Common Core: Mandated Not Law, Not Funded, Not Evidence-Based, Not Field-Tested, No Pilot Program

Common Core Initiative Standards (CCIS) is not an act of Congress. Venture Capitalists are behind program development. Some of the materials refer to your children as “human capital.” That’s for starters. Gretchen Logue at Missouri Education Watchdog has been tracking CCIS for over two years. She is the go-to expert online in Missouri. About 45 states have adopted this disaster. In the video below (transcript also), Gretchen is speaking in Quincy, Illinois. What you’ll read is the nuts and bolts of Common Core. At the end she tells you how to combat this in your own state, and how to approach your school board and legislature. Please pass the information on to your family and friends, especially those with children and grandchildren.  (Note that I refer to Common Core or CCIS below as “CC” for expediency).

Gretchen Logue, Missouri Education Watchdog (click the pic to visit)

Gretchen Logue, Missouri Education Watchdog (click the pic to visit)

Begin Transcript (all emphasis is mine):

Moderator: What is the concern about Common Core?

Logue: With Common Core there are three basic concerns: Cost, Control and the Data Collection…

The cost, at least in Missouri…the Pioneer Institute has determined that it will cost just the State of Missouri $350 Million. We don’t know how much it’s going to cost each individual school district.

CC requires computer assessment, teacher professional development training and it’s different from what they had been trained before, and the computer infrastructure. Just to do one school in Missouri in a district, was a Million dollars. These are costs the districts have not budgeted and they don’t know how much it is going to cost.

The State has not gone to the legislators yet to ask for an additional $350 Million or however much it is.

The control: it bypassed state legislators and it bypassed the voters. Unlike No Child Left Behind, which was a Congressional Act, these are mandates that are Stimulus-dollar-funded, so when the Stimulus ends in September 2014, all that money runs out.

You have two private trade organizations, that’s the Chief Council of State School Officers and the National Governors Association. They are not governmental organizations. They have been funded by the federal government to DIRECT the curriculum, the assessments and teacher evaluations.

The third part of it is the data. It is unprecedented that now information will be gathered on individual students, teachers and principals. The students will have data sets. The teachers and principals will be evaluated on how the children do on the assessments. The teachers, it’s up to 50%. So, if the student doesn’t do well, or the class doesn’t do well, that teacher is graded down regardless of what kind of class make-up he or she has that year.

The school district also…the standards assessments are copyrighted by the two private organizations, so a school district cannot change the standards, nor can they change the assessments, so you have to teach to the assessments…to the tests, and using the specific curriculum that aligned to Common Core Standards.

MODERATOR: Besides just the fact that this is a lot of stuff going on, my question to you is, why do you think this is even coming around? It just seems like it is so much more work to get something like this implemented.

LOGUE: There’s a lot of money in education. Education is a $600 BILLION industry. Pearson is one of the biggest players in this. Bill Gates has a lot of money in this because all the computers have to be Microsoft. It’s big business. It has less to do about education than it does with money.

Back when I started the blog about 2 years ago, I stumbled across a man named Scott Joftus [sp?] and Scott Joftus is from…a suburb of St. Louis. He now lives in New York City – a venture capitalist. A lot of venture capitalists in education know nothing about education. They are just providing a product that someone has told them this is what we need, and they are producing it.

He said, I realized there is a lot of money to be had in education when I started getting telephone calls from the Middle East to figure out how to fund turn-around schools. In education there are grants for turn-around schools, failing schools, and they’ll close them, fire everybody and start a different school. He said education is the wild, wild west to make money. This is where a lot of the people who lost money in the dotcom bubble now go, to education.

MODERATOR: Wow. So, I’m going to play the devil’s advocate here. Some parents, some adults who maybe don’t have kids in school or their kids are really small right now, will say, you know this is just another change in education – there’s all kinds of different things, we have No Child Left Behind, now we’ve got this. What’s the big deal? Talk to me as someone who is not informed – why is this such a big deal?

LOGUE: The most egregious thing about CC is it totally goes around around our political structure. No Child Left Behind did go to a Congressional vote. This was decided by the Department of Education and two private trade organizations. Your legislators never voted for it, never voted for funding it. When the federal Stimulus funds were announced, voters never had a chance to say, yeah this is a great idea or no I don’t like this, however the system is set in place. You are going to have States come back and say, now we have this system in place and we have to fund it now because we spent all this time and money doing it regardless if it’s good or not.

Another thing I’d like people to understand, CC has never been researched, is not evidence-based. It was not field-tested. There were no pilot tests. This is theory.

They want us to spend BILLIONS of dollars on theory.

They say they want to help these kids become globally competitive for a 21st Century job. What’s a 21st Century job? Who knows?

They said they were internationally benchmarked. Everybody said what countries are you internationally benchmarked? They withdrew that claim.

They have said a lot of things that have not been true and we find it ironic that this system is going to produce data. Well, they don’t have any data for what they want us to learn.

MODERATOR: We’ve done a couple of different stories about, correct me if I’m wrong – the students will kind of set the bar for their own education. Is that correct?

LOGUE: Well, there’s a lot of self-direction. The teachers are not really teacher’s now. They’re going to be more facilitators. What we’re hearing about CC, they’re more interested in the process versus the answers. In other words:

3 x 4 = 12

You get one point for that.

Then you have B, C and D.

You have to graph it out how you came to the answer in two different ways.

In the D area you have to be very language-savvy. You have to explain how you came across that answer. That’s the process. Now, if you are a child that has good language, that’s great. If your English is second language, you are not going to do well. If you are hearing impaired and you may have a language delay, you’re not going to do well. Or if you have a language processing problem, you’re not going to do well, but you will be counted down on the answer.

3 X 4 = 12 is not good enough any more.

You will also be graded on behavior-able tendencies, so if you are a 5-year-old boy and you are a little antsy in your seat and you don’t make good eye contact, you will be graded down – that will go on that data set.

A very important thing to understand about the data: every child will have a data set. It follows that child into the WORK FORCE. This data will be merged with the Departments of Labor, Health and any other third party organizations or research firms that the Department of Education thinks needs your child’s data.

What we would like people to understand or think about: if your child goes across the threshold of a school, should that school have the right to know things about that child in that family? That is a profound shift in how we think about education, and what is the roll of government? Is it to have a data set or dossier that follows the kid all through their lives?

MODERATOR: It sounds as if you are going to be judged and not given the room to grow, as you would normally in education, as you grow and mature, as you begin to develop and new challenges come into your life. With this passed on to jobs and other people you will be judged and not given a chance to show you’ve grown and matured.

LOGUE: And that’s the big issue – people are different developmentally. Boys – I have two boys. They are now young men. Generally boys are not as good a student early on as the girls are. A lot of times they catch up. Boys have a lot of testosterone. They need to move around. They are just not as likely to sit there and pay attention. That is very worrisome to us – that you will be based on your data set from the time you are in pre-school.

That is something that people really latch onto when they understand you have to have CC because you have to have common data sets. You have to have common assessments, cause then, how can you compare students and states…so that’s why “common.” I don’t think that people are common. We are all different. We all have different talents, we all learn at different rates. I have a son who has a Cochlear implant. That’s how I got into this. I realized he learned in a different way. He eventually caught up, but it was different than this child over here and different from that child over there and that child over there.

Children are not common. Our education should not be common. School districts should be able to adapt to what their kids need. Teachers need to be able to teach the children and not to the test. The teachers will be teaching to the test because their jobs depend on it, the Principal’s jobs depend on it, and the Superintendent’s jobs depends on it. It’s a domino-effect.

MODERATOR: Knowing the financial aspects, it seems to me you are saying education and children are being reduced down into a financial and mathematical formula to a common denominator – if these things are in place we should get get this result, not taking into account, as you just said, individuality, special needs…

LOGUE: It’s more of a job training program versus education. That’s what we’ve kind of morphed into. Chambers of Commerce love this because they have been told this will make great workers. If you read enough educational material, they do not refer to students as students. They are now human capital. There was an article that I read – a 10-year prediction, a guy wrote it in 2006. He said by 2016, I hate to put it this way, but parents and taxpayers want a return on their investment and the money we spend on education. That’s how I look at human capital, it’s an ROI.

That’s what we have to change. People have to understand that’s not what public education is about. It is not Public-Private partnership and your children are going to be lost. They are not human capital. They are your child and it’s time to stand up and reclaim the power that you have to educate your own child and to have some say-so in how your public school district is run and how education is implemented.

MODERATOR: What are you trying to do to begin to make a shift to open people’s eyes?

LOGUE: We are doing an education campaign. We worked very hard last year in Missouri and we are working harder this year with a larger group to get bills [legislation] for data privacy, to slow the implementation of CC, to figure out how much this is going to cost – those types of bills. We have on our website a resolution to take to your school boards. It’s all sourced. The research can be adopted to Illinois or any other state, and to say, look, this is a mandate – it’s not a law. You don’t have to do this. For the good of your taxpayer, your financial foundation and for your children, say no, we don’t have to do this. We can educate our kids. Thank you very much.

End Transcript

Find a Common Core Reading List here and a short video of someone trying to explain why, under Common Core, 3 x 4 = 11 is okay.

Thanks to ConnectTriStates for the interview and video. Read more here. 

 Gretchen Logue, Speaking on Common Core in Quincy, Illinois (video)

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