"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 19, 2013

My Common Core Conversation with KHQA in Quincy, Illinois

Maggie's Notebook published an article about an interview I did in Quincy, Illinois where Anne and I appeared at a Common Core presentation.  Maggie did an excellent job with the transcription and we want to thank her for spreading the word about CCSS.

From  Common Core: Mandated Not Law, Not Funded, Not Evidence-Based, Not Field-Tested, No Pilot Program: 


Common Core Initiative Standards (CCIS) is not an act of Congress. Venture Capitalists are behind program development. Some of the materials refer to your children as “human capital.” That’s for starters. Gretchen Logue at Missouri Education Watchdog has been tracking CCIS for over two years. She is the go-to expert online in Missouri. About 45 states have adopted this disaster. In the video below (transcript also), Gretchen is speaking in Quincy, Illinois. What you’ll read is the nuts and bolts of Common Core. At the end she tells you how to combat this in your own state, and how to approach your school board and legislature. Please pass the information on to your family and friends, especially those with children and grandchildren.  (Note that I refer to Common Core or CCIS below as “CC” for expediency)

Begin Transcript (all emphasis is mine):
Moderator: What is the concern about Common Core?
 Logue: With Common Core there are three basic concerns: Cost, Control and the Data Collection…

 The cost, at least in Missouri…the Pioneer Institute has determined that it will cost just the State of Missouri $350 Million. We don’t know how much it’s going to cost each individual school district.
 CC requires computer assessment, teacher professional development training and it’s different from what they had been trained before, and the computer infrastructure. Just to do one school in Missouri in a district, was a Million dollars. These are costs the districts have not budgeted and they don’t know how much it is going to cost.
The State has not gone to the legislators yet to ask for an additional $350 Million or however much it is.

The control: it bypassed state legislators and it bypassed the voters. Unlike No Child Left Behind, which was a Congressional Act, these are mandates that are Stimulus-dollar-funded, so when the Stimulus ends in September 2014, all that money runs out.
You have two private trade organizations, that’s the Chief Council of State School Officers and the National Governors Association. They are not governmental organizations. They have been funded by the federal government to DIRECT the curriculum, the assessments and teacher evaluations.

The third part of it is the data. It is unprecedented that now information will be gathered on individual students, teachers and principals. The students will have data sets. The teachers and principals will be evaluated on how the children do on the assessments. The teachers, it’s up to 50%. So, if the student doesn’t do well, or the class doesn’t do well, that teacher is graded down regardless of what kind of class make-up he or she has that year.

The school district also…the standards assessments are copyrighted by the two private organizations, so a school district cannot change the standards, nor can they change the assessments, so you have to teach to the assessments…to the tests, and using the specific curriculum that aligned to Common Core Standards.


Read more here.

Clarification on the comment about the curriculum:  If the curriculum has to be aligned to the CCSS, then the curriculum is being directed defacto.  The standards do not state the curriculum is to be directed (in fact, districts legally control the curriculum and a talking point from the proponents is that schools still have this control), but if the curriculum is not aligned to CCSS, it won't be used as it won't align to the standards and assessments.  

Ask your school district curriculum director if the district will be using non-CCSS aligned curricula this year.   If not, ask the reason why.  If your curriculum director states it must align with the standards and assessments, the control of the curricula is being directed by CCSS.

The state agencies are beginning to use the talking point that standards can indeed be modified.  If this is true, then the standards are no longer common and valid comparisons are not possible between state achievement levels.  How can standards and assessments be different, yet be rolled out as being common so students moving from state to state won't notice any difference? 

For the Scott Joftus reference in the interview, read here.


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