Guest post from teacher Mark Butler: Kicking the Common Core Football @parccinfo

Originally posted on @ THE CHALK FACE:

On the surface it might seem confusing as to why Gov. Bobby Jindal (LA) would  suddenly come out in opposition to the PARCC assessment - and in doing so, undermine the authority of State Superintendent, John White, Jr. Jindal hand-picked White for Superintendent in January 2012, and has until this recent turnabout, remained lockstep with him on all significant issues.


But politics is politics- I suspect some Republicans now have decided that there’s capital to be gained from linking PARCC (a botched & widely unpopular standardized online assessment) with Common Core State Standards, and in turn to Obama’s Race to the Top initiative. If this strategy means also throwing corporate giants, Pearson under the bus, then perhaps it’s a necessary sacrifice: power trumps money every time.

To be clear, Common Core State Standards (adopted/tweaked by almost every state in the Union) are in and of themselves, a set of learning outcomes:…

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Gates and Duncan and Their Common Core “Freedom” Charade

Originally posted on deutsch29:

In his purchased keynote at the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) (I know, huh?), billionaire-with-zero-teaching-experience Bill Gates insisted that the feds are getting the bum rap when it comes to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). As  Huffington Post’s  Joy Resmovits notes ,

Gates went on to address critiques that the Common Core represents a national curriculum, a federal takeover or the end of innovation. He said these claims are false and distract from teaching — and that teachers can provide the most effective response to critics. [Emphasis added.]

However, Resmovits continues with details that do indeed implicate US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and his USDOE in attempting to fashion “a national curriculum, a federal takeover, and an end to innovation”:

The creation of the Common Core started in 2009, and thanks in part to nudges from the federal government via the Race to the Top competition…

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Why you can’t compare simple achievement gaps across states! So don’t!

Originally posted on School Finance 101:

Consider this post the second in my series of basic data issues in education policy analysis.

This is a topic on which I’ve written numerous previous posts. In most previous posts I’ve focused specifically on the issue of problems with poverty measurement across contexts and how those problems lead to common misinterpretations of achievement gaps. For example, if we simply determine achievement gaps by taking the average test scores of children above and below some arbitrary income threshold, like those qualifying or not for the federally subsidized school lunch program, any comparisons we make across states will be severely compromised by the fact that a) the income threshold we use may provide very different quality of life from Texas to New Jersey and b) the average incomes and quality of life of those above that threshold versus those below it may be totally different in New Jersey than in…

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In her own words. Mother Jones releases audio of Susana’s graphic attacks on women, Hispanic business and teachers [graphic audio]

Originally posted on PROGRESSNOW NM:

The true Susana Martinez, in her own words.  That’s the first big takeaway from today’s Mother Jones article, “Is New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez the Next Sarah Palin?”

One Republican state legislator described her tactics thusly:  “Nastiness, misinformation, innuendo, and flat-out lies have created a toxic political environment.”

Just a week after Martinez released her first highly-polished campaign ad denouncing her national ambitions and promoting her warm and fuzzy side, new audio recordings from inside her 2010 campaign show the sexist, belittling and vindictive nature of the true Susana Martinez behind closed doors.

On Teachers & Hiding Her True Positions During the Campaign

Martinez told campaign staffers she would hide her opinions on teachers during the campaign, but she didn’t like teachers who “already don’t work,” referring to summer school breaks.

She then laughs with her chief campaign strategist, Jay McCleskey, about ways to avoid accusations that she hid her true…

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Originally posted on @ THE CHALK FACE:

On April 11, 2014,, a supposedly a “data-driven news site”  started this month  (April 2014) by Ezra Klein,   posted this propagandastic wonder  regarding Partnership for Assessment for College and Careers (PARCC) field testing.

Note that field testing does not begin to touch the magnitude of actual PARCC testing designed for grades K-12 (see here and  here and here), quite the profit-garnering arm of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

The piece is entitled, Common Core Tests Are in Classrooms– And They’re Actually Working.

That depends upon what one considers “working” to be.

If “working” is the cutting of non-tested (and therefore, less valued) school courses, programs and staff in order to feed the testing monster, then yes, the “tests are working.” I teach high school English. For the past three years, at the end of the year, I have heard my administration say, “We’re going to lose…

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Jindal to Dump PARCC?

Originally posted on @ THE CHALK FACE:

An April 14, 2014 , article has Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal publicly saying he is “willing” to leave the Partnership for Assessment of College and Careers (PARCC)– and even the Common Core State Standards (CCSS):

Gov. Bobby Jindal has said he is willing to withdraw Louisiana from a consortium of states developing the assessment associated with the Common Core academic standards if the Louisiana Legislature doesn’t choose to do so on its own.

Eight legislators sent a letter to Jindal Monday afternoon asking him to nix a years-old agreement that has Louisiana residents and policy makers helping craft the  Partnership of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test. The governor, who once supported PARCC, said he was in favor of the state’s withdrawal from the assessment group and indicated that he hopes the anti-Common Core efforts currently brewing in some corners of the Legislature succeed.

“We share the concerns…

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Vision 2015 chief subtly continues the “Delaware schools are bad” approach to ed-reform. #netDE #eduDE

Ernie Dianastasis begins his News Journal editorial this way:

Delaware was in the spotlight this past week when U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visited to see firsthand the progress made here as a result of Race to the Top. While we should feel good about the direction we are going, I left that meeting with a sense of urgency, focus and shared ownership.

So, we should feel good because we were visited by the U.S. Secretary of Education, a man who has never taught in a school, nor turned a single one around? Because of progress as a “result of” RTTT with no citation of what that progress is, perhaps because no discernible progress has been made, or maybe because Mr. Dianastasis’ progress definition is arbitrary. Apparently,flat NAEP scores is progress, or foisting the 3rd different standardized test in 5 years is progress. Who knows really? Apparently he does, and teachers don’t.

When is comes to SINOs, he condescends to our teachers again, like the reformers always do:

As we continue our efforts to improve our schools by building on the massive amount of work already underway through RTTT, we need to listen to our educators and make course corrections on strategy, but we also need to keep moving forward, together. The world won’t wait, and neither should our kids.

Yeah, we’ll listen, but we won’t stop. Because kids. And teachers don’t care about kids. That’s the message here. Period. Oh and to ad insult, he drops in the “together” line. Classic. Tough talk from an organization that has 261 days left to fulfill its destiny. Sounds desperate.

As far as urgency, we should make sure that we don’t get beat by 3 other SEAs/LEAs that aren’t in Delaware. Because competition:

While Delaware has done some great work to lay the foundation for an amazing system of public schools, Secretary Duncan also shared that Tennessee, Washington, D.C., and Hawaii are moving faster in terms of results

What results? Like delaying the Common Core and its onerous and useless standardized tests in Tennessee? Well, perhaps Vision 2015 is on to something.

Twas the night before testing…

Originally posted on Critical Classrooms, Critical Kids:


photograph courtesy of Common Dreams  

and I’m too exhausted to be clever.

Tomorrow, April 1, 2014, marks opening day of year two of the New York State Common Core assessments in English-language arts (ELA) and math. Like last year, I will be administering the tests to 5th grade English-language learners (ELLs) and to former English-language learners who are entitled to extended time (time and a half).

But I do so grudgingly – with a heavy heart – as I strongly oppose these invalid tests.  They are meaningless, exploitative and cruel.  As a proud member of MORE UFT, I stand in support of NYS parents and educators who are doing the right thing by refusing the 2014 tests, thereby starving the beast.

Over the next few weeks, I will be posting testimonials of the administration of this year’s tests.  Parents, educators and students across New York State – please share with me your…

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Robert Shepherd: The Remarkable But True Tale of the Birth of Common Core

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Robert Shepherd, a frequent commenter on the blog, is an experienced veteran in the world of education publishing, having developed curriculum, textbooks, and assessments.

He writes:

The New York legislature just voted to dump inBloom. But Diane Ravitch’s first post about that subjected noted, wisely, that inBloom was dead “for Now.”

Don’t think for a moment that Big Data has been beaten. I am going to explain why. I hope that you will take the time and effort to follow what I am going to say below. It’s a little complicated, but it’s a great story. It’s a birth narrative–the astonishing but, I think, undeniably true story of the birth of the Common Core.

The emergence of the Internet presented a challenge to the business model of the big educational publishers. It presented the very real possibility that they might go the way of the Dodo and the Passenger Pigeon…

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Good Advice for Duncan and King from a Graduate Student at NYU

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and State Commissioner of Education John King spoke at the Wagner School at New York University. This comment came from a graduate student at that institution. Her insight was so on target that I thought I would share it.

She writes:

“I am an NYU Wagner graduate and a public school parent. I was unable to attend Commissioner King’s speech and Secretary Duncan’s appearance. I hope a bright Wagner student asked how two men entrusted with our children’s education could miss so many of the fundamentals taught at the Wagner School. A Wagner education includes the analysis of case studies. If they are not already doing so, I hope Wagner students will soon be studying the Common Core as an overwhelming failure and as an example of what not to do in order to create change. The Federal Government and New York State have set…

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