See what they’ll be teaching in the Chicago public schools #stopcommoncore

Daily Caller -

Chicago public schools are set to introduce a new Afro-centric curriculum, according to a closely-guarded copy obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The curriculum covers kindergarten through tenth grade and is designed to align with Common Core. It includes a web link to TheAfrican.com, a website whose publisher decries “fake-Jews” and calls the United States a “Zionist-occupied enemy territory.”

The site also claims that the world will end sometime this year and that President Barack Obama is “merely another trick of [the beast of the 4th Kingdom].”

The new Chicago curriculum was announced last December.

“CPS has taken great pride in developing a yearlong, interdisciplinary African and African-American studies program that will enrich the understanding and appreciation of African and African-American history and culture to help build stronger and more cohesive student communities,” said Chicago Public School chief executive Byrd Bennett in an announcement of the curriculum, dubbed IAAAS.

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Posted in Core Curriculum, Illinois Common Core | Leave a comment

Sasha Obama, My Daughter, and the PARCC Test: An Open Letter to President Obama #stopcommoncore

Huffington Post -

by Rebecca Steinitz ,

Dear President Obama,

We have something very important in common: daughters in the seventh grade. Since your family walked onto the national stage in 2007, I’ve had a feeling that our younger daughters have a lot in common too. Like my daughter Eva, Sasha appears to be a funny, smart, loving girl, who has no problem speaking her mind, showing her feelings, or tormenting her older sister.

There is, however, one important difference between them: Sasha attends private school, while Eva goes to public school. Don’t get me wrong, I fully support your decision to send Malia and Sasha to private school, where it is easier to keep them safe and sheltered. I would have done the same. But because she is in private school, Sasha does not have to take Washington’s standardized test, the D.C. CAS, which means you don’t get a parent’s-eye view of the annual high-stakes tests taken by most of America’s children.

I have been watching Eva take the Massachusetts MCAS since third grade. To tell you the truth, it hasn’t been a big deal. Eva is an excellent student and an avid reader. She goes to school in a suburban district with a strong curriculum and great teachers. She doesn’t worry about the tests, and she generally scores at the highest level.

So when I saw that practice tests had been released by the PARCC consortium (which is designing the new Common Core tests for 16 states, including Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia), I though Eva would be a great test case for the test.

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Posted in Common Core Testing | Leave a comment

Big data organization inBloom will cease operations

CEO Iwan Streichenberger announces that student database management system inBloom will cease operations:

Friends and colleagues:

In 2011, an alliance of educators and state leaders, non-profit foundations, and instructional content and tool providers formed the Shared Learning Collaborative (SLC). The vision of that group was simple: create a resource that allows teachers to get a more complete picture of student progress so they can individualize instruction while saving time, effort and precious resources.

I signed on to the project in November 2012 to lead inBloom, the non-profit corporation that is the SLC’s successor. I joined because I passionately believe that technology has the potential to dramatically improve education. My belief in that mission is as strong today as it ever was. Students, teachers and parents deserve the best tools and resources available, and we cannot afford to wait.

Over the last year, the incredibly talented team at inBloom has developed and launched a technical solution that addresses the complex challenges that teachers, educators and parents face when trying to best utilize the student data available to them. That solution can provide a high impact and cost-effective service to every school district across the country, enabling teachers to more easily tailor education to students’ individual learning needs. It is a shame that the progress of this important innovation has been stalled because of generalized public concerns about data misuse, even though inBloom has world-class security and privacy protections that have raised the bar for school districts and the industry as a whole.

The use of technology to tailor instruction for individual students is still an emerging concept and inBloom provides a technical solution that has never been seen before. As a result, it has been the subject of mischaracterizations and a lightning rod for misdirected criticism. In New York, these misunderstandings led to the recent passage of legislation severely restricting the education department from contracting with outside companies like inBloom for storing, organizing, or aggregating student data, even where those companies provide demonstrably more protection for privacy and security than the systems currently in use.

We stepped up to the occasion and supported our partners with passion, but we have realized that this concept is still new, and building public acceptance for the solution will require more time and resources than anyone could have anticipated. Therefore, in full alignment with the inBloom Board of Directors and funders, I have made the decision to wind down the organization over the coming months. It wasn’t an easy decision, and the unavailability of this technology is a real missed opportunity for teachers and school districts seeking to improve student learning.

I want to thank you for your partnership in our endeavors and look forward to speaking with many of you in the coming months.

Kind regards,

Iwan Streichenberger

Chief Executive Officer

Posted in Data Collection, inBloom | Leave a comment

Review: ‘Building the Machine’ is a Common Core movie parents can’t afford to miss #stopcommoncore

EAG News -

ROBERT SMALL 
Robert Small is a Maryland dad who made national headlines for being arrested for speaking his mind at a local pubic Common Core forum in September 2013. Media pressure led to charges being dropped, and he has since continued to work closely with various grassroots groups in his state to stop common core. Writing on a broad range of issues of concern to Americans, his original commentaries and articles have been published in print and online by The Washington Times, American Thinker, and Vietnam magazine.

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. – I’m giving the new Common Core documentary Building the Machine five out of five stars, and not just because I’m in it  — or rather a news clip of me being carried out of a public forum back in September is.

I’m giving it five stars for taking away the last excuse any parent could have for not knowing exactly what Common Core is and how it came to be.   Released online on March 31st, the 39-minute documentary is still free and is must-see viewing.

My favorite part is the clip of Dr. Jason Zimba, lead writer of the math standards, explaining Common Core’s definition of college-readiness: “The goal of the Common Core standards isn’t to prepare our children for world class universities; it’s to prepare them for community college.”   Actually, that’s not his quote — it’s mine in Ann Miller’s You Tube video of me that made the news.  What Zimba said is:

“The definition of readiness, I think it’s a fair critique that it’s a minimum of college readiness — the colleges that most kids go to, but not that what most parents probably aspire to…It’s not only not for STEM, it’s not for selective colleges like UC-Berkeley.”

In other words, as I told the audience at my local forum, they’re not preparing them for Harvard.

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Proposed Common Core Standards Omit ‘Liberty’ From America’s Founding Principles #stopcommoncore

Town Hall -

Common Core is only related to English and math, as some “conservative” proponents say.

Yeah, riiiiight.

The state of New York is currently proposing a set of Common Core social studies standards for kindergarten through 8th grade students.

Among the standards is how students will learn about the history of America. On page 32, the draft document deals with “civic ideals and practices.”

“The United States is founded on the principles of democracy, and these principles are reflected in all types of communities,” it reads.

That’s fair enough, we suppose. The early United States had a very limited democratic process, with most states limiting voting rights to male property owners. Only later was the ability to vote and participate in government extended to average men and eventually women.

But then the social studies draft takes a noticeably progressive turn.

“The United States is founded on the democratic principles of equality, fairness, and respect for authority and rules,” the standards document says.

Further, “Students will explore democratic principles such as dignity for all, equality, fairness, and respect for authority and rules, and how those principles are applied to their community,” it reads.

What happened to “liberty”? You know, a word that actually appears in the Declaration of Independence? It’s a word that means more than just about any other word in our national history. It refers to personal freedom, and the right of citizens to live their lives without the intrusion of tyrannical government.

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Posted in Social studies (C3) Standards | 1 Comment

At Long Last, Illinois Approved for No Child Left Behind Waiver #stopcommoncore

ED Week -

At long last, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has granted his home state of Illinois a waiver from some mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act.

The Land of Lincoln first applied for the flexibility way back in February of 2012. And it watched as 42 other states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and even a cadre of districts in California got waivers.

So what was the big stumbling block all this time? As my colleague, Michele McNeil reported in this story it was, essentially, a question of one year. An Illinois state law, passed in 2010 before the administration even unveiled plans for NCLB waivers, called for full implementation of a new teacher evaluation system in all school districts by the 2016-17 school year.

That’s one year later than for other waiver states, which are supposed to fully implement their plans—meaning give every teacher in the state an evaluation that’s based in part on student progress—by the 2015-16 school year.

Complicating matters: As Illinois’ waiver bid languished, the department gave states that already had waivers in hand some flexibility with the 2015-16 deadline. States still had to fully implement their plans—meaning give every teacher an evaluation—but they didn’t actually have to use these evaluations for hiring, firing or promotions until the 2016-17 school year. Since Illinois didn’t have a waiver by the time that flexibility was announced, the state wasn’t eligible for this “waiver waiver.” Illinois thought that the new flexibility would help speed their waiver along, but no dice. Until now.

Back in October, Illinois state officials predicted that they would secure the flexibility in time for the start of the 2014-15 school year, in part because federal officials would have had time to see that the state was faithfully implementing its teacher evaluation system. It turns out they were right.

Interestingly, Duncan largely steered clear of saying much about the timeline in his letter to Illinois. The letter says only that the department will also be watching closely to ensure that Illinois’ new accountability system doesn’t mask the performance of subgroup students.

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Posted in Illinois Common Core, No Child Left Behind/ESEA, Teacher Evaluations | Leave a comment

Just Minimum Standards –or a National Coffle? #stopcommoncore

What is Common Core -

Some people get hot round the collar when the Common Core Standards Initiative is blamed for the absurd Common Core-aligned horrible worksheets. 

“Common Core is just minimumstate-created, better standards,” they insist.

Few people understand that there’s an intimate connection between Common Core standards, tests and curriculum –because there’s an intimate connection between the corporate edu-sellers and the government, both of whom push for Common Core standardization of education –because it increases their power and money flow.   (Click here to read about the corporate Common Core gold rush;  click here to read about the federal Common Core gold rush.  Click here to read about the official partnership between the federal government and the “state-led” creators of Common Core.)

To me, the horrible worksheets are illustrations of what happens when we let slip the reins of local control of education, which is an abdication of our Constitutional duty and right to determine education quality locally. Whether we give up local control to the federal government, to a consortium of states, or to a monopolistic corporate connivance, the fact remains that we’ve given up local control. Central planning by distant, self-appointed “experts” is the opposite of what made America, her scholars, and her universities, great.

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