Tag Archives: Race to the Top

FOM Friday: 2015 Fed Ed Budget

**Important note: As of this post, this delves into  the President’s education budget NOT the Congressional one where reports have stated no Race to the Top or little for Common Core. We need to know what this report shares as there is SO much more to consider. As with anything in the fed ed reform, there’s so much being hidden in plain sight. We need to be pro-active in our watch of ALL of the federal levels. Pro CCSS groups are latching on to the President’s budget and rejoicing at the information below. All the more reason for anti CCSS groups to be alert!

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.

It’s almost the end of the year, many are turning their attention to the next round of legislative events. Common Core Standards and the agenda therein cannot survive without money. So, today’s Fib-o-Meter Friday post is a special look at just how Washington, D.C. plans to use our tax dollars to fund illegal standards, continue to grease the wheels of the CCSS Machine, and keep education a mess.

First up, The Fed Ed Budget Comments: 

Website to access the entire budget/comments, http://www.ed.gov/budget15

The first quote we’ll look at through the Fib-o-Meter is this one, “America’s public schools strive to offer a path to the middle class for children from hard-working families in every community, particularly those living in poverty. Yet too many students lack access to the education and supports that make the journey to the middle class possible. The Obama administration is committed to ensuring equity of opportunity for every child.”

We’re going to only focus on the bold words to fit through the Fib-o-Meter. How is the government defining ‘middle class’? Logic would suggest you consider what the U.S. Census Bureau’s definition is. After all, if anyone has statistics on Americans, it’s them. However, according to the CB’s website they do NOT have an official definition!! “The Census Bureau does not have an official definition of the “middle class,” but it does derive several measures related to the distribution of income and income inequality.” (see the entire way they do derive income inequality..which does measure lower and upper percentages: 

http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/data/inequality/middleclass.htmlOkay, so since the Census doesn’t have an official definition, which government entity does?! The U.S. Department of Commerce, that’s which one. According to the 2010 “Middle Class in America” publication, ‘One of the hallmarks of American society has been the common desire among families of all backgrounds for economic security and a better life for their children. Unfortunately, many families are not able to afford the sort of expenditures that we lay out in this report. If American families are to realize their middle class dreams, the nation must have a healthy economy, a responsible private sector that offers decent jobs with benefits, and an effective public sector that provides high quality schools for all children.’ I’ve provided the entire report for you as you’ll need to see for which task force the entire report was created for. Middle Class Report It’s the Vice President’s ‘Task Force on Middle Class’..the same Task Force that the Workforce education is geared for…meaning those Career Pathways, Workforce Data Initiative, Common Core aligned courses that encompass Career Tech Ed, and so on. UGH!! Totally malarky! ‘Total Fallacy’, you’ve based one set of misinformation resources on top of out and out illegally formed Standards supported by Federal overreach!

“Too many students lack access to education”. Really? Yep..especially when your source is the U. S. Dept. of Ed (hardly objective on the subject)! In March 2014, “The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released today the first comprehensive look at civil rights data from every public school in the country in nearly 15 years.”  Don’t fret, I’ll include the full press release. You’ll definitely want it, too. Key findings? Not enough preschool, not enough school counselor access, etc. Hmmm, have you noticed the big push lately for MORE fed led ed preK? Do you remember the post I wrote revealing how school counselors were being forced to align to CCSS? Not to be pithy here, but the public education system has enough now and it’s not working. How is MORE going to help? UGH! More fibs! More fallacies! Fib-o-Meter rating for this one: ‘Total Fallacy’ (press release: http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/expansive-survey-americas-public-schools-reveals-troubling-racial-disparities)

“Equity of opportunity for every child”. Okay, can someone please remind the rest of the nation that opportunity is ALWAYS available to each and every person who desires to utilize it. We shouldn’t be ‘forcing the deck’ when it comes to education. Of course, when your agenda is to have a trained workforce you have to force the deck. However, we need to find the Federal resource to see what insight it can help us with. So, we turn to the ‘Equity and Excellence Commission’, a federal advisory committee chartered by Congress. Their 2011 report to Sec. Duncan at the U. S. Dept. of Ed laid out 5 prongs that would ensure equity (which literally means the ‘quality of being fair/impartial’ and/or ‘the value of shares’ in something) Those 5 prongs (you’ve heard them all by now) more early childhood ed, more money for schools, having teachers/principals/curricula all on the same page, offering more non-school services, and more accountability. See the Commission’s website, (http://www.foreachandeverychild.org/The_Report.html) Again, ‘Fallacy’ from the Fib-o-Meter is the rating. You can’t get truth when you keep using the same tainted, subjective information!

Read on to find where the bucks stop and the fallacies continue in our educational system.
Read on to find where the bucks stop and the fallacies continue in our educational system.

The Bucks:

So just HOW many dollars, bucks, smackeroos have been laid out for education in America for 2015’s budget? Let’s find out. “The Administration is requesting $68.6 billion in discretionary appropriations for the Department of Education in 2015, an increase of $1.3 billion, or 1.9 percent, more than the 2014 level and almost $3 billion more than in 2013.” There are to be some mandatory programs this money funds as well as some programs that could be used. Remember those 5 prongs the Equity Commission gave? Guess what?! Here’s the note included in the Budget, “The 2015 Budget request for the Department focuses on six priorities: (1) increasing equity and opportunity for all students, (2) strengthening support for teachers and school leaders; (3) expanding high-quality preschool programs; (4) affordability and quality in post-secondary education; (5) promoting educational innovation and improvement; and (6) improving school
safety and climate.” How that equity is to be achieved? “The Administration’s signature reform measures, including RTT and ESEA Flexibility, advance this goal through supporting State and local efforts in the implementation of college- and career ready (CCR) standards and aligned assessments, rigorous accountability systems intended to help close achievement gaps and turn around our lowest-performing schools, and new teacher and leader evaluations.”

Where our taxes are going to help support the CCSS Machine:
$300 million for a new Race to the Top (student longitudinal data system on a state-wide platform); $14.4 billion for Title One College/Career Readiness; $1.1 billion for those 21st Century Community Learning Centers (think cradle to grave agenda); $100 million for “Promise Neighborhoods” (cradle to career initiative); $70 million for Statewide Longitudinal Student Data System; $200 million for ConnectED (trains teachers to be CCSS and college/career readiness aligned, assessments, digital aspects, and more in the classroom); $5 billion for incentives (RESPECT) teachers who’ve completed College/Career Readiness training, building like-minded network; $1.3 billion in mandatory preK for everyone; $165 million for “Investment in Innovation” (i3) which will use a best-practices approach to education while affording the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Education a whopping $49.5 million to transform technology; $150 million to redesign high schools so they become college/career ready centers; $170 million for STEM revitalizing (of that, $110 million goes to LEAs to create a STEM network; $40 million to create a teacher STEM Pathway, $20 million to create a National STEM Teacher Corps; $1.1 billion to reauthorize the Perkins Act (means even more Career Tech Ed that’s aligned to CCSS). See the entire Summary: http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/budget15/summary/15summary.pdf

Since we know that Common Core encompasses Career Tech Education, Workforce, and other tentacles, we’ll need to look at more of the 2015 Federal Budget sections. It is my goal to address each of these in separate posts for clarity purposes. I would suggest you use each as you see applicable with your state and the battle against Common Core.

Advertisements

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.

Monday Musings: If I Were on a Repeal Common Core Committee

Hey, I would be a great team member!
Hey, I would be a great team member!

If you’ve been following the news in NC, you are aware we have a “Review Committee” currently studying the Common Core Standards. IF you’ve not been following the NC events, you should..opportunities to hold those in charge accountable for ridding us of the CCSS are abundant.

Quick review:

First up, the way in which NC received Common Core, was, without a single legislative voice. Then, when enough stink was raised, those in charge, got very busy, created legislation and held hearings. Only 1, on March 20, 2014, had opportunities for NC citizens to speak in support of the Standards OR speak out against the Standards. Of the 60 speakers, I was the first one to say “I’m against the Common Core Standards“. Happily, that day, there were more of us AGAINST the CCSS than supporting them.

Hopeful, I even publicly stated that those in charge seeking knowledge, advice, or research could seriously consider someone like me! After all, I’ve been following the push for nationalized standards in America since 2009. I have a ‘few’ files I could share, folks.  But..as the media will tell us a committee was, indeed formed. How it was formed is an embarrassment to the taxpayers and an affront to our legal system.

How so? The law signed stated exactly who was to be on the Repeal (not Review) committee. The members were to be a mix of not only professional educators BUT early childhood experts AND parents AND concerned citizens (only educators are on the committee). It also stated deadlines (totally blown off), meeting locations (not to include the DPI, but yet, oddly enough, the first meeting was held in a tiny room of the DPI). The DPI wasn’t to be involved for transparency, accountability, and frankly, protective reasons. Yet, they are doing their best to bully the system and have their way. The reason a cross section of the population was to be assigned was to have as much objectivity as possible. I invite you to go look up each of the members and find out how many are CCSS disciples. What a sham for our students.

Now, if only they’d taken me up on my offer:

You might be reading this and thinking I’m bitter..hardly, while largely disappointed I didn’t get chosen to serve on the Repeal Committee, I have been better able to be a watchdog, to continue my researching into all the cracks, crevices, and wormholes the CCSS machine has insured it’s in here in NC. I’ve also been able to help folks nationwide. I’ve been saved from the ‘stacked deck’ mentality; spared the fits of unkind words, no lady should utter.

I am not pleasantly surprised by the unfairness it appears is happening. I’m most troubled that once again, while this state has the tremendous opportunity to rid itself of ALL that CCSS entails, money is speaking louder than NC’s people.

“Had your chance, muffed it.”

This quote is from “Chitty Chitty, Bang Bang”, a movie I’ve seen many times and a quote I’ve used repeatedly. Dick Van Dyke was seeking the attention of a wealthy business owner. The wealthy man, being very impatient, gave Mr. Van Dyke only seconds to state his case. When it didn’t happen the way the business man wanted or in the time frame he set out, he uttered the words, “Had your chance, muffed it. Good day, sir.”  So, to those who chose the committee, here’s what you muffed:

a) Citizens, non educator professionals who are qualified, concerned, and very involved in this present state of educational chaos.

b) Researchers who don’t get lobbyist money, corporation funding, or are otherwise impeded in what they discover so their objectivity is absolute.

c) Everyday people who can make a difference and rid the state of NC of this illegal, ill written, insidious mess. Folks who could, would, and have pledged to help right the wrongs public private partnership created CCSS brought us.

d) The transparency factor, the accountability is very suspect when you chose to disrespect the law. How can we citizens trust you when you act like a spoiled child?

e) Your opportunity to cut the crap by cutting the purse strings. Education is NOT a business to be bought, use ‘best practices’, unite to Washington, D.C. agendas. Education is more than this.  Students should NEVER, ever be referred to as ‘talent supply’, ‘human capital’, part of a ‘pipeline’ or any other of those sold out, educratic terms you share.

f) The relationship you could of formed with me. You missed out on my humor, charm, personality, knowledge, networking capability, teamwork ability, loyalty, dedication, five years worth of research, fact finding skills, fearlessness. I, along with my well connected anti CC friends/warriors could show you things about the CC Standards you’d have to see to believe, but..guess you’ll  miss that too.

Everything has a time, a purpose:

Well, we all have a job to do, paid to do it or not. You will continue on in your work, and I, in mine. Remember, I, along with my thousands of buddies, will be watching what transpires with NC and CC.  Should you need me, or someone just as up to date on CCSS as possible, I’m not hard to find. I am willing to give our students the best education possible. One that’s agenda free, legal, honoring, true, and right.

It’s time to finish what was started and ‘kill the Core’.    common-core-NC-house-060414

Let’s not muff the opportunity to have education free of all the CC Machine (CCSS, STEM, AP, STEaM, Hire Standards, College, Career Tech CC, Community Colleges, IB Schools, UN Global Schools, Race to the Top, Smarter Balance Assessments, Gates, Pearson Publishing, data mining and every other connected group). Let’s show the nation how tough NC can be and say “ENOUGH!” “No more Core!”