Common Core

SBAC G7 Math

Above is a question from Grade 7 Math Practice Test in California.

As students in grades 3-8 and some 11th graders are completing their “Common Core” field test in California (officially it is called CAASPP which stands for CAlifornia Assessment of Student Performance and Progress) and many other states, a lot of people, myself included, still don’t have a clear answer of “what is Common Core Standards”? Is it good for our students, or is it bad?

“The TEA Party people hate this.  They are just so resistant to changes, and I don’t know why”, and “There are so many people bashing Common Core.”  are just a few of many comments that I heard at work.  A lot of teachers sing praises to Common Core for its rigor, while many others think it is bad for our students.  The question remains, “Will Common Core make our students more competitive compared to students from other countries, or will it dumb down our students?”  (The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) which collects test results from 65 countries shows in its 2012 report that US students ranked below average in Math.  29 countries outperformed the United States by statistically significant margin)In the last couple of months, I have struggled, read, and listened to many discussions about Common Core, and I also trained teachers  to administer this test.  And while I have not come to a firm position on this issue, presently I opine that Common Core is first unconstitutional, second it will dumb down our students, and third, if left uncontrolled it can be used as a propaganda machine to brainwash our youths.

Education is not mentioned in the Constitution of the United States because the founders understood that education is not a federal matter.  The Federal government has no role in Education, rather, it is a matter for the states.  On this matter, I encourage you to read the testimony of Dr. J. Gresham Machen of Princeton Theological Seminary in 1926 before the House and Senate Committees on the Proposed Department of Education.  Click here for the transcript of his testimony.

The proponents of Common Core argue that it will make US students more “college and career ready”.   Is that really true?  Dr. James Milgram, emeritus professor at Stanford University who served on the official Common Core validation committee reported, “I can tell you that my main objection to Core Standards, and the reason I didn’t sign off on them was that they did not match up to international expectations.  They were at least 2 years behind the practices in the high achieving countries by 7th grade, and, as a number of people have observed, only require partial understanding of what would be the content of a normal, solid, course in Algebra 1 or Geometry.  Moreover, they cover very little of the content of Algebra II, and none of any higher level course… They will not help our children match up to the students in the top foreign countries when it comes to being hired to top level jobs.”  (http://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/ emphasis mine).

How about for California?  In his much detailed published review, Dr. Milgram stated, “Most states would be far better off adopting the Core Math Standards than keeping their current standards.  However, California, and the other states with top standards [California, Massachusetts, Indiana, and Minnesota] would almost certainly be better off keeping their current standards.” (page 1, ftp://math.stanford.edu/pub/papers/milgram/final-report-for-validation-committee.pdf)

If you are interested in technical detailed study on the rigor of Mathematics Common Core Standards, please download “Lowering the Bar: How Common Core Math Fails to Prepare High School Students for STEM” from here.

The same blog, http://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com, also quotes Dr. Sandra Stotsky (University of Arkansas emeritus professor who served on official Common Core validation committee and also refused to sign off on the academic legitimacy of the Common Core) , “As empty skill sets, Common Core’s ELA standards do not strengthen the high school curriculum. Nor can they reduce post-secondary remedial coursework in a legitimate way. As empty skill sets, Common Core’s ELA “college readiness” standards weaken the base of literary and cultural knowledge needed for authentic college coursework, decrease the capacity for analytical thinking… and completely muddle the development of writing skills.”

Currently there are only English/Language Arts and Mathematics standards available, and they are working on Science standards and eventually History/Social Science standards.  Please click here to see what are included in the ELA standards.  Wait until they come up with Science standards and see how CCS will brainwash our students into accepting Darwinism as the absolute truth and there is no room for Creationism.  Climate Change (a.k.a Global Warming) will be taught as Scientific fact, too!

I’m also concerned about the data mining aspect of Common Core.  Presently in California we have CALPADS which stands for California Pupil Achievement Data Systems, the student data warehouse that stores a lot of student information, ranging from demographic information, enrollment history, address history, test scores, and eventually attendance and discipline information will be added.  This information can be easily accessed by many people, myself included, and what else do they plan to store?  According to these two websites that belong to the US Department of Education, they plan to store A WHOLE LOT more data.  Check these out:  Common Education Data Standards and National Center for Education Statistics.  Watch Glenn Beck discussed privacy issue in Common Core.  Must see!

Of course you are free to make your own opinion, but please permit me to ask you to read through and listen to some of the discussions below before you form your opinion.

California Department of Education – Common Core State Standards.

conformA Must Read Book “Conform: Exposing the Truth about Common Core and Public Education” by Glenn Beck, Kevin Balfe, and Kyle Olson.

Tons of information on this website:  Californians United Against Common Core.

 An Excellent (and long) presentation by Terrence O. Moore, a history professor at Hillsdale College.

On August 23, 2013 TheBlaze did a full hour show on Common Core.  Click here to watch:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyCPC3S7Sy0&feature=youtu.be&t=31m15s

Another blog that contains a lot of useful information:  Common Core:  Education Without Representation.

Founded by Kathleen Jasper, a former high school teacher and assistant principal and a self-identified liberal, ConversationED is another place where you can learn about what’s happening in our educational system.

Many other sources where you can learn more about Common Core, but when the rubber meets the road, you must watch this mother hit the issue squarely on the head in just four minutes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZEGijN_8R0

Now let me know what you think about Common Core!

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