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Archive for December 2013

Pearson Education’s creepy vision confirms Common Core fears

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Danette Clark

WASHINGTON, D.C.Pearson Education, an official partner in the development of resources and tests for the Common Core State Standards, recently released a video series to share their ‘vision for the future of learning’.

Although the technology shown is impressive, these videos confirm what many teachers and parents have feared most about Common Core, unprecedented control and an invasion of student privacy.

In these videos, educators’ teaching styles are monitored by real-time cameras in every classroom and evaluated on the use of specific points of instruction. It goes without saying that dictating specific teaching strategies makes for big problems, especially if those strategies are used for indoctrination purposes. Just look to Texas for testimony of teachers that say they were reprimanded and threatened with dismissal if they failed to teach in the exact manner directed by CSCOPE.

Pearson also confirms (again) Common Core’s global agenda as students are shown participating in ‘global learning’ activities resembling Model UN lesson activities. Pearson is an active supporter of Model United Nations, a program that has increased in popularity among more liberal school districts in recent years.

Pearson’s vision for the future also entails teachers and school administrators having instant access to an individualized schedule on each student – not just an in-school/class schedule, but a schedule of the student’s activities and whereabouts outside of school.

In the video, Victoria’s Story: School of Thought–A Vision for the Future of Learning, Pearson demonstrates ease of access to students’ personal lives by showing a teacher instantaneously pulling Victoria’s schedule and sharing with another teacher that Victoria has soccer practice after school that time of year.

While it’s not clear from the video whether Victoria’s soccer practice is a school activity or part of an athletic organization not affiliated with the school, Pearson has shown that they believe educators should have knowledge of all extra-curricular activities students participate in.

For example, Pearson documents like this one (Creating a Classroom Environment That Promotes Positive Behavior) discuss the importance of evaluating data on a student’s after-school activities and other factors of the child’s life at home and in the community.

While this may be necessary for students with severe behavior problems or a criminal record, the student with the ‘behavior problem’ referred to in Creating a Classroom Environment That Promotes Positive Behavior is a child who simply can’t keep still and talks out of turn.

Although Pearson apparently believes the more information the better, many parents would rightfully view this as a threat to their children’s privacy and safety, especially considering that student data is now being shared and sold all over the country.

The U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics provides a data model (the National Education Data Model (NEDM)) listing hundreds of very specific individual data points of information on children that they believe “all education stakeholders” need for “effective instruction of students and superior leadership of schools”.

The list of data points currently includes bus stop times, bus stop description, nickname, letters of commendation from any employer or community organization, any medals/awards for athletic or academic achievement, place of residence after the student graduates or withdraws from school, and a detailed reason for absences (family activities or vacation, family emergency, religious observance, etc.).

Data points that were recently scrubbed from the National Education Data Model (for obvious reasons) included blood type, eye and hair color, birth marks, and whether or not the student was born premature.

The National Education Data Model was created through a partnership between the U.S. Department of Education (as funder) and the Common Core State Standards’ very-own Council of Chief State School Officers (as coordinator).

According to Pearson, the School of Thought videos present “a vision of the future that integrates technology, neuroscience, and educational psychology into everyday life to make anytime, anywhere learning possible”.

Take notice of those words — ‘neuroscience’ and ‘psychology’.

The narrator of Victoria’s Story, Pearson’s own Jeff Borden, eerily appears around the corner to Victoria’s bedroom in the video and explains that students’ learning styles and needs will be constantly analyzed so educators will know “the time of day, part of the week, and the season of the year when each student is most productive”.

So what kind of neuroscience and educational psychology will be used to constantly analyze student learning?

The Department of Education document, Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance: Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century, recommends evaluating students’ emotions, anxiety levels, and physiological traits using neuroscience devices like computers or tablets that record facial expression. Other devices recommended will monitor students’ brain wave patterns, skin conductance, heart rate variability, posture, and eye movement.

Get ready tax payers — if Common Core isn’t stopped, you will be the ones to foot the bill for highly advanced devices used to spy on America’s children 24 hours a day.


Danette Clark is a mom, former paralegal turned business operator, researcher, and writer. She has contributed to Klein Online and RBO2.com.

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

December 24, 2013 at 06:00

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‘Knockout Game’ perp shot, killed

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Tiffany Thompson got her wish: Demetrius Murphy met the “Right Person” and he will not be playing the Knockout Game any more. Ever.

A St. Louis homeowner shot Murphy dead late last week during a burglary. And a whole lot of people in St. Louis feel relieved, if not safer.

Murphy was a member of a group that is credited with making the Knockout Game a St. Louis tradition, then a national pasttime.

The rules of the Knockout Game are simple: Begin with a bunch of black people. Anywhere from three to 30.

Find a white person, but an Asian will do. Alone is important. Older is better. Weak and defenseless even more so.

Without warning, punch that person in the face as hard as you can. You win if you score a Knockout.

If not, keep punching until your arms and legs get too tired to continue. Or the person dies.

You can play anywhere, but “vibrant and culturally mixed” neighborhoods are probably the best. That is where the victims are: Asians, “gays,” artists, yuppies, seniors , college students – people who won’t fight back.

Over the last two years, hundreds of people around the country have become victims. Some say over 100 in St. Louis alone. Some died. Others, like Murphy’s victim Matt Quain, suffered broken bones in his face and jaw.

Last week, four members of the national Championship Alabama football team were arrested after three played the game two times, and the fourth tried to use a debit card taken during the attacks.

Many of these cases of black mob violence are documented in the book “White Girl Bleed a Lot: The return racial violence and how the media ignore it.”

Murphy and his friends were arrested in November 2011 when police found a 13-year-old girl who witnessed the Knockout Game assault on Quain. The charges were dismissed after she failed to show up. The mayor of St. Louis said there was no doubt in his mind the witness was intimidated and too frightened to testify. The mother of the witness said the same several months later.

The gang was jubilant, and took to FaceBook to say so. “FREE ALL MY TKO GUYS,” said one of the members of the mob that was freed, reported the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Two days later, two members of the group tracked down Quain and threatened him again.

He threatened them with pepper spray and they ran.

The pace of the Knockout Game picked up in other places with other victims. That is when Tiffany Thompson made her wish at a news site reporting the results of the latest St. Louis victim:

as a black woman i will say this, i wish they would run into the right person who is armed to defend themselves with a firearm…i bet we will see a drastic decrease in violence in our city. it is embarrassing and shameful – the image these losers portray of blacks in st louis. i do not and never will reside anywhere besides the suburbs of this city, because no one is safe among these savages. do not get angry when people call them thugs, because that is exactly what they are and no excuses can be made for this barbaric behavior! it’s disgusting!!!

That “right person” was a St. Louis homeowner who found Murphy and a friend in his backyard at 1:30 a.m.

Missouri citizens are protected by the so-called Castle Doctrine that allows the use of deadly force against intruders.

But Murphy’s friend, a 17-year-old man, was charged with murder because he was an accomplice to a felony where a person was killed.

Murphy’s grandfather, Paul Furst, told KSDK that Murphy was mentally challenged did not deserve to die:

I believe this is another one of the Trayvon Martin stories where people are getting so gun happy they shoot just on impulse now. I could understand if he was a threat. But on the property, he was not a threat.

Murphy’s grandfather had nothing to say to a neighbor who said he, too, was a victim of Murphy: Jonathan Preiss told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

“I live 3 houses down from where the shooting took place. I believe they are the ones who threw a rock and a brick into my window, stole my tv, ps3, wii and games as well right before this happened. They ransacked my room, no regard for my property. I am still freaked out over this whole thing. I hope this is a lesson of the consequences for violating my community’s privacy.”

Murphy was 15 years old.
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/02/knockout-game-perp-shot-killed/#lpRXmEDXtIC67fQ6.99

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

December 23, 2013 at 06:00

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Blue States Turning on Controversial ‘Common Core’ School Standards

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By Dr. Susan Berry

As controversy intensifies over new the Common Core educational standards, two Democrat-led states are showing signs of distancing themselves from the curriculum that the Obama administration has supported.

North Country Public Radio reported last week that Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) has appeared to remove himself from the controversial Common Core.

“In recent days, Cuomo seems to have cooled from his initial endorsement of the rapid transition to the adoption of the national education standards,” wrote Karen DeWitt.

Asked by a reporter about the Common Core standards, Cuomo removed himself from the discontent that has generated boisterous meetings with state education officials, parents, and teachers.

In Staten Island, Cuomo referred to the implementation of the new standards as “problematic,” and, in Lake Placid, acknowledged, “It’s been very controversial. It’s very controversial here in the state.”

Cuomo’s comments differed from those of just a month ago, when he focused more on how the change to a new system can be hard.

Nevertheless, Cuomo has hinted that he may engage the state legislature to slow down the Common Core’s implementation.

“The state could pass a law that stops it, starts it, accelerates it, etcetera,” he said.

If the New York State legislature follows through with a slow-down, it will be following in the footsteps of another Democrat-led state–Massachusetts–which, two weeks ago, voted to delay the implementation of Common Core for two years while it compares the tests aligned with the new standards to the state’s existing Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) exam.

According to Education Week, Massachusetts education commissioner Mitchell Chester, who also chairs the governing board for PARCC, one of the Common Core testing consortia, said that fully adopting the new testing by the deadline of the 2014-2015 school year was “too precipitous” for his state’s schools.

As the Heritage Foundation notes, while achievement gains in Massachusetts have leveled off in recent years, the state has led the nation in its math and reading proficiency, with fourth and eighth-grade students exceeding the national average by nearly 10 percentage points in both subject areas.

Though Common Core supporters claim that the new standards will have the same effect in all states as Massachusetts’ standards did for that state’s achievement levels, opponents say that is not likely.

Last year, Sandra Stotsky, who helped reform Massachusetts’ education system in 1993, and who also resigned from the Common Core review committee, wrote at Heritage that the decreased emphasis on literature in the new standards would diminish the proficiency of students:

[Common Core’s] misplaced stress on informational texts reflects the limited expertise of Common Core’s architects and sponsoring organizations in curriculum and in teacher’s training… A diminished emphasis on literature in secondary grades makes it unlikely that American students will study a meaningful range of culturally and historically significant literary works before graduation.

Massachusetts is joining 15 other states that are now reconsidering their participation in Common Core, four of which have stopped implementation of the tests aligned with the new standards or restricted their involvement.

Susan Berry has a doctorate in psychology. She writes about cultural, educational, and healthcare policy issues.

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

December 20, 2013 at 06:00

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Dissecting Mike Huckabee’s Statement on the Common Core

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By Shane Vander Hart

Mike Huckabee during the monologue on his weekend show on Fox News addressed the topic of the Common Core State Standards and his position on it.  I watched with interest and some hope as I heard from some of his supporters that he was coming around to our side.  I left disappointed.  Not to say everything he had to say was bad – there are some things within his statement with which those of fighting the Common Core can agree.  What I was most disappointed by was the way in which he framed the debate.  I think it further confuses the issue and does not help in advancing our attempt to root these standards out.

If I were to boil his statement down it would read: “I oppose what the Common Core has become, the Common Core as a brand is dead, but let’s keep the standards and the assessments.”

I wanted to provide an analysis of his statement below.

I don’t support what Common Core has become in many states or school districts.  I am dead set against the Federal government creating a uniform curriculum for any subject.  I oppose the collection of data on any student in order to identify them and then track them, and certainly any effort to give that information to the federal government.

The first red flag was that he doesn’t support “what Common Core has become” meaning he supported it in its original form.  This is an inadequate response because it doesn’t recognize problems inherent with the standards themselves regardless of what curriculum publishers and the Federal government has done.

I do appreciate the strong statement on data collection, but it is pretty easy to find consensus around that point.  Even so this statement ignores the fact that those involved working on the Common Core State Standards and its assessments planned it as a tool to collect student data.  This was during the development of the Common Core, not something that happened after the fact.  When the chief architect of the Common Core’s ELA standards lauded the use of student data it’s hard to say this wasn’t part of the Common Core.  Maybe that wasn’t what individual Governor’s had in mind, but it wasn’t Governors who wrote the standards to begin with.

I am steadfast in my belief that parents, parents should ultimately decide the best venue for their children’s education whether it is public schools, private schools, religious schools or homeschools.  I believe education is a local or state function, not a federal one.

Ok, agreed.  He needs to realize with the Common Core assessments that private schools and homeschools are being impacted.  Also some states have required non-public schools to adopt the Common Core if they had state accreditation, received vouchers, etc.  Homeschoolers are impacted in varying degrees based on the state they live.  They all will face an SAT and ACT college entrance exam that will eventually be aligned to the Common Core.  Also Huckabee didn’t seem to mind the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top program.  He thought it was a “good idea.”  From his book, Simple Government, Huckabee wrote, “although I believe education should be left to the states, I fully endorse the new federal program Race to the Top, which has states compete for additional education funds, allowing them to decide what reforms to enact rather than having specific reforms imposed on them from above,” (pg. 100).

Race to the Top was a scheme by the Obama administration to further entrench the Federal government in education.  There was little, if any, public feedback given for this program.  No opportunity to debate it.  It was made possible by a $4.35 billion increase in discretionary money, an “executive earmark” so to speak, in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  You know the “stimulus” bill to create jobs.

So Race to the Top was designed as carrot and stick program, which Governor Huckabee thought was a good thing, “a clever way to prod states to embrace much needed reform,” to use his words.  So this program gave directives to states who were strapped for cash to adopt the Common Core Standards (I thought he was against federal standards?) and make other education policy changes just so they can be competitive for these grants.

To be clear here, under this grant scheme, even if a state’s application was perfect, it would be uncompetitive to receive funds without the adoption of the standards.  He bemoans federal involvement in the Common Core, but he lauded the very program that gave them a foothold.

Sadly the very label, Common Core, has come to be associated with things that I deter like agenda-driven curriculum that indoctrinates instead of educates.  I am convinced that the term Common Core needs to disappear from the lexicon of education policy.  It is a toxic term that has come to mean things that most of us can’t stomach – like top-down federal intervention into the schools where you live.

But Common Core as it was designed had nothing to do with the federal government.  It was conceived and controlled by elected governors and state school chiefs to keep federal hands from interfering with it.

And it only dealt with two subjects – math and English, in those two subjects only, established state-initiated standards in those subjects and intentionally didn’t build or suggest curriculum.

To be clear, the problem is not the label.  The agenda-driven curriculum is a byproduct of the Common Core, but it is not the primary problem.  There has always been agenda-driven curriculum.  What the Common Core has initiated however is a need for schools to purchase new curriculum that is “Common Core aligned.”  This was by design.

Bill Gates, the chief funder of the development of the Common Core State Standards said, “identifying common standards is not enough. We’ll know we’ve succeeded when the curriculum and the tests are aligned to these standards… 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 that will unleash powerful market forces in the service of better teaching.”

This was in 2009 folks.  This shouldn’t be unexpected.  In regards to Federal involvement, already covered that above.  It’s disingenuous to condemn federal involvement on one hand and give Race to the Tops props with the other.  The U.S. Department of Education has been involved in helping promote these standards since their inception so their involvement is nothing new either.

Also let’s be clear – governors and chief state school officers did not “conceive” the standards.  Trade associations and their staffs did.  Were governors involved?  Minimally.  I’m curious how many governors have actually read the standards.  Washington-based special interest groups developed the standards and corporate interests paid for it.

Regarding the subject matter that is mostly true, but the standards do have literacy standards for other subjects and there is suggested reading in the text exemplar for social studies and science.

It set voluntary goals, goals that were controllable by local school boards.  Unfortunately the locally controlled and simple creation of standards in math and English were created so students would be measured by comparable standards regardless of geography.

Local school boards control the standards?  That is patently untrue, at least in most states.  These standards have been mandated on local schools at the state level.  Measuring all students with comparable standards will do what exactly?  How will it improve student achievement exactly?

That has been hijacked by those who took the label Common Core and applied it to curriculum, subjects other than math and English and even unrelated things such as personal data collection.

Who hijacked these?  Curriculum alignment was by design.  Data collection was part of the over all package.

As a result Common Core as a brand is dead and hopefully the perversion of it will die as well.

This is larger than a branding issue, and again suggests standards as is are ok.  I agree the brand is dead, but we need more than a name change.

What I hope doesn’t die is setting higher standards for students.  Keeping score to see just how well they are doing, and having accountability for the results.

So essentially change nothing with the standards and assessments themselves.  Has Governor Huckabee seen what is going on in New York?  Sure this sounds great, but if you don’t want teachers teaching to the test then don’t link accountability, especially teacher evaluations, to assessments.

Education bureaucrats have long fought against assessments and sometimes have fought against accountability often being satisfied by underperforming students who are far behind their peers in other states and countries.

Education bureaucrats are the ones really pushing this – what is he talking about?  Regarding underperforming students who are behind their peers in other states, there are many reasons for this other than standards.  Regarding our place in the world there’s a lot of skepticism related to the use of PISA to determine this.

The Wall Street Journal reported just this week that schools in the U.S. were performing below those in Vietnam, Lithuania, Russia and Hungary.  Then our 15 year-olds haven’t seen improvement in over a decade compared to other nations.

Notice how individual states, like Massachusetts, who perform well compared to some of the top nations are never mentioned?  Christopher Tienken, assistant professor of education at Seton Hall University, pointed out that PISA (which is what Huckabee is referring to) is comparing apples and oranges.

“In Singapore you won’t find a lot of students with special needs or second language learners in school by age 15, let alone in the testing population,” Tienken notes.

“The testing populations are very, very selective in some of these countries,” he added. “Now in America, we educate everybody. It’s part of our American exceptionalism and our commitment to liberty and justice for all. And so our testing pool includes all different kinds of students.”

Tienken also pointed out how PISA doesn’t  assess creativity or innovation and can’t predict how a new generation will perform in the work force.

“We top the ranks in creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship around the world,” he said. “So there’s a negative correlation between how you score on PISA and your creativity and innovation.”

For those who think I embrace Common Core I don’t embrace or even want to tolerate what it has become to mean in too many locations.  Yes its been hijacked and I don’t support the hijackers or the destination.  But I don’t blame the airplane for getting hijacked.

I just hope that we are not ready to accept mediocrity as a standard.  Let’s kill the name Common Core and all the nonsense that has been onto it, but let’s insist that if we continue to spend the most money in education that we demand that the end result is achievement.

Actually the plane was malfunctioning as well.  He uses Jeb Bush/Fordham talking point that if you are against Common Core you are in favor of mediocrity – nonsense.  I agree that we should expect more for our education dollars, but what defines achievement?  Scoring well on an assessment?

You see I think every Governor should take the wheel and then steer his or her state to adopt strict and rigorous standards.  I suggest what Governor Terry Branstad did in Iowa recraft it to a state-specific initiative.  Keep it simple, name it whatever you want to.  Don’t let anyone corrupt the goals by adding things that are not part of the goals.

Common Core is dead.  Common sense should not be.  That’s my view.

A couple of problems with this statement.  1. Does Governor Huckabee not believe in the separation of powers?  Regardless of federal involvement the Common Core represented executive overreach off the chain.  State legislatures should weigh in on standards, not just the executive branch of government.  We need checks and balances.  2. Governor Branstad’s executive order was window dressing that does very little.  Governor Branstad did not adopt new standards other than the Common Core Math and English, it’s simply been absorbed into the Iowa Core.  States can add up to 15% to the Common Core State Standards, but they can’t subtract or rewrite.  So if they remain in the Common Core State Standards Initiative then based on their agreement they do not have the ability to “recraft” the standards.

Yes Common Core is dead, but what Governor Huckabee lauds as common sense in this instance is anything but.

Shane Vander Hart is the Editor-in-Chief of Caffeinated Thoughts, a popular Christian conservative blog in Iowa. He is also the President of 4:15 Communications, a social media & communications consulting/management firm, along with serving as the communications director for American Principles Project’s Preserve Innocence Initiative.  Prior to this Shane spent 20 years in youth ministry serving in church, parachurch, and school settings.  He has taught Jr. High History along with being the Dean of Students for Christian school in Indiana.  Shane and his wife home school their three teenage children and have done so since the beginning.   He has recently been recognized by Campaigns & Elections Magazine as one of the top political influencers in Iowa. Shane and his family reside near Des Moines, IA.  You can connect with Shane on Facebook, follow him on Twitter or connect with him on Google +.

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

December 19, 2013 at 06:00

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A teacher describes why she left teaching in pubic schools… Common Core

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December 18, 2013 at 06:00

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Another Teen Wonder: Junior Class President Speaks Out Against Common Core

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December 17, 2013 at 06:00

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Liar Liar Pants on Fire: Dr. Stotsky Exposes Marc Tucker

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by Christel Swasey

Dr. Sandra Stotsky, one of the famous Common Core validation committee members who refused to sign off on the legitimacy of Common Core, is alarmed that N.H. legislators are being sold a false line by Mark Tucker about Common Core. She points out, among other things, that the Gates Foundation has “given millions to help Marc Tucker promote his own ideas on education in recent years” as it has given millions to promote Common Core nationwide. But there are more than financial incentives for Tucker, the CEO of the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE), a Center for American Progress (CAP) leader, and the infamous Dear Hillary letter author.

Tucker’s life’s work hangs on Common Core. He’s made it his mission to end local control, as a progressive socialist who openly fights Constitutional, representative America. The plot of his 1992 “Dear Hillary letter” falls apart without Common standards for control of data and control of education and workforce. He can’t let it fail.

Tucker’s infamous 1992 letter to Hillary Clinton showed Tucker’s (and Clinton’s) twisted agreement that a “new” system of government should micromanage every citizen’s life, cradle to grave, using schooling as the core for the centralized control. Creepy as can be.

Fast forward to May 2013 and still, you see Tucker’s creepy goals outlined in his report from the “Center for American Progress” in which Tucker stated that “the United States will have to largely abandon the beloved emblem of American education: local control.” He also dared write: “I propose to greatly strengthen the role of the state education agencies in education governance, at the expense of local control … [G]overnance roles of the local districts, as well as the federal government, would be significantly decreased. Independent citizen governing boards would be eliminated.”

Equally stunning is Tucker’s 2013 NCEE report called “What Does It Really Mean to Be College and Work Ready?” where he admitted that his goal for education reform is NOT to raise, but to lower standards.

His report reads:

“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 policy of requiring a passing score on an Algebra II exam for high school graduation simply cannot be justified.”

(Why don’t our state school boards share these reports with us? Why do they lead us to believe that “college and career ready standards” mean better than we had before?)

The same NCEE report goes on to say that the traditional high school English class, with its emphasis on classic literature and personal, narrative writing, is useless. The report implies that Common Core will save students from the near-worthless classics with its emphasis on technical subjects and social studies via the dominance of informational text in the Common Core classroom:

“The Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts (CCSSE) address reading in history/social studies as well as science and technical subjects, and in so doing may increase the relevance of high school instruction.”

In labeling classic literature and personal writing irrelevant, the NCEE underscores the Common Core/NCEE mentality: that only job prep matters, only the collective economy, not the liberty and potential of an individual.

With that introduction to Tucker’s motivations for promoting Common Core, here are highlights from Dr. Stotsky’s article on Tucker’s recent fibs in support of the Common Core agenda. (Read the whole thing at Pioneer Institute’s website.)

Dr. Stotsky makes many important points, including the following:

1 “In October, members of the New Hampshire legislature heard Marc Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy, tell them more fibs than Pinocchio ever dreamed up. How many legislators will prove to be gullible Geppettos is another matter.”

2 “…all six of the “math experts” who “validated” Common Core’s mathematics standards are in an education school and/or spend their time on teacher education… [Dr. James Milgram, who refused to sign off on the legitimacy of the Common Core math standards], who has a doctorate in mathematics, was clearly the only mathematician on the Validation Committee. Tucker doesn’t know a mathematician from a mathematics educator.”

3 “It is true that Professor William McCallum, a consultant to Achieve, Inc., a mathematics professor at Arizona State University, and a lead writer of Common Core’s mathematics standards, asked the heads of many national mathematics and science societies for endorsements, and he received them. However, there is no evidence that any of their members ever read Common Core’s high school mathematics standards.”

4 “Nor is there evidence that any of their members disagree with Milgram’s judgment that there are no precalculus standards in Common Core or with Professor Jason Zimba’s acknowledgment that Common Core does not prepare high school students for STEM. If members of these organizations do endorse high school mathematics standards that intentionally do not prepare high school students for STEM, they should speak up…”

5 “Mitchell Chester, current Commissioner of Education in Massachusetts, did not commission any leading education research organizations to compare the Massachusetts standards with Common Core’s …Achieve, Inc., Fordham, and the MBAE all received funding from the Gates Foundation… It is also well-known that a Race to the Top grant for $250,000,000 was promised to Massachusetts if it adopted Common Core’s standards.”

6 “Tucker plays fast and loose with the facts, and in the future New Hampshire legislators and educators should make sure a fact-checker is on the premises for a debriefing after he speaks.”

Thank you, Dr. Stotsky.

Read the rest here.

Thomas Jefferson wrote: “But if it is believed that these elementary schools will be better managed by the governor and council, the commissioners of the literary fund, or any other general authority of the government, than by the parents within each ward, it is a belief against all experience.

America, do we you want that sterile, big-government factory vision of workforce-focus to control the nation’s children? How has it worked out for European socialist countries and the communist nations?

Why listen to Tucker and go with his (Common Core’s) flow? Why destroy the vision of our founders, where each caring parent and locality governed the child’s education?

Local control and freedom have made us the greatest nation in the world. Others flock to our universities! Others envy our technological and medical advancement!

Freedom works. Don’t throw it away, foolishly following schemers such as Marc Tucker, David Coleman, Sir Michael Barber, Bill Gates, and Arne Duncan –no matter how fancy the titles of their organizations sound.

We’re at a critical intersection of our country’s history. Our children’s futures and our country’s future depends on us seeing what these schemers are attempting to pull; depends on us standing up and simply saying, “No.”


Written by Leatherneck Blogger

December 16, 2013 at 06:00

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Gates Foundation pours millions into Common Core in 2013

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By Valerie Strauss

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation spent more than $20 million this year in grants to institutions and organizations to support the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, continuing the hefty support it has provided since the initiative began more than five years ago, according to its  Web site.

The foundation has spent well over $170 million to support the creation and implementation of Common Core State Standards, and has been praised by supporters for its philanthropy and questioned by critics who worry about wealthy private citizens using their personal fortunes to impact public policy.

Millions of Gates dollars were awarded this year for various Core-related activities, including to increase public support for the Common Core;  a $3.2 million grant to the New Venture Fund is intended “to support successful implementation of the Common Core State Standards by building public awareness and understanding.” (The fund’s Web site says it is a nonprofit organization “offering domestic and international grant-making services, executing donor-developed projects, and providing full fiscal sponsorship including grant and contract management for innovative public-interest projects.”)

Some of the grants are to help develop new standardized tests aligned to the Core; the Council of Chief State School Officers won $4 million in July “to support the development of high quality assessments to measure” the standards. Other grants are to help teachers develop materials for the Common Core. The NEA Foundation for the Improvement of Education won a few grants in this regard, including one in July for $3,882,600 to “support a cohort of National Education Association Master Teachers in the development of Common Core-aligned lessons in K-5 mathematics and K-12 English Language Arts,” and another in October for $501,580 “to give support to teachers in Kentucky to implement the Common Core State Standards confidently and effectively.”

Meanwhile, the National Conference of State Legislatures won $447,046 in November to “continue its support of state legislators on Common Core and teacher effectiveness”; UCLA won $942,527 in September “to develop a tool that helps states on Common Core-aligned assessments”; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in August won $115,000 “to support an online, game-based learning experience for reading and writing aligned to Common Core literacy standards”; and the University of Kentucky Research Foundation won $1 million in February to “to support the launch of a new Center for Innovation in Education to advance implementation of the common core and more personalized learning for students and teachers that will enable young people to graduate career and college ready.”

  Here’s a list of the Common Core-related grants the foundation handed out so far this year, obtained from their foundation’s Web site,  and below the list are details of some of the larger grants.


Grantee Year Issue Program Amount
Committee for Economic Development 2013 Global Policy & Advocacy US Program $865,593
National Conference of State Legislatures 2013 Global Policy & Advocacy US Program $557,046
Bellwether Education Partners, Inc. 2013 College-Ready US Program $1,981,978
The Aspen Institute Inc 2013 College-Ready US Program $1,500,003
Motion Math, Inc. 2013 College-Ready US Program $100,000
National Indian Education Association 2013 Global Policy & Advocacy US Program $600,000
Center for American Progress 2013 College-Ready US Program $550,000
Southeast Asia Resource Action Center 2013 Global Policy & Advocacy US Program $440,035
Foundation for Excellence in Education Inc. 2013 College-Ready US Program $2,000,000
The NEA Foundation for the Improvement of Education 2013 College-Ready US Program $501,580
Achievement First Inc. 2013 College-Ready US Program $837,355
Americas Promise-The Alliance For Youth 2013 College-Ready US Program $100,001
Policy Innovators In Education Network, Inc. 2013 College-Ready US Program $499,951
James B. Hunt, Jr. Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy Foundation, Inc. 2013 College-Ready US Program $1,749,070
New Venture Fund 2013 College-Ready US Program $3,213,686
Tennessee State Collaborative on Reforming Education 2013 College-Ready US Program $250,000
Summit Public Schools 2013 College-Ready US Program $250,000
Military Child Education Coalition 2013 College-Ready US Program $563,611
Learning Matters, Inc. 2013 College-Ready US Program $25,000
Aspire Public Schools 2013 College-Ready US Program $249,855
Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Inc. 2013 College-Ready US Program $2,500,000
Research for Action Inc 2013 College-Ready US Program $650,000
National Catholic Educational Association 2013 College-Ready US Program $100,007
National Governors Association Center For Best Practices 2013 College-Ready US Program $750,000
Regents University Of California Los Angeles 2013 College-Ready US Program $942,527
Education Development Center, Inc. 2013 College-Ready US Program $211,795
James B. Hunt, Jr. Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy Foundation, Inc. 2013 College-Ready US Program $500,000
University of Missouri – Columbia 2013 College-Ready US Program $249,826
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2013 College-Ready US Program $115,000
The Achievement Network 2013 College-Ready US Program $250,249
University of Florida 2013 College-Ready US Program $250,000
Region 8 ESC of Northeast Indiana 2013 College-Ready US Program $249,505
Center for Applied Linguistics 2013 College-Ready US Program $249,396
KnowledgeWorks Foundation 2013 College-Ready US Program $241,747
DePaul University 2013 College-Ready US Program $248,343
Perkins School for the Blind 2013 College-Ready US Program $249,113


ConnectEDU, Inc. 2013 College-Ready US Program $499,375
Puget Sound Educational Service District 2013 College-Ready US Program $247,465
Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound, Inc. 2013 College-Ready US Program $250,000
National Math and Science Initiative Inc. 2013 College-Ready US Program $248,760
National Center for Family Literacy Inc. 2013 College-Ready US Program $239,796
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development 2013 College-Ready US Program $244,733
Arkansas Public School Resource Center Inc 2013 College-Ready US Program $200,000
Facing History and Ourselves National Foundation, Inc. 2013 College-Ready US Program $231,846
Battelle For Kids 2013 College-Ready US Program $249,808
Center for Teaching Quality, Inc. 2013 College-Ready US Program $249,471
New Visions for Public Schools, Inc 2013 College-Ready US Program $250,000
National Council of Teachers of English 2013 College-Ready US Program $249,482
New Teacher Center 2013 College-Ready US Program $250,000
The George Washington University 2013 College-Ready US Program $259,895
Harvard University 2013 College-Ready US Program $557,168
Council for a Strong America 2013 College-Ready US Program $1,550,000
American Agora Foundation Inc 2013 College-Ready US Program $100,000
The NEA Foundation for the Improvement of Education 2013 College-Ready US Program $3,882,600
Council of Chief State School Officers 2013 College-Ready US Program $4,000,000
iCivics, Inc. 2013 College-Ready US Program $500,000
Benchmark Education Company LLC 2013 College-Ready US Program $25,000
Six Red Marbles LLC 2013 College-Ready US Program $500,000
LearnZillion, Inc. 2013 College-Ready US Program $250,000
Common Ground Software Inc. 2013 College-Ready US Program $500,000
Filament Games, LLC 2013 College-Ready US Program $25,000
University of Washington Foundation 2013 College-Ready US Program $610,819
Council of Chief State School Officers 2013 College-Ready US Program $799,825
National Association of State Boards of Education 2013 College-Ready US Program $800,000
New Venture Fund 2013 College-Ready US Program $1,150,000
New America Foundation 2013 College-Ready US Program $200,002
National Congress of Parents and Teachers 2013 College-Ready US Program $499,962
The Aspen Institute Inc 2013 College-Ready US Program $74,290
Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children 2013 Global Policy & Advocacy US Program $240,000
WestEd 2013 College-Ready US Program $30,000
Michigan State University 2013 College-Ready US Program $650,000
LearnZillion, Inc. 2013 College-Ready US Program $965,525


University of Kentucky Research Foundation 2013 College-Ready US Program $1,000,000
Delaware Department of Education 2013 College-Ready US Program $400,000
National Paideia Center Inc 2013 College-Ready US Program $659,788
The Aspen Institute Inc 2013 College-Ready US Program $3,615,655

Council of Chief State School Officers

Date: July 2013
Purpose: to support the development of high quality assessments to measure the Common Core State Standards
Amount: $4,000,000
Term: 21
Topic: College-Ready
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Washington, D.C.
Grantee Web site: http://www.ccsso.org


Bellwether Education Partners, Inc.

Date: November 2013
Purpose: to support CoreSpring, an initiative to build a bank of shared Common Core aligned formative item and assessment resources that assure improved discoverability, availability and interoperability
Amount: $1,981,978
Term: 24
Topic: College-Ready
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Sudbury, Mass.
Grantee Web site: http://bellwethereducation.org/


Foundation for Excellence in Education Inc.

Date: October 2013
Purpose: to support an outreach and public information project that builds support and understanding of the Common Core State Standards and aligned assessments in states
Amount: $2,000,000
Term: 8
Topic: College-Ready
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Tallahassee, Fla.
Grantee Web site: http://www.excelined.org


New Venture Fund

Date: October 2013
Purpose: to support successful implementation of the Common Core State Standards by building public awareness and understanding
Amount: $3,213,686
Term: 7
Topic: College-Ready
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Washington, D.C.
Grantee Web site: http://www.newventurefund.org


The Aspen Institute

Date: October 2013
Purpose: to support a group of school district leaders in their efforts to implement the Common Core standards
Amount: $1,500,003
Term: 15
Topic: College-Ready
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Washington, D.C.
Grantee Web site: http://www.aspeninstitute.org/


James B. Hunt Jr. Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy Foundation, Inc.

Date: October 2013
Purpose: to support states in their continued implementation of the Common Core State Standards
Amount: $1,749,070
Term: 26
Topic: College-Ready
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Durham, N.C.
Grantee Web site: http://www.hunt-institute.org

Council for a Strong America

Date: July 2013
Purpose: to educate and engage stakeholders about the Common Core and teacher development through a range of communications activities
Amount: $1,550,000
Term: 26
Topic: College-Ready
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Washington, D.C.
Grantee Web site: http://www.councilforastrongamerica.org/


National Association of State Boards of Education

Date: June 2013
Purpose: to support a development plan for the organization and its efforts to provide training and information to implement Common Core State Standards
Amount: $800,000
Term: 24
Topic: College-Ready
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Arlington, Va.
Grantee Web site: http://www.nasbe.org

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

December 13, 2013 at 06:00

Posted in Other

Common Core: The Least Common Denominator

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Common Core proponents have long argued that the push toward national standards promotes “college and career readiness.” Not so, argues a new report by the Boston-based Pioneer Institute for Public Policy.

According to Pioneer, Common Core does not prepare students for admission into highly selective four-year universities and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) programs. Rather, the standards are more akin to standards that would prepare a student for a community college or non-selective university.

Stanford professor emeritus of mathematics James Milgram, who authored the Pioneer report, argues that the two Common Core–aligned exams—the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers and SMARTER Balanced—fail to test any math material above Algebra II, limiting students’ ability to pursue selective, four-year universities.

In addition, among the eligibility requirements for states applying for Race to the Top competitive grants tied to the national standards is that the states’ public universities exempt students who have passed the Common Core–aligned tests from remedial courses and place them automatically into credit-bearing courses.

That could mean Common Core would water down the first-year academic offerings of many public universities and force them to offer lower-level introductory courses to accommodate these students.

Professor Jason Zimba, the lead writer of Common Core’s math standards, stated that Common Core helps prepare students “for the colleges most kids go to, but not for the colleges most parents aspire to.”

Highly selective universities look for students who have taken advanced courses in all subjects, including math. High school students who have not taken courses such as trigonometry and precalculus are at a significant disadvantage when applying to competitive colleges.

Indeed, according to the Department of Education, students whose last high school math course was Algebra II have a less than 40 percent chance of obtaining a four-year college degree. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that “only 2.1 percent of STEM-intending students who had to take pre-college mathematics coursework in their freshman year graduated with a STEM degree.”

Milgram states that “if this country is seriously interested in 21st century mathematics and science, then there is even more reason to question Common Core’s mathematics standards.”

By failing to test any math concepts above Algebra II, Common Core falls short of ensuring that students who aim to be proficient in STEM-related fields are able to achieve that goal. If states truly wish to prepare students for selective colleges and STEM-related careers, they should start by pushing back against national standards and tests.

Julianne Bozzo is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

December 12, 2013 at 06:00

Posted in Other

Parents and Teachers Object to Common Core

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by Phyllis Schlafly

The media are currently filled with reports that U.S. students are scoring poorly on international tests. The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), which compares 15-year-olds in most industrialized countries, reported that U.S. students dropped from 25th to 31st in math, 11th to 21st in reading, and 20th to 24th in science.

The solution offered for these low rankings is always that we should spend more money on schooling. But numerous studies of the billions of dollars we’ve spent on education in the last decade show that money has not improved U.S. student performance, and higher scoring foreign countries spend far less per pupil than we do.

 Now we are told we need a new national system called Common Core (CC) standards, but this has provoked a grassroots uprising. Parents don’t want federal control or a federal curriculum, and teachers don’t like the CC tests.

Common Core advocates loudly proclaim that there isn’t any CC curriculum, there are only standards based on which the local schools can write their own curriculum. But the CC tests (usually called assessments) are the mechanism of federal control over the curriculum because teachers must teach to the test.

As Common Core is beginning to be implemented by the states, parents and teachers are discovering many things they don’t like. An Oak Forest, Illinois high school government class required students and their parents to fill out a questionnaire that identifies their positions on controversial political issues and then places themselves on a “political spectrum.”

The best way to describe the leftwing bias of this curriculum is to quote some of the questions assigned to the students, all of which are ideologically slanted. Students are instructed to “put a check in front of each statement with which you agree.”

Here are two of the pro-big government statements: “The government has an obligation to regulate businesses in order to preserve the environment for future generations.” “Unregulated free enterprise benefits the rich at the expense of the poor.”

Here are two more slanted statements: “The government should guarantee medical care for all citizens.” “The federal government should guarantee the rights of homosexuals.”

Common Core then requires the students to self-identify their political philosophy: “I consider myself A. liberal, B. conservative, C. don’t know.”

Here is one of the “outcomes” specified as the objective of this biased survey. “Students will be familiar with: 1. Fascism as an historical example of a reactionary group. 2. American Revolution as an historical example of a revolutionary viewpoint.”

After checking all the statements with which the students agree, students are given a so-called “Performance Task” to “Conduct a Political Spectrum Interview with someone 40 years or older” using this same survey.

It’s no wonder that parents are upset about this assignment, which asks for information that is none of the school’s business. This survey, published by “The Center for Learning,” is from a textbook called “U.S. Government 2,” which is part of the Common Core curriculum used by Oak Forest High School.

A Common Core-approved history textbook, “The American Experience” published by Prentice-Hall, gives an account of World War II that the “greatest generation” would not recognize. World War II is presented primarily by photos of the devastation of Hiroshima with text from John Hersey’s article on “Hiroshima.”

The Washington Post published a letter from a Delaware teacher who is highly critical of Common Core because she was instructed that she is required “to teach the curriculum word-for-word.” Also, she must “stop teaching for 6 weeks in the spring to make sure our students pass that test.”

New Mexico Senator Tim Keller described in a recent editorial the complaints he hears from parents who “stress deep objection to the continuing trend of out-of-state, for-profit testing companies’ intrusion into the classroom.” There’s just too much testing driven by those with a nefarious “incentive to make the case for more testing.”

Of course, tests are important to measure performance. But Common Core tests are a big money-making industry and are used by the Obama Administration to control the content of the curriculum.

And some of the tests sound downright ridiculous. Here is how a New York City high school principal reported one question on a Common Core first-grade math test:

“Take a look at question No. 1, which shows students five pennies, under which it says ‘part I know,’ and then a full coffee cup labeled with a ’6′ and, under it, the word ‘Whole.’ Students are asked to find ‘the missing part’ from a list of four numbers. My assistant principal for mathematics was not sure what the question was asking. How could pennies be part of a cup?”

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

December 11, 2013 at 06:00

Posted in Other

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