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Saturday, March 01, 2014

Common Core Standards-A disaster in the making


 

Common Core Standards-A disaster in the making

By Rog Lucido

Horace (Rog) Lucido, now retired, taught high school physics and mathematics for over thirty-eight years as well as being both a university mentor and master teacher. He is the California Central Valley coordinator for the Assessment Reform Network and cofounder of Educators and Parents Against Testing Abuse (EPATA). He is the author of two books: Test, Grade and Score: Never More, 1993, and Educational Genocide: A Plague on our Children, 2010. He has written numerous articles on the impact of high-stakes testing as well as presenting workshops on Forgiving Learning.

 

It seems like education is on a never ending quest to be ‘reformed’. The current trend began with the successful USSR’s orbiting of Sputnik on October 4, 1957 and reached a crescendo in 1983 with the publication of ‘A Nation at Risk’. This flawed report spoke of a ‘rising level of mediocrity’ in our schools when in fact the evidence it cited was greatly skewed towards that desired outcome. (http://www.edutopia.org/landmark-education-report-nation-risk Engendering public fear, the message continues today: ‘American students are behind those of many countries. Our dominance of military and economic strength is on the decline. We are losing our competitiveness.’ The root cause of this false conclusion was laid at the feet of our schools by the US corporate world. But when viewed from an international perspective our perceived ‘plight’ was due in fact not to schools but to American business and political failings.

The World Economic Forum researchers have concluded that the U.S. economic competitiveness has weaknesses. The report reads that the “weaknesses include the business communities' criticism of the public and private institutions, that there is a great lack of trust in politicians, and a lack of a strong relationships between government and business. And the U.S. debt continues to grow.” According to the World Economic Forum, student test scores on international tests in reading, mathematics and science were not even mentioned as connected to the weakening of the U.S.'s ability to compete. Period. (World Economic Forum Report, 2011/12 http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GCR_Report_2011-12.pdf ). Further, from renowned researcher Christopher H. Tienken in RANKINGS OF INTERNATIONAL ACHIEVEMENT TEST PERFORMANCE AND ECONOMIC STRENGTH: CORRELATION OR CONJECTURE? he states, “In the case of the United States, the data does not support the claim that a correlation exists between performance on international tests of mathematics and science and economic strength as measured by the Global Competitive Index.” http://journals.sfu.ca/ijepl/index.php/ijepl/article/view/110/44

With many studies demonstrating that 80 to 90 percent of student achievement is due to factors outside of school, how can we consider changes in our schooling as the solution to our economic problems?  Based on the principle that schools were the culprit, over the last thirteen years Congress and the 2001 administration charged ahead with a ‘plan’ that was thought to fix all of this. The plan’s fundamental paradigm was for each state to create a set of educational standards, ask educators to teach to those standards, test student mastery of those standards, report their results back to the US Department of Education, and determine if each state is progressing at a predetermined rate that would culminate in 2014 with all students being proficient in Mathematics and English Language Arts.

This ‘plan’ was the genesis of today’s high-stakes testing culture. They are called-high stakes tests because the scores are then used to judge students, teachers, schools, districts and states. These scores are not a valid way to make educational decisions.( see Educational Genocide- A Plague on our Children http://www.amazon.com/Educational-Genocide-Plague-Our-Children/dp/1607097184/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1365025395&sr=1-1 ) If schools did not make adequate yearly progress on student proficiency percentages they were met with varying degrees of sanctions. Districts, schools and teachers came under more and more restrictive and proscriptive mandates or their schools were reconstituted with new administrators and teachers with state ‘take-over’ as the ultimate punishment.

This ‘plan’- never tested for its effectiveness before enactment- was the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The results are now evident: academic stagnation. It did not work. Recent attempts at NCLB revival include waivers directed at states and districts escaping the law’s harsh sanctions as well as stimulation with the ‘Race to the Top’ funding program. Both of these are hinged on states accepting a set of national education standards called the ‘Common Core Standards’ along with national testing to follow. Once again this new ‘plan’ was never piloted and has no evidence of success.

The Common Core Standards were developed by a collusion of the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers with primary funding from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other business and special interests. So, here we are again trying to solve an ill-defined business problem with an untested school solution, neither of which comes from educators.  Common Core was not ‘state-led’ as many were led to believe.  It is corporate centered not student centered.

Emmett Mc Groarty, executive director of American Principles in Action said that states were "herded" into adopting the standards with no time to deliberate on their worth. He called the standards ‘mediocre’ and costly to implement. Former Texas state commissioner Robert Scott stated, “And it was about control totality from some education reform groups who candidly admit their real goal here is to create a national marketplace for education products and services.”

The US Department of Education (USDOE) is forbidden by law from creating a national curriculum. Curriculum is a states’ right. USDOE got around this by making acceptance of a national set of standards the critical criteria for states applying for millions of dollars in both Race to the Top funding and NCLB waiver requirements. Essentially saying, “Accept these standards or else you will not qualify.” On top of this legal chicanery, these standards are not all they are cracked up to be. By just evaluating two states standards The Pioneer Institute found:

‘Our analysis of Common Core’s mathematics and ELA standards, and the evidence we provide, do not support the conclusion drawn by many other reviewers that Common Core’s standards provide a stronger and more challenging framework for the mathematics and English language arts curriculum than (or an equally as challenging framework as) California’s and Massachusetts’ standards have provided. Common Core’s standards will not prepare more high school students for authentic college-level work than standards in these states have prepared. To the contrary, they may lead to fewer high school students prepared for authentic college-level work. We offer these recommendations to states that are adopting Common Core’s standards.’


 

Not only are California’s current standards considered the best in the nation by the Fordham Foundation and the Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research but they are on par with those of the most respected educational systems in the world. In testimony about the Common Core,  R. James Migram, Ph.D.You +1'd this publicly. Undo emeritus professor of mathematics at Stanford University,  stated, “Also among these difficulties are that a large number of the arithmetic and operations, as well as the place value standards are one, two or even more years behind the corresponding standards for many if not all the high achieving countries.”

Of what value is there for all the states in the US to have the same standards? Student mobility between states is between 1 and 3 percent-hardly a reason to have common standards. It would seem to follow that those states with a 'better' set of common standards would be more financially competitive than any other state. If you look at the top ten 'competitive' states http://www.siteselection.com/issues/2011/may/comp-awards.cfm and examine the criteria on which their 'competitiveness' is based (bottom of page), you will not see even a reference to any educational attainments by their students, k-12 nor university!

 

Why would we then think that if the US had a common set of standards, i.e. ‘common core’, across all of our states that this would be the hallmark which would raise our status in comparison with other countries in our passion to be ‘globally competitive’? As far as global competitiveness is concerned, having a set of national standards does not make one country any more successful than any other. As an example, in California alone we have over 1000 school districts and each one of them has used California’s world class standards for over 10 years. Yet even with this commonality and quality, California has not distinguished itself above every other of the 50 states-each of which has their own set of state standards. If you consider each California school ‘district’ as a state, even having common high quality standards is not the solution to improving student learning. The quality of standards has not mattered. From 2003 to 2009, states with terrific standards raised their National Assessment of Educational Progress scores by roughly the same margin as states with awful ones.” http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/04/18/28loveless_ep.h31.html

There are 46 states that had originally accepted the common core standards and the associated testing to follow. But as of March 3 of this year there are thirteen of these states in various stages of rescinding their original approval. https://www.box.com/s/0jcz6zo5otf0ojtfe3tu . Each state has its own reasons. Some are based on principles such as:

-The common core is an infringement on states’ rights.

-States were pressured into signing on without time to consider all ramifications.

-There is no evidence that these national standards will improve student learning.

Some reasons are based on enormous taxpayer costs. These new standards would require new textbooks, ancillary materials, ongoing teacher training time and the expensive salaries of outside consultants. And as if this is not costly enough, the testing alone is being developed using an online format where students will be tested while sitting at a computer. Districts will be required to take on the cost of upgrading schools’ computer and network capabilities to handle the testing. In California alone Education Reporter states that ‘The California Department of Education estimates that Common Core will cost the state about $760 million. Outside estimates place California's fiscal commitment at up to $1.6 billion. California already expects a $3 billion deficit at the end of fiscal year 2011, and a $10 billion deficit in 2012-13. In addition, General Fund revenues for 2011-12 are lower than expected, triggering a $2 billion cut to state programs beginning in January. "Adding up to a billion-and-a-half-dollar expenditure to implement national standards under these circumstances is fiscal madness," said Lance Izumi, senior director of education studies at the Pacific Research Institute.’ http://www.eagleforum.org/educate/2012/jan12/common-core-standards.html  

When you now include the costs encumbered by each of the other 45 states that accept these standards as well as adding to this the amount of our tax dollars the USDOE is using to bankroll the development of the national tests, this now becomes a multi-billion dollar enterprise. This is a dead end street.

What business would invest in a product to sell unless it had been thoroughly tested to operate and produce the desired outcome? Yet, the corporate world is willing promote this Common Core effort with no evidence of its effectiveness for the students, themselves or the country. Why would they do this unless, in the process of the Common Core development, distribution and use they would be able to garner great profits with little risk? The vast majority of the capital necessary to implement the Common Core forward is coming from our state and national taxes not their coffers. Our billions in education tax dollars are up for grabs. New text books, ancillary materials, district/state pre-testing development to prepare for the national tests, teacher training and consulting services and more are the costs we will bear.

Californian’s need to become aware that all of this time, energy, and resources our schools will invest is coming from our classrooms and will provide no benefit to our students. Do not look for improved student engagement and learning. It will not happen.

Let these state officials know your thoughts and feelings about the Common Core Standards:

The Honorable Tom Torlakson
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
1430 N Street, Suite 5602
Sacramento, CA 95814-5901

916-319-0800

 

Senator Carol Liu

Chair of Education Committee

State Capitol, Room 5097
Sacramento, CA 95814


 

Assembly Member Joan Buchanan

Chair of the Education Committee

State Capitol, Room 2148,

Sacramento, CA 94248-0016


 

What else can you do when Common Core comes into your community?

 

Corporate and education supporters always say that they require data to ‘inform their decisions’. So ask local school boards/administrators for data showing Common Core will prepare students for college and the workplace. The fact is THERE ISN’T ANY. Ask local school boards/administrators for data that shows Common Core will prepare students to compete in the global economy. Again, THERE ISN’T ANY.

 

They can’t give you data, so refuse to give them data OPT STUDENTS OUT OF Common Core TESTING. See: http://www.eduperspectivescv.org/opting-out

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Common Core Exposed

In the ongoing effort to debunk the Common Core Standards and associated testing, I have created a PowerPoint called Common Core Exposed. I have posted it in two downloadable versions. The first is a Read Only version that can be used at one’s own pace for presentations at school boards, parent meetings and the like. References for each slide are below each slide by just hitting Esc on your keyboard. The second version is that same PowerPoint made into a YouTube movie  ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lch0gNAdS6k&feature=youtu.be ) with music in the background that proceeds at a given rate. It can be paused and reinitiated with the spacebar if you need to take more time to read any given slide. The references on the movie version are on a set of slides at the end of the presentation. I hope you will find good uses for it and pass along those who you think may be interested. Links to both versions can be found at  http://www.laserpablo.com/teacherresources/teacherresources.htm . Just scroll to the bottom of the page to the right of my picture are the links.


I have also created a Facebook page called Stop Common Core in California’s Central Valley (https://www.facebook.com/stopcommoncorecentalvalleycalifornia)

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Teachers and test scores

In August, the Fresno Unified School District was given a one-year waiver from the U.S. Department of Education to be freed from the strict guidelines of No Child Left Behind. In turn, Fresno Unified agreed to find a way of connecting teacher evaluations to student annual test scores.

According to The Bee's Oct. 12 story, Rhonnie Tinsley, executive director of the Fresno Teachers Association, said of contract negotiations: "Teachers are especially concerned about changes to the ways they are evaluated. Under the deal, up to 30% of a teacher's annual review could be based on student achievement."

This year, Fresno Unified will make every effort to make the union appear to be the obstacle in Fresno Unified being freed from NCLB sanctions. Expect to hear statements like this: "See, we could be freed from the harsh effects of NCLB if the union would only agree to have 30% of teacher evaluations tied to student test scores."

In the fall of 2009, the National Research Council strongly rebuked the U.S. Department of Education for attempting to use student test scores for purposes specifically related to the evaluation of teachers. Student test data should not be used to determine teacher effectiveness.

Rog Lucido

Fresno

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

FUSD wins Gates grant but loses soul to Common Core


FUSD wins Gates grant but loses soul to Common Core

Who in their right mind would suggest undermining California’s excellent educational standards? But that is exactly what we are doing in accepting the Common Core Standards (CC). Not only are California’s current standards considered the best in the nation by the Fordham Foundation and the Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research but they are on par with those of the most respected educational systems in the world.  

The Common Core Standards were developed by circumventing the legislative process of each state by an unsolicited initiative of the National Governor’s Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers.  Driven by corporate interests, primary funding came from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It was not ‘state-led’ as we were coaxed to believe. Emmett Mc Groarty, executive director of American Principles in Action said that states were "herded" into adopting the standards with no time to deliberate on their worth. He called the standards ‘mediocre’ and costly to implement. Former Texas state commissioner Robert Scott stated, “And it was about control totality from some education reform groups who candidly admit their real goal here is to create a national marketplace for education products and services.”

While the US Department of Education is forbidden from creating a national curriculum they have gotten around this by making acceptance of a national set of standards critical criteria for states applying for millions of dollars in both Race to the Top funding and NCLB waiver requirements- essentially saying, “Accept national standards or else you will not qualify.” This is why California agreed to them.

In testimony about the Common Core,  R. James Milgram,  Ph.D.You +1'd this publicly. Undo emeritus professor of mathematics at Stanford University,  stated, “Also, among these difficulties are that a large number of the arithmetic and operations, as well as the place value standards are one, two or even more years behind the corresponding standards for many if not all the high achieving countries.”

More than ever teachers will be indoctrinated to prepare their students for this new type of testing. It will dominate the classroom and school focus like never before. Districts do not want a poor showing. Students and teachers will be score driven as students languish for genuine learning. Judgments about districts, schools, teachers and students hang in the balance.

The Bee reported that FUSD will use some of the gates money to “boost teacher effectiveness”. Effectiveness will be measured by the national CC tests. FUSD students will bear the brunt of even more testing and teacher evaluations will also be significantly impacted.  A national study released yesterday says, “Parents are rebelling against an over-emphasis on standardized testing. A 57% majority feels there is too much emphasis on testing today. A remarkable 59% say their own child has felt anxiety or worry about taking a state assessment, and 57% feel that test taking and test preparation are taking time away from teaching and learning in their children's schools.”

A researcher at the Brookings Institution think-tank projected Common Core will have no effect on student achievement. There is no evidence demonstrating that having national standards improve educational outcomes, or a track record showing that the Common Core Standards are rigorous and first-rate. Independent reviews have found its standards to be below those in the highest-performing countries and below those in states rated as having the best academic standards.

On top of this, implementation of the Common Core testing involves an infrastructure of computers, networks and supporting personnel. Much of the new national test will be taken online. Georgia dropped out of the testing collaboration on Monday with Pennsylvania, Alabama, Oklahoma and Utah having already withdrawn. There are strong indications that Florida and Indiana will be next. Texas, Alaska, Minnesota and Nebraska and Virginia never signed on in the first place. The Common Core is no longer ‘common’.

Education Reporter states, “The California Department of Education estimates that Common Core will cost the state about $760 million (1.2 billion has been allocated in the most recent California budget.) Outside estimates place California's fiscal commitment at up to $1.6 billion….Adding up to a billion-and-a-half-dollar expenditure to implement national standards under these circumstances is fiscal madness," said Lance Izumi, senior director of education studies at the Pacific Research Institute.

How can we sanely invest in a new set of standards that has neither track record nor evidence of being of any benefit to our students and our state? FUSD needs to return the money and remove our students and teachers from this new round of testing madness.   

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Forgiving Learning- Reform Begins in the Classroom


Rog Lucido: Forgiving Learning: Reform Begins in the Classroom

By Anthony Cody on April 6, 2013 8:02 AM

Guest post by Rog Lucido

It seems like education is on a never ending quest to be 'reformed'. The message continues today: 'American students are behind those of many countries. Our dominance of military and economic strength is on the decline. We are losing our competitiveness.' The root cause of this supposition is laid at the feet of our schools by the corporate world. With many studies demonstrating that 80 to 90 percent of student achievement is due to factors outside of school, how can we consider changes in our schooling as the solution to our business problems?

If we are to improve student engagement and learning, not for the sake of greater profits, but for the sake of our children, we need to start in the classroom. It is here where the rationale should be changed from other-centered to student-centered. Each student comes to us with their own unique personal history. But they all share a common humanity and are in possession of a human brain. This brain is the organ for learning -- not their liver or spleen! If we understand how the brain's neo-cortex works we will have a way of designing the classroom and school learning experiences to be brain-friendly. In schools we should not develop a learning system and then expect that all students will find learning accessible. Rather, we should seek the healthiest way to cooperate with brain functioning in learning and the best way to extract information from it.

We know the brain operates at peak efficiency when it is free from threat, when the relational tone in its surroundings are supportive and when food and shelter are sufficient. The brain is a pattern seeker. It wants to 'connect the dots' in any learning experience in or outside of school: "If I do this then the most plausible result will follow." It anticipates the future based on past results. It is continually experimenting, learning from its mistakes and stores those results in expectation of the next opportunity to try.

I once took my five children to a local lake which had a rocky shoreline. No sooner than they had exited the van did they run to the lakes edge. There was a buoy about thirty yards from shore. For over an hour they picked up various size stones and tried to hit the buoy. They rarely did. But they persisted. When they came in for lunch I told them that I was impressed with their desire to hit the buoy and asked them why they were doing it. Their answer to a person was, "It was fun!".None offered an 'excuse' for missing nor did I suggest any. I told them I would like to join them at the shores edge after lunch and record their hits and misses. They did not want me to do that. They told me it would take all the fun out of it. You see, they had accepted misses as part of their rock throwing process. Every throw had an excuse for missing but none was expected and none was given. They rejoiced whenever they got a hit.

In baseball a good hitter batting .300 gets a hit only 30% of the time. When he makes an out excuses could abound: "I was fooled.", " I swung too soon." "I swung too late". There is a lot of failure in baseball. Why do they still keep coming up to the plate? Each time at bat the player has another opportunity to have learned from their mistakes and improve. They have accepted failure as part of the batting process. They make their reasons for failure, their excuses, the motivation for progress. It is part of the game:

"I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost more than 300 games, and 26 times I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. Throughout my life and career I've failed and failed and failed again. And, that's why I succeed." -- Michael Jordan

This is one of the major problems in our schools. We spend much of our time recording hits and misses and subvert the natural learning process. We do not make processing of mistakes the centrepiece of the experience. One of my sons is a structural engineer. He tells me of the many times he must submit his renderings to his superiors and fellow engineers for review. He says they come back 'bleeding red'. He must repair his errors and resubmit over and over until they are correct. If not done properly the building could collapse. People's lives are at stake.

The common protocol for the classroom from kindergarten to university is for students to submit their work, where they are 'graded' and recorded. Then they go off to the next assignment oftentimes oblivious to what should have been understood, but focusing on the grade or score they received on that assignment or test. And so it goes over and over again, embedding in each student's brain that learning from one's mistakes is not the core value. They learn well that the resulting score on each assignment and the culminating grade is what is really important.

So how can Forgiving Learning (see Educational Genocide-A Plague on our Children) become part of the classroom environment? Begin by reducing the number of assignments. This will provide an opportunity for students to resubmit their work and for the instructor to evaluate it so that the final result is an assignment that is completed up to the teacher's standards of performance. Students are to redo their work until it is done satisfactorily without penalty, no matter how many times it is resubmitted-their errors are forgiven. They do not have to worry about being penalized but just focus on mastering the concepts. Use the same process on tests, quizzes, projects and the like. They are given the opportunity to master the concepts or procedure until it is done properly.

Have you ever attended the rehearsal of a performance or a team installing a new athletic play? Does the 'coach' watch them then walk up to each individual with a grade or score and then leave? Or do participants do it over and over until they have mastered the scene or play as the coach tells each one with words what they are doing right, what they are doing wrong and how to improve? They do it over and over without penalty until the coach is satisfied. This encourages persistence -- a critical life skill.

Our students need to be given the freedom to learn from their mistakes in the classroom environment. The classroom protocol must have forgiveness of errors with the opportunity to reengage as a fundamental element of its process. Education needs to wake up and teach to the human condition. Our children's lives are at stake.

What do you think about embedding 'Forgiving Learning' in the classroom?

Horace (Rog) Lucido, now retired, taught high school physics and mathematics for over thirty-eight years as well as being both a university mentor and master teacher. He is the California Central Valley coordinator for the Assessment Reform Network and cofounder of Educators and Parents Against Testing Abuse (EPATA). He is the author of two books: Test, Grade and Score: Never More, 1993, and Educational Genocide: A Plague on our Children, 2010. He has written numerous articles on the impact of high-stakes testing as well as presenting workshops on Forgiving Learning.

 
http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/2013/04/rog_lucido_forgiving_learning_.html

Monday, February 25, 2013

Un-Common Core Questions and Research Summary


Un-Common Core Questions and Research Summary

Mission Statement- http://www.corestandards.org/ (from the CC website)


The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.

This information is arranged under five basic numbered questions.

1-Who made up the cc standards?:

2-What is the Quality of C.C. standards?

3-Is student mobility a reason for common standards?

4-What evidence is there that common standards will increase a nation’s global economic and academic ‘competitiveness’?

5- What is important fallout from C.C. standards?

Under each question is the title, author and url of a referenced article in bold and italicized. Under each of these are the selected quotes that I believe get to the heart of the matter.

1-Who made up the cc standards?:

Opposition to Common Core Grows Across the Political Spectrum-Anthony Cody on February 4, 2013 11:21 AM http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/2013/02/opposition_to_common_core_coul.html

When Clinton created the Department of Education, he was forced to include language that forbade the creation of national standards - which is why we have this elaborate Common Core process under way now, supposedly led by the states.

School-Standards Pushback: Conservative Groups Oppose National 'Common Core' as an Intrusion on States-— Stephanie Banchero-Wall Street Journal May 09, 2012
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303630404577390431072241906.html?mod=wsj_share_tweet

Contrary to proponents’ claims, the Common Core Initiative is not 'stateled,' but rather the Common Core (CC) standards were created and funded by special interests. States had little to no input.

The federal government has coerced states into accepting the CC standards, by tying their adoption to Race to the Top funding, No Child Left Behind waivers, etc.

The voluntary academic standards, which specify what students should know in each grade, were heavily promoted by the Obama administration through its $4.35 billion Race to the Top education-grant competition. States that instituted changes such as common learning goals received bonus points in their applications.

The federal government is funding the creation of the tests that will be aligned with CC and what's on the tests will dictate what's taught in the classroom. The inevitable result will be a national curriculum controlled by the federal government.

A state must accept the CC standards word for word. It may add 15% content but may not subtract anything. Anything it adds will not be included on the national tests.

Common Core evolved from a drive by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers to delineate world-class skills students should possess. The standards, created with funding from, among others, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, set detailed goals, such as first graders should understand place values in math and eighth graders should know the Pythagorean Theorem.

Critics argue that the standards are weak and could, for example, de-emphasize literature in favor of informational texts, such as technical manuals.


A study released this year by a researcher at the Brookings Institution think tank projected Common Core will have no effect on student achievement. The study said states with high standards improved their national math and reading scores at the same rate as states with low standards from 2003 to 2009.

But Emmett McGroarty, executive director of American Principles in Action, a conservative lobbying group that wrote the ALEC resolution, said states were "herded" into adopting the standards with no time to deliberate on their worth. He called the standards "mediocre" and costly to implement.

Former Texas education commissioner,Robert Scott, blasts Common Core process — updateWashington Post Answer Sheet-February 13, 2012
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/02/13/former-education-commissioner-blasts-common-core-process/

My experience with the Common Core actually started when I was asked to sign on to them before they were written. . . . I was told I needed to sign a letter agreeing to the Common Core, and I asked if I might read them first, which is, I think, appropriate. I was told they hadn't been written, but they still wanted my signature on the letter. And I said, 'That's absurd; first of all, I don't have the legal authority to do that because our [Texas] law requires our elected state board of education to adopt curriculum standards with the direct input of Texas teachers, parents and business. So adopting something that was written behind closed doors in another state would not meet my state law.'. . . I said, 'Let me take a wait-and-see approach.' If something remarkable was in there that I found that we did not have in ours that I would work with our board . . . and try to incorporate into our state curriculum . . .

Then I was told, 'Oh no no, a state that adopts Common Core must adopt in its totality the Common Core and can only add 15 percent.' It was then that I realized that this initiative which had been constantly portrayed as state-led and voluntary was really about control. It was about control. Then it got co-opted by the Department of Education later. And it was about control totality from some education reform groups who candidly admit their real goal here is to create a national marketplace for education products and services.

Even more troubling to me was the lack of transparency. . . . These standards sere written behind closed doors. . . . We didn't know who the writers were until the project was complete.

Here is the central tenet he was to sign:

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) shall assume responsibility for coordinating the process that will lead to state adoption of a common core set of standards. These organizations represent governors and state commissioners of education who are charged with defining K-12 expectations at the state level. As such, these organizations will facilitate a state-led process to develop a set of common core standards in English language arts and math that are:


Dec 04, 2011 09:00 AM EST The Washington Post-By Valerie Strauss

This was written by Joanne Yatvin, a longtime public school educator, author and past president of the National Council of Teachers of English. She teaches part-time at Portland State University and is writing a book on good teaching in high poverty schools.

But in looking through the names, titles and institutions of the fifty people who made up the ELA development team, I was able to identify only one current elementary teacher. All the rest, were college/university professors, state or school district administrators, or representatives of private educational companies.

Closing the Door on Innovation-Common Core Standards-Conservatives http://www.k12innovation.com/Manifesto/_V2_Home.html 5/6/11

First, there is no constitutional or statutory basis for national standards, national assessments, or national curricula. The two testing consortia funded by the U.S. Department of Education have already expanded their activities beyond assessment, and are currently developing national curriculum guidelines, models, and frameworks in accordance with their proposals to the Department of Education (see the Appendix). Department of Education officials have so far not explained the constitutional basis for their procedures or forthcoming products.

 

Whoo-Hoo! Occupy the Schools-out with Common Core-By Susan Ohanian on February 19, 2013 9:29 pm /    http://www.dailycensored.com/woo-hoo/#commentspost

When the federal government made $4.35 billion in federal Race to the Top awards available—favoring applicants that agree to link teacher pay to test score gains, increase the number of charter schools, and adopt common curriculum standards—the Gates Foundation paid for consultants to prepare applications for 24 states, as well as the District of Columbia. One of two winners announced so far is Tennessee, which had help from Gates. The state will receive about $500 million from the Obama administration.

The Gates Foundation, which bankrolled development of the common curriculum standards, is also funding outside evaluations—by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute in Washington and the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education—of those same standards.

Here are the significant players in deforming school curriculum and testing and their Gates haul:

• Achieve, Inc.: $25,787,051
• The Council of Chief State School Officers: $71,302,833
• National Governors Association Center for Best Practices: $30,679,116

Although the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation paid for the CCSS, the new, super-duper assessments traveling with those standards are funded by you and me. The U. S. Department of Education gave $335 million to the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)and the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium to develop computer-based tests for grades 3-12. They both plan a lot of testing, and costs of hardware and software requirements, of rewiring school buildings and buying computers that meet the specifications are on the backs of local taxpayers.

Won't Get Fooled Again? Reasons to Resist the Common Core-2/9/13 by Michael Paul Goldenberg- http://rationalmathed.blogspot.com/2013/02/wont-get-fooled-again-reasons-to-resist.html

Much research indicates that such reforms are fated to fail badly because few at the ground level were given a real voice in the process. Despite the propaganda that this is a state-led reform effort, it is in fact a federal one, supported primarily by corporate interests who are playing this opportunity for all it's worth -- new textbooks, new assessments, and new professional development all lining the pockets of the publishers and testing companies.

2-What is the Quality of C.C. standards?

Choking on the Common Core Standards-Dec 04, 2011 09:00 AM EST-TheWashingtonPost

 


This was written by Joanne Yatvin, a longtime public school educator, author and past president of the National Council of Teachers of English. She teaches part-time at Portland State University and is writing a book on good teaching in high poverty schools.

Reading through the whole list of ELA standards several times, I marked 18 others in reading, writing, speaking or language that I consider inappropriate for elementary level students because of the emphasis on skills or knowledge that children have not yet developed.

Closing the Door on Innovation-Common Core Standards-Conservatives http://www.k12innovation.com/Manifesto/_V2_Home.html 5/6/11

Second, there is no consistent evidence that a national curriculum leads to high academic achievement. The Shanker Manifesto suggests that the only possible way to achieve high academic achievement is through a single national curriculum. Yet France and Denmark have centralized national curricula and do not show high average achievement on international tests or a diminishing gap between high- and low-achieving students. Meanwhile, Canada and Australia, both of which have many regional curricula, achieve better results than many affluent single-curriculum nations.

Third, the national standards on which the administration is planning to base a national curriculum are inadequate. If there are to be national academic-content standards, we do not agree that Common Core's standards are clear, adequate, or of sufficient quality to warrant being this country's national standards. Its definition of "college readiness" is below what is currently required to enter most four-year state colleges. Independent reviews have found its standards to be below those in the highest-performing countries and below those in states rated as having the best academic standards

Common Sense Vs. Common Core: How to Minimize the Damages of the Common Core -6/17/12 by Yong Zhao http://zhaolearning.com/2012/06/17/common-sense-vs-common-core-how-to-minimize-the-damages-of-the-common-core/

The Common Core has not been tested. If anything, standards and testing in the U.S. have not amounted much in curing the ills of inequality and inefficiency. "On the basis of past experience with standards, the most reasonable prediction is that the common core will have little to no effect on student achievement," Tom Loveless of the Brookings Institute predicts based on his analysis of America's past experiences with standards. (The quality of standards has not mattered. From 2003 to 2009, states with terrific standards raised their National Assessment of Educational Progress scores by roughly the same margin as states with awful ones….I don't know anyone who believes something as silly as the power of standards to effect change from the shelf. The people who raise this point are really asserting something about implementation: that past standards-setters in education didn't appreciate the importance of implementation, that they employed the wrong implementation strategies, or that they did not possess today's new, more powerful strategies…..I don't know of a single state that adopted standards, patted itself on the back, and considered the job done. Not one. States have tried numerous ways to better their schools through standards. And yet, good and bad standards and all of those in between, along with all of the implementation tools currently known to policymakers, have produced outcomes that indicate one thing: Standards do not matter very much….But states with bad standards have succeeded in making NAEP gains that are statistically indistinguishable from those of states with good standards. How can that be if good standards are necessary?...)

Common Core’s Standards Still Don’t Make the Grade -7/10


by Sandra Stotsky and Ze’ev Wurman

 

Our analysis of Common Core’s mathematics andELA standards, and the evidence we provide, do not support the conclusion drawn by many other reviewers that Common Core’s standards provide a stronger and more challenging framework for the mathematics and English language arts curriculum than (or an equally as challenging framework as) California’s and Massachusetts’ standards have provided. Common Core’s standards will not prepare more high school students for authentic college-level work than standards in these states

have prepared. To the contrary, they may lead to fewer high school students prepared for authentic college-level work. We offer these recommendations to states that are adopting Common Core’s standards.

 

Dangerous Blind Spots in the Common-Core Standards By William G. Wraga http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2010/08/18/01wraga.h30.html

The final version of the common-core standards for math and English/language arts, released in June by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association, contain two educational blind spots that, if ignored, can undermine not only the quality of public education, but also the strength of our democracy. The standards devote insufficient attention to the need for an interdisciplinary curriculum, and represent a contracted view of the “common core” that disregards the role of schools in preparing students for citizenship.

Both blind spots stem from the disciplinary myopia that characterizes the standards. They were developed with a technical emphasis on disciplinary research and practice—at the neglect of a broad view of the entire curriculum and of the function of education in a democracy.


What evidence is there that national standards will improve student achievement on domestic and international tests? http://larrycuban.wordpress.com/2012/09/27/evidence-vs-research-the-case-of-the-common-core-standards/ - Larry Cuban,September 27, 2012

Answer: None. Zip. Nada.


The lack of a systematic relationship is illustrated when reviewing the data for the “high” standards and the “low” standards states. Massachusetts, for instance, has high standards according to both the Fordham Foundation and the AFT and high NAEP scores. However, New Jersey has low quality content standards on both the Fordham Foundation and on the AFT scales, but scores comparably to Massachusetts on NAEP. Likewise, for gains in NAEP scores from 2000 to 2007, there is no systematic relationship between the “high” standards and the “low” standards states. California is given the highest Fordham Foundation rank and has high gains in NAEP scores. Arkansas, which receives a very low Fordham Foundation rank, has almost identical gains to California on NAEP from 2000 to 2007.

3-Is student mobility a reason for common standards?

Closing the Door on Innovation-Common Core Standards-Conservatives http://www.k12innovation.com/Manifesto/_V2_Home.html 5/6/11

The Census Bureau reports a total annual mobility rate of 12.5% in 2008-9,6 but only 1.6% of the total rate consists of inter-state moves that a national curriculum may influence. Other data indicate that inter-state mobility among school-age children is even lower, at 0.3%.

 

 

4-What evidence is there that common standards will increase a nation’s global economic and academic ‘competitiveness’?

The "Common Core" Standards Initiative: An Effective Reform Tool?, by William Mathis's report, http://epicpolicy.org/publication/common-core-standards

Answer: None. Zip. Nada.

Standards advocates argue that common standards are necessary for keeping the nation competitive in a global economy. But Mathis points out that research does not support this oft-expressed rationale. No studies support a true causal relationship between national standards and economic competitiveness, and at the most superficial level we know that nations with centralized standards generally tend to perform no better (or worse) on international tests than those without. Further, research shows that national economic competitiveness is influenced far more by economic decisions than by test scores.

Mathis also raises questions about the rapid development of the common-core standards, the lack of field testing, and the overarching need for any high-stakes consequences to be "valid," pursuant to established professional guidelines. Given these concerns, he says that the prospect of positive effects on educational quality or equality "seems improbable."

Common Core State Standards: An Example of Data-less Decision Making-by Christopher Tienken2/1/11 http://www.aasa.org/uploadedfiles/publications/newsletters/jsp_winter2011.final.pdf

Some countries that rank higher on international tests have national standards and some do not. For example, Canada does not use common national standards, but scored well on the 2006 Progressin International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) of reading achievement (Mullis et al. 2006). Canadian students also scored well on the PISA 2003 and 2007 tests.

 

The U.S. has ranked either first or second out of 139 nations on the World Economic Forum‘s (2010) Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) eight out of the last 10 years and never ranked below sixth place during that period, regardless of results on international assessments and without adopting national curriculum standards.

 

No other country has ranked better consistently on the GCI. The U.S. workforce is one of the most productive in the world and best educated. Over 70% of recent high school graduates were enrolled in colleges and universities in 2009 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010). Approximately 30% of U.S. adults between ages 25-34 years-old have at least a bachelor‘s degree. Only six other industrialized nations have a higher percentage of their population holding at least a bachelor‘s degree (OECD, 2009) but their economies pale in comparison to the U.S.

 

It would seem to follow that those states with a 'better' set of common standards would be more financially competitive than any other state. If you look at the top ten 'competitive' states http://www.siteselection.com/issues/2011/may/comp-awards.cfm and examine the criteria on which their 'competitiveness' is based (bottom of page), you will not see even a reference to any educational attainments by their students, k-12 nor university!

 

Why would we then think that if the USA had a common set of standards, i.e. ‘common core’, across all of our states that this would be the hallmark which would raise our status in comparison with other countries in our passion to be ‘globally competitive’? As far as global competitiveness is concerned, having a set of national standards does not make one country any more successful than any other.

 

McCluskey (2010) reported that for the 27 nations with complete data sets that outranked the U.S. on the 2006 PISA science test, 10 of those nations did not have national standards whereas 12 of the 28 nations that ranked lower than the U.S. had national standards. The same pattern of mixed results held true for the 2007 Grade 8 TIMSS mathematics results. Although the eight countries that outranked the U.S. on that test had national standards so did 33 of the 39 countries that ranked lower (McCluskey, 2010). The students from the majority of nations with national standards ranked lower than the U.S. students. The same pattern held true for the TIMSS science assessment. More countries with national standards underperformed the U.S. than did countries without national standards.

 

Jack Hassard: Test-Based Reform: Where is the Common Core Leading Us?http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/2012/02/jack_hassard_test-based_reform.html


This model (CC standards) is rooted in the myth that the United States is not competitive in the global market place because our students don't perform at high enough levels on guess what: achievement tests. The truth is that the U.S. is very competitive, and has been for decades. With basing their thinking on test scores, politicians and think tank types have convinced the public that American schools are a failure, and the one kind of reform that will help us "race to the top" is driven by just one fact: we must raise test scores, and they must be raised every year. Get a grip.

Competitiveness of U.S. Citizens. The United States is economically competitive as reported in the World Economic Forum's 2010-2011 Global-Competitiveness report, and as reported by Iris Rotberg in her book Balancing Change and Tradition in Global Education Reform. According to the World Economic Forum report, the U.S. is one of only 35 countries in the world that are at the highest stage of development--the innovation-driven economy.

The United States now ranks fifth in the world in global competitiveness. This ranking has fallen one position, from a higher 4th to a lower 5th in the last year. At this time, the U.S. economy is the largest in the world. However, the World Economic Forum researchers have concluded that the U.S. economic competitiveness has weaknesses. The report reads that the weaknesses include the business communities' criticism of the public and private institutions, that there is a great lack of trust in politicians, and a lack of a strong relationships between government and business. And the U.S. debt continues to grow. (World Economic Forum Report, 2011 - 2012.

According to the World Economic Forum, student test scores on international tests in reading, mathematics and science were not related to the weakening of the U.S.'s ability to compete. Period.

 

5- What is important fallout from C.C. standards?

Choking on the Common Core Standards- The Washington Post- Dec 04, 2011 09:00 AM EST


This was written by Joanne Yatvin, a longtime public school educator, author and past president of the National Council of Teachers of English. She teaches part-time at Portland State University and is writing a book on good teaching in high poverty schools.

.. commercial publishers are racing to produce materials aligned with them, school districts are re-writing their curricula, testing companies are creating new tests to measure students competence, and teacher training specialists are offering standards workshops. Even some of the teachers who have lived through No Child Left Behind are resigned to this new swing of the pendulum and changing their classroom practices.

Common Sense Vs. Common Core: How to Minimize the Damages of the Common Core by Yong Zhao June 17, 2012
http://zhaolearning.com/2012/06/17/common-sense-vs-common-core-how-to-minimize-the-damages-of-the-common-core/

The Common Core will not make your children ready for college or a career. The future needs passionate, creative, collaborative innovators and entrepreneurs, not compliant, uniform test takers. The Common Core will not help the disadvantaged children do better either because the real problem is poverty, not standards in the classrooms.

 

Does the Common Core Matter? By Tom Lovelesshttp: www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/04/18/28loveless_ep.h31.html          

I have studied education reform and its implementation since I left the classroom in 1988. I don't know of a single state that adopted standards, patted itself on the back, and considered the job done. Not one. States have tried numerous ways to better their schools through standards. And yet, good and bad standards and all of those in between, along with all of the implementation tools currently known to policymakers, have produced outcomes that indicate one thing: Standards do not matter very much…."[G]ood and bad standards, … along with all of the implementation tools currently known to policymakers, have produced outcomes that indicate one thing: Standards do not matter very much."

Teacher: One (maddening) day working with the Common Core-Washington Post Answer Sheet-March 23, 2012 http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/teacher-one-maddening-day-working-with-the-common-core/2012/03/15/gIQA8J4WUS_blog.html

An exemplar is a prepackaged lesson which is supposed to align with the standards of the Common Core…. Each teacher read individually through the exemplar lesson on Lincoln’s speech. When we began discussing it, we all expressed the same conclusion: Most of it was too scripted. It spelled out what types of questions to ask, what types of questions not to ask, and essentially narrowed any discussion to obvious facts and ideas from the speech…. The exemplar, in fact, forbids teachers from asking students if they have ever been to a funeral because such questions rely “on individual experience and opinion,” and answering them “will not move students closer to understanding the Gettysburg Address.”… And when it came time to create our own lessons around the exemplar, three colleagues and I found ourselves using techniques that we know have worked to engage students — not what the exemplar puts forth.

The bottom line: The Common Core exemplar we worked with was intellectually limiting, shallow in scope, and uninteresting. I don’t want my lessons to be any of those things.

Whoo-Hoo! Occupy the Schools-out with Common Core-By Susan Ohanian on February 19, 2013 9:29 pm /    http://www.dailycensored.com/woo-hoo/#commentspost

This latest corporate reform plan, the Common Core State (sic) Standards (CCSS), eliminates community-based planning, destroys personal response to literature, and, instead of fostering education for individual need and the common good, puts children on a treadmill to becoming scared, obedient workers for the global economy.

Won't Get Fooled Again? Reasons to Resist the Common Core-2/9/13 by Michael Paul Goldenberg- http://rationalmathed.blogspot.com/2013/02/wont-get-fooled-again-reasons-to-resist.html

They can't go back to problems previously answered to revise answers that they gain insight about from questions asked later. They can't skip questions that baffle them initially and return to them when they choose, for whatever reason. The technology is designed to minimize the time for testing, reducing cost, appealing to students whose main desire is to be done with the process as quickly as they can, but at the price of losing their full opportunity to maximize their performance.

The highly-touted performance tasks that have the potential to make mathematics teachers really struggle with their classroom practice constitute a very small (and expensive to grade) percentage of these exams. Multiple-choice and short-answer items will still dominate, and so the process standards that precede the silly content standards will for the most part be ignored by generations of teachers who haven't the first clue about how to prepare students for such performance tasks nor the slightest inclination towards doing so.


 

Testing done at the end of the school year will be expanded to include all subjects that can be tested and more grade levels….This means about a 20-fold increase over NCLB.

Sources:
More grade levels to be tested: PARCC document:
http://www.parcconline.org/sites/parcc/files/PARCC%20MCF%20Response%20to%20Public%20Feedback_%20Fall%202011%20Release.pdf; Race to the top for tots: http://www.ed.gov/early-learning/elc-draft-summary.

Interim tests: Duncan, A. September 9, 2010. Beyond the Bubble Tests: The Next Generation of Assessments -- Secretary Arne Duncan's Remarks to State Leaders at Achieve's American Diploma Project Leadership Team Meeting:
http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/beyond-bubble-tests-next-generation-assessments-secretary-arne-duncans-remarks-state-l. The Blueprint, (op. cit.) p. 11. “U.S. Asks Educators to Reinvent Student Tests, and How They Are Given,” http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/03/education/03testing.html?_r=1

Zero evidence it will work: Nichols, S., Glass, G., and Berliner, D. 2006. High-stakes testing and student achievement: Does accountability increase student learning? Education Policy Archives 14(1).
http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v14n1/. Additional evidence in Krashen, S. NUT: No Unnecessary Testing. http://sdkrashen.com/index.php?cat=4  


Standards-driven education removes decisions from teachers and students and renders classrooms lifeless and functional, devoid of the pleasure and personal value of learning, discovering, and coming to be….. A call for "higher standards" speaks to our human quest for improvement, but that call conflates "standard" with "expectation," and the two terms are not synonymous in the way we need for improving education. Yes, we should have high expectations for teachers and students, but those expectations can never be and will never be any more "standard" than one human to the next. To standardize and prescribe expectations is, in fact, to lower them.