Truth in American Education

 

Dear Friends,

A very informative and important article on Common Core. Written by Jane Robbins, an attorney and a senior fellow with the American Principals project. Shared by Donna Garner, a retired teacher and education activist.

Wgarner1@hot.rr.com

 

Truth in American Education

 [The way to cloak the damage being done intentionally by Common Core is to make sure no “measuring stick” tests -- real tests -- are left in place.  Jane Robbins explains in this article that without a measuring stick, parents and policymakers won’t be able to document the damage done by Common Core. – Donna Garner]

“Common Core Proponents Leave Parents, Policymakers in the Dark”

From the beginning, deception has shrouded the Common Core national standards scheme. Proponents claim the standards were developed by state governors with the input of teachers and educators across the country, but they in fact were created in secret, by unknown people pursuing unknown agendas. The standards were touted as “voluntary,” even though any state hoping to receive Race to the Top bribe money during a deep recession had to adopt them. They were marketed as a means of increasing college-readiness, even though the developers admit the “college” in mind was merely a non-selective community college, and experts pointed out that students trained with Common Core would not be prepared for authentic college coursework in any area, including STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Like any deception, this one requires elaborate schemes to keep it going. A potential Achilles heel of Common Core has always been legitimate tests – not those funded by the federal government to align with Common Core, but those that actually measure student achievement and college-readiness. The real tests, of course, would likely destroy the illusion that Common Core improves either. Richard Innes of the Bluegrass Institute reports that those “real tests” are now disappearing.

Innes writes about the situation in Kentucky, which was the first state to adopt Common Core and therefore has been implementing the standards longer than any other. In a recent post, Innes discusses the discontinuance of several tests offered by ACT, Inc. that Kentucky had used for years to measure students’ progress toward college-readiness (EXPLORE for 8th-graders, PLAN for 10th-graders, and COMPASS for older students who didn’t score well enough on the ACT college-entrance test). Over the past two years, ACT has announced discontinuance of all three tests.

Having used EXPLORE and PLAN since 2006-2007 and COMPASS since 2011-2012 (some Kentucky universities used COMPASS longer than that), Kentucky had compiled significant trend information from the scores. But those trend lines have now been cut. (Read Innes’s entire post for his dissection of ACT’s excuse for abolishing the tests.) As Innes writes, “Kentucky’s assessment trend lines have been vanishing left and right at precisely the time we badly need such trends to assess what Common Core is really accomplishing.”

“How convenient,” he notes, “for Common Core supporters who might be worried about what those discontinued tests might reveal.”

The disappearance of the ACT’s suite of tests isn’t the only testing change that masks the real situation under the national standards. Common Core architect David Coleman has revised the SAT to align with Common Core since he took over the College Board, so current scores can’t be compared meaningfully to pre-Common Core scores. And because Common Core-trained students have been scoring poorly on the “nation’s report card” – the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) – Common Core proponents have suggested changing that test as well.

Another aspect of NAEP indicates that the stops are being pulled out to hide the failures of Common Core. As Innes explains, one part of the NAEP testing program is the Long-Term Trend (LTT) assessment – “the only long-running assessment program in the US that allows us to see how educational performance has trended over an extensive period of time for a valid random sample of students.” The NAEP LTT has been given roughly every four years since the 1970s, most recently in 2012. So we’re due for another administration of the test.

Except . . . NAEP’s governing board has now decided not to give the test in 2016, or in 2020 – maybe they’ll get back to it in 2024, but maybe not. As reported by Education Week, the excuse given for the remarkable delay is lack of funding (we know how the federal government reveres budgets). NAEP managed to find funding for a new Technology and Engineering Literacy (TEL) exam, but somehow it couldn’t scrape together the pennies to administer LTT.

“[LTT] could shed valuable light on how Common Core is performing,” Innes says. “Instead, yet another important trend line is cut.” Commenting for Education Week, Tom Loveless of the Brookings Institute agrees: “’During a time when we’re engaged in this project called Common Core, during which we really do need alternative data and measures of how well kids are doing in reading and math, we’ve poured resources into these other assessments [such as TEL]. . . .’ Loveless said he worried some of the so-called 21st century skills assessed on the TEL, like communication and problem-solving, are more nebulous or ‘faddish’ compared to the fairly concrete reading and math tests.”

If Common Core were what it’s cracked up to be, its proponents should welcome assessments that showcase academic improvements. But step by step, the Common Core establishment is whittling down those objective measures, leaving parents and policy-makers in the dark. It almost seems like deception.

To view article:

http://truthinamericaneducation.com/common-core-state-standards/common-core-proponents-leave-parents-policymakers-dark/

 

Respectfully,

Tincy Miller

SBOE, District 12

tincymiller35@gmail.com

www.tincymiller.com

“New Report: Winners and Losers of Common Core”

 

Dear Friends,

A very informative and important article on Common Core. Written by Jane Robbins, an attorney and a senior fellow with the American Principals project. Shared by Donna Garner, a retired teacher and education activist.

Wgarner1@hot.rr.com

 “New Report: Winners and Losers of Common Core”

Teresa Mull of the Heartland Institute writes about a new report analyzing the enormous funding of the Common Core national standards — where the money came from, what it was used for, and especially, who benefited from the entire endeavor. Hint: It wasn’t the students.

The report, “Smart Money? Philanthropic and Federal Funding for the Common Core,” was produced by scholars at Penn State University. Unlike many academic discussions of Common Core, it recognizes that the national standards are designed for technical, data-driven outcomes rather than genuine education. It also recognizes the dearth of evidence that the Common Core-type of “standards-based reform” actually elevates student achievement.

The report combines these insights with a wealth of information about the federal programs (such as Race to the Top) and private foundation grants (such as the millions of dollars from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and others) that poured into the Common Core scheme from development to implementation. From this data the report draws conclusions about Common Core winners and losers.

Winners

  • Philanthropic foundations, which “further rooted their preferences for . . . metrics, big data, measurable growth, and competition, in the education sector. . . . Venture philanthropists’ broad and strategic funding enabled them to purchase increased influence over public policy and public institutions without incurring any accountability for the policies they advanced” — policies that have no evidentiary basis for success. And crucially, the report notes that the foundations’ expenditures “empowered them to install public policies without democratic processes.” No one has ever voted for Bill Gates, but as even Common Core proponents have admitted, his “agenda has become the country’s agenda in education.”
  • The federal government, whose showering of money on states during a deep recession enabled the U.S. Department of Education (USED) “to exercise unprecedented influence over nearly every state’s standards.”
  • For-profit grantees that provide Common Core tests, curriculum, or other resources. The report notes that vendors of educational software and digital content reported a 57 percent increase in their market between 2010-11 and 2012-13 — “even though it is not evident that such products improve teaching and learning and improve achievement gaps.”
  • Non-profits such as Achieve, Inc., and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute that received funding to promote Common Core. These organizations were able to add staff and expand their operations with help from the enormous flood they received from the Common Core spigot.

 Losers

  • The integrity of certain non-profits which, in exchange for grant money, jettisoned their supposedly objective and neutral analysis of education issues to become propagandists for Common Core. Here the report specifically mentions the Aspen Institute and the National PTA (“The relationship of [PTA’s] mission to the Common Core is tenuous, since [standards-based reform] does not typically raise achievement but often distorts teaching and learning . . . .”).
  • School districts and schools, the great majority of which have received no direct funding to implement Common Core and will be expected to collectively lay out billions to implement the standards — with no assurance of positive results for students.

 We could add our own losers:

  • Students, who are being subjected to a substandard “education” designed to train them to be worker bees for politically connected corporations rather than educated human beings and citizens of our republic.
  • Parents and other citizens, who have lost control over their local schools to unaccountable Washington bureaucrats and private foundations pushing their own agendas.
  • The Constitution and our federalist system, both of which were designed to protect state and local control over issues such as education.

The Penn State report ends by analogizing the Common Core scheme to the 19th-century Gold Rush, with profiteering by the vendors of mining equipment to work a claim that turns out to be empty. At least with the Gold Rush, the losses didn’t infect our children and our entire system of governance.

Respectfully,

 

Tincy Miller

SBOE, District 12

tincymiller35@gmail.com

www.tincymiller.com