"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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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Do Common Core Standards Dictate the Necessity for a National School Board and National Superintendent?

This is from the chief architect of Common Core standards & new leader of The College Board.

Anngie wrote yesterday how the Republican legislators voted to expand charter schools across Missouri.  This is even as a 2010 study, "Charter Schools in Missouri: Student Achievement and Best Practices" by Missouri senators came to a conclusion on page 3/40:
The diversity among charter schools and traditional public schools does not provide evidence to allow a confident or accurate assertion that one type of school consistently outperforms the other.
What's changed between 2010 and 2012?  Charters will now be under the same common core mandates as traditional public schools, so that pesky diversity argument can be cast aside.  Since all the schools are "common", maybe Missouri taxpayers can begin the grand experiment of charters and the results will provide sufficient evidence on the grand experiment of the success (or not) of charters compared to traditional public schools.  

Currently the verdict is not in on whether charters make gains over traditional public schools.  However, it is a fact that Imagine Schools had to close in St. Louis for dismal test results, regardless of any diversity that existed between Imagine schools and the St. Louis City schools.

The Republican legislature voted overwhelmingly for charter expansion.  They have bought  into  the StudentsFirst premise that charters are a magic bullet.  They will be the panacea to failing students.  They are "choice" for parents.  They may be "choice" to get your child out of a terrible school setting into a school demanding more discipline and signed contracts for parents/children for behavior/expectations checklist, but the education will be the same as the traditional public school.  The educational delivery will be different but the education will be the same due to common core standards.

I've asked this question to some folks who like the charter school option:

Is anyone concerned on this thread that local districts have little to zero control over WHAT your child is learning? Even though you are forced to pay taxes into that local district? That educational power has been given to a 26 state consortia controlled by private interests. For instance, is it okay that your child learn the global warming "theory" is all due to man? Is it okay with you that if your child can't learn math in the manner the assessments are structured, your child is just out of luck? Does it bother anyone just a little bit that your child's educational decisions by private corporations cannot be held accountable by taxpayers? Does it bother anyone that this is really the educational version of Obamacare or Solyndra? Government money has been given to private organizations to direct our life choices in health, energy and now, education?
Is anyone concerned WHAT is being taught to children OR is all about "choosing" a school that teaches the same material as the traditional public school?

The point is, while we are spending money on yet another educational model of charters, when we don't even have enough money to fund the existing model, the transfer of power of education is occurring from union domination to corporatist domination.  As my buddy Van tweeted yesterday about our charter post:  

The choice to choose what govt/biz-partners chose for you to choose -aint the choice of a Free Market fb.me/1R7e8369Z 

When will folks understand the people who are paying the taxes and sending their children are paying into a system they can't access in terms of decision making?  That's not choice, that's just more of the same of what we have now, except other power brokers are taking our tax money and making the decisions for us and for our children. 

I don't want to spend much more time on writing about the charter school argument because that's not the elephant in the room.  This honor belongs to David Coleman, chief architect of the common core standards.  He sold his company to McGraw Hill which now stands to make millions of dollars on the standards Coleman wrote. What did Coleman's company provide which made it so attractive to McGraw Hill in terms of providing text for common core?

Grow Network (Grow.net, Inc.), a privately held company...is a leading provider of assessment reporting and customized content for states and large school districts across the country

Coleman, with help from Arne Duncan, Bill Gates, Michelle Rhee and others have coerced most states into these standards using financial threats and promises of reform based on unproven and untested standards.  Just a handful of states did not sign onto the standards, so how can this group of elitists complete the plan of the takeover of education?  Mind you, I didn't label this takeover of just "public" education.  Coleman and company are in effect taking over public, private and homeschooling education.  How?

Coleman was recently named as head of the College Board, which is responsible for constructing the SATs. According to EdWeek:

Coleman told Education Week that he hopes to align the SAT to reflect the common standards, a move that would help ensure, he said, that students who do well on the exam possess the skills that colleges and universities are seeking.

Aligning the SAT with the common core would touch on a piece of the college-readiness formula that higher education's support of the common assessments does not reach, and it's a highly sensitive piece: college admissions. Shifting the college-entrance exam to embody the new standards would involve the same significant shifts that mark the standards themselves.

Top education leaders—including U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, a big fan of the common standards—are on record in the College Board's press release as commending Coleman's selection as the organization's new leader.

If you privately school or home school, this move toward aligning toward the common core standards will dictate how/what you teach children so they can pass the SAT to gain college admission.

Pretty nifty, eh?

Schools Matter blogged about Coleman's power play and the takeover of education:

The testing industry: self-appointed non-elected national school board?

The hiring of David Coleman as its next president is consistent with the College Board's aggressive push into the K-12 assessment arena. Unlike the university admissions testing market where the Board has little or no growth potential due to the end of the baby boom echo and competition from ACT, K-12 has been flush with money and demand for more exams as a result of programs such as "Race to the Top" and NCLB Waivers.

Under Gaston Caperton, who was hired with the goal of "growing the bottom line" for the company, the Board aggressively expanded its Advanced Placement program of high school courses and tests, introduced the controversial middle school ReadiStep pre-pre-SAT, and promoted its SpringBoard curriculum as well as services to align high school subjects with its tests.

Coleman's pledge to align the SAT with the Common Core Standards is the next logical move in the testing industry's drive to dominate public U.S. public education with "one-size-fits-all" products in its self-appointed role as the country's non-elected, national school board. 

Bob Schaeffer, Public Education Director
FairTest: National Center for Fair & Open Testing
ph-    (239) 395-6773    fax-   (239) 395-6779
cell-   (239) 699-0468
web-  http://www.fairtest.org
Charters are replacing the traditional public education model under the assumption they will improve test scores in an alternative educational setting....with the same mandates as traditional public schools.  This is promoted as "authentic" choice.  Parents are happy to get their children out of classrooms filled with discipline problems. This "choice" pacifies parents and they believe their children are receiving an education promoting critical thinking skills.  Educational content won't vary much from traditional schools, so it seems to be just a difference in education delivery, not content.  

In the meantime, many folks are missing the most important announcement from yesterday and the realization an important door in education and America is closing.  The cries of  "I'll home school" or "I'll put my child in private school" to escape the national standards will be useless and hollow at the nearest SAT testing center for your child when he/she applies for college.   

Your children (publicly, private or home school educated) better know the material used for common core assessments and answer in the way public school students have been taught to answer or else college might not be an option for their future.

Anyone see a way out of this trap of national standards, national school board and national superintendent?  The takeover of American education is about complete.

1 comment:

  1. I agree there is a dangerous road ahead for all parents regarding the education system now being designed for their children. Education has been a political football since the 1960s, however, when the feds entered math education with their theoretical "new math" debacle in answer to Russia's launching of Sputnik in 1957, ahead of America. We have never recovered. I maintain public education has reached a pinnacle of being the new playground for economic growth and development for adults (vendors). Children are guinea pigs for unproven fads that provide major monies to anyone who is willing to play to the fads and not to the children.

    On charter schools, I will say that I generally support them because I do think they give both a perception (hope) and reality of choice to parents. They at least can choose to send their child there, whereas they are required to send their child to a public school selected by a district's map. I disagree that they all get the same content material in the charters as they do in the public schools. A charter system in New York (as shown on John Stossel's "Stupid in America" show) allows teachers to choose the books and methods their students need. That is a powerful decision by the administrators. This is quite different from teachers being told by a district's curriculum director what books/methods must be used and principals dutifully following the dictates.

    My thoughts are offered here as a public school teacher/principal who retired in 2006 after 28 years in the trenches in Texas, the Spokane (WA) Indian Reservation, and Seattle. I now tutor students in my own academy and at the local Catholic elementary school (that uses Saxon Math). I simply try to rescue one kid at a time at this point. I also wrote John Saxon’s Story, a genius of common sense in math education, a biography to vindicate a man who warned what would happen to students in math education if the leadership didn’t change directions. His warnings have come true. They hated him then—and still do.


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