I spent about 70-75 hours researching this article on Common Core. Then I thought, what the heck, I can’t say it any better than the ones who wrote the original articles. So I am presenting the link to the article and then some quotes from it and then the next link and then quotes, etc. I urge you to click on the links and read the entire article.
Why the Common Core is Bad for America
Jonathan Butcher, Emmett McGroarty and Liv Finne
- The Common Core is the basis for a national curriculum and national test.
Federal law prohibits the U.S. Department of Education from “exercis[ing] any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction” or selection of “instruction[al] materials.” However, the Department circumvented these prohibitions by making Race to the Top funding and No Child Left Behind waivers contingent on a state’s adoption of the Common Core and the aligned assessments. Because curriculum must be aligned with standards and assessments, the Department would thus be able to exercise direction and control over curricula, programs of instruction, instructional materials.
- Three hundred prominent policymakers and education experts warn the Common Core will close the door on innovation.
Local control of public school curriculum and instruction has historically driven innovation and reform in education. A one-size-fits-all, centrally controlled curriculum for every K–12 subject threatens to close the door on educational innovation, freezing in place an unacceptable status quo and hindering efforts to develop academically rigorous curricula, assessments, and standards that meet the challenges that lie ahead. State and local leaders cannot change Common Core content or the assessments. There is no evidence that national standards alone lead to higher academic results.
There is no “best design” for curriculum sequences in any subject. Requiring a single set of curriculum guidelines at the high school level is questionable, given the diversity of adolescents’ interests, talents, and pedagogical (relating to or befitting a teacher) needs. American schools should not be constrained in the diversity of the curricula they offer to students. We should encourage — not discourage — multiple models.
- The Common Core standards are of insufficient quality.
Common Core’s standards are of insufficient quality to warrant being this country’s national standards.
The Common Core math standards fail to meet the content targets recommended by the National Mathematics Advisory Panel, the standards of leading states, and our international competitors. They exclude certain Algebra 2 and Geometry content that is currently a prerequisite at almost every four-year state college, essentially re-defining “college readiness” to mean readiness for a non-selective community college. They abandon the expectation that students take Algebra 1 in eighth grade. (This expectation is based upon what high-performing countries expect of their students, and has pushed about half of America’s students to take Algebra 1 by eighth grade). The Common Core math standards also require that geometry be taught by an experimental method that had never been used successfully anywhere in the world. The Common Core math standards do not teach least common denominators; delay until sixth grade fluency in division; eliminate conversions between fractions, decimals and percents; adopt a new definition of algebra as “functional algebra” that de-emphasizes algebraic manipulation.
In English Language Arts, Common Core standards are inadequate. The Common Core “college readiness” ELA standards can best be described as skill sets, not fully developed standards. As such, they cannot point to readiness for a high school diploma or four-year college coursework. Skill sets in themselves do not provide an intellectual framework for a coherent and demanding English curriculum. The Common Core document expects English teachers to spend over 50% of their reading instructional time on informational texts in a variety of subject areas, something English or reading teachers are not trained to teach. This requirement alone makes it impossible for English teachers to construct a coherent literature curriculum in grades 6–12. The ELA Common Core Standards will impair the preparation of students for competing in a global economy.
- The cost of the Common Core is considerable, yet unknown.
States and their taxpayers face significant increased costs in four areas: textbooks and instructional materials, professional development, assessments; and technology and infrastructure. One peer-reviewed study estimates this at $16 billion. The assessment costs will further increase if the consortia are unable to sufficiently refine technologies to score open-ended questions (such as short answer questions) for use in large-scale high-stakes testing. Few states have evaluated these issues.
The national standards are meant to replace the individual state standards now in place, some of which are said by educators to be essentially useless to guide instruction because they are too vague, poorly written and/or incomplete.
Many educators and parents oppose national standards, fearing that this will lead to a national curriculum and national assessment test that would take away local control of education as well affect how teachers operate in the classroom.
But even assuming that you don’t share those views and believe that national standards make sense, there are legitimate concerns about this Common Core effort and the notion that it is reasonable to ask every kid in every grade to know certain things.
The fact that it took well less than a year to write these very important standards doesn’t necessarily mean they are inadequate, but it makes me wonder.
The fact that few if any classroom teachers were involved in the drafting of the standards–(none were asked to help draft the No Child Left Behind law)–doesn’t necessarily make them inadequate, but it makes me wonder.
The fact that much of the drafting process was done in secrecy doesn’t necessarily make them inadequate, but it makes me wonder.
Achieve Inc is think tank located in Washington DC
http://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2012/04/06/what-is-achieve-inc-and-why-should-you-care/ set up by several teachers.
A very informative blog : http://bradleycountynews.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/common-core-30-years-of-progressive-education-reform-being-led-by-bill-ayers/ shows how The Coalition of Essential Schools (CES), a progressive education reform model, the CES schools received heavy funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Soros’ Open Society Institute, and the Carnegie Corporation. Ayers appointed Obama as board chairman. CES (likely under the advice of experienced community organizers lead by Barack Obama and Bill Ayers) recruited ACORN workers to manipulate and elbow their way onto local school councils and scream for reform. Chicago ACORN was paid to identify and train community members to become teachers in CES schools.
How on earth have left-wing educators in public classrooms been allowed to instruct Lone Star students to dress in Islamic garb, call the 9/11 jihadists “freedom fighters” and treat the Boston Tea Party participants as “terrorists”?
Here’s the dirty little secret: Despite the best efforts of vigilant parents, teachers and administrators committed to academic excellence, progressive activists reign supreme in government schools.
That’s because curriculum is king. The liberal monopoly on the modern textbook/curricular market remains unchallenged after a half-century. He who controls the textbooks, teaching guides and tests controls the academic agenda.
The Common Core English/language arts criteria call for students to spend only half of their class time studying literature, and only 30 percent of their class time by their junior and senior years in high school.
Under Common Core, classics such as “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” are of no more academic value than the pages of the Federal Register or the Federal Reserve archives — or a pro-Obamacare opinion essay in The New Yorker. Audio and video transcripts, along with “alternative literacies” that are more “relevant” to today’s students (pop song lyrics, for example), are on par with Shakespeare.
English professor Mary Grabar describes Common Core training exercises that tell teachers “to read Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address without emotion and without providing any historical context. Common Core reduces all ‘texts’ to one level: the Gettysburg Address to the EPA’s Recommended Levels of Insulation.” Indeed, in my own research, I found one Common Core “exemplar” on teaching the Gettysburg Address that instructs educators to “refrain from giving background context or substantial instructional guidance at the outset.”
Ze’ev Wurman, a prominent software architect, electrical engineer and longtime math advisory expert in California and Washington, D.C., points out that Common Core delays proficiency with addition and subtraction until 4th grade and proficiency with basic multiplication until 5th grade, and skimps on logarithms, mathematical induction, parametric equations and trigonometry at the high school level.
I cannot sum up the stakes any more clearly than Wurman did in his critique of this mess and the vested interests behind it:
“I believe the Common Core marks the cessation of educational standards improvement in the United States. No state has any reason left to aspire for first-rate standards, as all states will be judged by the same mediocre national benchmark enforced by the federal government. Moreover, there are organizations that have reasons to work for lower and less-demanding standards, specifically teachers unions and professional teacher organizations. While they may not admit it, they have a vested interest in lowering the accountability bar for their members. …This will be done in the name of ‘critical thinking’ and ’21st-century’ skills, and in faraway Washington, D.C., well beyond the reach of parents and most states and employers.”
Who Created the Common Core?
Because federal law prohibits the federal government from creating national standards and tests, the Common Core project was ostensibly designed as a state effort led by the National Governors Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and Achieve, a private consulting firm. The Gates Foundation provided more than $160 million in funding, without which Common Core would not exist.
The standards were drafted largely behind closed doors by academics and assessment “experts,” many with ties to testing companies. Education Week blogger and science teacher Anthony Cody found that, of the 25 individuals in the work groups charged with drafting the standards, six were associated with the test makers from the College Board, five with the test publishers at ACT, and four with Achieve. Zero teachers were in the work groups. The feedback groups had 35 participants, almost all of whom were university professors. Cody found one classroom teacher involved in the entire process. According to teacher educator Nancy Carlsson-Paige: “In all, there were 135 people on the review panels for the Common Core. Not a single one of them was a K–3 classroom teacher or early childhood professional.” Parents were entirely missing. K–12 educators were mostly brought in after the fact to tweak and endorse the standards—and lend legitimacy to the results.
http://michellemalkin.com/2013/08/14/stop-common-core-video-of-the-day-3-x-4-11/ A 22 minute video about how it is alright to get the wrong answer. (Don’t think we’ll be landing anybody else on the moon in my life time).
“Everyday Math.” Sounds harmless enough, right? It’s cleverly marketed as a “University of Chicago” program. (Anytime I hear the name Chicago- dirty politics is my first thought.) Impressive! Right? But then you start to sense something’s not adding up when your kid starts second grade and comes home with the same kindergarten-level addition and subtraction problems — for the second year in a row.
And then your child keeps telling you that the teacher isn’t really teaching anything, just handing out useless worksheets — some of which make no sense to parents with business degrees, medical degrees and Ph.D.s specializing in econometric analysis. And then you notice that it’s the University of Chicago education department, not the mathematics department, that is behind this nonsense.
And then you Bing (Google if you must) “Everyday Math” and discover that countless moms and dads just like you — and a few brave teachers with their heads screwed on straight — have had similarly horrifying experiences. Like the Illinois mom who found these “math” problems in the fifth-grade “Everyday Math” textbook:
- If math were a color, it would be –, because –. B. If it were a food, it would be –, because –. C. If it were weather, it would be –, because –.
And then you realize your child has become a victim of “Fuzzy Math,” the “New New Math,” the dumbed-down, politically correct, euphemism-filled edu-folly corrupting both public and private schools nationwide.
And this for simple multiplying:
The Common Core and edtech juggernauts have spread across the country with little resistance. The Gates mob has bought off the PTA. Privacy and cost concerns have been dismissed by condescending GOP elites such as Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee, even as reports from across the country expose the perils pitfalls, and profligacy of Common Core databases/devices/alignment.
“Common Core fundamentally alters the relationship between the federal government and the states,” says former Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott, the author of A Republic of Republics: How Common Core Undermines State and Local Autonomy over K-12 Education. “States are sacrificing their ability to inform what their students learn.”
Three federal laws explicitly prohibit the federal government from directing, supervising, funding, or controlling any nationalized standards, testing, or curriculum. Yet Race to the Top (RttT), a competitive $4.35 billion federal grant program, gave preference to states that adopted or indicated their intention to adopt Common Core and participated in one of two federally funded consortia developing assessments linked to Common Core.
Rotten to the Core: The Feds’ Invasive Student Tracking Database by Michelle Malkin Creators Syndicate Copyright 2012
(This is the fourth installment of a continuing series on nationalized academic standards known as the “Common Core.”)
While many Americans worry about government drones in the sky spying on our private lives, Washington meddlers are already on the ground and in our schools gathering intimate data on children and families.
Say goodbye to your children’s privacy. Say hello to an unprecedented nationwide student tracking system, whose data will apparently be sold by government officials to the highest bidders. It’s yet another encroachment of centralized education bureaucrats on local control and parental rights under the banner of “Common Core.”
As the American Principles Project, a conservative education think tank, reported last year, Common Core’s technological project is “merely one part of a much broader plan by the federal government to track individuals from birth through their participation in the workforce.” The 2009 porkulus package included a “State Fiscal Stabilization Fund” to bribe states into constructing “longitudinal data systems (LDS) to collect data on public-school students.”
These systems will aggregate massive amounts of personal data — health-care histories, income information, religious affiliations, voting status and even blood types and homework completion. The data will be available to a wide variety of public agencies. And despite federal student-privacy protections guaranteed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, the Obama administration is paving the way for private entities to buy their way into the data boondoggle. Even more alarming, the U.S. Department of Education is encouraging a radical push from aggregate-level data-gathering to invasive individual student-level data collection.
The National Education Data Model, available online at http://nces.sifinfo.org/datamodel/eiebrowser/techview.aspx?instance=studentElementarySecondary , lists hundreds of data points considered indispensable to the nationalized student tracking racket. These include:
–”Bus Stop Arrival Time” and “Bus Stop Description.”
–”Diseases, Illnesses and Other Health Conditions.”
–”Telephone Number Type” and “Telephone Status.”
Home-schoolers and religious families that reject traditional government education would be tracked. Original NEDM data points included hair color, eye color, weight, blood types and even dental status.
How exactly does amassing and selling such personal data improve educational outcomes? It doesn’t. This, at its core, is the central fraud of Washington’s top-down nationalized curricular scheme. The Bill Gates-endorsed Common Core “standards” are a phony pretext for big-government expansion. The dazzling allure of “21st-century technology” masks the privacy-undermining agenda of nosy bureaucratic drones allergic to transparency, accountability and parental autonomy.