Tag Archives: amplify

WYBI: CCSS’s Ego Issues

We know the U.S. Dept. of Ed loves the CCSS, but find out how bloated their ego really is these days.
We know the U.S. Dept. of Ed loves the CCSS, but find out how bloated their ego really is these days.

What if I told you the U.S. Dept. of Ed had just completed studies to support MORE federal education overreach? Would you believe it?! Let’s find out how CCSS and the Next Generation stack up in this bloated ego atmosphere.

The Group Responsible:

I am not sure if you know this or not, but tucked into the U.S. Dept. of Ed. is an Institute for Evaluation pertaining to American education (just recently an international evaluation was published as well, but that’s another story). The official name of the Institute is the “Institute of Education Sciences”. Their website for today’s post: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/projects/evaluation/index.asp

The Tweet That Sent Me Off the Cliff:

Being an avid researcher, I get all kinds of Twitter news. One of Monday morning’s was a doozy. See for yourselves:

As seen on my CCDiva Twitter account 3/2/15.
As seen on my CCDiva Twitter account 3/2/15.

The Studies:

After seeing this bloated ego of a tweet, I HAD to find out what exactly I could discover about the continued overreach of the federal gov’t in education. So, using the above website address, I discovered the following:
NCEE (National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance) has come up with a “Next Generation of Rigorous Evaluations” The purpose? So schools and school leaders can raise student achievement levels. You’ll need to access the website for today’s post (above) to read for yourselves the other things that are stated. However, here’s one excerpt that will send you over the edge of that cliff, “In particular, the NCEE focuses on conducting rigorous impact studies of promising educational programs and practices that are supported through federal funds.”  Guiding the studies? Three questions. Yes, that’s right 3 questions. Those questions are:“What is the impact of the federal program on the intended outcomes?”; “Is the program model effective?”; and “Is a specific intervention (or class of interventions) effective?” By reading the rest of what the IES has been bragging about, you’ll find over 30 studies have been completed.

Directly related to CCSS and have been studied (or are in the process of) are:
1) Pathways to College and or Career, especially through the federally funded GEAR UP (see my previously published article from 11/14 about GEAR UP: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/tag/gear-up/) Conducting this study? Oh, another bloated CCSS ego group, AIR (as in American Institutes for Research) The amount of federal funds to support this study (which doesn’t expire until 2018) is over $6 million! (for all the details, http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/projects/evaluation/pathways_gearup.asp)

2) Striving Readers Program, especially as awarded to states for raising literacy through curriculum. I found a NV based You Tube tutorial demonstrating the ties of CC to SR. Watch it below:

If you’d like to see the 2010 Webinar for the Striving Readers and how funding was not only awarded, but CC thrown in the mix: webinar8262010  To see more about the NCEE’s study for SR, go to: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/projects/evaluation/assistance_readers.asp Be sure to take note of the amount of federal funding and how it’s split up.

3) Evaluation the “Nation’s Report Card” or NAEP. See: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/projects/evaluation/other_naep.asp This study’s all about the data collection and how achievement levels are treated. Study will expire in 2016.

4) Title I and II especially under the ESEA. See: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/projects/evaluation/other_titleI.asp

Over $13 million dedicated to studying what standards states are using, what assessments, and how even more data can be used, collected. All approved and funded by Congress. This study ends in 2018. Three different contractors got this study. I dare you to google them to see how ties to CCSS they are! For example, EdCount, LLC was the organization which created the accountability guides the CCSSO (Council of Chief State School Officers) used in each of the 50 states between 2003-2007. Partners include Pearson Publishing, AIR, and many others. (to see EdCount, LLC’s website for their partners/clients, visit: http://edcount.com/index.php/about/clients-and-partners Be sure to look at their ‘Services’ pages. You’ll be amazed at how much they do.

5) Implementing Assessments for Special Needs Students. See: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/projects/evaluation/disabilities_ideaimp.asp This study ended in 2011, cost the taxpayers of America, just over $2 million. Results? More outcome based education and ‘high standards’. I’ve included the final study report. You’ll especially need pages 72 and following where it is discussed that mandated standards are more common that IEPs. Get it: IDEAreport

For the Others:

There are other studies you’ll want to look at for yourselves. Try the Literacy Studies, the Math Studies, and the Teacher Studies. You won’t believe what you see! For example, in the Literacy Studies, under the “Evaluation for Reading Comprehension”. This Study was over $17 million to discover during its first year the reading curricula, “Reading for Knowledge”, showed NO positive growth. The Study’s quick to add that things did improve after the first year. When I searched for the said curricula I got the pro CCSS group “Amplify”. Gee whiz, another bloated ego. To access this Study and the others, use the same website address as in the beginning of this article and select your choice from the left hand menu.

Want to See More of the U.S. Dept. of Ed’s  Bloated Ego?

Then you’ll need to access their “What Works Clearinghouse”. The website: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/

Begin with the “Practice Guides”, then “Interventions” (especially the one titled “Fast Track”, for emotionally disturbed little ones), if you want to see reviews of the absolute latest in research, go for the “Quick Reviews”, you’ll find studies for charter schools and college/career readiness and other ‘blasts of ego’. To get to all these, just use the left hand menu.

Closing:
When I searched for an appropriate image to start this article off with, I found the teacher at the chalk board to be excellent. However, the caption it should have attached is the original one which reads, “An inflated ego is like a balloon. Over fill it and it will explode.” Can’t say I’d mind seeing CCSS explode altogether.

On your mark, get set, explode!!
On your mark, get set, explode!!
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WYBI Update: Amping Up the Common Core

For today’s “Would You Believe It” Wednesday post, I’m updating my original article from Sept. 2014 that delved into Common Core Standards via Amplify…and a few others.

Aiming to align to Common Core, that's Amplify!
Aiming to align to Common Core, that’s Amplify!

Here’s the link to the original post: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/09/10/will-this-be-delivery-or-dine-in/

As I did yesterday, I’ll only be using excerpts from the original and contrast them with what’s happened since then. I encourage to access the link above and read the article in its entirety, as it has useful links, facts, and a ‘guest check’ you have to see.

First up, order up!

“Just announced yesterday via an email I received, Amplify now offers Common Core Standard aligned lessons, assessments on the go! Yes, as in, on your mobile device. In other words, ‘delivery’. Just ‘order’ what you want to learn & Boom..instant delivery..minus tipping your delivery driver.”

Changes to the ‘order’? Let’s see. Of course, when I first wrote this is was mid-September, so it can’t be ‘yesterday’ anymore.
There’s an article about early childhood assessments that I don’t recall seeing the first time around. The article features Amplify partners, Roland H. Good, III, and Ruth Kaminski, who over 30 years developed Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS). When asked about DIBELS and Common Core for early learners, here’s what Good had to say, (author’s question is in bold print) How is DIBELS particularly relevant today in this Common Core world? Whether or not you actually adopt the Common Core, it has a huge impact on the teaching profession. The Common Core resonates with us in how it focuses on being a proficient reader, reading for meaning at an adequate rate (fluently) with a high degree of accuracy. Those three things (meaning, fluency and accuracy) are represented in the DIBELS composite score and measures in a powerful and robust way.” When asked about DIBELS popularity in relation to CCSS, here’s the response, “We see an awful lot of interest in DIBELS. I don’t know if that’s because of the Common Core or along with the Common Core, but I’m continuing to see major steps forward in the level of interest and level of adoption, and our mentor network [a network of educators who are certified DIBELS experts, able to train other educators] becomes larger and larger every year.” * Note: if you’d like to see the number of assessments Amplify has in store for all ages (K-12th), http://www.amplify.com/assessment

Here’s another new feature from Amplify, a short, pro-data use promotion by the Data Quality Campaign:

Who owns Amplify? NewsCorp (which is owned by Rupert Murdock) Nothing appears to have changed on this front, but be sure to read the articles referred to in the original post by noted authors. Then, consider these other writers who’ve uncovered information about Amplify.

From NC, LadyLiberty1885’s article concerning textbooks also reveals how a NC state Statute was created for Amplify’s use. (see: http://ladyliberty1885.com/2014/07/20/about-that-textbook-commission/)

From MO, Missouri Education Watchdog ‘s article featuring not only news about even MORE data for dollars, but also links you to another writer who’s written about Amplify (among other data miners). (See: http://missourieducationwatchdog.com/the-wild-west-of-education-and-the-common-core-gold-rush/)

From 2013, Modern Education blog featured Amplify’s ties to not only Murdock, but Bill Gates. While the article talks about the now defunct inBloom , the information for Amplify is a nice thing to use in fighting CCSS. (See: http://modeducation.blogspot.com/2013/03/is-bill-gates-data-mining-your-children.html

From the FL Stop Common Core Coalition, their post about the public/private partnership of data mining sensitive student data. (it too mentions inBloom, but remember, Amplify has survived) (See: http://www.flstopcccoalition.org/collection-of-data-and-loss-of-privacy/)

About the Data Quality Campaign:

Well, let’s just say that an ‘up-to-the-minute’ watch is being kept on which state is making strides in the 10 point data collection actions. Each action centers around not just K-12 data collection, but, P20 data (as in Preschool to early college age), Student Data Longitudinal Systems, sharing data for Workforce purposes (yes, there’s a Workforce Quality Data Initiative, too. See the links in ‘closing’). Below, find a screen shot of what the state I live in has successfully put in place in the scheme of data collection on students. Out of the 10 Actions, NC has completed 7. Shameful.

Find out where your state is, as far as data collection efforts. Compare states, too.
Find out where your state is, as far as data collection efforts. Compare states, too.

Among the Board member for DQC (Data Quality Campaign) are members of the Education Trust (the member representing this group also serves the Hunt Institute, New Teacher Project, and Carnegie’s Education Foundation),  Dutko Worldwide (this member used to work for Gates Foundation Education Policy, federal education policy, state level education policy, as well as served the U.S. Dept of Ed), CCSSO (Council of Chief State School Officers) has a place at the Board table. See these people and others: http://dataqualitycampaign.org/who-we-are/board-of-directors/ I really don’t think we need to have a map of how DQC is connected to CCSS at this point, but to be accurate, I am supplying you with a screen shot of their ‘action’ items (could also be ‘agenda’ items, in my opinion).

Read all about these 'action items' at:  http://dataqualitycampaign.org/action-issues/
Read all about these ‘action items’ at:
http://dataqualitycampaign.org/action-issues/

Closing:

Hopefully after reading the original post AND today’s, you and your team of anti-CCSS warriors will have a much better idea of where to focus your efforts in regards to student data mining. I’ll leave you with the links to the Workforce Quality Data articles from 2014:
1) https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/tech-thursday-blast-from-our-workforce-past/

2) https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/10/28/ftf-tuesday-align-and-mine-part-2/

THESE 2 are extremely important in the fight against federal overreach into our lives via education/our jobs.

Will This be ‘Delivery’ or ‘Dine In’?

For this entry under “Would You Believe It Wednesday”, we’re looking at Common Core Standards as if we are considering our evening meal choice…ordering ‘delivery’ or ‘dining in’…

Your Menu:

Just announced yesterday via an email I received, Amplify now offers Common Core Standard aligned lessons, assessments on the go! Yes, as in, on your mobile device. In other words, ‘delivery’. Just ‘order’ what you want to learn & Boom..instant delivery..minus tipping your delivery driver. How fast, how “I can learn anywhere!”, ‘how indoctrinated’.. “Dining in”, of course is the more traditional school setting. But, according to the advertising, we’re  can have our ‘food’ either way. Oh, the price of this ‘delivery learning’…at least $359.00 to get you the first year’s worth of ‘food’ and a handy dandy ‘fork’ to eat it with (a pre-loaded tablet). Then, after that year expires, any other ‘deliveries’ you order are $60.00 annually. Pretty expensive meal, don’t you think? Last note to make, it’s geared more for teachers.

Your Diet:

Not much variety or choices here, all Common Core Standard aligned (see: http://www.amplify.com/curriculum)! It’s all the same thing, every day, delivered in the same manner. If I can ‘learn anywhere’, why can’t I exercise my God-given freedom to choose ‘how I learn everyday’? Millions of teachers & students accomplish this now and are blossoming. The difference? They are not stuck on a bland diet of the same thing, every day for their learning. Yes, I’m oversimplifying this, but its to make a basic point. There are so many different, exciting, and proven successful ways to learn, we shouldn’t be restricting ourselves to one way. That’s like telling your child, “I’m sorry, honey, but from now on Mom’s only serving spaghetti for every meal and you have no other choice, I’ve already bought all the ingredients.” Now, if your child is like mine, for a couple of days, the concept of spaghetti all the time sounds fun, or at least intriguing. But, think ahead, what happens in a couple of weeks? In a month? They won’t only be dreading the concept, they’ll more than likely be seeking invitations to a friend’s house for meals. We won’t even discuss what happens if my child is allergic to what the spaghetti’s made of.

Since Amplify is geared toward teachers, look at how much control is in the teachers hands. (http://www.amplify.com/tablet/mdm) Now, do not misunderstand me, I know teachers have a lot keep up with. However, I do not think this much management, access, etc. is the way to go. Especially when you factor in all the others who have access to the same information or God forbid, data breaches.

Your Restaurant Owner:

As far as the ‘restaurant’..Amplify Company. Let’s take a look at them, after all, if I’m going to be on their delivery list, I need to know who’s cooking the meal I’m about to ingest. Amplify is an independent portion of News Corporation. (Think a chain restaurant, one head office, many independent branches). As far as the owner, News Corporation is a global mass media company founded by Rupert Murdock. (see the companies News Corporation owns, http://newscorp.com/about/our-businesses/) News Corporation states is has, through it’s philanthropy, impacted over 55,000 students world-wide. Through Amplify, the company supports STEM and other 21st Century education initiatives. Diane Ravitch’s shared on her blog, Murdock won a hefty contract in relationship with Common Core & Amplify (see: http://dianeravitch.net/2013/03/17/rupert-murdoch-wins-contract-to-develop-common-core-tests/) Michelle Malkin’s post has another viewpoint about Murdock & Common Core (see: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/343040/common-core-trojan-horse-michelle-malkin)

Check, please:

No article about Common Core would be complete without assessments. Amplify has you more than covered there. (See: http://www.amplify.com/assessment) Before I sign off for today, let’s review: Amplify is being sold to teachers, parents, and students with the following catch phrases, “ease of implementation”; ‘easy and affordable’; “vetted content”, ‘tech support’; “active learning”. It’s owned and operated by a well identified Common Core Supporter with access to data on a world wide basis. As we’ve discovered in other data related Common Core stories around the nation, education data mining is one of the hottest businesses on the market. 

Being the savvy consumers we are, we now know, this menu, dietary selection, and restaurant owner do NOT satisfy our discerning taste buds.

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