Here Comes The Common Core Curriculum

“It’s just a set of standards…”

Yeah, right.
The tests are aligned. Now it’s  time to align the curriculum…for ‘free’, of course.

So who is going to align the curriculum?

Meet The K-12 Open Educational Resources Collaborative (K-12 OER).

From the K-12 OER Collaborative site:

“The K-12 OER Collaborative is creating comprehensive, high-quality, open educational resources (OER) supporting Mathematics and English Language Arts aligned with state standards.”

“This project is a state-led collaborative, with support provided by many of the leading non-profits in OER and education.”

“Members include eleven state education agencies, CCSSO, Achieve, Creative Commons, The Learning Accelerator, Lumen Learning, SETDA, and more. See the full list of participants.”

Open Education 2014
The K-12 OER recently held an event called Open Education 2014.

The main draw speakers included CCSSO’s Maureen Wentworth and Karl Nelson. Wentworth is all about the data. Nelson’s Twitter timeline is worth perusing. In that Twitter Timeline, there was this retweet:

Remember, McGraw Hill is listed by name in the Common Core copyright.
Back to the Open Education 2014 details. The last sentence of the opening paragraph for this event is interesting.

“This project is not creating a national curriculum and steps are being taken to ensure it will not be perceived in this way.”

Oh really? What steps?

The same players who brought us the Common Core are behind this ‘collaborative’ and the rest of this event description says the intent is to do away with ‘costly’ textbooks and replace it all with Common Core aligned materials.

The claim made in the event details  that, “These materials will be openly licensed (CC BY), updated annually, aligned to assessments, and available for free in both digital and print format.”

Openly license does not mean open local control, although that is going to be the narrative.

Who updates them annually?
What assessments?
By aligning to specific ones, that arguably forces states to use said assessments.

Further down, more detail of the event with emphasis added:

Specifically, states and districts can transition from expensive and rigidly controlled materials to open educational resources (OER). These new open instructional resources are low-cost and can be accessed and used in distinct and improved ways from traditional materials. Their copyright is structured differently, allowing states and districts to freely and legally change, improve, adapt, make copies, and give away copies of the materials.

So, let’s get this straight…

The Common Core Standards themselves are copyrighted.

These ‘free’ materials will be copyrighted too, but that’s o.k. because they are ‘structured differently’.

Question — Why bother to copyright these materials at all?
Read the RFP associated with creating all of this material that is ‘structured differently’ even though still copyrighted.  A letter of intent was also required.

EdNetInsight broke down the RFP and revealed up to “eight contractors” will be selected:

The K–12 OER Collaborative will be selecting up to eight contractors for the creation of full-course OER in the following areas:
• K–2 English Language Arts/Literacy
• 3–5 English Language Arts/Literacy
• 6–8 English Language Arts/Literacy
• 9–12 English Language Arts/Literacy
• K–5 Mathematics
• 6–8 Mathematics
• 9–11 Mathematics – Integrated/International Pathway (Secondary Mathematics I, II, III)
• 9–11 Mathematics – Traditional Pathway (Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2)

The Collaborative is looking for successful contractors who will create OER that do the following:
• provide a comprehensive set of instructional materials
• align to the Common Core State Standards
• follow the Publishers’ Criteria to ensure the development of aligned content
• include strategies, activities, and resources that allow teachers to differentiate instruction
• include an assessment suite, including performance tasks with student work examples, formative assessment guidance, unit-level summative assessments, and rubrics to help teachers understand and interpret student performance

All education resources created in response to this RFP must be released under the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY) version 4.0. The resources will be evaluated by teams of educators from the participating states according to a number of well-established rubrics.

Content developers interested in applying to become a K-12 OER Collaborative contractor must complete the “Letter of Intent” form here: http://goo.gl/forms/gohdUxE5Gw by January 9, 2015. Projects whose Letter of Intent meets the project criteria will receive a full proposal package via email.

Remember the K-12 OER Collaborative’s message to us:

“This project is not creating a national curriculum and steps are being taken to ensure it will not be perceived in this way.”

Tell me again how this isn’t creating a national curriculum when we have this RFP by an unaccountable, unelected entity that is working in conjunction with those who brought us Common Core and that is going to select 8 contractors to create Common Core aligned ‘free’ and ‘differently structured’ copyrighted materials based on a copyrighted set of standards? Don’t forget, the Common Core aligned assessments also have to be factored in.

Perception is everything.
Make it look open and free, yet it’s not, because it’s all tied right back to Common Core.
We have led the masses to the promised land by deception.

 

The Textbooks
Curriculum formation is all for not unless you control the textbooks, which The Learning Accelerator  appears to be doing in coordination with K-12 OER Collaborative:

A group of 11 states and a gaggle of education organizations have banded together to make textbook publishers relatively obsolete by creating curriculum offered to schools and districts for free.

The K-12 Open Educational Resources Collaborative, coordinated by Cupertino nonprofit the Learning Accelerator, includes California, Arizona, Nevada, Minnesota and the State Instructional Materials Review Association, among other states and agencies.

The content will be aligned with the new Common Core standards, although the announcement made this week didn’t mention them, given a backlash against the standards in various corners of the country. – SFGate, 11/21/14, Coalition of 11 states take on textbook publishers

The Learning Accelerator has received two Gates Foundation grants to date; each for $750k in 2012 and 2013.

The 2013 grant is for ‘blended learning’ in support of the Gates Foundation’s “NextGen Systems Initiative“.  The Hewlett Foundation dumped $1.4 million into this initiative for ‘technology tools’ to assist students with ‘personalized’ learning to become ‘career and college ready’.

 

Lumen Learning
One of the partners of the K-12 OER is Lumen Learning.

Lumen Learning wants to cut text costs by making everything ‘open’ and digital.
Lumen started by through trying to transform Community College texts via the NextGen Systems Initiative grant. Recognize that grant? It’s the same one we just saw Learning Accelerator getting money for earlier in this article.  What a coincidence!

Lumen Learning is the creation of Professor David Wiley.

Fun fact – David Wiley is the registrant listed for K-12 OER’s website:

Registrant Name:David Wiley
Registrant Organization:
Registrant Street: 738 E 1000 N
Registrant City:Pleasant Grove
Registrant State/Province:Utah
Registrant Postal Code:84062
Registrant Country:US
Registrant Phone:+1.8017010311
Registrant Phone Ext:
Registrant Fax:
Registrant Fax Ext:
Registrant Email:david.wiley@gmail.com

 

About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a freelance journalist and is currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_
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3 Responses to Here Comes The Common Core Curriculum

  1. twowords says:

    LL – what is your opinion of creative commons licensing?

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  2. Jennie says:

    A thought on FOIA in NC public schools. I would like share link to HCPS in VA where they seem to have user friendly guidelines to obtain FOIA information in a timely manner. http://henrico.k12.va.us/FOIA.html . (well, you may have to copy and paste.) I searched and NC DPI , NC BOE for FOIA, and couldn’t find any relevant information. Orange County District is the same, which supports a very secretive climate. I have was told, by an OCS BOE member, that FOIA requests should be sent to the OCS BOE when they are ignored by district staff. Do you think it’s possible to hold NC public schools accountable for communicating with the public? (Goal 3 of 5 NC BOE :”Every school district has up-to-date financial, business, and technology systems to serve its students, parents and educators.”)

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    • I think if FOIA’s for public documents are not being returned in a timely matter, then escalation is required to the department head.
      Holding NC Public Schools accountable in such a fashion has been inconsistent, in my experience. Some materials have been turned over promptly while others I have waited months for.

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