"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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Friday, January 4, 2013

Common Core Organization Operates in Secrecy with Taxpayer Money. Why?

Why are meetings that use tax dollars for public education planning closed to the taxpayers who are paying for the services and providing the children for the public education system?

Truth in American Education wondered why taxpayer Heather Crossin was unable to attend a recent meeting of the Council of Chief State School Officers held in Indiana.  CCSSO is a private trade organization using federal and state funding (taxpayer money) to write/direct public education standards/assessments.  Crossin not only could not attend the meetings, she could not discover the persons on the panel writing the Social Studies standards your teachers will be teaching and your children will be learning.  From heartland.org:

Indiana resident Heather Crossin, whose children attend schools implementing the Core, attempted to attend an October 2012 CCSSO meeting in her Indianapolis hometown. Crossin called Michele Parks, a CCSSO meeting planner, to see if she could attend. No, Parks said. Crossin asked to see a list of people on the Social Studies standards writing team: “I was told that was not available for public release,” Crossin said.

Ten weeks entailing dozens of emails and phone calls to at least six CCSSO spokesmen and personnel for access to the Indianapolis meeting or any others at last yielded an email to School Reform News from spokeswoman Kate Dando in December: “our meetings/sessions at our meetings are open to press really on a case by case basis,” she wrote.
How much money does CCSSO receive? 

CCSSO receives tax money from more than state dues. It receives millions from the U.S. Department of Education.

“Approximately 13% and 33% of the Council’s revenue and 25% and 34% of accounts receivable were provided by U.S. Department of Education grants or contracts for fiscal years 2011 and 2010, respectively,” the nonprofit’s 2010-2011 financial statement reads.

Applying the 2011 percentage to that year’s revenues yields an estimated $3,450,930 in CCSSO revenue from the federal government, just in that year. In 2011, $558,000 came from the 2009 stimulus bill for CCSSO’s involvement with one of two networks creating new tests to fit the standards.

In 2010, the U.S. DOE granted those two networks $330 million in stimulus funds. This action, more than any other, led conservative supporters of the Common Core to complain of federal interference in education, a constitutionally protected state function.

Maybe it's time to ask your state educational agency and legislators how much money is paid to CCSSO with taxpayer funding in your state.  If you can't get a seat at the table, then maybe it's time to pull the state and district funding for this organization and allow the Federal government to fully fund this organization.

Oh, but that's right.  It's "state led", right?  If it's "state led" then why are there mandates set by the DOEd that the states must pay for via CCSSO costs and district costs for implementation?  It's illegal for the Federal government to set Federally mandated educational direction for states but does it seem to you that's what has happened? 

As Truth in American Education asks:

Some reporters have attended some CCSSO meetings, usually on background, she said, which means they cannot directly quote what they hear. Why?
 Why? Exactly… what do they have to hide?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Conflict Between Money and Principles

There is much talk today about principles. We just got through an election cycle where every candidate told us how principled they were, or how their principles guided their decisions.  Having principles is not restricted to the political class. Business leaders also have guiding principles. Henry Ford, an early example of business success, believed that a business’s goal was in serving people. “Money chasing is not a business,” he said.  His principles (see chart below) guided him to developing a company where the worker not only had a right to labor as a “moral fundament of life” but also shared in the business’s success.  
Ford's business principles from his book Today and Tomorrow published 1926
Confusion comes when we mistake values for principles. We tend to take for granted the statement that someone is a person of principles to mean that they share our values. We assume the business actions of someone we admire are based on our values or ones we would agree with without first asking what principles (rules of conduct) guided their decision process. This can lead us to admire not necessarily the wrong person, but the wrong actions for the wrong reasons.

Take our local business success, Rex Sinquefield.  His is the ultimate rags-to-riches story, a boy who grew up in the St. Vincent Orphanage who went on to create the first index funds which made him wildly wealthy. Because we live in America he is able to use that money to fund any group or individual that he chooses. We can look at St. Louis Biz Talk to see which groups his foundation funds and make some assumptions about what his principles and values are.  The problem is that we apply our own bias and values in making those assumptions, which has made Rex the subject of much public scorn as groups, who though they knew him as a Republican conservative, discovered him funding groups and causes with a notably more liberal bent.  Teach For America is one example.

The Sinquefield Foundation actively supports education reform. We can only guess at the reasons why the foundation has decided education is so important.  Sinquefield values the education he received at St. Vincent’s Orphanage and may credit it with putting him on the track to success. He says he wants great teachers in all classrooms and, given what he said in this video, we can probably safely assume that he believes the great teachers at St. Vincents are the reason for his success. He is a man whose principles tell him to back his values with hard cash and his Foundation’s website says he has a commitment to paying it forward so that others can have access to a great education regardless of their socio-economic background, just like he did.  This explains the more than half a million dollars a year and has donated to the Archdiocese’s Today and Tomorrow Foundation for many years. (Did Ford influence the name?)

But principles are professed rules of action or conduct.  You can value good teachers, but choose a host of different ways to get them. Sinquefield’s investing principles (who and what he chooses  to fund) are far more molded by his business experience than by his experience with the nuns of St. Vincent’s. You don’t get rich always betting on the underdog, though that may earn you a few extra points at the pearly gates.  A quick glance at the various organizations that The Sinquefield Foundation supports should be considered more as an investment strategy than a good housekeeping seal of conservative approval.

·       The Today and Tomorrow Educational Foundation (TTEF)
·       Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri (CEAM)
·       Voices for Children
·       St. Vincent Home for Children
·       Mizzou New Music Initiative
·       Teach for America
·       Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis
·       Special Learning Center

Keeping in mind that it is business principles which guide the foundation’s investments, and not just values, it is a little easier to explain why it supports something like the CEAM who in turn supports Common Core Standards. Good business investment requires the investor to follow market trends and place their money strategically to maximize their returns. It is no secret that education is the next market bubble. Common Core will not only fix a moving target in terms of what product to supply, but it will also provide an instant guaranteed consumer base from all the schools who will be forced to use it in Missouri (and 25 other states) because our State Board of Education and DESE have signed them up for it. If you are an investor, this makes Common Core a great investment.

The same principles explain an interest in Teach For America. TFA's business model requires them to select from the cream of the crop, recognized leaders at major colleges and universities, to find talent to put in public schools. But the model didn’t stop there. It was expected, and their own statistics prove out, that those leaders would then graduate out of the teaching side of the model and into the public policy side where those great minds will be hard at work influencing education policy.  Only governments have the power to grant monopolies (they cannot exist in a true free market) so if you want a monopoly you are going to have to influence the government.  Who better to do that than top secondary education graduate leaders who can also claim time in the classroom?

And here in lies the problem with people like Rex Sinquefield and Jeb Bush who pay lip service to free markets and competition as the best means to provide the optimal public education. Most of what they are promoting is the opposite of competition. Where is the competition in quality standards if there is only one group writing them for the whole country? Where is the competition in a great k-12 education if all public schools and charters are required to use these standards, and private schools are waylaid into them because they need to show parity between their program and the public one? Where is the competition if textbook publishing giant Pearson has a hand in writing the assessments and no other publisher sits at that table? Where is the global competition if, as the UN envisions, these academic standards become the global standard?  How do US graduates compete with workers from other countries who were taught the same things in the same way? 

Competition requires product differentiation. Where is the competition if every teacher is forced to teach the same process at the same time in order to meet the assessment targets? If every child is taught the same content and there is no room in the day (oops except for the 15% time rule for non CCS content) for teaching things that might give our students an advantage, or even programs developed for providing challenges to more advanced students, how will that make our students more globally competitive?

The answer to all of these questions is that Common Core won’t provide the promised competition, but it sure makes a heck of a good short term investment if you have the money.

That brings us to the principled dilemma of all the political candidates who have benefited from Mr. Sinquefield’s largess, especially the Republican ones in Missouri. How will their principles (rules of conduct) tell them to handle the party plank that says “As Republicans, we reject Jimmy Carter’s U.S. Department of Education and vow to eliminate the department. Also, we reject President Obama’s Race to the Top and Common Core Curriculum to establish a national curriculum,” a plank that was approved unanimously at the June Republican convention, if their benefactor favors Common Core?  This is rather a dilemma.

I suggest they go back to Mr. Sinquefield and make him demonstrate where there is competition in this model, and how this model will allow Missouri to differentiate our graduates so that they may be more globally competitive.  Ask him to provide proof that these standards are everything they claim to be; internationally benchmarked, tested and superior. Lastly, they should ask him if his conviction about the superiority of these standards is strong enough for him to fund the heavy price of their implementation so districts don’t have to place such a heavy burden on their tax base to implement an entirely new set of standards and assessments.  If we need to, as everyone says, better invest in education, who better to ask for investment advice than the inventor of the index fund?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Common Core Battles Explained. It's Really Not About the Standards. Really.

It's for a managed economy and "for the children".

If you are new to the Common Core Standards battle, below is an article that explains the outcome of the standards.  The basic truth of the standards is that they are unproven, untested, underfunded and proponents cannot point to "internationally benchmarked" standards to which they are purportedly aligned. They are a cash cow for those education reformers providing the infrastructure and implementation: new text, new computers, new training manuals, etc.  What a great cash infusion into the economy...you've got to love those private companies taking advantage of that public money/partnership opportunity.

The method of making money (not really providing education reform for the sake of education) is in full swing.  But look down the road.  WHY are we experiencing this monstrous wave of centralized control?  It's for the data.  The linked article explains about the surveillance of Americans via the National Security Agency (NSA) capturing email information (without Americans realizing it) and the massive storage and infrastructure needed for this activity.  WHY is the government keeping your information?  Michael S. Rozeff writing in LewRockwell.com:

If we examine the legality of this NSA warrantless surveillance, we will quickly become mired down in abstruse issues of statutory and constitutional law.   Let us not go there. That won’t give us the central answer to the question of what’s wrong with a wide network of government surveillance of Americans, with or without warrants.

It's the same for Common Core Standards.  The grab of educational direction by the Department of Education is unconstitutional, but trying to get them out of your state legislatively promises to take several years.  Look bigger picture.  WHY is the government so interested in establishing common core standards?  Like the NSA and the tracking of financial transactions, the tracking of student data will be able to determine your student's place in a managed workforce.  Your students will be placed in a position based on his/her data set.

So what's the problem?  If Americans want a nanny state, CCSS is the answer to figuring out what type of job your student will secure in the future.  No hard decisions for your little one to worry about:

The mandated Longitudinal Data System (a nationwide computer system connected to states using Common Core standards) will be connected not only to other states for educational information, but also to various federal agencies, such as the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services for information to supply the workforce:

The term workforce is defined as consisting of the workers engaged in a specific activity, business or industry or the number of workers who are available to be assigned to any purpose as in a nation’s workforce.

The public workforce system is a network of federal, state, and local offices that function to support economic expansion and facilitate the development United States workforce. The system is designed to create partnership with employers, educators, and community leaders in order to foster economic development and high-growth opportunities in regional economies so that businesses find qualified workers to meet their present and future workforce needs. (Emphasis added)
Your student's data (educational and personal) is to be fed into the LDS to determine his/her strengths and weaknesses.  This is surveillance most taxpayers/parents probably don't even know is occurring.  Do you remember signing a permission form giving the government the right to share your child's information with a network of federal, state, and local offices that function to support economic expansion?  Is this what you envision for your child as he/she sets off for school each day?

The education reformers and some nanny state parents ask: Isn't this a positive service our government is doing to/for our children?  Helping our children decide what to do for a job and where to work?  Whatever is the problem?  The answer:  What occurs if your student decides he/she doesn't want to do the job designated for him by his/her data?

What’s wrong with the surveillance state? The balance of power between citizens and government in America is already lopsided and becoming increasingly so. The surveillance state opens up new opportunities and new vistas for government control of its citizens.

The biggest danger is that Americans be trained to accept the State’s controls over their lives, or that they have a limited notion of what freedom means. In roughly 15 years of training, a new generation can be taught that the State’s controls are PROPER and that what the State is doing is RIGHT and for the GOOD of the people. When this happens, further restrictions and controls become easier and a high degree of oppression reigns, and it even meets with a high degree of acceptance.

As you read What's Wrong with the Survelliance State, think how this applies to the intrusion and data mining in education and the real purpose of Common Core standards.  If there is no common data mined and shared via state computers to other agencies, this silent surveillance on your student cannot occur...at least in school.


Do you know what the NSA is? It’s the National Security Agency. The NSA has collected an estimated 15 to 20 trillion communications involving Americans.

Government spying on Americans and surveillance of Americans are rapidly increasing. The government has forced telecommunications companies to participate. This is being litigated in lawsuits. 

Financial institutions must report certain cash transactions to the Department of the Treasury. This is accepted practice. This reporting includes the following and I quote the U.S. Treasury:
"Individuals transporting over $10,000 in currency or other monetary instruments into/out of the US.
"Shippers/Receivers of over $10,000 in currency or other monetary instruments into/out of the US
"For each person engaged in a trade or business who receives over $10,000 in cash in one transaction or two or more related transactions.
"For each U.S. person who has a financial interest in, or signature authority, or other authority, over any financial accounts, including bank, securities, or other types of financial accounts in a foreign country, if the aggregate value of these financial accounts exceeds $10,000 at any time during the calendar year."
Former NSA official, William Binney, says that the government is collecting and storing everyone’s e-mails.
"...the FBI has access to the data collected, which is basically the emails of virtually everybody in the country. And the FBI has access to it. All the congressional members are on the surveillance too, no one is excluded. They are all included. So, yes, this can happen to anyone. If they become a target for whatever reason – they are targeted by the government, the government can go in, or the FBI, or other agencies of the government, they can go into their database, pull all that data collected on them over the years, and we analyze it all. So, we have to actively analyze everything they’ve done for the last 10 years at least."
Asked if this collection were only of those who could be a threat to national security, he said
"It’s everybody. The Naris device, if it takes in the entire line, so it takes in all the data. In fact they advertised they can process the lines at session rates, which means 10-gigabit lines. I forgot the name of the device (it’s not the Naris) – the other one does it at 10 gigabits. That’s why they're building Bluffdale [database facility], because they have to have more storage, because they can’t figure out what’s important, so they are just storing everything there. So, emails are going to be stored there in the future, but right now stored in different places around the country. But it is being collected – and the FBI has access to it."
If we examine the legality of this NSA warrantless surveillance, we will quickly become mired down in abstruse issues of statutory and constitutional law.
Let us not go there. That won’t give us the central answer to the question of what’s wrong with a wide network of government surveillance of Americans, with or without warrants.
Binney gives us the beginning of the answer:
"Unfortunately, the state of our surveillance state is: all set, to be turned on for the imperial presidency to do whatever it wants to do."
What’s wrong with the surveillance state is (1) that the State has far more power than each individual American has, and (2) the State can and will turn that power against Americans if it can get away with it.

The State is not some beneficent body of men and women devoted to public service who are unselfishly acting on behalf of the welfare of Americans. Barack Obama, Dianne Feinstein, John Boehner, Harry Reid, John Roberts, David Petraeus, Keith B. Alexander, Robert Mueller, and Michael Hayden are not saints. They are not even close.

We have had recent examples of the abuses of power as exercised by George Bush and his administration. Barack Obama continues those abuses and adds more of his own. The Congress continues its many abuses. The Supreme Court continues its abuses. If there is one thing we can be sure of, it is that men and women in the U.S. government have immense power to do many evil and foul deeds, and they have done them, and they will continue to do them.

It is built into human nature and into the nature of the institutions of government that such evils can and will occur, and they must be curtailed or else they annihilate civil society.
The State consists of a relatively small group of men and women with great power, and they will abuse this power if they can, that is to say, if the governed do not control their governors. 

The State has organized and official power that we as individuals do not have. The State has the power to make laws and say what is legal or not legal, constitutional or not constitutional. It has the power to carry out and enforce its laws. The State’s power also finds acceptance among many Americans.

When there is a contest between some Americans and the State, or when some Americans oppose the government’s powers, their means of recourse are not as strong as the State’s, not as well organized, not as well known, not as well focused, and not as well accepted. It is more difficult for Americans to find ways to control the State than it is for the State to devise ways to control Americans. The citizens who wish to keep the State under control do not as a routine and accepted matter have institutions that they have built up and used over time to check the State’s power.

As government has grown and State power accumulated, the powers of civil society to control the State have atrophied. It is in the interest of the State to diminish those powers, and over time it is doing this. It is in the State’s interest to diminish an armed citizen militia and to replace it with a nationalized, centralized and professionalized armed force. It is in the State’s interest to replace common law and dispersed courts with a nationalized and centralized system of law-making, law-interpretation and law-enforcement.

It is by no means impossible to control the State, but it’s a non-routine and trying task. When the State flexes its muscles and oversteps, legal and electoral mechanisms may be slow and unwieldy and they may fail. The State has staying power.

And so William Binney accurately pinpoints the risk. With a surveillance state in place and with access to information on everyone, the few at the top who run the State and particularly the imperial President, who already is attempting to rule by Executive Order, can do whatever he or she wants to do. 

What I envision is creeping totalitarianism, also one can call it democratic totalitarianism. It is a totalitarianism in which a facade of democratic or republican government, call it what you will, is maintained, but the actuality is increasingly detailed and oppressive control over ordinary life. The State will know where you are and what you are doing, and it will have the means of punishing you if you do not obey its rules.

Surveillance is a key component of such totalitarianism. Imagine that the State controls currency and eliminates hand-to-hand cash altogether, replacing it by electronic transactions. These can be monitored and collected. The State can know every item that you buy or sell. The State then can pass a law, according to its whim, that outlaws a certain food or item or service, or it can do the opposite. It can pass a law requiring a certain food or medical procedure. Surveillance gives it the means of enforcing its laws by knowing who is obeying and who is not. The State can turn anyone into a criminal ex post facto by passing a law and then searching past records, communications and transactions to find evidence of their previous wrongdoing. The U.S. Constitution forbids ex post facto laws, but it also forbids fiat money and requires declarations of wars by Congress. Many other constitutional provisions are ignored.

What’s wrong with the surveillance state? The balance of power between citizens and government in America is already lopsided and becoming increasingly so. The surveillance state opens up new opportunities and new vistas for government control of its citizens.
The biggest danger is that Americans be trained to accept the State’s controls over their lives, or that they have a limited notion of what freedom means. In roughly 15 years of training, a new generation can be taught that the State’s controls are PROPER and that what the State is doing is RIGHT and for the GOOD of the people. When this happens, further restrictions and controls become easier and a high degree of oppression reigns, and it even meets with a high degree of acceptance.

Totally free communication is absolutely essential to prevent this from occurring. There must be the capacity to speak freely and to educate all people, young and old, about freedom and the challenges to freedom emanating from the State. If surveillance is used to instill fear of speaking freely or used to control speech or used to prevent people from earning a livelihood or used to tie people up in legal proceedings or used to blackmail people into silence, the threat to freedom at that point is open and severe.

The surveillance State constantly drags its heels and seeks to keep its surveillance secret. There is no possibility of citizens controlling a government when they don’t know what the government is doing. If whistle blowers, soldiers and ex-soldiers, government officials and ex-government officials, and media figures are repressed and prevented from making information public, in other words, as the surveillance state seeks to keep its activities secret, the threat to freedom amplifies.

The battle lines between citizens and the State are always drawn. They never go away. The State is always a threat to freedom. The State is always pushing for greater control unless the citizens push back, develop and use means to control the State. Growing surveillance by the State is an offensive operation of the State in this never-ending war. It is up to the citizens to resist the State’s surveillance, form ongoing institutions to control the State, form a culture of citizen control, and dismantle the State’s capacity for such surveillance. It is that or else surrender more of their disappearing freedom.

December 31, 2012
Michael S. Rozeff [send him mail] is a retired Professor of Finance living in East Amherst, New York. He is the author of the free e-book Essays on American Empire: Liberty vs. Domination and the free e-book The U.S. Constitution and Money: Corruption and Decline.
Copyright © 2012 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

What We Should Be Teaching Students. You're in Deep Debt Thanks to the US Government.

Is this the government's version of "truth"?  Our government is promising nothing but unfunded debt for our children.

"Quite simply, the government has grown too big, promised too much, and waited too long to restructure itself. Large and growing deficits represent deferred taxes that will have to be paid. In effect, we have a massive taxation without representation for future generations, the people who are too young to vote.

We have yet to learn how to think of the federal deficit in personal terms. If you constantly live beyond your means by increasing your credit card balance and bank borrowing, eventually your debt rises to a level where all you are doing is paying the interest on your credit cards and loans. Sooner or later, your credit will be so bad that no one will lend you any money. Then your standard of living will decline as you try to reduce your expenses dramatically or alternatively file for bankruptcy. This is what is facing the United States. Unless we make changes, by 2055 interest costs will be the only thing that the United States will be able to pay for with available revenues and resources."

So says Mort Zuckerman in usnews.com, explaining how we are dooming our children to a life burdened by high taxes and entitlements for just about everyone.  Instead of teaching our children sound economic theory, we are teaching them how to live and die in a nanny state.

I wonder if the fall of the Roman Empire will make it into the History/social studies standards and curriculum.    From a commentor at the end of the article:

Mr. Zuckerman has done very well to point out many details of the predicament. He has, unfortunately, enumerated the trees without recognising the forest. Mort, baby, this is what "the people" asked for and got. Now they going to get what they deserve. This republic was intentionally not set up as a democracy. The founders knew that no democracy can endure the stupidity and avarice of the "people". No, it was set up as a broad based aristocratic republic based loosely on the Roman republic. Predictably, the same mistakes made by the Romans have been repeated with the same results. Those of you not versed in the basics should understand that I am not refering to the imperial phase of Rome which gets most of the publicity but was actually a boring residuum of the collapse of the most successful republic in history. Anyway, my point is that Mr. Zuckerman has done a fine job with the proximate causes of the impending collapse but has ignored the distal cause. And again, this repeats a mistake commonly made by the "great men" at the tail end of the Roman Republic. Still, a better effort than his peers.

We only have ourselves to blame.  After all, the GLEs in Missouri for history refer to our government as a democracy and the word republic never appears in the standards. 

Welcome to the demise of the United States as a constitutional republic...maybe that's what we should be teaching students.   And while we're witnessing the fall of the republic, let's watch our president give Congress a raise for the stellar job the lawmakers have done with our money.  It's just more debt.  So what's the big deal? 

Monday, December 31, 2012

A Teacher Tells Students What's Most Important in Life. You Might Be Surprised.

That's an important question.

How are teachers (and parents) to teach children today?  Is becoming a global citizen and competing in a global economy the most important goal for students?  Is developing a managed economy and learning how to fit into that economy the reason for your child's existence?  

Watch Jeffrey Wright, a physics teacher, impart his educational lessons to his interested students.  More teachers like him and his passion for his subject might help solve any STEM crisis.  No computer could ever replicate the amazing way he teaches and captures his students' attention.  

The latter half of the video illustrates him teaching the students the most important lesson in life...and it's not from any Common Core standard I've come across.

The article description in the NY times of the video:

Jeffrey Wright uses wacky experiments to teach children about the universe, but it is his own personal story that teaches them the true meaning of life.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

More Common Core Battles Emerging

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

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

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

You can read more here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kristine, Could you post to this comment section the names of any teachers from Indiana who were on the writing team for the common core English or math common core standards? I have attached a link for Hoosiers to see how much representation Indiana had on the creation of the common core. http://
www.corestandards.org/assets/CCSSI_K-12_dev-team.pdf Some readers may recognize the name Mark Tucker who is on the ELA team, a highly controversial political figure.

We both know that states can only add 15% to the common core standards and they may not delete or edit any standards as they are copyrighted and owned by two trade organizations in Washington DC, NGA and CCSSO. Stand for Children should be honest on this point. The new PARCC test that is replacing IStep will not test over the 15%. In this world of high-stakes testing, few, if any, teachers will have the time or incentive to teach any additional standards.

The idea that the common core standards are "fewer, clearer, deeper" is also untrue. The only people claiming Indiana's former standards were "a mile wide and an inch deep" are Tony Bennett and your organization. See for yourself here http://
I'm pretty sure that Shiraki's days as interim are numbered, in part because she lacks a fact checker so she gets her facts dead wrong and her flacking falls apart. For instance, Shiraki, can you or duh Star tell us (call Tony for help if you need to) just which particular countries were the Kommen Kore "standards" benchmarked against? Since, we both know that you will have to look them up, when you reply please do cite page numbers from which you are consulting. My gentle suggestion is, Shiraki, you won't find that page because it doesn't exist anymore than your claim of international benchmarking does.

Why would Fordham suggest to Indiana that Indiana keep its higher and better academic standards and not adopt Kommen Korps? While one may argue about the benefit or value of high standards no one argues about the value of the carrot suspended in front of the horse drawn wagon.

So, (and any other flack can help her) Name the Counties against which CC is benchmarked. Or, retract your mis statement and admit that Stand for Children actually supports dumbing down standards.

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

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

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

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