RMT: Will You Help?

Every second wasted in mediocrity is another supportive move for CCSS aligned workers.
Every second wasted in mediocrity is another supportive move for the “CCSS Machine”.

Here’s the riddle for this Sunday: Want to keep Common Core Standards?

I sure don’t!! However, there are those who not only believe CCSS is the way to go, but are proposing legislation to help keep it for our students. Please continue to read on to see how you can help STOP the “Common Core Machine” dead in its tracks!

Washington Requests Our Input:

An avid reader of my blog and active anti CCSS warrior, Dr. V sent me a ‘heads up’ notice recently. The notice? A Washington, D.C. based legislator wants feedback on his bill to make sure we keep CCSS via an amendment to No Child Left Behind. Now, I know I’m not the only one writing about this, but I feel it only fair to alert you to the fact WE, the warriors AGAINST Common Core have an opportunity to leave feedback for this legislator. We don’t get opportunities like this often, so we need to active swiftly. We need to act with respect while being firm, truthful, AND fierce in what we have to say. Before I get to the body of the bill he’s proposed let me give you a direct quote from the good doctor, “You can write him Chairman Alexander who has asked for input on his proposal here: fixingNCLB@help.senate.gov (Note, the Chairman is actually Senator  Lamar Alexander, a Republican from Tennessee). Why the clock image above matters? Comments will only be taken until Jan. 21st, 2015!!

The Bill:

Officially, this Amendment to the No Child Left Behind Act of 1965 to be known as
“This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Every Child Ready  for College or Career Act of 2015’’ ” The Amendment is over 300 pages (387 to be precise). As my fellow warrior pointed out, on the surface the Amendment is being considered a great thing. BUT, as is usually the case with the Common Core Machine, there’s another side that IS a terrible thing. So, why would the Senator from TN offer this?? We’ll address that riddle AFTER we look into the ‘terrible thing’ embedded in this Amendment.

The Hidden-in-Plain-Sight Agenda?!:

From page 2 of the Amendment,  “SEC. 4. STATEMENT OF PURPOSE.  The purpose of this Act is to restore freedom to parents, teachers, principals and other school leaders, States,  Governors, and local communities so that they can improve their local public schools.” IF this could be a reality, then, yes, it WOULD be a fantastic thing..it would actually be honoring our U.S. Constitution!!

However, let’s look a bit deeper..other things that have been updated (oops, sorry, in legal speak, amended) the definition of ‘college and career ready’ now includes NO Remediation AND closing the skills gap (so I guess the false argument will not be gospel because it’s in an amendment that could become law?) LEA grants will be a whopping $15 billion per year until 2021. Add to that $400 million for assessments. Federal money will be relegated for the states to have ‘technical assistance’ in these 2 areas.

Okay, so , so far, nothing really contradiction-wise yet. After this above information, you’ll begin to see the part of the Amendment that is ‘the States this, the States that’.  The states will be held accountable to the federal government for several things beyond assuring that ‘challenging state academic standards’ have been aligned, adopted,and implemented.  It appears this is especially the case for the English Language Arts and Math (including the participation in the Nation’s Report Card, student data mining, continued teacher assessments, and, because of Perkins Funds and IDEA legislation those ‘career pathways’ will be cemented in education). What I kept noticing is the amount of power the LEAs will be granted under this Amendment (this includes PreK, post-secondary, outside the classroom, etc.)

Other nuggets of a darker side: family financial data as supplied by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, The U. S. Dept. of Commerce’s branch, The Census Bureau (especially their American Community Survey, which is a mandatory on-going process that helps determine how tax dollars are used). For more about the ACS (American Community Survery, see: http://www.census.gov/acs/www/ ,  the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; proposed sharing of assessments, standards on a voluntary basis between states, thereby saving money; ‘Developing challenging State academic standards and aligned assessments in  academic subjects for which standards and assessments are not required..’; ‘Refining State assessments to ensure  their continued alignment with the challenging  State academic standards and to improve the  alignment of curricula and instructional materials.’; ‘Evaluating student academic achievement through the development or improvement
of comprehensive academic assessment instruments, such as performance-based assessments  that emphasize the mastery of standards and  aligned competencies in a competency-based education model, technology-based academic assessments, computer adaptive assessments, and  portfolios, projects, or extended performance  task assessments.
Collaborating with institutions of higher education, other research institutions, or
other organizations to improve the quality, validity, and reliability of State academic assessments.’;
 the use of formative and summative testing will continue as well.

Renaming doesn't change alignment of education as a stark reality.
Renaming doesn’t change alignment of education, it is a stark reality, as we’ve experienced.

On page 113, ‘Career Technical Education’ will be replacing ‘Vocational Education’ if this Amendment is adopted. Why is this bad?  CTE (Career Tech Ed) is the Adult version of CCSS! By the end of the page, be sure to note the seemingly harmless word changes. For example, ‘student’s progress’ would be known as ‘improve student achievement’. More of these are in the next few pages which follow.
 Page 116 uses a phrase about information being made available to all interested educational parties. From what I’ve researched that could mean almost anyone, especially in the public/private partnerships seeking to redefine education.

Be sure you note the activity the Amendment would allow the Secretary of Education to exercise. (now, bear in mind, in the earlier portions, many restrictions were laid out) If the Secretary were to enact this exercise, Congress would only have 30 available for review/comments, the public would have 90 days. Whatever it is he could put in motion is expected to cause the States tremendous burdens. (see the pages 117-121).

Teacher reform is laid out in detail in this Amendment. So is having school leaders help transform curricula via technology. As with students, the States will have to submit accountability plans for teacher training, etc. (As above, the states accountable to the Feds..hhmm, does anyone sense something amiss??)

Page 145 gives you CCSS without ever mentioning it or the catch phrase ‘challenging state academic standards’. See for yourselves, ” providing programs and activities to  help students prepare for post-secondary level  coursework, including early college or dual enrollment programs, Advanced Placement and  International Baccalaureate programs.” (don’t see the CCSS ties in AP or IB? Consider who oversee AP courses..the College Board. As far as IB? Yes, it’s Common Core via the United Nations) I’ve written about both, as have others who are fighting CCSS. (here’s one of my articles about how indoctrinated IB schools/programs are with CCSS: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/11/14/fib-o-meter-friday-ib-international-baccalaureate-schools-common-core/ )

Page 150 states that among all their professional development only certain types of groups will be included. Here’s an excerpt, “promote innovative instruction and learning strategies by nationally recognized organizations with a proven track  record of effectiveness in providing preparation and professional development activities and programs for teachers, principals, and other school leaders, particularly in  underserved areas.”  Pardon me, but who will be responsible for overseeing these ‘proven’ organizations? With so many private businesses with their fingers in the educational mix which don’t have any business there, does this mean they’ll be given the green light to continue to step in and reform education?? Not too far after this section of the Amendment is a bit about money from 2003 that’s not been touched could get tapped IF the Secretary of Education deems it needed. Where would these funds be used? National Programs!

This Amendment also allows for any non-profit OR for-profit entity to jump in a student’s education..as long as achievement is the goal (pages 153, 154).

Par for the course in American education, the Amendment continues to do all it can to promote outcome based education…both for STUDENTS and TEACHERS. Institute of Education Sciences will be key to all the evaluations of effective programs (page 164) This is only a few sentences before a section that tells us the Secretary of Education (or any other federal employee) can’t mandate states. This includes curricula, standards, and assessments.

Pages 189/90 mention National Professional Development Project and a National Clearinghouse. Be sure when you leave comments, you ask for more details about what these are, who they involve.

On beginning on page 193 is the ‘Healthy and Safe Students’. Now, do not misunderstand me, I’m all for healthy and safe students..just not under the federal government’s plan of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (also a huge portion of CCSS, Agenda 21). What do I mean? Read the Amendment text, “The purpose of this title is to improve students safety, health, well-being, and academic achievement during and after the school day by (1) increasing the capacity of local educational  agencies, schools, and local communities..” Items 2 and 3 cover a student’s mental health and drug awareness/abuse. Have we not yet had enough evidence of the federal government’s increased efforts to know this can’t be a good thing?? As far as the mental health component? Several authors, including myself, have stressed grave concerns on CCSS aligned ‘professionals’ charged with the mental health of our students. When you add that money and the allotment of it is added to this, I’d be raising a red flag!

Beginning on page 217 is the “Empowering Parents/Expanding Opportunities” section. Great!? Especially when you find that the empowering/expanding has to do with charter schools and magnet schools. (Note: I have nothing against these 2 educational choices, however, both have been largely considered as CCSS free..guess what? Not!) This section lays out how even MORE charter schools will be provided for. They’ll be known as ‘high quality’ ones. Not sure being concerned about charter schools/CCSS? Read: http://ladyliberty1885.com/2014/07/07/guest-post-common-core-in-charters-private-homeschools/ and https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/ftf-tuesday-clarity-for-sale-aligned-to-common-core-for-free/

As far as the Magnet schools?? “magnet  schools that will substantially strengthen the knowledge of academic subjects and the attainment of tangible and marketable career, technological, and professional skills of students attending such schools..”  Yep, MORE Career Tech Education to be written into law!

Be sure to ask for more information on the “Rural Education Initiative” and the “Rural Education Achievement Program” (page 280) This is yet another big way to write in CTE Common Core Standards garbage.

Page 287 lays out how the Secretary of Education will award in a competition style method money to states with a certain criterion for low-income based schools. (gee, does anyone remember this style of funding?? Can we say “Race to the Top”?) State level agencies will get to award money like this as well..to the satisfaction of the Dept. of Education.

Page 300 makes a point to include the Hawaiian Workforce Development Council in the mix..hhmm..we know Workforce is tied into not only the U.S. Dept. of Labor BUT Career Tech Education, Career Pathways as well. Be sure to ask about your state’s Workforce Council.

Page 318 is where in-home instruction for Alaska students will be impacted. State money will go towards education ‘readiness’ for preschool Native American residents. Near page 323 is how military children(U.S. Dept. of Interior enters the data mix when military activity is involved) will be impacted. I especially found the phrase ‘federally connected children’ unnerving. (NOTE: Puerto Rico and other U.S. Territories are included in this entire document)

How our tax dollars will be collected/used is also included under “Impact Aid”.

Almost at the end of the document is this nugget (pages 348/49) seeking a change in verbiage. As we’ve seen changes in wording are HUGE, especially where CCSS is involved. ” by striking ‘‘until an agreement for the  extension of United States education assistance
 under the Compact of Free Association for each of the freely associated states becomes effective after the date of enactment of the No Child Left Behind  Act of 2001’’ and inserting ‘‘except during any period for which Secretary of Education determines  that a Compact of Free Association is in effect and contains provisions for education assistance prohibiting the assistance provided under this Act’’ “

This is followed by the teachers using aligned standards, assessments, curricula, and programs all tied together. (page 350-51)!

For the entire Amendment, alexanderamendnclb

Act Now or Forever Hold Your Peace!

If you’ve not read enough to cause you to be extremely wary of this Amendment, I would ask that you review how CCSS got started, where it has spread, who it impacts, how it continues to ‘align and mine’ our students, and it continues to penalize teachers. Our time to act is short, but we MUST act NOW! How can you help? Go to the link featured here, http://www.fixingNCLB@help.senate.gov/

FYI:
The Senator behind this bill is not only a former TN governor, but a Common Core Supporter. See: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2014/03/24/sen-lamar-alexander-let-s-don-t-talk-about-common-core/

Mr. Alexander was also, at one time at a federal level position. To see more about him and to gauge his involvement in CCSS or CTE,
http://votesmart.org/candidate/biography/15691/lamar-alexander#.VLrVdivF-hQ

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8 thoughts on “RMT: Will You Help?

  1. Every child ready for college or Career Act is not good for our children. I am against anything related to commoncore. No English/ Literature teachers or Math teachers were allowed to provide information, data mining is against the Constitution, sharing student information with other states breaks privacy laws, the costs to each state is not feasible or sustainable, Commoncore lowers standards for high school graduation and college ready math. It determines the abilities of students and qualification for careers instead of allowing students to determine that for themselves. It does not encourage students to achieve their best, it undermines their abilities and creativity.

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