"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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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Anti-Common Core Bill Filed in Missouri


Read 1st time January 24, 2013, and ordered printed.

TERRY L. SPIELER, Secretary.

To amend chapter 161, RSMo, by adding thereto one new section relating to the
Common Core Standards Initiative.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Missouri, as follows:

Section A. Chapter 161, RSMo, is amended by adding thereto one new
2 section, to be known as section 161.855, to read as follows:
161.855. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary,
2 the state board of education and the department of elementary and
3 secondary education shall not implement the Common Core State
4 Standards developed by the Common Core Standards Initiative. Any
5 actions taken to adopt or implement the Common Core State Standards
6 as of the effective date of this section are void. Common Core State
7 Standards or any other statewide education standards shall not be
8 adopted or implemented without the approval of the general assembly.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Common Core Standards and Martin Luther King


I received the email below from a teacher about the President's inauguration, Martin Luther King and Common Core standards: 


This week, President Obama will be sworn into office as the 45th President of the United States of America. As a history teacher, I was elated to learn he would be placing his hand on two Bibles, one belonging to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the other belonging to President Abraham Lincoln, when he takes the oath of office to lead our great nation. Dr. King and President Lincoln helped define civil rights for America...historical heroes who transformed the idea of justice and equality.
As jubilant as I am that President Obama is symbolically using the bibles of two of the greatest Americans in our nation's history, I am saddened that this administration seems to have forgotten what Dr. King and President Lincoln promoted regarding education.

In Dr. King's "Letter from the Birmingham Jail," he stated "the goal of America is freedom." As a teacher, it is such an honor to teach America's children about freedom and patriotism. However, over the past few years, I began to learn about a new education reform initiative called Common Core Standards. A few years ago, when I first heard of Common Core, I began doing my own research. My students represent the future of the United States of America, and what they learn is of utmost importance to me. I care about their future, and the future of our country.

My research of Common Core Standards kept me awake at night, because what I discovered was so shocking. I discovered that Common Core Standards is about so much more than educational standards. I wanted so badly to believe these changes would be good for our children. How can "common" standards be a bad thing? After all, isn't it nice to have students learning the same exceptional standards from Alabama to Alaska, from Minnesota to Massachusetts?

As a teacher, I began to spend nights, weekends, summers, even Christmas Day researching Common Core, because these reforms were so massive and were happening so quickly, it was hard to keep up with how American education was being transformed. I quickly began to realize that the American education system under Common Core goes against everything great Americans like Dr. King and President Lincoln ever taught. The very freedoms we celebrate and hold dear are in question when I think of what Common Core means for the United States.

One of my favorite writings about education from Dr. King is a paper entitled "The Purpose of Education." In it, he wrote "To save man from the morass of propaganda, in my opinion, is one of the chief aims of education. Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction."

When I sit in faculty meetings about Common Core, I hear "curriculum specialists" tell me that Common Core is here to stay and I must "embrace change." I am forced to drink the kool-aid. These specialists don't tell us to search for facts about Common Core on our own, they simply tell us what the people paid to promote Common Core want us to know. Didn't Dr. King want us to separate facts from fiction? Why are we only given information from sources paid to say Common Core is a good thing? Isn't that the exact same type of propaganda Dr. King discussed in his writings about education? Shouldn't we discuss why thousands of Americans are calling for a repeal of the standards?

I am told that I must embrace Common Core and I infer that resisting the changes associated with Common Core will label me "resistant to change." As a teacher, I definitely believe our classrooms are changing with the times and I am not afraid of change. Teachers across America are hearing similar stories about how they should "feel" about Common Core. This is a brainwashing bully tactic. It reminds me of my 8th graders' lesson on bullying, when I teach them to have an opinion of their own. Just because "everyone's doing it," doesn't make it right. In regards to Common Core, I am not afraid of change. I am just not going to sell-out my students' education so that Pearson, the Gates Foundation, David Coleman, Sir Michael Barber, Marc Tucker and others can experiment on our children.

I agree with Dr. King, which is why I am so saddened at how propaganda from an elite few is literally changing the face of America's future with nothing more than a grand experiment called Common Core Standards. Our children deserve more. Our teachers deserve more. Our country deserves more. Education reform is the civil rights issue of our generation, and sadly, parents, teachers, and students have been left out of the process.

President Lincoln once said "the philosophy of the classroom today, will be the philosophy of government tomorrow." With Common Core, new standardized tests have inundated classrooms with problems of their own. Teachers find themselves "teaching to the test" more and more. These tests violate our states' rights. I wonder if parents realized that all states aren't created equal in Common Core tests? Shouldn't all states, under "common" standards for everyone have everyone's equal input on how students are tested?

What about privacy under Common Core? Why didn't local boards of education tell parents about the changes to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act? Do parents realize their child's data, including biometric data such as fingerprints and retinal scans, is being placed in a state longitudinal data system and shared with others?

If our philosophy of the classroom is to violate states' rights, use children and teachers as guinea pigs, and hide from parents the fact that their child's data is no longer private, it can only be inferred that the philosophy of government tomorrow will do the same. What is America becoming?

As I watched President Obama place his hand on the bibles of Dr. King and President Lincoln, the history teacher in me was overjoyed to watch such a patriotic moment in U.S. history. And yet, I was crushed at the realization that if we do not stop Common Core and preserve the United States educational system, the philosophy of our government tomorrow will not be the America we know and love.

C.E. White

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Common Core Costs to Districts Just Beginning

Where will districts find the money to implement Common Core standards?

I received an email from a Missouri teacher about the increased cost of materials in one school district due to Common Core mandates.

This is an example of the increased cost of curricula mandated by CCSS.  How can the districts absorb these type of costs in the reality of shrinking budgets and revenues?  The teacher writes about the books now aligned to the CCSS standards as opposed to the MO standards.  Keep in mind this is only one set of curricula aligned to the CCSS that teachers must now use.  

The books I use are called Buckle Down.  They are MAP prep resources aligned to the MO GLE standards.  Last year, they cost $7-$8 per student.  The new ones are called common core coach and they are $17.49 per student.  Our budgets are not able to support this increase!  www.buckledown.com is the site.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Michelle Malkin Comes Out Against Common Core Standards

From the National Review and Michelle Malkin on Common Core Standards:

America’s downfall doesn’t begin with the “low-information voter.” It starts with the no-knowledge student.
For decades, collectivist agitators in our schools have chipped away at academic excellence in the name of fairness, diversity, and social justice. “Progressive” reformers denounced Western-civilization requirements, the Founding Fathers, and the Great Books as racist. They attacked traditional grammar classes as irrelevant in modern life. They deemed grouping students by ability to be bad for self-esteem. They replaced time-tested rote techniques and standard algorithms with fuzzy math, inventive spelling, and multicultural claptrap.

Under President Obama, these top-down mal-formers — empowered by Washington education bureaucrats and backed by misguided liberal philanthropists led by billionaire Bill Gates — are now presiding over a radical makeover of your children’s school curriculum. It’s being done in the name of federal “Common Core” standards that do anything but set the achievement bar high.

Read more here.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Secrecy Abounds in Common Core Social Standards Development. These are NOT "state led"

The CCSSO is not disclosing the names of people on the writing team and tightly controls information about how and what business is being conducted.  Who are the writers?  Why don’t they want the public to know who they are?  Why such secrecy?  The CCSSO is a non-government organization and is not subject to the federal Freedom of Information Act .  This non-government organization has set out to produce a document that likely will highly influence state social studies standards, textbook development, textbook selection and adoption, and professional development.  Ultimately, this will affect what (as well as how) will be taught in public classrooms across the country (and possibly private schools, charter schools, and in home school settings).  Shouldn’t the public have a right to know who will have such an influence on the education of the children in their local community?
Read more here.
More from the author on the Social Studies Standards, Science standards and "A Crucible Moment" : 

We know about the ELA and math standards.  Will the same happen with the science? social studies?  The second draft of the common core science standards is available for review until January 29, 2013.  These standards are called the Next Generation Science Standards.   The final set of standards will be released later this year.

Most states adopted the CCSS ELA and math before they were finalized and some before they were even written or before the first public draft was released.  Seven school districts in WA banded together, applied, and received a RTTT grant of $40 million.  In the grant application, all seven districts committed to adopting the new science standards and corresponding assessments. 
 Watch legislation as well as state and local school board agendas to see if plans in your local district or state are underway to adopt science standards that have not been finalized.  Or perhaps your state adopted them before they were written?
In the article I did not even touch on the content of the  Vision for the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Inquiry in Social Studies State Standards.  At quick glance there are many red flags in terms of where our current administration is leading social studies/civics education.  The Civics Lessons article will give an overview of the A Crucible Moment report.  While I haven't read the Crucible report, a quick glance indicates it is alarming.  I am surprised it hasn't been exposed.  Maybe no one is watching.  Even though it appears the CCSSO's social studies framework is in concert with the Crucible, I find nothing linking the two.
A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy’s Future By The National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement

Monday, January 21, 2013

Common Core Standards and Square Watermelons

No, these aren't watermelon designed candles! They are actually fruits ready for shipping. It seems a little crazy but when you put a form around an immature fruit or vegetable it will grow to fit into that form. Apparently these watermelon can be shipped in greater quantities by shaping them. No joke!
From Wikipedia: "In Japan, farmers of the Zentsuji region found a way to grow cubic watermelons by growing the fruits in glass boxes and letting them naturally assume the shape of the receptacle. The square shape supposedly makes the melons easier to stack and store, but the cubic watermelons are often more than double the price of normal ones. Using similar techniques, growers have also created more complex shapes of watermelon, including dice, pyramids, and faces."

A visual representation of common core standards for common students.
Everybody will be the same with the same standards.
No, these aren't watermelon designed candles! They are actually fruits ready for shipping. It seems a little crazy but when you put a form around an immature fruit or vegetable it will grow to fit into that form. Apparently these watermelon can be shipped in greater quantities by shaping them. No joke!


From Wikipedia: "In Japan, farmers of the Zentsuji region found a way to grow cubic watermelons by growing the fruits in glass boxes and letting them naturally assume the shape of the receptacle. The square shape supposedly makes the melons easier to stack and store, but the cubic watermelons are often more than double the price of normal ones. Using similar techniques, growers have also created more complex shapes of watermelon, including dice, pyramids, and faces."

I saw this post on Facebook from SummerWinds Nursery in Mountain View, CA. Here is an interesting remark from the nursery:

They could be grown organically since the glass is only used to shape them. But you're right, it might be a hard sell to convince people they aren't mutant melons!

When I saw the photo I immediately thought of the "common" students we will be educating with the common core standards.  All students learning the same standards, using the same assessments for presumably the same outcome.  It is becoming an increasingly more difficult sell to convince the taxpayers the reformers aren't selling them mutant reforms. 
If farmers can grow watermelons to grow in a specific form, the upside for the seller is the capability to grow greater quantities.  If education reformers can educate to all students in the same standards/assessment box, the alleged result will be to create a managed workforce since every student ostensibly has the same skills and knowledge.

...let me restate my main point: it is impossible, unnecessary, and harmful for a small group of individuals to predetermine and impose upon all students the same set of knowledge and skills and expect all students progress at the same pace (if the students don’t, it is the teachers’ and schools’ fault). I am not against standards per se for good standards can serve as a useful guide. What I am against is Common and Core, that is, the same standards for all students and a few subjects (currently math and English language arts) as the core of all children’s education diet. I might even love the Common Core if they were not common or core.

Now that you know CCSS wants to turn out children looking the same (just like square watermelons) to serve the government/private sector purposes, read Zhao's thoughtful response to Marc Tucker's contentions on the necessity of CCSS.  Zhao's article may be one of the best refutations to the education reformers' arguments that are never backed up by fact, but rather, fantasy and meaningless rhetoric.
Zhao writes:

 It is simply not true that the Common Core will prepare our children for the future. To conclude, I quote a comment left on my Facebook page by one of my personal heros, former president of America Educational Research Association (AERA) and widely respected educational researcher Gene Glass: “Common Core Standards are idiots’ solution to a misunderstood problem. The problem is an archaic, useless curriculum that will prepare no child for life in 2040 and beyond.” 

And who wants all children the same...like square watermelons?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Most Important Education Lesson For Children is Not From the Government

What is the most important lesson children can learn?

It's not from the Department of Education, Bill Gates, Common Core standards or mandated by David Coleman and the CCSSO.

It's not from mandates costing billions of dollars and has zero to do with becoming globally competitive or a global citizen.

It's not being assessed once every three weeks and having to have a computer to figure out if not if child understands the content of the material, but rather the "process".

Here is a story of a young man who understands what differentiates a human being from a commodity.  Don't you wish the "reformers" hell bent on remaking people into capital would teach the lesson Conner and Cayden Long teach others?

Conner and Cayden know they are more than a data set for a managed workforce.  Existing for the government is not the ultimate goal in their lives.

Be sure to watch the video to the end.

From Sports Illustrated Kids:

What if someone you loved couldn’t play sports? He or she couldn’t feel what it’s like to catch a pop fly, see a shot hit the back of a soccer net, or cross a finish line.

Conner Long is nine years old. His little brother Cayden is seven. But Cayden can’t do a lot of things his big brother can do. At four months old, Cayden was diagnosed with a condition called hypertonic cerebral palsy, which leaves him unable to walk or talk on his own. Playing sports is a great way for brothers to bond, but it seemed to be out of the question for the Longs — until Conner had an idea.

A year and a half ago, he and Cayden started participating in triathlons together. Conner swims while pulling Cayden in a raft, bikes with his little brother towed behind him in a trailer, and pushes that trailer when they run. Over the past 18 months, the pair from White House, Tennessee, traveled up and down the East coast to compete in races. Seeing the brothers working together has inspired onlookers, while bringing Conner and Cayden closer than ever. Their amazing determination and spirit is why the Long brothers are the 2012 Sports Illustrated Kids SportsKids of the Year.

....Conner’s ultimate goal is to one day race with Cayden in Kona, Hawaii, at the Ironman World Championships. Kona is where the best in the world compete. It’s a grueling race, a 2.4-mile open water swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and finally a 26.2-mile marathon run. No one has ever finished the course in less than eight hours.

By the time they’re old enough to compete at Kona, Cayden would be a grown man. Is it even possible? Of course. It will take years of hard work and sacrifice. But the Long Brothers each have one good reason to work towards that dream: each other.

Read more here.

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