Posts Tagged ‘Common Core’

Undercover Videos Could Bring Down Common Core

Common Core educational standards have been criticized from all sides. Some say they represent President Obama’s attempt to launch a federal takeover of public education. Others take issue with the standards themselves, which often seem at odds with childhood development research. And many parents and teachers have slammed the supplemental material for the confusing and bizarre ways children are being taught math and other important subjects.

But a new series of undercover videos from Project Veritas exposes Common Core from a different angle, making the case that this is little more than a scheme to sell textbooks. At the core of the first video is an interview with Dianne Barrow, the West Coast sales manager for publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

“I hate kids,” Barrow told the guerrilla journalists. “I’m in it to sell books. Don’t even kid yourself for a heartbeat.”

Barrow went on to say, “It’s all about the money. You don’t think that the educational publishing companies are in it for education, do you? No, they’re in it for the money.”

The problem, of course, isn’t that a textbook publisher is “in it for the money.” Who would honestly assume otherwise? The problem comes when the federal government begins crafting education bills that put publisher profits ahead of what’s best for America’s schoolchildren. Right now, states are not specifically required to buy certain books or even teach to the Common Core standards, but federal stimulus money is hard to pass up. States get an extra $350 million a year to go along with the program.

Barrow denied that publishers lobbied for the standards…”but now they go after the money.”

“It’s just like any business,” she said. “If you’re selling t-shirts, you want your t-shirts to fit everybody, right? So you can sell it to everybody.”

Clearly, the videos have textbook publishers scrambling. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced Tuesday that Barrow had been fired. “These statements in no way reflect the views of HMH and the commitment of our over 4,000 employees who dedicate their lives to serving teachers and students every day,” the publishers told the UK Daily Mail.

James O’Keefe, the man behind Project Veritas, said that more videos would be coming out soon. “I hope and pray that ‘they’ call this an isolated incident,” O’Keefe said, “as we are putting every textbook publisher on notice that we plan to continue to release these videos exposing Common Core.”

– See more at:

Author on Common Core: ‘A Comprehensive Dumbing Down of American Education at Every Level’

By Barbara Hollingsworth

( – “The Common Core is supposed to be improving state standards in education, but its bigger effect has been a comprehensive dumbing down of American education at every level, from kindergarten through graduate school,” Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, said in an interview with

Wood is a co-author of Drilling Through the Core: Why Common Core is Bad for American Education, published in September by Pioneer Press. The book includes Wood’s history of the Common Core controversy and critical essays by more than a dozen mathematicians and English scholars.

“The major criticism coming from the scholars is that it’s lowered standards in both math and English language arts, the two parts of the K-12 curriculum that the Common Core covers,” Wood told

“When the Common Core was being put in place, there was a large promise that it would be ‘internationally benchmarked’, meaning the standards would be as high or higher than the highest standards found around the world. And if you go into Common Core materials, you will still find that phrase.

“But the math standards are set way below all of the Asian nations, and the U.S. language arts standards are not matched to international standards,” Wood pointed out.

“The section on math is written by mathematicians who look upon the changes as a comprehensive lowering of standards so that students at the end of high school know a lot less math than they used to and are not prepared for college-level math,” he said.

Scholars also panned the curriculum’s major de-emphasis of English literature.

“The teaching of literature is not abandoned, it’s downgraded, so you end up with a very fragmentary and impoverished view of what language can do,” he continued.

“The Common Core has this peculiar emphasis that language exists to convey information. One of the results of fetishizing information is that the texts get fragmented… and there’s no distinction made between work of imaginative power and work that’s purely utilitarian in order to treat everything as a kind of encyclopedia entry.

“So in your English language instruction, you can and do get things like EPA regulations and repair manuals read alongside excerpts of the works of Robert Frost and Jane Austen.”

“I started writing about Common Core in 2009 before the standards themselves had actually been adopted and the public backlash was something I anticipated because the public never got the chance to assess it until after it was already implemented,” Wood told “Bringing the primary stakeholders in only after the bridge is built is highly questionable public policy.”

“The problems with Common Core math start in first grade and accumulate from there. So the only way that students who plan on getting STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] degrees in college can catch up is to take math instruction outside their high school,” he noted.

“As far as English language arts, it puts a big burden on families to introduce their children to a more systematic and richer reading program than they’re going to get in school.

“I fully understand that not every parent is in the position to effectively counter what goes on in the schools, but the only option for most parents is Do It Yourself – teach it yourself, find a family friend or hire a tutor who can do it for you. In the meantime, cry bloody murder to your school board.”

Forty-two states and the District of Columbia adopted “this breathtakingly comprehensive reform of our nation’s schools before there were any standards that people could evaluate,” he noted.

“Now we’ve got the standards and the results of the tests that go with the standards. And [National Assessment of Educational Progress] NAEP scores nationwide show that the states that most strongly endorsed the Common Core have seen some of the biggest drops. So the governors of many states are now trying to dance their way out of a situation they helped to create.”

Wood predicted that during the next three or four years, more states will become disenchanted with Common Core because “it is way more expensive than advertised and the results are much worse than anyone had expected.”

“Inventing a one-size-fits-all curriculum for the country, pretending it’s a state-level initiative while ceding enormous power to the federal government and private corporations that actually run the Common Core, that experiment will wind down. It clearly is something that the American public is going to resist tooth and nail, and that makes it politically unsalvageable. But the costs of extraction are high, so we will extract slowly instead of all at once.”

However, by then the damage to the U.S. economy will have been done, he said. “To the extent that we’re a nation that is in a tight competitive position with other developed nations that depend on well-educated engineers, scientists and other technologists for whom math is a basic tool, this puts us in a terrible position.

“Common Core will extract a major price for the U.S. in international competitiveness, but it will be a delayed reaction until the generation that has been Common Core-ized enters the job market, at which time the people who invented it and the politicians who implemented it will be gone from the scene and it will be somebody else’s problem.”

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal says Common Core is an Illegal “Scheme”

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, locked in multiple legal battles with his own school board over Common Core education standards, has has made a new, ambitious legal claim.Bobby

Common Core, he says, is not merely bad policy, but a violation of federal law. It’s an allegation that could encourage lawsuits against the standards in other states currently implementing the standards.

In a brief submitted Wednesday as part of a lawsuit against Louisiana’s Board for Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), Jindal’s attorneys claim that a consortium used to create multistate standardized tests aligned with Common Core was transformed into a cudgel to force states to obey federal edicts on education.

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is a consortium of more than a dozen states who are working together to create common assessments built around Common Core. Louisiana was an early member of the consortium, and until two months ago was preparing to use PARCC materials for the state’s 2015 standardized tests.

Such plans collapsed into chaos, though, when Jindal issued a set of executive orders declaring that the state’s contract with PARCC violated state law and required the creation of a brand new contract to craft standardized tests, which Jindal said should not be aligned with Common Core. BESE has alleged that Jindal’s actions are illegal, and has vowed to continue forward with Common Core-derived tests while joining a lawsuit against the governor.

“Simply put, PARCC is the implementation platform for a carefully orchestrated federal scheme to supervise, direct and control educational curriculum, programs of instruction and instructional materials in direct violation of federal law,” the report argues.

PARCC’s creation, as well as the creation of the Smarter Balanced consortium (which serves the same purpose but has different members), was enabled through grants by the federal government through the Race to the Top program. That federal involvement, Jindal’s team argues, irretrievably taints the organization as well as Common Core more broadly, even though the government was not directly involved with the standards’ creation. commoncoreThe Department of Education Organization Act (DOEA) and other federal laws, they say, explicitly bar the Department of Education from taking actions that increase federal control over education.

“Race to [the] Top…effectively coopted Common Core for the federal government, attempting to accomplish indirectly through economic coercion that which the federal government is prohibited from accomplishing directly,” the brief argues.

Wednesday’s brief is an effort to obtain a preliminary injunction against using PARCC materials while Jindal’s lawsuit is litigated. Using PARCC materials, the brief says, would cause “irreparable harm created by the unlawful exercise of federal control of education in Louisiana.”

Jindal’s argument is not limited to Louisiana, and if it finds traction in court it could encourage legal challenges to the standards in many other states.

PARCC fired off a statement on Wednesday evening to dispute the Jindal administration’s claims. Calling it a federal organization, it said, was completely untrue, because the organization is completely controlled at the state level.

“The education chiefs in each of the member states comprise the Governing Board of the consortium and make all decisions,” the PARCC statement said. The statement also asserts that the final authority to implement any standards or assessments always lies with state and local authorities.

By Blake Neff from the Daily Caller News Foundation…


Happy Days Are Here Again

So long sad timesHappy Days
Go long bad times
We are rid of you at last

Howdy gay times
Cloudy gray times
You are now a thing of the past

Happy days are here again
The skies above are clear again
So let’s sing a song of cheer again
Happy days are here again

Can you believe it the Bush recession has been over for five years, unemployment is down, the stock market is up, and everything is coming up roses.  There is a flat screen on every wall, a smart phone in every hand, and flying cars just can’t be that far away.  The Bush wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have either been won or soon will be or as the winning slogan said, “GM is alive and Osama is dead.”  The Arab Spring has toppled tyrants and the glory of the administration’s foreign policy savants have ricocheted from the faculty lounge to the UN.  Doesn’t it just feel like another American Century?

The Fed keeps pumping and the Big Board keeps jumping.  The NSA watches us all without a warrant, and the man who tells us about it is a traitor.Congress has to sue the President in an attempt to get him to enforce laws unless of course he wants to change a law unilaterally.  The Court strikes down unconstitutional move after unconstitutional move by the adjunct instructor in the Oval Office.  The IRS is used to suppress the votes of Conservatives, its leaders either lying to Congress or pleading the Fifth while the Attorney General refuses to appoint a special prosecutor just as he refused in Fast and Furious and Benghazi.  Of course if you want to require a photo id to vote you’re a racist attempting to suppress the vote while you need a photo ID to get into the DNC. There’s nothing to see here move so along.

Common Core is poised to take our educational system to higher heights.  After more than 100 years of Progressive Education and generations of Federal intrusions into local school boards America now successfully spends more per capita on education than any other country.  The self-esteem of our students ranks as the highest in the world even as our grades slide.  In other words our students are doing poorly, but they think they are doing well.  It reminds me of a foreman in a factory who was in one of my management classes.  He shared an incident in his shop.  A young man was hired as a material handler who wore his pants down around his knees.  He constantly had to use one hand to hold up his pants while using the free hand to handle material.  When the foreman asked him, “Don’t you think you could get more done if you used both hands?”  The young man answered, “No I’m doing all right.”  The job may not get done but at least he feels good about what he’s doing.  Is this is the American Way in the New Normal?

Russia swallows Crimea, China launches its first aircraft carrier, the Islamic State declares itself to be the Caliphate some were crazy to predict.  Oh Happy Day!  Once again America is respected in the world after that cowboy Bush brought us so low.  Reagan said it was once again Morning in America and now we have Mourning in America as the fruit of Progressive policies, and cum bi ya diplomacy leads us from crisis to crisis.  Then again we should never let a good crisis go to waste said President Obama’s first Chief of Staff before heading to Chicago to strengthen the gun laws.

Looking forward there is good news and bad news.  The good news is that thanks to that paragon of progressivism FDR there are term limits on the presidency.  The bad news is our southern sieve and the import a voter program brings in thousands of undocumented democrats everyday as Flat Broke Hillary and the transition team waits in the wings with self-proclaimed Native American Elizabeth Warren as an understudy.

I used to say, “We made it through the Second World War and we can make it through Bill Clinton.”  Then I said, “We made it through the Cold War we can make it through Bush the Younger.”  Now I wonder, “If we threw away Iraq and we’re about to throw away Afghanistan, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona how will we survive two more years?”

We may not be in Kansas anymore and we may have followed the white rabbit through the looking glass but at least illegal immigrants can now get drivers licenses in Arizona.  Can anyone say “Motor Voter” orcoming to a neighborhood near you soon.

Altogether shout it nowHappy Days 2
There’s no one
Who can doubt it now
So let’s tell the world about it now
Happy days are here again

Your cares and troubles are gone
There’ll be no more from now on

Happy days are here again
The skies above are clear again
So, Let’s sing a song of cheer again

Happy times
Happy nights
Happy days
Are here again!

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ © 2014 Contact Dr. Owens Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens


3 States Push Back Against Common Core

Following Indiana’s lead, state legislatures in Oklahoma, South Carolina and Missouri have approved measures to exit and replace the national standards and tests known as Common Core.

A proposal in Oklahoma would repeal Common Core and replace it with new standards developed by the state board of education. In the interim, Oklahoma’s prior state standards, the Priority Academic Student Skills standards, would be reinstated.

“If signed, HB3399 would be the most thorough removal of Common Core from any state of adoption in the nation to date,” said Jenni White, president of Restore Oklahoma Public Education.

The South Carolina legislature just agreed to a proposal that would create a committee to review and revise the Common Core standards in the state by the 2015-16 school year. The bill also requires the state to exit Common Core-aligned Smarter Balanced testing consortia completely and replace the tests with their own assessments by the 2014-15 school year.

In Missouri, the legislature has passed a proposal which also repeals and replaces Common Core
The bill requires the state board to develop new academic standards by October 2015, in place of the Common Core, and adopt and implement these standards by the 2016-17 school year. “This puts the process back into the hands of the people,” said State Senator Ed Emery, R-Lamar.

Missouri’s bill also requires the Common Core-aligned Smarter Balance testing consortium to be used during the 2014-15 school year, likely resulting in Common Core being taught in Missouri for at least the next school year.

Indiana has fully exited the national standards, and Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Missouri have an opportunity to reclaim their state education decision-making authority. Sixteen other states have pushed back against the Common Core national standards by downgrading or halting implementation of the standards and/or national tests, including Arizona last week.

Exiting Common Core would give all these states the opportunity to implement strong state standards that are innovative and reflect the input of academic content experts, teachers, and parents across the state.

Common Core’s Dirtiest Trick: Dividing Parents and Children

by Bruce Deltrick Pricecommon_core

When you look back at New Math (ca. 1965) and Reform Math (ca. 1990), one of the most striking and persistent features was that parents could not understand the homework their children brought home.

Mystified parents were trying to advise mystified children. The parents, presumably the wise members of the society, were helpless to say anything useful when confronted by the weird complexities of “reform” math, which has now been rolled forward into Common Core.

Here is a commonplace horror story that can stand in for millions of others: “When Mike and Camille Chudzinski tried to help their son with his homework earlier this fall, they were bewildered. The fourth-grader brought home no spelling lists, few textbooks, and a whole new approach to solving math problems. When he tackled multi-digit addition, for instance, Patrick did not just line up the two numbers and then add the columns, as his parents had been taught to do. Instead, he sketched out a graph with a series of arrows and marks that appeared at first to his parents as indecipherable as hieroglyphics.”

When we hear these stories, we typically focus on the comical oddity of adults not being able to do homework intended for children. How is that even possible? But the ramifications are anything but funny. The real damage is that Reform Math opens up fractures throughout society. Parents are cut off from their children. Parents and schools are pitted against each other. Students are alienated from their teachers and schools.

Sociologist James Coleman said that the most important thing in successful education is what he called “social capital.” Ideally, parents, kids, schools, and community are on the same page, working toward the same goals. In this way the children feel they are doing appropriate and necessary things. Energy is used to complete tasks, not to debate the merits of the tasks.

Imagine the situation in Reform Math when parents can’t do even elementary problems in arithmetic. Adults are angry; children are stressed. Parents have conferences with teachers, and they complain later in front of the children that the teachers couldn’t give them any satisfactory answers. Why would children be enthusiastic about mastering something that their own parents find impossible and reprehensible?

All of this tension and hostility adds up to the perfect excuse for the child to lose interest in math, and in school generally. We hear lots of stories about children who are miserable at school. We shouldn’t be surprised.

In short, Reform Math is bad not just because it doesn’t teach math; it’s bad because it’s a society-wrecker. This is Common Core’s dirtiest trick.

In an intelligently organized society, the schools would do everything possible to involve parents in their children’s education. Our Education Establishment is doing the reverse. Schools seem intent on making parents turn their backs on their children’s education.

Driving parents out of the equation means driving education out of the equation.

Today, whenever schools are not getting good results, the first excuse the Education Establishment offers is that parents don’t want to help. This is diabolical. The schools do everything possible to make parents give up on education, and then the schools blame the parents.

Professor Michael Toscano writes, “Educational success is also dependent upon closure between families and their schools. In the case of the CCSS, little real ‘social capital’ exists between parents and schools, because the standards were adopted out of the reach of parents and because they will remain out of their reach. This is a crucial mistake. Education must be a common good that emanates from the relations of families in a community.”

When New Math was first introduced 60 years ago and parents complained, the official propaganda was that the new methods were so sophisticated that parents simply weren’t ready for them. Many in the community accepted the claim that children would finally benefit from being pushed in this way. That was a mistake. New Math was, for all practical purposes, irrational. It soon self-destructed, and then we knew that it, not parents, had been flawed all along.

This pattern continues. The community should use a commonsense “smell test.” Schoolwork too complicated for parents is too complicated, period. It’s not appropriate for children.

Common Core has embraced and recycled all the worst ideas from “reform” math. One has to conclude that the people responsible are hopelessly incompetent or hopelessly ideological.

The more you reflect on the flood of horror stories, the more you feel that Common Core commissars must spend their time concocting ways to alienate children and defeat parents. The basic taunt seems to be: “Hey, you parents. You can gripe and complain and thereby look foolish in the eyes of your children, or you can cower in surrender as you learn to put up with the artificial nonsense that we have devised, thanks to millions in grants from the government (your taxes used against you). Haha, suckers. You can’t win. Obama promised a fundamental transformation, and the first thing we’re going to transform is your sense of importance as parents. You must learn that you are insignificant.”

The divide between parents and children is a far more critical issue than many imagined. The proper priority is that homework should be specifically designed to bring parents and children together. Common Core seems cunningly designed to do the opposite. That’s the main reason it must be defeated.

Unbelievable: Common Core Problem Asks Kids to Choose Two Amendments to Remove From Bill of Rights

A mother in Arkansas has expressed concern over her daughter’s recent Common Core school assignment that asked her to remove and replace two of the first ten amendments of the Constitution. The team assignment stated that the Bill of Rights is “outdated and may not remain in its current form any longer.” Here is a copy of the assignment:
Bill of Rights2

Mother Powerfully Destroys Obama’s Common Core “Dumb-Down” Agenda in Four Easy Minutes

If you’ve ever wondered about why Common Core is so despised, the following four minutes will make it crystal clear why this initiative must be wiped out like the brain amortizing disease that it most obviously is, or has become….

Transcript courtesy of Missouri education watchdog

I have a Math question for you board members, are you ready? Get your pencils out.

I’m not kidding. Are you smarter than a Common Core fourth grader? Let’s find out.

The problem is:

Mr. Yamato’s class has 18 students. If a class counts around by a number, and it ends with 90, what number did they count by? I’ll restate the problem. If a class counts around by a number, and it ends with 90, what number did they count by?

Does anyone on the Board have an answer? (Board member says “5″). That’s right! And may I ask, Madam, how did you come up with that answer? (Board member says she divides 18 into 90 and comes up with the answer “5″). You know why? Because that’s what makes sense, right? That’s the way we were taught to do it at the fourth grade level.

This (holds up worksheet), however, is what the Common Core expects our fourth graders to do. If they solve it in those two steps they get it marked wrong. They are expected to draw 18 circles with 90 hash marks in exactly 108 steps.

Board members, this is not rigorous. This is not college ready. This is not preparing our children to work in a global economy. Skipping rote memorization tables of multiplication tables is hindering their ability to master long division and fractions later on in the semester.

Now our children who were testing in the 80th or higher percentile in math last year are now coming home with Cs, Ds and Fs on their report cards. Not because as Arne Duncan would put it, “it’s the white suburban mothers who think their children aren’t as brilliant as they thought they were”, but because….(interrupted by Board member for time)…thank you.

It’s like Obamacare, except the “education version”….

Common Core

by Ben Velderman

SARANAC LAKE, N.Y. – We’ve heard reports that Common Core is causing anger and frustration among parents and teachers across the nation – but laughter? That’s a new one to us.

erupting in laughterBut that’s exactly what happened during last week’s meeting of New York’s Saranac Lake Central school board.

The Adirondack Daily Enterprise reports Superintendent Diane Fox had board members laughing in disbelief when she told them of a Common Core-aligned English unit about early world civilizations suggested by the state.

By the end of the state-suggested unit, first graders should be able to locate “Mesopotamia on a world map or globe and identify it as part of Asia” and to “explain the importance of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and the use of canals to support farming and development of the city of Babylon,” Fox told the stunned board members.

“I’m not making this up,” Fox laughed.

Member Terry Tubridy quipped, “That alone could be a thesis.”

Superintendent Fox then read from another suggested Common Core-aligned unit found on that asks students to “identify Judaism, Christianity and Islam as major monotheistic world religions.”

“Looks like, if our first graders understand all of this, they’ll be candidates for Jeopardy,” board member Miles Van Nortwick joked, according to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.

Fox pointed out that not every Common Core-aligned unit suggested by the state has ridiculous expectations, but she noted that such lessons only add to the confusion surrounding the new learning standards.

“Remember this is all a guide,” Fox said. “As a teacher, you don’t have to use all of this. That’s where as a professional you have to use your own judgment as to what you’re going to put together.

“But it’s not surprising to me that we as a state or a country are not able to have a meaningful conversation about Common Core, because even those of us who are living it really do not understand it.”

High School Student Gives Devastating Speech Against Common Core Education