Archives for posts with tag: Common Core State Standards

The Schools Matter blog has carried an article by Jim Horn.

He writes:

“Even though CCSS are not federal standards per se, no one disputes the fact they would have never been endorsed by 45 states almost overnight, had the Obama Administration not incentivized their adoption with bonus points for states hoping to land part of the $4.3 billion in federal Race to the Top grants in 2010.

“Nonetheless, the federal education goal, which consolidates years of work by the Business Roundtable, is for all states to have the same “state” standards and that new accountability tests should be developed and administered nationwide. If that makes them state standards, then surely, “what’s in a name?””

Note that Mr. Horn (doctor of education, I presume, but I didn’t look hard, and nothing told me for sure) is a progressivist. When progressives are panning the CCSS, it seems certain the CCSS is a bad idea.

It does make me wonder. Why would progressives oppose such an obliviously progressive set of rules? Of course, it is just as stunning to see Republicans and otherwise conservative people supporting it!

Actually, I might have a clue. Horn points out that CCSS doesn’t seem to be helping, and that standards that are different from CCSS are what do seem to be working. He then asks for a delay and studies. He asserts, correctly, that CCSS will have one certain outcome: Lots of students labeled as failures.

That seems to me a good reason for progressivists to oppose it. It inflicts negative labels. Conversely, I think that is why some conservatives support it. It holds accountable and imposes consequences.

Neither is a correct and realistic world view. There is a balance toward the middle, and CCSS does not help us get there.

Here are resources for research on Common Core State Standards.

I like that title. “OK” for both okay and Oklahoma. It flabbergasts me how politics makes such strange bedfellows.

The Pioneer Institute (Massachusetts) provides a two-page fact sheet on the background of the Common Core State Standards. Dr. Sandra Stotsky put it together. Recall she was one of five (out of 30) who refused to sign off on the validation report of the CCSS. Wiki has this to say about her:

A group called Truth in American Education has articles by various authors. This link,, will pull up information by and about the good doctor.

The TiAE also provides this statement: worthy of your consideration. I consider this last paragraph worth repeating:

  • Restricts Parental Involvement in Children’s Education: Perhaps the greatest concern with the establishment of a national standard is the lack of parental choice, control, and involvement in their child’s education. With greater federal control of education, parents lose control and the ability to hold their child’s educators accountable.  National standards will contribute to the federal trend of diminishing parenthood in favor of greater control by centralized federal and state bureaucracies.

Amazing. If you haven’t been there, nothing is more distressing. The CCSS and the overall movement toward nationalized standards and least-common-denominator education makes worker bees, even mindless drones, of our children, and most of us cannot be bothered to notice.

Note that the Pioneer Inst. is in Massachusetts. Note that Massachusetts implemented effective educational reform and standards about 20 year ago. The CCSS are touted as based on what Massachusetts did. Obviously these citizens of that state feel they have been betrayed and let down. CCSS is not nearly as good as what they had.

There is so much it is difficult to even begin to organize it. There are so many reasons that CCSS is just more of the same failed progressivist policies and educational “reform” that has been going on for decades.

What reforms have not been tried over the last forty or fifty years? Sure, there were small, isolated successes, but mostly our education system grew worse and the results of education stayed about the same, with few ever finding their actual potential, and more and more money thrown at the basics, the reforms, and the research. All for essentially zero gain, with more and more adversarial relations between the education establishment and parents, even between the establishment and teachers.

The Achieve, Inc. organization holds the motto: All students should graduate from high school ready for college, careers and citizenship

Do you think that sounds good? I don’t. I think it is monstrous. Such an attitude holds students in contempt. Such an attitude is totally selfish, totally focused on the utility of individuals in the service of the collective, the collective that benefits those who hold such views. In fact, those who hold such views tend to be pulling the strings and manipulating the collective to their own liking.

First, societally we must change our attitude of thinking of children as future. No, children are now! Children are citizens now, regular people now, ready to contribute now. Sure, we parents have huge responsibilities in leading, teaching, and guiding our little ones, and we must protect them, while balancing the continuing requirement to grant ever-increasing freedom and responsibility (and the consequences). Maturity matters, but after about 12 years of age, character is what determines maturity.

Kids must grow up, but freedom and choice is the road we travel together. Choice is so often touted by those who want to limit choice. Everyone, no matter what age, should have as much choice as possible, short of imminent danger to self or others.

Scott Adams (Dilbert) has taken to renouncing goals and objective-oriented thinking. He is right, and CCSS is all about the goals and objectives. Objectives have the consequence of objectifying those involved in obtaining the objectives. Soldiers are the classic example. Real soldiers, people, in real wars (real hell), are hardly more than the pieces on the board in the game room (or the video screen) because the objective is what counts. We must ensure our children count from conception forward. All the time. Every time. In all circumstances. Every person is a person, just like Horton’s Whoville, no matter how small, no matter how insignificant in the big picture.

A system that will improve our education system would start with repeal of truancy laws. Compulsion is always bad, always immoral.

Such a system wouldn’t have unions, because the teachers and parents are partners, who are both partners with the students. Administration should be just that, and nothing more.

Such a system would keep parents and teachers working together, not adversarially. It won’t be easy. It won’t require more money than we already spend, but it will cause lots of pain to those in power in the education establishment.

I think we can do it. I know we can live with it.

Change starts in the heart, not in the legislature! Read the rest of this entry »

A photographer was working with her camera and trying to help her second-grade daughter with her math homework, which was Common Core aligned. She happened to catch a now famous photo of her daughter’s frustration.

Math, the hard way.

The original photo is here:

The write-up at this link is worth your time to understand the photo:

Another mother, a teacher, expresses her frustration here,, specifically addressing the Gates Foundation and some other contributors to the Common Core State Standards. She addresses five hours of baseline testing for five-year-olds. Her open letter to the Gates Foundation is a bit emotional, but she makes the case that CCSS and the mandatory testing that is being implemented with it are more of a corporate takeover of education, rather than the latest honest effort at reform. Ms. DuFresne sees these testing requirements as child abuse.

Even if you support the Common Core State Standards, you must stand up and ensure excesses as described above are not allowed. These fuzzy math examples may be exceptional, but they are in line with the “think outside the box” attitude built into the implementation efforts. It is also certain that too much is being expected of those under 11 years of age.

The big problem is coercion and externally imposed requirements. Requirements must start with consideration of the child and the parent, individually, case by case. The more steps above the child and parent from whence the imposition is foisted, the more perverse will be the results. Coercion is always immoral. Perhaps CCSS isn’t the root of the problem, but it certainly is exposing problems that it cannot hope to fix.

A US News and World Report article provides some details of Common Core State Standards past. 2010 is when CCSS started, but there was some effort to get it started back in 2008. 

Given we have been slapping reform after reform on our educational system for decades now, the years here can hardly be considered slow and methodical.

Still, that is kinda the point the USNews article is trying to make. I don’t buy it.

Supposedly Janet Napolitano started it. She released an August 2006 initiative statement as chair of the Governors Association (a position held at the moment by my governor, Mary Fallin). Here is the statement:

The National Governors Association’s Innovation America initiative focused on strengthening our nation’s competitive position in the global economy by improving our capacity to innovate. The goal was to give governors the tools they need to improve math and science education, better align post secondary education systems with state economies, and develop regional innovation strategies.
To guide the Innovation America initiative, we assembled a bipartisan task force of governors, corporate CEOs and university presidents. Working with the NGA Center for Best Practices, this task force provided valuable advice on innovation strategies in general and assisted in the development of the initiative’s reports and forums. Through a variety of events and publications, we collected and shared best practice information to ensure that every state—and the nation—is equipped to excel in the global economy.

There is a 75 page paper that goes with it:

Governor Fallin is a conservative, but left leaning in some areas, including education. She and our State Superintendent have pushed, and continue to push, for the CCSS. The Governor’s position seems to be shifting, perhaps. It is hard for me to believe that a Republican Governor and Republican State Superintendent of Education can support something started by the likes of Napolitano. I should think anyone who asserts personally conservative political views would recognize the CCSS as left leaning from inception to implementation. Close examination shows it is progressivist. I find progressivism in all its forms entirely against the human soul. 

The Napolitano statement has carried through to the final version of the CCSS now adopted by most states. The tone I find so alarming, like lifter noise in an engine, like the rattle the doctor listens for with the stethoscope to your back, is the perverted, or at least corrupted, nationalism in the statement. It is collectivist. There is no consideration for the individual, only the state. 

That is wrong. It is the cancerous core of the Common Core. Read the rest of this entry »

What Are We Doing Wrong for Our Schools?

I’ve written about the first problem before, and will again; our first and most fundamental problem is compulsion. We must repeal all truancy laws, or we can expect no reform to succeed.

Perhaps, though, our biggest problem is being overly emotional and protective of “the children.”

It seems so natural to want to protect and hold up the children, but while they are certainly our children, they are more. They are not ours in any sense of ownership. They are only ours because we are responsible to provide that which parents must provide. We do, in fact, take that too far if we start with emotion and the ideal of doing all “for our children.”

Any sacrifice seems warranted when we know it is for the good of the children, when it increases their chances for success. Of course, taking that a little too far and adding a bit of sentimentality leads inevitably to claims and demands that help only the few in control, in power. Sometimes, the motives of those in power are supposed to be pure, and sometimes they are not intentionally malicious and greedy. But sometimes their motives are even worse, yet they proclaim, “Don’t you want to support the children?” Guilting us with the skill of the most manipulative mother.

Fundamentally, our children our people, persons, citizens, humans in their own right, each an individual entitled to all the rights, privileges, protections, and responsibilities of each of the rest of us.  Read the rest of this entry »

Tennessee high school senior student speaks against Common Core. His name is Ethan Young. He presented his case at the Knox County School Board regular meeting on November 6, 2013. 

The point is Common Core State Standards is bad for the teachers, as well as the children, as well as the parents. Common Core is NOT OK!

Two letter acronyms are too ambiguous, thus KPI is used to label the concept of performance indicators.

Children and learning are not measurable with KPIs in the important things. Sure, there are quantifiable aspects to what we are trying to do with teaching and rearing our young people, but making “workers” is not the objective. We are making robots for that. We are not Borg.

First and foremost, our children are people, citizens, and worth our all. They are not “our future” in the sense we usually use the phrase, as though we own them and have the right to force them to turn out some predetermined way. They are their own. The future is theirs and what they make it. We owe it to them to educate and raise them with all the wisdom and love we have.

We must keep the decisions about schooling as close to mamma as we can. We need to homeschool, but we also need our public schools, and we need the parents most of all. Common Core State Standards takes the control and direction away from where it is most needed.

Common Core is NOT OK!

Ms. L.E. Ikenga is not a very public figure (at least I couldn’t find anything about her via net-search), but she has a few articles at American Thinker, and she recently wrote this one, about what Common Core State Standards actually are and why they will not work.

She apparently has the ethnic and educational background to address the issues the way she does (I do not), but I think it is particularly important that she points out that the basis of common core thinking has little to do with the Common Core State Standards as they are being foisted upon us.

She said, “Common Core (CC) vs. Common Core State Standards (CCSS)

Much of the ideology behind the CC is the bequest of education thinkers E.D. Hirsch, Mortimer J. Adler, and Allan Bloom, all of whom began far-reaching public campaigns for the restoration of classical liberal arts standards in American education in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Mr. Hirsch continues this work through his Core-Knowledge Foundation, which he established in 1986.”

She points out that Mr. Hirsch’s ideas were the basis of K-12 reforms in Massachusetts starting about 20 years ago, and those reforms have proven successful, as opposed to everything else that has been tried elsewhere. She states simply that what the progressives are trying doesn’t much resemble what Hirsch advocated, nor what Massachusetts enacted.

Quoting from her American Thinker article, “As of right now, the CCSS continues to be a poorly thought out patchwork of ideas for an academic framework for the nation’s public schools. The ideas are based on an amorphous compilation of core-knowledge philosophy, outdated NCLB aligned teaching standards, and disparate progressive pedagogies from coalitions of educators with dubious academic backgrounds.

However, by law, no state in the Union is required to adopt the CCSS; nor is the CCSS a mandate for a national curriculum for English literacy, history, mathematics, or the sciences.  Alaska, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia have opted out, and Minnesota has only adopted the CCSS reading standards.”

That second paragraph is pretty significant, considering that our Oklahoma Governor and State Superintendent both act like there is simply no alternative to adoption of the Common Core State Standards.

Note, these laws are affecting homeschoolers. These laws will result in more melding of the government in the private affairs of law-abiding citizens and good parent.

And if that doesn’t worry you, then consider this:

I am emphasizing that Common Core State Standards are not what they are asserted to be. They are not useful. Common core is just another progressivist program to kick the can down the road and keep the ruling class in power, both in the educational associations and in politics.

Common Core is NOT OK!

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