This list was updated on 11/1/2011. Newest additions in yellow.
The first nine reasons listed as to why CCSSI is not good for Alabama are adapted from Gary Palmer's (Alabama Policy Institute), letter called “Common Core”, dated 9/23/11. The link to the full article, which contains a very easy-to understand explanation of CCSSI and more details for the reasons listed below as well as cited sources, is located in the “Links” section.
1. Common Core standards are almost indistinguishable from the old state standards they are supposed to replace.
2. State boards of education have bought into something they had little or no input in. Many of them (like Alabama) did not fully understand that adoption would lead to federal government bureaucrats setting education standards for the children in their state.
3. Participation is NOT voluntary as school boards were told. If it is voluntary, then why has the federal department of education used financial rewards in the form of Race to the Top funds and selective waivers from some of the No Child Left Behind requirements to entice or even pressure states to get on board?
4. Federal law prohibits the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) from creating national standards and curricula. Section 9527(a) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) prohibits the federal government from mandating, directing, or controlling curriculum or programs of instruction, and section 9527(b) prohibits funds under the ESEA from being used to endorse, approve, or sanction curriculum.
5. The Executive branch does not have the authority to force states to comply with administration-backed reforms through the use of waivers. This initiative is an overstep of authority that undermines existing laws and violates the constitutional separation of powers.
6. The cost to implement CCSSI is uncertain. This is problematic since our state legislators must appropriate the money for implementation and for making all the changes that are necessary such as changing textbooks, tests, professional development, teacher training, etc. Alabama and other states could falter, given their severe fiscal conditions, when the state legislatures face trying to come up with the money for implementation.
7. Every major Republican presidential candidate has come out against national standards. This not only means that Common Core will be dismantled if the Republicans take back the White House, it also puts substantial pressure on “conservative” Republican governors, state legislators and school board members to oppose Common Core, as well.
8. Common Core will not improve educational outcomes, but it will nationalize mediocrity and stifle innovation.
9. IF there is anything in Common Core that would improve education outcomes in Alabama, the state board of education could incorporate those standards into our state education requirements without having to participate in the federal program.
10. This report just out: ALABAMA LEADS THE NATION IN READING GAINS, MEETS NATIONAL AVERAGE. All of this WITHOUT Common Core Standards. See report here.
13. Many teachers agree that CCSSI has lower standards than Alabama’s current standards which are from A- to B+.
14. Parental involvement will be diminished. One popular proponent of CCSSI has even suggested the elimination of local school boards.
15. The last phase of CCSSI is to implement national assessments (tests). If every student in America will be taking the same test, then it is easy to understand why the curriculum must be exactly the same for all students in all states as well.
IMPORTANT DETAILS ABOUT THE CCSSI MATH & LANGUAGE ARTS PORTIONS:
Our friend, Rick McLain, has summarized just a few of the qualitative and quantitative reasons why the Common Core Standards for Math and English as adopted by the Alabama Board of Education on Nov. 18, 2010 are deficient when compared to other standards already in place in other states. These are from a white paper written by Dr. Sandra Stotsky and Ze’ev Wurman (attached).
Dr. Stotsky holds the Endowed Chair in Teacher Quality at the University of Arkansas and “served on the National Validation Committee for the Common Core State Systemic Initiative (2009-2010) and on the National Mathematics Advisory Panel (2006-2008), co-authoring its final report as well as two of its task group reports. She also served on the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (2006-2010).” http://www.uark.edu/ua/der/People/stotsky.html
Mr. Wurman “was a member of the 2010 California Academic Content Standards Commission that evaluated the suitability of Common Core’s standards for California. He was a member of the Teaching Mathematics Advisory Panel to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Between 2007 and 2009 Wurman served as a Senior Policy Adviser to the Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development in the U.S. Department of Education. Wurman has B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology.” http://mathexperts-qa.blogspot.com/2011/04/math-experts-q-with-zeev-wurman.html
The deficiencies in Math are severe, as they postpone teaching of basic math functions like division of integers until grade 6. English standards are just as deficient with one example being that American Literature is not even introduced until grades 11 or 12. Here’s a short list of deficiencies as found by Stotsky and Wurman:
1. CCS defers division to grade 6 while California 2010, Massachusetts 2001, Mass. 2010, and NMAP recommend grade 5.
2. CCS fails to build on money to introduce decimal fractions early
3. CCS neglects development of flexibility with fraction representations
4. CCS provides no material on teaching and using least common denominators beyond the simple multiplication of denominators
5. CCS fails to teach prime factorization at any grade level
6. CCS seriously overuses visual fractions.
7. Common Core’s preparation for Algebra I falls a year or two behind the standards in California and high achieving nations.
8. Compared with the content of the standards in California and Massachusetts for Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II, the content of Common Core’s standards for these three basic courses shows low academic expectations for its definition of “college readiness.”
9. CCS replaces the traditional Euclidean foundations of school geometry with an experimental approach to the study of middle and high school geometry that has not been widely used elsewhere in the world, or considered effective where it was tried out.
10. Common Core’s high school standards fall well short of those in California and in Massachusetts 2001 and 2010 in specificity of literary and cultural content. By adopting Common Core’s standards for their own, California and Massachusetts significantly weaken the intellectual demands on students in the areas of language and literature.
11. Common Core expects English teachers to spend over 50 percent of their time addressing literary nonfiction and informational texts such as seminal U.S. documents and U.S. Supreme Court decisions. Given what they are prepared to teach based on their undergraduate or graduate coursework, English teachers cannot teach to many of Common Core’s informational reading standards and they are unlikely to try to do so.
12. By grade 8 CCS’ mathematics standards are a year or two behind the National Mathematics Advisory Panel’s recommendations, leading states, and our international competitors.
13. Common Core’s mathematics standards miss chunks of content recommended by the National Mathematics Advisory Panel for K-8 and inexplicably leave large holes in mathematics content currently in the high school curriculum.
14. Common Core Standards may lead to fewer high school students prepared for authentic college-level work.
15. None of the CCS objectives on phonics and word analysis skills in grades K-3 expects students to apply these skills both in context and independent of context to ensure mastery of decoding skills. Only in grades 4 and 5 are students expected to read accurately unfamiliar words “in context and out of context.” This standard needs to be in the primary grades as well. Its placement at only grades 4 and 5 badly misinforms reading teachers in the primary grades.
16. Nonfiction or informational reading has been weighted more than imaginative literature in ELA at all grade levels—with ten standards for the former and nine for the latter at all grade levels (not just at the elementary level). This proportion augurs a drastic decline in literary study in 6-12.
17. CCS only promotes study of American literature in grades 11 & 12. It is not mentioned in earlier grades where it would be appropriate (e.g., American folktales, American tall tales).
18. The “college and career readiness anchor standards” governing the grade-level standards are not as a group internationally benchmarked or supported by research evidence or scholarship. There is no evidence for the effectiveness of a skills-based framework for grade-level standards. The ten CCRAS for Reading are organized under an incoherent group of categories.
19. CCS do not address the use of established criteria for evaluating formal and informal talks, presentations, or speeches.
20. CCS do not clearly distinguish modes of organization from structural elements of an expository text and misinform elementary teachers.
21. Although the vocabulary standards highlight specific figures of speech and rhetorical devices, they do not teach dictionary skills through the grades, use of glossaries for discipline-specific terms, and some kinds of words that must be taught (e.g., foreign words used in written English that do not appear in an English language dictionary). Common Core leans heavily on use of context to determine the meaning of unknown words but provides no standards on different ways to teach use of context for this purpose. In addition, one key standard contains an inaccurate description and examples of the difference between the connotative and denotative meaning of a word.
22. Most literature standards lack examples of authors, works, literary traditions, and literary periods. Only a few standards indicate specific cultural content (at grades 11-12) and only a few examples are given.
23. There is nothing on the use of established or peer-generated criteria for evaluating writing or written presentations. The sub-strand on “argument” confuses argument with expression of opinion in the elementary grades, confuses academic argument with persuasive writing throughout, and doesn’t clarify the key concepts of persuasive writing: purpose and audience. There is no scholarship from Aristotle or Brooks and Warren to Kinneavy to support these three “types” of writing as they are described and thus this strand badly misinforms ELA teachers throughout the grades.
24. Oral and written language conventions are addressed, but the vertical progressions don’t always make sense, many standards are placed at inappropriate grade levels, and much of the linguistic terminology is inappropriate at the grade level it appears (e.g., grade 2: “Use adjectives and adverbs, and choose between them depending on what is to be modified.” Or in grade 4: “Use modal auxiliaries to convey various conditions.”
25. There is nothing on the distinctions among oral dialects or between oral and written forms of English, or on the history of the English language.
26. There are many vague standards with unclear meanings and inconsistently interpretable meanings.
27. Many standards do not show meaningful increases in intellectual difficulty over the grades.
28. Appendix C is a collection of annotated student writing samples at all grade levels. However, no rating criteria, say, on a 1 to 6 scale, are offered by grade level—a serious and puzzling omission.
29. Common Core’s relatively content-empty reading and literature standards cannot lead by themselves to a common core of high academic expectations.
30. Both California and Massachusetts expect students to reach fluency with multiplication using the standard algorithm by grade 4, and fluency with division using the standard algorithm by grade 5. In contrast, Common Core expects fluency with multiplication using the standard algorithm by grade 5, and fluency with division using the standard algorithm by grade 6.
Both California and Massachusetts require memorization of addition facts to 20 in grade 1, while Common Core expects memorization to 18 by grade 2.
MARK TUCKER (PROPONENT OF CCSSI) AND THE PLOY TO TAKE FEDERALIZE EDUCATION IN AMERICA
(Information provide by Eunie Smith of Eagle Forum Alabama)
This time Marc Tucker’s National Center for Education and the Economy received $1 ½ million from Gates Foundation to coordinate at least 10 other Gates Foundation organizations (CCSSO - $9m, PTA - $1m, Alliance 4 EXC. Ed - $551,000, Hunt Inst.- $3.8m, NGA - $512,000, Fordham - $959,000, Achieve - $1m to coordinate fed. Funded assessment groups – PARCC and SBAC, NASBE - $451,000, EPIC - $777,500. http://www.pioneerinstitute.org/pdf/gates_money.pdf They laid the groundwork and the Dept of Ed is providing the carrot and stick. Some might call it a “conspiracy”. I would call it a plan that is working so far. It is apparent to anyone willing to see it.
Last time, Marc Tucker laid out his plan in his infamous Letter to Hilary. http://www.eagleforum.org/educate/marc_tucker/ Phyllis Schlafly summarizes that plan well below. Then as now it paralleled the plan to take over the healthcare system.
I noticed another parallel. In his Feb. 2010 letter to Sec. Duncan that the Chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor, Rep. John Kline, begins “As part of what you described as a ‘cradle to career agenda,’ the Department of Education is aggressively moving to expand data systems that collect information on our nation’s students. I am concerned by recent reports that indicate the Department’s hasty pursuit of this goal could compromise student privacy rights. … part of the RTTP …based in par on the willingness of states to expand state-wide longitudinal data systems that include a broad swath of student information….” [See the attachment showing facets of the Illinois data system, NAEP or the National Education Data Model.] Further in Kline’s letter: “…the requirement that states link their postsecondary data systems to those of state work force agencies violates the federal privacy law as it is currently written.” … http://law.fordham.edu/assets/CLIP/Letter_from_House_Committee_on_Education_and_Labor.pdf
THE CLINTON MASTER PLAN TO TAKE OVER EDUCATION, by, Phyllis Schlafly Feb. 1997 (Notice the same strategy being used to implement CCSSI today.)
The Clinton Administration learned a big lesson from the defeat of its plan to take over the entire U.S. health care industry. Releasing its plan as a single 1,342-page bill in 1993 gave conservatives a large target to hit at and enabled them to identify at least a dozen fearsome features against which Americans could rally.
When health plan author Ira Magaziner and other Friends of Bill and Hillary developed a parallel plan to take over the entire U.S. educational system, they used a very different strategy. They dispersed its coercive mandates among several federal statutes, bureaucratic regulations, a strange relationship between the Departments of Education and Labor, state legislation (whose authorship traces to a common source), and grant applications submitted by states seeking federal funding.
The master plan for the health industry was developed by what became known as the Jackson Hole group, which met for several years at a private residence in Wyoming, according to an expose in the New York Times Magazine published after the Clinton plan was dead. The master plan for the federal takeover of public schools is contained in a remarkable 18-page "Dear Hillary" letter written on November 11, 1992 by Marc Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy, an organization that has been able to milk the public treasuries of many states for millions of dollars to pay for copies of his plan to "restructure" and set "standards" for public schools.
Tucker's letter confirms that his plan is the result of meetings with other leftwing gurus, including Ira Magaziner, David Hornbeck, and Lauren Resnick. It lays out a plan, modeled on the German system, "to remold the entire American [public school] system" into "a seamless web that literally extends from cradle to grave and is the same system for everyone," coordinated by "a system of labor market boards at the local, state and federal levels" where curriculum and "job matching" will be handled by counselors "accessing the integrated computer-based program."
The Tucker-Clinton plan would change the mission of the public schools from teaching children knowledge and skills to training them to serve the global economy in jobs selected by workforce boards.
Nothing in these comprehensive plans has anything to do with teaching schoolchildren how to read. Although most Americans think that is the number-one task of schools, and it is obvious that the schools' failure to do this is our biggest education problem, teaching children how to read is not on the radar screen of these plans and is not even one of the eight national education goals in Goals 2000.
The implementation of Tucker's ambitious plan was contained in three laws passed in 1994: the Goals 2000 Act, the School-to-Work Act, and the reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The final piece in the Tucker plan to convert the school system into job training to serve a managed workforce, which was called "Careers" in the House version and "Workforce Development" in the Senate version, didn't pass in 1996 but will certainly be revised this year.
The Tucker-Clinton-Magaziner plan to restructure the public schools is based on specific mechanisms of control.
- Bypass all elected officials on school boards and in state legislatures, either by making federal funds flow to a new entity called a "consortium" of several district superintendents (the device revealed in Clinton's January 22 speech in Northbrook, IL), or to the Governor and his appointees on workforce development boards (as projected in the Careers/Workforce Development bill).
- Use a computer database, a.k.a. "a labor market information system," into which school personnel would scan all information about every schoolchild and his family, identified by the child's social security number: academic, medical, mental, psychological, behavioral, and interrogations by counselors. The computerized data would be available to the school, the government, and future employers.
- Use the new slogan "high standards" to cement national control of tests, assessments, school honors and rewards, financial aid, and the Certificate of Initial Mastery (CIM), which is designed to function much like the green card used by resident aliens, i.e., you can't get a job without it. Marc Tucker's outfit has been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by individual states to write their "reform" plans, which, funny thing, turn out to be substantially similar.
- Control the vocabulary of education, so that many words have double meanings. Thus, when parents hear the words "outcome-based" or "performance-based," they think the outcomes must be skills such as reading and the multiplication tables, but the educators mean "accepting diversity" or "being environmentally sensitive."
- Coopt the Governors and the CEOs of large corporations to front for these "reforms" by promising the former some control over the flow of federal funds and the latter some free teenage labor. Once a Governor or CEO signs on, all decisions are actually made by the same education bureaucrats who gave us the problems in the first place.