Nationally Controlled Curriculum?

Homeschoolers:  Up-to-date list of which curriculum items are aligned with the Common Core and which are not:   http://www.theeducationalfreedomcoalition.org/

Concerns about a national curriculum

IMPORTANT:  Under Common Core, local school districts have authority over which Common Core aligned textbooks, websites and other materials are to be used.  Your teacher creates the lesson plans.  WATCH your child’s assignments carefully.  GET INVOLVED with your school board and keep lines of communication open with the school.  SPEAK OUT if you feel that curriculum choices are either inappropriate or not effective.  Read below to learn more about how the selection of lesson plans is rapidly changing…

The US Department of Education does not have legal authority to create curriculum for the states.  However, the US Department of Education does have substantial influence over the CCSS standardized testing.

The standardized tests DO drive curriculum.  Schools are rewarded with higher test scores if they favor ‘recommended’ curriculum items.  School officials also look at the test questions when making curriculum decisions.  Schools are rated based on student test scores.

Read really great article on this topic HERE.

Publishers are re-writing their curriculum items to align with the requirements of the Common Core standards.  You will see a seal on the front cover of curriculum items which claim that they are aligned with the Common Core.  In the English language arts,   publishers are using a computer algorithm to analyze the complexity of text to determine the correct grade level.  There is a recommended reading list which accompanies the CCSS standards (Appendix B.)  Several of the items on this list contain graphic sexual content which may meet the complexity of text requirements for a particular grade,  but the subject material is objectionable to most families.  Here is an example of a book from the official recommended reading list which has caused quite a uproar from parents.

Due the controversy that plagues Common Core curriculum items,  some unelected, unaccountable common core invested ‘business leaders’ are in discussion about how THEY can control Common Core Curriculum:

The Reduction of Curriculum Choices

The creation and production of textbooks and other curriculum items is expensive.  To remain profitable, publishers need to offer products that will be purchased by the maximum number of school systems.  Because a majority of schools have adopted Common Core, most curriculum items will be written to meet the Common Core standards.  This will make it difficult, and perhaps expensive for non-Common Core to find curriculum items which are free from the influence of the standards.

Common Core Appendix B:  Recommended Text for ELA CCSS

Look at the official Common Core “suggested reading list” HERE.  While most parents would approve of most of the suggested reading, some of the items are quite controversial due to explicit sexual content and/or radical political ideology.

What is ‘aligned’ curriculum?

During the summer of 2014, the Gates Foundation funded EdReports, an organization that will review curriculum materials and then rate them based on their level of alignment to the Common Core.  Federal law prohibits the federal government from forming such a review board, however there is no such prohibition for private organization and trade organizations/textbook publishers from doing so.  It is unclear how influential this organization will be in the purchasing decisions made by local school boards.  However, the trend has been that local school officials have been coerced to demonstrate that they are only purchasing those materials which are truly in line with the Common Core.

Read more:  http://americanprinciplesproject.org/blog/and-here-comes-the-nationalized-curriculum/

 

A digital curriculum

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has partnered with the Pearson Foundation, the world’s largest publishing company, to create a curriculum for the nation aligned to the CCSS.  According to the Gates Foundation’s press release, it will spend $20 million to develop resources aligned to the Common Core State Standards including:

  • Game-based learning applications
  • Math, English language arts and science curricula built into digital formats
  • Learning through social networking platforms
  • Embedded assessments.

Other participants is the effort are:  Educurious Partners, Florida Virtual School, Institute of Play, Reasoning Mind, Quest Atlantis, Digital Youth Network and EDUCAUSE.

The Gates Foundation expressly admits that its intention is to align learning tools with the Common Core State Standards and “to fundamentally change the way students and teachers interact in the classroom, and ultimately, how education works in America.”

Sources:

Gates Foundation Announces Portfolio of Innovative Grants to Develop New Teaching and Learning Tools that Support Teachers and Help Students
http://www.gatesfoundation.org/press-releases/Pages/common-core-tools-110427.aspx

Foundations Join to Offer Online Courses for Schools
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/28/education/28gates.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

SMOKING GUN?  In the past, most curriculum was in the form of textbooks.  These textbooks were in development for years.  Because the high costs of printing a textbook, the books were scrutinized by multiple state review boards and editors before being finalized and published.  As traditional textbooks are being phased out and internet resources are being phased in, there have been LOTS of problems with the quality and subject matter of CCSS curriculum items.  Common Core encourages teachers to download and share their assignments on large teacher resource sites.  Publishers offer freebee online teacher resources.  It is unclear how school boards across the country is able to monitor and control the accuracy, relevance and appropriateness of assignments that teachers are downloading and sharing online to satisfy the demands of the CCSS standards.

SMOKING GUN?  Arne Duncan, director of the US Department of Education gave the following speech at the Sustainability Summit in 2010.  IF the federal government is not controlling curriculum, then how could he make these commitments to the audience?

Speech given by Arne Duncan regarding a green curriculum:  http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/greening-department-education-secretary-duncans-remarks-sustainability-summit

_______________________________________________________________

A few articles & links:

In the article Why One National Curriculum is Bad for America:  

A Critical Response to the Shanker Institute Manifesto and
the U.S. Department of Education’s Initiative
to Develop a National Curriculum and National Assessments
Based on National Standards

Here are valid concerns with a continued movement towards national control of curriculum:

  • A one-size-fits-all, centrally controlled curriculum for every K-12 subject makes sense for this country or for any other sizable country. Such an approach threatens to close the door on educational innovation, freezing in place an unacceptable status quo and hindering efforts to develop academically rigorous curricula, assessments, and standards that meet the challenges that lie ahead.
  • Transferring power to Washington, D.C. will only further subordinate educational decisions to political imperatives. All presidential administrations—present and future, Democratic and Republican—are subject to political pressure. Centralized control in the U.S. Department of Education would upset the system of checks and balances between different levels of government, creating greater opportunities for special interests to use their national political leverage to distort policy. Our decentralized fifty-state system provides some limitations on special-interest power, ensuring that other voices can be heard, that wrongheaded reforms don’t harm children in every state, and that reforms that effectively serve children’s needs can find space to grow and succeed.
  • The U.S. Constitution seeks a healthy balance of power between states and the federal government, and wisely leaves the question of academic standards, curriculum, and instruction up to the states.3 In fact, action by the U.S. Department of Education to create national standards and curricula is explicitly proscribed by federal law, reflecting the judgment of Congress and the public on this issue.
  • There is no consistent evidence that a national curriculum leads to high academic achievement.
  • The Common Core definition of “college readiness” is below what is currently required to enter most four-year state colleges. Independent reviews have found its standards to be below those in the highest-performing countries and below those in states rated as having the best academic standards.
  • A single set of curriculum guidelines, models, or frameworks cannot be justified at the high school level, given the diversity of interests, talents and pedagogical needs among adolescents. American schools should not be constrained in the diversity of the curricula they offer to students.

Shocking video which reviews very controversial Common Core compliant educational materials

Sixteen Billion Dollar Educational Scam

Caffeinated Thoughts May 10th, 2013 –

The government is planning to spend about 16 BILLION dollars to implement programs that are basically the same as those paid for in the 1950s. Many have been given the false impression that Common Core State Standards and the International Baccalaureate programs will reform and improve education. However, these two newest educational policies are an extension of old policies that weakened the American educational system and destroyed its international reputation for excellence.

Serious concerns about the decline of academic standards began in the 1970s. California Assemblyman Robert H. Burke noted that innovations in education required high school graduates to meet academic standards that were little more than those previously required to graduate from eighth grade, but much time had been spent “educating the whole child.” Those innovations and Bloom’s “Taxonomy of Educational Objectives” were identified as the culprits undermining academic progress for our children.

During the 1950s, educational expert Benjamin S. Bloom claimed that educators are responsible for influencing the ways in which individuals should act, think, or feel. Bloom’s Handbooks explain that the purpose of education is to control much of the individual’s behavior and to integrate “beliefs, ideas, and attitudes into a total philosophy or world view.” Academics became secondary.

In the 1960s, B.F. Skinner incorporated operant conditioning methods with Bloom’s taxonomy and tried to involve these philosophies in all education. When the program (behavior modification) was rejected by teachers and parents, progressives simply changed the name to Behavioral Objectives and increased an emphasis on altering the social and political values of American students. International Baccalaureate and Common Core State Standards share the mission to create a world community. A Continuum of International Education written by the IBO describes their educational goals. Like Bloom and Skinner, CCSS and IB focus on changing the social and political views of students altering the intended purpose of educating children.

According to experts in English and math, the skills as presented in the Common Core curricula are “soft”. Requirements for a math program for students in third grade are now delayed until fourth grade. Another lowering of academic standards! Experts want more time to focus on encouraging American students to exchange their Constitution and national sovereignty for a submissive role in a world community.

To create a more compassionate population, the IBO document explains that world citizenship needs to begin early through development of an understanding of the nature and value of one’s own culture. The result has been a NEW understanding of American culture through a rewriting of history—one that belittles or denies those values that encourage Americans to achieve their dreams. Bloom’s goal of developing a “world view” is being aggressively implemented through CCSS and IB to prepare students for social and political change determined by federal goals.

Those who see school choice as an escape from these ideologies are often misled. Bob Jones University Press, a main resource for educational materials used in Christian and home school settings, prepares text books and tests that incorporate CCSS.

Parents from across the United States send Advocates for Academic Freedom examples of lessons imposed upon their children that undermine American values and traditions. American Pageant by Kennedy and Cohen is used in a Catholic school. The text does identify America as a republic, but it provides a definition for republic and republicanism that actually describes collectivism.

Public School teachers express concern that their texts do not mention that America is a republic with God-given freedoms. Parents and teachers complain that the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, and other founding documents have been omitted because they are “too religious”. Have Americans surrendered their republic without shedding a drop of blood?

Citizens must commit time and energy to their demand that federal dollars spent on education be reallocated to the state and that local control of schools be reinstated. States must reclaim their right to shape a curriculum that meets the academic needs of their students.

Advocates for Academic Freedom, an education consulting firm, has begun a grassroots effort to stop the federalization of education. Log onto the AAF home page, click on the PETITION FOR PROGRESS button, electronically sign the petition and become part of the grassroots movement that will eliminate the federal Department of Education and CCSS.

Notes:

Handbook I: Cognitive Domain by Benjamin S. Bloom

Handbook II: Affective Domain by Benjamin S. Bloom

B.F. Skinner: The Man and His Ideas by Richard I. Evans, 1968

www.scribd.com/doc/2171400/18-Index

http://pioneerinstitute.org/download/controlling-education-from-the-top/

http://www.bjupress.com/resources/common-core-standards/index.php

http://www.smarterbalanced.org/about/

http://www.parcconline.org/about-parcc

http://www.ibo.org/myp/documents/continuum.pdf · PDF file

http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/

There are hundreds of text books that pose the problems identified in the article. Some used in Wisconsin include but are not limited to:

U.S. History A- Units 1 through 5 by National PASS Center,  2003, distributed by Wisconsin PASS Cooperative Education Service Agency #8

Civics Today: Citizenship, Economics, & You by Glencoe McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. 2010

Mapping Wisconsin History from the Teacher’s Guide ISBN: 978-0-07020-508-8

American Pageant by David M. Kennedy,

Exposing Common Core: Kids are being indoctrinated

Thursday, Mar 14, 2013

http://www.glennbeck.com/2013/03/14/exposing-common-core-kids-are-being-indoctrinated-with-extreme-leftist-ideology/

Why is Common Core so devastating for education? It’s dumbing down schools across the country.

It’s teaching math in an untested new way with no evidence that it works or has any hope of working. Math experts are even saying it marks the end of improvement in education.

It de-emphasizes literary works like Huckleberry Finn in favor of informational texts including song lyrics and government documents.

And, of course, historical documents like the Gettysburg Address are going to be taught without any kind of context.

“This is just the beginning,” Glenn said, “And it has to be stopped.”

Forty-five states, the District of Columbia, four U.S. territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity have all built their curriculum from this single program.

Glenn said that people should also be wary of Common Core based on the people who are putting it together. For example Linda-Darling Hammond was endorsed by domestic terrorist Bill Ayers for Secretary of Education and served as an advisor to the Obama campaign.

“Progressives have jammed this through in the dead of night,” Glenn said. “Beside being dumber, our kids are going to be indoctrinated with extreme leftist ideology.”

“We will not save our country unless we save it first from this attack.”

Ten shocking lessons a huge Texas conglomerate has foisted on public school students

 February 21, 2013

CSCOPE is the acronym-sounding name — that is not actually an acronym — for the oft-criticized, all-embracing K-12 educational curriculum that is used in 80 percent of the school districts in .

“CSCOPE’s high quality curriculum, assessment, and instructional components assist schools in meeting the high standard of rigor and relevance” ostensibly required by various assessments administered by the Lone Star State, touts the nonprofit entity’s website.

Complaints about CSCOPE have been many, though. The most common complaints are probably that the curriculum is riddled with cultural relativism and downright leftist assumptions, particularly in social studies. Critics also say that CSCOPE coursework is short on facts and way too long on giving students opportunities to give their uninformed opinions.

Most — though not all — of the critics of CSCOPE are politically conservative. They charge that the controversial curriculum is a radical, backdoor way for progressives to circumvent both the Texas legislative process and the desires of local school boards and communities. They also charge that the creators of the curriculum operate secretly and do not make it easy for parents or even school board members to see the material.

1. Islam is awesome

In a unit of high school world history, the online material students are given is essentially a paean to the greatness of Islam and its founder, Mohammed.

One portion involves open-ended discussion of the merits of the hijab — the face and body covering worn by many Muslim women (and under threat of arrest in Saudi Arabia and Iran). Perhaps high school students think the hijab is “freeing because it prevents others from making them into sexual objects.” Or perhaps they think the hijab suggests that “women need to be obscured so as not to arouse male desire.” Either way, it’s fine.

The widespread and ordinary mistreatment of women in Islamic countries — particularly Arab ones — is ignored. Texas high schoolers don’t learn, for example, that Jordan and other Islamic kingdoms have laws that pardon rapists if an arrangement can be reached for rapists and their victims to get married.

2. Christianity is a cult

Another portion of the materials on Islam lists several specific lessons that Muslims take from the example of Islam’s founder, such as “Be respectful of other religions.” Strangely, there does not appear to be any such lesson focused on, say, Moses or Jesus Christ.

Instead, the materials in another world history lesson inform students that Christianity is a cult that parallels the death and resurrection in the story of Osiris, the Egyptian god of the dead. The same material takes pains to point out that early Christians were accused of incest, cannibalism and other atrocities.

3. Communism is awesome

An illustration in a CSCOPE high school world history handout shows a figure with a trekking pole climbing steps made out of money. A chart immediately to the right concerns “big ideas” in 18th- and 19th-century economic thinking. At the bottom of the chart is free-market capitalism, where “all people strive to fulfill their own needs and wants,” and where government control and planning are low.

In the middle is socialism, where “the big things” in society (e.g., “telephones, roads, airports”) are “owned by the people.” “Can you think of other big stuff that should be covered?” the chart asks. (Note the loaded verb, “should.”)

At the top of the chart is communism, which the CSCOPE creators innocuously describe as “the idea of living together in a ‘commune’ where all people work together for everyone.” The chart manages to insult the Marxist vision of communism as well, by suggesting that government control and planning is highest under the system.

There is no mention of the nearly 100 million people who died in the 20th century under various self-described communist regimes around the world.

4. Hey kids! Let’s make communist flags

“Imagine a new socialist nation is creating a flag and you have been put in charge of creating a flag,” read the instructions from an activity that directs sixth graders to design a socialist or communist flag. “Use symbolism to represent aspects of socialism/communism on your flag.”

In the same lesson, students are also instructed that socialist utopian Robert Owen wanted to “give every child born into the world an equal chance to live and grow and to lead a happy life.”

5. The Boston Tea Party was a terrorist attack

A CSCOPE high school world history lesson plan -schools-teach-boston-tea-party-as-act-of-terrorism/”>depicts the Boston Tea Party, the famous protest against taxation without representation, as an act of terrorism.

“A local militia, believed to be a terrorist organization, attacked the property of private citizens today at our nation’s busiest port,” the part of the curriculum pertaining to the Boston Tea Party reads. “Although no one was injured in the attack, a large quantity of merchandise, considered to be valuable to its owners and loathsome to the perpetrators, was destroyed. The terrorists, dressed in disguise and apparently intoxicated, were able to escape into the night with the help of local citizens who harbor these fugitives and conceal their identities from the authorities.”

6. Terrorism: what do you think?

The broader world history lesson that calls the Boston Tea Party as an act of terrorism is entitled simply “Terrorism.” “What is it that terrorists hope to achieve?” it asks students. “What are the long term goals of terrorism?”

There is substantial discussion concerning Guantanamo Bay. The lesson explains that the United States government holds “known and suspected terrorists” at the American military base in Cuba. The lesson flatly asserts that “prisoners are being held without legal council [sic],” thus grossly simplifying a very complex issue of constitutional and international law, not to mention misspelling counsel.

Additionally, the lesson asks whether the prohibition in the Bill of Rights against cruel and unusual punishment should be extended to “non-citizens (or prisoners).” This question is ludicrous on many levels. Non-citizens are most certainly protected under the Bill of Rights. So are prisoners. “Enemy combatants” is likely the phrase the writers of the lesson were grasping for, but it appears nowhere in the lesson.

Finally, hilariously, the lesson — which must have been initially created around 2008 — notes that “President Obama has now ordered Guantanamo to be closed within a year.” Hope and change!

7. Christopher Columbus was an eco-warrior

A third-grade social studies lesson removes vast swaths from Christopher Columbus’s journal entries to make it appear that the explorer was a Darwin-esque environmentalist.

“This is so beautiful a place, [with] species so new and dissimilar to that of our country,” Columbus writes in the cherry-picked CSCOPE version. “The diversity in the appearance of the feathered tribe from those of our country is extremely curious. A thousand different sorts of trees, with their fruit were to be met with, and of a wonderfully delicious odor.”

The writers omit large portions of the journal in their effort to transform Columbus into a tree hugger. Gone are multiple references to God and Christendom, for example. Also left out is the part where Columbus says he is arbitrarily detaining seven native inhabitants so he can parade them in front of the King of Spain.

8. CSCOPE writers pointlessly disparage Paul Revere

A high school social studies lesson on the Bill of Rights allegedly portrayed students to “identify which amendment would apply” to a dozen hypothetical situations. For some bizarre reason, in #9, the CSCOPE curriculum creators decided to have police kick in the door of American patriot Paul Revere’s home to search for illegal drugs.

9. Help Ban Ki-moon and his U.N. cronies prevent a Malthusian population catastrophe

A document used in science courses on environmental systems is a letter with mock United Nations letterhead. Addressed “Dear High School Ambassador,” the letter explains that world population is approaching “seven billion people.” Secretary General Ban Ki-moon “would like you to participate on an international roundtable to discuss the issues.”

The letter asks students to take “a position whether to support or oppose the pending resolution that the world must achieve zero population growth by the year 2060.” Students should also consider “alternative measures to limit impact of growth.”

Nowhere in the document is there any suggestion that more people might be a good thing. The notion of more human beings in the world is presented in an inherently negative light.

10. Murder and extortion were just “protest strategies” used by the Black Panthers

A question on a CSCOPE history exam allegedly listed four groups: the NAACP, Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Black Panthers. The exam then asks: “Which of the above used protest strategies unlike the other groups to achieve equal rights?”

The credited answer is the Black Panthers. Members of the militant socialist organization tortured and murdered 19-year-old Alex Rackley. Nine police officers were killed in confrontations with the group. The Black Panthers also funded their activities by shaking down bar owners and petty criminals in Oakland.

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