Archive for November 2014
Unless you’re completely off the grid, you’ve read about Apple’s most recent releases including updated iPads, their latest operating system for Macs and of course the new iPhone 6 and Apple Pay. As a result of these products that seemingly can’t stay on the shelves, Apple’s earnings, which were released on Tuesday showed a revenue of $42.1 billion.
Clearly, Apple has come a long way from the days when TIME Magazine described Apple in 1997 as “arguably one of the worst-managed companies in the industry.” The Cupertino design team has turned out winner after winner for years. Our phones, cameras, maps, televisions, books, stereos and plane tickets are all the same object now. You can soon add another item to that ever-growing list, and anyone who is opposed to Common Core should take note, because Apple is quickly inserting itself into an area that will affect parents and students for years to come – classroom materials.
How you ask? In 2013, Apple and Common Core developer Pearson teamed up to win an implementation contract that would preload iPads with Pearson’s Common Core curriculum for Los Angeles United School District. The deal represented the bulk of a technology development plan of over $1 billion that would distribute iPads and computers to students and faculty across the LAUSD for the purpose of aligning curriculum to meet Common Core standards.
Giving kids access to technology to learn is obviously a great thing, and the potential with tools like the iPad in classrooms presents tremendous opportunity to improve learning overall. However, with that kind of money exchanging hands in just one city, one has to wonder about the obvious conflict of interest and cronyism inherent in Apple supporting a radical transformation of American education and the implementation of technology-reliant standards in the classroom.
Consider the concept of “Challenge Based Learning”, an initiative developed by Apple to study and promote strategies that “encourages learners to leverage the technology they use in their daily lives to solve real-world problems.” While the stated goals may be noble, a simple analysis shows a company developing a need that will be served by its very own product.
In fact, former Apple Development Executive and current CEO at The Challenge Institute, Mark Nichols wrote in 2012, “Districts and schools will be tempted to simply align existing content or purchase packages and software ‘aligned’ to the standards without fundamentally re-thinking the process. To manage the instructional change inherent in the Common Core different instructional frameworks are necessary.”
In simpler terms, the drive to implement Common Core is two-fold: change the entire concept of curriculum and develop the technology as the new medium in which that curriculum is delivered. Nichols continued by saying, “CBL provides a concrete framework and set of resources for districts, schools and individual teachers to fundamentally ‘shift’ the way the learning community goes about the business of learning.”
We all learned E=MC2 in our classrooms. Now there’s a new one to add to our thought process: Apple + Pearson = National Common Core Implementation.
Knowing this, it is not a surprise to see that Apple has significant involvement with advocacy groups pushing the implementation of Common Core Standards. For example, Apple is listed as a corporate partner with the Center for American Progress, the liberal think tank with close ties to the Obama Administration that has championed Common Core as “one of the most important reforms to American public education in decades.” Also, Apple is a Strategic Partner for the New Media Consortium which has promoted “Tablet Computing” as a tool for developing “personalized learning environments” as part of a Common Core implementation strategy.
Pushing Common Core’s implementation deserves close examination from conservatives as billions of taxpayer dollars are at stake, not to mention what, and more importantly how, our children are learning in the classroom. Obviously, Apple sees long-term revenue streams from the implementation of a new curriculum and is willing to go to bat to defend Common Core and finance the PR campaign to do so.
Chris Walker is the Executive Director of 2nd Vote, a conservative shopper app. To find out more, download the free app or visit 2ndVote.com.
The National Education Association union decided in Denver that teachers need a new book list. In accordance with New Business Item 51, the “NEA will, using electronic resources, publish a list of Pre-K — Graduate School recommended books in the NEA Today that have LGBTQ and gender non-conforming themes.” The union will compile this list so that teachers can better promote Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning (LGBTQQ) lifestyles.
Just when it appeared that the NEA could not more heavily promote alternative sexual lifestyles nor place any more emphasis on teaching even very young children all manner of sexual behaviors, at the 2014 convention they surpassed themselves with a call to bring some of the most radical LGBTQQ organizations in the world into the nation’s classrooms.
Delegates adopted New Business Item 48, which is an effort to “influence state and local educational institutions through our affiliates to advocate for the use of the ‘Respect For All Project’ in classrooms.” GroundSpark’s Respect for All Project offers media resources, support, and training for educators about “bias and identity issues.” The organization claims its films engage students in “life-changing discussions” about gender, culture, and sexuality; family diversity; and LGBT-inclusivity. The program’s goal is to “promote respect and equity at the earliest age possible and on an ongoing basis.” (GroundSpark.org)
Delegates also adopted New Business Item 52, which states:
NEA will . . . influence state and local educational institutions through our affiliates to use GALE (Global Alliance for LGBT Education) and other vetted partners such as GLSEN (Gay-Lesbian Straight Education Network), Human Rights Campaign’s Welcoming Schools project, and the NEA Health Information Network to help all educators become a part of a global learning community which aims to promote the full inclusion of people who are disadvantaged because of their sexual orientation.
Human Rights Campaign
The Human Rights Campaign is a LGBTQQ political activism group. Their Welcoming Schools Campaign offers professional development tools “aligned with the Common Core State Standards, and many additional resources for elementary schools” about “family diversity,” “avoiding gender stereotyping,” and “bullying.” Welcoming Schools is aimed at K-5th grade students and “Be Who You Are” is one of their popular slogans. Their website states: “Young children receive many powerful messages about gender roles and gender identity. These gender roles pressure students to conform to behaviors that may limit their full developmental potential.” (HRC.org)
Global Alliance for LGBT Education
Another organization the NEA wants to welcome into public schools is the Global Alliance for LGBT Education (GALE), which focuses on “education about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.” GALE favors the term “Disadvantaged because of their Expression of Sexual Preference Or Gender Identity,” or DESPOGI, over the usual LGBTQQ nomenclature. The organization offers workbooks for students, teacher manuals, videos, CDs, and posters. The GALE website provides international news about the promotion of LGBTQQ lifestyles and reports perceived slights of LGBTQQ individuals and groups internationally. GALE has a formal partnership with UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (www.lgbt-education.info)
Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network
The NEA is also inviting the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) into the nation’s classrooms. GLSEN “strives to [ensure] that each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/ expression.” They “believe that such an atmosphere engenders a positive sense of self, which is the basis of educational achievement and personal growth.” They claim that “homophobia and heterosexism undermine a healthy school climate.” Heterosexism is the belief that couples should be male and female.
GLSEN designs “programs and resources that are inclusive and celebratory of diversity, and sensitive to the role of power and privilege in society.” The organization is “committed” to seeing that their philosophy is promoted and “realized in K-12 schools.” GLSEN also offers an eight-step guide to starting Gay-Straight Alliance clubs at schools.
The NEA is not alone in joining with GLSEN to promote alternative lifestyles. The GLSEN website lists supporters and partners, such as Facebook, Google, and Disney/ABC. Additional supporters are more surprising and include: Comcast; Goldman Sachs, Citibank, State Farm Bank, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Target, HBO, AT&T, Cisco, DreamWorks, IBM, Hewlett Packard, Hilton, Kellogg’s, Johnson & Johnson, Colgate-Palmolive, McDonalds, Merck, Mattel, and the NBA. (GLSEN.org)
The LGBTQQ brand has infiltrated corporate America and promoters have made great strides in changing public opinion to normalize what would have seemed outrageous just a few years ago. Much of this has been achieved by manipulating schoolchildren into believing that it is cruel or bullying to have any reservations about approving of “alternative” lifestyle choices; schools teach children it’s wrong to believe what their parents teach or to follow the teachings of Christian, Jewish, or Muslim religious organizations. Much of the radical change in outlook has been achieved in our neighborhood schools. Credit belongs to the National Education Association and teachers who follow the union’s marching orders.
Gallup took another poll of the Common Core State Standards. They found a sharp divide among public school parents. Based on what parents heard and learned 35% had a negative opinion of the Common Core State Standards, 33% had a positive view, and 32% had either no opinion or they were not familiar.
Contrast that with April when they polled on this. More parents in April viewed the Common Core positively 35% compared to 28% who viewed negatively. 37% said they either had no opinion or they were not familiar with the standards.
This swing of seven points for those who view it negatively shows that the more people learn about the Common Core the less they like it.
Republicans had strong opposition which again shows support for Common Core is a non-starter for 2016 candidates, at least if they want to win the nomination. 58% view the Common Core negatively, only 19% view the standards positively… so yeah Jeb, go ahead and campaign on that.
48% of Democrats viewed them positively, but Gallup called their support “tepid” with only 11% being very positive. 23% of Democrats had a negative view. That my friends is what we call bipartisan opposition with the possibility to sway more Democrats to oppose.
So what has changed? Has the opposition message changed since April. No, the new knowledge that these public school parents have had is first-hand through experience with their kids. That isn’t misinformation. That’s cold, hard reality smacking down cheap (well, not so cheap for Bill Gates) talking points.
Gallup has tried to strain a gnat on this particular poll to gauge “aspects” of the Common Core – standardized testing using computers, national education standards, and linking teaching evaluations to test scores. The problem with this it’s hypothetical.
In the poll that Gallup/Phi Delta Kappa did this summer shows that most parents were concerned about teacher flexibility which would be impacted by all of the above. There may be support for the concept, but when the rubber meets the road well, that’s a different story.
Frankly I think that Gallup/PDK poll more accurately reflected the mood of Americans. Here is what I wrote about that poll.
The PDK/Gallup poll shows that public awareness about the Common Core is growing and with it opposition. Last year this time only 1 in 3 Americans knew anything about the Common Core. Now 8 in 10 Americans say they have heard of it with 47% who said they have heard a great deal or fair amount about the standards.
60% of Americans according to their poll oppose using Common Core.
Think about this… that is slightly less than the number of Americans last year who hadn’t heard about Common Core. PDK/Gallup writes, “for the 60% of Americans who oppose using the Common Core, their most important reason is that it will limit the flexibility that teachers have to teach what they think is best.”
Among public school parents the opposition grows with 62% saying the oppose Common Core with 32% saying the approve. Republicans overwhelmingly disapprove of the Common Core by a 76% to 17% margin. Independents oppose 60% to 34%. A majority of Democrats support the Common Core, but even in their party there is a significant opposition with 53% who support and 38% who oppose.
Americans are split in their views of standardized testing with 54% saying they are not helpful and 45% saying they are. Those numbers are fairly consistent within 1 or 2 points when you compare with Republicans, Democrats and Independents. When you look at public school parents the disdain for standardized testing jumps. 68% say standardized testing is not helpful, while only 31% say that it is.