Tag Archives: CBS News

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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Tech Thursday: P-Tech; It’s Here, It’s Now, and It’s Part of the P3, CCSS Machine

The current Administration in DC loves this aspect of CCSS.
The current Administration in DC loves this aspect of CCSS.

Maybe you live in NY or CO and have heard of “P-Tech”; maybe you live elsewhere and have heard of it. Maybe it’s a new term for you. However, either way, it’s still more CCSS and CTE (Common Core State Standards and Career/Technical Education). Join me today as we discover just why the current President is so in favor of this program.

The Year was 2013:

According to what I found, back in 2013, the current President of the USA brought “P-Tech” up in his State of the Union address. After a litany of ‘hot’ topics which included healthcare, the economy, and, more, the President tackles education. First he shares the plans about early education…and then the ‘clincher’..here’s the text excerpt, “Let’s also make sure that a high school diploma puts our kids on a path to a good job. Right now, countries like Germany focus on graduating their high school students with the equivalent of a technical degree from one of our community colleges, so that they’re ready for a job. At schools like P-Tech in Brooklyn, a collaboration between New York Public Schools, the City University of New York, and IBM, students will graduate with a high school diploma and an associate degree in computers or engineering. We need to give every American student opportunities like this. Four years ago, we started Race to the Top – a competition that convinced almost every state to develop smarter curricula and higher standards, for about 1 percent of what we spend on education each year. Tonight, I’m announcing a new challenge to redesign America’s high schools so they better equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy. We’ll reward schools that develop new partnerships with colleges and employers, and create classes that focus on science, technology, engineering, and math – the skills today’s employers are looking for to fill jobs right now and in the future.”
The entire text can be found: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/13/us/politics/obamas-2013-state-of-the-union-address.html?_r=1

Related documents you’ll find helpful with the context above:
1) Reinventing_American_High_School (published 2006) but very telling considering the CCSS agenda and the President’s above message. You’ll need to really take a close look at this entire document which is full of all kinds of useful anti CCSS and adult version CCSS (CTE) information.

2) I’m including an NC specific 2013 STEM, Race to the Top report so you can see what a) one looks like and the strides toward re-invention that have been made;  b) what your state’s RttT STEM paperwork may contain; c) how “New Schools” is interwoven (among other known CCSS aligned efforts), and d) how your LEAs are part of the efforts to re-invent high schools. (again, think the context of the President’s speech). What’s worth noting is that for every year NC’s had RttT funding used, there’s a report detailing it, especially when it involves STEM (that’s the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math the President mentioned). NC had a 2014 report about RttT and STEM as well.
RttT-STEM_Y3-Report_FINAL_12-05-2013
(*NOTE: New Schools tie to all this (apart from being part of the CCSS Machine) is not only ‘transforming public education’ {per their website}, but  funded by some of the biggest Common Core profit makers known to us, to date. See their donors page for proof, http://www.newschools.org/donors ) 
Back to the P-Tech:

One of the resources I discovered which led me to P-Tech actually comes from VSA Partners and their announcement about the President’s text, the P-Tech, and the CCSS friendly related groups, like IBM and Time magazine. See their announcement, http://www.vsapartners.com/news/vsa-branded-educational-model-has-fans-in-high-places/ If you’d like to learn what VSA does and how IBM is one of their partners, see their ‘About’ web page, http://www.vsapartners.com/about/ (*NOTE: did you notice how IBM is a part of the CCSS Machine and that VSA is a partner of theirs? Does that mean that VSA is also a part of the CCSS Machine? In a simple answer, I believe it’s ‘yes’.)

As was mentioned in the 2013 State of the Union address, the NY Schools was mentioned. Here’s the website I was able to find about P-Tech. See: http://www.ptechnyc.org/site/default.aspx?PageID=1
Briefly stated, the purpose of a P-Tech is not only early college in high school and STEM, it’s “express intent was to create an innovative, replicable model for education — one that united the expertise of the public and private sectors to provide new opportunities for young people, and addressed the need to strengthen the continuum from school to college and careers.” (see the entire purpose,
http://www.ptechnyc.org/domain/43)

The guide to re-designed STEM schools (ripe with Common Core and Career Pathways interwoven in them) can be found, STEM-Pathways-Playbook_Feb-2012 How do I know that STEM and Career Pathways connect to Common Core? Two documents, my fellow warriors. First, the PCAST document that is pre-2013 State of the Union address’s timeline, but is essential in tying STEM to Common Core as STEM being the agenda and CCSS being the vehicle of choice to deliver STEM to the masses of citizens. Then, the Pearson, Harvard University “Pathways to Prosperity” report, which helped create the Career Pathways you now see in high schools and post-secondary schools. The “Pathways” are even showing up as early as 3rd grade in some states.

The documents mentioned above:
1) PCAST’s document will give you these actual facts; a) “Since the beginning of the 20th century, average per capita income in the United States has grown more than seven-fold, and science and technology account for more than half of this growth. In the 21st century, the country’s need for a world-leading STEM workforce and a scientifically, mathematically, and technologically literate populace has become even greater, and it will continue to grow – particularly as other nations continue to make rapid advances in science and technology. In the words of President Obama, “We must educate our children to compete in an age where knowledge is capital, and the marketplace is global.””. This document is included in one of my very first blog articles, where I point out for you just HOW STEM is being used against Americans via Common Core. You’ll also find the PCAST report embedded in my article. See: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/from-the-files-pcast-stem-and-common-core/

2) Getting to the “Pathways for Prosperity” can be found in my original post, https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/01/08/tech-thursday-national-career-pathways-network/ AND https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/03/12/tech-thursday-difference-between-careers/ Both of these articles are directly related to P-Tech via the Pathways and all the Career Paths the President was referencing, as well as the P-Tech website.

If you wonder how supportive IBM is of the CCSS, here’s an excerpt, “A company like IBM or all the other companies that we do business with depend on a high-skilled workforce, and the Common Core is directly connected to giving our kids the skills that they need to be effective in the workplace,” said Stan Litow, President of IBM International Foundation.” See the entire article, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/businesses-want-common-core-for-common-reasons/ (*NOTE: be sure to watch the short IBM video statement giving the thumbs up to CCSS, and Career Tech alignment)

So why bring this ‘old news’ up now? Because since the CCSS Machine began to churn, effort after effort across the nation has been made to bring this ‘dream’ of career alignment, STEM/ CCSS agenda, and our schools to become a stark reality. As seen in this recent Denver article,
http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_28348239/guest-commentary-reaching-true-potential-colorados-workforce

Is a P-Tech School in your state’s future? Use the above evidence to investigate!