I feel sorry for school guidance counselors. There’s a document out called “Role of the School Counselor in Utah Core” that says:
“You [the guidance counselors] are often the first line of defense in honoring the validity of the Utah Core State Standards.”
How many school counselors do you think became counselors so that they could serve (without pay) as marketing agents for the Gates-Pearson-Duncan power machine? I wonder if any school counselors are asking the state school board or their local superintendents on WHAT grounds they should honor the Core’s supposed validity. –Or is even the asking now seen as being insubordinate?
School counselors are supposed to “honor” the validity of UNVALID standards.
Does anything about this seem right to you?
Doesn’t the word “valid” imply passing a validity test?
Common Core is both academically and politically invalid.
It’s 100% untried, experimental, and was rejected by its key validation committee members. It has a governance system over states that is contrary to the Constitutional way.
Surely at least some of the school counselors know these things.
The document quotes Jeb Bush: “The Common Core State Standards are an example of states recognizing a problem, then working together, sharing what works and what doesn’t.”
Yikes. Jeb Bush, of all people, is not about to tell the truth about Common Core. Jeb Bush is funded by the very “philanthropist” who funded the entire Common Core and all its marketing, the one and only Bill Gates. Jeb Bush as a neutral, trustworthy source? Not even close!
But his statement is a lie even if it wasn’t coming from a Gates-bought man. Because Common Core is not, and never has been, an example of states “working together”. States didn’t ever “share what works and what doesn’t” to create the Core. That never happened, no matter how many times proponents claim that it did.
It was a group of D.C. businessmen that created the Common Core Standards without input from any Utah representatives nor Utah educators. There’s nothing state-led about it!
Nor did any state (or anyone) ever test these experimental standards. Ever.
This document for school counselors fails to mention, too, that no state has been given any authority by the Common Core Initiative to “work together” in the future, either, to amend or ever ALTER these commonly-held, supposedly states-controlled standards.
In truth, only the D.C. businessmen who created the standards can alter them because the standards are bound under copyright by D.C. businessmen. And they’re not accountable to voters.
So where’s the voice of the people in all of this?
School counselors are being pressured to believe and repeat actual falsehoods to students and parents.
Guidance counselors are told in the document that the standards are internationally benchmarked, which is another lie. As Dr. Stotsky has explained, “we are regularly told that Common Core’s standards are internationally benchmarked. Joel Klein, former head of the New York City schools, most recently repeated this myth in an interview with Paul Gigot, the Wall Street Journal editor… Not mentioned at all… is Klein’s current position in a company that does a lot of business with Common Core. An Exxon ad, repeated multiple times during a recently televised national tennis match, also suggested that Common Core’s standards were internationally benchmarked. We don’t know who influenced Exxon’s education director. Gigot never asked Klein what countries we were supposedly benchmarked to. Nor did the Exxon ad name a country to which these standards were supposedly benchmarked. Klein wouldn’t have been able to answer, nor could Exxon have named a country because Common Core’s standards are not internationally benchmarked.“
On what planet are the Common Core standards in fact internationally benchmarked?
STATE-LED? NO FEDERAL ROLE?
According to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, “In March of 2009, President Obama called on the nation’s governors and state school chiefs to develop standards and assessments”.
So the President claims he thought up Common Core.
But school guidance counselors are reading that “The Federal Government played NO role in the development of the Common Core State Standards.”
Confusing? Not really.
There are unarguable proofs to rebut the “no-federal-control-of-standards” claim.
There’s a federal cap of 15% on Common Core in the ESEA flexibility document, meaning that the federal government is telling states that they can’t add more than 15% to their standards if they’ve accepted Common Core.
There’s a federal review of Common Core tests.
Obama claimed he asked American governors to create common standards.
Duncan and Obama advocate for Common Core as they alter the meaning of the term “college and career ready standards,” –(click on it)– the term is now officially redefined on the federal website as being standards “COMMON TO A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF STATES” –on the ed.gov website!
Duncan promised that he and Obama would enlarge the federal role in education. He announced in a speech to UNESCO, “Traditionally [Constitutionally] the federal government in the U.S. has had a limited role in education policy… The Obama administration has sought to fundamentally shift the federal role, so that the Department is doing much more“. Clearly, Duncan and Obama have unconstitutional aims in controlling states’ educational systems. They are not hiding their aims very well.
There is also the top-heavy federal controls mandated for beneficiaries of the Common Core test grant called “Race to the Top for the Assessments” for (SBAC and PARCC testing consortia members.)
There is also the outrageous, official Department of Education partnership with the unelected D.C. club (CCSSO) that wrote and copyrighted the Common Core Standards –as well writing the Common DATA standards. Then we have the federal carrot of money going directly from the federal Department of Education to individual DISTRICTS that accept Common Core. Next there are federal reviews of Common Core tests. And there is federal data collection by federally partnered EIMAC/CCSSO and the federal EDFACTS data exchange, of information gathered by Common Core tests. And don’t forget President Obama’s Blueprint for Reform, which includes STANDARDS as well as data collection and teacher controls and more.
This lie is repeated, as counselors are told in the document’s “helpful talking points” section, that Common Core was a state-led effort “spearheaded by governors and state school chiefs” –assuming counselors (and all of us) are too stupid to realize that governors and school chiefs have ZERO authority over creation of unconstitutional, national education standards and do not represent voters on a national stage.
So on what planet is it a true statement that there is no federal role in the Common Core?
NO HARM TO CLASSIC LITERATURE?
The next “myth” that the document addresses is “the standards do not limit reading to non-fiction but promote a balance between literature and non-fiction works”.
The fact is that Common Core standards will drive the Common Core aligned tests and thus will drive the teaching.
Common Core standards do reduce the amount of classic literature that a student may be exposed to, and that limitation level increases gradually so that by the time a student is in high school, only a small percentage of his/her reading may be literature; most of it must be informational text, the types of nonfiction reading assignments that used to be given in history, science, journalism, or health classes. Now it’s invaded the sacred territory of the English classroom, to the marginalization of stories, and in my view, also to the detriment of the love of reading.
The English professor who served on the Common Core validation committee and refused to sign off on the validity of the standards, Dr. Sandra Stotsky, explained in a white paper:
“Common Core’s “college-readiness” standards for ELA and reading are simply empty skill sets… As empty skill sets, Common Core’s college-readiness standards for ELA and reading cannot strengthen the high school curriculum, and they cannot reduce post-secondary remedial coursework in a legitimate way. Instead, they weaken the base of literary and cultural knowledge needed for authentic college coursework… Common Core expects English teachers to spend over 50 percent of their reading instructional time on nonfiction and informational texts such as seminal U. S. political documents, court decisions, and scientific and technical manuals. This is not what English teachers are trained to do in any college English department or teacher-preparation program… Common Core makes it impossible for English teachers to construct a coherent literature curriculum in grades 6-12, since most of the reading curriculum in those grades must address nonfiction and informational topics. Information about what? Will test developers select informational texts from science, history/social studies, and mathematics that English teachers have never been expected to teach?”
On what planet is there no harm to classic literature (to student learning of it) under Common Core?
STUDENT DATA PRIVACY?
Next, the school counselors’ document says that it is a myth that “implementation of the standards requires the collection and retention of personally-identifiable student data“.
First, a few questions: Can I, (barring homeschool) opt my child out of the Common Core aligned curriculum in any public/charter school in Utah? Of course not; it’s the new (although WRONG) normal.
Second: Can I opt my child out of being tracked by the SLDS (State Longitudinal Database System)? No. Not according to the Utah State School Board.
(If Common Core and student data tracking are completely unrelated, as the document claims, then why are both mandated by the state school board and why do new core tests link the two?)
Third: Even if I opt my child out of taking the Common Core math and English tests, can I opt her out of taking Common Core-aligned college entrance exams, to keep her information from reaching the State Longitudinal Database Systems and the federal reporting exchanges? How?
Common sense shows us that Common Core and common data systems are intertwined. But here’s more than common sense: links to proof.
If you go to the website of the CCSSO, that private D.C. club to which some superintendents belong, that same club that created and copyrighted Common Core, you will read this:
“The Common Education Data Standards Initiative is a joint effort by CCSSO and the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) in partnership with the United States Department of Education.” So the Department of Education has partnered officially with the CCSSO/Common Core makers to also create a Common Data Standards Initiative.
When Utah accepted a $9.6 million grant to build a federally-stipulated student longitudinal database in Utah, it also agreed to the PESC model, a CCSSO creation funded by the Gates Foundation. The PESC Model, in its own definition, “includes early childhood, elementary and secondary, post-secondary, and workforce elements, known as “P20,” and establishes comparability between sectors and between states.”
PESC states that it “will do for State Longitudinal Data Systems what the Common Core is doing for Curriculum Frameworks and the two assessment consortia. The core purpose of an SLDS is to fulfill federal reporting…”
Did you read that? The core purpose of SLDS is to FULFILL FEDERAL REPORTING. Creepier and creepier. Why even call it a “State” database? Why not just call it a federal database housed inside our state?
I find this alarming. Here is the evidence:
The agreement is stated on page 4 of section 1 (page 20 on the PDF) of Utah’s 2009 ARRA SLDS Data Grant: “The UDA (Utah Data Alliance) will adhere to standards such as the School Interoperability Framework (SIF), the Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council (PESC) and other XML schemas.”
We see clearly that Utah agreed to PESC common data standards in exchange for federal money. And the PESC “will do for State Longitudinal Data Systems what the Common Core is doing for Curriculum” and the purpose of the $9.6 million SLDS was “to fulfill federal reporting.”
But wait, there’s more.
The Common Core federal grant for Common Core testing, also known as the “Cooperative Agreement,” says that states receiving this grant money must “Comply with, and where applicable coordinate with the ED staff to fulfill, the program requirements… including, but not limited to working with the Department to develop a strategy to make student-level data that results from the assessment system available on an ongoing basis for research, including for prospective linking, validity, and program improvement studies; subject to applicable privacy laws.” (And recall that the Department of Education shredded the previously protective privacy laws.)
Democratic Senator Edward markey of Massachusetts wrote a letter to Secretary Arne Duncan months ago, to which Duncan has not yet responded. In it, the Senator asked Duncan to explain why he had altered previously protective student privacy regulations known as FERPA.
Equally bad is the lack of safety for student data in the hands of the vendors of Common Core-aligned educational products. A New York Times article this week says that “when school districts are transferring student information to cloud service providers, by and large key privacy protections are absent from those arrangements,’ said Joel R. Reidenberg, a law professor at Fordham who led the study. ‘We’re worried about the implications for students over time, how their personal information may be used or misused.’”
The NYT article also states that “privacy specialists, industry executives and district officials say that federal education privacy rules and local district policies are not keeping up with advances like learning apps that can record a child’s every keystroke or algorithms that classify academic performance. Without explicit prohibitions on the nonacademic use of the information, specialists warn that unflattering data could hypothetically be shared with colleges or employers, to the detriment of the student” and that “under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, schools that receive federal funding must generally obtain written permission from parents before sharing students’ educational records. An exception allows school districts to share student information with companies, like those providing student information systems, without parental consent.”
So, on what planet does Common Core have nothing to do with federal student data collection or vendor data collecting?
A TRAGIC EXPERIMENT ON OUR FUTURE
Tragically, the entire underlying assumption that the Common Core standards are in fact an improvement, rather than a detraction from education, is totally questionable.
Though we wouldn’t allow a doctor to operate on our children without first vetting his surgical theories, yet state school board members and our governor are allowing children to be subjected to experimental standards that rest on zero research data– and there is no empirical data for unpiloted experimental standards. (For more on that, read Seton Hall University Professor Christopher Tieken’s article and video on “Dataless Decisionmaking” and the educational malpractice of Common Core.)
At what point does a parent raise her voice?
At what point does a teacher just say no?
At what point does a guidance counselor stand up for truth?
If I were a school guidance counselor, I would find a job at a private school, independent of Common Core.
If I couldn’t find another job, I would tell my students and inquiring parents that Common Core is a controversial topic and that they should research it for themselves.
I would tell my principal and school board that I did not become a guidance counselor to promote unproven theories of businessmen, noneducators, federal agencies and racketeers.