Another CCSS Proponent Believes Teachers & Parents ‘Need to be Educated’ on the Wonders of CCSS
Above is an excerpt from the mailbag at STLtoday.com, the electronic version of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The writer’s contention that Common Core should be kept is not based on research/data. It’s based on the opinion that Common Core should continue because change is hard, but it is also necessary. The bumps in the road are increasingly looking like potholes that school districts and states can’t dodge anymore as those entities are being swallowed up by the Federal government mandates and private non-governmental organizations setting public education policy. Those are certainly reasons enough to not only turn the car around, it’s advisable to abandon this road to public educational reform set by private NGOs (and supported via Federal Government mandates) immediately.
Below is actual research on the history of National Standards and Common Core from The Heartland Institute beginning in the year 1983. As you read about the private companies directing public education/policy vs your locally elected school board members (who are supposed to represent district residents), think about how you would answer the change is hard, but it is also necessary opinion. It’s important to understand just who is changing education and just who is deciding what necessary entails?
Hint: it’s not your local school board/district or taxpayers compelled to pay for this educational reform. Apparently it’s not a legitimate argument for taxpayers to voice concern based on opinion that CCSS methods do not provide excellent mathematical instruction. He dismisses parental concern that math should be taught in the manner in which the parents learned and the writer contends that teachers and parents alike need to be educated on the changes so they can help their students. In effect, one should accept the NGO version of public education direction/development and dissenting opinion that it is inadequate should not be seriously considered. Criticisms of CCSS should be based on legitimate criticisms so let’s present an argument against CCSS based on actual research.
You can read how this national standards movement and adoption of Common Core Standards has been a long time coming during many presidential administrations. The blueprint was set by just a few politically elected officials and several NGOs over three decades. From History of National Standards and Common Core:
(click on graphic to enlarge)
The federal funding/coercion of education reform began in earnest in 1994:
The timeline chronicles the increasing number of NGOs jumping on board the CCSS train. These NGOs now direct/develop educational standards and assessments public schools have to follow or else face consequences (the threat of loss of accreditation/funding) from their state agencies/USDOEd . The amount of funding from The Gates Foundation is astounding and Gates been a consistent player in this private/public partnership which is hijacking public education. Pay attention to Gates’ suggestion in 2014 for Gates Foundation called for a two-year moratorium on using CCSS-aligned testing to make “high-stakes decisions. Why is a private NGO inserting itself into state educational policy and decisions? Would the writer think that *might* be a legitimate reason to oppose CCSS?
From a previous MEW post, The Common Core Chuztpah of Bill Gates & CCSSO, on the Gates Foundation call for a two-year moratorium:
During the Washington Post’s March 2014 interview with Bill Gates, reporter Lyndsey Layton asked him what he thought about being called “the unelected superintendent of the country”. Gates did not appreciate such a question and insisted Layton was making the interview political vs substantive. Perhaps he had second thoughts about that title. Has he now decided being the nation’s superintendent would be an appropriate job for him since he has invested heavily in the adoption and implementation of the Common Core State Standards Initiative? The NY Times writes that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has decreed:
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the country’s largest donors to educational causes and a strong backer of the academic guidelines known as the Common Core, has called for a two-year moratorium on states or school districts making any high-stakes decisions based on tests aligned with the new standards.
The Common Core, originally adopted by 46 states and the District of Columbia and supported by the Obama administration, was devised by a group of educators and experts convened by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Over the past three years, teachers have scrambled to adapt classroom curriculums to the new guidelines — reading and math standards for pupils from kindergarten to high school. Some states, including Kentucky and New York, have already rolled out new standardized tests aligned with the standards, while many other states tried out tests this spring.
In an open letter, Vicki Phillips, the director of education for the Gates Foundation, wrote that “the best new ideas aren’t self-fulfilling; they have to be put into practice wisely.”
She added: “No evaluation system will work unless teachers believe it is fair and reliable, and it’s very hard to be fair in a time of transition. The standards need time to work. Teachers need time to develop lessons, receive more training, get used to the new tests and offer their feedback.”
The CCSSO was quick to declare that in fact, he is NOT the nation’s superintendent and does not have the authority to tell states what to do (are you holding your sides in laughter?):
Can you say MAJOR TRAIN WRECK? The Foundation which has paid in excess of $200 Million for standards PR used by the Chamber of Commerce, The Fordham Foundation, PTA, AFT, NEA and other organizations probably believes it has the ultimate say in how public education should be structured since it paid a lot of money for that ability. The CCSSO is scrambling to maintain any semblance of protecting the right of each state to direct its educational direction/development by refuting this statement from Gates.
The STL Post-Dispatch letter to the editor states:
Heartland’s timeline demonstrates the CCSSI circumvents the representative governmental structures that are supposed to be directing/developing public education. The system is broken, and we need to try something new should not mean privatizing public education with public money and afford the public/state legislatures no accountability for these long-term plans for national standards/Common Core Standards and Initiative. Where is the writer’s research confirming this statement?
Common Core’s goal is to give this ability to everyone. Most of our evidence shows this will work and, in some cases, already is.
There is no evidence provided that this theory will work or that it is presently working in some cases. As none is offered, it has to be taken as an opinion. That opinion is being currently debunked by our state educational agency in its withholding of the definition of exactly how these assessments are being scored. From Dancing a Two Step With DESE Over SBAC Results:
Yesterday, representatives from DESE gave a presentation to the House Education Committee on the state’s assessment plan. Instead of being a presentation on our experience with this spring’s SBAC test, much of the presentation, given by Deputy Commissioner Stacy Pries was historical fluff, surface level process and a blind look forward as to what was coming.
After 25 minutes of review of the history of testing in the state (BEST, MMAT, MAP) and testing terminology, Representative Monticillo asked when they would get to a discussion of the “scores” reported thus far for this spring, noting that schools in her district had frighteningly low scores, and that was the opinion of someone who was prepared to see low. Monticillo also pointed out that charters notably did worse than the public schools and the Missouri School For the Deaf had abysmal scores.
Pries gave the usual pablum about the tests being new, the teachers not being used to them and not having worked the kinks out in the curriculum. What she deftly did not tell the committee was that the scores, first of all, were not actual scores but merely percentages of students deemed to fall above or below the artificially set cut points. The raw scores and cut points have not been released to the public and will not be released to the states until November. That fact was not mentioned at the hearing.
Secondly, the test itself lacks the technical validity required by state and federal statute. Dr. Doug McRae, a retired test and measurement expert in Monterey Calinfornia submitted the following damning testimony to the California Board of Education about the SBAC tests which that state also administered to their students this past spring.
The big question for Smarter Balanced test results is not the delay in release of the scores, or the relationships to old STAR data on the CDE website, but rather the quality of the Smarter Balanced scores now being provided to local districts and schools. These scores should be valid reliable and fair, as required by California statute as well as professional standards for large scale K-12 assessments. When I made a Public Records Request to the CDE last winter for documentation of validity reliability and fairness information for Smarter Balanced tests, either in CDE files or obtainable from the Smarter Balanced consortium, the reply letter in January said CDE had no such information in their files.
Statewide test results should not be released in the absence of documented validity reliability and fairness of scores. Individual student reports should not be shared with parents or students before the technical quality of the scores is documented. But, the real longer lasting damage will be done if substandard information is placed in student cumulative academic records to follow students for their remaining years in school, to do damage for placement and instructional decisions and opportunities to learn, for years to come. To allow this to happen would be immoral, unethical, unprofessional, and to say the least, totally irresponsible. I would urge the State Board to take action today to prevent or (at the very least) to discourage local districts from placing 2015 Smarter Balanced scores in student permanent records until validity reliability and fairness characteristics are documented and made available to the public.” [Emphasis added]
…Though DESE presented for almost 90 minutes, there was so much that went unsaid as they bypassed the real concerns. Where they could have sought legislative support for telling the USDoED that Missouri would not be giving a test next spring because none existed that met federal guidelines for validity and reliability and that they expected no penalty from the Department as a result, instead they did a two step around the problems we have with our assessment plan and hoped that the committee went along with the dance.
Read more in the MEW article and how Dr. McRae illustrates the problems with SBAC math problems and validity . Where is the Post-Dispatch’s writer’s evidence that Common Core math is indeed working? Based on research, these assessment scores are not valid and Missouri DESE is not telling the legislature the whole truth about the testing process so we don’t know for a fact that Common Core math is working. Why shouldn’t parents be concerned about Common Core? Actually, the ‘illegitimate’ concern might be ‘legitimate’ after all.