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When It Comes to Common Core, Read the Fine Print

This is a good read and puts in clear perspective how Common Core is dumbing down our education system — I thought the idea was to be competitive with other nations?

When It Comes to Common Core, Read the Fine Print

by Dr. Peg Luksikshutterstock_81053836It’s advice that most of us have learned to follow the hard way.  It’s easy to get caught up in a well-crafted sales pitch, and just overlook the parts that are “too good to be true.”But when we are dealing with the futures of our children, we need to stop and actually read the fine print under Common Core’s aggressive marketing campaign.Let’s start with a fundamental contradiction in the marketing message.

The proponents of Common Core sell their program by telling us…

…about the children of our military who often must transfer from one school to another.  These children, we are told, need every school to be the same so they won’t ever move to a new school that is behind their old one.  At the same time, the proponents tell us that no school is limited to the standards as they are written, and they fully expect that some schools will go beyond the mandated performance levels.

But doesn’t that mean that some schools will be ahead of others?  And doesn’t that negate the “all the schools need to be the same so children can seamlessly transfer” marketing claim?

It can’t be both ways.  Either all the schools will be the same or they won’t.  If they are, no school will be going beyond the written standards.  If they are not, then for the children of our military, the current situation will remain the same.

It’s a great marketing ploy, as long as no one notices that the claim is that Common Core will result in schools that are simultaneously the same and different from each other.

Now let’s look at the language of the Common Core sales pitch itself.

Common Core’s salesmen have stated that 40% of our children require remediation when they get to college so we need to have a system of standards that mandate what all children will know and be able to do upon graduation. The standards must be accompanied by high stakes tests so we can hold students, teachers, and schools accountable for how well they meet the standards.  This, they tell us, will solve the problem.

But didn’t we already have mandatory achievement standards with high stakes tests to measure performance?

Most states have had standards-based education for nearly 20 years, and the sales pitch that was used to introduce it then is exactly the same as the sales pitch that we are hearing today.  If it was such an abysmal failure that 40% of the students exposed to it require remedial courses before they can begin actual college work, why are we continuing the approach at all?

Why are we getting a new version of an old, failed, product?

And what would a Consumer Reports analysis reveal?  What is the actual performance level behind the sales pitch language of “rigorous” standards?

In the Pennsylvania regulations recently passed by the State Board of Education, for example, students will need to pass Algebra I in order to graduate from high school.  Nothing higher than Algebra I is required. And they do not need to pass the mandatory state Algebra I exam until they are in the 11th grade.

In a recent debate, the proponents of Common Core told the audience that the students would learn less, but still be able to take advanced courses in math like AP Algebra II.

In pre-Common Core high schools, students take Algebra II in either 10th or 11th grade so they can take Calculus before graduation. Algebra II is not considered college level math – students who need to take it in college do so in a remedial setting. The AP level math is Calculus. But in a recent interview, the Vice-President of the College Board stated that Calculus is not part of the Common Core sequence.  He said that in Common Core, educators are asked to slow the math progression down.

Well, if we slow the math progression down, then Algebra II would, in fact, move to the AP level.  We didn’t move student achievement up, we moved the level for success down.

Does anyone believe that the students in Singapore or Germany or Japan are having the math progression in their schools slowed down?

Now let’s analyze the tests themselves. According to the Common Core sales team, the tests are critical for holding students, teachers, and schools accountable.  We will know how well the program is working through the tests.

The promotional language says that the tests are valid and reliable. But the same state Departments of Education that are mandating and implementing Common Core are creating and scoring the tests, and then reporting on the performance of their own system. Such a structure is like allowing a drug company to evaluate its own medicine, declare it a success, and then put it on the market. It’s called an internal audit – and it is never considered either valid or reliable.

In fact, the state Departments of Education have been doing this kind of high-stakes testing since the inception of the standards-based system. And in that time, we have seen states change their passing scoring criteria retroactively. We have seen states lower the level of achievement necessary to receive a passing score. Some states use computers to change the questions to match the student’s achievement level – moving the test to the student instead of measuring the student against the test. And some states set the passing level as low as 33%.  In every case, parents only received notice that their students had passed – not the actual level of achievement necessary for passing.

And then, when those same students got to college, where they received their first non-internal audit of achievement, 40% of them required remediation.

Sometimes, reading the fine print is the most important thing that a potential consumer can do. And in the case of Common Core, failure to read, and act upon, that fine print will result in an academic disaster for an entire generation of America’s children.

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Dr. Peg Luksik has taught both special education and regular education students from pre-school to college for over 30 years. She has written and evaluated curriculum, and worked as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Education, reviewing education reform initiatives.

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Disturbing Testimonies Reveal Workforce Career Pathway Agenda

Disturbing Testimonies Reveal Workforce Career Pathway Agenda

You may have heard that Minnesota has a new educational initiative called the Minnesota World’s Best Workforce.    This initiative was passed into legislation last spring 2013 as a part of the Omnibus K-12 bill.   What is this “workforce” and the accompanying “career pathways”?  Largely,  parents and the public have been left out of the picture.

According to the Minnesota Department of Education website, “public hearings” should have accompanied all open “discussions of the World’s Best Workforce”.    Many Minnesota school boards have already voted to adopt this WBW,  without any parental input!   Minnesota parents had a choice to make here and once again were left out of the decision-making process!

This informative article demonstrates not only the role of the Chambers of Commerce in our local schools, but also a disturbing trend that is coming to fruition by Winter 2014.   Clarity is presented regarding the not-so-distant timeline which this workforce initiative is fully implemented in Minnesota.

Testimonies from a small Wisconsin town, gets to the root of Common Core, Wisconsin Daily Independent, Oct. 2013

Disturbing testimony from small town America, confirming the fears of many people who are against nationalized adoption of Common Core standards. Link to entire article
http://wisconsindailyindependent.com/disturbing-testimony-at-hearing-reveals-what-is-at-the-core-of-common-core-support/

This article deserves a complete and through read. Below are several excerpts.

The beginning of this article focuses on a testimony from Superintendent Nick Madison from the Brillion school district in Wisconsin. The area is typical of small towns across America.

In one flash of anger, Madison summed up what drives too many supporters of Common Core: the belief that the unexceptional children of the United States are nothing more than servants of industry to be educated only to the extent that industry requires.

Basically this small town is saying they resent that children will not be encouraged to reach for their potential, instead they would be be encouraged to go to trade schools, should Common Core be implemented.

However, it was when Madison lashed out at Representative Michael Schraa that he revealed what is at the core of Common Core. Schraa began his questioning by noting, “American Exceptionalism was present before Common Core, and you are kind of insinuating that we need Common Core standards….” Madison aggressively interrupted, “You bet. That exceptionalism has come and gone with all due respect, Representative.” Madison continued, “We have to be willing to innovate faster than the Chinese can copy us or our industry is going to go away. You talk about what country standards did you look at, here’s what country I look at when I go down to Home Depot and see snow blowers made in China. That’s a real problem for Brillion, that’s our standard. That is who we are competing with.

Here Madison is insinuating that America will no longer be able to be innovators worldwide because students will be held back by Common Core.

Testimony continued with Jody Lueck, an Appleton business woman and CPA.

The testimony, which seemed to make the legislators most uncomfortable was offered by Appleton businesswoman and CPA, Jody Lueck, who related her experience with the promoters of Common Core. Lueck described a meeting of the Appleton Chamber of Commerce in which a Common Core promotional presentation was made this year.

The Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership’s promotional program began with an explanation that Common Core was the centerpiece of their effort to “match up the American educational system with the European educational system of work-ready.”

Lueck advised the legislators that when the group referred to career and college ready, they did not mean college “the way we think about it. They’re discussing technical colleges.” Lueck said that while she valued technical colleges, she became concerned when the group was told, “We need to change to meet the job market demands in Wisconsin and discourage our children from seeking a college degree.She told legislators that the intent of the proponents is to change the model from one in which we promote thinking to one in which children are trained solely for careers to meet the needs of industry. The chamber members were told that “only 27% of jobs in Wisconsin required a college education, and we are doing our kids a disservice, they said, we needed to change to meet the job market demands in Wisconsin and discourage our children from seeking a college degree.”

Attendees were told this would be a shift in mindset.

When the attendees asked about the role of parents, they were told, “We did not include them because we did not know how this would work.” When the attendees persisted and asked again what the parents’ role would be, the presenters said, ‘We are not telling the parents; their children will bring them along.’

Lueck described a system in which kindergartners will be given information about careers, and by the 8th grade, children will be funneled into 16 career tracks.

Lueck said, “There’s no parental involvement at all. The child will be tested, and the educators will offer them three tracks from which a child can choose based upon the needs of business in Wisconsin.” Students will then be placed in a track that best suits the student’s skill and will feed the industry in need.

“We are going to restructure the educational system so that all schools will work in tandem, and because you can’t have 16 career academies in one school. Different high schools will be assigned different academies,” Lueck testified. Under the new system a child might likely attend one high school one day, and spend other days at another school.

Lueck told the legislators that schools will essentially take over the role of HR departments. Teachers will determine which student is qualified to interview for which apprenticeship. “This is not far-off,” she warned the legislators.

“They didn’t know people were sitting in that audience who would not necessarily agree with what they were doing,” said Lueck. She did not to see “them hijack what education is supposed to be about. We want thinking children who can really critically think and look at things. How did I become a CPA before if our education system was so bad before Common Core?”

Lueck concluded, “If you thought our education system was so bad, why on earth did we wait for a group of east coast foundations to tell us what we should we doing here in Wisconsin?”

There is so much important information here. Lueck’s testimony highlights how business has been coerced into supporting common core, while simultaneously disregarding parent rights and involvement.

At what point, do we as parents realize Common Core is taking away our rights to educate our children? How much more information do we need to become involved in the fight against Common Core? If you believe your children should have the right to choose those own career path, you need to speak out. Common Core is an insidious, lurking, spreading beast that will slowly erode parents rights, educational choice and the traditional family.

Please join the fight against Common Core. Become involved in your local area and spread the word. Pass the link to this article around. Explore this blog and share what speaks to you. Our children’s future choices depend on us. If we don’t fight Common Core, and beat it now, I am afraid of what will become of our future grandchildren and their choices. We are not only fighting for our children but for future generations of American children.

 

MACC Travels to Jackson County!

MACC Travels to Jackson County!
This week we traveled over to Lakefield, in the southwest corner of Minnesota.  It’s an absolutely beautiful area!  Our team had opportunity to meet many of the great people living in that town!
Many thanks to Alison Stump and Shelly Gusten for heading up this event on June 18th .  After our presentation, there were many thoughtful questions (obviously many had researched well before we arrived) about the future for our children and nation.
We had a great turn-out of moms, dads and grandparents.  Also in attendance were teachers, city councilmen, county commissioners, two superintendents, principals, school board members and a legislator.  We really appreciated those teachers who spoke up and validated MACC’s concerns with Common Core and its synonymous rebrands: College and Career Ready Standards and the Minnesota World’s Best Workforce.