Tag Archives: SC

Draft Plan or Daft Plan?

To my fellow anti Fed Ed and CCSS Warriors, it is increasingly clear our States have sold us out. They did it with RttT (Race to the Top), the CCSSI (Common Core State Standards Initiative), the constant re-branding of CCSS (Common Core State Standards), and everything in between which would connect education to workforce based outcomes.

It was SUPPOSED to stop with ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act), but as we’ve researched and shared, that, too was a sell out.

By now, you’ve probably seen and heard about the States which already turned in their ESSA State Plans to the U.S. Dept. of Education, only to have them bounce back faster than a bad check. Have you been able to get a look at any of the State Plans which will be due in September 2017?

The last time I looked at the NC State ESSA Draft Plan was back in Feb. 2017. It’s where I compared the alignment of not only NC’s ESSA Plan, but how strikingly similar it was to SC’s Draft Plan at the time. If you missed the article highlighted above, I urge you to read it. Not only does it impact ALL 50 States, but there is quite a bit that those ESSA braggarts left out we need to know. (For example, did you know that ALL 50 States must meet parts of the General Education Provisions Act as well as all the mandates laid out in ESSA?)

In the most recent version of the NC ESSA State Draft, the document is 184 pages long. Oh, and more color pictures have been added. See below. The added emphasis is mine.

ncdraftsummer

If you’d like to access the entire Plan2017draft-state-plan 

 

So, are you wondering about the “Theory” behind NC’s Daft (I mean) Draft Plan? Look below. You’ll find this particular section on Page 8 of the Plan, directly beneath the snazzy color picture you see above.

ncdamnWarriors, do you see this?! Do you believe it?!

The State of NC, just like the other 49, is using YOUR child as a test subject in an unknown and unproven system with YOUR tax dollars! (*Note: back in 2016, I published an article detailing some of the ESSA experimentation which would be continuing CCSS or creating more alignment.)

The CCSS Machine is so busy pumping out the jargon of ‘personalized learning’ (which is a coded educratic phrase), that we are missing the point: teachers should gauge the learning pace, not students. Teachers should be free to use their proven ideas in the classroom, not leav it up to professionals not designed for classroom interactions.

This is like telling your 6 year old that you’ll let them get behind the wheel of your car and HOPE it all works out.

Do you see the ‘transforming from the industrial age’ statement? Yep, NC’s bent over backwards to make sure it’s one of the most digitalized and conformed States in the nation. At every grade level and for every educational choice. I’ve documentend it well, as have other citizens.

deludeded

To show you how NC officials feel about ‘personalized learning’, you need to see their words, not mine.

statepillar
Click to enlarge the screen shot (or find the evidence on Page 9). Four ‘pillars’ which are to be STATE supported, not parent chosen, for your child’s education. Since these pillars are ‘state led’, do not think the federal government hasn’t mandated HOW the leadership is to take place. If so, why are so many State Plans being rejected? It’s because ESSA’s mandates do NOT allow MORE State-led control!

As far as ‘state supported’? No, try state controlled by way of the federal government, instead.

As far as NC’s Daft (oops, I meant ‘draft’) definition of ’empowered educators’, a very loose idea. Why? It’s to fit ESSA’s mandates to allow those who partner with education to be considered an ‘educator’. Remember, the increase of the business world in education ESSA has mandated? This loose definition of ‘educator’ fits perfectly.

empower

Other Daft Moves by NC?

1) For ‘early education’ the B3 Interagency Council (partners the NC DPI, NC Dept. of Health/Human Services, and the NC Partnership for Children). Their overreach into the younger students’ lives? Data driven pathways.

2) For ‘early education’ continuing the CCSS aligned “NC Reads” program. It’s supposed to have kids ready to read by the time they get to the classroom. I think NC’s daftness is really showing here. For our Kindergartner students, class is where they SHOULD learn to read, not come already prepared.

3) For all students, a new interagency for the “NC Whole Child”. The premise? A ‘whole child’ in a ‘whole school’ to learn to be part of a ‘whole community’.  Note that you’ll see both the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and ASCD as creators. Both are part of the CCSS Machine.

whole

To  access the entire “NC Whole Child” program, visit here.

4) For the Teachers, ‘digital competency standards’ as derived by iNACOL, a huge CCSS Machine member organization. iNACOL is part of the global push for aligned education in America. These ‘standards’ are also a continued effort for NC that have been backed by our NC General Assembly.

5) For all students, ‘global-readiness’. While NC’s been globalizing students before now, under the Draft ESSA State NC Plan, more infrastructure changes will take place to continue this alignment. What does this mean? More internet digital access, Smart Cities, global standards, and so much more. Here’s a recently published article. With all the infrastructure changes, you’ll need to look for Innovation Districts/schools, Lab Schools and similar. You’ll also find infrastructure changes in Head Start, Early Head Start, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, and more.

Of The “Proven” CCSS Aligned Programs NC will keep:

1) You’ll see Home Base (a massive SLDS system put in place by Pearson Publishing, but now run by the NC DPI). See the Financial Evidence .
2) Smart Start/NC PreK  (a 2016 look at how ESSA was to hurt the littlest learners)
3) Career and College Promise (ties to a National CBP, Competency Based Pathway System)
4) NC Virtual Public School (a 2015 exposure)
5) Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) The 2016 article I published revealed not only much about PBIS, but how ESSA and Pearson capitalize on this system to alter attitudes in our children. You’ll also see an SC school district’s example. You’ll also see how those 21st Century Community Learning Centers are woven in.

CommonCore-Equal-Fail
Warriors, the CC Curriculum isn’t going away, even with ESSA in place.

Closing:

For more emphasis, this  2016 article where I pointed out the massive NC deceptions in much of what you see above, is offered to you.

What of similar nature is happening in your State? How ‘daft’ are our leaders? How ‘daft’ do they assume WE are?!

Lastly, Warriors, what are we WILLING to do about it? Shall we continue to offer up our students as test subjects while the powers in place try to run education?

 

Advertisements

Anybody Got a Fan?!

My fellow anti CCSS/Fed Ed/ESSA Warriors. I’ve recently finished combing through the NC Draft ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) Plan. I’m not a fan of what I read. If your State has released a draft, please get your hands on the information! NC’s is a whopping 145 pages of anything and everything connected to education…and the workforce. I looked up our neighboring State (SC). Theirs is 84 Pages.

I did try to find some other neighboring State’s ESSA Plans as well. Why? I was curious to see just how unique each Plan is shaping up to be. After all, we’ve been told time and time again, ESSA returns control of education back to the States. (*Note: if you’ve followed my blog for a long time, you know how full of BS what we’ve been told is.)

I did see some of the same things in SC’s Plan that I saw in NC’s. Coincedence, no!
Both contain the federal level requirements each State must adhere to.

For example, what type of graduates each State will have. Below is SC’s:

scessaplan
You can find the legislation which made this Profile a SC State Law:

To see and study SC’s ESSA Planhttp://ed.sc.gov/newsroom/every-student-succeeds-act-essa/draft-consolidated-state-plan/

*******************************************************
By contrast, here is NC’s Graphic:

ncessaplan

If you have wondered why BOTH NC and SC have the 4Cs (Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Creativity, and Communication), it’s because the P21 (“Partnership for 21st Century Learning Skills”) has both NC/SC  as ‘member States'(along with several other States). *Noteworthy: The “Partnership” has been a CCSS Machine member group for quite a while.   On the http://www.P21.org website, you can find 50 College/Career Readiness resources. CCR (College and Career Readiness) is also another name for Common Core State Standards. CCR is embedded in ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) ) Find the resources here  **Be sure to look for the ‘grit’, ‘workforce readiness in middle school’, and, more.

From Page 25 of NC’s ESSA Draft Plan:

ncessaplan1By July of 2015, NC had a “The Constitutional Mandate to Provide an Opportunity to a Sound Basic Education: An Update and a Recommendation”. Oddly enough, this 2015 Mandate is NOT all that different from the current NC ESSA Plan which will be submitted to the U.S. Dept. of Education later in 2017. To see the mandate, click here. If you’d like to see NC S561, click here.  To see NC’s ESSA Plan
*********************************************************

What We Can Learn From Both NC And SC To Apply Elsewhere:

1) Both had the 5 or 6 federal mandates of ESSA laid out in their Plans.
{These will all be consistent with the Secretary of Education’s authority}:
a) Long-Term Education Goals
b) Consultation/Performance Management toward Long-Term Goals
c) Academic Assessments
d)  Accountability and Support for School Improvement
e) Supporting Excellent Educators
f) Supporting All Students

2) Both will continue education which aligns to College/Career Readiness (aka Common Core, Career Tech Education, etc.).

3) Both will continue to update OR create State-level laws to support the educational shift FROM academics to skill based workforce.

4) Both appear to have no plans to cut the ties with the CCSS Machine member organizations we find so entrenched in our lives. (Example: Pearson, P21, Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), etc.)

5) Both will continue to include non-educators in the education process.

6) Both will continue to see Workforce Education efforts and legislation.

7) Both will more than likely continue their membership statuses in P21, CCSSO, and the other CCSS Machine member groups steering the shift in education.

8) Both will continue to workforce skill based assesssments like ACT Aspire, WorkKeys, etc.

**BOTTOM LINE: None of the State ESSA Draft Plans will differ MUCH from what is in place now. What’s in place now IS CCSS/CCR/CTE aligned. It will stay that way, but be called “Challenging State Academic Standards”.
**************************************************

Other Things Of Note From NC’s Plan:
 I wanted to leave you with some other key items of interest.

1) U.S. Dept. of Education’s Date Stamp: 12/22/16 (NC’s ESSA Draft Plan expires 11/30/19).

2) From Page 2, ESEA’s (Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965) Section 8302 sets out in that the U.S. Secretary of Education is permitted to establish procedures/criteria after consulting with the State officials. Our State Education Agency then submits the Plan. The Secretary must establish every program in Section 8302 including the State’s materials and resources for education. (*Note: ESEA’s Section 8302 is Optional Consolidated State Plans or Applications. ESSA’s Section 1005 is simply titled “State Plans”. Do not be fooled by the simple title.)

2a) Also on Page 2, every State’s Consolidated Education ESSA Plan must create 1 comprehensive way to improve ‘outomes’ for students.

2b) Included in Page 2’s language is that all State Plans must meet the requirements of Section 427 of the General Education Provisions Act. (See a screen shot below)

section427
3) From Page 3 of NC’s ESSA Plan, Only after the U.S. Dept. of Education approves a State Plan, will these Plans be made public. The preferred method for publicity is to be in a published form.

4) Page 4 reveals our State’s Director of Data, Research, and Federal Policy.

5) Page 17 shows the Federal Program for Monitoring and Support Division of the U.S. Dept. of Ed. From this Division, $463,000,000.00 in federal funds for annual grants are available to school districts. (Watch for an increase in data collection). Here in NC, a Senior Leader Council is used to determine which districts/schools receive our portion of these grants. Based on 3 prongs: i) our Comprehensive Continuous Improvement Plan; ii) to be used by LEAs, charter schools, and non-government organizations to receive competitive federal funds, and iii) the NC Equity Plan (from the NC Dept. of Public Instruction) for data collection.

6) Page 25 tells what is considered as ‘academic indicators’. These are also known as ‘measures’. In order: Academic Achievement, Academic Progress, Graduation Rates, English Language Proficiency, School Quality, and Student Success. Page 28 will show you how the ‘meaningful differentation’ used in these indicators simply means ‘distinct and discrete levels of school performance’. (*Note: the shift from student to the entire school being measured.)

7) Page 29, points you to the School Quality or Student Success indicators. They are, in order: chronic absences, attendance, student engagement, student’s participation in co-curricular activities, physical activity, student participation in the arts, suspensions, teacher engagement, parent involvement, End of Grade exams (or End of Course exams) only in science, the CCR Index (College and Career Readiness Index includes AP Courses, IB Courses, WorkKeys Assessments, ACT, and (here in NC) 5 Diploma Endorsements (these are Career and College, UNC College, NC Academic Scholar, and Global Language). From the bottom of Page 29 to the top of Page 30, this “all schools must be included in the accountability system.” What NC hasn’t figured out yet is HOW to update the indicators above for every school type. How well each State does with this determines the weight of the Success Indicator. Federal education code lays this out, NOT a State’s law!

8) Page 30 goes into the 95 % assessment participation rates as mandated in ESSA. How will the States factor this? What data mining/gathering procedures will be used? How will all the schools without sufficient data gathering, or alternative schools (K-12th) be accountable?

9) Page 33 uses a word we’ve all come to loathe: “rigor”. Yes, we’ll see more of it! However, it’s interesting that once again, it’s the ESEA cited here, NOT the ESSA. Related is Page 38 with its mention of NC’s love for UDL (Universal Design for Learning). According to NC, UDL helps ensure all students will be College and Career Ready.

10) Skipping ahead to Page 97 are the “Challenging State Academic Standards for Math” in NC. They will be the EXACT ones used in the 2016-17 academic year!! “Challenging State Academic Standards for English Language Arts”? They haven’t been released yet, as they are still being ‘written’.

A Bonus Item!! Way back in the pages of the NC ESSA Draft Plan is the gold mine of all those CCSS Machine friendly ‘stakeholders’ in education we have wondered about. Pages 137-140 reveal the ESSA external stakeholders in education. Some we know about (example: Teach for America). Some are a bit surprising to see (example: Americans for Prosperity, NC Branch).

Closing:

Warriors, I’ve laid large chunks of evidence before you to illustrate how much of a farce it seems to be that our States will get to control education in the manner in which it has been explained since ESSA was signed into federal law December 2015.

Please take what you see here, start looking at what your State is doing. How similar is it to what you see here? What has remained the same in your State’s education sytem, what has been updated? What groups are involved?

 

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.

Monday Musings: CCSS Field Trips?

Has your child taken a field trip lately? Just how CCSS aligned was it?
Has your child taken a field trip lately? Just how CCSS aligned was it?

Who doesn’t love a great field trip with the class or group? How far as CCSS gone to line up these educational excursions? Let’s see if we can find out!

Road Trip Ahead!:

I don’t know how much you may or may not know about field trips. I know plenty. It used to be my business, literally. My business partner and I had a great time planning educational field trips for private schools.

Then, 2008 came, and suddenly, the business dried up. Times were so financially tough, field trips fell to the back side of the planning table. Since then, I’ve noticed in researching Common Core that many of the destinations schools or educational groups go to are becoming more and more aligned. Then, I got my latest issue of the Student Group Travel magazine (seems my free subscription didn’t get cancelled). While not one mention of CCSS was in the glossy ads, plenty of clues to lead to the alignment were.

Down on the Farm:

So, why would some these destinations CHOOSE to align themselves with CCSS? After all, most of the places chosen for a field trip have no full time teachers for lesson planning. What do I mean? Well, take for example, a local farm which has become an agritourism location. What this means is the farm gets visitors, the visitors get activities and lessons. Here in NC, the agritourism has partnered with the NC Dept. of Public Instruction. No question about Common Core’s presence there. Below look at the graphic which was put together by NC State and is on file in the NC General Assembly’s website.

While not visible in the graphic, we know 'education' is more than 'workshops'.
While not visible in the graphic, we know ‘education’ is more than ‘workshops’.

In fact, in this 2014 report, education is the second highest benefit of agritourism! I’m including the entire pfd, as you’ll want to see how ‘community(collective) minded’ the entire movement is. See: 2. NCSU_Agritourism_2014 You’ll also note that MO and NC worked together on this and that most of the data appears to be from 2011. I imagine, you may be asking the question, “That’s great, Lynne, but where’s the NC DPI tie in?” See this graphic from a farm near where I live in NC:

This is just one farm in NC where agritourism has met CCSS.
This is just one farm in NC where agritourism has met CCSS.

If you were to click each of the Standards, you’d be taken to a separate page where the CC is laid out for Preschool and up. Please note that I’m not suggesting ALL agritourism is CCSS aligned, but I’ve found where back in 2009, all kinds of agribusiness leaders met and were learning from each other how to increase agritourism for the ‘collective region’ of TN, GA, NC,and SC. Grant money was used to fund this educational meeting. See: http://www.caes.uga.edu/center/caed/pubs/agritourism/documents/AgritourismTrainingforAgricultureProfessionalsManual.pdf  How this can be helpful in your area? It will show you where to look in your state’s agritourism (example: USDA grants). I was able to find in SC, a specific type of grant used, RBDG (Rural Business Development Grant). Among the institutions which may be able to benefit are higher learning facilities. See: http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rural-business-development-grants

Don’t think I’m out to kill the farmers, I grew up on a farm. I love farmers. However, when CCSS is involved, I’m not afraid to dig up the dirt!

Going shopping or to the classroom?:

You, as a warrior of CCSS, know, it is everywhere, but what about at the mall? Yes, I found it at the Mall of America! Remember I said I had a magazine with suggested field trips? This one was a featured destination. In the event you’ve not been to MOA (Mall of America), it’s in MN, where supposedly, there’s no CCSS. So, is it true? MN has only adopted the ELA portion of CCSS. See: http://www.mprnews.org/story/2013/06/07/education/common-core-standards

Nickelodeon has a big place at the Mall. So big, it’s called “Nickelodeon’s Universe”. Nickelodeon is the #1 brand with kids. It also is part of Viacomm. Viacomm is a huge supporter of STEM (yes, STEM is absolutely connected to CCSS). At the “Universe”, you can get a 3 or 4 hour physics class. The materials have recently been updated. I did find the old physics guide, but to access the updated version, you have to contact group sales. I was able to find that on Nick, Jr. preschool games are crammed with STEM. See: http://www.nickjr.com/blaze-and-the-monster-machines/about-blaze/blaze-curriculum_ap.html

American Girls brand and Legos each have big stores in MOA. Both have chosen to align with CCSS, as well. AG (American Girls) uses history as a main feature in their dolls. Legos, we know, involves science and creativity. The news about AG broke a couple of years ago when a Pearson Publishing mini textbook showed up in the accessories for the dolls. See:
http://thefederalist.com/2013/12/13/even-american-girl-dolls-spared-common-core-national-standards/  As far as Legos,  they have an entire page of CCSS ELA, Math, and Science, see: https://education.lego.com/es-ar/lesi/elementary/storystarter/ss-curriculum/ss-standards

Other Field Trips:

Aquariums, museums, and yes, even amusement parks can have CCSS.

For example, I live near Carowinds Amusement Park. Each year there’s an Educational Day where school groups of all educational choices may join in and learn engineering, science, physics, math, and other subjects. Is CCSS there? Through the partnering group, Discovery Place, yes it is! While DP supplies the lessons, which are aligned, Carowinds provides the place lessons are carried out. Sneaky! If you’d like to see the STEM/CCSS Teacher Workshop Guide (funded in part by Bank of America, another big supporter of the CCSS Machine), http://www.discoveryplace.org/content/education_studio/resources/educators/pdf/7.pdf

Where can you find the CCSS tie to museums? If they are connected to any sort of U.S. Department, you can bet your school bus, CCSS is there. If they are associated with the Smithsonian Institute, CCSS will be there. If your museums are gifts to the state citizens, CCSS will be there. For example, here in NC, we have public aquariums on the coast. Aligned lessons are there. Why? Funding is part of the answer. The Dept. of Public Instruction’s the other. See the below screen shot:

Even the turtle's a victim of CCSS!
Even the turtle’s a victim of CCSS!

It’s a shame CCSS is ruining education, but it’s absolutely horrid that field trips are going down the same road.

Fib-o-Meter Friday: State Superintendents & Common Core Standards

Chances are your state has an education superintendent. Maybe they are called ‘commissioner’ instead. Regardless of the title, there is one person in charge of an entire state’s education decisions, regulations, etc. However, that one person rarely works alone. Usually an entire team is under his/her authority. Some states have very forthright leaders, and are open to interaction, while others, reign like a king or queen and want almost no interaction. Some of these leaders are appointed (really a bad idea when held up to the Constitution’s wording about power of the people), some are elected (exercises the Constitution’s wording about citizens power).

Given their important position and the huge number of people their decisions impact, it’s a good idea to hear, see and read what they are sharing. Now, I haven’t researched all 50 state leaders. Given the present day status of Common Core Standards in each state, it would take me days to find out what our leaders have said about Common Core. However, I did, for the sake of the post keep it to three. These 3 are either the state I live in or are directly to my south & west. Each has a unique position when it comes to CCS. As usual for each Friday, we’ll measure the statements on the “Fib-o-Meter”. If you’ve read how the Meter works, you know what to do. However, if you are new to the Friday’s “Fib-o-Meter”, it goes like this (click on the graphic to enlarge it. Read the sample statements & use those categories to place the statements shared in this post where you think they best belong.)

fibmaster

First up: North Carolina

This is the state I currently reside in. Currently, our state is set to begin a process that by law is to repeal Common Core, not re-brand or recycle it. SB 812 which is a law and as such should, no longer identified by its Senate Bill status. It’s Session Law 2014-78   signed into law. It is at the center of quite a mess. More will be shared  at a later time.

Onto the facts/fibs!! Our state superintendent has been serving here since 2005 as an elected official. Dr. Atkinson is a strong supporter of the Common Core Standards. She is part of one of the public/private partnerships which own the copyright to the Standards.  She is extremely protective of CCSS.

As far as State Education Superintendents, only 13 other states get to elect this particular position. In August of 2014, NC’s Superintendent was featured in an almost 8 minute address to NC teachers to give what looks and sounds like motherly advice to those listening.  Here are some statements made about Common Core during the presentation.

“Lawmakers made decisions that effect public schools in NC” (in regards to what she consistently refers to as SB812).  Bit of context here, yes, the NC General Assembly did pass SB812 and it became law. However, this is one of the more classic lines to disassociate the Dept. of Public Instruction and the General Assembly. Do some research on your own about how NC was saddled with Common Core Standards, it was the State Board of Education, not the General Assembly. So, while ‘Total Truth’ is correct, consider the context.

“IF you teach Math and English Language Arts.. will I have to throw away all the work I’ve done to develop quality lesson plans?” Total Fallacy’! Studies & a simple reading of the Standards show that all subjects are encompassed in Common Core. Dr. Atkinson does go on to say that those who teach other subjects MIGHT be impacted.

“IF Common Core is taught correctly…” Probably of all the statements, this is my ‘favorite’. Why? Well, how many times have we heard CCS is ‘just standards’?! Standards don’t teach, so therefore cannot be taught correctly or incorrectly. Which makes the  statement  of ‘taught correctly’ a ‘Total FallacyStandards are a set of guidelines by which you plan what you teach! I’m a teacher, I know this well. The guidelines are there to ‘guide’ you (henceforth the use of the word). This guidance leads you to your choice of curriculum or a method by which you use to express yourself in leading the student to understanding. Common Core proponents suggest such freedom, however, experts have shared the CCS is so behemoth with its standards, resources (which entail scripted lessons or curriculum) that no one truly has the time or energy for  freedom. Which means you won’t be ‘correct’.  It also, in my professional opinion, puts an insane amount of pressure on an already stressed out teacher.

“The Common Core Standards, like all the other standards are silent on testing, curriculum, and strategies.” Really? I guess all those CC branded instructional materials, digitized textbooks, etc. are figments of a disgruntled taxpayer then. As far as the testing. Dr. Atkinson freely shares that EOGs (End of Grade tests) have been given annually since 1993. Also shared, is that due to federal and state requirements ‘measuring of students’ must be done. Okay, so it sounds like not so big a deal..right? We’re talking maybe two or three assessments, tests. UNTIL you dig a bit. Here’s what I found, over 40 tests/assessments throughout the 2014-15 school year:

 http://www.ncpublicschools.org/docs/accountability/testing/calendars/1415optestcal.pdf  So, your answer? ‘Total Fallacy’

“SB812 is at the heart of what you do (teach).” This is another statement by Dr. Atkinson. Here’s a link to the law that states its heart(soul and body) is about REPEALING the Common Core Standards with these words “AN ACT TO EXERCISE NORTH CAROLINA’S CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY OVER ALL ACADEMIC STANDARDS; TO REPLACE COMMON CORE; AND TO ENSURE THAT STANDARDS ARE ROBUST AND APPROPRIATE AND ENABLE STUDENTS TO SUCCEED ACADEMICALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY. “:

http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2013/Bills/Senate/PDF/S812v7.pdf   So the answer is “Total Fallacy”.

Related “Fib-o-Meter freebie for you: In section 2c, topic 4, teachers are directly mentioned. The Repeal Committee is to consider the impact upon them. (Later in the video, this conversationalist  statement is made by Dr. Atkinson)

Several other statements were made to allude to the power of the Dept. of Public Instruction and or the State Board of Education. Read the law (which by the way is no longer ‘SB812’). The power of the Repeal Committee is separate. The law also lays out specifically which entity is in power over which. Let’s remember one fact: State Government is above the departments established in order to serve the people. While the statements alluding to who’s more powerful have some shades of truth/fallacy, their general message is to throw a red herring into the mix.  Before I move on, I’ll also give you a hint, parents and the general public are also mentioned, but almost as an afterthought. Students? Almost totally left out of the entire message. Here’s a link to the video I’m highlighting so you can see for yourself. (mov, 21.7mb) See if you can use the law’s text to identify any other facts/fallacies.

Tennessee, it’s to My West:

This state appoints their Public Education top position. He is identified as Commissioner Huffman. He was featured in a TED Talk held in Nashville, TN in April of 2014. Here’s the link to the almost 22 minute talk: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IznMHnRH5c) Mr. Huffman is also a big supporter of the Common Core Standards. His background had him working for the ‘pro Core’ Teach for America program. He also is a member of ‘Chiefs for Change’, the non-profit arm of “Foundation for  Excellence in Education”. Both have pledged not only their support to Common Core, but will defend it to the end (see: http://chiefsforchange.org/chiefs-for-change-states-should-determine-what-is-best-for-their-students/ and http://excelined.org/common-core-toolkit/)

His statements from TED that can be measured on the Fib-o-Meter:
“I was explicitly brought in as a change agent.” This one’s ‘Total Truth’. He stated it in his TED Talk and was quoted by almost the same words in March of 2014. Makes me wonder who’s up to something in TN.

“Two prongs of priority: raising academic standards via Common Core and evaluations of everyone: principals, teachers, students.” TN has already been awarded Race to the Top funding in March 2010 with $500 million dollars.  Tim Webb was the TN Education Commissioner at the time of the initial $500 million award. “In Tennessee, the decision to adopt Common Core State Standards was made by the governor and the State Board of Education. On July 30, 2010, Common Core State Standards adoption was passed unanimously by the State Board of Education. The Tennessee legislature, all 136 local education agencies and local boards of education committed to the implementation of College and Career Ready Standards through the Race to the Top Application and Grant Award.” (source: http://www.tn.gov/sbe/FAQ_Page/Common_Core_Facts_History.pdf) What ties Webb/Huffman: “Tennessee was a founding member of the governing board of PARCC. The founding Memorandum of Understanding with PARCC was signed by Governor Bredesen, Education Commissioner Tim Webb, and State Board of Education Chair Fielding Rolston. After the election of Governor Haslam and appointment of Commissioner Kevin Huffman, an updated Memorandum of Understanding was signed by both individuals in June 2011.” (also from the above document) Huffman was appointed in March of 2011. In November 2011, Huffman submitted the ESEA Flexibility Waiver (see: https://www2.ed.gov/policy/eseaflex/tn.pdf) This waiver says it offers you flexibility in certain parts of No Child Left Behind & in exchange your state gets ‘rigor’ in comprehensive form. It commits your state to all kinds of data mining, assessments, and other ‘fun’ CCSS stuff. (by the way, NC is stuck with one of these waivers too. It’s what helps increase the number of tests/assessments we supposedly don’t have.) So, your answer, “Total Truth”, although it’s hard to discern where Webb began and left off and where Huffman picked up the baton.

Mr. Huffman compares US students to those in Singapore and South Korea. This, is one of the masterfully placed red herrings those who love the Core throw out to impress you. As has been written extensively about by others and research given to back up, when comparing Americans students to other nationalities it isn’t exactly a fair comparison. All US children are assessed. Those in the mentioned countries are not. So, impressive as Huffman’s statement is, it is in fact, “Total Fallacy” that our students are being ‘crushed by the students in Singapore/South Korea’.

“Building an education coalition for reform that means more work and harder work. We took 1800 schools to support 60,000 teachers to get 1 million kids to do more work and harder work.” Before I give you the Fib-o-Meter answer, consider this. In the rhetoric of Common Core, how many groups or how many times have we heard the world ‘coalition’? I’ve lost count. I wonder if those who speak it realize the definition. Webster’s Dictionary tells us “A group formed for a common purpose.” Look at the full definition, it’s another word for ‘union’. This one’s ‘Total Truth’. The push in TN to adhere to Common Core is super strong. In Mr. Huffman’s TED Talk he goes on to say many trendy things audiences love to hear about educational success. But, while most of what he says is true, consider how agenda driven to CC he is. As one of Huffman’s supportive teachers stated. “The juice is worth the squeeze.” Makes me wonder who’s been Kool-Aid drinking’ lately.

Lastly, South Carolina, my Southern neighbor: 

In a 35 minute speech given in June of 2014, Mick Zais, shares his vision for SC education, overall. (Mr. Zais has been in office since 2011.) He, like Dr. Atkinson, was elected to serve. Of the 3 speeches, his is the longest, yet the least ‘fluffy’. In fact, the presentation I watched, listened to,  I didn’t see his face at all. It is his vision for the state.(access it here:

https://ed.sc.gov/agency/superintendent/vision/index.cfm)

You’ll get a slide show of his points as he talks with you very conversationally. Now, officially, SC is in the midst of creating their own educational standards while still using the CCSS ones. From the State’s website: Pursuant to Act 200 passed by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor in June 2014, Common Core will only be the basis for instruction and assessment in the 2014-15 school year; SC has initiated the process to develop new, high-level College and Career Ready standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics with the intent of putting those new standards in place for the 2015-16 school year.” (source: http://ed.sc.gov/agency/programs-services/190/)

Now,  we will not be measuring his vision. Why not? While his vision entails much that sounds like CCSS, has some of the same players as CCSS, he is sharing a vision. Visions include desires based on facts, fibs, etc.  but until we see exactly HOW his vision is laid out and approved by others, we cannot accurately put it through our purposed “Fib-o-Meter” scale. DO listen to his vision & see where he sounds like CCSS.

What you CAN measure is from  the  school counselor’s guide on the SC State’s website. The guide is given to help diffuse the anxious student or parent. (see: http://www.counseling.org/docs/resources—school-counselors/common-core-state-standards.pdf?sfvrsn=2It is the Common Core Mission Statement that you will be putting to the Fib-o-Meter test.

I will leave you with this challenge to complete without  my providing the answers. Why? Remember: every Fib-o-Meter is designed for you to use to help educate others in the fight to stop Common Core Standards and the assault on our American students, families and local schools. It is my hope/goal that by you doing this with them, you can help them see just how fallacy based CCSS is.

CCSS Mission Statement: “Common Core State Standards provide a consistent{unwavering in change}, clear{easy to perceive} understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. {think of all those parents who can’t or aren’t  able to help} The standards are designed to be robust {in this context, the meaning is ‘able to withstand’} and relevant {closely connected} to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers {research has shown you can be one or the other but not BOTH college/career readysuccessfully in the global economy.”

(source: CoreStandards.org)

Last words: What if my state isn’t one of these 3 featured? Questions you need to ask: What background or present conflicts of interest does my superintendent have? What is their stance on CCSS? Are they open and transparent? Do they welcome parent input or act like parents are only as good as their checkbooks? Is my state currently supporting, not supporting or somewhere in between with the CCSS? What can I do to get involved to help others? Do I notice a pattern that legislative, U.S. Constitutionally bound state Congresses were bypassed to receive Common Core Standards in the first place? While not the only national group for superintendents of all levels, Here’s a resource that may help you find answers to your state’s superintendents: http://www.aasa.org/

As always, comments are welcome, in fact, I hope we can get a discussion started about our states and their top educational officers.