From the Files: “Common Core Curricula”

I’d like you to go back in time to the first time you heard anything about Common Core Standards. Chances are you may remember the line we got told & sold , ‘just standards’. I do believe, that is one of my ‘favorite’ CCS rhetoric terms. Why? Because it’s such an unbelievable bald face lie! The picture below, while it is from my files, is one of the newer ones. So, let’s look in detail at what our ‘just standards’ Common Core has to offer in the way of curriculum.

Remember, we've been told Common Core Standards are just that..standards. (click to enlarge the picture)
Remember, we’ve been told Common Core Standards are just that..standards. (click to enlarge the picture)

What’s in a name?

“Educore” is the name. Lots of folks and groups wanted to create this resource for CCS teachers. ASCD (they used to be known as the ‘Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development’, however, they got a makeover and changed their name to an acronym) got together with the Gates Foundation, Student Achievement Partners, the National Science Teachers Association, the Literacy Collaboration, and the Mathematics Assessment Project to create Educore. You would think (and hope) with that many education based groups some truly remarkable work would be accomplished. But, sadly, when Common Core Standards are inserted, what looked promising, suddenly became heartbreaking. First up, the website’s link, because I know you want to find out more (http://educore.ascd.org/). What Educore does is have a one stop resource, including curriculum, mall for teachers, administration personnel. schools, and school districts. As they stated:  ‘specifically dedicated to providing educators with easy access to high-quality professional development resources aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). You can also find information on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.’  Resources include webinars, on-line reports and much more. So, how much did the Gates Foundation sink into this educational venture? Well, looking at the Gates Foundation Grant Database (that’s where you’ll find the amount under ASCD and not Educore) you’ll see that in 2011, the ASCD received over $3 million dollars ($3, 024,695.00) in 2011 and then another $244,733.00 in 2013 for ‘college readiness’. (see: http://www.gatesfoundation.org/How-We-Work/Quick-Links/Grants-Database#q/k=ASCD) Now, I don’t know about you, but where I come from that’s a whole lot of money for  ‘just standards’.

The gang’s all here!

If you are looking at the website for Educore, you’ll notice the CCSS gang is ‘in the house’. There’s math, literacy, STEM, and assessment. How nice, it’s all in one location. Nineteen different resources for assessments. Oh sweet, now I can go assess with the best of them..but wait..did I forget to mention these ‘just standards’ resources are for sale?! Yep, about $20.00 each. Now if I multiply 19 times 20 (the old fashioned way), I get $380.00. That’s without tax and shipping. For the Math and Literacy resources, there are 19 total resources (Literacy had 9, Math had 10). It appears most of those resources are free. However, I find it troubling that the resources for my subjects are less than the resources for all that assessing. But, I guess we know the priority here isn’t what you learn, it’s how you’re measured that counts. Oh, I almost forget..STEM, there’s a whopping total of just one resource for this member of the gang. Of course the page on Educore for STEM is basically blank, but it will direct you to the National Science Teachers Association where you can find around 4,000 resources.

NSTA- National Science Teachers Association (http://www.nsta.org/ or http://learningcenter.nsta.org/) has ties to not only CCSS, STEM, but the newer member, Next Generation Science Standards (because after all, CCSS science has been so successful we have to have a newer version that’s even better!) Notice the NSTA has lots of stuff for sale as well. I guess I need to be a wealthy educator to afford all the ‘just standards’ resources. Here’s their take on CCSS and the new member, Next Generation: “The NGSS and Common Core State Standards (English language arts and mathematics) are aligned. Science is a key component of a complete and rigorous curriculum for all students. The NGSS works in tandem with Common Core State Standards in mathematics and English language arts to facilitate integrated teaching and learning. Because of this essential connection that supports student learning, NSTA recommends the adoption of the Common Core State Standards by states and school districts. A number of additional appendixes provide insight and guidance regarding key components of the NGSS and address a variety of important issues related to its successful implementation, such as equity, model courses, nature of science, and college and career readiness. NSTA recommends that all stakeholders have a working knowledge of these important and supportive appendixes.” (see: http://www.nsta.org/about/positions/ngss.aspx, entry #7).

Math Assessment Project- “Assessing 21st Century Math” is their tagline. Here’s the link to the Standards page, it’s enough to make your eyes bug out, there’s so much CCSS rhetoric here! (see: http://map.mathshell.org/materials/stds.php) Who’s behind the MAP, well the Gates Foundation, the University of California, Berkley, the University of Nottingham (as in England). Again, lots of resources that are more than ‘just standards’.

The Literacy Collaboration- (see: http://www.literacycollaborative.org/index.php) led by 2 literacy experts and two universities, this group is also CCSS aligned. In fact, the Common Core Standards are listed as a ‘benefit’. They can even help you decide how to spend those Race to the Top funds (if you have any left by now).

Student Achievement Partnership- (http://achievethecore.org/about-us) Ahh..David Coleman’s old stomping ground. Mr. Coleman is currently the leader of the College Board and is probably busy re-writing history or some other subject for the Common Core. But, before all that fame, he was busy helping students and teachers achieve more. This just might be the place that term ‘college and career readiness’ was born. (that’s another laughable phrase).

Well, there you have it!

Educore is by no means the only resource that’s more than standards out there & available. One last site that’s related (there are other websites, which will feature neat ‘facts’, colorful pictures and use educratic CCS babble all at the same time) was created by one of the CCS writers, Lynne Munson. Since 2007, ‘Lynne is a noted provider of CCSS-based curriculum tools. Common Core’s research has launched widespread public discussions over the narrowing of the curriculum‘. She’s also been connected to UNESCO and some other CCS friendly groups(see the website: http://commoncore.org/staff). Oh, yes, her curriculum is also for sale. Seems we just can’t find standards for free anymore, does it?!

 

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