Tag Archives: Massachusetts

Sandra Stotsky releases FREE ELA Standards

Sandra Stotsky on English Common Core StandardsDr. Sandra Stotsky, a long time critic of Common Core standards, has released an ELA framework for use in schools, districts, and states, for free. Dr. Stotsky is known for her participation in crafting the excellent 2001 ELA standards for Massachusetts and how those standards placed MA as one of the very best states in the country on standardized tests. I recommend you download a copy of these standards for safe keeping, and then let legislators know there is a free set of standards Utah could adopt that would make us the envy of the nation in a short time. Here’s a link, and the last paragraph from the document.


The Bottom Line
The 2001 edition of the Massachusetts ELA standards were already among the best in the nation. The 2010 draft manages to further strengthen these standards without losing any of the essential content or clarity. These standards are a model of clear, rigorous K-12 ELA content and expectations.”

If Utah would just adopt this and then the math standards from MA or CA prior to Common Core, we would be set for the future.

Sandra Stotsky on the ELA Common Core Standards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is not from me, this is from Fordham.

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

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

Part 1

Part 2

Conflicts of Interest in Adopting Common Core

Jim Stergios, writing for the Boston Globe, uncovered a trail of conflicts of interest that resulted in Massachusetts adopting Common Core and lowering their own standards to do it. Read how the governor and other education officials were pressured and bribed to make the move. Naturally, the Gates Foundation is involved since the Common Core standards were created by their funding and it’s their job to ensure everyone adopts them. Follow the money here:

Self-Dealing Among Education Officials by Jim Stergios