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And So it Begins...Common Core Propaganda Steps up -- We start with the Basics

It was obvious, about 14 days ago, that a hell of a lot of money was suddenly injected into the Internet against Common Core. That money is coming from the usual suspects and lighting up the Koch camps a long the rivers near the capital. To see the fringes and the uglier , more rabid fray of the battle, tune into Twitter hashes #CommonCore #CCSS #StandUp4Kids There are a bunch of others, but those three will get you to the front lines.

The meme-pushers showed up in droves, with anti-Common Core jargon. At first it was infantile, and if you really thought about it, -- it was down right insulting that the average American, who could work a computer, was as ignorant as they proposed to be. I didn't make a connection right away. I really didn't believe at that time anyone who was moderately literate would object to Common Core. I was wrong. They were just late, that's all. Higher currents were keeping them back -- but that didn't really matter, they were here now.

Cut over to Common Core's web site, check out the Myths and Facts, and give a look over one of the Standards (this link will take you to a math standard).

Two things are abundantly clear once you are finished. First, there is no Teaching Method, no requirements about how the lesson is to be taught. People telling you that their child's homework is tougher than fighting fires or terrorists, because of the Common Core Math, are obviously lying(, or they might actually be stupid.) Ninety percent of the time, the same methods for teaching used before Common Core are still in place afterward Here, let's look at a Standard for English.

English Language Arts Standards » Writing » Grade 1

Production and Distribution of Writing:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.1.4 - (W.1.4 begins in grade 3)

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.1.5 - With guidance and support from adults, focus on a topic, respond to questions and suggestions from peers, and add details to strengthen writing as needed.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.1.6 - With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.

[end of standard]

So this is it. That is Common Core. In the first grade our students need to learn about the Production and Distribution of Writing. Then there are three (actually two since the first has been changed to begin at 3rd grade) skill sets our students need to learn about this subject.  Standards are written in Concise Language, so they seem a bit more intense than they really are, but basically little Suzie needs to pick something to write about, "Ponies."

In class as guided by their teacher she needs to answer a few questions about the subject and give a few details to her classmates about this subject: "What kind of ponies?" "Do you mean horses?" which will give Suzie some idea on what to say in her production.

Then, using the computer or the iPad or whatever the tool the school has provided for digital production, sue needs to put together a page (probably a flyer) on ponies.Also, she could work with some other kids and put together a small book by using each of their pages.

That's more or less a narration of the Standard (which is strictly avoided by the standards themselves) but not really a lesson plan. Notice that there is no "Required Subject Matter" the teacher can choose subjects, or allow Suzie to choose her own. If it is near Halloween, the teacher may decide that everyone will work on a Halloween topic and create a class Halloween book. This matter is left up to the Local Administration.

Demands on the type of "digital tool" is also avoided. using a Waco pen is just as valid as using a digital word processor, or a touch screen laptop. Again, this is all up to the Local Administration.

Since we now have a Standard system which everyone is working off, the school system has attracted the attention of the OpenSource community. This is a good thing. Our teacher no longer has to spend her off hours developing lessons from scratch (which she never gets paid for) on her own. There are hundreds of web sites out there right now to give her ideas, or full lesson plans which are in alignment with the CCSS.

Graphite has a tool that helps you to find great sources which have been evaluated and reviewed

From there I found that PBS has jumped into developing some CCSS lessons, and our current lesson is listed as one they have worked on. On This Page we have the evaluation from Graphite on the PBS projects

Then we go to the PBS Lab and browse their lessons.  There we find that Under the 1st grade in English there are at least 44 pages of CCSS aligned lessons for our teacher to examine.

That is just PBS. There are hundreds of web sites out there offering a deluge of help, communication, support and ideas for our teacher now. She can reach out across the country and tap into success stories, effective methods and explore ideas she would never have been able to become aware of before CCSS. Did I mention this was all at Zero cost to the teacher or the school? Good.

The second thing you will notice is "Hey, these are pretty easy to understand." 

Exactly. So why the fuss?  Real answer -- because a few political and corporate entities are not happy that education may become stable, and effective, closing doors of dogma and indoctrination which have been wide open for the last 15 years. Using Common Core bargaining chips surrounding materials and lesson plans are less able to be influenced by parties outside the school. Teachers grow in skills and experience -- which makes it much more difficult to replace them and raises their market value. .. teachers become what they should be.., .respected.

What do these (snicker) Corporate Entities want then?  -- Real Answer? To close public schools, replace them with charter schools and schools run by corporations and/or religions --  and right now they have the opportunity to do so.

Lesson - No Child Left Behind 

Washington is the first state to lose the waiver from No Child law. -- story on Washington Post.  Yes, its kind of embarrassing, but there are a few things we haven't been able to get going yet. The loss will affect public-school districts in two ways: They will  lose control of how they spend a portion of their federal funding (roughly $40 million statewide); and many could be declared failing and possibly subject to remedies as extreme as state takeover or replacement of most of the staff. 

What is also available is to sell the school to a private company or corporation who will take it over without funding, and without oversight. This is historically, not a good option, so no one likes to bring this part up.

The reason for the Waivers is that No Child has come due. The states had 12 years to adhere to the standard of NCLB -- all of them failed. For example, in 12 years, the reading levels of our kids has not changed. It has been flatlined the entire time. No state can claim that their students are reading at grade level.

Why does this matter to CCSS?  No Child was brought to us by GW Bush as a law - not a policy or a suggestion. Is a Federal Law which gave states funds and demanded that at the end of 12 years, every student would have math and reading skills "at level" 4th graders would be reading at 4th grade level.

Results? Epic fail.  The Law's remedies for this are :

If the school's results are repeatedly poor, then steps are taken to improve the school.[8]
  • Schools that miss AYP for a second consecutive year are publicly labeled as in need of improvement, and must develop a two-year improvement plan for the subject that the school is not teaching well. Students have the option to transfer to a better school within the school district, if any exists.
  • Missing AYP in the third year forces the school to offer free tutoring and other supplemental education services to struggling students.
  • If a school misses its AYP target for a fourth consecutive year, the school is labelled as requiring "corrective action," which might involve wholesale replacement of staff, introduction of a new curriculum, or extending the amount of time students spend in class.
  • A fifth year of failure results in planning to restructure the entire school; the plan is implemented if the school fails to hit its AYP targets for the sixth year in a row. Common options include closing the school, turning the school into a charter school, hiring a private company to run the school, or asking the state office of education to run the school directly. -- From Wikiepedia

Congress has had the option to revise this law since 2008. They have refused to do so. Their reasonings are unclear, and unimportant, though the movement of the Koch Brothers into public schools at the same time, is .. interesting.

Koch High: How The Koch Brothers Are Buying Their Way Into The Minds Of Public School Students

Aside from that distraction, Obama has made repeated requests to Congress to re-write the law so that school closures will not be necessary.

Notice that Reforms are Demanded at this point by the law. Obama can not revise the law, nor can he ignore it. The Department of Education is part of the Executive Branch which means that not only can he act without Congress, he must act - in some way, in accordance with this law. It is his Job to Police this - he is the President, and this is an Executive Branch Problem.

Culture of Obstruction Leader
NOTE: There are a lot of memes that say Obama went behind everyone's back to do bring Common Core into place, while Congress was on vacation, Again. That is a lot of crap, and some serious delusion. I may not like him or everything he does, but I'm not going to lie to myself or distort things so atrociously. Obama was in everyone's face with this from 2009. He saw it coming, and did everything he could to get Congress to act.
Congress refused. 

First step was to find a workable method of Reform.

Back in 2008 the "... National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and seeks to establish consistent educational standards across the states as well as ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to enter credit-bearing courses at two- or four-year college programs or to enter the workforce." -- this is a nice way of saying that the Governors of the States got together at their meeting, with all of them knowing that No Child was going to mess up their worlds. Nothing was working in the schools, and many methods had been tried.  With them, the CCSSO agreed. They had to come up with some thing ... something good, something that was reportable, something that the states could gain from each other with.

Also, they all agreed that if they didn't come up with something before 2014, something they could work with -- the Feds were going to do it for them because NCLB was an epic Failure.

It is from this series of meetings and from the following actions, which the statement that CCSS was developed at the State level comes from .Technically this is not true, since NGA and CCSSO are not government bodies, but foundations. So, technically, CCSS was started in the Private sector. NGA gathered some brilliant minds in Education, CCSSO gathered some experienced teachers and they went at this problem.

The idea for CCSS comes quickly as David Coleman, William McCallum of the University of Arizona, Phil Daro, and Student Achievement Partners founders Jason Zimba and Susan Pimentel have been working in various way already to produce and write standards in the areas of mathematics and literacy. So they had the project scope and goals developed fairly quickly. There was another problem though. No one had any money...

Bill Gates and his wife Melinda have been dedicated to improving education for a long time. This is common knowledge in the education circles, and has made headlines several times.

On a summer day in 2008, Gene Wilhoit, director of a national group of state school chiefs, and David Coleman, an emerging evangelist for the standards movement, spent hours in Bill Gates’s sleek headquarters near Seattle, trying to persuade him and his wife, Melinda, to turn their idea into reality.

Coleman and Wilhoit told Bill and Melinda that academic standards varied so wildly between states that high school diplomas had lost all meaning, that as many as 40 percent of college freshmen needed remedial classes and that U.S. students were falling behind their foreign competitors.

The pair also argued that a fragmented education system stifled innovation because textbook publishers and software developers were catering to a large number of small markets instead of exploring breakthrough products. (For example, the OpenSource community that we explored before, had no standards to work with.) That seemed to resonate with the man who led the creation of the world’s dominant computer operating system - and first hand watched what the OpenSource community could do once they had a standard to work from.

“Can you do this?” Wilhoit recalled being asked. “Is there any proof that states are serious about this, because they haven’t been in the past?”

Wilhoit responded that he and Coleman could make no guarantees but that “we were going to give it the best shot we could.”

After the meeting, weeks passed with no word. Then Wilhoit got a call: Gates was in.

What followed was one of the swiftest and most remarkable shifts in education policy in U.S. history.

Bill Gates and Melinda are not politicians. They are powerful CEOs and Project Managers on the Epic scale.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation didn’t just bankroll the development of what became known as the Common Core State Standards. With more than $200 million, the foundation also built political support across the country, persuading state governments (Congress, who has been trying to block Obama from coming up with a fix for this) to make systemic and costly changes.

Bill Gates was de facto organizer, providing the money and structure for states to work together on common standards in a way that avoided the usual collision between states’ rights and national interests that had undercut every previous effort, dating from the Eisenhower administration -- and those historic undercuts normally made any good idea unrecognizable by the time it reached the classroom.

The meme's say that Bill Gates now owns CCSS. Not true. NGA and CCSSO hold all of the copyrights. BUT they say, he actually has real control.

Um.. control over what? Remember what we saw with the core standards? That is how much is what is in the hands of the Federal dictate --- the required reform. From there, the teacher and the state have total control with thousands of options and methods to choose from .Suzie needs to be able to come up with a story. Bill Gates has no connection to Suzie's little mind, through the Gatekeepers of the State, District, School, and finally to the Teacher. All of little Suzie's guardians are in place -- and in fact, more powerful and effective than ever, since ESEA makes in specifically illegal for the Federal Government to make School Curriculums. 

But Gates wants all of Suzie's Data! It is a huge Data Mining project! Can't you see that?! Arg!

First of all, GET A GRIP! Second, most states have Firewalls in place.. not only physically but into State Law as well. Suzies Teacher is probably unable to get at her data (which is kind of stupid really but people get paranoid at this level). The reports, sent by the States, to the Feds will not have any more information in them, than what has been sent under NCLB for the last 12 years. Recall that Obama Can Not Alter The Law... so no, he can not demand that more information be sent. Sorry to blow your conspiracy theory with basic Government 101.

So, get off the Biil Gates / Federal Control idea of Common Core. Look at the facts. Read the Standards. This is not your Father's Cold War Era, though the Koch brothers want it to be. This is the ear where OpenSource culture will crush efforts like Koch; and guys like Bill Gates do things because they fricken want to.. and Koch can't stop him either.

Bottom Line: This situation is not choice, It's A Law. Several people are being called out as villains who have been working their asses off to save your child's school room. There is even a group that calls themselves Badass Teachers, who have the audacity to blame Common Core, Bill Gates and Obama for their woes -- you would think that a group of teachers would be better informed. I'm guessing they're a Koch group. We'll keep an eye on them.

Facts no Fox

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