The Common Core Opponents at the “fact-finding” hearing

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As the newspapers around the region seem to be following Arne Duncan’s instructions to the press regarding exactly how they need to be reporting on spinning the Common Core “state” Standards (note the link is from the FEDERAL department of Education site where the FEDERAL Secretary of Education tells them how to write about the “state-led” standards), I realize that most of you won’t take the time to watch the seven hours of proceedings from last Friday’s Senate Education Committee “fact-finding” hearing. So, just as I did for the largely Bill Gates funded proponents of Common Core, I’ll also highlight those who spoke against Common Core. The “news” papers want to concentrate on only a couple of these speakers and criticize them for being from “out of state” while ignoring the evidence they brought to bear, a good portion of which was provided in written form directly by the state or federal government’s documentation. (Note: this is the classic ad hominem logical fallacy, but you won’t be learning that in the Common Core). The reason that the “out of state” speakers and their points are valid is precisely because the Common Core “state” Standards are a federal scheme that has been carried out on all of the states via the Race To The Top (RTTT) federal bribe. NONE of the states implemented these standards prior to committing to them in their application to Race To The Top for federal money. That is where it was hidden. The same trojan horse was used in every state. Most of them took the bait. So, once you are aware of this scheme, you can simply go to any of the other states and point out their Race To The Top application where they took the federal bribe to implement Common Core and expand the measurement system of students. They also will very likely by now have an operating agreement with one of the two testing arms created by RTTT: PARCC and SBAC to carry out the expanded data-mining that is required.

Here is a link to the hearing video. It’s the Friday September 20, 2013 session. I’ll give you time stamps below so you can skip ahead and watch the particular speakers if you wish.

1:11:00  Jane Robbins, J.D.Senior Fellow of the American Principles Project  – Ms. Robbins’ presentation concentrated on the data collection aspect of the commitments made in the Race To The Top application that were part and parcel of committing to the Common Core “state” Standards, including a statement by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan that we want to measure “Johnny” from preschool through college and on into his career and salary to see how “successful” he is. She also tied this data philosophy to the federal government previous to the Obama administration. She has a huge pile of paper which is just a portion of the 1100+ page RTTT application and quotes from it directly. She quotes from the 2011 agreement the State of Tennessee made with PARCC for testing and the data collection that they will illegally share with the U.S. Department of Education. She references the bizarre data mining potentials shown in the February 2013, U.S. Department of Education report “Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perseverance: Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century” (see page 62 of the pdf for the information she references to pressure sensitive mouse, posture analysis seating and facial expression camera). She also informs the committee of multiple states that are pulling out of the PARCC testing assessments. This seems to be a surprise after all the “unanimous support” propaganda that has been fed.

2:11:00 Ted Rebarber – CEO and founder of AccountabilityWorks – Mr. Rebarber’s presentation deals solely with the costs associated with the expansion of the states’ Statewide Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) that was promised in the RTTT application. Note that his organization is not anti-assessement, but looking at the economic feasibility and cost vs. benefit analysis of the yet-to-be-determined data mining that is required by Common Core via the two testing arms created by federal funds, PARCC and SBAC. This is exemplified by the testing agreement with PARCC and the “one computer per six students” espoused earlier in the hearing as required for Common Core testing by State Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman. A lot of this cost was supposed to be paid for over four years with the RTTT grant money. I hope you have all your computers and networks set up because the cash cow is going dry this year.  But that doesn’t cover the cost of the ongoing, perpetual assessments themselves with the new data-miner overlord PARCC. The State of Arizona has come to a rude awakening on the cost of dealing with PARCC. For some reason PARCC costs 31% more than SBAC for measuring the exact same Common Core “state” Standards. Rebarber also makes some   comparisons of assessments with foreign countries that show that Common Core, though claimed as “internationally benchmarked”, is really mediocre when compared to the international community. Senator Gardenhire seems to take offense at something in the presentation and wants to push a question about whether the international countries have to test “special needs” students the same as the rest. He doesn’t seem to understand that there aren’t Common Core International Standards where the rest of the world is trying to be exactly the same – like “we” are.

3:17:16  Joy PullmanResearch Fellow at Heartland Institute and Editor of School Reform News – Ms. Pullman begins by laying out the fraud of the “state-led” claim for Common Core, confirming the standards were created by NGA and CCSSO which have no law-making powers and that they were funneled millions by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation along with other speakers presenting that day including TNSCORE, Thomas Fordham Institute and the State Board of Education. She also makes a possible tie to the hearing appearance of Eric Goslowski from the Tennessee National Guard as a patriotic appeal from the military for Common Core also paid by Gates. Maybe I really made 100%. She then proceeds to report the facts about the standards writing (not by Tennesseans, not by teachers), the secrecy and confidentiality agreements those involved with the standards had to make, the lack of publishing the public comment phase (months after we committed to the standards),  the state commitment to the  standards in the RTTT application when they didn’t exist yet.  In short, she totally destroyed the fraudulent facade propped up by the Gates crowd. The money quote:  “No amount of spin can alter the fact that Common Core was created outside of Tennessee in an extra-legal process in which Tennesseans had no ability to determine the outcome themselves or through their duly elected representatives in the legislature, a right that the state constitution is supposed to secure them.” She then proceeds to dismantle the Gates-funded “appraisals” of the Common Core standards and mentions the refusal (in February 2010) of the Common Core Validation Committee content experts in English Language Arts and Math, Sandra Stotsky and James Milgrim respectively, to sign off on the Common Core Standards they were involved in creating. She expands on the experience, qualifications and the post-validation-committee criticism of Common Core by Stotsky and Milgrim.  I enjoyed watching her discussion of military “brats” and their 97% high school graduation rate despite moving every three years to different states, different schedules, different curriculum while Goslowski is seen over her shoulder nodding in agreement. Then she proceeds to state that this proves Common Core isn’t even necessary for these kids the proponents are using as human shields while disadvantaging the other 97.6% of students who aren’t military “brats”. Another quote: “Somewhere along the way, they forgot that in the United States,  public education exists because our form of government requires people who can govern themselves.”

Some interesting questions after her presentation by Sen. Crowe regarding the recommended readings (curriculum) found within Common Core that “isn’t a curriculum” and by Sen. Jack Johnson who seems to be coming to the realization that the legislators were duped by passing Woodson’s First To The Top Act of 2010 in special session January 15, 2010 and never really getting a look at the Common Core “state” Standards that they also committed to with the Race To The Top application for federal money (because they didn’t exist yet). This exchange is very important because Ms. Pullman confirms the timeline I have been presenting for you, that Common Core was rubber-stamped before it existed. For some reason, that didn’t seem “news” worthy to the regional papers. I wonder why?

4:04:50   Georgia State Senator William Ligon – Bill is a state Senator from Georgia who is working on legislation to remove Georgia from the Common Core “state” Standards. Georgia has already removed themselves from the testing agreement with PARCC. He discusses the Common Core standards and why they were a step backward for Georgia.  He states that the  people of Georgia were not consulted about the Common Core and states that  there was no legislation, referendum or great public push for the Common Core standards. Now the Georgia public is questioning where they came from (since they, like we, are accused of allegedly demanding these from our elected officials who have the power to implement such things). Bill also mentions reviews by Sandra Stotsky of the Georgia standards vs. the new Common Core standards, mentioning that she also previously did Georgia’s review working for Thomas Fordham Institute. So Stotsky is a real thorn in the Common Core side as she not only helped review the states academic standards before Common Core, but was on the validation committee for ELA in creating the Common Core and refused to sign off on them because they were weak.  He calls Common Core an “end run” around federal education law. Common Core and the PARCC testing was brought to Georgia with no estimation of future cost. PARCC testing costs were going to be $33/student compared to their current expense of $11/student for assessment.  I guess PARCC governing board member Kevin Huffman had already left the room and was not able to explain this one.  Ligon also mentions the pornographic material in the Common Core recommended reading list and questioning “who put this in the standards”? Regarding Georgia’s rejection of PARCC: “If you don’t have the voice to determine what’s going to be tested, then you’re not going to control what is being taught in the classroom.” This guy get it. He spells out the tools for the legislators how to get where they need to go to throw off the yoke of the Common Core fraud. If only our governor and commissioner of education weren’t in leadership of the companies benefiting from the arrangement with TNSCORE running interference to the teachers.

4:58:00 Dr. Peg Luksik –  Although the “news” papers wanted to characterize Peg as a “politician from Pennsylvania”, she is working via a for-profit Political Action Committee called Founded On Truth. They are not “non-profit” because they want to truly have freedom of speech and not trade their 1st Amendment rights for a tax exemption as she explains in a presentation in her home state of Pennsylvania here. This is an excellent presentation that dissects how PA got in the Common Core mess and was my first introduction to Dr. Luksik. It also will help you see that this “state-driven” trojan horse of the RTTT federal money happened the same way there.  Dr. Luksik is also a former educator who is certified to teach special and elementary education and has instructed pre-school age students to college age. Her presentation deals primarily with assessments. She looked at our state assessments (TCAP) and then compared them to the promises in the RTTT application regarding math and reading proficiencies and points out the ridiculous nature of our assessment philosophy.  This gets into the minutia of assessment methods a bit, but it is not difficult to follow the logic: “You can not make objective decisions on subjective data“. She gives an excellent example of how the control of the test drives the curriculum with an example of an essay test on global warming when only one point of view is provided as a writing prompt for the student. Another quote of an exchange with Fordham Institute head Chester Finn: “Peg, don’t you want students to learn that democracy is better than totalitarianism?” And I said “No.” The whole audience gasped. “I want schools to teach it. But once I mandate that a child believe it, I have totalitarianism“.

5:43:58 Audrey Buffington – Ms. Buffington is not representing any other group, and has moved to Franklin, TN from Maine a little less than a year ago. She testified she was asked to serve on the State Board of Education in Maine just before moving to Tennessee. Here is a story recounting that. I also found some videos of Audrey here and here that appear to be made for local access television. She is likeable and comes across with a little of the “absent-minded professor” characteristic. Sen. Gresham interrupts her to question her qualifications, which are extensive regarding education  (and she has handed them a Curriculum Vitae).  The first part of her presentation is refuting some of the earlier speakers in the day, then she reviews some of her relevant education experience including creating curriculum at the state and national levels. Some of my favorite quotes: “While I was there, I trained ….excuse me I don’t like that word. I do that for dogs. I educated teachers… “.   “I said to this young teacher over here who was talking a while ago (referring to Teach For America speaker for the Common Core, Casie Jones) she didn’t need new standards. The passion that she has means that she could have taught well regardless of the standards.

6:28:00 Jerry Lowry – Assistant Principal White County High School. Didn’t read about Jerry in the “news” paper did you? “We were presented with a done deal and now we are caught in a web that we never spun”.   He provided a handout to the committee to back up his testimony. Jerry sounds the alarm on the potential costs that are coming to the local systems to maintain Common Core and the PARCC testing after the Race To The Top cash cow goes dry this year. He also references the Beacon Center’s study on Tennessee education spending that is critical of administrative cost increases and he ties those increases to the requirements brought about by Common Core and additionally, that he is not seeing the academic payback yet for all the increased spending. He portrays the “constant” professional development force fed as part of Common Core training to the teachers as being inconsistent and constantly changing, confusing and lowering the morale of the teaching staff. He states that they are in the top 5% academically and have achieved that without Common Core, so why would they want to throw that away in favor of something that has not been tried or tested. Jerry also provided a handout addressing one of the books in the recommended reading list included in the Common Core “state” Standards called the Bluest Eye and refrained from reading the pornographic material contained that was of concern to him as well as the people who put together such a list and considered this proper reading material (apparently he doesn’t think it was “state-led”). He finishes with a call to delay implementation of Common Core until the differences are resolved or at least until the trial district results (presumably including Clint Satterfield and Trousdale Co. since they “have been doing this for three years”) are seen.

One thought on “The Common Core Opponents at the “fact-finding” hearing

  1. “While I was there, I trained ….excuse me I don’t like that word. I do that for dogs. I educated teachers… “

    While I have no problem being trained, I’d like to point out that no dog that I am aware of ever rubber stamped 1100 pages without reading it.

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