Tag Archives: Social and Emotional Learning

Tech Thursday: CCSS/CTE Low Down

Sometimes even the most seasoned anti CCSS Warrior needs a refreshment in purpose. I know, I do. Lately, however, I’ve been meeting more and more new folks, who are stepping up to the fight and willing to become anti CCSS Warriors. Today’s “Tech Thursday” will be ‘low-tech’. I’m harkening back to some basics in our ‘War Against the Core’.

Protecting each other well during a battle is vital for success.
Protecting each other well during a battle is vital for success.

The thoughts of new Warriors needing information and veterans needing refreshing  is thrilling AND challenging. Why? Thrilling because the message about the toxicity of the agenda, initiative behind the CCSS Machine is waking up more and more citizens. Challenging because there SO much information out there, they are quickly overwhelmed.

Anti CCSS Warriors, veteran or new, we don’t have much time.

The swiftness of this War Against the Core is moving quickly. Even now, Congress is set to re-authorize the ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965) via a combination of the two versions of bills passed by each Chamber earlier this year (the House’s version is HR5, “Student Success Act”; the Senate’s is S1177, “Every Child Achieves Act”. The combination bill is set to be well over 2, 000 pages. It is full of MORE CCSS (Common Core State Standards), CTE (Career Tech Education), CP (Career Pathways), CCR (College and Career Readiness), STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and, Math), NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards), C3 (the new CCSS aligning Civics), and countless other measures which lock in national assessments, teacher and educational staff alignment, and ESA (Education Savings Accounts or ‘portability’ {this is where the money follows the child throughout their educational lives}. The combined bill will lock in social and emotional mental health for ALL students. It will lock in 21st Century Community Learning Centers (where our schools will be transformed into ‘one stop’ locations for education, health care, job searches, and more). We’ll see MORE data mining, high stakes assessments for educational staff and students. To hear that a legislator or leader is against Common Core (assumed to be only K-12), they must also be against the post-secondary versions, the birth to PreK versions, the versions which impact those outside public education.

We must also be watching for any re-authorization of the HEA (Higher Education Act of 1965). This re-authorization is set to CONTINUE all of the above into our post-secondary educational institutions (where it already is).

We must focus, we  must be purposed. Me must be diligent, vigilant, and vocal.

We must remain united. If we are against the CCSS Machine and all it encompasses, that is all it takes.
Our evidence must be factual and credible. For those who are new to this War, it can be confusing whom or what to trust. My researched advice? Follow the evidence where it leads. Don’t rely on a name alone. I’ve been horribly surprised in finding out who is really fighting AGAINST the agenda behind the CCSS Machine and who is really casting shadows.
This should include those in your local areas as well as those on a national level.
If our evidence uncovers someone who appears to be against one part of the Core and supports it in another way, we should hold them accountable as to WHY. ANY part of the agenda or the initiative to change not only our education system, but also change our country is UNACCEPTABLE.
If what we’ve found to be credible, factual exposes P3s(public private partnerships), legislators, etc. so be it. Common Core has many parts in its “Machine”. We know with responsibility to be truthful, that means we may face hard times. So be it. When we answered this battle cry to save our students, teachers, schools. WE MEANT IT. 

We also must take the time to attend as many ‘Warrior meetings’ as possible. By this I mean, in person, virtual, or on the phone. We must stay connected. No warrior in any battle will survive alone. We must take care to remember, what we fight against is a ‘initiative’, not people. It’s easy to attack people. That lessens our effectiveness in this War Against the Core. However, if we attack the initiative, that, my fellow Warriors, is much more impacting.  We have proven how effective and impacting we can be against the CCSS Machine. If not, why else would the Machine be churning out MORE rhetoric?! The Machine may be well funded and huge, (think Goliath), but those of us choosing to be anti CCSS Warriors know just where to cast the truth (think David and his 5 smooth stones and 1 slingshot). Truth hurts, however, truth WINS!

If you are a new anti CCSS Warrior, I invite you to contact me at your convenience. If I can not fully answer what is it you are questioning or seeking, I have no hesitation in pointing you to the correct person or fact based evidence. My research of all things connected to national standards began in 2009. The blog has over 300 articles full of embedded documents, links, media resources. I do not ask you to take my word alone about ANY of the CCSS Machine’s activities, I give you the information so you can USE it as a WEAPON. I don’t TELL you WHAT to THINK, I POINT you in the DIRECTIONS best suited for this War.

If you are a seasoned anti CCSS Warrior and need help, i am at your service. I thank each of you who have found my research trustworthy and who seek me out for what actions would be best in certain situations you’ve faced during your journeys.


Be focused in your actions against the CCSS Machine.
Be focused in your actions against the CCSS Machine.

If you only seek to do one thing to strike a blow against the CCSS Machine today, it is this:
Call your Representatives or Senators in D.C. at 202-224-3121 and tell them to vote AGAINST the re-authorization of the ESEA in ANY form. 


Sic’ ‘Em Saturday: Common Core, Minding Our Manners

Manners, then Behavior Standards, now.
Manners, then; Behavior Standards, now.

Recently, I wrote about Social and Emotional Learning and how ‘Common Core’ is incorporating the style. If you remember, it’s more about the ‘greater good of a collective group’ than it is about ‘being the best you, you can be’. So, why the shift? It appears to be to better accommodate the ‘global citizen’ mindset so rampant in the Common Core Standards.

Behavior Standards:

The American School Counselors Association has produced an all-in-one pdf for helping the school counselors to get the schools ready for not only college-and-career readiness, but now adding to that, social and emotional readiness. See (www.http://schoolcounselor.org/asca/media/asca/home/MindsetsBehaviors.pdf)

Here are what the school employees are to encourage daily in all students:

‘1. Belief in development of whole self, including a healthy balance of mental, social/emotional and physical well-being
2. Self-confidence in ability to succeed
3. Sense of belonging in the school environment
4. Understanding that postsecondary education and life-long learning are necessary for long-term career success
5. Belief in using abilities to their fullest to achieve high-quality results and outcomes
6. Positive attitude toward work and learning’

Why this is important to know:

ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors” align with specific standards from the ‘Common Core State Standards’ through connections at the competency level. This alignment allows school counselors the opportunity to help students these college-and-career-readiness standards in collaboration with academic content taught in core areas in the classroom.”

By following these, the counselors, themselves are modeling alignment. If you are a school counselor in a non CCSS state,  you can model the alignments anyway.

So, what are the ‘behavior standards’?

They are broken into 3 categories, academic; social; and self-management. For all 3, the students WILL ‘demonstrate the following standards’ (I’ve not included all of them, so be sure to access the document):

critical thinking skills in making decisions; identifying long-term and short-term academic, career,  and social-emotional goals; participate in enrichment and/or extra curricular activities; assume responsibility; demonstrate ability to overcome barriers in learning; demonstrate empathy; be socially responsible

Do you spy the ‘grit’ in there? It’s embedded, alright. Every one of the ‘self-management’ category is designed to instill it.

The pdf gives you another page of the ASCA to access if you want to see the grade appropriate levels of competency that aligns with the Behavioral Standards.  To use the general search, try a character trait. For example, I chose ‘maturity’ for my search. My results? Ten different ‘competencies’ of tasks or skills. When I typed in ‘love’, I didn’t get one result. If you want to use the advance search, click the blue tab and it will give you many options to choose from. For example, Under ‘grade level’, I selected 3rd-5th; then by ‘mindset filter’, #4 from the list above about post secondary education being a part of my life. The results I got back were summarizing texts and various media about the importance of attending college and listening to a speaker present points for attending college and giving supportive reasoning as to the validity of each point. Try it for yourselves and see what you can get.

Who the ASCA Foundation is:

It’s a 501(c)3 non profit group. They receive both private and corporate funds to encourage the profession of school counseling. Sounds okay, so far. But then, they have so much aligned to CCSS. But wait, there’s more! An ASCA “National Model” that data driven!!!

“Use of data  is to measure the results of the program as well as to promote systemic change within the school system so every student graduates ‘college-and-career ready’.”

See the rest of the ‘Executive Summary’ on the “National Model”:

ASCA is a member of the “National Alliance of Pupil Services Organizations (NAPSO) is a coalition of national professional organizations whose members provide
a variety of school-based prevention and intervention services to assist students in becoming effective learners and productive citizens.
NAPSO organizations represent over a million members, including school counselors, school nurses, psychologists, school psychologists,
social workers and school social workers; occupational, physical, and creative arts therapists; and speech-language pathologists, audiologists,
students, parents, and pupil services administrators. NAPSO promotes interdisciplinary practice and cooperation and advocates for
ensuring access to quality pupil services for all students.”

*Note: I’ve included a related link to NAPSO, as they sent a letter to the White House back in 2008 to the Transition Team concerning the ESEA re-authorization.


(another note: if you click on the NAPSO website link, you’ll be directed to a plastic surgery blog)

As far as a dedicated website for NAPSO, there isn’t one. Every time I thought I had it, it was back to the plastic surgeon’s blog. However, I did find this from a mental health website:
National Alliance of Pupil Service Organizations
c/o Myrna Mandlawitz , School Social Work Association of America (SSWAA)
2800 Quebec Street NW, #218 ,Washington, DC 20008

SSWAA, School Social Work Association of America:

(http://www.sswaa.org/?page=655) This group, along with the ASCA (see above) and he National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) support many different school administration roles, including the counselors. If you click on the “Coalitions and Partners” page, it’s there you’ll find the same contact lady’s name from NAPSO here for SSWAA..and she’s a member of the Committee for Education Funding’s Executive Committee. This Committee’s purpose is to INCREASE federal education investments overall. Members of it include many pre-K to graduate school people. It’s also here that I found NAPSO is supported by the NEA, the ATF, the National PTA, and others. (see: http://www.sswaa.org/?page=249)


CEF, Committee for Education Funding (http://cef.org/) was founded in 1969 and is America’s largest education coalition.
(http://cef.org/who-we-are/member-organizations/) This is link is for 80 groups who belong to the Committee. See how many CCSS supporters there are! Some of them pop out (aka College Board, Council of Chief State School Officers, AIR which is a known data miner, ASCD which is funded by Gates Foundation to create CC teacher materials)

*Note: I’ll be tackling their massive budget in another post. It’ll be full of twists and turns in the CCSS laden mess.

For fun:

Secretary Duncan’s letter


From June 2014, the U.S. Dept. of Ed’s Duncan sent a letter to key people about school counselors and their jobs. While vital to each institution they serve, counselors are to continue their jobs in ensuring students are ‘college-and-career ready’ in order to meet the President’s 2020 Goal.

Actions to take:

No Saturday would be complete with out some suggestions for actions you can take from here. a) get to know the other social and emotional components from the SSWAA. There’s much to sift through. b) see how much aligns to the CCSS Behavior Standards. c) talk to your school’s counselor about what data is being tracked and opt out, if you feel it is needed. d) look over the 80 groups on the CEF and make a visual map if you need to of how interconnected they are to CCSS. e) leave room on your visual so when we delve into the budget in the next few days, you can add to it. This will make an excellent tool in your anti CCSS arsenal. Go get ’em, team!

FTF Tuesday: ST, SEL, Common Core

It’s “From the Files” Tuesday!! Time for me to share something from the stash of  CCSS downloads I’ve been able to collect. Today’s feature: “ST and SEL”. Huh?! What’s “ST”? What’s “SEL”? “ST stands for ‘systems thinking’. “SEL”, is short for social and emotional learning’. ST and SEL _ Soled Partnership   As my files go, this is not a particularly big one and is skimpy on information. However, if we look closely, even this ‘slim jim’ can reveal much.


“Triple Focus” or Triple Whammy?

From the main website, selling the book you see above, the description is as follows:  “Daniel Goleman and Peter Senge provide educators with a rationale for incorporating three core skill sets in the classroom—understanding self, other, and the larger systems within which we operate—and show why these competencies are needed to help students navigate a fast-paced world of increasing distraction and growing interconnectedness.”

Okay, well said, but what exactly does this description mean? Who are these gentlemen and where’s the CCSS connection? Let’s press on.


Social and Emotional Learning is a global movement. One portion of its development began as “Social Development Curriculum”. Created by Roger Weissburg, formerly of Yale University’s Psychology Department, now at the University of Illinois, Chicago as “Chief Knowledge Officer”.

‘SDC’ is considered (at least by the authors) to be one of the pioneering pieces of SEL. Their argument is if you behave well in class, you’ll perform better in class…especially at testing time.

Here’s what CASEL (Collaborative for Academic,  Social, and Emotional Learning) says the outcomes for SEL are to be:

“The short-term goals of SEL programs are to one, promote students’ self-awareness, social awareness, relationship and responsible-decision-making skills; and two, improve student attitudes and beliefs about self, others and school.”

CASEL defines academic, social, and emotional skills can be grouped into 5 ‘core clusters’. While you really will want to check out the 5 core clusters, I’ll share just one of them. I think you’ll understand why when you consider where all this is leading up to Common Core. Here’s the exact definition of self management: ‘The ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations. This includes managing stress, controlling impulses, motivating oneself, and setting and working toward achieving personal and academic goals.’  See the rest: http://www.casel.org/social-and-emotional-learning/core-competencies

So how are SEL, CASEL, and the authors connected?

Daniel  Goleman is one of the co-founders of CASEL as well as the co-author of the “Triple Focus”. Also sitting on the Board of CASEL are Mr. Weissburg (from above), Linda Darling-Hammond (a well known pro CC advocate), and the University of Illinois at Chicago is where their research base is held.  As in any collaborative, especially in education today, you’ll find all kinds of groups represented. This one’s no different. Among the different schools and youth groups(including Special Olympics) guiding CASEL, the following pro-CCSS companies or charitable trusts are involved:

Institute of Education Sciences, a direct arm of the U.S. Dept. of Education..absolutely no need to wonder where CCSS support is there. You’ll want to read their connection to CASEL: http://www.casel.org/funders/institute-of-education-sciences

Noyce Foundation, “In 2013, CASEL received its first-ever grant from the Noyce Foundation for a collaboration with the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin. The Dana Center focuses on mathematics and science education with an emphasis on strategies for improving student engagement, motivation, persistence, and achievement. The CASEL and Dana Center project focuses on the intersection between SEL and the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics.” 

To see all the others at CASEL: http://www.casel.org/people

SOLED (Schools and Communities Learn for a Sustainable Future, part of the SOL Education Partnership):

From the thin file I’ve shared, if you open it, scroll down to the bottom, you’ll see in red, “Deeper Learning and the Common Core”. That’s where we are headed next. It’s a post from 2013. Here’s the link: http://soledpartnership.org/450/

The post tells you the project actually began in 2012. Is funded in part by the Hewlett Foundation (we heard of their CC funding in other posts). If you read a bit further, you’ll see ‘related articles’. Here’s an excerpt from one of those about the beauty of CC and systems thinking. “The Common Core Deeper Learning project draws connections between the rigorous learning of the CCSS and the use of system thinking tools and habits. The nearly perfect match of the CC ELA Standards for Reading and the systems thinking…” The excerpt is from a 2014 article.

“The main intention of the CCSS
is to prepare students in the U.S. for success in higher education
and in the workforce.”

Sherry Martin, Ed Director for ‘Deeper Learning through CCSS’

Here’s the “Constructing Meaning” report the above quote is featured in: Constructing-Meaning-SM One of the thinking models referred to is the “Iceberg”. Here it is below, you’ll need to click to enlarge it.

From the Waters Foundation, which helps fund the SoL Education Partnership and the Deeper Learning through Common Core Project.
From the Waters Foundation, which helps fund the SoL Education Partnership and the Deeper Learning through Common Core Project.


Systems Thinking was ‘discovered’ back in 1956 by an MIT Professor Jay Forrester as a component to better understanding new ideas in social settings, much like we do in understanding fields like engineering. Why engineering? Because preciseness is needed. According to the Thinking Net (website: http://www.thinking.net/Systems_Thinking/OverviewSTarticle.pdf), where I found an easy to understand explanation of ST, states that traditionally, we break our thinking down into small pieces. Systems thinking doesn’t do that. You’ll notice, if you access the pdf above, it is using crops as an example. Supplant that example with CCSS and our students.

Contrast that example of ST with the one from Waters Foundation, which helps fund the CC Project we’ve been looking into.
“Systems thinking utilizes habits, tools and concepts to develop an understanding of the interdependent structures of dynamic systems. When individuals have a better understanding of systems, they are better able to identify the leverage points that lead to desired outcomes.”

Now, consider the two. Can you imagine why kids are struggling with the CCSS so much? It is developmentally unsound to expect a younger student to see an entire system. They have to break things down in smaller pieces! We don’t begin our students with books, then expect them to DIGRESS from there into paragraphs, sentences, words,  and letters, do we? NO!! We begin with letters, move UP to words, sentences, paragraphs, and then books.

Just in case you want to see how ST is embedded in CCSS: http://watersfoundation.org/systems-thinking/standards/

Just in case you want to see how SEL is embedded in CCSS: http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_to_integrate_social_emotional_learning_into_common_core

Closing thought:

If you go to vote today, please consider the candidates, especially for school boards. Are they supportive of CCSS? If so, don’t allow them into office. If they are on the fence, share this information with them, as well as all the other information you have about the inappropriate development component of Common Core.