Tag Archives: Buck Institute

FTF: A Chip off The Education Block

Sure, you've heard of private schools, but have you heard of 'micro' schools?!
Sure, you’ve heard of private schools, but have you heard of ‘micro’ schools?!

Anti CCSS Warriors, we have another education reform ‘wannabe’. Consider it a chip off the old CCSS Machine’s block.. What AM I talking about?! “Micro Schools”, of course! If you haven’t heard of them, that’s okay, I recently discovered these schools, too.
One other question we will address is how this ties back to the ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act).

So, What is a ‘Micro School’?

I found out about them via the Gates Foundation supportive, CCSS Machine member: Ed Week. (See: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2016/01/27/micro-schools-could-be-new-competition-for.html?r=608439843&cmp=eml-enl-eu-news1-RM)

Like its name, these schools are small in size (typically no more than an entire school population of 150). Unlike traditional schools, micros have all the students in one classroom.  While the article suggests these schools are like the old-fashioned one room schoolhouses, there is absolutely NOTHING old fashioned about the agenda behind these small schools. As an anti CCSS Warrior, see if you can catch the agenda the CCSS Machine has laced through these modern minis.

AltSchools, the Supposed Leader in Micro Schools:

This group is mentioned in the article I have linked you to (above). You can access their website, https://www.altschool.com/
From their ‘About Us’ page, their mission statement begins with, ” AltSchool is a collaborative community of micro-schools that uses outstanding teachers, deep research, and innovative tools to offer a personalized, whole child learning experience for the next generation.”
(*Note, be sure to watch the embedded video with the smiley faced guy.)
You should love the fact he is a businessman now involved in education. While that doesn’t seem so bad, listen to his pro CCSS companies he rattles off. (example: Google) Don’t miss his plug for project based learning (which is rooted in another progressive, pro CCSS Machine member, The Buck Institute. (my previously published look at PBLs:
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/10/25/sic-em-saturday-ccss-progressives-and-pbls/ )

Currently, AltSchools are in CA, NY, IL. To see the AltSchool locations in their entirety,
https://www.altschool.com/about-us#our-parents
(*Note, be sure to click on one of the existing locations to look at the floor plan. You will see what many other traditional schools are doing, totally transforming them to be open locations with centers.)

The curriculum? Forget about seeing your student as a person, this group is after “T-shaped learners”.  What the heck is a “T-shaped learner”? An excerpt, “…Students who have a wide breadth of knowledge across all subjects and depth in the subjects that they are passionate about. In addition to cultivating strong social-emotional skills, AltSchool students build competency across core academic areas: math, science, English language arts, and social studies. Through our before- and after-school co-curricular offerings, students delve even deeper into subjects of interest, including drama, arts, coding, and foreign languages.”
The educators? All 21st Century ones. See the entire description of both curriculum and educators, https://www.altschool.com/education#curriculum
(*Note: the heavy use of technology and the reference to aligning to the most recent education discoveries.)
From the FAQs, this loaded statement of CCSS Machine groups in the curriculum:
‘AltSchool’s learning objectives draw from a variety of standards and metrics as a framework for instructional design. Our Lower and Middle School instruction is informed by the Common Core, National Council of the Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), Next Generation Science Standards, International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), Partnership for 21st Century Skills, and the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), among others.’

Helping fund AltSchools? Facebook and Apple owners! Yep,  these two pro CCSS Machine members even made the news about their investments. See: http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2015/05/04/altschool-scores-100-million-from-mark-zuckerberg-and-others/26740867/
(*Note: be sure to read where the AltSchool founder reveals that there are non-profits and other investors on board as well.)

Other financial backers? “Founders Fund, Andreessen Horowitz, First Round Capital, Harrison Metal, John Doerr, Jonathan Sackler, Learn Capital, Omidyar Network, and other leading investors.” To learn more about why these investors are lining up in huge support of AltSchools, you will need to see the AltSchools Press Release from 2014. It explains that the schools are a ‘certified B organization’. What does THAT mean? Heavy on social justice issues with a large collective mindset. See the entire press release: https://www.altschool.com/press-release-11-17-14

Want to better understand what a B Organization truly is? As an anti CCSS Warrior, you will be quick to pick up on the main themes, the global aspects, and the money to be made.

 

New Orleans, TX, and Globally: Micros Coming Soon!

Also included in the featured EdWeek article about AltSchools, were the facts that New Orleans public charters are considering the AltSchool way of education; that at least one private school in TX is already involved (since 2009); that  Catholic schools could be well served; how  comprehensive high schools could learn from AltSchools; and, that several non-USA locations are benefiting from AltSchools.
Warriors Against the Core
, are you seeing the pattern?

Not included in the NAIS:

AltSchools, according to the EdWeek article are not being tracked by the NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools), so there may be many MORE micro schools in the world. However, my question is, are AltSchools accredited at all? One CBS interview from 2015, reveals the groups is in the process of becoming accredited. See: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/altschool-alternative-education/
Anti CCSS Warriors, do you recognize an issue here?

As Far as How This Plays into the ESSA:

Besides the red flags I have recently raised about the ESSA and technology/data/digital, the AltSchools have all sorts of CCSS Machine ties to overlook or assume they won’t be part of the ESSA written educational future in America. All this said, the AltSchools are considered ‘alternative education’. That phrase is most definitely used in the ESSA.
Alternative education evidence based state practices your LEAs (Local Education Agencies) can use to support a student: Page 99; Alternative routes for SEAs (State Education Agencies) to certify supporting programs: Page 111;  any alternative education method in regards to correctional facilities: Page 266;  alternative means of receiving a high school diploma: Page 793; For Native Americans, alternative education, standards, assessments: Page 811; The bigger the LEA, the bigger the funding weighed alternative: Page 946;Alternative routes for educators to teach or school leaders to lead: Pages 141; 305; 318; 322; 398; 800; 972-981 (ESSA Final Conference Report).

 

Related:

Considering my last 3 articles went into great detail about the digital and technology ties the ESSA has now put into action for all of us, you might wish to factor schools like AltSchools into the mix. You may find their other EdWeek article about the big push for technology and data worth using as knowledge, too. See: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2016/01/13/the-future-of-big-data-and-analytics.html

If you haven’t see the last 3 articles where you are given the CCSS Machine ties, the ESSA page numbers and related MUST KNOW information.
How much digital and technology the ESSA is mandating:
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2016/02/04/essa-and-digital-overload/

How the U.S. Dept. of Ed’s IES will assess not only students, but entire families for digital and technology: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2016/02/05/weekend-news-the-ies-and-the-essa/

How State Grants for public places and other funding is being manipulated and will continue to be thanks to the ESSA:
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2016/02/08/state-digital-education/

How comprehensive high schools/post-secondary education are extensions of the CCSS Machine via CTE (Career Tech Education):
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/tech-thursday-caps-via-career-pathways-is-still-ccss/

Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation was also featured in the original EdWeek article above. Their website: http://www.christenseninstitute.org/

Be sure to grab their publication on using schools as community hubs (also embedded in the ESSA via Title One funding)). The publication is published by the Brookings Institute, a huge CCSS Machine member. : http://www.christenseninstitute.org/publications/schools-as-community-hubs/

How the NAIS/NCTM are tied to the CCSS Machine:
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/01/31/sic-em-saturday-ccss-in-christian-schools-even-more/

Next Generation Science Standards and CCSS:
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/10/29/wybi-wednesday-silent-classrooms/

CASEL, 21 Century Community Learning Centers and CCSS:
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/11/21/weekend-news-the-state-of-ccsss-sel/

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Weekend News: Workforce’s Got Your Number!

This weekend’s news will feature the CCSS/CTE laden Workforce Data collection systems.  We learned how our students are referred to as ‘human capital’. We’ve already learned about the U.S. Government’s Workforce Data collection system; the state level ‘human capital life tracking systems. Let’s find out what the private sector in American business is doing to help out in tracking our students/citizens.

Konos Management (not to be confused with the Konos homeschool curriculum):

You can find the computer based giant at: http://www.konos.com
You need to know not only help education manage its ‘human capital’, it helps the government, healthcare systems, and many others manage their ‘human capital’. They are in the business of helping your business not only collect massive amounts of data, but helping you streamline information in the guise of saving time and money. Wow, how ‘noble’ of them. The company also measures compliance, is global in its workforce tracking, and are corporate partners with “Adopt-a-Classroom” and “National Academy Foundation” (NAF is devoted to career tech schools for those ‘underserved’).

From a 2010 report, find out what “Do You Automate? Saving Time and Money” states. The excerpt I’m sharing is discussing education grant money.
“Given the central importance of grant funding in K–12 education, it is essential to avoid putting these funds at risk. Nearly all schools in this country depend on grants
for a portion of their funding. While it’s true that grants come to K–12 schools from many sources, the federal government alone gives out more than $13 billion in
grants each month. Additionally, the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of
2009 will put nearly $6 billion forward in new competitive grants to states to help them pursue higher standards. A significant portion of those dollars will go to school modernization. The requirements for properly managing the funds available under
the act and other grants are extensive Similarly, the need for district accountability with respect to good time-and-effort reporting cannot be underestimated. Such is the magnitude of the need for rigorous grants management.”

This particular document also factors in the NCES (National Center for Education Statistics) report about “Common Core of Data”. The particular year of NCES’s report? 2007-08.  So what is included in the “Common Core of Data”? Who heads this CCD up? I can answer immediately the ‘who’ question, it’s the IES (Institute of Educational Sciences..as in the U.S. Dept. of Education‘s IES! The U.S. Dept. of Ed also contains the NCES! Now, it’s important to stress here that the “Common Core of Data” is not the same as the ‘Common Core State Standards’. The CCD information DOES, however, HELP the CCSS Machine manipulate schools, states, and all those people involved. How? By collecting information of how many students drop out, or at-risk, by looking at where and how money in your school is spent. Think of all the CCSS malarky we’ve heard about the ‘graduation rates MUST’ be at a certain number. Think about how the states were ‘incentivized’. These two areas are not the only areas in which the CCSS is aided by all the data mining and ‘education sciences research’. Oh, one more thing, the data mining happens for ALL ages of our students.

To see the Konos 2010 report: Sept10_SBA_Automated-Workforce-Mgmt
To see the CCD website: https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/index.asp (*Note, when you visit this site, be sure to look at the publications. There you’ll find  fiscal reports. These are great for seeing where the CCSS/CTE trail of money lies.)

Getting back to Konos, I was able to find in another document how Konos partners with MicroStrategy. What does this partnership allow? Well, with Konos’s  special interest in management of money and data, MicroStrategy is considered a leader in the business world for ‘intelligence’ gathering software. Here’s the excerpt about what you can choose for the Konos/MicroStrategy system to do for you (if you were a customer). “Customers may choose to use all available functionality, but use of specific features may not be supported by Kronos [including: Consolidations, Freeform SQL, Event-based Alerting, Intelligent Cubes, Flash Rendering of Documents, Data Mining Services, Derived Elements, Import Data, Creation of Custom Roles and/or User Groups, Advanced Metrics (Level, Conditional, Nested), Custom Groups , VLDB Property Modifications, MDX Cube Report, Query Builder Report.” The name of this system? “Workforce Analytics 8.0 Learning Path” It’s important to stress here that this particular system in about minding/managing workers in all the sectors Konos serves. This document: 4704933-001_WFAN_80_learning_path_rev_a-final
Konos has a lot more on their website in the publications section about how the data they manage is used. If you know an anti CCSS/CTE warrior gifted in understanding all this technology, have them dive into the documents to show you how the information being collected is being used to help the CCSS Machine. (See: http://www.kronos.com/search.aspx?searchtext=common%20core)

Before we move on, Konos 2015 Conference is coming up in November, in Las Vegas. Why is this important to a CCSS/CTE Warrior? Anyone involved in schools IT departments, human resource departments, education finances, etc. are invited to attend. A host of other education related groups will also be in attendance. See: http://www.kronos.com/kronosworks15/who-attends.aspx  Remember, Warriors, data and money are what the CCSS Machine thrives on! Also, take into consideration, Konos is considered a leader in tracking, managing, and ensuring employees are “Workforce Ready”. What this means to us as anti CCSS/CTE Warriors is simple. After students are shoved through the CCSS/CTE tracks, they have another one waiting upon employment!  See: http://www.kronos.com/products/smb-solutions/workforce-ready/selected-resources.aspx

National Academy Foundation (NAF):

The website: http://naf.org/
One CCSS Machine tie in: The Gates Foundation grants.
From 2006, nation wide engineering academies:
http://www.gatesfoundation.org/How-We-Work/Quick-Links/Grants-Database/Grants/2006/09/OPP45211
2006: for support of existing career academies, strategic placement of new career tech academies across the nation:
http://www.gatesfoundation.org/How-We-Work/Quick-Links/Grants-Database/Grants/2006/03/OPP41757
From 2007 in New York for education reform:
http://www.gatesfoundation.org/How-We-Work/Quick-Links/Grants-Database/Grants/2007/11/OPP49430
2007 in New Orleans for “Learning Labs”:
http://www.gatesfoundation.org/How-We-Work/Quick-Links/Grants-Database/Grants/2007/08/OPP48634
2008 for communications support: http://www.gatesfoundation.org/How-We-Work/Quick-Links/Grants-Database/Grants/2008/10/OPP52560

naffuture

Oh my fellow anti CCSS/CTE Warriors, the CCSS Machine influence isn’t only Gates, it envelopes SO many others! The curriculum providers are the Buck Institute (huge on Project Based Learning, which fosters the ‘collective collaboration’ portion of CCSS), the IB Schools (International Baccalaureate Schools, which are the UNESCO portion of CCSS), Project Lead the Way, the STEM Academy (I’ve proven to you repeatedly how STEM is the driver behind the CCSS agenda), and  Paxton-Patterson. The list of CCSS/CTE aligned groups NAF belongs to is also there. You’ll  see everything from White House initiatives to well known CCSS Machine members. Groups NAF calls “Peer Organizations” includes the NC New Schools (which is so full of CCSS it’s toxic), ConnectEd (which is the White House’s plan for digital CCSS/CTE overload), and, a host of other well researched/exposed CCSS/CTE members. See all the ‘fellowship’: http://naf.org/about/our-partners

NAF also offers “NAFTRACK” (yes, another system devoted to keeping tabs on students..and all in the name of getting a good job. See:
http://naf.org/our-approach/naftrack-certified-hiring 
See the NAFTRACK’s certification process (which includes a specified curriculum, projects and on-the-job assessments):
http://naf.org/our-approach/naftrack-certified-hiring/naftrack-certification
The specialized careers NAF schools offer: finance, hospitality/tourism, information technology, engineering, and health sciences. Five career tracks, warriors..only 5. Wow.
See: http://naf.org/naf-network/themes
To see those individuals sold out to the STEM portion in the CCSS Machine: http://naf.org/about/stem-advisory-committee
To see NAF‘s brochure on the corporate sell outs involved in the education reform: NAFCorporateEngagementBrochure

Resources: 

To see my previously published Buck Institute article and how PBLs are ruining education:
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/10/25/sic-em-saturday-ccss-progressives-and-pbls/

Other PBL articles (you’ll see connections to Gates, STEM, and more):

How those summer programs your students may have been involved in are part of the design to align:
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/05/09/sic-em-saturday-aligned-summer/

A brief recap of the PBLs and other anti CCSS/CTE things which are important:
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/05/02/sic-em-saturday-ccss-rewind/

See the vast network across the nation:
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/03/13/fom-achieving-cc-aligned-competencies/

STEM and other Education Waivers tied to PBLs:
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/12/02/wybi-wednesday-rttt-stem-ed-waivers-and-more/