Tag Archives: Connections Academy

RMT: Connected to the Core?

AdvancED leading NC straight to more CCSS.
AdvancED leading NC straight to more CCSS.

Today’s “Riddle Me This” is all about a new effort accredited by AdvancED (so CCSS friendly it’s downright shameful) and growing in NC. We’ll also delve into which other states are involved.

The Context:

Many of us who are fighting CCSS, have already been able to connect the dots between AdvancED and CCSS. However, I know many of us may need a refresher OR may be so new to fighting CCSS, they haven’t made the connection. To help you establish what AdvancED does, here’s an excerpt from my guest post I wrote on LadyLiberty1185’s blog in mid 2014: AdvancEd is an online company dedicated to helping your school be the best. Just look at their Common Core Standards page. My personal ‘favorite’ is the reinvention of the report card into digital badges. Read it for yourself. Note: the author is from NASA — as in the guys who went to the moon.” Access the report:  http://www.advanc-ed.org/source/reinventing-report-card
If you’d like to read the entire article on Lady’s site, http://ladyliberty1885.com/2014/07/07/guest-post-common-core-in-charters-private-homeschools/

Here’s what AdvancED has to say about themselves: “AdvancED is the largest community of education professionals in the world. We are a non-profit, non-partisan organization that conducts rigorous, on-site external reviews of PreK-12 schools and school systems to ensure that all learners realize their full potential. While our expertise is grounded in more than a hundred years of work in school accreditation, AdvancED is far from a typical accrediting agency. Our goal isn’t to certify that schools are good enough. Rather, our commitment is to help schools improve.”

What you need to know about AdvancED:
1) They fully support the re-authorization of ESEA (as in the HR5 federal legislation).

2) To support their position of the re-authorization, their report on ‘Diagnostic Review’ explains how they will use school data to an extreme. Get the report: Diagnostic-Review

3) In AdvancED’s latest Annual Report, the non profit shared many vital details we, as anti CCSS warriors need. FYI, the organization is worth over $16 million dollars and is purposed to reinvested everything into continuing to change education. Get the report: AE-AnnualReport2013-14

4) Partners of AdvancED include quite an extensive list of faith-based schools as well as State Boards of Education. Partners link: http://www.advanc-ed.org/services/partnerships State Boards link: http://www.advanc-ed.org/services/state-departments-education (*Note: among the State Boards is CCSSO, as in the Council of Chief State School Officers–you know, half owner of the copyright to Common Core Standards)

The New Push:

Now that you have that information, here’s how AdvancEd is pushing their CCSS support into NC via a ‘new’ school….

Called “North Carolina Connections Academy” (website: http://www.connectionsacademy.com/north-carolina-virtual-school/home.aspx) How did I discover this new school? I received a colorful flyer in my regular mail. The big banner at the top of the mailer states that the school is a ‘tuition-free virtual public school’. All the in-person, ‘get-to-know-all-about-us’ meetings are held in nearby locations (here in NC). However, the return mailing address gives me a Maryland location. Hhmm….not surprised. Here’s the website address for the home office in MD (it’s called “Connections Education, LLC”): http://www.connectionseducation.com/

Because it's virtual, this school can reach anywhere--any state, country, or school which is willing to sign up.
Because it’s virtual, this school can reach anywhere–any state, country, or school which is willing to sign up.

 

The first clue to CCSS allegiance is ‘public school’. Virtual public schools in NC are still rather new, therefore, not totally understood. Here’s an excerpt from an article by UNC’s WUNC. “The General Assembly required last year that the state create a four-year pilot program for two virtual charter schools. Only two schools applied: North Carolina Virtual Academy, run by K12 Inc.; and Connections Academy, to be managed by Connections Education.” (entire article: http://wunc.org/post/virtual-charter-schools-coming-nc)

The second clue is the curricula publishers list. (Pearson, MacGraw-Hill, and many others) Every page of this “NC” school has Pearson’s logo of “Always Learning” at the bottom.

The third clue: Talent Networks (includes STEM)

The Board of Directors:

It won't take long to research how each of these people are connected to CCSS.
It won’t take long to research how each of these people are connected to CCSS.

“Connections Education” was a 2013 “Best Places to Work” winner. See: http://www.connectionsacademy.com/news/ce-named-among-2013-best-places-to-work

Pearson’s Connection Education is not only in NC, but the following locations:
International Connections Academy, AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IA, ID, IN, KS, LA, MA, ME, MI, MN, NM, NV, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, TX, UT, WI, and WY. Here’s the link to see what the names of the schools are (most are the state’s name followed by “Connections Academy”, however, “Nexus” and a couple of other names are used as smoke screens): http://www.connectionsacademy.com/online-school/availability

The Pearson run entity also offers CTE (Career Tech Ed) courses, so those Career Clusters/Pathways can occur in the virtual student’s life as it does in the students’ lives in the brick and mortar schools. (look under the ‘curriculum’ page for proof).

Of course, with Pearson in charge, you know your student’s information will be data mined all over the globe.
See a related news announcement: http://www.connectionslearning.com/connections-learning/news/advanced-academics-acquisition.aspx

Closing:

While it’s no secret how tied to CCSS North Carolina is, I do wonder if the NC General Assembly did their digging into finding out what organization is behind Connections Academy before they approved the educational experiment with not only our students, but, our tax dollars. If you live in NC, pass this information to your legislator. IF you live in any of the states listed above, share this with your legislators. Hold them accountable! No CCSS in our states MEANS No CCSS, CTE, CCR, or other sly rebrand, rename dreamed up.

Advertisements

Tech Thursday: Post Secondary Publisher CC alignment

For profit post secondary schools aren't missing out on the Common Core.
Post secondary schools aren’t missing out on the Common Core.

Today’s “Tech Thursday” post has us look up close at the big name Common Core aligned publishers and their venture into the educational realm beyond high school.

Post Secondary Textbook Publishers:

Cengage Learning, supports Career and Technical students. They also participate in the SkillsUSA competitions (secondary and post secondary schools: public, proprietary, or private). Aside from Cengage name itself, other Cengage subsidiaries are ‘Chilton’, ‘Delmar’ covering the automotive field via the Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics Cluster.  If you’re not familar with “Delmar” if you have an ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) mechanic or are one, “Delmar” is the test prep provider. ‘Delmar’ is in the Architecture/Construction Cluster as well. ‘Milady’ is Cengage’s contribution to the cosmetology trade (in the Human Services Cluster) According to their “Cengage Learning” website, their publishing subsidiaries include:  “Cengage Learning’s brands include Brooks/Cole, Course Technology, Delmar, Gale, Heinle, South-Western and Wadsworth.” If you’d like to see Cengage’s higher education economics course (called “Mind Tap”): http://assets.cengage.com/pdf/wp_mindtap_econ.pdf

cengagepost

Click to enlarge to see which companies Cengage considers competition

If you’d like to see more about Cengage’s Higher Education page: http://www.cengage.com/search/showresults.do?N=16 If you’d like to search their “Common Core Support” results, http://www.cengage.com/search/showresults.do?N=16&Ntk=APG&Ntt=common%20core%20support&Ntx=mode+matchallpartial

Pearson Publishing’s Higher Ed:

http://home.pearsonhighered.com/, so much information is here, you may be a bit overwhelmed, at first. However, pick a spot that interests you and jump in. For example, since you’ve been following my blog, you’ve been able to see how the Workforce is tied to Common Core in a post secondary way. So, I chose “Workforce” from the selections offered at the bottom of the page (look for the dark gray portion). Here’s what I got in return. A bit of information and a short video. Check both out: http://pearsonworkforceeducation.com/agency/learn.php If you’d like a sample chapter of how Pearson ‘sell’s the Career Tracking throughout a student’s education, http://www.pearsonhighered.com/educator/product/Career-Trek-The-Journey-Begins/9780131193048.page 

Back in 2013, here’s one of the things Pearson was up to, “Released in 2013 and in response to a growing demand for career education, Connections Education’s more than 20 Career and Technology Education courses allow students to explore a variety of careers and gain career-specific knowledge in fields such as sociology, criminal justice, law, astronomy, finance and more. Linking school-based learning with workplace knowledge and skills, the courses include engaging multi-media content, personalized study guides, interactive exercises, and more. The courses are organized in 16 different “Career Clusters®” developed by the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) and span STEM, Law, Public Safety, and Corrections & Security. The courses are offered as electives to high school students enrolled in Connections Academy virtual schools; school districts and other organizations may purchase the courses from Connections Learning by Pearson.” To access Pearson’s on-line CTE “Connections Academy” page, http://www.connectionsacademy.com/curriculum/career-technical-education.aspx You might want to know that Connections is not like you think it may be. What do I mean? Read this, “Connections Academy is a leading, fully accredited provider of high-quality, highly accountable virtual schooling for students in grades K–12. Through tuition-free public schools, full-time and part-time private school programs, and turnkey online courses for brick and mortar schools.”

One last thing, Pearson Publishing has a plethora of subsidiaries. DK Books, Penguin, the Financial Times, and many others. So each of this are more than likely aligned in CCSS content as well.

MacGraw-Hill’s Higher Education: 

From their report about Career Core Technical Education (CCTE) that is tied to Common Core via the Career Clusters,

  •  “A new industry sector approach to job training called “Career Pathways” that has been tried and proven successful at increasing employment in several cities and states;
  •  A multi-state consortium that has established common standards for a Career
    Readiness Certificate that employers count on to validate work and job-training
    readiness; and
  •  A new approach from McGraw-Hill Education — Contemporary Workforce
    Connects™ — that coordinates and connects for the very first time all facets of
    the search for work with the resources and curriculum necessary to acquire basic
    skills, contextualized to specific occupations, which applicants need for
    workplace success.”  See the rest of the report, http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/user-media/New-approaches-to-building-careers-white-paper.pdf

From McGraw-Hill’s “Common Core” page, ‘As a trusted partner in adult education, Contemporary/McGraw-Hill Education is committed to providing adult educators and students with the instructional materials, resources, and professional development tools needed to raise the bar for College and Career Readiness and meet the requirements of groundbreaking reforms such as the Common Core State Standards and new and emerging exams being used to assess high school equivalency and College & Career Readiness.‘ Access the rest, http://www.commoncoresolutions.com/adult_education.php

A glimpse at how McGraw-Hill has promoted their ‘new’ ways:

On a related Career Tech topic:

One of the main groups responsible for promoting and helping organize Career Tech Ed that’s been aligned to CCSS is hosting a National Policy Seminar in March 2015. “Skills for the Hill”. Prices are hefty, but you’ll get the absolute latest in all that is going on in post secondary, secondary, and related CTE news. March 2-4, 2015 in Washington, D.C. Here are just a few of the reasons why those fighting CCSS at the adult level should be there

‘Cultivate your advocacy skills and make a direct impact on Capitol Hill at the National Policy Seminar 2015!

  • Join more than 400 education professionals from across the country to show policymakers that CTE programs provide the skills students need
  • Hear the latest updates on legislative and regulatory issues impacting CTE
  • Influence CTE-related policy initiatives, legislation and funding
  • Educate your congressional leaders about local CTE programming needs

If you’d like to learn more about attending OR make reservations to be a voice of truth among all the lies:

https://www.acteonline.org/nps/#.VId4FTHF-hR