Tag Archives: NM

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.

Tech Thursday: Breaking News Update

Hi Warriors,

Two days ago, I broke the news via my blog that 5 states had been fast tracked by the Federal government to renew ESEA/NCLB waivers (which means renewing Common Core, Career Tech Ed, College/Career Ready Standards and all the other portions of ‘fed led ed’, the P3 (Public, private partnership) CCSS Machine we’ve become saddled with. For today’s “Tech Thursday”, we’ll be looking much further into exactly what each of the 5 states (NC, NM, KY, VA, and MN) are in for. All this just a few days before the massive HR5 (Student Success Act) is supposed to be voted on. I must point out, this is an extremely detailed article. Much information the states not chosen need to use as tools. 

In Case You Missed It:

 Here’s the published article link from a couple of days ago: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/breaking-news-feds-re-up-5-states-for-esea-waivers/

The Technical Details:

Knowing there are 5 states which were chosen because of their diligence in jumping through the CCSS laden hoops, is certainly bad enough. However, just WHAT did each of the states promise the feds in order to be chosen? Below you’ll see NC’s promises (click to enlarge it).


ncreup
Technical Detail #1: December 2014 is when the ball got rolling on this ‘request’. To be precise, using the NC DPI (North Carolina Dept. of Public Instruction) information, Dec. 18th, 2014. Notice was posted on the NC Public Schools Public Comments page, as well as sent on to principals, teachers, education partners, and others.

Technical Detail #2: January 2015’s meeting is where the information from previous ESEA face-to-face meetings of Title One COPs (Committee of Practitioners) was taken into consideration for the ‘request to renew’ ESEA/NCLB waivers. Not surprisingly, the vote was unanimous to proceed with renewing NC’s commitment to CCSS/CTE/CCR.

Techncial Detail #3: Of all the information spread across NC to announce public comment was needed (Dec. 2014) only 3 responses were received! One disgusted assistant principal over high-stakes assessments and 2 from a superintendent’s office questioning the process wasn’t including enough people.

Technical Detail #4: At  several educational meetings spread out across the state and involving all sort of ‘stakeholders’, ‘various aspects of renewal’ were discussed. One NC State Board of meeting (12/4/14); one NC Superintendent’s Quarterly meeting (12/5/14); one Northwest (NC) Principals’ Advisory Council meeting (12/9/14); one AIG(Academically and/or Gifted Intelligence) Regional Leadership meeting (involved school districts leaders from all 8 regions of the SBE {meaning NC’s State Board of Education}. This meeting was held 12/16 and 17/14; one P-20W(Preschool to Grade 20/ Workforce) Policy Council  meeting on 1/6/15 {the Council contains the following members: early education, K-12 education, higher education institutions {meaning community colleges/universities}, independent colleges/universities, AND the NC Dept. of Commerce}; another Title One COPs meeting (1/12/15); one conference call meeting with two members of the NC Governor’s Education staff (1/12/15); one meeting with several members of the Executive Committee of the NCSSA (NC School Superintendent’s Association) held 1/13/15; another meeting of the Northwest PAC (see above), 1/14/15; and one meeting between 20 school superintendents with the Executive Director of the NCSSA (see above) at the Next Generation Superintendent Development Program, held 1/15/15. The feedback from all these meetings helped shape the ‘request’ NC submitted to renew the ESEA/NCLB waivers. More assessments are in store for NC students, or so it appears. (you’ll need to see page 64 of the pdf)

Technical Detail #5: Should any new legislation impact the conditions of the renewal ESEA/NCLB waivers, we’re not to worry, the U.S. Dept. of Education has a process for that.

Technical Detail #6: To be thoroughly compliant with the ESEA/NCLB renewal request, NC granted its SPAC (Superintendent’s Parent Council) the opportunity for feedback, 1/22/15. (The SPAC was formed in 2013 as a sort of watchdog group) The only discussion or feedback was the topic of schools receiving letter grades (A-F) and if this is a federal condition or state led. According to the application request, staff members clarified it was a state requirement.

Technical Detail #7: The NCAE (NC Association of Educators) met to discuss the renewal request and (no surprise here) in full support. (*Note: you can see that letter in one of the attachments to the renewal request NC submitted, in the pdf provided)

The ‘smoking gun’ in all this?  NC requested the renewal in exchange for continued rigor!

10933942_887983361253004_5066153019114171554_n

To see the entire multi-page renewal request (where you can access all kinds of information connected to NC’s Educational realm): nc3reqatt32015

NC Related sites: The NW NC Regional ESA: http://www.nwresa.org/NWRESA_News%202014-15.htm
The NC AIG: http://ncaig.ncdpi.wikispaces.net/Home
The NC P20W Council: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/data/ncp-20w/

Up Next: MN

Why would I go here, after all the buzz is MN doesn’t have CCSS. Well, that’s not exactly true. According to one of my warrior followers, I’ve been told what really is happening there. CCSS is in the state, just not like it is in the others (gee, didn’t TX and VA have similar ‘songs’?) Let’s also keep in mind the U.S. Dept. of Ed picked these 5 states due to their exemplary work in College/Career Readiness, etc. Back to my warrior’s words about CC in MN, “We are the ONLY state that has never had any hearing on CC. We can’t get our Dems or Repubs to talk about it openly/ Our legislators need a wake up call/We’ve (those opposed to CCSS) have been working hard.” My friend went on to share that while the exchanges thus far between citizens/legislature have been friendly, there’s been zero action. So, with that let’s see the Technical Details to their ESEA/NCLB ‘request’:

Technical Detail #1: This 2015 ESEA/NCLB waiver is considered a progress step in the state’s 7 pronged plan. While you can see the 7 points in the entire document, it’s the group of folks which were involved in making this request from the U. S. Dept. of Ed:

Look at the P3s! (Public, private partnerships)
Look at the P3s! (Public, private partnerships)

Technical Detail #1 for MN: all that college/career readiness will be the line in the sand for which all connected accountabality to proceed. (see page 19)

Technical Detail #2 for MN: federal funds via the ESEA/NCLB means more access to data collection. (see page 19)

Technical Detail #3 for MN: The acceptance of CCR standards (in at least ELA or Math) is clearly marked. (see page 21)

Technical Detail #4 for MN: The academic standards for Math are on the bubble for being updated. Watch to see how CCSS is (or isn’t) factored in. (see page 23)

Technical Detail #5 for MN: Working with the ADP Alignment Institutes, MN’s P-16 system for prepping students for work ready or college attendance. (see page 24)

Technical Detail #6 for MN: CCR (College/Career Readiness) Standards were created in MN (see page 24)

Technical Detail #7 for MN: MN’s a member of a global group, WIDA (World-Class Instructional and Assessments). See page 25.

To see MN’s entire waiver: mnreq32015 (1)
To learn more about ADP Institutes (American Diploma Project): http://www.achieve.org/adp-network
To see MN’s P20 (preschool to grade 20) efforts, which encompass P16 work, too: http://www.mnp20.org/

Then, There’s VA:

Here’s another state that has been reported as not having CCSS/CCR/CTE. However, look at the screen shot of their recently approved renewal request:

College/career readiness in VA. Tell me that's not CCSS.
College/career readiness in VA. Tell me that’s not CCSS.

The Technical Details:

Technical Detail #1 for VA: Their revisions for ESEA/NCLB waivers began back in 2013. Then, 2014 brought an extension of the waivers. In the first 3 months of 2015, VA sought out to renew their waivers.

Technical Detail #2 for VA: College/Career Readiness and Career Tech Ed have been in place in VA since the early 80s; however when any state or school receives Perkins Funding in these modern times, you’re getting funding that aligns you to CCSS’ version. Same can be said for IDEA funding, Titles 1, 1b, 4, 9, and any other one. One quick look at VA’s CTE page and you’ll see the 16 Career Clusters.

Technical Detail #3 for VA: Bring on the 21st Century Community Learning Centers! (Condition #10 on page 5)

Technical Detail #4 for VA: “Next Generation Assessments”, page 17

Technical Detail #5 for VA: Step up the data mining, page 17

Technical Detail #6 for VA: All the College Board, ACT, Inc., IB, AP, early college strappings the rest of America is experiencing, VA is embracing or about to. See pages 19-51.

VA’s Smoking Gun? By accepting renewed waivers and the alignment that goes with it the ‘implementation’ factor grows!

To see VA’s full ESEA/NCLB document: va4req32015

To see VA’s CTE website: http://www.cteresource.org/about/ (*Note: be sure to see the brightly colored CTE logos at the bottom right. If you’ve followed my blog long, you’ll recognize these as CCSS aligned all the way)

To see VA’s Student Longitudinal Data Mining: http://research.schev.edu/apps/info/Articles.The-Virginia-Longitudinal-Data-System.ashx

Heads Up, KY!:

It’s widely known that KY was the first state saddled with CCSS. So, why are the folks in charge of education going back for more?!

Technical Detail #1 for KY: In 2014, those in charge looked at the previous 3 years data to see where extension of the ESEA/NCLB needed to continue ‘validity, reliability, and fairness’. (see page 16)

Technical Detail #2 for KY: After announcing plans for renewal went state-wide, only 390 responses were recorded. (see page 25)

Technical Detail #3 for KY: ‘UnBridled Learning’ will continue on and make more changes via the waiver.

http://education.ky.gov/comm/ul/Pages/default.aspx
http://education.ky.gov/comm/ul/Pages/default.aspx

Technical Detail #4 for KY: The entire goal for the 2015 approved waiver from KY is ‘career/college ready for ALL students’. The graphic on page 33 explains in much better than I can.

To see KY’s entire waiver request (which is extremely worthy as an anti CCSS tool): ky3req32015

New Mexico!:

The final state is New Mexico. Oddly enough, NM hasn’t updated their ESEA/NCLB waiver request since 2011.

Technical Detail #1 for NM: In the waiver request an acknowledgement to a private philanthropic foundation in helping fund the implementation of CCSS (see page 28) with a grant to the Public Education Dept. of NM is made.

Technical Detail #2 for NM: Using the letter grades to reward or punish entire schools (see page 18 for a short description).

Technical Detail #3 for NM: Full implementation means full CCSS assessment for all students. (see page 20)

Technical Detail #4 for NM: see the legislative moves made to entrench CCSS/CTE/CCR:

nmwaive

To see NM’s full waiver request: nmreq32015
To see NM’s PED: http://ped.state.nm.us/ped/index.html (*Note: the smiling face of the official you see was at one time an underling for Jeb Bush)

Closing:

While this has been a long article, I hope you’ve been able to see the similarities from each of the 5, after all, they were chosen as leaders. You need to know (if you haven’t read each of their waiver requests), that the number 1 priority was College/Career Readiness. Each state also pledged to up the ante for 21st Century Community Learning Centers. All of them agreed to more AP courses, more College Board, and more indoctrination!

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.

Sic’ ‘Em Saturday: “Springboarding” into the CCSS/AP Pool

"Srpingboard" is a product line by "College Board" said to prepare students for Advance Placement classes. Guess, what, Common Core aligned!
“Srpingboard” is a product line by “College Board” said to prepare students for Advance Placement classes. Guess, what, Common Core aligned!

Have you heard of “Springboard”?

According to the ‘College Board’s’ website, the product line is a foundation. The description also goes on to tell you how great it, how it’s been proven, and so on. (http://professionals.collegeboard.com/k-12/prepare/springboard) What’s interesting is that to find out about Springboard, you have to go the site’s ‘K-12 Services’. Oh, gee, thanks College Board, for considering willfully aligning our students to CCSS as a service! Next thing you know, you’ll be telling us there are no sharp rocks in the picture above, as a service!

What the product line does:

Targets 6th-12th graders with customized content full of rigor, performance based assessments and all professional developed. Sounds great, right?  Here’s a link address for a video of one of the schools used as a testing site. There are a total of 22 schools in a select number of states. http://media.collegeboard.com/digitalServices/video_audio/springboard/qcsd-qchs-video.mp4

You jumping in? We did! The ‘water’s fine’!

So far, 8 states have adopted Springboard:  CA, GA, TN, FL, NM, UT, OR, and TX. From what I can gather, member states get free workshops, especially during the first year of a mutli-year implementation process. I picked a state to see just what else is in store for them, here’s Georgia’s Teacher workshop: “introduces the key components of the SpringBoard framework, emphasizing rigorous instruction, alignment to the Common Core, formative and summative assessments, and other challenges facing Georgia educators. Teachers learn how to use SpringBoard’s digital and print components to differentiate instruction, ensuring all students are engaged in education that leads to college and career readiness.” For the school districts: “SpringBoard coaches collaborate with district leaders in partnerships that grow stronger every year. They work together to design and implement a program of professional development that meets the needs of each school and evolves as those needs change.” This is just the first year, the second year is building expertise and covers even more implementation of the standards. The third year is for capacity building, after all, everybody’s gotta jump in at some point.

Learning Walks:
Another partnership Springboard offers the states, is called “Learning Walks“. If you’ve not heard of these they are quite something. While the state I live in hasn’t adopted Springboard, they DO use it in some of the schools. However, the state does use Learning Walks. I’m including the pdf file from one of the public schools: Learning_Walks_Overview

“Using the Learning Walk system (handhelds, laptops, or paper forms), “walkers” collect specific data that provides a series of snapshots of the teaching and learning process. Learning Walks are brief, often lasting no more than four minutes. The focus of a Learning Walk is on student work and teacher responses in the context of teaching and learning. Over time, the observer collects data on five specific components supported by research related to student learning. This information provides the walker with the opportunity to pose questions based on trend data to engage the teacher, PLC team, or entire faculty in thinking about beliefs, goals, practices, and instructional decision making. Promoting reflective practice will result in several benefits for all educators: • building trust in the reflective practice process itself; • inspiring teacher-driven research through the self-reflection focus; • informing dialogue about teaching and learning between the walker and teacher; • expanding capacity for analyzing thoughts, actions, beliefs, and emotions; • enhancing dialogue about teaching and learning within a professional learning community; • fostering self-monitoring of professional growth; and, • creating a school-wide climate of inquiry and research. In the formative performance appraisal process, observers use the Learning Walk model to collect observation data as a basis for posing periodic reflective questions as well as for sharing trend data periodically.” The five focus areas? Curriculum, lessons, students, work, and the quality framework. You’ll be interested to know that the opportunity for EVEN more data collection is available. The goal behind this particular county’s schools?  “All ________ County Public Schools students will graduate having actively mastered the lifelong-learning skills they need to succeed as 21st century learners, workers and citizens.” Of the ‘lifelong competencies, not one was based on specific subjects. they do contain a long, lofty list of character attributes. Collect and organizing data, think critically, be ethical, be healthy, communicate clearly, be civic minded among others.

How ‘Springboard’ is aligned to CCSS:

You will need to enlarge the picture, but it’s worth a 1,000 words.

Currently, English and Math are the two "Springboard" subjects.
Currently, English and Math are the two “Springboard” subjects.

You’ll want to read some of the texts, books, novels used in the program, among them, Fahrenheit 451, Pygmalion and others you will find interesting. Also included is a Socratic seminar (this should be interesting as well, considering only a few days ago I wrote and shared with you the before/after treatment of Socrates/Plato) Here’s the link to see the rest of what’s in store for your students.

http://media.collegeboard.com/digitalServices/pdf/springboard/springboard-publishers-criteria-english-language-arts-146-583.pdf

I can tell you the Springboard Student textbook I have (part of my CCSS evidence collection), is directed to “All About Me”, the changes I’m facing, the changes in my perception, my world, measuring all those changes. If I were you, I’d want to sit in on a class or two with this subject matter.

What you can do:

1) If offered a choice for your student to have another English/Math class, take the non Springboard one. IF there’s no other choice, test the waters..ask to see the teacher’s guide, look at your student’s book. The website for Springboard has samples, so be sure to access those, print them out and take to your school board. Advance Placement courses are all being run by College Board, which means they are under David Coleman’s direction! You may know how the AP U.S. History has been rewritten, there are other courses that will also be rewritten in similar fashion.

2) Inform other families who have students using Springboard! Share this post, resources. Spread the word. Be willing to accompany those conducting “Learning Walks”. Find out how far the data sharing goes. Inform those in charge you will not allow your student to participate. Remember, exercising your rights as an informed parent is making a statement. It is NOT asking permission. You do not need the school’s permission to do what’s best for your student/child.

3) Be a step ahead of your students. Since you may be able to get the reading list (it can’t hurt to ask the teacher), get the book from the library, borrow it from a neighbor, buy it in a store, etc. Use family time to discuss what the actual vernacular is and contrast to the aligned assignment. If you would like other suggestions for how to counter English assignments with non CC aligned activities, leave me a comment with what you are looking for. I can help!

4) Participate, if you can, in the upcoming “College Board” Forum. They’ll be having a grand time discussing more alignments, more rigor, how the SAT alignment is progressing and more! The Forum is in CA, and is to be held 10/27-29, 2014. (details: http://forum.collegeboard.org/) Can’t make it to CA? There’s a Twitter handle already set up, you can follow it, #CBForum14 If you are interested, be sure to look at the extensive list of colleges who will be participating in the College Fair (a portion of the Forum). I spied several public AND private colleges. Hmmm..makes you want to see if all of them are CCSS aligned as well.

5) Draw up a petition to present to your school board that expresses the parents/students wishes to NOT use Springboard, College Board or AP classes! Write your legislators urging them to STOP their paid support of College Board CCSS aligned products. Help stop the misconception so prevalent..that all with CCSS aligned materials is a calm pool of delight. Stir up the water, folks!

Fib-o-Meter Friday: More CC aligned Superintendents?!

It's Friday, you know what that means! Time to measure what's truth, what's fallacy/fib or what's in between.
It’s Friday, you know what that means! Time to measure what’s truth, what’s fallacy/fib or what’s in between.

Last week, I put 3 state superintendents through the “Fib-o-Meter” to see where they landed with Common Core Standards. I had at least 4 requests for other state supers to be ‘put to the test’. So, here they are in alphabetical order per state: CA, NV, NJ, and NM.

California’s State Superintendent, Tom Torlakson: 

Mr. Torlakson didn’t have many written statements that I could find, BUT, he does like the video channel YouTube. Here’s a meeting he was featured in, from 07/14, “Reports from the Field”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQFsWiCxs1w      Mr. Torlakson even acknowledges a member of the audience in helping champion this message.

“Bottom-up, not top-down”   Well, let’s see how bottom up translates on the “FoM”. ‘Neutral leaning toward Total Fallacy’ for this statement, why?! The RttT California application clearly lays out the state level commitment and support BUT it is conditional! See this excerpt from the Pioneer Institute which looked at CA’s application, “The study(Accountability Works) uses California, whose current (at that time, 2012)academic standards are among the nation’s best but has adopted Common Core, as an example. AccountabilityWorks estimates the Golden State will incur additional costs of over $1 billion for technology and support, $606 million for professional development and $374 million for textbooks and materials over seven years. The additional costs would exacerbate California’s recent budget woes, which have been even worse than what most other states have endured. (source: http://pioneerinstitute.org/education/study-estimates-cost-of-transition-to-national-education-standards-at-16-billion/, dated 02/12) Here’s what the CA RttT application stated:  “California will strengthen its already high standards by adopting a set of common core standards and by working with one or more consortium of states to develop aligned assessments in mathematics and reading/language arts. This work will result in better data on annual student growth, including subgroup student achievement data, which will allow national comparisons, and will facilitate the identification and sharing of successful practices across the nation. The State has a well-established system for the development of curriculum frameworks and the adoption of aligned instructional materials, and will support the transition to new standards by accelerating the refinement of those frameworks and instructional material. The State will also invest in aligned interim assessments as a part of its instructional materials adoption process, to develop an item bank for formative assessments upon which LEAs can draw, and to support related professional development to help build the capacity to use data at the classroom and school levels. ” Further on, there’s this: “To date 804 LEAs representing 56 percent of the State’s schools and 3.6 million students (61 percent of whom are living in poverty) have signed MOUs committing to action in all parts of each of the reform areas …. and performance measures should we succeed in receiving a RTTT grant.” Link to the CA Race/Top Application: ( http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/phase1-applications/california.pdf) Before we move on, STEM is another kingpin to adhering to CCSS & California committed to that back in 2008 via CA’s STEM Collaborative Action Plan. Don’t get how STEM and CCSS are connected? Read my post “PCAST, STEM and Common Core”. This also will make the ‘bottom-up, not top-down’, ‘Total Fallacy’.

Another comment Mr. Torlakson made, “We have marketing to do.” Yes, as far as promoting the  Common Core, I say he’s truthful on that one. (‘Total Truth’ is answer) HOWEVER, that, again is where the truth ends. Between his remarks and a ‘nifty’ video produced by pro CC supporters in CA, here some of the fallacies passed off as ‘truth’.

“Computers are what will improve education.” (Mr. Torlakson)

‘No child left offline’. (Mr. Torlakson)

“We don’t know what the future holds, but we’ll be ready.” (Pro groups)

‘Critical thinkers solve problems on their own, they can work in teams.’ (Pro groups)

“Life is not a multiple choice test.” (Mr. Torlakson)

‘Common Core is a practical, step by step timely process.’ (Mr. Torlakson)

Sources: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fgHAvO9AGI (the Pro groups’ production) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5cYubdeh8U (Mr. Torlakson in 2013)

Nevada’s Dale A. R. Erquiaga:

This top officer was appointed back in 2013 after a legal provision was made to allow the Governor to appoint someone (2011). Mr. Erquiaga’s background is quite varied in education. His involvement with the “Get Consensus”educational consulting firm is what got my interest the most. However, since his appointment came AFTER the fact that NV ‘adopted’ the CCSS, let’s see the others involved in saddling NV with Common Core, back in October of 2010. (Standards became known as “Nevada Academic Content Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics”) Keith Rheault 2004-12, then there was James Guthrie from 2012 to 2013, followed by Rorie Fitzpatrick. Mrs. Fitzpatrick was only in office from March to August. (interestingly enough she now heads a CCSS policy research group). From a newspaper article about Mr. Rheault stated ‘he got the state as far as the door, then left.’ ( http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/education/retiring-leader-state-schools-hopeful-about-futureI did find this interesting article about Nevada & the Common Core where is seems someone did tell some tall tales! (seehttp://truthinamericaneducation.com/common-core-state-standards/common-core-state-standards-not-nevadas-creation/)

Getting back to Mr. Erquiaga, I found some things to lead me to believe his support for CCSS is big.  Digital Learning Now!(which according to their 2013 report card, all content is Common Core aligned)He really is big on data. He helps promote the Nevada Ready! (see: http://coretaskproject.com/category/nevada-ready/) Then, fro the radio interview: http://www.knpr.org/son/archive/detail2.cfm?SegmentID=11106), here are his ‘Total Fallacies” 

“This is a proxy (political) fight.”

“Assessments are the only way we’ll know CCSS is successful.”

The obligatory, ‘more rigorous, much deeper’, comments we know.

Next up, New Jersey!

Oddly enough, this was the only Northeastern state I was asked to look into. Well, being a diligent researcher, here’s what I found. Mr. David C. Hespe is the Acting Commissioner of Education for NJ. He was appointed earlier this year, but it is his 4th time as the head of public education in the state. He returned to the office to help students and to oversee the REST of CCSS. Now, what makes NJ a bit different in this is the words used to describe their Standards. Huh?! Back in 1996, the State Board of Education adopted “Core Curriculum Content Standards”. Not to be confused with Common Core State Standards. However, it can indeed get a bit confusing, especially considering some states are using CCSS, but also using different names to identify it. Now, all this is to say, that in August of 2014, the NJ BofE began a 5 year review of the Tech Life/21st Century Career Curriculum Standards. (more confusion, if you aren’t careful). From the website:

(http://www.state.nj.us/education/modelcurriculum/) Model Common Core Curriculum is for every 5 weeks of lessons, you get 2 weeks assessment/enrichment. UGH! Since Mr. Hespe was so up front about his support of the Standards, I thought you’d have ‘fun’ putting parents, teachers and others through the ‘Fib-o-Meter’ when you watch this video (frankly, there are so many ‘Total Fallacies’ it might break the FoM if it were a real scale) Link: http://www.state.nj.us/education/sca/video/ So many fallacies, I actually gave up trying to count them! (listen out for the comment that one mom makes about CC being so good she may not have to pay for college remediation classes)

Lastly, New Mexico’s Hanna Skandera:

In office since 2011, Ms. Skandera is the most controversial of the Superintendents featured today. Why? She’s been serving NM since 2011, but has yet to be 100% confirmed by the state level legislative body. The Governor of NM did appoint this position, but the Senate of NM must confirm the appointment. To date, that has yet to happen from what I could find. (see this You Tube clip where she’ll tell you she ‘committed’ 7 seven times in under 3 minutes:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XY9CDnCCd3U&list=UUwhalYA_26ngawjl47lBCdw

Heartland Institute has a great article about Common Core, PARCC(NV was featured in the article:(http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2014/01/27/feds-spend-millions-promote-common-core)

One of the statements Ms. Skandera made in an interview featured here:   (http://watchdog.org/21316/nm-core-beliefs-nm-education-chief-defends-common-core/)  said, ““We’re not delivering on the promise of, ‘are you ready?’ We know half of our kids are not on grade level. So (Common Core) is an important step to say, let’s make sure we have high standards.” On the “Fib-o-Meter”, this comment, while some bit of truth is present, would be “Total Fallacy” because  if you already know your state is not making it, why not use the money for shaping up what you’ve got instead of ‘buying’ new?!

In this August 2011 TV interview, Ms. Skandera rates “Total Fallacy” on several statements. Before I get to those, however, notice when she is speaking, how many times she repeats key points, and the body language she displays. Link to TV interview: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYaOJiqFL4g)

“Standards established by NM for NM, we own them.”

“Tests developed by NM then go elsewhere.”

“Money attracts teachers, we can use to even attract those who aren’t teachers.”

“Actually, teaching is the only profession where effectiveness is not acknowledged.”

Now, I really have to admit that in the state of NM, Ms. Skandera is not alone in her devotion to the CC. The City of Albuquerque has received Gates Foundation money in relation to Common Core State Standards (see: http://honestpracticum.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/How-Bill-Gates-Bought-the-Common-Core-image1.jpg). If you look hard enough, you can find out how Albuquerque has been used as a model for the ACT WorkKeys Assessment(but that’s another post for another time) Lastly, Ms. Skandera was the keynote speaker at the following meeting where undying support for CCSS was freely shared: http://lulac.org/news/pr/lulac-and-new-mexico-governor-susana-martinez-work-together-to-promote-common-core-state-standards/

So, if YOU have a state superintendent you’d like to see how their statements, activities fare on the “Fib-o-Meter”, be sure to leave me a comment. If you have any links, articles, etc. that would help in my research, I’d love that! Thanks!