Friday, May 31, 2013

Jane Hogan on Common Core

More from Patricia Evans, edited for format by Priscilla King:

"From Betsy Ross Newsletter, Southside Virginia Chapter ACT! for America: 

Eagle Forum - Right Side News

Push Against Common Core Gains Momentum
Read below for my comments:

This is an excellent review of the development and drivers of Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Following the money gives that awful "sinking feeling" when you realize you're fighting Barack Obama's thought control plus pluralism from corporate America, foundations of all political persuasions, academia, media and the PC left.
Unfortunately the article omits information about the Longitudinal Data Systems (LDS) because it describes only the new Gates run-around of using private funding to develop the architecture of a national database that the US Department of Education (USDOE) says it doesn't own, hah, because it was built with private funds.
Happily only 9 states to date have contracted with inBloom, not Virginia, not Maine, yes Georgia. Technically it is a non-profit, but its "providers" include major corporations profiting from the education market. Here is the list:

Omitted is the USDOE funding of
Longitudinal Data Systems (LDS) in all states with stimulus grants.

For now Virginia reports only aggregated data, but uses individual data to help teachers fit instruction to the pupil. There is now top-notch privacy. With USDOE running around FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, is a federal law that pertains to the release of and access to educational records)  as the article says, how long can it be maintained?
Bad as CCSS are in most states, the situation in Virginia is both better or worse, depending on how you look at it.

It's far better in that Virginia has not adopted CCSS because the standards of learning are much more rigorous.
It's worse in that far too many local Superintendents and School Boards say they don't use CCSS, when in fact they really do! And because the system is decentralized parents must oppose their excessive use in 135 different districts!

Virginia includes samples of CCSS lessons on the state website with emphasis on group work rather than individual effort and with emphasis on job skills, instructional reading and computerized learning. Localities are doing likewise. 

Although jobs, computers and teamwork are desirable these days, the danger is in their excessive use to the exclusion of traditional knowledge and individual effort. Parents need to fight locally and start in their own children's schools. 
Jane Hogan 

Stop Common Core Progress Update

Click below for delightful article!

Take heart in the success of parents' grassroots pushback in state 2013 legislative sessions, stalling out CCSS in nearly a dozen states. Plus bills in both US Senate and House.                   

Hurray for Wall Street Journal Op-Ed, May 27

Best Rebuttal Yet

Common Core Education Is Uncommonly Inadequate                                                                                

Massachusetts student test scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress and SATs were unremarkable in the early 1990s. Then, after a landmark educational reform in 1993, state SAT scores rose for 13 consecutive years. In 2005, Bay State students became the first to score best in the nation in all grades and categories on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The students have repeated the feat each time the tests have been administered.


 How to explain this turnaround? The state's educational success hinged on rigorous academic standards, teacher testing and high-quality tests that students must pass to graduate from high school. All locally developed, these three factors aligned to produce amazing results.


 Unfortunately, Massachusetts dropped its own standards in 2010 to join 44 other states (and the District of Columbia) in adopting the flawed standards of the Common Core. This is an educational program sponsored by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers that has been championed by the Obama administration.


 Common Core recycles a decades-old, top-down approach to education. Its roots are in a letter sent to Hilary Clinton by Marc Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy, after Bill Clinton's presidential victory in 1992. The letter laid out a plan "to remold the entire American system" into a centralized one run by "a system of labor-market boards at the local, state and federal levels" where curriculum and "job matching" will be handled by government functionaries.


 Today, many advocates of national education standards embrace these same anti-academic impulses. In a 2011 speech before the National Governors Association, Bill Gates, whose foundation has been Common Core's major funder, called on states to essentially brush aside liberal arts departments and fund public college and university disciplines based on their job-creation potential.


 Compared with Massachusetts' former standards, Common Core's English standards reduce by 60% the amount of classic literature, poetry and drama that students will read. For example, the Common Core ignores the novels of Charles Dickens, Edith Wharton and Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Finn." It also delays the point at which Bay State students reach Algebra I-the gateway to higher math study-from eighth to ninth grade or later.


 Stanford University Emeritus Mathematics Professor R. James Milgram-the only academic mathematician on Common Core's validation committee-refused to sign off on the final draft, describing the standards as having "extremely serious failings" and reflecting "very low expectations."


 This academic-lite approach has been tried before-and it failed. In 1998, Connecticut had higher reading scores than Massachusetts. But just as the Bay State was pursuing clearly articulated academic goals, Connecticut chose a curriculum that put soft skills (such as cultural competence and global awareness) on a par with academic content. By 2005, Connecticut was one of seven states that had outsized drops in reading scores, falling by nearly 10 points in seven years.


 Common Core's problems aren't just academic. Three federal laws explicitly prohibit the U.S. government from directing, supervising or controlling any nationalized standards, testing or curriculum. Yet Race to the Top, a federal education grant competition that dangled $4.35 billion in front of states, favored applications that adopted Common Core.


The Education Department subsequently awarded $362 million to fund two national testing consortia to develop national assessments and a "model curriculum" that is "aligned with" Common Core.


 The standards were generally adopted by governors' offices and state boards of education eager for Race to the Top money. The state legislatures that fund American K-12 education were largely bypassed.


 Several states, including Texas, Virginia and Nebraska, declined to adopt the Common Core standards. Meanwhile, grass-roots movements in at least 15 other states are fighting them. Common Core has been put on hold in Indiana and Pennsylvania. Michigan's House of Representatives has voted not to fund implementation.


 The federal government and the D.C. groups behind Common Core don't have records that inspire confidence. None of them can point to a program of theirs that has clearly improved student achievement in the past two decades. And in Massachusetts, the likely result of the Common Core is that the gains of the past 20 years will slowly but surely recede.

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