Stop Me If This Voucher Statement Sounds Familiar….

Does this statement sound familiar?

‘The voucher tax credit is bad public policy for public education and our taxpayers, diverting millions of dollars in taxpayer money with no accountability or oversight to religious and private schools.’

Sounds like the same thing Lefty talking heads out of NC Justice Center/Policy Watch have been saying lately? Sound like Something the State Superintendent has said – minus the ‘schools of terror‘ bit? Similar to the language used by those who brought the lawsuit against the Opportunity Scholarships?

Well it’s a quote from New Hampshire Governor, Maggie Hassan. I dropped part of the quote that came via an article at the Daily Caller. Here’s the full quote:

“The voucher tax credit is bad public policy for public education in New Hampshire and our taxpayers, diverting millions of dollars in taxpayer money with no accountability or oversight to religious and private schools,” Hassan said.

Hassan’s mad that she was unable to stop low-income parents from receiving tax credits in her state which will allow them to send their child to the school of their choice.

The New Hampshire Union Leader slammed New Hampshire Democrats for attempting to block the tax credits. I am sure reading this will give the editorial staff at the News and Observer hives. It’s short, so I’ve included all of the text below. Change a few words and this could be North Carolina, not New Hampshire:

Giving lower-income families the ability to send their children to better schools ought to be universally applauded policy.

Instead, it is being attacked.

In June, legislators passed a law that allows businesses to get state tax credits for a portion of their donations to educational scholarship funds.

The scholarships, which must average $2,500, would help families who are unsatisfied with their local public school pay the cost of tuition at a non-public school.

New Hampshire Democrats are attacking this achievement by saying that Republicans this year took money from public schools to give to private schools. That is terribly misleading, to put it charitably.

The average scholarship cost is, by law, less than what the state pays in per-pupil education aid. And the tax credit covers most, not all, of a company’s donation to the scholarship funds. So the state actually pays a lot less for each scholarship student than it does for each public school student.

The difference remains in the state’s coffers.

The law also caps the amount of money a local school district can lose from fleeing students at 1/4 of 1 percent of its budget, and it caps scholarship eligibility at 300 percent of the federal poverty level.

Clearly, the scholarships do not defund public schools.

They allow lower-income parents to use a portion of their allotted per-pupil education aid at a different school if the one to which their child is assigned is a bad fit. That is not anti-school or anti-education.

It is pro-child.

-New Hampshire Union Leader



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About that North Carolina Teacher…

Policy Watch’s Rob Schofield has an article up titled A North Carolina teacher weighs in on the reality of Common Core repeal.  The article is really by Rod Powell, a Common Core true believer affiliated with the Center for Teaching Quality and who has engaged me on Twitter defending the standards and on this blog.  Powell should update his piece — The Commission members from the House and Senate have been named.

I am certain Mr. Powell is an excellent teacher. He was one before Common Core and he will be one after it is gone. Having said that, this turn of phrase is used by many Common Core true believers and it should bother everyone.

“The Common Core provided consistency and a curricular anchor for new teachers like my new colleague—as well as teaching veterans like me . The standards helped us push our students further and shape them into global citizens for the 21st century.”

This is the ‘Common Core made me a better teacher’ line.

“Consistency”? You had standards before.
“Curricular anchor”? Admitting that the endgame of a national curriculum is the point here? Thanks.

No set of standards makes one a better teacher. Standards are content-free line items. Either you were a good teacher before or you weren’t. What pushed your students was your teaching, not a set of standards dictated to states by two D.C. trade groups who are unaccountable to voters.

Powell also penned this article trying to reach parents. It included the line, “Those lacking a ground-level view of the classroom seem to be the ones leveling complaints.” So we have to be teachers to “get it”? Please. Given the turn of events with the Dept. of Education’s thuggery in Oklahoma, that the standards were adopted by stealth and that support is collapsing as people find out more about the Core, his past article seems a bit of a bad joke.

Reminder, The Center for Teaching Quality is a Gates grant recipient:

Center for Teaching Quality, Inc. 2013 College-Ready US Program $17,240
Center for Teaching Quality, Inc. 2013 College-Ready US Program $249,471
Center for Teaching Quality, Inc. 2012 College-Ready US Program $3,062,093
Center for Teaching Quality, Inc. 2010 College-Ready US Program $395,836
Center for Teaching Quality, Inc. 2010 College-Ready US Program $2,577,857
Total $6,302,497
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Required Reading For The NC Common Core Replacement Commission

Dont mend it end itOver at the Pioneer Institute, Jim Stergios has a must read for the Common Core replacement commission. In fact, this is a must read for the legislators at the North Carolina General Assembly, who will be hearing from parents if the Commission is used for ‘show’ by those attempting to force a rebrand scenario.

The article addresses the false hand-wringing we saw over Race To The Top money, the unfunded mandate Common Core places onto the states and the unpredictability of future costs.

Some other main points the article draws, but pointing to Ohio and how they appear to be getting repeal done ‘right':

First, two years is ample time to engage local communities and constituencies in the kind of public process that upholds the public trust and also can gain the level of teacher buy-in that will help make new standards effective guidance.  No such buy-in is possible with Common Core because of its lack of a public process.

Second, the interim adoption of the Massachusetts standards is a cost-effective exit strategy for Ohio and other states.  The fact is that Common Core requires lots of professional development, because there are pedagogical strategies embedded in the Core standards.  A couple of examples will suffice: Some of the early grad math requires multiple approaches rather than standard algorithms.  The high school geometry standards insist on the use of an experimental method that has not been used successfully in Western high schools.  Early grade ELA includes more non-fiction than teachers have used in the past; across the board, there are non-fiction offerings that fall outside the traditional teacher preparation and likely background of English teachers.

On the other hand, Massachusetts standards will require minimal professional development.  None at the high school level because the standards reflect the disciplinary background of teachers in English, mathematics, science, and history/U.S. Government.  Continuing PD will be needed in reading in K-6 because of the inadequacy of reading methods courses in many schools of education and in some professional development.  As Stotsky noted years ago, the Massachusetts standards were developed with teachers’ backgrounds in mind.  There is not the insistence on new methods and fads.  English teachers, most of whom came out of English lit majors are likely to be pretty comfortable teaching a greater amount of literature rather than jamming in lots of non-fiction extracts.  As a result, costs for professional development will be much, much lower.

Third, the organization and clarity of the Massachusetts standards not only can be implemented as interim standards very easily and without lots of professional development, but they also lend themselves to greater ease of understanding to teachers and district officials.  In short, they will serve more effectively as a framework for Ohio’s development of new, higher-quality standards.

Read the whole article, because it also addresses the testing consortiums like PARCC and SBAC. Here’s the link: We Now Have a Smart Exit Strategy from Common Core


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NC Board Of Ed Plans To Stick With #APUSH

Right, Left and Center, the Advanced Placement U.S. History (APUSH) rewrite has come under fire. To be blunt, this rewrite is disastrous.  It’s so bad, the authors of the APUSH framework have had to write a letter explaining themselves. We have one of the authors right here in NC, Ted Dickson of Providence Day School. Read the letter they wrote, then read the take down of it by Larry Krieger, a History expert with over 35 years of experience. Krieger also earned his degrees in North Carolina — B.A. and M.A.T. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and M.A. from Wake Forest University.

The framework authors aside, we have our own disaster to deal with in North Carolina. Bill Cobey, the Chairman of the NC State Board of Education, says no one has asked for APUSH be dropped (emphasis mine):

A national debate over AP U.S. History has reached North Carolina.

Teachers are worried that the state is on the verge of getting rid of the classes, but the leader of the State Board of Education says there are no such plans.

Board Chairman Bill Cobey said no one has suggested that the state kill the course.

Teachers are forwarding an email chain with advice to contact State Board of Education members. Cobey said he’s gotten some, and wants to assure the public the course will continue. – News and Observer

In one line, Cobey says no one is suggesting they kill the course. In the next one, he acknowledges he has received emails to KEEP it. Chairman Cobey is either having his cake and eating it too or pulling a Captain Literal on the reporter for the News and Observer hoping they won’t follow up. Don’t worry Bill, they won’t.

Chairman Cobey must be ignoring the resolution from New Hanover County Schools, which asks for at least a delay for APUSH and which was sent TO the State Board of Education:

THEREFORE, the New Hanover County Board of Education hereby petitions the North Carolina State Board of Education and the State Superintendent, June Atkinson, to request the College Board to delay the implementation of the new APUSH Framework for at least a year.
FURTHERMORE, the New Hanover County Board of Education strongly encourages the Legislature to investigate this matter.

I’d like to direct Chairman Cobey to a recent article by Lindalyn Kakadelis of the John Locke Foundation that links to important information on just what a mess APUSH is. READ THE WHOLE THING. In the article, Kakadelis calls out DPI and the State Board on it:

The General Assembly passed a bill that became law on June 23, 2011, and applies beginning in the 2014-15 school year.  The law requires every high school student graduating in our state to take a class dedicated to the founding documents of our country, and pass.  Meanwhile, DPI and the State Board (at the recommendations of DPI) are permitting students to opt out.  So what it is? Total inaptness or an agenda?  No wonder the Senate wanted to reduce DPI’s budget 30% . Either inaptness or agenda just don’t think 30% was enough! – Lockerroom, John Locke

Given his statement I opened this article with, I think Chairman Cobey is falling in the category of inaptness here. Remember, he’s leading the NC State Board of Education and has the confidence of Governor Rebrand.

Related Reading: 

NC Educator behind APUSH changes

Stanley Kurtz connects OAH to APUSH changes

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Iredell Touts Improved Test Scores With “Lowered Bar”

You can’t make this stuff up. The headline at reads, “Iredell test scores improve with lowered achievement bar“.

The positive numbers, though, are partly the result of a strategic decision the State Board of Education made in March to add an extra achievement level to EOG and EOC tests. For about two decades in North Carolina, students were given either a score of 1,2,3 or 4, with 3s and 4s considered passing. But in response to larger-than-expected numbers of third-graders being likely to need summer school for lack of reading on grade level per the state’s new Read to Achieve law, the State Board voted 8-4 in March to add a fifth level, and now scores of 3,4 and 5 are considered passing. Under the new system, level 3 students have “sufficient command” of the material, but level 4 and 5 students are “career and college ready.”

Well… DUH.
Of course if you lower the bar for scores it is going to look like there was improved inigoachievement.  This is smoke and mirrors, folks.

The educrat ‘powers that be’ in NC keep using the word “improved”. I do not think that word means what they think it means.

Lowered Bar = Scores Are Good, All is Well!

What kind of logic is this?!

Is this Common Core math?

This is DPI spinning the numbers given that last years were a nightmare with a 36% statewide drop — the biggest in our state’s history and nearly double that of any drop in the past when we shifted standards.

This is the same kind of smoke and mirrors to hide the failings for the fundamentally flawed experiment, Common Core, that we saw in NY State with their test score monkey business.

Read the comments on that article.

UPDATE:  Dr. Stoops  – Attention Media: Do Not Do This.



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