Common Core: Indiana Blazed the Trail

cc problsI caught Mike Pence, governor of Indiana, on FOX News this morning.  Indiana, the first state to completely, and rightfully so, to dump Common Core, has set the example for the rest of the nation to follow.

While Governor Pence was only given a few minutes on air, he highlighted the fact that Indiana wrote their own standards, written for teachers and by teachers for the benefit of the students. No lies and no coercion was necessary for them to be adopted, because the standards were written by the right people, for the right reasons, with no hidden agendas.

Indiana refused to allow federal dollars pressure them into adopting destructive education policy. They could not be bought.

Indiana will thrive. Excellent education does not need more money thrown at it to exist…teachers just need to be able to teach.

Education as it should be.

Which state will be next to walk down the trail that Indiana blazed for us?

 

RECOMMENDED READING:

Indiana Common Core Replaced with State Standards

 

Common Core Rebrand?

mad mom 2Ok, I’ve been rather vocal about the underhanded double-talk and lies that Arne and the corporate goons (sounds like a new band–a band that sucks) are using to sell Common Core, but this one really takes the cake.

Talk now is of changing the name, or “rebranding” as Governor Rick Scott in Florida referred to it. Arizona did it–Common  Core’s new name tag is the Arizona College and Career Ready Standards.  Arkansas is talking about it as well. After all, Common Core has gotten a bad rap and there are “misconceptions” about it,  causing people to reject it when they should be embracing it.

Really?! THAT’S what state leadership is spending taxpayer dollars to accomplish? THAT’S the big concern? Creating MORE deception?

You rebrand a product. You don’t rebrand an educational “reform” effort that seriously damages children and education.

You don’t rebrand something that is being used to divide this country and tighten the federal noose around our necks.

You don’t rebrand something that causes so much stress children are physically ill because of it.

You don’t rebrand something that began in the shadows and is now a soup of lies being dumped on the children and educators of this nation while a few elite are counting their money all the way to the bank…and laughing.

You refuse it, you change it, you reject it, but you DON’T rebrand it.

Changing the name perpetuates the deception Common Core is infested with, and undermines the intelligence of the parents,

Know the facts about Common Core!

Know the facts about Common Core!

children and educators in America.  It’s shallow,evil and it ticks me off.

I really  hope you guys are paying attention, because Arne and the corporate goons think we all are stupid.

Are you willing to sit by and watch this happen?

I’m not. I hope you’ll join me in the battle, because it’s a fight well worth fighting.

Common Core: Where’s the Common Sense?

Students in non-core home economics class. Stop Common Core!

Students in non-core home economics class. Stop Common Core!

The Common Core Standards preach this:

The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.”

I love the way this reads (except for the global part). I want this for my child.  Unfortunately, the geniuses who wrote this have no clue how to make it happen. We do.

I was just conversing with someone on Facebook who commented that she saw more value in a student learning to weld than all of the money wasted on standardized testing, setting up data systems and buying new curricula ever two to three years.  I realized that it’s been years since I’ve heard anyone talk about taking a home economics or shop class.

Remember those days?  Kids in my high school often took one of these classes as an elective because it would be easy, when, in fact, I think they gained more than in many other “core” subject classes.

Common Core wants children learning skills that are relevant and can be applied to real-world situations. They also profess to want children to be better prepared for college and/or careers.

Then why does school reform like Common Core keep crowding out opportunities for active learning?

Take home economics, for instance.  A home economics class will probably incorporate cooking, sewing, child care, basic home repairs and improvement, house keeping topics, budgeting and smart shopping, planning menus that have healthy food choices, and running a household (which is a whole set of skills on its own).  As I am thinking about this, I see every math skill my fourth-grader is expected to have mastered by the high school represented here, as well as researching, reading, writing, presenting, critical thinking, logic and creativity.  At a minimum. What’s more, learning these skills doing something creative and fun will stick with students much better than learning the same exact skills sitting in a regular classroom.

A shop class offers the same value. Think of it in today’s terms. Again, just like in home economics (that some boys are awesome in, by they way), I see math, researching, reading, writing, planning, critical thinking, presenting, logic and creativity.

Our students should be able to choose.

High school students in non-core shop class. Stop Common Core!

High school students in non-core shop class. Stop Common Core!

Technology is now an integral part of both arenas.  Think of drafting a set of plans to build an office desk or kitchen cabinets. It might be worthwhile to teach the traditional way as well as have them learn to do so with software as well.  They could start a blog with regular posts, photographs and all.  Another great skill set.

Do you remember the first cake you baked in home ec? It doesn’t matter if it turned well or not–you did it, and chances are, you were proud.  What about the gun rack (I grew up in the South) made in shop class? I know that rocked! The confidence a student gains during a learning experience like this overflows into other areas of life.

As much as one might argue that these are all skills that parents should teach their children, the reality is many don’t. I worked as a case manager for a while, helping people who had never learned things that we did and take for granted. Quite frankly, some parents don’t bother, some families are struggling to make ends meet and there is  no time, and some parents simply don’t know how.

I’ll tell you something else about this kind of active teaching.  Teachers connect with students differently than in a traditional classroom. That connection piece alone is a prominent factor in drop-out prevention.

Common Core pundits want students “college and career ready.”  So do we.  We just know how to do it right.

Stop Common Core.

 

 

Protect the Fight to Stop Common Core

1455108_4946256993576_575780415_nHave you heard about National Don’t Send Your Child to School Day?

I am a warrior mom fighting Common Core and willing to make a statement about the initiative.  I was on board with this effort for a while, but started having second thoughts for several reasons.

About a week ago I engaged in a discussion about possible repercussions to pulling kids out of school to make a political statement. I struggled with it for a while.  I agree that it will definitely make a statement, and statements are definitely needed; however, as someone who is starting to gain credibility in my own school district, and as someone who has seen firsthand some successes in fighting Common Core in Colorado, I am becoming increasingly conscientious of what I say and how I fight.

It is my sense that I will be viewed as irresponsible if I do pull my daughter out, and I agree with Shane Vander Hardt’s latest post in Truth in American Education “Fight Common Core and Send Your Kids to School.” Proponents of Common Core like Michael Petrilli are going to attempt to capitalize on painting those opposed to Common Core as impulsive extremists who have no sense.

Contrary to Petrilli’s statement that in his experience some of the most vocal Common Core opponents do not have their children in public schools, Common Core is being fought across the country by parents and educators, like you and me, who don’t have an extreme bone in their bodies.  Good sense, sound research and evidence, as well as disciplined responses has been a hallmark of the fight against Common Core, and we should strive to keep it that way.

There are many actions that we can take to fight the standards, and opting out of the standardized assessments is a more effective and protected choice. State-specific information and resources are available at United Opt Out National’s website. In addition, Congressmen are beginning to respond, and the foundation of support is growing.

We all have a responsibility to not damage the fight.

 

Common Core: ADHD Diagnostics and Treatment

large_ritalinI have two different things to share with you here, and I will connect them at the end.  It will be evident to some of you, but if you are not familiar with ADHD and some incidents in our country involving courts mandating ADHD medication for children, it might not be.

Here are the accepted effects of ADHD on society:

  • Problems succeeding in school and successfully graduating.
  • Problems at work, lost productivity, and reduced earning power.
  • Problems with relationships. 
  • More driving citations and accidents. 
  • Problems with overeating and obesity. 
  • Problems with the law. 

I recently read an article by the World Federation on ADHD  that discussed the differences between countries regarding diagnosing, treating, school intervention and payment for ADHD.  The ways in which school settings perceive and react to ADHD symptoms of children also differ widely between countries.   The World Federation on ADHD advocated for consistent worldwide standards for assessment, treatment and “multimodal intervention.”

In addition, global evidence reporting on shorter- and longer-duration medications indicates a trend toward an increased market share for newer, time released medications that last longer, despite their far higher cost. In other words, that’s what people prefer.  More expensive long-acting formulations of medications are becoming more widespread. Nations with socialized medical care provide a better menu of evidence-based interventions. This is all viewed as a problem.

The solution? “…the best global strategy for improvement in care would prioritize (worldwide) policy- and service-related objectives that promote the overall quality of care.” The World Federation on ADHD calls for research for better understanding of both across-nation and within-nation variability in interventions and access to treatment, and then a reduction in variables.

Ok, let’s switch to the United States for a few minutes.  In the US judges can constitutionally order drugs and treatments given to a child in spite of opposition from his parents. In addition, schools can force parents to medicate children. Parents are medicating their children for fear of losing them to Child Protective Services.

The US Government has also begun implementing a mental health screening policy recommended by the President Bush’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health (NFC).  President Bush instructed more than 25 federal agencies to develop an implementation plan to screen America’s 52 million school children and 6 million school personnel  for hidden mental illness. The rationale? Evidence of America’s blind faith in science and technology to offer solutions for complex human and societal problems.  No other “free” country in the world has  adopted a government policy to screen the entire population – children first – for undetected mental illness. Couple this with the data mining about health, disabilities, behavior and family history that Common Core includes…

One other note about universal mental health screening: the method used to screen for mental and behavioral problems has been determined flawed, but it continues to be used by the discredited eugenics movement which sought to screen for mental “defectives.” Eugenics and psychiatry suffer from a common philosophical fallacy that “faith-based” ideological assumptions that mental and behavior problems are biologically determined, and can, therefore, be resolved through biological interventions.

However, the diagnosis of mental illness lacks scientific validity – it relies entirely on the subjective assessment by mental health professionals and normative check lists, records reviews, interviews, and observation by QUALIFIED specialists, not computer software under the supervision by non-clinical staff in a school. This flaw was acknowledged by the US Surgeon General report “mental health is not easy to define: what it means to be mentally healthy is subject to many different interpretations that are rooted in value judgments that may vary across cultures.” Another shortcoming: mental health professionals have an interest in expanding the patient roster to guarantee their paychecks. Therefore, screening will most likely inflate the number of American children (and adults) labeled with a mental illness and prescribed medication.

The New Freedom Commission Report praised two mental health programs: TeenScreen and TMAP. TeenScreen is a questionnaire devised by psychiatrists at Columbia University “to make sure that every teen in the US has access to free mental health check-up.” TeenScreen is already operating in more than 100 schools in 34 states and as the executive director told a congressional committee: “In 2003, we were able to screen approximately 14,200 teens…; among those students, we were able to identify approximately 3,500 youth with mental health problems and link them with treatment. This year, we believe we will be able to identify close to 10,000 teens in need, a 300 percent increase over last year.” Unfortunately, this is not a maybe; rather,it is a policy driven by commercial interests.

Remember the World Federation on ADHD and it’s recommendations?

One final thought: On August 27, 2013, Pearson, the world’s largest learning company and a major contributor to the Common Core Standards and who will continue to benefit–to the tune of billions of dollars–from its continued implementation, announced that it bought BioBehavioral Diagnostics, developer of Quotient, the only FDA-approved tool for the measurement of the symptoms of ADHD.  The press release on Pearson’s website states “The Quotient ADHD Test provides quantitative analysis of motion, attention and shifts in attention states, bringing a new level of rigor and reliability to ADHD diagnosis and remediation. Focusing on a highly prevalent condition known to pose serious challenges to educational outcomes, this acquisition marks a strategic entry into healthcare markets for Pearson, the world leader in clinical and educational assessment for learners.”   Quite a mouthful, especially when you put the World Federation on ADHD and Common Core Standards together, along with the array of monitors that Common Core wants to put in the classroom and on your children, you see where this is going.

In spite of Common Core Math, 2 + 2 really does equal 4, and I can even explain how I got it.    rip bill of rights

Related articles

An Introduction to the Common Core Standards

 

 

In case some of you are not aware, the new Common Core Standards for our nation’s schools has been a hot topic recently. Many, including most parents, are not clear what they are or why they were developed, or what the long-term implications of adopting these standards are for our children.  One reason is, with everything parents have on their plates, it is difficult to spend the time necessary to fully research Common Core and understand what is involved and what it means.  Another reason is that it was open for minimal public comments or debate, and it’s not appeared on any ballot.  Medica coverage was limited until only recently.

This is an issue of extreme importance for families, children, education and the future of our country; therefore, I have committed to researching and bringing information back here in a format that will be easier to understand, one-stop-shopping so to speak, and to providing more information if you would like to dig even deeper.  In the coming  months, I will post the most recent developments, here under Common Core Updates.

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What is Common Core?

The Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) mission statement reads “The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.”  Common Core Standards shift decision-making from local control to the federal level, and provides international benchmarking, as well as specific reading lists, curriculum material, data collection, health instruction, social and emotional development instruction, and standard testing. The Common Core Standards further create a singular method for providing instruction.

The CCSSI website states that These standards were developed by classroom teachers, school administrators and experts, in order to provide a consistent framework of instruction across the United States so that our children will be prepared for college and the workforce.”  In reality, the developers of the Common Core Standards include the United Nations (U.N.), President Obama, various government agencies including the Department of Health, the Labor Department and various corporations like Bill Gates and Microsoft. The primary author is David Coleman, director of the College Board and Treasurer for Students First, who views poor students as “low hanging fruit.” In future posts, I will present more of the history of Common Core.

Data Collection for School Improvement

The Common Core Standards provide for teachers to visit the students home to gather information about the family, home life, activities, and beliefs of all family members, more than 400 data points in all, that will accumulate each year, starting in preschool and following each student well into adulthood.   All data is loaded into a national data base for tracking and further evaluation. The data will reportedly be used for school improvement purposes and for matching individuals with career choices later in life.  “He is partnering with the Obama Administration’s campaign data team members to use the same techniques on data collection and use of data. This “treasure trove” of student data will be fully utilized under their leadership to drive everything in education from defining effective teachers to determining which students need further interventions inside and outside of the school building.” Decide the need for interventions outside the school building?  In addition, monitors will be used in classrooms to monitor children’s facial expressions and responses to instruction, as well as to monitor classroom activities.  A posture-sensitive chair will monitor posture and reveal a child’s temperament via body language, and bracelets will monitor heart rate and, supposedly, engagement.  This is too fantastic to make up.  See page 44 of the government’s plan in Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perseverence: Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century.

In addition, none of the information is private.  What about FERPA, you ask? Oh, yes, well, that was secretly “altered” to provide the government and third parties access to all information.

This is, by all means, not all there is to Common Core; however, it’s a lot to wrap your brain around, so I will leave it here for now.  Several times a week I will provide in-depth information about many components of Common Core and what it means for you.  In the meantime, I urge you to do some reading on your own.

I would like to leave you with a quote by Alex de Tocqueville:

“It [government] covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting: such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to be nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.”

I appreciate all viewpoints on this matter, so please leave a comment.  Thank you!