Category Archives: Common Core

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Why Corporations Want Our Public Schools

Why Corporations Want Our Public Schools

Our public education system has become a profit opportunity. Children and taxpayers pay dearly….

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.

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:

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“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

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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.

DO THE COMMON CORE STANDARDS  IMPROVE K-12 EDUCATION?

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.

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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…”

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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…..
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“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: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=714460471932456&set=a.307999755911865.78066.207805025931339&type=1&theater

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

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“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

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“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.

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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…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwHB78F_Pz8

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“If we don’t stand up for children, then we don’t stand for much.” – Marian Wright Edelman

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The Kids Who Need……

The Kids Who Need......

Civil rights hero launches ‘American Child’s Education Bill of Rights’

JAMESMEREDITH“We all must work together to improve our public schools, not on the basis of profit or politics, but on the basis of evidence, and on the basis of love for America’s children.” ~James Meredith

The Education Bill of Rights identifies 12 basic education rights for every American child, all based on his career as a social activist as well as discussions with thousands of students, parents, teachers and education experts across America.

Meredith said that billions of dollars now spent on standardized testing and “so-called education reforms” can be better spent to help children…

Read James Meredith’s “American Child’s Education Bill of Rights” in their compelling entirety, here:

Civil rights hero launches ‘American Child’s Education Bill of Rights’.

Arne and Karen Duncan’s Letter To Their Own Children…

1654975_14427854_lz“What Arne and Karen Duncan want for their own children appears to me to be quite different than what Arne is allowing to happen in public education.

It is either clueless, naive, or he is hypocritical indeed….”

Arne and Karen Duncan’s letter to own children…cringeworthy with harm done to public education.

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What the Best and Wisest Parent Wants……

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“It’s Not Me, It’s You…” ~ Breaking Up With Common Core

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“It’s not me, it’s you….”

This “letter” was submitted by Grace – a high school junior in Rhode Island.  …her writing is testimony to the highly creative, original and thoughtful work that will suffer most under Common Core.  By coincidence, her letter happened to be received on the same day that Pete Seeger died.  There is a deep and powerful poetry in that fact.  If you watch this video and then read her writing, you’ll know why.

Breaking Up With Common Core – Home.

for the love of learning: Test your public education savy

henriettebrowne“Despite my disdain for multiple choice tests, I have to admit that this may be the only meaningful way to use them.” ~Joe Bower

for the love of learning: Test your public education savy.

So how did YOU do? 

Curmudgucation: A Peek at CCSS 2.0

Laughing_Apple_by_Fiore_chanOscar Wilde famously said, “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh; otherwise they’ll kill you.”. 

On that note, here is Peter Greene’s hilarious take on the future of the Common Core:

“*In response to continued complaints that focus on testing has squeezed out many valuable phys ed and arts programs, we are proud to introduce the Physical Arts program. For this program, offered during one day of the 9th grade year, students will draw a picture of a pony on a tuba and then throw the tuba as far as possible….”

Read his entire post, in all its irreverence, here:

Curmudgucation: A Peek at CCSS 2.0.

Go Home, Dr. Zimba — You’re Drunk…

il_340x270.508954181_27ks…if you believe the Common Core Math Standards that you wrote are “rigorous”, as you lead parents to believe. Given your own credentials, you know better than most how wrong they are.

“…for the colleges most kids go to, but not for the colleges most parents aspire to….”   “…not only not for STEM, they are also not for selective colleges…”

Lowering the Bar Lowering the Bar

Standards-Based; A Maine Case Study

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“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?

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Gerson: Why Common Core Won’t Work

Einstein said, “I believe in standardizing automobiles. I do not believe in standardizing human beings.” He also said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

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Diane Ravitch's blog

Raymond Gerson teaches at Austin Community College.

Will Common Core Produce Students Who Become Common?

By Raymond Gerson

Words can become like seeds for self-fulfilling prophecies because of the power of expectation. So let’s take a look at the words “Common Core.”

One definition for the word “common” is “of no special quality.” In other words “ordinary.” According to Roget’s Thesaurus some synonyms for the word “common” are “commonplace, everyday, ordinary, humdrum, standard, mediocre, run-of-the-mill and a dime a dozen”. Some of the antonyms are “exceptional, uncommon, extraordinary, original, excellent, noble, noteworthy, valuable and rare”. At your “core” or essence and foundation which of these would you prefer to be?

Are the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) a one size fits all approach that will produce commonplace students and commonness? Shouldn’t the purpose of education be to develop the whole person and to awaken the unique potential within individuals? Isn’t…

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Our Holiday Wish For The Teaching Profession…… …..Respect

….one of my favorite posts — there is probably a reason this went viral!  Well worth a read, or a re-read.

Merry Christmas to educators who give so generously of themselves, their expertise and advocacy for our children.  Thank you!

Musings on Life and Love » The Hardest Job Everyone Thinks They Can Do.

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Brilliant analysis of Common Core by another Farragut High School student…

Many of you will remember Ethan Young https://atimberedchoir.wordpress.com/2013/11/22/high-school-senior-de-constructs-the-common-core/

His close friend, Kenneth Ye Farragut, deserves to go viral as well.

Michael Petrelli, Common Core Supporter Says The Common Core is a Hypothesis ~ South Dakotans Against Common Core

Editor’s note :  This speaks to the downright Dickensian way that Bill Gates, Sue Gendron, Michael Petrelli et. al. view our children; the contrast with their aspirations for their own could not be more stark.  I saw it first-hand in Mrs. Gendron when she was Maine’s Commissioner of Education.  (Amenable to a per-pupil expenditure of $11,000 for Coastal schoolchildren, she was downright offended at the idea of the same level of investment in more rural kids. )  Bill Gates would like us to emulate the education system of Communist China…!  ..but not for his own children, certainly.  Not only is the view that some children are more worthy than others repugnant, it is dangerous….  Why do we permit billionaires, with no knowledge of education even wield influence?  ..let alone dictate their double-standards.dickens

What is that? State test results have nothing to do with college going and college graduation rates? The Bill and Melinda Gates funded Common Core Standards, are not a benchmark, by which the Bill and Melinda Gates funded charter school, High Tech High, should be judged? We know that Sidwell Friends, the affluent private school the Obama girls attend, will not be adopting or even aligning to the Common Core. So why should my children and grandchildren by judged by the Common Core and it\’s assessments?”  

Read more:

via Michael Petrelli, Common Core Supporter Says The Common Core is a Hypothesis ~ South Dakotans Against Common Core.

Inspired School Directors More Important than Evaluation Systems | Rethinking Education

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“I believe that small schools run by inspired directors have the best chance of meeting the needs of both teachers and students. The essential element in such a school is the close relationships between educators based on the work at hand. If a group of teachers, guided by a master teacher/principal, keeps their eye on the prize of excellence, then student growth will follow. This is more fundamental to a strong outcome than all the evaluation tools – standards and tests and forms of all kinds – at use in so many of our schools across the country.

The bottom line is that a principal needs to provide for the growth and development of her teachers. She needs to find ways for the best teachers to continue to be challenged throughout their careers. The principal should consistently articulate to the teachers that nothing is more important to the success of the school than their own growth and development. Supervision, in other words, should mostly be focused on encouraging teachers to learn more about the art and craft of teaching. Evaluation should not be confused with the more important work of this sort of supervision. The current scramble to standardize and evaluate threatens to obscure the goal.”

via Inspired School Directors More Important than Evaluation Systems | Rethinking Education.

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When Education is (Big) Business

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Curmudgucation: The Wrongest Sentence Ever in the CCSS Debate

blackboard“Businesses are the primary consumers of the output of our schools, so it’s a natural alliance

Curmudgucation: The Wrongest Sentence Ever in the CCSS Debate.

“If business and education represent a natural alliance, then maybe business could start acting like allies instead of ham-handed paternalistic patronizing bosses. Pick the business of anybody on the Gates Foundation board of directors. Pick any one. Now imagine me, a teacher, showing up at the CEO’s office and saying, “Hey, some of us at my high school formed a study group and we’ve come up with some recommendations about how your business should be run. And if you don’t want to listen to us, we’ll call up our friends in DC and make you listen to us.”

I can imagine lots of responses. None of them would be, “Hey, you must be my ally!”

I thank Mr. Golston for managing to crystallize so much of what’s wrong with the Gates-business crowd’s view of the entire education and Common Core situation. I would like to also point out that there is some paternalistic elitist BS in this as well, because we’re not talking about ALL education. This crowd will gain credibility with me the first time I pick up the paper and read about them marching into the main office of their child’s exclusive private school and saying, “I pay good money to you guys in tuition and endowments, and I want YOU to become a pilot program for my school reforms. We’re going to put all of these in place, here, where my child goes to school, so that I can show everybody else how great they will be.”

No, if a sentence like Golston’s turned up in the materials for an elite private school, the phone in that main office would be ringing, and it wouldn’t be to deliver congratulations. Nobody would let a sentence this wrong come anywhere near their own child.”

My View: Why Parents Are Rejecting Common Core

Diane Ravitch's blog

This is an article I wrote for CNN.com, explaining why there is strong parent resistance to Common Core testing.

The pushback is not so much against the standards as against the decision to make the tests so “hard” and set the passing mark so unrealistically high, that most students failed.

In a democracy, public officials have to remember that they were not hired to impose their dogmas on everyone and that government functions best when it has the consent of the governed.

The most important lesson to be learned from the growing backlash is the importance of critical thinking. Right now, public officials defend the CCSS by calling critics names and trying to discredit them as extremists and ideologues.

Why not listen, engage in honest dialogue, and demonstrate a willingness to think critically and reflect on the objections, rather than smearing those who ask questions?

One of my intellectual…

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The Common Core, in a Nutshell….

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“It’s not rocket science. It’s simple. It’s money.”

“…Pearson publishing spent large sums lobbying for the legislation to create new tests, new curricula, and new teacher evaluations, and then wait on the other end with their hands out receiving the millions of dollars to deliver the new tests, new curricula, and new teacher “training” needed to implement the polices for which they lobbied. Achieve, Foundation for Excellent Education, the Business Roundtable, and testing companies like ACT pushed for and wrote the CCSS standards to reflect their own educational a nd business interests, micromanaging the outcomes of education for children toward their own agendas. Nationalized testing and standards have been part of the corporate-government dialogue ever since NCLB. Efforts to push for more and newer testing methods (via PARCC and SBAC) are led by Bill Gates, along with inBloom, and other tech savvy data- interested corporations. Most of these corporations are members of the conservative-led American Legislative Exchange Council (such as State Farm, Walton, and Lumina), who have their own vested interests in having access to “big data.” The governing boards for PARCC and SBAC are political and economic footballs for the politicians who serve on their boards. The federal government uses abusive, intrusive, and invasive techniques (ironically, in the name of “equity”) to serve the interests of the corporations with whom they partner. Additionally, some of these same corporations are being paid handsomely to collect the 400 points of data embedded in both CCSS and the new PARCC and SBAC tests that go along with it.  And when our schools, our children, and our teachers “fail” to meet the expectation set forth by the aforementioned corporate interests, hedge fund corporations and billionaires line up to fund the charter schools and other forms of “reform” designed to privatize our public schools, because there’s profit to be gained. These same private interests promise to “fix” the problem, which, of course they created in the first place. This, despite research that has shown again and again how and why such “reform” efforts have failed our children.

It’s not rocket science. It’s simple. It’s money.”

Common Core Unrest Obvious in 17 States

88e274d39361ccf2ba235741f45f98c9“[Maine Governor] LePage’s effort to distance himself from Common Core was evident last week, when he disavowed support for the standards and, in a separate move, issued an executive order saying the state would not divulge personal student information to the federal government.”

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Proponents of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are fond of saying that CCSS “has been adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia.” However, it seems that they refuse to mention the CCSS resistance that has found its way into state offices–often resulting in formal hearings.

Below I offer the latest in CCSS unrest from 17 states, compliments of my esteemed fellow teacher, Vicky Johnston. Each of the following CCSS, “state of the states” articles is from September-November 2013, thereby representing fresh unrest.

For each state, I include an excerpt from the linked article. Follow the link for additional details.

Over one-third of the states whose governors and state superintendents signed the CCSS Memorandum of Understanding as part of US Department of Education Race to the Top (RTTT) funding are now percolating with CCSS misgivings.

That is what happens with top-down reform.  The “bottom”– those directly affected by the “top’s” decisions– eventually…

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High School Senior Deconstructs Standards-Based Education

A Maine School Board Chair Explains Why The Common Core Is A Disaster

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A Maine school board chair explains why Common Core is a disaster

Daid Lentin, chairman of the School Administrative District 60 board of directors, in letter to Portland Press Herald, ME – Many educators and citizens of all political stripes are worried about the hasty implementation of the standards for good reason.

The standards were adopted by agreement among the nation’s governors, and were developed with strong support from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and many corporate and wealthy education reformers. But there was little public or educator engagement in the process.

And all states are expected to fully implement the standards without any prior field testing, which was disastrous for the last major reform push, No Child Left Behind.

Much of the focus is on high-stakes testing and not education. But we already have good national tests on which Maine’s children do well.

Finally, where’s the money for implementation? How can any reform work while our schools suffer repeated budget cuts? Standards don’t educate. Teachers and parents educate, but they can’t succeed if they can’t get support.

Until we address the real issues affecting school performance, it’s a fair concern that the Common Core will be another expensive boondoggle that is a windfall for corporate testing services and a disaster for everyone else.

— David Lentin

Anthony Cody: Is Common Core a Fiasco?

Diane Ravitch's blog

Another insightful essay about Common Core by Anthony Cody. His earlier essay–10 Reasons to Oppose Common Core–was widely reposted and tweeted.

This is how a fiasco begins, he writes:

“The fiasco begins with a grand idea, planned with a bold vision. People set their sights on a goal beyond any they have ever achieved before. They look at failed efforts of the past, attempted by lesser beings, and decide that nobody before was as smart or capable, or felt the urgency they possess. The fiasco thus begins with high hopes and bold projections. But things do not go as planned.”

But they never do go as planned, and utopian hopes eventually come back to earth as the bold vision flounders, and people lose faith. He compares Common Core to a poorly done production of “Peter Pan,” where the audience is urged to believe in the impossible.

Cody writes,

“But the…

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A Reader Writes: On Standards-Based Grading….

An articulation of community questions surrounding Standards-Based Education submitted here, by a community author….  A Parents’ -Information Night is scheduled for 5:30 Nov. 25  at KMHS.

Apple_Detail1_400 Standards Based Grading/Common Core/Proficiency Based Grading at KHS

“Who here thinks standards based grading is stupid?”  This was a question asked by the principal when addressing the freshman class about standards grading a couple of weeks ago at KHS.  Naturally, when kids don’t have enough information about a topic, they are going to agree that it is “stupid” if asked the question.   Hence, all the hands that went up in the room.

Students were told that standards based learning and grading is “good learning” and is “not going away.”  Yes, this may become a good learning system when teachers are confidently trained to teach to the standards, when students are confidently taught how to learn and work to “meet the standards,” when administration has a report card created for teachers to report to and students to work for, when administration has a standards based diploma created for students to work for, when educators, students, and parents know where this is going and how to get there!  Students were told that administration is “working on” what their report card and diploma will look like because they “want to get it right.”  This is understandable, but shouldn’t we accomplish that before teaching and grading with a new system? This year cannot be an experiment!  This is our freshmen’s first look at high school, and right now, they don’t feel there is good learning in some of their classes as they struggle with knowing what they’re working for to “meet the standards.”  They feel that some teachers are clear about what they are teaching and how they meet the standard, whereas others clearly are not.  Students do not see where they are being given assignments that align to a certain standard and they are not being challenged to move on – what do they move on to?  They need the standards written out for them.  One student said, “If I knew what I was working for (standards and how to meet them), I would try harder.  I need to have it written down so I can see it and keep referring to it.”  Other students have echoed this and the information has been promised to them, but has not been done as we enter the second quarter of school.

In an attempt to explain the style of standards teaching, an analogy is being used of how elementary students work in “stations” and that the group/station setting is what standards teaching will look like as students work on meeting a standard and move on (each group/station would be working on something different).  This is not making sense to the kids, high school learning is not comparable to elementary learning.  Some learning styles will be disrupted by this type of teaching and teachers will need training to be effective.

Students are very confused about what they are even doing in science right now, let alone understanding how they meet a standard in the class.  There needs to be more communication with students – for instance, they did not know they were having a test the day after progress reports came out, they had not turned in any work at that point for a grade – how did they receive a grade?  How did they know what they were being tested on?  Then they are told they can re-do again and again and again as long as it takes to get a grade of “meeting the standard.”  Material that is successfully taught, should not need to be re-taught and re-taught and re-taught so that students can meet the standard after multiple tries!!!  Clear communication is a must between teachers, students, and parents!  Students are also struggling in their Global Studies class with not understanding what they are working for in terms of standards and are not clear on what the curriculum is.  They are concerned with the many assignments created on the iPad that they struggle to follow.

We know that proficiency based grading/standards is being mandated by the Department of Education, effective school year 2014-15.  It may be a great system and be beneficial to our children’s education eventually.  For this school year, the DOE is not ready and our school is not ready.  Our freshmen have not had a solid start to their high school years and they are feeling frustrated.  At the “Standards” meeting on Monday, November 25, have your questions ready and expect some solid answers…………………..our kids deserve it!

Some Kids “Aren’t Brilliant”? This Duncan Blunder Is Bigger Than It First Appears

So let’s get this straight: When it comes to enlisting parental involvement in school closures, and online education, and vouchers, and charters, Duncan is doing so because he believes in “the extraordinary potential that every child has.”

“…However, when it comes to parents’ knowing that CCSS is the problem and not their children– when it comes to parents fighting CCSS because they see their children “falling though the CCSS cracks”– Duncan insults both children and parents and clings like a needy lover to CCSS.”

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Anthony Cody: 10 Reasons to Worry About the Common Core Standards

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Diane Ravitch's blog

Anthony Cody summarizes here the ten major reasons to be concerned about the Common Core standards.

Cody describes the closed-door process for writing the standards and the extremely limited review of them, which he rightly calls undemocratic.

He notes the exclusion of early childhood education experts (and might have also added the exclusion of language acquisition experts, disability experts, and regular classroom teachers), from the development of the standards. He points out that the standards are “market-driven” and aim for standardization of tests and metrics, and are indifferent to the varying and individual needs of students. They are “market-friendly,” not “student-friendly.”

And here are the clinchers:

“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…

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Nancy Carlsson-Paige and Randi Weingarten: Stop Testing Little Children!

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Diane Ravitch's blog

Nancy Carlsson-Paige and Randi Weingarten have co-authored a terrific article about why little children should not be subjected to standardized testing.

They write:

Young kids learn actively, through hands-on experiences in the real world. They develop skills over time through a process of building ideas. But this process is not always linear and is not quantifiable; expecting young children to know specific facts or skills at specified ages is not compatible with how they learn. It emphasizes right and wrong answers instead of the developmental progressions that typify their learning. 

Young children need opportunities to engage in active, age-appropriate, play-based learning. They need to figure out how things work, explore, question and have fun.

Such experiences have been shown to have significant educational and social benefits for children. And studies show that early childhood education provides a high rate of return for society’s investment.

They explain that standardized testing is…

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You Asked For It!

111014_heirloom_apples_flying_fox_sm_-20301Questions and concerns surrounding the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI), Standards-Based Grading System, nearing fever pitch….  …. and, “Please post more about that”…   (OK — I can take a hint…   )

I was very sorry to miss the talk at KMHS on this very topic.  It couldn’t be helped, and I hope they will hold another.  It is an issue parents need to study, certainly.  In the meantime, look for more posts about this in the near term on our Facebook page as well as herein, and, please, join the discussion with your own thoughts and experiences.

You may have noticed, when you visited the page on EPS Funding, (“Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About EPS But Were Afraid To Ask”), a Common Core Widget to the right  of your screen — a concise and convenient reference, to be sure, but not exactly a “snap” to embed here (maybe if the computer would cooperate..! Ahem!)

Browse the widget, or download the app yourself here (then, maybe, tell me how on Earth you did it?). Anyway, this link is a good start….. http://www.masteryconnect.com/learn-more/core-app.html

Welcome to the discussion!.

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“Food” for Thought: High-Stakes, Standardized Testing…

“When we want the elephant to grow, we feed the elephant; we do not weigh the elephant.” ~Indian Proverb