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The Delaware Board of Education meeting yesterday was full of controversy and shock….. For one, we are all in shock at the apparent direction which these little kids running the Delaware Department of Education are taking us. The first kid was Mark Murphy. The second was Penny Schwinn.

First, Mark Murphy expressed disdain that teachers were not being beaten up enough in their evaluations. People have to be cheating he postulated.  There is no way all teachers can be effective he stated.  And that shows impetuousness. Because in truth, there is.  You measure student growth.  You take a test in the beginning and you take a test in the middle, and those who don’t pass the middle test, get to try again in the spring.  Then, you rate those teachers on how their students did.  And since the students seemed to do well, the teachers did well as well.  

This was the process all parties sat in and developed.  We call it DCAS.  A fair way to measure a child’s growth, a fair way to measure a teacher’s ability, and a fair way to keep schools accountable.  

The difference is that two type of measurements are being taken by two different camps with two different agendas. The agenda of the DOE has become apparent.  It is to push Charter schools upon unwilling parents.  It is to gut the public school system so deeply that out of desperation, charter schools can skim students out of public schools.  This is not being done fast enough for this camp, because today, here in Delaware, people are happy with the public school system. This camp seeks to change that… 

The other camp consists of parents and teachers and others who have only the children’s interests at heart. They want to see the child grow, develop, and enjoy his years growing up, like they did.  They want their child to actually learn across the span of a year….

The first group, wants to rate schools against a Draconian scale that causes all to fail.  Therefore the bar to pass is set extremely high, and they themselves predict over 70% will fail this year…  It is according to these standards they think teachers are not achieving enough.  It is like if you said all children must get 1600 on their (now) two part SAT (perfect score) and then when children don’t reach that impossible level, you decry that teachers aren’t doing their job and throw a hissy fit at the Delaware Board meeting to try to carry your point…

For the second group, that impossible standard is seen as,… realistically impossible.  No parent back when they were at school had to strive so high.  If so, our current entire society today is made up of incompetent failures.  You, me, our neighbors, all complete dorks by the current DOE standards.  That simply can’t be true, because not only does society seem to work, it seems to work better than we remember it working back when we were young. Therefore in their eyes compared to where they use to be as children, the scores are averaging 40-50 point higher. and if teachers are doing that, they must be very good teachers…   99% of teacher being highly effective is about right.  What IS wrong, are the unreasonable standards that no adult could reach, being set as the cut level or standard to achieve…..

This controversy is not one about teachers and evaluations…..That is only a diversionary tactic.  It is truly all about who gets to set the levels…. A few bureaucrats being controlled by financial interests with much to gain….. or…. parents and teachers and through them, school boards, legislators, and public officials….  At it’s root, is the question of whether businesses should run schools?  Or should parents, teachers, and school boards?

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As anyone who has followed this blog, who has taken the Smarter Balanced tests for their child‘s grade level, who has seen the manipulations in secret behind the closed doors of our state legislature, well knows, the test scores have been flat for the past three years…  Although not public, and the information is proprietary, the classes teaching Common Core have had scores fall, and the classes not yet aligned to Common Core, have soared…  If allowed to see the scores per class, one can immediately deduce that the flatness of our state’s scores is because of the curriculum force-fed to teachers through Common Core.   Everyone in the DOE knows this…. (except perhaps the press spokesperson who is kept in the dark on purpose)…. 

I can’t speak for the newness of Penny Schwinn.  That is why one must give her the benefit of the doubt when she spouts what are definitely lies and distortions and senseless diversions in her answer as to “why” scores have not moved higher:

  • Low expectations for African American students
  • limited resources for English-language learners
  • turnover among teachers of students with disabilities
  • difficulty in hiring qualified teacher
  • distractions related to litigation       WTF?   (one can hear “tort reform” coming a mile away)…..  For those not familiar with the term, tort-reform means making corporations not liable for any damage they may do for which they should be, and normally would be, sued.

It may be necessary to refresh your memories. In the DCAS first year, (when there WAS no Common Core) the scores shot up amazingly.  Everyone was ecstatic.  Boasts were made that we’d reach our goal prematurely….  Remember?

Are we then to assume that from then to now, only in the past 3 years, have been beset by a precipitous drop in ….

  • Low expectations for African American students
  • limited resources for English-language learners
  • turnover among teachers of students with disabilities
  • difficulty in hiring qualified teacher
  • distractions related to litigation       WTF  (again)

Have any of these changed across the past 3 years?  Did African Americans have high expectations in 2011, and then after, they plummeted?  (I think we all know that answer)  So what did change?  What did change was that we began piloting Common Core from 2012 and beyond.  And what did that do?  Common Core classes all consistently came under their goals in scoring and non Common Core classes continued to grow…. Why do we not know this? Because if you did, Common Core would face severe opposition and not be allowed to go forward!…. 

The evidence is all there.  Laid out in an excel spread sheet. (its actually PDF).  You just need to get past the propriety wall in the DOE to see it… 

Common Core alone, is to blame for Delaware’s lack of progress…. 

So how do we adjust in the middle of the stream?

  • Student Teacher Class rations 11:1 (k-5, and 9th grade in schools with over 50% reduced lunch)  Each teacher is accountable for 11 students.
  • Group students into smaller class groups by similarity of scores so each small group is on the same level.
  • Cut accountability apart from the standardized tests. Use tests as tools to find out where a child needs help. (They are amazing tools with the data they give out, but if teachers are worried about losing their jobs due to scores, these tests are not honest and help no one.)  If you cut out accountability from these tests, and go with a more personal relationship type of teaching, the test scores will rise as a marker of better education, not as education solely to reach a better marker…. 
  • Fund charters solely per line item in state budgets; no public school loses per-student-funding to charters.
  • Tax the top 1% adequately to pay for these advancements that show results. 

We can do this; and we can do this easily.  We just have to be wary of sharp tongued pushy salespeople trying to get us to do what they want, … not what WE want…. 

Although the nation’s demographic shift is far into the future, this year it hits our schools, never to go back.  50.3% of all American students have brown skin… Whites for the first time anywhere other than professional sports, are in the minority. 

Which means, the majority of Americans will be undereducated, under-prepared, and under water….  Our nation will not survive.  Not because of the melanin in their skin, but because we failed to do our duty and provide good education to our nation’s heirs.  We were pursuing the riches for ourselves.. This problem slipped upon us. 

Common Core is not the answer. although one can say it is an attempt to deal with the problem…. It was a carpet baggers attempt to make browns into solid citizens, and though well meaning at first, over time it became more of a source of income than a social cause…

Social causes and for-profit do not mix.  We have never had success with that combination.  Social causes require money spent to help, and for-profits require money saved to show investors. They are at opposite interests.

This is a problem of national survival… If Mexico can perform better than America, why would business stay here? Likewise Canada. And that is geographically close.  In today’s world, nothing says business has to be close to its market…  

America is wealthy because so many of its citizens have net worth. If that net worth slowly matriculates into fewer and fewer hands, on paper, our wealth may be marked up the same, but in practical purposes, it is not.  Money gets siphoned out of the economy.

That is why we need to scrap Common Core, and begin the only known method of helping impoverished and challenged children learn.  Personal relationships.  We need teachers who have enough time to make sure every student learns under their watch….  Here is how…

A.  We need an 11:1 student teacher ration in every class k-5  as well as every 9th grade in schools that has over 50% reduced lunch.  These are our most challenged and these are the ones who need almost one on one instruction.  11:1 is the perfect ratio, allowing a teacher to know each student and work around those deficiencies that came into the classroom with that student. 

B.  We can put 3 classes in one room, as long as there are 3 teachers for 33 students and as long as each teacher is in charge of 11.  Each group should be sorted by their tested abilities, with the higher scores in higher groups, lower scores in lower groups, and middle scores in middle groups. This provides social dynamics that assist with learning and creates social conversations outside of school that reinforce learning… 

C.  Taxes must be raised on the top one percent to invest in education.  The old property-tax structures can remain in place to fund the status quo costs, but those lucky enough to be wealthy need to now step up and provide their fair share towards the survivability of this nation. 

D.  Testing may continue, but it is to be used to assist the analyzing of a child’s learning problems, or successes. Once teachers are told they won’t be fired because of random test scores, then real teaching can take place and real testing to see how that learning is being absorbed can take place as well.  Currently, students are being pulled from electives to double up on their two testing courses, ELA and Math, if the admins worry the scores might come in too low.  We are raising children to know nothing, just take tests…  We must remove accountability from test scores for them to be useful in any way.

E.  Disciplinary schools need set up to shift the 1/2% who for psychologically reasons will disrupt a class, to be remove to a location that fits their personalities.   The military has great success training whatever comes into their ranks. There are ways to make those personalities useful to society., and if those drives are channeled at an early age, many later costs and problems can be averted….

F.  We need more contracts requiring unskilled jobs to employ the parents of these brown children.  The excess profits being culled off of government “give aways” in tax cuts, need to be diverted into investing in our infrastructure. That can be easily done and was, by raising the top marginal tax percent.  With so much money being made at the top, using just a tiny fraction to fund projects requiring many hands of manual labor, would be the best investment that America could ever make.  

5 things... Just 5 things,  And there is no negative.  No money leaves the economy. These policies actually bring money long taken away, back into the economy.  And in the process, at the end of our school years, no matter what the poverty level, with 11 students for every teacher, and each teacher accountable for passing or failing those students, and each student concerned due to the personal bond that happens in a 11:1 student teacher ratio, … our brown skinned Americans will be as sharp, as bright, as well rounded, as we were when we graduated high school.  

For the most part, we turned out alright… 

We can do this; it is so easy.  The first step is to vote in people not afraid to raise taxes on the 1%.  Failing that, none of the above will take place…  Failing that, we will have collectively decided that we are tired and don’t care if America exists any time after we are gone…. 

That is not an option. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As one of the researchers looking for evidence to either determine whether Common Core is good or bad, I get excited when someone else takes all my work and puts it eloquently on one page, and does it so well.  In this piece by Oregon’s State Rep Dennis Richardson, everything we’ve learned about Common Core is there, all concisely edited to one page.  And it is awesome… I was thinking of it having just recently reminded myself of how Delaware Liberal is so cold to the threat Common Core imposes.  Those few Democrats aware of Common Core, are violently against it. Those who have not looked under the hood of Common Core, still laud it for its design qualities… So what if it won’t work?; they don’t have children. 

I’m going to make some adjustments, and switch out Oregon references and sub them with a Delawarean one. But again, the acclaim should all go to the staffer who put this together for Rep. Dennis Richardson.  I hope historians and literary experts hold this art work as the perfect example of Early 21st Century Prose..  It is simply beautiful.

Enjoy as you would good Literature; for if Common Core is successful, you are going to be the last generation of Americans to learn how to appreciate it.

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To put this discussion into perspective, consider the following scenario: The leaning I 495 Bridge has been a source of concern. Leaning and unsafe, it needed to be completely restructured to remain functional, a project that is currently underway and soon to finish.

bridgepiers

Now imagine that because of the dilapidated condition of the I 495 Bridge, every bridge in the state is to be torn down and rebuilt– all at the same time. Think of the cost, the disruption, the waste. Of course the idea would be ridiculous, but in a way it is exactly what is being foisted on the entire Delaware education system by mandating implementation of the Common Core, and the silence from the Legislature is deafening.  Only 4 legislators stood up against this outrage. (The rest never bothered to inquire).

What is Common Core?

Starting this academic year, all Delawarean public schools (as well as those in many other states) are scheduled to abandon previously established academic standards and implement a new and untried nationalized set of learning goals called Common Core. The performance of these standards will be measured by new standardized tests. At Common Core’s outset, when the federal government offered “stimulus” money to the state Governors that accepted Common Core, the standards and tests involved had not even been written. In other words, the Governor and state education leaders unilaterally committed all Delaware’s school districts to adopting a new statewide curriculum before it had even been developed, and Delaware was committed without any citizen’s or their elected representative’s consideration or approval.

Since then, Common Core’s standards and tests have been created by a group of people with very limited classroom experience, and in many cases NO classroom experience at all. Now, Common Core’s standards are being implemented without any legislative or public involvement, and still have not been fully tested. Currently many states are seeking to repeal or delay implementation of Common Core, and a great deal of legislation has been proposed across the nation to address this issue. The American Federation of Teachers union, called for a midcourse moratorium on the high-stakes consequences of Common Core. The Delawarean teachers’ union (DSEA) has also voted no-confidence on Markell’s roll out of Common Core… Even Common Core’s biggest supporter, the Gates Foundation, has called for a two-year delay. Concern over prematurely implementing Common Core crosses political party lines. People who would normally be on opposite sides of the issues are banding together to speak out against Common Core.

Why is opposition to Common Core so widespread and impassioned?

Let’s ask the teachers, those who work in the ‘trenches,’ in Delaware’s classrooms, those who often spend more time with our children than anyone else. The best teachers will tell you that regardless of low pay or long hours, they are teachers because they are passionate about the subjects they teach, about learning, and about being able to make a difference in childrens’ lives. I can only imagine what it will do to the state of our classrooms if, when summer vacation ends, our highly evaluated teachers will throw out the lesson plans they adjust to meet their students’ needs and instead teach to Common Core’s new standardized tests—replacing strong curriculum with test preparation activities. The ‘heart’ and the passion that connects our best teachers to their students will be missing when they are relegated to class monitors, provided scripted materials written by bureaucrats and other non-educators. Certainly some select schools of Delaware’s educational system need to be overhauled from what it once was, but Common Core is not ready to solve the systemic needs of all of Delaware’s entire educational system. Veteran teachers are reporting morale is at an all-time low and every bit of it is attributed to the confusion and sterility of Common Core State Standard’s (CCSS) approach to learning and testing. This concerns me greatly, for if passion and creativity are forced out of teaching, we will lose our passionate and creative teachers.  When everyone looks back on their education, it was always a passionate and creative teacher we remember who changed our life.

To make matters worse, the future of our teachers are at risk. The new system will tie teacher evaluations to student success on Common Core tests without provisions made for those who teach our more “high-risk” learners, such as low-income students and those with learning disabilities and those coming in knowing a no English. It seems an almost foregone conclusion that our at-risk learners will fail and the jobs of their teachers are jeopardized since pro-Common Core State Superintendent Mark Murphy expects less than 35% of Delaware’s students will pass the Common Core tests. The Delaware Department of Education has not requested the U.S. Department of Education to temporarily let teachers off the hook for expected low test scores of Delaware students, the schools and school districts will be ranked by a test created, dispensed, and graded by bureaucrats, not teachers. I ask you. Who then will teach our most challenged students, when teachers know their reputations or professional futures will definitely be jeopardized if they work with at-risk students? Then, add the fact that teachers have been given little or no training on these new standards, and it becomes very evident that there are serious flaws with Common Core. Should we really be implementing something we are expecting students to fail? Who will flourish in this setting? Gifted students will be bored, students who already dislike school will be even more inclined to skip, and students with obstacles to learning will simply be unable to succeed. Teachers in schools that have already begun implementing Common Core tell me how all struggling students are being pulled out of electives in order to pass early implementation Common Core tests. These teachers are witnessing the marginalization of students whose strengths lie outside of the areas being tested!!! Many teachers are agonizing that Common Core’s mandate will do more harm than good, and will only compound Delaware’s problems with absenteeism and lack of on-time graduation. Is this really what we want for Delaware’s children? Of course not.

When it comes to enacting these new standards, we have more unanswered questions. How much will it cost to train teachers to implement Common Core? How much to purchase new learning materials and to acquire the technology necessary to administer and track the tests? And, who will pay? With schools already in dire financial straits, where will the money come from to implement yet another federal educational experiment on Delaware’s rising generation now that the Race To The Top Funds are exhausted? Finally, it concerns me to see that every single one of the people behind these standards and the requirements of these tests are affiliated with multi-billion dollar companies with financial conflicts of interest!

These are companies that have near monopolies on the contracts to provide the tests and corresponding curriculum. There is a glaring conflict of interest in having mandatory materials designed by those who are positioned to profit from them. And even if profits to its originators didn’t taint this new system, even if good intentions were the sole impetus behind this top-down policy, national control of state education policies is still always a bad idea.

Decisions about the education of our children should not be dictated by a select, distant few, who have never ever even seen a Delaware child. Educational decisions are always best made by those closest to the students—parents, teachers and local school boards—not far away state and federal bureaucrats and large, conflicted corporate representatives. Delaware’s education standards need local control with rational state oversight and evidence-based practices learned from Delaware’s most successful schools. We have succeeded this way. Currently, despite our state’s problems, Delaware’s on-time graduation rate is pretty good and our student absentee rate is far lower than every other state. I believe in educational equality for all students and that every student deserves three things—a mentor, a reason to stay in school and an opportunity for a decent job after graduation. I believe action to fix Delaware’s few failing schools must be taken, but it should be based on what is working in Delaware’s most successful schools, not untried “bizarro world” educational experiments fomented by national “educrats” and funded with federal largess.

Solutions for Delaware’s few educational failures.

Rather than fret over the dismal state of Delaware’s statewide educational system and rather than pathetic attempts by Governor Markell and his appointed education leaders to address it by implementing Common Core, let’s look to Delaware’s home-grown examples of success. DCAS. Let’s look to the many stories of exemplary teaching and learning that are setting the standard for academic achievement Delaware. The Indian River School District educates low income students better than almost anyone in the world!  And there are many more stories like these. In fact, 8 of 44 Delaware  high schools were ranked nationally according to the US News and World Report 2014 list of America’s best high schools.

The list of Delaware schools included two with gold medals. With answers and examples of excellence right here in Delaware, why on earth should we diminish these rich learning environments by focusing on untried, one-size-fits-all nationalized experiments like Common Core? We shouldn’t because it is just crazy to do so. I believe it’s in the best interests of our students to immediately stop implementing Common Core. It’s a remotely managed reform measure fraught with problems. Let’s look to model programs in Delaware’s own commendable schools for guidance on how to improve the performance of schools and students that are struggling. We should halt Common Core’s race to the middle and allow local schools who best understand their students to engage in creating Delaware’s educational solutions. We should focus on what it is that engages students and keeps them interested and in school, rather than on high stakes educational experiments written by “corporatecrats” who don’t have an understanding of our children or as recently discovered, children at all. Simply put, I strongly recommend we join the ranks of the majority of states that require “evidence-based” practices and have turned down Common Core.

Since our students are returning to class in less than a week, our Governor and state education leaders should immediately be contacted and told they need to put a moratorium on Common Core. If they fail to take the initiative, our Legislative leaders should be unified in demanding an immediate moratorium on Common Core. God only gives one chance to educate a child,…. and each and every single one of our children deserve better than what they’ll get from Common Core….

Signed:

Oregon state rep. Dennis Richardson (delawarized by kavips.supereditor.com)

One of the push backs from teachers against Common Core, (which tries to teach 3 grade levels above what is currently being taught each class), is that children’s brains are not ready at younger ages for complicated math analysis.  To this corporate executives say baloney and for that solo reason, we are teaching complex mathematics to kindergärtners today, who should be learning basic numbers. Teachers report that this concept is not working. We now have research showing teachers do indeed know that they are talking about……

In the study, 28 children solved simple math problems while receiving two functional magnetic resonance imaging brain scans; the scans were done about 1.2 years apart. The researchers also scanned 20 adolescents and 20 adults at a single time point. At the start of the study, the children were ages 7-9. The adolescents were 14-17 and the adults were 19-22.

“During the study, as the children aged from an average of 8.2 to 9.4 years, they became faster and more accurate at solving math problems, and relied more on retrieving math facts from memory and less on counting….”

(This is the opposite of Common Core which wants one to figure out every problem from scratch by drawing pictures of circles with toggles in them, to show one understands math “concepts”.  If you do a problem in your head as above, you lose points )

“As these shifts in strategy took place, the researchers saw several changes in the children’s brains. The hippocampus, a region with many roles in shaping new memories, was activated more in children’s brains after one year. Regions involved in counting, including parts of the prefrontal and parietal cortex, were activated less.”

(What this means is that by continuing Common Core policies, children are reusing the parts of their brain which are designed to be breaking down and being inactivated. If they do a common core problem one day, the brain eliminates that neuron the next.  It is worthless endeavor.  Likewise, the hippocampus which at that time is growing, is not getting any mathematical data to pocket as being memorized.  It is an opportunity lost.)

“The scientists also saw changes in the degree to which the hippocampus was connected to other parts of children’s brains, with several parts of the prefrontal, anterior temporal cortex and parietal cortex more strongly connected to the hippocampus after one year. Crucially, the stronger these connections, the greater was each individual child’s ability to retrieve math facts from memory, a finding that suggests a starting point for future studies of math-learning…”

This is proof that Common Core is making children dumber. Something all experts have been stating.

“Although children were using their hippocampus more after a year, adolescents and adults made minimal use of their hippocampus while solving math problems. Instead, they pulled math facts from well-developed information stores in the neocortex.”

Which is exactly what Common Core does not do: put math facts into the neocortex!

What this means is that the hippocampus is providing a scaffold for learning and consolidating facts into long-term memory in children,” said Menon, who is also the Rachel L. and Walter F. Nichols, MD, Professor at the medical school of Stanford. Children’s brains are building a schema for mathematical knowledge. The hippocampus helps support other parts of the brain as adultlike neural connections for solving math problems are being constructed. “In adults this scaffold is not needed because memory for math facts has most likely been consolidated into the neocortex,” he said. Interestingly, the research also showed that, although the adult hippocampus is not as strongly engaged as in children, it seems to keep a backup copy of the math information that adults usually draw from the neocortex.”

If one doesn’t take the proper designated time between each of these learning steps, this process is interrupted. Teaching 3rd Graders Sines , Tangents and Cosines before their multiplicative skills have been locked in their neocortex is fruitless.  Yet that is exactly what Common Core does.  Pushes 3 higher grade-levels down hard on students still struggling with the basics.

“The brain’s activity patterns were more stable in adolescents and adults than in children, suggesting that as the brain gets better at solving math problems its activity becomes more consistent.”

What happened in the whole Common Core formation process was that David Coleman designed Common Core on his processes of thinking, ones that adults and adolescents use to learn. At the time, having no children himself, he was completely ignorant that children use completely different parts of the brain to learn ….

Common Core, as every early-childhood teacher has said, does not work on young children…  We now have the brain scans to prove it.

Save Common Core rigor for college, where it belongs.  Through these brain scans, those supporting arguments for Common Core just got bumped from science,… over to myth…..

As predicted, the 2014-2015 school approaches and parents turn their vacationed eyes back to Common Core; asking themselves, is this really good, or is it really bad.

Due the overwhelming evidence that opponents of Core have put out, and the microscopically thin evidence showing anything other than slick marketing, most Americans are beginning to see for themselves and through their children’s eyes, just how bad Common Core is going to be.

Gallop jumped in the Frey and has just released their nationwide results…. 

81 percent of those polled said they had heard about the common standards, compared with 38 percent last year. However, 60 percent oppose the standards, generally because they believe the standards will limit the flexibility that teachers have to teach what they think is best.

The message is working:  Common Core is Bad for Kids, and ITTS (It’s The Test, Stupid)….

Interestingly, there is a partisan split when it comes to caring about our children.  76 percent of Republicans  and 60 percent of independents said they oppose the standards. Democrats were the only category of respondents polled in which a majority said they support the standards, 53 percent in favor compared to 38 percent opposed.

Obviously the Democrats are loathe to call out Common Core for what it is because they invented it.  If this is capitalized by Republicans and Democrats are wedded to moving Common Core forward, this could be a game changer, erasing all the misdeed Republicans have done so far.  People are protective of their kids.  Democrats just don’t seem to get it.  Look at Delaware Liberal which says... “I don’t get all the fuss about Common Core.”  Then look at Republicans: armed and ready to fight.

On this one issue they are right, and since it is a bread and butter issue, they had better sharpen their knives and start carving.

(Poll findings are based on telephone interviews conducted in May and June with a national sample of 1,001 American adults, including a sub-sample of parents.) Right dab smack in the middle of the pilot tests for Common Core. 

Other findings from this Gallup poll.

  • 68 percent of those polled were skeptical that standardized tests help teachers evaluate their students, but they support using them to evaluate student achievement or to guide decisions about student placement, particularly in the case of awarding college credit for Advanced Placement exams.
  • 27 percent gave President Barack Obama an A or B and 27 percent gave him an F for his performance in support of public schools, his poorest performance overall since being elected president.
  • A lack of financial support was named as the top challenge facing public schools by 32 percent in response to an open-ended question, the only problem to draw a double-digit response.
  • Sizable proportions of Republicans (68 percent), Democrats (45 percent), independents (55 percent) and public school parents (60 percent) agree that local school boards should have the greatest influence in deciding what is taught in the public schools, as opposed to the federal or state governments.

Although a loose set of standards is seen as desirable by many people, Common Core is being found out for what it is.  Something very bad for kids…… 

Surprisingly many still do not understand the hoopla behind Common Core. Some still think it is a bunch of standards, that states created so that all children would be college and career ready by the time they are 18.  

Common Core really is an attempt to disillusion the public about the quality of their own neighborhood schools, so that they throw up their hands and let private enterprise in on the $0.8 trillion we spend on education every year. Their idea is that making a majority of children fail the tests, will make the schools look bad. If that takes place, only then are businesses able to market services that can supposedly elevate your child’s test taking skills, so his/her scores improve….  It’s all about money.

The question of who should run the schools may be academic to some.  What difference does it matter if they are run by private or public, as long as education is enhanced?  That argument can only be made with one large piece missing:  the children.  How does Common Core affect children, when suddenly you elevate the standards too high, that no one can reach them?

Kentucky failed 70% of this students on the first trial run. New York failed 70% of its students on the 2nd trial run. It is important to note that these tests do not measure smartness or stupidity.  Simply put, they raised the complexity up three grade levels.  If your 5th grade child took a 5th grade test last year and got excellent, this year he takes an 9th Grade test and fails.  That is the entire premise behind Common Core.

He/she is not dumber. He/she is actually smarter by one grade. But the level of the test has been fast forwarded 3 grades to make him look bad. Parents and teachers question this effect on children.  Many of us as adults have been subjected to a new boss coming in who suddenly raises standards to outlandish levels.  Most employees quit. Those that can’t afford to jump to new companies, get fired. And then every replacement incoming new hire eventually gets fired, because no one can meet unrealistic standards. Eventually that new boss is also given an exit, because the company cannot afford the losses he turns in, primarily because no one will work for him.  But what about all those employees whose lives this person ruined? 

This is of concern to parents and teachers of children. What happens to the one, two, three years that common core steals away from them?  And that, in one single point, is why Common Core is very bad for children. It is also important to note that most adults cannot pass theses tests. Even professionals (doctors, lawyers, and engineers) struggle to interpret what the 3rd Grade questions seem to be  asking?  It gets worse as they progress up the line through the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th grade levels.  

Sadly, currently with the DCAS system previously in place we had a rather good measurement of student growth and good data to use to find what students missed, and for each student a teacher could look at a spread sheet and see exactly with what each student had trouble, and zero in to fix those flaws…  In the past whereas we suspected that a student might have problems with fractions, we can now zero in and see he has trouble figuring out common denominators and that if fixed, they can do addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division with ease.  Prior, we just wrote that student off as “not being able to do fractions.”  That was the DCAS, which was recently scrapped, thanks to Greg Lavelle, the crony senator from Delaware’s 4th District…. 

Which brings up what you can do.  Hold your representative accountable!…. In many instances here in Delaware, the primary determines the final candidate. So, we have put together a guide based on votes, statements, and the vast resources available to many of us, to educate you, the reader, on who is best to put into office in order to slow or stop the amoebic forward momentum thrust on us by Common Core..  Without Further ado…. 

(This is a interactive post; Clarifications and errors can be pointed out in the comments, whose access point can be found at the end of the categories and tags, above this article…. ) 

The colors below will designate approval  … The losers, will be pasted in ORANGE to represent…. “ora’nge you gonna change you mind?” and the winners will be pasted in GREEN, as in a stop light…. “Go now.”  Without further ado….

Delaware Electables and Common Core (or shortened to D’electables) 

US SENATOR REPUBLICAN   CARL SMINK   versus  KEVIN WADE (smooth like suede)

STATE TREASURER DEMOCRATIC   CHIP FLOWERS versus  SEAN BARNEY (left Chip up for protest write in vote)

STATE TREASURER REPUBLICAN    KEN SIMPLER  versus SHER  VALENZUELA 

AUDITOR OF ACCTS  DEMOCRATIC   BRENDA R  MAYRACK  VERSUS KENNETH MATLUSKY   

STATE SEN DISt 3   DEMOCRATIC    SHERRY  DORSEY WALKER  VERSUS  ROBERT I  MARSHALL 

STATE SEN DIS 11  DEMOCRATIC  BRYAN TOWNSEND   VERSUS  DAVID L TACKETT 

STATE SEN DIS 18   DEMOCRATIC  GARY M WOLFE  VERSUS  PATRICK J EMORY  

STATE REP DIS 10   DEMOCRATIC  SEAN MATTHEWS  VERSUS  DENNIS E  WILLIAMS 

STATE REP DIS 14   DEMOCRATIC  NELSON E WARREN  VERSUS  PETER C SCHWARTZKOPF

STATE REP DIS 15   DEMOCRATIC  JAMES  BURTON  VERSUS VALERIE LONGHURST 

STATE REP DIS 18  DEMOCRATIC   CHRISTOPHER A PIECUCH  VERSUS   MICHAEL BARBIERI 

STATE REP DIS 19  DEMOCRATIC   KIMBERLY WILLIAMS  VERSUS  WILLIAM H DUNN

STATE REP DIS 22 REPUBLICAN     MICHAEL SMITH  VERSUS  JOSEPH E MIRO  

STATE REP DIS 31 DEMOCRATIC   RALPH LEROY TAYLOR JR  VERSUS  SEAN M  LYNN 

STATE REP DIS 33  REPUBLICAN   CHARLES S POSTLES  JR    VERSUS  HAROLD J PETERMAN 

STATE REP DIS 34  REPUBLICAN    LYNDON DEAN YEARICK   VERSUS   DONALD A BLAKEY    

CNTY CNCL DIS 3  REPUBLICAN   MICHAEL D PROTACK   VERSUS  JANET KILPATRICK  

====

My recommendations are that you print these off, circle the races in your neighborhood, and walk door to door and hand these out.  If you receive any questions about Common Core you can’t answer, please type them below in the comments… 

Now,   …. Do something! 

CC_snip

Click for larger image

Support for Common Core is fading.  In a survey of 5000 people, the results show a drop in acceptance from last year to this… 

  • Public support dropped from 65% to 53%.
  • Republican support dropped from 57% to 43%.
  • Democrat support stayed statistically the same.  64% to 63%. However of those with no opinion, 7% shifted over to against.
  • Teachers support fell from 76% to 46%….  All from 2013 to 2014……. 

Here is how the pollsters teased out the effect of the words “common core.” Half the respondents were asked the full question, below, including the phrases in brackets. The other half were asked the question without the bracketed text.

“As you may know, in the last few years states have been deciding whether or not to use [the common core, which are] 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. Do you support or oppose the use of these [the common core] standards in your state?”

Sixty-eight percent of the respondents expressed support for the idea of nameless, shared math and reading standards, but only 53 percent did so when asked about “the common core” standards.

As the study shows, most adults (53 percent) are still in favor of common standards, but that support has declined in the past year. In last year’s poll by Education Next, 65 percent were in favor.

Obviously that distinction has to be asked of every proponent who issues results of a survey to back up Common Core….  Questions phrased with…”Are you for standards” score higher than those saying are you for “holding people accountable” to Common Core. After all, who isn’t for standards? While nearly everyone is against being judged by something you have no idea over.

Teachers were more supportive of the common core in 2013 than was the general public, but now that pattern has flipped, the poll found. That is due to their experience across this past year. Expect the public to do the same when the Smarter Balanced Assessments and PARCC tests show their “white suburban kids aren’t as smart as their moms think they are”….. 

Lynn….:

“Common Core has become a misnomer, the seed of truth has been lost, it’s not a curriculum or textbook, it’s a standard each student is expected to reach to avoid remedial courses in college.  “We owe it to our children to make sure they have what they need to be successful, 84 percent of teachers support Common Core and so do I.”

His quotes… as per Delaware Newszap.

This is exactly what has foisted this horrible program upon Delaware’s children… This exact same attitude of : your children don’t matter to me;  all that matters is campaign contributions by wealthy educational corporations…

Because no, Mr. Lynn. … Children do matter.  How dare you say that children don’t matter and only political contributions in your pocket do?  Everyone knows, including you, that Common Core is not a set of standards. Common Core is a mushpot of crap foisted upon our children that was not tested, that was not reviewed, that is dangerous, that has caused increased suicides among little children, and that leads to early dementia.  Common Core takes “A+” students and makes them “F” students…

Do you even read?

Do you not know that Common Core is a Federal Program being forced on School boards and School districts the nation over?  Do you not know that when Christina School District said they thought the Federal compensation program was foolish, they lost not only that funding, but out of spite, were cut other funding as well?  If that is not Federal coercion, then you need a dictionary.   Do you not know that every single one of Delaware’s superintendents signed a letter saying “stop racing to Common Core?”  How do you now know more than every single school district in Delaware?  Do you not know that of the 45 states that are mandated to do common core this year, only 10 out of 24 who signed up, are still taking the Smarter Balanced Assessments?  Why?  Because it is bad. Very bad for children.

Do you not know that children today, are testing higher than you did, when you were in school?  Why don’t you know this. Do you not read?  Do you know there is no literature on the success of Common Core but there is over 10 thousand personal accounts over the damage it did to 10 thousand parent’s children?

Why do you not know this… It is everywhere… Google:  “Common Core is very bad” and read…

Do you not know that most highly qualified professional adults cannot pass the 3rd grade math test?  Problem is they can’t understand what the test maker is trying to say, the English is so bad?  Why don’t you know this?  Do you live in a cardboard box somewhere on the edge of town?

How can anyone in their right mind say that 81% of teachers support Common Core?  Where is your link?  Are you doing what David Coleman does, just pull numbers out of the air… Because, if you read, you would know, like everyone else in this state, that one third of the teachers say they have never seen any material on Common Core, One half of this nations teachers feel inadequately prepared for Common Core, yet they will be (thanks to Greg Lavelle), required to be evaluated on it this school year… All teachers minus one third leaves 67% All teachers minus half leaves 50%… Not 81%.. So that figure goes against common sense, as well as every teachers opinion…

How can anyone say that 81% of teachers are for Common Core?  Do you not read?  Tell me you are ignorant that Delaware Teachers (DSEA) voted no confidence in the rollout of Common Core!  Tell me you are ignorant that the NEA (National Teachers’ Association) voted no confidence in Arne Duncun and his Common Core!  Tell me you are ignorant that the AFT, (American Federation of Teachers) also voted no confidence in Arne Duncun and his Common Core?  How can you be ignorant of this?  Do you not read?  Yet you state 81% of teachers support Common Core?

How can anyone be for a program that abuses children.  New York educators ruled that Common Core was a form of child abuse… How can you not know this… Do you not read?

Anyone who does not read, is dangerous to the General Assembly… Your job there is to “read bills”  If someone can’t read the newspaper, how can we trust them to “read” bills?   Or will you perform your duties like Valerie Longhurst?  “Oh, what pretty paper that bill is printed on; I’ll vote for it, (since I don’t read)…. “

I’m amazed that someone in 2014 can still support Common Core…especially with all the evidences showing its great harm that emerged in 2013-2014 school year. Do you also believe the world was created in 6 twenty four hour days? And that the start of the universe occurred somewhere around 4000 BC?  And that the sun, moon, and stars all rotate around a flat earth?  You must.  Since you obviously don’t read…..

Mr. Lynn is bad for Dover’s 31st district… But… oh no, .. what about his opponent?……. Quote:

“Education is the new currency, and students shouldn’t be held back from their potential because their teachers have to adhere to the Common Core. We have teachers who are being rated on whether or not they can teach their student to pass a test,” Mr. Taylor said. “I understand that there should be standards, but do you honestly believe that a teacher can teach every child the same things at the same pace?”

These were spoken by his opponent… Mr. Taylor, a sportsman and retired Dover police officer….  Dover would be well served by this person… He at least…. obviously reads…

As large educational organizations have taken larger and larger pieces of control over your child’s education, the math skills seem to have fallen by the wayside. Although behind a paywall, this Wall Street Journal piece, describes what math is like… It isn’t the same as you and I learned…

Draw a picture to divide 2/3 by 3/4?

All mathematicians say: WTF?

Who needs to learn how to draw something that stupid? Have you done it yet? Go ahead, try it.. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Just draw it… Make a circle and cut out a third, and then, divide what is left, into three fourths. Notice, I didn’t say into fourths and shade in three of them. I said divide that 2/3rds by 3/4th….

So … did you get 8/9ths? But wait, isn’t  8/9ths  larger than the original 2/3rds… Why yes, it is. You see what you were thinking of was multiplying two thirds by three fourths… That would have given you 6/12ths or one half, which is indeed, an amount less than two thirds.. But when you divide by whole numbers you are determining how many of those fit into the dividend… Therefore when you are dividing by fractions, which are smaller than whole numbers, you are also trying to determine how many of those fit into a dividend… and since they are smaller than whole numbers, there would have to be more of them, than the amount you are dividing into…

Is your head spinning? Then ask yourself, why this is on a Common Core 5th grade test?  As for drawing a picture of this problem? As a theoretical physicist, I can’t see how.   Working backwards (from using the old trick to figure out the answer in my head), I would draw a circle and divide that circle by nines,  and color in 8 of the them.  Out of those eight, I would then split them into fourths… Knowing each of those fourths would be decimally close to 2.2 sections of the original diagram, and three of them would be close to 6.6, which is decimally close to a row of 6’s stretched to infinity, or the dividend 2/3rds.   There is no practical application of this model that jumps to mind.  So why are we tying up 5th graders time in doing 12 grade math?

Because this problem is easy to do, based on teaching a pattern, something Common Core is loathe to do, such as: when you divide fractions you multiply the numerator of one with the denominator of the other… the exact opposite of fraction multiplication…  As adults, we get paid for finding simple answers out of complex problems… Common Core, takes something ingeniously simple, and makes it incongrously hard and complex.  Won’t this put American students even further behind?  Every corporate executive I know, says: “absolutely”.

But this diagramming is all over Common Core. Here are some from the Wall Street paywalled piece mentioned above.

“the teacher required that students draw pictures of everything: of 6 divided by 8, of 4 divided by 2/7, of 0.8 x 0.4, and so forth. In doing so, the teacher followed the instructions: “Interpret and compute quotients of fractions, and solve word problems involving division of fractions by fractions, e.g., by using visual fraction models and equations to represent the problem. For example, create a story context for 2/3 divided by 3/4 and use a visual fraction model to show the quotient . . .”

“This requirement of visual models and creating stories is all over the Common Core. The students were constantly told to draw models to answer trivial questions, such as finding 20% of 80 or finding the time for a car to drive 10 miles if it drives 4 miles in 10 minutes, or finding the number of benches one can make from 48 feet of wood if each bench requires 6 feet. A student who gives the correct answer right away (as one should) and doesn’t draw anything loses points.”

“Here are some more examples of the Common Core’s convoluted and meaningless manipulations of simple concepts: “draw a series of tape diagrams to represent (12 divided by 3) x 3=12, or: rewrite (30 divided by 5) = 6 as a subtraction expression.”

“This model-drawing mania went on in my grandson’s class for the entire year, leaving no time to cover geometry and other important topics. While model drawing might occasionally be useful, mathematics is not about visual models and “real world” stories. It became clear to me that the Common Core’s “deeper” and “more rigorous” standards mean replacing math with some kind of illustrative counting saturated with pictures, diagrams and elaborate word problems. Simple concepts are made artificially intricate and complex with the pretense of being deeper—while the actual content taught was primitive.”

GonzoEcon points out the double whammy this causes….

  • First, the pictures will probably not help many of the students who are math-challenged.
  • Second,  more importantly, drawing pictures wastes the time of students who are adept at math.

So Common Core is doubly harmful.

“Some Common Core exercises emphasize the use of “friendly numbers.” I have never understood what makes one number friendlier than another. But I have a guess. Numbers that have pointy, sharp corners (7, 5, 4) are unfriendly. Numbers that are nice and round (3, 6, 8, 9, 0) are friendly. I don’t know what to do with 1 and 2. I hope someone who knows Common Core can help me with this classification issue.”

Parents should take heart.  Wall Street just last year was pushing Common Core very hard. For the Wall Street Journal to allow this to be published, a very damning indictment of the Common Core math curriculum, means Wall Street has shifted its bets on Common Core … to selling it short…  If even Wall Street is solidly behind it’s demise, Common Core is going to fail… The fight for parents everywhere is to now educate their individual state’s legislators and their voters, so no one else across the nation, does in children as did Delaware’s own, Greg Lavelle, crony Senator from the 4th District….

Most states are expected to administer assessments based on the common core for the first time this spring. Fewer than one-third of educators say they have ever had access to high-quality textbooks aligned with the new standards. All the materials so far, generally failed to meet the demands of the common core when rated by educational departments at major universities. The questions on the top of every teachers mind, since the Smarter Balanced Assessments are enacted this spring, (thanks solely to Greg Lavelle, a crony senator from District 4), is this: ‘Where do we get these resources, and how do we know they’re good?’ ”

Even at this very late date, in training for the preparation of test reviews, the rating system on how to tell if a question is relevant or not, is still yet to be determined… We are so behind on this… but expected to hold teachers and schools accountable… It’s like running a NASCAR race without checking whether there is water mixed in with the fuel…

The problem with Common Core is this: implementation of the curriculum, state by state, has outpaced the invention of quality first-class materials… Making a mockery of the entire Common Core process. We are rushing into teaching Common Core, demanding that it, and only it can be taught; and yet all we have in materials, is sloppy crap that was rushed into publication without undergoing any type of review… It is like we mandated all students eat healthy so they must all now eat in the cafeteria, but we didn’t build it yet, so we order out pizza and soda every day… We are undercutting our goal by trying to achieve the goal too fast…

The company doing the ratings is Edreports and like everything else, it is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Ideally they will be analysing the smaller innovative companies and comparing them to the larger “buy them up” educational conglomerates… If so, that could shake up the dominate position the big boys have held for a long time…

Here are the curriculums being tested. They aren’t done yet. Please copy them and when you visit your school for visitation, find out which of these your child happens to have… Then check back on the website to see how it gets rated…

GRADES K-5
Common Core, Inc. (Developer); Wiley (Publisher)
• Eureka Math K-5
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
• Go Math
• Math Expressions
• Math in Focus K-8
• Saxon Math
Kendall Hunt
• Math Trailblazers K-5*
McGraw-Hill
• Everyday Math
• My Math
Pearson Scott Foresman
• enVision Math
• Investigations in Number, Data & Space
TPS Publishing, Inc.
• Creative Core Curriculum for Mathematics with STEM, Literacy and Arts K-8
GRADES 6-8
Agile Mind
• Common Core Middle School Mathematics*
Big Ideas Learning
• Big Ideas Math
Carnegie Learning
• Carnegie Math*
Common Core, Inc.
• Eureka Math 6-8
Edgenuity Inc.
• Edgenuity 6-12*
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
• Go Math
• Holt McDougal Math
Pearson
• Connected Math Program
• Digits*
• Prentice Hall Math

*Primarily digital materials
SOURCE: Edreports.org

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