"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, July 31, 2013

David Coleman - A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing

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.
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."
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.

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.


  1. Our problem today is that Sowell's unconstrained vision is at an extreme and pushing simultaneously on all fronts. This creates a confusion of focus for those trying to defend individual freedom. Every which way we are under assault. Healthcare, education, environment, 2nd amendment, privacy, it doesn't stop. Add to this mix the appeasers on the right, businessmen and women, who forsake the magic of markets and free choice, in healthcare, high deductible health plans with health savings accounts, and in education, choice, vouchers, and competition. Our message needs to be the message of economic and political freedom, faith in market forces, and the virtuous superiority of the process of capitalism.

  2. And note the fight before us, at the end of Gerwitt's blog:

    "Our Enemies Know How to Win:

    Perhaps you think I am a bit extreme and not worthy of further consideration. That’s fine. But let me wrap this up by giving you one more thing to think about: our enemies already know how to win.

    The liberals and progressives behind the CCSS, the gay-rights movement, the immigration movement, and any of the other social causes you can think of are throwing everything they’ve got at American society knowing full well that the strategy of overwhelming force works.

    Their goal is to completely overwhelm the American culture on so many fronts that we simply give up and let them have their way. Guess what? It’s working. Every day fewer conservative leaders are willing to stand up and fight for what’s right — unwilling to see to the destruction of the nation’s enemies. Every day there are fewer Americans willing to view this as a war, preferring instead to assume it’s just a fad that will pass.

    They are winning, we are losing. They know their enemy and are out to destroy him. We refuse to identify our enemy and, instead, believe Chamberlain’s policy of appeasement will work. It won’t work. It has never worked in the history of the world.

    And that’s the ugly truth."

    Well, I am of a different opinion, as usual when it comes to negatives,in that they want us who are fighting, to THINK they are winning.
    I have seen a different trend.
    Like Levin said one night, the we, the opposition, "are growing".
    It's the freedom message that is doing it across party lines.
    The Constitution is their friend, not enemy.
    It is up to us and our local communities / states to take back the freedom we gave away.


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