What are the Common Core State Standards
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are a set of mandated skills that are to be learned in each grade. A set of standardized tests are given to measure the achievement of the mandated skills. The tests results are used to rank students as well as tie student performance to the teacher. Learning standards are NOT curriculum (textbooks.) Obviously, the standards dictate how the curriculum for each grade level is written.
Currently, these standards are limited to math and English language arts.
The intent of the CCSS is that all states would be using the same standards so that student performance can be compared from state to state. Common Core is really a continuation of the No Child Left Behind school reform concepts except that states no longer set their own standards, they all conform to the same national standards.
The stated goal of the CCSS is to produce ‘career and college ready’ students and graduate students that are ‘globally competitive’ and ready for ’21st century jobs.’ Those who oppose Common Core generally question whether this goal is achievable. Additionally, they question the wisdom in narrow focusing our schools into a STEM job training center which casts aside the pillars of a classical education which once made American schools the envy of the world. This vision was laid out by the Obama administration in a document drafted in 2010 called A Blueprint for Reform.
You can download the national standards by visiting the Common Core State Standards Initiative website.
Here are the Official Illinois Common Core Standards which are called the New Illinois Learning Standards:
- Math: http://www.isbe.state.il.us/common_core/pdf/math_common_core_standards.pdf
- English Language Arts: http://www.isbe.state.il.us/common_core/pdf/ela_common_core_standards.pdf
- Link to information about the upcoming Science and Social Science standards:147627429-Comparing-Aspects-of-Common-Standards-Sets
When you read the standards, you will notice that each learning standard has a alphanumeric code. Item by item, Common Core aligned lesson plans are tagged with these codes. The teacher can then track which Common Core standards have been addressed in class. In this way, Common Core is a data tracking system which micromanages what is covered in the classroom. Learn more HERE.
MATH STANDARDS: The goal of the Common Core math curriculum is to be ‘rigorous’ and present ‘real world’ word problems. The standards have narrowed focus on those math skills that are considered ‘career and college ready’ and dropped math concepts which did not meet that criteria. According to the developers of CCSS, students will be ready to enter a college but by this they mean that they will be ready for community college not a four year university. The introduction of math concepts at each grade has been significantly altered. Math concepts have been pushed down to the lower grades which results in what many believe is challenges that are not ‘age appropriate.’ Algebra is introduced a year later than it is now. The result is that students will enter college two years behind current math standards.
- Great article which explains Common Core ‘fuzzy’ math and how it does not achieve STEM goals HERE
- Author of the CCSS math standards goes on the record admitting the standards put students behind HERE
- Learn how the CCSS math standards lower expectations and how when IL took Race to the Top Funds they agreed that public universities would lower math expectations HERE.
- Brooking Institute study shows that states using Common Core math score lower on math tests HERE
ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS STANDARDS: CCSS focuses on ‘close reading’ of instructional text and de-emphasizes creative writing and classical literature. The selection of materials in each grade level is based on the complexity of text. By high school, student reading materials will be 70% informational text such as UN documents and technical manuals. When reading literature, students will examine excerpts from the rather than read the entire book. Students are encouraged to keep their mind ‘within the 4 corners of the page.’ For example, when reading the Gettysburg address the teacher would not introduce context such as who gave the speech, where it was given, and why it is historically significant.
The Common Core System: The Common Core math and English Language Arts Standards are written to fit hand-in-glove with a suite of new education standards and programs that result in the fundamental transformation of education. There are additional national standards that are still in development (see the Next Generation Science Standards and C3 Social Studies/history tabs on this website.) There are also national “core” sex education standards. Many activists call this the “Common Core System,” a nationalizing of nearly every minute of education that students receive.
- Watch a video to learn about the Common Core System of Education theory HERE
Must-see video regarding if the CCSS is developmentally age appropriate
- Common Core & United Nation’s global education initiatives HERE
- US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s vision for a school centered society; not family centered HERE
- Alarming WI testimony regarding why the Chamber of Commerce supports Common Core HERE
- Common Core tied to radical Chicago education reformers and the failed school reforms headed by Bill Ayers and Barack Obama: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/12/04/Roots-of-Common-Core-Lie-In-Association-Between-Barack-Obama-And-Bill-Ayers
How did we get the Common Core in Illinois?
The National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) together formed the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) to develop a set of academic standards for all states. These organizations worked with a not-for-profit named Achieve, Inc. which published the report Benchmarking for Success, a document which outlines what eventually became Common Core.
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are a set of learning standards in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics. These standards replace existing state standards in these subject areas.
Here’s how the Common Core was rolled-out to the states:
- From 2008 through 2010, the Gates Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation provided $35 million to a consortium of two non-government trade associations (the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers) to develop a new education system in the United States. They called this the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) and published the plan in December 2008.
- The 2007 Illinois agreement between Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the Illinois Board of Education and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for Illinois College and Work Readiness Partnership HERE
- The Final draft of the English and Math Common Core standards were released in June 1, 2010. Illinois State Board of Education reviewed them on June 24th, 2010. There was a 45 day period for public comment and then they were adopted on September 24th with ‘no objection.’ This was a VERY SHORT review period for the fundamental transformation of the classroom.
- In February 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the Stimulus Bill) into law, which designated a $4.35 billion “executive earmark” for the Department of Education. In other words, the Department of Education received the money with no strings attached. A decision was made to encourage common ‘college and career’ ready standards nationwide. While the Feds are careful to never specify the Common Core product, what the Feds define as ‘college and career ready’ are Common Core, or state developed standards which closely mirror Common Core.
- The Stimulus Bill offered a series of grants and programs including the State and Fiscal Stabilization Fund which was sold as a means to prevent massive layoffs of teachers. Unfortunately, “free” federal money always has strings attached. The Department of Education required states to take steps which paved the way to Common Core implementation.
- The federal Department of Education then used an Executive Earmark to create and fund the Race to the Top (RTTT) program, a federal grant competition that invited the cash-strapped states to compete for the Stimulus money. But, under the Department’s competition scheme, states had to “commit” to adopting common standards (see more details about RTTT grant below.) The Gates Foundation offered money to states to assist them with the writing of their application for the funds. HERE is the IL Board of Ed meeting minutes in which ’emergency measures’ were taken to apply for the funds. HERE are details about the Race to the Top award process.
- All of these initiatives were tied together under the Title I funding though the Race to the Top (ESEA) Act and tied to expanding the existing state longitudinal database into a P-20 database (Preschool through age 20.) This expansion was necessarily to achieve the data driven “college and career ready” goals of the Common Core.
- To further tie states to Common Core and associated reforms, the US Department of Education offers waivers from the more onerous provisions of No Child Left Behind. For example, No Child Left Behind stipulates that at this point, ALL schools will meet NCLB achievement goals and magically there will be no ‘failing’ schools.
- Illinois spent two years jumping through hoops to satisfy the US Department of Education’s desire to see Illinois fall into line with federal reform ideals. Specifically, Illinois law was in conflict with the desired teacher evaluation formulas. It took two years to work out this issue.
- See Illinois NCLB waivers HERE and HERE.
Commitment to No Child Left Behind and other federal reform programs meant:
- Gubernatorial and bureaucratic pledges did not include any consent or review by the people or their elected representatives in the state legislatures. In fact, your state representatives may not even be aware of the Common Core standards!
- The states had to make their commitments within two months after publication of the standards, a time frame far too short for proper review and discussion.
- Most of the state legislatures were not even in session during the “commitment” time period.
- The Governors and bureaucrats of the cash-starved states rolled over for the administration with only Governors Palin of Alaska and Perry of Texas initially refusing to commit.
- Forty-two states made a commitment, but under the federally-imposed definition of “commitment,” not a single state legislature approved of it.
By law, the federal government is not able to directly instruct states to adopt a national set of standards or a national curriculum. This has always been the case. However, like other federally favored programs, the US Department of Education can use its legal powers to make adoption attractive. Here is their official statement of involvement in a Common Core Memorandum of Understanding.
Federal Role. The parties support a state-led effort and not a federal effort to develop a common core of state standards; there is, however, an appropriate federal role in supporting this state-led effort. In particular, the federal government can provide key financial support for this effort in developing a common core of state standards and in moving toward common assessments, such as through the Race to the Top Fund authorized in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Further, the federal government can incentivize this effort through a range of tiered incentives, such as providing states with greater flexibility in the use of existing federal funds, supporting a revised state accountability structure, and offering financial support for states to effectively implement the standards. Additionally, the federal government can provide additional long-term financial support for the development of common assessments, teacher and principal professional development, other related common core standards supports, and a research agenda that can help continually improve the common core over time. Finally, the federal government can revise and align existing federal education laws with the lessons learned from states’ international benchmarking efforts and from federal research.
NOTE: The Illinois Department of Ed, Superintendent Chris Koch, and other Illinois ‘reformers’ were key players in the development of Common Core. From their perspective, Illinois was not ‘bribed’ into taking Common Core; they were thrilled to adopt it. However, one wonders if cash-strapped Illinois could have adopted CCSS without the infusion of stimulus funds.
Governor Quinn believes Common Core ‘college & career readiness’ begins at birth. Read more HERE.
Obama administrative official David Axelrod states that Common Core is not “state-led” but is an initiative of the Obama Adminstration
Illinois Race to the Top Funds
- Click HERE to see Illinois Race to the Top
- Click HERE to see Illinois Race to the Top Application signed by Gov. Pat Quinn
- Click HERE for Race to the Top Award
The following districts were awarded Race to the Top funding to be the first to implement Common Core & other reforms
Requirements attached to the Race to the Top Funds: phase3_dist_sow_expect_expl
Who Developed & Paid for the Common Core State Standards
The Common Core Web
- Pioneer Institute statement regarding the complex ALEC involvement in drafting model anti-Common Core legislation that could have been used by states to fight back HERE
- Learn about connections to the UN and Britain and who profits HERE
- Good list of the corporations and power brokers behind Common Core HERE
- Chart of how the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation distributed funds to stakeholders in Common Core HERE (click on image to enlarge.)
Common Core IS NOT a new concept
For decades, the federal government, the National Governors Association and corporations have been colluding to manipulate the behavior of children to create ‘human capital’ for ’21st century jobs.’ Watch this video from 1992 with education expert Peg Luksik. She describes outcome based education, data collection and testing which we now call Common Core.
1992 “Dear Hillary Clinton” letter which outlines the fundamental transformation of education HERE
COMMON CORE & AGENDA 21: Many experts see a connection between Common Core, the UN, and Agenda 21. Go HERE to get a very thorough explanation of agenda 21 and how it influences local and federal policies on property rights, social ‘safety net’ and education.
Pioneer Institute Video Series – great to share with friends