"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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Monday, August 26, 2013

Common Core Silence. NSPRA's "Local Communication" is One-Directional and Undocumented.

Is NSPRA's "informational writing" actually fiction?

We recently wrote about a Pearson funded school public relations association (National School Public Relations Association, NSPRA) promoting a counter-point sheet to discredit anti-common core research.  The counter-point document, Common Core Needs More Local Communication Now!  was written by Mr. Jim Dunn in Missouri, a former education bureaucrat and NSPRA president.  This document was supported by Rich Bagin, NSPRA Executive Director, and distributed for school districts' use for Common Core talking points.

We provided an enormous amount of research and data disputing Mr. Dunn's claims in our post on each of his counter-talking points.  We invited him to provide his research and data he had if our research and data were incorrect.   The name of this document suggested he wanted more local communication, but it apparently only pertains on the scripted message on what the reformers want you to hear, not for true discussion.

To date, we have not been contacted by Mr. Dunn.

In fact, neither Mr. Dunn or anyone at NSPRA has responded to our two emails on a specific counterpoint about the research on which Common Core standards were crafted.  NSPRA is insisting Common Core is based on 20 years of research (a new claim from the CCSS proponents) and we were interested in determining where this 20 years of research was done and by whom:

From: To: Dunn830;Dunn830@gmail.com;
Cc: editorial; editorial@nspra.org;
Sent: Sun, Aug 18, 2013 9:14 pm
Subject: Question on research documentation

Dear Mr. Dunn,

In your recent counterpoint to Common Core critics (http://www.nspra.org/files/newsletter/counselor/counselor2013-08.html), you write:

Critic’s Point: The Common Core State Standards are an experiment we are subjecting our children to without parents being able to give informed consent.
A Counter-Point: Educational standards vary drastically from community to community as it stands now, and they all change based on new information and new practices. This reform is another example of that, based on 20 years of good research, field testing, efficacy testing and best practices for education. To improve, we need to change.

Could you please provide the sources (research, field testing, efficacy testing and best practices) you used to come to this conclusion?  I would like to read the data of the 20 years of good research, field testing, etc on which Common Core is based.

If the reformers desire accountability for students and teachers, then I am certain these same reformers would be delighted to provide their research data and be held accountable to their counterpoints.

Thanks very much.

As this email was not answered, I followed up with another email:

To: dunn830
Cc: editorial
Sent: Wed, Aug 21, 2013 5:33 pm
Subject: Fwd: Question on research documentation

Dear Mr. Dunn and Editor at NSPRA:

Below find an email I sent you all a couple of days ago.  I don't know if you have had time to gather the documentation requested to support your counterpoint, but I have many people interested in reading the research you used in your counterpoint.

Could you please send me the research documentation at your earliest convenience?

Thank you.

I still haven't heard from Mr. Dunn or NSPRA.  I doubt I will.  The silence from this Pearson funded public relations firm must mean one of two scenarios:

  • There is no 20 years of  "research, field testing, efficacy testing and best practices" on which Common Core is based, which means this school public relations association is spreading myth vs fact, or
  •  The 20 years of research, etc, is from a source (internationally benchmarked country and/or agency) the firm does not want to disclose
If you believe the first explanation, you believe the CCSS are talking points that are "data-less".  There is no research, no facts, no best educational practices.

But what would you think if the 20 years of research might actually exist?  What would you say if the standards had been pilot tested in an international setting and the CCSS were just the stepping stones to be folded into an international curriculum?   What would you say if there was a possibility American standards are fashioned after a Mid-Eastern country's common standards?  

What is your best guess on why Mr. Dunn won't provide his research? 

If your school district uses NSPRA to provide public relations advice, you might insist they withdraw its membership.  It provides no research or data to back up its claims. If your local school district officials are allowed to join this association with taxpayer dollars, it is time to make a request this practice cease:

NSPRA had approximately 1,800 members in 2001, comprising both individual and organizational memberships. Members are eligible for discounted prices on association publications and seminars. In addition, the association has approximately thirty-five state chapters throughout the United States, which enable national members and chapter members to create local networks and programs for professional development.




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