“Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Ends ‘Common Core, Embraces ‘Common Sense’ ”

Dear Friends,

A very interesting article about ending Common Core and embracing ‘Common Sense’.

Shared by Donna Garner a retired teacher and education activist (Wgarner1@hot.rr.com)

 

“Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Ends ‘Common Core, Embraces ‘Common Sense’ ”

Excerpts from this article: 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced Friday he is officially putting an end to the Common Core Standards in his state and replacing them with standards that “embrace common sense.” 

DeSantis said at a press conference that his new “Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking” (B.E.S.T.) standards, which will be released in the coming days, will mark a “return to the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic,” reported Fox 13 News.

With the B.E.S.T. standards, the governor said Florida students will “understand the principles that make America great.”

One year ago, DeSantis issued an executive order that called for the elimination of the Common Core Standards, which former Gov. Jeb Bush (R) had urged the state to adopt. Ultimately, the state “rebranded” the Common Core as the Florida Standards.

In his order, DeSantis instructed the state education commissioner to complete a review of the Florida K-12 academic standards for English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics and submit it to the governor with recommendations for revisions by January 1, 2020.

The governor said in a press release announcing the new standards:

When I took office, I made a pledge to the citizens of Florida to overhaul our educational standards to remove all vestiges of Common Core and return to the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic. I am pleased that this historic task has been completed and we are well on our way to making Florida the best state in the nation for education. My deepest thanks to Commissioner Corcoran and Department of Education staff, Florida teachers, parents, subject matter experts and stakeholders for their participation in this transparent, in-depth and comprehensive process.

Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said DeSantis “has proven once again that he is the Education Governor.”

Some of the major changes to the K-12 standards include:

  •  Place reading at the core of the standards development process;
  • Place elevated focus on memorizing math facts;
  • Content-rich standards that focus on classic literature;
  • Define rigor as the product of maintaining high expectations for students

“This is definitely a great step forward because what I’ve seen of the draft, all of our suggestions were taken into consideration,” said middle school teacher Seth Federman, who helped revise the standards.

One of the areas DeSantis said he wanted to emphasize in K-12 standards was civics.

The new B.E.S.T. standards will fulfill the governor’s mandate to “identify opportunities to equip high school graduates with sufficient knowledge of America’s civics, particularly the principles reflected in the United States Constitution, so as to be capable of discharging the responsibilities associated with American citizenship.”

Changes to the curriculum will include a civics literacy examination for all high school seniors and a recommended reading list that includes America’s significant foundational documents.

Federman said the B.E.S.T. standards will prepare Florida’s students for the outside world by emphasizing civics for all K-12 students.

“A successful child is a successful citizen if they know their rights as a citizen,” the teacher said.

Corcoran said the new standards “represent the highest quality knowledge-based standards in the nation.”

“They not only incorporate civics throughout every grade, a first of their kind in the nation, ensuring that our students are well versed in the United States Constitution and the responsibilities of citizenship, they also provide educators with clear and concise standards,” he added.

TO READ THE ENTIRE BREITBART ARTICLE, PLEASE GO TO: https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/01/27/florida-gov-ron-desantis-ends-common-core-embraces-common-sense/

 

Tincy Miller

Former Member SBOE, District 12

Member 1984-2010

Appointed: Chair 2003-2007

Elected: 2013

Re-Elected 2014

Retired January 1, 2019

tincymiller35@gmail.com

www.tincymiller.com

Losing to China: US students perform poorly on key international test

Dear Friends,

A very informative article regarding U. S. Students losing to China, Common Core likely significant factor; written by Lance Izumi. Izumi is senior director of the Center for Education at the Pacific Research Institute and author of the 2019 book Choosing Diversity: How Charter Schools Promote Diverse Learning Models and Meet the Diverse Needs of Parents and Children. Shared by Donna Garner, a retired teacher and education activist    (Wgarner1@hot.rr.com)

“Losing to China: US students perform poorly on key international test”

Excerpts from this article:

Results for the latest administration of the Program for International Student Assessment [PISA], a key exam given to 15-year-old students worldwide, show poor performance in reading and math among U.S. students, with the Common Core national standards and aligned curriculum a likely significant contributing factor.

The PISA exam tests reading, math, and science. Among the 79 countries where the exam is administered, the top scorers were students in four provinces in China — Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Zheijiang.

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which oversees the PISA exam, the Chinese students not only outperformed students in all other countries in math and reading, but “the 10% most disadvantaged in these four provinces showed better reading skills than those of the average student in OECD countries, and performed on par with the 10% most advantaged students in some of them.”

“What makes their achievement even more remarkable,” says the OECD, “is that the level of income in these four Chinese regions is well below the OECD average.

Such results should be concerning to every American given that Communist China’s goal, according to Liu Mingfu, a retired Chinese army colonel and highly influential professor at China’s National Defense University, “is to surpass the United States in overall national power in terms of the economy as well as science and technology.”

Indeed, in comparison, U.S. students’ math scores were not just below the Chinese scores, but behind many other countries, including Portugal, Slovakia, and Lithuania.

In reading, the United States did slightly better, but still scored far below the Chinese. As the New York Times noted, “The performance of American teenagers in reading and math has been stagnant since 2000.”

And unlike the high performance of disadvantaged students in China, the Times pointed out that the “achievement gap between high and low performers [in the U.S.] is widening.”

According to an OECD official quoted by the Times, about one-fifth of American 15-year-olds scored so low on the PISA test that it appeared they had not mastered the reading skills expected of a 10-year-old.

Those students, said the official, face “pretty grim prospects” on the job market.

The PISA trends mirror the results on the recent National Assessment of Educational Progress [NAEP] exam, America’s so-called report card.

Not only did large majorities of students fail to perform at the proficient level in reading and math on the NAEP exam, but the gap between high-performing and low-performing students widened in places such as California.

In fact, in California, the gap between high and low performing students widened by a full-grade’s worth on the eighth-grade NAEP math test.

There is a possibility that Common Core may have something to do with the widening performance gap between high and low achievers. That’s because the gap has increased since 2012, which was around the time that Common Core was first implemented.

The Times cited a Harvard education professor, who said that the blame lies partly with states and school districts, which did not effectively carry out Common Core, and recommended that low-income students be provided with social workers.

 

First of all, such apologies for Common Core sound like the old discredited leftist refrain that communism has never succeeded because it has never truly been tried and that all communist catastrophes are the result of poor implementation.

 Second, remember that the most disadvantaged Chinese students performed as well as the most advantaged students in many countries — and it is a sure thing that those Chinese students were not provided social workers to raise their achievement.

Third, it is simply obvious that Common Core is having a negative impact on U.S. student performance.

Ze’ev Wurman, former senior policy adviser at the U.S. Department of Education under President George W. Bush and one of the most informed critics of Common Core, has observed: “In addition to being mediocre in its academic expectations, Common Core dragged in its unscientific and discredited pedagogy,” such as the “de-emphasis of fluency with arithmetic and number manipulation [in math].”

https://www.educationviews.org/u-s-students-losing-to-china-common-core-likely-significant-factor/

TO READ THE ENTIRE WASH. EXAMINER ARTICLE, PLEASE GO TO: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/op-eds/losing-to-china-us-students-perform-poorly-on-key-international-test

Tincy Miller

Former Member SBOE, District 12

Member 1984-2010

Appointed: Chair 2003-2007

Elected: 2013

Re-Elected 2014

Retired January 1, 2019

tincymiller35@gmail.com

www.tincymiller.com

“Flashback: Obama Friend Deval Patrick Pushed Common Core on Massachusetts, ‘Dumbed Down’ Standards”

Dear Friends,

A very informative article regarding Common Core, link attached below. Excerpt by Dr. Susan Berry. Dr. Berry is a conservative writer and contributor to Breitbart.com, she has a doctorate in psychology. She writes about cultural, educational, and healthcare policy issues. Shared by Donna Garner, a retired teacher and education activist    (Wgarner1@hot.rr.com)

“Flashback: Obama Friend Deval Patrick Pushed Common Core on Massachusetts, ‘Dumbed Down’ Standards”

TO READ THE ENTIRE BREITBART ARTICLE, PLEASE GO TO:   https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019/11/14/flashback-obama-friend-deval-patrick-pushed-common-core-on-massachusetts-dumbed-down-standards/

Excerpts from this article:

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick may have hopes of achieving the Democrat presidential nomination in 2020, but his decision to promote replacement of his state’s high education standards with Common Core in 2010 ultimately led to its fall as a model for the nation.

The Atlantic chronicled Patrick’s close relationship with former President Barack Obama Thursday, asserting Patrick is Obama’s “rightful heir,” “an actual longtime friend based on mutual affinities.”

That friendship was the basis for the decision by Patrick a decade ago to work to replace the high academic standards that gave Massachusetts its top ranking among states in the country with the Obama-incentivized Common Core State Standards.

Common Core was sold as a social justice reform that – above all else – would close the achievement gap between largely white, middle-income students and the mostly black and Hispanic students from lower-income families.

That effort has failed abysmally, as Peggy Carr, associate commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, lamented in October after the results of the Nation’s Report Card assessments showed U.S. public school children have made “no progress” in reading or mathematics over the ten years.

“Over the past decade, there has been no progress in either mathematics or reading performance, and the lowest-performing students are doing worse,” Carr said, according to Education Week. “In fact, over the long term in reading, the lowest-performing students—those readers who struggle the most—have made no progress from the first NAEP administration almost 30 years ago.”

Jamie Gass, director of the Center for School Reform at the Boston-based Pioneer Institute, and Charles Chieppo, a senior fellow at Pioneer, wrote specifically about Common Core’s effect on Massachusetts at the American Conservative in May.

While the Bay State had been one of three states to make progress in closing the achievement gap between 1998 and 2009, the trajectory changed when Patrick pushed the legislature to adopt Common Core. 

Gass and Chieppo summarized:

When the Obama administration kicked off its push to federalize public education by making adoption of Common Core English and math standards a condition of receiving federal grant money, Massachusetts acquiesced. It adopted the standards in 2010.

Common Core cut the amount of classic literature, drama, and poetry that Massachusetts students study by 60 percent. The math standards, which Stanford University mathematics professor emeritus R. James Milgram called “shopping cart math,” no longer get students to algebra by eighth grade.

Subsequent revisions also dumbed down the Bay State’s science and U.S. history standards. In 2009, then-governor Deval Patrick’s administration brushed aside the state law that required history to join English, math, and science as a high-stakes test. Instead he pushed new age fads, including educating the “whole child” and vacuous “21st-century skills.”

…As might have been predicted, however, in January 2015, Obama-era Education Secretary Arne Duncan gave a glowing tribute to Patrick in an op-ed at the Boston Globe, praising the outgoing governor, claiming the state of Massachusetts had led the nation in education under the direction of the Common Core champion Patrick.

“In many ways, Massachusetts is now helping to lead the country where it needs to go in education,” Duncan said.

However, Pioneer’s executive director Jim Stergios countered in an op-ed, also at the Globe.

…“Only a politician, or an education secretary playing one, would attribute Massachusetts’ success to Patrick,” Stergios asserted. “The best one can say about overall student achievement in the Commonwealth during Patrick’s terms in office is that it has been stagnant. An objective observer would note significant areas of decline.”

The Pioneer executive director noted that, since the Common Core’s adoption in Massachusetts, “sampled national tests show fourth-grade reading scores, the best predictor of future success, falling more significantly in Massachusetts than anywhere else in the country.”

The state’s SAT scores had dropped 20 points during Patrick’s tenure as well though, prior to becoming governor, the SAT scores had “risen for 13 consecutive years.”

Yet another reason to question Duncan’s praise for Patrick—and the Common Core standards—was Stergios’ observation that, prior to 2007, “67 percent of third graders scored advanced or proficient on the state’s third-grade reading tests… that number is now 57 percent.”

Stergios wrote Patrick’s decision to join the Obama administration in its push for Common Core led to the governor’s desertion of “two pillars of Massachusetts’ original, bold reforms — academic content standards that approached those in the highest-performing nations and a unique accountability system focused on improving district leadership and performance.”

7.29.10 – “State Education Board: Expertise Lost at Crucial Time” – The Boston Globe – Editorial Opinion —

Click Here for Boston Globe Article

Quotes from this article:

“Governor Patrick has purged the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education of the two members who held the deepest suspicions of the newly-adopted national Common Core standards in math and English.

On a number of other issues, Sandra Stotsky and Thomas Fortmann were the two board members who posed the most challenging questions — in public — to state education officials. In declining to reappoint the two, Patrick sacrificed a diversity of opinion that has served the board well.

The Board of Education recently took a big leap of faith when its members voted to replace the state’s highly respected standards with the national Common Core. The board and state education department made reasonable arguments that the new standards would do a better job at getting Massachusetts students ready for college and careers. While the new standards should lead to great advancements, Patrick has jettisoned the two members most likely to raise a cry at the first sign of retreat.” 

Tincy Miller

Former Member SBOE, District 12

Member 1984-2010

Appointed: Chair 2003-2007

Elected: 2013

Re-Elected 2014

Retired January 1, 2019

tincymiller35@gmail.com

www.tincymiller.com

The Smear Campaign Against Charters

Dear Friends,

 An informative article regarding Charter Schools, written by Baker A. Mitchell.  Mitchell is a retired electrical engineer, former university assistant professor, and entrepreneur.  He founded Roger Bacon Academy, which manages four public charter schools in North Carolina that have a combined diverse enrollment of over 2,200 students.

 The Smear Campaign Against Charters

With a new school year ahead, the attacks on charter schools have begun anew. In North Carolina we’re hearing outrageous charges of racism. A public-television commentator claimed recently that “resegregation” was the purpose of charter schools “from the start.”

Meanwhile, parents are voting with their feet. Statewide enrollment in traditional public schools has declined four years in a row. Less than 80% of K-12 students now attend district schools. More than 110,000 are enrolled in charters and 100,000 in private schools. More than 140,000 are being home-schooled.

The suggestion that district schools are being resegregated through “white flight” to schools of choice is nonsense. North Carolina charters today have a slightly higher percentage of black students (26.1%) than district schools (25.2%). And those students aren’t assigned. Parents choose our schools.

It’s “certainly no accident” that critics invoke the Jim Crow era by referring to “segregation,” Lindalyn Kakadelis of North Carolina Education Strategies told me. “The goal is to stop the growth of K-12 education options at any cost.” Charter school critics “do not want families making educational decisions for their children. The system does not want to lose control or money.”

Charges of racism are intended to divert attention from the failure of traditional public schools to educate minority children. According to the most recent Charter Schools Annual Report to the North Carolina General Assembly, published in February, charter-school students at virtually every grade level and in virtually all student subgroups—white, African-American, Hispanic, economically disadvantaged, students with disabilities, and students with limited English proficiency—outperformed traditional public-school students in English, math and science at the end of the school year. The sole exception was high-school math scores, where results were mixed.

The Roger Bacon Academy, which I founded in 1999, oversees four charter schools in southeastern North Carolina that are among the top-performing in their communities. All four schools are Title 1 schools, meaning 40% or more of the students come from lower-income households. One of the schools, Frederick Douglass Academy in downtown Wilmington, is a majority-minority school.

We succeed where others fail because we do things differently. Our classical curriculum, direct-instruction methods, additional instructional hours, and focus on orderliness are a proven formula for successful learning.

I never intended to get involved in education. But after selling a company I founded, I began volunteering as a science instructor at Houston-area elementary schools. I met Thaddeus Lott, principal of Wesley Elementary, a high-achieving school with a predominantly low-income black student body.

I pulled into the parking lot and noticed a 6-foot-high barbed-wire fence around the school. I quickly learned the problems were outside. The students were well-behaved and academically advanced. They read Shakespeare, learned phonics, and memorized multiplication tables. The results were so impressive that Houston school officials accused the school of cheating on tests—then forced the superintendent out when the charge was proved wrong.

Charter schools do not seek to replace traditional public schools, but rather to complement them, providing alternatives to the existing system. Our way is better for some students, not all. Let parents decide.

The “resegregation” attacks are a continuation of a broader smear campaign that began last year. Parents and policy makers shouldn’t be distracted. Charters are doing well—and if they don’t, they lose their charters and are shut down, unlike failing district schools.

Tincy Miller

Former Member SBOE, District 12

Member 1984-2010

Appointed: Chair 2003-2007

Elected: 2013

Re-Elected 2014

Retired January 1, 2019

tincymiller35@gmail.com

www.tincymiller.com

Texas Sends to Governor Bill Banning Cities from Partnering with Planned Parenthood

Dear Friends,

A very informative article written on Planned Parenthood by Dr. Susan Berry, Dr. Berry is a conservative writer and contributor to Breitbart.com, she has a doctorate in psychology. She writes about cultural, educational, and healthcare policy issues. Shared by Donna Garner, a retired teacher and education activist    (Wgarner1@hot.rr.com)

Texas Sends to Governor Bill Banning Cities from Partnering with Planned Parenthood

Excerpts from this article:

The Texas State Senate voted 20-11 Friday to approve a House amendment to a bill that would ban state, county, and local governments from contracting or partnering with Planned Parenthood for any services.

The bill now heads to the desk of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.

The Texas Tribune reported on the House amendment to Senate Bill 22:

The bill would prohibit the transfer of money to an abortion provider — but it would also bar the transfer of goods, services or anything that offers the provider “something of value derived from state or local tax revenue.” Abortion opponents worry that any money directed to abortion providers could be used to promote the organization in other important ways, like to finance advertisements or open a new clinic. They criticized Planned Parenthood’s $1-per-year rental agreement with the city for its East Austin clinic, which they’ve railed against as an unfair “sweetheart rent deal.”

“This bill just prevents taxpayer dollars from being used to support or prop up abortion providers,” said State Sen. Donna Campbell, the Republican author of the bill.

…Democrat State Sen. José Rodríguez said the bill would cause lack of access to HIV tests, cancer screenings, contraceptives, and other health care provided by Planned Parenthood.

[Planned Parenthood does not offer women mammograms.  State-run programs such as Healthy Texas Women do offer mammograms plus they have certified healthcare specialists who offer fact-based STD information, comprehensive healthcare, birth control, pregnancy tests, counseling, health screenings and treatment for hypertension/ diabetes/cholesterol, and prenatal care.]

Texas lawmakers, however, have increased funding for state-run healthcare programs such as Healthy Texas Women, which provides free or low-cost family planning services. Supporters of the legislation are seeking to divert women away from abortion clinics and their affiliates for health care and toward the state-run alternatives.

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The Texas House passed another bill Thursday, 84-67, that would penalize abortionists who fail to provide medical care to infants who are born alive following a failed abortion. That measure is also headed to the governor’s desk.

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019/05/24/texas-sends-bill-banning-cities-partnering-planned-parenthood

Tincy Miller

Former Member SBOE, District 12

Member 1984-2010

Appointed: Chair 2003-2007

Elected: 2013

Re-Elected 2014

Retired January 1, 2019

tincymiller35@gmail.com

www.tincymiller.com

“Is Dr. Shormann’s DIVE Online Math and Science Program a Good Choice?”

Dear Friends,

An informative article written by Nakonia (Niki) Hayes. Niki is certified and experienced in journalism, mathematics, guidance counseling, special education, and administration, Ms. Hayes has taught mathematics from the 6th grade through high school to students in special education, gifted education, and regular classrooms. She also worked 17 years in journalism as a news reporter, public information officer, and speech writer for legislators in Wisconsin and Texas.

She is passionate about traditional math education for all groups of children, especially learning disabled students; she is a member of 2012 TX state committee to rewrite K-12 mathematics standards; a member of groups strongly opposed to Common Core standards, especially in mathematics; she is dedicated to bringing honor and recognition to John Saxon’s traditionally-based Saxon Mathematics program.  Shared by Donna Garner a retired teacher and education activist (Wgarner1@hot.rr.com)

 

“Is Dr. Shormann’s DIVE OnlineMath and Science Program a Good Choice?”

This message is in response to a question I received from a parent about DIVE: Shormann Math, an online mathematics and science program for homeschool and/or private school students that is written by Dr. David Shormann.  

Dr. Shormann, the program creator and director of DIVE (an interactive education website) has based his program on Saxon Math materials and methodology for many years; now he has written his own ONLINE mathematics program called Shormann Math, found on his DIVE website at https://diveintomath.com/shormann-math.  It is based in part on the Saxon methodology of incremental learning and continual review but now has integrated materials that he feels are necessary for today’s students to be successful in math and science programs. This includes technology applications, computer math, real-world problems, and non-standard solutions.  Numerous in-depth links with explanations about the program are on his website:  https://diveintomath.com/shormann-math

Dr. Shormann (https://diveintomath.com/meet-the-teacher) earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering and a master’s degree in marine chemistry from the University of Texas. His doctorate in limnology (a study of inland waters) is from Texas A&M University. He has an extensive background working with mathematics and science from aerospace engineering to oceanography.

Presently living in Hawaii, Dr. Shormann said he is currently working on a patent-pending design. “It is a biomimetic airfoil based off a humpback whale’s pectoral fins. LOTS of math application going on with that. It’s got everything from Fibonacci ratios to computational fluid dynamics!”  

I contacted him because I had heard he was changing some of the methods used in Saxon Math. This seemed unacceptable to me since Saxon Math is successful when users follow Saxon methods with little to no exception.

 We talked by telephone on Thursday, March 14. This is a summary of that 70-minute conversation:

(1)    Saxon Math unchanged: Saxon Math is still being offered with no changes to its requirement of 30 homework problems and its methodology. Video lectures to accompany Saxon Math are still available in grades 4-12.

(2)    On homework: However, his own Shormann Math materials presently cover Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and Advanced Math. These have 100 video lectures and lessons in each subject with 20 homework problems, as compared to Saxon Math with its 125 lessons/30 homework problems per lesson in Algebra 1; 129 lessons/30 homework in Algebra 2; and 125 lessons/30 homework in Advanced Mathematics.  

With 20 homework problems which MUST be worked in each of the 100 lessons, that equals 2,000 homework problems for each course. Dr. Shormann believes this is adequate homework practice. (All homework problems in Saxon Math MUST also be worked.)  

Considering how many schools are limiting or eliminating homework today, and one of the reasons public schools in particular avoid Saxon Math with its demand that all 30 homework problems be solved, I find Dr. Shormann is remaining true to the Saxon philosophy that completion of all homework problems supports a student’s retention and learning of information in daily lessons.

(3)    Struggling by students: I was concerned that students are not being allowed to see the solutions manual until after they had made several efforts to work out a problem. I interpreted that to reflect the progressive philosophy that students learn best by “struggling” through a lesson.  Dr. Shormann explained that with online coursework, the easy answer for students is often simply to look at the solutions manual. He wants to be sure they have made good-faith efforts to work the problems; he doesn’t want students to “struggle,” but he does want them to put in the time to try and reach the correct solution. That made sense to me.

(4)    Non-standard solutions: We discussed the issue of “non-standard solutions,” which is a particularly egregious topic with me for elementary and middle school students. Dr. Shormann said these solution processes are now required on the SAT and ACT. That is, a traditional procedure for finding an answer may need to be supported with alternative procedures to prove the student understands the concept within the SAT question.

I accepted, therefore, that non-standard solutions may need to be taught now at the high school level, but I explained those are being required, as interpreted with Common Core standards by publishers and teachers, in grades 1-8. I believe it is unacceptable to require these unfamiliar, non-standard methods in such early grade levels. For one thing, too many parents cannot help their children with lesson assignments that use such unfamiliar methods. (There are many other reasons against supplanting traditional procedures with these non-standard methods at the K-8 level.) 

(5)    Real world problems: I asked about the use of “real world” problems that Dr. Shormann promotes on his website.  John Saxon hated that progressives used the term “real world” problems simply to promote politically correct ideas within their curriculum. Dr. Shormann’s problems are from “real world”, however, as related to specific occupations, personal interests, math history, etc. That satisfied me.

(6)    Integrated math: I said the description of “integrated” mathematics is a loaded term used by progressives and resisted by many traditionalists. Based on European and Asian math programs that are not separated into distinct subjects such as algebra and geometry, and thus are “integrated” materials, Dr. Shormann believed that Saxon pioneered integrated math in America by integrating geometry throughout the Saxon algebra books and advanced math.  

I explained Saxon did that for only one reason: He said geometry is used here as a “wedge” course to weed out students from advanced math classes. That is, when students take a sequence of Algebra 1, Geometry, and then Algebra 2, the year between the algebra courses causes weaker students to struggle in Algebra 2. He believed that was eliminating many students who could have worked Algebra 2 successfully if they had had continuity with their learning in the subject. By spacing geometry over three courses, Saxon’s goal was simply to provide an uninterrupted access for more students entering higher mathematics and science. 

I’m still concerned that use of the word “integrated” in math education conjures up the weak progressive materials that are not written on the level of European or Asian courses. They are, instead, at fault for much of the failure of math education programs in America.  John Saxon’s precise use of “incremental learning” and “continual review” offers more clarity in describing his sometimes-called “blended” or “scaffolding” methods.

Summary:  Dr. Shormann and I discussed many other topics. At this point I will say that I believe his online program is an excellent one and his heart truly is in the right place for students’ learning. The traditional Saxon Math can be taken or his new Shormann Math with its integrated materials is available.

While my heart will always be with the pure and proven Saxon Math at all levels, I appreciate Christian values that support mathematics, or vice-versa, being available in lessons to non-public school students. Because I had a semester course in the history of mathematics years ago that hooked me on the subject, I am also pleased that Dr. Shormann is incorporating people and topics from that rich history into his lessons. This can help explain how greatly the world of mathematics has always transcended throughout, and thus supported, other subject areas.

http://www.educationviews.org/review-dive-online-math-and-science-program/

Respectfully,

Tincy Miller

Former Member SBOE, District 12

Member 1984-2010

Appointed: Chair 2003-2007

Elected: 2013

Re-Elected 2014

Retired January 1, 2019

tincymiller35@gmail.com

www.tincymiller.com

“Common Core Contributor Blows Whistle on Common Core ‘Reading’

Dear Friends,

A very interesting article about Common Core, written by Alex Newman. Mr. Newman is an American journalist and consultant who writes about economics, finance, banking, business, and politics for diverse publications in the United States and abroad. He studied journalism, economics and political science at the University of Florida. Shared by Donna Garner a retired teacher and education activist (Wgarner1@hot.rr.com)

“Common Core Contributor Blows Whistle on Common Core ‘Reading’

  The reading program in the Common Core national standards is contributing to an escalating crisis in literacy across America because the standards are deeply flawed and not based on science. That is according to Dr. Louisa Moats, an internationally renowned reading expert who actually served as a contributor to the Common Core’s literacy standards. Now she is sounding the alarm.

In an interview with The Newman Report, Dr. Moats explained that insufficient or poor foundational skills including phonics, phoneme awareness, and automatic, fluent word reading in the early years contributes to later literacy problems and failures in children. Another key problem is forcing children to memorize “sight words,” which are mandated under Common Core in Kindergarten.

“My warnings and protests were ignored at the time,” said Dr. Moats, who founded a firm named Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) to help teachers. “I knew from my prior experience that the way it was written, organized, would undo a lot of the progress that we had made during the previous eight years And that’s exactly what happened.”

Despite contributing to it, Dr. Moats realized that the early literacy standards would cause major problems. “I wasn’t pleased with the final Common Core document,” she added. “There’s language in Common Core that’s not based in reality, that doesn’t reflect how children learn to read. We have decades of data on what it takes for kids to acquire fluency.”

The sight word approach seeks to have children memorize whole words using their visual memory. “But this is not how a good reader reads,” Dr. Moats explained. “There is lots of evidence showing this, including studies about what happens in the brain as children learn to read. It is a myth that kids learn irregular words or learn any words ‘by sight.’ They don’t.”

Indeed, the children who are taught using sight words actually learn through the same process as everyone else, but they do it in spite of the teacher and what they are being taught. A good proportion will fall by the wayside, though, “because you can only remember so many words by rote if you don’t understand what the letters represent,” she said, pointing to sounds, syllables, meaningful parts of words, and grammatical features.” They may learn 50 words on flash cards, but then they hit the wall.”

And unfortunately, the problems in the early years cause massive issues later on. “If things aren’t done right early on, it doesn’t matter, by the time they get to high school the show is over as far as whether somebody is going to learn to read,” she said.

Dr. Moats was also surprised by how the Common Core was pushed on states. “When I was invited to work on the foundational section, I was imagining out of my naivete that this document would be floated out by Department of Education or the National Governors Association as a kind of north star or guideline for states wanting to improve their own standards,” she said. “I had no idea that what they were going to do was direct publishers to change everything and to appropriate money for the creation of aligned tests, before people understood and had debated or tried to act on the standards.”

And yet, some people were celebrating. “The next thing that happened after Common Core was published – immediately, the element in the reading field that has never wanted to put any emphasis on these foundational skills sort of came back to life, they were thrilled,” Dr. Moats said. “Some of the leaders wrote how relieved they were not to have to teach phonics, so they could focus on ‘real purpose’ of reading.”

The Newman Report will have more on Dr. Moats’ insights into reading and Common Core next week, so stay tuned.

As this writer and Dr. Sam Blumenfeld documented extensively in Crimes of the Educators, the so-called “reading wars” have been going on since Horace Mann first introduced the “whole word” method in Boston. But unfortunately, the primary casualties in these wars are not the “experts” and bigwigs in the education establishment, but the millions of children being handicapped for life with quackery. It is time for the madness to end. 

https://freedomproject.com/the-newman-report/1056-common-core-contributor-blows-whistle-on-common-core-reading

Tincy Miller

Former Member SBOE, District 12

Member 1984-2010

Appointed: Chair 2003-2007

Elected: 2013

Re-Elected 2014

Retired January 1, 2019

tincymiller35@gmail.com

www.tincymiller.com

Florida Gov. DeSantis Signs Executive Order To Abolish Common Core

Dear Friends,

An excellent article regarding Common Core. Shared by Donna Garner a retired teacher and education activist (Wgarner1@hot.rr.com)

Florida Gov. DeSantis Signs Executive Order To Abolish Common Core

CAPE CORAL, Fla. (FOX 13) – Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a news conference Thursday he wanted to abolish the Common Core education program, which is part of the state education system’s Florida Standards.

DeSantis cited concerns from parents, he heard while campaigning to become governor, as the main reason for the decision. 

“When you complained about Common Core, I hear you,” the governor said. “I told you I would do something about it.”

DeSantis said he was looking forward to working with Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran to come up with a new set of standards, “which will include eliminating Common Core and the vestiges of Common Core.”

The governor’s executive order will require the commissioner to put together a plan to phase out the Common Core systems while adopting new standards that better serve students, teachers, and parents.

DeSantis also said he wanted testing to be streamlined testing so it could measure success, “but we’re not just teaching to a test.”

“And then, something that’s really, really important to me, identifying ways we can make civics education a priority in Florida,” DeSantis said…

Link to full article: http://www.educationviews.org/florida-gov-de-santis-to-abolish-common-core/

Respectfully,

 

Tincy Miller

Former Member SBOE, District 12

Member 1984-2010

Appointed: Chair 2003-2007

Elected: 2013

Re-Elected 2014

Retired January 1, 2019

tincymiller35@gmail.com

www.tincymiller.com

New Evidence Reveals Full Extent of Common Core’s Historic Failure

Dear Friends,

 An informative article exposing new evidence regarding 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.

 “New Evidence Reveals Full Extent of Common Core’s Historic Failure”

Most public schools are still afflicted with the Common Core national standards. Paid advocates such as the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation continue to push Common Core despite overwhelming evidence of the slow-motion train wreck that has resulted – reduced student achievement by almost every metric. Fordham refuses even to acknowledge the bad news, much less try to rationalize it.

That’s why it was refreshing to hear the blunt truth proclaimed at a Heritage Foundation event last week entitled “Rethinking Federal Intervention in K-12 Education.” At this program the authors of a new Pioneer Institute study, “Common Core, School Choice and Rethinking Standards-Based Reform,” explained how Common Core has not only damaged public education but also threatened the independence of private schools. How? By imposing government strings on the curricular autonomy of the schools that accept government funding via school-choice mechanisms such as vouchers. 

Study authors Ted Rebarber of AccountabilityWorks and Neal McCluskey of the Cato Institute advocate restoring genuine diversity in education models by removing centralized government control over K-12 school standards. But the prelude to that argument came from Rebarber, who minced no words in describing the doleful effect of Common Core on education.

“In my view,” Rebarber observed, “[Common Core] is really the worst large-scale educational failure in 40 years.”

Unlike Fordham and its allies, Rebarber offered actual evidence to support his thesis. He demonstrated that U.S. students’ math scores on the National Association of Educational Progress (NAEP) had long been creeping up ever since reliable test results became available in the 1970s. But after release of Common Core in 2010 and full implementation in the fall of 2014, NAEP scores plateaued and then began to decline. 

Rebarber focused on scores of the bottom quartile of students, those who were already behind – “the students that were touted as the target for improvement.” Under Common Core, these students’ performance has fallen.

According to Rebarber, “That’s never happened at a consistent multi-year scale [on] the best test instruments we’ve had since we’ve been able to measure in the 1970s. And so that is historic.”

Higher-performing students have been hurt as well. Rebarber’s graph of recent ACT scores showed that the modest upward trend line flattens upon Common Core release and then begins a decline which accelerates with full implementation. 

Why has Common Core math failed so abysmally? Rebarber observed that rather than increasing the rigor of the math standards as promised, Common Core “just calcified the existing [deficient] rigor of the math program” – teaching algebra I and geometry content two years later than do the top-achieving countries. In addition, the standards “ended up pushing some progressive educational methods or dogmas . . . delaying introduction of standard algorithms and other methods that are enforced through the tests.”  

…And here we are – not only treading water, but actually sinking. Historic!

 https://townhall.com/columnists/janerobbins/2018/11/20/new-evidence-reveals-full-extent-of-common-cores-historic-failure-n2536233

 

Respectfully,

Tincy Miller

SBOE, District 12

tincymiller35@gmail.com

www.tincymiller.com

Why Are We Still Teaching Reading the Wrong Way?

Dear Friends,

An informative article written by Emily Hanford. Hanford is a senior education correspondent for APM Reports and the producer of the audio documentary “Hard Words: Why Aren’t Kids Being Taught to Read?” This article is based on her reporting for that project.

Why Are We Still Teaching Reading the Wrong Way?

Teacher preparation programs continue to ignore the sound science behind how people become readers.

Our children aren’t being taught to read in ways that line up with what scientists have discovered about how people actually learn.

It’s a problem that has been hiding in plain sight for decades. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, more than six in 10 fourth graders aren’t proficient readers. It has been this way since testing began. A third of kids can’t read at a basic level.

How do we know that a big part of the problem is how children are being taught? Because reading researchers have done studies in classrooms and clinics, and they’ve shown over and over that virtually all kids can learn to read — if they’re taught with approaches that use what scientists have discovered about how the brain does the work of reading. But many teachers don’t know this science.

What have scientists figured out? First of all, while learning to talk is a natural process that occurs when children are surrounded by spoken language, learning to read is not. To become readers, kids need to learn how the words they know how to say connect to print on the page. They need explicit, systematic phonics instruction. There are hundreds of studies that back this up.

But talk to teachers and many will tell you they learned something different about how children learn to read in their teacher preparation programs. Jennifer Rigney-Carroll, who completed a master’s degree in special education in 2016, told me she was taught that children “read naturally if they have access to books.” Jessica Root, an intervention specialist in Ohio, said she learned “you want to get” children “excited about what they’re reading, find books that they’re interested in, and just read, read, read.” Kathy Bast, an elementary school principal in Pennsylvania, learned the same thing. “It was just: Put literature in front of the kids, teach the story, and the children will learn how to read through exposure,” she said.

These ideas are rooted in beliefs about reading that were once commonly called “whole language” and that gained a lot of traction in the 1980s. Whole-language proponents dismissed the need for phonics. Reading is “the most natural activity in the world,” Frank Smith, one of the intellectual leaders of the whole-language movement, wrote. It “is only through reading that children learn to read. Trying to teach children to read by teaching them the sounds of letters is literally a meaningless activity.”

These ideas had been debunked by the early 2000s. It may seem as if kids are learning to read when they’re exposed to books, and some kids do pick up sound-letter correspondences quickly and easily. But the science shows clearly that to become a good reader, you must learn to decode words. Many whole-language proponents added some phonics to their approach and rebranded it “balanced literacy.”

But they did not give up their core belief that learning to read is a natural process that occurs when parents and teachers expose children to good books. So, while you’re likely to find some phonics lessons in a balanced-literacy classroom, you’re also likely to find a lot of other practices rooted in the idea that children learn to read by reading rather than by direct instruction in the relationship between sounds and letters. For example, teachers will give young children books that contain words with letter patterns the children haven’t yet been taught. You’ll see alphabetical “word walls” that rest on the idea that learning to read is a visual memory process rather than a process of understanding how letters represent sounds. You’ll hear teachers telling kids to guess at words they don’t know based on context and pictures rather than systematically teaching children how to decode.

Many teachers learn these approaches in their teacher preparation programs. Publishers perpetuate these ideas, and school districts buy in. But colleges of education — which should be at the forefront of pushing the best research — have largely ignored the scientific evidence on reading.

The National Council on Teacher Quality reviewed the syllabuses of teacher preparation programs nationwide and found that fewer than four in 10 taught the components of effective reading instruction identified by research. A study of early-literacy instruction in teacher preparation programs across the University of North Carolina system found that instructional strategies based on research were mentioned “in a cursory way, if at all, on most syllabuses.” (Some instructors required students to write their “personal philosophies” about how to teach reading.) Kelly Butler of the Barksdale Reading Institute in Mississippi interviewed more than 100 deans and faculty members of schools of education as part of a study of teacher preparation programs in the state and found that most of them could not explain basic scientific principles about how children learn to read.

It’s not just ignorance. There’s active resistance to the science, too. I interviewed a professor of literacy in Mississippi who told me she was “philosophically opposed” to phonics instruction. One of her colleagues told me she didn’t agree with the findings of reading scientists because “it’s their science.”

There is no excuse for this. Colleges of education have to start requiring that their faculties teach the science of reading. Children’s futures depend on it.

To view article in its entirety:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/26/opinion/sunday/phonics-teaching-reading-wrong-way.html

Respectfully,

Tincy Miller

SBOE, District 12

tincymiller35@gmail.com

www.tincymiller.com