This is part two of what is likely to be a continuing series on the Common Core Standards. This particular post will follow the implementation and related commentary as it applied to my home state, North Carolina. To get up to speed, read Part One: The Common Core Train Wreck: Part One
Common Core Train Wreck (Part II):
North Carolina & Beyond
In 2010, a press release was issued detailing that North Carolina would be participating in adoption of the latest set of education standards – The Common Core Standards (CCS). In the release, mention is made that North Carolina is pleased to be one of the first states to adopt the Common Core, yet the implementation was delayed until the 2012-13 school year, leaving North Carolina as one of the last states to do so. The usual suspects cheered the adoption of the CCS, including Governor at the time, Bev Perdue:
“These new national standards will help make sure our students are ready for college and prepared for successful careers in today’s global economy,” said Perdue. “North Carolina will be able to measure its academic progress against other states and bring some sanity to testing.”
Note the emphasis on the end product – ready for college. Most of the literature I have come across promotes that same narrative. Not much cheer leading about how these kids get there beyond empty catch phrases though. It’s quite frankly frustrating and alarming at the same time. Trying to find local resources that tell you what the CCS really is like actual lesson plans and real in class tasks is near impossible. Take the Wake Education Partnership site — it’s a giant propaganda page. LearnNC was slightly more helpful and did have a useful grade by grade interactive chart on it. It mostly recycled descriptions, and basic information right from the CCS page, however.
NCDPI’s Release reads also states they provided ‘feedback’ in forming the Common Core Standards, emphasis added:
North Carolina was one of the 48 states to participate in the state consortium led by governors and chief state school officers. Teachers, NC Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) staff members and other groups have provided valuable feedback to the groups working since fall 2009 to write the Common Core standards on behalf of the state consortium. With the release of the Common Core, it is up to each participating state to formally adopt the Core and to plan their state’s implementation.
What feedback? What groups were working on writing this? NCDPI has a page dedicated to ‘parents‘ yet, to my knowledge, no parents in North Carolina were asked about the Common Core. Heck, most of us never heard of it and many still haven’t. I can’t speak for other schools, but ours did not tell us about this implementation at orientation. No literature was distributed. Nothing. The media here in North Carolina is worse. While putting together this piece, I found no more than 3 articles covering or mentioning it. Whether this was intentional or off the media radar, no one can really say. One can imagine that does add to the ambush feeling a lot of parents are having in North Carolina.
While the parents went on unaware, the state officials were busy nodding and praising this new set of standards back as early as 2010, yet the outreach to parents comes in 2012. The talking points handout is non-specific about what the Common Core really is or how it will be implemented, but it does mention the ‘why’ in a number of different ways. This ‘why’ caught my eye:
“Socioeconomic levels”. That’s Social justice. Somehow, learning is about making everything fair. The handout goes on to say the CCS will provide “fewer , yet clearer and higher expectations…” yet anyone looking at the grade by grade framework posted on the Common Core Standards site know that statement is rather false.
Momentum is building, in the states who implemented the CCS before North Carolina, to revert back to their states prior curriculum. As a parent watching the first year of the CCS be implemented, I see awareness in my local area of North Carolina rising. The dozen or so parents I’ve conversed with were like me, unaware of the CCS and the implementation starting this school year. Now more than halfway through the year, parents are starting to realize their children are being experimented on. It amounts to education without representation — on our own dime. The John Locke Foundation notes:
The Common Core standards face other objections as well, including one that affects the state’s bottom line, Stoops said. Estimates suggest North Carolina might need to spend $525 million over seven years, or $75 million a year, to adopt the standards.
Many have noted, throwing money at education has not been the answer. Test scores continue to decline. Schools continue to fail and wave after wave of ‘new standards’ have not helped, but instead hindered. It would seem that more and more control over our children’s education is stripped from parents and local educators with each passing year.
The CCS is just the latest version but it has a new level of intrusion in it. Michelle Malkin explains:
While many Americans worry about government drones in the sky spying on our private lives, Washington meddlers are already on the ground and in our schools gathering intimate data on children and families.
Say goodbye to your children’s privacy. Say hello to an unprecedented nationwide student tracking system, whose data will apparently be sold by government officials to the highest bidders. It’s yet another encroachment of centralized education bureaucrats on local control and parental rights under the banner of “Common Core.”
As the American Principles Project, a conservative education think tank, reported last year, Common Core’s technological project is “merely one part of a much broader plan by the federal government to track individuals from birth through their participation in the workforce.” The 2009 porkulus package included a “State Fiscal Stabilization Fund” to bribe states into constructing “longitudinal data systems (LDS) to collect data on public-school students.”
These systems will aggregate massive amounts of personal data — health-care histories, income information, religious affiliations, voting status and even blood types and homework completion. The data will be available to a wide variety of public agencies. And despite federal student-privacy protections guaranteed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, the Obama administration is paving the way for private entities to buy their way into the data boondoggle. Even more alarming, the U.S. Department of Education is encouraging a radical push from aggregate-level data-gathering to invasive individual student-level data collection.
“Fed Ed is not about excellence or academic achievement. It’s about control, control and more control.”
You better believe it, sister. Just look at the debate and fight going on over cursive writing. The CCS doesn’t mention it, so schools were dropping it. What else is being dropped to make learning a socioeconomic wonderland with “fewer , yet clearer and higher expectations…”? For more insight into the ‘clearer’ expectations, try this post by Diane Ravitch: Exploring the Origins of the Common Core
In my internet travels for this post, I came across a slide show prepared by a teacher who was bringing the CCS to her school to explain it. This slideshow unnerved me. I didn’t get a sense the CCS was teaching our kids learn the skills they need, I got the sense they were being programmed with skills to be one thing: activists.
Also, reading is not for fun anymore. Slide number 11:
This one … I almost have no words, but Naive and ‘What planet is this woman from’ come to mind. YouTube IS an informational text?? No ma’am. An encyclopedia is an informational text, YouTube is one of the various armpits of the internet.
This was slide 28. See what they followed up with on 29. I’m witnessing this ‘critical reading’ going on right now with my own child. Every other week, a folder comes home with a book in it. There are accompanying questions, most of which are things a Kindergarten age child shouldn’t be asked and which usually have to be modified to even fit the book that came home. My child reads very well and whizzes through the text, however I know a number who still struggle. Instead of working on actual reading and basic comprehension, these kids are being quizzed on what the role of the narrator is, what the illustrations bring to the text and to re-tell parts of the story as they relate to their own lives. Way to beat the joy of reading out of brand new readers.
More to come in future posts. Stay tuned.