COMMON CORE – What It Is & What It Isn’t

What is Common Core  and What it is not

Common Core is a complete transformation of Education in the United States led by the federal Department of Education and the corporate education business machine. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, financed the Common Core. Two private entities, the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, direct the initiative and actually own and have the copywrite on the Common Core.

Hat Tip to Utah Teacher Christel Swasey for the break down below of what Common Core is not….

It’s not “state-led. The authors of the copyrighted Common Core are private entities, not subject to open meetings, accountability to voters or other proof being state-led.  Conditions of the federal ESEA waiver and Race to the Top application show how federally-pushed the Common Core agenda was. Now Obama has announced a tax to pay for Common Core technology in a ConnectEd Initiative, and has announced that he will redesign U.S. high schools.

It’s not academically legitimate. There’s no evidence to back up claims that the standards increase college readiness as they are experimental.  The standards were written by D.C. groups who opined that classic literature should be curtailed to favor information texts. These groups felt that basic algorithms should be taught at delayed times. The unvetted ideas, unsupported by academic research, formed Common Core.

It’s not minimalistic.  Proponents call it a set of minimum standards. But a 15%  cap was placed over the copyrighted standards by the federal government, limiting Washington from adding much.  Worse, the Common Core tests, with teacher evaluations geared to them, act as the ultimate enforcement mechanism.

It’s not amendable.  The D.C.-based system defines and narrows learning yet has no amendment process.

It’s not protective of privacy. Along with asking us to adopt Common Core, the federal government pushed the State Longitudinal Database Systems (SLDS) which now exist in each state.  These give aggregate information to an Edfacts Data Exchange.  Although private information gathered by schools, found in an SLDS, is not required to be given to D.C.,  it is requested. Federal entities request that states share identifiable student information: see the Common Education Data Standards, the Data Quality Campaign, and the National Data Collection Model.

The Department of Education altered federal regulations in the Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA) reducing parental consent requirements and redefining “authorized representative,” “directory information” and “education agency” to obliterate privacy.

These pieces form a yet-unfinished puzzle that will destroy student privacy, but we are told the puzzle will not be put together.  Then why did Washington build an SLDS to federal specifications?

Parents should opt their children out of the SLDS tracking and the Common Core tests, and should find answers to important questions, such as:

  • Where is the legal authority for entities to set school standards and to monitor tests?
  • Where is a line-item, discussion of the cost of Common Core technologies, teacher trainings, and textbooks?
  • Why didn’t Common Core States follow the U.S. leader in education, Massachusetts, rather than adopting the mediocre Core?
  • How is Common Core state-led when boards who are not accountable to the public bypassed parents and 99% of all teachers and legislators, operating behind closed doors to develop and copyright the experiment?

In speaking on the dangers of the philosophy of education found in Common Core I have been intrigued by the passion behind those in Education who are pushing for Common Core. I believe that comes from a dynamic speaker and the voice behind Common Core.

Barack Obama, Sarah Brown Wessling, Arne DuncanHer name is Sarah Brown Wessling. 

Here is a little background on Wessling…….

Sarah Brown Wessling is a high school English teacher in Johnston, Iowa. She is the 2010 National Teacher of the Year and is the Teacher Laureate for Teaching Channel. She also hosts “Teaching Channel Presents” on public television stations around the country. 

Ms. Wessling is a wonderful speaker and makes ideas and common core come alive. She makes you feel so good about 21st Century Learning. The question is, is the Common Core philosophy a danger to your child’s education and well being. Wessling states…

“We need 21st century teachers, not just adults teaching in the 21st Century.”

“When we embrase this open model of learning the consumers of our curriculum will become the designers of their own learning experiences.”

Please take note of what she says in the video below at time stamp 4:28 about what you would see when you come into her classroom.

Texas Mom and classical educator Cathy Wells  takes a look at the Constructionist theory in education.

Child gpig“I wanted to elucidate once again for those who have missed it or are new, what the real problem with Common Core/CSCOPE is. This happens to also explain why, once CSCOPE lessons are gone, that we have to remain vigilant against programs such as icloud or anything else that is non-traditional or based on social constructivism. 

Here is a link to a good explanation of social/educational constructivism:

Essentially, social constructivism posits that the best way to learn something is to invent it or “discover” it yourself. I concede that this is certainly a very thorough way to learn something. I’ve had to do it myself in ranching many times. However, in terms of academics, it’s a really bad idea. You’re basically suggesting that kids spend their entire school day “discovering” information. The volume of information that you can cover in a day is sharply reduced. Which, according to Common Core standards is not only acceptable but the desired result. The idea is that this “deep” learning of concepts/principles will somehow transfer itself to other learning areas. 

The primary problem with this theory is that it does not work. Veteran teachers know this. Try factoring out an algebra problem without knowing your times tables by the dread ROTE that Common Core proponents despise. What typically frustrates advanced math teachers is the lack of fact memorization. 

Classically and traditionally, younger years were spent in rote memorization because that is the concrete learning phase of childhood in which young children excel at just tucking away bits of information in their heads. The alphabet song, tunes on the radio, languages, etc. are most easily picked up during this stage. When the child reached the middle years, they began putting those facts to greater use, applying logic and making synergistic connections. The high school years would be spent in mastery of subjects and learning to argue a point using all the facts and logic applied theretofore.

It appears that what modern education would like to do is completely skip the young “grammar” stage of learning, skip the memorization of any facts, and head straight to the logical thought period. If we lived in the Matrix and could have programs instantly loaded into our brains, that might work great (given our brains were born at the abstract level of maturity, which they are not). Since we live in the real world…sadly, this is not an effective methodology. 

Many modern educrats like to say that we traditionalists are against “thinking skills” or “critical thinking.” Absolutely false. We are for the proper ordering of such skills in the progression of educational life. We know that it actually CONFUSES children to flip-flop things around and DAMAGES their ability to have critical thinking. After all, what will they be thinking ABOUT if their heads are not full of facts but merely their own opinions and constructions?” 

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