Tag Archives: LSTA Grants

State Digital Education


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!


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:
(*Note: Knewton is hardly anti-CCSS or for that matter, anti-ANYTHING that goes with them.)

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.
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:

If you would like to see how SETDA is modernizing the E-rate in your State, see:

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:

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:

For LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act) see my previously published article:

For how much MLSA (Museum and Library Services Act) grant money your State has been awarded, see:



Monday Musings: Hitting the Books

Reading, especially good books is vital to so many brain functions.
Reading, especially good books is vital to so many brain functions.

I’m not sure about your home, but in mine, it is filled with avid readers. Common Core, as we know by now, is seeking to remove the joy of reading good books. What a shame. If you’ve been to your local library lately, have you noticed a change? I did in mine. Almost every single book that is older than 2008, has now been pulled from the shelves. Gone, disappeared. I have no clue when this happened. But it has. What is replacing the old books? New books. For example, I have been tutoring a student each week at my local library. We needed a dictionary. I had forgotten my trusty, beat up collegiate one at home. So, we grab the brand new copy off the library shelves. It was horrifying! The pronunciation symbols I knew from when my kids were younger, had all changed. Really?! When did this happen? Again, I’m not sure. My point, many changes in our books or with our books are taking place right under our noses and we’re not catching them!

Bookstore, galore:

Do bookstores love the Core? What about libraries we help fund with our tax dollars? Let’s take a look at each.

According to the American Booksellers Association, they not only like the CCSS, they are looking for ways to profit from the Standards. I found on their website a report. More about it below.

The following excerpt from June 2014 from the Book Expo America where a panel held a workshop discussing CCSS and the book selling industry: “Common Core is going to affect the trade book market in a strong way. It’s important and incumbent upon booksellers, librarians, and educators to become familiar with the Common Core.” Neil Jaffee, president of Booksource. A bookstore co-owner had this to say, “For us as booksellers in our communities, in a way, a lot of this is business as usual.”  She also stated that  the new standards provide another way to ramp up a bookstore’s connection with educators, parents, and children, as well as to bolster nonfiction and educational book sections in the store. This particular co-owner went on to say that CCSS is a great way for bookstores to make suggestions to shape the CCSS reading lists. Something like, talking to the right people or talking to a lot of people can end up getting the states reading lists to add these to the adopted standards. In other words..a huge opportunity for profit. Think about it, suggest the books that help the Core to the right people, get a big order at your store from the schools. Now, depending on which type of school orders books, would determine if taxpayer money is being used for these purchases. This type of thinking is certainly all about the profits.

More ‘praises’ about the Standards continued from the Expo’s panel. CCSS will help bring often neglected books up from the dark, forgotten corners and up into the forefront! There’s so much opportunity for freedom of speech due to all the ‘pro/con’ assignments! The same co-owner (from above) had this revelation about choosing books for CC reading, “Most of the educators didn’t care — what they wanted from us was that expertise, that knowledge to say that this is a great book and for what reason, and for what grade level or what reader it will work for.”

Okay, let me pause here to say, who do these folks think they are fooling? Most of the bookstores I know of hire folks off the street because they need a job, not because they are literary experts. High end bookstores may have a very knowledge based owner or employee, but I hardly think we can blanketedly assume literary experts are hanging around bookstores waiting for someone to ask them if the book they are considering will align to the CCSS well or not! (want to read the rest of the report? http://www.bookweb.org/news/industry-experts-weigh-common-core-bea)

Then, there’s the ‘leveling’ of books. Wait, what?! Book leveling, according to Scholastic (very CCSS aligned) says it’s a way to set up your library by degree of difficulty, or levels. Sounds simple, but we know CCSS can’t leave anything as simple. Here’s a list from their website of what criteria is needed for leveling: “What Are Some Criteria for Leveling Books?No single aspect or characteristic of text can be used to evaluate reading material. In placing a text along a gradient of difficulty, many factors are considered. Length — Consider the number of pages, the number of words, and the number of lines on the page. Books for beginners will have just one or two lines on a page. Layout — Beginners need texts with a large font and clear spaces between words and lines. Sentences begin on the left and print is clearly separated from pictures. In more complex books, sentences begin in the middle of lines or are carried over onto the next page. Fonts become smaller. Structure and Organization — Early books have simple plots and some repetition. Some books use repeating episodes or complex plots organized chronologically. As books become more challenging, more interpretation will be needed. Illustrations — Easier books provide pictures to support the reader in gaining meaning and solving words. Picture support gradually decreases as you move up the gradient of difficulty. Words — Beginning books use high-frequency words, text with regular spelling words, and content words reinforced by pictures. More challenging texts use multi-syllabic words and a wider range vocabulary to express meaning. Phrases and Sentences — The gradient begins with very simple sentences and goes on to include longer, more complex sentences with embedded clauses. Literary Features — Consider the complexity of the ideas. What must readers understand about the characters, setting, and plot to read this book with understanding? Literary features such as flashbacks or metaphors may introduce a challenge. Content and Theme — Books for young children will focus on topics and themes that are familiar to them. Complexity gradually increases to ideas and topics that children would not experience in everyday lives. Some sophisticated themes require maturity for understanding and may mean that a book is more challenging, even if other factors make it seem easy.” (see the rest of the article: http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/what-leveled-reading)

Bob Seger once sang "I feel like a number, but I'm not a number."
Bob Seger once sang “I feel like a number, but I’m not a number.” Students are people, not coded beings!

Public Libraries:

In a short answer, yes, public libraries are aligning. Remember when I shared my library’s shelves had been cleaned out? That is part of the aligning. What we the citizens lose are some great books. Here’s a 2013 webinar that details how public libraries are to align to CCSS.  CommonCorePublib

Another example, CT’s libraries, hoping to help their state’s librarians out, gave their public libraries ‘cheat sheets’. (see: http://www.ctstatelibrary.org/dld/pages/common-core-resources-pub)

So, what about your state? Try looking in your state level cabinets or departments. NC (where I live) has the public libraries as part of the NC Dept. of Cultural Resources. Your state may have a different name.  However, if your state has received a grant(see below) from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the alignment is in full swing. How? Aspen Institute (very CCSS active). See this blog entry detailing how Aspen is the library’s newest best buddy. Why? Aligning the community. (http://blog.imls.gov/?p=5345)

Here’s what NC’s state library page said about the grants: “Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grants are federal funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services that are awarded by the State Library to eligible North Carolina libraries.”

I shake my head in disbelief. How could so many people conspire to ruin reading? To zap the joy of a tremendous mind journey via a classic adventure tale or the like, is a travesty.