Category Archives: Pearson

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.

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.

Stop Common Core in Plymouth!

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Stop Common Core in Plymouth!!!  Tues., March 11, 2014

Which Plymouth schools are teaching the Common Core curriculum?  All of the schools in the Robbinsdale , Wayzata, Hopkins and Minnetonka districts are using Common Core textbooks.  Even a number of private schools are teaching Common Core!  But isn’t Common Core more than a standard and curriculum?  Doesn’t it have to do with standardized testing, surveys, data collection and data mining and on and on…?

Want to know more?  Come and learn how Common Core affects public, private and homeschooling at the Plymouth Covenant Church, 4300 Vicksburg Lane, Plymouth, MN   55446 on Tuesday, March 11th.   The power point presentation will begin at 7:00pm and is free.

Look forward to seeing you!

Time to Act: Read the MACC/Democrat/Republican/Independent Resolution Against Common Core at your SD (BPOU) Conventions

Little Girl in Classroom

It’s time to ACT on behalf of our children!

Hundreds of MACC members and friends became delegates in all parties and across Minnesota on February 4th. You should have gotten an email about your upcoming SD (BPOU) Convention. It is usually on a Saturday and runs for about 6-8 hours.  Get ready to read the Whereas/Resolutions again and become delegates for the Congressional District Conventions. If there is a fee for your convention, you can turn it into the state for reimbursement through the PCR program. It is up to $50/person.

PCR Information
Individuals who contribute after June 30, 2013, to a registered political party or to a state level partisan candidate who has agreed to limit expenditures are eligible to apply for a refund of their contribution. For purposes of the political contribution refund (PCR) program, only monetary contributions qualify for the refund. Receipts forms may not be issued to contributors who donate goods or services.

The maximum refund contributors may receive is $50 per person or $100 for married couples. The program is available to individuals who are eligible to vote in Minnesota. Those individuals may file only one refund application per year and there is no opportunity to amend the PCR.

To receive a refund, a contributor must:

1. Get a receipt from the political party or candidate to whom the contribution was made.
2. Fill out Form PCR (for the year in which the contribution was made), which can be obtained from the Minnesota Department of Revenue.
3. Attach the receipt to the application (Form PCR) for the appropriate year.
4. Mail the application form and receipt to the Minnesota Department of Revenue at:

Minnesota Political Contribution Refund
Minnesota Department of Revenue
St. Paul, MN 55146-1800

The refund program is not tied to the state income tax form. PCR forms must be filed separately. A taxpayer may file a claim for the PCR immediately after making the contribution. Claims for contributions made during one calendar year may be filed during that calendar year and must be filed not later than April 15th of the next calendar year.

Call Joyce Larson at 651-539-1188 or 800-657-3889 if you have questions about the PCR program.

The upcoming SD Convention:
Organizing Unit Conventions or BPOU
The Organizing Unit is the second level of the party structure. Delegates are elected to their Organizing Unit conventions at their local precinct caucuses. Then, these delegates will endorse candidates for the state legislature and choose delegates to move on to the state and congressional district conventions.
The organizing unit central and executive committees are the governing bodies of the organizing unit between conventions.
Organizing Unit/Senate District Convention Tasks:
• To endorse candidates for State Senate and House
• To conduct local party unit business
• To present and consider platform resolutions
• Election of delegates and alternates to the next level of conventions

The Step After
Congressional District Conventions
The congressional district, an area established by law for the election of representatives to the U.S. Congress, is the third level in the party structure. The boundaries of congressional districts are determined by State legislature and are dependent on the population of the state and the number of U.S. representative seats given to Minnesota. In general, each congressional district is to be as equal in population to all other congressional districts in the State.
Between conventions, the congressional district central and executive committees are the governing bodies of a congressional district party unit. On even numbered years, Congressional district conventions are held with delegates who have been elected at the DFL organizing unit conventions.
Congressional District Convention Tasks:
• To endorse Minnesota candidates for U.S. Congress
• Elect members to State Commissions and committees for the State Convention
• Election of delegates and alternates to the next level of conventions
• To present and consider platform resolutions

Last Step:
State Convention
The State Convention is the supreme governing body of the party. At the State Convention, Party members:
• Endorse candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state and state auditor, and U.S. Senate.
• Elect party officers
• Present and deliberate proposals to the State Constitution and Bylaws
• Consider proposed resolutions to the Platform and Action Agenda
State Conventions are held on even-numbered years with over 1,300 voting delegates in attendance. The convention is open to the public, and is held in different parts of the state every two years. The State Central Committee is the governing body of the party between conventions.

MACC Political Contribution form