Another Way To Interfere With The Profit Margins Of Businesses

What you are about to read is not the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard, but it is definitely close.

Yesterday The New York Post posted an article about a recent statement by Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

The article reports:

Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft and world’s richest man, said in an interview Friday that robots that steal human jobs should pay their fair share of taxes.

“Right now, the human worker who does, say, $50,000 worth of work in a factory, that income is taxed and you get income tax, Social Security tax, all those things,” he said. “If a robot comes in to do the same thing, you’d think that we’d tax the robot at a similar level.”

How do you tax a robot? If he doesn’t pay his taxes, do you take out his battery?

This is another example of the government interfering in the free market. As some people in the government push to raise the minimum wage, certain businesses will have no choice but to replace human workers with robots.

The article further reports:

Recode, citing a McKinsey report, said that 50 percent of jobs performed by humans are vulnerable to robots, which could result in the loss of about $2.7 trillion in the U.S. alone.

“Exactly how you’d do it, measure it, you know, it’s interesting for people to start talking about now,” Gates said. “Some of it can come on the profits that are generated by the labor-saving efficiency there. Some of it can come directly in some type of robot tax. I don’t think the robot companies are going to be outraged that there might be a tax. It’s OK.”

Another example of the government finding new ways to take money away from people who have earned it.

Common Core In Massachusetts

Below is a press release from End Common Core Massachusetts:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, March 24, 2015
CONTACT:  Donna Colorio, 508-450-0104 and dcolorio2014@gmail.com
END COMMON CORE MA
End Common Core MA’s message to the big money special interests: #RKidsRnot4Sale

End Common Core Massachusetts has a very simple message to the big money special interest groups organizing resistance to the popular End Common Core ballot measure: Our kids are not for sale (#RKidsRnot4Sale).

“Last month, a poll proved that a huge majority of voters support the end of Common Core.  It clearly verifies hard-working Massachusetts voters reject giving control of our public education system to the wealthy special interests.  They are desperately trying to defeat this measure by pouring in millions to fund phony lawsuits and more phony front groups for Pearson Education and the Gates Foundation.  They will soon find out that Our Kids Are Not for Sale and the voters will reject their efforts”, said End Common Core Chairperson Donna Colorio.

Sandra Stotsky, former Senior Associate Commissioner in the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) notes that “the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education (MBAE) filed a lawsuit against Attorney General Maura Healey in January claiming she didn’t know what she was doing when she approved the language of the ballot question. It looks like they are desperate to stop the voters from voting on this critical issue.”

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is on record donating a lot of money to the MBAE in 2014 to pay for studies that support the continued use of Common Core.  The Gates Foundation has also poured millions of dollars to fund grants for DESE and other Massachusetts special interest groups who support Common Core. Pearson Education is the corporation contracted to create standardized tests like PARCC and MCAS designed to test in English Language Arts and Mathematics.  Pearson also publishes textbooks and educational materials aligned to the Common Core Standards, and keeping the standards will mean billions of dollars in profits.

“Right now, the special interests are lining up millions of dollars to fund a campaign where every word, study, report, and so-called statistic is made up and paid for by groups funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  In contrast, End Common Core MA is a grassroot effort led by concerned citizens giving their time and hard earned money to speak truth to power. The super wealthy special interests are using our kids to make billions of dollars every year in testing fees, textbooks, and other classroom materials.  The special interests have a lot of money on their side and their goal is to destroy our public education system. But the hard working citizens of Massachusetts will have the truth on their side,” said Colorio.

End Common Core MA is a ballot question committee of citizen activists, teachers, parents, concerned citizens, and elected officials opposed to Common Core’s standards.  Go to EndCommonCoreMA.com for more information.

It’s Not About The Children–It’s About The Money

If you read this blog on a regular basis, you are probably aware that I am strongly opposed to Common Core. There are many reasons for this, and I need to review a few before I get to the current article regarding Common Core.

Reported here in November 2015:

Bill Gates himself has stated, “It would be great if our education stuff worked, but that we won’t know for probably a decade.” 

Reported here in July 2014:

On the Microsoft Web site, a webpage dated April 22, 2014 entitled “Tech Essentials for Testing Success” describes in considerable detail how schools using computer-based, Common Core-aligned tests will now need to spend a bunch of money — on Microsoft products.

…Microsoft additionally advises schools to upgrade “all units” “to a minimum of 1 GB of internal memory” and to make sure their screens and processors are up to snuff. (Wouldn’t you know it: in some cases, “Power Macs are not supported.”) Schools might also need to outlay tax dollars on Internet connections and hardware such as headphones.

The primary purpose of Common Core is not to educate our children–it’s to force schools to buy Microsoft technology. There are billions of dollars at stake here, which brings me to my current story. When schools originally began buying computer products, most schools bought (or were given) Apple products. The students trained on Apple products went on to buy Apple products as adult consumers. That lesson was not lost on Bill Gates at Microsoft.

On February 12, 2016, the New Boston Post reported:

A lawsuit that aims to prevent Massachusetts voters from weighing in on the controversial Common Core educational standards has backing from people connected to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a major sponsor of Common Core.

Since 2010, the year the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to implement Common Core, through last year, the Gates Foundation donated $776,431 to the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education. The Alliance, a strong supporter of Common Core, is currently coordinating the lawsuit, filed last month, to block a citizen initiative that would allow Massachusetts voters in November to decide whether the state continues to use the federally approved Common Core standards or revert to its own pre-Common Core standards.

In 2007, prior to the implementation of Common Core, Massachusetts was the highest-achieving state in the country.  Opponents of Common Core, an unusually bi-partisan group of parents, teachers, education specialists, conservative activists, and anti-testing activists, say that after the state adopted the federally backed standards in 2010, Massachusetts achievement levels started to decline.

End Common Core Massachusetts, the citizens group behind the ballot question, earlier this year garnered enough signatures to advance the measure.  But on Jan. 22, ten plaintiffs sued to stop the question from reaching the voters. Plaintiffs include William Walczak who is a director of the Alliance, and Jack Dill, who is on its advisory council.

If Common Core was about improving education, why have the achievement levels in Massachusetts schools started to decline since Common Core was implemented? Common Core is a scam put over on parents and teachers that does nothing to improve the education of our children. I does, however, improve the bottom line profits of Microsoft Corporation. Parents need to begin to work to remove it. I am hoping Massachusetts will be successful with its ballot question, but in other places, school boards need to be pressured to take action against something that is detrimental to our children’s education. If it really was about the children, would any school administrators be supporting something that lowers achievement rather than raises it?

Today’s Academic Standards Review Commission Meeting

Today I attended the meeting of the Academic Standards Review Commission in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Commission was established by Senate Bill 812 which went into effect on July 1, 2014. The short title of the bill is, “Replace Common Core To Meet NC‘s Needs.” During the meeting, Representative Larry G. Pittman, District 82, Cabarrus, read a letter he had written to the commission.

This is the text of the letter:

The report from the ASRC should include a copy of the bill, SB 812, that created the ASRC.

Next, there should be a summary of the process followed by the Commission.

There should be a summary of the input from all parties who presented to the Commission.

There should be a summary of all the alternatives to Common Core that were examined by the Commission.

The report should conclude with the recommendations of the Commission for replacing Common Core. In the title of the bill, it plainly says that the purpose of the Commission is to replace Common Core. This means removing Common Core and replacing it with something else. It does not mean rebranding, “tweaking,” or rewriting Common Core. It means getting rid of it. So that is what the recommendations from the ASRC should be.

The meeting included a discussion of the reports of the progress students have made in mathematics and English since Common Core was implemented. Some scores show some improvement, and in many cases, the scores have gone down. The ‘experts’ had many excuses for this. but the fact is that Common Core has not been the magic bullet the education establishment claimed it would be. The main success of Common Core has been to set up a data collection system on our children that makes the NSA look like pikers. Common Core has also put technical platform requirements on our schools that will amount to large amounts of unfunded liabilities in future years.

On September 27, 2013, The Washington Post reported the following statement by Bill Gates, the force behind Common Core, “It would be great if our education stuff worked, but that we won’t know for probably a decade.” I

I have a question for parents in all parts of America. Are you willing to turn your children over to an education system that invades your and your children’s privacy, is totally unproven, and tells them that their parents don’t know how to do things? If not, it is time for you to get involved. Begin at your local school board. If that doesn’t work, go to your state legislator. If that doesn’t work, write a letter to the editor of the newspaper. If you want your child to grow up to be a knowledgeable, contributing member of society, I strongly suggest that you begin to speak out against Common Core.

There were less than 20 people observing the meeting today. Common Core will not go away unless more parents make noise and get involved. Find out what your state is doing about Common Core and fight for your child’s future.

Why Local Elections Matter

It is a given that parents care about the education of their children. Currently, North Carolina has an Academic Standards Review Commission (ASRC) which is looking at the Common Core standards to see if they are appropriate for North Carolina. The ASRC has heard testimony from people who support Common Core and from people who oppose it. I have attended a number of the ASRC meetings, and have listened to both sides of the story. I have learned that even the teachers who like Common Core talk about the difficulties in implementing it. I have also learned that two of the people involved in the creation of Common Core have refused to sign off on the program because it did not do what it was supposedly intended to do. I have also learned that there is some information gathering included in Common Core that makes the NSA look like amateurs. Common Core is a copyrighted program, making it difficult to alter, that includes millions of dollars in unfunded liabilities because of the software licensing and computers needed to meet the testing requirements of the program. These are just a few of the issues. On September 21, 2013, (according to The Washington Post), Bill Gates stated, “It would be great if our education stuff worked, but that we won’t know for probably a decade.” Just for the record, The Daily Caller reported in March 2014 that the children of Bill Gates attend a private school that does not use Common Core standards. Common Core for thee, but not for me.

So where am I going with this? I am looking at the way local school boards are not looking out for the students in their districts. On September 19, 2015, The New Bern Sun Journal posted a story about the Craven County Board of Education. The state has recently released the test scores for area schools for last year. Common Core has been in North Carolina since the 2012-2-13 school year, so these scores reflect the success (or failure) of Common Core.

The article mentioned that across North Carolina, 72.2 percent of traditional public schools received grades of C or better. The article also notes that in 2014-2015, the period covered by the grades, there is a 15-point scale used in the grading process. That means that a C is from a 55 to a 69. Meanwhile, the students are on a different grade scale–a scale which would consider those numbers as failing grades. What we have here is a different standard for the school than for the students. How convenient. Note that this shows that more than one fourth of the schools scored below a 55. Wow.

There is a very viable option to Common Core–it is called the North Carolina Education Plan, and is based on a successful program previously used in Greensboro. This is the website.

If you are a parent, there are a number of things you can do to protect your child’s education. You can begin attending Board of Education Meetings and speaking out when those in charge try to tell you that a failing grade is not a failing grade. You can also seek out people to run for the local Board of Education who will look out for your child’s education and not simply go along with what the state bureaucracy tells them. You have a voice in your child’s education. You have the option of speaking out or remaining silent and paying the consequences.

There Is A Good Alternative To Common Core

Common Core has come under fire for many reasons. It is an untested academic standards program the involves data mining activities that make the NSA look like amateurs. The program claims it is not curricula, but a close examinations shows that it controls curricula by controlling a test program that has put undue stress on our schoolchildren. There are also a number of child development specialists who have stated that much of the material included in Common Core is inappropriate for the age groups receiving the instruction.

There is a better way to educate our children than Common Core. The North Carolina Education Plan has been developed in North Carolina as an alternative to Common Core. The developers of the North Carolina Education Plan (NCEP) recently met with Classroom Teachers Association of North Carolina President, Judy Kidd and Steve Oreskovic in Greensboro, North Carolina.

The goal of the meeting was to form an alliance to move the NCEP forward in North Carolina. One of the major items on the agenda in moving NCEP forward is to end the Kindergarten Entry Assessment (KEA). This aspect of Common Core forces schools to collect information on children, including photographs and biometric data. It is the first link in the K through work force chain that is envisioned for this and future generations.

These are some of the problems with the KEA: 1) Teachers must evaluate, profile students and being an electronic portfolio on each five year old entering the system. This profile contains clinical areas such as Emotional & Social Development. These areas are not only clinical in nature, but are very subjective. 2) Data collection cannot be secured. Using a “unique identifier” (UID) does not guarantee the child’s name cannot be hacked. If pictures and videos are used to determine performance level, identification of any child is easily obtainable. The data collection goes outside of the schoolhouse and follows the child for five years into the workforce. 3) Where is the data going to be stored? What data will be part of the Statewide Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) and Common Education Data Analysis & Reporting System (CEDARS)? Where does the data go? Raleigh, Washington? It is national in scope. 4) Do parents know this data is being collected for the child until adulthood?

There are other issues with Common Core, such as unfunded mandates in the form of Microsoft computer update and software licensing requirements [understandable when you consider that Bill Gates (founder of Microsoft) is one of the major financial backers of Common Core]. Common Core is expensive compared to the NCEP.  Despite its claims, Common Core does not embrace the concept of Critical Thinking in its curricula. It is also untested.

The North Carolina Education Plan has been presented to the North Carolina Academic Standards Review Commission. They are in the process of studying the NCEP and other options as they prepare to make their recommendations to the state. Hopefully North Carolina will be the first state to adopt its own home-grown program for providing a quality education for the students in the state.

Unfortunately Money Can Buy Things It Shouldn’t

On Monday, Wicked Local Scituate posted a story about teachers in Massachusetts fighting the adoption of Common Core in their state. Scituate is a beautiful town on the Massachusetts coast about 25 miles from Boston. The median income in the town between 2000 and 2011 was slightly over $100,000. In February 2015, the average price of a house in Scituate was $545,000. I mention this just to give you an idea of the town that publishes the paper involved. I should also mention that in Massachusetts the word ‘wicked’ is frequently used as an adjective. Please follow the link above to read the entire article.

The article states a few facts about the pre-Common Core successes of education in Massachusetts and reminds us of the actions of two courageous members of the validation committee who refused to sign off on Common Core:

According to many of its critics, early childhood experts, teachers, parents, and local school committees were barely consulted during the inception of the Common Core and were inadequately represented on its validation committee. The only two educators on the panel, Dr. Sandra Stotsky, perhaps the nation’s preeminent ELA (English Language Arts) specialist (and a former senior associate commissioner in the Massachusetts Department of Education) and Dr. James Milgram, a mathematics professor from Stanford University, refused to sign off on the Common Core validation statement because they did not support the Common Core’s standards or the program itself, on the basis that the Common Core standards were not research-based, rigorous or internationally benchmarked.

The writer of the article gathered his information about Common Core from a friend who is an early childhood expert of 20 years, a private school teacher, and mother of a third-grader, and who was lobbying against Common Core in Massachusetts.

The article reports:

So why did Massachusetts, which in 2007 was nationally ranked in the 90th percentile for student achievement in standardized testing, adopt a curriculum that had little transparency or accountability and choose to rate teachers not by how well they taught their content area, but instead on students’ scores on a test of dubious value? Why did the Commonwealth replace its top-notch English and math standards with the weaker national standards of the Common Core? As far as my friend is concerned, the answer is “Cha-ching!”

In 2010, the Massachusetts education commissioner relied on reports from Achieve Inc., the Thomas Fordham Institute, and the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education to support and justify a recommendation to adopt the Common Core. These private organizations had one common thread—the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which invested more than $200 million dollars in promoting the Common Core curriculum.

The article goes on to explain some of the other financial dealings related to Common Core.

The article concludes:

There is no regard for individual and collective aptitudes and motivations within a particular classroom, or for the presentation of developmentally appropriate content. Teachers cannot celebrate or assess the different learning styles of their students, because all students must learn and test the same way. We have gone from educator-created content and teaching methods to a state of test takers and test teachers, who are forced to adhere to a one-size fits all model of standardization.

My friend and her allies in the education community are seeking to convince the state’s political leaders to reinstitute the education standards and testing regime, which prevailed prior to the adoption of the Common Core. Time will tell whether those efforts are successful, but their voice is growing louder, and I can’t see them giving up without a fight.

These are the same objections we are hearing from teachers and parents around the country. It is time to fight the moneyed interests that are promoting Common Core and do what is best for our children.

 

More Information On Common Core

The Common Core Diva is a friend. Her blog is informative and detailed. I have attended Common Core meetings, but do not have the knowledge of how the program works that the Diva does. The following is directly taken from her blog (with her permission).

Tech Thursday: CCSS Workforce Pushing Labor Reform

Post secondary ed reform is set to be 'reauthorized'. You can bet your sweet backside CCSS will be there in the form of CTE.
Post secondary ed reform is set to be ‘reauthorized’. You can bet your sweet backside CCSS will be there in the form of CTE.

Common Core for the Workforce is present through Career Tech Education. This isn’t new news for those of us fighting the CCSS. However, were you aware that there’s a push to reauthorize the Higher Education Act? By doing so, you can bet CCSS via CTE will be there.

The Higher Ed Act:

Originally written in 1965, under Pres. Johnson domestic agenda for America called “The Great Society”. It was to increase amounts of federal aid universities and colleges received. The Act was to also increase student aid to get into institutions of higher education. It also established a national teacher corps program.
The HEA (as the Higher Education Act can be referred to) has been reauthorized several times. The updates to the law have been many and wide reaching. Much of what your students and mine fill out on their FASFA forms is tied up in this law.

Most notable in what I’ve been able to find in researching is the 1998 versrion known as “Gear Up”  If reauthorized, this would be the 3rd time. As always, the CCSS is buried. Where would it be found? Perkins funding, those Titles funding programs, work study programs, apprenticeships, and probably more. We’ll get to the particulars in a bit. But first, what does “Gear Up” stand for? “Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs”. Remember, this was started in 1998. Before CCSS. But how ironic that we have so much ‘readiness’ rhetoric in modern education.

The 2008 Workforce/Education ‘Marriage’:

According to the Center for Law and Social Policy’s document highlighting the changes to HEA, here’s the one that joined education and businesses (think P3s, or public-private partnerships), “Creates Business Workforce Partnerships for Job Skill Training in High Growth Occupations or Industries. Colleges often lack the “venture capital” to start up new, credit-bearing programs that can respond to business workforce needs because state funding and federal financial aid typically only flow after students are enrolled in programs. This grant program funds partnerships of colleges, employers, and, where applicable, labor representatives to expand or create credit-bearing college programs responsive to business workforce needs, adapt college offerings to workers’ schedules, expand worksite learning opportunities, and purchase equipment related to such academic or job training programs. The grants are targeted toward programs serving nontraditional students, such as working adults, and can be used to create for-credit career pathways (Section 803).” 

Other items which supported this ‘marriage’? TRIO and Bridges from Jobs to Careers. If you don’t know much about TRIO, here’s what the U.S. Dept. of Ed. has to say about it, “The history of TRIO is progressive. It began with Upward Bound, which emerged out of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 in response to the administration’s War on Poverty. In 1965, Talent Search, the second outreach program, was created as part of the Higher Education Act. In 1968, Student Support Services, which was originally known as Special Services for Disadvantaged Students, was authorized by the Higher Education Amendments and became the third in a series of educational opportunity programs. By the late 1960’s, the term “TRIO” was coined to describe these federal programs. If you don’t know much about Bridges from Jobs to Careers, it basically was a federal program which awarded competing higher education institutions grant money. There were mandatory requirements for use of the funding. In our current educational panaroma, each state appears to have some sort of bridge/work program. I didn’t find all 50 states in my general search, but I did find several states which are proudly open for business, so to speak.

To find out more about TRIO: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/trio/index.html#references (*Note: at least one of the TRIO programs will begin its overreach as early as middle school)

To read the entire law from Congress back in the day, https://www.congress.gov/bill/110th-congress/house-bill/4067/text

To see CLASP’s information (including the key senators involved), http://www.clasp.org/resources-and-publications/publication-1/0430.pdf

A Jump Ahead to 2014:

While CLASP is still somewhat fresh on our minds, let’s see what more current ed/jobs efforts they’ve been up to.

Here’s a screen shot from their website that plainly has “Career Pathways” displayed. It also states ‘low income’ and ‘disadvantaged’. With some of the sweeping changes embedded in HR5, who is classified as ‘disadvantaged’ and ‘low income’ could drastically change to include almost every student!
You definitely will want to enlarge this screen shot.

The Gates Foundation has a firm grasp on CLASP.
The Gates Foundation has a firm grasp on CLASP.

There’s no question in my mind how much CLASP is tied into the Gates Foundation and is helping direct the policies of this nation. How utterly disgusting. If you want more information about them, see: http://www.clasp.org/issues/postsecondary Oh, and one more nugget of truth the WIOA (Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act) which has 21 embedded CCSS, CTE, and/or Career Pathways in it will take effect July 2015.

The 2015 Push:

If you’ve not already had to run away from your computer screaming after the bombshells from above, know that Washington is hard at work as we speak plotting even more reform. To this end, refer back to the opening screen shot you saw. It’s at the very top of the page. What I want you to find is the phrase about the 4 pillars of action to be taken in reauthorizing HEA. I’ll include the PDF file, but here’s a quick summary:
Point #1: empowering family decision making; Point #2: Simplifying and improving student aid; Point #3: promoting innovation, access, and completion (of what isn’t clarified upfront); and Point #4: insuring strong accountability and a limited federal role.

Drawbacks to the points include more data tracking/mining via the Integrated PostSecondary Education Data System (IPEDS); the federal agencies streamlining information families can access to cause less confusion; more robust financial literacy; having the U.S. Dept. of Ed create a higher education rating system; strengthening federal financial aid; streamlining student debt repayment plans to better serve taxpayers; making the Pell Grant flexible; possible federal interference in the ‘innovation, access, and completion’ point ( I strongly believe you should read and assimilate the information directly from the source); increasing the push for more digital learning; increasing the competency-based outcomes for students; more federal assistance for those with the lowest incomes; ramping up teaching preparedness via federal programs and/or influence; and, a possible move to make accreditation entities become more rigorous when it comes to post secondary education institutions. For all the details and for your research: hea_whitepaper


To learn more about IPEDS from the U.S. Dept. of Ed: http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/about/

To learn more about the government entity overseeing all interested parties into post-secondary education and data collection, see: https://nces.ed.gov/npec/ (*Note: be sure to look at the Research/Development Board Members. Note which institutions or organizations they represent)

To learn more about the NCES (National Center for Education Statistics) which oversees all types of assessments (includes post secondary ones), see: http://nces.ed.gov/whatsnew/commissioner/index.asp

*Note: The NCES commissioner oversees all the assessments you see below and then some.

To access the entire list/graphic of he assessments, visit: http://nces.ed.gov/about/
To access the entire list/graphic of he assessments, visit:
http://nces.ed.gov/about/

To access the National Post Secondary Education Policy Cooperative’s “Student Success” pdf (which includes public policy, alignment, and more), ewell_report

More You May Want to Know:

The original screen shot showed that an upcoming hearing would be taking place to discuss not only all I’ve shared with you, but even more. Involved in the hearing will be federal budget, plans, and workforce. You’ll want to listen to the entire thing. This hearing actually took place yesterday, March 18th. I can tell you from the opening remarks, at least one U.S. Congress member wasn’t a fan. Here’s a screen shot from Twitter taken from the Ed/Workforce feed:

Link to the hearing as it is on You Tube:
Link to the hearing as it is on You Tube:
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kOf2UeClzg%5D

For Further Related Info:
Articles I’ve previously published on this subject include (not limited to)
11/16/14, CTE, labor unions, federal funding, and more: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/11/16/rmt-vp-unions-career-tech-and-common-core/

11/18/14, Gear Up, College and Career Ready Consortium, and more: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/11/18/ftf-tuesday-ccrec-college-and-career-readiness-evaluation-consortium/

Common Core May Do More Damage Than Good

Yesterday The Washington Post posted an article about the Common Core requirement that Kindergarten children learn how to read.

The article states:

The Common Core State Standards call for kindergartners to learn how to read, but a new report by early childhood experts says that forcing some kids to read before they are ready could be harmful.

Two organizations that advocate for early childhood educationDefending the Early Years and Alliance for Childhood — issued the report titled “Reading in Kindergarten: Little to Gain and Much to Lose.”  It says there is no evidence to support a widespread belief in the United States that children must read in prekindergarten or kindergarten to become strong readers and achieve academic success.

I think most of us would agree that we want our children to become strong readers and achieve academic success. I think most of us would also agree that there are some children who might actually be ready to read by kindergarten. However, not all children are ready to read by Kindergarten, and are we ready to accept the damage that we will do to those children in the name of Common Core?

Here are some of the findings of the report cited above:

 

  • Many children are not developmentally ready to read in kindergarten, yet the Common Core State Standards require them to do just that. This is leading to inappropriate classroom practices.
  • No research documents long-term gains from learning to read in kindergarten.
  • Research shows greater gains from play-based programs than from preschools and kindergartens with a more academic focus.
  • Children learn through playful, hands-on experiences with materials, the natural world, and engaging, caring adults.
  • Active, play-based experiences in language-rich environments help children develop their ideas about symbols, oral language and the printed word — all vital components of reading.
  • We are setting unrealistic reading goals and frequently using inappropriate methods to accomplish them.

Please follow the link above to the article to read the rest of the findings.

It is becoming very obvious that the people who designed Common Core did not allow for individual students or their individual personalities and development.

On September 27, 2013, The Washington Post quoted Bill Gates, the money and force promoting Common Core as saying, “It would be great if our education stuff worked, but we won’t know for probably a decade.”

Are you willing to gamble your children’s future on something that is not only untried, but may also be harmful to your children?

 

 

 

Is This What We Had In Mind?

Abortion has been legal in America since 1973. For those Americans under forty, it was an established fact of life before they were born. Abortion is one of the most financially lucrative industries in the United States because of the lack of regulation (something that is changing in many states) and because the government subsidizes Planned Parenthood,  one of the largest providers of abortions. So what is abortion about?

On Wednesday, National Review posted an article titled, “We Only Whisper It.” The article deals with some recent statements by Ruth Bader Ginsburg in a recent interview.

The article reports:

Speaking about such modest restrictions on abortion as have been enacted over the past several years, Justice Ginsburg lamented that “the impact of all these restrictions is on poor women.” Then she added: “It makes no sense as a national policy to promote birth only among poor people.”

…In an earlier interview, she described the Roe v. Wade decision as being intended to control population growth, “particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.” She was correct in her assessment of Roe; the co-counsel in that case, Ron Weddington, would later advise President Bill Clinton: “You can start immediately to eliminate the barely educated, unhealthy, and poor segment of our country,” by making abortifacients cheap and universally available. “It’s what we all know is true, but we only whisper it.”

I thought America was the land of opportunity–not the land of killing children because they were born into poor households. Some of our greatest leaders were born into poverty. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas grew up in poverty and now sits on the bench with Ms. Ginsburg.

The article points out a basic philosophical difference between those who encourage abortion and those who oppose it:

There are two ways to account for humans beings: as assets, or as liabilities. For those who see the world the way Justice Ginsburg does — which is also the way Barack Obama does, along with most of his party — human beings are a liability. That is why they fundamentally misunderstand challenges such as employment; if you see people as a liability, then you see labor in terms of “creating jobs,” i.e. neutralizing that liability with a check every two weeks. It does not matter whether that labor produces anything valuable; if the liability is being met with a sufficient paycheck, problem solved. It should go without saying that Barack Obama et al. do not see themselves as liabilities. They see themselves as assets, which is how left-wing activists and Democratic functionaries justify their own enormous paychecks.

And they don’t see their own children as liabilities, either — just your kids, loser.

The alternative is to view human beings as having inherent value. In economics, that means thinking of every worker as having something potentially valuable to contribute. In broader terms, that means thinking of every person as a full member of the human family, no matter if they are healthy or sick, running marathons or profoundly disabled, Bill Gates rich or Bangladesh poor.

We need to elect leaders who value human beings. It is frightening to think that a Supreme Court Justice feels that babies born into poverty have less value than babies born into wealth. That is the kind of thinking that leads to genocide.

Some Charity Has A Purpose

Today’s Daily Caller posted a story about the relationship between Bill Gates and Common Core. Common Core is the federal takeover of education heavily funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates. The Foundation has spent over $200 million in an effort to push the Common Core Standards Initiative in the last couple years.

The article explains one possible motive for the expenditure:

On the Microsoft Web site, a webpage dated April 22, 2014 entitled “Tech Essentials for Testing Success” describes in considerable detail how schools using computer-based, Common Core-aligned tests will now need to spend a bunch of money — on Microsoft products.

“Ready or not,” Microsoft warns, “testing for the State Standards is about to become a reality for schools in 45 states, Washington, D.C., and four US territories. That means a switch to online testing beginning the spring of 2015.”

Later on comes the sales pitch:

For many schools, time is running out. In a report issued by Smarter Balanced in 2012, it found that 56.1 percent of K–12 schools reporting were still running on aging Windows XP, which had an end of service (EOS) date of April 8, 2014. In the face of this looming cutoff of support, it’s recommended by IT professionals to migrate to the new Windows as soon as possible.

Microsoft additionally advises schools to upgrade “all units” “to a minimum of 1 GB of internal memory” and to make sure their screens and processors are up to snuff. (Wouldn’t you know it: in some cases, “Power Macs are not supported.”) Schools might also need to outlay tax dollars on Internet connections and hardware such as headphones.

Notice that “Power Macs are not supported.” If the government were not involved in this, they would be charging Microsoft with monopoly. As usual, if you want to know what Common Core is about, follow the money.

What The People Who Designed It Say About Common Core

Yesterday Breitbart.com posted a story about Common Core. It seems that despite the talk about the need for rigorous academic standards that Common Core supposedly will provide, Common Core is not really about academic standards.

The article states:

In an interview with the Washington Post that summarizes how Bill Gates pulled off the very “swift Common Core revolution,” the Microsoft founder stated, “The country as a whole has a huge problem that low-income kids get less good education than suburban kids get… and that is a huge challenge.”

Gates’s statement underscores further the notion that the Common Core standards initiative is a social engineering project that places education standards ahead of parental and family influences as the major cause of poor student performance in low-income and minority communities.

Regardless of the push by various Gates-funded organizations to boast the Common Core standards’ “rigor,” the real motivation to correct what is viewed as societal injustices was underscored even by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan who said last November that it was “fascinating” that some of the opposition to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is coming from “white suburban moms who – all of a sudden – their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were.”

Anyone who has worked in public education knows that two major reasons for poor student achievement are parental involvement and culture. If a student belongs to an ethnic group where academic achievement is frowned upon, that student is not going to achieve. If the parents of a student do not value education, the student will not value education. If the peer group of the student does not value education, the student will not value education. Common Core does not either take either one of those factors into consideration.

The article further explains:

Despite the lack of validity of the Common Core standards, the Post reports that after Gene Wilhoit, director of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and a former Kentucky education commissioner, and Common Core “architect” David Coleman met with Gates about funding the development of the standards, Gates’s foundation gave over $5 million to the University of North Carolina-affiliated Hunt Institute, led by former Gov. Jim Hunt (D). The Hunt Institute then coordinated more than a dozen organizations, including the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, National Council of La Raza, Achieve, Inc., the two national teachers’ unions, and the two groups that are the copyright owners of the Common Core standards – CCSSO and the National Governors Association (NGA).

Talking points about the standards were then developed by GMMB, a communications firm owned by Jim Margolis, a top Democrat strategist and veteran of both of Obama’s presidential campaigns.

Public relations firms, big corporations, and unions are not the answer to America‘s education problems. One of the differences in education in the past fifty years is the change in parental attitudes. Back in the age of dinosaurs when I was in school, if you got in trouble (or got bad grades) in school, you were also in trouble at home. Somehow in the past fifty years the equation has changed in many families–if you are in trouble at school, it’s the teacher’s fault. Teachers are afraid not to send children on to the next grade due to pressure from parents and often, pressure from school administrators.

The problem in our schools is not in the curriculum or standards–it is in requiring students to meet a standard.

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And All This Time You Thought Common Core Was About Education

Yesterday the Daily Caller reported that Bill Gates will shut down his Gates Foundation (and Carnegie Corporation) financed nonprofit educational-software company InBloom Inc. permanently.

This was the company that was going to compile large amounts of information on students.

The article reports:

The strategy driving inBloom had been to create a huge database connecting local school districts and state education bureaucracies with behemoth education companies.

To accomplish this goal, the nonprofit had hoped to provide a smorgasbord of data about students. What homework are they doing? What tests are they assigned? What are their test scores? Their specific learning disabilities? Their disciplinary records? Their skin colors? Their names? Their addresses?

The Atlanta-based company had originally signed up nine states for the database. It planned to charge school districts between $2 and $5 per student for the privilege of participating in the student data collection scheme.

The intrusive data collection of student information was not the only surprise in Common Core. (also note that the school systems would be paying for the privilege of having their students’ privacy violated)  Upon investigating the curriculum which is aligned to Common Core, parents found lessons that were age inappropriate, lessons that were historically inaccurate and slanted, and literature for junior high reading that bordered on pornographic.

A few states are already are already responding to parental concern about Common Core and are backing away from using the standards and curriculum. Hopefully all states will move in that direction and then move to set up standards that work for them.

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