Monday, October 7, 2013

Common Core State Standards: The Devil is in the Details

Evidence supports the allegation that the Common Core K-12 experiment is a Wall Street inspired venture.

The Common Core State Standards Temptation: Four Billion Dollars

In 2010 President Obama and his education counselor, Arne Duncan, prompted K-12 reform via Race to the Top financial inducements.

Education Secretary Duncan said that he was "convinced that this new [Common Core] generation of state assessments will be an absolute game-changer in public education” because they would be able to tell millions of school children, parents and teachers — “for the first time” whether students are “on-track for colleges and careers.”

Mr. Duncan should perhaps temper his enthusiasm for the Common Core State Standards initiative and reflect on the No Child Left Behind Act. This 2001 federal law provided all of the above but without a for-profit venue.

Realizing that an unknown but significant number of students would be unable to meet 2013/2014 basic math and reading standards required by the No Child Left Behind Act, most states and some school districts have received permission to opt out of the law and pursue the Common Core avenue.

In Ohio, for instance, the department of education estimated that 90% of schools would fail the No Child Left Behind mandate. By instituting Common Core, Massachusetts hopes to reduce proficiency breaches by 50% in the 2016/2017 school term. Texas, a Common Core holdout, capitulated in September 2012 and received its waiver last month. No Child Left Behind 2012 measurement data showed that  55.8 % of Texas schools did not provide an adequate education platform for its student population. Texas chose not to release its 2013 performance reports.

Federal funding [four billion plus dollars] was predicated on states' acceptance of Common Core State Standards. Presently most states, various territories, the Department of Education Activity and the District of Columbia  have committed to Common Core State Standards .

Common Core sales' representatives, selected by the  American Legislative Exchange Council, were the National Governors Association and the Council for Chief State School Officers.

In 2010 Bill Gates applauded the Council for Chief State School Officers for its Common Core implementation successes. The Council for Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association are largely taxpayer-funded organizations but meetings are private.

The National Governors Association [NGA] and the Council for Chief State School Officers [CCSSO] are business oriented entities and by copyrighting Common Core educational texts and tests, the consortium has precluded contracting parties from diverging from its prescribed merchandise.

Common Core false advertising: Unable to substantiate the long-cited claim that Common Core education standards were internationally benchmarked, the marketers now state that their academic models "Are informed by other top performing countries." 

Because Common Core educational techniques are being embedded in PSAT, SAT, ACT and GED exams, private schools are, by necessity, adopting Common Core methodology.

Corporate fingerprints are identifiable on every aspect of the Common Core State Standards agenda.  Wall Street's pursuit of and access to state and federal education funds has been tracked by Mercedes Schneider. In her six-part Common Core State Standards exposé, Ms. Schneider provides relevant details and includes discreet minutes from the American Legislative Exchange Council's Education Task Force meetings.

Sponsoring the Governors Explore Strategies to Make the United States a Global Leader in Education symposium, the James B. Hunt, Jr. Institute set the stage for national Common Core State Standards in June 2008. For its Common Core advocacy, the Hunt Institute has received $6,049,352 from the Gates Foundation. The Gates Foundation has expended  $173.5 million to groups in favor of Common Core State Standards.

Common Core State Standards are fait accompli because the public was not dutifully informed or asked to participate in the decision-making process.  The recent August 2013 Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll found that more than 60% of respondents had no knowledge of the Common Core enterprise.

The expense of the Common Core State Standards proposition is in the $16 billion dollar range in spite of states' claims of budget constraints.  Common Core exams administered via computer, graded by outside sources, are expected to be $29.50 per student. These unproven academic metrics were designed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium [SBAC] and the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers [PARCC].  Results of the SBAC practice tests, scheduled spring 2014, will not be available to students or teachers.

Common Core text books and self-help guides price list:

Algebra 1 Common Core $88.10
Common Core Mathematics in a PLC at Work TM, High School $17.99 Holt McDougal Mathematics Common Core 2012 (Grade 7) $67.80

Go Math! is a "focused program designed to meet the objectives and intent of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics."
* Go Math! Differentiated Instruction Resource Accelerated 7 $74.90
* Go Math! Solutions Key Accelerated 7 $54.20
* Go Math! Teacher Edition Accelerated 7 $111.60
* Go Math! Assessment Resource with Answers Accelerated 7 $59.90
*Go Math! Student Interactive Worktext Accelerated 7 $25.00

Common Core State Standards criticisms reiterated by Diane Ravitch:
I have come to the conclusion that the Common Core standards effort is fundamentally flawed by the process with which they have been foisted upon the nation.
They are being imposed on the children of this nation despite the fact that no one has any idea how they will affect students, teachers, or schools. We are a nation of guinea pigs, almost all trying an unknown new program at the same time.

Would the Federal Drug Administration approve the use of a drug with no trials, no concern for possible harm or unintended consequences?
Ms. Ravitch, in her recent "It's Not a School Problem" interview, provides additional insights on the state of academic affairs.

Dr. Sandra Stotsky, one of the twenty-five member Common Core vetting committee, believes that the Common Core academic plan is not an improvement over the discarded standard course of study and is in fact a "set of empty skill sets."

Prof. R. James Milgram's [member of the Common Core review team] 2011 testimony:
There are a number of extremely serious failings in Core Standards that make it premature for any state with serious hopes for improving the quality of the mathematical education of their children to adopt them.
Recitation of the Common Core mantra: Transforming Teaching & Learning so All Students Graduate College and Are Career Ready is a nonsensical exercise and does not reflect reality.

Evidence seems to confirm that the elaborately orchestrated Common Core State Standards Initiative is nothing more than a bait and switch scheme.

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