Archives for category: Common Core

Stephanie Simon writes in that Arne Duncan is not really in favor of Common Core. Common what? Common who? Never heard of it. Ah, how soon politicians forget what they said last week, last month, last year. And they expect us to forget too.

She writes:

“COMMON CORE LOSES ITS BIGGEST CHEERLEADER: It was less than a year ago that Education Secretary Arne Duncan delivered a no-holds-barred defense of the Common Core in a speech to newspaper editors. He cited example after example of the benefits of common standards: Teachers in different states could use the same lesson plans; children of military personnel could move across country “without a hitch” in their schooling; and, first and foremost, “a child in Mississippi will face the same expectations as a child in Massachusetts.” In short: “I believe the Common Core State Standards may prove to be the single greatest thing to happen to public education in America since Brown v. Board of Education,” Duncan said.
– That was then. This was Tuesday: “Just to be very clear with this group,” Duncan told the House Appropriations Committee, “I’m just a big proponent of high standards. Whether they’re common or not is sort of secondary.”
– Duncan immediately added that his stance was “not news.” And his spokeswoman, Dorie Nolt, later pulled up audio from a press breakfast in January where Duncan was asked about whether the term “Common Core” was politically radioactive. “We’re not interested in the term,” he responded then. “We’re interested in high standards. There are a couple ways to come at it.” Indeed, the administration has never required states to adopt the Common Core; it just offered financial and policy incentives to adopt higher standards – and embracing the Common Core happened to be by far the quickest and easiest way to hit that bar.”

So what gives?

Here are some possibilities:

1. The Common Core standards have become so controversial that Duncan wants to pretend he had nothing to do with them.

2. Duncan has been warned by his advisors that his support and Obama’s is actually dragging down the poll numbers for the Common Core so the best way to help them is to back off.

3. Someone is planning to sue the U.S. Department of Education for illegally interfering in curriculum and instruction by supporting the Common Core, so Duncan must pretend he had nothing to do with their swift adoption by 45 states. His lure of $4.3 billion was just a coincidence.

4. Duncan realized that his cheerleading contradicted his insistence that the Common Core was “state-led.”

Can you think of another reason that Duncan forgot that only a year ago he said the Common Core was the most important development since the Brown decision?

Anthony Cody connects the dots. Bill Gates has invested more than $2 billion in promoting Common Core because he sees the need for a standard curriculum. When speaking to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Gates explained that the standard electrical plug in all 50 states facilitated innovation.

Cody shows how the Common Core makes possible a standard platform for all kinds of devices. These devices essentially take over the role of the classroom teacher. Gates might at long last achieve his dream of larger class size, fewer teachers, great cost savings. Other vendors are ready with their product line, ready to plug into the standard curriculum that has long eluded suppliers of educational materials.

Cody believes that the best motivation for learning does not from a device but from human interaction.

He writes:

“It is understandable why people who have made their fortunes on the transformation of commerce and industry through the almighty combination of computers, software, data and the internet would project a similar revolution in our schools. However, there is a fundamental difference between commerce and the classroom. Our students learn in a social environment in which human relationships remain central. A model which makes a device central to the learning process is flawed.

“These devices have some value as tools. I am not suggesting they be abandoned. I am suggesting that they are being greatly oversold, and the imperative to standardize our classrooms so they become uniform “sockets” that will allow these devices to readily plug in is misguided. We stand to lose far more from this stultifying standardization than these devices can ever provide.”

You know Common Core is in deep trouble when Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst creates a group to rally round the cause of high expectations. Somehow this new organization pretends to be antagonists to the union but the teachers’ unions have been generally supportive of Common Core. The criticism of the state’s rushed rollout has been nearly universal. Exactly what the demonstrators are supporting is unclear, unless the point is to defend the startlingly high failure rates generated by the state tests. Only 3% of English learners passed. Only 5% of students with disabilities passed. Less than 20% of black and Hispanic students passed. Maybe what StudentsFirst would like best is a test that no one passed. Now, that’s high expectations!

Here is a chance to send readers to two very important blogs.

Jonathan Pelto reprints Susan Ohanian’s post comparing the Common Core to a $5 billion fully automated warship.

Ohanian sees the writing on the wall. She fears that the full package, once deployed, will strip teachers of any autonomy or professionalism.

She notes the many professional organizations, including the unions, that have taken money to be aboard the train that has allegedly left the station. Susan, Jon, and many other outspoken bloggers and educators are proof that the train is sitting in the station.

Bottom line: when you get on a train, make sure it is headed where you want to go.

A teacher in Syracuse writes, in response to comments by another teacher:

Teaching has lost its joy and spontaneity. It has become “all work and no play, which makes Johnny a very dull boy.” (that goes for teachers too)!

At least one third of the teachers in my elementary school are now looking for work outside the profession. My kinder class is doing literacy curriculum with imaginative play completely phased out and only 20 minute recess daily. It is a stressful, rigid, boring environment that causes children and teachers to lose their spirit.

There is very little opportunity for social interaction between the children, since most of their CCSS worksheets are designed for independent work. There is no opportunity for relaxed conversation or spontaneity in our classroom, since our rigid schedule is demanding and inflexible. I don’t really have an opportunity to get to know my students on a personal level, since we are expected to maintain our detached business like atmosphere. We do have one art/music/pe class weekly, but when those go away it will be very depressing. The atmosphere of our school has become gelotophobic.

As a teacher, I feel restricted and controlled in everything I do. I have no freedom to use my own creativity in designing lesson plans, which causes me to think I could easily be replaced by a computer. Maybe that is the goal of CCSS and the reformers?

Your choice of the word “eerie” is true: ” It’s eerie to see CCSS stamped on all current material and resources. Education has been branded like cattle.”

That is a good description because the hostile corporate takeover is turning schools into systems of management like those used for livestock! It is all about “conditioning” children to “perform for tests”, like little workaholics who can follow commands, but cannot think for themselves or be creative. Work and boredom has become normal.

I think it is “eerie” to see children who have blank stares and work in silence most of the day without spontaneity, imagination, or play. I think the reason Pearson designed CCSS materials to be confusing and frustrating is part of the plan to dismantle public schools. The more parents recognize their children are having anxiety and depression, the more they will be inclined to put them into private or charter schools.

I don’t often agree with the libertarian CATO Institute, as I am not a libertarian. I appreciate the necessity of a vigorous federal government that provides a safety net and protects the neediest. However, I don’t appreciate the federal government doing what is clearly illegal, that is, controlling, directing, and supervising curriculum and instruction via the Common Core standards. Although its supporters, including President Obma nd Secretary Duncan, repeat that its development was “state-led,” that was a deception. Bill gates funded them because the Feds were barred from doing so, but the Feds funded the tests that will control curriculum and instruction. There has been no louder cheerleader than Duncan.

Now we learn from CATO that the Obama administration wants to make CCSS a permanent part of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act. It says,

“President Obama proposes changing Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act – of which NCLB is just the most recent reauthorization – to a program called “College- and Career-Ready Students,” with an annual appropriation of over $14 billion.”

Title 1 is the key part of the original 1965 ESEA. It was intended to distribute federal aid to schools that enroll poor kids, no conditions attached. The funding is based on a formula tied to need, not a competition. Using it to cement CCSS into every school would be a travesty and a misuse of federal power.

Hopefully, there are alert members of Congress watching who will block this move. It will hurt poor kids by tying their eligibility for aid to a program of standards and standardized testing that consistently labels them as low-performing. They need equitable resources more than they need the untested CCSS.

Deborah Meier brought to my attention this series of workbooks that contain 180 days of Common Core worksheets in math and English. What a relief for anxious teachers! No more worrying about what to do. Here are the daily activities you need. No more planning or thinking. A standard a day keeps the evaluator away! Not only problems, but answers too!

From: “Emily Self, Great Educators”
Subject: 180 Days of Common Core Worksheets: Math and ELA Available
Date: February 2, 2014 9:50:09 AM EST
Reply-To: “Emily Self, Great Educators”

Common Core State Standards:
Language Arts and Math Bellringers
Second Editions released for school year 2013-2014
- Are you stressed about the common core standards?
- Do you want to expose your students to the common cores now or wait until the last minute?
CCSS: Bellringers – Includes 180 days of worksheets!
We’ve released the second edition of our CCSS Math and ELA Bellringer sets. These new editions include at least 180 days of worksheets – enough for every single day of the school year!

Kindergarten through High School Available Now

Expose your students to every language arts or math common core standard for their grade. These bellringers are short 5-minute quizzes/lessons that will walk your students through each standard.

Bulk Order Discount: Order three or more sets and get 10% off!

The Math bellringers focus on one standard a day and include examples (with the correct answer) to help your students understand the type of question tested under that standard. The bellringers also include 2-3 additional questions for your students to work through on their own.

The language arts bellringers include 3 sections: Reading (literature, informational text, and foundational skills), Writing, and Language.

The Writing and Language bellringers focus on one standard a day and include an example (with the correct answer) to help your students understand the type of question tested under that standard. The bellringers also include 2-3 additional questions for your students to work through on their own.

The Reading bellringers include (per week) a story followed by 3-4 days’ worth of questions. The reading section includes reading: literature and reading: informational text.

Get more information here>>
To order with a PO, click here>>
$100 per grade for Math a nd $100 per grade for ELA; includes access to two PDF files per set (one is the teacher book and other is the student book) and full rights to print, copy, and/or project as needed in your classroom.

It isn’t too early to start working with the common cores in your classroom and school for the upcoming transition. Our bellringers will allow you to expose your students to each and every standard for their grade – no research or searching for appropriate questions. Use these ready-made lessons to review the standards now!

With the common core standards just around the corner, many teachers are stressed and unsure about how the new standards will affect their classroom and curriculum. Don’t be stressed; Use these bellringers to prep your students!
Bellringer Information: Now includes 180 worksheets!
What’s Included? We have studied the common core standards and created bellringers to test each standard up to three times. Each day, your students will work through a bellringer by first examining a sample question and answer and then working through several problems on their own. We’ve included a place for the student to write notes or reminders about that type of question.

Sample of student edition language>>

Sample of student edition writing>>

Sample of student edition reading>>

Sample of student edition math>>

The teacher’s edition includes the actual common core standard of the day taken directly off the common core website – no guessing or researching required! Also, we’ve provided all correct answers to all questions in the teacher’s edition.

Sample of teacher edition language>>

Sample of teacher edition math>>

What do I get with my purchase? With each purchase, you will receive access to two PDF files – one is the teacher version and the other is the student version. You will have full rights to print, copy, and/or project as needed within your classroom. If you or your school would prefer printed copies , please respond to this email for an appropriate quote.
Great Educators
Mailing: PO Box 4187, Waynesville, MO 65583
Phone: 573-336-3372
Fax: 866-317-2749
Why Use Bellringers?
1. They expose your students to each and every standard.

We’ve represented each and every math and ELA standard in these bellringers. No holes – no missing information! Be assured that your students will be exposed to all standards across the board.

2. We’ve done the research for you.

Use your time on something else – we’ve put together a comprehensive resource that will assist your classroom’s transition to CCS.

3. They are 100% applicable to your grade level.

Do you know what’s changing for your grade in the upcoming transition? These bellringers only cover the standards for your grade level – take the guesswork out of the equation.

4. They are quick and won ‘t interfere with your normal lesson.

We designed these bellringers to take no more than 5-10 minutes each, so you will still have time for your normal lesson while exposing your students to the CCS.

5. You can feel confident that your students have been exposed to all of the common core standards before the transition!
To unsubscribe, please click the following link: Unsubscribe me from this list Please be aware you may receive a few more emails as it takes a few days to fully remove you from our list.
Great Educators, PO Box 4187, Waynesville, Missouri 65584 P: 573-336-3372

John Ogozalek teaches in upstate Néw York. He read Tom Friedman’s column in the Néw York Times on Sunday and had a strong reaction of cognitive dissonance, as in, why can’t Tom be consistent?

Tom Friedman’s describes a thrilling ride on a nuclear submarine, where there is no room for error. At one point, an admiral says, “There is no multiple-choice exam for running the sub’s nuclear reactor.” If you want to be certified to run any major system on this ship, he added, “everything is an oral and written exam to demonstrate competency.”

John hopes that Tom will remember that when he returns to land.

John writes:

So, Tom Friedman gets a free ride on the U.S.S. New Mexico under the Arctic ice, leading him to gush warmly in today’s Sunday Times. “My strongest impression… was experiencing something you see too little of these days on land: ‘excellence’”, he wrote.

What was so excellent? “‘There is no multiple-choice exam for running the sub’s reactor,’” according to an admiral Tom quotes with obvious admiration, noting that the commander added, “‘Everything is an oral and written exam to demonstrate competency.’”

Okay, Tom. So, mind-numbing, idiotic multiple-choice exams are okay on land, as long as you’re sitting high and dry in public school classrooms across our country. But somehow the laws of physics (not to mention basic common sense) function differently under water?

Is Tom Friedman a hypocrite or is he simply blind to the crappy, half-assed testing being inflicted on our students each day -thanks to the rush to implement the Core-porate curriculum?

Tom, here’s a REAL lesson for you about excellence. One of my former students has served bravely on an attack sub. He’s one of those smart, dedicated young sailors you admire. He stopped by my house not that long ago when he was home on leave. We were talking and, at one point, he dropped the phrase, “NUB”, as in, “That guy was a real nub”.

N.U.B. translates to “Non-useful body”, he told me. It refers to a person not pulling his or her weight on the sub. It’s a big insult, Tom. It’s the people who just use up good air.

You want to improve education? Start with getting the adult NUBs who are clogging our schools off our backs. Who am I talking about? Let’s start with the overpaid consultants who never really teach, useless state bureaucrats spewing their political doublespeak, corporate greed heads peddling nonsensical tests and those hedge fund managers who would last about ten minutes running a real classroom.

Next thing you know Tom Friedman and his cronies at the Times will be supporting efforts to put charter school students on nuclear submarines.

On the sub, “The sense of ownership and mutual accountability is palpable,” according to Tom.

Wouldn’t it be nice if he had the same goals for our children and their teachers back here in the United States.

-John Ogozalek

The new website where teachers and parents can comment on the new tests has registered 150,000 hits in the 2 or 3 days since it was launched, according to Susan Ochshorn of ECE Policy Matters.

A great place to hear from teachers.

Teachers and administrators have been posting their comments on the new Common Core tests at the new website testing

This was typical.

I copied this from the website just now and thought you might like to see this. Bravo to this principal. I wish I taught for him/her!

Disheartened and Disgusted

Author: Anonymous, Administrator, Principal

State: NY

Test: State test: Pearson

Date: April 3 at 4:38 pm ET

“As an administrator of a suburban public school, I have dedicated my life to educating young children… as a teacher, as a parent and as a school administrator. When asked, I will readily share that I believe my job to be exciting, invigorating and rewarding. I describe it as the best job a person can have. After all, I awake each morning eager to get to school because I have the privilege of spending many hours with students who bounce into school with a thirst for learning and a dedicated staff, who work tirelessly to provide the best education possible for their students. When the common core standards were first introduced, my staff and I did what we always do…we met, we conversed, we scrutinized the standards to gain an in-depth understanding, and then we organized our curriculum and collected materials so that we could work with our students to achieve the desired outcomes. As an experienced curriculum leader, I take my responsibility to students and teachers very seriously. Today, for the first time ever, I doubt my work and question what it is we are trying to teach children.

“Each day of the ELA testing, I sat down to read the assessments my students were taking. I was appalled at what they were asked to answer and exhausted from reading and rereading passages over and over again. If I as an adult struggled with the task, I can only imagine how my students suffered.

“Each day of the ELA testing, I have walked my building, peering into classrooms and observing my third, fourth and fifth graders attempting to complete what I have now termed a ludicrous ELA assessment. I became increasingly disheartened as I watched my young students, with anguished looks upon their faces, struggling to answer poorly worded and ambiguous questions based on text too difficult for them to comprehend. After twenty-nine years of administering standardized tests, I noted for the first time children handing in test booklets with many blank pages. Instead of children feeling exhilarated after completing the ELA because they knew they had successfully met the high expectations that have been set for them, the children were forlorn because they knew that they had failed to rise to the occasion. How could we have done this to young children????

“Throughout the day, I have engaged in informal conversations with my teachers questioning how going forward we will try and prepare our youngsters for this exam. The answer is unanimous… preparing for this exam is impossible and so going forward, we will continue to do what we do best, teach children to embrace the joy of reading and writing. We will teach to the common core standards so that we prepare children for real-life reading … reading for enjoyment, reading for key ideas and details, reading for craft and structure, and reading for the integration of knowledge and ideas.

“All of my life I have been a rule follower. Now, for the first time, I will become a staunch advocate for eliminating these assessments that have no validity and offer no legitimate data for improving students’ English Language Arts skills.”


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