"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

We've admired them for years, but should we be like South Korea?

Fred Hiat, The Washington Post's editorial page editor, has written a good piece about South Korea's new education crisis. We are reprinting it here in its entirety.

It is interesting to note that most Korean families spend additional private money on Korean hagwon's (essentially after school tutoring centers) in order to help their children qualify for college. This has led to cries of classism there and forced the government to institute new rules that limit, among other things, how late these hagwons can remain open (i.e. not past 10:00 p.m.) If you think our school days are long and wonder how foreign countries do so well, here is one answer.

In South Korea, too many college grads: Fred Hiatt

Published: Wednesday, October 26, 2011, 3:00 AM

SEOUL, South Korea -- Americans who deem South Korea's education system a model (President Barack Obama, among others) might be surprised at one message leaders here are delivering to their youth: Drop out, please.
Well, that may be a slight exaggeration. But South Korea's government has decided that too many people are going to college. It is working to restore the luster of a high school diploma as a stopping point for some and to establish a vocational track for others.
And that has to be sobering for anyone who has assumed that education will be the antidote to the downward-mobility pressures of globalization.
Obama and his education secretary, Arne Duncan, frequently cite South Korea in contrast to America's shortcomings -- the diligence of its students, the commitment of its parents, its success in equipping successive generations to compete.
Pretty much everyone agrees that this East Asian nation's progress, in just half a century, from abject poverty to developed-world prosperity, owes much to its schools and its devotion to schooling. South Korean 15-year-olds rank first in reading and math, and third (behind Finland and Japan) in science, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. U.S. teens rank 14th, 25th and 17th in the three categories.
Yet South Koreans are deeply unhappy with their system -- to the point that many blame their world-lowest birth rate (1.1 child per woman) on their schools. They complain about an emphasis on memorization, a stifling of creativity, a failure to teach usable English and a weakness in developing leadership skills.
Finding state schools inadequate, parents spend millions on tutoring. Children study in after-school academies, known as "hagwon," until 11 p.m. and beyond. The expense -- Seoul families spend 16 percent of their income on private schooling -- is one reason many parents say they can afford only one child.
The shadow system makes South Koreans worry about their children's health but also, in a society that values equality of opportunity, about unfairness. In response, the government has limited how much hagwon can charge and how many hours they can meet (in theory, not past 10 p.m.)
Because violations are routine, the law allows citizens to report lawbreakers and collect part of the fines for themselves. So now, as the Wall Street Journal recently reported, there are hagwon to teach people how to catch the miscreants.
Much of the pressure arises because South Koreans believe their children must go to college to guarantee themselves a middle-class future. As a result, South Korea has one of the highest college-going rates of any nation -- a category in which, as Obama has complained, the United States has slipped to 12th. More than 60 percent of South Koreans ages 25 to 34 have higher educations, compared with about 40 percent in the United States, and the gap is growing.
But South Korean officials are alarmed that many graduates are not finding jobs -- more than 40 percent in the past year, even though the South Korean economy was doing pretty well. That is why President Lee Myung-bak is promoting alternatives.
Last month, the president urged employers to hire more high school grads and promised, as an example, to hire three into the presidential Blue House this year and three more next year. "Professional footballers just need to be good at kicking balls," Lee said. "They don't need to graduate from Seoul National University."
The government also is investing in vocational schools designed to put young people on a career track without going to college. "Reckless entrance into college," Lee has said, is "bringing huge losses to households and the country alike."
Obama isn't wrong to stress the urgency of improving U.S. education. America's scandal, unlike South Korea's, is the number of poor and minority children consigned to dropout-factory school systems that hollow the promise of class mobility. If South Koreans have put too much emphasis on tests, American schools, allowing so many kids to grow up illiterate, for too long put too little.
But the South Korean experience does suggest that no nation will find an easy answer to the stresses of the global economy, especially as so much of the work of knowledge occupations -- lawyer, editor, radiologist -- proves as outsourceable as building cars or staffing call centers. An educated population will still fare better than an uneducated one. But if you think everything will be OK if we can just be a bit more like, say, South Korea -- well, ask a few South Koreans what they think about that.

One additional note - If you look up hagwons on the internet what you will find is many English speaking  teachers who have been taken advantage of by this private education system; lack of payment, failure to honor terms of contracts, poor living accommodations etc. The Korean government seems concerned about making sure no citizen has an advantage over another by getting too much education.  They don't seem worried about the poor business ethics of the for profit education centers.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Democrats Abroad Public Education Platform

This resolution was submitted to the DNC this week by Democrats Abroad France with the request that it be added to and approved as part of Democratic Platform for the next election cycle. Democrats Abroad is the official Democratic Party organization for Americans who are living outside the United States and is recognized as a "state" Party by the Democratic National Committee (DNC). It is represented on the DNC by eight voting members, as well as at the quadrennial Democratic National Convention.

Democrats living in America. Is this what YOU think education should be?
Issued to the Democratic Party platform committee in Washington DC.

Proposed by Chair Democrats Abroad France, Constance Borde assisted by the Democrats Abroad France Education Policy Group Chair: Dr. Leslie J. Limage
(Originally submitted to DA Resolutions Committee on September 14, 2011, Approved for transmission to the DA Platform Committee by the DCPA on October 17, 2011, Washington, D.C.)

WHEREAS education is a human right and public responsibility to provide all children and young people with the opportunity to realize their full potential (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 26, UNESCO). Here is the full text of Article 26

Article 26.

  1. Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
  2. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
  3. Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

WHEREAS ongoing policies inherited from the previous U.S. Administration and carried forward by current leadership are undermining the quality of education as well as our longstanding commitment to equal opportunity, the alleviation of poverty, civil rights and respect for linguistic, social and cultural diversity in a misplaced reliance on business practices and privatization of public education.

WHEREAS what we need to improve education is a strong, highly respected education profession; a rich curriculum in the arts and sciences, available in every school for every child; assessments that gauge what students know and can do, and a government that is prepared to change the economic and social conditions that interfere with children’s readiness to learn.

WHEREAS we cannot improve education by quick fixes, by handing over our public schools to entrepreneurs, by driving out experienced professionals replacing them with enthusiastic amateurs, or by closing them and firing teachers and entire staff. No country in the world follows such strategies.

WHEREAS disadvantage in our country is exacerbated by unsafe and crumbling schools. Over the past three years, investments in school improvements have benefited the wealthier districts disproportionately. The President’s new job’s creation legislation announced in his September 9, 2011 speech to Congress on an “American Jobs Act” is intended to remedy this situation and we need to ensure that it does in fact do so.

BE IT RESOLVED that Democrats Abroad adopt the following education policy foundations for our platform in 2012 many of which already figured in our 2008 Platform and that these principles figure in our 2012 Party Platform:

The Purpose of education: is to enable all children and young people to reach their full potential as individuals and become socially responsible citizens of our country and the world.
Equality of opportunity and non-discrimination are the foundations of our democratic society and must be reflected in all aspects of educational governance, management, finance, school facilities, teaching and support professions.

Formative Evaluation and Assessment should encourage learning. The evaluation of students should be diagnostic. The results of student evaluation should not be used to evaluate teachers and schools as institutions. The evaluation of schools should celebrate the strengths of community ownership of and improvement by school communities.

The teaching and school leadership professions. Teachers and their organizations should be viewed by governments as equal partners, independent but committed to the common endeavor of achieving successful education systems. School leadership, governance and management also require professional knowledge and the specificity of public service and education. Outsourcing any aspect of educational leadership de-professionalizes key foundations of our education systems and decision-making based on knowledge, experience, trust and democratic principles. Education professionals’ collective bargaining rights acquired over many years should be respected rather than threatened.

Educational facilities: quality, safe and environmentally friendly schools. Public schools are an important element of our nation’s infrastructure. Repairing strengthening, upgrading and constructing schools are essential. A nationwide effort needs to be initiated to anticipate and improve the adaptability of the nations’ existing and yet to be built school infrastructure, including regular rehabilitation and upgrades.

Promoting Equality through Inclusive Education. It is the responsibility of public authorities to ensure that all citizens have access to high quality education services appropriate to their needs. All barriers to education must be removed in order to make school accessible for all persons. Any school receiving public funding should not be permitted to select its students based on their likelihood of meeting testing standards, much less because of race, ethnic origin, sex, or religion.

Early Childhood Care and Education: Free, High Quality Public Preschool Programs
Early childhood care and education is intended to meet the needs of the whole child. The Federal government should provide assistance to states for the creation of free, universal, voluntary pre-kindergarten programs. They should encourage linkage of universal preschool with the resources, infrastructure and talent of the public school system. The Federal government should also ensure that states require the licensing and certification of all preschool instructors.

Primary and Secondary Education. Quality primary and secondary education are the basis on which all further learning takes place and young adults are equipped with the critical thinking skills and knowledge to make further educational and professional choice throughout their lives. These levels of education are public responsibility. The Federal government’s first responsibility is to set the bar higher than it has ever been in terms of equality of access and service, rather than lowering it to enable “market” forces to play.

Higher Education: Access, Academic Freedom and Quality. Action must be taken to improve equal access to all forms of tertiary education and reduce the cost of higher education. A key characteristic of successful individuals and societies is the quality of higher education. It is not a matter of “competition” worldwide or for scarce “jobs” within our country. It is an absolutely necessary building block for realizing human potential and constructing democratic, open and globally responsible world citizens.

Protection of education as a public good in a period of economic austerity. All concerned citizens should work to re-take and then re-build quality public education. The trends towards privatization and outsourcing of our children’s future are undermining democratic institutions at home and internationally. We need informed citizenry to begin to re-establish democratic values and institutions that respect them.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Is Data Collection The Panacea for Education Reform?

Representative Duncan Hunter believes data collection is important and can be an important part of education reform. There may be some truth in what he writes, but there are some problems with measuring teacher effectiveness and even student progress via assessments and data collection.

Some students test better than others. Can data be reliable as to a child's progress or most importantly, to the child's potential? If a child tests below grade level expectations, is it the teacher's fault? Perhaps the child came into the classroom two years behind in grade level proficiency. Should the teacher be held accountable if he/she could not get that child up to grade level expectations in one year?

We do agree with Representative Hunter when he writes:

What’s certain, after more than a year of hearings and oversight, is that learning is best directed by those who are most closely connected to the student.

Students are best served by those closest to them vs a consortium and the Federal Department of Education. However, this quest for data driven decisions based on student test scores can be misleading especially when it allegedly measures teacher effectiveness.

From "Better Info Puts Schooling in the Hands of Parents" in The Hill:


When it comes to the quality of education, there is a lot we can learn from basic data on students and schools.

The right information, or reported data, can tell a parent how his or her child is doing in the classroom. It can tell a teacher how his or her class is doing on a particular lesson, or an administrator how the teacher is performing.

If done correctly, parent and community-centered reporting measures can provide a window to the issues that inform many decisions on individual learning.

Better and more accessible data can help chart a new course in American education for every principal, teacher and student. Through better transparency and accountability — buzz words in the education debate — parents are able to stay more closely connected to a child’s development and have the right information to make responsible choices.

The process of reforming No Child Left Behind is under way in Congress, and there is no shortage of criticism directed toward the current law. Most of the complaints from states, school districts and parents are justified, and there is bipartisan consensus that reform is long overdue.

One problem with current law is the 100 percent proficiency requirement for student groups by 2014. Even so, the existence of newly reported performance data has been a valuable tool in determining where attention is needed. In fact, one of the few crowning achievements of NCLB was the disaggregation of that performance data by student subgroups. States and school districts have begun using this data to improve classroom instruction and provide families and communities transparent information with which they can hold their schools accountable.

With reform now on the doorstep, the importance of these capabilities is illustrated by new research from the University of Washington’s Center for Education Data & Research, indicating that academic progress in public schools can be traced to a teacher’s own academic career and course load. It’s a simple concept with practical application.

More often than not, students are only as good as their teachers. Having effective teachers — a derivative of both good training and experience — is an essential part of what makes excellent learners. Thirty-five states currently have the means to trace teacher development, according to the Data Quality Campaign, and others are beginning to move in the same direction.

Teacher quality is not the only measurement worth taking, but it represents an important starting point for more effectively mapping student achievement.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan agrees. Earlier this month, a new initiative was announced to identify the best teacher-preparation programs through student test scores and encourage others to strive for improvement. The responsibility here should ultimately fall to states, but the decision rightly elevates the discussion to a higher level.

It’s important that the conversation on the value of data continues against the backdrop of the ongoing reform debate. The federal government has a track record of making too many bad decisions in education, and the House is doing its part by re-examining the federal footprint in education policy. What’s certain, after more than a year of hearings and oversight, is that learning is best directed by those who are most closely connected to the student.

With the right information available, parents will have a clearer and much needed line of sight into the education and development of their children.

Hunter is chairman of the House Education and the Workforce subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education.

#WeCantWait to Hear Live Stream Educational Views of Republican Candidates. More Bipartisanship and More of the Same?

Bipartisanship is the buzz word in education these days. Is that a good development? President Bush and Senator Ted Kennedy crafted No Child Left Behind which has been criticized by the left and the right. Arne Duncan has crafted waivers for NCLB which seem to impose even more mandates on states to escape the impossible goal of having 100% of students to be proficient. This plan also has not been popular with those from both political parties.

FoxNews.com will live stream the Presidential Republican candidates this afternoon questioning them on their views on education:

Visit FoxNews.com on Thursday for a live presidential primary candidates forum dedicated to discussing the future of American education.

Hosted by News Corp. and the College Board, and streaming live on FoxNews.com from 5 to 6:30 p.m. ET, the forum will feature 2012 Republican presidential candidates Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. Hosted in New York City, the forum is timed to coincide with the College Board’s annual meeting.

The discussion, titled “Education and Election 2012,” will be moderated by The Wall Street Journal’s Paul Gigot and renowned education expert and reformer Joel I. Klein, CEO of News Corporation’s education division.

News Corp. is the parent of Fox News Channel and FoxNews.com.

The 111-year-old College Board is best known as the organization that administers the SATs and Advanced Placement tests. Each year, the College Board helps more than seven million students prepare for college.

A mission-driven, not-for-profit organization created to expand access to higher education, the College Board also conducts research and advocacy for students, educators and schools. The board's membership is made up of more than 5,900 of the world’s leading educational institutions.

Listen to it this afternoon if you are able. Hopefully a podcast will be available later on the site for those unable to access the live stream. It will be interesting to hear if these candidates call for states to reclaim their constitutional right to educate their citizens...or if they call for more of the same Federal control. Gosh, how's that Federal Control been working for the last four decades? It hasn't worked so well in terms of raising test scores (they are flatlined), but fabulous in spending taxpayer dollars (an increase of 190% in federal spending).

As Mitt Romney and Rick Perry will not be in attendance, their education platforms (or not) are listed here (Romney) and here (Perry).

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

You Learn Something New Every Day

Some day, I believe the Occupy (insert city name here) protest will be in the school curriculum to teach children what pure Democracy really is. For those down on the front lines of the protests, no truer words could be spoken than , "This is what democracy looks like." Every day brings them a new abject lesson in why our world is structured the way it is and the difficulty those who run it have trying to make everyone happy. I just hope the Occupiers are paying attention, and maybe have brought a notepad and pen.

In the beginning they said they were anarchists, which many defined in the purest sense. They wanted no rules. They didn't even want to have a clear set of demands that they were protesting for. It took only a couple weeks for the problem with that theory to become clear.

Without a clear reason for your protest, the rest of society has little tolerance for your disruption. You have freedom of speech, but you have to have something to say. And so they began with the Macarena-meets-Roberts-Rules-of-Order gatherings to decide what their platform was. Ah, the birth of a movement, somewhat like a meeting held in Philadelphia a couple centuries ago. Unfortunately for the Occupiers, the similarity ends there.

For society to exist, and people to live amongst each other with some sense of security, there must be rules. Otherwise you have what the protesters have experienced and, surprisingly, had the nerve to complain about. Without the recognition of basic property rights you have the vandalism of the drummers' drums and the theft of food donated for the use of the protesters.

Without a commonly accepted code of behavior (laws, if you will) and people clearly in charge of enforcing this code, you get what happened to a 19 year old woman with autism who was raped by someone she thought she was told to share a tent with by an Occupy organizer. They said they didn't tell people to share tents, which is probably true. However, if you have authority, even just a little, you also have responsibility. The police in these cities where the Occupiers are have both, and are prepared to accept the inevitable criticism of their handling of this very difficult situation. I hope the organizers of Occupy are also.

Then there is their complaint against the banks. According to the Occupiers, the banks are evil capitalist bureaucracies run by the bourgeoisie who just want to steal from people. But several protesters found out, when they closed their accounts with the big banks and tried to move them to small credit unions, that the smaller banks have qualifications to be a checking account holder. With fewer depositers, the credit unions must be choosy about who they provide service to, and you actually have to have a decent credit rating to qualify for anything other than a savings account with those banks. The Occupiers never realized the larger banks could afford to take anyone's money because the percentage of those who have poor money management skills is relatively low when you have hundreds of thousands of depositers, and therefore they could afford to lose a little on the accounts of people who still live with mom and dad.

The Occupier's lack of understanding of fiscal policy doesn't end there. The OWS has reportedly amassed $500k which they, not surprisingly, chose to store in a bank as opposed to a tent or someone's apartment. The protesters think this money should go to support them at the protest. Those responsible for getting the money in the first place don't necessarily agree, which has led to some in fighting. So now they must set up a system to determine how the money is to be allocated. Doesn't this have the strangest resemblance to establishing some sort of a government to determine how to spend other people's money?

The latest demand from OWS is that they be allowed to print their own money. It is unclear who exactly would print this money, how its value would be determined, whether it would be backed by anything of value, and whether it would be accepted by any merchants. Sounds like a great lesson about the monetary system.

Once they handle their financial education, perhaps they can go on to environmental issues. You see, cramming that many people together, without an organized system of waste treatment leads to the stench, and potential disease transmission, now facing the Occupiers. It's not ok for bourgeoisie run large corporations to pollute the environment, but it's ok for protesters to foul the area with their human waste and trash? If "the ends justifies the means" is good enough for the Occupiers, then it should also be good enough for corporate America. The thing so many on the left conveniently forget is, all the reasons they come up with to excuse themselves from following the rules, are the same ones everyone else uses with the same clear conscience. Either way, the Occupiers are going to have to come up with a system to handle the byproducts of human living. Anarchy just doesn't seem compatible with sanitary living.

I wait with palpable anticipation for the perfect solutions that will present themselves when the Occupiers follow their democratic process to address these problems. When SEIU and the AFL-CIO (who fomented this idea in the first place) step in with their larger numbers of obedient union members to take over the meetings the Occupiers are having, they will finally see what democracy looks like. It looks very much like a system where the powerful ones who can come up with the necessary numbers get to do what they want at the expense of individual rights and wants. And that, children, is what democracy looks like.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

#WeCantWait to get the Word Out about "Everything You Need to Know about Public School Spending"

Did you hear about the White House's new campaign strategy? Attackwatch.com and @attackwatch on Twitter didn't fare too well, so the administration is rolling out "we can't wait", the President's new campaign slogan to pass parts of his jobs bill via executive orders since Congress passed on his ideas. From HotAir:

Remember when President Barack Obama said many Americans just “can’t wait” for the next election, implying that Congress better pass his American Jobs Act instantly or face the wrath of the American people? Since then, the prez ingeniously decided to promote “We can’t wait” as a slogan. He wants to hear from those Americans who just can’t bear the thought of allowing another minute to pass without passage of the AJA! Obligingly, impatient people the nation over have taken to Twitter to express just what they can’t wait for … and it’s not the president’s jobs plan:

WeCantWait to suggest you spread the word on Twitter (#WeCantWait) to spread the truth on public education spending as graphed by Cato in the article below. Why does the President insist on spending more money on public school buildings and teachers to ensure a "great education"? Spending is already at all all time high and hasn't created better test scores. Maybe money isn't the answer.

From Cato and "Everything You Need to Know About Public School Spending in 2 1/2 Minutes or Less":


Neal McCluskey gutted the President’s new “Save the Teachers” American Jobs Act sales pitch a good while back, as did Andrew Coulson here. Thankfully, it seems a lot of senators agree it’s a bad idea.

Last week, a $35 Billion piece of the president’s new “stimulus” plan, which included $30 Billion to bail out government schools—againwent down in the Senate:

Our public education problem is huge; we’re spending far too much and getting way too little. But most people don’t know the basic details. They still think we need to spend more on education.

So, for all of you who want to get the details but don’t have much time, or have family and friends who need to be introduced to reality, I present to you . . . Everything you need to know about public school spending in less than 2½ minutes.

Watch it, “like” it, post it on Facebook, email it around, comment, and generally get the word out . . . because we really do need to get the word out.

(From http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDr7-_5Ulz0&feature=player_embedded)

Monday, October 24, 2011

How is Teaching "PRESUMED Racism" in the Henry Gates Incident Making American Students Globally Competitive?

Have you heard of the company Cengage? From the company website:

Cengage Learning: An Overview

Cengage Learning is a leading provider of innovative teaching, learning and research solutions for the academic, professional and library markets worldwide. The company's products and services are designed to foster academic excellence and professional development, increase student engagement, improve learning outcomes and deliver authoritative information to people whenever and wherever they need it. Through the company's unique position within both the library and academic markets, Cengage Learning is providing integrated learning solutions that bridge from the library to the classroom. Cengage Learning's brands include Brooks/Cole, CourseTechnology, Delmar, Gale, Heinle, South-Western and Wadsworth, among others.

With annual revenues of approximately $2 billion, the company has 5,500 employees with operations in more than 20 countries around the world.

Our Mission

Our Mission is to be the most respected and innovative source of teaching, learning and research solutions for the academic, professional and library markets worldwide. We are leading the transition from print to value-added digital and custom solutions by developing a deep understanding of our customers' needs, capitalizing on synergies across our businesses and delivering innovative products and services that cannot be matched by our competitors. We aim to be the company that our customers think of first, that current and prospective employees see as a rewarding place to work and that investors are happy to own.

Cengage aims to be global in its education delivery and is also anxious to tap into the common core standards and assessments:

Cengage Learning and the Common Core State Standards Initiative

Correlated to the Common Core State Standards, Cengage Learning’s developmental studies solutions will instill in your students the knowledge and skills needed for success in college and the workplace. Select a course area from the list below to learn about Cengage Learning solutions that align with the Common Core State Standards. Click here to learn about The Common Core State Standards Initiative.

Cengage is a company anxious to implement the mandates of standards and it hopes the CCSSO and NGA will use its solutions. What type of lesson plans has Cengage written? Will this be used in Communication Arts for Common Core standards? From "Racism in the United States Lesson plan":


Racism in the United States Lesson Plan:

Students will explore the risks parents take to secure a good education for their children, analyze racism – discussing whether race issues are increasing or decreasing in the U.S. and research race bias in the media and the impact this can have on society.

View the video Racism- Seen vs. Unseen by MSNBC

Discussion Guide

Lesson Plan 1- Education and Race

Objective: Students will learn about the risks parents take to secure a good education for their children and how race may play a role in the education system in the U.S.

Lesson Plan 2- Racism within the United States

Objective: Students will view a video detailing specific events within the United States and analyze how race may or may not play a role

Handout Lesson Plan 2- Racism in the United States

Lesson Plan 3- Racism in the Media

Objective: Students will research possible racism and bias within the media

Handout Lesson Plan 3- Racism and Bias in the Media

21st Century Core Content
Government and Civics

21st Century Themes
Civic Literacy

21st Century Skills
Think Creatively
Work Creatively With Others
Reason Effectively
Use systems thinking
Make Judgments and Decisions
Solve Problems
Communicate Clearly
Collaborate with Others
Access and Evaluate Information
Use and Manage Information
Analyze Media
Work Independently
Be Self-directed Learners
Interact Effectively with Others
Work Effectively in Diverse Teams
Guide and Lead Others
Be Responsible to Others


Don't you feel better about the common core standards? Isn't it great how these lessons on racism promote academic progress? Will such lessons will make our students more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) ready?

Aren't most Americans weary of class or ethnic warfare? The perpetuation of presumed racism actually stagnates the "21st Century Skills" listed above. If this is the sort of lesson plan from Cengage to align to the Common Core standards, the skills students learn will include:

  • victimization
  • distrust
  • learning to face accusations of acting "stupidly"
  • manipulating the media
  • avoiding others because of bogus racism charges
Here's a site with the Henry Gates police report. "Obama was asked about Gates' arrest at the end of a nationally televised news conference on health care Wednesday night and began his response by saying Gates was a friend and he didn't have all the facts."

What are we teaching students by making presumptions before all the facts have been gathered? Are these the 21st century skills contained in the Common Core standards? Why would Cengage use this video to highlight these skills listed above.....

Reason Effectively
Use systems thinking

Make Judgments and Decisions
Solve Problems

Communicate Clearly

Access and Evaluate Information
Use and Manage Information
Guide and Lead Others

Be Responsible to Others

......unless jumping to conclusions and basing decisions based on presumptions and racial motives is now the preferred method of learning? Welcome to the Common Core standards and material provided to deliver these standards to American students.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Sunday Education Weekly Reader: 10.23.11

Welcome to the Sunday Education Weekly Reader for 10.23.11. Stories this week highlight what the educational waivers for NCLB reauthorization mean (it's more federal control, not state determined solutions), a humorous look at Arne Duncan and his redrawing of our "maps", the question of why government is picking winners and losers in educational delivery and the wisdom of this practice, and the Kentucky Commissioner of Education finds himself in Rio de Janiero thanks to Pearson, an educational vendor for the state.


Will you say goodbye to your great teachers in your school district?

Oak Norton writes about the redistribution of teachers (The Marxist Redistribution of Teachers and Forced Common Core Standards) that may be coming to YOUR school district. Do you like your teachers? Are they effective in your school? That's too bad. They may be reassigned. Ask YOUR superintendent and school board what plans they have to ensure the "highly effective" teachers in YOUR school are not reassigned to failing schools.

It's part of the waiver agreement Missouri is going to apply for...and 38 other states at the time of this writing.


Arne Duncan states the United States must "change our maps".

This article from The Washington Fancy takes the Secretary of Education at his literal word.


Is the educational technology bandwagon the Federal Government is jumping on creating the educational equivalent of Solyndra?

Jay P. Greene wonders about the track record of the Federal Government picking winners and losers and directing the private sector in public education.


Should the Kentucky Commissioner of Education accept an all expense paid trip to Rio de Janiero from a courting vendor, give the vendor the business after the trip, and then declare there is no commercial interest on behalf of the vendor?

Following on the heels of the last piece, Pearson (a pre-determined CCSSO education vendor) treated school district officials in Kentucky with a trip to Rio de Janiero just prior to securing a $58 million contract for multi-year testing assessments.

The Kentucky Education Commissioner said "it was a great opportunity as a commissioner to learn what our global competition is doing in education and the economy". That's an interesting statement by the Commissioner. I thought technology was the heralded savior for our students and nation. Technology will make us all global without having to travel overseas. Why couldn't the commissioner learn about global education and economy via how students will be learning in the future? That would have saved so many carbon footprints.

Educational thought for the week:

Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it's always your choice. Wayne Dyer

(Maybe we'll see this self-determination embodied in the Common Core standards...or not).
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