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What is John White Promoting as Common Core Sample Assessment Materials?

August 25, 2013

In the four brief videos below, “Dianne X” examines the content of the Louisiana Believes website, including excerpts from the Race to the Top (RTTT) agreement that contradicts White’s “mission in Louisiana to have every child achieve a college degree or professional career” and sample Enhanced Assessment of Grade Level Expectations (EAGLE) test items offered to the public as being in line with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

This first video includes lofty introductory remarks from John White and comparison of his words to select, specific actual RTTT agreement details:

The second video includes EAGLE items for third grade English Language Arts (ELA) and a definite promotion of the Obama administration. (Warning: Dianne X’s sarcasm is undeniable in this video. The opinions of the Obamas belong to Dianne X, not to Mercedes Schneider.) The EAGLE item is nowhere near “rigorous” given the example of an “exemplary” response to the test question:

UPDATE 08-26-13: Below is clarification from Dianne X for her remarks about “Obama as a hero.” She wrote this in the comments section of this post:

…My word choice for the video was not the best for the example.  I should have enlarged the video’s scope to include the actual curriculum showing that in first grade students are to be taught that Obama is a hero. (In second grade, he is merely taught as famous.)  Those are not my words; that is what is in the actual curriculum.  At the time I made the video, that portion of the curriculum could still be viewed online.  The state has since scrubbed that from viewing.  But, as I have learned to do ever since they scrubbed the lesson plans on population control, I have them saved.  Here is a copy.  The part about Obama being a hero is in activity 8.  https://www.dropbox.com/s/7tut8zemi6d0g4f/curriculum—social-studies-grade-1.doc  [Emphasis added.]

In the third video, Dianne X examines a sample EAGLE item for grade 10 ELA: The focus is on “the evolution of employment in the United States.” The reading assignment: White House memos:

The final video includes examination of grade 4 ELA question on the brontosaurus, a known fiction erroneously presented as fact in the EAGLE item, and grade 11-12 ELA, in which the “rigor” is not only a paraphrase of a Shakespearean sonnet but one that incorrectly interprets Shakespeare’s use of the term, “fortune”:

The examples Dianne X presents illustrate the dulling of critical thought. Perhaps this will help CCSS proponents support their predictions for CCSS assessment failure.  Her examples also demonstrate the errors inevitably present when one rushes to throw together curricula and associated sample assessment items for a set of standards arriving a year early. (Louisiana was not supposed to fully implement CCSS until the 2014-15 school year, but Arne Duncan is worried about states dropping CCSS, so let’s rush it through so that we can argue to keep CCSS “since we’ve already started.”) Keep in mind that these EAGLE assessment items have not been developed in conjunction with the Louisiana CCSS assessment, Jeb Bush’s Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC), which is only this year being field tested, so who knows really what to expect of PARCC for next year? (An aside: Our faculty has already been told that the non-piloted PARCC items are “hard.”)

In the end, the high-stakes deciding factor in Louisiana CCSS is the PARCC cut score.  Never mind really what students learn (or fail to learn); never mind the quality of the EAGLE items or the disconnect between EAGLE and barely-existent PARCC. If New York’s experience has taught us anything, it is this:

He who sets the cut scores rules the world.

12 Comments
  1. Lafayette Ann permalink

    “We should never show a sitting President to be a hero to students”. Seriously!?! I think your word choice is interesting. Showing as a hero would be questionable (unless the President had done something heroic that day, such as save a third grader from a fire). But showing ‘as a role model’ does seem pretty much exactly what you would want to show any third grader about ANY sitting president.

    The same applies to a sitting First Lady. Not a hero unless they rescued a kitten from a tree — but every day a role model.

    This reeks of a personal dislike for the Obamas, and might infer, for Democrats as well. Please realize that when you are insulting public figures who other people like and admire – then you are indirectly yet quite effectively insulting many, many people.

    Lastly, Michelle Obama is a black woman and she is considered a role model for many black girls.

    • I used these videos to illustrate issues with CCSS. The opinions of Obama belong to Dianne X.

    • Dianne permalink

      Lafayette Ann, you are correct in stating that my word choice for the video was not the best for the example. I should have enlarged the video’s scope to include the actual curriculum showing that in first grade students are to be taught that Obama is a hero. (In second grade, he is merely taught as famous.) Those are not my words; that is what is in the actual curriculum. At the time I made the video, that portion of the curriculum could still be viewed online. The state has since scrubbed that from viewing. But, as I have learned to do ever since they scrubbed the lesson plans on population control, I have them saved. Here is a copy. The part about Obama being a hero is in activity 8. https://www.dropbox.com/s/7tut8zemi6d0g4f/curriculum—social-studies-grade-1.doc

  2. Lafayette Ann permalink

    I thought English teachers taught children to read and write effectively; to understand the use of vocabulary words in context, and to use good English writing to explain their understanding – seems to be an appropriate task for children.

    I infer using my critical thinking skills, which Common Core may or may not ever instill in children, -and it’s not looking likely so far – that you do not like the use of any materials from this President’s administration as teaching materials for public school children.

    That is actually a good point in general. Do you think it should be applied uniformly? Would you dislike the use of a video about Laura Bush promoting literacy? Would you dislike a memo from the Reagan White House about school lunches? If you would equally dislike such things presented to school children, then I can support you in your desire to get anything that could be construed as political propaganda OUT of the public school curriculum.

    I think your message would be much more effective if you made it clear that you were not promoting a particular political agenda, but were working for generally held principles.

    • I actually would rather get that out of curricula. I don’t want right or left politicians and their lackeys in my child’s schools. It really is hard to deny however the very progressive leaning curriculum. But this is not a right/left fight, this is a keep education local, and keep it strong fight!

  3. Lafayette Ann permalink

    Yes, I do see that the opinions apply to Diane X. I don’t mean to be contentious – but just thought that these issues should be brought up.

    • I added a statement to the post saying that the opinions of the Obamas belong to Dianne X, not to Mercedes Schneider.

  4. Stephanie permalink

    What I find more disturbing than a sitting president being on the list is that Cesar Chavez — a socialist — is on the same list as Ben Franklin. Are we not teaching kids that our free republic and free market capitalism are what make our country the best in the world? Do we no longer teach patriotism?

  5. I sent my analysis of the 10th grade labor piece to James Garvey and John White a couple weeks ago. Garvey was upset and White was pissed at me but somebody made him remove it from the Louisiana Believes exemplar page. White tried to justify the quality of the lesson to me and you can guess my response.

  6. OK, so there are a LOT of negatives and a few positives about this new Socialist program, Common Core.
    Now the Parents, Teachers, Administrators, School boards, and everyone who is studying it, are starting to see that it is a progressive slide into Socialism.

    The thing is, HOW DO WE STOP IT?

    Our ‘Representatives’ not only were not allowed to vote on weather or not to have this krap foisted upon us, they DIDN’T EVEN KNOW!

    Now, OUR CHILDREN ARE BEING HELD HOSTAGE BY THE STATE EDUCATION BOARD EVERY DAY THEY ARE IN SCHOOL!

    This MUST come to a SCREECHING HALT!

    How do we STOP IT IMMEDIATELY?

    RalphPierre, http://www.killcommoncore.com

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