Several years ago I was involved in what has been called “The Math Wars”. Alpine School District had quit teaching the times tables, long division, and some other basic math skills, to children under the promise that a constructivist (ie. children need to construct their own knowledge) approach to math would deepen their skills. This was an abominable failure. Even at BYU where 2 math education professors got permission (by someone over the math department’s dead body) to teach a class of honors calculus to freshmen with this method. The result was a disaster. Honors calculus students measuring Dixie Cups with rulers while regular students were learning how to integrate. Predictably to everyone but those 2 professors teaching the constructivist class, their students scored below all 17 sections of non-honors calculus on the final exam. Their final defeat? Blame it on the test writer who had been creating the same test from the same objectives for years.
Unfortunately, with adoption of Common Core, the state of Utah took a bad idea that parents in Alpine School District hated, and decided to spread the love around the state. As parents slowly wake up to the horrors of constructivist math and wonder what happened to their child’s love of math, there will begin a new revolt that will bring tens of thousands of angry parents raining down on the heads of the state leadership.
Don’t believe me? Consider how upset a parent is when their child goes off to college with straight A’s in math and winds up in remedial math. At last look, UVU has a 70% remediation rate for incoming freshmen in math. In fact, it’s so bad, they don’t just have remedial math classes at UVU, they have a remedial math DEPARTMENT. SLCC has roughly the same percentage of remediation. That’s a pathetic waste of taxpayer dollars that when tens of thousands of students arrive they can’t do high school math and need remediation, and before someone suggests it’s because young people are arriving after serving LDS missions and have simply forgotten how to do math, that’s been examined and it’s a trivial reduction in the percentage.
Let me illustrate with a video. I recently sat down with an anonymous but very involved person in the Utah education arena, and reviewed a few books. Interactive math, Saxon math, and the Utah State Office of Education’s (USOE) own home grown math book. Watch the horror show demonstrating these textbooks and then read below.
Here’s what the state shows on their RIMS database for schools and districts to pick textbooks from. I’ll start with Saxon.
“Evaluation: Textbook review for Saxon Algebra I. Overall, the program matches the Utah Core Standards for Algebra 57.75%. The following is a breakdown of the evaluation by individual Utah Core Standards for Algebra I: …(removed specific line items for space…read it on the site) This program does not develop concepts for deep understanding. It provides few examples and the flow of the program is missing, very disjointed.“
If you didn’t watch the video, you’re missing out. Saxon is full of examples while the other programs have NONE.
This isn’t the first time I’ve witnessed a hit job on Saxon math (link 2). Saxon was developed by an Air Force Engineer turned educator and a few years ago when I evaluated the top 10 scoring schools in Utah for math on standardized exams, 7 of the 10 schools were using Saxon. It’s a great program that builds skills and depth of understanding. It’s the type of math most of us grew up on and that we can look in the textbook and remember how to do a problem and help our children. In short, it shows how to do a problem, explains the concept, and gives students an opportunity to practice what they learned so they can obtain mastery over the knowledge.
“Evaluation: This non-traditional text approaches the study of mathematics through student-centered exploration and meaningful tasks. Teachers would begin the lesson by presenting the task for the day, and students and teachers would work on the tasks together as they develop their mathematical understanding of the topics. The format of this text encourages active learning of mathematics. Each unit in this text has a central problem or theme and focuses on several branches of mathematics including algebra, geometry, probability, graphing, statistics, and trigonometry using an integrated approach. This text covers more than 80% of the 2012 Utah State Core Standards for Secondary I or Secondary I Honors. Lessons consist of single-page individual or group tasks without traditional mathematical instruction or explanations. Mathematics is learned through the culture and practice that is developed within the classroom as students work on the various tasks. Although topics are not easily~recognized by lesson titles, this text includes an index of mathematical ideas which makes it easier to find particular ideas. Problem sets are minimal but build depth of understanding. A nice glossary is included at the end of the text.”
Remember from the video above, Interactive math has declared the most important purpose of their book is to make math fun!!!
There is no line-by-line evaluation of the shortcomings of Interactive Math as there is with Saxon. It’s pathetically obvious from looking through the book that it’s devoid of content and yet the reviewer, obviously a disciple of religious constructivism, announces this text will produce “depth of understanding” from minimal problem sets. This comic is worth 1,000 words.
Finally we come to the third book, the USOE’s own creation which is similar to Interactive Math and it’s constructivist approach.
This “textbook,” and I use that term very loosely since there is no instruction or examples, was also given a rating of “Recommended Primary” by the USOE. Convenient that you can rate your own product… It was developed by 5 school teachers, who as far as I know have no prior experience in writing textbooks, at least 3 of which are known constructivists, 2 from Alpine School District.
“Evaluation: The OER Secondary I textbook is designed to be an online textbook that may or may not be printed. The textboook will allow for future updates and improvements as well as teacher customization. The first edition of this online text addresses the first third of the 2012 Utah Core Standards for Secondary I Mathematics. The content of the text is accurate and represents the current research in mathematics. Each lesson begins with a task to help students develop an understanding of the core concepts to be learned. Teachers may need professional development to teach using tasks. There are extensive instructions and teacher notes to guide the teacher to teach each task. Some of the tasks have a lot of reading which may be challenging for ESL students. ~ The homework has three sections. The Ready section has problems that will help the student for upcoming concepts. The Set section contains practice problems for what is being developed in the current lesson. The Go section has problems that help students review concepts learned previously. The homework sets are not long and tedious so students can focus on what is being taught. ~ The Getting Ready Unit reviews ideas from previous courses that begin to connect the content that will be taught in Secondary I. This section may help during the transition to the~new core. ~ Each lesson begins with a task to help students develop an understanding of the core concepts to be learned. Teachers may need professional development to teach using tasks. There are extensive instructions to guide the teacher to teach each task. Many of the tasks have a lot of reading which may be challenging for ESL students. There are no materials at this time to address special educaiton students and ESL students. ~ There is an extensive section for parents that includes online resources such as the Kahn Academy videos and worked out examples of procedural problems. ~ ~ This book would require that teachers allow time for students to think and have a lot of discussion in the classroom.“
Wait a minute…this book relies on the Khan Academy videos to teach procedures? That’s convenient. Lets write a textbook and say, “we just want depth of learning, you go somewhere else to learn HOW to do math.”
Require teachers to allow time for a lot of discussion? What if those students actually want to learn math and not have their peers discussing what they ate for lunch?
Now the big lie. Current research says there are NO studies that support constructivism. Dr. Jim Milgram, Stanford math professor who has been and may still currently be the only educator invited to serve on NASA’s advisory board, noted that if constructivist math were a success, NASA would be looking for students that went through that pedagogy. The fact is, BYU’s math education professors’ failure is typical of constructivist programs.
There is only one conclusion. Following the USOE’s math recommendations will kill STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) initiatives. All you business leaders and technology oriented professionals supporting Common Core are going to be in for a rude awakening as this machine destroys love of math, destroys math skills, and destroys any edge Utah has for technology…unless…
Utah must drop Common Core and restore local control. The USOE is hell-bent on constructivism and unless there is a major personnel change at the USOE, it’s going to rest on the shoulders of parents to take their children’s education into their own hands (literally), and leave those who can’t get the support at home to drown in fuzzy math.
In 2006 or so, Brett Moulding, state curriculum director at the USOE invited me to his office to ask a simple question. “Oak, you’re a parent who is very involved in your children’s education. How can we replicate that to other parents?”
“Easy,” I replied. “Just implement Investigations math statewide and you’ll have all the parental involvement you can handle.”
True story. I just had no idea they were going to take my suggestion literally. Parents, you may seriously want to consider The Great Escape…Homeschooling.
There’s no such thing as a free lunch, but we all get excited about getting something for nothing. The internet is full of free stuff and has radically altered the way we engage with each other and is one of the greatest disruptive innovators in history.
Open source software has helped change the way we view software business models. Now open education initiatives promise to do the same thing for education and disrupt things in a major way.
Many people are aware of MIT’s online courses you can learn from for free, and then there’s Apple’s iTunes U project which allows for all kinds of material to study from a wide variety of sources. Other open education initiatives invite contributors to license their content and educators are able to purchase it from them.
So how could open education be a bad thing when sharing knowledge like this seems so wonderful? Knowledge is a wonderful thing. Being able to learn is at the center of human growth and joy. However, when knowledge isn’t true, or when it is used to indoctrinate into a political ideology, there is a great danger to society.
George Soros’ name is well-known. As a billionaire he has used his vast resources to take down the economies of a few countries, fund many leftist organizations such as ACORN, SEIU, MoveOn.org, and the ACLU (and over a hundred others). When he invests his resources, it is because he sees an opportunity to promote his far-left agenda.
Soros’ Open Society Institute recently partnered with the Department of Education to promote a global education initiative. Part of that initiative is to fund the “open education” movement. George Soros doesn’t invest in things he can’t feel a measure of control to advance his agenda.
President Obama’s secretary of education, Arne Duncan, is a big supporter of the Open Education movement and wants teachers to have access to the world’s knowledge. I mean, it’s great that teachers are going to have that access in free resources, but who is going to prepare those materials? Who will review and approve them? (Hopefully not the same people that did the Jordan and Granite math textbooks)
It’s the same agenda that Arne Duncan often talks about and is associated with the United Nations Agenda 21 movement. The big buzzword is “sustainability” and Sec. Duncan is all over it. Sustainability is meant to be the carefully couched word that means everyone needs to recognize we have limited resources and someone a lot smarter (and more powerful) than you should be in control of determining how you live, eat, and breathe. It is part of the United Nations’ and George Soros funded Agenda 21, which is a blueprint for global communism by control of populations and property. It has a variety of paths it advances through, but the green movement is a major part.
In a speech Sec. Duncan gave to the Sustainability Summit in 2010, he opened his views up to the world. I recommend you read his talk if you are interested in the full meal deal, but here are some relevant clips.
“We at the Education Department are energized about joining these leaders in their commitment to preparing today’s students to participate in the green economy, and to be well-educated about the science of sustainability. We must advance the sustainability movement through education.
We need to support activities that provide a variety of educational and training opportunities for teachers and students. A lot of important work is happening at the local levels in states and districts. Maryland is close to adopting a requirement that high school graduates demonstrate environmental literacy before they earn their diploma.
The U.S. Green Building Council is working with school districts and universities to incorporate green technology into schools. These schools not only are good for the environment, they provide a better learning environment for students—and they are cost efficient. The council is bringing together the nation’s strongest advocates for education—representing more than 10 million members across the country to build a national infrastructure of healthy, high-performance schools that are conducive to learning while saving energy, resources and money. I’m especially excited to hear that this fall the coalition will be reaching out to groups beyond education in the private and public sector. There’s a federal role in supporting this work. We fund the National Clearinghouse on School Facilities, which is a national leader in helping K-12 leaders make school facilities green and sustainable.
…But their work goes beyond our infrastructure. The team is working to create policies that support state efforts to prepare students for jobs in the green economy. At the initiative of the green team, the Department recently issued grants to five states to develop career pathways that will support the green economy. These career pathways will define the academic knowledge and vocational skills that students will need to prepare themselves for green jobs in architecture, agriculture, energy, transportation and waste management. The National Research Center for Career and Technical Education is working closely with these states and, where appropriate, with the business community to design the programs of study that will lead to success in the green industry.
…But our commitment has to be about even more than career pathways. It also has to prepare all students with the knowledge they need to be green citizens. In our Blueprint for Reform, the Obama administration is making an unprecedented commitment to promote a well-rounded education for our children. And for the first time, we are proposing that environmental education be part of that well-rounded education.
The Blueprint is our proposal to reauthorize and fix the No Child Left Behind Act. As many of you know, NCLB held schools accountable for student achievement in reading and mathematics. That has led to a narrowing of the curriculum, and no one—teachers, parents, or students—is happy with the state of affairs. We want all students to have access to a well-rounded, world-class curriculum—and that curriculum should include environmental literacy. For the first time ever, the Department of Education will be supporting locally developed models that teach environmental science.”
Isn’t it a little strange that the Obama administration is giving waivers from NCLB for adopting Common Core when 2 years ago he said they were going to reauthorize and fix NCLB? Hmmm, could it be that Common Core, *IS* the re-authorization and fix they were looking for?
Did you notice that Duncan mentions going beyond schools into groups in the private and public sector? That may be part of what’s called 21st Century Schools and Utah is now implementing them through a *FEDERAL GRANT* (ie. strings attached) serving 99 community sites and 21,000 students. What could possibly go wrong with this? Look at page 4 of this document to see the type of indoctrination that is happening.
Some readers will be familiar with John Goodlad from emails I’ve sent out in the past. Goodlad is a prominent national educator and came to BYU in 1983 to help set up the Public School Partnership with surrounding school districts. In 1986 he invited BYU’s Education Department to join his NNER (National Network for Educational Renewal). In time, he fundamentally transformed the education department to almost fully adopt and endorse his agenda. BYU’s Ed dept. even hosted one of his national conferences a few years ago and Goodlad had a conference promoting social justice in the classroom a year ago, and had terrorist/educator Bill Ayers as a keynote speaker at his national conference a year or two ago as well.
Charlotte Iserbyt was a senior policy advisor in the Department of Education during the Reagan administration and she documented the effort to dumb down America by copying documents and publishing a book you can get for free online called, The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America. In that book, she calls Goodlad, “America’s premier change agent.” His agenda is to fundamentally transform America through the education system.
Goodlad’s agenda is termed the “Agenda for Education in a Democracy” (AED) and by Democracy he literally means direct Democracy, moral relativism, and not the republican form of government the Constitution guarantees to us. In all of the United States there are 30 Goodlad designated “AED Scholars” who he trusts enough to bestow this honor on. Utah is home to at least 4 of them. There are 2 at BYU in the McKay School of Education, and 2 in Alpine School District’s administration. I could provide many quotes from Goodlad, but here are a few relevant ones that illustrate his agenda.
“Educators must resist the quest for certainty. If there were certainty there would be no scientific advancement. So it is with morals and patriotism.” (Education for Everyone, p. 6.)
“Most youth still hold the same values of their parents…if we do not alter this pattern, if we don’t resocialize, our system will decay.” (Education Innovation, Issue 9.)
–John Goodlad: “Report of Task Force C: Strategies for Change,” Schooling for the Future, a report to the President’s Commission on Schools Finance, Issue #9, 1971.
“[schools] should liberate students from the ways of thinking imposed by religions and other traditions of thought.” -John Goodlad, “Education and Community,” in Democracy,Education, and the Schools, Roger Stone, pg. 92.
“Public education has served as a check on the power of parents, and this is another powerful reason for maintaining it.” – John Goodlad, Developing Democratic Character in the Young, pg. 165
“It is my expectation that Teacher Education for Democracy and Social Justice will become a rich resource for continuing this multi-layered conversation-from democratic belief to democratic action-that is the hallmark of educational renewal.” -John Goodlad’s forward to “Teacher Education for Democracy and Social Justice,” Nicholas Michelli and David Lee Keiser
“Enlightened social engineering is required to face situations that demand global action now… Parents and the general public must be reached also, otherwise, children and youth enrolled in globally oriented programs may find themselves in conflict with values assumed in the home. And then the educational institution frequently comes under scrutiny and must pull back.” – Dr. John I. Goodlad, “Guide to Getting Out Your Message,” National Education Goals Panel Community Action Toolkit: A Do-It-Yourself Kit for Education Renewal (September 1994); 6
Better re-read that last quote. The goal is globally oriented programs like the International Baccalaureate which is a UNESCO partnership program emphasizing sustainability teaching to children and collectivist, socialist indoctrination. Watch the video at the bottom of this page for some very alarming quotes including the anti-family, pantheistic agenda UNESCO espouses.
Another buzzword by educators is a goal of critical thinking training in schools. The purpose of this is to teach and indoctrinate children to think critically about the morals and teachings they have received at home and church. As I have said elsewhere, this doesn’t mean all your children’s teachers in public schools are following this philosophy and trying to indoctrinate them. It just means that they are being fed this philosophy in schools of education and they are susceptible to it and some are passing it on event inadvertently because they trust schools of education where they are told things like “all the studies show this is the best way to teach.” The Texas GOP just added a section to their party platform opposing this indoctrination.
We also see that Goodlad recognizes that when parents wake up to these facts, sometimes they rebel and then it causes the educators to “pull back” for a time. That’s why he says that “parents and the general public must be reached” or else the values they teach children in the home will conflict with the values Goodlad intends to put upon them in the classroom, namely socialism and moral relativism. This is where those 21st Century Schools and Community Learning Centers come in to allow for parents to come and get the steady stream of “sustainability” education.
One of the great misconceptions at BYU’s McKay School of Education is that they can push Goodlad so heavily and not have the negative aspects of his agenda seep through to students, teachers, and administrators. In Alpine school district, at least one school bought and passed out one of Goodlad’s books for every teacher and area legislators a few years ago. They can say they don’t believe *everything* Goodlad teaches when you press them on it, but when you hang his posters in the halls and put up plaques with his quotes on them, and openly praise him, you’re sending an overpowering signal to people that you agree with his humanist, moral relativistic, atheistic, social justice, anti-family philosophies. Goodlad gains nationwide credibility when his organizations show he’s a partner with BYU.
Key to the effort of 21st Century Schools is a cradle to grave database tracking system that will hold data on citizens. One of the requirements of Common Core grant funding was to set up a statewide longitudinal database. In Utah this was called the P20w system for preschool to grade 20 (college graduation) to workforce. This is the same Outcome-Based Education nonsense that was defeated in the 90’s by concerned citizens. Mark Tucker wrote a letter to Hillary Clinton after Bill was elected congratulating her and outlining things he would love to see happen to nationalize education and make schools little more than training centers for society’s central planners to determine at early ages where children should go into the workforce. It’s all happening now. Career aptitude tests are being prepared for kindergarteners and 3rd graders, and under Common Core in Utah, by 7th grade students are placed into a math track that will determine what their top math level will be when they graduate.
So where is the Open Education movement today? In the state of Utah, the State Office of Education has fully embraced Open Education initiatives. In January of 2012, they issued this press release stating:
“The Utah State of Office of Education (USOE) today announced it will develop and support open textbooks in the key curriculum areas of secondary language arts, science, and mathematics. USOE will encourage districts and schools throughout the state to consider adopting these textbooks for use beginning this fall.
Open textbooks are textbooks written and synthesized by experts, vetted by peers, and made available online for free access, downloading, and use by anyone. Open textbooks can also be printed through print-on-demand or other printing services for settings in which online use is impossible or impractical. In earlier pilot programs, open textbooks have been printed and provided to more than 3,800 Utah high school science students at a cost of about $5 per book, compared to an average cost of about $80 for a typical high school science textbook.
…The decision to pursue open textbooks at scale comes after two years of successful open textbook pilots led by David Wiley of Brigham Young University’s David O. McKay School of Education. Each pilot was conducted by the BYU-Public School Partnership in partnership with the Utah State Office of Education. The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation provided funding. Mathematics and science textbooks will be based on books originally published by the CK12 Foundation, a not-for-profit organization based in California founded with the mission to produce free and open source K-12 materials aligned to state curriculum.”
Interesting that this is funded by the Hewlett Foundation, a foundation with close ties to George Soros and the Gates Foundation, and has as one of its goals, population reduction through family planning and reproductive services (last 2 paragraphs here).
As noted in the press release, David Wiley at BYU is in charge of Utah’s pilot program and he has listed his resume online. Among his accomplishments he lists the following: Director, USU Center for Open and Sustainable Learning; Founder, Open High School of Utah; and Associate Director of the Center for the Improvement of Teacher Education and Schooling (or CITES for short). CITES is the Goodlad training center at BYU for teachers and administrators in the BYU Public School Partnership districts to get indoctrinated in the Goodlad educational philosophy before stepping into their roles of shaping our children’s minds. CITES is an organization we have previously written up for not cooperating with an audit that Orem Senator Margaret Dayton was pursuing.
This isn’t to say that David Wiley and all the other people associated with CITES and BYU’s MSE are bad people (David is actually very pleasant in email correspondence I’ve had with him). They’ve just embraced parts of a philosophy that I believe is destructive of American values. No matter how noble some of their goals are like providing open education resources, significant dangers lie ahead. Soros and his education partners are powerful globalists with money and influence looking to push their agenda, and now that the framework is in place, they will pump propaganda into open source materials.
In fact, it appears to have already reached Utah through these types of channels. The recent Granite & Jordan school district math textbook fiasco with textbook problems full of inappropriate leftist propaganda (link 1, link 2, link 3) was a result of copy/pasting math problems from open source materials according to one school board member. People like George Soros know that as schools move toward cheap, open materials, they can insert thousands of propagandizing, social justice type questions which will wind up being thoughtlessly inserted into textbooks for students. No true “critical thinking” skills are required for copy/pasting math problems from one source into another and Utah’s population is as gullible and ready to accept this nonsense as anyone. Even the NCTM has added a new book for teachers on how to teach for Social Justice in the classroom.
Some people will continue to try and dismiss all of this and label it a “conspiracy theory” in the hopes that busy or thoughtless people will ignore it. There is no need to theorize about what is happening in education. It’s plain and simple, out in the open, conspiracy fact. Anyone can research and read exactly what this is all about and I encourage people to read the information in all the links above where it is abundantly clear. In their own words they are moving the national education system into a global system to indoctrinate children. This agenda will be even more obvious in the next article posted to the site.
The chart below illustrates the behemoth that was set up by the federal government and “conspiratorial” partner organizations like the Gates Foundation, PRIOR to them enticing the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State Superintendents Organization with $20 million to get together and create a set of Common Core state standards. They didn’t care what the states developed, they just wanted them all on the same page tied to the same federal strings that would light up this network and be the final piece in the puzzle of nationalizing education. Why has the Gates Foundation put over $100 million into the creation and promotion of Common Core? Because in 2004 they signed an agreement with UNESCO to create a global education system.
To see a fairly detailed timeline on the implementation of Common Core, please read this post titled The Common Core Lie.
Please share this information with friends, neighbors, and your legislators. It’s not too late to work together to get Utah off federal money which accounts for less than 12% of Utah’s annual education budget revenues (page 4). Being off the federal funds will allow us to chart our own course as it should be.
As for the open education movement, there is a tremendous amount of good that can come from sharing true knowledge and making it freely available. However, much greater scrutiny must be exercised by schools and districts in selecting materials appropriate for students. Much greater involvement from parents examining their children’s school work must also be attended to. With broad-based submissions in the open education space, comes a serious quality control issue. This can be seen both in instances of propaganda finding its way into Granite and Jordan School District’s, and if Jordan school district really had “unsolvable” problems in their book, clearly the materials they chose to use weren’t vetted well, indicting both the author of those materials, and the individuals selecting the materials to use.