Quick Overview of Concerns

Short Video Presentations that present what is most important

Two short videos from Pioneer Institute

Other good brief videos:

How Race to the Top Funds Fundamentally Transformed our Schools :

  • What many call ‘Common Core’ is really a set of initiatives that were introduced to states via the Race To The Top Funds and the State Stabilization Funds.  
  • These funds were offered to states as part of the Obama Stimulus Bill.
  • In order for states to quality for funds, they were required to:
    • Implement the new Common Core State Learning Standards
    • Use new standardized tests to evaluate student and teacher performance
    • Set-up a longitudinal database which contains student demographics and performance data from preschool through age 20
  • As a deal ‘sweetener’, many states also qualified for a waiver from the Race to the Top requirements which financially penalized failing schools
  • No state legislature voted in Race to the Top education reforms; they were simply applied for by state governors and administrators while most state legislatures were out of session
  • Initially, all states except Alaska, Texas Virginia and Nebraska adopted the Common Core  Standards.

Who Wrote the Standards:

  • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provided the funding to write the new standards.
  • Two Washington DC trade organizations:  The national Governor’s Association (NGA) and the Counsel of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) worked with education industry partners to write and trademark the new standards.
  • Many on a panel of educators and business leaders refused to sign off on the final draft of the Common Core Learning Standards.

Why Should You Be Concerned about the Common Core State Standards and Standardized Tests?

  • Some advocates of Common Core insist that Common Core is “not a curriculum” and that it will promulgate “an academic curriculum based on great works of Western civilization and the American republic.”  But the standards are being used to write the tables of contents for all the textbooks used in K-12 math and English classes. This may not technically constitute a curriculum, but it certainly defines what children will be taught, especially when they and their teachers will be judged by performance on national tests that are aligned with these standards.
  • Why should centrally controlled, taxpayer-funded, unaccountable-to-the-public committees have the power to define what nearly every U.S. school child will learn?
  • The most important thing to understand about education standards is that research has demonstrated they have no effect on student achievement. That’s right: no effect at all. A series of data analyses from the left-leaning Brookings Institution found no link between high state standards and high student achievement.
  • No state, school district, or even school has ever used the Core. It has no track record. Ordinarily, changes to curriculum, even small ones, are made incrementally, giving experts, policymakers, teachers, and parents time to review and respond to them. Even so, curriculum experts and consultants continue to chant that the proposed Common Core standards are “rigorous” and “internationally benchmarked.” The new standards are neither. The Core’s Web site labels skepticism about this as one of many Common Core “myths,” insisting “international benchmarking played a significant role in both sets of standards.”
  • No one really knows how much it will cost to implement Common Core. Most states did not estimate costs before adopting it. Estimates of the Core’s phase-in cost vary from $3 billion to$16 billion nationwide.  The new tests will also cost far more to administer each year. Georgia testing officials, for example, said previous tests cost taxpayers $5 per student per year, but Common Core tests would cost $22 per student annually, more than four times as much.
  • Defenders of Common Core standards assert that the project is state-instigated and -controlled.  Why, then, do national government officials need to review these tests? Because the federal government provided all the funds for these national tests and major grants to the nonprofit groups who wrote Common Core.  They and big funders of government expansion such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation bankrolled the entire project. Big businesses (including Microsoft) have significant financial stakes in national education markets. They are leading the effort to promote Common Core to lawmakers and business leaders.
  • Special interests are the only ones to have had a seat at the table in developing Common Core:  Parents and elected officials were largely shut out. Common Core represents an improvement over most state standards only because those standards were so awful. It replaces low benchmarks with barely better benchmarks, is confusing and of poor quality itself, and introduces a host of privacy and curricular concerns.
  • Firms that earn significant income by selling tests, textbooks, and professional development sponsor the entities that developed the Core and own its copyright (the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers). Earning money isn’t bad, but a centralized education market is a significant boon to big companies, giving them a large financial stake in getting it and keeping it that way regardless of the instructional effects and costs to taxpayers. “Everybody’s excited about it,” a Chicago investment firm founder told Reuters.

Source:  The Heartland Institute – Fight Common Core.  Full brochure available on our printable items list under ‘resources and links’ tab.

Why Should You Be Concerned about the Longitudinal Database? 

  • Without US Congressional debate or votes, the Department of Education weakened the student privacy laws which have historically protected student records (FERPA.)
  • New federal guidelines allow for the collection of controversial demographic information about the student and their family including political and religious affiliation, relationships with doctors and ministers, and income.  Also tracked are  student and parental behavioral, mental and medical information.
  • In Illinois, the student data collection can begin at 24 hours old and will follow the child into college and the workforce (until age 20.)
  • There is very little information regarding how and when the demographic data will be utilized.
  • The new nationally standardized database design will allow access to student data via an internet portal (API.)  Privately owned educational applications will allowed to access and write student data to ‘personalize’ online learning materials for students.  Research firms and numerous governmental and workforce agencies will also have access to the data.

12 Responses to Quick Overview of Concerns

  1. Jill Sengstock says:

    Sorry–I don’t see the problem with data collection. Why would I unless I have something to hide? As far as setting standards, isn’t that a positive thing? The fact that our country is trying to educate its citizens and eliminate the huge differences between the quality of education in each state is to be commended. I think the fear of all things federal is really what is driving the objections. From what I’ve seen the standards encourage a set of skills necessary for educating our young people to take charge in our changing world. The standards can be met with any curriculum adapted right down to the classroom level.

    • ilpatriot says:

      Many Americans are not concerned about electronic privacy issues until they are unjustly targeted by a government agency (e.g. the IRS) or until their personal data is breached and used by scammers to empty their bank accounts etc. I have personal experience with both of these dangers and I never did anything illegal or wrong. The FTC has issued FERPA warnings to parents regarding student data (see our privacy concern tab to print out the FTC FERPA warning). The new trend in identity scams is the use of student data.

    • patrick carlin says:

      Please Google “What Every Parent Needs to Know about Common Core” by Annie Keeghan, editor, author, and curriculum consultant for newtoneducationgroup.com. Unfortunately, a recent Gallup poll (August 21) reveals that fewer than 20% of Americans (including parents and teachers, by the way) are truly familiar with the Common Core State Standards currently being implemented (or attempting to get implemented) in public schools across the nation. (even many private schools and charters are being tempted by the money incentive being offered). I hope you will read up on it because some of the most avid anti-CCSSers where once ardent supporters until they really looked into it.

      • Vicky says:

        I have 2 daughters aged 20 in college and 16 a Junior in H.S. Up until now I had never heard of the “Common Core” …. I just did a little research to see what all the hoopla was about standing up against “Common Core”. Now after reading a little, this does not seem to be beneficial to us and certainly not economical to implement. Tsk, Tsk, Tsk …

    • SkullSplitter says:

      According to Dept of Education guidelines, available on-line, “Personally Identifiable Information” will be extracted from each student, which will include: parents’ names, address, Social Security Number, date of birth, place of birth, mother’s maiden name, etc. “Sensitive Information” will also be extracted, delving into intimate family details, specifically:

      1. Political affiliations or beliefs of the student or parent;

      2. Mental and psychological problems of the student or the student’s family;

      3. Sex behavior or attitudes;

      4. Illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, and demeaning behavior;

      5. Critical appraisals of other individuals with whom respondents have close family relationships;

      6. Legally recognized privileged or analogous relationships, such as those of lawyers, physicians, and ministers;

      7. Religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or student’s parent; or

      8. Income (other than that required by law to determine eligibility for participation in a program or for receiving financial assistance under such program).

      Parental consent will be required to collect such intimate information — unless the data collection aspect appears disguised in written tests.

      The state must create a permanently stored record for each student up to the age of 20, but that record won’t stop with state education officials. It will be available to law enforcement agencies, prospective employers, colleges, and the federal government – including the FBI and Department of Homeland Security. It can be sold to third parties as well.

      Jill, u b a shill.

  2. Jill, if you think this is a step in the right direction for a “changing world” then you have not seen enough. What are you basing that assumption on? What you have been told? James Milgram is a professor emeritus of mathematics at Stanford University. He served on the validation committee for the Common Core mathematics. This is what he thinks of the final product.

    “Core Standards in Mathematics have very low expectations. When we compare the expectations in Core Standards with international expectations at the high school level we find, besides the slow pacing, that Core Standards only cover Algebra I, much but not all of the expected contents of Geometry, and about half of the expectations in Algebra II. Also, there is no discussion at all of topics more advanced than these.”

    He also said “The Core Mathematics Standards are written to reflect very low expectations. More exactly, the explicitly stated objective is to prepare students not to have to take remedial mathematics courses at a typical community college. They do not even cover all the topics that are required for admission to any of the state universities around the country, except possibly those in Arizona, since the minimal expectations at these schools are three years of mathematics including at least two years of algebra and one of geometry.’

  3. Cassie Downs says:

    I have an A/B student who has been struggling to stay an A/B student but just found out he is now failing Pre Algebra!. I blame the Common Core!!!!

  4. Puget Sound Parent says:

    “Why would I unless I have something to hide?”
    Wow! Really. Is this what we call life in a constitutional republic which practices representative democracy?
    Or is this from “The Biography of Augusto Pinochet” or is it “The Life and Logic of J. Edgar Hoover”?

  5. Ashley Doan says:

    Jill why are you on this website in the first place. Obviously you don’t have a child who has been affected by this. I have, and people like us are the reason this website was made.

  6. Charles Mingus says:

    How many times have you read the standards and helped your children’s teachers design new lessons to think critically? You’re upset because your kids aren’t as good when education isn’t about repeating facts.

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