Tag Archives: NCLB

AAETeachers 10/28/2013 Federal Update

The Association of American Educators publishes an update on what is happening in Washington, D.C.

Inside you will find the following:

House Education and Workforce Committee Passes Bill Protecting Students from Sexual and Violent Predators

NCLB waivers to Texas and Puerto Rico.

Race to the Top Update

Department of Education Celebrates Connected Educator Month

http://www.aaeteachers.org/index.php/blog/1168-federal-update-october-28-2013

Comments Off

Filed under Uncategorized

PTA Implores Love for the Common Core. Why?

by Gretchen Logue of Missouri Education Watchdog

Eric Hargis, Executive Director of the National PTA writes in Don’t Politicize the Common Core in edweek.org:

Unfortunately, like so many other issues, the Common Core State Standards are surrounded by myths and are being misrepresented for supposed political gain; the incredible value that the Standards provide to parents wanting to be fully engaged in their children’s education makes this all the more dangerous and could represent a huge loss to our education system in America.

Bashing anything done by the Federal Government, always a popular sport in America, has now reached Olympic class status, and there are those claiming that the Standards are a government take-over of education and call them “Common Core National Standards.” This isn’t even a Pinocchio stretch of the truth, but an out and out lie. The truth is, states are driving this process and have been involved at every level —  from the drafting and development stages through revisions and the final product.

In fact, states voluntarily adopted the Standards. States can even go above the content of the Standards by 15% to cover content that they feel is important but not currently a part of the Standards. Importantly, states and school districts still have autonomy in decisions made on how to teach the Standards in the classroom.

At the same time, as a parent, I will be assured quality and consistency in my children’s education regardless of where we live. While most all members of state and district education boards pursue only the highest of academic standards, one need only watch the television talk shows to hear what a few believe should be taught as science and history. Let’s keep them on the talk shows and out of our classrooms!

As we all know too well, business in Washington and in many states is driven by partisan politics. Despite the proven effectiveness of the Common Core State Standards, they have become an easy target for a bickering Congress, and divided state and local leaders. The American people are tired of the political games that are hurting our children. We want our government leaders to come together to ensure that our children receive a better education than we did. Those states that have still not adopted the standards for purely political reasons are doing their state’s students an incredible disservice.


Mr. Hargis’ contentions need to be addressed:

  • The states are not driving the process of Common Core standards.  It has been documented the standards are privately owned and copyrighted and states/schools/districts cannot alter the standards/assessments.
  • States “voluntarily” adopting the standards statement comes with a caveat.  If states did not adopt the standards, they were ineligible to gain a waiver from the NCLB goals. Describing this as a “voluntary” choice meant states jumped from the frying pan into the fire.  What kind of ” voluntary choice” is this really?
  • He is correct that states will be “allowed” to go above the mandated standards/assessments to deliver an extra 15% of material.  Why should there be mandates on schools/districts/states that “allow” teachers to teach a whopping 15% of the “allowed” material?  Is it even feasible to teach additional material when assessments may be scheduled every three weeks on the mandated 85%?
  • Bashing anything done by the Federal Government might just hold important validity.  Federal Spending has skyrockted 190% in four decades and test results have flatlined.  This is not a ringing endorsement of the Federal Government’s involvement in education, which is a state’s responsibility.  The Federal Government certainly has its hands in the CCSS mandates as it funded the consortia via Stimulus funding.
  • Mr. Hargis is simply making up fact when he states “despite the proven effectiveness of the Common Core State Standards”….these standards are in reality unproven and untested.  They have never been implemented in small studies to determine their effectiveness.
  • States pushing back on Common Core standards (such as my state, Missouri) are in fact, doing their state a great service by demanding back local control (and cost) of standards and assessments for their students.  Perhaps Mr. Hargis sees it as a political tug of war.  Many of us prefer to see it as the reclamation of state authority to provide educational direction for students and a voice for local districts in the most effective way to educate their community’s children.
  • Mr. Hargis writes: “While most all members of state and district education boards pursue only the highest of academic standards, one need only watch the television talk shows to hear what a few believe should be taught as science and history. Let’s keep them on the talk shows and out of our classrooms!” Question: Who SHOULD decide what should be taught as science and history?  Should this be assigned to private trade organizations who copyrighted the standards/assessments that states/districts/schools cannot alter and taxpayers cannot change even though tax dollars have paid for them?

Mr. Hargis believes this is a parental involvement issue and will help parents become more involved in educational decisions.  That’s an interesting viewpoint.  Parents are discovering objectionable material being taught to their children and the school can only shrug its shoulders and say “sorry”.  It’s mandated by the Common Core standards.

Why would Mr. Hargis come out with such an article imploring that we all love the Common Core standards when many of his claims cannot be proven or are just flat out wrong?  Could it be that the National PTA accepted a lot of money from CCSS proponents?  From Red Flags, National PTA, and Common Core Standards at susanohanian.org:

Clearly the Gates Foundation has added to this bucket of money by giving the PTA a million dollars to use in promoting the standards.

You can read all about the numerous red flags in the 2009 article.  The author, Niki Hayes, writes:

An immediate red flag appears, for example, because the PTA jumped onto the CCSSI bandwagon in September 2009—before the public input period was completed that ran from mid-September to mid-October. Ideas, questions, and concerns “from the field” of those who would have to live and work with these standards were not considered by the PTA’s leadership before they made this big leap with an incomplete product.

With all due respect to Mr. Hargis, a million dollar contribution from Mr. Gates does not make the standards any more than what they are: centralized, federally supported/funded, unproven, untested and an incomplete product (3 years in the making) of expensive theories and plans to make education reformers wealthy. Opponents are not “politicizing” the Common Core standards, they are just asking for data to prove their effectiveness and questioning the legality for these private/public partnerships to decide how communities pay for and provide educational services to students.

1 Comment

Filed under National Standards (Common Core)

More Common Core Battles Emerging

by Gretchen Logue of Missouri Education Watchdog

“CCSS isn’t a solution to, but instead it is a deliberate doubling down of, the vile policies of NCLB and RTTT.”

The Common Core Standards battles are occurring more frequently.  Education activists and teachers are confronting teachers/education industry reformers and are not mincing words in their concern of individuals/corporations supporting the standards. Robert Skeels in Schools Matter weighs in on the support an educator (a Latin teacher) gave CCSS:

The following is my edited commentary in response to comments by a CCSS supporter on the Professor Ravitch post: A Teacher of Latin Writes In Defense of Fiction.
  
Kaye Thompson Peters, I’ve grown weary of the trite “apple and oranges” device that you employ everywhere in your stalwart defense of Corporate Core. You even used it in a gushing apology for Common Core State Standards (CCSS) on Hoover’s fringe-right EdNext. While you might not be uncomfortable that Pearson Education, Inc. has been promoting your writings on CCSS, it does cause some of us consternation. When discussing CCSS in relation to NCLB and RTTT, we’re not conflating apples and oranges, we’re discussing a bushel of rotten apples foisted on us by a bunch of billionaires suffering from the Shoe Button Complex

You can read more here.

This article came in my email late last night about another Common Core proponent’s (a paid education reformer) stance on the standards,  My View: Common Core means common-sense standards:

Common Core fixes previous shortcomings by setting rigorous standards that ensure a child is mastering necessary material, not just memorizing it. It has been said that Indiana’s old standards were good, but they were a mile wide and an inch deep. The old standards expose students to everything but do little to ensure they truly understand any of it. The Common Core is focused on targeting key materials students need to know, coherent so that student learning builds upon the previous grades, and rigorous to ensure students master the concepts and processes behind the information.

The writer, Kristine Shiraki, is interim executive director of Stand for Children Indiana.  What is Stand for Children?

Stand has seen an enormous influx of corporate cash. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation began by offering a relatively modest two-year grant of $80,000 in 2005. In 2007, Stand for Children received a $682,565 grant. In 2009, the point at which Stand’s drastically different political agenda became obvious, Gates awarded a $971,280 grant to support “common policy priorities” and in 2010, a $3,476,300 grant.

Though the Gates Foundation remains the biggest donor to Stand for Children, other players in the world of corporate education reform have also begun to see Stand as an effective vehicle to push their agenda.

New Profit Inc. has funded Stand since 2008—to the tune of $1,458,500. According to its website, New Profit is a “national venture philanthropy fund that seeks to harness America’s spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship to help solve the country’s biggest social problems.”


The Walton Family Foundation made a 2010 grant of $1,378,527. Several other major funders are tied to Bain Capital, a private equity and venture capital firm founded by Mitt Romney.

The commentors to Ms. Shiraki’s letter to the editor question her statements and ask her to provide data to confirm her contentions.  From the online version of the article:

Kristine, Could you post to this comment section the names of any teachers from Indiana who were on the writing team for the common core English or math common core standards? I have attached a link for Hoosiers to see how much representation Indiana had on the creation of the common core. http://

www.corestandards.org/assets/CCSSI_K-12_dev-team.pdf Some readers may recognize the name Mark Tucker who is on the ELA team, a highly controversial political figure.
We both know that states can only add 15% to the common core standards and they may not delete or edit any standards as they are copyrighted and owned by two trade organizations in Washington DC, NGA and CCSSO. Stand for Children should be honest on this point. The new PARCC test that is replacing IStep will not test over the 15%. In this world of high-stakes testing, few, if any, teachers will have the time or incentive to teach any additional standards.
The idea that the common core standards are “fewer, clearer, deeper” is also untrue. The only people claiming Indiana’s former standards were “a mile wide and an inch deep” are Tony Bennett and your organization. See for yourself here http://hoosiersagainstcommoncore.com/whats-in-the-common-core-state-standards-content/
and
I’m pretty sure that Shiraki’s days as interim are numbered, in part because she lacks a fact checker so she gets her facts dead wrong and her flacking falls apart. For instance, Shiraki, can you or duh Star tell us (call Tony for help if you need to) just which particular countries were the Kommen Kore “standards” benchmarked against? Since, we both know that you will have to look them up, when you reply please do cite page numbers from which you are consulting. My gentle suggestion is, Shiraki, you won’t find that page because it doesn’t exist anymore than your claim of international benchmarking does.
Why would Fordham suggest to Indiana that Indiana keep its higher and better academic standards and not adopt Kommen Korps? While one may argue about the benefit or value of high standards no one argues about the value of the carrot suspended in front of the horse drawn wagon.
So, (and any other flack can help her) Name the Counties against which CC is benchmarked. Or, retract your mis statement and admit that Stand for Children actually supports dumbing down standards.

More and more citizens are starting to question organizations like Stand for Children, Bill Gates Foundation, The Walton Foundation, CCSSI, the National Governors Association and other education reformers who seem to believe that deciding and setting “common policy priorities”  for the citizenry might not be as appreciated by the taxpayers as they had once thought.   They may not have even given the taxpayers a thought in the crafting of these policies, actually, since none of them were involved (or are currently) in the implementation of the standards in school.  The elites have come up with the plan and we get the pleasure of paying for it.

If groups/individuals complain or lobby their legislators,  you then will see education reformers’ letters to the editor written about how wonderful these unproven, untested and unfunded these standards really are.  Their message?  “Trust them.  They create more federal control but really, they are in your state’s best interest. ”

Who is setting the “common” priorities taxpayers get the pleasure of paying for and these same taxpayers are not directing their own community’s educational direction?  And the second question: why are these groups putting millions of dollars into this legislative fight against grassroots organizations/citizens who don’t want this education reform that has been crafted by private corporations and paid for by tax dollars?

2 Comments

Filed under National Standards (Common Core)