Category Archives: Standards-Based

My school system is abuzz with the Common Core: is this a good thing? | Rethinking Education

To be fair, the switch to Standards-Based Education, and the Common Core does treat poor children as though they were rich in one aspect:  they have to pay handsomely.  With towns and the State slashing even the most vital areas, where do we find the resources?  Our thanks to Kathreen Harrison for this spot-on piece:

tiger-bee-inside-an-apple-ivan-rijhoffMy school system is abuzz with the Common Core: is this a good thing? | Rethinking Education

“I don’t like it when wealthy children are treated to one kind of education and the rest are treated to something different. It makes me suspect the children of the lower and middle classes are probably getting a rotten deal.  Here’s how three of these private schools introduce their schools to prospective parents. Note that while these extracts are admittedly brief, when I browsed the websites I found no mention at all of either standards-based education or the Common Core.”

“…we need to refrain from burdening our teachers with ever-increasing rules and regulations. Our focus should be on attracting and training top students to the teaching profession, candidates who find fulfillment in exploring their intellectual and artistic passions with young minds. To attract these students we need to give teachers conditions in which they will thrive: abundant time for thinking, planning and collaborating with their colleagues; salaries that compete with those of pharmacists, lawyers, and engineers; respect from administrators and the public; freedom to do the best work of which they are capable.

The Common Core is not the answer. If it were, the schools for training the future elite would be embracing it, and they are not. Instead they are heavily promoting  intellectually and artistically rich communities. All students deserve schools like these.

Read the full, and thought-provoking post here:

My school system is abuzz with the Common Core: is this a good thing? | Rethinking Education.

Dear Legislators: What’s the point of issuing education mandates that you’re not going to fund? | Rethinking Education

…a question that cries out for an answer.  Many thanks to Kathreen Harrison for posing it, and outlining what so many of us may not know about what requirements entail:

Snail house. French children's book

 Dear Legislators: What’s the point of issuing education mandates that you’re not going to fund? | Rethinking Education.

“…The Maine Legislature passed LD 1422 in 2012. This is the law that mandates that schools transition to a standards-based education system. The transition does not come cheap. One superintendent estimated the total costs involved in standards-based education were at least approximately $60,000 per year; another district administrator said they had spent roughly $500,000 on professional development regarding standards-based education implementation. Yet the state decreased its financial contribution to education just at the time it passed this expensive mandate. The intent is for the local taxpayer to pay more……”

What Is Common Core: 101

Many thanks to “COMMON CORE” for this.  While reading it, I couldn’t help but ask myself, “When reformers speak of the education of their OWN children, do they sound like THIS?”   Read on, and you’ll see what I mean:


“It costs money to educate beyond minimal workforce training. In this 2013 document put out by the NCEE (National Center on Education and the Economy) we learn that it’s not important under Common Core to have high educational standards in high school; it’s seen as a waste of time to educate the high school graduates past Algebra II. They’re pushing for an emphasis on the lowest common denominator, while deceptively marketing Common Core as a push for “rigorous” academics.

Read these Common Core proponents’ lips: “Mastery of Algebra II is widely thought to be a prerequisite for success in college and careers. Our research shows that that is not so… Based on our data, one cannot make the case that high school graduates must be proficient in Algebra II to be ready for college and careers. The high school mathematics curriculum is now centered on the teaching of a sequence of courses leading to calculus that includes Geometry, Algebra II, Pre-Calculus and Calculus. However, fewer than five percent of American workers and an even smaller percentage of community college students will ever need to master the courses in this sequence in their college or in the workplace… they should not be required courses in our high schools. To require these courses in high school is to deny to many students the opportunity to graduate high school because they have not mastered a sequence of mathematics courses they will never need. In the face of these findings, the policy of requiring a passing score on an Algebra II exam for high school graduation simply cannot be justified.”


common core logo

This post is an introduction to many issues  included in this simple question: “What Is Common Core?” 

Parents and retired teachers, it is up to us to stop this thing.  Teachers who are currently teaching, or principals, or others who work in the education sales industry dare not speak up too loudly or risk losing their jobs. 

This post aims to be as unmistakably direct and clear and documented as possible.    I will add questions and answers  to this page, so please visit again.   Feel free to use it in any way you like without asking permission.


No one knows.  They are an unpiloted experiment.  Time will tell.  But people who are financially invested in Common Core  say yes  to the question, while people who aren’t financially interested, and who study and analyze the Common Core standards, say no.


Dr. James Milgram (Stanford University emeritus…

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When Rigor Collides With Wonder

dying-rose-bwc.jpg“…One of the more disturbingly repeated words one hears in school these days is “rigor.” Teachers need to demand rigor. Students must display rigor. Lessons must be built on rigor. There need be rigor all over the place. Just as the experimental Common Core State Standards are suddenly absolutely essential for our kids to be “college and career ready”, so too must teachers and students approach the sacred Core with ceaseless rigor. If not, the mantra goes, how in the world will they ever compete for jobs in the super savage new global economy?

Personally, I am appalled by the use of such a word in schools, no less now, in fact, than when I first encountered it at least 1000 usages ago. Consider its various meanings:

a (1) : harsh inflexibility in opinion, temper, or judgment : severity (2) : the quality of being unyielding or inflexible : strictness (3) : severity of life : austerity
b : an act or instance of strictness, severity, or cruelty
2: a tremor caused by a chill
3: a condition that makes life difficult, challenging, or uncomfortable; especially : extremity of cold
4: strict precision : exactness
5a obsolete : rigidity, stiffness
b : rigidness or torpor of organs or tissue that prevents response to stimuli
c : rigor mortis…”


As in all campaigns in which fear and brainwashing are essential components, corporate education reform is highly is dependent on and makes great use of repetition. As such, teachers across America have been forced to read, listen to, and at times regurgitate the same language — never our own — endlessly to please the current education overlords who, being non educators, are radically different from those who came before them.

And I assure you the current overlords are not easily pleased. Consider Commissioner John King or Secretary of Education Arne Duncan — not to mention those like Bill Gates and Eli Broad, from whom people like King and Duncan receive their orders.

One of the more disturbingly repeated words one hears in school these days is “rigor.” Teachers need to demand rigor. Students must display rigor. Lessons must be built on rigor. There need be rigor all over the place…

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A Common Core Valentine….

“As you grow up in this world, you realize that people really don’t give a shit about what you feel or what you think.” ~David Coleman, Common Core Architect, and Psycho…..
“I’m a photographer. This is my daughter… and this is the first photo of her that I have ever hated. #commoncore Kelly writes: “This is my daughter. You may have already seen this image today. I posted it this morning on business page and after returning from a session out in Syracuse, it has been shared over 70 times. I want to take a moment to explain this image so as those who do not know me, can understand how this image came to be.

I am a photographer, a hobby farmer, a child advocate and a mother of 3 elementary-aged children. This is my middle child in the photo … she is 7 and is in 2nd grade. My kindergartner and my 4th grader were already finished with their homework and had left the table. I had brought my camera in to work on my white balance skills while shooting in low light as I had a session the next morning to prep for.

After checking her work, I had found 2 math problems were incorrect. I tried to help her understand where she went wrong through her process but I don’t understand it myself and was not much help.

I told her to forget about it and we’d try again tomorrow but she became very upset that she could not get the answer and kept trying and trying to fix it. She is hard on herself as she very much wants to excel in school and not be pulled for extra help all of the time. I was talking to her and clicking my camera as I changed settings … it’s something that is very common in our household … and that is when I caught this image.

Please know that 5 minutes later I had convinced her to leave the homework behind and go snuggle with her dad on the couch and watch some Olympics coverage. She is not neglected. She was not abused or left alone to cry. And this photo was not staged.”

To leave a message directly to Kelly or her daughter please go here to her photography page:

Common Core for Airlines: (Thanks to Ben Cassel: teacher) – @ THE CHALK FACE


“If the Common Core was applied to airline pilots…..”

Common Core for Airlines: (Thanks to Ben Cassel: teacher) – @ THE CHALK FACE.

The 500-Pound Gorilla | nytechprepper


“The best reason to give a child a good school. . .is so that child will have a happy childhood, and not so that it will help IBM in competing with Sony. . . There is something ethically embarrassing about resting a national agenda on the basis of sheer greed”

– Jonathan Kozol

The following article was written 12 years ago!  To read the predictions surrounding corporate education reform in their eerie entirety, follow the link:

The 500-Pound Gorilla | nytechprepper.


Teachers Are Like Gardeners




As we settle in, pen in hand, piles of dog-eared, crinkled seed catalogues at our feet…. Enjoy two apt analogies for the teaching profession:



….and another, originally written for NCLB and adapted to the CCSSI…

A teacher is the best person to evaluate a student, period. They know them, they know the character of each incoming class– and they ARE different, just as each individual is different. Some classes go very smooth, others struggle. Even as the year progresses you find that certain topics engage them more, or are better or not so better understood.

My analogy is the teacher as a gardener. You start out with a solid plan to grow tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, onions, etc. Each with an allotted space and anticipated production. So many variables out of your control are already in place: the weather (which changes every year), the soil makeup with yearly variances, pests of all sorts, new diseases, hail, and freezing, but you have the motivation and determination to do the best with what you have.

However as the season progresses, you notice that the tomatoes are coming along very nicely, but the carrots are a little sub-par. So after intimate examination along with your experience, you tweak the soil so you can at least get some reasonable carrot harvest. At the end of the season, you have some good crops, and some so-so. But what you have done is maximized the potential for each crop in a very dynamic system through your OWN daily interaction, one in which you don’t just “set it and forget it”. (The next season you start all over again, but you can’t just repeat what you did this year, because the variables will again change.)

So now you have all of your produce in a neat pile, and proud of yourself for all of the hard work, but already you reflect on what worked and what didn’t, and you start getting prepared for next year.

Now comes along some tool in a suit and clipboard and she says “I’m the (Common Core)!, …your carrots are 12.3 pounds short! and those tomatoes aren’t perfectly spherical and 3 inches in diameter. What? There’s no pineapples? Wrong Wrong Wrong! You are supposed to produce exactly 40 pounds of each product we specify, no more, no less, and you can’t grow anything from seeds not sold by us. So we are going to pay you less than the market rate. Also we are going to reduce the size of your plot because you can’t produce; obviously it’s your fault.” Then she sends you a bill for assessing you.

The (Common Core) is a Trojan horse. The intent is to break one of the last bastions of union organization by forcing a rigid system on something that needs flexibility and freedom. The setup for failure is obvious. With failure you can impose punishment. The mindset behind the Common Core is identical production, like in a factory. All work should be done by unquestioning and unpaid robots, doing the same motion repeatedly, making unliving plastic items of no use. The classroom is an organic system, which needs constant care and attention, best left to the gardener.



Our children; their children…..

Taking leave from our focus on School Consolidation for a moment, this articulates the most disturbing aspects of Corporate Education Reform; the CC$$I…. Many of us have not only noticed that Bill Gates, Obama, et. al. send their children to schools that do not align to the inhuman, soul-less Common Core.  (Private schools advertise themselves as an “escape” from it!)  But also that what elite parents expect could be emulated in our own schools.  The Common Core is expensive, and designed more to fill the coffers of corporations than serve children.  CC authors fear equity, and do not believe in it.Image~The Hidden Agenda of Corporate Ed Reform~

Here’s the hidden “story” many of us have observed, that the Reformers are trying to suppress. During the 1980s and 1990s US educational researchers and teachers figured out how to help all children succeed. Professional educators were becoming highly innovative, we understood the importance of joy, curiosity, flow and creativity– how the brain learns and constructs knowledge, how to motivate all students and how to help them develop their skills.

We were part of a learner-centered revolution in education, where “lifelong learning” and a “love of learning” were the guiding lights of our profession. Magic was happening and by the end of the 1990s the power elites became aware of our success and it might threaten them if educators continued moving in the direction we were going.

So then they did three things- First, they looked at what worked and made sure their kids got that kind of education in elite private schools. Next, they invested in profit-making charter schools and education software to make money by implementing some of the principles we developed. And finally, they started to set up all these standards and testing schemes (NCLB, RTT and Common Core) to shut down the successful learning that had been happening in public schools.

Why? Because they don’t want us giving away a quality education for free. They want to control it, limit its distribution and sell it. They fear a world where all kids (regardless of race or social class) would be able to compete equally with their children. They’re afraid of what would happen if America’s public schools became breeding grounds for greater liberty, creativity, skill development, critical thinking and equality.

~Christopher Chase
The Art of Learning

Related: The video the corporate reformers do *not* want you to see, a 1993 ABC News Report on “The New American Revolution in Learning.” They focus on motivation, multiple intelligences, flow, research on how the brain works, the trouble with standardized testing. Shows all the great learner-centered reforms the powers that be have been trying to shut down in US public schools…

Standards-Based; A Maine Case Study


“It’s hard for a parent to hear, ‘Give me a year or two, and we’ll fix that.’ Because their kid doesn’t have a year or two….

This case study paints a picture of the experiences of RSU 2; their transition to a proficiency-based grading system….  Whether you favor a standards-based system, or not; whether you are familiar with the subject, or still have unanswered questions….. What strikes a chord with you?