David Farris of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) had a conversation recently with Common Core architect David Coleman and supplied HSDLA members with a review of that conversation. He said that in the end they agreed to disagree, but he praised Coleman for being polite, professional and helpful. He believed Coleman was honest in his statements and was acting in good faith in promoting common core standards.
Many in the battle against centralized control of education through common standards and assessments have thrown up the red flag on this conversation. CC Proponents, feigning an interest in working cooperatively, in being well intentioned and willing to compromise, pay lip service to anti-common core points. From the Farris piece,
To his credit, Mr. Coleman noted that he was not acting in a vacuum. There are centralized mandates for education in play virtually everywhere. And many of them have very marginal educational utility. I agreed with his assessment of many current centralized standards.But a closer examination of this conversation compared with other known facts about, and speeches by, Coleman proves once again that the opposition will say anything they think will make them look good and make common core opponents feel foolish for questioning them.
A 'revelation' from that conversation was the Coleman supposedly does not support the data collection associated with Common Core.
"I indicated that one of my chief concerns was the creation of the database that would track students throughout their educational career.A closer inspection of this statement and previous statements on the subject by Coleman reveal that he in fact embraces data collection and usage. This video of Coleman shows him positively gushing about the value of data collection.
His (Coleman's) answer surprised me. He didn’t like the database all that well. It was not originally part of the Common Core, but other people have seized the opportunity to make a centralized data collection effort through the implementation of the Common Core."
Just last month, MEW wrote about Coleman and his complete openness to gathering and using data for educational purposes. He salivated over the work of many in the field of data collection and analysis whose work "represents an untapped national resource, that holds the promise of breaking longstanding stalemates in the education policy debate."
In a speech to data analysts in Boston he called out and praised some of the most noted names in data collection and analysis including the Strategic Data Project (supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) which "partners with school districts, charter school networks, and state education agencies to bring high quality research methods and data analysis to bear on strategic management and policy decisions."
What is most intriguing in Coleman's conversation with Farris is his claim that data collection was not originally part of the plan for Common Core. Coleman admitted that CCSS was repurposed to be the vehicle for data collection. We'll have to take his word for the fact that it was not part of the original intent. Considering the contradictions in his words we may not want to trust that claim either. That notwithstanding, this comment is worthy of note because proponents of common core have tried to place the tinfoil hat on opponents by claiming that our linkage of the standards and data collection is completely false.
DESE, who repeatedly chastises common core opponents for linking data collection to common core, should read how CCSS's own developer knows that they are linked.
Given the players in the original plan for common core, it is hard to imagine that data collection was not a part, if not the driver, of the plan for common standards and assessments. The P-20 data system stems from a national data quality campaign that calls for specific fields, coded consistently across states. The ultimate goal is to be able to combine databases and compare student A with student N across states. If they are not being taught the same thing and assessed exactly the same way it is almost impossible to provided a valid comparison. The desire for data, for whatever purpose, necessitated common standards and assessments.
The lesson in all this for homeschoolers is, be careful not to confuse polite tone or professional demeanor with honesty. From Matt Gerwit's blog talking about practicing appeasement,
During the early days of Hitler’s campaign of domination most of Europe refused to take a stand against him because they were war weary. They chose to believe that appeasement would bring “peace in our time” as Neville Chamberlain so eloquently stated. They did not view Hitler as an enemy, he was merely an inconvenience that threatened to disrupt the peace once again.
Similarly, the conservative leadership in America does not view its progressive and liberal counterparts as the enemy. Instead, progressives and liberals are viewed as a mere inconvenience preventing us from winning a couple political victories here and there.... The reason progressivism and liberalism is flourishing in America with very little resistance is because we conservatives refuse to treat our enemies as enemies. Instead we prefer to treat them as simply misguided individuals who have good intentions. That’s not good enough.