Update: Welcome Carolina Plott Hound Readers!
Uh oh, someone is bearing false witness again.
In response to a blog post I did over at StopCommonCoreNC.org about CCSSO President elect/NC State Superintendent Dr. Atkinson’s out of touch reply to a Tweet of mine, a parent copied and pasted a reply they received from Atkinson.
To sum it up, here’s the formula being used:
- Tell the person everything they think is false, i.e., you’re a liar.
- Use the debunked Common Core talking points to prove those claims are false.
- Offer no proof you are right and they are wrong, just ask questions back that are false comparisons and red herrings.
- Confuse people by pointing them to a website that has a such a non-specific search engine that it will keep them busy looking for what they asked for in their letter for the better part of a year. This will hopefully make them lose interest.
- Declare victory.
This is Common Core Public Relations 101.
Here is the comment (below). After it, I have a few things to say.
See email from Dr. Atkinson in response to an article I wrote and sent to her upon her request entitled “Concerns And Objections To Common Core In North Carolina”. The article addressed concerns in the following areas:
• The centralization of education
• The adoption of CCSS was not a state-led effort
• Loss of state control over standards
• One size fits all approach
• The poor quality and implementation of the CCSS
• The alienation of parental control and involvement
• Data mining of student information and violation of student and family privacy
Dr. Atkinson’s reply was. . .
Dear Ms. Castillo, thank you for sending me a copy of your objections to the Common Core standards. Unfortunately, the statements you make about the centralization of education, loss of state control over standards, “one size fits all,” alienation of parents, and data mining are false.
Adopted in 2010, the standards identify what students should know and be able to do. NC’s practice has been to review standards every five years to determine what changes are needed. As in the past, we make changes in standards based on feedback from teachers, administrators, parents, etc. The standard do not force all children to learn at the same pace and level. That would be in contrast to what we constantly say to teachers about differentiating learning for every child. Teachers are responsible for choosing materials and curriculum to use with each child. The standards identify what typical students should know and be able to do. Some can move faster and others may need extra help.
If the federal government or any other entity required states to adopt the standards, then why would Texas not be required to use them? If adoption of the Common Core standards results in testing, then why has NC administered end-of-grade and end-of-course tests since the mid 1990s? If parents were not included in the process, then why did the North Carolina parent teacher association help us get input from parents? Since textbook companies have been selling books for decades as a part of the free enterprise system, then why would it be different now with a new set of standards? National standards exist now for social studies, science, and healthful living, but NC has chosen to develop its own standards in those areas. What is your source that NC will adopt those standards? In any event, the statement about NC adopting those standards is “around the bend” is incorrect.
If the Common Core standards de-emphasize classical literature, then why on pages 6,7, 8, 9, 10, of the standards are there references to classics such as Shakespeare, Ovid, or the Bible? How can a standard such as “a student will learn how to multiply two digit numbers alienate parents?” How could NC add cursive writing to the standards, if your statements that states were required to adopt CCSS word for word? How could NC add 4th year high school math courses if we would not add to the standards? You are correct about not having a defined system of governance of CCSS—they belong to states who adopt them; therefore, a governance system is not needed or wanted.
Your points are very similar to those made by a national organization that states on its website that its goal is to create chaos and attribute every issue in public education to the Common Core so that people will lose faith in public schools. I regret that the national conversation is not what is good for children and their future. Standards, by themselves, cannot address parental involvement, differentiated instruction necessary for every child, or statutory testing requirements. Technology requirements cannot be “piled on” the standards. If we used our old standards or standards from another state, the questions about technology and testing would still exist.
The NC University System, the NC Community College System, and the NC Chamber of Commerce support the standards. Why? They believe that the standards will prepare students to do college work, as well as prepare students for careers.
Will you please go to our website http://www.ncpublicschools.org and review pages. 4-11 about 3rd grade reading standards. The General Assembly’s Read to Achieve requires testing of third graders. While I agree that we have too much testing in many cases, the Common Core standards do not require testing. The General Assembly and U.S. Congress do.
State and federal law require the protection of student data, and I agree that student data should be protected.
While I believe the evidence shows that the assumptions in your response are not correct, I appreciate the time you have taken to share your concerns. I have worked my entire career to help prepare our students for the future they will face and so that they can have high student achievement. I believe that the standards, while they cannot solve every issue in public education, will help our students grow academically and will lead to their being more successful than in the past.
Best wishes to you.
Well, that sure told that parent, taxpayer and voter what’s what!
A few things to point out…
” Unfortunately, the statements you make about the centralization of education, loss of state control over standards, “one size fits all,” alienation of parents, and data mining are false.”
Unfortunately, those statements are all true. The data collection piece of Common Core databases with their collection requirements of data turned over to the Dept. of Education along with the partnerships with testing consortiums is centralization of education. The CCSSO and the NGA hold the copyright to the standards, that is centralization. The point and heck, the NAME of the standards — COMMON CORE — is centralization. By definition, having centralization of education does mean a loss of local control.
It IS one size fits all, it does alienate parents and the Core depends on data mining. Without it, the rest of the machine breaks down. If you really want to know the depths of it, one should read up on what Jane Robbins asserts about it. Please take the time to watch this video where Robbins lays it all out from Pre-K to Workforce.
One of the legs of the data mining stool just went bye-bye too – inBloom is shutting down.
Social studies aligned to the Common Core isn’t around the bend eh? Building “rigor”!
The whole point of ELA and math being rolled out first is so they could be templates to use for all the other subjects.
Dr. Atkinson knows this and while NC is moving forward creating its own Social Studies materials, I would bet there is some modeling going on here.
Of note, Pearson was an exhibitor at the most recent NC Council on Social Studies conference. I also noted their unfortunate typo on the exhibitor list: “NC Council on the Holocaust”. Read more about Social Studies and the Common Core here:
- C-3 Framework For Social Studies Released
- C-3 Social Studies “Framework” Update
- Common Core And National Council On The Social Studies
Also — that bit about Texas and being required to adopt them? Texas didn’t want the Race To The Top money which they knew would make them beholden to adopting the Common Core. Governor Perry and Texas did not apply.
Common Core depends on the testing. Dr. Atkinson makes reference to the EOC’s, or End of Course exams. Most states have those type of exams.
What comes with Common Core is testing through two main testing consortiums — the PARCC and the SBAC. They stand to make untold millions from testing related to the Common Core. Both have come under serious fire and states are pulling out of them right and left.
NC is a test pilot state for the SBAC and those pilot tests are indeed happening. Check here to see if your school is one of them. If yes, were you told?
The question Atkinson poses here bets on the reader not knowing the myriad of businesses who stand to make a buck off of Common Core’s data mining and subsequent sharing and selling of said data: “Since textbook companies have been selling books for decades as a part of the free enterprise system, then why would it be different now with a new set of standards?”
Smoke and Mirrors section – where disingenuous questions serve as answers:
If the Common Core standards de-emphasize classical literature, then why on pages 6,7, 8, 9, 10, of the standards are there references to classics such as Shakespeare, Ovid, or the Bible? How can a standard such as “a student will learn how to multiply two digit numbers alienate parents?” How could NC add cursive writing to the standards, if your statements that states were required to adopt CCSS word for word? How could NC add 4th year high school math courses if we would not add to the standards?
Yes, Common Core does de-emphasize literature in a progressive manner as students move along through the upper grades in favor of using informational texts. That’s a fact. Does it remove all literature? No. This is what Atkinson hangs her argument on.
The standard quoted of multiplying doesn’t alienate parents, however, the way it is being TAUGHT does. It’s making math overly convoluted and confusing instead of teaching the basics. It’s a re-visitation of the old “new math”, which stunk then and stinks now.
How could NC add cursive and multiplication or other math courses? Well, Dr. Atkinson is hoping parents don’t know that the standards are copyrighted by one of the entities she is president-elect of for starters.
That copyright states that Common Core must be adhered to 100%, but allows for 15% of new material to be added.
Here’s the catch: that 15% is not tested on. As Dr. Atkinson well knows, it was the NC General Assembly who forced multiplication tables to be added back in as basic education in HB 146. The NC General Assembly also put cursive writing back in with that same bill.
Sold Like Snake Oil
One final comment and that is about the NC Chamber of Commerce. The chamber was recruited to use their money and influence be cheerleaders for Common Core. The chamber was sold a bill of goods regarding Common Core as a magic bullet for raising standards in education that has been proven to be false. It was sold like snake oil.
In North Carolina, the Chamber of Commerce has initiated a project called “Hire Standards“. Partners of that program include the CCSSO, of which Dr. Atkinson is President-elect.
Meanwhile, Atkinson has claimed there is no conflict of interest because ‘no money was given’ to her and CCSSO is voluntary. She’s right, in terms of state law, conflict of interest means money changing hands or some financial gain. Yet, the conflict of interest being pointed out here is not about money, it’s about serving the citizens of North Carolina above that of the CCSSO and Common Core.
Let’s put it another way. Would you buy a car from the person whose job it is to find the best car for you they yet also is also the party selling said car? No. That’s a conflict of interest.
I invite everyone to watch Building the Machine: