Tag Archives: Arne Duncan

FOM: The CCSSO’s Hungry Eyes

This is a special Fib-o-Meter Friday for those of us opposed to Common Core Standards and all that goes with them. Come along with me as we look at the truths, fallacies, and other mutterings from the Council of Chief State School Officers from this past week’s gathering.

It's Friday, you know what that means! Time to measure what's truth, what's fallacy/fib or what's in between.
It’s Friday, you know what that means! Time to measure what’s truth, what’s fallacy/fib or what’s in between.

Set Your Minds:

In order to frame this article in the proper context, I would ask that you try to remember an 80s song called “Hungry Eyes” by Eric Carmen. There’s one line that suits the CCSSO’s grasp on not only American Education, but our entire American set of values, ways of life, and how we live them.

“You’re mine tonight. Now I’ve got you in my sights.”

The Evidence:

Fib-o-Meter’s first set of evidence for the CCSSO’s power grab will be for the children. See the screen shot below:

While your kids may be in their sights, WE are watching them!
While your kids may be in their sights, WE are watching them!

Yes, warriors, it’s “Total Truth”, at least in their plans to have our kids achieving the ‘collective good’. What other evidence can we find to support this? Let’s see….from the CCSSO President Dr. June Atkinson’s prepared remarks in her address to her underlings in the CCSSO, the following excerpt, “In North Carolina, for example, we have a statewide technology platform called Home Base. This comprehensive technology system incorporates student information, a parent portal, instructional improvement, educator evaluation and professional development tools all in one place.” Yes, it’s the “Total Truth” that “Home Base” is in use. BUT, what wasn’t shared was the fact that Pearson Publishing runs the platform. So, all that student data gets mined through Home Base! Data that is VERY private about NC’s students! Data that goes to a wide variety of ‘customers’.
If you’d like to see my article on NC’s Governor’s Teacher Network (which goes into more detail about “Home Base”, as well as CCSSO’s tie to the companies behind it, see: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/02/04/wybi-the-gtn-of-north-carolina/)

Need a bit more evidence? May I offer the following: Pearson’s ‘Power School’ which is a portion of the “Home Base”, has turned out to be a resounding dud in NC, but that “Total Truth” wasn’t mentioned in the CCSSO address. To get the rest of THAT story, see: http://ladyliberty1885.com/2014/11/11/pearsons-powerschool-redefines-epic-fail-in-nc/. Be sure to access her links in the article. There are first person accounts of just how far the data trail goes.
If you want to see how “Home Base” and “Power School” are connected, see: homebasepresentation

If you’d like to see the CCSSO’s real agenda for your students, be sure to check out their priorities as tied into HR5 (Student Success Act or the re-authorization of ESEA). First on the list: assessments! See: ESEAKeyProvisions

Fib-o-Meter’s Second Bit of Evidence:

This, also from the prepared statements of Dr. Atkinson, “Speaking of progress, it is important note that for the first time in our nation’s history, we have a shared set of rigorous and relevant learning standards.” Now, she does go on to explain the exceptions to the statement (like a few states have since decided to use other standards, some elected to NOT use CCSS in the first place). “Total Fallacy”, President Dr. Atkinson! Research has proven the CCSS is NOT rigorous, students are bearing out the fact the Standards aren’t even relevant! Good grief. Interestingly enough however, see what showed up on Twitter that shows you how the Chief of the Chiefs really feels! See the screen shot:

ANDTo see the rest of the prepared statements so you can do your own “fact checking”, http://www.ccsso.org/Documents/2015/FINAL_SOS-1.pdf

To see the Tweets connected to the CCSSO Legislative Session, which cover the push for re-authorizing the ESEA (HR5, or Student Success Act) to meeting with Congress, Sec. Duncan, and more drama than a bad soap opera, use the “CCSSOLeg” handle next time you log on to Twitter.

Fib-o-Meter’s Third Item for Today:

Grabbing and shaping the leaders is also a big part of the CCSSO’s hunger. What do I mean? I found a 2012 document of a 3 prong, pro-CCSS task force where the findings are to be used from the SEAs (State Education Agent) level all the way to the LEAs (Local Education Agent)! The 3 prong force? That’s easy. The CCSSO, the NGA (remember, both own one half each of the CCSS) and the NASBE (National Association of State Boards of Education). I recently wrote about NASBE and just how sold out to CCSS they are. Gates Foundation funding has helped them further align their design for education. See: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/02/14/sic-em-saturday-do-you-know-nasbe/ 

As far as the SEAs and LEAs, I’m including the entire Task Force Report for your research. Suffice it to say CCSSO believes it is their ‘responsibility and promise’ to ensure EVERY student is college/career ready AND that those teaching will be in total alignment with the process. See their report: Our Responsibility Our Promise_2012. For the CCSSO to assume every student’s future is their responsibility/promise is “Total Fallacy”. How presumptuous can one organization be?!

Before we move on, I did find one interesting document from the CCSSO archives from 2006 about the SEAs/LEAs role in controlling  assessment data. Now, while I know systems have been updated, the document has a 5 year plan, which means 2011. About the time CCSS hit us. Various states and what works best for them are highlighted, data flow systems are described, and more. If you want a good idea of the recent past in your states education assessment tracking, this is a good resource. See: http://www.ccsso.org/Documents/2006/Validity_Threats_Detection_2006.pdf (*NOTE: the CCSSO has an entire collection of resources to increase SEAs/LEAs via more of them and how they are to operate. For example AND still being offered as a great resource on their website is the 2010 SCEL (State Consortium on Education Leadership; a part of CCSSO) report about increasing district leadership. Included is partnering with others to increase effectiveness. See: SCEL_Draft_Toolkit_2010)

The Collective Aspect of CCSSO’s Hunger:

Lastly, the Fib-o-Meter offers you the “Total Truth” of how vested CCSSO is in ‘collective’/’greater good’, etc.
Look at their partners, their joint projects. The most telling example is with “Knowledge Works”. As I’ve shared with you before the the ‘community cradle to career’ movement is not only strong, but already growing across America. Totally social minded in that the community must be ‘all in’. Totally aligned with the agenda of CCSSO’s ‘responsibility/promise’ rhetoric. If you’ve not seen the CCSSO partner page, you really should. http://www.ccsso.org/Who_We_Are/Business_and_Industry_Partnerships/Corporate_Partners.html

Fib-o-Meter gives you a bonus “Total Truth” for the CCSSO’s collective, aligned, maligned, college/career ready CCSS. To date the Gates Foundation has granted the CCSSO $90,789,605.00!! Including the development of CCSS curriculum which is available through Common Core, Inc.! See all 22 grants, http://www.gatesfoundation.org/How-We-Work/Quick-Links/Grants-Database#q/k=CCSSO

A Personal Note:

 As many of you may know, I am a full time care taker to my mom since her diagnosis with a terminal disease earlier this year. That said, my Diva family and I will be gathering this weekend to celebrate her birthday. I am looking forward to joining my warrior family (that’s you) back on Monday, March 30th. 


Monday Musings: Leading/Teaching, Duncan Style

Have you, the anti CCSS Warrior, heard of “Teach to Lead”? Get set for another U.S. Dept. of Education approach to the education overreach and P3 involvement. In the screen shot below, note the pro-CCSS groups also backing “Teach to Lead”.


“Teach to Lead” is the apparent brain child of the National Board (they included the NEA and ATF in their inaugural press release as having been involved) and the U.S. Dept. of Education. The NEA, National Educators Association and the ATF, American Teachers Federation have worked with the National Board on other projects as well. See the “Teach to Lead” press release: http://www.nbpts.org/newsroom/us-department-education-partner-national-board-teacher-leadership

Watch the video below and see if you can glean any coherent message. I, tried..I really did, but the people talking said enough to take up lots of time, yet the message didn’t really share much of anything. At least in the way I was listening. But, as always, the resources are provided so you can make up your own mind.

Let the CCSS Abound:

While the video above wasn’t blatant with CCSS love, the website more than makes up for it. For example, the Resources page looks more like a CCSS Shoppers Dream. Titles include:

Creating Sustainable Teacher Career Pathways: A 21st Century Imperative by NNSTOY

Common Core: Teacher Leaders and Common Core Implementation in Tennessee by the Aspen Institute and Lead Teachers

and then there’s this ‘beauty’:

the CCSS aligned teacher not only leads the class, but the policy making, too.
The CCSS aligned teacher not only leads the class, but the policy making, too.

To get the entire PDF to see how the “Teach to Lead” needs you to align: Teacher%20Leadership%20Competencies%20-%20FINAL

Hey, Let’s Get Mikey..

If you’re over 40, you may well remember the Life cereal commercial. Two boys are afraid to try it, so they chime in “Hey, let’s get Mikey. He hates everything he won’t eat it.”  Mikey tries it and proceeds to dig into the bowl of cereal. It is only after this that the others find it to their liking as well.

It appears the “Teach to Lead” is almost up to the same approach. In fact, the whole guise of getting the teachers to do the ‘dirty work’ via this program sounds eerily close to the “EdReports” way of conducting business. (see: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/03/09/monday-musings-ccss-subjective-objective/)

Why can’t we let teachers conduct their job? Why are so many so busy selling them (and us) on one way to do teach?  If CCSS is so great, why is it being pushed so hard? Why is so much going in to convincing others? Why does the U.S. Dept. of Ed act like teachers weren’t leaders before this program? Teachers ARE leaders! They always have been! Let them lead without the CCSS agenda, Mr. Duncan!

WYBI: Up Close with the NSF

Do you know how much power NSF has in education?
Do you know how much power NSF has in education?

How much do you know about the NSF (National Science Foundation) and their ties to CCSS and STEM? Would you believe Arne Duncan was considered an expert by them back in 2007? Yep! It happened. But wait, there’s more…

A brief look at NSF’s History:

NSF has been around since 1950. President Truman signed the NSF Act after the atomic bomb was dropped. The goal? Peace via science. In 1953 and 54, the federal agency beefed up teaching in the post-secondary and secondary areas. 1957 brought the advent of the social sciences under NSF’s grasp. Then, in 1971 and 72, improving minority education as well as being responsible for all science education began. A makeover/upgrade for K-12 science curriculum happened in 1987. 2000 brought “Partnerships for Innovation” where education, communities, and P3s (public, private partnerships) were encouraged. (for more history, see their timeline, http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/history-nsf/timeline/index.jsp )


Bring on the Common Core/STEM beginnings:

From 1999, a paper about workforce, common standards, and education: http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/1999/nsb9931/nsb9931-5.htm

From 1999, a paper about common math and science education standards: http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/1999/nsb9931/nsb9931-3.htm

From the Meeting Minutes for the NSF, May 2014, this is what I found on page 5: “For the topic of the Common Core, which was popular in the media recently, he called on Dr. Córdova for information on this subject. She introduced Dr. Joan Ferrini-Mundy, Assistant Director, Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR), for an overview on common core standards and issues for the Board’s attention. Dr. Ferrini-Mundy reported that the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics and English Language Arts were the current phase of a long series of activity around K-12 standards based education from the 1980’s. These were developed by the National Governors Association (NGS) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) beginning in 2009 without a direct Federal role in the development. The two major goals of the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics are to create clearer and higher standards that (1) describe what students should know and be able to do in order to be ready for college or career at the end of high school; and (2) to ensure common outcomes across various jurisdictions. One of the major features of this movement is to look for equitable access to learning opportunities across the states, where previously there were major differences in expectations for students across the country. The Standards were released after an elaborate development process in 2010 for state adoption. As of 2011, 45 states plus the District of Columbia adopted the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics. The Department of Education funded two consortia to develop the Common Corealigned assessments of states that have come together with nonprofit groups to prepare the assessment tools that will then measure whether students are making progress towards these common standards. There is considerable controversy about the Common Core. She stated that it is complicated and it has multiple facets. Dr. Ferrini-Mundy stated that teachers in 45 states plus the District of Columbia were expected to work with the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics. NSF sees proposals for work that will help to better understand and to address the challenges of implementation of Common Core and other standards in states that are not using the Common Core. As NSF does not have a special program around the Common Core, the proposals go through the standard merit review processes. Federal support that was provided for their development is in the form of the support that the Department of Education provided for the assessment work. In response to a question on examples of Mathematics Common Core, Dr. Ferrini-Mundy indicated that the Common Core State Standards have many interpretations and do not prescribe curriculum or instructional approaches to ideas. One of the actual implementation issues is how to go from standards that say “here is what students should know and be able to do” to “what is the best way to effectively help learners get to these places.” She added that watching how these assessments play out will be important as they are coming at a time when the standards have not been fully implemented. From the NSF perspective, the potential of standards to help to improve access to good learning is important.”  (see the entire meeting minutes: http://www.nsf.gov/nsb/meetings/2014/0506/minutes.pdf )

From May 2014: The NSF’s vision for redefining education: AC_ReEnvisioning_Report_Sept_2014_01 (*Note: when you access this download, you’ll notice on page 6, the phrase ‘federal Common Rule’. If you don’t know what the federal Common Rule is, it’s definition can be found at the U.S. Health/Human Service’s website. You will be most interested to see what this rule allows/prohibits when it comes to the types of research and data collected on us as humans. You’ll want to see all the federal agencies with access to all this information, too. http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/humansubjects/commonrule/ )

The Power Congress Gives NSF:

If you aren’t aware of how much money and power our U. S. Congress gives the NSF, you’ll want to see the 2014 FIRST Act. Then, consider how much is devoted to blending academics, research, and workforce. See: BILLS-113HR4186ih-HR4186FrontiersinInnovationResearchScienceandTechnologyActof2014 (*Note: you’ll notice STEM is used repeatedly. Remember NSF is the group which coined the term as a updated reference to SMET (Science, Math, Engineering, and Technology) to influence us, especially in education. The first evidence of the use of “STEM” that I could find was from a testimony given by Dr. Rita Colwell back in 2002. Dr. Colwell was speaking to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions as to why an increased federal budget was needed. (see her testimony: http://www.nsf.gov/about/congress/107/rrc_help061902.jsp )


1) It has been argued that STEM is not served well by CCSS. However, I had evidence that proves STEM, as an overall agenda item (meaning not only education, but workforce), is using CCSS as a means to an end. How so? See my previously published article: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/from-the-files-pcast-stem-and-common-core/)

2) The 2007 National Action Plan for STEM is another resource you may wish to have. stem_action2007 (*Note: you’ll be pleased to know that current Dept of Ed Secretary Arne Duncan was among the members who was considered an expert on 21st Century education.  He was, at that time, CEO of Chicago Public Schools.)  This report is slam full of alignment for what’s taught, P-20 Councils, workforce, global good, and the usual rhetoric we hear for CCSS. Here’s an excerpt from one of the sidebars, “Dewey urged scientists to convey the science way of thinking to all phases of education as a “SUPREME INTELLECTUAL OBLIGATION.” Although this includes critical thinking, curiosity, skepticism, and verification by observation and measurement, its deeper meaning has to do with the sense of wonder and awe that emerges from the student’s gradual realization that the natural world is orderly and comprehensible. Th e overarching laws of science enable predictions: sunrise, weather, and the hour and day of the return of Halley’s Comet in 2061. Th e appreciation and respect implied here are tragically missing from our science classrooms.”

3) For all the NSF monetary awards given for CCSS, STEM, (which may also include NextGen Science Standards), see: http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/advancedSearchResult?QueryText=common%20core%20standards&ActiveAwards=true&#results (*Note: one of the biggest awards (almost $600,000) was given for CCSS curriculum)

4) See NSF’s statistics for college-ready students: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind14/index.cfm/chapter-1/c1s2.htm

5) To see a 2012 press release which states the shift from high stakes assessing to constant momentum tracking, http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=126071

6) To see NSF’s $200,000 grant awarded to Clark University for developing NextGen Exemplars, http://news.clarku.edu/news/2013/03/05/nsf-awards-clark-university-200k-for-innovative-next-gen-science-teaching-exemplar/

7) Here’s a 2010 press release detailing NSF’s funding to the Noyce Foundation and how it all ties back to CCSS. See: http://www.aaas.org/news/push-new-science-mathematics-standards-described-nsfaaas-education-conference

A video from the NSF’s YouTube Channel that you might find interesting, where you’ll hear the “PreK to Gray” education phrase. You’ll also be pleased to know that the grants NSF gives use YOUR taxpayer money!

Here’s another one from 2011, where the First Lady pushes STEM. However, listen to the gentleman who speaks before her. Listen for his shared vision between NSF and the current administration’s goal for education.

FTF Update: CCSS, Teaching or frustrating?

Today’s post originally was published on 8/31/14 and addressed the levels of frustration that appear to be the goal with Common Core. I wanted to do an update on the organizations reported on in the original post.

To access the original writing in its entirety:

For our purposes today, however, I’ll be taking excerpts from it to compare with what’s happened since first reporting it. My first excerpt tells you how I stumbled upon the Teach.org (our first update)

“While listening in on the radio, I overheard an advertisement from the organization “Teach.org”. I was sitting there happy as can be when what do my ears hear, but , the voice over the airwaves proclaim that frustration is to be considered a new tool in the classroom! Really?! It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out natural frustration is one thing, but to seek to provoke it?!”  When I first dove into researching them, I shared with you to ties to Common Core, as in what organizations, funding, etc. So has anything changed? Let’s see..

The Teacher Pathway personalization tool:

To help fill the desire number of teachers, 1 million in the next 10 years, you can create a pathway.
To help fill the desire number of teachers, 1 million in the next 10 years, you can create a pathway.

Teaching is one of the 16 career clusters we’ve seen in the Career Clusters/Career Tech Education. What’s a bit different on this website, is that you can’t get any information about the teacher pathway until you supply data like email, etc. Here’s a cutesy video Teach.org has featured on YouTube about WHY becoming a teacher is great in this modern CCSS aligned age:

Not sure about where you live, but I can tell you the teachers in NC currently having to teach CCSS have their own Top 7 reasons why they are frustrated, not feeling called or creative at all. Oh as if a Top 7 reasons why teaching in today’s educational realm isn’t enough, maybe Arne Duncan’s call will be!! Check this out:

Maybe we should call this student in a few years and see how she's faring.
Maybe we should call this student in a few years and see how she’s faring.

Then, there’s TED:

Part of my original post, ” In all, 52 different speeches that somehow connect CCS to TED. No thanks, I’ve seen pigs dressed up before. Looks okay, but the stench is still there. Trust me, if you have ever been on a farm with pigs, the smell of poop is unforgettable. But, being the Diva I am, here’s the link so you can see for yourselves: http://www.ted.com/search?q=common+core+standards ” *Note: TED stands for ‘Technology, Entertainment and Design’. So, has anything changed with TED? Let’s see…

Pared down:

Oh, TED no longer has 52 different speeches connected to CCSS, but ‘he’ does have more contributors working for ‘him’ with CCSS ties. Should you care to see who they are, http://www.ted.com/search?q=common+core+

100K in 10, the next group:

The original post shared much, but I want to look at the funding groups. Please be sure to read the original to discover what other revelations there are. Here’s the excerpt, “Funders for 100Kn10: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Carnegie Foundation, New Schools Venture Fund are just 3 among a list of many. Why I offer a look at these is simple. We have already established the connection between Gates, UNESCO and Common Core Standards. The Carnegie Foundation is connected to Common Core Standards so much so that….” Has there been an update since this post first appeared??

A fresh video, same agenda:

On the 100Kin10 website, you’ll find a short video on the “About Us” page. Be sure to watch it, BUT, if you haven’t read the original post before watching it, you won’t be capturing the full message of the ‘collective’, the ‘aligned’, the ‘conjoined’ that STEM and CCSS really are. However, take into consideration, some of the same folks funding CCSS, fund STEM as well. See the video at, http://www.100kin10.org/page/aboutus

Finally, New Schools Venture :

In my original writing, here’s a tidbit of what I shared, “So, about that ‘frustration’ factor as a tool? If it were me, as a teacher, I wouldn’t seek to create frustration in students. Life naturally stirs our emotional pots as it is without our help. I offer this psychology view of frustration: Frustrations can create aggressive inclinations even when they are not arbitrary or aimed at the subject personally.”

Changes? Here we go! On their website, http://www.newschools.org/ventures, it appears more partners have been added. At least one partner is one of the groups listed above (100Kn10). Teach for America is also one of the Ventures. If you aren’t aware of how CCSS friendly TFA is, be sure to look it up. Another change? The original white paper I referred to has been removed. However, since our topic is frustration, here’s an excerpt that can give you a glimpse as to why students are frustrated with CCSS, “Common Core standards are aligned with college and work expectations, and include rigorous content and skills. The standards are benchmarked to those of other top-performing countries to guarantee that our students are competitive in the global marketplace” What I did find were several pro CCSS articles. Among them, a slam against an opponent of CCSS. In the blog article it appears to be the same old, same old. As is “CCSS are JUST Standards”, etc. Read it for yourselves and then ask who has the more vested interest in your students, you or New Schools Venture? http://www.newschools.org/blog/mowing-down-the-mistakes-of-confused-common-core-opponents

Students, Parents, and Teachers who are frustrated:

From Spokane, WA: http://youtu.be/HijPJKmzmTY

From TJ LibertyBelle, a classic for those who oppose CCSS: http://youtu.be/FHetioUW4lI

From my readers: 11/14 commenter said this about CCSS, “I recently had to complete a comparative education project for a graduate level education course. The country I was assigned was Germany. If you study the educational history of Germany, you will discover that Germany has a dual track system. In elementary school, students are tested and the results of those tests of ability and aptitude determine the type of secondary school the student will attend. The type of secondary education the student receives determines if the student will enter into a vocational track or a college track. Basically, this type of system maintains the status quo and limits upward social and economic mobility. I see the very same thing happening in American education. It is quite disturbing to see this happening in country that once had a well-respected and high achieving educational system. It seems to me that the type of changes the “centrists” as they call themselves are implementing are intended to keep the poor in poverty and maintain the wealth, status and power of the rich and elite. We are moving more and more towards a socialist/fascist ideology that will do away with the freedoms and rights we were granted in the Constitution.”

12/14 teacher said this about not only CCSS, but my speaking out against it, “I am all for what you have been doing!! I teach and can verify what you are saying. There is great upheaval in the schools, teachers, students. The admin is being asked to pass info to teachers( test data, collecting data) everyone is worried about new testing and results. Teachers are scrambling to find ” practice” even though they know not what to practice!! Teachers are having trouble making sense of the math, it’s wrong they know, but feel they are being told to teach it!! I will keep reading your info and I try to tell teachers they are confused for a reason. I tell them this is illegal, but most just follow orders.”

12/14 veteran shared this resource for warriors, as well as wrote:

“You, as anti CCSS warrior, you HAVE to watch this over 1 and a half hour You Tube video that details for you much about not only the “Core Ready Schools”, but information about the in-depth goings-on of Aspen Institution as well as their partners.”


Sic’ ‘Em Saturday: Common Core, Minding Our Manners

Manners, then Behavior Standards, now.
Manners, then; Behavior Standards, now.

Recently, I wrote about Social and Emotional Learning and how ‘Common Core’ is incorporating the style. If you remember, it’s more about the ‘greater good of a collective group’ than it is about ‘being the best you, you can be’. So, why the shift? It appears to be to better accommodate the ‘global citizen’ mindset so rampant in the Common Core Standards.

Behavior Standards:

The American School Counselors Association has produced an all-in-one pdf for helping the school counselors to get the schools ready for not only college-and-career readiness, but now adding to that, social and emotional readiness. See (www.http://schoolcounselor.org/asca/media/asca/home/MindsetsBehaviors.pdf)

Here are what the school employees are to encourage daily in all students:

‘1. Belief in development of whole self, including a healthy balance of mental, social/emotional and physical well-being
2. Self-confidence in ability to succeed
3. Sense of belonging in the school environment
4. Understanding that postsecondary education and life-long learning are necessary for long-term career success
5. Belief in using abilities to their fullest to achieve high-quality results and outcomes
6. Positive attitude toward work and learning’

Why this is important to know:

ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors” align with specific standards from the ‘Common Core State Standards’ through connections at the competency level. This alignment allows school counselors the opportunity to help students these college-and-career-readiness standards in collaboration with academic content taught in core areas in the classroom.”

By following these, the counselors, themselves are modeling alignment. If you are a school counselor in a non CCSS state,  you can model the alignments anyway.

So, what are the ‘behavior standards’?

They are broken into 3 categories, academic; social; and self-management. For all 3, the students WILL ‘demonstrate the following standards’ (I’ve not included all of them, so be sure to access the document):

critical thinking skills in making decisions; identifying long-term and short-term academic, career,  and social-emotional goals; participate in enrichment and/or extra curricular activities; assume responsibility; demonstrate ability to overcome barriers in learning; demonstrate empathy; be socially responsible

Do you spy the ‘grit’ in there? It’s embedded, alright. Every one of the ‘self-management’ category is designed to instill it.

The pdf gives you another page of the ASCA to access if you want to see the grade appropriate levels of competency that aligns with the Behavioral Standards.  To use the general search, try a character trait. For example, I chose ‘maturity’ for my search. My results? Ten different ‘competencies’ of tasks or skills. When I typed in ‘love’, I didn’t get one result. If you want to use the advance search, click the blue tab and it will give you many options to choose from. For example, Under ‘grade level’, I selected 3rd-5th; then by ‘mindset filter’, #4 from the list above about post secondary education being a part of my life. The results I got back were summarizing texts and various media about the importance of attending college and listening to a speaker present points for attending college and giving supportive reasoning as to the validity of each point. Try it for yourselves and see what you can get.

Who the ASCA Foundation is:

It’s a 501(c)3 non profit group. They receive both private and corporate funds to encourage the profession of school counseling. Sounds okay, so far. But then, they have so much aligned to CCSS. But wait, there’s more! An ASCA “National Model” that data driven!!!

“Use of data  is to measure the results of the program as well as to promote systemic change within the school system so every student graduates ‘college-and-career ready’.”

See the rest of the ‘Executive Summary’ on the “National Model”:

ASCA is a member of the “National Alliance of Pupil Services Organizations (NAPSO) is a coalition of national professional organizations whose members provide
a variety of school-based prevention and intervention services to assist students in becoming effective learners and productive citizens.
NAPSO organizations represent over a million members, including school counselors, school nurses, psychologists, school psychologists,
social workers and school social workers; occupational, physical, and creative arts therapists; and speech-language pathologists, audiologists,
students, parents, and pupil services administrators. NAPSO promotes interdisciplinary practice and cooperation and advocates for
ensuring access to quality pupil services for all students.”

*Note: I’ve included a related link to NAPSO, as they sent a letter to the White House back in 2008 to the Transition Team concerning the ESEA re-authorization.


(another note: if you click on the NAPSO website link, you’ll be directed to a plastic surgery blog)

As far as a dedicated website for NAPSO, there isn’t one. Every time I thought I had it, it was back to the plastic surgeon’s blog. However, I did find this from a mental health website:
National Alliance of Pupil Service Organizations
c/o Myrna Mandlawitz , School Social Work Association of America (SSWAA)
2800 Quebec Street NW, #218 ,Washington, DC 20008

SSWAA, School Social Work Association of America:

(http://www.sswaa.org/?page=655) This group, along with the ASCA (see above) and he National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) support many different school administration roles, including the counselors. If you click on the “Coalitions and Partners” page, it’s there you’ll find the same contact lady’s name from NAPSO here for SSWAA..and she’s a member of the Committee for Education Funding’s Executive Committee. This Committee’s purpose is to INCREASE federal education investments overall. Members of it include many pre-K to graduate school people. It’s also here that I found NAPSO is supported by the NEA, the ATF, the National PTA, and others. (see: http://www.sswaa.org/?page=249)


CEF, Committee for Education Funding (http://cef.org/) was founded in 1969 and is America’s largest education coalition.
(http://cef.org/who-we-are/member-organizations/) This is link is for 80 groups who belong to the Committee. See how many CCSS supporters there are! Some of them pop out (aka College Board, Council of Chief State School Officers, AIR which is a known data miner, ASCD which is funded by Gates Foundation to create CC teacher materials)

*Note: I’ll be tackling their massive budget in another post. It’ll be full of twists and turns in the CCSS laden mess.

For fun:

Secretary Duncan’s letter


From June 2014, the U.S. Dept. of Ed’s Duncan sent a letter to key people about school counselors and their jobs. While vital to each institution they serve, counselors are to continue their jobs in ensuring students are ‘college-and-career ready’ in order to meet the President’s 2020 Goal.

Actions to take:

No Saturday would be complete with out some suggestions for actions you can take from here. a) get to know the other social and emotional components from the SSWAA. There’s much to sift through. b) see how much aligns to the CCSS Behavior Standards. c) talk to your school’s counselor about what data is being tracked and opt out, if you feel it is needed. d) look over the 80 groups on the CEF and make a visual map if you need to of how interconnected they are to CCSS. e) leave room on your visual so when we delve into the budget in the next few days, you can add to it. This will make an excellent tool in your anti CCSS arsenal. Go get ’em, team!

Tech Thursday: Duncan goes to Massachusetts

Dept.of Education's Mr. Duncan and Dept. of Labor's Mr. Perez talk Workforce Training at Springfield Technical Community College.
Dept.of Education’s Mr. Duncan and Dept. of Labor’s Mr. Perez talk Workforce Training at Springfield Technical Community College.

Recently, Secretary Arne Duncan gave a twelve minute (just over the 12 minute mark) radio interview while in MA to help promote more new government grants, programs, and ‘wonderfulness’ of all things Common Core/Workforce related. I’ve included the radio link for you just below. I’ll be giving the interview, the “Diva” analyzing treatment! This radio interview was recorded on Oct. 8. 2014.


The Analysis, General comments?!:

As the hosts of the radio show were leading up to Mr. Duncan’s introduction, they shared WHY the Secretary was in town. To promote Community Colleges as job trainers.

Almost immediately, Sec. Duncan jumped in with how great things are in MA. In a paraphrased version of his exact words, community colleges are the solution! ‘We’ve invested $2 billion  in real training for real jobs‘. (Not really sure who the ‘we’ is he kept referring to, but I think I can guess). He went on to stress that there’s a real need for high quality real training. “We’re investing.” (was repeated quite a few times).

Community colleges are ‘becoming real economic engines‘ is another note Sec. Duncan threw in the conversation. One of his hosts threw this next statement as a lead in to a question. “Community colleges have become the de-facto job training centers of America. Are we up to the challenge?” Now, before I share Mr. Duncan’s answer, what is ‘de-facto’? Webster’s Dictionary tells us it’s ‘being in effect without formally being recognized’. So, community colleges are where the true job training is occurring..at least according to the host. Mr. Duncan’s answer was almost equally agenda-like. ‘Are we up to the challenge?’, was the question; answer, “Yes, grants for 1500 new training programs for high skill, high wages.” “I see people doing the right thing”. “Community colleges are model, baby United Nations.”

Now that you know all this, know that all the above happened in the first 3 minutes of the broadcast. The interview will not focus again on community colleges until almost the end of the radio show, however, in the meantime, check out all that was asked and said.

Common Core (3:22 into the interview):

The radio host didn’t waste much time shifting the conversation from community college/job training to Common Core. His ‘out of the gate’ “Are we pushing CC too fast?”, was great. In a true politician’s form, Duncan sidestepped the entire question! His first red herring, was the bright picture MA has given the nation. Then, the next turn of the answer goes to ‘high standards-absolutely the right thing to do.’ Following this, at 4:45, ‘local autonomy..absolutely. Student learning should be only a piece of teacher evaluations. I’ve always said multiple measures are needed. High standards, new assessments, principal evaluations. Give local flexibility’. Then, his ‘common sense, middle ground’ phrase was sprinkled in here and several other key places.

Common Core Curriculum (6:08 into the interview):

When asked a question about “Common Core Curriculum”, Mr. Duncan said the phrase we all can recite by heart..“just Standards, not curriculum. Which we haven’t touched. We will never touch.” 

Mr. Duncan..who do you think you are fooling?! So many people have posted pictures, written articles by the hundreds about CC Curriculum! Go visit http://www.commoncore.org (Lynne Munson is president) You really should spend a few minutes and get to know the other staffers and how into massive education reform they are.


7:29 into the interview, teacher frustration:

Being a thorough host, the next question Mr. Duncan received was about the teachers being tied so tightly to the Standards, there was not time for anything creative, or, of themselves. Duncan’s reply went something like this AFTER he sidestepped the question…’If so, we must listen to the questions these teachers have. However, all the places in MA I’ve gone, there’s been nothing but positive feedback’. CCSS is the ‘best they’ve ever taught’ (speaking of veteran teachers). “When you give a high bar, you give teachers lots of room’. “Frankly, historically, it’s really quite the opposite with Ready Math.” Now, the math is officially called, “Ready Common Core Mathematics”. Look up a review of the program, better yet, talk to the parents, students, and teachers. Don’t listen to Sec. Duncan.

7:42, Testing!:

Mr. Duncan rolls out his ‘common sense, middle ground’ mantra again here. Quickly followed by his success at the helm of Chicago schools as the CEO. Wait, say that again?! That’s right, he said “CEO”. Unlike most school districts, Chicago Public Schools does, indeed, have a Chief Executive Officer. From what I’ve been able to find, the mayor of Chicago pretty much calls the shots as to who serves. Also, if you look back at when Mr. Duncan was in charge, things weren’t so great. Of course, if you subscribe to the pro side of CCSS, Mr. Duncan’s trace record is terrific, however, I found repeatedly more websites that cast shadows on his record as the leader of public schools in Chicago. My point, is why, when asked about testing, does he feel his performance from years ago factors into the forefront? My guess, to once again, produce a red herring. Here’s a quote, however, you’ll ‘love’, “Don’t be redundant, don’t spend too much time on test preparation. Don’t teach to the test. Great teaching leads to great results.” He then adds that “in education, we’re good at doing new things, we’re not always good at stopping what we’ve done in the past.” It is at this point, I simply shake my head.

Our charming hosts, once again pose a question about the tremendous pressure our teachers face over teaching to the test. Mr. Duncan, being such a ‘great leader’, has this to say. “Where people are raising standards, holding teachers and students to a high bar so students are truly college ready once they graduate high school and don’t have to take remedial classes, um, the exact right trade off is having that high bar, but giving teachers a lot more room to be creative, flexible–to hit that higher bar and so much of the changes you see here in MA and nation wide are to directly address that very real concern.” Ladies, gentlemen..do you see the train wreck of a sentence the HEAD of the U.S. Dept. of Education just gave you as an answer?!?! My stars in heaven! The grammar alone would be a clue, but the point; his answer is SO smoke and mirrors?! As a researcher, educator, and Common Core opposed, I can tell you, it really shows how out of touch with teachers this man is. Remember, however, he’s in charge of the entire US educational system.

Mr. Gates, finally enters the conversation at 9:52:

Not knowing what level of research the radio hosts have, the next question was a bit of a surprise. It had to do with a recent statement Bill Gates made about a ‘common curriculum’. You’ll really need to hear the question for yourselves, but Duncan’s answer? Once again, the classic political side step! Here’s what he did say, “I’m less interested in that..again, having a high bar, having clear standards where students are truly prepared, makes all the sense in the world, but what happens is you have a big country..local educators know best, local autonomy. Where we should be looking is where we see success and where we don’t. We should be learning from those best practices and replicating them.'” More mentoring, he said; more support for educators. Then “where there’s less, challenge that status quo. I think how you teach children is best determined at a local level.”

At 11:10, the conversation is almost over:

The hosts and radio staff did a bit of conversing before Mr. Duncan appeared and they noticed that he was coming to MA quite a bit. When asked about the rapidity of his visits, Duncan had several nice things to say about MA. The main gist was the education in the state of Massachusetts is so right. He went on to tell the listeners how huge of fan of the current governor (Mr. Patrick) he is. He went on to gloat about how there’s no complacency. There’s a sense of urgency. Then, as a classic Washington, D.C. based person, he launches back into “too many of our high school graduates aren’t prepared for college.” “They are having to take remedial classes. Having  schools like Springfield Tech Community College are a great thing. Looking to create new programs to help young people gain skills they need for high wage, high skills jobs; I just LOVE the innovation, the sense of creativity here. I do think much of what happens in MA serves as a positive models in other parts of the nation.”

Wrapping all this up:

I did a bit of looking at the school Mr. Duncan was in town to promote and they have quite the impressive CCSS/STEM relationship. They also receive many federal grants.  If you were to look up the latest Annual Report (see: http://www.stcc.edu/aboutstcc/publications.asp) and turn to pages 44-46, you’d see a tremendous number of US federal grants with ties to Common Core/STEM (remember, as I’ve pointed out before, STEM is the main agenda for the USA and CCSS is the vehicle in which it is propelled).

But wait, remember the first graphic I showed you? It was the Dept. of Labor representative and the U. S. Dept. of Ed. representative there to promote Workforce Education. Look back to any of my Tech Thursdays posts and you will see how entwined CCSS/Workforce are!

What we can learn from all this?:

First off, really listen to these interviews posted. I have found that when those connected to CCSS/STEM/Workforce, etc. are talking when they think no one so important is listening…they spill many details. Details you can use to see how they really feel about all this.

Community colleges as job training forces..that’s worth investigating. Here’s your first ‘nugget’, over 11 billion dollars via the U.S. Dept. of Labor for such programs. See the entire file here, US LaborCommunity College job training

One of the biggest proponents of Common Core, STEM via the Gates Foundation.

From the Files Tuesday: “Equity, Excellence in Education”

I’ve been asked to provide more proof about Common Core and/or national standards not from the ‘early years’ of 2008-2010. It appears folks are having a harder time finding documents from 2011 to present. So, it is in that mindset, I am sharing the following  “U.S. Department of Education, For Each and Every Child—A Strategy for Education Equity and Excellence, Washington, D.C., 2013.”


Commission Set Up for Advice: 

Were you aware the U.S. Dept. of Education had a special commission that was to give it advice? I sure didn’t, BUT it happened! The commission I’m referring to was the “Equity and Excellence Commission” created by Congress. The Commission was a federal level creation. Their mission? To take a good look at education in America, make a few suggestions and then pass it to Arne Duncan for his perusal. Now, I’m not sure about you, but I would really like to know why the citizens, parents and any other non profiteer of the CCSS, weren’t invited. Who was? I’m so glad you asked! Among the many members ready to give their advice were Linda Darling-Hammond (a very well known CCSS writer, supporter), Dennis Von Roekel, President of the National Educators Association (NEA), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) was represented by Randi Weingarten, Mike Casserly of the Great City Schools and a Washington Times reporter! You can access the entire panel’s information on page 5. These people above are ardent supporters of Common Core, and even if they aren’t their organizations are! Also supporting all this hard work and warranting thanks by  The Commission for their support, “The Broad Foundation, Ford Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, W.K Kellogg Foundation, and the National Public Education Support Fund. Additional thanks go to the National Research Council for their contributions.” Oh, before we move on, the commission’s functions cease when the report 90 days or when suggestions are acted upon. Strange, I thought they were only giving advice, not conditioning it. Be sure you look in the appendices for that tidbit and then who wrote almost every paper used as reference material for this report.

Chastising statement:

What federal document would be complete without a reprimand or a chastising remark? Here’s the one from the Co-Chairs letter,
“For most of our nation’s history, earnest and knowledgeable Americans have debated how to approach our education system and have called for reforms of every description. We’ve debated what to teach and how to teach; what standards to set; how best to train teachers and the basis on which to judge them; the role of testing, what kind of tests should be required, and how often they should be administered; the effects of tracking, homework and social promotion, and of charter schools and vouchers; how to provide adequate and equitable funding; and the role of the federal government, governors, mayors, superintendents, school boards—and teachers, principals, and parents—in school reform. As the adults fight, the children lose.” Sorry, Nanny/Uncle Sam, I don’t need a lecture from you! I wouldn’t be fighting if you’d  keep your hands off education!

Key findings in the Report:

First off, why are we using a financial term in an educational setting? No, I don’t mean your Econ 101 class, I mean using a finance or accounting word describing everyone’s education? As in ‘equity’! “Equity” is a term for monetary value (henceforth why we use the word when we are talking about our home’s value). But, I’m digressing..

The opening statement you see in bold letters across the top on page 12 isn’t about our students & their lives, it’s about the economic future of America! ARGH! Please don’t misunderstand, I know the economy is important, but as an educator, I’m much more focused on my students & what they need than I am about a future that’s totally undefined at the moment. It’s like spending so much of your time thinking about the future, that you lose today. Not happening while I’m in charge! The economy will ebb & flow regardless of what my student goes on to aspire to. Don’t overload them with a burden they aren’t ready for.

Many of the same solutions, as some of  those featured from the GSV report (an early post on the blog), are also in this Commission’s report. Community learning centers, extended school hours, more ‘cradle to graduation’ incentives, universal Pre-K, recruiting teachers and re-defining teaching, redefining & using your property taxes, etc. (many of these are sprinkled throughout the report)

Constitution? Nah, we don’t need it!  

We(The Commission) have, however, learned from past efforts and believe we are in a position to move forward. There is no constitutional barrier to a greater federal role in financing K-12 education. It is, rather, a question of our nation’s civic and political will; the modest federal contribution that today amounts to approximately 10 percent of national K-12 spending is a matter of custom, not a mandate. The federal government must take bold action in specific areas. Therefore, the commission recommends that the federal government—Direct states, with appropriate incentives, to adopt and implement school finance systems that will (1) provide a meaningful educational opportunity for all students, along with appropriate budgetary and other frameworks to ensure the effective and efficient use of all funds to enable all students to achieve state content and performance standards as outlined above, and (2) demonstrate progress toward implementing such a school finance system. Enact “equity and excellence” legislation that: targets significant new federal funding to schools with high concentrations of low-income students, particularly where achievement gaps exist, to implement meaningful educational opportunities for (and support high academic achievement by) all their students; provides significant financial incentives to states that, in fact, enhance their own funding of schools with high concentrations of low-income, minority and low-performing students; and develops mechanisms that allow the federal government to monitor and enforce the ongoing performance of its new equity and excellence investments to make sure those investments are, in fact, enhancing student achievement. Provide incentives for states to explore and pursue ways to reduce the number of schools with concentrated poverty, because schools without concentrated poverty cost less to run than schools with concentrated poverty.” (from page 19)

Common Core Dreaminess:

If you ever dreamed of finding so much about Common Core in one place, this is it! If you’re like me, your ‘barf bag’ is, also, within reach.  Beginning on page 22, near the right hand bottom all the way through to page 27. Large amounts of detail as to why the Standards are the way to go, how they will be the ‘best thing since sliced bread’ (this phrase is not in the report, I’m just being creative), who will have them, how they’ll use them, implications made by using the Standards and so on.

Here’s a ‘teaser’ from page 24, I’m sure you’ll love it so much you won’t be able to keep it to yourself!

The Common Core State Standards provide not only more economies of scale for wide adoption of best practices, but also new opportunities to innovate across schools, districts and states. And, of great importance, it also provides a framework for aligning teacher training and professional development. Teachers don’t learn to teach; they learn to teach something. They learn how to make the curriculum relevant to the lives of the children they are charged with instructing: how to tie it to those children’s experiences and deliver it to address their special needs. To that end, teachers should have access to a variety of resources, such as model curricular frameworks aligned to the Common Core, curricular materials, units, sample assignments, assessments and the technology that allow them greater flexibility to meet the needs of their students.”

Sorry, I have to ask, don’t folks who want to become teachers go to college to learn to how to teach?! Why, in the name of all that’s holy, does anyone think STANDARDS will teach them how to do things?!! Oh my stars!  It appears, the federal government, the Commission and the Dept. of Education all believe, we the people are dumber than a box of rocks.

Please, let any comments  about this topic. I’d be very interested in hearing what nuggets of ‘wisdom’ you gleaned from this ludicrous, oh, I meant, ‘excellent’ report.

Common-Core-world-cloud-overwhlemed-1024x740 (1)