuality model.

More input will be sought from parents at a November advisory committee meeting.

http://eagnews.org/las-vegas-schools-consider-teaching-5-year-olds-about-masturbation/


Offline redcliffsw

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Re: Common Core Education And More About Federal Government Control
« Reply #202 on: September 25, 2014, 06:32:17 AM »

You want to raise your kids to be communist?  If so, then send them to a government school.

Ross

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Re: Common Core Education And More About Federal Government Control
« Reply #203 on: September 25, 2014, 11:08:35 AM »

A 27:53 minute video of:
Bill Gates
on why there has been so little
research and development in Education.

At http://www.examiner.com/article/new-jersey-homeschool-family-ordered-to-follow-common-core

Didn’t Bill Gates drop out of college?
Didn’t Bill Gates get lucky and buy a computer program from another person for something like $1500 and
make Microsoft from it?
Didn’t Bill Gates children attend exclusive private schools?
If Bill Gates wasn’t worth Billions and Billions of dollars who would listen to him?


Bill Gates in this video attempts to separate politics’ from education but our schools are governed by elected officials ---- that’s politics isn’t it?
Bill Gates Billions and Billions of dollars is politics?

Even Bill Gates speaks of Massachusetts Educational Standards, which I have read are the best in the nation and that common core can not touch it.

Bill Gates says it, Common Core will not be common across all the states ---- huh? What does Common mean to Bill Gates.

Common Core is Bill Gates baby, as he explains he is financing it as R&D, his money is influence (political power) his control. How dumb does he think we are?

Bill Gates says there is nothing in it for Microsoft.  Really?  How many of the school computers run Microsoft? When will those Microsoft programs have to be replaced? How much money will Microsoft make from the thousands of schools across the nation? How do we know Bill Gates and Microsoft are not invested in the Educational Industry, i.e. school books and programs?

I bet Bill Gates regretted making this video after the fact, because even he could sit back and see how wishy-washy he is in this video. He sounds wishy-washy to me.

But you be the judge for yourself.

The old axiom is still true --- Money talks, Bullshit walks.


Ross

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Re: Common Core Education And More About Federal Government Control
« Reply #204 on: September 25, 2014, 01:08:23 PM »
High School Dropout Rate Could Double Under Common Core
By Samuel Smith , CP Contributor
September 7, 2014|10:55 am

Common Core protest in Baltimore, Md., uploaded to YouTube on May 1, 2014. Available: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6_K2qAz6hA

A study released last year by a pro-Common Core group predicted that under Common Core's stricter set of state education standards, six-year high school dropout rates will likely double for states adhering to the federally incentivized nationally-based testing.

The finding was not well publicized and was only recently picked up on by Common Core critics.

The report released by the Carnegie Corporation in collaboration with McKinsey & Company found that teachers will not "meet the demand" of Common Core's expected student achievement levels for those students already behind more than one grade level unless there is broader change in school designs.

The study found that under Common Core's set of state standards the four-year graduation rate would fall from 75 percent to just 53 percent, while the six-year graduation rate would fall from 85 percent down to just 70 percent. The study also predicted that the four-year dropout rate would rise from eight percent to 14 percent, while the six-year dropout rate would climb from 15 percent to 30 percent.

The study stated that it would not be possible to avoid decreases in high school graduation rates by simply using "human capital strategies." Even if every teacher was able to increase sub-proficient children's proficiency by 1.25 grade levels per year for four years, those students who enter high school more than one grade level behind the standard would still be below standard level by the end of four years, the study found.
"McKinsey & Company used available estimates of what can be accomplished by top-quartile teachers (those able to 'move' student performance at the rate of 1.25 grade levels per year … ) to test whether or not it might be possible to avoid large drops in graduation rates using human capital strategies alone," The Carnegie report stated. "The short answer is no: even coordinated, rapid, and highly effective efforts to improve high school teaching would leave millions of students achieving below the level needed for graduation and college success as defined by the Common Core."

The study's findings that 47 percent of students are unlikely to graduate in four years should continue to fuel the national debate on whether the Common Core is the right direction for American education. The proponents of Common Core argue that the raised expected achievement level is necessary to compete with other countries that perform better on international tests because they have a set of national standards. Advocates will also say that it is too easy for graduates to receive their diploma and they are not prepared well enough for college or professional careers.

"Too often, the path to a diploma is not rigorous enough to prepare our graduates for their next steps," former Obama domestic policy advisor Melody Barnes wrote for Politico.

The advocates also claim that the curriculums and testing for English and math are "internationally benchmarked" and "evidenced-based." Frederick Hess, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, wrote that Common Core advocates are likely to dismiss skeptics as settling for mediocrity.

Marina Ratner, math professor at the University of California, Berkeley, wrote in an opinion piece last month for the Wall Street Journal that the proponents' claims that Common Core is "internationally benchmarked" is not completely true.

"The most astounding statement I have read is the claim that Common Core standards are 'internationally benchmarked.' They are not," Ratner wrote. "The Common Core fails any comparison with the standards of high-achieving countries. . . . They are lower in the total scope of learned material, in the depth and rigor of the treatment of mathematical subjects, and in the delayed and often inconsistent and incoherent introductions of mathematical concepts and skills."

Hess points out that advocates of Common Core also claim that the standards are based off of scientific evidence proving what children should learn and when they should learn it. However, the scientific research is based off of surveys completed by education professionals asking them what they think high school graduates should have learned.

Hess refers to Vanderbilt professor Lynn Fuchs who said it has not yet been determined whether the Common Core makes sense to implement.

"It is a trajectory of learning that has no empirical basis," Fuchs said. "We don't know yet whether it makes sense to have this particular set of standards. We don't know if it produces something better or even different from what it was before."

While proponents say that Common Core standards are more rigorous, opponents point out that they have taken some of the rigor away by taking away many upper level math courses like calculus and geometry, and have also taken out much American literature and poetry from the English language arts classes.

A study released this week by the nonpartisan Pioneer Institute, a think tank that has been critical of the Common Core, found that Common Core is damaging to history and English instruction.

"Common Core dramatically reduces the amount of classic American literature and poetry students will read in favor of non-fiction or so-called 'informational texts,'" said the report's co-author Sandra Stotsky. "Consequently, the writers of the national standards attempted to shoehorn little bits and pieces of decontextualized U.S. History texts into the English standards. The simultaneous result damages instruction for both English and U.S. History classrooms."

http://www.christianpost.com/news/high-school-dropout-rate-could-double-under-common-core-125961/
« Last Edit: September 25, 2014, 01:13:20 PM by ROSS »

Ross

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Re: Common Core Education And More About Federal Government Control
« Reply #205 on: September 26, 2014, 12:43:28 PM »
This is not about Common Core but about the same kind of reasoning ---flawed reasoning. In fact 16 of them. This simply proves the arrogant ignorance of a few educated idot elites that don't have a clue.
Adam Lanza's mother was an elite in the community and that is why the police did not respond to warnings about this mentally ill young man. STUPID PEOPLE ! JUST PLAIN STUPID !

Quoted from the below article, "I think we have thought this issue out at some length", really --- you could have fooled me. Of course this is only my opinion..



Connecticut Governor’s
Sandy Hook Advisory Panel
Targets
Home Schoolers

September 25, 2014


HARTFORD – A 16-member commission of educators, local and state officials and behavioral experts assembled by Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy after the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre is calling for more oversight of homeschooling.

Malloy “charged the panel with making recommendations to reduce the risk of future tragedies,” according to the New Haven Register.

Its chief recommendation is “tighter scrutiny of home-schoolers … to prevent an incident such as the December 2012 slaughter of 20 first-graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown,” the Connecticut Post reports.

“Given the individuals involved in the tragedy that formed the basis of this commission, I think we have thought this issue out at some length and we believe it is very germane and that the actual facts leading up to this incident support the notion of the risk in not addressing social and emotional learning needs of children who may have significant needs in that area who are home-schooled,” said commissioner member Dr. Harold I. Schwartz, according to the Post.

Specifically, the panel is recommending school district bureaucrats have greater oversight and authority over a parent’s ability to home school their children.

It recommends home-schooled children “with problems” be required to submit an Individual Education Plan to their local school district for approval and provide regular “progress reports,” according to the Journal Inquirer.

The Post characterizes the “problems” as “behavioral and emotional disabilities.” There’s no indication who would make that judgement.

Targeting homeschooling stems from the revelation that the Sandy Hook shooter, Adam Lanza, was taken out of Newtown Public School District by his mother, Nancy, when he was in 10th grade. She did so because “she was unhappy with the school district’s plans for her son,” according to ABC News.
 
“She mentioned she wound up home-schooling him because she battled with the school district,” Nancy’s sister-in-law Marsha told ABC in 2012.

“The purpose of this recommendation is to make sure that kids get what kids need. If they have needs that aren’t being addressed, just because the parent has chosen to remove them from the school setting… their needs are still going to be met,” Kathleen Flaherty, staff attorney for Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut, said of the recommendations, according to CTnewsjunkie.com.

Many parents make that decision for very valid reasons. Should that make them subject to additional governmental scrutiny, as the panel is suggesting?

Because if the act of homeschooling and the perceived lack of governmental oversight is to blame, how does Sandy Hook Advisory Panel explain way these public school students:

* On March 21, 2005, Red Lake Senior High School student Jeffrey Weise killed five students, one teacher, one security guard, and then committed suicide.

* On April 20, 1999, Columbine High School students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 students and one teacher, and wounded 21 others before committing suicide.

* On March 5, 2001, student Charles Andrew Williams killed two students and wounding 13 others at Santana High School in California.

* On February 27, 2012, TJ Lane walked into the Chardon High School cafeteria and fired into a group of students sitting at a lunch table. Three students died in the attack. His “emotional disability” was such that he wore a t-shirt with “Killer” scrawled on it to his sentencing.

The examples go on and they all point back to a failed government bureaucracy that apparently didn’t adequately address the “behavioral and emotional disabilities” of the students in its care.

But more restrictions on home schoolers will prevent another Newtown?

That’s what the government school employees, university professors “behavioral experts” believe.

http://eagnews.org/connecticut-governors-sandy-hook-advisory-panel-targets-homeschoolers/

Ross

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Re: Common Core Education And More About Federal Government Control
« Reply #206 on: September 28, 2014, 08:47:01 AM »
Common Core Stresses Testing,
NOT
Learning

PUBLISHED: SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2014 AT 12:30 AM

A Common Core education based on what is good for one is good for all is in the hands of the state Education Department. Although already adopted, they are now rethinking this choice and have enacted a two-year delay.

Several states are opting out of Common Core as the realities begin to surface. The cost is one example. It was $29.50 per test, per student, four times a year. After complaints, it was reduced to about $25, twice a year.

If we do the math and round it off, it is $50 a year times an estimated 2.5 million at a cost of $129 million. That is money spent on testing, not teaching.

Did you know that some systems do not teach spelling, cursive writing or memorizing times tables? Not tested, not taught, no time! Also, there is a database being generated for each child that you may be offended by because of the information being included.

How can busy people learn this kind of information quickly? Go online, ask questions, go to school board meetings and ask, talk to candidates. In July, there was a syndicated, two-hour live broadcast that was carried in more than 700 theaters. Did you go?

One eye-opener was related to the phrase “follow the money.” School boards and local governments are lured by federal grants, which hand out lots of money if they opt in. To receive the money they must adhere to mandated requirements, the subjects and the subject matter taught and certain teaching methods and includes pacing.

Pacing tells the teachers how many days are allowed to present the subject matter before they must test it using pre-made tests. When you were in school, did you always get it the first time it was presented? Too bad; you are tested anyway. The Education Department needs a video explaining the benefits of Common Core so we can weigh the pros and cons.

We need to learn more about our government and school board decisions, but how? We were blindsided because we are too busy making ends meet. Go to school board meetings and ask questions, go online and ask questions. Use social media. And get your kids involved. Have them find out the names of school board members and government officials. Have them use their electronics to ask your questions. They will love it.

Does the government really know what is right for your family? Google PARCC (Partnership for Assessment for College or Careers) and start educating yourself.

Charles B. Kingsley

Three Mile Bay

http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/article/20140927/OPINION/140928978

Ross

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Re: Common Core Education And More About Federal Government Control
« Reply #207 on: October 01, 2014, 07:39:31 AM »








This shouldn’t come as a great surprise since one can’t disagree with the policies or actions of Barack Obama without being labeled as a racist or bigot. But, this indoctrination of our youth should have Americans everywhere worried.



Ross

  • Guest
Re: Common Core Education And More About Federal Government Control
« Reply #208 on: October 04, 2014, 09:17:32 PM »
(Please notice Lesson 1 is on page 138. What was on pages 1 through 137?)

Common Core Homework from Hell: Fed-Up Uncle Leaves HILARIOUS Response

in News / by Robert Rich / on October 4, 2014 at 7:11 pm /


As progressives continue to try to figure out the hardest possible way to do the simplest of tasks, it seems some are rather fed up with this reality. Proving just that, one common core adult victim decided to leave quite the hilarious response on a homework assignment set to be presented to the teacher.

You know what they say – hell hath no fury like a common core parent (or something like that).



Jess Gueli   @JessGueli 
Follow
What my uncle wrote on my cousins homework that is on common core math
« Last Edit: October 04, 2014, 09:21:27 PM by ROSS »

Ross

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Re: Common Core Education And More About Federal Government Control
« Reply #209 on: October 08, 2014, 07:43:17 PM »
Common Core Standards:
Ten Colossal Errors

Thank you Mr. Cody for your excellent assessment.

By Anthony Cody

A recent book described the “Reign of Errors” we have lived through in the name of education reform. I am afraid that the Common Core continues many of these errors, and makes some new ones as well.

The Business Roundtable announced last month that its #1 priority is the full adoption and implementation of the Common Core standards. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is likewise making a full-court press to advance the Common Core. Major corporations have taken out full-page ads to insist that the Common Core must be adopted. Many leading figures in the Republican party, like Jeb Bush, have led the charge for Common Core, as have entrepreneurs like Joel Klein. And the project has become a centerpiece for President Obama’s Department of Education.

Yet in New York, the first large state to implement the tests associated with the new standards, students, parents and principals are expressing grave concerns about the realities of the Common Core. Common Core proponents like Arne Duncan have been quick to ridicule critics as misinformed ideologues or delusional paranoiacs. Defenders of the common standards, like Duncan and Commissioner John King in New York, insist that only members of the Tea Party oppose the Common Core. In spite of this, the opposition is growing, and as more states begin to follow New York’s lead, resistance is sure to grow.

With this essay, I want to draw together the central concerns I have about the project. I am not reflexively against any and all standards. Appropriate standards, tied to subject matter, allow flexibility to educators. Teachers ought to be able to tailor their instruction to the needs of their students. Loose standards allow educators to work together, to share strategies and curriculum, and to build common assessments for authentic learning. Such standards are necessary and valuable; they set goals and aspirations and create a common framework so that students do not encounter the same materials in different grades. They are not punitive, nor are they tethered to expectations that yield failure for anyone unable to meet them.

The Common Core website has a section devoted to debunking “myths” about the Common Core—but many of these supposed myths are quite true. I invite anyone to provide factual evidence that disproves any of the information that follows. (And for the sake of transparency, I ask anyone who disputes this evidence to disclose any payments they or their organization has received for promoting or implementing the Common Core.)

Here are ten major errors being made by the Common Core project, and why I believe it will do more harm than good.

Error #1: The process by which the Common Core standards were developed and adopted was undemocratic.

At the state level in the past, the process to develop standards has been a public one, led by committees of educators and content experts, who shared their drafts, invited reviews by teachers, and encouraged teachers to try out the new standards with real children in real classrooms, considered the feedback, made alterations where necessary, and held public hearings before final adoption.

The Common Core had a very different origin. When I first learned of the process to write new national standards underway in 2009, it was a challenge to figure out who was doing the writing. I eventually learned that a “confidential” process was under way, involving 27 people on two Work Groups, including a significant number from the testing industry. Here are the affiliations of those 27: ACT (6), the College Board (6), Achieve Inc. (8), Student Achievement Partners (2), America’s Choice (2). Only three participants were outside of these five organizations. ONLY ONE classroom teacher WAS involved—on the committee to review the math standards.

This committee was expanded the next year, and additional educators were added to the process. But the process to write the standards remained secret, with few opportunities for input from parents, students and educators. No experts in language acquisition or special education were involved, and no effort was made to see how the standards worked in practice, or whether they were realistic and attainable.

David Coleman is credited publicly as being the “architect” of the process. He, presumably, had a large role in writing the English Language Arts standards; Jason Zimba of Bennington College was the lead author for the math standards. Interestingly, David Coleman and Jason Zimba were also members of Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst original board of directors.

The organizations leading the creation of the Common Core invited public comments on them. We were told that 10,000 comments were submitted, but they were never made public. The summary of public feedback quotes only 24 of the responses, so we are left only with the Common Core sponsors’ interpretation of the rest.

The process for adopting the Common Core was remarkably speedy and expedient. Once the standards were finalized and copyrighted, all that was required for states to adopt them were two signatures: the governor and the state superintendent of education. Two individuals made this decision in state after state, largely without public hearings or input. Robert Scott, former state Commissioner of Education in Texas, said that he was asked to approve the standards before there was even a final draft.

The Common Core process could not have been directly paid for by the federal Department of Education, which is prevented by law from enacting or promoting national standards. So Bill Gates footed the bill. The Gates Foundation has, so far, paid $191 million to develop and promote the Common Core. Of that sum, $33 million was earmarked for the development of the Common Core. The remaining $158 million was spent on myriad organizations to buy their active support for the standards—with $19 million awarded just in the past month. Many of the voices in the public arena, including teacher unions, the national PTA, journalistic operations like John Merrow’s Learning Matters, and the National Catholic Educational Association, have received grants for such work.

Although specifically prohibited from interfering in the curriculum or instruction in the nation’s classrooms, the federal Department of Education has used threats and bribes to coerce states to adopt Common Core. Indeed, the active role of the U.S. Department of Education in supporting, advocating for, and defending the Common Core may be illegal, as may the Department’s award of $350 million to develop tests for the Common Core. The Department might reasonably argue that it was appropriate to encourage the development of “better” tests, but in this case the tests were specifically intended to support only one set of standards: the Common Core.

Public Law 103-33, General Education Provisions Act, sec 432, reads as follows:

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, [or] administration…of any educational institution…or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials…

In spite of this prohibition, Race to the Top gave major points to states that adopted “college and career ready standards” such as Common Core.

Here is what the Memorandum of Understanding that state officers were asked to sign said about federal support:

…the federal government can provide key financial support for this effort in developing a common core of state standards and in moving toward common assessments, such as through the Race to the Top Fund authorized in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Further, the federal government can incentivize this effort through a range of tiered incentives, such as providing states with greater flexibility in the use of existing federal funds, supporting a revised state accountability structure, and offering financial support for states to effectively implement the standards.

When the Department of Education announced Race to the Top there was a complex application process with a short timeline. The Gates Foundation created a process where their staff would assist states in applying for RttT grants. In order to receive this help, state leaders had to fill out a qualifying questionnaire. The first question on the qualifying criteria questionnaire is, “Has your state signed the MOA regarding the Common Core Standards currently being developed by NGA/CCSSO? [Answer must be "yes"]”

Thus, the Gates Foundation worked within the Race to the Top process to apply additional pressure on states to sign on to the Common Core.

Coming at a time when state education budgets were under great pressure, these inducements were significant in overcoming any hesitations on the part of most governors. The pressure continues, as NCLB waivers depend on the adoption of “college and career ready standards,” which are most readily provided by the Common Core.

It is also worth noting that alongside the adoption of Common Core standards, both Race to the Top and NCLB waivers being issued by the Department of Education require states to include test scores in the evaluations of teachers and principals. This is a package deal.

Error #2: The Common Core State Standards violate what we know about how children develop and grow.

One of the problems with the blinkered development process described above is that no experts on early childhood were included in the drafting or internal review of the Common Core.

In response to the Common Core, more than 500 experts signed the Joint Statement of Early Childhood Health and Education Professionals on the Common Core Standards Initiative. This statement now seems prophetic in light of what is happening in classrooms. The key concerns they raised were:

1. Such standards will lead to long hours of instruction in literacy and math.

2. They will lead to inappropriate standardized testing

3. Didactic instruction and testing will crowd out other important areas of learning.

4. There is little evidence that such standards for young children lead to later success.

Many states are now developing standards and tests for children in kindergarten, 1st grade, and 2nd grade, to “prepare” them for the Common Core. Early childhood education experts agree that this is developmentally inappropriate. Young children do not need to be subjected to standardized tests. Just recently, the parents of a k-2 school refused to allow their children to be tested. They were right to do so.

Error #3: The Common Core is inspired by a vision of market-driven innovation enabled by standardization of curriculum, tests, and ultimately, our children themselves.

There are two goals here that are intertwined. The first is to create a system where learning outcomes are measurable, and students and their teachers can be efficiently compared and ranked on a statewide and national basis. The second is to use standardization to create a national market for curriculum and tests. The two go together, because the collection of data allows the market to function by providing measurable outcomes. Bill Gates has not spoken too much recently about the Common Core, but in 2009, he was very clear about the project’s goals.

He said that

…identifying common standards is just the starting point. We’ll only know if this effort has succeeded when the curriculum and tests are aligned to these standards. Secretary Arne Duncan recently announced that $350 million of the stimulus package will be used to create just these kinds of tests – “Next Generation assessments,” aligned to the Common Core. When the tests are aligned to the common standards, the curriculum will line up as well. And it will unleash a powerful market of people providing services for better teaching. For the first time, there will be a large, uniform base of customers looking at using products that can help every kid learn, and every teacher get better.

This sentiment was shared by the U.S. Department of Education, as was made clear when Arne Duncan’s Chief of Staff, Joanne Weiss, wrote this in 2011:

The development of common standards and shared assessments radically alters the market for innovation in curriculum development, professional development, and formative assessments. Previously, these markets operated on a state-by-state basis, and often on a district-by-district basis. But the adoption of common standards and shared assessments means that education entrepreneurs will enjoy national markets where the best products can be taken to scale.

In the market-driven system enabled by the Common Core, the “best products” will be those which yield the highest test scores. As Gates said: “The standards will tell the teachers what their students are supposed to learn, and the data will tell them whether they’re learning it.”

Thus, the overriding goal of the Common Core and the associated tests seems to be to create a national marketplace for products. As an educator, I find this objectionable. The central idea is that innovation and creative change in education will only come from entrepreneurs selling technologically based “learning systems.” In my 24 years in high poverty schools in Oakland, the most inspiring and effective innovations were generated by teachers collaborating with one another, motivated not by the desire to get wealthy, but by their dedication to their students.

Error #4: The Common Core creates a rigid set of performance expectations for every grade level, and results in tightly controlled instructional timelines and curriculum.

At the heart of the Common Core is standardization. Every student, without exception, is expected to reach the same benchmarks at every grade level. Early childhood educators know better than this. Children develop at different rates, and we do far more harm than good when we begin labeling them “behind” at an early age.

The Common Core also emphasizes measurement of every aspect of learning, leading to absurdities such as the ranking of the “complexity” of novels according to an arcane index called the Lexile score. This number is derived from an algorithm that looks at sentence length and vocabulary. Publishers submit works of literature to be scored, and we discover that Mr. Popper’s Penguins is more “rigorous” than Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath. Cue the Thomas B. Fordham Institute to moan that teachers are not assigning books of sufficient difficulty, as the Common Core mandates.

This sort of ranking ignores the real complexities within literature, and is emblematic of the reductionist thinking at work when everything must be turned into a number. To be fair, the Common Core English Language Arts standards suggest that qualitative indicators of complexity be used along with quantitative ones. However in these systems, the quantitative measures often seem to trump the qualitative.

Carol Burris recently shared a 1st grade Pearson math test that is aligned to the Common Core standards for that grade level.

Would (or should) a 6 year old understand the question, “Which is a related subtraction sentence?” My nephew’s wife, who teaches Calculus, was stumped by that one.

Keep in mind that many New York State first graders are still 5 years old at the beginning of October, when this test was given.

You can review the first grade module for yourself, and imagine any five or six year olds you might know grappling with this.

The most alarming thing is the explanation Burris offers for how these standards were defined:

If you read Commissioner John King’s Powerpoint slide 18, which can be found here, you see that the Common Core standards were “backmapped” from a description of 12th grade college-ready skills. There is no evidence that early childhood experts were consulted to ensure that the standards were appropriate for young learners. Every parent knows that their kids do not develop according to a “back map”–young children develop through a complex interaction of biology and experience that is unique to the child and which cannot be rushed.

Error #5: The Common Core was designed to be implemented through an expanding regime of high-stakes tests, which will consume an unhealthy amount of time and money.

It is theoretically possible to separate the Common Core standards from an intensified testing regime, and leaders in California are attempting to do just that. However, as Bill Gates’ remarks in 2009 indicate, the project was conceived as a vehicle to expand and rationalize tests on a national basis. The expansion is in the form of ever-more frequent benchmark and “formative” tests, as well as exams in previously untested subjects.

Most estimates of cost focus only on the tests themselves. The Smarter Balanced Common Core tests require the use of relatively new computers. Existing computers are often inadequate and cannot handle the “computer adaptive tests,” or the new Common Core aligned curriculum packages. This was one of the reasons given to justify the expenditure of $1 billion of construction bonds on iPads and associated Pearson Common Core aligned curriculum software in Los Angeles. The Pioneer Institute pegs the cost of full implementation of the Common Core at $16 billion nationally – but if others follow the Los Angeles model those costs could go much higher.

The cost in terms of instructional time is even greater, so long as tests remain central to our accountability systems. Common Core comes with a greatly expanded set of tests. In New York City, a typical 5th grade student this year will spend 500 minutes (ten fifty-minute class periods) taking baseline and benchmark tests, plus another 540 minutes on the Common Core tests in the spring. Students at many schools will have to spend an additional 200 minutes on NYC Performance Assessments, being used to evaluate their teachers. Students who are English learners take a four-part ESL test on top of all of the above.

Thus testing under the Common Core in New York will consume at least two weeks worth of instructional time out of the school year. And time not spent taking tests will be dominated by preparing for tests, since everyone’s evaluation is based on them.

Error #6: Proficiency rates on the new Common Core tests have been dramatically lower—by design.

Given that we have attached all sorts of consequences to these tests, this could have disastrous consequences for students and teachers. Only 31 percent of students who took Common Core aligned tests in New York last spring were rated proficient. On the English Language Arts test, about 16 percent of African American students were proficient, five percent of students with disabilities, and 3% of English Learners. Last week, the state of North Carolina announced a similar drop in proficiency rates. Thus we have a system that, in the name of “rigor,” will deepen the achievement gaps, and condemn more students and schools as failures.

Because of the “rigor,” many students—as many as 30 percent—will not get a high school diploma. What will our society do with the large numbers of students who were unable to meet the Common Core Standards? Will we have a generation of hoboes and unemployables? Many of these young people might find trades and jobs that suit them, but they may never be interviewed due to their lack of a diploma. This repeats and expands on the error made with high school exit exams, which have been found to significantly increase levels of incarceration  among the students who do not pass them—while offering no real educational benefits.

It should be noted that the number of students (or schools) that we label as failures is not some scientifically determined quantity. The number is a result of where the all-important “cut score” is placed. If you want more to pass, you can lower that cut score, as was done in Florida in 2012. The process to determine cut scores in New York was likewise highly political, and officials knew before the tests were even given the outcome they wanted.

Error #7: Common Core relies on a narrow conception of the purpose of K-12 education as “career and college readiness.”

When one reads the official rationales for the Common Core there is little question about the utilitarian philosophy at work. Our children must be prepared to “compete in the global economy.” This runs against the grain of the historic purpose of public education, which was to prepare citizens for our democracy, with the knowledge and skills to live fruitful lives and improve our society.

A group of 130 Catholic scholars recently sent a letter expressing their opposition to the Common Core. They wrote,

The sad facts about Common Core are most visible in its reduction in the study of classic, narrative fiction in favor of “informational texts.” This is a dramatic change. It is contrary to tradition and academic studies on reading and human formation. Proponents of Common Core do not disguise their intention to transform “literacy” into a “critical” skill set, at the expense of sustained and heartfelt encounters with great works of literature.

Error #8: The Common Core is associated with an attempt to collect more student and teacher data than ever before.

Parents are rightfully alarmed about the massive collection of their children’s private data, made possible by the US department of education’s decision in 2011 to loosen the regulations of FERPA , so that student data could be collected by third parties without parental consent.

There are legitimate privacy concerns, for both students and teachers, as data, once collected, can be used for all sorts of purposes. The vision that every student’s performance could be tracked from preschool through their working lives may be appealing to a technocrat like Bill Gates, but it is a bit frightening to many parents.

This is one aspect of the project that is already in big trouble. The Gates Foundation invested about $100 million to create inBloom, a nonprofit organization that would build a system to store the massive amount of student data their reform project requires. However, as parent concerns over privacy have grown, seven of the nine states that had signed up to use the system have withdrawn. Only Illinois and New York remain involved, and in New York this week a lawsuit was filed to block the project.

Error #9: The Common Core is not based on any external evidence, has no research to support it, has never been tested, and worst of all, has no mechanism for correction.

The Memorandum of Understanding signed by state leaders to opt in to the Common Core allows the states to change a scant 15 percent of the standards they use. There is no process available to revise the standards. They must be adopted as written. As William Mathis (2012) points out,

“As the absence or presence of rigorous or national standards says nothing about equity, educational quality, or the provision of adequate educational services, there is no reason to expect CCSS or any other standards initiative to be an effective educational reform by itself.”

Error #10: The biggest problem of American education and American society is the growing number of children living in poverty. As was recently documented by the Southern Education Fund (and reported in the Washington Post) across the American South and West, a majority of our children are now living in poverty.

The Common Core does nothing to address this problem. In fact, it is diverting scarce resources and time into more tests, more technology for the purpose of testing, and into ever more test preparation.

In conclusion: Common standards, if crafted in a democratic process and carefully reviewed by teachers and tested in real classrooms, might well be a good idea. But the Common Core does not meet any of those conditions.

The Common Core has been presented as a paradigmatic shift beyond the test-and-punish policies of NCLB. However, we are seeing the mechanisms for testing, ranking, rewarding and punishing simply refined, and made even more consequential for students, teachers and schools. If we use the critical thinking the Common Core claims to promote, we see this is old wine in a new bottle, and it turned to vinegar long ago.

For all these reasons, I believe any implementation of the Common Core should be halted. The very corporations that are outsourcing good jobs are promoting the Common Core, which deflects attention from their failure to the nation’s economy and their failure as good citizens. I do not believe the standards themselves are significantly better than those of most states, and thus they do not offer any real advantages. The process by which they were adopted was undemocratic, and lacking in meaningful input from expert educators. The early results we see from states that are on the leading edge provide evidence of significant damage this project is causing to students already. No Child Left Behind has failed, and we need a genuine shift in our educational paradigm, not the fake-out provided by Common Core.

The frustration evident in recent public hearings in New York is a powerful indicator of a process gone badly awry. The public was not consulted in any meaningful way on decisions to fundamentally alter the substance of teaching and learning in the vast majority of schools in our nation. This process and the content of these standards are deeply flawed, and the means by which student performance is measured continues to damage children.

This did not happen by accident. Powerful people have decided that because they have the money and influence to make things happen, they can do so. But in a democracy, the people ought to have the last word. Decisions such as this ought not be made at secret gatherings of billionaires and their employees. The education of the next generations of Americans is something we all have a stake in.

And so, fellow citizens: Speak Up, Opt Out, Teach On!

What do you think? Is it time to end the reign of Common Core errors?

This article was originally posted November 16, 2013 on http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/2013/11/common_core_standards_ten_colo.html

http://www.tneagleforum.org/custpage.cfm/frm/167758/sec_id/167758

 

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