Tag Archives: IN

“In Alignment We Trust”

penceprops

Just released yesterday, was this glowing article about how fantastic and ‘for education’ Vice President-elect Pence is. Sure, the IN based media has a right to brag..after all it is one of their own who will be second in command of the entire nation. (article link is below in the ‘school choice’ portion)
Pardon me, if I (along with other Anti CCSS Warriors) are not joining in the celebration.

Let me state, it is not Gov. Pence I am attacking, it is his involvement in education I wish to bring to light. First, the stance on Career Tech Education. Then, the stance on vouchers and school choice.

Career Tech Education: Education/Workforce Alignment For All Ages:

Recently, I’ve shown you how the U.S. House’s Education and Workforce Committee has used Gov. Pence’s words about the glories and praises of CTE (Career Tech Education). Those words were from 2015. With their  mantra, our Congress has been spreading, they are leaving out some very crucial details. (For example, see the ‘featured shot’ above.) To see the  important CCSS Machine information surrounding that featured picture and to learn more about Pence’s speech,
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2016/11/09/does-it-really-matter/

Warriors, I’ve been sharing with you for years about the toxicity of CTE (Career Tech Education). Why? It is the adult form of Common Core. It is all about workforce education, NOT academic education. It is designed for EVERY educational choice known to mankind due to all the locations it is embedded.

From my research, I’ve shown you how this ‘adult version’ has reversed itself and now traces backwards into K-12 education. It also extends itself into community colleges, apprenticeships, job seeking services, and everywhere in between. Four year colleges, on-line colleges, some private higher education institutions (especially the for-profit trade based schools) ALL have CTE!

Warriors, from my article I’ve linked you to above, you can see how Congress is considering some pretty wide sweeping CTE legislation. That article mentions 2 pieces. However, back in August, I showed you a total of 4! Each are toxic on their own, but it is the LADDER Act which is the MOST damming of all. To learn about the data mining, the job/economy education micromanaging, and lots more: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2016/08/18/americas-obsession/

Pence on CTE:

inpencecte
In this undated IN article, the two bills to strengthen CTE in IN were described as ‘sweet music’. The first bill combined P3s (public private partnerships) to create workforce based education. The second bill created ways for all the ‘stakeholders’ to be present at the same time and place. Pence stated CTE would reduce the drop out rate, help IN’s economy, and attract new jobs. He also stated he’d create a new high school curriculum for ‘vocational tech’. Warriors, CTE is the re-brand name for ‘vocational tech’!

To see the entire article: http://techedmagazine.com/node/5298

*Note: While Gov. Pence is on record for creating a new educational curriculum, his biography does not reveal any education experience whatsoever. There’s no education degree, no education resource authorship. Nothing.
To see his biography: http://www.biography.com/people/mike-pence-071416

In July 2016, the New York Times had what you see below in their article about Pence’s stance on education. As you’ll see the added emphasis is mine.

fencepenceAs you can guess the national groups for CTE are pumped Gov. Pence is on board with this part of the CCSS Machine. Here’s an article from the Career Tech Blog:
http://blog.careertech.org/?p=12435

Here’s a screen shot of the Blog. Emphasis is mine.

pencesplit
From Pence’s 2014 Roadmap for Education, the last page detailed how he was set on increasing CTE. On the pages preceding the information, you’ll find his plan for vouchers and low-performing schools.
See: https://www.in.gov/gov/files/Roadmap_2014_Education.pdf

Vouchers, School Choice Stances:

Taken from the first page of Pence’s Roadmap, early education vouchers (emphasis mine):

penceway

Over on the Trump Campaign website, you’ll find a glowing statement made by Pence about Trump’s school choice plans. GOV. PENCE:“A Bold Set Of Policies That Will Increase Accountability And Lead To Better Results For Our Nation’s Children…” ” To see the policies:
https://www.donaldjtrump.com/press-releases/pence-statement-on-trumps-new-school-choice-policies

*Note: I do not know for a fact if either of these elected officials is aware of the dangers in ‘school choice’, ‘education savings accounts’ (vouchers/tax incentives), or re-prioritizing federal funds to create these ‘opportunities’. I do not know if they are aware that all that accountability they seem to believe is available in these options is a fallacy. Why? ESSA and its accountability mandates decrease local control NOT increase it! ESSA and its language neuter school choice completely.
Feeding this rhetoric (regardless of political affiliations) to our nation only accomplishes 3 things:
a) furthers the CCSS Machine grasp on education thereby increasing the P3 overreach
b) renders campaign promises as null and void as to ending CCSS thereby strengthening CTE (CCSS’s extension)
c) sets our nation up to continue its global workforce education streamlined march into a caste America
(*Note: if you’d like to know how I know these 3 points, please refer to my portion of Alice Linahan’s recent article, http://www.voicesempower.com/betsy-devos-being-against-common-core-is-like-saying/)

The IN based article (the very first picture you saw with “In Pence, Trump Finds School Choice Advocate”), you’ll see that Pence is heralded as a champion for not only choice, but vouchers. Read this excerpt, school choice policies that have come to define Indiana’s educational landscape could gain an unprecedented prominence on the federal level.”

Warriors, this should have us all concerned. We DO NOT need more federal level education activity!

Another huge warning should be this quote, “While the administration of President Barack Obama has supported the expansion of charter schools nationwide, educators expect the Trump-Pence administration to provide a bully pulpit for national discussions on school choice.”

To access the entire article:
 http://www.indystar.com/story/news/education/2016/11/26/pence-trump-finds-school-choice-advocate/94338258/

Warriors, we’ve seen the many other Obama administration overreaches into the school systems (ie: data collection, digital assessments which lead to data mining, STEM initiatives, College/Career Readiness initiatives, The American Apprenticeship Initiative (CTE and P3 in one location). We’ve witnessed Vice President Biden join forces with American unions to promote workforce based education on several local, state, and national levels. We are seeing our U.S. Congress create legislation after legislation to continue CTE. We’ve seen our Congress pass, without hesitation, the ESSA which further expands charter schools, incentives (which could be called vouchers or education savings accounts in the future) to States, all the while keeping the workforce based streamlined education embedded for students AND teachers.

Do we really need more of the same? Do we really need a ‘bully pulpit’?

Closing:

It’s important to note that while there is so much true and fact based information as to why school choice is a fallacy, there is just as much fallacy based, misguiding information out there. The CCSS Machine is funding many groups to spread the latter. In fact,they’ve already been at it for a while. How do we know? Look at your State legislation already in place for charter schools. Look at the already passed ‘school choice’ options available.

Then, look at the national groups spearheading BOTH. For example, Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education (I recently wrote and published information about his latest D.C. push for such activities.), EdChoice (formerly the Friedman Foundation) was also featured in the IN news article above. Here’s is an excerpt as to why they re-branded themselves, “Although we will no longer be using their name, we will never lose sight of universal school choice as the intellectual legacy of Milton and Rose D. Friedman. We have been honored to be their legacy foundation during the last 20 years and to be the nation’s only organization solely dedicated to promoting their concept of educational choice. We believe that government has a responsibility to educate the public, but that doesn’t mean writing every child a mandatory prescription for “public school” as it’s been defined over the past 60 years.”
(entire article: https://www.atlasnetwork.org/news/article/friedman-foundation-changes-name-to-focus-on-benefits-of-educational-choice)

In this You Tube video, be sure to note how the Foundation has already been at work ‘training’ policy and law makers to sway the ‘school choice’ illusion. So, Warriors, our War vs the Core will take on a different direction, it seems. Not only fighting for our students, but debunking the myths so permeating the nation.

Inadequacy Breeders

CCRMenuLogo
What every US citizen said they always wanted… NOT!

 

Anti CCSS/ESSA and Fed Ed Warriors, schools are beginning to open for the new year (2016-17). We are beginning to see the first tentacles of the ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act)  reach down from the national level to the state and local levels.

Much of it will NOT use the phrase “Common Core State Standards”, but instead “College and Career Readiness”. We have been alerted to this fact well before now. However, how is the CCSS Machine spinning the ‘newness’ of the same old agenda?! That by conducting education any way BUT the ESSA way, is to “breed inadequacy”.

From ‘Their’ Files:

According to the CCSS Machine member organization “Getting Smart”, by 2020, 65% of all jobs will require post-secondary education.

smartessa
From the notorious “Foundation for Excellence in Education” (FEE), here is their take on ‘inadequate’ students:

feeccr

FEE also has a short video to support how inadequate education before CCSS was and how heavy the changes for CCR (via STEM, dual enrollment, AP and IB courses, and CLEP exams (College Level Examination Program)).

Every one of these ties in some way to not only CCR (College and Career Readiness) but can be found in the ESSA, the WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) and the HEA (Higher Education Act) as well.

The sheer fact that FEE is using the ACT, Inc. assessment as one of its OTHER solutions for College and Career Readiness is also a clue for us. How? Act, Inc. owns “WorkKeys” assessments. “WorkKeys” is the Competency Based Education, Career Pathways test which sets the course for what job your students should not only be trained for, but educated in! Those CLEP assessments? Those are owned by the College Board, Inc., yet another CCSS Machine key member organization.

Here is the video:

While FEE is using Florida as an example in the video, their influence is felt in all 50 States. FEE is not only fully supportive of the ESSA, but is pledging to help each State navigate its way through the implementation process. Here is just one of the ways FEE can support your State, “Identifying ways that new federal funds can support state reforms in areas including K-3 reading, college and career readiness and digital learning.”

Awww, Warriors, aren’t we ‘honored’ to have such bias help?! (I am being 100% sarcastic here).

Let’s look at the statement above from the Warrior’s side.
a) To be truly State led (as ESSA was sold to the nation), why would we need a national group’s help in making decisions?
b) Does the FEE and other CCSS Machine organizations just assume the States are too stupid to identify funding for themselves?
c) The 3 targets FEE is offering support on are some of the biggest bullet points in ESSA. Digital Learning will be at least $849 million for the States.  Where will the objectivity come from? Where will the objective research be allowed to surface? (*Note: FEE cannot be objective on this topic. How do I know? Check out their Initiative called “Digital Learning Now”, http://www.digitallearningnow.com/)

To see the other ways FEE wants to help: http://www.excelined.org/principles-2015-reauthorization-elementary-secondary-education-act/

In case you would like to see how FEE commented publicly on the ESSA Proposed Regulations (all public comments are closed as of 8/1/16):
 http://www.excelined.org/news/excelined-submits-comments-u-s-department-education-essa-regulations/

Digital Learning Now:

As mentioned above, this is an initiative project of FEE’s but it is not solely FEE’s.
Read this excerpt about the history of the project, Governors Jeb Bush(FL) and Bob Wise (WV) convened the Digital Learning Council in August 2010 to develop the roadmap to integrate current and future technological innovations into public education.”

So who is on the DLC (Digital Learning Council)?

dlclead
Among other CCSS Machine/ESSA Supporter groups in the DLC:
Microsoft, the Center for Education Reform, Apple, Pearson Publishing, Connections Academy (an arm of Pearson Publishing), Data Quality Campaign, The Hewlett Foundation, The Carnegie Foundation, ETS (Educational Testing Services, associated with AIR, Inc. (American Institutes for Research), The Fordham Foundation, SchoolNet, Nat’l Assoc. for Charter School Authorizers, the U.S. Dept. of Education, and a few State Senate bodies. To see the entire list of DLC adivors and membershttp://www.digitallearningnow.com/about/history

To see the 10 key points the DLC presented to the National Summit on Education Reform:
http://www.digitallearningnow.com/policy/10-elements/ (*Note: all 10 are woven into CCR and the ESSA, WIOA, and the HEA.)

If you would like to see the other DLC Initiatives:
http://www.digitallearningnow.com/initiatives/ (*Note: among them is the E-Rate Legislation. I exposed the ties to the CCSS Machine and the E-Rate: http://preventcommoncore.com/?p=1223; How does E-Rate fit in the ESSA? Remember the $849 million mentioned above? Not only will portions of that go to State for Technology updates, other tax money will be used to update entire infrastructures of regions, cities, and States for the 24/7, Open Educational Resource access to ALL learning connected resources. How? In the name of ‘student achievement’.)

From My Files:

ESSA and the Ditigal Makeovers:
a) nationally: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2016/02/04/essa-and-digital-overload/
b) State levels: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2016/02/08/state-digital-education/
c) ESSA codified Digital Promise and its connected Neighborhoods:
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2016/05/22/ed-for-sale/
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2016/01/04/meet-your-new-neighbor-essa-seriously/
d) ESSA and the national technology/in-home assessments:
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2016/02/23/essa-in-a-nutshell/
e) ESSA and the data mining for private education (including homeschoolers), which also lumps in AP, IB, and dual enrollment:
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2016/03/01/warriors-guide-to-essa-and-private-education/
f) The White House’s “Computer Science for All” will also be included in the digital push/ESSA, CCR, etc.:
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2016/05/07/catching-up/

Closing:

Find out if your State has received any Digital Learning Grants recently. For example, this one from 2014 from Indiana:
http://www.doe.in.gov/elearning/digital-learning-grant

What new laws or older laws undergoing a rewrite to fit Digital Learning are there in your State? For example, the NC DPI, has a list of legislation. See:
http://www.dpi.state.nc.us/dtl/policy/regulations/

What State affiliated Colleges, Universities, and/or related post-secondary educational institutions are involved in the Digital Plans? For example, the NC State University’s Friday Center (both NC State and the Friday Center are ‘banner’ CCSS Machine members) produced this detailed Digital plan in 2015: http://ncdlplan.fi.ncsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/NC-Digital-Learning-Detailed-Plan-9-14-15.pdf

fridaydigit

So, the better question (anti Fed Ed/ESSA/CCSS Warrior) should be: what CCSS Machine members are breeding inadequate education?

State Digital Education

knewtondigital

Anti CCSS Warriors, if you have seen my last two articles, then you know the ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) has mandates for digital education embedded, a massive and invasive data collection study in the works and more.
But what about the digital education push from your state’s level?In case you haven’t read the articles, please note both are very detailed, so be sure you take your time reading them. Today’s is also jam packed, but it it imperative we read and share!

Thursday’s Article: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2016/02/04/essa-and-digital-overload/
This Past Weekend’s Article: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2016/02/05/weekend-news-the-ies-and-the-essa/

 

The U.S. Dept. of Ed’s Latest Propaganda:

In preparing for this article, I stumbled upon the U.S. Dept. of Ed’s latest Twitter video. It fits right into today’s question concerning the state levels for digital education. What a slick sales pitch for College/Career Readiness AND digital learning!
See:

https://amp.twimg.com/v/dcb95af5-160a-47b5-a48a-5a293dfe2e18

Now that you have watched the video, look at this screen shot (also from the Knewton Presentation seen above).
facilitatedigitalIf you would like to see the entire Knewton Presentation, see:
https://www.knewton.com/infographics/the-state-of-digital-education-infographic/
(*Note: Knewton is hardly anti-CCSS or for that matter, anti-ANYTHING that goes with them.)

See:
1) http://curmudgucation.blogspot.com/2014/03/who-puts-scary-in-pearson-meet-knewton.html

2) Access this YouTube video from my fellow anti CCSS Warrior, Nicole Revels:

So, What’s in Your State?

The video above was specific to an NC meeting. However, look at the information presented, it doesn’t stop at the NC state lines! The data mining, digital education tie is in ALL 50 States! So where do you look to find the amounts of money, people, and legislation allowing all this to happen? How will the newly passed ESSA law (with all its digital education mandates) change all this already in place?

1) State Policy Network (SPN) claims their digital education toolkit is the best available. However, I tend to see their toolkit as a subjective view NOT an objective one. Why? First, look at the toolkit’s main page and you will see an embedded video from KIPP ( a very big CCSS Machine member) See my previously published article: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/12/18/tech-thursday-the-latest-faux-pas-in-education-workforce/
Then, check out the Gates Foundation Grant Database, where KIPP has been generously awarded money for alignment to all things CCSS: http://www.gatesfoundation.org/How-We-Work/Quick-Links/Grants-Database#q/k=KIPP
The KIPP connection is but one clue the SPN Toolkit is subjective. There is more:
See: http://nonprofitquarterly.org/2013/11/14/corporate-money-in-network-of-right-wing-state-policy-think-tanks/

There are 5 goals the SPN states as to WHY digital education is so vital today. You can see the excerpt, “Evaluate students (based on what they know, not how long they are in a place);
Certify and evaluate teachers (based on how well they teach what they know, not the credentials obtained); Evaluate courses and materials (based on state standards); Provide access (instead of getting in the way); and Pay for all of it (with proper accountability).”
To see the entire Toolkit: http://www.spn.org/digital_education/

2) SETDA and the Friday Institute have a June 2015 report detailing the 50 States and Digital Education. Before we look at it, however, consider that BOTH are also Pro-CCSS/CCR/CTE (Common Core State Standards, College and Career Readiness, Career Tech Education) See: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/05/15/fom-sbac-and-parcc-revisited/
Then: http://ladyliberty1885.com/2015/08/30/possibly-the-most-arrogant-and-insulting-common-core-article-ive-seen-in-a-while/

According the the 2015 Report, there are 5 States heralded as leaders in digital education:
Alabama, North Carolina, Utah, Indiana, and Kentucky. There are also 5 main components of digital education every State will have, thanks to ESSA.
5digital
As I have shared with you in past 2 articles detailing the digital mandates in ESSA, the Infrastructure will be one of the biggest clues as to where to look in your State. What are the plans for better internet in your area? Are your service providers upgrading their systems? Has your state recently passed legislation for Rural Education funding? There are other similar questions for you to ask.

To access the June 2015 Report (where just below this screen shot you will see the descriptions of how each of the 5 goals will be obtained): DigitalLearningExemplars_June2015

As an example of legislation passed, here in NC, to support digital learning, read this excerpt from the Report, “State Law 2013-12 requires the North Carolina
Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) to assist districts in the transition from textbooks to digital materials by 2017. These materials must be effective for all learners and align with the curriculum and standards. Such a law promotes progress toward some level of digital learning statewide.” What if you don’t live in one of the 5 States mentioned as leaders? The Report will also detail all the other States and where they are in the path of mass alignment.

Since AL is considered to be the #1 leader in the shift to digital education, see this article about the Governor pushing for more fiber optic connections throughout the State:
http://www.centerdigitaled.com/k-12/Alabama-Governor-Pushes-Fiber-Optic-Cables-for-Schools.html

If you would like to see how SETDA is modernizing the E-rate in your State, see:
http://www.setda.org/priorities/equity-of-access/e-rate-modernization/

So Where in ESSA are the Libraries?

Based on the ESSA Final Conference Report (I shared the document with you in the Thursday article mentioned above), here are page numbers concerning digital education and libraries:
1) Page 138, school libraries and their programs to be updated to digital
2) Page 323, school libraries and their programs must offer digital courses to all school leaders
3) Page 343, school libraries and their programs to lead all school employees in digitally led courses as part of ‘safe schools’
4) Page 384, possible U.S. Dept. of Ed Secretary awarded grants for school libraries and digital led programming
5) 387, all libraries (school or public) are included, with museums, non-profits, and post-secondary educational instututions
6) Page 515, after school programs via extended public library services/hours
7) Page 1,000, authorizes the LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act) grant money to be used for technology upgrades and/or purchases for digital education for all
8) Page 1,037, embeds the Museum and Library Services Act, MLSA

 

 Related Information:

Kipp has partnered with several post-secondary institutions in America to continue the CCSS Machine’s alignment. See:
http://www.kipp.org/our-approach/kipp-through-college/college-partnerships

The Gates Foundation-friendly Education Week has an article you will need to access as well. It deals with the E-rate legislation (a federal level law which impacts all 50 States) and its role in digital education. See: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/DigitalEducation/2015/10/e-rate_application_toolkit.html
In contrast, I wrote an anti CCSS Warrior article about the E-rate legislation back in 2014 for Prevent Common Core’s website. See: http://preventcommoncore.com/?p=1223

The Federal Learning Registry is slam full of massive data mining via digital education.
See: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/01/12/monday-musings-assessments-data-mining/

SETDA’s role in ridding the world of printed textbooks:
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/11/01/sic-em-saturday-creatively-turning-the-usa-common/

For LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act) see my previously published article:
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/monday-musings-hitting-the-books/

For how much MLSA (Museum and Library Services Act) grant money your State has been awarded, see:
https://www.imls.gov/grants/grants-states


 

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.

WYBI Wednesday: RttT, STEM, Education Waivers

Thus far this week, there’s been  a timely inter-connected theme for my :education waivers, Common Core, and our individual states are being impacted. Today’s post is no different.

nolie

I broke this article late last night to my fellow NC anti CCSS warriors due to the 2 day State Board of Ed meeting beginning in just a little while. However, there is much for the rest of the states to use as information. I encourage you to review the past 2 days posts if you would like to use all 3 of the waiver posts as weapons. Today’s article, how the waivers continue to point back to Race to the Top.

Thanks to transparency, accountability laws, and requests for information, our job of finding tools to fight Common Core has been made SO much easier. Recently I was tipped off about a regularly scheduled State Board of Education meeting happening today and tomorrow here in NC. One of the agenda items caught my eye. NOT for the subject matter, but for the ‘Network’ mentioned. In fact, it’s called the “RttT STEM Affinity Network”.

The RttT STEM Affinity Network:

Housed in NC’s Dept. of Public Instruction is this ‘lovely’ component given to us, the citizens by the Race to the Top funding, that also ‘gave’ us Common Core. If you are new to my blog, you’ll need to know that STEM was the main agenda item set up by the PCAST (President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology) who, in turn, created a game plan given to the White House. Common Core was the ‘perfect’ guise to use in incorporating STEM into our lives. (see:  https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/from-the-files-pcast-stem-and-common-core/)

Here’s an excerpt from the NC DPI on the “Affinity Network”, “The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s (NCDPI) dedication to building a world-class workforce through innovative STEM education has partnered with The North Carolina New Schools to build a network of STEM-themed high schools throughout the state. North Carolina New Schools in collaboration with NCDPI has identified 20 themed high schools tied to the economic development of the state.  These schools serve as either Anchor or Affiliate Network high schools that reflect the areas workforce development in either: Aerospace, Security, and Automation, Biotechnology and Agriscience, Energy and Sustainability, or Health and Life Sciences.” 

NC New Schools is Gates Funded since 2006. Over $1 million dollars has been given to the project. http://www.gatesfoundation.org/How-We-Work/Quick-Links/Grants-Database/Grants/2006/04/OPP41526
NC New Schools is Gates Funded since 2006. Over $1 million dollars has been given to the project. See:
http://www.gatesfoundation.org/How-We-Work/Quick-Links/Grants-Database/Grants/2006/04/OPP41526

To see the NC DPI’s website page on the other items related,

 http://www.ncpublicschools.org/stem/schools/rttt/

Enter the ‘Consortium for Educational Research-North Carolina’:

Known as CERE-NC for short, this group has been crucial in reporting the success of NC’s use of RttT funding when it comes to the partnership project of NC New Schools and STEM Affinity Network.  The STEM report I found on-line from this group, (which consists of SERVE Center of the University of Greensboro, Friday Institute (a  pro CCSS group)housed at the NC State University, The University of NC at Chapel Hill, NC Institute of Public Policy) Why a STEM report? It was part of NC’s Race to the Top Evaluation and a kind of ‘where do we go from here’ message. I’ve included the final version of the 2013 CERE-NC, STEM Affinity Report for you. RttT-STEM_Y3-Report_FINAL_12-05-2013

Here’s a list of the items most crucial to our fight:

  • 2013 marks Year 3 of NC’s RttT involvment, according to the report, page 181
  • New Schools and Friday Institute were deemed ‘objective’ in their findings, page 180
  • The Appendices, especially the Curriculum Development and Student Surveys, begins on page 78
  • A 4th year report which was to be finalized in Sept. 2014 should reveal where the Network under the RttT Initiative is headed. (see page 75) Why this is important is since the RttT funding is be non existent beyond 2014, what replaces it will be in question.

‘The primary focus of implementation in the schools is on changing instruction to incorporate the Common Instructional Framework across all subject areas, while development of STEM projects and themes is a secondary focus.’ (an excerpt from page 74) In reference to certain Affinity schools visited.

Reoccurring themes I saw:  Use of data collection; use of digital technology; more student led teaching; needing the staff and community buying-in; how great STEM/CCS are; leaving larger schools and creating smaller, comprehensive schools; combining early college that streamlines/aligns and thereby over-emphasizing the need for college/career readiness; confusion over which group schools should be accountable to, LEAs, NC’s Dept. of Public Instruction or the NC New Schools. STEM’s underlying agenda that depends on extending ‘learning’ into 21st Century Community Learning Center activities; big dependence on P3s (Public Private Partnerships) like SAS (a well known Common Core supporter and data mining company); ‘rigor’; ‘relevance’; ’21st Century skills’.

Before we move on..

Here’s one principal’s view, “With the Common Core and NSP [New Schools Project], it’s all about critical thinking and problem solving and that’s what we’re leaning towards more and more and we’re trying to move away from the traditional sit and get. . . . I would say that 80 to 85% of the faculty have embraced the [NC New Schools Design Principles]. We have very few naysayers.”

How this ties to the educational waivers:

Since I just published this on Monday, a couple of days ago, I know that it means for NC, continued implementation of everything that was included in our initial application. Here’s an excerpt, ““NC has been granted an extension of one year on the ESEA waiver. I see there are several things a group from the US Dept. of Ed have found while considering NC’s extension. One that strikes me, is a ‘monitoring report’, then I see almost at the closing of the letter, this, “I am confident that North Carolina will continue to implement the reforms described in its approved ESEA flexibility request and advance its efforts to hold schools and school districts accountable for the achievement of all students.” ” (see the rest: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/12/01/monday-musing-educational-waivers-friend-or-foe/)

So, does your state have a STEM Affinity Network or a CERE?

Not by those exact names, however. I did find the following that may help you track down the STEM/RttT connections for your states.

  • Battelle (http://www.battelle.org/our-work/stem-education/stem-learning-networks) manages at least 2 STEM networks with funding from the Gates Foundation. The Ohio STEM Learning Network (http://www.osln.org/hubs/), the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network (where they were the pilot program for STEM Boy Scouts programming), see their strategy plan until 2018: http://thetsin.org/news/resource/tennessee-stem-stragegic-plan/
  • Battelle also manages the STEMx Network, which covers many of the States. The tag line for STEMx, “Transforming STEM Education and Workforce Development in the states, by the states.” (http://www.stemx.us/about/) Member states: MI, TX, OK, NM, NC, ID, IN, OR, KY, WA, NY, AZ, CA, GA, and DC (District of Columbia).
  • IF you do not see your state listed above OR if you want to find out more from your state listed above, follow these suggestions:
  • Check with your state’s Dept. of Public Instruction, remember, I found my journey beginning at the State Board of Education’s meeting agenda announcement.
  • Notice over the past 3 days when I’ve written about waivers and education, how many colleges and universities are involved. Check your state’s higher educational institutions. Much of the research pertaining to your state will be housed there, studied there, or involved in some way. Think outside the colleges of education, if needed. I found one educational research group hidden in the college of surgery and physicians because it was considered a science project.
  • Go back to the initial RttT application for your state. See what provisions your State Board of Ed promised. Follow the paper trail from there. Each plan had to be reviewed, accepted as a draft, affirmed as an action, then a copy returned to each state. Follow ups by the state level education departments has had to be made each year. You should be able to access each of those reports.
  • Check where your state is in the Waiver re-authorization process. See my post from Monday of this week on where to access that information.
  • IF all else fails, exercise your citizen’s right to a FOIA letter (Freedom of Information Act).
  • Remember, even IF your state didn’t receive the initial RttT funding, each state is impacted by the educational waivers, by workforce, and by STEM. Being sold by at least 13 federal agencies, promoted by the U.S. President’s massive budget for it, and all the clamor of the public private partnerships, STEM will NOT be going away.

Related resources:

From the US Dept of Ed, their STEM page, http://www.ed.gov/stem

From the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association, a paper about the rise of STEM in America (be sure to note how the National Science Foundation had a big hand in this, then refer back to the PCAST report and connect the dots): http://www.iteea.org/Resources/PressRoom/AustraliaPaper.pdf

Finally, if you would like any more suggestions, have any leads from your states, or have questions, comments to send my way, I’d love to hear from you. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your fight.