Tag Archives: board of education

Sic’ ‘Em Saturday: CCSS, Too Big for Your Britches

My state's Board of Ed is SO big on CCSS, they are suing the state legislature.
My state’s Board of Ed is SO big on CCSS, they are suing the state legislature.

Common Core Fever has caused some states to get too haughty, or too big for their britches. Let’s examine.

First, a bit of background:

“Too big for your britches”. It’s meaning is ‘one is too conceited, thinks too highly of oneself’.

Common Core has given some states, like NC, the dilemma of haughtiness to  an extreme. However, like the picture above, when our britches get to small, all sorts of unmentionables start showing. Citizens, if you have found that your state has gotten too big for its britches with Common Core, APUSH, Next Generation Science Standards, STEM, Career Tech Ed, Workforce Innovation, or any of the other Common Core Machine related avenues..it’s time to ‘sic’ ’em’!!

How the Feds got too big:

If you’ve been alive long, you’ve watched as America’s federal level of government overreach has increased. Heck, even if you’ve not been alive long, you may have noticed this.

“Truth in American Education” said this, “Parents and citizens are the key to eradicating federal overreach.” (see the rest of the article: http://truthinamericaneducation.com/common-core-state-standards/parents-and-citizens-are-key-to-eradicating-federal-overreach-into-education/) Their suggestion? Start by defunding the Dept. of Education.

However, I’d like our focus to be on the state level today. After all, according to the U.S. Constitution, the states are sovereign, not the federal level. So, what happens when the state’s sovereignty causes those in authority to get too big for their britches?!

Oh, North Carolina, you shouldn’t have:

The Triad Conservative, on 12/3/14, reported that the NC State Board of Education had filed all the necessary paperwork to sue the State of NC. Why? To not be held accountable, it appears.
The ‘Conservative’s’ story  includes information, that as a citizen, I need to know. Such as the NC Rules Review Commission (NC RRC) is in place to offer transparency to the citizens of NC about all kinds of state agencies and their affairs. Think of it this way, the NC RRC is the one which makes sure the state offices don’t get too big for their britches. The Rules Review also examines every state law, policy every 5 years to make sure the citizens are being well served and that the agencies aren’t becoming overbearing. (see the entire entry with accessible links embedded: http://www.triadconservative.com/2014/12/nc-state-board-of-education-suing-to-evade-accountability-transparency.html)

The State Board of Education’s website has no mention of an upcoming lawsuit that I could find. Not really surprised given the track record of this State level education agency. They’ve been notorious about being mysterious, especially in the most recent years.

The britches start to shrink:

The State Board of Education and  the NC Dept. of Public Instruction have through the years interchangeably had a reoccurring theme of wanting to be omnipotent and reclusive. Take into consideration, when the Lt. Governor requested simple answers from the NC DPI where Common Core was concerned (2013) instead of simple answers, overt maneuvers ensued. See this story from the “Daily Haymaker”, http://dailyhaymaker.com/?p=5867

There are countless other accounts of the NC DPI’s less than transparent acts. The State Board of Education is also not as forthcoming as it should be..for both, especially where Common Core or any related portion thereof is concerned.

If you’ll look at the picture below (be sure to click on it to enlarge it), you can see HOW the organization of government is expressed. The State Board of Education is the entity over the Dept. of Public Instruction, while the State Superintendent is a lateral position.

Here in NC, the State Superintendent AND the head of the Dept. of Public Instruction are the same person. Not only that, but that person is the new president of the Chief Council of State School Officers (who is 1/2 owner to the copyrights for Common Core). The Lt. Governor serves on the State Board of Education. {Remember I shared the Lt. Gov. had asked some questions and got the run around?} The State Board of Ed also has a treasurer and 11 members appointed by the Governor. The General Assembly must confirm these choice candidates.


When the britches were new (or updated):

Way back when in 1776, North Carolina adopted a state constitution carefully laid out to grant and protect liberties to its citizens; structure and guidance to its leaders. Complete with a Preamble and 14 articles, this document has guided us for many years. Education, is article 9. Down through the years the state Constitution has had some additions, deletions, and modifications to keep it going. As far as education, the NC State Constitution of 1971 “addressed the ongoing needs of public education, especially regarding funding, school attendance, and organization of the State Board of Education. The legislature’s responsibility to support higher education, not just among the campuses of the consolidated University of North Carolina, was also affirmed.”

Now I won’t bore you with much more about this part of our history. I am laying out the back story so you can better see how ‘too big for their britches’ the state level of government concerning education has become.

Back to today’s small britches:

So, we have not one, but 2 state level agencies overseeing education which are less than transparent, accountable, or willing to be concise. You have one person who is serving and is trying to find truth. Add to this a governor who is sold out to Common Core, then mix in a few legislators who’ve also sold out.

Wait…you don’t know that the governor has been a supporter, or that some of our legislators have been not only in favor but seen at pro CCSS meetings??!! Gasp! Here’s an excerpt you’ll need to see, “The governor expressed his approval of the Common Core State Standards on reading and math, which have been adopted by 45 states but have recently been bashed by some conservative commentators and state legislatures. McCrory said the standards are high and relevant. “It’s not the standards that are bad; it’s the execution which must be improved here in North Carolina,” he said. State Superintendent June Atkinson said she is glad McCrory supports the Common Core standards. “It is important for our teachers and communities to recognize that they are rigorous standards and we need to move forward.” (see the entire article: http://dailyhaymaker.com/?p=5948) Want another side to the governor’s wishy-washiness? http://ladyliberty1885.com/2014/08/25/nc-governor-mccrory-unveils-operation-rebrand-for-common-core-video/

What’s more is the governor and at least one part of the General Assembly made a mockery of law and committee assignments to the ‘Repeal Common Core Committee’ (which has been ‘dumbed down’ to ‘Review Standards’) Here’s when it was “Replace” (http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/07/17/North-Carolina-Governor-To-Sign-Bill-To-Replace-Common-Core-StandardsHere’s where it was switched to ‘review’ (http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2014/09/16/nc-common-core-review-commission-finally-assembled-to-meet-september-22/) Now, mix all this together and add in that out of the 11 members on the committee, only 2 are known opponents to CCSS. Throw in the committee’s job is impeded at every turn (ie: no funding, so no experts outside of the NC DPI have been called).

With all these britches getting so small it’s a wonder the residents across the state haven’t been hit by flying buttons as they sail through the air! (take a 40 second laugh break and watch the buttons fly)

Sic’ ’em moves:

1) Don’t be reactive if and when your state repeals Common Core, learn from our plight. Have a plan so that when the wonderful opportunity to kill CCSS in your state arrives you can embrace it.

2) Encourage your leaders to be brave and stand up to the CCSS machine. Don’t allow them to sell out. Hold their feet to the fire.

3) Make noise via social media, in person, etc.

4) While those leaders are people like you and I, it doesn’t make them more important than we are. Don’t allow them to marginalize you.

5) Use truth, not opinion. Look at the mess opinions have made. Truth isn’t messy, especially where Common Core and all its components are concerned.


Tech Thursday: Workforce Commissions, Education, and Common Core

Now you know, CCSS is most decidedly post high school.
Now you know, CCSS is most decidedly post high school.

Thank you for joining me last night as I went in-depth on the topic of a CCSS aligned work force. It is my hope you were able to glean helpful information to aid your battle in your state. ‘Women on the Wall’ archives each call, so if you missed anything, you can access it from their website.

NC, Bound for “Workforce Destiny”:

Commission on Workforce Development Strategic Plan 2014-16 I’m leading off my post for today with my state’s Report for how it is planning on carrying out Workforce training. Yes, involved in the thick of it, is Common Core, Career Pathways, and lots of other connecting ties. In this report, you’ll learn the name of the Commission which makes the Workforce related decisions THEN advises the General Assembly and our Governor. You’ll discover their ‘master plan’ which includes data mining.

You’ll get to see which groups at state level are partnering to align NC. Those involved according to this report? The Dept. of Administration(NC DOA), the Dept. of Commerce(NC DOC), the North Carolina Community College System, the North Carolina Dept. of Health and Human Services(NC DHHS), and finally, the North Carolina Dept. of Public Instruction.

What’s interesting is that the NC Dept. of Public Instruction is under the authority of the General Assembly which is contained in our Legislative Branch. Contrast that with those private schools, and homeschools which are under the guidance of the Dept. of Non Public Instruction(NC DNPE), which is in the Dept. of Administration. Community colleges, public colleges and universities are also housed in the Dept. of Administration. What about the Dept. of Commerce? It too, is in the Dept. of Administration. As far as the proprietary post secondary schools(for profit schools such as Nascar Tech, DeVry, etc.? They are housed with the NC Community College System(NCCCS). Charter schools depending on their status us ‘public’ or ‘private’ would be respectively, NC DPI and NC DNPE.

Note where Career Education is housed. The NC DPI (Dept. of Public Instruction). Which answers to the NC General Assembly, in the Legislative Branch.
Note where Career and Technical Education is housed. The NC DPI (Dept. of Public Instruction). Which answers to the NC General Assembly, in the Legislative Branch.

According to the Report from our Workforce Commission, lots and lots of money from the federal level and the state level has been poured into aligning. (see page 4 of the Report).

Monies featured cover things like:

  • career tech education (DPI) $430,661,949.00;
  • Post Secondary Career Tech/Vocational Ed (NCCCS), $372,928,057.00;
  • Basic Skills (NCCCS), $89,175,304.00;
  • Workforce Investment Act (NC DOC), $79,691,240.00;
  • Wagner Peyser (NC DOC), $19836,199.00 {Note: Wagner Peyser Act was from 1933 and address workforce, the 2014 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act not only keeps this Act going, but amends it.}
  • Apprenticeships (which are a ‘new’ hot item for aligning workforces) will also be receiving big bucks and are in the NC DOC, $1,604,447.00;
  • Workforce alignment money is also under the Displaced Homemakers, $289,670.00;
  • the American Indian Workforce Development Program, $247,991.00 (both in the NC DOA);
  • Veterans (NC DOC), $5,446,000.00
  • Customized Training (NC DOC), $23,587,840.00

So, why would I share all these figures? Simply put, they all involve post secondary instruction. Instruction that will be provided by vocational schools, community colleges, vocational schools, proprietary schools, colleges, and universities.

So where’s the ‘Common Core’?

Excellent question. In my opinion, because CCSS is such a toxic brand name, we’ve seen how companies, states, and others have rushed to re-brand it. However, in most of the items I’ve seen connected to the Workforce legislation, your key words are NOT ‘Common Core’, BUT Career Pathways or Career Clusters. It’s assumed you, the citizen, wouldn’t know the difference, nor would you be interested. How wrong those powers that be are! One of the guiding principles for NC’s Workforce Commission is:

“The workforce system will focus on target industries and career clusters.”

Goal #1: Streamlining must occur!

“The commission recognizes that North Carolina’s public workforce development system is a key part of the state’s economy. It is comprised of a variety of programs with a broad range of activities that serve a diverse group of people. It includes a group of interactive and interdependent entities, programs, and services. Activities range from self-service activities online, to staff assisted services in a workforce office, to multi-year training programs at a public school or community college. In addition, programs serve people with varying levels of education, employment experience, and barriers. Individuals may participate in a single program or activity or may be eligible to receive services through a variety of programs and entities. The system exists to help businesses find qualified workers to meet their present and future workforce needs and to help individuals gain the skills and training they need to obtain and maintain employment.” How  is all this to be accomplished?

 ‘Align partner services and strategies.
 Develop a common brand to be used across workforce programs that is recognizable to all customers.
 Increase awareness of and accessibility to workforce services.
 Develop shared marketing strategies that promote the talent in North Carolina.’

Goal #2: More of Goal #1, but leading up to Goal #3. Basically we MUST have economic (the Great Recession of 2007) prowess again. Workforce will get us there.

Goal #3: Education, our Way, Not Yours:

How it will be done:

 ‘Strengthen career development services and ensure consistency across programs.
 Enhance programs and enrollment in critical career clusters by targeting resources.
 Strategically coordinate programs among workforce partners to develop skill and education pathways.
 Become a national leader in providing structured work-based learning.’

Also included was more about the desperate need to streamline (Goal #1), to be relevant (part of Goal #2) and

‘it is essential for the state’s workforce programs to target its limited resources to careers in high-growth and emerging industries. Providing consistent information to individuals and strong programs in critical career clusters will not only help individuals find good-paying jobs, but it will also help businesses find the talent they need to growth their business.
One of the best ways to help individuals gain skills and learn more about a career is through work-based learning. These programs combine classroom education with on-the-job experience and individuals gains valuable work experience while learning new skills.
The commission recognizes the need for consistent information, a focus on high-growth and emerging industries, work-based learning opportunities, and it supports policies that shift our culture to one that embraces life-long learning.’

Goal #4: Data, You Got It, We Mine It:

This is the last of the 4 goals the NC Workforce Commission published. By far the most compromising..at least for the students who end up in the Workforce. The Report shares with you, the reader, that it used to the U.S. Department of Labor was the only one receiving Workforce data. But, as we know, that’s about to change. The U.S. WIOA 2014 (the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014), as I’ve written about will take the U.S. Dept. of Ed’s Student Longitudinal Data System and merge with it. In some states it’s already happening. In others states, it’s just taking off, and in some states, it hasn’t begun yet. Workforce will be in all 50 states.  So, if you state didn’t adopt CCSS, you’ll get in via Career Pathways or those Career Clusters.

Here’s the plan for pulling this off:
 ‘Develop a consistent and coordinated approach of identifying critical career clusters that workforce system partners will use to target resources to meet the needs of the economy.
Gather, evaluate, and utilize information on the usage and quality of services.
Measure and report on the effectiveness of the workforce development system.’

Justification for all this data? Accountability. Being accountable means rigorous measuring. Because if we can’t measure rigorously, how will we know that the Workforce is going to fit the agenda?

The last paragraph or two details how it’s the Commission who will plot, plan, and begin the chain of implementation in NC. They have the Governor’s ear. They have the General Assembly’s attention. It also involves Common Core.

So What About Your State?

Find out what the name of your Workforce Commission is. Find out who serves on it.

Discover their plan by finding their report. Do they answer directly to a particular branch of government or person?

Is there any voter say in the matter or is all this assigned? We, here in NC, get told what is up, there isn’t a vote about it.

Has your state gotten their WDQI ( Workforce Data Quality Initiative) grant money to ‘align and mine’? (see my earlier posts about the WDQI)

If you need a refresher on HOW Career Clusters and/or Career Pathways are Common Core Standards for Adults, here are some links:
From Achieve, Inc. 2012, http://www.achieve.org/files/CCSS-CTE-BridgingtheDivide.pdf (look at page 22 and beyond)

From CTE (Career Tech Education), where you’ll find the “Career Clusters” as well as the page that links CCSS to Career Clusters:
http://www.careertech.org/common-core-state-standards For the Clusters: http://www.careertech.org/career-clusters

WorkKeys (which is job profiling, CCSS aligned and is part of ACT, Inc. which is part of College Board) My fellow anti CCSS warrior’s blog article about the alignment of WorkKeys/CCSS: http://ladyliberty1885.com/2014/06/23/common-core-aligned-workkeys/

Career Pathways, those Dept. of Labor programs that will force the alignment of education and workforce, my post from 10/02/14: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/10/02/tech-thursday-ccss-career-pathways-and-workforce/

From the U.S. Dept. of Ed, Career Pathways Aligning to CCSS 101: http://ctecenter.ed.gov/training_center/training/pathway-curricular-design-and-instructional-practice

Finally, remember, each Thursday, since I began my blog, there has been an article each week about CCSS post high school. I’ve got a brand new report to share next week that will undeniable confirm what some still deny…that CCSS isn’t post high school!

RMT Sunday: Who’s Minding Those Minding Education?

Ah, a new week begins. On this RMT Sunday (Riddle Me This), let’s look at who’s minding the education ‘store’ in your state. In other words, how well do you know your state level of education; state level department of public instruction. Answer this, if you can: Does you state have separate departments, branches, etc. for non public education (such as private schools, homeschools, etc.)? Or, is everything educational based in your state under one authority?

This is what my state of residency looks like. What's your state look like?
This is what my state of residency looks like. What’s your state look like?

Do You Know?

Do you know how powerful your state level education authorities are? For the answer, look to your state constitutions. Laid out in them are the parameters for how the state education decisions are made. Yes, it requires digging into ‘dull’ law books. Yes, you need a dictionary at times to decipher the vernacular. However, consider WHY you are investigating all this. a) because the education train wreck, Common Core, is happening day in and day out in our schools. b) because of the train wreck, our kids are being harmed. c) these kids can be young or adult, but they are still OUR kids; d) Common Core mocks the U.S. Constitution, the legal system, your vote, and your tax dollars.

I live in NC. Not being a lawyer or a politician, I never expected to become an activist. So, when the educational system began its march to the droning messages behind Common Core, I got nosy. I discovered most of the statutes that backed the decisions made. For example, to help back up not only education as it is here, but to build that workforce and boost that global economy, we have Workforce legislation:  GS_115C-64.15 Education and Workforce Innovation Commission This document not only creates yet another government entity, but assigns it to be housed in the Governor’s Office. The Commission has many members from the educational system that is statewide, such as the NC Dept. of Public Instruction, NC State Board of Education, the NC College System and the NC Community College System among others. The Commission gets money to make decisions that drive the entire mission: an education and  workforce program. Great, the Commission to oversee the Education & Workforce initiative has been put into place.

So our next question: Just WHAT is the Education & Workforce program??

Here’s the NC State Statute link: (http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_115C/GS_115C-64.16.html) In layman’s terms, here’s what the Program is supposed to do: 1) lead students to become ‘college & career ready’; 2) have schools compete against each other for funds; 3) partnerships with other schools and/or corporate businesses must be formed; 4) aligned pathways to employment; 5) align K-12 and post secondary education; 6) use technology as a leverage tool; 7) promote ‘career clusters’. You should read the legislation, it has many other parameters built in. A question I pose to you: Does any of this sound familiar? Think back to some of the federal parameters Race to the Top imposed on the states themselves.

Not the Only One Watching:

From the NC Chamber of Commerce’s website (http://ncchamber.net/issue-advocacy/education/):

“The North Carolina Chamber is focused on ensuring North Carolina’s education and workforce development systems are effective, agile, accountable and continually produce a competitive, world-class workforce.

  • Effective public schools (K-12) that help prepare students for 21st-century jobs and help produce a globally competitive workforce
  • A strong community college system that works with public schools and the higher education system to develop and prepare a world-class, globally competitive workforce
  • A world-class university system that is demand-driven, engaged in the success of North Carolina businesses and leads in innovation and transformation.”

Related to all this:

“Our Kids Won’t Wait: They Need World Class Schools Today”:

This was a 1 year study published back in 2011 that was led by businesses, educators and the state government of NC. (see the entire report here: http://d2lvn0a00hwoiz.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/StudyGroup_final.pdf) I’ll give you the biggest takeaways  in the order they were laid out: 1) by 2018 uniform framework established and alignment throughout education via state leadership with some local input; 2) by 2020, 80% of NC teachers will come from the top 1/3 of each graduating college class and be trained to teach by a NC accredited university; 3) by 2016, those studying to become majors in teaching will have more rigorous requirements. Administrative level and teaching training for at-risk youth will be required as well; 4) by 2016, NC will have comprehensive staff development/assessment for a continuous ‘self sustaining pool of school leaders’; 5) establish and accelerate regional leadership academies by 2017-18 (originally funded by Race/Top, now NC Gen. Assembly’s job to fund); 6) by 2012-13, use technology to fill current staff development voids (will ramp up considerably in coming years); 7) by 2016, rewarding those teachers and schools with better scores by giving them better flexibility and more money; 8) by 2018, 100% of NC students identified as ‘at-risk’ will be in Smart Start and/or More at Four and by 2020, the graduation rate will be at 90% (Smart Start is a model of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers and More at Four is Common Core aligned Pre-K); 9) by 2017, elementary and middle school students in ‘dropout factories’ will receive a longer school day. By 2020, all NC public schools will increase to a 190 day calendar by control of the NC State Board of Ed); 10) Adopt policies enabling schools to cope with less money, push for digital technology and increase education/workforce training. Laid out in the report & one of the best ways to pull all this off? NC New Schools (by the way, Gates Foundation has given NC New Schools over $15 million in funding since before 2009). Another way this is to be accomplished? Teach for America (another Common Core/Gates Foundation funded group). Somewhat related, the federal level is proud of NC’s efforts. (see: http://www.ed.gov/blog/tag/nclb/)

GED makeover:

Lastly, let’s say I didn’t make it in the public school system and I have gone the GED route. (GED stands for General Education Diploma among other names). Well, in NC (you’ll need to check your state), ours received a makeover. Not only a new name, but a Common Core Standards alignment!! Old name officially was: NC State Board of Community Colleges General Educational Development Diploma. New name: NC State Board of Community Colleges High School Equivalency Diploma. This name change happened Feb. 2014.  (see the attached PDF: gednamechangenc

Why the change? Pearson Publishing (a huge Common Core Standards supporter, profiteer) now owns the GED (the branch of Pearson Publishing known as “Pearson VUE” owns the assessment). As owner, the company has the copyright. If you’ve studied CC enough, you’ll know how protective those involved are over the copyrights. What this means for those taking the GED? In a word: trouble.

Wrapping it all up:

So, back to the Riddle of the day, how well do you know who’s minding education in your state? Gather a like minded group who’s helping you fight Common Core Standards and look into this. How big is the State Board of Ed? Do they practice transparency or do they keep things to themselves? Who’s in charge of the community colleges (in NC our community college advocate is a representative for the Gates Foundation and to date has received Gates funding since 2008 or 2009)? Are the same people being appointed or voted into power in your state? Is there any citizen recourse available? Who’s in charge of the more traditional colleges and universities? Work together to cross every ‘t’ and  dot every ‘i’ in your search. Know where the money is, yes..however, know who holds the money in your state. Also know, the true power of each state is not its Governor (who is to simply enact legislation) nor is it the state level Congresses (their job is to make the legislation), BUT it’s the people of each state! Our job is to express our will, our ideas or suggestions to the local and state levels governments who THEN, create legislation BASED on OUR will.