Common Core by Connie

A Series of Articles by Dr. Connie Uribe

Common Core According to Connie

First in a Series of Articles by
Dr. Connie Uribe

There has been a lot of speculation about the Common Core Standards proposed for our school systems. While they have been in the works since the Bush administration in 2007, attention is focused now on whether or not they are dumbing down our children instead of providing a true standard of excellence in education. The second issue is the question of a centralized database containing information enabling the government to track not only students but parents as well.

Over the next few weeks I would like to address these issues in more detail as the information becomes available. To begin, please read carefully the Mission Statement of the Common Core Standards:

“The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.”

Please note the operative words here – “so teachers and parents know what they need to do…” The meaning is clear. Someone will be telling the teachers and parents what to teach the children.

Next, and most important, please note – “our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.” The Common Core program is designed to prepare our students for the New World Order. Please stay tuned.

Common Core According to Connie – Part 2

Many of us recall when Russian Premier Nikita Khrushchev said, “You Americans are so gullible. No, you won’t accept communism outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of socialism until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.”
The coffee of the Common Core is brewing and we need to wake up and smell it. This mini version of United Nations takeover was funded by Bill Gates who enticed the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State Superintendents Organization with $20 million. This fulfilled a contractual obligation between Microsoft and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to create a global education system.

Gates has reportedly thrown in $173 million for the Common Core cause. As many as 45 states have adopted the ideas and the standards are already being implemented. Most states don’t even know who is on the drafting committees.

According to Judi McLeod of the Canada Free Press – “The progressives’ stranglehold on public education is where it lives, breathes and builds for the future. Nothing is as vital to them as control of young minds. If Common Core has its way, the day will come when the parents of children indoctrinated by this hideous UN program will face a heartless, impossible to change new enemy: their own children.”  We will be discussing how this would-be science fiction story will unfold.

Common Core According to Connie – Part 3

There is good news on the horizon.  Last week I mentioned Bill Gates, through that enormously generous heart of his, donated a ton of money to help ensure the mediocrity of our children’s education in the future.  Thank the Lord the whistle blowers are mobilizing their troops.
Just like Congress is looking at “outcome-based” medicine, the Common Core Standards focus on “outcome-based education.”  This kind of leveling of the playing field so no child will be left behind dates back to the 1990’s and was supported by both Bush administrations.  Just like top-down control of medical care, this is top-down control of education.
A resolution has been put forth by the Republican National Committee at the current spring meeting.  This resolution reminds us Federal Law prohibits the federalizing of curriculum.  It also mentions there is federal funding for the collection and sharing of massive amounts of teacher and student data.

The Republicans stated in their 2012 Party Platform that they did “not believe in a one size fits all approach to education” and they supported broad education choices at both the State and local levels.  The RNC believes the Common Core is “inappropriate overreach” and the plan is to make our children conform to a preconceived “normal.”
The resolution ends by saying the RNC rejects this plan which “creates and fits the country with a nationwide straitjacket on academic freedom and achievement.”

Maybe the “moderate” virus infecting the Republican Party is dying out, or perhaps the Common Core was the just the right antidote.  Let’s pray this resolution passes and all members of the Party take action.  More details on the Common Core Standards to come.

Common Core According to Connie – Part 4

I may be jumping the gun this week, but a couple of news articles came out demonstrating the effect of the Common Core Standards on our youth.  More details of these can be found by searching The Daily Caller.

In Duval County, Florida, fourth-grade students were instructed to write in crayon “I am willing to give up some of my constitutional rights in order to be safer or more secure.” According to the school, the goal of the overall lesson was to “create an awareness” of constitutional rights and help the students “determine their opinions on which rights they value most and least.”

The parents, of course, had no idea this lesson was being taught.  One father who found the scribbled assignment in his son’s backpack was concerned because he knew his boy was too young to fully understand his rights.

The Superintendent claimed this activity was consistent with their efforts to broaden civics-based education and develop critical thinking skills among the students. He stressed the lesson built awareness of First Amendment rights through a partnership with an association of local attorneys.

In a another situation, students in an Albany, New York, high school were given an writing assignment requiring them to think like Nazis and argue that “Jews are evil and the source of our problems.”  Administrators defended this action, claiming it was intended to hone persuasive writing skills, a requirement under the Common Core Standards.  An apology was issued by the teacher, and fortunately, a third of the students refused to complete the assignment.

Will Estrada is Director of Federal Relations for the Home School Legal Defense Association.  According to him, the Common Core teaches “…the United Nations is better than our Constitution and our Declaration of Independence.”

We will be covering more in the future about how the Standards address writing, speech, history and civics, mathematics, but in general, the Common Core curriculum allows for the teaching of a worldview which places the United Nations above the American Constitution.

Common Core According to Connie – Part 5

This whole plot to dumb down our children and commit their futures to a semi-vegetative state was slipped past us using the time-honored technique of dangling the carrot of federal funds with all the false promises that come with it.  We can probably boil this down to two people most responsible for this fiasco – Bill Gates and Obama, and I don’t mean “President” Obama.

I mentioned previously Gates donated beaucoup bucks to Common Core because of Microsoft’s 2004 contract with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization to create a global education system, but let’s go back before that.

Remember how Obama during his 2008 debates with McCain denied having any contact with Communist Bill Ayers except serving on a board with him?  He was no doubt referring to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a public school reform project from 1995 to 2001.  He was a community organizer, but what he was organizing was the corruption of our youth.

As President, Obama stuck a program in his Stimulus Bill in 2009 called Race to the Top and the states came running, that is, all but Texas, Minnesota, Virginia, Alaska, and Nebraska.  If the states took the carrot… er, adopted the Common Core Standards, they would get the extra federal funding.

So, Obama was working on lowering the standards of education in Chicago with grant money back in 1995, Gates fell in bed with the UN in 2004 to change world education, and the National Governors Association adopted the Common Core idea in 2008.  The Stimulus Bill funded it in 2009.  It’s now up to the states to just say NO.

Common Core According to Connie – Part 6

When it comes to the Common Core Standards the devil is in the details. What seems at first to be perfectly harmless and in the best interest of our youth may actually be masking an underlying agenda to undermine the foundation of our nation.

According to award-winning author and retired educator, Jo Russell, the problem with Common Core is the lack of parental involvement. “You can’t have an effective educational system without the parents’ input,” says Russell, who now resides in northern Arizona. The Common Core Standards were accepted by Arizona’s State Board of Education in 2010 and are slowly being phased into our schools throughout the state without the parents’ knowledge.

The basic selling idea behind Common Core is to promote achievement with mathematics and language. One parent, Jennifer Reynolds, told legislators at the Arizona Capitol she pulled two children out of public school because of Common Core. Her son was so bogged down learning conceptual skills, he was being “slowed down.”
Mathematics is the perfect example of this focus on conceptual skills. There is basically a push to build relationships between the standards and coherence within the grades.

The students are supposed to develop an understanding of the mathematical applications. In other words, according to Dawn Wallace, Policy Advisor to the Majority in the Arizona House of Representatives, rote memory of the multiplication tables no longer serves a purpose and will not be emphasized. We will delve more into the Common Core Standard for Mathematics next time.

Common Core According to Connie – Part 7

It’s time to get down to brass tacks.  Let’s begin with the Standards in Mathematics. Reviewing these is like going through stereo instructions, but like anything else, the heart of the issue is found in between the lines.
The Standards claim to follow successful international models and recommendations from the National Research Council’s Early Math Panel report.  They are designed to prepare the students for college and careers by helping them develop an understanding and ability to apply mathematics to novel situations.  The master planners claim these situations are common among college students and employees, although they refer to them as novel.  By high school they expect the students to practice applying mathematical ways of thinking to real world issues and challenges.
The Standards are grade-specific, but they don’t define methods or materials needed for students who fall below or are well above grade expectations.  Everyone starts out on a level field.  There are provisions made for the handicapped.
As students progress, they are taught to explain the meaning of a problem and to look for entry points to its solution.  Then they are to discuss the form and meaning of the solution and plan a solution pathway rather than just jumping to the answer.  Students will then be taught to question their answers by asking themselves, “Does this make sense?”  They will learn to understand the approaches of others to solving complex problems and the value of these different approaches.
Elementary students might be asked to construct arguments using objects or diagrams to describe a situation, whereas in the middle grades, students may apply proportional reasoning to discuss a school event or a problem in the community.  In high school they can work on how one area in the community depends on another.
It’s no longer about how many times does 47 go into 117.  Now, it’s about how is the best way to divide up 47 pizzas among 117 homeless people, when one has a gluten allergy and six of them are vegetarians.  More on Mathematics in the next chapter.

Common Core According to Connie – Part 8

Last time we touched on some of the new Mathematics standards being touted by the Common Core advocates.  While it’s true our students have been falling behind for years, Common Core does nothing to raise the standards.  In fact, all states will be judged by the same mediocre national benchmarks.
According to Ze’ev Wurman, an engineer and software expert who has acted in a math-advisory capacity, “There are organizations that have reasons to work for lower and less-demanding standards, specifically teachers unions and professional teacher organizations.”  He adds, “While they may not admit it, they have a vested interest in lowering the accountability bar for their members.  This will be done in the name of ‘critical thinking’ and ‘21st-century’ skills, and in faraway Washington, D.C., well beyond the reach of parents and most states and employers.”
Kentucky was the first state to replace their exams with tests based on Common Core and the percentage of students meeting math and reading goals dropped by one-third last year.  Utah and Alabama are avoiding the computer-based Common Core exams.
Indiana recently put temporary brakes on Common Core.  Heather Crossin, a concerned parent, reviewed her daughter’s math book and was incensed to discover it was weak and was adopted without any parental input.  “This is an unprecedented loss of local control and we were not going to stand for it,” she said.
Common Core isn’t gone from Indiana, but Gov. Mike Pence has signed a bill that will delay the adoption until new state reviews are conducted.  The legislature quickly approved the bill suspending the standards and Gov. Pence wants to put them on hold “so Hoosiers can thoroughly evaluate which standards will best serve the interests of our kids.”
Like many policies, Common Core is sold to the public as a cure-all, yet no one has the guts to isolate the disease.  It’s easier to join the ignorant and uninformed than to be educated.   Common Core is passive indoctrination as opposed to an active education process.  A truly educated man is a liberated man, and that concept is contrary to Common Core principles.

Common Core According to Connie – Part 9

You may recall from the Common Core Mission Statement (see Part 1) the creators talked about making American students fully prepared for the future so they will be “best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.”  That, of course, implies pitting us against other nations, or so you would think.

According to Dr. James Milgram, a Common Core Validation Committee Board member, “They (the standards) are actually two or more years behind international expectations by eighth grade, and only fall further behind as they talk about grades eight through twelve.”  It seems any professional math community input was totally ignored when it came to completing the standards, and in some cases, serious errors occurred.  For these reasons, Dr. Milgram did not sign off on them.

Some members of the Validation Committee argued any errors and misunderstandings would be corrected later, but there doesn’t appear to be any evidence revisions are being made. Our children will not only be lagging behind, with time they will be lagging further and further behind.

Some countries start Algebra in seventh grade and Geometry in eighth or ninth grade.  By high school the students are familiar with standard Geometry and some material in an Algebra II course.  Then they finish Calculus before graduation from the high school equivalent.  This, of course, is not what our Common Core Standards propose.  In fact, the content of the Common Core for Algebra II and Geometry is weaker than the previous standards in Massachusetts and California.

Calling Common Core part of the “Race to the Top” program is a true oxymoron.  It’s more like “Race to the Middle.”  Next time we’ll look at what Common Core has planned for English and Literature.

Common Core According to Connie – Part 10

The story goes President Lyndon Johnson told Vice President Hubert Humphrey, “Don’t ever argue with me.  I’ll go a 100 million or one billion on health or education.  I don’t argue about that anymore than I argue about Lady Bird buying flour.  I’ll spend the goddamned money.  I may cut back on some tanks.”
Somehow knowing our tax dollars have been wasted over decades for unconstitutional expenditures does not warm my heart.  Neither does taking away our freedom of choice when it comes to what’s best for our children’s education.
Before Obama we had the Bushes, we had the Clintons (Bill and Hillary,) we had Nixon, and we had Carter creating the worthless and costly Department of Education.  Even President Reagan, with all his conservative values, signed the “Improving America’s Schools Act.”  Everyone has had a hand in throwing money down an empty well, and Johnny still can’t read.
So, it’s Common Core to the rescue!  These Standards come along ready to solve all our literary problems, proposing half of reading materials in elementary schools and 75 percent in high schools should be nonfiction.  This would include literary nonfiction as well as informational texts.  Apparently, narrative fiction will also become less prevalent. (RIP Mark Twain.)
The whole idea is that people won’t be reading fiction after they graduate from high school, so why should they study it?  They obviously need more experience reading and interpreting informational writings as opposed to those of creative geniuses whose stories entertain millions of people and even help shape lives.  Next week we will look deeper into some of these literary choices.

Common Core According to Connie – Part 11
A fifth grade class in New York was recently taught the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights is the go-to document to learn about freedom.  The U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence were completely ignored.  The U.N. document has all the buzz words for universal health care and government funding for a socialistic society.  Such “literature” is the basis of the Common Core Standards.
The Standards stress “informational” nonfiction over literature, especially in the higher grades.  By high school, less than 25 percent of English classes will be based on fictional works.  The whole idea behind this stems from a desire to help students better prepare for post-college employment by being able to read instructional manuals, etc.

The emphasis in literature will not be knowledge, but the acquisition of certain “skills” – skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening.  Of course, to help our students better prepare for the real world, many nonfiction texts have been supplied by various U.S. government agencies.  Stimulating examples of these include:

Bush’s Executive Order 13423:  Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management; and
“FedViews,” by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, explaining that the federal stimulus helped to stabilize the economy and how there’s no link between deficit spending and inflation.

Since knowledge and academic achievement are no longer the priorities with Common Core, we can expect a tremendous gap between the public school graduates and those from the wealthy, private schools with literature-rich curricula.  This is, of course, a perfect mechanism by which to create an escape-proof class system.

Common Core According to Connie – Part 12

As mentioned last week, the emphasis in the new standards for teaching literature will be informational, nonfiction works in an effort to enhance students’ interpretive, reasoning skills.  This supposedly will help them succeed in college and adapt in the new global economy as proposed by the United Nations.
Common Core wants the student to be able to enjoy complex works of literature, but there is a goal to reach far beyond simple enjoyment.  They desire a more critical approach to the interpretation of even the simplest of time-honored stories, plays and poems.  It almost reminds me of that little book published years ago writing more politically correct versions of fairy tales.
It’s not just a matter of learning to enjoy and question literature. It goes much farther than that.  According to the Standards themselves, they want to build knowledge, enlarge experience and broaden world views.  The Standards “demonstrate the cogent reasoning and use of evidence that is essential to both private deliberation and responsible citizenship in a democratic republic.”
Up to Grade 4 approximately 50 percent of literature will be from the “informational” category, and by Grade 8 that will have increased to 55 percent.  When the students have reached Grade 12, only 30 percent or less of the reading materials will be fictional.
Examples of these informational texts include:
An expedition to the Cloud Forest of New Guinea
What the World Eats
National Geographic’s “Wind Power”
If the World Were a Village: A Book about the World’s People
The Evolution of the Grocery Bag
The Kid’s Guide to Money: Earning It, Saving It, Spending It, Growing It, Sharing It

Students will also be exposed to other forms of media – video, internet, etc. – so they will familiarize themselves with all sources available to conduct research in order to answer questions or solve problems.  Next time we will look at some of the “historical” texts the Common Core Standards have selected.

Common Core According to Connie – Part 13

Benjamin Franklin said, “Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.”  The new Common Core Standards are not so much focused on preparing our children for living in a totally free society as much as preparing them for a totalitarian society.  The crafters claim they want to ready our students for college, for workforce training and “life in a technological society.”  They want young people to gather, comprehend, evaluate and report on information and ideas in order to conduct research and solve problems.  That all sounds well and good, but we need to take a close look at what information they will be exposed to and what problems they’ll be expected to solve.
For one thing, Common Core promotes diversity, not equality among peoples.  The concept encourages separation of cultures instead of teaching the American way of life.  According to Common Core, the students will “actively seek to understand other perspectives and cultures through reading and listening,” and they will “communicate effectively with people of varied backgrounds.”  The program enables them to be exposed to other cultures and other worldviews so they can have experiences much different from their own.  Mind you, this begins in the early years.
Some of this can be seen in a sample from the Common Core list of informational materials to be used for History and Social Studies:
Before Columbus: The Americas of 1491.
Martin Luther King and the March on Washington
Lincoln, Abraham. “Gettysburg Address.” (1863)
Roosevelt, Franklin Delano. “State of the Union Address.” (1941)
Black, Blue and Gray: African Americans in the Civil War
The Bill of Rights (Amendments One through Ten of the United States Constitution)
“What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?

Next week we’ll look at some of the actual goals for the History and Social Studies Common Core Standards.

Common Core According to Connie – Part 14

We know the Common Core Standards start out with about 50 percent nonfictional literature in the early grades and eventually work up to 75 percent informational or nonfiction text by the time students graduate high school.  It’s not just a matter of losing the lessons about humanity and missing the shear enjoyment derived from being introduced to many of the classical works that worry me, it is the emphasis being placed on the imbalance that’s of major concern.

It’s my opinion that while the Standards mention a desire to teach comprehension, evaluation and problem solving, what they are really striving for is preparation for a world filled with fear and intimidation.  The students are taught to question everything.  This begins as early as the third grade.

In grade school the students are encouraged to come up with their own ideas and compare them to the author’s.  I have no problem with that.  But, as they get older, the students are taught to examine the veracity of an author’s claims text and become “more sensitive to inconsistencies, ambiguities, and poor reasoning.”  This is contrary to the principles we learned growing up and, also, those of Thomas Jefferson, who wrote in 1771 in a personal letter to a friend:
“We never reflect whether the story we read be truth or fiction. If the painting be lively, and a tolerable picture of nature, we are thrown into a reverie, from which if we awaken it is the fault of the writer. I appeal to every reader of feeling and sentiment whether the fictitious murder of Duncan by Macbeth in Shakespeare does not excite in him as great a horror of villainy as the real one of Henry IV by Ravaillac as related by Davila? And whether the fidelity of Nelson and generosity of Blandford in Marmontel do not dilate his breast and elevate his sentiments as much as any similar incident which real history can furnish? Does he not, in fact, feel himself a better man while reading them, and privately covenant to copy the fair example?”
Now the whole idea is to “facilitate a comprehensive, schoolwide (sic) literacy program.”  Even though literacy is emphasized, the Standards recognize each grade will have students who are still learning the English language.  Common Core supposedly will be able to teach reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills “without displaying native-like control of conventions and vocabulary.”  I interpret this to mean these students will not be encouraged to assimilate into the American culture by becoming fluent in English.  Next week we’ll look at how this may be affected by the newly proposed immigration bill.

Common Core According to Connie – Part 15

Last week I mentioned we were going to address how the new proposed immigration legislation might affect the Common Core Standards and vice versa.  We know the standards take into account the fact many students, especially in places along the border of Mexico and in states with Cuban immigrants, may still be learning English, the language of this country.  It’s not clear just how the standards will accommodate these students, but I believe Common Core’s priority is not to encourage assimilation into our culture, but to promote diversity.  Doing so will not resurrect our failed American education system.
Let’s look at California, for example.  The adult illiteracy rate in California (people over 15 years of age) is 23 percent and in Mexico it’s only 14 percent.  That’s because these illiterate people have left Mexico and moved to California, Arizona, etc.  The worst area is Imperial County with an illiteracy rate of 42 percent.  According to International Security Expert, Alex Alexiev – if California were a country, it would be number 151 out of 205 countries in the world when it comes to literacy.
The fact is we allow entry to the lowest educated of what Mexico has to offer and we make no effort to improve their literacy levels.  Those who are illiterate in Spanish will not become literate in English.
The new immigration bill, SB 744 is population transfer, not true immigration.  It will do nothing to benefit our society from an educational standpoint.  It will only lower our educational standard.  The new “immigrants” will feel no need to assimilate into the American society and because there will be so many of them and no one will want to offend their delicate cultural sensitivities, the illiteracy rate will rise.
In 1990 President Bush had a goal that all American adults would be literate by the year 2000.  According to the National Adult Literacy Survey, programs that serve adult learners cannot be expected to solve the literacy problem alone, and neither can the schools.  The Survey suggests other institutions, ranging from the family to – get this – the largest and most complex government agency… “have a role to play in ensuring that adults who need or wish to improve their literacy skills have the opportunity to do so.”
Does that mean for our children we need the Common Core Standards and for the adults we need the IRS?

Common Core According to Connie – Part 16

Many agree the powers behind the Common Core Standards are bent on dumbing down our children, but we’ve seen this happening for some time.  Parents now have to shell out three digits for Hooked on Phonics programs to provide what used to be routine academic exercises in the classrooms.

Students no longer study the Declaration of Independence or the events leading to World War II.  They are, however, exposed to the history of slavery and the Holocaust.  There are instructions about the immorality of these incidents, but none on the political history of Nazi Germany or Blacks in America.

We need to understand the big picture here.  Common Core has been cleverly structured to keep people in their place.  The system promotes mediocrity, not creativity.  It lowers the bar to a point where it almost penalizes those who dare to challenge it.  Common Core will breed a nation of barely literate, unmotivated “worker bees” with a socialist attitude.  They will do what they’re told because that’s all they will know.  They will never be taught to think for themselves.

All this is designed to help our nation fit into the “global economy.”  But it goes further than that.  You may recall the comment made by Melissa Harris Perry, the political author.  She said that we have to break away from our idea “that kids belong to their parents, or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.”  Ms. Perry believes children are everybody’s responsibility.  So, what does this have to do with Common Core?

Arne Duncan, the U.S. Secretary of Education, apparently feels the same way.  In an interview, he said, “This is a battle for more than education.  This is a battle for social justice.”  While he wasn’t speaking specifically about Common Core, he was taking education to the extreme.  “Our children have to be fed,” he said, “They have to be safe.  They have to be able to see the blackboard.”  Duncan, like Ms. Perry, believes it’s up to the community to provide everything for our children.

Duncan’s whole point is schools should be open until nine o’clock at night and provide all services including food, shelter, and healthcare.  This should be available seven days a week.  According to Duncan, “When school becomes the center of community life, great things are going to happen to (the) families.  Time matters tremendously and all of our families need our stores open longer hours.”

It is my opinion Common Core represents a camel’s nose in the tent, and this camel makes Godzilla look like a desert rat.  The “Collectivist Core” Standards has a goal to restructure our society from the ground up.

Common Core According to Connie – Part 17

Two issues affecting the education of our youth made news recently.  While the words “Common Core” are not directly associated with them, they are present in spirit.  The first event drives home the principle we no longer live in an “all men are created equal” society.

Previously I’ve mentioned the Common Core Standards are focused on promoting diversity.  According to The Wall Street Journal, Alabama has a new academic accountability system that sets different goals for students in math and reading based on their race and ability to speak English, among other things.  Specifically, “minority students” will be expected to meet lower standards compared to white and Asian students.

Apparently, these schools got away with this under the No Child Left Behind Act by applying for waivers.  Educators were allowed to keep the federal funding with different achievement goals for different groups of students “as long as the low-performing students (were) required to make greater rates of progress, so that the gap between struggling students and high-achieving students (was) cut in half over six years.”  There are two ways to close that gap – put more effort into the struggling students or less effort into the high-achievers.

The second issue hits closer to home.  While we are fighting the funding of Common Core in Arizona, it is being funded behind our backs.  You may recall the radical racist pro-Mexican, anti-white scholastic agenda in the Tucson schools that was stopped in its tracks before it was allowed to spread like a plague throughout the state.

The same Tucson Unified School District reportedly accepted a $465,000 grant from an organization with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. This grant money will be used to develop Arabic studies programs at two local magnet schools and provide students with college-level classes to prepare them to play a role in the “global society.”  Hello, Common Core.

Fox News commentator Shannon Bream moderated a debate between radio show hosts Chris Plante and Leslie Marshall.  Plante pointed out we’ve accepted money from the Chinese and we’re teaching that language in public schools now.  A fear of promoting the wrong agenda is Plante’s main concern since, as he explains, “Radical Islam pretty much peddles the same message everywhere they go.”  Marshall, on the other hand, doesn’t believe it’s “radical” to accept money for education.  In fact, she says, “We need more Arabic speakers and understanding of Arabic studies and Arabic culture, the Muslim world, and Arabic nations.”  With her, it’s simple – “Knowledge is power.”

Can Ms. Marshall really be that naïve?  To succeed in this country we now need to know Arabic?  But it will only be the white and Asian students learning Arabic and Chinese.  The self-proclaimed minority races will, after all, be labeled too inferior to be required to meet such high standards.  Racial profiling will guarantee they will fail at English as well.  Where are all the liberal protestors when you need them?

Common Core According to Connie – Part 18

A seasoned teacher in California recently told me he thought the idea of the Common Core Standards was good because students could transfer from one state to another and teachers would know the levels of achievement.  There would be no more guessing and no need to perform placement testing.  Unfortunately, this teacher’s introduction has been limited to how convenient the standards will be without giving him any meaningful information.

Among the great informed, the opposition to Common Core is growing, and support for this ineffective concept is losing ground.  Neal McCluskey of the Cato Center for Educational Freedom compares Common Core’s scrutiny to a basketball team with a comfortable lead.  He claims it’s as if the supporters were caught off guard because they believed that implementation was a certainty, and that’s after the states were threatened with the loss of federal funds if they didn’t adopt the standards.

McCluskey points out that as opposition grows, the supporters begin to smear the critics.  “It seems like the first thing (they) say… is that people who are against Common Core are nutty, they’re on some political fringe,” he says.  Why would they look at anyone who questions their intentions as being anything but concerned for the well-being of our children’s education?  The answer is simple.

Those of us who object to Common Core know how this whole mess will turn out.  The federal government, through a national school board, will take control away from the state and local levels.  We see the writing on the blackboard and so does U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander.

According to Alexander, a “congestion of mandates” has imposed federal standards for what children must know, has coerced some states into adopting Common Core standards, and has imposed federal definitions of how states should measure school, teacher, and principal performances.  We should be asking where the feds are getting their information on how to conduct these measurements.

The answer is – (drum roll, please) – international benchmarking.  There is a scary ideology behind this process, and I will give you a hint.  One line of a document describing it reads “We are living in a world without borders.”  (Sniff, sniff)  Does anyone besides me smell Agenda 21?  More on this next week.

Common Core According to Connie – Part 19

In our last discussion we entertained the concept of “international benchmarking,” an idea the creators of the Common Core State Standards want to use as an excuse to justify their attempt to force our students into a more socialistic, collectivist form of thinking.  We need to examine the basis for this method which may sound out of place in this setting.

First of all, benchmarking is not a new idea.  It’s simply measuring or comparing, in this case, our scholastic programs to others to see if ours are meeting the same high performance levels, and then using the information for improvement, if necessary.  The question is, of course, to what other programs are we supposed to compare the US education system?  This was aided by a company called Achieve Inc., an organization that helped the National Governors Association create the Common Core Standards because they needed this critical benchmarking tool for – you guessed it – moving forward.  But, what’s moving forward here – our students’ success or the collectivist cause?

We need to accept the idea that Common Core and this whole benchmarking business throw traditional education, customary practices, past reputations (no matter how good,) into the shredder as if they never existed.  It’s a whole new ballgame.  The only ones who will come out ahead will be those states who quickly adapt to the standards, refrain from complaining, stay open to change, and turn a blind eye while the slide is greased for their students to slip into oblivion.

How did the Common Core State Standards sneak onto the desks of these education giants if all of this “international” benchmarking and “global” economy awareness is real?  The handwriting was on the wall and there had to have been a conscious effort to ignore it.  Sound familiar?

If these international benchmarks ever existed, the Common Core Validation Committee was never given the opportunity to see them before being asked to sign off on the standards.  We should also consider whether or not anyone in the Arizona Department of Education was ever given a chance to see these international benchmarks.

In a testimony before the Texas Legislature, Dr. Sandra Stotsky reported the English Language Arts Standards are not internationally benchmarked.  She was a Validation Committee Member and explained that states adopting Common Core will actually damage academic integrity because the standards don’t strengthen the high school curriculum and they won’t reduce remedial coursework.

Another Validation Committee Member, Dr. James Milgram, testified to Indiana’s State Education Committee on the Math Standards, and the subject of benchmarking came up.  It’s his opinion that to pretend Common Core has used international benchmarking for its math standards is “meaningless” because they are clearly two or more years behind international expectations.  They actually fall further behind as they get into high school.

Milgram explained the Validation Committee was encouraged to ignore these “errors and misunderstandings” because it was felt they would be cleared up in later versions, but he didn’t buy into any of it.  He is not seeing any movement at all towards any revisions and neither are we.

It’s not to the advantage of our soon-to-be socialist society to raise a crop of highly intelligent free thinkers.  Keeping our youth below an international standard, especially with the new rules demanding less of Hispanic and black students, will ensure a population of citizens easily influenced and conquered with little difficulty.

At the present time, what I see moving forward is the destruction of the Common Core State Standards.  Next week, we’ll look at what some of our elected officials are doing to support those efforts.

Common Core According to Connie – Part 20

People around the nation, especially Tea Party folk, are mobilizing against the Common Core State Standards.  The powers that be are very quick to remind us they are, in fact, State Standards, and the federal government is not really imposing them upon our children.  Well, just where does the funding come from?  And just who is going to come up with the standards the teachers and schools have to meet to qualify?  And why does the Department of Education care whether or not Common Core is adopted?

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, once a big supporter of school choice, is now pushing Common Core.  What made him go to the dark side?  As a smart man once said – when something doesn’t smell right, follow the money trail.

We know the Gates Foundation was behind major funding of the Common Core initiative in the beginning and, as it turns out, Bush’s foundation for Educational Excellence has also been a beneficiary of Gates money.  Now Bush has a clear conscience travelling the country expounding the wonders of what has been called a backdoor intrusion to our education system.  So, what’s happening in the Grand Canyon State?

Despite being under relentless attack by the Tea Party, Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal has fallen down that Common Core well.  The Standards are being implemented this year, but our current high school sophomores will be required to pass the old AIMS test, the same exam 38 percent of Arizona students are failing.  New students will be held to the Common Core Standards.  Huppenthal claims that these new Standards are much higher and harder to pass, but:

“The Common Core Standards are much better than the AIMS standards.  We aren’t going back.  The Common Core Standards will work.  They will have a small positive effect on academic achievement.”

This “small positive effect” is supposed to improve and Huppenthal looks to California and Massachusetts as examples, saying those states had significant academic growth after putting Common Core in place. If that’s the case, let’s have a closer look, shall we?
The Common Core Standards won’t be implemented until 2014 in California and both liberals and conservatives are already having buyer’s remorse.  As one kindergarten teacher remarked, “Almost all of the kindergarten and first grade teachers I work with are very angry about this expectation because we’re still trying to get the kids to be able to read.”  In the Santa Ana Unified School District the new curriculum was put in place last year and even 7th grade students had misgivings when subjected to writings referring to Jews as “poisonous people” and reading speeches by Adolph Hitler.
Last year in the state of New York 55 percent of the students were proficient in English and this year, under the new Common Core Standards, less than a third made a passing grade.  A similar result was seen for the new math results compared to last year’s 65 percent proficiency.  In New York City, the nation’s largest school system, they saw a drop of 47 percent in English and 60 percent in math from last year.  Similarly poor scores were seen in the Kentucky school system under Common Core.
Massachusetts is a different story.  Since a landmark educational reform in 1993, its state SAT scores rose for 13 consecutive years and in 2005, it was the best in the nation for all grades and categories on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.  The students continued to maintain that status.  They must have done something right.
In 2010 Massachusetts joined other states in adopting Common Core.  We must ask at this point – since they were messing with something that wasn’t broken, where was the money trail?  We’d probably find it stops in Washington.
As authors Jamie Gass and Charles Chieppo point out, this type of softening of the academic standards was attempted before, and it failed.  Connecticut at one time chose a curriculum supporting cultural competence and global awareness.  Over a period of seven years, the student reading scores plummeted.
Mr. Huppenthal talks about “college and career-ready standards.”  During an interview with AZ Central, he says that the Tea Party needs to “up its game” because we are showing “a complete lack of sophistication” when it comes to discussing Common Core.  Well, Mr. Huppenthal, I don’t know how you define “sophistication,” but I would assume it involves checking the facts, or maybe they no longer teach that with Common Core.

Common Core According to Connie – Part 21

Now that the dreaded monster has invaded our schools, it’s time to take up arms and not only suppress the beast, but run it out of Dodge and put it on the next boat for China or some other Communist country where it will feel more at home.  It’s as un-American as the Affordable Care Act.

This will be the last in my series on Common Core.  I’ve decided to end it on the subject of data mining.  The federal government, while maintaining no direct involvement with Common Core, does have a fetish for sticking its nose in our private affairs, and what better time to start than with the young’uns?  Those sinecures in Washington love that smell of zit cream in the morning.

Angela Bean, an activist in Georgia, has spoken out against Common Core and the longitudinal data mining designed to collect up to 400 data points on each child, points which can include personally identifiable information.  The Georgia State Board of Education proved her claim false because their Common Core Standards rolled out in 2012 and only collect data in 10 categories, and the new Standards do not add any additional data reporting.  So there.

Of course, nearsighted Georgia missed the whole point.  Fortunately, Oklahoma didn’t.  That state unanimously passed House Bill 1989 – the Student Data Accessibility, Transparency and Accountability Act – to prohibit the release of student data without the written consent of a student’s parent or guardian.  Actually, Georgia, along with eight other states have reportedly entered into contracts with inBloom, Inc., a company committed to operating invasive databases compiling everything from healthcare histories to homework completion and religious affiliations.  There is big money to be made exploiting our youth, and Ms. Bean’s suspicions may come to fruition.

For those of us chomping at the bit to blame Obama directly for something, here’s our chance.  The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 included “State Fiscal Stabilization Funds” for the construction of “longitudinal data systems to collect data on public school students.”  This is not just punch-card information.  As technology became more sophisticated, so did the desire for data.

At this time the idea of tracking students’ facial expressions via their computers and using sensors in their seats is no longer science fiction.  A “pressure mouse” and wristband that will collect physiologic data will all be made available for our students.  And this comes straight from the top – the Department of Education.  The song “Every Breath You Take” is beginning to take on a whole different meaning.

So, what’s the connection with the Common Core Standards?  It just so happens this inBloom company is funded with money from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Now this company stands to cash in on the collection and disbursement of the student data collected.

Last year the National Center for Education dangled carrots in front of 24 states and territories for grants to begin data mining of personally identifiable information including sensitive stuff such as: history of mental problems with the student or the student’s family; the student’s sex behavior or attitudes; political affiliations of the student or parents; history of illegal, anti-social, or demeaning behavior; legally recognized privileged relationships, such as those of lawyers, doctors, ministers; religious practices of the student or parents; or income (other than that required by law to determine eligibility for participation in a program.)

Even though most questioning of this nature requires written parental consent, academic exams can legally be used to extract this information from students without any consent from the parents.  What a perfect opportunity for Common Core to enter the picture again.  This also gives the Department of Education chance to utilize the physiologic gadgets while the students answer those personal questions.

I can picture a monitored student whose Galvanic Skin Response increases when he answers the question about his sexual preference.  What will they do to him?  Yank him out of class and force him to join the local LGBT group?  Publicly announce his “confusion” so he can get the help he needs to face his homosexuality?  Perhaps he was too embarrassed to answer the question.

There is no guarantee the data is secure, and even the inBloom company admits this.  Besides, there are loopholes in their policies which will allow for the sale and distribution of the student data.  This is no surprise since the United Nations has been after countries to track children under the guise of protecting their human rights, and the distorted thinking has been adopted full “core” by our Department of Education.  They are telling us it’s part of improving the education and career potential of our youth, but what they’re actually saying is, “We’re going to monitor the reactions of the students to the propaganda we’ll be feeding them.”

The Common Core Standards are coming at us from all angles.  It’s clear there were many fingers creating this pie chart, and the master plan was well-orchestrated.  There is a systematic scheme in place to destroy our youth by avoiding history, science, the constitutional foundation of this nation, arithmetic, literature, and the arts.  Instead, students will be exposed to exercises in critical thinking, problem solving, global awareness, contemporary culture, and self-expression.  With that in mind, my critical, global solution to the problem of Common Core is contemporary and simple.
Hasta la vista, Baby!