Jane Robbins, attorney and senior fellow at the American Principles Project, has chronicled the latest in Common Core deception in her recent post at Truth in American Education. First, she discusses the lies we all have chronicled about Common Core:
“Dishonesty has been a defining characteristic of the campaign to promote and implement the Common Core national standards. The project was “state-led”; the standards were “internationally benchmarked”; they were created by teachers across the nation; they are “rigorous” and promote “critical thinking.” None of this was true, of course, but once states had adopted the standards in an attempt to obtain federal Race to the Top money, the propaganda had the desired effect of beating back the opposition.”
She then begins to discuss why the latest lie – that the US must improve international test scores on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) given by the UN agency OECD in order to be competitive as recommended in a new National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) report and that Common Core is the perfect way to do that – is so false.
Revamping education to improve PISA scores is, at its root, a flawed undertaking. Subpar performance on PISA simply isn’t the warning bell that NCSL suggests. Unlike the other major international assessment, Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), PISA focuses not on academic content knowledge but on the “skills and competencies students have acquired and can apply . . . to real-world contexts by age 15.” In other words, PISA is aligned to the same type of non-academic training embodied in the Common Core standards. (The head of OECD’s Directorate of Education, Andreas Schleicher, in fact was appointed by persons unknown to serve on the Common Core Validation Committee. How many Americans would have thought it appropriate to have a United Nations official — and a German citizen at the time — influencing American education standards?)
Sandra Stotsky, who as an education official in Massachusetts largely sparked the “Massachusetts Miracle” before the state accepted a federal bribe to replace its remarkably successful academic standards with Common Core, explains the difference between PISA and TIMSS: “PISA assesses the skills that average young adults are presumed to need in daily life. It is not for college-bound kids. It fits with Common Core and an emphasis on skills. . . . TIMSS is a test of the math and science curriculum. It’s the test that tells a country how well these subjects are being taught in the schools. The U.S. Department of Education doesn’t like TIMSS because it’s oriented to content; the USED wants to go with PISA because it fits Common Core’s stress on skills.”
Robbins also mentions numerous other lies from the education establishment and kindly includes our compilation on Early Childhood:
Among other predictable recommendations, NCLS advocates more preschool (despite the documented ineffectiveness and even harm from government-controlled, institutional “early learning”) and more career pathways and technical training as a replacement for classical liberal-arts education. It also mentions that state education systems should develop government-approved “behaviors” in students. All of these tactics are now being pushed onto the states through federal legislation such as the Every Student Succeeds Act, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, and pending legislation that would balloon and standardize career and technical education and “social-emotional learning.” The goal is to create a managed economy powered by narrowly trained workers with government-approved mindsets. All of these efforts, NCSL believes, will improve PISA scores, and they may well do so. But as genuine educators might say, so what?
After discussing the “inconvenient truth” for Common Core proponents of declining NAEP scores under CCSS and how the deceivers will likely cover that up, she summarizes where this all seems to be heading and what should be done:
All this maneuvering about various assessments is designed to accomplish two things: to provide an excuse for further “transforming” education into the progressive dream, and to hide from parents and the general public that students are no longer being educated, but rather simply trained for the workforce. Meaningless PISA scores are being leveraged to gin up anxiety about American education, and that anxiety in turn is used to justify even more efforts to convert education from the classical liberal-arts model that worked so well for decades (before the federal educrats and other progressives got hold of it) to sterile workforce-training.
Implementing Common Core was Step One in the most recent phase of this lengthy process. Step Two, aided by this new NCLS report, is to accelerate everything harmful that Common Core is doing to move schools away from genuine education. But at least the PISA scores will be better.
In the early days of the struggle against Common Core, an insightful state senator from one Southern state mused that it seemed to him the proponents wanted kids to “look smart rather than be smart.” Developments since then have borne out his observation. Appearances can be deceiving, and Common Core and its progeny are tools of master deceivers.
To keep the education establishment honest, legislators should insist that participation in international tests focus on TIMSS rather than PISA. Then they can make decisions based on reliable evidence rather than meaningless measures of performance. Perhaps NCSL’s next report will recommend that.
The US House of Representatives completed the consideration of their version of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) currently called No Child Left Behind (NCLB) on July 8th. This process began in February but was halted thanks to the great opposition by all of us working together – parents, teachers and other citizens – that oppose the ever expanding federal role in education.
Cementing of Common Core via the requirement in state plans that must be approved by the secretary that states have college and career ready standards
Continuation of the federal mandate of annual tests with their continued psychological profiling and data mining
Removal of the prohibition on attitudinal profiling in the mandated statewide tests
No real enforcement mechanism for states that are bullied by federal interference in standards or tests such as Common Core
The vote was a very narrow 218-213 with every single Democrat opposing the bill due to not enough federal control but ultimately doing the right thing and 27 Republicans opposing it due to still too much control. We thank all who voted against this bill, but especially mention and thank the Republicans who were courageous enough to stand against their leadership in order to support the rights of students, teachers, parents, and local school districts over corporations and the federal government:
|Amash (MI)||Graves (LA)||Meadows (NC)|
|Brooks (AL)||Graves (MO)||Miller (FL)|
|Buck (C0)||Hice (GA)||Rohrbacher (CA)|
|Clawson (FL)||Huelskamp (KS)||Rothfus (PA)|
|DeSantis (FL)||Jones (NC)||Sanford (SC)|
|DesJarlais (TN)||Jordan (OH)||Sensenbrenner (WI)|
|Fleming (LA)||Joyce (OH)||Stutzman (IN)|
|Gibson (NY)||LoBiondo (NJ)||Wenstrup (OH)|
|Gohmert (TX)||Massie (KY)||Yoho (FL)|
There were 139 amendments offered to the Rules Committee for consideration. Leadership allowed 48 of those to come to the floor for consideration. Of those, 25 passed on a voice vote, 5 passed by roll call and the rest failed or were withdrawn. As we did with the Senate NCLB rewrite called The Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA), here is a recap of major amendments and their votes based on various topics.
Karen R. Effrem, MD – President
As reported by Peter Berkowitz on Real Clear Politics and Michele Malkin, fifty-five respected academics released a letter warning of the dangers of and strongly opposing the AP US History (APUSH) framework. Here is a relevant excerpt:
It appears that Coleman and the College Board are doing on a national level what the Minnesota Department of Education did to that state’s social studies standards as described by Dr. John Fonte of the Hudson Institute in his National Review piece, America the Ugly and in his review submitted to the state:
…But, American achievements are downplayed while the overarching theme becomes “institutionalized racism.” Of course, this logically means that the major “institutions” of American liberal democracy — the courts, Congress, the presidency, state and local governments, businesses, churches, civic organizations — and the entire democratic system and its civil society are racist and therefore, clearly, illegitimate.”
Please show the scholar’s letter and the connection to Common Core to your school, your district and state board of education members and do NOT let your high school student take APUSH!
Karen R. Effrem, MD – President
The good news is that the recently enacted $1.1 trillion federal budget bill does not fund the K-12 Race to the Top education slush fund at all for the next year. This is a significant improvement over the average $1 billion/year being spent on this program to implement the Common Core Standards and federally controlled, supervised and funded tests.
The bad news is that fed ed control machine is ramping up it efforts in the pre-K realm. $250 million from the Race to the Top will now be spent on preschool programs via the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grants and Preschool Development Grants for expansion to a total of 18 states with a total of $750 million more federal spending on early childhood programs:
Development Grants (Year One):
- Alabama, $17,500,000
- Arizona, $20,000,000
- Hawaii, $2,074,059
- Montana, $10,000,000
- Nevada, $6,405,860
Expansion Grants (Year One):
- Illinois, $20,000,000
- Maryland, $15,000,000
- Massachusetts, $15,000,000
- New Jersey, $17,498,115
- Rhode Island, $2,290,840
- Vermont, $7,231,681
Non RTT-ELC States (Year One):
- Arkansas, $14,993,000
- Connecticut, $12,499,000
- Louisiana, $2,437,982
- Maine, $3,497,319
- New York, $24,991,372
- Tennessee, $17,500,000
- Virginia, $17,500,000
The danger, folly, and expense of these programs has long been documented here, including the Obama administration’s efforts to expand the cradle part of the “cradle to career” programs via Race to the Top:
State of the Union Statistics Mislead on Preschool Benefits
Government Preschool Tyranny “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet!”
Early Learning Race to the Top Nationalizes Preschool
Preschool is NOT the Panacea Portrayed in Study
Myths and Facts About Early Childhood Education & Quality Rating Systems (QRSs)
Studies on Effectiveness of Early Childhood Programs
Of particular concern are the Common Core style standards that focus heavily on subjective, controversial social-emotional topics like gender identity, family composition, environmentalism, social activism, and careers that are then enforced even on private and religious providers via required quality rating systems. These standards are then linked to the K-12 Common Core standards. Here are a couple of examples:
Minnesota no longer uses the term “gender identity” which has been defined by a homosexual advocacy law firm as a ” person’s internal, deeply felt sense of being either male or female, or something other or in between. Because gender identity is internal and personally defined, it is not visible to others.” (Emphasis added.) However, the recently updated standards, still requires a young child to “describe or label self a boy or a girl” What does this have to do with academic learning?
Florida’s Office of Early Learning’;s glossary of terms for their standards defines family as “A group of individuals living together” with no reference to traditional marriage.
This appears to be part of the continued assault on traditional families and parental rights to raise and educate their children.
Early learning programs are part of a comprehensive “Cradle to Career” involvement of the federal government in education via the Race to the Top grants. Early childhood is definitely the new front in the battle for the hearts and minds of our children and we will need to continue to fight to protect them. Stay tuned.
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