Tag Archives: ELA

ESSA Ties to WIOA 2014 and New Citizens

Anti CCSS Warriors, you know you have heard me on the air and read my blog where I have stated several times that the WIOA of 2014 (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014) has embedded in it 21 different times the phrase ‘Career Pathways’. More recently you have heard me state, as well as read the research, how the ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) has the WIOA tied to it AND the “Career Pathways”. For the published articles, see
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/12/05/weekend-news-essas-untold-ties-to-hea/
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/12/03/the-morning-after-ccss-lives-on/
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/12/13/weekend-news-for-the-anti-ccss-warriors/

So, have there been any NEW revelations which we can use to continue to trace the continued overreach of egregious standards in American education? I do believe there are!

skilltree
Enter, the National Skills Coalition(NSC):

Now, if you have followed my blog long you know I exposed the NSC’s ties to all things Common Core months ago. But, if you missed it:
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/06/07/rmt-halting-a-ccsscte-aligned-workforce/

So what was the NSC’s reaction to the WIOA?
I was able to find this document, where the Coalition was more than thrilled over the passage of this 2014 law. But why am I bringing it up now?
Patience, Warriors, you know how the CCSS Machine loves to lead us places which they think we won’t connect.

In a June 2015 document titled “Comments on the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRMs)”
It is important to point out that the focused group of this document are those new to American and have very limited skills as a result.
These new Americans are going to be facing the same educational alignment that our natural born citizens face. Remember, CCSS (Common Core State Standards), and its counter-parts of Career Pathways, College and Career Readiness (and so on) respect NO ONE!

Here is an excerpt from the 2015 report:
“Results from the international Survey of Adult Skills indicate that there are approximately 12 million working-age immigrants in the US who have limited English language, literacy, or math skills. Many of these individuals are already working, but need greater skills in order to advance in the workforce.”

Did you catch the CCSS ties, Warriors? What 2 subjects have we been repeatedly told CCSS is located? (which we know is as false as the screen door on a submarine) Math and ELA (English Langauge Arts)!!

But wait, there is more from this report you need to read, “The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), passed in 2014, includes a number of important changes that have the potential to help states and localities aid eligible immigrants in improving their skills, pursuing education and training opportunities, and strengthening their ability to find family-sustaining employment. These activities are critical in fostering the three pillars (linguistic, civic, and economic) of immigrant integration articulated by the Department of Education’s Networks for Integrating New Americans initiative, and reaffirmed in the recent White House Task Force on New Americans plan.”

The report goes on from here in detail about the proposed rules that need to be made so the federal government could guide state governments in all the areas the implementation of a workforce based education should go! Why is this important NOW? State funding formulas will be re-configured thanks to the ESSA, as well as the WIOA! The WIOA state funding has had a bit of a lead in each of our states, the ESSA’s funding jumble will be coming soon. You will also see in this report that for the first time states are to report to the federal level, any state plans which involve WIOA in 4 key areas. Those areas include accountability, job centers, and more.

Have you noticed that the language of the ESSA will have the states submitting education plans to the U.S. Secretary of Education for approval? Are you seeing the pattern, Warriors? I must share that the WIOA is to impact every citizen seeking a job in America, not just the newest residents! So, combine your state’s job seekers, the state funding, add in CCSS via its Career Pathways, etc. and you can tell where this is headed, right? Would you believe there is more?! To read the NSC Report: 2015-06-WIOA-draft-regulations-immigration-comments

To see what more that we can find out, read on!
ESSA and the New Citizens: 

The ESSA has the following phrases in reference to the newest Americans (ie: immigrants). {Note: I am not sharing the Career Pathways or WIOA references, as they are already supplied in my previously published articles above.}

Page 2 reveals Sections 3001-3004 (these sections begin on page 408 and follow from there) will break down what alignments, accountability, etc. will be taking place in education and services related. I found on page 409, under the Section 3001 and “Appropriations”, the following figures of the tax dollars up for grabs by the states and awarded by the federal government for this express purpose, “(1) $756,332,450 for fiscal year 2017;  (2) $769,568,267 for fiscal year 2018;(3) $784,959,633 for fiscal year 2019; and (4) $884,959,633 for fiscal year 2020.” Page 410 will show you how the ELLs (English Language Learners) will have to meet those ‘challenging state academic standards’, too.’

Skip down to section 3115 (page 421) , however and you will find that all schools will have to jump through a hoop or two to reform education so that no child will be excluded. How? Through ‘sub grants’ to eligible entities as long as they are educating students in ELA to the tune of ‘challenging state academic standards’!

To achieve this, there are 4 purposes which must be met: a) Developing and implementing new language instruction educational programs and academic content instructional programs for English learners and immigrant children and youth, including early childhood education programs, elementary school programs, and secondary school programs.” b) Carrying out highly focused, innovative, locally designed activities to expand or enhance existing language instruction educational programs and academic content instructional programs for English learners and immigrant children and youth. c)Implementing, within an individual school,  schoolwide programs for restructuring, reforming, and upgrading all relevant programs, activities, and operations relating to language instruction educational programs and academic content instruction for English learners and immigrant children and youth.” d)  “Implementing, within the entire jurisdiction of a local educational agency, agencywide programs for restructuring, reforming, and upgrading  all relevant programs, activities, and operations relating to language instruction educational programs  and academic content instruction for English learners and immigrant children and youth.” Skip down to page 426 and you can see how the entire family is to involved in ‘effective education’.

Above only shows the ELA portion of what the ESSA has in store for us. The math is there, as well, it has to be, right?

 

Closing:

We have had quite the connect-the-dots article here! As I have shared, I will keep digging through this new law and continue to share what I can find which is set to transform our nation.
If you would like more information about the U.S. Dept. of Education’s New American program, see:
 http://worlded.org/WEIInternet/us/project/display.cfm?ctid=na&cid=na&tid=40&id=13981 
If you are not familiar with the White House’s Task Force for New Americans, see: https://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/immigration/new-americans
If you wish to learn more about the International Survey on Adult Skills, see:
http://www.oecd.org/site/piaac/surveyofadultskills.htm

I will not be publishing a Wednesday article, as I am resuming my Media Wednesday appearances. Follow me on Twitter (@commoncorediva) for all the latest updates on where I will be appearing.

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Weekend News for the Anti CCSS Warriors

Like cookies shaped in a certain way, we are seeing our nation similarly shaped to CCSS's mold.
Like cookies shaped in a certain way, we are seeing our nation similarly shaped to CCSS’s mold.

Greetings, Warriors. As we all have seen by now, the media has put its spin on the recently signed new law known as ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act). We have seen legislators released statements claiming victory, too.

Warriors, we have led the charge across the nation to point to the language of the new law, as well as other aspects of this CCSS based education reform. We, more than likely, have even had some of our family, friends, neighbors, and nay-sayers buy into the false claims being so rampantly spread since the rushed hack job in D.C. occurred.

My fellow Warriors, we CANNOT give up, I’ve stated this in previous posts. Other anti CCSS Warriors, as well as others who have been fighting, have also repeated this truth. It is only since the ESSA was signed that I have been contacted with folks who have not been aware up until now, that they, too, want to know what is in the law’s language which will point them to the ‘untold’ items embedded that will further the CCSS Machine’s alignment of American education.

As in other previously published posts, I have shared with you the WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) embedded ties, the CTE (Career Tech Education, which is an adult version of the CCSS) embedded ties. I haven’t stopped digging through this new law’s language.

Why would I do this? Isn’t it a moot point now? NO!! As I have shared with you in the past, the more we know what is embedded, and will be enacted in each of our states, the more we can raise awareness to the CCSS aligned efforts! The more we can have the proof to show others that all is NOT what has been ‘sold’ to them via all those pro CCSS spins we have seen in the past few days. It is STILL very important to know that what is taking those of us still combing through the language (which our legislators should of done BEFORE voting on it) many hours to complete, we will discover the truth and share it. However, when we share the truth, we must be careful HOW we share it. It would be a great idea to have the portions of the mammoth document with what you are sharing highlighted. It would be even more helpful when you share those highlighted sections, that you have any other documents which support your points of concern. It certainly will help when pointing out a law that is violated, or a state statute which is being violated. Remember, if we are to continue to fight, we must fight well; with the right information given at the correct time. Otherwise, our very valid points will miss their mark.

All this being said, what do I have to share with you this weekend which will help? Read on, my Warriors!

 

The ESSA Document:

If you have not been able to access the final confirmation report which the Senate and House voted on to advance the ESSA to the President’s desk, here it is:
ESSA FINAL CONFRPT_112915

If you have not ever searched through a massive amount of information in a pdf file, like this, here are 2 pointers:
a) Look at the top of the pdf and see if you can locate the magnifying glass emblem. If so, click on that to enter a word or phrase you are seeking. (For example, when I wrote the first article featuring each page number you could find “Workforce” used in the ESSA, this was a tool that made wading through over 1,000 pages quicker. I simply got each page number, then went back to read the context the term was used in).

b) If you cannot find the magnifying glass, use your ‘control’ key and the “F” key at the same time. You should be able to see a search box appear. The ‘previous’ and ‘next’ tabs will help you jump forward or backward to where the term you are searching for appears. Again, once you have the page numbers, go back and read the context.

 

The White House’s Official ESSA Report:

In very rapid response to the ESSA being signed into law, the White House has released an official report. The report is slam full of all the (by now) well publicized pro CCSS points. Why? We must remember, all the CCSS alignment fits right into the White House’s education reform. By using a pro CCSS document (as I have done many times), you can easily locate the fallacies, as well as see how slick the agenda to reform American education is being packaged.
To access the WH(White House)  ReportESSA_Progress_Report
For example, when you read this report, you will find ‘new incentives’ for each of our states. Specifically, page 9, second bullet point states “Develop, refine, and replicate innovative and ambitious reforms to close the achievement gap in America’s schools, similar to the Administration’s existing i3 program.” From this statement, look at the language closely. Almost immediately, you will see ‘reform’; ‘achievement gap’; but, the biggest phrase which should jump out at you, is the ‘Administration’s existing i3 program‘. What is the ‘i3 program’? I am so glad you asked!! The i3 ‘program’ has roots in the RttT (Race to the Top) and is short for “Investing in Innovation”. This ‘i3’ is only one portion of the “Reform for the Future” agenda the White House is pushing. To see the website where you can learn all about the Reform:
https://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/education/reform
(*Note: when you access this website, be sure to click on the highlighted blue words, there you will find reports, initiatives, and more. Note how you see STEM, Promise Neighborhoods, etc…these, too, are all part of the pro CCSS alignment in American education)
Before I leave this Report, did you notice the presence of RttT? Didn’t we hear speeches passionately given when ESSA became law that RttT waivers were a thing of the past? Yet here, we see the RttT is still in play in a new way! That should be a big piece of evidence to use from a state level point of view.

 

A New Search Term for ESSA:

Knowing I had already used ‘Workforce’ and similar terms, I wanted to see what the search of the ESSA’s confirmation language would bring me with the term ‘alignment’.
Here is what I found:
Page 48: aligning challenging state academic standards (CSAS) to meet post secondary credit bearing parameters (we’ll need to see how the HEA (Higher Education Act‘s re-authorized language spells this out, but from my research, CCSS/CTE has its firm grasp on post-secondary education already)
Page 65: alignment of ELA (English Language Arts)
Page 207: twice ‘alignment’ is used in relation to assessments and CSAS
Page 216: also twice used concerning LEAs (local education agencies) and state grants for assessments
Page 502: OBE (outcome based education) used to evaluate and align academics
Page 508: alignment used in relation to assessments and data mining for CSAS
Pages 759-766: several uses of alignment and/or realignment in regards to LEAs and military bases
Page 970: what groups are limited in alignment activities in education
Page 1034: improving states alignment of their assessments

Closing:

What you can expect from me in the very near future posts is this: more documents which you can use to see how, now more than ever, we need the information of the roots planted BEFORE ESSA was enacted as the educational law of the land. Why? If you listened closely to both the celebratory speeches of Senators Alexander and Murray, they revealed the ESSA was not a few months in the making, but 5 years! Many of the documents the White House Report (see above) are anywhere from 2010 to today.  However, many are featured by the WH, you can bet there are plenty more NOT featured. Have no fear, Warriors, I have quite a few we can glean from.

WYBI? Tying STEM to CCSS…Again

For my return to “Would You Believe It?!” Wednesdays,  I’ll share with you how the STEM Education Act of 2015  ties back to Common Core Standards. If you’ve followed my blog long enough, you are aware of the numerous times I’ve given you documented evidence of how STEM, STEM to STEAM, are all   aligned with CCSS. (Did you know there’s now a STEM to STREAM? (It stands for Science, Technology, R______, Arts, and Math).

STEM, by way of Common Core..and not in a distant galaxy.
STEM, by way of Common Core..and not in a distant galaxy.

So, What is the STEM Education Act of 2015?

If you haven’t heard of this new federal law, it became such on October 8, 2015. In a nutshell, the law states that STEM must now include computer science. While that sounds perfectly innocent, there’s more to this law than a simple course addition. You wouldn’t need a federal law for that.

Here’s one of the ‘there’s more’ statements: “to support existing STEM education programs at the National Science Foundation.” Now, before I go on, let me clarify that this statement is only a short version, or a summary of the law. If you were to stop there, again, you’d think ”this doesn’t sound bad”.
But, let’s look at the Act itself. Here are the other organizations this extends STEM to. “For purposes of carrying out STEM education activities at the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Environmental Protection Agency.”  These cover STEM in formal education settings, but wait..the new law covers STEM in informal settings as well. As in museums, camps, or anywhere else you can have an informal learning environment. Here’s the direct language, “improve STEM  learning outcomes and increase engagement for K– 12 students, K–12 teachers, and the general public,  including design and testing of the scalability of  models, programs, and other resources.” You’ll also want to read how the Master Teaching Fellows are included. Read the new law:
http://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20150223/SMITTX_1020_xml.pdf
To read how the Gates Foundation funded EdNews broke the story, see: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2015/10/new_law_includes_computer_scie.html?cmp=eml-enl-cm-news2-RM

 


So, Where are the CCSS Connections?

Back in June 2015, I wrote an article after attending an education conference. Here is the one sentence expert from that article that ties NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) not only to STEM, but CCSS, as well: “NASA’s CCSS/STEM statement: http://spacemath.gsfc.nasa.gov/media.html 
If you’d like to read the rest of the article and where I found more CCSS/STEM ties:
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/06/16/terrific-tuesday-anti-ccss-news/

NOAA: When I searched the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website, I was able to find an entire library of NOAA, CCSS resources. See: http://search.usa.gov/search?affiliate=oceanexplorer.noaa.gov&query=common+core+state+standards
If you want to see their STEM resources, http://search.usa.gov/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&affiliate=oceanexplorer.noaa.gov&query=STEM+&commit=Search
NOAA even has the Next Generation Science Standards! See: http://search.usa.gov/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&affiliate=oceanexplorer.noaa.gov&query=Next+Generation+Science+Standards

 

EPA, The Environmental Protection Agency:

Their website is on you should certainly check out. Why? This agency is not only ‘big’ in education, but its ‘big’ into our communities as well. See their ‘students’ page.
http://www2.epa.gov/students If you visit there, notice how they are classifying their offerings for education. It’s called ‘Environmental Education’. See that page: http://www2.epa.gov/education

What might be of particular interest is their rather dated pdf on aligning EPA issues with those of educational standards. As they put it, ‘Aligning EE Resources to National and State Curriculum Standards’. In this document (from the days of NCLB), you will find the FCAT assessment, the ASCD (Gates Foundation funded educational company), and more! Please make note the EPA used the 1983 “Nation At Risk” report, and Americans questioning education as reasons to align their resources with education. The report concludes with how the EPA planned on continuing to align with education in the future. Get the document, EPAalign
You may find the Washington Post’s article about the EPA CCSS aligned reading materials a bit ‘snarky’. After all, who wouldn’t want to replace classic reading materials with insulation guides? See: https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/compost/wp/2012/12/07/the-common-cores-70-percent-nonfiction-standards-and-the-end-of-reading/

 

 

The PCAST Report:

Rather than continue on with how each of the named federal agencies are tied to CCSS, I want to go back to when I first began to blog about fighting CCSS. After years of in-depth research, and sharing in among a few people also fighting CCSS, I was encouraged to go national with the sharing. Hence, the blog. One of the first articles was the original tie between STEM and Common Core. Since then, I’ve referred to it a lot. Why? Because that PCAST report laid out how the need for a STEM nation would use the, then, new ‘common standards’. Here’s an excerpt you might appreciate, “Nuggets of information include clear bipartisan support in the need for education reform in general (page vi); on page v, increasing federal involvement in education and a presence of public private partnerships is also brought into play. I found it interesting that the P3s were mentioned before the states.”
Be sure to read this one, warriors. You’ll especially want to see point #3, where the 2 prongs and 5 overarching priorities are laid out. Read: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/from-the-files-pcast-stem-and-common-core/

If that’s not enough ‘evidence’, be sure to go back and read the 3 part series I wrote about the STEM, STEAM, and CCSS.
a) https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/05/27/wybi-stem-to-steam-ties-to-common-core-pt-1/
b) https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/05/28/tech-thursday-pt-2-stem-to-steams-ties-to-common-core/
c) https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/05/29/friday-special-post-part-3-stem-to-steam-ties-to-ccss/

Then there’s is the article about the STEM Affinity Network, The Race to the Top Funding, and Educational Waivers. Read, https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/12/02/wybi-wednesday-rttt-stem-ed-waivers-and-more/
For how CCSS/STEM devoted the NSF (National Science Foundation) is, read: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/wybiupclosewithnsf/

 

 

What About the Computer Science?

Notice in the new law it specifically adds computer science. How is computer science aligned to CCSS now? I found the Computer Science Teachers Association‘s map of each course in computer science and  its place in the CCSS. Get the map,
CSTA_Standards_Mapped_to_CommonCoreStandardsNew
You might be interested to know that the CSTA has ‘completed crosswalks’ with Google, Linux, Oracle, and Tech Corps. See: http://www.csta.acm.org/Curriculum/sub/CompletedCrosswalks.html
You can also see the CSTA map of the Computer Science courses aligned to STEM.
Get that map: CSTA_Standards_Mapped_to_STEM_Cluster_Topics-2
If you’d like to see the CSTA sponsors, see:
http://www.csta.acm.org/Sponsorship/sub/MeetOurSponsors.html
You shouldn’t be surprised to see Google and Microsoft among the sponsors, but you may be surprised that the College Board is also a sponsor. Warriors, remember, the College Board is funded by each state!

 

 

STEM to STREAM?

Above, you can see I have given you much information about the STEM to STEAM shift. But STREAM??  If we look at the EdWeek article, notice the ‘R’ could stand for ‘religion’, or ‘reading and writing’, etc. Is there a more non-Gates funded perspective to what the ‘R’ subject may be?
The National Writing Project has their opinion, ‘ agencies also realized that adding the arts to STEM is not enough. We also need to add the thinking skills embodied in reading and writing. STEAM may condense into STREAM!’ This project also states how the National Endowment for the Arts, the NSF helped with the ‘A’ in the “STEAM”. Refer back to the above STEM to STEAM articles to see how CCSS aligned both these groups are.
In 2014, Huffington Post shared their take on STREAM. Reading took the ‘R’. This article also shared how essential to the ‘core’ ELA (English Language Arts) has been. Read the article, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rob-furman/stem-needs-updated-to-str_b_5461814.html

In my researched opinion, it appears the STREAM, just like the other standards based education reforms, needs proper vetting BEFORE they are made into law, but more importantly BEFORE they are EVER introduced into our classrooms!!

RMT: Have You Heard of the CCCII?

cathcomm

Happy Sunday, anti CCSS Warriors! Today’s “Riddle Me This” topic is one an avid reader of my blog asked me to look into. This mom is an active person in her child’s school. Her child was reading their faith formation guide when they stumbled across the words ‘rigourous’, ‘rigor’, and ‘assessments’. As she stated, ‘all clues’ to what she hoped wouldn’t be true. That CCSS had been inserted.
She sent me the link where I was able to get the screen shot you see above. Be sure to enlarge the shot. In the event you aren’t able to, I’ll share below what is so vital to see.

The emblem you see belongs to the National Catholic Educational Association (http://www.ncea.org/my-interests) “NCEA is the largest private professional education organization in the world.” 

The NCEA:
“NCEA guides Catholic schools on the path to educational excellence through ongoing initiatives such as the Common Core Catholic Identity Initiative (CCCII), and the New Directions Initiative. Our research efforts consistently highlight the strengths and benefits of Catholic education and emphasize the importance of strong Catholic identity.” 
NCEA also offers professional development for teachers in the Catholic schools.
Below is the NCEA’s promotional video. Watch careful and you’ll see the Pearson Publishing booth at an NCEA Convention.

Here’s the screen shot of the NCEA Partners. The website address to see the entire list is included.
nceapartners

Here’s an excerpt from their position paper on Common Core, “Catholic schools have a long-standing commitment to academic excellence that is rooted in the faith based mission of Catholic education. The Common Core State Standards in no way compromise the Catholic identity or educational program of a Catholic school. The Common Core State Standards initiative, begun in 2007, is a state-led, bipartisan effort that is not a requirement for participation in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) or any other federallyfunded program, and there are no mandates for any Catholic school to follow any federal rules if they adopt the Common Core. Adoption of the Common Core is voluntary; individual states, Catholic dioceses and other private schools make their own decisions about whether to adopt the standards. The Common Core State Standards are a set of high-quality academic expectations that all students should master by the end of each grade level. The standards establish consistent learning goals for all students that focus on preparing them to succeed in college and careers in a globally competitive workplace. The standards define and clearly communicate grade-specific goals and inform parents about learning outcomes, making it easier for parents to collaborate with teachers in helping their children achieve success.” If you’d like to read the entire position paper, http://www.ncea.org/sites/default/files/documents/ncea_commoncorestatestandards_053113.pdf

The CCCII (http://cici-online.org/):

cccii

As stated above, CCCII stands for ‘Common Core Catholic Identity Initiative’. *NOTE: As part of the NCEA’s accountability aspect, assessments that are standardized, both state and nationally, are used. All kinds of data is collected for use not only for NCEA, but federally, too. Among the data, students who are considered Title One. As we know, the re-authorization of ESEA (the current Student Success Act, HR5) would greatly impact any school receiving Title One funding. To access the data page on the NCEA website, http://www.ncea.org/data-information/catholic-school-data I found their statement concerning HR5 on their ‘public policy’ page. See: http://www.ncea.org/data-information/public-policy


So what does the CCCII look like? Here’s the promo video:

Did you hear that?! Wow, if you are like my reader who asked me to look into this, I hope you will respond with truth about CCSS to the NCEA!

From the ‘white paper’ about CCCII’s success with CCSS, The Reality of Implementing the Standards: As part of the conference, one diocese explained its experience with the Common Core outlining the process from curriculum alignment and professional development to the assessment and results based on the Common Core Standards. The journey was three years in the making.
In year one, emphasis was placed on instructional shifts, preserving Catholic identity, and building the capacity of instructional leaders and the understanding of teachers. This included professional development for principals and teachers through various modalities. The other component for its first year was the creation of English-Language Arts and Mathematics unit plans. In year two, instructional specialists were engaged to provide a multitude of resources and to help capture the work of the Common Core Catholic Identity Initiative. The two challenges were getting teachers to shift from using the textbook as a curriculum to using the textbook as a resource and aligning four Mathematics textbooks as a resource to the unit plans and standards.
In its third year, there was a new form of assessment that used different types of questions to assess student academic progress. In preparing for the new assessments, interim assessments that were aligned to the Common Core were implemented, as well as an increase in the instructional time for Mathematics. Based on its experience, it was recognized that the Common Core challenges included:
• deconstructing the standards
• reviewing all materials for Catholic appropriateness
• funding and time for quality professional development
• differentiating professional development for schools and teachers that are now at different places along the transition continuum
• meaningful use of the assessment results to improve teaching and learning.” To read the entire 4 page report, http://cici-online.org/resources/articles-research/130-common-core-and-diocesan-catholic-school-leadership-white-paper

Related resources:

The ELA Rubric: cici-unit-review-rubric-form-rev-08-20-2014 When you access this document, read the fine print at the bottom of the page. “EngageNY” is the CCSS laden NY state level board of education.

A Summative Assessment “Mini Lesson”http://cici-online.org/images/Resources/Section-1-Mini-Lessons/CCCII-Mini-Lesson-Assessment.pdfThe letter to settle a CCCII disturbance: http://www.ncea.org/sites/default/files/documents/cccii_superintendent_letter_15oct13.pdf


A pep talk about implementing the Standards so your Catholic school can be a Blue Ribbon School (U.S. Dept. of Ed ‘honor’): http://www.ncea.org/department-news/implementing-your-strategic-plan

The precursor to today’s article was last Saturday’s expose about CAPE, of which NCEA is a member ofhttps://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/04/18/sic-em-saturday-grab-a-cape-ccss-warriors/

One last thing:
That New Directions Initiative mentioned above in the paragraph describing NCEA? Oh, that’s all about blended learning! Here’s just one of the workshops NCEA has on it: http://www.ncea.org/events/2015-ncea-new-directions-blended-learning-symposium

RMT: Witches Brew, CCSS Style?

I recently got a message from a very concerned citizen about a Common Core lesson a kindergarten student in her group of friends was taught. Called “The Earth is Our Mother”, my reader asked me if this was indeed not only a CCSS lesson but a witch’s chant as well. IF this is true, then……

Our riddle today is why would this be appropriate in anyone’s mind for a kindergartner?

The Song, Is It Really a Witch’s Chant?:

Depending on what website you choose, you’ll find the “Earth is Our Mother” has been said to be a Native American song; a pagan ritual song, a witch’s chant, an Earth Day activity, and so forth. So, which one is correct?

Songs for Teaching’s website uses the the song as a Native American culture tie in. See: http://www.songsforteaching.com/gemini/theearthisourmother.php

Better Lesson’s website (which is features expressly CCSS related lessons) had this for “Saving Mother Earth”, which uses the concept for recycling. I couldn’t find a direct mention of the song in today’s riddle, but I wanted to include this so you could see a first grader’s look at a recycling CCSS lesson. See: http://betterlesson.com/lesson/557938/pollution-and-recycling

I found several pagan websites that use the song as a chant. (one example is Chant Goddess’s website. See: http://www.chantgoddess.com/theearthisourmother.htm) One Wiccan website has the “Earth is Our Mother” in their songs/dances category. (See: http://www.thedance.com/wicca101/songs.htm )

Not knowing which vain the teacher was using the song in or being privy to the assignments given, we cannot get a clear cut answer to our riddle. However, we’re not quite through digging yet.

How CCSS fits in:

Since I do know this real life event happened recently in NC, I was able to locate the Kindergarten CCSS Music Standards. I can tell  you based on this information the teacher was looking for relevance, response, and literature. I can also tell you the Kindergartner Music Standards take up 2 pages. Below is a screen shot of just SOME of what a kindergartner is to glean via CCSS in music.

Two pages of the K-8 NC CCSS Music pdf are exclusively for K students.
Two pages of the K-8 NC CCSS Music pdf are exclusively for K students.

To see the entire K-8 Music CCSS pdf: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/docs/acre/standards/new-standards/arts/music/k-8.pdf

If you’d like to see the CCSS Text Exemplars for NC: http://elaccss.ncdpi.wikispaces.net/file/view/ELA+Text+exemplars.pdf

To see some more CCSS resources NC uses for its potential lesson planning: Sample Unit and Lesson Plans and Resources for ELA Common Core

Related:

I found the following resources helping in delving into the county’s school system my reader was concerned about. Since these are general links, no privacy has been violated. Since music has long been used as a portion of literacy. I thought some of the information would be helpful, especially as we have to filter so much about CCSS.
1) The NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) has this guide to teaching literacy sample by Joy Foss.  See: http://www.ncte.org/library/NCTEFiles/Resources/Books/Sample/29900chap01x.pdf

2) Here’s a video of 21st Century Communication Skills as per the “21st Century Literacy” site. (website: http://read6351.wikispaces.com/21st+Century+Literacies )

3) A CA based Kindergartner lesson plan for ‘Mother Earth’: http://www.coastal.ca.gov/publiced/directory/global_k.html

4) A Native American lesson plan involving ‘Mother Earth’ from CO: http://static.dpsk12.org/gems/indian/indianedlesson5.pdf

5) If you’d like to search for lessons featuring the song in our riddle from the perspective of Wiccans (witches) and/or other faiths which honor the Earth as a parent (Muslim is among them). Please do so on your own. Based on what I found, I chose to NOT include links in my article due to the nature of some of the information I found. I can share with you, much is available.

Closing:

So, was my reader over-reacting when she contacted me? I don’t believe so. I think in today’s world, especially in education, we must really question WHY some resources are being singled out as appropriate. Was the “Earth is My Mother” an appropriate choice for a group of Kindergartners? I don’t agree that it is, however, I wasn’t there to see HOW it was used. At the tender ages of a K student, they are just grasping family concepts, forming bonds. I think any THING called as ‘mom’, ‘dad’, or other family names can be a bit too confusing. Especially when you factor in Common Core’s agenda.

I would encourage you to keep a sharp eye out for what’s going on in the classrooms; to question why a teacher is using a resource or asking how it’s suitable for your child. From other readers who’ve contacted me, they’ve shared they do EVER get to see what’s being used or being notified BEFORE a certain resource is chosen. When did the family in today’s story learn of what they were told was a witch’s chant? After it happened.

Finally, if you care to see a You Tube video of the song, I’ve included it below. I searched for a version that would not be too scary to post.

Sic’ ‘Em Saturday: NC’s CCSS Survey Now Open!

Now's our opportunity to speak up for NC!
Now’s our opportunity to speak up for NC!

One of the great things I’ve learned about fighting Common Core across the globe is when we warriors get to help each other out. If you’ve been able to access other state’s surveys when opened to the public, you know what I mean. For example, when one of my warrior/followers alerted me to the survey in her state about what the Dept. of Education needed to glean from us, we let them have it! We stormed the questions with valid reasons WHY CCSS had to go! We now have the opportunity to help NC do the same. The NC Dept. of Public Instruction (NC DPI) has FINALLY made a general public survey available on-line for us to have the opportunity to share WHAT WE can DO BETTER in education than CCSS.

Here’s a statement from the NC DPI’s page about the announcement, “Parents know first hand the impact that standards have on student learning and the importance of having clear, rigorous and reasonable standards.  Community/Business stakeholders care deeply about preparing our students for careers and college,” said State Superintendent June Atkinson. “We need to hear from parents and the broader community as we move forward with reviews of our content standards to make sure that standards help students reach high goals and prepare for the future.” To see the full statement, http://www.ncpublicschools.org/newsroom/news/2014-15/20150216-01  (*Note: if you didn’t know this Atkinson is the current president of the CCSSO (Council of Chief State School Officers) which is half owner of the copyrighted Common Core Standards.)

Accessing the survey is easy. However, taking the survey (which MUST be completed by 4/30/15) will need to be completed in one session. To give you an example, when I clicked on the ELA Standards, I got several grade groupings to choose from. I began with the Kindergarten portion. It had 26 questions. Each asked something a bit different, but all the questions asked if I thought the Standards were fine as is OR what changes I’d make. If you can’t complete the entire ELA survey questions in one session, my suggestion is to bookmark the survey and go back as often as you need to so you can complete ALL the grade groupings, questions. See the screen shot below.

This is just for the ELA Standards.
This is just for the ELA Standards.

Here’s the Math portion:

mathncsurvey

Survey website address: http://ncdpireview.weebly.com/community-surveys.html

Survey introduction (where it will ask you to define your roll as a participant): http://ncdpireview.weebly.com/

REMEMBER, this is only open until 4/30/15. Act today, give the NC DPI hell about selling out to CCSS!