The Impact Of Common Core On Education

By 2014, 45 states and the District of Columbia were using the Common Core standards as the basis for the public education of their children. So what has been the impact of Common Core?

U.S. News & World Report posted an article today with the headline, “Across the Board, Scores Drop in Math and Reading for U.S. Students.” So what is going on in our schools?

On October 26th, the website Lady Liberty 1885 posted an article that might give us a clue as to what has gone wrong.

The article included a form to allow teachers to make a “social, emotional and behavioral assessment” of each student.

This is the form:

No wonder to test scores are sinking–the teachers are too busy evaluating the emotional condition of students and filling out forms. Look at some of the items on this form–they are very subjective. If something about a student makes a teacher uneasy or vice versa, will the form be filled out objectively? Who gets to see this form? Does the form follow the student all the way through school? If a student has a bad year, does it follow him into the next year?

The article at Lady Liberty 1885 sums up the situation as follows:

Let’s Recap

So, for those keeping score:

    • A letter about the assessment dated Oct. 18 to parents went out to some students but not all at our schools. The letter did not name the assessment.
    • I got a copy of the letter from another parent at our school on Oct. 23 but had not received one for our child yet.
    • On Oct. 24, the day after I received the copy of the letter and started asking questions, a copy of the Oct. 18 letter magically was given out to my son’s class.
    • Only when I received the opt-out form did I learn the name of the assessment, which is the BIMAS-2.
    • So far, I am being denied my rights as a parent to inspect this tool.
    • No one at my child’s school can show me the tool because no one has access to this behavioral screening tool, not even the principal. This begs the question: how is this second period teacher even rating the kids?
    • According to the principal at my son’s school, only the district communications director, Tim Simmons, can discuss this tool with parents. I have emailed Mr. Simmons directly and have not received a reply yet.

None of what I just enumerated is remotely OK.

WCPSS’ tactic of using district-wide dragnet to pull all students into this experiment is not OK either.

If the district wants to make this tool available to families who may have an at-risk student, great, go ahead and do that, but make it OPT-IN.

This district, and in particular the WCPSS School Board, has a proven track record of running right over the top of parents and it has to stop. Parents have been an afterthought if we are even considered at all. We should be the first thought.

Children belong to their parents and what starts with parents changes everything.

The article at U.S. News & World Report notes:

Most concerning, she (Peggy Carr, associate commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics) said, was that compared to 2017, the scores of lower performing students declined in three of the four grade-subject combinations and those drops are what accounted for the overall drop in average scores.

“The distributions are pulling apart, with the bottom dropping faster,” Carr said. “It’s not clear what’s happening here, but it is clear and it’s consistent.”

“The fact that students who need to make the most academic progress are instead making no progress or are falling further behind is extremely troubling,” Tonya Matthews, vice chairwoman of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees NAEP, said in a statement. “We need to see all students make progress.”

Carr said the score drops cannot be traced to any one specific student subgroup, as almost all of them logged declines. For example, black, Hispanic, Native American and white students in fourth and eighth grades scored lower in reading in 2019 compared to 2017.

“They are generally all declining,” she said. “So we can’t say it’s due to changes and shifts in the populations.”

Carr said that she’d love to be able to more fully analyze all the subgroup data they collect, but her team is strapped for resources. She encouraged other researchers to dig deeper.

How about we go back to the teaching methods that worked in the past? We can get our  curriculum from Minnesota and Massachusetts who have traditionally ranked high in both mathematics and language. Common Core has been a failed experiment that has cheated our children out of the education they need. It has also been a way to force social programs on our children that are an invasion into the privacy of parents and have a detrimental impact on the family unit. It is time to go back to basics. It wasn’t broken–you shouldn’t have tried to fix it!

More Insanity In Our Public Schools

Yesterday John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line Blog about the oppressive nature of mathematics. Barbie said that math class was hard, but I don’t remember her using the word oppressive.

The article reports:

The Seattle public schools have developed a new “ethnic studies” curriculum that tells students that mathematics is a tool of oppression. Sure, some of us thought that back in junior high school, especially when we didn’t get around to doing our homework. But to have this view endorsed by the schools is remarkable. Robby Soave reports at Reason:

The [Seattle public school] district has proposed a new social justice-infused curriculum that would focus on “power and oppression” and “history of resistance and liberation” within the field of mathematics. The curriculum isn’t mandatory, but provides a resource for teachers who want to introduce ethnic studies into the classroom vis a vis math.

Why, exactly, would you introduce “ethnic studies” into mathematics? This is from Education Week:

If adopted, its ideas will be included in existing math classes as part of the district’s broader effort to infuse ethnic studies into all subjects across the K-12 spectrum.

Again: why would a school district do this, unless it is deliberately trying to foment ethnic division? The rot, sadly, is not confined to Seattle:

“Seattle is definitely on the forefront with this,” said Robert Q. Berry III, the president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. “What they’re doing follows the line of work we hope we can move forward as we think about the history of math and who contributes to that, and also about deepening students’ connection with identity and agency.”

Why is it the mission of the public schools to “deepen students’ connection with identity and agency”? If “identity” means ethnic identity, which I understand it does, I would think the public schools should be trying to do the opposite.

For whatever reason, our education system and our political leaders are more focused on emphasizing the things that divide us rather than the things that unite us. Why not encourage all students to identify as Americans?

What Are We Doing To Our Children?

Watch the video below that appeared on American television while considering the fact that the family is the building block of American society:

If children can be taught to be part of their community at the expense of being part of their family, the community can shape their views in ways that might not be in agreement with their family values. If children can be taught to value the ‘common good’ over property rights, part of the foundation of America’s prosperity can be dismantled.

The United Nations was established for the purpose of promoting freedom, democracy, and world peace. At least that’s what we were told. It has since drifted from those ideals. The United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights outlines rights given by government. There is no mention of the concept in the U.S. Declaration of Independence that rights come from God and that governments are put in place to protect those rights. The education group of the United Nations focuses on teaching children a perspective based on the UN’s ideals of sustainable development which do not include the concept of nation states or individual freedom.

It should be noted that a document posted on the UN education agency’s website about “Education for Sustainable Development” states, “Generally, more highly educated people, who have higher incomes, consume more resources than poorly educated people, who tend to have lower incomes.” The UN ‘toolkit’ for global sustainable education explains, “In this case, more education increases the threat to sustainability.” So the UN sees education as a threat to their agenda.

The concept of ‘The New World Order’ has been the goal of some in our government for a number of years. This concept is tied up with the United Nations and the move in American education to create ‘global citizens.’ There is nothing wrong with the concept of teaching children to consider themselves citizens of the world as well as Americans, but we are not teaching them to be American citizens. We are not teaching them about the values in America that are worth defending.

So where am I going with this? America is the biggest obstacle to those who believe in the “New World Order” (which means a one-world government ruled by an elite group of people). The New World Order is simply tyranny on a global scale. The public school education our children are getting is preparing them to be open to this form of government. Our AP History courses are distorting our history, the Christian values upon which our nation was founded are being undermined and mocked, and the foundations of America are being attacked in our public schools (and also in some of our private and parochial schools).

Right now, the answer to this problem is homeschooling. Until enough parents wake up and hold local and federal officials accountable, I don’t see the curriculum in our public schools changing.

Taking Away Religious Freedom And Parent’s Rights

On September 13th, CBN News reported that the New York Department of Education is moving to force all private schools in the state to perform as public schools. The department is reevaluating a 125-year-old law that would require private schools to offer the equivalent instruction to students as required in public schools.

The article reports:

This means all private schools’ curriculum, scheduling, lesson plans, hiring standards, and reporting requirements would have to follow all regulations as required by the state for public schools. The new regulations would also give the power to local school districts to oversee and inspect private and parochial schools. If a school was found lacking in compliance with the proposed regulations, the school could be closed. 

The Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), a non-profit legal defense organization, represents Parents Union for Religious Integrity of Torah Education (PURITE). The parents and rabbis who sought PJI’s assistance practice ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Judaism. They have been training their youth in small religious schools known as yeshivas for thousands of years. The schools instruct in subjects such as math and English language while focusing primarily on the Torah and Talmud. 

PURITE notes that the proposed regulations would essentially outlaw their way of life and education. Parochial school leaders and homeschool families are also concerned about the suggested rules. 

PJI attorney Kevin Snider sent a letter last week to the New York Department of Education, which had been accepting public comment. Snider’s letter explains in some detail the conflict between Torah-based education and the goals of NY public schools.

This is the precursor to a move against homeschooling. Unfortunately the American public education system is failing the students. Many students who go to college are having to take remedial courses in English and mathematics before they can actually take a college course. Our children are graduating high school with no marketable skills and no practical life skills. The have been schooled in what to think, but not schooled in how to think. As parents realize that the public schools are failing their children, they are turning to other ways to educate their children.

The following chart shows the growth of homeschooling in America since 1970. People taking their children out of public school is a threat to the education establishment. We already know that children in Charter Schools, private schools and homeschooling do better than children in public school.  That is the reason the State of New York is going after private education.

Ultimately parents are responsible for raising and educating their children. That is a responsibility and right that the government is slowly infringing on.

What Are We Doing To Our Children?

Fox News posted a story today about some of the lessons given to fourth grade students at Pasodale Elementary School in El Paso, Texas. One of the lessons cited was the story of a wife finding a strange hairclip under her bed with a different color hair in it than her hair. The second lesson deals with a mother learning about the death of her son. In the second lesson, the entire situation does not even accurately describe how the military brings the news to the family of a fallen hero. These are not age-appropriate subjects for fourth grade students.

The article reports:

Today on Your World, parenting expert Dr. Deb Gilboa said she was “shocked” by the material.

She said, “This teacher either didn’t read the assignment before handing it out, or had not enough life experience to realize that there’s no correct answer to these questions.”

Last year in Arizona, FoxNews.com reported that students at Playa Del Rey Elementary School were asked to read the same passages. In that instance, the teacher hadn’t read the assignment and immediately apologized.

Dr. Gilboa noted that kids already see messages they’re not old enough to comprehend, but parents shouldn’t have to worry about that coming from a school.

The article does not state this, but I strongly suspect that the material is part of the suggested lessons included in the Common Core.  There are a number of textbooks that have been written to be compatible with the Common Core curriculum. The best thing that could happen for American students would be for the Common Core curriculum to be thrown out and states be allowed to set their own standards. Hopefully the textbooks adopted after the demise of Common Core will not include the kind of fourth grade lessons shown above. These lessons should be categorized as child abuse.

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Learning About The Politics Of My New Home State

If you read this blog regularly, you know that I have recently moved from Southeastern Massachusetts to Coastal North Carolina. Obviously the politics are a little different, and I am spending some of my time learning about some of the groups that share my political philosophy. (I’ll probably never get the language down, but the climate and politics I love!)

Today I had the privilege of sitting down with Hal James, Chairman of the Watchdog Committee of the Coastal Carolina Taxpayers Association (CCTA). I asked Mr. James to list some of the current concerns of the Watchdog Committee.

Mr. James began by mentioning his concerns about the Common Core curriculum which is being introduced into North Carolina and other states around the nation.  He stated that the Common Core curriculum is a federal intrusion on education, and is thus unconstitutional (in violation of the Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution). The Common Core curriculum is an attempt to influence the values of young people in a direction not consistent with the traditional values of America. The CCTA is currently working to make parents and voters aware of the things in the Common Core curriculum.

The general goal of the Watchdog Committee is the hold elected officials accountable to the people who elected them.  Members of the Watchdog Committee attend meetings of various city and county boards and legislative meetings. Their goal is to become informed so that they can share information that may not be included in the news in order to make voters more aware of what their government is doing. Watchdog Committee members study the county budget and read the audits. North Carolina law requires every governmental agency to have an independent audit of its books. Those audits are made public, and members of the CCTA Watchdog Committee read them.  Reading the audits will reveal such things as unfunded liabilities that might not be obvious in simply reading the budget.

We are currently entering into the budget process. Department heads in Craven County will be submitting budgets to the County Manager. After review by the County Manager, the budget will be submitted to the Board of Commissioners. There will be public meetings in the county during this process.

Mr. James pointed out that the Board of Commissioners has recently been studying the idea of privatization of home hospice care in Craven County. That move would be a cost cutting move for the county and would save taxpayers money.

Mr. James also pointed out that Carolina East Hospital, which is run by a private corporation, is built on county land. The hospital pays no rent (or taxes) for the use of the land. Originally this occurred because it assured the area of having a local hospital. As the area has grown, other hospitals have been built, and it is time to seek a new arrangement with Carolina East.

Mr. James also addressed the claim by the Board of Commissioners that they have reduced real estate taxes in the county two years in a row. It is true that real estate taxes have been reduced, but somehow they failed to mention that the reduction was about $10 on an average-size home.

If you are interested in learning more about the Coastal Carolina Taxpayers Association, their website is www.cctaxpayers.com.  The organization is very welcoming and always willing to share the results of their research on various issues.

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A Very Interesting Afternoon

Yesterday afternoon I was privileged to attend a meeting between North Carolina Department of Public Instruction State Superintendent, Dr. June Atkinson, Karyn Dickerson, the North Carolina Teacher of the Year, Jen Currin, the North Carolina Virtual Teacher of the Year, and some of the leadership of the Coastal Carolina Taxpayers Association (CCTA). The purpose of the meeting was to discuss concerns about the Common Core standards for education that are coming to North Carolina. The meeting was very cordial, and both sides of the discussion were genuinely interested in providing the best possible education for children and young adults in the North Carolina schools.

There was, however, some very basic disagreement on the value of the Common Core standards and curriculum. One example of inaccurate teaching of history was found in Prentice Hall’s The American Experience, a textbook which has been aligned to the Common Core.

Townhall.com posted a story about this textbook, citing the chapter in the book about World War II:

There is no reading in this chapter ostensibly devoted to World War II that tells why America entered the war. There is no document on Pearl Harbor or the Rape of Nanking or the atrocities committed against the Jews or the bombing of Britain. The book contains no speech of Winston Churchill or F.D.R. even though the reading of high-caliber “informational texts” is the new priority set by the Common Core, and great rhetoric has always been the province of an English class. There is not a single account of a battle or of American losses or of the liberation of Europe.

As the daughter of an Army veteran who landed on Utah Beach on D-Day, I am offended by this. As an American, I am offended by this.

I admire Dr. Atkinson’s desire to bring quality education to the children of North Carolina. I just feel that she has not examined the Common Core curriculum closely enough to realize that the Common Core curriculum will not give her the quality education for the students in North Carolina that she desires.

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What Are We Teaching Our Children About America?

The Examiner is reporting today on one of the lessons included in the sixth-grade class assignments of the Common Core curriculum.

The article reports:

The assignment made the assumption that the United States government has determined that the Bill of Rights “is outdated and may not remain in its current form any longer.”

The children were to assume the persona of “experts on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights” in their aim to ensure that “the pursuit of happiness remains guarded in the 21st century,” despite the fact that the phrase “pursuit of happiness” exists in the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution.

There is nothing in the lesson that explains how the Constitution is amended, and the mother of the child said that the child did not think the word amended had been used in the lesson. Wouldn’t it be better to teach the children the value of the Bill of Rights, how unique it was for its time, and how unique America is because of the Bill of Rights? If we continue to undermine the respect our children have for America, we will raise a generation that will not understand or work to preserve our freedom.

 

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Exciting News For The Students Of Today

The Washington Post reported on December 7th that the new Common Core standards for Curriculum, which will be put in place in 46 states, will require that by graduation in 2014, 70 percent of all books studied have to be nonfiction.

The article reports:

Some suggested texts include “FedViews” by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, the EPA’s “Recommended Levels of Insulation,” and “Invasive Plant Inventory” by California’s Invasive Plant Council.

Wow. Won’t that encourage our children to read.

The article further reports:

The people behind the core have sought to defend it, saying that this was not meant to supplant literature. This increased emphasis on nonfiction would not be a concern if the core worked the way it was supposed to, with teachers in other disciplines like math and science assigning the hard technical texts that went along with their subjects. But teachers worry that this will not happen. Principals seem to be having trouble comprehending the requirement themselves. Besides, the other teachers are too busy, well, teaching their subjects to inflict technical manuals on their students too, and  they may expect the English department to pick up the slack. And hence the great Purge of Literature.

What kind of children are we planning on raising? Anyone can order a government pamphlet and read it. There is no reason to waste time in high school reading how to insulate a house (unless you are training for construction). Reading literature helps students understand the challenges of those who have gone before them. It also (possibly) gives them an appreciation of the ease of the lives they live.

My favorite talk show host is Bill Bennett. I enjoy listening to him because he is the product of a Classical Catholic education. He talks as easily about Shakespeare as he does about recent events on Capitol Hill. His perspective is framed by his education in the classics of literature–not by what plants he can bring into California.

The Common Core Standards is one of the dumbest ideas to come along in  a long time. I hope teachers will reject it quickly so that the students can actually learn to appreciate literature.

NOTE: I posted a similar article on December 7th. I am posting this article because I think it contains more detail on what is actually planned.

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