I’m pretty busy today working on the Trump Year one Lunch and Panel event in Leominster MA at noon today (you can still buy tickets here or at the door for $20 which includes an all you can eat buffet) so I don’t have a lot of time for a long piece on shutdowns, Tom Brady or even POTUS’ appearance at the March for Life.

Nevertheless I would like to take a few minutes before I get out of bed and have to be on overdrive for the next 12 hours to note that as President Trumps 2nd year begins and as everyone in media and government who predicted doom for Trump in both 2016 & 2017 continues to do so for him and the GOP in 2018 things continue to happen that favor the president.

ITEM: UNRWA funding cut in half, Terror supporters hardest hit.

As the leader of the Palestinian authority continues on anti-semitic rants (and is defended by the Sorus funded so called “Jewish” advocacy group J-Street as he does ) the US has decided to answer is the best way possible to show the old game of of pay and look the other way is done:

“There is a need to undertake a fundamental re-examination of UNRWA, both in the way it operates and the way it is funded,” the official said.

The US had frozen a $125 million grant to UNRWA earlier this month, amounting to one third of the US annual aid to the organization. Part of the grant was unfrozen Tuesday.

The move follows tweets by US President Donald Trump in which he questioned the wisdom of providing hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinian Authority given their refusal to resume peace talks with Israel.

This is an amazing development.  Why it’s as if someone actually read the 1951 report back when UNRWA wasn’t a full employment scheme for cronies in and out of the middle east and and decided that ignoring this advice might not have been the best idea the US ever had.

Nobody but Trump would have dared do this.

ITEM: Common Core dies a Quiet Death.

Common Core has been a Tea Party issue since day one. GOP members have given lip service to reigning it in for years with little effect. On the Campaign Trail Donald Trump hit it hard but we heard little about it after he was elected but American Conservative has the transcript of Secretary Devos’ speech on the subject noting the failure of national standards both during the Bush years

President Bush, the “compassionate conservative,” and Senator Kennedy, the “liberal lion,” both worked together on the law. It said that schools had to meet ambitious goals… or else. Lawmakers mandated that 100 percent of students attain proficiency by 2014. This approach would keep schools accountable and ultimately graduate more and better-educated students, they believed.

Turns out, it didn’t. Indeed, as has been detailed today, NCLB did little to spark higher scores. Universal proficiency, touted at the law’s passage, was not achieved. As states and districts scrambled to avoid the law’s sanctions and maintain their federal funding, some resorted to focusing specifically on math and reading at the expense of other subjects. Others simply inflated scores or lowered standards.

And  Obama years

The Obama administration dangled billions of dollars through the “Race to the Top” competition, and the grant-making process not so subtly encouraged states to adopt the Common Core State Standards. With a price tag of nearly four and a half billion dollars, it was billed as the “largest-ever federal investment in school reform.” Later, the Department would give states a waiver from NCLB’s requirements so long as they adopted the Obama administration’s preferred policies — essentially making law while Congress negotiated the reauthorization of ESEA.

Unsurprisingly, nearly every state accepted Common Core standards and applied for hundreds of millions of dollars in “Race to the Top” funds. But despite this change, the United States’ PISA performance did not improve in reading and science, and it dropped in math from 2012 to 2015.

But the Donald Trump administration has had enough:

The trend line remains troubling today. According to the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress data, two-thirds of American fourth graders still can’t read at the level they should. And since 2013, our 8th grade reading scores have declined.

At HotAir Jazz Shaw notes the speech both for what it critiques and what it suggests as alternatives, namely allowing teaches to TEACH and comments thus:

Wouldn’t it be ironic if we actually made some significant strides forward in fixing our largely broken education system during this term, but had it sneak through under the radar while everyone else was busy screaming at each other about whether or not the President’s cholesterol level is too high? This was one of the better speeches on education that’s been given in a long time. The question is how much DeVos will be able to hammer through without politics poisoning the entire process.

But in the meantime, as far as Common Core goes… it’s dead, Jim.

I’m thinking more and more that it’s less a question of irony of these thing happening under the radar than by designed but no matter how it happens chalk this up to another campaign promise kept and another conservative priority handled.

Item:  More “crumbs” for the workers

Lost among the debate on if the President’s Doctor is a hack or not or the critical issue of if back when he was just a Billionaire Businessman he bedded a porn star, it seems that Apple had decided that to bring a ton of that money they had parked overseas back home.

Apple “anticipates repatriation tax payments of approximately $38 billion as required by recent changes to the tax law. A payment of that size would likely be the largest of its kind ever made,” the company said.
Using the new 15.5 percent repatriation tax rate, the $38 billion tax payment disclosed by Apple means they are planning a $245 billion repatriation.

and it looks like their existing employees are getting a cut of this too:

Apple Inc. (AAPL) is giving many employees a bonus of $2,500 worth of restricted stock units, rounding out a series of investment announcements made on Wednesday.

The iPhone maker will start to issue stock grants to most employees worldwide in the next few months, Bloomberg reported, citing sources close to the situation. Earlier on Wednesday, Apple said it would inject $350 billion into the U.S. economy over the next five years, as a result of the tax cut signed by President Donald Trump, to fund a new campus, data centers and 20,000 new jobs. Apple will also pay a $38 billion repatriation tax, bringing roughly $252 billion in cash back to the U.S.

Representatives from Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

“We estimate about 100,000 employees will benefit, which implies a $250m liability that will vest likely in 2 years,” said Loup Ventures analyst Gene Munster.

I wonder if Nancy Pelosi will call this crumbs too Sarah Sanders sure thinks so.

Donald Trump reportedly isn’t all that popular in the tech left but I’ll wager the prospect of further bonus’ of this nature is and I suspect that this will be remembered come election day in 2018.

Combine all of these successes and more that I don’t have time to mention now with a Trump boom and the left shutting down government for the sake of illegal aliens and I think the trendlines for 2018 will continue to move in their new direction.

If you’d like to continue to support independent journalism, please consider hitting DaTipJar here.

Consider subscribing.  If we can get 92 more subscribers at $20 a month I can do this full time without worry.

Choose a Subscription level

Finally might I suggest my book  Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer makes an excellent Gift.

Get your Tickets today!

You can still buy tickets for our President Trump a Year in Review and Looking Ahead event Jan 20th 2018 at the Tang Dynasty Restaurant in Leominster Ma. Click on the image to the left to get tickets via eventbrite.The event co-sponsored by the Worcester Tea Party comes with an All you can eat Chinese buffet served till 2:30 (drinks are on you) and will include an all star panel (moderated by DaTechGuy) including

Chip Faulkner of Citizens for Limited Taxiation
Dianna Ploss from the Boston Chapter of Act for America
Christopher Maider from the Meat and Potatoes Radio show
Mike LaChance from the Legal Insurrection blog

Tickets are available at the door or you can get them here.  Come on down and join us for a great meal and a great discussion.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – As a secondary ELA teacher of twenty-two years I have had a growing concern over the changes I’ve seen in education over the past few years, primarily with the advent of Common Core and its many forms.

I was against the principles of Common Core when it started and now that it is in nearly every classroom I am even more against it.  Do not be deceived: your district very likely has some form of this insidious curriculum in place.

Two articles of note to look at right now: the first is Bruce Dixon’s piece on standardized testing.  In my Louisiana district, we are on block schedule which means we complete a semester from August to January.  When I return to classes this week I will have all new classes.  In the semester just completed, we had four standardized tests in 10th grade English: one diagnostic test (two days), three interim exams (also two days each), and an End of Course test (three days).  We were also asked to give a practice test before the EOC (two days) and a final exam after the EOC (one day) because the EOC scores would not be back before the semester ended.  Count it up: that is fourteen days of high stakes testing.

That does not even include the time in class talking about testing or teaching kids how to take the test (required if you want your students to succeed.)

Given all that, I’m really interested in the subject of standardized testing right now.  Bruce Dixon addresses this subject perfectly. He refers to this test mania as “tyranny” and “an insidious virus.”

Consider this:

It might come as a shock to some politicians, but learning is not a competitive sport, so how about we stop treating it that way.  Why do we persist with ranking everything, naming and shaming schools by publishing test results like they’re sporting scores in league tables?

Neither is learning a zero-sum game- as in I learn, you don’t, or you learn, I don’t. Contrary to the core statistical assumption that standardized tests are built on, we can both learn, and both benefit. So why do we continue to treat learning as if there is only a fixed amount of knowledge that any one person can access at any one time?

Next, we need to be more public and open about the harm that these tests are inflicting on our young people. There have been literally dozens of papers, articles and books written on the damage and deceit of standardized testing, so take your pick.

I’ve seen what this non-stop testing does to kids.  The ones who care deeply about their GPA suffer one kind of crushing stress and the apathetic ones, the ones we have to work harder to reach, are affirmed in their feelings of failure and inadequacy.

Another article that I found revealing was from Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post:

The overemphasis on testing has led many teachers to eliminate projects and activities that provide students with an opportunity to be creative and imaginative, and scripted curriculum has become the norm in many classrooms. There is nothing creative or imaginative about filling in a bubble sheet for a multiple choice test. Students are so tired of prepping for and taking standardized test that some have protested by dressing up like zombies to protest — and thousands of families are opting their children out of taking high-stakes exams.

As a teacher who has tried to be innovative, creative, and work hard to engage my students, I can affirm that this is true.

The Common Core curriculum has given rise to the scripted curriculum which is supposed to serve as the magic bullet that has all teachers teach the same content in the same way in every classroom because some teacher somewhere said it worked in her classroom, or something.  This will vary a little from district to district, but in some schools teachers are expected to stick to the script, show the pre-prepared slides, and pass out the pre-prepared worksheets and graphic organizers.

As a parent, is this the classroom you want for your child?  As a teacher, I struggle with this.  It is very, very hard for me to do this, but we do it because we want to keep our jobs and we want to help the kids who look to us to lead them to success.

Because there is so little outcry from parents we can only assume that this is what they want.  Teacher-bots.

So many of us decried the principles of Common Core when they began to roll out years ago.  If you teach long enough you see these fads come and go through the years – one after the other.  They come and they go.

It’s time for this one to go.  It’s time to let teachers be the professionals they are, use the judgment they have as the professional in the room with the child, and to return creativity and innovation to the classroom before this type of instruction becomes entrenched and we lose an entire generation of kids.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT — I am struggling with the Common Core ELA curriculum.  We’ve been talking about Common Core nationally for several years now but it has only this year actually trickled down into my high school classroom with the new, mandated Louisiana Believes curriculum which is hosted on Learnzillion.

Apparently what “Louisiana believes” is that students don’t need textbooks in many subjects any longer and students need lots and lots of standardized tests.

The fourteen day testing schedule spread out through an August-December block schedule has students breaking down and sobbing over their keyboards.

While the curriculum has been praised in the press as “written by teachers,” some of the teachers who wrote the units have said they would not teach their own units as written.

In ELA, students spend the semester working their way through four units of one turgid graphic organizer and worksheet after another.

The curriculum is 75% non-fiction; students no longer read whole novels.  In English 3, for example, students read only one chapter of The Great Gatsby.  Fiction is no longer relevant.  The standardized tests reflect this shift with students reading lab experiments, articles on microbes, and Supreme Court decisions (and dissents).

Teachers have been told to do these units faithfully, as written, with no deviation whatsoever.  They are not allowed to skip any of the Guidebook lessons.  Because the lessons are not engaging by any stretch of the imagination and because teachers feel they have lost their autonomy in the classroom, many are frustrated and leaving the classroom if they can.  Others are hanging on until retirement.  Teachers are no longer allowed to make decisions that affect the students they spend so much time with.

On the other hand, there may be some teachers who embrace the new curriculum for the very reason that all the thinking and planning is done for them.  All they have to do is pull up the PowerPoint slides, read the script (yes, it’s scripted) and pass out the worksheets.

There seems to be some support for this new approach.  In Education Week magazine, Dr. Bill Hughes writes:

Research continues to demonstrate that curricular choices matter. According to a recent studyby Johns Hopkins’ David Steiner, not only is curriculum a critical factor in student academic success, but “the cumulative impact of high-quality curriculum can be significant.” And Louisiana Believes is demonstrating early success: Louisiana 4th graders achieved the highest growth among all states on the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress reading test, and the second-highest in math.

But all that means to me is what we’ve taught a kid how to take a test.  Is that all that matters, now?

As an educator, I’m torn because I’m basically a rule-follower and do what I’m told with regard to my job, but I feel like all we are doing as educators now is teaching kids to take a test.  I look back fondly on my own high-school experience when we read classics like To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, Pride and Prejudice, short stories by Alice Walker, Shirley Jackson, and Edgar Allan Poe.  We are raising an entire generation of kids who won’t know about Julius Caesar, will never understand “the Ides of March,” who won’t know about Atticus Finch, Tom Sawyer, or Elizabeth Bennett.

Frankly, it makes me sad.  Maybe the world of education has passed me by.  Maybe I’m too “old-school” for my job. But, I still believe kids are kids and that children respond to an adult who loves and cares about them.  I still believe I can make a difference in the lives of my students.  So, I’m torn.

We’ve been told as teachers that we will never return to reading full novels and short stories again in the ELA classroom. We were told that if a student wants to read more than one chapter of The Great Gatsby, they can read it “on their own.” I will, however, continue to stock my classroom library with engaging fiction and meaningful literature that I will share with my students and will encourage them to explore.

I will continue to make a difference where I can.

I will not quit.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Let’s talk Common Core one more time.  I don’t know why this is still an issue, why this is still a thing, why it still exists, but it does.

Many states have renamed it, but no matter what name you give it, it’s still Common Core, and it’s rotten.

Besides the constant barrage of standardized tests (in many cases at least once a month), students are also forced to endure a scripted curriculum, mind-numbing pre-prepared slides, and endless waves of graphic organizers, Cornell notes, and pages of non-fiction to endlessly annotate, day after day after day.

Do parents really know this is still going on?  Do parents approve of this?  Do parents consent to having their kids put under the pressure of fifteen standardized tests per semester (not counting the endless Cold Read Tasks, Extension Tasks, and other actual classroom tests)?

This massive over reach into America’s classrooms has robbed teachers of any innovation and creativity in the classroom.  After years of Kagan strategies and Harry Wong strategies, now teachers are told that all kids learn the same, by the script, by the worksheet.

College professor, and former middle school teacher, John Spenser is an advocate for innovation in the classroom.  He writes:

Now, I don’t see anything inherently wrong with boxed curriculum. After all, a great novel is essentially “boxed.” The issue is when institutions force teachers to use boxed curriculum in a lock-step way where they lack the permission to make it their own.

This district adopted the prescribed curriculum as a way to embrace “best practices in education.” And yet . . . the district also describes the needs to meet the demands of a “21st Century Learning” and “spark innovation.”

But here’s the thing: innovation requires you to step into the unknown. If we focus all of our attention on best practices and codify these ideas into tightly packaged curriculum, we will inevitably fail to experiment.

When teachers are required to use these scripted programs with fidelity, by the letter, all creativity is gone.

Kids are reading very little fiction these days and there’s a much heavier focus on non-fiction.  In fact, in some districts the curriculum might include a novel, but only certain chapters.  Novels are now called “Anchor Texts” and students read articles, or “informational texts” about the novel, and perhaps will read the Prologue and a couple of chapters of the novel.

This is absurd. When teachers are required to use these scripted programs with fidelity, by the letter, all creativity is gone.

Teachers quit loving their job, they lose their passion, because really a robot could read a script and pass out a worksheet.

This is what’s going on in many classrooms across America.

Some districts, thank goodness, have rebelled and refused to participate in this indoctrination nonsense.  Some districts still believe that the teacher is the one who knows what the student needs because the teacher knows the student.

See, kids aren’t data.  Kids aren’t test scores.  They aren’t numbers.  They’re kids.  And it’s time school districts start remembering that.

Years of school letter grades and skewed teacher accountability programs have distracted us from the real goal – teaching kids not just how to take a test but how to be productive, compassionate, educated citizens.

Parents need to be involved and ask questions.  Meet the teachers who spend most of the day with your kids.  How often are your kids being tested?  What’s the curriculum look like?

This needs to change and teachers need to reclaim their autonomy.  We’re raising a generation of kids now who can annotate the heck out of an article on microbes but can’t tell you who Atticus Finch is or why he is important.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT —  Despite what anyone tells you, Common Core is alive and well across the country.  It’s not always called Common Core anymore because of all the negative connotations and observations after its launch, but it’s still there.

Some states have renamed the program.  In Louisiana, it’s called Louisiana Believes.  In New York, it is now called Next Generation.  Iowa now calls it The Iowa Core.

It’s still Common Core; the standards and tenets are still there.

It is an endless barrage of scripted lessons, mindless graphic organizers, and multiple standardized tests.  It’s mind-numbing.

In districts with scripted lessons, teachers must follow the script, use the pre-written slides, and read prescribed texts.

Yes, they’re called simply “texts” now, not stories, novels, or literature.  Students read predominately non-fiction now; treatises on how microbes work in the human body (in an ELA class), or foundational speeches.  There are a few token fiction pieces, but there is little opportunity for students to read “stories,” to get lost in the prose of Eudora Welty or Harper Lee.

Even worse, under a scripted curriculum, teachers lose the freedom to be inspiring.

Note this article in The Atlantic by one teacher about her experience. Her district was using a strict curriculum:

The sense of urgency in the building was palpable, and the pressure on teachers to increase student achievement was often overwhelming. The district required us to teach a curriculum rigidly aligned with a 15-year-old reading textbook containing outdated articles about Ricky Martin, ice fishing, and cartography in an attempt to provide relevant, entry-level reading for students. I refused to teach from this text on the grounds that it was both condescending and uninteresting. But district personnel insisted that teachers use the textbook, citing evidence that it brought up test scores.

And she rebelled.  She and her co-teacher used a variety of outrageous, engaging strategies to inspire their students:

A body of research illustrates the self-evident reality that students’ interest in what they’re learning is critical to their achievement. And student engagement, according to various studies, is often a direct result of teacher engagement. When Alice and I decided to teach outrageously, our attitudes about our work improved, which data suggests improved our students’ attitudes.

Scripted curriculums are proving to be a large cause of teacher burnout and contributing to an exodus of veteran teachers from the profession as it becomes clear than anyone can read a script and their veteran experience is no longer valued:

“…letting an ill-equipped teacher do what she pleases isn’t smart policy. But does a top-down trickle of scripts and mandates detached from students’ day-to-day lives really improve a teacher’s effectiveness? It could have the reverse effect, forcing educators who might otherwise gain a real knack for teaching over time come to rely on others to make decisions for them and become stunted in their ability to improve.”

There’s nothing wrong with rigorous standards or high expectations for both students and teachers, but these scripted curriculums should be used as a platform for teachers to pull from rather than as a rote teaching experience.  Students don’t all learn the same way and teachers don’t all teach the same way. After years of Harry Wong and Kagan, Jane Schaffer models and others, it’s clear that this is just another fad or flavor of the month in education, but at what cost?

Even the creator of LearnZillion indicates that teachers should retain some autonomy in their classrooms and that these scripted curriculum programs should be used to ease the burden of creating a curriculum rather than stifle teacher creativity, but not all districts use it that way.

The endless testing in and of itself is stifling to kids.

As parents we need to be aware of what’s happening in the classroom.  Just because it doesn’t say Common Core doesn’t mean that it isn’t.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Shortest summer ever.  I report back to work Thursday with a series of workshops and on our new high school ELA curriculum and students report back to class August 2.  When I first started teaching twenty years ago, my first report date was August 25; seems like it backs up every single year.  I suppose year-round school is the ultimate goal but nobody is saying that.

At any rate, I’ve made the most of my summer with a couple of little trips and tending to some chores that get neglected during the school year.  I’ve read some books – probably the one that has had the most profound effect on me was Beautiful Boy by David Scheff, which tells the story of his son’s battle against addiction. I can’t imagine what it took to write this book.  Raw pain on every page, but such a beautiful story of love.

What I should have been reading is all of the new material in our new ELA curriculum. Most of the selections we are now required to teach are things I’ve never read or have not read in thirty years.  I am now required to teach, for example, chapter one of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, which is about the effect of pesticides on the environment; also on our required list is “Address to Congress on Women’s Suffrage” by Carrie Chapman Catt, excerpts from Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, “Nothing but Death” by Pablo Neruda, countless speeches and essays, poems I haven’t read since college…and I’ve got to find a way to make this relevant and meaningful to 10th grade inner city students.

I’m a little concerned.

But, I like a good challenge, so I’m sure it will be fine.

What I find disturbing, as a teacher, is the scripted lessons that come with this new curriculum; I suppose this might be helpful to a brand new teacher, but for years we’ve been told that all students learn differently – I’ve been to countless workshops on various learning styles. Now, apparently all kids learn the same and from the same teacher script.  Thank you, Common Core.

Well, I have three more days to procrastinate and I won’t worry about that now. For the next three days, it’s still summer.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

By: Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – He’s not even been inaugurated yet and John Bel Edwards appears to be giving the shaft to his supporters and waffling on his promise to get rid of state superintendent of education, John White.

Many Republican voters eschewed David Vitter in the most recent gubernatorial election because, well, they just couldn’t stomach him any longer, regardless of party assignation. In rejecting Vitter, a large number of Republicans crossed party lines to vote for John Bel Edwards based primarily on his promise to get rid of White who is a huge supporter of Common Core.

In making early appointments, Edwards has named three members to the state BESE board (Board of Elementary and Secondary Education) who all appear to be supporters of White and thereby dashing all hope of having enough votes to get rid of White.

The Crazy Crawfish notes:

I think a lot of people are going to pissed when they find out they voted against Common Core and thought they elected a candidate that was against it, only to find it was rebranded and actually made worse, as the review committee has reportedly done by the various folks who have resigned from it in protest.

Do you think they are going to blame their BESE candidate (that they probably don’t remember now) or the Governor who ran against Common Core and John White?

Education Reformers have been crowing for well over a month that John Bel cut a deal and John White is safe.  I don’t hear one peep of complaint out of them either.  Meanwhile many of the folks that brought John Bel to the Governor’s Ball are left out in the cold and we are not happy with what we have seen so far.

But, if you vote for a Democrat, you should not be surprised when he expands food stamps, expands Medicaid, and crawfishes on promises.

He’s an Obama man, for crying out loud!

I wasn’t a fan of Bobby Jindal in more recent years, but I have a feeling Edwards is going to do a lot to rehabilitate the Jindal legacy.


Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Nothing is sillier than the political season in the South; well, the political season ventures into the absurd almost anywhere, but in the South, it seems, it gets particularly ridiculous.

In the local round of elections on October 24, we had several spots in contention on the BESE Board (the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education) which functions along with local school boards and the state to make those all-important decisions with regard to curriculum, testing, etc. Frankly, with Common Core and the feds now running education, it all seems redundant, but that’s another story.

Making the local rounds this week is this video about billionaires “buying” the BESE elections:

The 2011 elections for the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education saw a massive influx of contributions from people who had not shown any prior interest in Louisiana nor our public education system. The impetus for the outside interest was to secure the pro-Common Core, pro-charter school, pro-high stakes testing regime that secured its foothold after the flooding of New Orleans in 2005. This the story about how elites are working to undo democratic institutions and local communities in order to enable them to monetize public education. This 28 minute and 30 second video, which will air on Louisiana commercial broadcast stations during the month of October (2015) lays out the shock tactics that were used in 2011 to seize control of Louisiana public education policy, the links between the BESE election and the 2012 Jindal ‘reforms’, and the role that John White has played in this process.

It’s worth a watch even if you aren’t from Louisiana because this is quite likely happening in some form all over the country as the Bill Gates/Common Core/PARCC advocates work to take over education systems in every state.

Our State Superintendent of Education is John White, a Teach for America protégé from Washington DC.  He was named by Gov. Bobby Jindal and approved by the BESE board.  At issue in this video is how the BESE election of 2011 was stacked with billionaire out-of-state dollars in favor of Jindal-approved “reform” candidates.  The end result was a BESE board Jindal favored and one that approved John White, and one that approved Common Core.

The video then goes on to explain how Supt. White is lowering the bar with test scores in order to make it appear as if Louisiana has made great gains.

Again, it’s worth a watch and is quite informative for anyone who still thinks Bobby Jindal walks on water.


Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

By A.P. Dillon

If it looks like a political stunt and smells like a political stunt, then it stands to reason it is a political stunt.

President Obama’s big shift in rhetoric on testing this past week comes at a politically convenient time.  In a total course reversal, Obama wants a cap that limits the testing on children to 2% or less of their class time. That 2%sounds great, but really it’s not changing anything if one realizes that 2% of a school year’s class time translates to somewhere between 20 to 24 hours worth of testing. Like I said, this is a stunt.

This administration has beaten the drum of ‘test and punish’ for seven years right alongside tying test scores to teacher evaluations — a move that has had teachers unions up in arms nationwide.

What better way to quell the powerful, big donors like teachers unions just prior to a Presidential election year than to offer a ‘testing cap’?

It’s bait in an election cycle where education is taking the main stage with voters.

Likewise, it’s an opportunity for this administration to subtly hit Hillary Clinton over the head again, as she has come out supporting Common Core, which has been anchored to two testing consortia and ‘testing accountability measures’.

This isn’t just about hitting Hillary over the head. It’s also about beating Congress over the head. Again.

Remember, the House pushed forward with the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, which strengthens over testing instead of stemming it. The reauthorization also solidified Common Core. It’s a nightmare.

A recent article at Front Page Magazine by Mary Grabar points this out. Here’s an excerpt, but do read the whole thing:

In a smooth move, the Obama administration called on Congress to fix a problem that had been foisted on the people without the consent of Congress—namely the national Common Core standards, even as the widely hated name was scrupulously avoided.  The Obama administration also told teachers to fix tests that they had not devised and were forced to administer.    

In an even smoother move, the New York Times summed up the blame this way:

The administration’s move seemed a reckoning on a two-decade push that began during the Bush administration and intensified under President Obama. Programs with aspirational names — No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top — were responding to swelling agreement among Democrats and Republicans that higher expectations and accountability could lift the performance of American students. . . . .”

Alas, the push began “during the Bush administration.”

Shorter: If JEB! needed a final coffin nail, here it comes.

Meanwhile, in Obama’s backyard of  Washington, D.C.,  only 1 in 10 DC students score ‘college ready’ on the new Common Core math tests.  The scores dropped in neighboring Maryland as well.  Let’s not even get into the results for Hispanic students; Obama has that one covered with a forced touchy-feely outreach program.

But for educrats like William Bushaw, who is the director of the agency overseeing the NAEP (Nations Report Card),  the narrative remains the same: Common Core is not to blame.

William Bushaw, executive director of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees NAEP, tried to discourage connecting this year’s test results and Common Core in a telephone call with reporters Tuesday.

NAEP exams, while overlapping with the Common Core standards, are not tied to any specific curriculum or material used in public schools, Bushaw said.

He added that states might not have used Common Core in the same way.

We should not assume the Common Core has been evenly or persistently implemented in the country,” he said.
News and Observer 10/27/15

That’s an AMAZING admission right there, folks.  For the last 5 years, supporters of Common Core have maintained that the standards would be the same — everywhere.

About every five or so years, Educrats and Ed Reformers roll out some shiny new reform. None of these amazing reforms have moved the needle for our kids, nothing has changed for them.  Nothing has changed in the way these reformers window dress the failure of their amazing reform either; perhaps they took deck chair rearranging lessons in a past life.

It was vital kids be able to transfer from state to state and learn the exact same thing, even though the transient student population is less than 2% of the overall student population in the United States.

So not only was Common Core not being implemented the same way, it’s now clear the other major platform of Common Core has crumbled. That platform is consistent comparison of tests from state to state.

But don’t blame Common Core.  It’s the implementation. It’s the tests. It’s anything but the flawed and experimental standards that were rolled out rapid fire in order to yoke states into using them via the Race To The Top grant.

Having said all of that, Obama’s ‘test cap’ is an insulting band-aid on a machete wound that this administration has allowed to fester for the better part of his Presidency.

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

In North Carolina, I’m known by many as the ‘Stop Common Core lady’ and with good reason.

I’ve been fighting Common Core every single day and have written over 1,300 articles on Common Core in various places (including my personal blog and here at Da Tech Guy) over the course of the last three and a half years.

I have participated in the national Common Core event put on by Glenn Beck and the Blaze, We Will Not Conform. I’ve testified in front of the NC Legislature and will be giving public comment at the upcoming Common Core Commission meeting on June 15th.

I even recently had the opportunity to express my frustrations on Common Core to Presidential candidate, Senator Ted Cruz. I had him at “hello“.

As you can see, I’ve been busy.

This past week, Common Core turns five. So, how did I celebrate?

I yawned and continued doing exactly what I’ve done for years: Fight Common Core.

I did manage to say ‘Happy Birthday’, though:


I also managed to garner a shout out and a few links in a smartly written Common Core birthday post by Dr. Terry Stoops of the John Locke Foundation:

Judging from approved meeting minutes from 2009 and 2010, the discussions referenced above appear to have involved key members of the board, N.C. Department of Public Instruction staff, and then-Gov. Bev Perdue. State education officials spent little time engaging a diverse group of stakeholders or soliciting input from the public.

That is not to say that there was no feedback from parents, teachers, and concerned citizens. Before publication of the final version of the standards, the CoreStandards.org website served as a portal for public comment nationally.

Blogger extraordinaire Lady Liberty obtained, published, and analyzed feedback from the site. She found that, of the 8,731 comments collected on CoreStandards.org, only 195 came from North Carolina.

“Blogger extraordinaire”. HEH!  I suppose that goes hand in hand with being one of Da Tech Guy’s “Magnificent Seven” bloggers.

Glad to see the research and hard work I put in on exposing the ‘public feedback’ seeing some attention.

What I also hope receives more attention is that the Academic Standards Review Commission that is reviewing the Common Core in North Carolina will be hearing from the public at their upcoming meeting.  Spaces are limited, so parents should get moving if they want to express their concerns.

Whether Common Core turns 5 or 25, it makes no difference to those of us who have exposed what the standards really are: A fundamentally flawed experiment, created by unqualified individuals and trotted out to the public by unelected non-governmental organizations all with the financial backing of big business.

AP DillonA.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 and Watchdog Wire NC.
Catch her on Twitter: @LadyLiberty1885