Monthly Archives: July 2012

Fates Foundation Announces New Vistas in Education

Stunning breakthroughs of the past decade have shown great promise in dealing with underperforming school age children. Now the Fates Foundation is transforming those breakthroughs into reality.

Founder Bill Fates said, “We looked at everything that was wrong with education and knew we had the technology to improve everything about the user experience opening up new Vistas for students everywhere.”

Fates continued, “We’ve been studying performance measurement books that conclude what gets measured gets improved and so we’re sort of on this kick of measuring everything. It’s important for us to know your child’s medical lab results, what time he gets on the bus, what blood type he has, and so on. You just don’t know how useful this information is until we start examining longitudinal data studies to determine what might be a factor in the educational process.”

The Fates Foundation doesn’t just get involved with performance data, but we have now invested in hi-tech solutions to monitor students and teachers. We have developed Galvanic Skin Response bracelets that perform the equivalent of an MRI on students while they are in the classroom in order to measure teacher effectiveness. Ideal for performance pay calculations. We are also performing  functional MRI’s for school children to make sure their brains are fully engaged in their educational experience. These tools help ensure teachers are keeping student attention levels high. After our push to create Common Core standards to bring about a global education system, it’s important we keep things on track.

“At the Fates foundation we also want to live up to our name. We’ve been watching ACT develop kindergarten and 3rd grade career assessments, but we really want to go back a step further and do in-utero DNA testing and brain analysis, and possibly biometric parental assessments to determine what careers are most likely for offspring of potential couples. Marrying the right person is such an important decision in life,” said Fates, “you should really know in advance what type of child your potential spouse is most likely to produce with you.”

Fates’ wife Melinda has been an ardent lifelong supporter of the need to ensure the right children are born to families. She recently shared that “this effort will lead to greater insights about what types of babies should be born that will be the best contributors to society. There’s no reason not to embrace a full eugenics program with this kind of information available. Bill’s father was president of Planned Parenthood and really inspired us to make family planning choices part of our funding endeavors.”

The Fates Foundation is now pleased to announce grant money awards for schools if they are willing to comply with a few rules that will meet new federal regulations paving the way for sharing of pertinent research-only data among interested stakeholders. These stakeholders include, but are not limited to, the Federal government, private businesses, the federal health care registry, and a website secured by your neighbor’s teenager.

In the name of quality research, we call on parents everywhere to trust us with your child’s information. What’s the worst that could happen?


The above article is satire and completely false except where noted with hyperlinks to real documents.

Sutherland Institute Fact Checks USOE

The Sutherland Institute has responded to a letter from Brenda Hales at the Utah State Office of Education and published their fact check agreeing and disagreeing with various points. This is an important document.

http://www.sutherlandinstitute.org/news/2012/07/18/fact-checking-usoe-claims-on-common-core/

Among their statements are these clips. Further explanations are on their page than what I’m copy/pasting so I encourage you to read their writeup.

USOE: “The State Board of Education has control over the standards and assessments for Utah. The State Board can and will change them as needed without outside group or federal approval. The State Board is solely responsible for overseeing the implementation of the standards in our state.”

Rating: False, except the final sentence.

USOE: “Utah has not lost its autonomy over standards and assessments.”

Rating: False.

USOE: “The Utah core standards may be changed by the State Board at any time.”

Rating: False, unless the state exits current agreements.

USOE: “The Utah core standards are not under the control or manipulation of special interest groups.”

Rating: Somewhat false.

USOE: “The Utah core standards are not obligatory because of Utah’s NCLB flexibility request application.”

Rating: False.

 

Milgram on CC vs IN Math Standards

Indiana parents Erin Tuttle and Heather Crossin were distraught over the low quality textbook their school was using for Common Core implementation. It was of the “fuzzy math” constructivist variety. They contacted their local legislator and complained about it and began a dialog into the Common Core standards. This legislator had a few questions and they pointed them to Dr. Jim Milgram at Stanford, the professional mathematician on the review committee and one of our nation’s leading authorities on math standards writing. The Q&A below further illustrate the low level the Common Core standards were written to.

 

1. Why would we want to adopt Common Core Math Standards over Indiana Math Standards?

Mathematically, there is no good reason to adopt Common Core Math Standards over the Indiana Standards.  Indeed, the Indiana standards were/are? one of the top 4 or 5 state standards in the country, and are approximately at the level of the top international standards. The Common Core standards claim to be “benchmarked against international standards” but this phrase is meaningless.  They are actually two or more years behind international expectations by eighth grade, and only fall further behind as they talk about grades 8 – 12.  Indeed, they don’t even fully cover the material in a solid geometry course, or in the second year algebra course.

2. What are the differences between Common Core Math Standards and Indiana Standards?

Basically, the differences are described above.  Both standards were authored with the help of the professional mathematics community as distinguished from the mathematical education community.  But — as someone who was at the middle of overseeing the writing process – my main duty on the CCSSO Validation Committee — it became clear that the professional math community input to CCSSI was often ignored, which seemed not to be the case with the Indiana Standards.  A particularly egregious example of this occurred in the sixth and seventh grade standards and commentary on ratios, rates, proportion and percents, where there are a number of serious errors and questionable examples.But the same issues are also present in the development of the basic algorithms for whole number arithmetic – the most important topic in grades 1 – 5.

It was argued by some people on the Validation Committee that we should ignore such errors and misunderstandings as they will be cleared up in later versions, but I didn’t buy into this argument, and currently there is no movement at all towards any revisions.

3. How do they compare with international standards?

As I indicated above, they are more than two years behind international expectations by eighth grade.  The top countries are starting algebra in seventh grade and geometry in eighth or ninth.  By the end of ninth grade the students will have learned all of the material in a standard geometry course, all the material in a standard algebra I course, and some of the most important material in a standard algebra II course. This allows a huge percentage of them to finish calculus before graduating high school.  (In a number of the high achieving countries, calculus is actually a high school graduation requirement, but where it is not, typically, half or more of the high school graduates will have had calculus.  Also, it is worth noting that in these countries the high school graduation rate is typically 90% or higher for their entire populations.)

 

Jim Milgram on the Common Core Math Standards

After the Common Core standards were drafted, they went to review committees. In the prior post we showed the comments and testimony of Dr. Sandra Stotsky on the English standards.

Jim Milgram on Common Core StandardsFor math, the only professional mathematician and expert on content on the review committee was Dr. Jim Milgram from Stanford. He has long been involved in writing standards and evaluating international standards of the high achieving countries. A few years ago he was instrumental in providing testimony that Utah had very poor standards and this helped bring about our A- rated 2007 standards. His review of Common Core concludes:

“So it seems to me that you have a clear choice between

  • Core Standards – in large measure a political document that, in spite of a number of real strengths, is written at a very low level and does not adequately reflect our current understanding of why the math programs in the high achieving countries give dramatically better results;
  • The new Texas Standards that show every indication of being among the best, if not the best, state standards in the country. They are written to prepare student to both enter the workforce after graduation, and to take calculus in college if not earlier. They also reflect very well, the approaches to mathematics education that underlie the results in the high achieving countries.”

You can see more of his comments here:

http://parentsacrossamerica.org/2011/04/james-milgram-on-the-new-core-curriculum-standards-in-math/

Sandra Stotsky on the ELA Common Core Standards

Sandra Stotsky on English Common Core StandardsBelow you can enjoy watching perhaps the most qualified person in America who could comment on the quality of the English standards of Common Core, tell why they shouldn’t be used in schools today. Dr. Sandra Stotsky has a illustrious background in writing English standards. This is her background as found on another website.

“I draw on much state and national experience with K-12 standards, curricula, and assessments. I was the senior associate commissioner in the Massachusetts Department of Education from 1999-2003 where, among other duties, I was in charge of the development or revision of all the state’s K-12 standards. I have reviewed all states’ English language arts and reading standards for the Fordham Institute in 1997, 2000, and 2005. I co-authored Achieve’s American Diploma Project high school exit test standards for English in 2004. I co-authored the 2008 Texas English language arts and reading standards. Appointed by then Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, I served on the National Mathematics Advisory Panel from 2006-2008. Finally, I served on Common Core’s Validation Committee from 2009-2010.”

The video clips below show Dr. Stotsky testifying to a Texas legislature committee on the quality of the English standards and the non-transparent process used to create national standards. Among her comments which I’ve transcribed are these.

The development of the standards violated almost every civic procedure that I have been familiar with in my life and and I have been in the MA dept. of Ed in charge of the public process for the development of our standards so I know what the public process is like from a Dept. of education point of view…

NGA and CCSSO, the 2 groups that were developing the CC standards are private groups and therefore are not bound by the same civic procedures that a government appointed body would have to follow. But since what they were creating, and everyone knew this, were standards to serve as our national standards, there should have been an open process about a number of details that I will go into…

I was the only English language standards person on the [review] committee…

The standards which I have analyzed in detail many times over, do not signify readiness or authentic college level work, at best they point to readiness for a high school diploma, but it all depends on where the test scores get set and we don’t know that yet, but they do not prepare students for authentic college level work, and they are not internationally benchmarked. Professor Milgram says the same thing about the mathematics standards. We’re talking about the Common Core’s standards. Neither of them make us competitive with other countries that have high expectations for their high school students.

Second point is about the quality of your own 2008 standards in English, they are, at this point, the best set of standards in the country. This make come as a shock to many people in Texas, but now that MA, CA, and IN standards have gone with the wind because those states have adopted Common Core, the next best set of standards in English in the country are Texas’ and to back up my judgement I will quote from the Fordham Institute’s review that came out last July, and here is what Fordham said about Texas’ English language arts standards and it gave it an A-.

“Texas’s ELA standards are more clearly written, better presented, and logically organized than the Common Core standards.”

This is not from me, this is from Fordham.

“The Texas standards include expectations that more thoroughly address the comprehension and analysis of literary and non-literary text than Common Core, including helpful, detailed standards that outline genre-specific content and rhetorical techniques. In addition, Texas has prioritized writing genres by grade level.”

So here we have someone saying outside of my own judgement that the Texas standards are better than Common Core’s.

Part 1

Part 2

Letter to State Education Officials

Alisa Ellis sent this letter to Brenda Hales, other USOE officers, and the State School Board this morning. We wanted to share this with the public and ask that you share this as well. There is a need for a hearing, perhaps in an education committee interim legislative meeting. Questions are not being fully answered by state officials who continue to say we’re wrong but without producing documentation.

Brenda –

I know you and others at the State office are frustrated with our continual fight against Common Core.  This is why I feel it is time we sit down and talk.  As noted after the public forum at Granite district offices by a reporter (loosely quoted) “both sides left further entrenched in their views”.

I have seen the articles and statements put out by you and others at the state office and I have read many, many government documents relating to the Common Core Standards and other educational reform ideals.  From my perspective the documents and the statements  put out by your office do not mesh.

I’ve seen your timeline and also studied the minutes of your meetings.  I’ve studied the minutes from other states and feel that there is a lot of misrepresentation.  I know you feel that I am misinformed but I can assure you I’m more informed than I’ve ever been in my life.

Of course there are some documents and meetings I am not privy too and so I feel it is imperative to sit down with you and Superintendent Shumway and go over all the questions I and other parent’s and citizens have. At a meeting on April 6th with Governor Herbert, he promised to help us set up a meeting with Superintendent Shumway and so I’ve copied his secretary to get that ball rolling if I must.

I would like to see documentation to the statements made by the state office.

I would like to see exactly how you and other’s in UT wrote the Math and ELA standards.  Especially after I listened to the audio of the board meeting where you said they didn’t want us (UT) to send a team to help write the standards because they didn’t want it to turn into a Constitutional convention.  I’d like to see a comparison showing the difference between Common Core State Standards and the Utah Core.  I am very confused as to how UT claims to have written copyrighted standards.  I read in the NCLB waiver that UT cross-walked our standards with Common Core standards.  I’d like you to show me exactly how that was done and like I said show me the differences in the standards.

I’d like to know why members of the board are of the opinion that UT is not bound to any contractual obligations.  We have an approved waiver application to NCLB (contractual obligation) and yet members of the board are of the opinion we can change our standards whenever we want.  Be prepared in the meeting to explain exactly what process this will take when we’ve agreed to the definitions in the document and attached evidence of how we’ll meet the requirements outlined by the Dept. of Ed.

It is not effective to continue this “he said, she said dialogue”.  We must have a meeting.  I recognize it is summer but feel an urgency to sit down and talk with you.

I am available this week.

We do not need to keep down this path of confrontation.  It is not conducive to constructive dialogue.  I have 6 children in the public schools in UT and have no plans of backing down on my questions until I am satisfied that the answers given are backed up by fact and documentation and that this is the best move for our state and our children.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you,

Alisa Ellis

Gates Funding Tops $100 Million for Common Core

100 Million CashWe already knew that the Gates Foundation was the driving force behind Common Core, funding the NGA and CCSSO to come together and develop them, but in this spreadsheet provided by the Pioneer Institute, they’ve been able to track publicly available grant information on the Gates Foundation website that shows they have put over $100 million into the development, approval, and promotion of Common Core standards. Check out the spreadsheet for yourself.

Gates Foundation Funding of Common Core (Spreadsheet)

You have to wonder why even someone as wealthy as Gates would put so much money into the Common Core standards.

The Common Core Presentation

On Tuesday, July 10th, four experts on Common Core from out-of-state came to Utah to speak with the Governor, legislators, and the public. The videos below show two of their presentations. The audio on the public presentation is better than the legislator luncheon video so you may want to watch it.

We hope you will watch this presentation in its entirety to become better informed and educated on this vital issue of our day. If you would like to make a contribution to assist our efforts in spreading the truth about Common Core, please click the Contribute link to the right and select Common Core in block F. We appreciate your support and encourage you to share this video and other resources with friends and neighbors.

90-second Teaser from the public meeting Tuesday night


 

Full public meeting presentation

 

Full presentation to legislators


Random Quote

Our goal for the coming year will be to work closely with global partners, including UNESCO, to promote qualitative improvements and system strengthening. — Arne Duncan, http://unesco.usmission.gov/duncan-remarks.html

Sign the Petition
Please sign the petition on the home page asking our state education officials to stop Common Core before it's too late.
Get Started
New to Common Core? Get educated and take action here: Action List

Copyright © 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Google+