Tag Archives: CCSS

#CommonCore State Standards are federalizing your child’s future

by Karen Schroeder of Advocates for Academic Freedom.

The American educational system is being federalized through implementation of Race to the Top and Common Core State Standards. Once CCSS are completely implemented, the federal government will have control of assessment tools and textbooks used in core subjects. Also, a national data collection system called State Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) will be used to determine a child’s educational opportunities. The federalization of education will turn all school-choice programs into federally approved programs.

The International Baccalaureate is a set of standards which are shaped by several United Nations treaties.  International Baccalaureate Organization explains that IB and CCSS share the values and beliefs of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights with emphasis on Article 26.

This means that CCSS and IB programs are teaching beliefs and values contained in treaties that the United States does not support.  These values include the surrender of the American Constitution, of national sovereignty, and of individual rights so students will accept becoming members of the “world community”. The CCSS standards focus on changing the social and political values of American children. Few goals address academics; math standards actually lower expectations. What had been required from a fourth grade student is now required from a fifth grader.

The national data collection system (SLDS) will follow a child from Kindergarten to adulthood. A student’s IQ scores, test scores, and his disciplinary and medical records will become part of the collected data which will help determine educational and job opportunities afforded each student.

Once these systems are in place, all students in every educational setting will have to meet these state standards if they are going to pass the state-created assessment tools. Therefore, the education provided in every setting must include the curricula presented in state schools.

To accomplish these goals, the federal government has cooperated with companies to write textbooks that meet the goals of CCSS and IB. The federal government is funding organizations that will create testing tools to assess the student’s progress in accepting the social and political ideologies being taught in the classroom. Implementation of CCSS is expected to be completed within the next two to three years.

The only effective means of preventing international control of the American educational system is to eliminate the federal funding of education. Advocates for Academic Freedom is an educational consulting firm working with legislators across the United States to organize a conservative movement to eliminate federal control of education. Visit the Advocates for Academic Freedom home page, find the Petition for Progress button on the left side of the page, click on that button and sign the petition. To stop the federalization of education, we must have proof that there is sufficient support from the electorate. Please sign the petition and become a member of the grassroots movement to limit federal governmental control by removing federal funding of education and reallocating those funds to the states.

 

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Filed under National Standards (Common Core)

FLORIDA PARENT CONCERNED ABOUT COMMON CORE

One of the purposes of our site is to give conservatives, both parents and educators, a place to speak out about education. Below is a piece from Debbie Higginbotham. Ms. Higginbotham is a Florida parent who did exactly what more parents need to do, get involved and know what is going on in our schools.  If you live in Florida, you might consider joining our discussion group for the state.

As I sit here listening to the sounds of my home and my children exploring their environment, I wonder what their world is going to be like when they have children. Will their children be enslaved to an education system that expects everyone to conform to one style of learning? Will they have the freedom to choose their educational path? We need to ask these questions now before it is too late to change the path of American education.

I started researching the Common Core State Standards about four months ago. I saw a headline on a news website that consisted of the words, “Public Education and Bill Ayers.” Chills rushed through my body, as I thought how that name could have any positive affect on my children’s education in the public sector. After reading the article and finding out what Common Core was, I was not satisfied and needed to know more. I started digging deeper and deeper and what I found truly troubled me as a mom, who only wants the best for my six children.  I learned Common Core is a national standard, which will not allow local control; at the state level or at the county level, over what gets put into our classrooms. How could people in Washington know what is best for my kids all the way here in Florida?

In my research, I found multiple resources from different viewpoints. As I gathered the information, I got in touch with local school board members and started asking questions. I was told Common Core was pretty much here to stay and there was nothing I could do about it.  Questions started popping into my head that I couldn’t get answered fast enough. I wondered why no one realized how wrong it is to have Washington control the local educational needs of our children. If, by chance, someone did think this was wrong, why they didn’t stand up and say something? Well, I am now standing up and speaking to as many people as I can to inform them of this educational travesty. Although, we have elected these board members and the superintendent to look after the educational needs of our children within the public schools; it is ultimately our responsibility, the parents, to be involved in our children’s lives.  We clothe them, feed them, and discipline them.  We need to also stand up and take responsibility for their education.  We need to put our voices behind our tax dollars and make sure our elected officials have our children’s best interest at heart.

After talking with multiple school board members, I was encouraged to speak at their next meeting and voice my discontentment with the Common Core. What frustrated me the most was the lack of research done by the teachers. They are supporting the idea of the “one size fits all” standards without understanding what it really means. School leaders do not have to conduct the research on these topics, but at least they should read it and dig below the surface to understand it. Following the era of Jeb Bush and the FCAT, teachers and parents alike have learned to greatly dislike this standardized test system. In my opinion, removing the FCAT is music to the teachers’ ears. That may have pleased them so much that they neglected to listen to what is going to replace the FCAT. Doing away with one bad system does not mean it will be replaced with a better system.

All I keep hearing is that the Common Core is going to be great for our kids.  That there will be rigorous, new teaching methods introduced to help our children rise above where they are now and be proficient in the lessons being taught. My interpretation of this rubbish is that these teachers are being sold a bill of goods and have been indoctrinated, through the CCSS workshops, to sell this to our children and their parents. They are losing the true meaning of being called to be quality teachers to our young people. Teachers may not realize that their voices are being muted, as are ours.  The parents and teachers know best and have the power to provide the best education for our kids, but only if we first stop the higher ups from silencing us. Teachers’ hands will be tied, as the Common Core offers little freedom to adjust the curriculum to the needs of the students within the classroom.

In preparation for the school board meeting I got all of my notes together and poured them all into a ten minute speech to present to the board. I presented the following facts:  how CCSS was created; who wrote the standards; how it is unconstitutional and illegal for a national curriculum and test to be created by the federal government; and how its implementation will be a huge expense for taxpayers. I feel satisfied to have voiced my concerns to the school board and am hopeful that I conveyed important information to the people who need to be aware of the Common Core and its inadequacies.  I also pray that my words were truly heard by everyone in attendance.

One of the school board members was present at yet another meeting the next day, at which the Speaker of the House of Representatives of Florida was in attendance. The school board member eagerly told the Representative about my presentation and he wanted a copy of it and my information. I thought this was a huge step in the right direction. Making appointments with my local representatives was my next goal. The following week, I was able to talk to the Chief Legislative Assistant to one of my representatives. Before I could make any impact on this guy, he shot me down saying the same words I had heard before, “Common Core is a done deal and there is nothing we can do about it.” I found it frustrating that he was unwilling or unable to listen to a parent’s point of view. The overall result of that meeting was not as productive as I had hoped. Since I was not overly pleased when I left, the Assistant to the Representative offered to set up a meeting for me to speak to the State School Board in Tallahassee. I thought of his gesture as a  way of showing me that he wasn’t blowing me off or maybe it he was testing my resolve to pursue the protection of my children’s educational freedom.

During the meeting, the Legislative Assistant asked me why I wasn’t engaged in the planning meetings to implement the Common Core Standards here in Florida? I explained to him that as a parent, I felt confident I had my children in a good school that went above and beyond my high expectations in providing a good education. If something as important as new educational standards directly affecting my children were being planned, a simple notice should have been sent out.  I would have thought parents would be given an opportunity to be informed of such a monumental thing.  But, there was no notice sent home in my children’s backpacks. There was no letter sent to my home letting me know there was a meeting. I thought I was an informed mom, but it is impossible to stay informed when so much is going on behind the backs of parents and taxpayers. The point of the comment was, “You weren’t interested when the changes were happening and now that the changes are here and you don’t like them, you want to complain about them.”  If I had been aware of the planning meetings, I certainly would have gone and done my best to be proactive. Now, I can only react.

Our government and other entities within it are eagerly taking over every aspect of our lives and even our grandchildren’s lives to shape this country into what they think it should be to compete in a global society. I am disheartened to think what this global society is going to be like in eighteen or twenty years when the true results of the federally run schools are revealed.

I encourage all parents to take the time to do some research of their own to really understand the full aspect and consequences of the Common Core State Standards. These standards are not what the United States needs for its children. This drastic overtaking of local control is another freedom being quietly pulled out from underneath us and another way to control its people so we will learn to fear our government instead of the other way around.  President Kennedy’s words are very appropriate even now. “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” We can make our country better, one child’s education at a time.

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Filed under National Standards (Common Core), Speaking Out

Support Alabama in Anti-Common Core Fight. It is NOT an “island” Withdrawing from Common Core.

by Gretchen Logue of Missouri Education Watchdog

From CE White in Alabama:

As you may know, Alabama has two identical bills to repeal Common Core. House Bill 254 and Senate Bill 190. There is a public hearing on Wednesday, February 27th at 3pm at the State House. I feel we have the votes for this to pass in the Senate, but the House is dealing dirty politics. One superintendent (who is connected to Broad Foundation and has invited Pearson to his district next month) wrote an article last week in a newspaper, claiming that Alabama would be “an island” if we withdrew from Common Core. Since that article, legislators have started to question why we need to pass these bills. In fact, they are using the same terminology that we might be “an island” if we pass this bill. I will be speaking at the public hearing Wednesday. However, we really need to get the word out to our legislators that we will not be “an island.” We need them to know that we are not alone in our fight. We need them to know that other states are also fighting against Common Core. Could you please help us get the word out, by having your organization and other states contact our legislators and tell them to please pass HB 254 and SB 190, and we will not be “an island.” We need to flood them with calls and emails. They need to know they have the support of the country. Here is the link to our Alabama legislature page, with links to contact information:http://www.legislature.state.al.us/senate/senators/senateroster_alpha.html

 

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Contact Alabama legislators and let them know that Alabama is not an island, but is a state joining in reclaiming state academic freedom with these states who have various anti-Common Core State (sic) Standards pending legislation:
  • Missouri
  • Indiana
  • Oklahoma
  • Michigan
  • Georgia
  • South Carolina
  • Florida
  • Idaho
  • Utah
  • Colorado
  • Kansas
  • South Dakota

These states did not adopt Common Core State (sic) Standards:

  • Nebraska
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Arkansas

This state adopted ELA standards only:

  • Minnesota

Alabama is NOT an island and legislators are being misled if they refer to the state in this manner. This is from  the article in which superintendent Casey Wardynski refers to Alabama as an island:

The proposed bill – cosponsored by Sen. Bill Holtzclaw of Madison, Sen. Paul Sanford of Huntsville and Sen. Clay Scofield of Guntersville – would repeal the state’s adoption of those standards and prevent the state school board from adopting them a second time.

“If it was to pass, immediately we would no longer be allowed to be aligned with anything that is going on in those other 47 states with regard to this common core curriculum. That would be devastating. Alabama would become an island,” Wardynski said.

Wardynski has mixed reviews as a superintendent and his association with The Broad Foundation in geekpalaver.com and Eli Broad’s Return On Investment:

So let’s recap:

  • Wardynski has recommended, and the board has approved hiring PROACT Search (with direct ties to The Broad Foundation) for $110,000 to hire approximately 10 new principals.
  • He has recommended, and the board has approved hiring SUPES Academy to provide professional development to new Principals for $300,000 for two years.
  • He has recommended, and the board will likely approve the hiring of 110 Teach for America (supported by The Broad Foundation) for $550,000 a year.

In five months, Dr. Wardynski recommended spending just shy of one million dollars on programs supported by The Broad Foundation.

That’s not bad for a five month tenure, is it? While it’s not clear how much The Broad Foundation has spent “training” Dr. Wardynski, if the “training” for Teach for America is any indication, it’s likely in the $20,000 range. In exchange for this investment, Dr. Wardynski has already returned $410,000 in five months. In all likelihood at some point in November the rubber stamp board will approve spending $550,000 for Teach for America to hire 110 teachers who haven’t been trained to teach.

If you’d like to read more about The Broad Foundation’s “commitment” to education, take a look at “How to Tell if your School District is Infected by the Broad Virus.” You might also consider following, “The Broad Report.”

$960,000 for five months work. Not bad. Not bad at all. I wish the ROI for Huntsville’s kids were as high.

The Broad Foundation is proud of Wardynski via its twitter feed:

Congrats to #broadacademy grad Dr. Casey Wardynski, named “Outstanding Superintendent of the Year” by Alabama PTA! http://blog.al.com/breaking/2012/04/alabama_pta_names_huntsville_s.html …

It’s no surprise that the Alabama PTA would name him “Outstanding Superintendent of the Year”.  The PTA has received a million dollars to support CCSS (even before they were written) via The Gates Foundation and $240,000 from the GE Foundation for CCS support.  See here.

It should matter to Alabama legislators that Wardynski is wanting to implement standards that are unproven, untested and underfunded.  It should matter to these legislators he is supporting/promoting The Broad Foundation agenda while using taxpayer money.  It should matter to Alabama legislators that the PTA has been persuaded by Bill Gates and GE to support an agenda that does not protect teachers or students or parents from a vast public/private partnership that negates any local control.

Calling Alabama an island is a technique to take legislators’ eyes off the pertinent facts of Common Core State (sic) Standards.  Once you examine who is behind them and why, there is no question they should be rescinded.  They are not for the “kids”.  They are for organizations like The Broad Foundation, Bill Gates, TFA, PTA, etc to make money.

Contact the Alabama legislators and tell them the truth and the facts about Common Core State (sic) Standards.  Tell them how private outside companies are trying to direct the educational delivery and direction for Alabama students and schools.

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The Similarities Between CSCOPE and Common Core

by Gretchen Logue of Missouri Education Watchdog.

What is CScope?  From the home page:

CSCOPE is a customizable, online curriculum management system aligned with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). CSCOPE’s high quality curriculum, assessment  and instructional components assist schools in meeting the high standard of rigor and relevance required in the TEKS and STAAR assessments.

CSCOPE has come under intense scrutiny from Texas legislators, parents and educators because of the cost, the curriculum, the necessity for online infrastructure in the schools, the fact CSCOPE is copyrighted and the taxpayers do not have the right to access the curriculum taught to their children.  The school districts/teachers do not have the right to teach other curricula other than what is mandated in CSCOPE.

Donna Garner attended a Texas Senate Education Committee hearing on CSCOPE and the following is her transcript of the meeting.  Many of the same issues raised by the legislators seem to be many of the same issues in CCSS: the huge cost (not voted on by taxpayers) to local districts, private corporations holding copyrights to curriculum paid for by tax dollars, the need for online infrastructure in the schools, curriculum inaccessible to the taxpayers and the inability for teachers/school districts to change the curriculum/standards/assessments.

As you read Garner’s transcript, do you believe this is a glimpse of the future to come with CCSS mandates? Is there really any substantial difference between the two programs?

“Most Amazing Senate Ed. Hearing Ever — CSCOPE”
by Donna Garner
1.31.13
 
Today’s Texas Senate Education Committee hearing  on CSCOPE was amazing. I watched the proceedings online from 8:30 A. M. until it finished around 3:15 P. M., and I took notes as fast as I could type. These may not be word-for-word, but I trust that I have captured the essence of the hearing. 
 
Texas Senator Dan Patrick led the hearing, and these are the Senators who worked alongside him to question the witnesses:  Donna Campbell, Larry Taylor, Eddie Lucio, Robert Duncan, Ken Paxton, and Kel Seliger.  (As best I could tell from online viewing, Royce West and Leticia Van de Putte did not attend the hearing.) 
 
What thrilled me is that all of us private citizens who have dug out the truth about CSCOPE and who have been vilified for our efforts were vindicated today because the evidence presented proved we were right all along.
 
FACTS REVEALED IN TODAY’S HEARING
 
CSCOPE was originally produced in 2005-2006  by outside consultants, one of whom was Linda Darling-Hammond who is tied to Obama and the Common Core Standards which is a takeover of the public schools by the federal government.  
 
In 2009 CSCOPE was incorporated as a 501(3)(c) non-charitable organization under the TESCCC (Texas Education Service Center Curriculum Collaborative), and the 20 directors of the Education Service Centers (ESC’s) make up the board of directors of TESCCC.  To do this incorporation, no legal counsel was sought from the Texas Attorney General’s office nor from the Commissioner of Education/Texas Education Agency. 
 
Now 875 districts are using CSCOPE and pay for it with taxpayers’ dollars costing from $7 to $9 per student to “rent” CSCOPE each school year.  The monies collected by the ESC’s are passed along to TESCCC and then to their fiscal agent, ESC 13 in Austin.
COST OF CSCOPE AND ORGANIZATIONAL ISSUES
The Senators asked the ESC 13 witness how much school districts have paid for CSCOPE over the last several years, but that information did not seem to be readily available.  Sen. Campbell mentioned that Ector County ISD alone had spent $1.7 Million for CSCOPE just this school year. 
 
Questions were also raised about whether the ESC staffers who handle CSCOPE  full-time are paid by TESCCC/ESC 13 or by their own ESC’s and whether such an arrangement represents a type of double-dipping.
 
Sen. Campbell wanted to know who owns the proprietary property of CSCOPE if it was developed using public funds — “Do the people of Texas own it?”  She also questioned whether only parents should have access to CSCOPE since all Texas taxpayers paid for it. She said there are many good educators who are active and retired who have a commitment to helping children gain a good education and that everyone in the general public should have easy access to CSCOPE — in the same way that they do to copyrighted textbooks.  Sen. Campbell wanted to know where the checks and balances are to verify the content of CSCOPE.
 
Sen. Patrick told Wade Labay, Statewide Director of CSCOPE, that when a governmental body seeks to form a 501(3)(c), TESCCC should have sought legislative authority.  None was sought by TESCCC.
 
The Senators were very troubled by the fact that the Texas Attorney General’s office has said that the TESCCC is a governmental body yet it is using public funds to develop its product; uses public dollars to pay its ESC employees;  has no TESCCC business office; does not post its agenda; does not allow the public into its meetings; and will not allow public access to its minutes. 
 
“PLAYBOOK” RESPONSE FROM EDUCATION ESTABLISHMENT
Throughout the hearing, whenever members of the “education establishment” testified (e.g., school administrators, curriculum directors, representatives from Texas Association of School Board/Texas Association of School Administrators), it was as if they spoke from one “playbook” which had obviously been put together by ESC personnel. 
 
The common line used by the education establishment was, “Our district bought CSCOPE as a cost-saving curriculum management system to help our students to raise their academic achievement and to master the new STAAR/End-of-Course tests. Our teachers could not live without CSCOPE.” 
However, when hard data and research were sought by the Senators from the “ed establishment” to prove the effectiveness of CSCOPE, none could be produced — only their subjective opinions.  Almost all of the ed establishment witnesses mentioned their close-knit relationships with the ESC’s, and most said they had first heard about CSCOPE through the ESC’s.  Nearly all said their districts were constantly trained by ESC staff on CSCOPE.
 
CONCERNS OF THOSE CLOSEST TO THE CHILD
When classroom teachers, parents, or the general public testified — the ones closest to the classroom students — they told a completely different story.  One of the most poignant moments in the hearing occurred when a veteran Algebra teacher almost broke down in tears as he told of having to quit his teaching job recently because he was required to teach CSCOPE.  He said he could not look his students in the eyes, knowing that he was “aiding and abetting ignorance…and giving them an allusion of an education.” 
 
A well-credentialed education researcher, who works with many Texas school districts and who intensely dislikes CSCOPE, said she had had doors slammed in her face when she sought to uncover the ideology behind CSCOPE.  She said teachers are afraid to speak out about the content of the CSCOPE lessons and the links that students are directed to investigate.  Several of these links take students to sites where Wiccans are said to be similar to Christians and where Islam and Christianity are harmonized as being similar. 
 
A current classroom teacher of 30 years’ experience told about being offended with the lesson in which students were required to make a Communist/Socialist  flag.  She said her father had proudly fought in World War II to keep our nation free and that our students should be taught American exceptionalism.  She also said that CSCOPE content teaches none of the great novels and does not teach the young readers a systematic approach to reading using phonics.  She complained that CSCOPE instead teaches whole language and that there is no formal instruction of grammar, usage, and correct writing.
This experienced teacher gave the Senators a copy of the TESCCC/CSCOPE legal document passed out during a CSCOPE 2012 summer training session that states, “To support implementation of this detailed curriculum, districts must have processes and people in place to insure that there is sustained monitoring of the curriculum and that individual teachers do not have the option to disregard or replace assigned content.”  This teacher said that when parents put their children on the school bus to come to school, they are not sending them to school for a controlled and compulsory learning environment.  They want their children’s teachers to be able to be creative and to meet the individual needs of each child.  She said, “I want it recorded for the record that I have never voted for a conglomerate to take over the Texas school system, and parents have not either.”
 
Another witness said there was no need for CSCOPE because the curriculum standards (TEKS) are on the Texas Education Agency website along with many other excellent helps that teachers can use to prepare their students for the new STAAR/EOC tests.  Good teachers working together can create their own timelines and lesson plans.
 
One witness asked why the TESCCC was incorporated as a non-profit.  Was it to be able to hide the content of CSCOPE from the public?  Was it to keep their meetings, minutes, and agendas secret? 
 
TESCCC/CSCOPE PERSONNEL — OOPS!
 
When confronted with this evidence, the CSCOPE personnel at the hearing repeatedly admitted they had “Oops! Dropped the ball.”  As the meeting proceeded, it became clear that a pattern of cover-up by Wade Libay/TESCCC/CSCOPE has been taking place since the public “sleuths” started digging out the facts.  The website has been changed substantially since the Senate Education Committee public hearing was announced. Now Labay says teachers are not prohibited from allowing parents to see CSCOPE materials, but Sen. Patrick could never get a confirmed “yes” that parents could go right now and see fully their children’s CSCOPE materials 24/7.   
 
OBJECTIONABLE CSCOPE LESSONS
When the CSCOPE lesson referring to the Boston Tea Party patriots as “terrorists” was discussed (which had been in CSCOPE for seven years), Labay said it had been removed. 
 
When Labay was confronted with concerns over a lesson teaching the 5 Pillars of Islam, a lesson in which students role play a trek to Mecca, a lesson that teaches Allah is the same as Almighty God, a lesson on Christopher Columbus that cherry-picks his diary to take out any of his references to his belief in God, and a lesson in which students create a Communist/Socialist flag, he gave a lame excuse about those lessons having been a part of the “old” lessons, having been left in CSCOPE at the request of teachers. 
 
One Senator said he found it perplexing that when these lessons were first revealed by the public “sleuths,” TESCCC accused these concerned citizens of circulating “fallacious claims.”  
 
Senators Taylor and Paxton were deeply troubled about the student project in which students were to design a Communist/Socialist flag.  They cautioned that teaching children to role play and sympathize with a particular cause is indoctrination of the mind, and they asked Labay to tell them who came up with that lesson plan?  Labay gave the lame excuse that there are over 1600 lessons and that ESC 12 CSCOPE staffers are the ones who are in charge of the content. 
 
One of the Senators responded, “Oh, you mean the same group that has the closed door board meetings…We have already talked about several egregious lessons today.  How many more are there that are buried up in the rest of the CSCOPE lessons that we have not located yet?”
NO OUTSIDE, INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF CSCOPE
The Senators kept hammering at the fact that 875 Texas school districts have been using CSCOPE for the last seven years; yet there has been no outside, independent review of CSCOPE to make sure that its lessons align with the SBOE-adopted curriculum standards (TEKS) upon which the new STAAR/End-of-Course tests are based. 
 
Sen. Patrick said he found it highly upsetting that it had taken the chair of the Texas State Board of Education six months to get a password to CSCOPE.  Former SBOE member Charlie Garza testified that he had asked TESCCC to have extra time to study the CSCOPE lessons, but his request was denied. 
 
It was also brought out that besides the per-student CSCOPE rental, TESCCC also makes money by charging publishers $100,000 per event to see the CSCOPE lessons so that textbooks can be produced that align with it.  Other vendors pay fees, and TESCCC also makes money from its yearly educators’ conference. 

Senator Patrick said that the public had brought most of the CSCOPE problems to their attention over the last six to eight months and that he was upset over the lack of transparency and the secrecy demonstrated by TESCCC/CSCOPE.  He said this is the reason we need transparency, open meetings, and posted meetings  — so that a governmental body cannot violate every entity of being a public entity.  “How many more mistakes are there? … What is behind the curtain? … You are in 875 school districts … This is a very serious matter.”
 
SBOE OVERSIGHT OF CSCOPE CURRICULUM CONTENT
One Senator said he was investigating the possibility of charging the elected members of the Texas State Board of Education with the task of verifying the content of CSCOPE to make sure it is aligned with the TEKS.  Barbara Cargill, the chair of the SBOE, said that the Board has a review process already in place that could be used for CSCOPE since it is being used in 70% to 80% of Texas school districts. 
 
Cargill also mentioned her concern that TESCCC in its incorporation papers states that if TESCCC is dissolved, CSCOPE goes to the federal government.  She mentioned that she is concerned CSCOPE is not aligned with publishers’ textbooks and that it is very confusing for students when they read a CSCOPE lesson (or CSCOPE test) that says one thing and a textbook that says another. 
 
Ms. Cargill complained that CSCOPE does not align itself with the new Science TEKS in which all sides of scientific theories (both strengths and weaknesses) are to be taught. Instead, the only links she could find in the CSCOPE lessons go to material that teaches evolution as fact.
 
Barbara Cargill was asked by one of the Senators whether SB 6 (passed in the 82nd Legislative Session) triggered the explosive growth of CSCOPE since school administrators can now purchase CSCOPE (i.e., instructional materials including software and hardware) with state dollars without those materials having passed through the rigorous SBOE adoption process.  She said that having “100 eyeballs” to evaluate the instructional materials at the SBOE level is far superior to having only a few CSCOPE employees do so.
 
Pat Hardy, also a member of the Texas State Board of Education, verified that CSCOPE is a curriculum [not a “curriculum management system” as claimed by TESCCC/CSCOPE] and that it is the SBOE who adopts the curriculum standards — TEKS.
 
A parent whose children are in the public schools where CSCOPE is being utilized believes that the elected SBOE should have authority over CSCOPE.  However, she has a serious reservation because one of the present SBOE members is a registered lobbyist for Microsoft; and she wonders about the possible conflict of interest and corruption that could bias the SBOE/CSOPE alignment process.   
 
COMMON CORE STANDARDS INFILTRATING CSCOPE?
One retired science teacher said that at some point, Common Core Standards tried to purchase CSCOPE; and she is concerned because the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) is having a convention in California, using public dollars to pay for Texas school personnel to attend.  At this conference,  Common Core Standards and Linda Darling-Hammond will be featured.  Gov. Perry and both Texas Education Commissioners have said Texas will not participate in Common Core Standards.  Since CSCOPE is already in 70% to 80% of Texas’ school districts, the retired science teacher is afraid the CCS ideology could be permeating CSCOPE’s lessons right now.
 
CHILDREN BELONG TO PARENTS — NOT TO THE STATE
One of the last witnesses reminded everyone that children belong to their parents and not to the state; school children should be able to take their CSCOPE materials home each evening; and the public should have open access to see everything except the tests and answer keys.

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Filed under National Standards (Common Core)

The Wrangling of Taxpayer Money by Jeb Bush and other Education Reformers

by Gretchen Logue of Missouri Education Watchdog

Education is the “Wild West”.  Scott Joftus was correct when talking about money to be made in education reform:

Scott Joftus, closely aligned with Bill Gates and his foundation since the early years of 2000, had this to say about education in an article aptly titled “Is the Stimulus Really “No Consultant Left Behind” “?:

That metaphor is an apt one for the market as well. In the fall of 2009, Mr. Joftus was contacted by a former contractor who was working for Global Partnership Schools, a new school turnaround venture funded by GEMS Education, a Dubai-based company founded by entrepreneur Sunny Varkey. The caller was hoping to obtain copies of Mr. Joftus’ contract for school improvement services in Kansas.
“You know we’re in a new era when school turnaround firms in the U.S. are being funded out of the Middle East,” Joftus said. “To me, that says there’s money to be made. I call this period the Wild West in education.”

We wrote about Joftus in May 2011.  Researchers such as Susan Ohanian and Dora Taylor have been writing about the money trail to Bill Gates and other “entrepreneurs” using taxpayer money to fund their private companies for years.   Note that Joftus’ remark was in 2009.  This has been in the planning for some time by private corporations and the Federal Government to create an enormous public/private partnership without voter/legislative approval.

Joftus is just a small part in the big picture of corporate payback in education.  The story garnering the attention of education activists this week was the information on former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and his plans to gain monetarily from the reforms designed “for the kids”. Rather than serving student educational needs, various education reforms allow the framework for investors and professional ed reformers to gain access to state/federal coffers.  Frominthepublicinterest.org:

Emails between the Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE), founded and chaired by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and state education officials show that the foundation is writing state education laws and regulations in ways that could benefit its corporate funders. The emails, obtained through public records requests, reveal that the organization, sometimes working through its Chiefs For Change affiliate, wrote and edited laws, regulations and executive orders, often in ways that improved profit opportunities for the organization’s financial backers.

“Testing companies and for-profit online schools see education as big business,” said In the Public Interest Chair Donald Cohen. “For-profit companies are hiding behind FEE and other business lobby organizations they fund to write laws and promote policies that enrich the companies.”

The emails conclusively reveal that FEE staff acted to promote their corporate funders’ priorities, and demonstrate the dangerous role that corporate money plays in shaping our education policy. Correspondence in Florida, New Mexico, Maine, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and Louisiana paint a graphic picture of corporate money distorting democracy.

This report focuses on testing companies and for-profit online schools and doesn’t mention common core standards.  But think how easy (and necessary for increased profits) it will be for these testing companies and on-line schools to use the mandated CCSS standards, assessments and resulting curricula.  It doesn’t matter so much to these companies/investors what students are learning, it’s that they are learning the same material so the process can be streamlined for the assessment/testing companies.

Does anyone seriously believe the push for CCSS is anything more than a money making scheme and to control educational content?  Why the clamor to sign on to assessments that were never even written?  Why are the standards/assessments copyrighted by private companies?  Why won’t states/school districts be able to adapt these standards/assessments?

Read again what Scott Joftus said in 2009 and understand what education reform is really about.  It’s never been “for the kids”.  Mr. Joftus may be discovering how making money in education reform is getting in the way of real teaching for his own children in his post When Education Reform gets Personal in EducationNext.org:

Over more than 20 years in the field of education—including two with Teach For America—I have helped promote state standards, the Common Core, the hiring of teachers with strong content knowledge, longer class periods for math and reading, and extra support for struggling students, to name a few. I have recently discovered, however, that what I believe as an education policy wonk is not always what I believe as a father.

In Montgomery County, Maryland, where I live, academic expectations are extremely high. Our school district aims to teach math, for example, in a rigorous way. I appreciate this goal, but to date “increased rigor” has primarily meant that some students skip grade-level math classes and enroll in classes meant for older kids. Basic skills that are taught and reinforced in the grades being skipped are often given short shrift. In 2nd grade, my daughter brought home worksheets on probability before she had any real understanding of the concept, or even a strong foundation in simple division. Her frustration with probability, and consequently math, grew as we substituted times-table drills for play dates. Last year, to my horror, she said that she hated math. This year, which has included an increased focus on math facts and an inspiring teacher, math has become her favorite subject.

He writes how a child in the foster system disrupted the class and took the teacher’s time and away from other children:

The tension between my understanding of good education policy—driven by a deep commitment to equity and the belief that an outstanding education can transform lives, and this country—and what is right for my daughters makes me both a better policy wonk and a better father. The tension also illustrates why school reform is so difficult.

I would suggest the educational reform currently being driven by leaders like Jeb Bush, Bill Gates, Achieve, David Coleman, etc won’t alleviate the types of problems Mr. Joftus details.  Living in the “Wild West” of education leaves much to be desired, even for the education reformers profiting from the wrangling of taxpayer money.

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Common Core Is An Insult to Everything Dr. King and President Lincoln Ever Taught

by C.E. White

This past week, President Obama was 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 bio-metric 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.

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