Tag Archives: classrooms

Fib-o-Meter Friday: IB (International Baccalaureate) Schools, Common Core

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.

IB Schools are more prevalent today than ever before. They are supposedly the ‘greatest thing since sliced bread’ in the education world. So, with such a global agenda, is there room for Common Core?! Let’s find out!

Today’s “Fib-o-Meter” is charged up and ready to weigh the ‘facts, fallacies, and buzzwords’! Our focus is the 2012 IBO (International Baccalaureate Organization) Presentation given at the “Conference of the Americas”.

First statement from the presentation:

“The IB supports the creation and adoption of the Common Core State Standards.” Now, we know the context of this, at least from the IB veiwpoint, is ‘Total Truth”, however, we aren’t the IB. Supporting the creation..would that be the ‘state led, state created’ version of the truth or would it be the public-private, non legislative created version? It could also mean the creation version that didn’t include a single classroom experienced writer! As far as the adoption process?! It was hardly voluntarily completed. Kind of lets us know right off the bat the moral compass of the IB, doesn’t it? I think we’ll have to stick with “Fallacy” overall on this statement.

Next statement to be measured:

“The main aims of the common core initiative are to raise academic standards and improve college completion rates in the US.” Really? That’s not what we’ve been told, IB! Shameful..telling such “Total Fallacies” as such. Straight from the official Common Core Standards website, “to prepare all students for success in our global economy and society” 

Then, there’s this set of statements :

“Common standards create a foundation for districts and states to work collaboratively.”

“Clear and coherent standards will help students (and parents and teachers) understand what is expected of them.”

“All students must be prepared to compete with not only their American peers, but also with students from around the world.”

“Common standards can help create more equal access to an excellent education.”

Of all of the statements in the set, only one is “Total Truth”. Even that’s a stretch. Which one? Why the state working together collaboratively. By the time the entire CCSS alignment, Career Pathways, College and Career Readiness,  and Workforce alignment (not to mention the data mining), we’ll have no choice in the matter…we’ll HAVE to work together! The rest of the set..all “Total Fallacies”. I’m sure there are thousands of citizens who can provide evidence to prove it. Lord knows, You Tube is full of  evidence to disprove this load of less-than-fine-upstanding-truth.

How About This Whopper?

No, I don’t mean the sandwich, I mean the whopper of a fallacy this next statement is. (CCSS) Provides more precise definitions of academic success, a logical pathway toward goals while considering international benchmarksƒ.” Is this group serious? “International benchmarks”? There are NONE!! They obviously weren’t invited to the debut of Dr. Stotsky’s article as it appeared on the Pioneer Institute’s website about the proof no international benchmarks were around. (See: http://pioneerinstitute.org/news/wanted-internationally-benchmarked-standards-in-english-mathematics-and-science/)

Sorry, IBO, you get “Total Fallacy” for this one!

Closing:

Before we part today, remember this, as I’ve written before, IB Schools are part of the UN. So, it stands to reason they would support Common Core. UN is global, that’s its nature. However, we’re Americans. We should have American schools. That’s our nature.

Finally, if you’ve not seen this yet, it is worth watching. Out of the state of Ohio from the efforts to stop Common Core, a ‘Pink Floyd’ classic has been updated to fit CCSS. When you sing along, insert your state’s name!

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RTM: What Would You Do?

I have no clue what drew you into the battle against Common Core. If you’ve not heard my story of what drew me in, it was what I read about the push for nationalizing education and the injustice therein that got me started.  You, your friends,  my friends and myself got involved for a myriad of reasons. How we became involved, while important, can help us remember to keep the focus on ridding our students of the ‘epic fail’ Common Core Standards and what I call the Common Core Machine (all the arms, legs, programs, initiatives that are embedded)

In some ways, Common Core is just as big a failure as the Hindenburg!
In some ways, Common Core is just as big a failure as the Hindenburg!

So, What Would You Do?

In my early days of fighting for what was truth and justice on another topic in education, a wise friend once asked me this, “I know why you are opposing the ____________, but what if you were in charge? What is your solution?” So, let’s pose the question in the context of CCSS. What would I do to solve the problematic CCSS? Well, let me see, first I’d have to ask myself some of the following questions.

Would I ban it? Would I have it  legalized so the US Constitution is honored and the federal laws not broken? Would I make the public private partners who created this failed set of standards and all that accompanies it to take it back and leave education alone? Would I fire the lawmakers involved? Would I send those responsible for ruining our students education to jail?

Now, why would I put myself though all this thinking? Because a true warrior knows sometimes the fight is against a principle or a set of them. Sometimes the fight is against people. A CCSS warrior is going to need to be strong enough to not only separate the battles at present, but to know what they are fighting at the moment: the injustice, the wrong that has been committed OR the person or people supporting the injustice! Sometimes I have to separate the issue from the people in order to not loose perspective.

I bring this up because while some of us have been fighting CCSS so long, we have been and still can be tempted to lump injustice and people together, thereby creating much anger, even hatred for fellow humans. Will hating a fellow human, regardless of how much we agree or disagree really solve the problem? I don’t think so. In fact, I think it will only make the problems worse. Don’t get me wrong, those responsible for giving us CCSS,and keeping it alive, certainly are not folks I want to get to know. I will not agree with them on anything about CCSS. However, for myself and for my family, I try to steer as far away from name calling, bullying, gossiping, and belittling as possible. It will not help my warrior skills improve, it will only make me look small, and weak. It is truly sad when no matter how honorable a warrior you are in fighting CCSS, those supporting it OR those undecided, treat you with cruelty.

Remember, the fight we fight is FOR people, our students! Our fight is against Common Core’s injustice in education. Our fight is for freedom in education! Our fight is against illegally written standards. We fight to preserve what’s good, right, and honorable! We oppose tyranny, insidiousness, and greed. We fight to preserve our nation’s greatness! We will not stand by and watch America fall.

What Say You?

Yes, if I had to, I  would be willing to carry through some of the actions I first asked myself. I would be willing to see the US Constitution honored, the laws abided by. I would be willing to hold those responsible for their crimes against our students. If that means firing, jail time, or something punitive, so be it. So, what say you about all this? Would you be willing to kill the CCSS and if so, how? Would you be able to separate the issues involved in the Standards and the people?

A Solution:

I’ve seen pro CCSS folks tease people with ‘what’s your solution to education’ OR ‘you’re against education’ (the ever classy ‘you’re against the Core, so you must be against standards’) complete with a snide voice and a condescending look . Notice, however, when this begins. It is, 9 times out of 10, mentioned when too much focus has been on the poor quality of the CCSS Machine’s standards, curricula, rhetoric, or other connected. The attempt at teasing is a side step, to avoid the truth. IF we are to have a serious chat with our opponents, we need to leave the playground mentality out of it.

Remember, if there’s to be true discussions about repairing the damages of CCSS on our students, we’re going to need to be respectful. We can’t be respectful with much success if we’re too tied up in anger or hatred.

So, what would you propose, seriously, in education?

I know if I were in charge, outcome based education would be burned at the stake. Right along with all the buzzwords, catchy phrases. I’d take all the digital technology and its overreaching into privacy and revamp them so that no one’s information would be compromised. I would defund every single business that has made money off the hard earned income of our families and have them, not only pay the families back, but pay for any therapy needed for those students who are harming themselves just to avoid school. I would employ my fellow warriors to help me start at the top and clean house from Washington on down. Anyone who has disrespected the citizens of this country as to think we’d be led like lambs to the slaughter doesn’t deserve to represent us. THEN, after all that, I’d sit down with those who are truly willing to serve our students with quality education, and we’d start with 3 goals in mind, keep learning alive; keep teaching simple (after all it’s a pretty old profession, too), and enjoy the journey. Yes, by all means we should carry on..but we should always do it with grandeur.

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IF you have any suggestions as to how you’d want to repair the damage we’ve experienced in our homes, in our schools, and in our country, PLEASE, leave a comment.

Sic’ ‘Em Saturday: CCSS, Progressives and PBLs

I have a ‘suppose this’ scenario for you…Suppose I wanted to take progressively liberal agenda, add Common Core and come up with something ‘wonderful’? What do you suppose the results may be? You’d get PBL (Project Based Learning). Now PBL has been around awhile, but think, what better way to move my ‘educational agents of change’ than by a combination of the two?

PA + CCSS = PBL

pblcore-logo

From a CA county School district

The ‘skinny’ on Common Core aligned PBLs:

According to the Buck Institute for Education, which trains the teachers to lead classrooms, they’ve put together a plethora of resources devoted to aligning your PBLs. In fact, they make it sound like the greatest thing ever to be heard of! Here’s just one of the glowing positives they feature on their website, “Project Based Learning is a transformative teaching method for engaging ALL students in meaningful learning and developing the 21st Century competencies of critical thinking/problem solving, collaboration, creativity and communication.” Unlike some of the websites I’ve researched, this one does still have resources that are NOT CCSS aligned. However, you really have to read the large and fine print to ensure you are staying clear of them. Buck Institute is certainly NOT the only PBL CCSS aligned group out there. There are plenty of others, too. However, if you watch the video below, listen for the familiar CC buzzwords, notice who they seek advice from or have praise from. Look who’s helping lead their teacher workshops. All these are clues to the progressiveness behind social change.

The hype about CC aligned PBLs:

Well, just looking at the video, you’ll see the business surrounding PBLs is booming, at least for Buck. But what about other facts/figures? It will definitely depend where you look. For example the school district in CA, whose logo is above, where they host CC aligned PBL workshops, some are low priced ($150.00) per person, others were in the thousands of dollars for a group. That’s just one school district. But there are many private companies, non profits, all on the latest bandwagon…PBLs that are aligned. PBLs are heavily used in STEM curricula, classes, lesson plans too. The profits for all those connected corporations is incredible. There are ‘design your own PBL’ resources, there are ‘we’ll do it for you’ resources, the ‘we’ll teach you how’ resources, the ‘career technical PBLs’ (yeah, we know CC is only K-12, right?) each and every one will more than likely have a price tag. Keep in mind, for every PBL the federal government offers, we taxpayers, have funded it.

PBLs, the 'latest, greatest' invention in education?!
PBLs, the latest, greatest “invention” in education?!

Why PBLs aligned to CC shouldn’t get all the hype:
Like many educators, I know there’s too much fuss over them. Honestly, when I first discovered ‘PBLs’, it wasn’t when CCSS came around..in fact ‘PBL’ is a new, catchy name for what, quite frankly, is as old as time..’learning by doing‘. You know, it’s the way kinesthetic learners can tackle their toughest subjects, it’s the way our parents taught us to go to the bathroom, tie our shoes, mow the grass, and on and on. PBLs are hardly as recent invention as they are touted to be. Thousands of public, private educators and  home educators have successful taught AND graduated many students using not only the ‘learning by doing’ method,  but by every other conceivable tried and true method as well. Those of us who have been teaching, know there are many different intelligences, and accordingly, many different ways to teach. This is why we know, one size does NOT fit all, one way to teach does NOT fit all. An artist doesn’t use a single brush to create a masterpiece, a chef doesn’t use one pan to bake everything, a parent shouldn’t treat their children all the same AND a teacher should not be constricted in the classroom!

Labeling it CC aligned PBL isn’t going to ensure its success. I, like so many educators (or all ages, grades and choices), know projects can serve a classroom well, just not a constant diet of them. To help you understand why I believe this AND have see it play out, consider a college professor’s lament.  I recently was listening to a college professor give examples of why PBLs DON’T work. The biggest reasons: students cannot grasp what it is to work independently, to stay on task on their own, to be responsible for their own work, or, to function in an educational setting well. In short, ‘clueless’. His examples were all based on students in the last 2-3 years where high school was the last place they’d been. 

The Progressive component:

When you factor in all the public private partnerships which saddled us with CC, it isn’t hard to look at the overall progression they desire to move us from the American Dream to the global citizen. If you’ve read my blog in the past week, you’ll know I have shared my progressive plans already in motion, especially connected to the CCSSO (Council of Chief State School Officers). Look at the resources with CC, listen to those supporting it, all about ‘the greater good’, the ‘collective effort’ and so on.

Consider using these 3 quotes in your action campaigns!

Professor Yong Zhao, a global thought leader on education, has some refreshing words to say related to America’s 1)‘suicidal quest with Common Core’.(his phrase to describe CC) While he very progressive minded and I do not embrace everything he believes or speaks, I do like that he’s very solid on how rotten CC is.

Below are some words he had in a debate with Marc Tucker (who’s very pro CC):
“…my main point: it is 2) impossible, unnecessary, and harmful for a small group of individuals to predetermine and impose upon all students the same set of knowledge and skills and expect all students progress at the same pace (if the students don’t, it is the teachers’ and schools’ fault). I am not against standards per se for good standards can serve as a useful guide. What I am against is Common and Core, that is, the same standards for all students and a few subjects (currently math and English language arts) as the core of all children’s education diet. I might even love the Common Core if they were not common or core.” Read the rest, http://zhaolearning.com/2013/01/17/more-questions-about-the-common-core-response-to-marc-tucker/

 3)“Stop the Common Core or ready your basement for your college graduates.”
quote by Yong Zhao (renown global education, technology reformer) featured on his blog 07/02/14

Sic ‘Em Saturday: Google’s Common Core Classroom

Recently, I ‘attended’ yet another webinar connected to Common Core and classrooms. It’s amazing to me just how many on-line meetings have taken place over the past few months with new ways to ‘sell’ the Standards, make them ‘easier’ or how you just can’t live without their greatness..Please, give me a break!

Here are the takeaways I got from the ‘Google Classroom‘, which by the way, is all CCSS aligned!

All the ‘Google Classroom’ programs are FREE!

Paperless & virtual so no one can see your (the student’s) mistakes!

Teacher and students are in the same domain so engaging, eagerness, pride, and confidence can be experienced with richer, deeper meaning and content!

‘Google Classroom‘ is so tech savvy and filled with all the skills needed to prepare for the SBAC assessments (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium)!

Collaboration with other students is suddenly easier and better than ever!

Kids/students can conduct their own research and become better motivated in their free time!

Google Classroom‘ will help the students/kids to NOT focus on a few things they can do really well, it will have them focus on lots of things for seamless assignments and workflow while enabling communication (ditches the traditional homework, classroom work)!

Dell Overview, Twitter, Netflix, and others are all involved as well since 2010!

Can take to college with you, too! As long as you have a Google Education account, your learning never ends!

Teachers can access student data and share it with many others!

Along the same lines:

As I’ve stated before in other posts, in personal conversations, on social media, all you have to do to access FREE aligned games, apps, and toys such as ‘Google Classroom‘ is offering, is to do a simple search on your smartphone. On my android, I can have over 250 apps within seconds. All aligned, designed for and targeting Common Core as ‘fun’, ‘engaging’,  and ‘cute’. However, what about some of the old companies who want in on the CCSS money machine? Like “Leap Frog”, “Think Fun” and many others?

They align as well! “Think Fun” went as far as to change their name, to become more attractive (my opinion) to the CCSS parent or/and student. New name: “Binary Arts”. “Games building 21st Century thinking skills via play.” “Change the world by translating mathematicians, engineers and inventors crazy dreams into simple toys which make STEM more organically possible.” So ‘forward thinking in curricula’ STEaM will be wonderful! (In my PCAST, STEM and CC post, I exposed how STEM is the ultimate agenda riding into our lives via CC ,all, at the current administration’s bidding; STEaM is a newer way to expand that agenda, but that’s a future post)

On “Binary Arts” blog, back in June of 2014, the owner made this statement, “Thinking Sigmund Freud meets Apple Pie.” He also expresses much support for Mr. Gates & the efforts to bring CCSS to us Americans. See blog entry:

(http://www.thinkfun.com/smartplayblog/?p=3751)

Teacher turned toy maker:

(http://www.thinkfun.com/smartplayblog/), former teacher, Tanya Thompson, expresses the importance of changing the world through play. However, listen for the portion of her talk centering around coding being a wheelhouse for education. Look into the SNAP Math Fairs (big supporter is connected to the Canadian Government’s Ministry of Education). While I’ve not researched this to see if this is CCSS north of our border, I do include the link so you can read how the website is using similar language to what we, here in America, are seeing so much of in relation to Common Core(https://curriculum.gov.bc.ca/)& HATCH Conferences (http://hatchexperience.org/project/what-is-hatch/). Watch the video, if you like, click on  ‘about HATCH’ and look for the ‘creativity is the common thread’ visual. Then, listen to how many times you can hear ‘change the world’. Intel, Inc. is a big underwriter of HATCH. Intel, Inc. is an ardent defender of CCSS (see: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/marketplacek12/2013/09/business_execs_fight_for_common_core_before_its_too_late.html)

While I couldn't find a direct link to WHAT education HATCH is promoting, I did find this graphic. Makes you think, doesn't it?
While I couldn’t find a direct link to WHAT education HATCH is promoting, I did find this graphic. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

A couple of loose ends:

Before we part company for the day, I wanted to tie up a few loose ends about Binary Arts. If you watched the short video featuring the teacher/inventor, did you catch her reference to “Robot Turtles”? Did you hear “Adventure Quest”? Both these games partner with Code.org (a non profit group tied to Bill Gates, Zuckerburg with Facebook, and Kopp of Teach for America) The agenda (besides CCSS) is coding as a ‘social issue’. Holding the creative communications license to the games? Khan Academy (another group which has ‘sold out’ to CCSS). Khan is hoping to impact the proposed AP (advance placement) courses as well.

So, in “Sic ‘Em Saturday” fashion, LOOK into the games, the apps, the toys your students/kids are using. Want to stay Common Core, global agenda free during play time? Get offline! Go out and play, read together, have a family game night (use a classic game or one created before 2008, which is my time marker for before CCSS and after CCSS).