"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, August 10, 2013

Common Core Poems for Students to Learn: "We Learned More with Common Core" vs "We Learn Less with Common Core Mess"

Which Common Core poem do you want your child to learn?  Which poem would your school use?  Does your school have a choice? 

It was reported that some North Carolina 5th graders were to recite this poem about Common Core.  From glennbeck.com and Were 5th graders forced to recite "We learn more with Common Core" poem?:

According to a radio listener in North Carolina, a group of 80 5th grade students were allegedly forced to recite an indoctrination poem that hammered home just how wonderful Common Core really is. “We learn more with Common Core. Text genre, features and theme to explore, we learned more with Common Core.”  
Below is the poem the listener sent in:


Text genre, features & theme to explore
We learned more with common core.

Fractions, decimals, journal prompts galore
We learned more with common core.

RUNNER & CUBES are strategies for
Learning more with common core.

Vocab words like (clouds, organs, force), & omnivore
We learned more with common core

Economy, government, Revolutionary war
We learned more with common core.

So many new concepts to explore
We learned more with common core.

Several anti-common core (aka reclaim local control) taxpayers/parents/educators who understand the common core propaganda (educational theory disguised as research based) penned a different poem about Common Core for children to learn:


About rich literature we must guess
We learn less with the common Core mess.

Fractions, decimals; for these we press
We learn less with the Common Core mess.

Endless testing causes stress
We learn less with the Common Core mess.

Data mining we must address
We learn less with the Common Core mess.

Global warming we must bless
We learn less with the Common Core mess.

Fewer concepts - so much commonness
We learn less with the Common Core mess.
So much misinformation in the press
We learn less with the Common Core mess.

So little time spent in recess
We learn less with the Common Core mess.

Front loading curriculum causes undue distress
We learn less with the Common Core mess.

Mathematical equations get partial credit for a guess
We learn less with the Common Core mess.

Teacher training minimal at best
We learn less with the Common Core mess.

15% of Curriculum time is not addressed
We learn less with the Common Core mess.

Parents discouraged, parents oppressed
We learn less with the Common Core mess.

Little clear answers to our requests
We learn less with the Common Core mess.

Privatization in excess
We learn less with the Common Core mess.
Political process ignored/transgressed
We learn less with the Common Core mess.
As students we will regress
Because we definitely learn less with the Common Core mess.

Many thanks to the creative parents/educators for penning Common Core mess and  www.RestoreOkPublicEducation.com for its input.

Friday, August 9, 2013

More Numbers Games with Common Core Assessments

New York city's numbers are in for the first major round of common core testing and the news looks bad.  According to the New York State Education Department only 26 percent of students in 3rd-8th  grade passed the state exams in English, and 30 percent passed in math.  You may remember that last year Kentucky saw similar results. The news headlines are declaring this proof that better standards and tests were necessary.  But is it really, or is it just a numbers game to create the type of crisis Rahm Emmanuel likes to take advantage of that nudges us, as Cass Sunstein wants to do, into making the "right" choices?

Note that the figures reported are for students who "passed" the test, not raw scores of the percentage correct on the exam. Some body determines what "passing" means, usually referred to as cut scores, and that number can be set low, as Oklahoma did with NCLB assessments, or set high, as many are claiming the New York Regents just did with their latest assessments. There are problems with both approaches.

The situation in Oklahoma is actually one of the major justifications for common standards and assessments. On paper, OK students looked great because percentage wise so many of them were passing their state exams. That is because they set the passing bar fairly low. Unfortunately, most businesses don't take the time to really study a state's education figures (they don't do their homework) and OK was able to lure companies into their state by touting inflated student performance figures. The other governors wanted to put a stop to that. That is what gave us SBAC.

New York has a different agenda. They want to prove that their previous tests were too easy and that their kids NEED common core's "rigor." 

Leonie Haimson, Executive Director of Class Size Matters provided this look at the numbers.
As you may have probably heard, the new state test scores were released to the press and they are disastrous.

Only 31% of students in New York State passed the new Common Core exams in reading and math. More than one third — or 36% — of 3rd graders throughout the state got a level I in English; which means they essentially flunked. In NYC, only 26 percent of students passed the exams in English, and 30 percent passed in math – meaning they had a level 3 or 4. Only 5% of students in Rochester passed.

Though children’s individual scores won’t be available to parents until late August, I urge you not to panic when you see them. My advice is not to believe a word of any of this.

The new Common Core exams and test scores are politically motivated, and are based neither on reason or evidence. They were pre-ordained to fit the ideological goals of Commissioner King and the other educrats who are intent on imposing damaging policies on our schools.

Here are five reasons not to trust the new scores:

1- The NY State Education Department has not been able to produce a decent, reliable exam with a credible scoring system in at least ten years. That’s why there have been wild gyrations from year to year in the percent of students making the grade. For example, 77% of NYS students were at level 3 or 4 in English in 2009; this dropped to 53% in 2010 and 31% now. The last two years of exams created by Pearson have been especially disastrous; from the multiple errors in questions and scoring on the 2012 exams (including the infamous Pineapple passage) to the epic fail of this year’s tests – which were too long, riddled with ambiguous questions and replete with commercial logos for products like Mug Root Beer. (emphasis added) Top students were unable to finish these shoddy exams, and many left in tears and had anxiety attacks. To make things worse, the exams featured reading passages drawn straight from Pearson textbooks which were assigned to some students in the state and not to others.

2- For nearly a decade, from at least 2003-2010, there was rampant test score inflation in NY state, with many of the same people who are now supporting the current low scoring system claiming with equal conviction that the earlier, rising test scores showed that NYS and NYC schools were improving rapidly. The state test score bubble allowed NYC Mayor Bloomberg to coast to a third term, renew mayoral control and maintain that his high-stakes testing regime was working, when the reality was that, according to everyone who was paying attention, the exams had gotten overly predictable and the scoring too easy over time. At the same time as the state exams showed huge increases, scores on the more reliable national exams called the NAEPs showed little progress. In fact, NYC made smaller gains on the NAEPs than nearly any other large school district in the country during these years.

3. The truth is that the new cut scores that determine the different proficiency levels on the state exams – which decide how many kids “pass” or are at Level 3 and 4 — are arbitrary and set by Commissioner King. He can set them to create the illusion that our schools are rapidly improving, as the previous Commissioner did, or he can set them to make it look that our public schools are failing, as King now is doing, to bolster support for his other policies.

4. The primary evidence that Commissioner King now bases his overly-harsh cut scores upon is that the results are mirror the percent of students who test “proficient” or above on the NAEPs. Yet while the NAEPs are reliable to discern trends in test scores, because they remain relatively stable over time, the cut scores that determine the various NAEP achievement levels are VERY controversial. See Diane Ravitch on how the NAEP’s benchmarks are “unreasonably high”; or this article that reveals that even the National Academy of Sciences has questioned the setting of the NAEP proficiency levels, and how many experts believe that level 2 on the NAEPs – or basic — should be used instead to estimate which students are on track for college:

Fully 50% of 17-year-olds judged to be only basic by NAEP ultimately obtained four-year degrees. Just one third of American fourth graders were said to be proficient in reading by NAEP in the mid-1990s at the very time that international assessments of fourth-grade reading judged American students to rank Number Two in the world.

In fact, by using NAEP levels as support for his cut scores, King is either confused or disingenuous about what these levels really represent.

5. So why are King, Arne Duncan, Joel Klein and the billionaires like Bill Gates and Rupert Murdoch who are pulling the strings so determined to prove that more that 69% of the students throughout New York State are failing? This is the Shock Doctrine at work. Naomi Klein has observed that when you scare people enough, it is easier to persuade them to allow you to make whatever radical changes you want, since the status quo will be perceived as so disastrous.

In the case of Commissioner King, Bill Gates and Arne Duncan, they would like to convince parents that their corporate agenda, including a steady diet of developmentally unsound standards, the Common Core’s rigid quota for “informational text” and overemphasis on testing, and their favorite policies of closing schools and firing teachers based on test scores, expanding charter schools and online learning, data-mining and outsourcing educational services to for-profit vendors will somehow improve the quality of education in our state, even though there is little or no evidence for any of these policies.

NYSED has even tried to persuade parents to accept their unethical plan to share the personal data of the state’s children with inBloom and for-profit vendors by saying this will help ensure these students are “college and career ready.” (By the way, as Politico reported last week, North Carolina became the fifth state to pull out of inBloom; now only New York, Illinois, and Colorado are still involved, and Massachusetts is sitting on the fence.)

Joel Klein, who wrote an oped for Rupert Murdoch’s NY Post this morning, appropriately entitled the The Good News in Lower Test Scores, now heads Amplify, Rupert Murdoch’s online learning division, which is the largest contractor for inBloom. For Klein and Murdoch, the drastic fall in state test scores is indeed good news, because it will help them market their computer tablets, data systems, and software products to make more profit. In the case of Pearson, the world’s largest educational corporation, more schools will now be convinced to buy their textbooks, workbooks, and test prep materials, as 900 NYC schools have now done – in hope that their students may do better on the Pearson-made exams, that may even include the same reading passages as happened this year.

Rick Hess, the conservative commentator at Education Week, revealed the motives behind the promoters of these exams in a column called the “Common Core Kool-aid”:
This last paragraph foretells what currently complacent suburban schools with good statistics should be on the look out for in the very near future.
First, politicians will actually embrace the Common Core assessments and then will use them to set cut scores that suggest huge numbers of suburban schools are failing. Then, parents and community members who previously liked their schools are going to believe the assessment results rather than their own lying eyes… Finally, newly convinced that their schools stink, parents and voters will embrace “reform.” However, most of today’s proffered remedies–including test-based teacher evaluation, efforts to move “effective” teachers to low-income schools, charter schooling, and school turnarounds–don’t have a lot of fans in the suburbs or speak to the things that suburban parents are most concerned about….Common Core advocates now evince an eerie confidence that they can scare these voters into embracing the “reform” agenda.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

MA Math Professor's Take on Common Core Math - It Falls Short

Setting standards is trickier business than most people think.  On the one hand standards make things easier. Imagine trying to buy a set of sheets if we hadn't chosen 4 basic sizes of bed. Finding ones to fit your bed could take far longer if there weren't such standardization, and you might have to settle for a set that was merely close enough in size to work. Of course by setting standard sizes we limited innovation in bedding. All beds are rectangular in nature (let's not bring up those custom ones in the Poconos hotels) The way my son sleeps, circular might actually be better. But we set a standard and everyone stopped there for convenience.

The same is true for education standards. Nintey plus percent of people will stop teaching or stop learning once they have met the standard. Its the nature of standards. They are limiting. You would think then that the standards writers would have shot for the highest end of skills knowing that schools will stop teaching once the students reach competence in that standard skill. Marketing hype aside, the fact that they only allow another fifteen measly percent of content to be taught on top of the standards is an indication that CCSSI developers agree with this phiosophy and believe they have shot high with Common Core standards.

A Massachusetts math professor agrees with my outlook on standards and believes Common Core's writers aimed in the wrong  place when it comes to math.

Charles Ormsby, a professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, gave his general review of the CCSSI math standards to The Deseret News. He says of standards in general, "We all know that whatever standard is set, some students will exceed the standard and some will fall short — many far short."  This would seem to make the case for setting the standard as high as possible to bring the performance of all students up.

Professor Ormsby provides this explanation of why, therefore, the CCSSI math standards will ultimately shortchange k-12 students.
"It appears that Common Core standards set an expectation that students will achieve some reasonable level of competency in algebra through algebra II, but no expectation of competency in, or even a basic familiarity with, trigonometry. Whether a student has aspirations in the STEM disciplines or not, I think this is a major failing of the standard. Expectations in mathematics are being set well below the level needed to prepare students for post-secondary studies in a broad range of disciplines — not just the STEM fields.

Consider the range of likely outcomes if the standard was set, not at algebra II, but at basic competency in trigonometry... If we targeted trigonometry, then those that fall well short of the standard might at least absorb a modicum of geometry and basic algebra (a reasonable foundation for entering the trades; a path that should be more respected).

Those that fall just short of the standard will have mastered algebra II — a good foundation for accounting, health care workers, management sciences, liberal arts, etc. These students could conceivably pursue a STEM career after some remediation (e.g., taking trigonometry at a community college).

Students that hit the standard (mastery of trigonometry) would be ready to tackle calculus without remediation and therefore would be prepared to pursue either a STEM major or a serious career in, for instance, finance or economics.

A student that exceeded the standard would leave high school with a solid algebra/trigonometry foundation plus some (possibly a substantial) degree of understanding of calculus and could enter college with advanced placement credit.
This is the distribution of outcomes we should seek"  
 Here, here Professor Ormsby!

Schools can, and some will, choose to teach beyond the standards of CC. Those schools will be the exception and will only continue with the practice so long as there are conscientious passionate people pushing for it, because the main system will only require that they achieve student competency through Algebra II.  Most schools will stop there. Such is the nature of standards.

A more ominous warning comes at the end of Professor Ormsby's piece about the impact that will have on college math programs.
"The sad fact is that because students are not college-ready, colleges are dumbing down their curriculums to be student-ready. The downward spiral of expectations makes the "college ready" standard a moving/descending target.
I'll close by noting that this view from the trenches is from a trench in Massachusetts: one of the highest ranked states in the country for high school mathematics achievement. What does that say about the state of affairs in the other 49 states?"
DESE has questioned by push back against CC and stated exasperatedly "They're just standards," as if that makes them innocuous. More recently, in a piece sent to  to MO Superintendents they attempt to dismiss CC critics by saying, "So now others, as predicted by NSPRA, are attempting to define what CCSS is and these critics are turning it into a messy and misinformed political football being tossed at local school district leaders."

I don't see a lot of politics in Professor Ormsby's assessment of the standards.  Seems pretty logical and well informed to me.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Data Quality Campaign and AT&T Want Your Personal Information. Why?

Do you know where or how your data is being shared via AT&T or Data Quality Campaign?

This post is a follow-up to yesterday's article on the Data Quality Campaign announcing the intent to advocate for inclusive, aligned, and relevant education and workforce data. DQC does not detail what those three adjectives represent in education data and if these are solely assessment data or if it includes personal data on students and families.

Data mining is rampant and includes the gathering of your information by private companies.  Recently I received a letter from AT&T informing me they were going to sell my information to third parties.  Below is the resulting correspondence I had with AT&T and my children.  We owe our children in public schools the same diligence to protect their data from third party vendors and various federal agencies.

Before you read the emails, here is some history about AT&T's educational connection with DQC.:     
 AT&T is a funder for the Data Quality Campaign, an organization that wants to merge educational data with workforce data.
  •  AT&T has given millions ($500,000 to DQC) to push data driven methods in schools.
  • What information does AT&T want to mine on its customers and where will this information be sent, stored and how will it be used?
  • If AT&T customers can opt out of privacy data mining, then why isn't this option mentioned in the original email?
  • If AT&T does offer opting out, then shouldn't parents have this option as well for their children in public school education?
  • Why do private businesses and public education believe that people want to be tracked?  Why do they believe they have the right to do so?


Original Message:

July 11, 2013

Regarding Account Number: xxxxx

Dear Valued Customer,

We know your privacy is important, so we've made it a priority to talk to you about it. We're revising our Privacy Policy to make it easier to understand, and we want to point out two new programs that could help us and other businesses serve you better.

The first program will make reports available to businesses. These reports will contain anonymous information about groups of customers, such as how they collectively use our products and services. The second program will use local geography as a factor in delivering online and mobile ads to the people who might find them most useful.

As always, we follow important principles to keep your trust:

  • We are committed to protecting your privacy.
  • We provide you with privacy choices.
  • We will not sell information that identifies you to anyone, for any purpose. Period.
  • We are committed to listening and keeping you informed about how we protect your privacy.
The two new programs are described in this notice, including your privacy choices for each. You can also read the new and old versions of our privacy policy at att.com/privacy.

To provide feedback on the new policy, please write us in the next 30 days at privacyfeedback@att.com or AT&T Privacy Policy, 1120 20th Street NW, 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20036.

robert quinn jr signature
Robert W. Quinn Jr.
Senior Vice President - Federal Regulatory; Chief Privacy Officer

P.S.: Please note that if you have multiple accounts, we thank you, and we want to let you know you may receive more than one copy of this notice.

MEW note: There was no option to "opt out" via this email even though a quick Internet search on this privacy change letter shows the opt out information as one letter:

privacyfeedback@att.com or AT&T Privacy Policy, 1120 20th Street NW, 10th Floor, Washington,. DC 20036. Sincerely,. Robert W. Quinn Jr. AT&T. Senior Vice ...

From:  xxxxx
Sent: Thursday, July 11, 2013 11:56 AM
To: Privacyfeedback
Subject: Privacy policy comment
Dear ATT:

This is response to your email about your privacy policy.

I protest that ANY information on our account/usage, etc is given out to ANY third party, even if it is aggregate information.  I believe that my data usage and any other information should be private and not provided to any third party vendor. 

I also do not care to have any ads tweaked to my interests based on my location, data or how I use my telephone.  I consider this an invasion of my privacy.  Your two privacy choices are not really choices at all.  Both release information to third parties.  Where is the third choice to opt out of these two "choices"?  With the recent NSA scandal, I would suggest you not release any information to any party.   Just a few data points allow aggregate data to become personally identifiable.

I would like some clarification on you not selling information.  I am making the assumption you are referring to not selling individualized information, correct?  But you are selling aggregate information?  You should be paying your customers for the use of this information.  You are charging us for phone service and then you are making more money from the selling of customer aggregate information to third parties.  Shouldn't the customer realize some financial remuneration for using their data for third party use?

I do not believe you are protecting my privacy.  You are using customer data to make more money and as such, I believe customers should see a reduction in their phone bills to reflect the use of their aggregate data.

Please advise us if your company will indeed offer an opt out choice, a reduction in our data cost, or if we need to begin looking for another phone provider.




-----Original Message-----
From: Privacyfeedback & Privacy_Feedback@att.com;
To: Sent: Fri, Jul 12, 2013 3:49 pm
Subject: RE: Privacy policy comment

Thank you for contacting AT&T.  You can choose to have your anonymous information excluded from the External Marketing & Analytics Reports by visiting  http://att.com/cmpchoice,  or calling 1-866-344-9850.  You can opt-out of receiving Relevant Advertising from AT&T AdWorks by going to http://adworks.att.com/adpreferences  on your computer or http://adworks.att.com/mobileoptout on your wireless device. Similar to other advertising choices, you must opt-out from each computer browser or wireless device that you wish to exclude.  We appreciate having you as our customer. 


What I sent to my sons:

-----Original Message-----
From: xxx

Sent: Fri, Jul 12, 2013 3:56 pm
Subject: FROM MOM. READ THIS PLEASE. Privacy policy comment

I would ask that each of you read the emails below.

You will need to opt out your cell phones.  Please let me know when you have done so.




From The Huffington Post on the data mining information to be obtained by AT&T:

Last week, telecom giant AT&T quietly updated its privacy policy with a controversial change: The company would begin selling customers' information to marketers and other businesses.

Selling customer data is nothing new for the likes of Facebook and Google. Those companies make billions of dollars targeting ads based on personal information. However, AT&T's data mining is a potentially troubling development for the company's large group of 105 million subscribers. The “External Marketing and Analytics Reporting” program would allow AT&T to sell information including your location based on WiFi connections, web broswing history and app usage.

Here's a comment similar to mine from a Huffington Post reader:

I rec'd notice by mail with instructions for opting out. It also invites feedback on ATT's new Privacy Policy. The letter is from Robert Quinn, SVP Fed Reg and Chief Privacy Officer. Here's the feedback I sent:
Dear Mr. Quinn,

I am in receipt of your July 1 letter announcing ATT's new privacy policy with instructions for opting out of two ATT profit-generating programs, one of which sells aggregate customer data to other businesses and another which collects personal data from customers to tailor advertising to them, essentially Googlizing paying ATT customers.

Anyone born before 1970 knows the very American principal from which we've drifted:

If you provide a service to customers, the customers pay; if you want something from
customers, you pay them.

I am aware of all the cocktails on K-Street and all the jurisprudence that makes it legal for you to do what you do. I remain opposed.

Also, your opt-out for your "relevant advertising" program demands that one not only opt out for each device, but for each browser. It also demands that browser settings be altered to save a cookie to maintain this opt-out. This method is inadequate and a burden on customers. I would like to charge you rent for making me store this cookie.

Also, by the way, thanks for all your great work with the NSA and its numerous affiliates.
Sincerely, [etc etc]

Maybe AT&T is providing their business template to the DQC for educational data mining?  This is the private plan for providing information to other businesses and firms.  It's coming to your schools next.  Will you have the chance to opt your publicly educated child out of  data mining? 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Data Quality Campaign Ties Education Data into Workforce Data

From Data Quality Campaign and DQC Gets a New Baby Sister: Workforce Data Quality Campaign:

Rachel ZinnThe Data Quality Campaign has joined with the Association for Career and Technical Education, CLASPNational Association of State Directors of Career and Technical Education Consortium, National Association of State Workforce Agencies, National Skills Coalition, and New America Foundation to advocate for inclusive, aligned, and relevant education and workforce data. This group of national partners believes that in order to achieve economic growth and shared prosperity, we need data-driven education and training policies that prepare all Americans for a skilled workforce that helps US industries compete in a changing 21st century economy. To that end, we created the Workforce Data Quality Campaign (WDQC) in order to ensure that workforce data systems
  • include all students and pathways;
  • count industry-recognized credentials as well as degrees;
  • assess employment outcomes for all participants;
  • expand use of labor market information;
  • ensure appropriate data access and use.
And now we have a leader to help us accomplish these goals. Rachel Zinn will join the national partners of the WDQC as the organization’s first director this month. Ms. Zinn is an experienced policy analyst with in-depth knowledge of postsecondary programs and data systems. She has spent the past five years at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), where she guided initiatives to enhance data access and usage and developed strong working relationships with key federal and state stakeholders. Her experience as an analyst in both the labor and education branches of OMB make her an ideal candidate to not only lead the data discussion in workforce circles, but to work with DQC to link those priorities to the K–12 and postsecondary education data conversations. DQC welcomes Rachel to the WDQC family, and we look forward to working together.


I made a comment and asked some questions to Ms. Zinn but my posting hasn't shown up yet.  The gist of the comment:

From the writer:  The Data Quality Campaign has joined with the Association for Career and Technical Education, CLASPNational Association of State Directors of Career and Technical Education Consortium, National Association of State Workforce Agencies, National Skills Coalition, and New America Foundation to advocate for inclusive, aligned, and relevant education and workforce data. 

What constitutes "inclusive, aligned and relevant" education data to this writer?  Is this just assessment data or does it include personal data on children and families?  These adjectives are non-specific and it would be helpful if the DQC would explain and provide to taxpayers and legislators descriptors and actual data sets of "inclusive, aligned and relevant" education data gathered that will be combined with workforce data.
I would also appreciate knowing who is determining what education data will be gathered,  gathered by what entity, where this data will be sent and disseminated, and for what purpose.  I would also appreciate if you could explain how this information can be gathered on minor children without parental permission.

Do you think I will get an answer?   You might want to ask your own questions to DQC.  Maybe your questions/comments will be posted!

Information on Data Quality Campaign funders:

The AT&T designation as a funding organization caught my eye.  That might explain why I received a letter from AT&T few weeks ago stating it was tracking my data and making it available to third parties.  More on that tomorrow.

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Finish Line For K-12 Education - SAT/ACT

Home schooling families and private schools have not been able to completely ignore Common Core because the threat at the finish line, the SAT, was poised to align to CC. The question we have not been able to answer is how big an impact that would have on the curriculums for these non-public school options . The New York Times reported recently on what we might expect from the revised SAT.
 “The heart of the revised SAT will be analyzing evidence,” David Coleman  said. “The College Board is reaching out to teachers and college faculty to help us design questions that, for example, could ask students to use math to analyze the data in an economics study or the results of a scientific experiment, or analyze the evidence provided within texts in literature, history, geography or natural science....
... it shouldn’t just be about picking the right answer,” he said. “It should be about being able to explain, and see, the applications of this math.”
The biggest change will probably come in the essay portion of the test.
"Most likely, he said, the outlines — sections on critical reading and math and a 25-minute essay — will remain the same. But Mr. Coleman has made known his discomfort with the essay, which puts no premium on accuracy. Students can get top marks for declaring that the Declaration of Independence was written by Justin Bieber and sparked the French Revolution, as long as the essay is well organized and develops a point of view"
The ACT has been left out of some of the discussions about Common Core since it was Coleman, as President of the College Board, who made the much publicized statement about aligning the SAT to CC.  However, the ACT has been on board with CC all along. From a press release dated June 2010

"The Common Core State Standards Initiative is led by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, in partnership with ACT, the College Board, and Achieve."
ACT's site looks like they have been aligning all along. The NYT reported, "ACT plans to start yearly testing as early as third grade to help guide students to college readiness."

The ACT and SAT are becoming more like mutual companions on a journey toward one national college readiness testing track.  With Pearson helping the ACT move towards computers for testing and tracking, it is very possible that the Pearson/ACT/SAT alliance was the plan all along. SBAC and PARCC were just a way to make it look "state-led."   

It is interesting to note that a thirty year executive at ACT came out of retirement last year to work with SAT.  These two powerhouses could eventually merge and become the alternative "independent" testing company for the Common Core as states pull out of SBA or PARCC.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Another Assault on Homeschoolers: This time in Oklahoma.

Move over, Alabama State Board of Education.  The newest assault on homeschooling rights comes from Claremore (OK) Public Schools.  From a posting by Oklahoma Christian Home Educators' Consociation:

This form is being distributed to families by Claremore Public Schools. OCHEC strongly encourages parents who receive this form (or anything similar) to contact Home School Legal Defense Association (www.hslda.org).

Other homeschooling Oklahoma parents take note and see if you get a similar letter from your school district.  Parents in other states may want to pay attention to what arrives in their mailboxes.
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