September 23, 2014

Get Your Questions Answered...

Education Reform Facts For the CT Parent
a live forum hosted by CT Against Common Core,
will be held on Sunday, October 5th
at Black Rock State Park
from 10am till 1pm
Rain or Shine (meeting will be held under the pavilion)
Admission and parking are free
although donations to cover the space and speakers are welcome, and can be made here.

They ask that you consider bringing a chair or blanket in case the picnic tables are not enough. And while it is an event for adults, children are welcome if other arrangements cannot be made for them.


10 am
Jessica Chiong, Founding Member of CT Against Common Core
Nick Coppola, Founding Member and Webmaster of CT Against Common Core

10:30 am
Keynote Speaker
Dr. Christopher H Tienken, Professor at Seton Hall

12:00 pm
Legalities of Common Core in CT
Deborah Stevenson, Connecticut Education Lawyer

12:15 pm
Opting Out
Cheryl Hill, Member of CT Against Common Core

12:30 pm
Overview & Final Questions
Chris & Lisa Simo-Kinzer, Members of CT Against Common Core

September 22, 2014

What's The Problem with the Gates Foundation Donating Money to Education?

Someone in a Facebook group I belong to said
On Monday the state Board of Regents held a town hall meeting at college to discuss their "Transform 2020" plan. Basically it's strategy is to streamline the state universities and community colleges. During the Q&A I expressed my dismay over the state's using graduation rates as the primary measure of program success when our college is a transfer institution for most students.
The speaker's answer stunned me...."what do we do when the Gates Foundation asks us to present our graduation numbers?".
When I responded that it is not proper for state institutions to be beholden to a private institution she quickly backtracked claiming they only use the Gates Foundation for research. ...
I distinctly heard her say they have to give the Gates Foundation the outcomes that the private foundation wants.

This was very disturbing to me; although I knew that Gates is basically taking over education in the US,  this was the first first-hand account I've heard about Gates' influence directly here in CT and it affected me more deeply than anything else I'd heard.

So it was with special interest that I read this article I came across yesterday. It's about how Gates and cohorts control the conversation around Common Core by controlling the media. What we can expect to hear soon...
It was often repeated and became widely accepted as a result of their campaign that “public education is broken.” This was the narrative that has allowed for wholesale experimentation in the deconstruction of public education. Now, the story is shifting, and the new narrative is “Reform is Working!”

Please consider reading the entire article yourself. It's a good one.

September 19, 2014

Common Core Standards vs. Curriculum

There still seems to be a lot of people out there who believe that Common Core is just standards and not actually curriculum, and after a recent conversation with someone regarding this, I googled it, hoping to find an easy answer to provide. However, when I googled it, the first page of finds was junk from the Common Core websites themselves. So I'm spending a few minutes to clear it up and hopefully have this show up in searches for people who are looking for the reality and don't want to have to spend a lot of time digging for it.

After some digging myself, the first explanation I found came from an article in The Washington Post. It was written by "Award-winning Principal Carol Burris of South Side High School in New York [who] was once a supporter of the Common Core but came to be a critic after her state began to implement the initiative." The article speaks to way more than just the issue of standards vs curriculum, but like I said, I'm pulling it out and giving it its own post for Google indexing. I'm also posting the actual video she refers to, rather than just a link to it. Ms. Burris writes...

Of course the standards seek to influence instruction. Unlike previous standards that were statements of content matched to grade level, the Common Core standards embed 12 Instructional Shifts.

Here is an example. This is a pre-Common Core Kindergarten standard from Massachusetts.

Use objects and drawings to model and solve related addition and subtraction problems to ten.

It is clean, clear and developmentally appropriate.

Here is the equivalent Common Core standard:

Compose and decompose numbers from 11 to 19 into ten ones and some further ones, e.g., by using objects or drawings, and record each composition or decomposition by a drawing or equation (e.g., 18 = 10 +8); understand that these numbers are composed of ten ones and one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, or nine ones.

Notice the difference. The Common Core insists upon the use of a particular method of math instruction (decomposing numbers) which you can see demonstrated here.
Although this may be helpful in increasing understanding for some students, it should be up to a teacher to use it, or not use it, as a strategy. Instructional strategies have no place in state standards, and indeed they are noticeably absent from other national standards, including those of high performing Finland.

You can read the article by Carol Burris, in its entirety, here. And I did previously blog about the "standards" actually being curriculum here, although without the help of a video to understand it.