by Linda Szugyi

I’m three chapters into Terrence O. Moore’s new book, The Story-Killers:  A Common-Sense Case Against the Common Core, and all I can say is amen.

Thanks to the military lifestyle, our family experienced a Church of England primary school, two Catholic private schools, and a public virtual school in just five short years.  These experiences were pre-Common Core, but one of the major problems we encountered was the same:  high-sounding standards, written in elaborate academia-speak, which in reality translated into Older Son being hopelessly bored half the time, and desperately overwhelmed the other half.

What do I mean by hopeless boredom?  Older Son was an early reader, but that didn’t matter in Britain’s version of kindergarten, which is called reception.  He was still required to “read” the non-verbal books, at the same speed as the rest of the class.

That’s right.  I said non-verbal.  The first several readers had no actual words in them.  The teacher explained to me that, while she noticed he was already reading fluently, these books were an important tool for teaching him to look at the pictures for clues as to what the text (when eventually provided) was saying.

Things came to a stressful climax in Older Son’s third grade year, also known as the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year.  I knew it was going to be bad the minute I opened the teacher’s “welcome letter.”  The words “welcome letter” require quotation marks because three pages of single-spaced brick-wall paragraphs are frankly not that welcoming.

There were so many instructions, it was hard for me (an adult! with a degree!) to follow.  The supply list was so bizarrely detailed, I didn’t even know what some of the items were.  Also, she used too many exclamation points.

I knew we were not going to get along.

That’s a story for another post, but yes.  We didn’t get along.  She liked to use the word “rubric,” and in our first parent-teacher meeting I asked, “What is a rubric?”  She explained it as the system used for grading assignments, which really annoyed me because if it’s the grading system then why don’t you just use the word grading?

Well.  The thing is.

Thanks to The Story-Killers, I have figured out that it is not as simple as a new word coming into vogue because it makes the education establishment sound more expert.

The “rubric” isn’t a grading system.  It’s not a matter of “you get x amount of answers wrong, you get x grade.”

It’s a set of standards.

What?  You don’t know the difference?

Grades demonstrate what you have and haven’t learned.  For example, if I couldn’t write an essay without comma splices, my 10th grade English teacher would give me the grade of F.

Grades have meaning.  Standards, on the other hand, are meaningless:

“The so-called standards that states adopt, however, consist in a vague set of ‘learning objectives’ that are either general skills or amorphous concepts surrounding an academic subject.” Story-Killers, page 65.

General skills are the things that your child would learn anyway, by virtue of the fact that he is living breathing human.  Like learning that the pictures in a book give clues as to what the book is saying.  Amorphous concepts are the purely meaningless part.  Like Common Core Standard RL-2.9:

“By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories and poetry, in the grades 2-3 complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.”

Sound good?  Or at least, does it sound expert?  Let Mr. Moore put it in plain English for you:

“Students in second grade should read and understand more difficult books at the end of the year than at the beginning.  They may need help, though.”  Story-Killers, page 68.

Now, here comes the part where Common Core experiences are going to be even worse than what we have already seen.  Mr. Moore visited classrooms and found that in the Common Core world, everything will be governed by the standards.  They are posted on the classroom wall.  Teachers are forming the habit of making every lesson explicitly tied to at least one standard.  This is the “alignment” part of the Common Core creature:

“It is not a stretch to say that the schools are now operating under a cult of standards.  Everything must be connected to a standard.  Nothing can be done that is not a standard.  Very few people see the utter poverty of the standards, so the language of the standards binds all.  Teachers must write mind-numbing lesson plans in which everything they mean to teach or assign is cross-referenced to a standard. . . . Of course, much of this ‘lesson-planning’ becomes a cut-and-paste operation, just as the Common Core Standards themselves have the feel of that wonderful function of Microsoft Office.”  Story-Killers, page 78.

The proponents of Common Core, such as New York Education Commissioner John King, try to sell it as “a path to precise reading, writing and thinking skills.”  At the same time, they remind us that it isn’t a curriculum.  It’s just a standard.

How, exactly, can a standard measure a child’s reading, writing, and thinking, without stating what specific knowledge and skills (i.e., curriculum) are necessary?

Critics like me are put on the defensive, because “how can you be against raising academic standards?’  When “standards” are meaningless vagaries that allow political indoctrination under the guise of “critical thinking,” you better believe that I am against them.

By A.P. Dillon

This past week marked Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. day in the United States. While many took time out to remember the message of Dr. King and his Dream, others took time to assail political opponents and abuse the Dream. At Duke University, an event to commemorate the icon and day turned ugly, degenerating into a host of insults directed at Republican North Carolina legislators. The College Fix:

DURHAM – An observance at Duke University on Sunday meant to honor Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. ended up as a platform to bash North Carolina Republicans and their reform policies.

The event, held inside a chapel at Duke University, began with Duke student and president of the campus Black Student Alliance Marcus Benning citing Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” to criticize the Republican-controlled state Assembly.

“I know why the caged bird sings,” he said. “Because when institutions like the one in Raleigh put up restrictive laws, we begin to sing and fight back.”

Benning’s remarks were in reference to the state’s “Moral Monday” movement, large and disruptive civil disobedience demonstrations at the statehouse, where liberal activists decried the Republican-held majority and its approval of issues such as voter-ID laws and fiscal responsibility on public education.

Read the whole thing. NAACP’s Ben Jealous also got into the act. Paging James O’Keefe

Another such instance of abuse came from the leader of Moral Monday, Reverend Barber. Barber took aim at South Carolina’s Tim Scott, comparing him to a ventriloquist’s dummy as the Daily Haymaker documented:

“[…] A ventriloquist can always find a good dummy,” Rev. William Barber II said of South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott, according to South Carolina’s The State. “[T]he extreme right wing down here (in South Carolina) finds a black guy to be senator and claims he’s the first black senator since Reconstruction and then he goes to Washington, D.C., and articulates the agenda of the Tea Party. […]”   – North Carolina NAACP president William Barber  January 20, 2014

Scott did not take the comment lying down and fired back at Barber. The Daily Caller reported:

“To reflect seriously on the comments a person, a pastor, that is filled with baseless and meaningless rhetoric would be to do a disservice to the very people who have sacrificed so much and paved a way,” Scott told The Daily Caller in an emailed statement. “Instead, I will honor the memory of Dr. King by being proactive in holding the door for others and serving my fellow man.  And Rev. Barber will remind me and others of what not to do.”

Also, further down:

Scott explained that he has never met Barber and implied that the NAACP chapter head knows nothing about him.

“I did not meet him when I was failing out of high school.  I did not see him on the streets of my neighborhoods where too many of my friends got off track and never recovered.  I did not meet him when I was working 85 hour weeks to start my business, nor did I meet him when I was running for Congress against long odds.  But who I did meet were people everywhere across this state who were willing to work hard and to help me succeed — and I them,” Scott said.

Indeed. Democrats and the Left truly have their heads in the sand when it comes to their own history.  Reverend Barber has a perverse sense of what Dr. King and his Dream are about as Sister Toldjah observes:

South Carolina’s “The State” news outlet published what equates to a puff piece this past weekend on the now-nationally recognized opportunistic NC NAACP President/Reverend William Barber.  Barber is the so-called “leader” of the unhinged “Moral Monday” movement here in NC that has waged a vicious war against our GOP-controlled state legislature (otherwise known as the General Assembly) since former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory (R) was sworn into the Governor’s office last January.   NC Democrats, drunk on FULL power here for well over a century, are not used to being in the passenger seat and are taking the “any means necessary” approach to trying to return to their glory days where they had little to no opposition.  I’ve written about both Barber and the “Moral Monday” activist left here, in case you’re curious about the back story.

Sister Toldjah also refuted the Left in NC proposing Barber is just like Dr. King.

In June 2013, NCNAACP’s Barber preached with hate, compared #NCVoterID to the crucifixion–> http://t.co/cK933wVxbF #NOTMLK #ncga #ncpol

— Stacey-SisterToldjah (@sistertoldjah) January 20, 2014

 

MLK was about judging ppl on character, NOT their race or anything else. Barber is just the opposite. That’s a fact. #NCGA#NCPOL#NOTMLK

— Stacey-SisterToldjah (@sistertoldjah) January 20, 2014

Indeed. I’ve written extensively on Reverend Barber, his race baiting and his rather violent rhetoric. For a refresher, revisit my articles A Primer on The Left In NC, part One, Two, Three and Four.

By the way, Barber has refused to apologize. 

 

Perversion of an icon to push a national agenda

Reverend Barber wasn’t the only one pushing the limit on Martin Luther King day as evidenced by a rather disgusting op-ed by NY Education Commissioner, John King.  In the op-ed, King promotes Common Core by playing on the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King. The op-ed was titled “Dr. King and The Common Core” and equates Common Core with the emancipation proclamation. No, I’m not kidding.

Excerpt:

The Common Core offers a path to the precise reading, writing and thinking skills that will help propel their children and children across the state to success. Yet some now want us to delay, or even abandon, our efforts to raise standards.

I say no. As King said in that speech a little more than fifty years ago, “We do not have as much time as the cautious and the patient try to give us.”

We have many great schools in New York State, but we do not have time to wait to dramatically transform those that are not working. We do not have time to wait to give all students — regardless of their race or zip code or the language they speak at home — access to the enriching and engaging learning experiences they need and deserve. And we do not have time to wait to ensure that the students who graduate from our high schools do so ready to succeed in college and careers.

King concludes his speech this way: “And so I close by quoting the words of an old Negro slave preacher who didn’t quite have his grammar right but uttered words of great symbolic profundity and they were uttered in the form of a prayer: ‘Lord, we ain’t what we oughta be. We ain’t what we want to be. We ain’t what we gonna be. But, thank God, we ain’t what we wuz.’ ”

So let us all pledge today — Dr. King’s birthday — to do whatever we can to make real the promise of the Emancipation Proclamation, the promise of King’s words and the promise of equal educational opportunity for all. Our children cannot wait.

Good grief.

Did you get that? Common Core is like freeing the slaves… or something. Race card played. Billions spent on education in this country filled with more and more government intrusion has brought us to where we are today, yet Ed Commissioner King likens it to Martin Luther King’s Dream speech and the Emancipation Proclamation.  Common Core is the opposite of what Dr. King was dreaming of.

Dr. King’s messages of tolerance, of preserving the rights of the individual and of acceptance of the beliefs of others lay abused and tattered at the wayside by the very people who claim to be upholding them.

 

Quick update on the state of Common Core In North Carolina

The next meeting of the NC General Assembly’s Common Core Study Committee has been set for February 20th at 10 am. The full details can be viewed at StopCommonCoreNC.

What has also been revealed is that the 3rd and final meeting of this committee, which is the portion where public comment can be heard, has been pushed out to after the short session. That means the public won’t get to comment until right before school starts again; Common Core will persist in our classrooms.

This is unacceptable and amounts to shutuppery.  There have been no public forums on Common Core in NC. The citizens have had no way to speak out and now they are being put off until the 11th hour? I sincerely hope the committee reconsiders this, as it would be disadvantageous to this legislature to have both sides of the political fence protesting them in tandem.

Related Read: An Open Letter To NC Governor McCrory

 

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 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.

 

We took the kids to a civil war reenactment this weekend.  It was a cold day for central Florida, which of course means that it wasn’t actually objectively cold, but when you are afraid to wear jeans in January because you might roast by the afternoon, you aren’t going to be prepared for a rare frigid wind.

After a couple of hours perusing the sutlery and the camps, I was thoroughly chilled and way more excited about the fry bread than the battle itself.  Wrapped in an odd assortment of whatever clothing I could extract from my van, I settled in a camp chair on a hill above the crowd.  Younger Son served as a much-needed blanket in my lap.

Alas, a number of folks crowded right in front of us at the last-minute.  A teenaged boy completely obscured Younger Son’s view of the battlefield, which really wouldn’t have annoyed me.  Much.  Except for the fact that he looked at his phone more often than the sweeping view he was blocking.

I grumbled, gathered our things, and moved forward until we were right next to that teenager.  Settling in the camp chair again, I cast a dark glance his way, but he was oblivious.

The minor inconvenience was quickly forgotten.  Cannons were fired, the cavalry rode in, Union troops marched, and a ragtag group of Rebels tried to ward them off.  Then, I couldn’t help but overhear the teenager ask his mom, “Which one is the North and which one is the South? I forget.”

In my old age I have found my trademark restraint (also known as shyness) failing me.  As my head whipped around to address this question, a guffaw of disbelief escaped my lips.  And so a conversation began.

They were both kind, thankfully, given the way I intruded into their conversation.  The mom acted somewhat sheepish that her son was so clueless, and the son simply explained that he hates history.

I said, that’s because you aren’t taught history properly.  Instead of sharing all the dramatic stories of our past, your teachers just recite dry facts and dates.  He further explained that he hadn’t had American History since 8th grade.

I must have embarrassed him, because he continued to enlighten me with whatBlank Stare Civil War history he did know.  He explained that his 8th grade teacher told him that the North had better weapons because they had all the factories, but the South had better armor because they had all the cotton.

Yeah.

I didn’t know what to make of that.  I didn’t want to be confrontational.  How, exactly, do you ask what the heck are you talking about without being confrontational?

His mother and I explained how the South didn’t have better anything.  He piped up one more time, saying that at least the South had more people.  SighThe awkward silence probably spoke volumes.  He nervously added, well, unless my teacher was wrong, because that’s what she said.

I offered that if he’d like to read a good story about the Civil War, he should read Company Aytch.  He didn’t ask for any details, so I doubt he’ll be taking my advice.  Perhaps, though, he’ll be thinking twice before he asks dumb Civil War questions during a Civil War reenactment.

This is purely anecdotal and all that.  Still.  It’s pretty powerful anecdotal evidence of how completely we have severed ourselves from our own history.

And as bad as Common Core is . . .

Common Core doesn’t even standardize the subject of history.

Yet.

The left has been rewriting history for some time now.  Common Core is merely the official stamp on progress already accomplished.

Update DTG: The left re-writing history, that sounds so familiar:

I have stated that modern liberalism & progressive is diametrically opposed to and actively targeting Christianity because it is all about truth and reality and rejecting truth and reality is the cornerstone that modern liberalism is built upon.

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Olimometer 2.52

If there is one bit of history I’d like to re-write it’s the history of DaTipJar for the Month of January 2014.

Yesterday we picked up a full $12 toward our weekly paycheck.

Normally that’s not a big deal on the first day of the week but as we have failed to make paycheck since 2014 another bad start to the week is not a good sign.

14 of you kicking in $25 will change that.

This is an election year, there will be a lot to cover, your tip jar hit will help me cover it and the Magnificent Seven like Linda do so as well.

Remember if we can get those 58 1/4 subscribers @ at $20 a month the bills will be paid every week. Help make sure this blog can fight without fear all year long.




By A.P. Dillon

On Monday, DaTechGuy wrote about the sexual abuse cases taking place in schools as highlighted by Stacy McCain:

Lately Stacy McCain has been doing a large series on sexual criminals.  Yesterday he focused on Teachers

If you pay attention to the news, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that America’s public schools are staffed by sex-crazed perverts

It’s not his first dive into these waters but this time Glenn Reynolds linked with the line:

Obviously, we need to end mandatory celibacy and let high school teachers marry.

Now this is a story we’ve been covering for a while, but as we’ve also had a real bump in readership in 2013 & 2014 so for new readers at DaTechGuy Blog let me acquaint you with some stories we covered and & posts we did that you might have missed on this subject over the years:

The Guardian April 29th 2010

Sexual abuse scandal rocks Boy Scouts of America after $18.5m payout

Organisation accused of cover-up as it seeks to keep thousands of ‘perversion files’ secret

Oddly this subject wasn’t raised when they changed their rules

Read the whole thing.  These stories don’t involve men wearing White collars or fit anti-gay narratives, so the media

Over at my pet project, ConMom, I’ve chronicled many stories of abuse. I was pleased to see an Instalanche on the ConMom category Who is Teaching Your Kid?‘, but sad at the same time I even have a category like that. Glenn Reynolds called it a ‘troubling collection’ and he’s right. It’s disturbing.

Back to Re: Oh THOSE abuse stories

Here’s my contribution to those horror stories, which for the most part, are going under-reported in the media. If you’re not wearing a white-collar or running for office, these stories are largely reported then forgotten. The specific one I want to concentrate on is one that made a top ten list at Huffington Post. It’s of a North Carolina former middle school principal named David Ellis Edwards.

What earned him that top ten spot? He raped a boy in his office while the parents were outside the room.

A former middle school principal in North Carolina is accused of sexually assaulting a student while the boy’s unsuspecting parent was outside the room.

David Ellis Edwards, 49, was arrested Friday and charged with second-degree forcible sex offense, sexual acts with a student, taking indecent liberties with a minor and crimes against nature, WTVD reported.

Deputies say that between 2009 and 2011, Edwards molested at least three boys between the ages of 11 and 14. At least one of the incidents allegedly occurred in Edward’s office while the victim’s parent sat in a nearby waiting area.  – Huffington Post

The article goes on to say the police think there are at least three more victims. It’s hard to know much more because “The incident report has been sealed, due to the sensitivity of the allegations.” That’s just as well, the kids involved need to be protected. This guy, however, deserves the 9th circle of Hell and a white-hot poker where the sun doesn’t shine.

Abuse isn’t limited to just the sexual contact nature. There is a broader degree of what is and can be considered abuse in schools. There’s a few other aspects to consider, like zero tolerance — a topic I’ve piled into what I call “The Great Public School Experiment. Much of that zero tolerance lunacy only goes in one direction. Let’s not forget the educrat idiot brigades, of which Arne Duncan recently found himself the star of in his defense of the Common Core by saying those opposed are mainly ‘White Suburban Moms’.

Another avenue of what can be considered abuse is corruption coupled with neglect, as we recently found out was going on in a NYC school.  Via NY Post:

Students at PS 106 in Far Rockaway, Queens, have gotten no math or reading and writing books for the rigorous Common Core curriculum, whistleblowers say.

The 234 kids get no gym or art classes. Instead, they watch movies every day.

“The kids have seen more movies than Siskel and Ebert,” a source said.

The school nurse has no office equipped with a sink, refrigerator or cot.

The library is a mess: “Nothing’s in order,” said a source. “It’s a junk room.”

No substitutes are hired when a teacher is absent — students are divvied up among other classes.

A classroom that includes learning-disabled kids doesn’t have the required special-ed co-teacher.

About 40 kindergartners have no room in the three-story brick building. They sit all day in dilapidated trailers that reek of “animal urine,” a parent said; rats and squirrels noisily scamper in the walls and ceiling.

NO GYM OR ART: With no phys-ed or art classes, students are left to watch movies, including “Alvin and the Chipmunks” and “Fat Albert.

NO SPACE: Without enough space in the main brick building, kindergartners are taught in what sources say are rat-infested trailers.

The article goes on to talk about the principal, Marcella Sills, who apparently shows up whenever she feels like it but is paid well for her lack of attendance:

Image via NY Post

 

 When she is out, an assistant principal  is left in charge. Yet Sills, who gets a $128,207 salary, also pockets overtime pay — $2,900 for 83 hours in 2011, the latest available records show.NY Post

 

 

 

 

Your tax dollars — Funding no-show principals with six figure salaries. The parents are finally speaking out, but one has to ask how long they’ve been doing so and had been ignored. That might be because no one is literally listening. Parents used to have a way to have their voice heard at their schools via the PTA. Now, they are left to contact administrators on their own or try to band together and make noise outside of the school.

Control and involvement in our schools by parents has eroded a lot since I attended primary school. The PTA, as I have experienced it, no longer is a Parent-Teacher Association that works to improve curriculum, conditions and set rules or guidelines like the one my mother belonged to when I was in school.  The ones I’ve come in contact with these days are more concerned with covering all the things a school budget should be able to cover like bringing in speakers, teacher appreciation related activities, having book and science fair and more. Don’t get me wrong, these things are important. The social aspect to schools for the kids and teachers is invaluable. Having said that, the primary function should be engagement in the education process, not social activities. This is especially apparent as we have seen how the Common Core was implemented largely by stealth. One has to wonder what would have happened if an engaged group of parents via a PTA were introduced to Common Core before implementation.

One final thought on abuse in schools, or rather abuse of schools as the case may be. It seems the Department of Justice has decided that discipline in schools is racist.  Via The Daily Caller:

Education experts decried a new memo from the Departments of Justice and Education that instructs public schools throughout the country to cease punishing disruptive students if they fall into certain racial categories, such as black or Hispanic.

The letter, released on Wednesday, states that it is a violation of federal law for schools to punish certain races more than others, even if those punishments stem from completely neutral rules. For example, equal numbers of black students and white students should be punished for tardiness, even if black students are more often tardy than white students.

Here is the relevant section of the letter:

“Schools also violate Federal law when they even-handedly implement facially neutral policies and practices that, although not adopted with the intent to discriminate, nonetheless have an unjustified effect of discriminating against students on the basis of race.

Examples of policies that can raise disparate impact concerns include policies that impose mandatory suspension, expulsion, or citation (e.g., ticketing or other fines or summonses) upon any student who commits a specified offense — such as being tardy to class, being in possession of a cellular phone, being found insubordinate, acting out, or not wearing the proper school uniform.”

So, in a nutshell, the DOJ wants quotas on discipline. So if teachers have to discipline any given race of child in their class, they then have to make sure they hit all the others present there? The stupid, it burns.   I guess I missed the memo where the DOJ was now the Department of Education, which by the way, is unconstitutional in and of itself.  Those quotas? Well, that is another example of more local control being ceded to the federal government.

Weasel Zippers ran this story from CNS about the DOJ wanting to know about the race, gender and more of misbehaving students. which is a straight shot to the discipline quotas letter. All the DOJ has to do it be an approved party and they can get access to all of this data via the Department of Education’s National Education Data Model (NEDM). How?

Common Core.

The Department of education made it a stipulation that the states had to build Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) when they adopted the Common Core. States are required to send data collected via these SLDS’s to the Department of Education as part of the agreement that went along with funding.

I can’t speak for other states, but in North Carolina, that includes juvenile record via USDDC is the Uniform System of Disciplinary Data Collection.  CEDARS is the SLDS for North Carolina. Those opposing Common Core and upset about the data collection have been told we are over-reacting. I assure you, we’re not. The Department of Public Instruction in NC has made denials about data collection, of which were promptly refuted by yours truly.

It also should be mentioned here that Arne Duncan effectively stripped the medical privacy rights of students out of FERPA (Family Educational Right Privacy Act) last year.  This is important to know, because whether your kid visits the nurse or the school psychologist, that data is being collected. All the DOJ needs to do is access it. By the looks of these discipline quotas, they may just have found their way in.

 

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 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.

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Olimometer 2.52

Only $157 is left to go to this week’s paycheck that mans just 6 tip jar hits of $25 (actually $26) will get us to a full paycheck for 2014

I would appreciate your help.

Olimometer 2.52

Then I’ll worry about catching up for the slowest month we’ve had in the last 6.

Also if we can get 57 1/4 more subscribers @ at $20 a month the bills the problem will be solved on a more permanent basis.

It won’t cover CPAC but it will do all the base bills and that’s what counts

Can you be one of them?




Nothing influences the decisions we make today more than our understanding of the past.  This influence extends to all aspects of life, from the spiritual and political to the mundane choices we make everyday.

Generally speaking, history can be divided into just two categories: the personal and the secondhand stories that society passes down.  The history that we personally experience is much more limited, but we understandably give it more weight.  After all, we bore the consequences of that experience, good or bad, so it naturally makes a bigger impact.  Experience is the hardest teacher and all that.

That’s why we tend not to notice the impact of non-personal history lessons.  We don’t feel as connected.  Yet their influence is every bit as important.

Movies are a great example of how much we can be influenced by second-hand stories.  During the two or three hours when we are learning of the characters’ histories and followings their decisions to the conclusion, we make a lot of decisions ourselves.  We decide who is the good guy, and who is the bad.  We decide who to root for.  We decide how we want the movie to end, and how we expect it to end.

What about a movie with a well-executed, unexpected twist?  When it turns out that a key bit of information was withheld, the revelation at the end makes a huge impact.  Think Crying Game, The Usual Suspects, The Others, Frailty, Fight Club, and of course, The Sixth Sense. (Come on, you know you didn’t see it coming.)  the sixth sense

After the conclusion you spend the next hour in amazement, replaying scenes in your mind and trying reconcile the new bit of information with what you had already decided.

That’s just a shadow of the very real impact that real history has on us.

Here’s an interesting real world example of history’s influence.  Ani DiFranco is a music artist with a particular audience.  Both she and her audience’s understanding of the past certainly impacted her decision to cancel a ‘Righteous Retreat,’ which she had accidentally allowed to be held (gasp!) at a plantation site. Serious You Guys.  That is outrageous if you are a member of her audience.  Out-rayyyyy-jus.

(By the way Ms. DiFranco, some of the points you made were fair enough, but it won’t fly with your audienceThe Political Correctness Police give no lenience, not even for one of their own.)

Okay.  Now that we’ve established history’s pervasive impact on individual perspective and decision-making, let’s look at some examples of history that our children learn at school.

In Hillsborough County it appears that the 6th grade Social Studies textbook is Holt’s People, Places, and Change.  (It’s actually rather hard to find out what textbooks are used, and I cannot verify whether this book is still in use.)  I have a copy of this textbook, thanks to Amazon.com.  It’s coverage of U.S. history, from colonization through the Revolution and the ratification of the Constitution, is six pages long.

That’s a lot of history in very few pages.  It’s theoretically possible that more in-depth coverage takes place before or after 6th grade.  I doubt it, though.  The 3rd and 4th grade social studies books were chockfull of nothing.  Heck, I remember my own history books and classes being chockfull of nothing, with the exception perhaps of Mr. Bob Guy’s A.P. U.S. History class in 11th grade.

Back to the book.  In those scant six pages, slavery and women’s rights are mentioned twice, so there’s that narrative reenforcement.  Also, George Washington’s contribution to our nation was highlighted.

Would you like to guess which trait the authors would have General Washington remembered for?

Perseverance?  No.  Courage?  No.  Strategical prowess?  Nope.

The correct answer:  Citizenship.

Which doesn’t even make sense.  The text doesn’t even say “good citizenship.”  It just says, “citizenship.”  How, exactly, does the fact that he was a legal member of our nation make George Washington an important historical figure?

Compare that textbook to the one from the Sonlight homeschool curricula, which just happens to be the one I use:  The Landmark History of the American People.  This book’s coverage of U.S. history, from colonization through the Revolution and the ratification of the Constitution, is 80 pages long.  It doesn’t mention slavery and women’s rights even one time in those 80 pages.

Ooh, does the author wants to hide this shameful past?

Nope.  There are whole chapters devoted to these topics, later on in the two volumes.

Do you know what else the Landmark History includes, which People Places and Change does not?  The actual text of the actual documents.  Technically, the U.S. Constitution is on page 95 of People Places and Change, but it’s a tiny illegible sidebar, with the following caption:  “‘We the People’ begins this signed copy of the U.S. Constitution.”

Isn’t it awesome, the way “We the People” reinforces the socialist and communist narrative about the “People’s Party?”

Anyway.  In conclusion.  How much does the “women and slaves weren’t included!” six-page narrative influence the everyday decisions of young people today?  How much would the “George Washington’s perseverance, great courage and good judgment was key for this nation!” 80-page narrative influence that same set of young people?

That’s the part no one can quantify.  Yet, I’m pretty sure it matters.

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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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:




For this post, I collected a whole lotta links on Education Expert Stupidity.  At the start, I was all geared up for apoplexy.  I’m talking outrage of the eye-twitching, blood vessel-bursting kind.

Writing is a journey, however, and the destination is often a surprise.  Certainly, idiocy is in no short supply.  But at the end of my research, the expected outrage is strangely absent.

Perhaps my own experiences, first as a student and then a parent, have already inured me to the shock.  As far back as I can remember, public education has stunk.  Why, I remember way back in nineteen-diggity-four, how my charming middle school social studies teacher defined political ideology for us young bowls of mush:

“Liberal – generous

Conservative – stingy”

Yep.  And she didn’t even have that handy-dandy Common Core standard to rely on.  She didn’t need it, because our public school curricula were already drained of actual content.  Just pop open your child’s social studies textbook, like this one, and you’ll see what I mean.

Common Core is bad stuff, but it’s not ruining education.  It’s just standardizing and accelerating the ongoing ruination.

The biggest change is in our sense of smell.  Our olfactory nerves have been activated, and we are finally noticing the stench.  And do you know what?  We have the Gun Control and Common Core crowds to thank for that.

So let me be the first to officially say, “thank you!” Thank you, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, for trying to defend your curricula by insulting the soccer moms that get Democrats elected.

Thank you, low-level bureaucrats, for continuing to act like bullies in the age of the iphone and citizen journalism.

Thank you, unicorn-riding totalitarians, for showing us how far you are willing to go in order to kick that stubborn gun culture into submission.

We frogs had been quietly simmering in our baths, but not so much anymore.  We are kind of done with you people.

Here are some more reasons why we are done:

Category One:  Public School Curricula a.k.a. The Dog’s Dinner

  1. Creepy Uncle Sam wants you to know that the government is just like one big happy family!
  2. Don’t tell your parents about this assignment because it is guaranteed to anger at least half of them!
  3. A new 4th grade primer explains why only racists wouldn’t vote for Barry.
  4. This 8th grade definition of conservatism makes less sense than “stingy.”
  5. IKEA furniture assembly instructions are easier than Common Core math.
  6. Seriously.
  7. The book 1984 is too enlightening, and not nearly disturbing enough for our young impressionables.
  8. Stuffy parents have a problem with reading assignments that include the F bomb.
  9. Also pornographic material.  Parents just don’t like it.
  10. Constitution, schmonstitution!
  11. With the child already indoctrinated in 4th grade to throw out the Constitution for his safety, he should be ready for this assignment in 6th grade.
  12. When you know that the left loves deconstructionism, it makes perfect sense to discuss the Gettysburg Address without mentioning the Civil War.
  13. This article is pro-Common Core, but notice how understanding and restating a story’s plot is out-of-fashion.  In fashion:  making up an email from a character’s point of view!  This nonsense is hailed as “critical thinking,” but it is actually another fine example of deconstruction because the reader’s interpretation and creativity is more important than the author’s meaning and intent.

Category Two:  Tyrants R Us

  1. First off, many anti-gun links are above.  They are myriad, but Mr. Mitchell collected many of them in this post.  From key chains to NRA t-shirts to toys to breakfast pastries, educators are coming after them like a Terminator hunting Sarah Connor.
  2. This anti-gun incident deserves its very own spot:  you have a concealed-carry permit, Mom?  You are banned!
  3. Who can forget the infamous lunch that Wasn’t Good Enough?
  4. What happens when the paperwork is more important than people.
  5. What happens when caloric math is more important than people.
  6. You can’t have your kid.
  7. You can’t either.
  8. No kid for you!
  9. Also, stop visiting the school so much, parents.  You are not wanted.
  10. Just drop the kids off in a timely manner, so we won’t have to fine you.
  11. And make sure all their absences are approved, so we won’t have to jail you.

No doubt, this represents only the tip of the iceberg.  Kind readers, please add your own links or personal stories of Education Expert Stupidity to my humble list.  And have a great week!

Those of us engaged in political debate know the term ‘new tone’. We’re used to seeing the hyperbolic, vitriol packed statements from legislators, talking heads and the like. Seeing people called racists, bigots, terrorists and worse have increasingly filled the airwaves and have been pounded out into articles and blogs all over the internet. Sadly, this is par for the course when it comes to political debate. I’ve been subjected to various incarnations of new tone in my time and have come to dub such attempts as ‘shutuppery‘ — as that is really a truer connotation of what these tactics are about; getting the opposing opinion to shut up.

In a rather unsettling series of events, we’re now seeing it displayed in discussions and forums on education. When forced off their talking points and scripts, officials are getting ugly. Specifically, those dealing with Common Core. Most upsetting was the recent statements from Obama’s Education Secretary, Arne Duncan. Duncan took aim at mom’s recently. Yep, moms.  Not just any mom’s, but “white suburban moms”.  War on women anyone? Heck, War on Moms? Duncan has performed an apoloattack, saying his comments were “clumsily phrased“. Yeah, right…whatever. Here’s what the Washington Post reported:

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told a group of state schools superintendents Friday that he found it “fascinating” that some of the opposition to the Common Core State Standards has come from “white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were.” – Washington Post

Just consider for a moment that the top education official in our country has just gone after parents – moms in particular –  in a rather rude and bigoted manner.  Not really confidence inspiring and, in fact, it’s a rather horrifying attempt at bullying on a national level.Dan Savage, call your office!

Here is the full quote as posted by the Daily Caller:

“It’s fascinating to me that some of the pushback is coming from, sort of, white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were, and that’s pretty scary,” Duncan told education officials at a conference in Richmond, Va.

Yeah, it’s fascinating how parents across the country are pushing back to the stealth adopted, untested, unproven, age inappropriate, unrigorous, poorly planned and poorly implemented, costly educational federal overreach of Common Core. Many of us have figured it out, others are figuring it on a daily basis. Revolt is going on in every single state that has adopted it. Parents might be more brilliant than you think, Arne and I am sure that’s pretty scary for you. To borrow a sentiment from Instapundit: He’s a putz. He should go.  YEP.

 

Michelle Malkin jumped right on the Washington Post story’s report with two feet and pushed back in her customary, straight-forward style:

The preposterousness of Duncan’s tirade is outweighed only by its arrogance and falsehood.

As a brown-skinned suburban mom opposed to Common Core, I can tell you I’ve personally met moms and dads of ALL races, of ALL backgrounds, and from ALL parts of the country, who have sacrificed to get their kids into the best schools possible. They are outraged that dumbed-down, untested federal “standards” pose an existential threat to their excellent educational arrangements — be they public, private, religious, or homeschooling.

Duncan’s derision betrays the very control-freak impulses that drive Common Core. He presumes that only technocratic elites in Washington can determine what quality standards and curricula look like. He pretends that minority parents and students in inner-city charter and magnet schools with locally-crafted, rigorous classical education missions simply don’t exist. A textbook liberal racist, Duncan whitewashes all minority parents and educators who oppose Common Core out of the debate. And he condescendingly implies that the only reason “white suburban moms” object to Common Core is that their children are too dumb to score well on tests that are…a complete and utter mess.

Read the Whole Thing

Per usual, Malkin hits the nail on the head. You cannot paint this movement with a single brush stroke.  Those speaking out come from all walks of life, religion and socioeconomic status. They also aren’t all moms – as Ethan Young can clearly attest to. Pretty sure Nick Hladick can back that up as well. Trying to Alkinsky-ize Common Core opponents isn’t going to work. These are our kids. In a nutshell: We’re not shutting up.

 

Some related stories for your shutuppery viewing pleasure:

Robert Small in Maryland: Forcibly removed, arrested and then all charges dropped after he dared question officials at an open meeting in Baltimore. This particular incident went viral as it was captured on video:

 

Lt. Governor Dan Forest of North Carolina sent a 20 page letter of questions on Common Core to the state school superintendent, Dr. June Atkinson. The response he received was less than helpful if not down right snarky, claiming she’d need 10,000 pieces of paper to answer him.  The Lt. Governor did finally receive a reply, and it was incredible.  Dr. June Atkinson had sent over dozens of boxes containing thumb drives, CD’s and over 40,00 documents. That means each answer to his original list of questions took 597 pages.  Watch the video the Lt. Governor posted about it:

 

Parent Natalie Adams of Colorado was given a no trespass order for asking questions about data collection of the Common Core by inBloom.

 

A parent in North Carolina was told by their child’s principal they were causing ‘unrest’ by attempting to discuss Common Core with other parents.

 

Parents in NY were treated to Education Commissioner John King canceling forums when dissent and rejection of the pre-packaged presentation at the Poughkeepsie event was overwhelming. King has since reinstituted the forums, however you now need a ticket to enter and the events have ‘fixed’ formats. That didn’t stop parents from continuing to speak out in Albany, Port Chester and Whitesboro. Here is a clip from the forum at Ward Melville High school of an educator that went viral. In it she tells King he’s “awoken the mommies” and he’s in trouble:

AMEN!

 

In Florida, school board member Amy Kneessy called 911 over what she claimed intimidation by another board member. The Blaze reported the incident:

Brevard County School Board member Amy Kneessy says she called 911 after school board candidate Dean Paterakis refused to give up the microphone, intimidated her and hurled allegations at school officials. A short time after the 911 call, Paterakis claims a deputy forcibly removed, or trespassed, him from the Sept. 12 meeting.

 

In Wisconsin, Dr. Gary Thompson testified on the negative effects of Common Core testing on at-risk youth. His reward was not to be asked questions and engage in debate but to be asked who paid for his testimony and smears of ‘extremism’.  Dr. Thompson was undeterred and shot back, “Let me get straight to the point: On behalf of every African-American, Latino, Autistic, gifted, depressed, anxious and learning-disabled child in the state of Wisconsin, I demand your immediate resignation from public office.

 

Oh, okay, that’s not the real title of the bill I’m about to discuss.

The Strengthening America’s Schools Act of 2013 (let’s dub it “SASA”) is eleven hundred fifty pages of stereo instruction.  After mentally ingesting most of it over the weekend, I’m wondering whether printing it out and physically ingesting it might have been easier.

This bill updates the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.  At times, it is a painful hash of subsection redesignations and language striking and insertions.  The rest of the time, it is just painful tedium.

SASA came to my attention a couple of months ago, when a warning popped up on Facebook about this bill interfering with homeschooling.  At the time, I found one website with news of its own:  SASA creates a national school board and changes the state implementation of Common Core from voluntary to mandatory.

Since then, I’ve kept an eye out for additional coverage, but I didn’t run into it any.  So, I stuck my nose into the text of the bill and half-heartedly attempted to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Well, I got buried in the chaff faster than a pig burrowing in a haystack.  Still, it was interesting to see the mutation of the law’s purposes from 1965 to 2013.  The changes are stunning.  For example, the first of the 1965 purposes was about making sure that parents, teachers, and administrators implemented challenging and measurable standards for students.

The 2013 version deletes that language, and instead sweepingly states that the law itself (i.e., the federal government) will be the one setting the expectations.  Those expectations include “critical thinking,” “deep content knowledge,” and “college and career readiness.”

Hey, guess what pops up when you google those phrases?  Come on now, the first two guesses don’t count.

That’s right, Common Core!

The bulk of SASA is a veritable grab-bag of bribe-tastic grant-awarding goodies, from the environmentally friendly “Green Ribbon Schools” (sec. 1133) to the creation of “21st Century Community Learning Centers,” (sec. 4107) which require a longer school day or a longer school year.  After finding twenty-eight different grant categories, I stopped counting.

Your state doesn’t have to apply for these grants.  So no, they aren’t being forced to do anything.  Wink, nudge.

I was a little confused as to why the federal government needed to give out more goodies, since most states already agreed to implement Common Core when they accepted Race to the Top money.

But then I noticed how Race to the Top is a more flexible program.  The state decides how much it wants to comply with the federal criteria before submitting the application.  If the application wins the competition, then the funds are dispersed even if all the federal criteria are not met.

SASA has no such leeway.  For example, under section 1201(e)(3)(E)(i), (page 260 of the PDF) an entity accepting a “Secondary School Reform” grant under Title I, Part B “Pathways to College,” shall “redesign academic content and instructional practices to align with high academic standards for all students, the criteria associated with admission to and success in postsecondary education, and the skills necessary to be successful in the workplace.”

Hey boys and girls, can you guess where lingo like that comes from?  First two guesses don’t count!

That’s right, Common Core!

The most detailed curricula requirements are in section 1111(a)(1).  This section is in “Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged,” page 36 of the PDF.  It is three pages long and referenced seventy times as the standard required in the rest of SASA.  Here my abridged version of it:

SEC. 1111. STATE AND LOCAL REQUIREMENTS.

(a) ACADEMIC STANDARDS, ACADEMIC ASSESSMENTS, AND ACCOUNTABILITY REQUIREMENTS.

(1) REQUIREMENTS FOR COLLEGE AND CAREER READY STATE STANDARDS.—In order to receive a grant under this part, each State shall demonstrate the State meets the following requirements:

(A) COLLEGE AND CAREER READY ALIGNED STANDARDS FOR READING OR LANGUAGE ARTS AND MATHEMATICS.

(i) The State shall not later than December 31, 2014, adopt college and career ready academic content standards in reading or language arts and mathematics that meet the requirements of clauses (ii) and (iii); and not later than the beginning of the 2015–2016 school year, adopt college and career ready student academic achievement that meet the requirements of clauses (ii) and (iv).

(ii) Each State plan shall demonstrate the State has adopted college and career ready academic content standards and college and career ready student academic achievement standards aligned with—(I) credit-bearing academic coursework, without the need for remediation, at public institutions of higher education in the State; and (II) relevant State career and technical education standards and the State performance measures under section 113(b) of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006;

(iii) College and career ready academic content standards shall be used by the State, and by local educational agencies, public elementary schools, and public secondary schools in the State, to carry out the requirements of this part; and be evidence-based and include rigorous content and skills, such as critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills.”

Kind of funny, isn’t it, the way this bill is steeped in Common Core terminology, but never actually mentions it by name?

So the Education Freedom Committee is right.  S. 1094, The Strengthening America’s Schools Act of 2013, requires states that receive funds to use Common Core.

Also, SASA does create a brand new federal school board.  Well, technically it is called the Commission on Effective Regulation and Assessment Systems for Public Schools.

This commission is not confined to reviewing the grants offered under SASA.  Still, it appears to be a rather toothless affair.  Under Title X, section 10014, it has the power to hold hearings and make recommendations.  Under section 10015, it has the duty to take whatever actions necessary to gain full understanding of the issues of effective regulation and assessment systems for public schools.

Hmm.  Might be some teeth hidden in that sentence.  Anyway, the important thing is to simply establish the commission.  Mission creep will come along in due time.

Time for some good news!  First, as long as control of the House isn’t handed to the Democrats, SASA is unlikely to go anywhere.

Second, the bill does not attempt to regulate homeschool students.  In fact, SASA appears to keep the original language from the 1965 Act, which in 20 U.S.C. sec. 7886(b) states:

“Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to affect a home school, whether or not a home school is treated as a home school or a private school under State law, nor shall any student schooled at home be required to participate in any assessment referenced in this chapter.”

So we’ve got that going for us, anyway.  Have a great week everyone!

Update (DaTechGuy) Stacy & Michelle are also on this subject today.

Since 2010, the states one by one have been adopting the Common Core Standards in education. These standards were intended to bring uniformity of what was being taught across the nation. In other words, little Johnny who is in 3rd grade in Nebraska would be learning the same set of skills as little Susie in 3rd grade in Alabama. The standards were supposed to be rigorous and high reaching, but in reality have shown to be less rigorous than most state standards they are intended to replace. Instead of high reaching, the Common Core reaches more to the middle.  Fun fact to note here, the bulk of curriculum behind these standards wasn’t even written when the states adopted it.

The Common Core curriculum aligned lessons that have surfaced recently in the media and those landing on Facebook pages, Twitter and the like, have led many parents to wonder in horror exactly what little Johnny and Susie are learning. Case in point, a rather disturbing English lesson that is aligned with Common Core coming out of a South Milwaukee High School. In this lesson, kids are asked to decide who gets to get into a fictitious lifeboat based on religious and political views, race and sexual orientation.  Sounds like a Benetton ad gone horribly wrong, no?  Mind you, not all lessons you see popping up in the media like this one are specific to the Common Core curriculum. Some existed before the standards were adopted. Frankly, I don’t find comfort in either notion.

 

 

Twitchy has a close up of the text of the image in that tweet.

Horrifying.

In this case, our kids might have to cheat in order to win with Core aligned lessons like this one.  I hence have dubbed this lesson The Identity Politics Kobayashi Maru. An alternative name in our universe might be ‘GOP Messaging Maru’.  Anyway, Captain Kirk beat it:

Another Kobayashi Maru style lesson teaches 4th grade kids about their “White privilege”.  EAG news looked at teaching guides being produced by the Zaner-Bloser company and found this reference to “White privilege” in the 4th grade section:

 

This guide is for 4th grade teachers, and it contains texts and lessons that have the common theme of “Meeting Challenges.”

This particular lesson is based on a book called “The Jacket.” The Zaner-Bloser folks obviously consider this an important book because they designed a two-week lesson plan for it.

The story centers around a young white boy named Phil who wrongly accuses an African-American student of stealing his brother’s jacket.

It’s a fun little book about racism and white privilege – a left-wing concept that teaches African Americans the values of American society are designed to benefit white people.

 

Lovely. Those doubting indoctrination can chew on that one.

For more facts and information on Common Core, I recommend checking out the site I contribute to in North Carolina called StopCommonCoreNC.org.

http://stopcommoncorenc.org/

Of particular use is the resource page:

http://stopcommoncorenc.org/resources/

 

Rise in Home Schooling

Common Core designed and aligned or not, these lessons are likely playing a part of the rise in home schooling. The mere mention of the words ‘zero tolerance’ will make most people with kids cringe. Parents I’ve talked to who have pulled their kids out to home school directly cite the big reason for their switch being linked to wanting more control over the content of what their children were learning. One mother I spoke to said that, for her, watching the increasing government presence in their lives overall made her look more closely at the impact  of increasing government overreach was having on her children. That meant looking at the public school her three kids attended. They didn’t like the broad influences they saw and pulled their kids out.

Parents are looking for more customization for their children’s educations.  Glenn Reynolds wrote an article about that very concept of customizing your kid’s schooling.  Earlier this week, fellow M-7er Linda Szugyi mentioned this same article. We clearly have amazing taste in reading. Heh.  Back to Professor Reynolds.

The article was titled, How Home Schooling Threatens the Education Monopoly. Here is the opening, but read the whole thing:

“What about home schooling? You know, it’s not just for scary religious people any more.” That’s a line from Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and it should strike fear into the hearts, not of vampires, but of public-school administrators everywhere.

The fact is, Americans across the country — but especially in large, urban school systems — are voting with their feet and abandoning traditional public schools, to the point that teachers are facing layoffs. Some are going to charter schools, which are still public but are run more flexibly. Some are leaving for private schools. But many others are going another step beyond traditional education, and switching to online school or even pure home schooling.

 

What the article doesn’t cover is the anxiety some moms out here have about taking that leap. Moms like yours truly, for example. So what’s holding me back?  This question opens up a new can of worms to possibly discuss and write about another time. Stay tuned. Hope you enjoyed my Magnificent Seven Debut!