If what happened to Christel Swasey and others in the Wasatch School District Meeting is any indication of state tactics to avoid answering your questions, you need to be prepared to take control back in a meeting. There are a few tactics that get used in meetings you need to be aware of.
The presenter drones on and doesn’t leave time for questions.
The presenter deflects your question and tries to act like nobody else is interested and they’ll address your question after the meeting.
The presenter works to separate you from the group during the meeting so you or your position are isolated. There are cases elsewhere, where a person might be pulled out of the room for someone to answer your question.
This is called the Delphi Technique and if you read this excellent article you will be prepared to defend yourself against it.
Why hasn’t a cost study been done to determine the actual costs of implementing common core?
Where can I read our state’s cost analysis for implementing Common Core and its tests? What will it cost per pupil?
Since a main selling point of Common Core was that we would have portability of students, why did Utah decide to adopt the integrated upper math version with Vermont instead of discrete years of math like all the other states?
Did you know that Common Core delays full completion of algebra to 9th grade while our 2007 standards set it in 8th? This means most students in Utah will not be able to take an authentic calculus class in 12th grade. How can we get better standards back in Utah?
Since Common Core introduces behavioral testing and tracking of our children, how can we opt our children out of all testing and tracking? State law says I have a “fundamental liberty interest” in the education of my children and the state is only there to support me in my responsibility. If that is true, and state law says it is, I want to know the process.
What is the amendment process for Common Core standards if we find out they are not working for us?
Does it seem good that the meetings of the standards writers (the CCSSO/NGA) are all closed-door meetings?
I read that there is a 15% cap on a state adding to the Core; so what do we do if we need to add a whole lot more to actually prepare our children well?
Although I have been told that Common Core is state-led, I missed the invitation to discuss this before it was decided for me and my children; please explain the analysis and vetting process for the upcoming national science and social studies standards.
The Constitution assigns education to the states, not to the federal government. Also, the federal General Educational Provisons Act (GEPA) states: “No provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system…“ In light of this, please explain why our state has agreed to intense micromanagement by the federal government under Common Core testing.
The National Review writes that it is a ”right-of-center” organization, as if that claim is a “trust-me” pass. This is meaningless in Common Core land because, as Emmett McGroarty of the American Principles Project, has said, ”Opposition to Common Core cuts across the left-right spectrum. It gets back to who should control our children’s education — people in Indiana or people in Washington?”
But we should clarify that oodles of Democrats and Republicans sell or benefit from Common Core implementation. That is the top reason for the gold rush anxiety to promote the national standards. A secondary reason is lemminghood (misplaced and unproven trust).
Republican Jeb Bush is behind the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a nongovernmental group which pushes Common Core and is, of course, funded by Gates. Republican Rupert Murdoch owns not only Fox News, but also the common core implementation company Wireless Generation that’s creating common core testing technology. Democrat Bob Corcoran, President of GE Foundation (author of cap and trade and carbon footprint taxes to profit GE on green tech) and 49% owner of NBC also bribed the PTA to promote Common Core, and gave an additional $18 million to the states to push common core implementation. Corcoran was seen recently hobnobbing with Utah’s Republican Lt. Governor Greg Bell, business leaders in the Chamber of Commerce, and has testified in the education committee that the opponents of Common Core in Utah “are liars”. Meanwhile, Republican Todd Huston of Indiana got his largest campaign donation from David Coleman, common core ELA architect; then, after Huston was elected as an Indiana State Representative and placed on Indiana’s education committee, Coleman hired Huston to be on the College Board. They are both profiting from the alignment of and AP courses and alignment of the SAT to the Common Core. And of course, Huston’s listed on Jeb Bush’s controversial Foundation for Excellence in Education. Even my own Republican Governor Herbert of Utah serves on the elite executive committee of NGA, the Common Core founding group. He doesn’t make money this way, but he does make lots of corporations happy.
Still, political funders of the standards and corporations selling its implementation try to get away with marginalizing the opposition. But it can’t be done honestly. Because it’s not a fight between left and right.
This battle is between the collusion of corporate greed and political muscle versus the individual voter.
It’s a battle between the individual student, teacher, or parent– versus huge public/private partnerships. That’s the David and Goliath here.
Did the authors of the Hogwash article really not know that Common Core wasn’t based on anything like empirical data but simply fluffed up on empty promises and rhetoric, from the beginning.
Where’s the basis for what proponents call ”rigorous,” ”internationally competitive,” and “research-based?” Why won’t the proponents point to proof of “increased rigor” the way the opponents point to proof of increased dumbing down? We know they are fibbing because we know there is no empirical evidence for imposing this experiment on students in America. The emperor of Common Core is wearing no clothes.
The National Review authors insist that Common Core is not a stealth “leftist indoctrination” plot by the Obama administration. But that’s what it looks like when you study the reformers and what they create.
First, let’s look at the Common Core textbooks. Virtually every textbook company in America is aligning now with Common Core. (So even the states who rejected Common Core, and even private schools and home schools are in trouble; how will they find new textbooks that reflect Massachusetts-high standards?)
He doesn’t just lead Pearson, the company that is so huge it’s becoming an anti-trust issue. Sir Michael Barber also speaks glowingly of public private partnerships, of political “revolution,” ”global citizenship” and a need for having global data collection and one set of educational standards for the entire planet. He’s a political machine. Under his global common core, diversity, freedom and local control of education need not apply.
But they are wrong in saying that Common Core isn’t a road map to indoctrinating students into far left philosophy. Power players like Linda Darling-Hammond and Congressman Chaka Fattah ram socialism and redistribution down America’s throat in education policy, while Pearson pushes it in the curriculum.
Study her further here to learn the groups she works for, what’s in the books she writes, how many times she quoted herself in her report for the U.S. equity commission, and what she said in last summer’s speech to UNESCO about the need to take swimming pools away from students.
So yes, there is an undeniable socialism push in Common Core textbooks and in the Department of Education.
The National Review’s authors claim Common Core won’t “eliminate American children’s core knowledge base in English, language arts and history.” By cutting classic literature by 70% for high school seniors, they are absolutely doing exactly that. The article says that Common Core doesn’t mandate the slashing of literature. Maybe not. But the tests sure will.
And that’s the tragic part for me as an English teacher.
Classic literature is sacred. Its removal from American schools is an affront to our humanity.
Common Core doesn’t mandate which books to cut; the National Review is correct on that point; but it does pressure English teachers to cut out large selections of great literature, somewhere. And not just a little bit. Tons.
Informational text belongs in other classes, not in English. To read boring, non-literary articles even if they are not all required to be Executive Orders, insulation manuals, or environmental studies (as the major portion of the English language curriculum) is to kill the love of reading.
What will the slashing do to the students’ appreciation for the beauty of the language, to the acquisition of rich vocabulary, to the appreciation for the battle between good and evil?
We become compassionate humans by receiving and passing on classic stories. Souls are enlarged by exposure to the characters, the imagery, the rich vocabulary, the poetic language and the endless forms of the battle between good and evil, that live in classic literature.
Classic stories create a love for books that cannot be acquired in any other way. Dickens, Shakespeare, Hugo, Orwell, Dostoevsky, Rand, Marquez, Cisneros, Faulkner, Fitzgerald– where would we be without the gifts of these great writers and their writings? Which ones will English teachers cut away first to make room for informational text?
The sly and subtle change will have the same effect on our children as if Common Core had mandated the destruction of a certain percentage of all classic literature.
How does it differ from book burning in its ultimate effects?
Cutting out basic math skills, such as being able to convert fractions to decimals, is criminal. Proponents call this learning “fewer but deeper” concepts. I call it a sin. Common Core also delays the age at which students should be able to work with certain algorithms, putting students years behind our mathematical competitors in Asia.
For specific curricular reviews of Common Core standards, read Dr. Sandra Stotsky’s and Dr. Ze’ev Wurman’s math and literature reviews in the appendix of the white paper by Pioneer Institute. (See exhibit A and exhibit B, page 24.)
The National Review claims that the standards “simply delineate what children should know at each grade level and describe the skills that they must acquire to stay on course toward college or career readiness” and claim they are not a ceiling but a floor. This is a lie. The standards are bound by a 15% rule; there’s no adding to them beyond 15%. That’s not a ceiling?
The article claims that ”college and career readiness” doesn’t necessarily mean Common Core. Well, it does, actually. The phrase has been defined on the ed. gov website as meaning sameness of standards to a significant number of states. I would give you a link but this week, so oddly, the Department of Education has removed most of its previous pages. You can see it reposted here:
The article insists that Common Core is not a curriculum; it’s up to school districts to choose curricula that comply with the standards. Sure. But as previously noted: 1) all the big textbook companies have aligned to Common Core. Where are the options? 2) Common core tests and the new accountability measures put on teachers who will lose their jobs if students don’t score well on Common Core tests will ensure that teachers will only teach Common Core standards. 3) Test writers are making model curriculum and it’s going to be for sale, for sure.
The article falsely claims that “curriculum experts began to devise” the standards. Not so: the architect of Common Core ELA standards (and current College Board president) is not, nor ever has been, an educator. In fact, that architect made the list of Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform. A top curriculum professor has pointed out that the developers of Common Core never consulted with top curricular universities at all.
The article claims that states who have adopted Common Core could opt out, “and they shouldn’t lose a dime if they do” –but Title I monies have been threatened, and the No Child Left Behind waiver is temporary on conditions of following Common Core, and for those states who did get Race to the Top money (not my state, thank goodness) the money would have to be returned. Additionally, every state got ARRA stimulus money to build a federally interoperable State Longitudinal Database System. Do we want to give back millions and millions to ensure that we aren’t part of the de facto national database of children’s longitudinal school-collected, personally identifiable information?
The article states that the goal is to have children read challenging texts that will build their vocabulary and background knowledge. So then why not read more –not less– actual literature?
The article also leaves out any analysis of the illegality of Common Core. The arrangement appears to be illegal. Under the Constitution and under the General Educational Provisions Act (GEPA) the federal government is restricted from even supervising education.
GEPA states: “No provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system…”
And for those still believing the federal government isn’t “exercising direction, supervision or control” of the school system, look at two things.
2. The federal mandate that testing consoria must synchronize “across consortia,” that status updates and phone conferences must be made available to the Dept. of Education regularly, and that data collected must be shared with the federal government “on an ongoing basis”
Finally: the “most annoying manipulation tactic” award for the National Review Article is a tie between the last two sentences of the National Review article, which, combined, say, “Conservatives used to be in favor of holding students to high standards… aren’t they still?” Please.
Let’s rephrase it:
Americans used to be in favor of legitimate, nonexperimental standards for children that were unattached to corporate greed and that were constitutionally legal… Aren’t we still?
I got several emails about this excellent video yesterday. Christopher Tienken is a professor at Seton Hall University and was an early voice against Common Core. This short video he has made makes some excellent points, though I disagree with one of his points at the beginning that there isn’t a problem in education. We see very clearly that university schools of education are steeped in bad educational philosophies like constructivism, which is one of the more destructive methods of teaching when used to extremes as it is in our schools in Utah. Still, don’t let that stop you from enjoying this excellent video.
Below is a post from Christel Swasey’s blog concerning a massive document the Utah State Office of Education (USOE) put out trying to set the record straight on Common Core. Unfortunately for them, truth is not on their side.
Of all the things that the Truth in American Educationsite has posted, my favorite thing is that title.
Truth in American Education. The title itself teaches a fact most Americans still don’t realize: that there are loads of lies parading as education reform improvements that need exposure via verifiable, well researched facts. It does not matter if good people with good intentions, merely parroting information received from other organizations, tell those lies in all sincerity. Sincerity does not trump truth. Facts are still facts and the consequences for all of us are huge for aligning our school systems with such lies.
Our children’s futures are at stake, yet few parents stand up. Why? For those of us who are naturally non-confrontational and trusting, the title,Truth in American Education, is a wake-up call that we should ask questions, verify claims and demand references for promises being spoken by authority figures in education reform today. We should know our educational rights under the Constitution and know our rights as parents.
Don’t take unreferenced promises as answers.
Speaking of which: today I became aware of a 204-page document put out by the Utah State Office of Misinformation Education.
It’s called “A Complete Resource Guide On Utah’s Core Standards.”
Rather than waste my afternoon composing yet another rebuttal to the Utah State Office of Education, I will just quote Professor Sandra Stotsky of Arkansas, who has read the 204-page Utah document.
Stotsky served on the official Common Core Validation Committee and was among those who refused to sign off that the Common Core standards were, in fact, adequate.
Of “A Complete Resource Guide On Utah’s Core Standards,” Stotsky states, “lies and unsupported claims” abound in the document.
She also writes:
“the writers didn’t even get the committee I was on right. I was appointed to the Validation Committee, not the Standards Development Committee, and along with the one mathematician on the Validation Committee (and 3 others) declined to sign off on the final version of Common Core’s standards.
The writers keep repeating ad nauseam that Common Core was a state-led effort. Everyone knows most of the effort was financed by the Gates Foundation and that Gates chose the standards writers who had no qualifications for writing K-12 standards in either ELA or math (David Coleman and Jason Zimba).
… I frankly can’t spend time on people who can’t document with citations their claims. What country was used for international benchmarking? Where’s the evidence?
The document simply repeats the false claims made by CCSSO from the beginning.”
What more can I possibly add?
That is the end of Christel’s article, but I (Oak Norton) want to add one thing about the math write-up this document from the USOE contains.
Whoever wrote the first few pages in the introduction that deals with the history in 2007 of revising the Utah math standards is ill informed and misrepresents several key points. I was heavily involved in this process to get new math standards for Utah and there were people in the USOE who actually worked to torpedo the process. There was supposed to be a comparison of the standards to Singapore and Japan. That never happened and was admitted to.
The USOE document above says that Drs. Milgram and Wu were dissatisfied with the 2007 standards but the Fordham Foundation gave them an A- rating, trying to show Milgram and Wu as out of touch. This is patently false, but this lie gets repeated down through the timeline of events presented by the USOE. Milgram and Wu were pleased with the FINAL product, but what happened prior to finalizing was a stunning indictment of the USOE’s personnel working against the math standards, and what upset these two distinguished standards writers. After Wu made a final review of the standards, he gave dozens of revisions to the USOE. They made NONE of his changes to the standards. When he found out, he was stunned.
Here’s a write-up I did in September 2007 which includes the email from Dr. Wu to Nicole Paulson chastising her for ignoring his revisions.
It is clear that whoever prepared this 204 page piece of propaganda isn’t concerned with the truth. They are looking for a big document they can throw at legislators to convince them under the “official seal” that their side of the story is right without them having the time and resources to look up everything in the document. Unfortunately, those who are convinced by this documentation are accepting a house of cards.
Tired of the propaganda influencing your neighbors? Help spread the truth about Common Core with this flier. It’s a half-page, two-sided flier with the contents below. Print out front and back copies, cut them in half, and distribute them in your neighborhoods and help wake people up to what the Common Core agenda is really about.
Jane Robbins of the American Principles Project put these excellent videos together which help explain the issues of Common Core in a way that is easy to understand and share. Total viewing time is about 30 minutes.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
For 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.”
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.
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.
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