Tag Archives: NCTM

FTF: A Chip off The Education Block

Sure, you've heard of private schools, but have you heard of 'micro' schools?!
Sure, you’ve heard of private schools, but have you heard of ‘micro’ schools?!

Anti CCSS Warriors, we have another education reform ‘wannabe’. Consider it a chip off the old CCSS Machine’s block.. What AM I talking about?! “Micro Schools”, of course! If you haven’t heard of them, that’s okay, I recently discovered these schools, too.
One other question we will address is how this ties back to the ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act).

So, What is a ‘Micro School’?

I found out about them via the Gates Foundation supportive, CCSS Machine member: Ed Week. (See: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2016/01/27/micro-schools-could-be-new-competition-for.html?r=608439843&cmp=eml-enl-eu-news1-RM)

Like its name, these schools are small in size (typically no more than an entire school population of 150). Unlike traditional schools, micros have all the students in one classroom.  While the article suggests these schools are like the old-fashioned one room schoolhouses, there is absolutely NOTHING old fashioned about the agenda behind these small schools. As an anti CCSS Warrior, see if you can catch the agenda the CCSS Machine has laced through these modern minis.

AltSchools, the Supposed Leader in Micro Schools:

This group is mentioned in the article I have linked you to (above). You can access their website, https://www.altschool.com/
From their ‘About Us’ page, their mission statement begins with, ” AltSchool is a collaborative community of micro-schools that uses outstanding teachers, deep research, and innovative tools to offer a personalized, whole child learning experience for the next generation.”
(*Note, be sure to watch the embedded video with the smiley faced guy.)
You should love the fact he is a businessman now involved in education. While that doesn’t seem so bad, listen to his pro CCSS companies he rattles off. (example: Google) Don’t miss his plug for project based learning (which is rooted in another progressive, pro CCSS Machine member, The Buck Institute. (my previously published look at PBLs:
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/10/25/sic-em-saturday-ccss-progressives-and-pbls/ )

Currently, AltSchools are in CA, NY, IL. To see the AltSchool locations in their entirety,
(*Note, be sure to click on one of the existing locations to look at the floor plan. You will see what many other traditional schools are doing, totally transforming them to be open locations with centers.)

The curriculum? Forget about seeing your student as a person, this group is after “T-shaped learners”.  What the heck is a “T-shaped learner”? An excerpt, “…Students who have a wide breadth of knowledge across all subjects and depth in the subjects that they are passionate about. In addition to cultivating strong social-emotional skills, AltSchool students build competency across core academic areas: math, science, English language arts, and social studies. Through our before- and after-school co-curricular offerings, students delve even deeper into subjects of interest, including drama, arts, coding, and foreign languages.”
The educators? All 21st Century ones. See the entire description of both curriculum and educators, https://www.altschool.com/education#curriculum
(*Note: the heavy use of technology and the reference to aligning to the most recent education discoveries.)
From the FAQs, this loaded statement of CCSS Machine groups in the curriculum:
‘AltSchool’s learning objectives draw from a variety of standards and metrics as a framework for instructional design. Our Lower and Middle School instruction is informed by the Common Core, National Council of the Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), Next Generation Science Standards, International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), Partnership for 21st Century Skills, and the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), among others.’

Helping fund AltSchools? Facebook and Apple owners! Yep,  these two pro CCSS Machine members even made the news about their investments. See: http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2015/05/04/altschool-scores-100-million-from-mark-zuckerberg-and-others/26740867/
(*Note: be sure to read where the AltSchool founder reveals that there are non-profits and other investors on board as well.)

Other financial backers? “Founders Fund, Andreessen Horowitz, First Round Capital, Harrison Metal, John Doerr, Jonathan Sackler, Learn Capital, Omidyar Network, and other leading investors.” To learn more about why these investors are lining up in huge support of AltSchools, you will need to see the AltSchools Press Release from 2014. It explains that the schools are a ‘certified B organization’. What does THAT mean? Heavy on social justice issues with a large collective mindset. See the entire press release: https://www.altschool.com/press-release-11-17-14

Want to better understand what a B Organization truly is? As an anti CCSS Warrior, you will be quick to pick up on the main themes, the global aspects, and the money to be made.


New Orleans, TX, and Globally: Micros Coming Soon!

Also included in the featured EdWeek article about AltSchools, were the facts that New Orleans public charters are considering the AltSchool way of education; that at least one private school in TX is already involved (since 2009); that  Catholic schools could be well served; how  comprehensive high schools could learn from AltSchools; and, that several non-USA locations are benefiting from AltSchools.
Warriors Against the Core
, are you seeing the pattern?

Not included in the NAIS:

AltSchools, according to the EdWeek article are not being tracked by the NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools), so there may be many MORE micro schools in the world. However, my question is, are AltSchools accredited at all? One CBS interview from 2015, reveals the groups is in the process of becoming accredited. See: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/altschool-alternative-education/
Anti CCSS Warriors, do you recognize an issue here?

As Far as How This Plays into the ESSA:

Besides the red flags I have recently raised about the ESSA and technology/data/digital, the AltSchools have all sorts of CCSS Machine ties to overlook or assume they won’t be part of the ESSA written educational future in America. All this said, the AltSchools are considered ‘alternative education’. That phrase is most definitely used in the ESSA.
Alternative education evidence based state practices your LEAs (Local Education Agencies) can use to support a student: Page 99; Alternative routes for SEAs (State Education Agencies) to certify supporting programs: Page 111;  any alternative education method in regards to correctional facilities: Page 266;  alternative means of receiving a high school diploma: Page 793; For Native Americans, alternative education, standards, assessments: Page 811; The bigger the LEA, the bigger the funding weighed alternative: Page 946;Alternative routes for educators to teach or school leaders to lead: Pages 141; 305; 318; 322; 398; 800; 972-981 (ESSA Final Conference Report).



Considering my last 3 articles went into great detail about the digital and technology ties the ESSA has now put into action for all of us, you might wish to factor schools like AltSchools into the mix. You may find their other EdWeek article about the big push for technology and data worth using as knowledge, too. See: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2016/01/13/the-future-of-big-data-and-analytics.html

If you haven’t see the last 3 articles where you are given the CCSS Machine ties, the ESSA page numbers and related MUST KNOW information.
How much digital and technology the ESSA is mandating:

How the U.S. Dept. of Ed’s IES will assess not only students, but entire families for digital and technology: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2016/02/05/weekend-news-the-ies-and-the-essa/

How State Grants for public places and other funding is being manipulated and will continue to be thanks to the ESSA:

How comprehensive high schools/post-secondary education are extensions of the CCSS Machine via CTE (Career Tech Education):

Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation was also featured in the original EdWeek article above. Their website: http://www.christenseninstitute.org/

Be sure to grab their publication on using schools as community hubs (also embedded in the ESSA via Title One funding)). The publication is published by the Brookings Institute, a huge CCSS Machine member. : http://www.christenseninstitute.org/publications/schools-as-community-hubs/

How the NAIS/NCTM are tied to the CCSS Machine:

Next Generation Science Standards and CCSS:

CASEL, 21 Century Community Learning Centers and CCSS:


Sic’ ‘Em Saturday: Grab a CAPE, CCSS Warriors!

Thanks to an avid supporter of my blog, I recently received a tip that the profit making, CCSS writer, David Coleman was a guest at a CAPE event. What’s CAPE? CAPE stands for the Council for American Private Education. Website: http://www.capenet.org/states.html

Not every state is a CAPE member.
Not every state is a CAPE member.

CAPE was founded in 1971 by 8 different private school related groups to ensure there was a unified voice for private schools. Fast forward to ” Today CAPE is comprised of 18 national organizations serving private elementary and secondary schools.” CAPE is considered to be the prominent voice for private schools across the nation. It also has close ties with federal funds. We know federal funding usually means strings are attached..especially in education. Those 18 member organizations? Here they are: Augudath Israel of America, American Montessori Society, Association Montessori International-USA, Association of Christian Schools International, Association of Christian Teachers and Schools, Association of Waldorf Schools N.A., Christian Schools International, Council on Educational Standards and Accountability, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Friends Council on Education, Lutheran Church, MO Synod, National Association of Episcopal Schools, National Association of Independent Schools, National Catholic Educational Association, National Christian School Association, Oral Roberts University Educational Fellowship, Seventh Day Adventists Board of Education, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and WI Evangelical Lutheran Schools.

Before I had a blog of my own, I did some guest writing on LadyLiberty1885′ s blog. It just so happens that at least 3 of the organizations above are ones I exposed as having Common Core ties. Which ones? American Association of Christian Schools, National Christian School Association, and the National Association of Independent Schools. See: http://ladyliberty1885.com/2014/07/07/guest-post-common-core-in-charters-private-homeschools/

I also have been able to uncover Catholic Church Support for CCSS. See ‘Sara’s Story’, https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/11/15/sic-em-saturday-when-your-faith-based-school-uses-ccss-assessments/

 Here’s a screen shot you’ll want to see:

CAPE's promo video (not featuring Coleman)
After much searching of CAPE’s website I wasn’t successful in finding when Coleman spoke. I think we can guess what he had to say, however.

CAPE appears to really be on the preschool development grant ‘bus’. This archived pdf of their in house publication features not only their support for more preK, but the re-authorizing of ESEA. See: http://www.capenet.org/pdf/Outlook394.pdf  This next pdf is where CAPE expresses support for expanded school choice. As we’ve seen and learned from other anti CCSS experts, the school choice arguement has shown that once CCSS in thoroughly embedded, there will be NO choice. See: http://www.capenet.org/pdf/Outlook374.pdf The smoking gun for me in all these publications: look at who the CAPE writers keep citing as their resources! All pro CCSS groups.

CAPE is fully supportive of not only the re-authorization of ESEA, but the HEA (Higher Education Act) as well. In case you didn’t see my earlier article about why the HEA is a bad bill (much like the ESEA’s newer version), here’s the link: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/03/26/tech-thursday-more-on-the-hea-higher-ed-act/
All CAPE schools awarded the Blue Ribbon status of  the U.S. Dept of Ed’s Blue Ribbon School Program will have an application to fill out. One component for each of the CAPE schools that is on the private school application? Assessments. The funny thing about those assessments is IF they are CCSS aligned, then by process of need, you’ve have to have CCSS aligned curricula or lessons somewhere. See the CAPE U.S. Dept of Ed Blue Ribbon Application Verification : http://www.capenet.org/brs.html#verification
See the U.S. Dept. of Ed’s Blue Ribbon application (where both public and private school parameters are laid out): http://www2.ed.gov/programs/nclbbrs/2015/2015-application.pdf

Since there are so many CAPE Blue Ribbon Schools, let’s look a bit more closely at one as as an example to discover just how CCSS aligned they are (or aren’t). Using the CAPE website, I was able to find the 2014 Blue Ribbon Schools.
Since I live in NC, I chose to see how many Blue Ribbon Schools there were. Less than 1 dozen, and all public schools. So, in seeking out a private school near me, I found a Roman Catholic private school in SC.

It serves K-8th grade. According to its website, “curriculum based on NCTM and State Standards“. The site does go on to say it uses Singapore Math, 2010 edition. *NOTE: Depending on what publication year of Singapore Math you use determines if it’s CCSS aligned or not. When my private school students were using the curricula, it was most definitely NOT CCSS. SM, sadly has gone over to the CCSS side. All that said, however, consider this: the 5th grade sample math lesson I accessed from McDougal Littell .5thsc

If you don’t know of McDougal Littell, that’s okay. You are about to find out. McDougal Littell is part of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing. When I searched for McDougal Littell, it redirected me to Holt McDougal. I clicked there are was taken to Hougton Mifflin Harcourt. (follow the CCSS trail: http://www.mcdougallittell.com/ml/ from there you can go to HMH) HMH is a huge CCSS profit making company. Once you access their site, be sure to see the Singapore Math section.
Getting back to the McDougal Littell sample for 5th grade, the website did say it was a NCTM 2000 Standard. (see: http://www.classzone.com/cz/books/msmath_1_na/resources/applications/homeTutor/media/standardmenu.html?state=SC) However, that leads us to a question:  Just when did NCTM Math go over to the CCSS?
From one of my very first articles, here’s an excerpt that can help us answer the question: 1989– Nat’l Council of Math Teachers (NCMT) create standards as do the American Assoc. for Advancement of Science (AAAS); 1993– benchmarks for science literacy created (Project 2061); 1994– Goals 2000 joined science & math with the “Improve America Schools Act”, ESEA was re-established; 1995– NCMT determines need to examine standards periodically, thus creating the first piece of the foundation for 21st Century goals.”

From the NCTM’s own website, here’s their executive summary of those 2000 Math Standards: http://www.nctm.org/uploadedFiles/Standards_and_Positions/PSSM_ExecutiveSummary.pdf

Next, be sure to read the NCTM’s position paper on CCSS: http://www.nctm.org/ccssmposition/
Then follow that up with the 2013 letter from the NCTM president urging the continued support of CCSS. See: http://www.nctm.org/News-and-Calendar/Messages-from-the-President/Archive/Linda-M_-Gojak/Stay-the-Course_-Supporting-Success-with-the-Common-Core-State-Standards/

The Language Arts of This Example School:
  Well, that was just the math for our private example school. So, is the LA also CCSS aligned? Yes. This school uses the “Superkids Reading Program”. Here’s the link to the Superkids CCSS ELA alignment:
The Rowland Reading Foundation publishes “Superkids”. So who is Rowland? It’s a non profit, according to its website. (No, Gates Foundation database returned a ‘no entry by that name’ response.) Here are the funding sources they list: “• Investing in Innovation (i3) • Race to the Top (RTTT) • School Improvement Grants • Title I, Part A • Title II, Part A: Teacher & Principal Training • Title III, Part A: English Language Acquisition • Title V, Part A: Charter School Programs • Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), Part B • State-specific funding sources • Private and corporate funding sources” What’s odd is that you are invited to learn more about the grants they receive, yet when you access the link they provide, you get a ‘page does not exist’ response. You know me, I’ll keep looking! Federal funds can be accessed: http://www.superkidsreading.org/grants/federal-funds.php
State funds: http://www.superkidsreading.org/grants/state-funds.php
Private funds: http://www.superkidsreading.org/grants/private-funds.php

Click to enlarge the State funding requirements for “Superkids”:


Here’s CAPE’s promo video, listen up for the educratic buzzwords we know to be CCSS, without ever using the phrase “CCSS”:

Your action (sic’ ’em) steps to take away from all of the above:
1) start digging into those private schools
2) make some noise about what you find
3) help dispel the rumor that CCSS doesn’t impact those outside the public classroom
4) hold your private school leaders accountable!