Dee Finney's blog August 18, 2013  page 544  COMMON CORE CURRICULUM

 

 

 

Dee Finney's blog

start date July 20, 2011

today's date August 18, 2013

page 544

TOPIC:  COMMON CORE CURRICULUM.  WHAT YOUR CHILD WILL BE LEARNING NOW AND IN THE FUTURE.

 

NOTE FROM DEE:  THIS CAME TO MY ATTENTION THIS WEEK BECAUSE AMAZON.COM SENT ME AN E-MAIL THAT THEY HAD NEW EDUCATIONAL BOOKS JUST COMING IN, SO I WENT TO LOOK AND ORDERED THE COMMON CORE CURRICULUM MODELS FOR GRADES PRE-SCHOOL THROUGH 8TH GRADE.  WHEN I GOT THEM, I COULD BARELY UNDERSTAND THE INSTRUCTIONS, MUCH LESS THE CURRICULUM.  THIS IS NOT THE SCHOOL I WAS EDUCATED IN. SINCE I AM PLANNING ON OPENING UP A SCHOOL FOR CHILDREN, STARTING WITH YOUNGSTERS AS YOUNG AS 6 MONTHS, I WANTED TO KNOW PARTICULARLY WHAT PRESCHOOL CHILDREN WERE BEING TAUGHT.  BELIEVE ME, MY EYES WERE OPENED.  EVERYONE SHOULD ORDER THESE BOOKS WHO HAS CHILDREN OR TEACHES CHILDREN. 

 

Common Core curriculum standards spark political firestorm

KATHLEEN MCGRORYTampa Bay Times

Saturday, August 17, 2013 5:15pm

Jebb Bush

TALLAHASSEE — The new Common Core State Standards are more than just a road map for teachers and students.

They're a political football causing a rift among Republicans.

In Florida, conservative moms and tea party groups have mounted fierce opposition to the national standards, saying decisions about teaching and learning should be made by state governments and local school boards — not the federal government. Their efforts attracted significant attention this summer, thanks to well-attended rallies, social media blitzes and the support of Sen. Marco Rubio.

"Our parents are reaching out to every (state) legislator they know and urging them to hit the pause button on Common Core," said Laura Zorc, a Vero Beach mother and co-founder of Florida Parents Against Common Core.

Few observers think the pressure will make the Florida Legislature or the Board of Education reverse course on the standards, which kick in across all grade levels when school starts this week. The benchmarks still have broad support among Republican lawmakers and a tireless champion in former Gov. Jeb Bush.

But the backlash could be enough to prompt Florida's exit from a national consortium creating the tests to accompany the new standards. Observers like Frederick Hess of the conservative American Enterprise Institute say the standards would be virtually meaningless without a common measuring stick.

"If there is a disconnect between the standards and the assessments, we end up worse than where we began," Hess said, noting that there would be no way to compare student performance in Florida to performance in other states.

The Common Core standards outline what is expected of students at each grade level but do not include suggestions for books or how teachers should plan their lessons. The benchmarks, created by the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers, have been approved in 45 states and the District of Columbia.

The political fireworks are not unique to Florida. The debate in Indiana got so heated that lawmakers voted to put the brakes on the standards earlier this year. Michigan and Wisconsin are also grappling with similar proposals.

"In many states, implementation is already well under way, but there is this firestorm," said Maria Ferguson, executive director of the nonpartisan Center on Education Policy.

That wasn't always the case. When the initiative launched in 2009, lawmakers from both parties, teachers unions, parent groups and business associations supported it. They made the argument that national standards would raise the bar for students across the country and enable educators to compare student performance across state lines.

But fractures began forming this year, when the Obama administration ramped up its efforts to promote the new benchmarks.

The unions expressed concerns over how educators would be evaluated during the rollout and whether they would be adequately prepared. Critics on the right, meanwhile, identified the Common Core as an example of federal overreach and drew comparisons to Obamacare. They also took issue with federal money being tied to the standards.

Other concerns surfaced about the quality of the standards themselves and how student data would be collected, distributed and protected.

When tea party groups like Florida Parents Against Common Core began mobilizing this summer, state education leaders braced for the political fallout.

"This wave is coming to kill Common Core," Board of Education member Kathleen Shanahan said in May.

Florida's push toward Common Core suffered a bruising setback this month when state Education Commissioner Tony Bennett resigned in the aftermath of a school grades controversy in his home state of Indiana. Bennett was among the most outspoken advocates of the standards and had been guiding the state Education Board through the firestorm.

Bush has been doing everything in his power to promote the Common Core standards through his two education foundations. He made a speech defending the benchmarks this month at a conference in Chicago of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a policy resource for many Republican lawmakers.

It seems to be helping. Interim Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart has said she has no plans to abandon the national benchmarks.

Republican state lawmakers are holding firm too.

Last month, state Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, and four former chairs of the Republican Party of Florida sent an email seeking to clarify "misinformation" that had circulated among conservatives and garner support for the standards.

"There are good conservatives on both sides of this issue," they wrote. "Questioning the integrity of anyone involved on either side of this debate does not do our party or this issue any favors. We implore our fellow Republicans to judge the Common Core State Standards by what they are: academic standards, not curriculum and not a national mandate."

Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, said he welcomed debate on the Common Core but remained committed to the national standards.

House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, said he had no qualms with the benchmarks either.

When asked why the issue had become so controversial, Gaetz blamed politics.

"Unfortunately, the Obama administration has tried to hijack the Common Core issue," the former school superintendent said.

The two leaders, however, have reservations about a key part of Florida's Common Core plan: the tests.

Florida is a member of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, a consortium of states working to create new exams to test the Common Core Standards. Gaetz and Weatherford recently suggested Florida leave the consortium and craft its own plan for measuring student achievement which could include an entirely new set of student assessments.

Gaetz has said the proposal was not the product of political pressure. He and Weatherford want to leave PARCC because the consortium has not released its final student data security policies and because school systems may not have the technology needed to administer the exams, he said.

Observers think Florida is likely to follow Georgia, Indiana and Oklahoma and withdraw from the consortium.

Zorc, of Florida Parents Against Common Core, said the move would be telling. "Legislators are starting to listen," she said.

Kathleen McGrory can be reached at kmcgrory@miamiherald.com.

Common Core curriculum standards spark political firestorm 08/17/13 [Last modified: Saturday, August 17, 2013 6:36pm]

© 2013 Tampa Bay Times

 

Common Core Curriculum: A Look Behind the Curtain of Hidden Language

August 17, 2013

By Rachel Alexander, CP Op-Ed Contributor
March 18, 2013|9:43 am

Conservatives are in an uproar over Common Core, an educational curriculum being forced upon the states by the Obama administration, which is scheduled to be mostly implemented this year in the 46 states that have adopted it. Common Core eliminates local control over K-12 curriculum in math and English, instead imposing a one-size-fits-all, top-down curriculum that will also apply to private schools and homeschoolers.

Superficially, it sounds good. It creates universal standards that supposedly educate all children for college. But along with the universal standards come a myriad of problems, which the administrators of Common Core are disingenuously denying. The American Principles Project released an analysis last year of Common Core, exposing the duplicitous language. Common Core describes itself as "internationally benchmarked," "robust," "aligned with college and work expectations," "rigorous," and "evidence-based." None of this is true.

Common Core proponents claim that it is not a federal mandate, instead using language like "state-led" and "voluntary." The Common Core website asserts, "The federal government was NOT involved in the development of the standards." It states that Common Core is not a national curriculum, but "a clear set of shared goals and expectations for what knowledge and skills will help our students succeed."

Diane Ravitch, a former assistant U.S. secretary of education who was appointed to office by both Clinton and George H.W. Bush, recently changed her mind about Common Cause. Ravitch now refutes claims by Obama and Common Core that the standards were created by the states and voluntarily adopted by them. She writes in The Washington Post, "They were developed by an organization called Achieve and the National Governors Association, both of which were generously funded by the Gates Foundation. There was minimal public engagement in the development of the Common Core. Their creation was neither grassroots nor did it emanate from the states." Instead, Common Core is being driven by policymakers in D.C.

Common Core is set up in such a way that it can hardly be called voluntary. The Obama administration's grant program offers "Race to the Top" federal educational grants – which come from stimulus funds - to states if their school systems adopt preferred Obama policies like Common Core. States that adopt Common Core receive higher "scoring" from the Obama administration in their grant applications. As a result of this coercion, only Nebraska, Alaska, Texas, Virginia and Minnesota have not adopted Common Core. Minnesota adopted the language arts standards but kept its own math standards.

There is no evidence that the curriculum works, and it will destroy innovation amongst the states. Ravitch writes, "We are a nation of guinea pigs, almost all trying an unknown new program at the same time...Would the Federal Drug Administration approve the use of a drug with no trials, no concern for possible harm or unintended consequences?" Jane Robbins, a senior fellow for the American Principles Project, writes, "Common Core has never been piloted. How can anyone say it is good for kids when it's not in place anywhere?" In fact, the results are coming in and they are the opposite. A principal in the Midwest told Ravitch that "his school piloted the Common Core assessments and the failure rate rocketed upwards, especially among the students with the highest needs."

 

Stephanie Bell, a member of the Alabama State Board of Education, has been speaking up against the standards. She said the standards were founded on a flawed idea - which every child across America will "be on the same page at the same time." She explains, "Every child is created, and I thank the Lord for this, we're all created different," she said. Sadly, schools superintendents and administrators are only being given one-sided information from the promoters of Common Core.

 

The curriculum replaces the classics with government propaganda. According to the American Principles Project, "They de-emphasize the study of classic literature in favor of reading so-called 'informational texts,' such as government documents, court opinions, and technical manuals." Over half the reading materials in grades 6-12 are to consist of informational texts rather than classical literature. Historical texts like the Gettysburg Address are to be presented to students without context or explanation.

 

The math standards are equally dismal. Mathematics Professor R. James Milgram of Stanford University, the only mathematician on the Validation Committee, refused to sign off on the math standards, because they would put many students two years behind those of many high-achieving countries. For example, Algebra 1 would be taught in 9th grade, not 8th grade for many students, making calculus inaccessible to them in high school. The quality of the standards is low and not internationally benchmarked. Common Core denies this on its website as a "myth," but Professor Milgram's opposition contradicts this.

 

The Common Core website uses Orwellian language to deny that the curriculum tells teachers what to teach. The site claims that is a myth: "These standards will establish what students need to learn, but they will not dictate how teachers should teach." This is like saying, teachers will be required to teach sex education and evolution, but they can choose whether to teach it using assignments, movies, class discussion or reading.

 

The bloated program is underfunded. Local school administrators have already started complaining that the grants aren't enough to cover the requirements behind them. "We were spending a disproportionate amount of time following all the requirements," said Mike Johnson, the superintendent of Bexley schools in Ohio, which turned down the last half of a $100,000, four-year grant this school year. "It was costing us far more than that to implement all of the mandates."

 

Educators have expressed similar concerns for years about the costs of No Child Left Behind, a similar federal educational program that became law in 2002. In response, the Obama administration began offering waivers for states that could not afford to comply, moving them into the Elementary and Secondary Education Act instead. 44 states have requested waivers or been approved for one. It will be repeating an expensive history lesson to force another underfunded educational program on the states.

 

Common Core amasses large amounts of personal information about students. Michelle Malkin cites research by Joy Pullmann of the Heartland Institute, who discovered a report by the Department of Education revealing that Common Core's data mining includes "using cameras to judge facial expressions, an electronic seat that judges posture, a pressure-sensitive computer mouse and a biometric wrap on kids' wrists."

 

Schoolteacher Chasidy Miroff notes the corrupt part about Common Core, "The creators of the Common Core standards have now taken jobs with testing companies which stand to make millions of dollars developing tests based on the standards they created."

 

The only good news is Common Core will not have as much of an effect on the top, over-performing schools, which far exceed Common Core's standards. If those children are already performing well in math, they will be supposedly allowed to take Algebra 1 in 8th grade instead of 9th grade. But this begs the question; if a state or local school district is making great advances lately in English and math, why change a good thing?

 

States and localities should be allowed to innovate and figure out what works best for their students. When Florida adopted the most favorable climate for charter schools in the country, allowing for innovation from school to school, student test scores increased dramatically. Education policy expert Matthew Ladner, who studied the effects of the legislation in Florida for the Goldwater Institute, concluded, "In 1999, when these reforms were enacted, nearly half of Florida fourth-graders scored 'below basic' on the NAEP reading test, meaning that they could not read at a basic level. But by 2007, less than a decade after the education reforms took effect, 70 percent of Florida's fourth-graders scored basic or above. Florida's Hispanic students now have the second-highest statewide reading scores in the nation, and African-Americans score fourth-highest, when compared with their peers."

 

Six states have dropped out or are considering dropping out of Common Core. Nebraska has dropped out, and is conducting a study to compare its own educational standards to Common Core's. The Kansas House Committee is currently considering a bill to withdraw. Last week, the Oklahoma House passed House Bill 1989, which would prohibit the sharing of minors' school records without parental consent. Michelle Malkin notes that you can download a Common Core opt-out form to submit to your school district, courtesy of the group Truth in American Education.

Federal education mandates – whether disguised or not – don't work because everyone is unique. When proponents resort to Orwellian language to hide the truth about them, you know they must be bad for America.

Rachel is the editor for intellectualconservative.com and an attorney.

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/common-core-cirriculum-a-look-behind-the-curtain-of-hidden-language-92070/#crfgSo8bmKIlItyd.99


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Who's Behind the Common Core Curriculum?

Like so many education reform initiatives that seem to arise out of nowhere, the Common Core State Standards is another of these sweeping phantom movements that have gotten their impetus from a cadre of invisible human beings endowed with inordinate power to impose their ideas on everybody.

For example, the idea of collecting intimate personal data on public school students and teachers seems to have arisen spontaneously in the bowels of the National Center for Education Statistics in Washington. It required a small army of education psychologists to put together the data handbooks, which are periodically expanded to include more personal information.

Nobody knows who exactly authorized the creation of such a dossier on every student and teacher in American public schools, but the program exists and is being paid for by the taxpayer. And strange as it may seem, it arose seemingly out of nowhere, like a vampire, to suck the freedom out of the American people. Unlike Santa’s elves who work behind the scenes to bring happiness to children, these subterranean phantoms work overtime to find ways of making American children miserable.

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is another such vampire calculated not only to suck the freedom out of the American people, but also to suck out the brains of their children. And all of this is planned in the dark, away from the prying eyes of parents and writers like me. Ask any educator: “Who is the author of the Common Core Standards?” and they will not be able to tell you.

So I decided to look into the origin of the CCSS. It is said that it originated with the National Governors Association (NGA). When and where? At what meeting? At whose behest? The NGA’s Mission Statement says on its website:

The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.

Sounds wonderful. But why do we need it? Why are we re-inventing the wheel? Didn’t our public schools provide a decent education for the “greatest generation” when they were in school? That generation not only learned enough to win World War II but also enough to create the scientific foundation of our high-tech society. The only reason why we need the CCSS is because all of these graduate educationists need something to do to justify their degrees and the salaries that go with them. And of course the new curriculum will cost billions of dollars which will enable these vampires to live in the style to which they’ve become accustomed. By the way, if you object to my referring to these people as vampires, feel free to use your own designations.

The CCSS adds nothing to what we know about how to teach reading. It adds nothing to how we teach arithmetic and mathematics. It adds nothing to how we teach history, geography, and the “social studies.” In short, it is a fraud to get the American taxpayer to shell out big bucks for something that we already know how to do.  Yes, science has greatly expanded, but it also expanded from 1850 to 1950 and didn’t require a different methodology from the scientific method developed by the great scientists of the past. We may have better equipment which students of science must learn to operate, but the scientific method has not changed.

And of course, the CCSS were made to be as complicated as possible so that no parent or normal human being could understand them. For example, there is something called “Common Core State Standards Official Identifiers and XML Representation.” It states:

As states, territories, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity move from widespread adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) to implementation, there is a need to appropriately identify and link assets using a shared system of identifiers and a common XML representation. The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center), working closely with the standards authors, have released an official, viable approach for publishing identifiers and XML designation to represent the standards, consistent with their adopted format, as outlined below.

So now we know that there is such a body as “the standards authors,” who work closely with such bureaucratic organizations as the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices. And to make sure that the Standards are being correctly implemented, we read the following in typical vampire language:

De-referenceable Uniform Resource Identifier (URIs) at the corestandards.org domain, e.g. http://corestandards.org/2010/math/content/6/EE/1 or http://corestandards.org/2010/math/practice/MP7. Matching the published identifiers, these dereferenceable URIs allow individuals and technology systems to validate the content of a standard by viewing the web page at the identifier’s uniform resource locator (URL). The NGA Center and CCSSO strongly recommend that www.corestandards.org remain the address of record for referring to standards.

What kind of human beings not only write such gobbledegook but also know what it means? And these educationists are among the well-paid elite who know how to make everything so complicated that only they are capable of understanding their own complexity. Here’s more:

Globally unique identifiers (GUIDs), e.g. A7D3275BC52147618D6CFEE43FB1A47E. These allow, when needed, to refer to standards in both disciplines in a common format without removing the differences in the published identifiers. GUIDs are unwieldy for human use, but they are necessarily complex to guarantee uniqueness, an important characteristic for databases, and are intended for use by computer systems. There is no need for educators to decode GUIDs.

Did you read that line, “GUIDS are unwieldy for human use, but they are necessarily complex to guarantee uniqueness”?  These people are masters at creating complexity for its own sake. The more complex, the more difficult it is for normal human beings to know what in blazes they are talking about.

What is the National Governors Association for Best Practices? Here is what their website says:

The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) develops innovative solutions to today’s most pressing public policy challenges and is the only research and development firm that directly serves the nation’s governors....

The mission of NGA Office of Federal Relations is to ensure governors’ views are represented in the shaping of federal policy. Policy positions, reflecting governors’ principles on priority issues, guide the association’s work to influence federal laws and regulations.

The initiative for the Common Core State Standards seems to have arisen from a speech NGA Chairman Governor Paul Patton, Democrat, of Kentucky gave at the NGA meeting on June 12, 2002, in which he said:

Governors are constantly searching for solutions that will help all schools succeed, but some schools require more help than others. The long-term goal for states is to improve overall system performance while closing persistent gaps in achievement between minority and non-minority students. Fortunately, there are places to look for guidance. Although some schools continue to struggle, some have responded successfully to state reform efforts and others have gone far in improving student performance and closing the achievement gap. Current research also suggests there are ways state policies can effectively stimulate and support school improvement.

How that was translated into the need for Common Core State Standards, is not very clear. The Executive Director of the NGA is Dan Crippen, a Washington policy bureaucrat who was director of the Congressional Budget Office from 1999 to 2002. The Director of the NGA Center for Best Practices is David Moore, formerly of the Congressional Budget Office. The Director of the Education Division is Richard Laine. His profile states:

 

Laine directs research, policy analysis, technical assistance and resource development for the Education Division in the areas of early childhood, K-12, and postsecondary education. The Education Division is working on a number of key policy issues relevant to governors’ efforts to develop and support the implementation of policy, including: birth to 3rd grade access, readiness and quality; the Common Core State Standards, STEM and related assessments; teacher and leader effectiveness; turning around low-performing schools; high school redesign; competency-based learning; charter schools; and postsecondary (higher education & workforce training) access, success & affordability. The Division is also working on policy issues related to bridging the system divides between the early childhood, K-12 and postsecondary systems.

 

Well now we know who’s in charge of the Common Core State Standards. What is Mr. Laine’s background?

 

Previous Positions: Director of Education, The Wallace Foundation; Director of Education Policy and Initiatives, Illinois Business Roundtable; Associate Superintendent for Policy, Planning and Resource Management, Illinois State Board of Education; Executive Director, Coalition for Educational Rights; Executive Secretary, Committee for Educational Rights; School Finance Analyst, Chicago Panel on Public School Policy and Finance; Associate Director, California Democratic Congressional Delegation.

Education: M.P.P., M.B.A. and Certificate of Advanced Study in Education Administration and Public Policy, University of Chicago; B.A., University of California — Santa Barbara. 

Obviously, Mr. Laine is one of those invisible bureaucrats who create policies for the governors, few of whom ever read them. He was Associate Director of California’s Democratic Congressional Delegation, which includes some of the worst left-wing members of Congress. He’s also in charge of “birth to 3rd grade access,” which the National Education Association strongly favors. Among Mr. Laine’s staff is Albert Wat, whose expertise is Early Childhood Education. His profile states:

Wat provides state policymakers with analyses and information on promising practices and the latest research in early childhood education policy, from birth through third grade. His work focuses on preschool education systems and alignment of early childhood and early elementary practices and policies, including standards, assessments and data systems.

Previous Positions: Research Manager, Senior Research Associate and State Policy Analyst, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Pew Center on the States, Pre-K Now.

Education: Master of Arts in Education Policy Studies, The George Washington University; Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate, Georgetown University; Master of Arts in Education, with focus in Social Sciences in Education and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, with Distinction, Stanford University.

Like so many Washington policy wonks, Mr. Wat has to justify his bureaucratic position by thinking up new ways to create costly education reform that no freedom- loving citizen wants. Note his and Mr. Laine’s interest in “birth to 3rd grade” education, an area traditionally left up to parents. But then the totalitarian mind wants control over everything and everybody.

In other words, the Common Core State Standards have no more legitimacy than the plans of your local village idiot to reform education. They are the thought emanations of those who have nothing better to do. Yet, they will cost the American taxpayer billions of dollars and make American public education more confusing than ever.

 

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