Tag Archives: public schools

Tech Thursday: Online Learning for Everything?

Warriors Against the Core, We know there are all kinds of great ways to teach and to learn. Common Core has ruined this in SO many ways. With the push for digital this, digital that, on-line courses, and all the other resources available via the computer it can be SO confusing to know which are CCSS aligned and which are not. While the question I’ve posed to you in the title is rhetorical, we still should see what are some of the latest offerings out there. Why? To help steer clear of them, to inform others who might need to know, and to see what pro CCSS organizations are behind them.

 

English Language Learners:

As an avid education researcher, I get all kinds of notices about educational products which are new. One such recent announcement was a way to help those learning the English language with a new ” innovative digital ELL curriculum designed to help close the achievement gap.” The goal? Improved student outcomes. According to the sales pitch the product was to ‘boost performances’ of those ELL students. Shameful..we boost the performance of our cars. In my researched opinion (and personal experience as an educator) we shouldn’t be teaching to ‘boost performance’ of our students. We should be seeing educational resources which ‘encourage and help our students to LEARN’ not to ‘perform’! The on-line lessons are provided by Middlebury Interactive Languages. However, MIL worked in tandem with ‘We Are Teachers’.  MiL (Middlebury Interactive Languages has courses for K-12 students in all school choices, including homeschooling). If you’re curious about the CCSS Machine’s propaganda, don’t be, it is there plain as day. Here is an excerpt from the website, “Middlebury Interactive Languages is the academic leader in digital language learning for K-12 students. We provide access to superior world language and English Language Learner curriculum solutions that prepare students with the skills and cultural understanding to compete in the 21st Century global marketplace.” So, what company or organization is behind MIL? Middlebury College! What is also interesting is that most of the board managers have had some tie (at one time or another with K12, Inc. K12, Inc. has ties to CCSS, as well.) We can come back to them in a minute or two. If you look at MIL’s education partners, you will see quite a few members of the CCSS Machine. See them: http://www.middleburyinteractive.com/about/partners

K12, Inc. I previously showed you their CCSS ties in two articles. One ties them to the NASBE (National Assoc. of State Boards of Education). See: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/02/14/sic-em-saturday-do-you-know-nasbe/
The next one showed you how this on-line school fared with North Carolina. (hint: it wasn’t nice) See: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/02/23/monday-musings-two-wrongs-no-right/

We Are Teachers, (WAT) This group has a ton of resources available for anyone who is on the internet. When I found it I could get anything from lessons, to free printables, and free recipes. When I looked closer, I saw I could get all the STEM stuff I wanted, as well as PD, Professional Development. As you know, my research has proven just how twisted the ties between STEM and CCSS are. But back to the website, it seemed everything was easy to find EXCEPT who runs WAT. We Are Teachers is a LLC (Limited Liability Corporation) based in TX. It appears that all kinds of educational information is available for anyone on-line. See their terms of use policies, http://www.weareteachers.com/homepage/terms-of-use
The concern is, with this type of information sharing can have you come face to face with CCSS, STEM, or who knows what else? The screen shot below is from the WAT ‘Assessment’ section of the website.
WATstuff

 


Closing:

My fellow warriors, what do you think about all this? An on-line educational company so bad they were at once run out of a state, only to at a later day, be allowed?! Educational services based out of a college that has been around for years, which not only offers its CCSS aligned materials to public students, but extends them to those who are homeschooled?! A LLC where teachers are encouraged to share, but has a nebulous side to it?! Not to mention STEM?! Why, oh why, must everything  connected to education seem to always come back to the CCSS Machine?! I am so beyond mad over the fact that the CCSS Machine has slicked up its offerings to include any student or teacher in or outside of the traditional public schools!

What is a take-away from this article which I most hope you will share with others? If you must choose on-line for all your student’s needs, SNOOP! Be nosy, ask questions about what group created the educational content. Has the curricula been vetted properly? Bottom line: if something does not appear to be trustworthy, walk away! If it sounds too good, check it out anyway! We say in the anti CC warrior conversations that ‘we will not conform’. If we really mean those words, we MUST investigate everything! When we find ANYTHING connected to the agenda of the CCSS Machine, we MUST expose it! Warriors, let’s learn a valuable lesson from our proCCSS fellows about what NOT to do when it comes to education.

It can best be summed up in an old saying.  ‘Ride the fence too long, you find splinters in your bottom’.

fencemessage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.