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!

The Consequences Of Letting Everyone In The Same Bathroom

The bathroom bill (should be locker room bill) passed in North Carolina has caused a lot of controversy. This article is based on two articles, one posted at CBN News today and one posted at Lady Liberty 1885.

The article at Lady Liberty 1885 includes the following video (also posted on YouTube):

As the video points out, women need a safe space to change clothes or go to the bathroom. I can’t imagine thinking parents wanting their teenage daughters to share locker rooms with teenage boys.

There has been another interesting example of the fallout of this law.

CBN News is reporting today:

A former state executive director of the ACLU has resigned because her own daughters were frightened when transgendered men entered the women’s bathroom.

The American Civil Liberties Union has been a champion of transgender bathroom rights. Former director of the Georgia ACLU chapter Maya Dillard Smith says she is resigned after her daughters’ experience in a public bathroom.

“I have shared my personal experience of having taken my elementary school age daughters into a women’s restroom when shortly after three transgender young adults, over six-feet tall with deep voices, entered,” Smith wrote in a statement.

“My children were visibly frightened, concerned about their safety and left asking lots of questions for which I, like many parents, was ill-prepared to answer,” she continued.

She also said the incident highlighted the ALCU‘s “hierarchy of rights.”

She wrote in a statement that the ACLU is “a special interest organization that promotes not all, but certain progressive rights….based on who is funding the organization’s lobbying activities.”

Transgender people constitute a very small percentage of our population. They deserve to be respected and not bullied, but their desires should not be used to put the safety of other Americans in jeopardy. The transgenders themselves are not the issue–it’s the people who will use the issue for their own nefarious purposes.


Early Voting In North Carolina

Early voting in North Carolina begins this Thursday. I suspect that most voters have already made up their minds about the Presidential race, but there are some other offices on the ballot that are important. One of the often overlooked races on the ballot is the race for North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction. Currently that position is held by June Atkinson. There are five people running for that position, including Ms. Atkinson and Henry Pankey in the Democratic primary; and Mark Johnson, J. Wesley Sills, and Dr. Rosemary Stein in the Republican primary.

Superintendent Atkinson is a strong supporter of the Common Core standards. Henry Pankey’s website does not give a clear indication of whether he supports Common Core or not. Mark Johnson does not support Common Core, and J. Wesley Sills’ website is vague on the issue. Dr. Rosemary Stein is a strong opponent of Common Core.

The position of Superintendent of Public Instruction is important because it sets the tone for education in North Carolina. While the office does not totally control education in the state, the decisions made there impact all students across the state. Because I have seen the results of the decisions made by the current Superintendent (in the form of helping one of my granddaughters with her math homework), I am supporting a change. I am voting for Dr. Rosemary Stein for North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction.

In January of this year, Lady Liberty posted an interview she did with Dr. Stein. I am sharing a portion of that article below:

Finally we come to Dr. Rosemary Stein. Stein, who is a medical doctor and a Republican, has a pediatrics practice in Alamance county. Stein is the only other female in the contests and she’s also of Hispanic decent. Stein is a member of the Board of Trustee for Alamance Community College as well as Chair of curriculum there, is the Chair of the NC Republican National Hispanic assembly and is on the Board of the North Carolina Smart Start Foundation. Of note, she is also on the NC Superintendent’s Graduation Task Force.

…I sat down with Dr. Stein and talked to her about why she decided to run and what her biggest priorities are. When asked what the biggest factor that drove her decision to run for Superindent, Stein said that a small article in her local paper sent she and her husband on an investigative journey.

My husband and I started a pediatric clinic 16 years ago. Our clinic provides the best possible care to our patients regardless of the parents’ circumstance in life. Several years ago, we read the Sunday paper in which a list of the top 100 students in the area was printed. Not a single one of our patients was on that list.” said Stein. “This lead us to begin the process of determining why our kids were not succeeding in school.”

During our investigation of this problem, we realized that our children were not able to read at grade level, and in some cases not at all. To solve this problem and not misdiagnose ADD, we began to investigate better methods of teaching reading and math. It was clear that North Carolina was no longer using traditional phonics based reading methods and classical mathematics instruction.”

Today, our children are forced to learn using a curriculum based on Common Core. This method of instruction is developmentally inappropriate.” stated Stein. “It does not teach to the child’s brain development. In fact, because Common Core teaches things to the child at the wrong developmental period of their brain development, it is actually harming their brain development.”

This path is the primary factor in my decision to run for Superintendent of Public Instruction. It is my intention to return North Carolina to the Classical Education model that was used so successfully in America decades ago. It is proven to be developmentally correct for the brain development of the child.”

The different candidates all seem to have some topics that overlap in their platforms. Common Core seems to be a hot button, as is over-testing. I asked Dr. Stein what her top three issues or goals were and she began by telling me what wasn’t on the list.

“I am not running for Superintendent to be a better administrator of a failing education system.” Stein said. “I am running to change that system to Classical Education so that all North Carolina children can reap the benefits of an education system that is reserved only for the elite in our society. Only by doing this can we fix our education system.”

It is my goal to fix the English as a Second Language program and return it to an immersion program that was used when I was a Spanish speaking child.”

Stein addressed a critical, yet oft ignored, issue for the success of our schools – teacher preparation.

Stein stated, “I will also work with the North Carolina University system to return Child Development courses to the curriculum for aspiring teachers. Teachers must understand child development in order to understand how and why certain techniques work to help them teach their pupils.”

On the topic of the educational course that the Department of Public Instruction has taken, as well as the noted waste and administrative bloat under Dr. Atkinson’s tenure, Stein responded that waste can’t be reformed and that state and local control needs to be restored.

We cannot reform the waste in DPI.” stated Stein. “We must change the way that our children are taught. By accomplishing this task, the reasons for the waste will be eliminated.”

According to many North Carolina legislators, we receive about 10% of our education funding from the federal government. In return for this, we receive nearly 100% of the rules and regulations from them.” said Stein. “I would like to cut the ties to these federal funds and allow North Carolina children to get the instruction from those local educators who know them the best.”

Dr. Stein’s qualifications are impressive. She is a former teacher of Reading and English as a Second Language. She is an Adjunct Teaching Professor for three medical schools. She is a former Alamance County Community College Trustee, Chair of the Curriculum Committee. Those a just a few of her qualifications.

For further information on the reasons this lady should be our next North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction, please visit Dr. Stein’s website. If you care about the education of North Carolina’s children, please vote for Dr. Stein.