Common Core Realities

Last week this reporter gave you the facts behind the myths of Common Core (CC). If you wish to refresh your memory here is the link: Blog- Fact Vs Myth This week I will endeavor to explore CC a little more intimately.

Be forewarned! This report will have editorial content in addition to factual content!
CC is, among other things a direct insult to the tenth amendment which states “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Nothing in the constitution gives the power over our education system to the federal government. Furthermore, the welfare clause of the constitution states, in paraphrase, that if the states can do something the federal government cannot. The states have run their own schools since the inception of the constitution so I guess they can do it.

As part of the Race to the Top program, the U.S. Department of Education awarded a total of $330 million in September 2010 that will strengthen the hold that the federal government and special interests have on K-12 curriculum content, increase the frequency of standardized tests, diminish the importance of traditional classroom tests, and further marginalize the role of parents and teachers. 

There are basically two systems for the implementation of CC at the state level. These are:
Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) partially funded by a grant from the Department of Education at $170 million and
SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) for $160 million

CC is a direct insult to conservative tenets and apparently seeks to eliminate all such adherents via subtle indoctrination of our children. There are many examples of this in the proposed tests themselves. But time and space limit my ability to expose them all here. We will examine a couple. The first is rather more blatant than subtle.
Ronald Reagan’s famous words at the Brandenburg Gate in 1987, in which he calls for Mikhail Gorbachev to, “come to this gate! … Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” becomes according to the College Board’s new Advanced Placement U.S. history exam, this was really a period of “increased assertiveness and bellicosity” on the part of the U.S. This is a multiple choice question so the ONLY correct answer is this one.

The phrase “… increased assertiveness and bellicosity ..” is so obviously editorial in nature as to verge on the ridiculous. One might be tempted to ask, increased from what or when? From the days of JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis or perhaps the Nixon and Carter years? Probably not. You see Reagan had a reasonable expectation of a reasoned response from Gorbachev due to his diplomatic efforts. He got one. The wall came down. If I may paraphrase the same words in an editorial manner, that time can be viewed as a period of decreased bellicosity and assertiveness.

This is but one example of the left’s intent and attempt to brain wash our children.
There are a ridiculous number of examples of the idiocy of the math used in these tests, but we shall look at one only for reasons already stated.

18 students in a class room are told to count off increasing by a certain number. The last person to count off correctly said 90. What number was used to count off? Simple, right? 90 divided by 18 equals 5 so they were counting by fives. WRONG! The correct answer takes 128 steps and uses a format that most mathematicians can’t understand. If you gave your work in the straight forward 90/18=5 you got it wrong according to CC standards.

WV State Delegate Michael Folk is an airline pilot who has taught math in both high schools and colleges. It is my understanding that he holds a degree in math while his wife teaches science to WV children with a solid background in math. They are dismayed that they are unable to help their children with math homework for the simple reason that these well educated people can’t understand how the problems are to be solved! I have several other examples of this same thing, but again both time and space are prohibitive.

There is one other area that greatly concerns me and it is another of those ‘subtle’ intrusions into the parent-child rights. Many states, including WV have signed up for SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) which is funded by the Federal Department of Education to the tune of $160,000,000. This mandates that the schools will:

  • SBAC will test students using computer adaptive technology that will ask students tailored questions based on their previous answers.
  • SBAC “will continue to use one test at the end of the year for accountability purposes,” but will also create a series of interim tests used to inform students, parents, and teachers about whether students are on track.

That “… ask students tailored questions based on their previous answers.” thing bothers me. First who will devise these new questions? Presumably the Department of Education and their consultants. Consultants being those trade organizations mentioned at the beginning of this piece. So if your child missed that question regarding the bellicosity of the Reagan speech, they are going to receive reinforcement in the understanding of an editorialized question. Hmmmmm. (Time for some editorializing of my own.) Sounds more like indoctrination to me. Yeah, Stupid me. I am against the government indoctrinating my children or any body’s children with either liberal or conservative tenets. That is the responsibility of the parents and only the parents. Contrary to some, the child’s upbringing is the parents responsibility not the government’s.

The second mandate under the “Smarter” consortium is one test at the end of the year with periodic testing to “… inform students, parents and teachers about whether students are on track.” In the former case we already have a very good year end standardized test that has been in use for decades (with periodic updates). This does keep all informed the tack the students are on, so why spend the money to create a new one? The answer is left as an exercise for the reader.

Did you know that six states (Alaska, Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas, Virginia, and Wyoming) plus American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands participated in neither consortium? It was never a requirement. And what did they give up for this non-participation? Nothing. The money from the government for signing up in one or the other was earmarked exclusively for implementing the tests. Notice that the amount that each state received was never enough to cover all of the costs of implementation. The six states actually saved money by saying no. Funny how that works sometimes.

There will be more on this after a brief hiatus so other issues may be addressed. Let me know if you are finding these comments on Common Core helpful or should I just move on?

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