"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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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Fight Back Against the Misinformation Campaign

An Indy Star letter to the editor is typical of the misinformation being spread about Common Core. Here is an excerpt from the letter by Kristine Shiraki, interim executive director of Stand for Children Indiana, a privately funded organization whose donors include the Gates Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation and New Profit Inc. Their mission is to push the education reform agenda including Common Core.
"To address these needs, a group of state leaders and experts came together to improve standards for all students. They talked to universities to see what was expected from incoming freshmen. They consulted businesses to see what new entrants to the workforce ought to know. They made sure the standards were rigorous, clear and concise. The result was the Common Core State Standards.

The Common Core Standards were so strong that 45 states, including Indiana in 2010, adopted them separately and voluntarily.

Years later, these standards that were developed by state leaders, without a hint of political motivation, are now being challenged, mostly for political reasons. And Indiana is ground zero for the assault.
...It has been said that Indiana’s old standards were good, but they were a mile wide and an  inch deep.
...That’s why the experts who developed the standards gave states the flexibility to add their own materials on top of what the Common Core requires, such as Indiana’s robust reading lists. And, of course, these standards are state minimums that local school corporations are always free to add to."

What follows in the Comments Section is the counterstrike that needs to occur every time these kinds of lies or unsubstantiated comments are put out there about Common Core.
  • 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.   - Erin Tuttle
  • Statements and claims are commonly made that the CCSS are internationally benchmarked. This is a carry over from a promise that was made before the standards were written. The National Governors Association (NGA), the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) made this promise and it is often repeated as if true. The standards are not and were never internationally benchmarked. The CCSSI did not deliver on this promise and now says the standards “are informed by other top performing countries”. - Mathematically Sound Foundations 
As one commenter noted - "There were many great points made and questions asked. I find it interesting that none of the questions were answered nor were the points countered."  Nor are they likely to be because the initial statements are not backed up by facts. They seem to be relying on a strategy of, "If we say it often enough, it will become true." If we let their misinformation go unchallenged, their strategy has the potential to work.

We will keep Dr. Tienken's report, which addresses most of the statements Ms. Shiraki makes, on the Missouri Coalition Against Common Core (MCACC.webs.com) website under Resources tab for everyone to access to address the misinformation campaign that is in full swing on Common Core.

The full court press to support CCSS will come within the next few months as schools begin using the new standards full time. Watch for burn out in the faculty first. Once the assessments begin in earnest in 2014 watch for the same burn out in students, especially the youngest ones. No one will be happy; from the superintendents, who watch their district's scores tank on the first rounds of testing, to the teachers who have to completely rethink the way they teach and whose jobs will be on the line depending on how their students score, to the students who have to be rotated through multiple on-line assessments, to the parents who watch their children come home lost and frustrated and see the request from their school board for more money to fund whatever it is that is making their kids so miserable.

If Common Core was anything like it is being made out to be, it might be worth the pain of the change, but numerous experts have weighed in and said it is the wrong tool, to address a problem that doesn't exist, that cannot possibly achieve the results it claims.

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