Jul 24, 2019
ELW

The National Pulse: How States Can Fix Math Education Post-Common Core

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Here are some recommendations from Dr. Effrem’s latest post at The National Pulse about how states can fix math education after the Common Core debacle based on the National Expert recommendations that were developed by Dr. Ted Rebarber, Ze’ev Wurman, J.R. Wilson and based on the writings of Dr. James Milgram:

1) Math standards should promote the actual performance of math problems in a much higher percentage than understanding, thinking about, or communicating about mathematical concepts, especially in the earlier grades.

2) Ensure that new standards provide a reasonable progression of skill and knowledge attainment to the completion of a full Algebra 1 course by the end of 8th grade, as is done in other high-performing countries. This should be universally available to allow all students to pursue a STEM degree who want to, but not universally required for those that do not want this college focus.

3) To be of high quality, math standards must include necessary math content standards that Common Core fails to include.

4) There should be no requirement for specific instructional strategies, especially for some of the experimental ones used in geometry, with the exception of the standard algorithms for the basic operations in the early grades, which are generally the most efficient and universally practiced.

5) As discussed in our Pioneer Institute White paper and in the FSCCC recommendations, there is little to no research basis for social emotional learning parameters like “grit” and a “growth mindset,” and these should not be included in new math standards.

Read the whole article here. Listen to the excellent podcast by Dr. Lawrence Gray, professor emeritus of the University of Minnesota, who helped develop Minnesota’s excellent math standards and saved that state’s students from suffering under Common Core math here.

Jul 11, 2019
ELW

The National Pulse: 2020 Democrats Outline Big-Government Education Plans at NEA Forum

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Dr. Effrem recently described the education platforms of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates as discussed at the July 5th education forum of the National Education Association. Here is the list of topics discussed:

Eliminating High-Stakes Testing

Slowing or Stopping Charter School Growth

Expanding the Federal Role in Education

Universal Government Preschool

Social Emotional Learning and Mental Health

Increasing Government Control Beyond Education

Details of the way the candidates would handle these issues is available in the full article.

Jul 3, 2019
ELW

The Federalist: Meet ‘Social-Emotional Learning’: New Education Fad, Same As The Old Fads

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The Federalist recently published an op-ed about social emotional learning by Dr. Effrem and Harvard trained attorney and researcher Jane Robbins. Here is an excerpt:

In a nutshell, it’s the latest fad to send the same old message pushed by progressives for more than a century that education should focus less on knowledge of academic content and more on student attitudes, mindsets, values, and behaviors. Does Emily demonstrate sufficient leadership? Does John show the right amount of empathy? SEL cheerleaders also seem hopelessly mired between the competing goals of promoting government-determined, standardized attitudes and assessments, and assuring everyone that they care about children as individuals.

The federal government is pushing SEL on state and local education systems through prescriptive school accountability requirements, grants, and other programs—more than 100 federal programs in seven federal departments and a myriad of agencies, helpfully listed by proponents, even as they say SEL should be a state and local endeavor.

As admitted by the U.S. Department of Education and national special-interest groups, SEL is an integral part of the Common Core State Standards and Competency-Based Education (CBE) movements. CBE digitally documents attainment of SEL and other skills to declare a student ready to move on in his or her “personal learning path,” and supplies data for corporations wanting employees with attitudes fitting their plans. Both these movements are failing academically, and SEL further dilutes the already sub-standard academic education of both.

Please read the full article here.

Jul 1, 2019
ELW

The National Pulse: “Social Emotional Learning” Standards Continue Ominous National March

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Here are excerpts from a recent article at The National Pulse about the continued relentless push for subjective, non-academic, parental autonomy destroying social emotional learning programs:

Despite lots of concerns by Ohio parents and pro-family state school board members, as well as troubling data provided by Education Liberty Watch, (summarized here) and activism by Eagle Forum and Concerned Women for America, the full Ohio state board adopted statewide SEL standards by an 11-6 vote. Although there were promises made that students, teachers, and schools would not be assessed or rated on these standards, the strategic plan putting the SEL standards adoption into motion the previous year clearly states in several places that they would be. The board also voted down a resolution by member Kirstin Hill, who led the opposition, to codify that these standards would not be assessed…

…Presidential candidate and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has also significantly changed school discipline policies in that city’s public schools, both by imposing social emotional learning programs and restorative justice programs. SEL is going to be in every middle school in the city…

…The last piece of evidence I would offer for this steady and depressing march toward government mandated SEL is a statement by another Democrat presidential candidate, Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio, who said in the first night of the Democratic presidential debate:

Ninety percent of the shooters who do school shootings come from the school they’re in, and 73 percent of them feel shamed, traumatized, or bullied. We need to make sure that these kids feel connected to the school. That means a mental health counselor in every single school in the United States. We need to start playing offense. If our kids are so traumatized that they’re getting a gun and going into our schools, we’re doing something wrong, too, and we need reform around trauma-based care.

Unfortunately, the congressman is ignoring lots of evidence that SEL and mental screening does not work to prevent school violence. Ryan has been an SEL supporter for a long time and is making it a major centerpiece of his education policy platform. He was actually honest enough to admit that SEL is an integral part of Common Core and more important than academics during final debate on the Every Student Succeeds Act.

You may read the full article here.

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