"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, June 26, 2013

If you Question Common Core, you are Now Officially Considered "Fringe" by Arne Duncan

you are considered "fringe" for saying no to his ideas

Do we have a free press?  Do we have a press that asks questions?  Do we have media that researches claims made by the government or does the media accept talking points and report it as fact?

Arne Duncan certainly hopes the media prints the Common Core State School Initiative's talking points.  He told The American Society of Newspaper Editors for these new standards to succeed, Americans will need to be clear on what’s true and what’s false.  Duncan proceeded to tell these editors why Common Core is essential to American education success and why dissenters' claims are nonsense.  Duncan told the organization and asked for its help to disseminate HIS vision of education reform.  He will inform them what is true and what is false:

I’ll talk about information and misinformation, and ask you to help Americans draw a bright line between the two. I’d like to make the case that these standards have the capacity to change education in the best ways – setting loose the creativity and innovation of educators, raising the bar for students, strengthening our economy and building a clearer path to the middle class. But for these new standards to succeed, Americans will need to be clear on what’s true and what’s false.

He calls American citizens (taxpayers/parents who don't represent special interests) questioning such issues as the legislative runaround of CCSS, the amount of stimulus money funding CCSS, the privatization of education....as being part of fringe groups.  Come to think of it, he might be right.  The fringe groups are composed primarily of the taxpayers, parents, teachers, legislators, etc...those folks who were never asked their opinion on how their schools should be structured, how/what their children should learn or how their taxes should be spent in the development/delivery of public education.  We ARE on the fringe of the elites and private businesses who love the public/private partnership of public education and have imposed Common Core on citizens without a legislative or taxpayer vote.

From The Washington Post and  Arne Duncan tells newspaper editors how to report on Common Core:

It seems that a big part of Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s job now is giving impassioned defenses of the Common Core State Standards, which he did Tuesday to a convention of American news editors (some of whom may not have even known it needed defending).

A few months ago, Duncan told Chamber of Commerce leaders that they had to be more supportive of the Common Core because it was coming under withering attack from the left and right, and some states were reconsidering implementing the standards. On Tuesday, he gave another defense to the editors as well as some tips on how to report the story:
So do the reporting. Ask the Common Core critics: Please identify a single lesson plan that the federal government created, or requires of any school, teacher or district.
Ask if they can identify any textbook that the federal government created, endorsed, or required for any school, teacher, or district in their state.

Ask them to identify any element, phrase, or a single word of the Common Core standards that was developed or required by the federal government.

If they tell you that any of these things are happening –– challenge them to name names. Challenge them to produce evidence – because they won’t find it. It doesn’t exist.
And he went after Core critics, saying that they were at best misinformed and at worst laboring under paranoid delusions.
The Common Core has become a rallying cry for fringe groups that claim it is a scheme for the federal government to usurp state and local control of what students learn. An op-ed in the New York Times called the Common Core “a radical curriculum.” It is neither radical nor a curriculum. … When the critics can’t persuade you that the Common Core is a curriculum, they make even more outlandish claims. They say that the Common Core calls for federal collection of student data. For the record, it doesn’t, we’re not allowed to, and we won’t. And let’s not even get into the really wacky stuff: mind control, robots, and biometric brain mapping.
If the news editors take Duncan up on his call for them to look deeply into the Common Core, they will find that Duncan didn’t tell the full story.

There is some irony in the fact that Arne Duncan keeps saying that the Core is not the work of the federal government while he, the federal secretary of education, goes around attacking its critics. In fact, he just bowed to those critics, agreeing to give states an extra year to comply with federal mandates on using Core-aligned standardized tests to evaluate teachers.

He is certainly right to say that there are outlandish claims being made about the Common Core, which is a set of common standards adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia designed to raise student achievement. Glen Beck, shouting that the Core is essentially an effort by the federal government to rip children out of the control of their parents, said recently:
You as a parent are going to be completely pushed out of the loop. The state is completely pushed out of the loop. They now have control of your children.
That’s ridiculous stuff, for sure, but not all of the criticism is.

The Core initiative was started in 2007 by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, a bipartisan effort to come up with a common set of K-12 standards in English language arts and math across states that would better prepare students for colleges and careers than in the past.

The standards were written by school reformer and entrepreneur David Coleman, who now heads the College Board, and Susan Pimental of Achieve Inc., an organization created to advance “standards-based” education.  Starting in 2009, the Obama administration, in its main education initiative, required states that wanted to compete for Race to the Top reform dollars to adopt the standards. It also gave some $360 million to two consortia of states developing standardized tests aligned to the Core, exams whose results would be used to evaluate teachers, another controversial part of the Obama reform agenda.

For some time there has been concern about the Core. Educators and researchers questioned the way the standards were written (whether, for example, there was any or enough input from working teachers) and some criticized the content of the standards (while others praised it). Some critics don’t believe in standards-based education, and others felt it usurped local authority. More recently, tea party members and even the Republican National Committee jumped onto the anti-Core bandwagon, accusing the administration of a federal takeover of public education, extreme right-wing rhetoric that clouded a real discussion about the Core.

This year some states led by Republican governors began to pull away from the standards. Protests by educators, parents, students and others began to grow as it became clear that the Core implementation was being rushed, and some students were being given tests said to be Core-aligned even though teachers hadn’t had enough time to create material around the standards. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said in a speech that a survey of the members of the country’s second-largest teachers union found that 75 percent supported the Core but “a similarly overwhelming majority said they haven’t had enough time to understand the standards, put them into practice or share strategies with colleagues.” And she called for a moratorium on the high-stakes use of the test scores to evaluate teachers.

Last week, Duncan bowed to that reality, announcing that he was giving the 37 states plus the District of Columbia, which had won federal waivers from the most egregious mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act, an extra year to implement teacher evaluations linked to new assessments that are supposed to be aligned to the new Common Core State Standards. This means the states have until 2016.

Duncan, in his speech to the newspaper editors, said the federal government didn’t start or write the standards, and that is true. He said that it wasn’t mandated either, though critics argue that it was coerced. He was also right when he said the Core is not a curriculum (even though the Core authors released a book of criteria to education publishers about what should be in Core curriculum).

But he didn’t mention the rushed implementation, nor the hundreds of millions of dollars the federal government has plowed into the testing creation effort. He has said for years that the Core-aligned tests would be “game changers” and be able to assess students much more broadly,  but he didn’t say Tuesday that that isn’t true. It turns out there wasn’t enough time or money to create those kinds of tests.

On Tuesday, Duncan said he doesn’t think the Common Core State Standards initiative is “going to be derailed.” But the thrust of his speech shows that he is plenty worried.


  1. He should be worried. He hasn't a clue what he is doing to the Public School. Arne himself (go look it up) has no experience in the Public School System. He was raised through the Private School system, protected in the "Normal School" system, then went to Ivy League colleges, all funded by the immense wealth of his family.
    Arne has never taught in Public Schools, and he never attended one.
    How does this qualify him (other than being a "Chicago Boy", with Barack), more than a teacher, to run the Public Schools of America?
    We were sa better country before we had a Secretary of Education. ALL the data proves it... go look it up.

  2. There's another tie--

    Arnie's parents leaned towards socialism - big time.. Like so many of Obama's friends and associates Duncan was a pink diaper baby-- and like Obama he sought out advice from communist terrorists.

    When he was running the Chicago system, Bill Ayers, Mike Klonsky and friends were happy to be consultants..


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