Posts tagged: Common Core
With all the rhetoric touting the imagined benefits of the looming Common Core Standards, perhaps it is time to apply a little critical thinking and examine some of the claims made about Common Core. 'Idaho Core Standards are better than Common Core Standards.' No, Idaho Core Standards are Common Core Standards with the word “Common” scratched out and “Idaho” written in its place. This makes them easier to market to Idahoans but functionally, there is no difference. In fact there is a legal requirement that the state standards cannot vary more than 15 percent from the national standards. 'Common Core Standards were developed by the state governors using a 'grass roots,' bottom-up effort.' No. Imagine Butch and Bobby, Gary and 47 other governors sitting down with their crayons and crafting the new standards. Ridiculous. Furthermore, if it was a communal effort by government employees (politicians and teachers) then the standards produced would be the property of the taxpayers who paid for the effort and the standards as written would be in the public domain. But they aren't. The copyright for the standards is owned by a private company; the company that wrote them/Brent Regan, Coeur d'Alene Press op-ed column. More here.
The Washington Post has published an extensive story tracing the role of Bill Gates in the Common Core state standards for school student achievement; it’s online here, under the headline, “How Bill Gates pulled off the swift Common Core revolution.” The article, which calls the standards “one of the swiftest and most remarkable shifts in education policy in U.S. history,” quotes Gates saying, “At the end of the day, I don’t think wanting education to be better is a right-wing or left-wing thing.”
Though the standards have recently drawn opposition from tea party groups, the article notes they initially had wide support from across the political spectrum. “The math standards require students to learn multiple ways to solve problems and explain how they got their answers, while the English standards emphasize nonfiction and expect students to use evidence to back up oral and written arguments,” the Post reports. “The standards are not a curriculum but skills that students should acquire at each grade. How they are taught and materials used are decisions left to states and school districts.” Betsy Russell, EOB
Interesting quote from Gates. Should making education better be a partisan thing?
According to Idaho’s top public education official, the Gem State would face no cuts in federal funding should it choose to end its participation in the nationwide Common Core academic standards agenda.
However, in states where policymakers have either abandoned or augmented their participation with the national standards agenda, the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) has used a federal law from last decade—the “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB) Act—to threaten those states over the appropriation of millions of federal education dollars.
“We did not receive federal dollars from Washington when we adopted the Common Core standards,” said Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna. In an exclusive interview with IdahoReporter.com in February of this year, Luna added that “we would not lose federal funding if we chose other standards.”
Yet in both California and Indiana, the USDOE has leveled threats in the face of those states altering their intended paths with Common Core. Last year when California considered the possibility of suspending student testing for a year (Common Core entails annual assessment testing), the USDOE reacted by threatening to withhold some $15 million in administrative funding from the state. More here. IdahoReporter
A multistate exam designed to support the new Idaho Core Standards is a form of “extreme testing,” and it should be scrapped, state Sen. Steven Thayn said Tuesday.
Thayn, R-Emmett, said the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium exam could be replaced by other assessments. Options could include the Scholastic Aptitude Test taken by most Idaho 11th graders, and the Idaho Standards Achievement Test that the state is phasing out in favor of the Common Core-based SBAC exam.
In a two-page news release Tuesday, Thayn said Common Core standards supporters are pressing on without getting public buy-in — comparing it to the flawed process surrounding the 2011 Students Come First laws, later repealed by voters.
“This time I will listen,” Thayn said. Read more. Kevin Richert, Idaho Ed News
“Extreme testing” that's a new one for me. What do you think? SAT or SBAC?
Item: ‘Common Core’ gets near-unanimous OK: Idaho education panel makes recommendation/John Miller, AP
More Info: All 31 panelists except one – Madison School District Superintendent Geoff Thomas – voted to support Idaho’s push to advance with so-called “Common Core” requirements in 2014 that are part of a 45-state effort to align educational standards across America from the more-fragmented existing system. Common Core has become mired in divisive debate across the country, as groups such as the National Republican Party have labeled it an “inappropriate overreach.” In Idaho, lawmakers including former House Speaker Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, have suggested plans to scuttle Common Core when the Legislature meets in January.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna called on Gov. Butch Otter and legislators to safeguard data the state collects from public schools. In a letter sent Thursday to Otter, Senate Education Committee Chairman John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene, and House Education Committee Chairman Reed DeMordaunt, R-Eagle, Luna called for an executive order or a bill to ensure no personally identifiable data on students’ or their families’ religious or political affiliations, voting history or biometric information shall be collected, tracked or reported to the federal government. The only exception Luna outlined was data legally required for the Migrant Student Database/Clark Corbin, IdahoED News. More here.
Question: Do you agree with Luna's concern re: protection for student data collecting from public schools?
Obamacore. It’s not about health care. It’s a label applied by reactionary folks who oppose Common Core educational standards because the president supports them. Note the lack of rigor in that analysis. Though the process of states voluntarily adopting tougher standards in reading and math began in 2009, vocal opposition only recently arose. Fanned by the fevered preachings of broadcaster Glenn Beck and others, a conspiracy theory was hatched that Common Core was really a plot to:
During the spring, campaigns sprouted around the country to stop Common Core. In April, the Republican National Committee officially condemned it with hyperbolic fervor. The timing of this protest couldn’t be worse/Spokesman-Review Editorial Board. More here.
The Coeur d’Alene School Board voted Monday night to approve new curricula, developed by local teachers, to align with the Idaho Common Core standards. The curricula will guide instruction from kindergarten through 12th grades starting this fall. The math and English/language arts curricula were approved 3-2 with new board members Tom Hearn, Christa Hazel and Dave Eubanks in favor, and trustees Tom Hamilton and Terri Seymour opposed/Scott Maben, SR. More here.
Question: Agree/disagree with this decision?
Item: Luna explains Common Core: Idaho standards will be in place in schools this fall/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press
More Info: A group of North Idaho opponents of the Common Core initiative went head-to-head Thursday in Coeur d'Alene with one of the effort's leading proponents, Idaho public schools chief Tom Luna. The event, an informational meeting organized by Tea Party leader Pam Stout of Bonner County, attracted about 35 people to the Coeur d'Alene Public Library. Luna arrived a few minutes late for the morning gathering, and as he walked to the front of the room, past the waiting audience, he smiled, apologized for being late, and said, tongue-in-cheek, “Am I in trouble?” From the chairs, a man shouted a comment that set the tone for the rest of the one-hour meeting: “Hey Tom, you are in trouble, because you're pushing something we don't want.”
Question: Ya gotta give Luna props for going into the lions den and defending Common Core, right?
Item: War at the Core: Formation of Idahoans for Excellence in Education announced/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press
More Info: The Idaho Core Standards are the Gem State's version of the Common Core standards, an effort to elevate and align education benchmarks across the states. Supporters say it will add academic rigor and improve the state's dismal college completion rate, and create a stronger workforce. Detractors claim educators were not involved in the development of the standards, that the creation of the standards was motivated by private, corporate interests and driven by a federal government that wants to create a national curriculum and a national database of citizens' personal information. Opponents also claim the standards represent a loss of local control of curriculum. They dismiss the backers' claim that the Common Core effort is “state-led,” rather than led by the federal government.
Question: Do Common Core foes have much of a chance to stop implementation of the standards?
On his Facebook wall, new Coeur d'Alene School Board Chairman Tom Hearn writes re: attending anti-Common Core meeting at Candlelight Church Fellowship last evening:
An interesting though clearly one sided and biased presentation about Common Core. As I was listening to the speakers and questions from the crowd I was struck by the fear and lack of trust that some people in the audience seemed to have of government at all levels….even a very conservative Idaho state government. Educators I have talked to believe these standards are higher than we have in Idaho and would be an improvement over Idaho's current standards. These standards are now Idaho law and the school board retains control over curriculum and lesson plans. I think some of the people in the audience would be more willing to be supportive of these high educational standards if the federal government and Idaho state leaders were opposed to them.
Question: Are you tired of the fear-mongering in Idaho?
From the Coeur d'Alene Press story re: Common Core discussion Monday evening:
The presentation at (Candlelight Church Fellowship) was hosted by a group called the Friends of Idaho, introduced by Sage Dixon. Dixon said Friends of Idaho is a newly formed non-governmental organization focused on preserving and maintaining Idaho's sovereignty.
Question: So who's going to protect the majority of Idahoans from all these self-appointed groups that say they're protecting us?
Confusion re: whether Trustee Terri Seymour “hosted” the anti-Common Core discussion at Candlelight Church Fellowship last night stems from this Facebook invitation that went viral locally after it was circulated to friends of the two women.
From Coeur d'Alene Press story re: Common Core discussion:
Coeur d'Alene School District Trustee Terri Seymour (pictured) was one of three of that district's school board members to attend the presentation. Tom Hearn and Dave Eubanks also attended. Last week, Seymour asked Coeur d'Alene Superintendent Matt Handelman to forward an invitation to attend the Common Core talk to all school district employees. Seymour told The Press Monday afternoon that she wasn't promoting the presentation, and that she doesn't have an opinion on the standards yet. … She said she is not hosting the event, and acknowledged that she had Becky Funk help her set up a Facebook event so she could invite her friends to attend the talk. … Trustee Christa Hazel told The Press she did not attend because she did not think the presentation would be objective. Hazel said she has discussed the topic at length with Sen. Goedde and with local teachers. She attended the state's Education Task Force meeting last spring, and said she supports the standards. Full story here.
Question: Should all Coeur d'Alene School Board trustees have attended this presentation by out-of-state individuals opposed to Common Core?
The Common Core standards will be in place in Idaho schools this fall, but the controversy over them appears to be far from over. A pair of Washington-based anti-Common Core activists spoke Monday to about 70 people at Candlelight Christian Fellowship. “If you have concerns, do something about it,” said speaker J. Wilson, following his part of the presentation, “Common Core - the Next Step.” Wilson is an advocate with Truth in American Education, an organization that describes itself as “a nonpartisan group of citizens concerned about the centralization of education through the Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, Assessment Consortiums and Data Mining”/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: This article reveals that a new group has formed to “protect” Idaho's sovereignty and that three of the five Coeur d'Alene trustees attended the discussion, including new ones Tom Hearn and Dave Eubanks. Thoughts?
Sharon Hanek, a former Washington state candidate for treasurer, and J.R. Wilson, Truth in American Education, will be discuss their opposition to Common Core at a meeting at Candlelight Christian Fellowship, 5725 N. Pioneer Drive, Coeur d'Alene. Huckleberries hears that this is the second time in the last four months that Hanek has spoken in Coeur d'Alene area residents about Common Core. No one from the district or Superintendent Luna's office will be presenting official information as a counterbalance. The meeting will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Trustee Terri Seymour and Becky Funk are hosting the event. You can read more information here.
The presidents of Idaho’s three public universities and Lewis Clark State College are backing Idaho’s Core Standards, which demands a rigorous education rooted in problem solving and critical thinking. In the letter, the presidents said the standard provide students with “advanced mathematics that are required for college majors in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and the ever-growing demand for skilled workers in the modern economy.” Idaho Core Standards are part of Common Core State Standards, a movement among 45 states to develop a set of goals for what students should know by the time they graduate from high school. Idaho’s public schools will implement those standards beginning with the 2013-2014 school year/Bill Roberts, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Will the Coeur d'Alene School Board support Common Core when the new trustees take office?
A Spokesman-Review editorial Saturday supports Common Core:
But lately, Common Core has been smeared as a federal effort to ensure that all schools are the same and that the students become indoctrinated with liberal dogma. Back in March, Glenn Beck devoted his radio show to the topic, spreading disinformation with his special blend of ignorance and hyperbole. According to an Idaho Education News article, he ranted: “Progressives have jammed this through in the dead of night. Besides being dumber, our kids are going to be indoctrinated with extreme leftist ideology. We will not save our country unless we save it first from this attack.” The next day, the inbox at the Idaho Department of Education began to fill up with criticisms of Common Core/Spokesman-Review Editorial Board. More here.
Idaho's education reform task force has been swamped by dozens of people challenging the new Common Core academic standards. As the task force held hearings across the state, these critics described all kinds of bogeymen lurking there. Inspired by right-wing talk show host Glenn Beck, they linked the standards to communist indoctrination, a nefarious assault on Idaho's sovereignty and a dumbing down of Idaho schools. Sound familiar? You've heard it before. A generation earlier, Idaho educators and political leaders engaged in what was then called Goals 2000. Critics stopped it cold. But here's the problem: Without some kind of national standard in place, people in Idaho work in comparative isolation/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Do you listen to Glenn Beck?