EducationNC is clearinghouse for driving education narratives. I’ve said this from day one and I stand by it. I’m not alone in that assessment, the public sees it too.
Two new cases in point, the Common Core Academic Standards Review Commission (ASRC) meets today and EducationNC throws up two really rather sadly trite pro-Common Core articles.
This article push by EducationNC is yet more evidence that the pro-Core crowd is clearly worried that the ASRC has been making real progress in identifying the numerous flaws in Common Core. The ASRC might actually make real, substantive recommendations.
Tone Deaf and Blind To Reality
The first article is by a collection of Superintendents in the Triangle area and is titled, Triangle High Five: A letter to the Academic Review Standards Commission.
You can’t leave a comment on it, because comments are disabled for that post. How nice that they won’t wish to hear public feedback. You can comment on the EducationNC Facebook post though. *Update: EducationNC has responded that they enabled the comment function after I commented on it.
This “letter” represents the same tone-deafness and resistance to believe the reality of Common Core that we’ve come to expect from proponents over the last 3 years in North Carolina.
If these 5 Superintendents are THAT blind to the flaws inherent in Common Core one has to wonder what their true motivations are in supporting it — because it isn’t “for the kids”.
The main thrust of this article is to protect a math pathways initiative created by the group this collection of Superintendents comes from. This initiative seems to that rely on the Common Core progression.
The math focus of this letter is not an accident. March’s ASRC meeting brought in Dr. James Milgram and Dr. Sandra Stotsky.
These Superintendents are protecting Common Core and integrated math. Integrated math was shredded in the ASRC March hearing. Neither should be protected when North Carolina kids, who have now had 3 years of Common Core math, are entering 4th grade and ‘have no number sense’ and ‘don’t know where to start’.
Stotsky and Milgram spoke frankly to the ASRC and laid waste to the arguments for Common Core that are commonly made by supporters.
In particular, the flaws of the Common Core math were prominently exposed and displayed by Dr. Milgram. These 5 Superintendents would do well to watch the video of the question from ASRC member Jeannie Metcalf to Dr. Milgram regarding NC ‘integrated’ math. [Watch the whole meeting in segments courtesy of Major Dave.]
The Superintendent letter winds down and drops this statement:
“We believe the voices of North Carolina classroom teachers and teacher leaders need to be included in the Commission’s deliberations.”
According to NC DPI, classroom teachers and leaders were in the process which brought us Common Core in North Carolina. They’ve had a constant voice throughout this debate process, or rather, DPI’s handpicked teachers and leaders have had a voice. Those who have found significant flaws have been intimidated and told to ‘go along to get along’.
It’s the parents who should be included in deliberations at this juncture. We’ve been silenced, ridiculed and marginalized.
These Superintendents do not even address parents in their letter other than to dictate what they believe parents think about the standards and to note they ‘educated parents’ on Common Core. The condescension is amazing.
Making A Case With Swiss Cheese
The second article is titled, What does being a Core Advocate mean to me? and is authored by “instructional coach” Kenny McKee, who attended a Common Core pep rally.
No, really, it was pretty much a Common Core pep rally:
On the weekend of March 14-15, 2015, I attended the “Becoming a Core Advocate” training in Raleigh, hosted by Student Achievement Partners. Educators from across the state joined one another to learn more about the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and strategies for implementing them. As an instructional coach in my district, I work with the standards often, but participating in the Core Advocate training enlightened me in new ways.
This event assumes that North Carolina will continue forward with Common Core. Gee, what is the ASRC doing then? Is the ASRC just for show?
What exactly is an ‘instructional coach’?
Mckee’s profile tells us that “My job is to work with educators to integrate effective instructional practices into all classes.”
Shorter: I moved from school to school and wanted more money so I left the classroom.
McKee’s article is made out of Swiss cheese. Observe the holes.
The above paragraph mentions “Student Achievement Partners”. That’s their stage name. Their true name is actually “Achieve The Core”.
This event McKee attended likely included “Resources you can use to speak to parents and the community about the Common Core.”
Achieve the Core is a collection of people who wrote the Common Core and those who have supported it.
The list includes former CCSSO head, Gene Wilhoit and Core math writers Bill McCallum, Jason Zimba and Phil Daro. Daro has a history of being train wreck of math standards writing.
Who funds them? The Achieve the Core website doesn’t say.
ASRC Co-Chair, Tammy Covil, was right when she stated at the March meeting that ‘ it is difficult to find anyone who supports Common Core who is not somehow funded by Bill Gates or the federal Department of Education.’
Achieve the Core is financed largely in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
In 2012, they received two grants in the amounts of $2,490,430 and $4,042,920.
The fact that Mckee had to attend an event about being a ‘Common Core Advocate’ should be a red flag to even the casual reader. Why would advocacy be needed if Common Core is so wonderful?
You shouldn’t have to “deeply understand” a set of written standards. They should be self-evident to anyone who reads them.
Seeing the “standards role in student success” made me chuckle. They’re “just a set of standards”, Mr. McKee — they don’t have superpowers. Good teaching is what helps kids excel, not a set of standards.
‘Networking with amazing educators’? You couldn’t do that before Common Core?? You know, there’s this awesome thing called the internet. There’s a group for everything out there and it’s been that way since before Common Core and it will be that way after it.
McKee stated, “I believe that ultimately stakeholders have the final say on their approval of the standards, but to draw those conclusions, they need to have accurate information.” “Connecting with the Community” means actually listening to the main stakeholders – the parents.
We’ve been telling Core supporters for three years now, Common Core is a hot mess. Clearly, McKee is not interested in connecting with the community, just dictating to it.
NC ASRC Member Asks If Common Core Needs ‘Overhaul’. Answer Received Cheers and Applause. (Video)
VIDEO: NC Common Core March #ASRC Meeting (Updated)
Stotsky and Milgram spoke frankly to NC Standards Commission
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The fact that Lady Liberty is unwilling to attend an event about being a Core Advocate should be a red flag to ALL readers. Have you read them? You use vague references like “fundamentally flawed” and “hot mess.” Where’s your text evidence? Oh, that’s right — to use text evidence from the standards to explain what’s wrong with the standards would mean having read the standards. Did you know that Core Advocate Conferences invite and are attended by parents, school board members, and other community stakeholders? Clearly, Lady Liberty, it is you that isn’t “interested in connecting with the community, just dictating to it.”
FYI: Kenny McKee is a highly respected, nationally recognized educator. He is an ASCD Emerging Leader (Google it) and a NC Governor’s Network Teacher. Contrary to what you posted on this website, he did NOT travel from school to school before being asked to coach his colleagues, and he does NOT MAKE ONE PATHETIC DIME MORE than his colleagues in the classroom — again, look it up.
What his article meant by “deeply understanding the standards” refers to the necessary practice of “unpacking the standards,” which must be done by educators at any school, be it public, private, charter, or home school. Standards are simply indicators of what students need to learn or be able to do. They aren’t so simple, though, that they can be read by all and somehow mastered by magic. After careful consideration of standards, teachers use them to create learning targets in student-friendly language so their students have a clear goal. They use standards to assess (both informally and formally) their students’ progress. And perhaps most importantly, students themselves use standards to keep track of their own learning.
Clarification: Which Common Core standard(s), precisely, do you take issue with? What, exactly, would you like changed about the standards that you do not like? Let’s see some facts. Spend less time trolling for any article with “Common Core” in its name so you can write unfounded lies, and spend more time actually reading and learning about that which you profess to hate.
Well well, the “Guest” who commented on the EducationNC. How nice!
“The fact that Lady Liberty is unwilling to attend an event about being a Core Advocate should be a red flag to ALL readers.”
I checked — This “Core Advocate event” was by invite only. I would have attended had I been invited.
“Did you know that Core Advocate Conferences invite and are attended by parents, school board members, and other community stakeholders? “
Yes, they invite people friendly to their cause. Like I said, I checked and it was invite only. Those who were invited and came likely have been supporters from day one.
Regarding Kenny McKee, I am sure he was a fine teacher however you might want to look up his history yourself. His resume shows he hopped from between three different schools; staying a few years at each. BTW, I think you’ll find instructional coaches make more than being in the classroom.
His article was little more than cheerleading and PR, using no substantive facts — yet you sit there yelling at me for not listing every standard line item I disagree with?
“What his article meant by “deeply understanding the standards” refers to the necessary practice of “unpacking the standards,” which must be done by educators at any school, be it public, private, charter, or home school.” Standards are simply indicators of what students need to learn or be able to do. They aren’t so simple, though, that they can be read by all and somehow mastered by magic.
A teacher shouldn’t have to unpack standards. They should be ready to teach out of the box; clear to anyone reading them.
Also — Thank you for explaining to me what standards are. After three years of common core supporters telling me and having taught in the past myself, I had no idea what standards were. Yes. That was the sarcasm.
They use standards to assess (both informally and formally) their students’ progress. And perhaps most importantly, students themselves use standards to keep track of their own learning.
Wait, you just said standards are just what kids are supposed to be able to do. Now you’re saying they are assessments too? Are you sure YOU know what standards are?
Which Common Core standard(s), precisely, do you take issue with?
Going by your comments here, you seem really rather viciously hateful towards parents who oppose Common Core. How’s that strategy working out for ya? Did you attend the Core Advocate Conference? If so, did you talk to people there like you have to me?
Do you know how many times I’ve seen supporters ask that question as a means of trying to shut up parents? A lot.
Since you have no idea and have never read a word I’ve written over the last 3 years, you think this will stump me.
My issue with Common Core isn’t just in the line item standards, it is with the entire process by which they were created. For example – Did you realize that Governor Perdue and Dr. Atkinson signed off on our Race To The Top grant which listed the use of Common Core by name nearly 6 months before the standards were released and before NC even adopted them?
I take issue with a national set of standards of which the overall goal isn’t to lift up our kids and elevate their educational level, it’s to put them in workfoce silos based on data sets.
I take issue with who created them, how they were monetarily incentivized to the states, the utter lack of transparency on all levels,the loss of local and state control, the data collection, and the testing which provides more data and drives curriculum and resources of all varieties.
As for the specific standards, there are far more of them once you include scaffolding than the ‘fewer, clearer’ labeling by supporters claims. I haven’t counted all k-12 ELA and Math, but I wouldn’t be shocked if it rolls up close to 1,000.
I’ve been more focused on K-3 and K-5 than the latter grades. However, I will say that the progression being used in upper level math classes seems to make no sense whatsoever and I can’t imagine it preparing STEM minded kids for a 4 year school. Then again, CCSS isn’t meant to prepare kids for a 4 year school, but instead a 2 year non-selective school.
All k-3 standards, with a few exceptions, are largely age and developmentally inappropriate.
As an example, let’s look at some of the First grade ELA.
It is a litany of attempting to teach six year olds the finer points of English language, grammar and syntax. The emphasis on understanding grammar and syntax as it relates to writing over building the skill of reading (which is what really informs writing) is persistent in CCSS for Kindergarten through second grade. I take issue with all but one of them, which is marked.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1a Print all upper- and lowercase letters. = OK Standard for 6 yrs old
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1b Use common, proper, and possessive nouns.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1c Use singular and plural nouns with matching verbs in basic sentences (e.g., He hops; We hop).
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1d Use personal, possessive, and indefinite pronouns (e.g., I, me, my; they, them, their, anyone, everything).
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1e Use verbs to convey a sense of past, present, and future (e.g., Yesterday I walked home; Today I walk home; Tomorrow I will walk home).
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1f Use frequently occurring adjectives.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1g Use frequently occurring conjunctions (e.g., and, but, or, so, because).
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1h Use determiners (e.g., articles, demonstratives).
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1i Use frequently occurring prepositions (e.g., during, beyond, toward).
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1j Produce and expand complete simple and compound declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory sentences in response to prompts.
K-3 Math ELA is a series of jumping from one strategy to the next.
The kids spend very little time mastering any one given strategy; the concentration is on asking 5-9 year olds “why or why not” they think a problem is done a certain way. CCSS attempts to merge ELA and Math. Math is not subjective. These kids are still concrete thinkers, not abstract thinkers. From what I’ve observed of kids doing the k-3 math, children are memorizing how to jump through a hoop as instructed, not how to do it for themselves; They are lacking mastery in the foundational facts.
The use of numerous and overly convoluted strategies is slowing the kids down and frustrating them. I’ve had to re-teach my child math since Kindergarten under Common Core because my child was given at least 5 different strategies in a two month period and NONE of the “new” common core ways made sense to them. What finally made sense? The “old” way.
When my child was 6, they asked me, “why are they making it harder than it has to be?” GOOD DAMN QUESTION?! What’s your answer? Because CCSS math will make you career and college ready critical thinker… at SIX? Give me a damn break.
Please, don’t waste my time and tell me “strategies are not common core”, because they are. I’ve compared notes with parents in 12 states. ALL of them are using the same strategies, which are embedded in the Math standards for K-3. I’ve seen it, in person, with my own eyes.
SO, tell me why you clearly love Common Core? Be specific. What standards do you like? Let’s see some facts.
Keep the facts coming, thank you.
Teachers need to be able to speak without fear of reprisal. There are many teachers who do not like CC. Start with the kindergarten teachers- it’s developmentally inappropriate.
I cannot understand how these people/superintendents can so flippantly discount the experts Stotsky and Milgram. What is in it for them?
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