Browsing articles in "Common Core Standards"
Jun 9, 2015
ELW

Important Connection to Common Core as Scholars Release Critical APUSH Letter

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:

There are notable ideological biases inherent in the 2014 framework, and certain structural innovations that will inevitably result in imbalance in the test, and bias in the course. Chief among these is the treatment of American national identity. The 2010 framework treated national identity, including “views of the American national character and ideas about American exceptionalism”as a central theme. But the 2014 framework makes a dramatic shift away from that emphasis, choosing instead to grant far more extensive attention to “how various identities, cultures, and values have been preserved or changed in different contexts of U.S. history with special attention given to the formation of gender, class, racial and ethnic identities.”
This very problematic framework came from the College Board now headed by David Coleman who was one of the main architects of the Common Core English standards and who admitted that he and his fellow authors “unqualified” to write those standards.  Despite the constant claims by Jeb Bush and other proponents that there is no connection between Common Core and social studies, please rememberthe following:
To those who say this has nothing to do with Common Core, because Common Core is only supposed to be about English and math, please remember that the full name of the Common Core Standards is the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects.  As documented in our testimony, Minnesota, in what may well have been a test case for this curricular coup, when adopting new social studies standards freely admitted that the Common Core English Standards were used in the development of the social studies standards.Here is a statement from Minnesota’s Statement of Need and Reasonableness (SONAR) admitting the connection of Common Core to the new more radical MN social studies standards:

In addition to legislative directives, the state’s system of academic standards has been influenced by at least two important multi-state initiatives: 1) the American Diploma Project (ADP)33, and 2) the Common Core State Standards Initiative.34 The state’s process for reviewing and revising the K-12 academic standards was developed in consultation with experts from the ADP sponsored by Achieve. Achieve is a bipartisan, non-profit organization that helps states raise academic standards, improve assessments, and strengthen accountability to prepare all young people for postsecondary education, work and citizenship. (Emphasis added – p. 13)
And here is a telling paragraph from another MDE document clearly linking the Common Core English standards to Minnesota’s new radical social studies standards:
Another way that the Commitee ensured that the proposed social studies standards provide college and career readiness, was to align the social studies standards with the 2010 Minnesota Academic Standards in English Language Arts. [Common Core] The language arts standards contain content related to literacy in history and social studies. They include all of the Common Core language arts standards–rigorous standards that have been widely documented as aligned with college and career-readiness expectations. (Emphasis added – p, 13 )

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:

“Nine years ago a group of history professors from the University of Minnesota sent a letter to the state’s education department. They complained that the history/social-studies standards for Minnesota presented American history too positively. The historians wanted early American history described in terms of “conquest,” “subjugation,” “exploitation,” “enslavement,” and “genocidal impact.” For these academics, the story of America primarily meant slavery for African Americans, genocide for American Indians, subjugation for women, xenophobia for immigrants, and exploitation for poor peopleIt looks like the Minnesota academics have finally achieved their goal. …
…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!

Dec 30, 2014
ELW

Federal Budget Moves Education Control Efforts Down to Pre-K with Race to the Top

 

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

Total: $55,979,919

Expansion Grants (Year One):

RTT-ELC States:

  • 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

Total: $77,020,636

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

Total: $93,418,673

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.

Nov 27, 2014
ELW

Response to Jeb Bush’s Education Summit Speech

Karen R. Effrem, MD – President

Jeb Bush gave the keynote speech at his Foundation for Excellence in Education national education summit in Washington DC on November 19th  as he continues to lay the ground work for a likely presidential run.  He made an effort to soften his attacks on those who oppose Common Core by now saying he respects us and by shifting blame to the federal government.  As his remarks in Education Next on Common Core required a rebuttal, so too do his efforts to continue his unreasonable defense of Common Core.  Here is a response to some of his statements on Common Core from that speech:
JB:  This is why the debate over the Common Core State Standards has been troubling.KRE:  What is really troubling is that you think these horrific standards that are academically inferior, developmentally inappropriate, and psychologically manipulative with their accompanying tests and invasive data collection system should just be imposed on the nation without a word of protest from the parents, students, and teachers that have to suffer under them.JB: I respect those who have weighed in on all sides of this issue.  Nobody in this debate has a bad motive.

KRE:  I suppose that we should be happy that you have changed your tune from this same speech a year ago when you called opposition to Common Core “political” and full of “conspiracy theories.” However, everyone can see that it is you who are being political as you try to placate opposition while getting ready to run for president.

JB: And in my view, the rigor of the Common Core State Standards must be the new minimum in classrooms.

KRE: There is nothing particularly rigorous about these standards. They are untested and not internationally benchmarked. Federally mandated state standards have done nothing in this country to improve achievement and several think tanks including the Brookings Institute say that national standards, particularly Common Core, will not improve achievement either.  Imposing these very problematic standards will only further denigrate our very troubled education system.

JB:  For those states choosing a path other than Common Core, I say this: Aim even higher…be bolder…raise standards and ask more of our students and the system.

KRE: It is not states that should be doing this via federal mandates, but rather parents, teachers, and duly elected school boards at the local level working to improve education without federal and state micromanaging.

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