"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, May 26, 2012

Student Summer Employment: "Begin A Career In Progressive Politics Progressive Jobs!"

Your student might just become Presdent with a career in Community Organizing!

The above title is from a craigslist posting for student jobs.  When did community organizing become a career?  Does  community organizing make the United States STEM ready and globally competitive?  Do you remember this posting from last year about jobs for students to fight far right extremism and advance progressive causes? 

Your student has more opportunities on craigslist to advance those causes this summer.  :

Help Build the Progressive Movement $5,000-$8,000 █

Date: 2012-05-17, 10:19AM PDT
Reply to: see below [Errors when replying to ads?]

campaign jobs summer jobs human rights civil rights lgbt lgbtq rights nonprofit work jobs equality inequality progressive work progressive jobs progressive causes work for change change campaign student jobs college student jobs college jobs legal law ACLU extremist animals environment action aid global poverty rights equal healthcare liberty grassroots public constitutional history politics fundraising forward support humane humanitarian reform climate gender injustice feminism feminist activism organizing field work social civil hunger resources international domestic issue liberal democratic clean green women

  • Compensation: $5,000-$8,000
  • This is at a non-profit organization.
  • Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
  • Phone calls about this job are ok.
  • Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.
PostingID: 3021223458
Maybe community organizing jobs are the only ones available to your student this summer since 100,000 jobs have been given to foreign students by the Obama administration.  From ign.com:


Wow, just 16% of high school students are employed for the summer, an all time low. That is down from 32% in 1990.

Meanwhile, over 100,000 foreign students will land summer jobs here in the US under a US work sponsored travel program.

In a time where outsourcing American jobs is viewed unfavorably, I hope future Administrations spend a bit more time trying to get American teenagers these jobs.

Apparently the focus from these self-named grassroots, community organizing groups isn't centered on the influx of foreign teenagers taking jobs American students could be working this summer or the high unemployment of high school/college aged students.  From another craigslist posting (I'm wondering if "progressive issues you care about" include future full-time employment for American citizens): 

Get A Jump On November! Looking To Start Or Continue A Career In Community Organizing? Excited About Working Hard On Crucial Victories In 2012? Want To ... Progressive Jobs

Begin a Career in Progressive Politics

Date: 2012-04-26, 11:39AM MDT
Reply to: see below

Looking to start or continue a career in community organizing? Excited about working hard on crucial victories in 2012? Want to learn how you mobilize thousands of concerned citizens? Grassroots Campaigns is what you are looking for.

Since 2004, Grassroots Campaigns has implemented successful field campaigns on behalf of progressive candidates, causes and organizations all over the country. This year, be a part of even larger victories!

As an Assistant Director you can mobilize a team of activists, run a successful campaign and make the most direct impact on the progressive issues you care about!

Get a jump on November!

Looking to start or continue a career in community organizing? Excited about working hard on crucial victories in 2012? Want to learn how you mobilize thousands of concerned citizens? Grassroots Campaigns is what you are looking for.

Since 2004, Grassroots Campaigns has implemented successful field campaigns on behalf of progressive candidates, causes and organizations all over the country. This year, be a part of even larger victories!
As an Assistant Director you can mobilize a team of activists, run a successful campaign and make the most direct impact on the progressive issues you care about!

Apply Now!

You will manage one of our campaign offices, build community support, educate the public and recruit new members for leading non-profit partner organizations. Grassroots Campaigns is actively working on campaigns to protect reproductive rights, gay rights, and our environment. 

In this position, you will take on a great deal of leadership and responsibility,learning how to run a field campaign. You will need strong communication andmotivational skills, work ethic and desire for political change. You must have theleadership ability to oversee a team and an orientation towards handling substantialresponsibility.

Job responsibilities include:
Recruit a team of 10-40 canvassers to represent top issue-based organizations on the front lines of theprogressive movement. Responsible for developing and implementing a plan to hire talented staff.

Manage, train and develop staff into activists and leaders in a canvass office. Work with staff to developthem into the next leaders of the progressive movement.

Canvass to raise funds and build support in the community. Lead staff by example and work on the frontlines for the most important issues facing our nation.

Requirements for Position:
Strong communication and motivational skills, work ethic, and desire for political change are essential. Candidatesmust be able to work within a team, have proven leadership ability and an orientation towards handling a lot ofresponsibility. Strong self-direction and the ability to take initiative are also necessary qualifications. Previous fieldor canvassing experience is a plus, and may qualify candidates for additional leadership positions.
To Apply:
Apply here or send a cover letter and a resume to Peter at jobs@grassrootscampaigns.com. Applications are considered on a rolling basis. Qualified applicants will be contacted about opportunities with Grassroots Campaigns within a week. We are currently hiring across the United States in: Berkeley, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Orange County, CA; Pasadena, CA; Sacramento, CA; San Diego, CA; San Francisco, CA; Santa Cruz, CA; Denver, CO; New Haven, CT; Washington DC; Miami, FL; Orlando, FL; Chicago, IL; Amherst, MA; Boston, MA; Kansas City, MO; St. Louis, MO; Minneapolis, MN; Raleigh, NC; Morristown, NJ; Albuquerque, NM; New York, NY; Cincinnati, OH; Columbus, OH; Portland, OR; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Austin, TX; and Seattle, WA. Candidates will need to relocate to these cities

  • Compensation: $24,000; health care and benefits included.
  • Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
  • Please, no phone calls about this job!
  • Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.
Tag Cloud
  • Workers Compensation
  • Virtual Office
  • Progressive
  • Life insurance leads free
  • Campaign Monitor
  • Geico
  • Nationwide
  • Commercial short sales
  • Supporting
PostingID: 2980631560

No contact info?if the poster didn't include a phone number, email, or
other contact info, craigslist can notify them via email.

 Original Post 2980631560.html

Friday, May 25, 2012

At what point does spin become lying Arne Duncan?

This week Secretary Duncan participated in the Labor Management Conference in Cincinnati.  It looks like the conference  wasn’t that interesting, because he had a lot of time to tweet about it. The tweets sounded wonderful until you really analyzed them, and put them up against what action the DOEd is taking. Then you realized every one of them was a bit of propaganda straight out of Edward Bernays' manual.

23 May Arne Duncan ‏@arneduncan
We need to value teaching as much as we value law or engineering. #LMConf12

23 May Arne Duncan ‏@arneduncan
We need to change public perception of teaching. It needs to be honored & valued, instead of diminished & dismissed. #LMConf12

First of all, who says we aren’t valuing teaching? Here where the pencil hits the paper we are awash in teacher appreciation programs. Many have just sent end-of-year teacher gifts to school and regularly speak with our children’s teachers, thanking those who are doing a really great job. We already spend more than 50% of our state budget on education. There is no other single budget line item that comes close to that percentage. Most districts approved salary increases during the recent recession when other businesses were holding levels constant or making reductions. So how is that not valuing our teachers or supporting what they do?

For their part,  how does the DOEd explain their support for TFA which is like hiring undocumented workers who will work for the lowest wages and who compete against people who have committed to the teaching profession by spending 5-6 years in school getting a degree in teaching?  How is that valuing teaching? How do they explain the constant harping on the need for common standards which implies, if not directly states, that they believe teachers are incompetent to develop their own quality curriculum.   Perhaps the “we” in his tweet referred directly to DOEd.
23 May Arne Duncan ‏@arneduncan
The media fixates on adult dysfunction in education. Adults here at #LMConf12 are fixated on helping kids.

I haven’t decoded Arne speak to understand what he means by “adult dysfunction” so it is difficult to know how to respond.  Is he referring to teacher dysfunction? Administrative dysfunction? Parental dysfunction?  It almost doesn’t matter because he followed it with that phrase that makes everything possible, we’re doing it to help the kids.  The reality is that the parents and teachers are the only ones focusing on the kids. The huge infrastructure we have built around education has made it difficult for the parents to feel engaged, and close to impossible for teachers to focus on teaching. They are spending all their time collecting the data that DOEd says they need to have.  The latest RTTT appears to want teachers to have individualized lesson plans for each student. While it may sound good, it is logistically impossible and will likely lead to a train wreck  in the classroom.  So explain to us again, Arne, how you are doing things to help the kids?

23 May Arne Duncan ‏@arneduncan
#LMConf12 vision is historic. Thanks to our natl partners for getting outside their comfort zones & having courage to do the right thing.

Again, no clue yet as to what “the right thing” is, but given who their national partners are: American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association, National School Boards Association, American Association of School Administrators, Council of the Great City Schools, Council of Chief State School Officers, and the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, I am apprehensive. Many of these groups brought us Common Core Standards and the charter school blitz. Also, calling something historic, doesn't make it so.

23 May Arne Duncan ‏@arneduncan
It's an amazing sight to see teams from 41 states sharing ideas for supporting teachers and transforming the profession.

FYI - The only district from Missouri that was represented at this event was St. Louis Public School District.

We should all have learned from our president, who vowed to “transform” America in his acceptance speech, to question what we will be transforming into.   The referenced report says, “the shared vision focuses on three main goals, which include ensuring all students are challenged to meet a high bar that prepares them for college, career, and citizenship; narrowing the opportunity and access gap between more and less privileged populations of students; and, preparing all students to be globally competitive. Seven core principles make up the elements of achieving these goals. They include-
  • A culture of shared responsibility and leadership;
  • Recruiting top talent into schools prepared for success;  $
  • Continuous growth and professional development; $$
  • Effective teachers and principals;
  • A professional career continuum with competitive compensation; $$$
  • Conditions that support successful teaching and learning; and
  • Engaged communities

23 May Arne Duncan ‏@arneduncan
Shared vision document released, outlines 7 elements needed to transform teaching http://go.usa.gov/ppV

5h Arne Duncan ‏@arneduncan
We can't come away from LMConf just saying we had good discussions. It's time for action. Let's go.

There’s only two other words, besides “Let’s go” that have a demonstrated motivational effect and that’s why you hear them coming from coach’s mouths all the time: Come on!  Great rhetoric.  Little meaning.

1h Arne Duncan ‏@arneduncan
With student loan interest rates set to double in weeks, it's time to put students ahead of politics

Says the Secretary appointed by  the President whose budget held off that increase until 2013, just after the next election.  Then the interest rate kicked in to exactly what is currently projected 6.8%.  This is hardly keeping politics out of student interest rates.

Only citizens in 1984 were better at double think than Mr. Duncan. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Are Arne Duncan's Educational Reform Plans from a Republican Playbook?

Check out then Conference Chair of the Republican Party Lamar Alexander talking about educational reform at a governor's conference in 1989.  Do some of these Republican reforms sound like Arne Duncan's Race to the Top reforms?

From the youtube description:

Lamar Alexander lays out the plan to restructure education at the 11-2-1989 Governors Conference on Education in Wichita, Kansas. The Conference title was "Schools, Goals and the 1990s". As George Bush, Sr's Secretary of Education, he implemented education restructuring as America 2000 that specified creation of the New American Schools Development Corporation. He is currently senior Senator from Tennessee and Conference Chair of the Republican Party.

Transcript of Speech

1989 Governors Conference-Lamar Alexander

.... As far as I know, this is the first state summit following the President's summit, and I think that's a great credit to your governor of the State of Kansas, to be doing that. At least your timing is good!

I would suggest three things:

Number 1: Find out what's really going on because I don't think most people know---- what's going on in schools, how children are growing up, what's really going on in the world.

Number 2: I want to suggest that you create, in Kansas, a brand New American School. Brand New American School.

Number 3: I want to suggest that when you do that, you help that new school develop some new goals and new report cards for itself.

I would go down to the maternity ward of the local hospital, or whatever you call the part of the hospital where the nurses are who are there when the babies are born. Find out how many babies are born out of wedlock, how many babies are born with single parents. Just so you know that!

I would think the Brand New American School would be year-round, open from 6:00 to 6:00.

A second characteristic might be that these schools will serve children from age 3 months old to age 18. That may be a shocking thought to you; but, if you were to do an inventory of every baby in your community and think about what the needs of those babies were for the next four or five years, you might see that those needs might not be served any other way. They have to be served in some way and maybe around the school. Or, if you study a little more, you might go back and think the school might have to serve the pregnant mother of the baby in terms of prenatal healthcare....

...teams of teachers. Albert Shanker suggested that maybe there ought to be a team of teachers attached to a child from the day that child arrives in the school to stay with that child all the way to the 8th grade.

All this would mean there would have to be a very professional corps of teachers, wouldn't it? They'd have to be very, very good because they would have to be dealing with lots of volunteers. We have a big national service feeling in America today. Why aren't those people working in schools? Well, one reason is it's hard to handle volunteers!

So, this team of highly trained principals and teachers would have to have career ladders. They would have to be master teachers. They would be paid $50,000-$60,000-$70,000 a year to create a Brand New American School in every state capital.

The great advantage of that is there wouldn't be all these arguments of whether to do this program, or that program, or which one to do first. You wouldn't do any of them! You would create just one school and you'd give the responsibility to one person who would form one team. You give them one year or so, and if they succeeded, then all the rest of us would want to be in that school, too! Wouldn't we?

Senator Alexander advocated for:
  • Tracking students from birth
  • Community schools providing various services other than academics
  • School open year round
  • 12-hour school days
These ideas from 1989  have been incorporated into Arne Duncan's Race to the Top mandates. Later postings will provide information on how educational policies presented at this 1989 Governor's Conference foreshadowed the elitist takeover of education we currently find ourselves.  

You can thank George Bush Sr. for arranging this conference.  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

DOEd - The Master of Loopholes?

The DOEd has just released their draft regulation for the latest round of the Race To The Top grant competition. Many have noted extensively how they no longer seem to care that they are forbidden by law from developing national standards. Duncan and his representatives have repeatedly stated that they are not doing that. Rather, it is state consortia (which DOEd incentivized the creation of through the first RTTT) who are developing standards (which they require states to adopt to receive second round awards in RTTT).  But it is this latest round of RTTT that is by far the biggest power grab by a federal department who was originally only designed to be a clearing house for education information. In it, DOEd seems to have perfected the technique of loophole optimization by taking on things that are so far afield from public education that no one could say they are in opposition to their original mandate to focus on education delivery.

Applicants for this RTTT award will be Local Educational Agencies (LEAs).  DOEd has drilled down below the states directly into your school board through this version of RTTT. Here are some of the requirements for receiving this latest award.
At least forty percent of participating students across all participating schools (as defined in this document) must be students from low-income families, based on eligibility for free or reduced-price lunch subsidies under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, or other poverty measures that LEAs use to make awards under section 1113(a) of the ESEA. 
Clearly this round is meant for a very specific type of school district. Only those districts who are in urban areas or extreme rural communities will meet this qualification. However, high poverty, high needs schools must follow very prescriptive rules based upon federal and state guidelines which limits their ability to innovate. This would seem to fly in the face of the grant competition's goal of inspiring innovation. It does exploit a loophole that then allows the feds to funnel money to urban areas which, coincidentally I guess, tend to vote one way.

The next requirement is where the DOEd seeks direct control of your school board and superintendent.
  • Applicants must demonstrate a track record of commitment to the core education assurance areas (as defined in this document), including, for each LEA included in an application, an assurance signed by the LEA's authorized legal representative that--
The LEA has, at a minimum, designed and committed to implement no later than the 2014-15 school year--
  1. a teacher evaluation system (as defined in this document);
  2. a principal evaluation system (as defined in this document);
  3. a LEA superintendent evaluation (as defined in this document); and
  4. a LEA school board evaluation (as defined in this document).
An assessment of the LEA school board that both evaluates performance and encourages professional growth. This evaluation system rating should reflect both (1) the feedback of many stakeholders, including but not limited to educators and parents; and (2) student outcomes performance in order to provide a detailed and accurate picture of the board's performance. 
See, now your school board members will be rated and their performance will be tied to student performance. One does not set out to create a rating without the intent to use it as a means to take action. If your district's students continue to perform poorly on the standardized assessments, something may need to be done about your school board members. Your vote for them will be greatly diminished if not negated.

And nothing can come out of DOEd without the requisite requirement to provide DATA.
The LEA has a robust data system that has, at a minimum,--
  1. An individual teacher identifier with a teacher-student match; and
  2. The ability to match student level P-12 and higher education data.
def. Student Performance Data - information about the academic progress of a single student, such as formative and summative assessment data, coursework, instructor observations, information about student engagement and time on task, and similar information.  
Individual districts, not the state, will now supply this information directly to DOEd. If it has the ability to match teachers to students and track students beyond P-12, it is not sanitized for your protection. While the regulation states that such data have, "regulatory protections in place that ensure Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) compliant privacy and information protection," it still maintains that such data be made accessible and usable by stakeholders. The more broadly this data is disseminated to stakeholders (who are very broadly defined by DOEd) the less control they have over it and the less secure your private information is.

Asking individual school districts to be sophisticated enough to develop the necessary software encryption to protect such information is unrealistic. Most likely they will have to go to a private vendor to purchase an existing software package. Who could be waiting in the wings to provide that little piece of business?

One of the last sections is titled "Competitive Preference Priority--Cradle-to-Career Results, Resource Alignment, and Integrated Services." The federal government has stated openly that their goal (by giving preference priority to applicants who agree to this) is to be involved in your children's lives from cradle to career (HHS takes over the grave part.) At this point does this even look like school anymore?

In this section of the draft regulation, they state they will be looking for:
Whether the applicant has formed a coherent and sustainable partnership with public and private organizations, such as public health, after-school, and social service providers; businesses, philanthropies, civic groups, and other community-based organizations; early learning programs; and post-secondary institutions to support the plan described in Absolute Priority 1. The partnership must identify not more than 10 population-level desired results for students in the LEA or consortium of LEAs, which may span from cradle to career, that align with the applicant's proposal and reform strategy.
Here is your community school.  In addition to providing a basic education for children, your school district will now be evaluated on:
family and community results (e.g., students demonstrate social-emotional competencies, students are healthy, students feel safe at school and in their communities, students demonstrate career readiness skills through internship and summer job opportunities)
This is a gargantuan power grab by the federal government that, sadly, some individual school districts will actually ask them to do. It seems unfathomable that school board members, superintendents and tax payers would want the federal government this involved in the running of their schools, just for the benefit of a few dollars.  Nowhere in the grant application are districts required to show fiscal feasibility of maintaining any program started with RTTT funding. If DOEd isn't going to ask for this, maybe the taxpayers should, because they will be the ones on the hook for increased "school" (and I now use that word loosely) funding.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Is David Coleman Doing the Humpty Dumpty?

Is the Common Core fairy tale being exposed as just that?

David Coleman, chief architect of the Common Core standards and newly named head of the College Board, is being questioned on not only his motives in crafting the standards and financial gain realized from his participation in their implementation, but also on his understanding of historical documents and the basis of the standards themselves.  

Jim Stergios posted an article, "The Wrong Lesson on National Standards", addressed to Mr. Coleman about his participation in the Common Core:

I’m sorry because I think I may have gotten some of the intentions of Common Core's supporters wrong. Considering the heavy hand of the Gates Foundation and DC-based trade groups and their support of an effort that violates three federal laws; the imposition of $16 billion in new unfunded mandates on states and localities; and the feds’ shoehorning of states into adopting mediocre/community college readiness academic standards; I thought there may have been a well-thought-through plan at work. I thought the fact that many of the same players were involved in the 1990s in similar efforts meant that they had learned from past mistakes and decided to bypass congressional scrutiny and state legislative processes.

I thought they (and by association perhaps you) were consciously flouting the rule of law, the Constitutional Framers, and 220-plus years of American constitutional history. After all, supporters of national standards know their history and what is legal and illegal, and why all this was a bad idea. 

 Stergios then analyzes a statement by Coleman in which Coleman used Madison's Federalist #51 for a pro-Common Core argument.  Coleman referenced Federalist #51 in a video produced by the Hunt Foundation (funded by Gates) and explained his understanding (in blue) of this document:

The video (see especially 2:07 to 2:49) does not dissuade me from my view that the national standards are a mediocre race to the middle, or that they are illegal, or needless centralizing and expensive. 

In it, you articulate how you would use Madison’s Federalist #51 to teach students and teachers about carefully reading primary sources like Madison’s work and how to understand concepts like “faction” as the authors themselves understood these terms. The video comes with a nice-looking pictorial text of Federalist #51 on the screen. Listening for a few minutes, I thought it sounded good, especially where you note:
I want to say a little more about what we mean by building knowledge through reading and writing. It doesn’t mean simply that students can refer to a text they’ve read in history and social studies and mention that in Federalist Paper 51 someone named Madison had some ideas about faction. To be able to read and gain knowledge to analyze that document would be as the [national] standards require to examine precisely what Madison said or didn’t say about faction and from reading that document carefully having a rich and deep understanding about precisely what Madison thought about faction. It’s about the close study of primary documents to understand from whence they come and what they might mean and not mean.

Stergios points out that Coleman's interpretation is not valid:

I’m not sure if Yale and Oxford, while you were there as a Rhodes scholar, forgot to tell you this, but Madison’s Federalist #51 isn’t about “faction.” I know you repeat this point over and over in the video tutorial. But, as any well-educated 10th-grader knows (at least in Massachusetts before we switched to the national standards), Federalist #51 is actually about checks and balances.

In fact, David, I hope you and the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Hunt Institute, and the whole swarm of national standards proponents will take the time to read Federalist #10, which, incidentally is the most famous of all of Madison’s works. The term “faction” is mentioned 18 times (including the title) and is the major topic of Federalist #10. Madison’s views on “faction” are thoughtful and far-sighted.

David, I truly hope you and other supporters of the Common Core will come to read the Federalist Papers and demonstrate the skills to understand James Madison’s original intent. I further hope you will gain the ability to reflect on the premises of the American constitutional republic. Perhaps close attention to the section of Federalist #10 regarding not serving as judge in your own case would help you and the Gates Foundation understand that advancing a policy with hundreds of millions of dollars and then paying others to support that view is a no-no. I am convinced that, with this reading and study complete, you will understand why national education standards are anti-constitutional, illegal, and violate the public trust.

In truth, when crafting the Constitution and the Federalist Papers Madison and the Framers very much had in mind the reckless ambitions of the recklessly ambitious. The drive to advance the Common Core outside the boundaries of the Constitution and legal restrictions is just what Madison had in mind. And the EduBlob represents exactly the types of dangerous “factions” whose “common impulse of passion, or of interest” were contrary to the public good and the “aggregate interests of the community.”

The next time you would like to opine about why you and others should set national standards, curricula, and testing for America’s 50 million schoolchildren, I would ask you to reflect on you and your peers lack of even the most basic understanding of our Founding principles.

Stergios isn't the only one questioning Coleman's knowledge or honesty.  Diane Ravitch asked the question in an article, "Why Does David Coleman Dislike Fiction?":

I have been told by several people who attended David Coleman’s lectures that he speaks disparagingly of fiction. That’s why the Common Core standards permit 50% fiction in the early grades but only 25% fiction in high school.

There are some interesting reader comments and Mr. Coleman himself responded:

David Coleman
Dear Diane,

I responded on your other blog post about the vibrant role of fiction in the standards. I accept your warning that my comments are being taken otherwise, and will do my best to be very clear in public and private going forward. I do regret that I did not correct the person who made the remark about reading novels and work, but it is a little strange to claim that i dislike fiction based on something someone else said. But again, i should have objected and i accept that criticism from you and others that have written.

Of course, much more important than my personal likes and dislikes are what the standards themselves say. You have asked me to be clear, so please let me be very clear on 3 essential facts:

1) The 70/30 balance in grades 6-12 does not mean that students read mostly non-fiction in ELA classrooms. It applies to all student reading and explicitly includes the reading of content rich non-fiction in history, social studies, science and technical subjects. The majority of 6-12 ELA remains devoted to literature with some room for literary non-fiction. 

2) The standards require the careful study of poems, novels, and drama in K-12. Such things as the study of Shakespeare is required, American literature and wonderful aspects of poetry. Let there please be no misunderstanding that literature in these standards does not remain a central part of student and teacher work.

3) Of course, the published standards are based on the work of the states who worked on them as well as teachers (not my own likes and dislikes). For example, the literature standards are much indebted to Massachusetts. The NEA and AFT both had working teams of teachers who reviewed and shaped the standards repeatedly in their development; there is an article in the AFT monthly about the specific impact of teacher comments on the standards. 

These three facts are important and I appreciate your concern that they be clarified.


Mr. Coleman's contention about the non-fiction 70/30 statement elicited this reader response:

Frank Little
Coleman sounds like a sensible man and his response even makes sense. Therefore it must have been a different David Coleman whose ‘Common Core’ presenters introduced teachers with the idea of less literature and more “informational text” – does my Ikea DIY manual is “informational text” as well?. Either Coleman doesn’t know what his representatives been telling teachers or he found a way to spin the truth for us. Not to mention the fact that he is part of Rhee’s cultural revolution gang does not support his credibility. But even if Coleman was the reincarnation of William Shakespeare himself we would still demand democracy. This term is becoming a dirty word and some of us might have forgotten its meaning but in essence it is the ability of people – real people not Pearson corporation kind of people – to decide for themselves what is good for their children and communities. This task can be given to professionals, educators, historians and writers – not business people – and eventually be decided by the people.

Aside from that, the method of testing is yet another despicable practice. Teaching literature, poetry, plays and theater, that express the most complex and beautiful ideas, only to be reduced to multiple choice standardize test. If you recall the ‘Pineapple’ debacle, you might remember the author of the short story admitted that he wouldn’t have known the answer regarding his own creation.

Back to Coleman, if one looks at his response, one can identify a corporate maneuver. He never takes responsibility for the program he runs and again refers us to a set of standards that can not be questioned or evaluate but are all given and have to be followed. He is merely Moses on the mountain who delivers it to us from above.

Yet the Coleman who wrote in this blog should attend the other Coleman’s Common Core presentation and he might get vary angry, especially when he would be told about potentially reducing percentage of literature far beyond the 70/30.

Mr. Coleman's memory was called into question by another reader, Dr. Sandra Stotsky, who helped develop Massachusetts standards:

David Coleman makes false claims about the major influence on Common Core’s literature and reading standards (e.g., “the literature standards are much indebted to Massachusetts”). Only in a perverse way could that statement be true. He misparaphrased and misplaced almost every literature standard he may have taken from the 2001 MA ELA Curriculum Framework.

I regularly showed during the spring and summer of 2010 the mismatch between what was in the MA standards and what was in CC’s ELA standards. In a series of White Papers (# 56, 61, 63. and 65), released by the Pioneer Institute in 2010, I provide a variety of systematic comparisons of the two sets of standards showing how inferior CC’s ELA standards were to the MA 2001 standards in ELA for both K-5 and 6-12, and to even its proposed revision of these standards. 

I was told that Coleman and Sue Pimental had visited the MA Department of Education several times to consult with the staff there on the ELA standards. Never once did they ask to speak to me privately or publicly (by 2009-2010 I was on the Common Core Validation Committee and no longer at the MA DoE). Nor did they ever speak to the people who created the MA ELA standards (like Mark McQuillan, by then Commissioner of Education in Connecticut; William Rice, by then at the National Endowment of the Humanities; or James McDermott, an award-winning English teacher in Worcester) or to the people who worked on the entire MA ELA curriculum framework under my supervision at the MA DoE in 2001 (Holly Handlin, a former English teacher; and Janet Furey, a former reading teacher—both still in MA). 

Given how CC’s ELA standards turned out, it is a mystery what Coleman and Pimentel learned from their visits to the MA DoE in 2009-2010. It is not possible to claim with a straight face that Common Core’s K-5 or 6-12 reading and literature standards were modeled on the MA standards.

Sandra Stotsky

David Coleman is being challenged on his intellectual knowledge and his spin on the model of the standards.  Does this Common Core issue in terms of how it was adopted and who is writing the standards cause you concern for the future of American public education?

Who can taxpayers complain to?  School boards can't do much, most states signed over their right to set their standards, and if you live in Missouri, you'll have to figure out what bureaucrat to call in Washington state when you find factual errors in curriculum.  Do you trust these people to write national standards when they can't be held accountable for errors or answers not based in fact?


Monday, May 21, 2012

Having the Bully Pulpit Doesn't Mean You Get to be a Bully.

Shouldn't bullying constitute teacher termination?

This story about a teacher bullying a student is going viral.  You can find write ups on this story here and here and here and here and here.

This social studies teacher should be fired...not only for her bullying tactics, but also her lack of knowledge of what constitutes free speech. What's particularly disturbing is the young man she bullied transferred to another school while the teacher is still employed at the original school.  From the salisburypost.com:

Rowan-Salisbury spokeswoman Rita Foil confirmed the teacher is still employed with the district and has not been suspended for disciplinary reasons. Foil emailed this statement to a Post reporter Friday on behalf of the school system:

“The Rowan-Salisbury School System expects all students and employees to be respectful in the school environment and for all teachers to maintain their professionalism in the classroom. This incident should serve as an education for all teachers to stop and reflect on their interaction with students.

“Due to personnel and student confidentiality, we cannot discuss the matter publicly.”

Do you think she came to George W. Bush's defense when he was called names, or is it only when you call President Obama a "bully" that a citizen should become upset about disrespecting a President? 

The progressives have a lot of names for President George W. Bush:

Dubya, Bushie, Shrub, Chimp, Smirky, Bushitler, Chickenhawk One, Hitlerburton, Chimpowitz, Rove's Puppet, Cowboy Hitlerstein, AWOL McPsycho, Bushollini, Cheney's Sock Puppet, Chimpy McDrunkard, Darth Moron, Toxic Texan, Dim Son, Drinky McCokeSpoon, Emperor Chimpatine, Fearful Leader, Herr Bush, Moron-in-Chief, and Satan's Monkey.

Be sure to click on the link.  The above are just a small sample of disrespectful names for President Bush.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Education Political Correctness, Education Elites and the Sunday Education Weekly Reader 05.20.12

YOU are ultimately responsible for your education and life choices.

Welcome to the Sunday Education Weekly Reader 05.20.12.  From the twitter world this week:

  •  This is truly amazing piece.  This progressive writer believes the educational reform is from the conservatives.  He makes the argument that conservatives hate critical thinking.  So why are the educational reforms also coming from Arne Duncan and Obama, Michelle Rhee and David Coleman?  I didn't think they considered themselves conservatives....How the Conservative Worldview Quashes Critical Thinking -- and ...   The point is: the American public has been sold out by all those in power.
  •  No link here, just an interesting tweet: :Obama is NO Better than Christie, Romney, Booker, Tepper, Broad, Gates, Walton...; IMO they R all =ly pimpin education 4 $$ & NMTC  Looks like other tweeters are cutting through the political labels and calling it like it is.
  • Jeez. Sounds like your human capital is just that...capital.  Groomed for the workforce...What should students learn in the 21st century? – -

This week's history lesson on twitter:  Remember, NCLB was the hood ornament of the Bush adm. It was done as a Fed mandate. It has not been undone because Arne Duncan supports it.  

A bit of additional information: Senator Edward Kennedy was a proponent as well.  This was a bi-partisan descent into chaos.


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