Tag Archives: Lady Liberty1885

WYBI: Crystal Clear Common Core

This company has it 'all'..STEM, CCSS, 21st Century Skills, and more!
This company has it ‘all’..STEM, CCSS, 21st Century Skills, and more!

What could be more frustrating than a parent who has no idea what Common Core resources his or her offspring is being offered in the classrooms. A follower of mine, sent me this tip about “Crystal Springs Books”. To date, the only “Crystal Springs” I knew about was the bottled water. However, the water company is NOT associated with the books. The books are a part of the SDE, Inc. corporation based in New Hampshire.

The “Springs”:

According to the website, the “Crystal Springs Books” has students, teachers, and administration well covered. There are featured authors and even an opportunity for you to become an author with the company!

If you’re a school leader, you have 2 main authors guiding you. Char Forsten and Jim Grant. GoodReads website shows Forsten has written or co-written many books. She’s  widely associated with Singapore Math (which is CCSS aligned now, see: http://www.singaporemath.com/Mathematics_s/1.htm). You can be assured she has classroom experience. One bio I found from Stenhouse Publishers said she was a teaching principal. Forsten’s also well know for ‘differentiation’. Differentiation has been skewed to implement CCSS. When handled properly and without CCSS, it can be a great teaching strategy. However, CCSS spoils everything it is connected to in the classroom. Jim Grant’s experience? If you look at LinkedIN, he’s a former firefighter turned associated with a particular school district turned SDE, Inc. founder. However, on the website for the company he founded, he’s described as a “Nation’s Spokesperson for School Success”.

Grant has also given a particular presentation on ‘Grit’ to the NAESP (National Association of Elementary School Principals), April 9th, 2014. It was titled “Grit, Mindset, and Determination: The Key to Leading by Influence, Grades 1-8”.  You can access the presentation from NAESP’s site. Oh, be sure to note he’s presenting an upcoming webinar this about mid April 2015. See: http://www.naesp.org/career/webinars (*Note: his 2014 speech is about 3/4 down the page.) To be fair, there are other authors with works for school leaders, but as I said before, these 2 appear to the be most featured. With such strong ties to CCSS, it’s a shame. If you’d like to learn a bit more about NAESP’s CCSS vent, read my fellow anti CCSS warrior, LadyLiberty1885’s article: http://ladyliberty1885.com/2014/07/25/a-principals-key-message-for-parents-on-common-core/

For the teachers, from Crystal Springs, all kinds of topics from 21st Century Learning Skills to management in the classroom. There are teaching guides to align you to the CCSS. Be sure you look at each category and find the authors names. Do a quick internet search to see their background in the classroom and their CCSS ties. To access all the CSB info:
http://www.crystalspringsbooks.com/, be sure to look at the “Topics” menu on the left.

The Parent Company:

As stated above SDE, Inc. is based in New Hampshire. Loaded with all sorts of PD (Professional Development), you can find webinars, announcements of new book series (I especially hated the Stella series for K-2. Why? The titles: “Stella Writes an Opinion”, and other such rubbish.) Look to the right hand side and you’ll see an upcoming webinar for those gifted students and CCSS. That’s on 4/23/15. From the ‘about’ page, the company equips not just American classrooms, but internationally as well. The website page says the company is one of the leading in its industry. Oh, and there’s rigor for teachers, staff, AND students with SDE! As far as education ‘experts’, they have so many of them it resembles a small town’s population! See: http://staffdevelopmentforeducators.com/Education-Experts (*Note: at first glance, I didn’t see any easily identified CCSS supporters.)

Funding for SDE?? Oh, why we, the taxpayers foot a huge portion of that  bill! Leading the charge is the U.S. Dept. of Education!
How and why? Because all of what SDE does is considered PD, it can be written off to the schools, school boards, administrations, etc. See the screen shot below to see the other funding groups! Among the entire list of grants available, private organizations are in this as well. Making the P3 (Public, private partnership) leg of CCSS related activity very much a part of all of this PD as well!

To see the entire list of those granting funds for SDE: http://staffdevelopmentforeducators.com/About-SDE/Funding-Resources
To see the entire list of those granting funds for SDE: http://staffdevelopmentforeducators.com/About-SDE/Funding-Resources

A bit more CCSS connections for you in relationship to Jim Grant and the PD:

He’s presented the “Grit” talk to ASCD (a Gates Funding curriculum/teacher resource organization) back on 3/21/15. (You can see his name appear on the entire speaker list from the entire conference: http://ascd15.mapyourshow.com/6_0/sessions/speaker-alphalist.cfm) (*Note: the ASCD 2015 Conference had a tremendous sponsor list. Most were well known CCSS supporters.)

The SDE blog, “Appleseeds” is article after article about “Grit” by Grant. It’s enough to make you want to swear off grits (the food) forever or grit your teeth to excess. See: http://sde.com/blog/?tag=jim-grant

Be sure to read the SDE’s idea of the ‘extraordinary classroom’ and the 7 ‘Hallmarks’ therein. See: http://sde.com/TheExtraordinaryClassroom/Hallmarks.asp

The last thing I’ll leave you parents and concerned anti CCSS warriors to view from SDE for in the classroom is from the “new and notables” page. Click to enlarge it.

http://sde.com/PD-Resources/New-and-Notable
http://sde.com/PD-Resources/New-and-Notable

Closing:


Well, parents, I’m not sure that this look into a few of the things going on in the classroom has helped or not. I do know parents are thirsty for information, a look at the resources, and an opportunity to weigh in. Please, use this as a springboard to discuss with your teachers, school leaders what, if any of the above products or methods, is currently in your schools. I’m always on the lookout to see what in this area I can share. Gone are the days when we the parents, the taxpayers, and the concerned citizens had access to classroom materials. Let me know if there’s a lead, a tip, or a resource you’d like researched.

 

 

Advertisements

Monday Musings: Two Wrongs, No Right

dumb
Don’t look now, but NC’s gone CCSS dumber!

Okay, so it’s not new news about the love affair NC has with Common Core. However, the latest move to allow both K12, Inc. AND Pearson into the virtual educational airwaves of the state remind me of the “Dumb and Dumber” guys.

The Backstory:

While I’ll not give you the entire past account of NC’s Virtual Public School saga, I’ll tell you this, it’s CCSS aligned. It’s been offered as an option for home education students. It’s a crock! Tax payer funding AND student disservice..what two wrongs we have. So, has your state made a similar move?

The Legislation:

Giving the state CCSS via Virtual School, the NC General Assembly passed the following:
From 2011, the Funding formula legislation (meaning the fees charged to enroll in the virtual schools paid by homeschoolers, etc.)  HOUSE DRH70171-LE-129A

From a special report on NC’s Virtual Charter Schools, this excerpt, “Virtual education is not new to North Carolina. Created in 2007, the state-led North Carolina Virtual Public School (NCVPS) offers supplemental high school courses to public, private, and homeschooled students across the state. NCVPS is the country’s second largest virtual school and it continues to expand.” Not too long after this, is this bit of fact, “Digital, online, and virtual learning are no longer endeavors of the future. They are here. North Carolina education is becoming more technologically enabled daily. Entire local education agencies (LEAs) are utilizing 1:1 device initiatives, and the General Assembly has mandated that the State transition to digital materials by 2017. The education-technology world is ever evolving, and no one knows yet how expansive it might become. As the State embraces new methods of education delivery and technological advancements, it is important to remember that each is only one piece of a very large puzzle.”

More About the NCVPS from the report on virtual charters:
“The North Carolina Virtual Public School opened in 2007, serving over 195,000 students since that first year. It is the nation’s second largest state-led virtual school with over 50,000 enrollments in 2013-14 from all 115 LEAs and many charter schools. NCVPS offers over 150 different courses as a supplement to local high school course catalogues and includes Advanced Placement, Occupational Course of Study, electives, traditional, honors, and credit recovery courses. All courses are taught by teachers licensed in North Carolina and provide strategies for active student engagement through a variety of technology tools. Teachers are required to make personal contact with students and parents regularly to maximize the student-teacher relationship. Courses are free to students who enroll through their local North Carolina high school. NCVPS is available to home school and private school students for a fee. The law states that the director of NCVPS shall ensure: 1. Course quality standards are established and met. 2. All e-learning opportunities other than virtual charter schools offered by State-funded entities to public school students are consolidated under the NCVPS program, eliminating course duplication. 3. All courses offered through NCVPS are aligned to the NC Standard Course of Study. NCVPS is a supplemental program and is not a credit-granting or degree-granting institution. As such, the student’s face-to-face school awards all credit. Students typically enroll in one or two courses each term with the remainder of their courses taken at their face-to-face school. However, a small number of homebound students take their full course load through NCVPS, yet they are still officially enrolled in their local high school and are granted credit through that school. Currently, all courses offered by NCVPS are high school level courses, although many middle school students who need high school level opportunities enroll with NCVPS. Development of middle school level courses has begun and will be piloted in 2014-15. NCVPS is not the only supplemental option in North Carolina for virtual education. Recently, some LEAs have experimented with similar programs on a local level that offer courses to students in single districts. Because they do not offer courses beyond their borders, they do not fall under the purview of NCVPS.” If you wish to have the entire report, visit: http://www.ncleg.net/documentsites/committees/JLEOC/Reports%20Received/2014%20Reports%20Received/Study%20Virtual%20Charter%20Schools%20Report/Virtual%20Charter%20Schools%20Report.pdf

Was it 2005 or 2007?: 

In the above report’s excerpt, we saw the year 2007 was given as to when virtual public school began in NC. However, a NCVPS financial audit from 2014, says this, The North Carolina Virtual Public School was established in 2005 to provide students with free, online classes that are not offered at their local schools. The Virtual School began offering online courses to high school students in 2007 and later expanded its course offerings to middle school students. During the 2011-2012 academic year, student enrollment reached 49,189, up from 6,984 in the 2006-2007 academic year. The school offers more than 100 courses and serves all 115 school districts and 36 charter schools. Total expenditures during FY 2012 were about $19.7 million.” Did you see the portion about middle school students? One report says expansion to them was 2014-15, this financial audit doesn’t give a specific date, but has lumped it close enough to 2007, you might assume it was about the same time. You’ll want to access the audit. It gives a very interesting finding. Enrollment numbers inflated and teacher pay based upon enrollment. Virtual public schoolaudit

According to the NC General Assembly’s archives, HB2417 and Senate Bill 1616 from the 2005 legislation session gave $5 million dollars to the NC DPI (Dept. of Public Instruction) begin the virtual school. State Statute 116C-5 was modified to reflect the new type of school. See the Senate’s bill: http://www.ncleg.net/sessions/2005/bills/senate/pdf/s1616v1.pdf  House of Representative’s bill: http://www.ncleg.net/sessions/2005/bills/house/pdf/h2417v2.pdf

Related:
Interestingly enough in 2005, the Senate had a bill that’s been tabled for quite awhile, but COULD be playing into today’s educational snafu. The title of the bill was “Education Improvement Act of 2005” (SB 965). Part 4 of the Bill was subtitled, “21st Century High Schools”. You really should see this section. 

http://www.ncleg.net/sessions/2005/bills/senate/pdf/s965v1.pdf (*Note: you’ll notice in this bill it discussed the Governor’s plan for education. To see the General Statute it refers to: 

http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_116C/GS_116C-4.html )

To see the NC DPI’s financial information for the Virtual Public School: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/fbs/finance/ncvps/

To access the official Virtual School website: http://www.ncvps.org/ (*Note: be sure to look at the RttT and STEM page in the “About Us” portion. Look at the partners under the “Our Partnerships”. Leading the partners, SAS Inc. with the CCSS algebra portion.)

The RttT Funding:

Thanks to the Race to the Top funding, NC Virtual Public School got help.
Thanks to the Race to the Top funding, NC Virtual Public School got help.

From the 21-3-14 Race to the Top update, Virtual Schools were #8 on the priority list. Pages 18 and 19 of the report give all kinds of information about what’s been going on. Full report: Statewide Education Initiatives in RttT

The Latest Part of the Story:

This is where Pearson and K12, Inc. enter the story. From the Raleigh’s News and Observer edition (2/5/15), the CCSS supporters will gain access to our students via virtual charter schools. (Be sure to read the virtual charter study. Ask yourselves, what accountability does a charter school which is virtual have? Where’s the funding, etc.) To see the N and O’s story, http://www.newsobserver.com/2015/02/05/4533524_two-online-charter-schools-approved.html?rh=1

Buzzfeed have a similar story on 2/5/15, however their’s was a bit more revealing. It shared that because of a ‘rider’ in the state budget, that’s how the 2 pro CCSS companies gained a victory in having access to students. See: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mollyhensleyclancy/online-charter-schools-winning#.fg2VPO4AM1

Related articles:
Huffington Post has an entire page of articles on the poor performance of K12, Inc. See: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/k12-inc/

From 2012, “Getting Smart” shared how NC blocked the K12, Inc. from operating in the state. See: http://gettingsmart.com/2012/06/north-carolina-blocks-online-public-charter/

From 2014, “NC Policy Watch” shared how NC blocked K12, Inc. via the State Board. See: http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/tag/k12-inc/

From the John Locke’s Lockeroom, NC’s track record with Pearson. See: http://lockerroom.johnlocke.org/2015/02/11/politico-nc-dpi-gives-no-bid-contracts-to-no-good-pearson/

From NC’s DPI, just one of the many contracts they’ve awarded Pearson (you can use this link to access the one and then search for the others). See: http://www.dpi.state.nc.us/publicnotices/notices/2013-14/20140515-01

An announcement from 2013, June Atkinson writes  about Pearson’s presence. See: Pearson-IIS_Announcement

From LadyLiberty1885, in 2014, the contract Pearson got with NC Community Colleges (which are also CCSS aligned). See: http://ladyliberty1885.com/2014/10/12/pearson-equella-contract-for-nc-community-colleges-35284419/

The back door for Non Public Students to CCSS is the NCVPS. See the below screen shot to see how.

nchscc

So, what about your state? Is it providing for its students in the ways NC is? Have you looked at every corner of your state’s budget, state’s education legislation? Have you contacted any home school group or private school group to see if they are aware of the back doors? Don’t let your state get dumber when it comes to CCSS!

Tech Thursday: Workforce Common Core Style

I love research. I always have and will continue to love it…especially when it leads me to so many off the beaten path locations where Common Core and Career Pathways intersect. Frankly, any place CC and post high school intersect. Why? Because we’ve been fed the line so often of how CC is only K-12! ‘Cow chips and bull feathers’!

Common Core: education's cow chips
Common Core: education’s cow chips

First stop, Work Force, 3 One:

If you’ve not heard of this particular program, it’s okay. As we have learned in researching the CCSS, we have come to know  there are SO many MORE programs, initiatives, agendas, and departments involved in it, that almost daily, we’re finding something new.

This particular project (as I’ll call it) is from, the Dept. of Labor. However, like all the other Career Pathway, CTE (Career Tech Education), or Workforce programs, etc., they are also tied to the U. S. Dept. of Education using Common Core as their tool of choice.  Recently, I shared much of my research with you on this very subject.

So why “Workforce 3 One” ? Let’s see if we can find out. Here’s a snippet from their website,
“Workforce3 One, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (ETA), is an on-line interactive communications and learning platform designed to build the capacity of the Workforce Investment System. Members include the public workforce system and its strategic partners, such as employers, Federal agencies, community- and faith-based organizations, and educators. Workforce³One supplements other technical assistance provided by the Employment and Training Administration’s national and regional staff to build the capacity of the workforce investment system to successfully meet the employment needs of America’s workforce and employers.” (see the rest: https://www.workforce3one.org/page/about).

Much like any of the connectors to CCSS, there’s a back story. This ‘WF3One’ is no different. In fact, it’s roots come from a Workforce Strategy Center’s  “Building a Higher Skilled Workforce: Results and Implications from the BridgeConnect National Study”.

Support for the Study came from the Joyce Foundation, back in November 2010.

If you aren’t aware, bridge programs, as defined by the Study, “Bridge programs are a 21st-century idea for helping prepare low-skilled individuals for jobs that require more education. Known by many names—integrated education and trainingcontextualized learning, embedded skills—bridge programs assist students in obtaining academic, employability, and technical skills they need to enter and succeed in postsecondary education and training and the labor market”.  The goal? Assisting the student in career track employment, employability, or postsecondary pursuits.

Supporting all this for at least a decade (remember, this was published as ‘new’ information back in 2010) were:  Lumina Foundation for Education, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation from the private sector. From the U.S. Federal level, setting policies,  U.S. Dept. of Ed, U.S. Dept. of Labor. From the state policy setting level, IL, TX, WI, WA, and others (not identified) were also key in moving this along.

Nine paths contained in more than any one of the 16 Career Clusters featured in ‘Common Career Technical Core’ (known as “CTE” for short) are named in the Study. For a refresher, those 16 Career Clusters are Agriculture (Food and Natural Resources), Architecture and Construction, Arts (including A/V Tech and Communications), Business Management and Administration, Education and Training, Finance, Government and Public Administration, Health Science, Hospitality and Tourism, Human Services, Information Tech, Law (Public Safety, Corrections and Security included), Manufacturing, Marketing, STEM (Science, Technology and Math), Transportation (includes Distribution and Logistics). Of the states participating, they reported community colleges and high schools were the biggest partners in helping create the bridges. The largest funding source, federal funds under the “Adult Education” (included Family Literacy, community colleges as well as K-12 schools).
To see the rest of the Study (bridge_connect_report_2010-11)

Next Stop, “Career Ladder” or “Competency Pyramid”?

Workforce 3 One is SO complete they have on-line tools for you to use to build your career..of course it will be aligned. The first one is the ‘CP’ or Competency Pyramid. The biggest portion of the pyramid is reserved for those things you’ll need to succeed in your school journey (which may involve several) or work and will require you to complete each of the 3 portions: personal effectiveness, academic and workplace competencies. The next set of levels, contains 2 portions of competencies: industry sector and industry-wide. Near the top contains 4 portions: occupational specific knowledge, occupational tech, occupational specific and management. To see how to ‘customize’ your pyramid, visit: http://www.careeronestop.org/CompetencyModel/careerpathway/CPWGenInstructions.aspx

What if you prefer the ladder? Well, that tool bases itself off your pyramid. It details for you the differing jobs available to you in your cluster of career choice. Then, how viable the job will be (as in will always be needed, etc.), how much you’ll earn at said job, how many years or levels of schooling you’ll need. I’ve given you the link for the Healthcare Cluster (as that is the one field tying Affordable Health Care, Workforce, Common Core, and STEM together in a nice big bundle).

 http://www.careeronestop.org/CompetencyModel/careerpathway/ReviewCareerPathways/LongtermHealthCare_CPW.pdf

GED is the next stop:

If you’ve not heard it before now, know that the GED has been aligned to the Common Core Standards as of 2014. Read about it from my fellow anti CCSS buddy, Lady Liberty1885,  who posted the announcement back in July 2014.

http://stopcommoncorenc.org/common-core-aligned-ged/

 

The title of this study which is below, “Beyond the GED: Promising Models for Moving  High School Dropouts to College” (published 2014, funded by another set of CCSS supporters, American Council on Education and MetLife Insurance (if you didn’t know “Snoopy’s” Company was into CCSS, here’s a link to my September 2014 article for Prevent Common Core‘s website: http://preventcommoncore.com/?p=1154))”

Beyond_the_GED_FR_0

Named in this study are more bridge projects, as well as the attempt to align Adult Ed to CCSS.

I previously wrote about the community colleges aligning to CCSS, so any adult (remember, 22 or older) attending will be introduced to CC there.

However, it appears more Adult Ed aligning is still in the works (see page ES-6). Courses will be aligned to career tracks, as we well know by now. Where this study is a bit different is it also discusses those concurring credit bearing classes or courses all kinds of students take. OH, I’ve failed to mention that in my research based opinion, the title of the study is very presumptuous. NOT every student who takes the GED is a high school dropout. To suggest such is a sign of misinformation. There is so much in this report, you’ll need to read it for yourselves. Just know you’ll see MORE rigor, MORE streamlining, MORE aligning of outcome based education, and finally, MORE college/career readiness!

Next on the journey, P21:

This entity, Partnership for 21st Century Skills is a busy one. Recently, it’s been popping up almost everywhere I search high and low. Their contributing study for Workforce 3 One is called “21st Century Readiness for Every Child: A Policymaker’s Guide”.  policymakersguide_final

Now, as best as I can tell this report was published in 2010. The rhetoric is ripe with suggestive language eluding to CCSS, but doesn’t name it outright. The cow chips picture from above would fit here nicely, because the level of fertilizer in this report is extremely worthy. Almost from the first word to the last one, the same worn out buzzwords we’ve heard about how we must compete globally, how we need to improve critical thinking and on and on. Be sure you check out the list of Partners:

To name a few well known offenders: Pearson, Scholastic, Crayola, Lego, Walt Disney, Dell.

Last stop, Carnegie Corporation of NY!

Yes, those of us familiar with CC know, sooner or later this company will surface. Here’s their contribution to helping align Workforce to Common Core. “Opportunity by Design: New High School Models for Student Success” First words, I kid you not, are about not only Common Core, but Next Generation Science Standards! (see: http://carnegie.org/fileadmin/Media/Programs/Opportunity_by_design/Opportunity_By_Design_FINAL.pdf) If you live in NY or NC, your state is featured as a success model for early college schools, of course, CC aligned. “The Common Core and Next Generation Science
Standards offer school systems an historic opportunity to reshape themselves to support innovative school designs and replace today’s outmoded, industrial-model secondary schools.” It is further stated that the Standards (both CC and Next Gen) are catalysts for change. This report even uses the ‘pipeline’ reference for students. UGH! If you know anyone who needs more cow chips, load up with this one.

Need a makeover? This report has 10 suggested guidelines designed to makeover schools. I won’t mention all of them, so be sure you read the Report. You wouldn’t want to miss these guidelines: “Be porous and connected”, a fancy way to say community learning centers. “Develops and deploys collective strengths”, sorry, this sounds more like I’m in the military. You’ll see the usual buzz CC phrases here as well.

So, did we ever discover why the strange title for Workforce? I didn’t see a ‘smoking fire’, did you? Well, while we won’t find what the 3 One means from above, there’s a WF 3 One You Tube channel, full of all kinds of information. Here’s one way the ‘ease of use’ for job seeker and employer are sold..all with no mention or hint of Common Core.

As always, have a lead, tip, hint or suggestion, leave a comment (as long as it is civil).

Have a story to share? I can help!