Coming in February, a new documentary movie exposing Common Core. Check out the trailer here:
Iowa teachers recently took a survey about their views on Common Core. We always hear from state officials how teachers have embraced Common Core, yet we hear from many teachers how they hate it and it is damaging their students and crippling their ability to tailor any educational experiences for children.
The results of the survey and teacher comments can be found here:
Today, we got this awesome email from a school student in Wisconsin.
Hello, my name is ___________.
I am a student at _______ High School, in ______ Wisconsin.
I am enrolled in a Government Class. The class is conducting a mock legislative hearing about Common Core.
I have been assigned to play the role of Dr. Gary Thompson during the hearing and would like to ask you some questions about your view on whether the Wisconsin State Legislature should repeal or amend the common core standards.
What is your stance on Common Core? And why?
What brought this about? Last month, Dr. Gary Thompson was invited to Wisconsin to testify in a *real* legislative hearing against Common Core’s behavioral testing and data collection. Near the end of his testimony, a state legislator asked who paid for him to travel there to testify. Gary pulled out and showed them a check he was given to cover his airfare and car rental. This state senator then jumped all over the group that paid for him, as having ties to the John Birch Society. Further compounding his ignorance, the senator and another legislator shortly thereafter, sent out a press release condemning right-wing extremism and paid testimony in their Common Core hearings.
Not one to be cowed, Dr. Thompson (who campaigned for President Obama) fired back a letter demanding the resignation of this state senator. The letter went viral. Here’s a news report:
And here is Gary’s awesome letter calling for this senator’s resignation:
If you want to watch his whole testimony, here you go. Thank you Dr. Thompson for standing up for what’s right.
This week, people all over the country are changing their Facebook picture to Stop Common Core. Please join. Right click on this image and save the image to your computer.
Click to edit your picture, and upload this image you saved.
Then every day, post an article exposing Common Core to your wall. Use #stopcommoncore as well.
Invite people to sign the petition at this website if they live in Utah.
Oh, but Common Core is state led and the feds have nothing to do with it… Yeah right. Lets hope the superintendent of CA sticks to his words:
“This legislation will continue to be guided by what’s right for California’s children…. We won’t reach [our goals for 21st-century learning] by continuing to look in the rear-view mirror with outdated tests, no matter how it sits with officials in Washington.” -Sup. Torlakson
Reported in the Stop Common Core in North Carolina website, and what appears to be a Catholic related blog, this letter was sent to all US Bishops and signed by over 130 Catholic professors. It makes the case that Common Core is a flawed philosophy and approach to education.
We are Catholic scholars who have taught for years in America’s colleges and universities. Most of us have done so for decades. A few of us have completed our time in the classroom; we are professors “emeriti.” We have all tried throughout our careers to put our intellectual gifts at the service of Christ and His Church. Most of us are parents, too, who have seen to our children’s education, much of it in Catholic schools. We are all personally and professionally devoted to Catholic education in America.
For these reasons we take this extraordinary step of addressing each of America’sCatholic bishops about the “Common Core” national reform of K-12 schooling. Over one hundred dioceses and archdioceses have decided since 2010 to implement the Common Core. We believe that, notwithstanding the good intentions of those who made these decisions, Common Core was approved too hastily and with inadequate consideration of how it would change the character and curriculum of our nation’s Catholic schools. We believe that implementing Common Core would be a grave disservice to Catholic education in America.
In fact, we are convinced that Common Core is so deeply flawed that it should not be adopted by Catholic schools which have yet to approve it, and that those schools which have already endorsed it should seek an orderly withdrawal now. Why – upon what evidence and reasoning – do we take such a decisive stand against a reform that so many Catholic educators have endorsed, or at least have acquiesced in?
In this brief letter we can only summarize our evidence and sketch our reasoning. We stand ready, however, to develop these brief points as you wish. We also invite you to view the video recording of a comprehensive conference critically examining Common Core, held at the University of Notre Dame on September 9, 2013. (For a copy of the video, please contact Professor Gerard Bradley at the address above.)
News reports each day show that a lively national debate about Common Core is upon us. The early rush to adopt Common Core has been displaced by sober second looks, and widespread regrets. Several states have decided to “pause” implementation. Others have opted out of the testing consortia associated with Common Core. Prominent educators and political leaders have declared their opposition. The national momentum behind Common Core has, quite simply, stopped. A wave of reform which recently was thought to be inevitable now isn’t. Parents of K- 12 children are leading today’s resistance to the Common Core. A great number of these parents are Catholics whose children attend Catholic schools.
Much of today’s vigorous debate focuses upon particular standards in English and math. Supporters say that Common Core will “raise academic standards.” But we find persuasive the critiques of educational experts (such as James Milgram, professor emeritus of mathematics at Stanford University, and Sandra Stotsky, professor emerita of education at the University of Arkansas) who have studied Common Core, and who judge it to be a step backwards. We endorse their judgment that this “reform” is really a radical shift in emphasis, goals, and expectations for K-12 education, with the result that Common Core-educated children will not be prepared to do authentic college work.
Even supporters of Common Core admit that it is geared to prepare children only for community-college-level studies. No doubt many of America’s Catholic children will study in community colleges. Some will not attend college at all. This is not by itself lamentable; it all depends upon the personal vocations of those children, and what they need to learn and do in order to carry out the unique set of good works entrusted to them by Jesus. But none of that means that our Catholic grade schools and high schools should give up on maximizing the intellectual potential of every student. And every student deserves to be prepared for a life of the imagination, of the spirit, and of a deep appreciation for beauty, goodness, truth, and faith.
The judgments of Stotsky and Milgram (among many others) are supported by a host of particulars. These particulars include when algebra is to be taught, whether advanced mathematics coursework should be taught in high school, the misalignment of writing and reading standards, and whether cursive writing is to be taught.
We do not write to you, however, to start an argument about particulars. At least, that is a discussion for another occasion and venue. We write to you instead because of what the particular deficiencies of Common Core reveal about the philosophy and the basic aims of the reform. We write to you because we think that this philosophy and these aims will undermine Catholic education, and dramatically diminish our children’s horizons.
Promoters of Common Core say that it is designed to make America’s children “college and career ready.” We instead judge Common Core to be a recipe for standardized workforce preparation. Common Core shortchanges the central goals of all sound education and surely those of Catholic education: to grow in the virtues necessary to know, love, and serve the Lord, to mature into a responsible, flourishing adult, and to contribute as a citizen to the process of responsible democratic self-government.
Common Core adopts a bottom-line, pragmatic approach to education. The heart of its philosophy is, as far as we can see, that it is a waste of resources to “over-educate” people. The basic goal of K-12 schools is to provide everyone with a modest skill set; after that, people can specialize in college – if they end up there. Truck-drivers do not need to know Huck Finn. Physicians have no use for the humanities. Only those destined to major in literature need to worry about Ulysses.
Perhaps a truck-driver needs no acquaintance with Paradise Lost to do his or her day’s work. But everyone is better off knowing Shakespeare and Euclidean geometry, and everyone is capable of it. Everyone bears the responsibility of growing in wisdom and grace and in deliberating with fellow-citizens about how we should all live together. A sound education helps each of us to do so. The sad facts about Common Core are most visible in its reduction in the study of classic, narrative fiction in favor of “informational texts.” This is a dramatic change. It is contrary to tradition and academic studies on reading and human formation.
Proponents of Common Core do not disguise their intention to transform “literacy” into a “critical” skill set, at the expense of sustained and heartfelt encounters with great works of literature. Professor Stotsky was the chief architect of the universally-praised Massachusetts English language arts standards, which contributed greatly to that state’s educational success. She describes Common Core as an incubator of “empty skill sets . . . [that] weaken the basis of literary and cultural knowledge needed for authentic college coursework.” Rather than explore the creativity of man, the great lessons of life, tragedy, love, good and evil, the rich textures of history that underlie great works of fiction, and the tales of self-sacrifice and mercy in the works of the great writers that have shaped our cultural literacy over the centuries, Common Core reduces reading to a servile activity.
Professor Anthony Esolen, now at Providence College, has taught literature and poetry to college students for two decades. He provided testimony to a South Carolina legislative committee on the Common Core, lamenting its “cavalier contempt for great works of human art and thought, in literary form.” He further declared: “We are not programming machines. We are teaching children. We are not producing functionaries, factory-like. We are to be forming the minds and hearts of men and women.”
Thus far Common Core standards have been published for mathematics and English language arts. Related science standards have been recently released by Achieve, Inc. History standards have also been prepared by another organization. No diocese (for that matter, no state) is bound to implement these standards just by dint of having signed onto Common Core’s English and math standards. We nonetheless believe that the same financial inducements, political pressure, and misguided reforming zeal that rushed those standards towards acceptance will conspire to make acceptance of the history and science standards equally speedy – and unreflective and unfortunate.
These new standards will very likely lower expectations for students, just as the Common Core math and English standards have done. More important, however, is the likelihood that they will promote the prevailing philosophical orthodoxies in those disciplines. In science, the new standards are likely to take for granted, and inculcate students into a materialist metaphysics that is incompatible with, the spiritual realities–soul, conceptual thought, values, free choice, God– which Catholic faith presupposes.
We fear, too, that the history standards will promote the easy moral relativism, tinged with a pervasive anti-religious bias, that is commonplace in collegiate history departments today. Common Core is innocent of America’s Catholic schools’ rich tradition of helping to form children’s hearts and minds. In that tradition, education brings children to the Word of God. It provides students with a sound foundation of knowledge and sharpens their faculties of reason. It nurtures the child’s natural openness to truth and beauty, his moral goodness, and his longing for the infinite and happiness. It equips students to understand the laws of nature and to recognize the face of God in their fellow man.
Education in this tradition forms men and women capable of discerning and pursuing their path in life and who stand ready to defend truth, their church, their families, and their country. The history of Catholic education is rich in tradition and excellence. It embraces the academic inheritance of St. Anselm, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Blessed John Henry Newman. In contrast to such academic rigor, the Common Core standards lack an empirical evidentiary basis and have not been field-tested anywhere. Sadly, over one hundred Catholic dioceses have set aside our teaching tradition in favor of these secular standards.
America’s bishops have compiled a remarkable record of success directing Catholic education in America, perhaps most notably St. John Neumann and the Plenary Councils of Baltimore. Parents embrace that tradition and long for adherence to it –indeed, for its renaissance. That longing reflects itself in the growing Catholic homeschool and classical-education movements and, now, in the burgeoning desire among Catholic parents for their dioceses to reject the Common Core. Because we believe that this moment in history again calls for the intercession of each bishop, we have been made bold to impose upon your time with our judgments of Common Core.
Faithfully in Christ, we are:
Gerard Bradley, Robert P. George, Anthony Esolen, Anne Hendershott, Kevin Doak, Joseph A. Varacalli, Patrick McKinley Brennan, Robert Fastiggi, Duncan Stroik, Thomas F. Farr, Matthew J. Franck, Ronald J. Rychlak, V. Bradley Lewis, Patrick J. Deneen, E. Christian Brugger, Kenneth L. Grasso, James Hitchcock, Maria Sophia Agirre, Father Joseph Koterski, S.J., Francis J. Beckwith, Thomas V. Svogun, Scott W. Hahn, Eduardo J. Echeverria, Ryan J. Barilleaux, Brian Simboli, John A. Guegen, G. Alexander Ross, Suzanne Carpenter, Patrick Lee, Peter J. Colosi, Robert Hunt, Matthew Cuddeback, Joseph H. Hagan, John A. Cuddeback, Michael J. Healy, Thomas HIbbs, Susan Orr Traffas, Michael J. Behe, Thomas r. Rourke, Robert H. Holden, Philip J. Harold, David T. Murphy, W. H. Marshner, David W. Fagerberg, Melissa Moschella, Daniel J. Costello, Jr., Brian Scarnechia, Thomas Behr, Brian Dbranski, Daniel Philpott, Anne Barbeau Gardiner, C.C. Pecknold, Anthony Low, Heather Voccola, Raymond F. Hain, Catherine Abbott, Therese Bonin, Francis P. Kessler, Christopher Wolfe, Carson Holloway, Stephen M Krason, Laura Hirschfeld Hollis, Wilson D. Miscamble, Stephen M. Barr, D.C. Schindler, Jeanne Heffernan Schindler, David L. Schindler, Father Edward Krause, C.C.C., Christopher O. Tollefsen, Paige E. Hocschild, Robert C. Jeffrey, Father Anthony E. Giampietro, CSB, Roger Loucks, J. Daniel Hammond, Kenneth R. Hoffman, Timothy T. O’Donnell, Thomas W. Jodziewicz, Sr. J. Sheila Galligan, IHM, Maura Hearden, Robert Gorman, Steven Justice, Carol Nevin Abromaitis, Sean Innerst, Robert A. Destro, Richard Sherlock, Adrian J. Reimers, Jessica M. Murdoch, Mary Shivanandan, Alice M. Ramos, Dennis J. Marshall, Dennis D. Martin, Janet E. Smith, Leonard J. Nelson, III, Charles D. Presberg, Brian T. Kelly, Michael F. McLean, Philip T. Crotty, R. E. Houser, Gary D. Glenn, Cynthis Tollin, Virginia L. Arbery, Maryanne M. Linkes, James Likoudis, Emil Berendt, David Fr. Forte, Anthony W. Zunpetta, Thomas D. Watts, Catherine Ruth Pakaluk, Craig S. Lent, Christina Jeffrey, Robert G. Kennedy, Holly Taylor Coolman, Raymond F. Hain, David Whalen, David M. Wagner, John G. Trapani, Jr., Tina Holland, James F. Papillo, J. Marianne Siegmund, Daniel Hauser, Joshua Hocschild, William Edmund Fahey, John C. McCarthy, Christopher O. Blum, Chiyuma Elliott, Mark C. Henrie, Jeffrey Tranzillo, Craig Steven Titus, Father Peter M. J. Stravinskas, William W. Kirk.
Christel Swasey recently posted to her blog, “82 Teachers Talk Back to NEA, Debunk Common Core.” It links to an article the NEA posted entitled, “10 Things You Should Know About the Common Core“. The 82 responses Christel originally posted are now up to 185. I’m not going to copy paste all the comments but here are a few more recent ones I found encouraging. Almost all the comments are from teachers, but this first from a parent is spot on.
Vikki Rosich says:
Thank you to all of you teachers who have always been on the side of our kids! We parents appreciate you with a whole heart. Keep fighting Common Core from the inside out. We parents are trying to fight from the outside in. Eventually we will meet you in the middle!
i am die-hard union, through and through. But THIS is exactly why unions are fading from the United States. Union leaders are incredibly out of touch with their rank and file members. They have been in leadership positions for so long, they have absolutely no clue what their members’ priorities and needs are. Sadly, NEA leaders are also so consumed with having a “seat at the table” that they are willing to sell not only their own souls, but the souls or their members and the students they serve as well. There is absolutely NO research that supports standards – any standards – as a method to increase student learning. There is absolutely NO research that supports the use of standardized testing – as a method to increase student learning. Our country is severely underfunding education and now spends millions and millions of those scarce resources on implementing standards and giving standardized tests. The premise that “standards” will equalize things for our student living in poverty is an incredibly laughable one. We’ve had “standards” for more than a decade. The inequities between students have INCREASED since the introduction of standards, and that is exactly what educated, logical people would expect to happen. I am disgusted with my union and an’t believe that now I not only have to fight anti-worker forces and anti-public education forces… but I also have to fight my union. NEA does NOT speak for me or any other teacher I know, on this issue and sadly, on many others too.
John Rockwell says:
Why is NEA endorsing something that is clearly NCLB all over again? CCSS cannot be separated from its testing arm. It might sound nice, but it will end the same way: we will be doing scripted teaching to a dumb test again, using standards and curriculum we didn’t want and didn’t create. The difference this time is that it will play into the national “debate” about the so-called failure of public schools and many good schools will be closed in place of selective charters. Those who don’t see this possible future clearly are bad students of history.
SHAME ON YOU NEA!! I have not heard of a single teacher who supports the CC and I know a ton of teachers. You have just lost a lot of members with this article. I am a special educator of students with developmental disabilities. My students are assessed via New York StAte Alternate Assessment (NYSAA) which is now directly linked to the Common Core. The rigidity of the “extensions” our students must be assessed on are absolutely insane . How should we expect students with severe autism who have serious behavior and communication issues and IQs on the average of 40 to do things like add fractions or identify the “intention of the author” in a text…..etc etc. I could go on for days. Our students need to stop having their time wasted on such absurdities so that they may continue to work on the life skills they need to become more independent and self sufficient young men and women. Their teachers need to focus on how they will help their students achieve these goals. There is not a single teacher in my very large school in support of CC. Frankly they are all disgusted and dishearten and the climate has become downright depressing. Our students do not have the option to opt out, but you can be sure that my own child will.
“An NEA poll conducted in July by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research found that 75 percent of its members—teachers and education support professionals —supported the standards outright or supported “with reservations.”
Make up your data-mind. Is it “roughly two-thirds” or “75%”? And why did you leave out that only 26% of the 1200 surveyed ‘fully support’ CC$$.
WOW!!! You just turned 312 teachers into “MOST NEA MEMBERS”
After this Gates backed and funded fluff-piece of crap, that’s about all the members you will have left.
Oops. . . . looks like the union busting is working. . . from the top down
Dr. Duke Pesta, FreedomProject Education’s Academic Director and Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, gave testimony against the Common Core State Standards during a public hearing held on Wednesday, October 16th in Fond du Lac, WI.
Last month, Alisa Ellis and Renee Braddy were invited to speak at a conference in New York on Common Core. Here are their presentations.
This story is not specifically Common Core related, but illustrates the trust a student inherently places in their teachers at school who get them more hours in a day than their parents do. The parent and school will remain anonymous where this took place. If the school system wants to claim it is teaching critical thinking, both sides of an argument must be presented and look at source documents. When only one side, whichever it is, is presented, that’s called indoctrination, especially when the trusted teacher explains to unwitting students that they are presenting facts instead of theories.
Three years ago my husband and I were helping with the campaigns for Mike Lee and Morgan Philpot. We met a gentleman through those campaigns named Larry. (You may even know him.) I don’t remember his last name. Larry moved here from California and warned us at that time that Utah would soon have the same standards for history and science that California has had for many years. He told us that soon the only science being taught would be political science (from liberal views) and environmental science. We had already started homeschooling our younger children, but hoped we could get our oldest daughter through high school before that happened.
Last year our daughter was in the 11th grade. She is in the concurrent enrollment program so all her classes count as college credit for generals. We found out that her (only) science class she would be taking was environmental science. We were alarmed and asked her why she signed up for that. We asked her if she knew how controversial the class would be. She said that the school did offer biology and chemistry but that those classes were only offered once and at an hour that conflicted with other classes she had to take. However, environmental science was available multiple hours. She didn’t think there would be any problem with what would be taught.
We hoped she was smart enough to see through the propaganda as we have for years joked and laughed at global warming and many other related issues. Throughout the school year my husband went through her text book with her and talked to her teacher. What we ended up with was a wedge in our relationship with our daughter.
Our once very level headed, smart and loving daughter became resentful towards our “closed minded views.” She wouldn’t speak to us for weeks. What had happened is her teacher showed Al Gore’s video on global warming. (Though laughable to us it was very convincing to her.) The teacher also presented the ideas of common wealth and for the greater good among other liberal ideas that had nothing to do with the environment. She told her class that she neither supported or was against any of these ideas, but that everyone needed to have an ‘open mind’ and consider these ideas as possibilities. She also counseled them to not to listen to their parents if they opposed such thinking! That we (the parents) had ‘closed minds’ if we weren’t open to such ideas, and are just old and set in our ways.
It was a very frustrating year to say the least and now we are hoping to make it through one last year in the public school system. Because we try to keep the lines of communication open with all of our kids, we have somewhat mended our relationship with her. She still remains confused and leans towards favoring the ‘greater good’ theory. This year in one of her classes she was taught that most illegal immigrants pay their taxes while less than half of American citizens pay their taxes. We should be grateful to the illegals for keeping our government running! This all happened here at ____ high school.