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cry me a river
Response to the emotional pleas and bullying of the Common Core proponents?

 

We are celebrating the New Year by cutting through the lies of Common Core with a rebuttal of the NPR puff piece on Jason Zimba, considered the math architect of the standards.  Here’s an excerpt from the NPR (which has accepted money from the Gates Foundation to report on educational matters) article:  The Man Behind Common Core Math:

Zimba was an obscure physics professor at Bennington, an elite liberal arts college in Vermont. He wrote a quirky math and parenting blog with posts about complex physics problems, his kids, and the occasional political issue, including a 2011 post titled, “Numbers Don’t Lie (but Michele Bachmann Does).”

He was chosen for a Rhodes scholarship to England’s Oxford University in 1991. At Oxford, he befriended a Yale student from Manhattan, David Coleman. Coleman went on to become a consultant for McKinsey, the global consulting firm. Zimba returned to Detroit to do stints of factory work to help support his family, but eventually he headed to the prestigious math department at the University of California, Berkeley for a Ph.D. in mathematical physics. In 1999 he reconnected with Coleman, who had an idea for starting an education business.

At first, they considered going into educational video games, but they scrapped the idea in favor of an even bigger educational trend: standardized testing. The No Child Left Behind Act was still around the corner, but a growing education reform movement, which insisted that holding schools more accountable for student test scores would increase performance, had already pushed many states to expand standardized testing.

Coleman and Zimba’s business, the Grow Network, found a niche in the burgeoning field of testing by producing reports that helped schools, teachers, parents and even students themselves interpret results from the new exams. “To design a successful assessment report, you need to be thoughtful about what the teacher really needs, what the student really needs,” Coleman says.

 

And just who decided what ‘all’ teachers/students need?  Why that would be David Coleman and Jason Zimba!  Now wouldn’t you think NPR would just somehow think there just might be a connection between the need for even more standardized testing, the data tracking and the Common Core States Standard Initiative?  This is a dream come true.  The private industry can just step into the framework it has designed to make its fortune from the taxpayers.

An educator (unnamed for fear of retribution) who has seen education reform come and go and is unimpressed with the Common Core Theory writes:

Here’s my take and commentary about the article on Zimba:
While it would be interesting to know how much Zimba was paid for writing the standards, it isn’t that important to me.  There are many who would have written standards without being paid–and likely better standards.  Writing the standards set Zimba up to make so much money that whatever he was paid for writing the standards will seem minuscule in comparison.
I see this piece about Zimba as a part of the PR campaign to clear the negative image the CCSS and related issues have rightfully developed.  In addition to pushing the same old tired and untrue information about the CCSS (they can’t do any better since they have no evidence to support their statements and claims), this article tries real hard to play on soft public emotion.  Poor Zimba.  Too bad for the CCSS supporters that there has been such a backlash…   and for many good reasons for which they really don’t want to address and shouldn’t have to if they play well enough on your emotions.  A song title readily came to mind as I read the article:  Cry Me a River.
“The creation of the standards is enshrouded in mystery for people,” Zimba says. “I wish people understood what a massive process it was, and how many people were involved. It was a lot of work.”
As much as supporters emphasize the democratic origin of the standards and count out the dozens of experts and teachers who were consulted,
“We needed individuals that would know the mathematics — Jason and the other writers obviously know the mathematics — but would also be able to work with the states, and a bunch of teachers who would be involved.” (Minnich)
During the course of the next year, they consulted with state officials, mathematicians and teachers, including a union group. Draft after draft was passed back and forth over email.
(emphasis added)
Names please.  Names, pedigrees, and did they work on the standards while being paid with tax dollars?  Other than the official work group and feedback group lists, I’ve yet to see the list of people who where involved as claimed by the CCSSI.  Until I see faces or names I find it difficult to believe so many people were involved.  In this time of data being so all important, they can not or will not provide us with this data.  Kinda sorta gets my suspicions going.  For all the effort, in this article and elsewhere, to make it seem like the multitudes were involved in the writing, this article almost paints a picture of Zimba single-handedly writing the math standards.
Michael Petrilli, not even mentioned in this article, has said, “There’s got to be a way to get more emotional with our arguments if we want to win this thing.”  This article is yet another weak attempt to bring emotions into the weak and unsupported arguments and claims for the CCSS.
In closing, I would like to dedicate the song Emotional Rescue by the Rolling Stones to Michael Petrilli, Jeb Bush, and now Jason Zimba.

NPR is a news organization.  Real investigation (not a PR piece) should commence about the questions this educator poses.  This isn’t some neat little experiment Bill Gates wants to do with private schools.  This is an experiment with tax dollars that circumvented state legislatures in its adoption and implementation. Just who did give Jason Zimba the authority to write math standards for public educated students that taxpayers are now compelled to pay for?
Don’t hold your breath that factual reporting about Common Core will occur from NPR.  From The Gates Foundation:
(click on graphic to enlarge)
gates foundation npr

 

For fun this New Year’s Day, watch Emotional Rescue by the Rolling Stones.  Sorry we won’t come to the CCSSI’s rescue.  Not interested.

 

 

Published January 1, 2015

 

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