It Begins: Common Core Syndrome

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It Begins: Common Core Syndrome

Anx­i­ety attacks. Burst­ing into tears. Vom­it­ing. Headaches. Self-​mutilation.

Sounds like some­one suf­fer­ing from any of a few men­tal dis­or­ders, but this list of symp­toms is com­ing from a clin­i­cal social worker and psy­chol­o­gist in New York state. These symp­toms are being dis­played by chil­dren and the cause is Com­mon Core. Here is the tes­ti­mony from Mary Calamia at a Suf­folk, NY forum:

Read the text of Calamia’s tes­ti­mony. One excerpt worth highlighting:

A recent Cor­nell Uni­ver­sity study revealed that stu­dents who were overly stressed while prepar­ing for high stakes exams per­formed worse than stu­dents who expe­ri­enced less stress dur­ing the test prepa­ra­tion period. Their pre­frontal cor­texes — the same parts of the brain that we are pre­ma­turely try­ing to engage in our young­sters — were under-​performing.

We are deal­ing with real people’s lives here. Allow me intro­duce you to some of them:

…an entire third grade class that spent the rest of the day sob­bing after just one test­ing session,

…a 2nd grader who wit­nessed this and is now refus­ing to attend the 3rd grade — this 7-​year-​old is now being eval­u­ated for psy­chotropic med­ica­tion just to go to school,

…two 8-​year-​olds who opted out of the ELA exam and were pub­licly denied cook­ies when the teacher gave them to the rest of her third grade class,

…the teacher who, under duress, felt com­pelled to do such a thing,

…a sixth grader who once aspired to be a writer but now hates it because they “do it all day long — even in math,”

…a mother who has to leave work because her child is hys­ter­i­cal over his math home­work and his CPA grand­fa­ther doesn’t even under­stand it,

…and count­less other chil­dren who dread going to school, feel “stu­pid” and “like fail­ures,” and are now com­pletely turned off to education.

The early por­tions of the Com­mon Core (K-​3) have been protested the strongest in part because they are the most destruc­tive. The stan­dards set in these years are age inap­pro­pri­ate and are ask­ing kids to jump through hoops they have no hope of reach­ing even with a lad­der. It’s break­ing the spir­its of the best and the bright­est. The stan­dards do not even remotely line up with the doc­u­mented cog­ni­tive and devel­op­men­tal stages for chil­dren. A quick refresher of Piaget’s stages in rela­tion to a First grader of an age range of 6 to 7:

Sec­ond cog­ni­tive devel­op­ment stage: The pre­op­er­a­tional period (two to seven years)Pre­op­er­a­tional Phase (two to four years)

Increased use of ver­bal rep­re­sen­ta­tion, but speech is ego­cen­tric. The begin­nings of sym­bolic rather than sim­ple motor play. Trans­duc­tive rea­son­ing. Can think about some­thing with­out the object being in front of them by using lan­guage to describe it.

Intu­itive Phase (four to seven years)

Speech becomes more social, less ego­cen­tric. The child has an intu­itive grasp of log­i­cal con­cepts but these are crude and irre­versible. At this stage, kids believe in mag­i­cal increases and decreases – their sense of real­ity is not firm and it is their per­cep­tions of the world that dom­i­nate their judg­ments. In moral-​ethical realm, the child is not able to show prin­ci­ples under­ly­ing best behav­iour. For exam­ple, they can’t under­stand the rea­son­ing behind the rules of a game, but can under­stand sim­ple do’s and don’ts imposed by authority.

Third cog­ni­tive devel­op­ment stage: Con­crete oper­a­tions (seven to 12 years)

There is now evi­dence for organ­ised, log­i­cal thought. There is the abil­ity to clas­sify many tasks, order objects in a log­i­cal sequence, and com­pre­hend the prin­ci­ple of con­ser­va­tion. Think­ing becomes less ego­cen­tric. The child is capa­ble of con­crete problem-​solving.

Now, con­sider these stan­dards (below) for First grade, remem­ber­ing you are talk­ing about 6 and 7-​year-​old children:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1 Demon­strate com­mand of the con­ven­tions of stan­dard Eng­lish gram­mar and usage when writ­ing or speaking.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1a Print all upper– and low­er­case letters.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1b Use com­mon, proper, and pos­ses­sive nouns.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1c Use sin­gu­lar and plural nouns with match­ing verbs in basic sen­tences (e.g., He hops; We hop).
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1d Use per­sonal, pos­ses­sive, and indef­i­nite pro­nouns (e.g., I, me, my; they, them, their, any­one, everything).
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1e Use verbs to con­vey a sense of past, present, and future (e.g., Yes­ter­day I walked home; Today I walk home; Tomor­row I will walk home).
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1f Use fre­quently occur­ring adjectives.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1g Use fre­quently occur­ring con­junc­tions (e.g., and, but, or, so, because).
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1h Use deter­min­ers (e.g., arti­cles, demonstratives).
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1i Use fre­quently occur­ring prepo­si­tions (e.g., dur­ing, beyond, toward).
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1j Pro­duce and expand com­plete sim­ple and com­pound declar­a­tive, inter­rog­a­tive, imper­a­tive, and exclam­a­tory sen­tences in response to prompts.

The list starts out o.k. then turns into a set of skills these kids won’t be able to grasp, much less mas­ter, until much later. These kids are just learn­ing to be pro­fi­cient read­ers, they are build­ing vocab­u­lary and this should be a time for increas­ing their con­fi­dence, not tear­ing it down. They are con­crete thinkers, not abstract thinkers. As Piaget out­lines, much of their lan­guage acqui­si­tion, writ­ing and read­ing skills are founded in con­crete terms and have trou­ble with deduc­tive logic. Kids in First grade arguably are still in the pre-​operational stage.

Con­sider also that there are com­pre­hen­sion com­po­nents and writ­ing com­po­nents to the ELA (Eng­lish Lan­guage Arts) por­tion of Com­mon Core as on top of this list. Part of the writ­ing com­po­nent involves get­ting kids to write per­sua­sion pieces requir­ing abstract thought and infer­ence cre­ation. That is some­thing that kids won’t have until Piaget’s 4th stage of cog­ni­tive devel­op­ment… at 12 years old. Small won­der kids are melt­ing down right and left. These stan­dards are not just ask­ing a kid to swim before they can walk, they are throw­ing them in the deep end of the pool and mark­ing them down when they drown. This is child abuse. We now have COM­MON CORE SYN­DROME.

How In The World Did This Happen?

How did this hap­pen? That’s what I asked myself as I became more famil­iar with the early ed por­tion of Com­mon Core. Well, would you believe that no early edu­ca­tion pro­fes­sion­als or teach­ers were part of the 135 per­son “com­mit­tee” that assem­bled the stan­dards? That’s exactly what hap­pened. When the stan­dards reached light of day, it was too late. States had already adopted them.Early edu­ca­tion pro­fes­sion­als “shocked” by what they saw.

Recent cri­tiques of the Com­mon Core Stan­dards by Mar­ion Brady and John T. Spencer have noted that the process for cre­at­ing the new K-​12 stan­dards involved too lit­tle research, pub­lic dia­logue, or input from edu­ca­tors. The Wash­ing­ton Post reprinted part of an arti­cle by Edward Miller and Nancy Carlsson-​Paige, which lays bare the lack of input by early edu­ca­tors in the cre­ation of the standards:

Nowhere was this more star­tlingly true than in the case of the early child­hood stan­dards — those imposed on kinder­garten through grade 3. We reviewed the makeup of the com­mit­tees that wrote and reviewed the Com­mon Core Stan­dards. In all, there were 135 peo­ple on those pan­els. Not a sin­gle one of them was a K-​3 class­room teacher or early child­hood professional.

It appears that early child­hood teach­ers and child devel­op­ment experts were excluded from the K-​3 standards-​writing process.

When the stan­dards were first revealed in March 2010, many early child­hood edu­ca­tors and researchers were shocked. “The peo­ple who wrote these stan­dards do not appear to have any back­ground in child devel­op­ment or early child­hood edu­ca­tion,” wrote Stephanie Feeney of the Uni­ver­sity of Hawaii, chair of the Advo­cacy Com­mit­tee of the National Asso­ci­a­tion of Early Child­hood Teacher Educators.

In 2010, 500 early edu­ca­tion pro­fes­sion­als penned a joint state­ment out­lin­ing some of the major flaws in the K-​3 Stan­dards and call­ing on the National Gov­er­nors Asso­ci­a­tion (NGA) and the Coun­cil of Chief State School Offi­cers (CCSSO) to sus­pend said por­tion of the stan­dards. To date, they have refused.

Quick Related Comment

The NC Gen­eral Assembly’s Com­mon Core Study Com­mit­tee is meet­ing next week for the first time. We’ve heard rum­blings that Com­mon Core lov­ing Jeb Bush’s crew are just going to hap­pen to be in Raleigh for it. Con­ve­nient. Par­ents are orga­niz­ing to show up and be seen even if we will not be heard until the next meet­ing some­time in early Jan­u­ary. If you know some­one in North Car­olina who has a child grap­pling with Com­mon Core, please con­sider pass­ing this arti­cle on to them.

The meet­ing is hap­pen­ing Tues­day, Decem­ber 17 at 1:00 PM, 643 LOB. More details in the link below or stop by Stop​Com​mon​CoreNC​.org:

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It’s Thurs­day and the first week of Decem­ber remains lean.

We are a full $254 shy of this week’s goal with under three days left. This means that to make a full pay­check that pays the mort­gage and the Mag­nif­i­cent Seven like AP above we have to pull a full 75% of the goal in the last three days.

We can do it but only if you hit DaTip­Jar below.

We are 63 sub­scribers at $20 a month to make mort­gage and pay­roll with­out shak­ing the tip jar daily, please con­sider being a sub­scriber by hit­ting DaTip­Jar below:




Anxiety attacks. Bursting into tears. Vomiting. Headaches. Self-mutilation.

Sounds like someone suffering from any of a few mental disorders, but this list of symptoms is coming from a clinical social worker and psychologist in New York state. These symptoms are being displayed by children and the cause is Common Core.  Here is the testimony from Mary Calamia at a Suffolk, NY forum:

 

 

Read the text of Calamia’s testimony.  One excerpt worth highlighting:

A recent Cornell University study revealed that students who were overly stressed while preparing for high stakes exams performed worse than students who experienced less stress during the test preparation period. Their prefrontal cortexes—the same parts of the brain that we are prematurely trying to engage in our youngsters—were under-performing.

We are dealing with real people’s lives here. Allow me introduce you to some of them:

…an entire third grade class that spent the rest of the day sobbing after just one testing session,

…a 2nd grader who witnessed this and is now refusing to attend the 3rd grade—this 7-year-old is now being evaluated for psychotropic medication just to go to school,

…two 8-year-olds who opted out of the ELA exam and were publicly denied cookies when the teacher gave them to the rest of her third grade class,

…the teacher who, under duress, felt compelled to do such a thing,

…a sixth grader who once aspired to be a writer but now hates it because they “do it all day long—even in math,”

…a mother who has to leave work because her child is hysterical over his math homework and his CPA grandfather doesn’t even understand it,

…and countless other children who dread going to school, feel “stupid” and “like failures,” and are now completely turned off to education.

The early portions of the Common Core (K-3) have been protested the strongest in part because they are the most destructive.  The standards set in these years are age inappropriate and are asking kids to jump through hoops they have no hope of reaching even with a ladder. It’s breaking the spirits of the best and the brightest. The standards do not even remotely line up with the documented cognitive and developmental stages for children. A quick refresher of Piaget’s stages in relation to a First grader of an age range of 6 to 7:

Second cognitive development stage: The preoperational period (two to seven years)Preoperational Phase (two to four years)

Increased use of verbal representation, but speech is egocentric. The beginnings of symbolic rather than simple motor play. Transductive reasoning. Can think about something without the object being in front of them by using language to describe it.

Intuitive Phase (four to seven years)

Speech becomes more social, less egocentric. The child has an intuitive grasp of logical concepts but these are crude and irreversible. At this stage, kids believe in magical increases and decreases – their sense of reality is not firm and it is their perceptions of the world that dominate their judgments. In moral-ethical realm, the child is not able to show principles underlying best behaviour. For example, they can’t understand the reasoning behind the rules of a game, but can understand simple do’s and don’ts imposed by authority.

Third cognitive development stage: Concrete operations (seven to 12 years)

There is now evidence for organised, logical thought. There is the ability to classify many tasks, order objects in a logical sequence, and comprehend the principle of conservation. Thinking becomes less egocentric. The child is capable of concrete problem-solving.

 

Now, consider these standards (below) for First grade, remembering you are talking about 6 and 7-year-old children:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1a Print all upper- and lowercase letters.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1b Use common, proper, and possessive nouns.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1c Use singular and plural nouns with matching verbs in basic sentences (e.g., He hops; We hop).
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1d Use personal, possessive, and indefinite pronouns (e.g., I, me, my; they, them, their, anyone, everything).
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1e Use verbs to convey a sense of past, present, and future (e.g., Yesterday I walked home; Today I walk home; Tomorrow I will walk home).
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1f Use frequently occurring adjectives.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1g Use frequently occurring conjunctions (e.g., and, but, or, so, because).
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1h Use determiners (e.g., articles, demonstratives).
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1i Use frequently occurring prepositions (e.g., during, beyond, toward).
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1j Produce and expand complete simple and compound declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory sentences in response to prompts.

The list starts out o.k. then turns into a set of skills these kids won’t be able to grasp, much less master, until much later. These kids are just learning to be proficient readers, they are building vocabulary and this should be a time for increasing their confidence, not tearing it down. They are concrete thinkers, not abstract thinkers.  As Piaget outlines, much of their language acquisition, writing and reading skills are founded in concrete terms and have trouble with deductive logic. Kids in First grade arguably are still in the pre-operational stage.

Consider also that there are comprehension components and writing components to the ELA (English Language Arts) portion of Common Core as on top of this list. Part of the writing component involves getting kids to write persuasion pieces requiring abstract thought and inference creation. That is something that kids won’t have until Piaget’s 4th stage of cognitive development… at 12 years old. Small wonder kids are melting down right and left. These standards are not just asking a kid to swim before they can walk, they are throwing them in the deep end of the pool and marking them down when they drown. This is child abuse. We now have COMMON CORE SYNDROME.

 

How In The World Did This Happen?

How did this happen? That’s what I asked myself as I became more familiar with the early ed portion of Common Core. Well, would you believe that no early education professionals or teachers were part of the 135 person “committee” that assembled the standards? That’s exactly what happened. When the standards reached light of day, it was too late. States had already adopted them.Early education professionals “shocked” by what they saw.

Recent critiques of the Common Core Standards by Marion Brady and John T. Spencer have noted that the process for creating the new K-12 standards involved too little research, public dialogue, or input from educators. The Washington Post reprinted part of an article by Edward Miller and Nancy Carlsson-Paige, which lays bare the lack of input by early educators in the creation of the standards:

Nowhere was this more startlingly true than in the case of the early childhood standards—those imposed on kindergarten through grade 3. We reviewed the makeup of the committees that wrote and reviewed the Common Core Standards. In all, there were 135 people on those panels. Not a single one of them was a K-3 classroom teacher or early childhood professional.

It appears that early childhood teachers and child development experts were excluded from the K-3 standards-writing process.

When the standards were first revealed in March 2010, many early childhood educators and researchers were shocked. “The people who wrote these standards do not appear to have any background in child development or early childhood education,” wrote Stephanie Feeney of the University of Hawaii, chair of the Advocacy Committee of the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators.

In 2010, 500 early education professionals penned a joint statement outlining some of the major flaws in the K-3 Standards and calling on the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) to suspend said portion of the standards. To date, they have refused.

Quick Related Comment

The NC General Assembly’s Common Core Study Committee is meeting next week for the first time. We’ve heard rumblings that Common Core loving Jeb Bush’s crew are just going to happen to be in Raleigh for it. Convenient. Parents are organizing to show up and be seen even if we will not be heard until the next meeting sometime in early January. If you know someone in North Carolina who has a child grappling with Common Core, please consider passing this article on to them.

The meeting is happening Tuesday, December 17 at 1:00 PM, 643 LOB. More details in the link below or stop by StopCommonCoreNC.org:

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Olimometer 2.52

It’s Thursday and the first week of December remains lean.

We are a full $254 shy of this week’s goal with under three days left. This means that to make a full paycheck that pays the mortgage and the Magnificent Seven like AP above we have to pull a full 75% of the goal in the last three days.

We can do it but only if you hit DaTipJar below.

We are 63 subscribers at $20 a month to make mortgage and payroll without shaking the tip jar daily, please consider being a subscriber by hitting DaTipJar below: