By A.P. Dillon

Recently Billionaire Bill Gates made some comments on Climate change and ‘saving the planet’.  The comments were, shall we say, the kind of dumb we’ve come to expect from someone who thinks that because they are rich and famous, that their mess doesn’t stink.

We see this type of ‘my mess doesn’t stink’ syndrome play out quite often with the rich and powerful. No where does the syndrome present itself on a constant and nauseating basis like it does in Hollywood.

That syndrome is thinking that by virtue of having a lot of money, every thing they do, think and say is golden. With panderers, agents and fans around them, the Hollywood star types think they must be a higher power. Their opinion is the opinion.

Inevitably, when one reaches a point where their money and power are so overwhelming, that person begins to believe everything they do, say and think is absolute, irrefutable truth. They know all. They see all. Their thoughts and beliefs are law.

Bill Gates is in that place and has been for quite some time now.  Having said that,  it would be naive to think that the people who whisper in Gates’ ear and plant ideas that he adopts as his own are not just as dangerous as he is.

Getting back to The Atlantic comments,  clearly, Mr. Gates was not employing the  ‘critical thinking’ he promotes so ardently in the experimental Common Core Standards.  To be specific, Mr. Gates told The Atlantic that representative democracy is standing in the way.

“When I sat down to hear his case a few weeks ago, he didn’t evince much patience for the argument that American politicians couldn’t agree even on whether climate change is real, much less on how to combat it. “If you’re not bringing math skills to the problem,” he said with a sort of amused asperity, “then representative democracy is a problem.”

What Mr. Gates arguably goes on to lay out  is a case that socialism will save us from climate change.

This from the man whose education reforms over the years have largely failed; the most recent example being Common Core known for it’s ridiculously convoluted math strategies.

Gates went on to complain about government and at the same time seemed to be stamping his foot that they weren’t doing it fast enough and doing it his way.

Gates has built a massive empire – he is a very successful capitalist. I am not saying the man is dumb, far from it.  But I am saying something similar to what Hot Air has concluded about Gates’ climate change remarks. Hot Air has two key lines that really rebut Gates’ flawed logic:

“Gates in a smart guy, however he’s horribly wrong and misguided on this.”

The government is the one setting up the regulatory framework, not the free market.”

I don’t think the question should be, ‘will Bill Gates save the world or not?‘.

I think the question is, who is going to save the world from Bill Gates?

DM7 small LL1885A.P. Dillon resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina and is the founder of LadyLiberty1885.com.
Her current and past writing can also be found at IJ Review, StopCommonCoreNC.org, Heartland.org and Watchdog Wire NC.
Catch her on Twitter: @LadyLiberty1885

By A.P. Dillon

A few weeks back, I wrote a piece called The Unintended Transparency of Obama’s DOJ. This article is in that same theme of unintended transparency, only this time it’s Common Core related.

It seems that a lobbyist organization funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was caught targeting Catholic schools over their pushback on the Common Core State Standards. It goes a little bit beyond that, with this lobbyist accidentally contacting one of the more vocal opponents to Common Core in what seems like a coordinated effort to steer the narrative.  Oops.

Cardinal Newman Society reported:

Sara Pruzin, a state operations associate for the Council for a Strong America (CSA) and former communications intern for U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, unwittingly contacted a Cardinal Newman Society leader to rally Catholic support for the Common Core.  She sent an email on August 28 to Dr. Daniel Guernsey, director of the Newman Society’s K-12 Education Programs, at his office at Ave Maria University in Florida, asking him to consider writing op-eds and letters to the editor in support of the Common Core.

“We are concerned about the strident attacks coming from parts of the Catholic community, which we believe are inaccurate and meant more to divide than to inform,” Pruzin wrote.  “We feel that it is important to respond to the negative statements about the Common Core, rather than let them go unanswered.”

Pruzin later confirmed that her criticisms were aimed at The Cardinal Newman Society, and her email was part of a major effort to build support among Catholic educators.  She said the Gates Foundation grantee has reached out to about 50 Catholic educators and leaders, including superintendents in a dozen states and officials at the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA)—which is also a recipient of Gates funding to promote the Common Core. 

“Strident attacks”.

That’s a new coat of paint on the same old ‘shut up… they explained’ tactic.

This is narrative steering effort is not unsurprising. Just consider what Bill Gates is attempting to do by buying up media outlets as a ‘strategic media partnership‘ plan.

To be clear, this is less about correcting the record and more about stemming the tide of Catholic schools and parents of students organizing a push back.  Catholic schools and organizations have figured out that Common Core contains threats to religious liberty and the Cardinal Newman Society has been on the leading edge of getting that message out.

There’s a bit more from the Cardinal Newman Society article which needs highlighting:

CSA received $1.7 million from the Gates Foundation in July 2013 “to educate and engage stakeholders about the Common Core and teacher development through a range of communications activities”.  These have included rallying retired military officers, police officers, business leaders and others to advocate Common Core in many states. 

Note the mention of retired military and police officers? I picked up on those groups back in June when they started issuing their Common Core support statements.

The police officers statement came through a group called ‘Fight Crime’. The mission statement on the ‘Fight Crime’ site states they are an organization under the non-profit group Council For A Strong America.

The same affiliation with CSA was true of the retired military group, ‘Mission: Readiness’.

It was rather easy to track down from their addresses, which were identical; 1212 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20005. That address houses the Council for a Strong America, Ready NationAmerica’s EdgeFight Crime: Invest In Kids and Shepherding the Next Generation.

 

If you enjoyed this article, you should really check out other pieces written by Da Tech Guy’s Magnificent Seven writers and maybe hit that tip jar!

AP DillonA.P. Dillon (Lady Liberty 1885), is a Conservative minded wife and mother living in the Triangle area of North Carolina. A.P. Dillon founded the blog LadyLiberty1885.com in 2009. After the 2012 election, she added an Instapundit style blog called The ConMom Blog. Mrs. Dillon recently participated in Glenn Beck’sWe Will Not Conform. Mrs. Dillon’s writing, in addition to Da Tech Guy’s Magnificent 7, can also be found at StopCommonCoreNC.org, WatchdogWireNC and WizBang. Non-political writing projects include science fiction novellas that are, as of yet, unpublished. Her current writing project is a children’s book series.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT –I was at the ballpark this weekend watching a local college baseball game.  As I took my seat I noticed a lady a couple of rows behind me reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, and I wondered – does she know that’s below her Lexile level?  She shouldn’t be reading that!  The Book Thief, you see, has a 730 Lexile level score which places it at about grade 5 reading level.

Lexile levels are the basis of what Common Core uses to determine the complexity and acceptability for books in each grade level.

Lexile measures work similar to the old Accelerated Reader system, if you’re familiar with that.  (Everything in education comes back around with a new name, eventually.)  A Lexile score determines a book’s complexity and difficulty based on a measuring system of sentence complexity, vocabulary, and syntax.  Theme and content don’t come into play which is why Lexile levels are billed as “a starting point” or a tool for determining a book’s acceptability for your reader.

The result is often bizarre.

For example, as noted by The New Republic back in October, Awesome Atheletes! by Sports Illustrated has a Lexile score of 1070 which puts it in the grade 9-10 range.  On the other hand, Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain receives a score of 720 which places it around the grade 4-5 area.  Now, to be fair, the Lexile analyzer site designates books like Huck Finn with a “HL” notation along with the score which means that teachers and librarians should use this designation when assigning books “written at an elementary level” to struggling older or struggling readers.  Huck Finn is then placed in the 12-16 age range; that’s probably fair.

To Kill a Mockingbird is scored 870 with no HL designation which places it at grades 4-5 level; there is no age recommendation assigned.

Based on this, Awesome Athletes! is more complex than To Kill a Mockingbird.

Back to The Book Thief:  this book, if you haven’t read it or seen the film, is set during World War II in Germany; it’s about a young girl who steals books when she can find them; during bombing raids she reads to her neighbors to calm them until the bombing is over.  Meanwhile, her foster family has a Jew hidden in their basement; the Jew is eventually captured and marched off to a concentration camp, which of course is traumatic to the girl as she has grown quite fond of him.   The narrator of the story is Death.  Now, I don’t know about you, but I think fifth grade might be a little young for both the subject matter and possibly the abstract narrative perspective of Death.  But maybe that’s just me.

Common Sense Media assigns a recommended reading age of 13 for this book.  (Common Sense Media lists Chelsea Clinton on its Board of Directors as well as Geoffrey Cowan from the Annenberg Foundation).

John Steinbeck’s 455 page story of human perseverance in a cross-country trek during the Great Depression, The Grapes of Wrath, receives a Lexile score of 680 (with no HL designation);  “challenging words” in the text include “rusts,” “harmonicas,” and “boxcars”.  Again, that’s grade 4-5 territory.  Common Sense Media says age 15 for this one:

Parents need to know that this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about sharecroppers struggling to survive the Great Depression, fleeing the Dust Bowl in Oklahoma for California, is as harsh and gritty as its time. There’s drinking, smoking, swearing, and extramarital sex, and violence stalks the Joad family and their fellow migrants. But its realism and passion have made it a must-read for generations.

And again, to be fair, the Lexile system is meant to be used only as a tool.  One of the demands of Common Core is the incorporation of more non-fiction reading which means that the teacher could bring in outside non-fiction articles or excerpts of documents to read alongside these texts which could increase the rigor and complexity of the entire novel unit.  However, as I stated last week, the teacher no longer has this discretion.  If The Book Thief is assigned to a ninth grade reading list, the tenth grade teacher can’t teach it even if the ninth grade teacher doesn’t teach the book.

The problem with the Lexile system, it seems to me, is that it ignores theme and content.  If Common Core is meant to increase rigor, what is rigorous about Awesome Athletes?  Why are we basing our reading choices on such a system?  The answer is almost always “follow the money.”  At least one of the developers of the Lexile system is associated with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation who has poured millions of dollars into Common Core and PARCC.  And there you have it.  The selling out of our education system.  It’s a tangled web once you start pulling away the layers.

Follow the money, but for crying out loud, let’s put some common sense back in the classroom.

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

******************************************************************

Olimometer 2.52

This blog exists as a full time endeavor thanks to your support.

The reporting, the commentary and the nine magnificent seven writers are all made possible because you, the reader choose to support it.

For a full month of all of what we provide ,we ask a fixed amount $1465, under $50 a day.

This month we are behind, but we can make our goal if we can get $100 a day for the rest of the month. That’s 4 $25 Tip jar hits.

Jesus said  laborer deserves his payment.  (Lk 10:7) If you think the work we do here for the conservative movement is worth it, please consider hitting DaTipJar below .

Naturally once our monthly goal is made these solicitations will disappear till the next month but once we get 61 more subscribers  at $20 a month the goal will be covered for a full year and this pitch will disappear until 2015.

Consider the lineup you get for this price, in addition to my own work seven days a week you get John Ruberry (Marathon Pundit) and Pat Austin (And so it goes in Shreveport)  on Sunday  Linda Szugyi (No one of any import) on Monday  Tim Imholt on Tuesday,  AP Dillon (Lady Liberty1885) Thursdays, Pastor George Kelly Fridays,   Steve Eggleston on Saturdays with  Baldilocks (Tue & Sat)  and   Fausta  (Wed & Fri) of (Fausta Blog) twice a week.

If that’s not worth $20 a month I’d like to know what is?

 

By A.P. Dillon

How many of you missed the news blip Ben Jealous left the NAACP to go be a Venture Capitalist?

He declined to specify his new salary but said it was about the same as it was at the NAACP — $285,000 in 2011, according to tax forms.

When he announced his departure from the organization in September 2013, Jealous said he planned to pursue university teaching and spend time with his young family. But Jealous says the opportunity to work with Kapor Capital was just too tempting, putting him on the cutting edge of helping people who are slipping further behind as the national economy grows. – CNS

Well, of course there’s the money. The article also says he’ll be commuting once a month from coast to coast. That’s pricey.

This isn’t just any venture capital firm. This one is about social justice and is called The Kapor Center For Social Impact (KCSI) which is, in part, funded by Kapor Capital. Kapor Capital was founded by Mitchell Kapor, who some might recognize at the founder of Lotus 1-2-3 and whose home was the subject of a lawsuit. Kapor’s wife, Freada, is involved with KCSI but also with “Level Playing Field Institute” (LPFI) which recently had Van Jones at one of their events.

KCSI and LFPI, from it’s ‘About Pages’ section seems to be very focused on STEM issue. STEM stands for Science Technology Engineering Mathematics and, for many kids focusing on those areas, is a ticket to a university. That was until Common Core came along and set kids back in math — a reality that supporters won’t even acknowledge. In fact, Bill Gates is now so panicked over the opposition, he’s dragging teachers in as human shields. Flashback:

“It would be great if our education stuff worked, but that we won’t know for probably a decade.” – Bill Gates, September 21, 2013

Gates has Paul Krugman Syndrome. You know, that affliction where because you are successful at one thing, you must therefore be an expert on all other topics? Meanwhile, Microsoft has battled with more bugs in their never-ending series of Windows revamps than people can count and Gates never finished college…but he’s is an expert on how kids learn, or something.

Common Core & STEM

So where KSCI and LFPI stand on Common Core? That’s kind of a mystery given what I found — or rather didn’t find — on their websites. When searching KSCI’s site for “Common Core” it looks like this group is not missing the dollars signs. A jobs posting blog entry is what I found:

Curriculet (www.curriculet.com) is looking for smart, savvy educators, English teachers in particular, to write curriculum for a long list of K-12 books using our digital reading platform. See the job description here.

Curriculets are layers of interactive curriculum consisting of Common Core aligned questions and quizzes, plus videos, images and text annotations. We pay as much as $500 per book… average length titles earn $250.

When I searched the LPFI site for “Common Core” only one hit came back and it became clear that LPFI is very highly connected.

Just a few reminders on STEM and Common Core from those actually involved in it:

By 8th grade, Common Core State Standar5ds will put our students about two years behind those of the highest-achieving countries.” – Dr. James Milgram, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, Stanford University & former Common Core Validation Committee member

“If you want to take calculus your freshman year in college, you will need to take more mathematics than is in the Common Core.” – Jason Zimba, Common Core Standards Mathematics Writer

Just so we’re clear, here’s Caleb Bonham demonstrating how Common Core math is overly complex. Common Core Math is really the old failed “new math” just recycled because… this time it will work or something.

Paging Bill Gates! Those of us opposing Common Core aren’t trying to ‘send out kids back to what we had before‘, we want high standards but APPROPRIATE ones, PROVEN ones. Our kids are not code for you to play with. We’re not trying to send out kids backwards, but it would seem YOU are.

 

If you enjoyed this article, you should really check out other pieces written by Da Tech Guy’s Magnificent Seven writers and maybe hit that tip jar!

A.P. Dillon (Lady Liberty 1885), is a Conservative minded wife and mother living in the Triangle area of North Carolina. A.P. Dillon founded the blog LadyLiberty1885.com in 2009. After the 2012 election, she added an Instapundit style blog called The ConMom Blog. Mrs. Dillon’s writing, in addition to Da Tech Guy’s Magnificent 7, can also be found at StopCommonCoreNC.org, WatchdogWireNC and WizBang. Non-political writing projects include science fiction novellas that are, as of yet, unpublished. Her current writing project is a children’s book series.

************************************************

Olimometer 2.52

It’s Thursday and the tip jar sits at $128 for the week.

Only 9 $25 tip jar hits necessary to make the weekly goal and give us a good jump into the final week of the month.

Let us know we’re doing the job, please consider hitting DaTipJar below.

 

With 61 more $20 a month subscribers this site will be able to cover its bills for a full year.

I would ask that you do subscribe by hitting the button below.  If your finances allow it, consider choosing Hat level or better.  A subscription comes not only with exclusive commentary, but on a weekly basis you will have the opportunity to get direct access to me by phone to provide feedback or suggestions to make sure this site is worthy of your financial support and patronage.


 

by Linda Szugyi

Words have meaning.

That’s precisely the reason why progressives are always finding new words and phrases to describe the same old things.  The meaning of a word has a pesky little way of conveying truth, and when your goals run contrary to public opinion about said truth, then you had better run to the drawing board and find some other way to sell your snake oil, because the words “snake oil” aren’t going to sell many bottles.

“Rebranding” is the term used nowadays, and when it means that an old marketing ploy no longer connects to the consumer, it is not necessarily a bad thing.  After all, how many women today would be sold on a soap product that promises to preserve her daintiness?

When it means that an ideology no longer connects to voters, however, “rebranding” is a Very Bad Thing.  After all, we are talking about putting a social and governmental plan into operation, not choosing between different soaps.

When ideology is the subject at hand, then “rebranding” is another word for lyingGeorge Orwell knew that a long time ago.  Alas, rebranding often works.  So, the Florida legislature does not repeal the laws implementing Common Core, but it does strike the words “Common Core” from state law, and replace it with “Florida Standards.”

Apparently, Iowa and Arizona are also undergoing the “rebranding” procedure for Common Core implementation.  That which we call a rose by another name would not be as sweet, it seems.

In other words, if it smelled good wouldn’t we be satisfied by calling it Common Core?

Yes we would.  Common Core, however, stinks.  In fact, my rudimentary research for this post reaffirmed the fact that Common Core is educational snake oil.  Shoot, the item at the top of one Google search was an ad for “blamecommoncore.com,” which explains that:

“This website will seek to bring some clarity to this debate by using a common sense approach to the Common Core, based on facts and reasoned arguments. . . . CICERO Systems provides this source for Common Core information as a service to the educational community.  We invite feedback on all aspects of Common Core, without a political agenda and grounded in factual evidence.”

They are a source of Common Core information . . . as a service.  It’s got nothing to do with the fact that their eTextbook software bundle will “revolutionize the way you teach!”  Hmm.  It seems that the very act of selling a product is being rebranded as a public service.

Speaking of rebranding, we need a new language in order to discuss the Common Core standards, don’t you think?  I know the standards themselves already sound like a new language.  For example, check out the silly way Standard 9-10 LS.6 explains high schoolers should learn enough words to communicate like an adult, and should be able to learn new words on their own.  While you are at it, notice the lesson that meets this standard.  It features nursery rhymes and Kanye West.  Nursery rhymes.  And Kanye West.

Anyhoo, some of us foil hat wearers and cottoning on to the real meaning of words and phrases like “rigor,” “assessments,” and “college and career ready.”  So perhaps educators need to come up with a new layer of impenetrable verbiage.  Thinking Maps has a template ready:  A Common Language for the Common Core.

In only two short pages, this “common language” manages to be “peculiarly riddled with such stunning Orwellian-inspired ditties like change agent, change maker, education pioneer, thought leader, thought merchant, groupwork, groupthink and mindshift.”

I can understand that businesses want to use the education overhaul as an opportunity to make money.  But the fact that many teachers are actually sold on this profoundly silly doublespeaking fluff talk really boggles the mind.

Calvin would be proud.

academia here I come

Here is my auto-biographical epilogue.  I should tell you more about myself, but if you enjoyed my writing then really you should be thanking Da Tech Guy by subscribing.