Skip to content

Gates Grant to “Further Hardwire the Common Core Curriculum” ??

One way to ensure permanence in the field of electronics is to “hardwire”– which means to “permanently connect.”

In electronics, “hardwiring” refers to circuitry.

For billionaire public education purchaser Bill Gates, circuitry and mass education, it’s all the same.

Bill Gates has already likened the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) to circuitry, with the moronic assertion that standardization of an American education from which he and his children are exempt will surely lead to “innovation” in this March 2014 Washington Post appeal to teachers to “defend” CCSS:

Gates said common standards could transform U.S. education, reduce the number of students taking remedial courses in college and enable American students to better compete globally.

Standardization is especially important to allow for innovation in the classroom, said Gates, who used an analogy of electrical outlets.

“If you have 50 different plug types, appliances wouldn’t be available and would be very expensive,” he said. But once an electric outlet becomes standardized, many companies can design appliances and competition ensues, creating variety and better prices for consumers, he said.

If states use common academic standards, the quality of classroom materials and professional development will improve, Gates said. Much of that material will be digital tools that are personalized to the student, he said. “To get this innovation out, common standards will be helpful,” he said[Emphasis added.]

Gates said, Gates said, Gates said. Got that?

Making all US classrooms “the same” will somehow (only the fairies really know how) *transform US education.* He assumes that since appliances operate via the same “plug,” CCSS is suitable for the American classroom for the masses.

Just plug in the children of the masses, and creativity will bloom. Standardization will lead to *digital solutions*, which apparently are the solutions for all kids of the masses, no matter their capabilities, personalities, tendencies, interests, or preferences.

Just plug ‘em in.

Gates doesn’t address the fact that not everything inserted into an outlet is beneficial.

I could “innovatively” design a gadget, plug it in, and get electrocuted.

But back to that “hardwiring.”

Hardwiring is not “innovative.” It is permanent and set.

In that March 2014 Washington Post article, Gates appealed to teachers to “defend” CCSS.

March 2014 was a busy month for Bill and his CCSS campaign. He “explained” CCSS at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI)– one of many “nonprofits” he funded to “explore” CCSShe dined with 80 senators and other officials and pitched his reforms; he gave the keynote at the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) conference, and he granted Lyndsey Layton of the Washington Post an interview in which he insisted he is neither purchasing nor driving American education.

And yet…

As of July 2014, he is willing to pay for organizations to “help” teachers “hardwire”… the CCSS “curriculum??

I thought CCSS wasn’t a curriculum….

Anyone who believes that CCSS can be isolated from curriculum and tests (and professional development has not read mega-education corporation Pearson’s February 2014 earnings call.

Pearson intends to capture millions (billions?) by casting the lucrative CCSS net wide– tests, curriculum, professional development– and, of course, it will use technology.

Plug it in, plug it in.

That doesn’t mean others cannot help with the rewiring.

Gates July 2014 “hardwire” grant has been paid to the nonprofit (of course, a nonprofitConstitutional Rights Foundation:

Constitutional Rights Foundation

Date: July 2014
Purpose: To provide professional development opportunities for teachers to further hardwire the Common Core curriculum
Amount: $299,709
Term: 18
Topic: College-Ready
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Los Angeles, California
Grantee Website: http://www.crf-usa.org

(For those interested in the CRF 2012 990, here you go.)

Note the “purpose”:

“Professional development for teachers to further hardwire the CCSS curriculum.”

Further hardwire?

In May 2014, Pearson was awarded the contract for one of the two federally-funded CCSS testing consortia, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). Before that, in February 2014, Pearson was already banking on CCSS– curriculum included. Pearson plans to “embed” itself in American education and make itself “indispensable” to the American CCSS venture.

Pearson is already planning to “hardwire” American teachers and students to their CCSS curriculum. And why not? It will complement their CCSS high-stakes PARCC tests.

PARCC is a fantastic “hardwiring” mold. And at last, PARCC begins to publicly admit as much:

In August 2014, PARCC CEO Laura Slover (one on the inside of CCSS development via Achieve and now, in charge of one of the powerful, lucrative CCSS testing consortia) admitted that the CCSS assessment will indeed drive curriculum (not news to those of us who are currently in the classroom) by way of “informing instruction.”

Of course it will.

Here it is, in Slover’s words:

“High quality assessments go hand-in-hand with high quality instruction based, on high quality standards,” said Laura Slover, the Chief Executive Officer of the PARCC nonprofit. “You cannot have one without the other.” [Emphasis added.]

The comma placement in Slovner’s first sentence is a curiosity– as though she paused to consider what exactly she was saying. Don’t want to state too clearly that the tests will drive curriculum.

Too late, Laura. We already get it. High-stakes tests drive classroom instruction. The higher the stakes, the stronger the drive.

Plug it in, plug it in.

As to that Gates “hardwire” grant to the Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF)–

–it will only *work* if the CRF professional development leads to a curriculum that *fits the outlet* of the CCSS assessment.

And it could, based upon CCSS ELA literacy standards for grades 6 through 8.

However, CRF is located in California, which happens to be a Smarter Balanced consortium state. Thus, CRF hardwiring likely must be suited to the Smarter Balanced outlet.

Just to be safe, Bill–

–better make sure your purchased hardwiring is okay with PARCC and Smarter Balanced first.

You see, Bill, CCSS is not the outlet. The CCSS assessments are the outlets.

Plug it in, plug it in.

electric shock

 

_____________________________________________________________

Like my writing? Read my newly-released ed “reform” whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who in the Implosion of American Public Education

NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE.

EdNext and the “Promise” of “Charter Choice”–But Let’s Not Mention the FBI

I have written a couple of posts of late regarding the results of Education Next’s 2014 public opinion survey, especially as concerns EdNext’s and its editor-in-chief Paul Peterson’s attempts to sell the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) to a public that is only half aware of CCSS– and with the half who are aware increasingly rejecting those “common standards in English and math.”

(The New York Times will be sponsoring a CCSS debate on September 9, 2014. It has entitled its debate, “Embrace the Common Core,” and yet its own polling result shows overwhelming rejection of CCSS. As of this writing, the survey has approximately 41,500 responses– 89 percent of which are cast against CCSS. Apparently America is not too keen on the NYT-encouraged CCSS “”embrace.”)

Given the length of the EdNext survey, I have chosen to examine it– and Peterson’s cultivation of the education-privatization message– in a number of separate posts.

In this post, I take on the EdNext fostering of one component of what is euphemistically known as “choice”– privately-managed, public-funding-garnering charter schools.

There’s a lot of unregulated money to be made in “school choice”– so much so that the FBI is conducting investigations nationwide on criminal behavior rampant in America’s charter schools.

That the gross negligence of states to regulate “choice” has yielded fertile ground for criminal activity appears to have escaped any survey question posed by EdNext.

The hidden component of “choice” is the systematic dissolution of the traditional, local-school-board-run public school system. Indeed, EdNext is a corporate-reform-promoting nest that is especially fond of defunding traditional public education via under-regulated charter schools.

It is not difficult to find evidence of charter fraud and failure. Follow this link to read about charter fraud and failure in numerous states, including Florida, Ohio, California, Michigan, Connecticut, Illinois, Arizona, North Carolina, and DC. In addition, have written about the “charter success game” in Louisiana here.

Charters have been sold to the American public as an established solution to replace the “failing” traditional public schools, the undeniable scapegoats for America’s fabricated losing of the Dodo race of international education competition upon which national security purportedly hinges.

EdNext has been polling America since 2007 on its views of charters. Given its undeniable preference for “choice,” EdNext survey results demonstrate an attempt to capture the words necessary in order to shape public opinion as being in favor of “choice”– especially charters.

EdNext surveys can be found here: 2007200820092010201120122013, and 2014.

From 2007 to 2014, EdNext has asked this question (or one similar) of its respondents regarding charters:

2007: Many states allow for the formation of charter schools, which are privately managed under a renewable performance contract that exempts them from many of the regulations of other public schools. Do you support or oppose the formation of charter schools?

In 2008, EdNext altered its wording of the question to establish in the respondent’s mind the idea that charters are trustworthy via “meeting promised objectives”:

2008-09: Many states permit the formation of charter schools, which are publicly funded but are not managed by the local school board. These schools are expected to meet promised objectives, but are exempt from many state regulations. Do you support or oppose the formation of charter schools? [Emphasis added.]

What EdNext does not state in the above question concerns exactly what “promises” these under-regulated charters are “meeting”– or for whom. Perhaps the very “promises” these charters are keeping have led to a nationwide FBI investigation.

In 2010, EdNext again modifies the question slightly, this time adding a nonsense filler intro, “as you may know.” This addition clouds the question, for it introduces the idea that respondents “should know” about charters. How such an unnecessary addition to the question wording influences respondents is not known. All that EdNext managed with adding such verbiage is to take an already-slanted question and make it worse:

2010-14: As you may know, many states permit the formation of charter schools, which are publicly funded but are not managed by the local school board. These schools are expected to meet promised objectives, but are exempt from many state regulations. Do you support or oppose the formation of charter schools? [Emphasis added.]

Basking in delusion, in an article on its 2010 results, Peterson et al. describe the above charter question as follows:

After describing a charter school in neutral language, the survey asked respondents if they favor or oppose “the formation of charter schools.” [Emphasis added.]

“Neutral language”? Not quite. The 2007 version of the question was “neutral.” From 2008 onward, not so.

The 2008-14 versions of the EdNext charter question above are loaded. The implication that charter schools are “exempt from state regulations” is muted by the blanket assurance that charters “are expected to meet promised objectives.” In other words, charters are “exempt from regulation” yet somehow “regulated” by an invisible entity referred to in the mysterious passive voice.

America’s charter schools are under a widespread FBI investigation for “meeting” the undeclared “objective” of self-serving corruption.

Bilking public education out of under-regulated millions just might be that “met promise.”

Let’s just set that little problem aside for a moment as we examine EdNext responses to the above similar question over the years. I realize that the question wording has issues, but it is the best that I have available in order to examine some hint of public perception of charters over the course of the EdNext survey. Here is the 2007-14 survey respondent trend for the above “support/oppose charters” question:

                                                             (2007-14):

Completely support:                  19%  16%  14%  12%  16%  17%  18%   21%

Somewhat support:                   25%  26%  25%  32%  27%  26%  33%  34%

Neither support nor oppose:  42%  41%  44%  36%  39%  41%  24%  18%

Somewhat oppose:                     8%  10%  10%  13%  11%  10%  18%  20%

Completely oppose:                   6%    6%    7%   6%    7%    6%    8%     8%

Not much of an argument for the public approving of charter schools. The most notable change is in the neutral category; in 2013 and 2014, the general public has chiefly moved from neutrality to either somewhat supporting to somewhat opposing those “promised objective meeting” charters.

“Somewhat support” is not wholehearted support. It is support with reservation– and some more reservation is evident with the increased “somewhat oppose” category.

Now let me offer a statement written by Peterson and his sidekick Martin West in 2010 regarding charter school presence in communities of people of color:

The NAACP and its sister organizations are correct that charters are “overrepresented” in minority communities.

Peterson and West maintain that this “overrepresentation” is no problem because African-Americans want charters– that charter support is “on the rise.” In 2010, 47 percent of African-American survey respondents indicated “somewhat supporting” charters. Again, “somewhat support” is support with reservation. As is evident in subsequent years (2011-14), African-Americans’ “somewhat supporting” charters took a dive, and “completely supporting” charters has been erratic– and is at an all-time low of 12 percent for the life of the EdNext survey.

                                                            African American  (2007-14):

Completely support:                  25%  15%  14%  17%  11%  17%  19%   12%

Somewhat support:                   22%  27%  35%  47%  27%  28%  34%  35%

Neither support nor oppose:   41%  48%  42%  23%  49%  42%  23%  24%

Somewhat oppose:                      5%     9%    7%    9%    9%     9%  16%  20%

Completely oppose:                    7%     1%    2%    5%    4%     4%    9%     9%

Hispanic respondents also indicate no established increase in either “complete supporting” or “somewhat supporting” charters over the course of the life of the EdNext survey. Both Hispanic and African-American respondents have shown a dip in neutrality in 2010 followed by increased neutrality in 2011-12 — and both groups evidenced notable increases in “somewhat opposing” charters in 2013-14.

What is clear is that neither Hispanics nor African Americans are “completely supporting” or “somewhat supporting” charters more than the general public has in several years.

                                                          Hispanic  (2007-14):

Completely support:                  19%  14%  17%  14%  18%  12%  19%   19%

Somewhat support:                   25%  23%  23%  33%  20%  22%  34%  34%

Neither support nor oppose:    39%  46%  52%  33%  45%  53%  23%  19%

Somewhat oppose:                     10%   11%    5%   16%    8%    9%  16%  22%

Completely oppose:                    7%     6%     3%     5%    9%    4%    9%     6%

Regarding the results of the 2014 EdNext survey, Peterson tries to paint charters as being “chosen” by African Americans:

Charters attract a larger share of African Americans living with school-age children (15%).

Peterson also tries to paint stagnant support for charters as a positive “surviving of negative press.” He notes sunnily,

…Charter proponents continue to hold a near two-to-one advantage over opponents.  

The only way for Peterson to paint that “two-to-one advantage” is to collapse the “completely support” and “somewhat support” categories to produce optimistic general charter “support.” He does not acknowledge the reservation behind selecting “somewhat support” as opposed to “completely support.” He also wholly disregards the burgeoning charter scandals as not only potentially stifling any growing charter support but also contributing to increases in the “somewhat oppose” and completely oppose” categories.

He never addresses charter scandals at all. Imagine if he had asked this version of his charter question:

As you may know, many states permit the formation of charter schools, which are publicly funded but are not managed by the local school board and are exempt from many state regulations. Charter schools are prone to scandal, as evidenced by a recent nationwide, FBI investigation. Do you support or oppose the formation of charter schools?

I’m thinking the “completely oppose” category would suddenly become rather popular.

Moving on.

In 201o and 2011, EdNext reported results for the subcategories of “charter sample” and “charter parents.” The “charter sample” appears to be comprised of individuals living in zip codes in which at least one charter school is located.

                                                          Charter Sample  (2010 and 2011):

Completely support:                  15%  18%  

Somewhat support:                   33%  31%  

Neither support nor oppose:   32%  36%  

Somewhat oppose:                    14%     9%    

Completely oppose:                    6%      5%     

The above charter sample results do not differ markedly from those of the general public in 2010 and 2011.

What is of greater interest is the subcategory, “charter parents.” In short, the charter parents were not sold on the very schools their children attended. In 2010, the largest category was “somewhat support,” and in 2011, the largest category was the neutral category.

If parents are choosing their children’s schools, wouldn’t one expect more support for those chosen schools?

Do charter parents feel “stuck” over time?

There is no way to know this based upon the EdNext survey. Peterson et al. do not ask. Furthermore, Peterson and his followers chose not to document any possible trend regarding charter parents’ views of the very schools they were supposed to have “chosen” for their children. (In reality, “choice” is actually “forced choice.” Consider the disillusioning Walton-funded OneApp process for “choosing” charter schools in New Orleans. In New Orleans, “choice” isn’t all that it is cracked up to be. Those in charge even try to reshape this charter open enrollment fiasco as evidence of “demand” for schools in a nation in which education is compulsory.)

In 2011, both the African-American and Hispanic subsamples also evidenced a marked increase in neutrality regarding charter schools.

                                                          Charter Parents  (2010 and 2011):

Completely support:                  17%  18%  

Somewhat support:                   40%  26%  

Neither support nor oppose:   27%  48%  

Somewhat oppose:                    12%     5%    

Completely oppose:                     4%     4%     

If Peterson and his EdNext followers really wanted to know what charter school parents think of “choice”– and the degree to which “choice” is “forced choice”– they could ask in their survey. They could ask charter parents why they do not “completely support” their “chosen” schools.

 

They could also ask charter parents what exactly has them “somewhat supporting” or “neither supporting nor opposing” their “choice” schools.

The opinions of the general public on charter schools are not as telling as the opinions of those actually utilizing the charter schools.

But it appears that EdNext minds are already made up. Charter schools are good–and there will be no asking for potentially contradictory specifics from those who actually *choose* them.

And certainly no questions connecting charters and the FBI. I mean, that would be really bad for charter “choice.”

__________________________________________________________________

Like my writing? Read my newly-released ed “reform” whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who in the Implosion of American Public Education

NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE.

 

The Soap Opera of Teacher “Tenure” in Louisiana and New York

I am a tenured, career public school teacher.

As such, I realize I am Public Enemy Number One to the fiscally-well-backed, non-teaching finger-pointers who call themselves “education reformers.”

If only I could be fired without recourse, American education would no longer be “failing”; the security of my country would be certain, and we would once again (??) be a world power.

I sure am one powerful loser…

…or so those attempting to slap well-paid, simplistic solutions onto either complex or nonexistent problems would have the American public believe.

Classroom teacher “tenure” has been in the news for years now, and the week of September 1st, 2014, it is in the courts in both Louisiana and New York.

Let’s start with Louisiana.

Some Louisiana Soap

In 2005, following Hurricane Katrina, the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) fired thousands of teachers. Oh, wait– “laid off without opportunity to be rehired” for months, then permanently terminated in March 2006. In January 2014, the lower court found in favor of more than 7,000 Orleans Parish teachers for their wrongful termination. The case was appealed and will be heard on September 4, 2014 by the Louisiana Supreme Court.

OPSB claims that it did not have enough positions since the state took over most OPSB schools. Indeed, in November 2005, as a result of a special legislative session, the state swept in, changed the cut scores for “failing school” to a much higher score, and assumed control of almost all of the OPSB schools.

A common privatizing tactic: “Don’t blame me; someone else was responsible for that part.”

Piecemeal responsibility– a beauty for declaring oneself rightfully unaccountable.

The lower court said, “nothing doing”; OPSB has a responsibility to these teachers–as does the State of Louisiana.

I realize that such a mass firing would have made the likes of former DC chancellor-gone-manure pusher Michelle Rhee happy, but even she was not allowed to terminate teachers without offering a reason directly connected with job performance.

So, we’ll see what the Louisiana Supreme Court has to say on the matter. I’m thinking the millions the state wholehearted spends on shabbily-trained, temp-teacher Teach for America (TFA) contracts– including funds to train TFAers better so that they can teach more like, uh, career teachers– isn’t going to play into the state’s favor.

The second teacher tenure lawsuit on the Louisiana Supreme Court docket the week of September 1, 2014, concerns Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s push to tie teacher jobs to student test scores (called Act 1). It seems that Jindal and his legislative toadies were so eager to knock the wind out of teaching as a profession that they combined too many items in a single piece of legislation. Now, this case has been in the lower court, then to the Supreme Court, bounced back to the lower court and is once again back at the Louisiana Supreme Court.

The issue of Act1’s violating the “single object” requirement was the subject of my very first education-focused blog entry, written on January 25, 2013.

In March 2013, District Judge Michael Caldwell ruled that Act 1 did in fact violate “single object.” Jindal et al. appealed the ruling; it went to the Louisiana Supreme Court, from whence it was sent back to Caldwell to reconsider his ruling. Caldwell did so in January 2014, and noted that he stands by his original ruling. So back we go, to the Louisiana Supreme Court on September 5, 2014.

Only this time around, Jindal, State Board of Education President Chas Roemer, and State Superintendent John White are no longer chums. Don’t get me wrong– I realize that all three still view career classroom teachers as losers. Still, it will be interesting watching these three try to point fingers at each other as all agree that Louisiana education would surely be better if only those teachers had to repeatedly prove their worth based upon tests over which they have absolutely no control, as evidenced by the sad-sack comedy of the “Jindal vs. White and Roemer” litigation in which these “leaders” are currently embroiled.

Ahh, the soap opera that is fiscally costly, punitive high-stakes-test-driven “reform”!

New York Suds

Let us now turn our attention to New York, which apparently has its own tenure-kill-litigation soap starring the silver-spoon-squandering, former-news-anchor career of Louisiana born-and-bred (though never enrolled in its public schools) Campbell Brown, who has set up her own synthetic “parent crusade” against those New York public school teachers who must predominately be losers like me for their inability to please Brown with their graduation rates. Brown has a shiny new nonprofit that collects unnamed donor cash in order to wipe out teacher due process rights. She filed a lawsuit in New York to get the job done, but not before New York Parents Union did so.

A privatizing reform/ non-privatizing reform chameleon, New York Parents Union leader Mona Davids wanted to be the first (and only?) star in the NY teacher tenure killing show. However, Brown appeared and (it seems) managed to run off Davids’ legal team and also the support she was receiving from Vergara-pushing Students Matter. Davids is now angry that her anti-teacher thunder has been snatched by “bullying” Campbell Brown. New York professor and blogger Daniel Katz outlays this so-called “reform” battle beautifully in this August 31, 2014, blog post, which I reproduce here, in part:

Mona Davids and the New York City Parents Union are disappointed in Campbell Brown. Ms. Davids, whose causes as a parent activist in New Yorkhave been various and have led her to join or oppose other education advocates and “reformers” depending on the issue at hand, followed the Vergara decision in California with plans to file her own lawsuit in New York aimed at laws she claims protect incompetent educators.  While not as far reaching as the Vergara plaintiffs’ case, Ms. Davids aims to have injunctions issued against “last in, first out” and other dismissal rules.

Ms. Davids initially expected and received assistance from Campbell Brown’s “Partnership for Educational Justice” that initiated its own, separate suit with a more Vergara-like profile than Ms. Davids’.  According to interviews given to Eclectablog, Ms. Brown contacted Ms. David’s and NYCPU Vice-President Sam Pirozzolo wanting to discuss and coordinate efforts, but that meeting was cancelled.  Concerned that PEJ would file a lawsuit first, NYCPU rushed to file inStaten Island on July 3, 2014.  Davids and Pirozzolo claim they were subsequently contacted by Brown again who praised them and offered help which initially manifested with input from Brown’s attorney on how to amend the NYCPU suit to improve it.  Meanwhile, Brown filed her own lawsuit in Albany in an emotionally orchestrated press conference.  The NYCPU lawsuit soon got support from “Students Matter,” the California group funded by technology entrepreneur David Welch which launched the Vergara suit, and legal representation was offered by law firm Gibson Dunn.  It certainly seemed as if the anti-tenure forces in New York were coordinating their efforts.

Given the similarities between Davids’ and Brown’s suits, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a motion to have the suits combined in Staten Island, and a hearing with all parties was agreed to for September 3rd.

Davids and Pirozzolo allege that what happened next is the fault of Brown and her allies threatening parties supporting the NYCPU suit.  Officially, both Gibson Dunn and Students Matter have withdrawn their support and representation in the NYCPU lawsuit, and the New York Post reports “sources” saying Gibson Dunn had existing education clients not pleased with them representing Davids.  That doesn’t explain why Students Matter withdrew, and according to their interview with Electablog, both Davids and Pirozzolo claim they were told by their Gibson Dunn attorney that Brown had directly stirred up the trouble with the firm’s existing clients.  Brown, in keeping with her established practice of not disclosing very much about how Partnership for Educational Justice operates, had no comment for the NY Post story.  What this means is that the New York City Parents Union is slated to go into the September 3rd hearing with no effective legal representation, and Brown, who has told the press that she expects both suits to be merged, will likely find her organization in effective control of the whole deal. [Emphasis added.]

There you have it: Mona Davids– due in court on September 3rd, 2014– and without a legal team to help her quash NY teacher seniority.

I’m certain that if only NY teacher seniority were wiped away, then all consequences of ill-set NY testing cut scores would be resolved.

Idiocy.

Katz’s entire post is a real beaut and well worth the read.

When I see those who would bash me and my classroom teaching colleagues nationwide involved in their own self-centered, “But I wanted to smash teacher esteem and slaughter their profession first” public battles, it makes me feel satisfied to see them getting smacked upside the head as a result of their own ill motives.

And the Dramatic Organ Music Plays On…

So, Louisiana and New York teachers, pop some popcorn and enjoy the show. You have three viewing times to choose from: September 3, 4, or 5. And know that in the end, this nonsense says nothing about your dedication to navigating punitive reform in order to attempt to teach.

_________________________________________________________________

Like my writing? Read my newly-released ed “reform” whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who in the Implosion of American Public Education

NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE.

 

Video: My Six-minute WWL-TV Appearance Against Common Core

On Saturday, August 23, 2014, I participated in a six-minute WWL-TV Eyewitness Morning News segment on the controversy surrounding the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in Louisiana. The link to the segment can be found at the end of this post.

The segment was scheduled to precede the Tuesday’s pro-CCSS “forum.”

I was the only individual against CCSS out of three.

The other two participants want to keep CCSS in Louisiana. One is State Representative Walt Leger.

The other, Kenneth Campbell, is president of the national group financing the pro-CCSS lawsuit: the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO).

I wrote about BAEO in my book detailing individuals and organizations exploiting public education, A Chronicle of EchoesYou will want to read about this supposed “choice” group bankrolling Louisiana’s pro-CCSS lawsuit. In this July 2014 post, I offer readers the opportunity to read my chapter on BAEO for free.

As an enticement, let me offer a brief word on BAEO here:

BAEO was started via millions from white conservatives, including one foundation that years before paid to have a book written declaring blacks as genetically inferior.

National Alliance of Black School Educators President Andre Hornsby once described BAEO as “being used by conservatives to put a black face on a white movement.”

BAEO pushes “school choice”– charters, vouchers– and now, the “choice” to lock states into CCSS– in the name of “moving forward.”

Ironic, isn’t it– a purported “choice” organization for people of color spending millions derived from white conservatives to promote the single “choice” of CCSS?

But CCSS is not the first *deficient education solution* peddled by BAEO.

It was once wholly behind test-driven, punitive No Child Left Behind (NCLB) as The Solution.

Like CCSS, NCLB was also going to be the gap-closing wonder.

Between 2002 and 2004, BAEO accepted over one million dollars from the US Department of Education to sell NCLB to people of color as an educational solution via a multi-level media campaign (direct contact, radio, newspaper, internet).

By 2007, NCLB, with its “100 percent proficiency in English and math by 2014,” was already declared a failure.

So much for NCLB.

But BAEO has fresh millions and a new, gap-closing mission.

It’s 2014, and CCSS is going to do what is statistically impossible: make all states high ranking.

Thats right. Louisiana needs more rigor. Mortis.

Nevertheless…

…I have my fact-based doubts, which I expressed in short order on Saturday morning, August 23rd.

Click here to watch that six-minute WWL-TV CCSS segment.

WWLTV

 

_______________________________________________________________

Like my writing? Read my newly-released ed “reform” whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who in the Implosion of American Public Education

NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE.

Eva Moskowitz: Wall Street Stage Mother

Hedge-funded, politically-connected New York charter pusher Eva Moskowitz is trying to paint herself as a “protector of children.”

She insinuates that her charter school forcefulness is.. ahem.. “for the children,” and likens herself to to a “mama bear”:

“I’d be bullied, maybe, if children weren’t at stake,” she said. “But my momma-bear instinct kicks in when people try to do bad things to children. And the school system on a regular basis is doing bad things to children.”

She continued ripping into city public schools, saying the majority are “incredibly segregated and getting unbelievably poor results.”

“There are many, many hundreds of schools I would not send my own children to,” she added. [Emphasis added.]

Of course, teachers unions are the problem, and Moskowitz is the solution.

The only problem is, for all of her relentless driving of students to achieve on those high-stakes tests, Moskowitz cannot even deliver on her test-results-driven “bottom line.” In June 2014, Moskowitz’s Harlem Success Academy 1 graduated its first eighth grade class– at 32 students, only a remnant of the original 76 to enroll– and not one was accepted into New York City’s elite high schools.

These 32 survived “mama,” and it took them nowhere remarkable.

In my book exposing those exploiting public education, A Chronicle of Echoes, I compare Moskowitz to a mother– a stage mother. Here’s the opening of my chapter on Moskowitz:

If Mama Rose had forsaken Vaudeville and instead had focused on a career establishing and running charter schools, she might have been mistaken for Eva Moskowitz.

The entire chapter on Moskowitz is available here for readers to view for free, compliments of Amazon.com.

In it, I reveal Moskowitz’s drive to establish her charter school business– which is a business– one described as an “education corporation.” Moskowitz is heavily hedge-funded and has relocted her Success Academy corporate headquarters to Wall Street for $31 million over the course of 15 years– an average cost of $172,222 per month for rent alone.

Moskowitz’s self-inflicted salary has even busted the half-million mark.

And what do students get from their test-results-driven stage mother?

Test prep even on Saturdays and in bad weather.

And what do her non-unionized teachers get?

Six-day work weeks, eleven-hour work days, cell phones to make themselves available to students after school hours, the requirement to eat lunch with their students, infringement on their personal lives, and stress on their marriages.

And Eva is all for the parents– unless, of course, the parents object to what Eva wants.

It’s all in my book.

One would think that at least a couple of Moskowitz’s prized, test-prepped students would land in a prestigious NYC high school, but no.

Moskowitz has the corporate status and salary. She has the corporate drive. She even has the NYC political machine in her pocket.

But when comes to this self-deceived “mama bear” delivering on her own promised test results–

– her porridge is too cold.

 

EdNext’s Paul Peterson: Common Core Got the Bum Rap– Just Like Poor NCLB Did

Education Next is a journal that strongly promotes the privatization of public education based upon standardized-test-driven outcomes. The folks at EdNext really love charters and vouchers that drain *authentic* public schools of their funding all the while escaping the “accountability” so-called “reform” demands of those flunky, traditional public schools.

The EdNext editor-in-chief is Paul Peterson. He happens to be fond of charters, vouchers, and parent trigger laws.

In April 2014, Peterson and two others published a book entitled Teachers Versus the Public. That ought to tell you something about Peterson’s opinion of career classroom teachers.

Education destruction vixen-gone- manure handler Michelle Rhee endorsed Peterson’s book.

Enough said.

Ironically, it seems that the “public” has spoken: Peterson’s book is a dud.

That doesn’t mean he is finished pushing his privatizating, “blame the traditional teachers” message via his EdNext survey, which was begun in 2007– the year that George W. Bush’s “100 percent proficiency in reading and math by 2014″ No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was floundering in its reauthorization, a loaded issue that had run right smack into an election year.

That’s right: For the past eight years, EdNext has been administering its own public opinion survey on education issues that tend to originate with so-called “think tanks,” education-affiliated nonprofits, and the federal government– not with parents or teachers, and not from local communities.

Now, EdNext loves vouchers, charters, triggers, and grading teachers and schools using student standardized test scores. However, when it comes to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), the EdNext board runs the gamut, ranging from strong supporters, to the lukewarm, to those decidedly opposed.

EdNext editor-in-chief Peterson happens to be one who is fond of CCSS.

Since the 2014 version of the EdNext survey was published, Peterson has begun taking the opportunity to plug for CCSS– which, like test-driven NCLB, is stalling as an election year approaches.

Even CCSS part owner, the National Governors Association (NGA) has gone cool on pushing CCSS. And wouldn’t you know, Terry Holliday, the current president of the other CCSS co-owner, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), is rethinking this whole “common” standards idea for his state.

But Peterson maintains that CCSS is getting the bum rap– that CCSS resistance is resistance only to the CCSS name:

In the just-released 2014 Ednext survey of a nationally representative sample of the general public, no less than 68% of the public registers support for the following (if the material in brackets is deleted):

[Common Core] standards for reading and math that are the same across the states. In the states that have these standards, they will be used to hold public schools accountable for their performance.

Only 16% express opposition, the remainder saying they “neither support nor oppose the standards.” The level of public support remains essentially unchanged from its level in 2012.

Yet the simple addition of the bracketed phrase “Common Core” induces a drop in the level of public support from 68% to 53% and opposition rises from 16% to 26%. The Common Core label now has a toxic impact on public thinking.

Peterson laments that CCSS has fallen victim to “borking”– “opponents orchestrat[ing] a blazing, misleading campaign that introduced the country to negative campaigning on a massive scale.”

Sure– that could be it, Paul–

or– the half of 2014 EdNext survey respondents who are aware of CCSS simply don’t want it because they don’t like the effect of “test-driven tourniquet reform” upon their children and their schools.

I know– it seems so illogical to one so far removed from the CCSS-impacted classroom.

It must be something else, eh? Eh?

Peterson alludes to the 2007 EdNext survey in which respondents were asked a similar set of questions concerning NCLB. The result modeled that of the 2014 survey concerning CCSS: omit the term “NCLB” from the question; get greater support.

In his clouded view, Peterson concludes:

Even though student achievement increased after the passage of NCLB, the law was demonized for not having fulfilled its utopian objective of bringing all students up to a level of full proficiency. [Emphasis added.]

For Peterson to maintain that the increasing public rejection of both NCLB and CCSS as captured in the 2007 and 2014  EdNext surveys, respectively, is nothing more than a name change is mere speculation. In neither survey does EdNext bother to include questions in which it asks respondents to explain their reasons for supporting or rejecting NCLB or CCSS.

I mean, if you really wanted to understand the public’s position on the matter, wouldn’t you want to include such questions in your survey?

As former Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education during George W. Bush’s first term Susan Neuman reflects in a 2008 TIME interview:

Neuman …regrets the Administration’s use of humiliation and shame as a lever for school reform. Failure to meet NCLB’s inflexible goals meant schools would be publicly labeled as failures. Neuman now sees this as a mistake: “Vilifying teachers and saying we are going to shame them was not the right approach.”

The combination of inflexibility and public humiliation for those not meeting federal goals ignited so much frustration among educators that NCLB now appears to be an irreparably damaged brand. [Emphasis added.]

Peterson offers no commentary on the effects of “school vilification” on the public’s perceptions of NCLB. To him, public rejection of NCLB yielded NCLB as the undeserving fall guy “demonized by political opposition.”

And what of those marvelous NCLB test score gains?

It seems that the increased financial cost of NCLB rendered its modest test score gains a diminishing return by comparison.

Peterson states that under NCLB “student achievement improved”– but he doesn’t offer a detailed accounting of what was lost in the process.

How about joy of learning? What effect did NCLB have on that?

Joy of learning is a non-issue in both the 2007 and 2014 EdNext surveys. That which is not easily measured is ignored. I learned this from reading Peterson’s EdNext and Hoover Institute pal Eric Hanushek’s 1968 dissertation.

If it cannot be measured, ignore its influence and instead accord unbalanced influence to other captive factors– such as the impact of the teacher upon student test scores.

It’s all about the test scores.

Speaking of which: What of the ridiculous NCLB goal of “100 percent proficiency in reading and math by 2014″?

In his 2014 “CCSS is getting a raw deal” lament, Peterson excuses NCLB for its “utopian” goal. However, states are still being held hostage by supposed NCLB “waivers” to escape Utopia– and our basketball-playing US secretary of education can dribble, pass, and free-throw those waivers according to his whims.

Yep. NCLB was a real winner, and with each passing day that American politicians allow it to flounder as un-reauthorized, America is missing out, fer shure.

Looks like CCSS will be another cog soon to jam in the “education reform by vilification” wheel.

Let us remove our hats and offer a moment of silence.

Think-tanky survey imaging aside, it seems that the fate of CCSS in 2014 is similar to the fate of NCLB in 2007:

Both were peddled as “utopian,” but enough time had passed for enough of the public to realize it had been sold a destructive, punitive nonsense– and the politicians doing the selling had begun to scramble to regain public trust as a major election year approached.

Some “mindful of the polls” try to distance themselves from the floundering, top-down-reform issue without declaring a position. Others come out full-blast against, broadcasting that some other entity had not delivered on the promised outcome.

Different approaches, same career-advancing motive.

The influence of self-serving, political career advancement upon the proliferation of public education scapegoating “reform”–

I wonder when EdNext will conduct a survey on that?

 

lying politician

_________________________________________________________________

Like my writing? Read my newly-released ed “reform” whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who in the Implosion of American Public Education

NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE.

Seattle Times’ Gates-funded Education Lab Blog Experiment

Bill Gates lives in Seattle.

His money buys experiments there, too.

In October 2013, the Seattle Times announced that it had “sought” a grant from the Gates Foundation for a year-long “project” in partnership with Solutions Journalism Network– a blog called the “Education Lab”:

Education Lab, a partnership between The Seattle Times and Solutions Journalism Network, will explore promising programs and innovations inside early-education programs, K-12 schools and colleges that are addressing some of the biggest challenges facing public education.

The yearlong project is funded by grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

As part of a “Q and A” on the grant money and the project, Seattle Times offers the following:

The project has received $530,000 in foundation funding — $450,000 from the Gates Foundation and $80,000 from the Knight Foundation, a foundation that supports journalism excellence and media innovation.

The Seattle Times will receive $426,000 during an 18-month period. The bulk of its funding will pay for the salaries of two education reporters, allowing us to expand our education team; an editor and photographer primarily dedicated to the project; and a newly hired community-engagement editor. The funds will also be used for community outreach and public forums, creation of a blog and design and data work. …

The Seattle Times would neither seek nor accept a grant that did not give us full editorial control over what is published. Generally, when a grant is made, there is agreement on a specific project or a broad area of reporting it will support. … The foundation had no role in deciding which stories we choose to pursue or how we report those stories. It also does not review stories before publication. … 

Beyond agreeing to fund the project, the foundations have not asked for and will not have any input into the reporting of stories or into any of the content that will emerge from the project. The foundations will not be aware of specific stories we are working on or review them before publication. …

There will be no direct relationship between the foundation’s education advocacy and the reporting for Education Lab. It is possible the project will analyze and report on efforts that the Gates Foundation supports and those it does not. In determining the focus of the reporting in the project, the support of the Gates Foundation, or lack thereof, will play no role. Throughout the duration of the project, we will be transparent about funding for Education Lab.

For this project, the [Gates] foundation has a strong desire to test and learn whether this solutions-oriented approach would help promote deeper engagement on a complex topic like education. [Emphasis added.]

The Seattle Times sure is making an effort to convince those in Bill Gates’ home town that this is not just another Gates overreach.

Or is it?

In offering the above information up front, Seattle Times notes that it is being “transparent with readers about the source of the money.”

That’s $450,000 directly from Gates to the Seattle Times, right?

Not according to the Gates Grants search engine, which indicates no grant paid to the Seattle Times on or around October 2013 in the amount of $450,000. The search engine also indicates no $450,000 grant paid to either Solutions Journalism Network or Education Lab.

However…

…the Gates grants search engine does include this this July 2013 grant for $700,000, paid to New Ventures Fund of Washington, DC, for “communications” and “strategic partnerships”– specific to education journalism in the Seattle Times:

New Venture Fund

Date: July 2013
Purpose: to test solutions-oriented education journalism that leads to problem-solving and positive outcomes with the Seattle Times
Amount: $700,000
Term: 18
Topic: Communications, Strategic Partnerships
Program: Communications
Grantee Location: Washington, District of Columbia
Grantee Website: http://www.newventurefund.org

 

It seems that someone is not being “completely transparent,” after all.

Looks like Education Lab goes beyond being a Seattle Times idea. Looks like it is another Gates “strategic” education experiment.

Here is what New Venture Fund offers as its mission:

The New Venture Fund, a 501(c)(3) public charity, supports innovative and effective public interest projects. NVF was established in 2006 in response to demand from leading philanthropists for an efficient, cost-effective, and time-saving platform to launch and operate charitable projects. We execute a range of donor-driven public interest projects in conservation, global health, public policy, international development, education, disaster recovery, and the arts. More than half of the 50 largest US grantmaking foundations have funded projects hosted at NVF, including 8 of the top 10. 

NVF is overseen by an independent board of directors that has extensive experience in philanthropy and nonprofit management. NVF is managed under an administrative agreement with Arabella Advisors, a leading national philanthropy services firm that helps philanthropists and investors find innovative ways to achieve greater good with their resources. NVF has collaborated with Arabella on successful projects for many of philanthropy’s leading players and institutions, and the two organizations share a commitment to evaluation and measuring impact. [Emphasis added.]

Along the side bar of the Education Lab funding Q and A page, I noticed a number of Seattle Times stories focusing on test scores (see here and here and here and here). And here, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are mentioned, and it seems that parents are fine with CCSS “perhaps because test scores are going up.”

Based upon its sidebar of education stories, the Seattle Times sure is promoting a sunny perspective on test-driven education reform.

Now, according to the Seattle Times, this is their agenda, not a forced Gates agenda.

So that makes it okay… right?

Nevertheless…

Note that Bill Gates has really pushed usage of high stakes test scores. Though Gates is only a “neutral party” when it comes to issues of American education (tongue in cheek), and though he might be willing to delay their high-stakes usage (and by sheer coincidence, the federal government “comes up with the idea” two months after Gates does), Gates clearly intends to promote test-driven education for the masses.

So, for both Gates and the Seattle Times: high test scores are the ultimate determinant of education “success.”

Based upon the sidebar of Seattle Times stories on the Education Lab site, one reads that the Seattle Times also pushes the message that the best outcome for all students is college.

College. For. ALL.

I didn’t see any sidebar stories about students who become successes in jobs requiring specialized– dare I write it– non-college– training or apprenticeships.

If such stories exist, they are not featured on this sidebar.

The Seattle Times does offer some unique stories– like this one about a school transformed into a STEM school with a focus on hands-on projects. Even here, the “college is best” and “higher test scores means it’s valuable” messages lurk in the background of a “learning for learning’s sake” story.

Let us now turn our attention to Education Lab.

Here is the curiosity:

In contrast to the Seattle Times sidebar stories, the two Education Lab blog writers, Claudia Rowe and Linda Shaw, write stories that appear to critically question test-driven reform, as well as stories on special interest, education issues not part of the test-score-driven, education privatization agenda. (Click links to see archived stories by Rowe and Shaw.)

So, one sees this Education Lab blog with some rather refreshing education stories– and at the same time, one sees the primarily test-score-measure-of-success, Seattle Times education stories along the Education Lab sidebar.

Part of the experiment, perhaps?

We might soon find out. That “yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest” will expire in a couple of months.

Perhaps then, the Seattle Times, or the New Venture Fund, or Solutions Journalism Network, or the Gates Foundation will have the word for us on what this “project” means for American education.

Perhaps Bill will address the matter himself. Perhaps Melinda will do it.

You’ll have to forgive me if I appear skeptical of Gates involvement in American education ventures– and especially in the “measuring impact” of Gates-funded “positive outcomes.” Only last month, for my upcoming book on Common Core origins, I wrote a detailed chapter about what Gates promotes as his “neutral” involvement in American education and the reality of his repeatedly and actively promoting his personal view of what American education should look like.

Then again, this Gates “venture” is taking place in Seattle, where people are familiar with his games.

_________________________________________________________________

Like my writing? Read my newly-released ed “reform” whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who in the Implosion of American Public Education

NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE.

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,173 other followers