Tag Archive | Common Core

Harwell declares she’s a globalist

Speaker Beth Harwell, Nashville’s biggest hypocrite, has admitted that she’s a globalist.  Harwell made the following statement to the Tennessee Chamber about Common Core standards:

“There have to be standards in place, and the days of telling ourselves, ‘Our schools are doing fine by our own standards,’ that’s not good enough in this world anymore,” Harwell said. “There is a world standard now. There is a national standard now. And we want our children to be meeting it and surpassing it.”

Source: http://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/blog/2014/01/tennessee-chambers-agenda-zeroes-in.html

If education is as important as politicians like to say it is, to attract good jobs and whatever they pull out of their heads, then why have any State or local standards on anything?  If education standards have to be global or national, then why aren’t working standards globalized?  Why do we need State run courts?  It would save the legislature the hassle of having to provide us with Soviet style judicial elections where the Governor gives us one candidate to vote for.

If standards need to be national or global, then why have State and local governments?  Following Harwell’s line of thinking big spending Republican run State government can be dissolved and the feds and globalist could run everything.  It is a tempting thought because it would rid Tennessee of hypocrite Harwell, momentarily.  The problem is she would run for federal office and then advocate that the UN should dictate national policy.

Where are the Common Core MOUs? – Part 2

MOUs

by Eric Holcombe

 

In my previous post, I showed you the State Dept. of Education has admitted that the federal government-provided Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) claimed to be signed by all the Tennessee public school districts (directors of schools as well as local school board chairs and union representatives when applicable) in the Race To The Top (RTTT) application for millions in federal taxpayer funds simply “do not exist”.

The state Dept. of Education lied on the RTTT application for federal millions. The picture above is the information that I was given when I requested the federal MOU signature pages. These are different, state-generated MOUs, not the federal government-provided one claimed to have been signed by all the districts in the RTTT application. In addition, none of them are signed prior to the RTTT application date of January 18, 2010. At the time of this writing, the state is still maintaining copies of these MOUs along with the attached “scope of work” for each district here. As a follow-up to this delivery of paper MOUs, I sent a second request with four questions, which resulted in only the first one being answered essentially admitting the state lied about the unanimous support of the federal MOU. The other questions were not answered. They were as follows:

 

“2. If not, did the local chairs of boards of education and/or the local union representative in these districts sign another MOU such as the altered one signed by the directors of schools that have been provided to me?

3. Were there any other MOUs related to RTTT requirements signed by these three parties (directors of schools, chairs of local school boards, union representatives) that are dated prior to the RTTT application date of January 18, 2010?

4. Who wrote this portion of the RTTT application quoted above regarding the “sign on” rate of the school districts to the sample MOU? Education First?”

 

I now have the answer to questions 2 and 3. In that big stack of paper the State Dept. of Education provided, there are four school districts missing. There is something curious about all four of these districts that I believe made the State Dept. of Education decide to delete them from my request:

 

They have different MOUs from the rest. They also are signed in December of 2009 – before the first “confidential” draft of the Common Core “state” Standards even existed (January 13, 2010).

 

Here are the districts:

 

Jackson County, Jackson-Madison County, Sullivan County and West TN School for the Deaf. A fifth district was partially withheld: Marshall County. Marshall County has two MOUs, one signed in December 2009 and another different version signed in June 2010. The State Dept. of Education chose to only give me the later version in their response. At the time of this writing, the state RTTT website still shows the 2009 dated MOU for all these districts.

 

Note the language on this 2009 MOU, especially under “Assurances”. This MOU is more similar to the federal version language and has the four signature blocks. The district leadership had to “assure” that their LEA certifies and represents they were familiar with the still-under-construction 1100-page RTTT application and were “committed to working on all or significant portions of the State Plan”. They were asked to sign this MOU agreement while the application was still in the works.The “confidential” first rough draft of the Common Core “state” Standards didn’t exist yet and wouldn’t exist in any form the state could review until just five days prior to the RTTT application being submitted to the federal government.

A couple of items of interest:

 

  1. Jackson-Madison County. Note that the TEA representative Janis Carroll added an attachment to her signed agreement to the MOU assuring implementation of RTTT application requirements (before they existed). She appears to have signed under protest and notes her signature is made “with reservations” (page 12) and refers to an attachment (page 14). You can get an impression from the concerns listed there that probably all of the districts were facing the same uninformed concerns, most notably her first one:Our members have not seen the Race To The Top application or its requirements.Remember, this is signed on December 15 2009. Makes all those rubber-stamp letters of endorsement dated about the same time look even more ridiculous, because you know they couldn’t and didn’t read the application either. And of course, Common Core doesn’t exist yet in its first “confidential” draft for anyone to review.
  2. This December 2009 MOU refers to a different “Preliminary Scope of Work” attached as Exhibit 1 (page 13) and is more vague than the later versions. This earlier attachment is only found in four of the five districts.
  3. Marshall County shows both a December 2009 signed by all three parties and a June 2010 MOU signed only by the director of schools typical of the other districts. Both versions of the “scope of work” are present also. It is interesting to see how this language changed pre to post RTTT application.
  4. The Jackson County file includes instructions they were sent for completing the scope of work forms and a state Race To The Top timeline. Note that this timeline begins in March 2010 after award of the federal taxpayer money. There will be another post coming on these instructions and timeline. This isn’t the first version of them.

We now have established:

A) The State of Tennessee lied on the RTTT federal grant application about the signed agreement of the local school district directors, school board chairs and TEA representatives to the requirements of RTTT including the concealed implementation of the Common Core “state” Standards and greatly increased data mining of students.

B) There was in fact effort by the State Dept. of Education to strong arm districts into committing to the requirements of the RTTT application including the Common Core “state” Standards concealed within before the first “confidential” draft of those standards even existed. This is evidenced by the five districts having signed the MOUs in December 2009. This was done when at least one district (Jackson – Madison County) did not even have the application to review.

C) The State Dept. of Education doesn’t want us to know about A or B and attempted to hide the early MOUs from me. Unless of course you believe it is just coincidence that only these four districts (and half of Marshall County) were missing from their response. They also declined to answer if any MOUs were signed by districts prior to the RTTT application date of January 18, 2010. Obviously, there were some. For the RTTT application to be legal, there should be one for every district and it would have to be the federal version MOU.

More to come…

 

 

Where are the Common Core MOUs?

rotten-applecore-673by Eric Holcombe

I believe the TN State Dept. of Ed. is guilty of fraud at the federal level for lying on the Race To The Top Application for hundreds of millions received in federal taxpayer funds.

I found the recent story of the petition circulating amongst various public school district leaders and the TEA’s version in Nashville and Williamson County stating a vote of “no confidence” in state education commissioner Kevin Huffman a little surprising, if not hypocritical. If you have looked at the State of Tennessee’s application for Race To The Top (RTTT), you know there was a requirement for the states to show solidarity among the public school districts by signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) committing themselves to the requirements contained in the 1100-page Race To The Top application which included great expansion of data collection on the students, mandatory online achievement testing, as well as implementing the Common Core “State” Standards (or if you had the time and resources, implementing your own multi-state consortium of academic standards instead). The state made the claim in this application that their goals were aligned to the federal department of education, so they used the MOU provided by the federal department of education and obtained signatures from not only the directors of schools, but the school board chairs and teacher’s union representative (as applicable) from nearly every district in TN.

From page 17 Section A(1)(ii)(a) in the RTTT application:

We also used the U.S. Department of Education’s sample MOU because our goals were aligned with it and because our districts asked for an MOU as soon as possible so they could have discussions with their unions and school boards. The MOU, reflecting the terms and conditions of our application, is attached as Appendix A-1-2.

• Section A(1)(ii)(b): Similarly, we sent the U.S. Department of Education’s sample Scope of Work because we believed our goals were aligned with it. We are pleased that 100% of our 136 participating districts and 4 state special schools committed to each and every reform criterion, as the summary table demonstrates. We achieved this sign-on rate even though all participating LEAs will have to implement a bold set of policy and practice changes, including using student growth as one of multiple measures in evaluating and compensating teachers and leaders; denying tenure to teachers who are deemed ineffective as gauged partly by student growth; relinquishing control over their persistently lowest-achieving schools; increasing the number of students who are taught by effective teachers; and, in many cases, opening their doors to more charter schools. The sample Scope of Work is attached as Appendix A-1-3.

• Section A(1)(ii)(c): As a sign of our statewide approach, 131 of our 136 participating districts and 4 state special schools submitted all three applicable signatures – superintendent, school board president, and union leader.The summary table demonstrates that we had 100% success rates in obtaining the signature of every superintendent and applicable school board president, and a 93% success rate in obtaining the signature of every applicable local teachers’ union leader. (Not all Tennessee school districts have collective bargaining; nonetheless, we asked for the support of local union/association leaders regardless of whether they represented teachers in a collective-bargaining capacity.)”

 I found it pretty interesting that all those directors of schools and union leaders who allegedly signed the Federal Dept. of Ed. MOU selling their souls for Common Core would develop convenient amnesia and start complaining about Huffman implementing the very things contained in the application they would have sworn assurance to “be familiar with” and agree to. I was figuring they really didn’t read the 1100-page application and possibly didn’t actually see the first “confidential” rough draft of the Common Core “state” Standards that were contained in the application. I suspected they had to hurry and rubber stamp their approval (like the legislators, gubernatorial candidates, charter operators, philanthropists and colleges did). I was particularly interested in the date they signed these MOUs. Here’s why:

 1.    The date of the Race To The Top application is January 18, 2010.

2.    The “confidential” first rough draft of the Common Core “state” Standards contained within the application is dated January 13, 2010, only five days prior.

3.   I  figured there was no way these directors, school board chairs and union reps actually read this stuff, but it would be especially ridiculous if their signatures on the MOUs were dated prior to January 13, 2010 because that would mean it was not possible to even see the first rough draft of Common Core before committing to whatever it becomes in the future.

I requested an electronic copy of these signed MOUs from the state Dept. of Ed. After an initial written response announcing a 10-day delay to collect the information, I was told on day ten that these were on legal sized paper and it would be “easiest for them” for me to come to Nashville to pick up copies. I agreed and traveled to Nashville to pick them up. Upon receipt of the copies, I noticed that not only were the provided MOUs NOT the same federal-government-provided ones claimed to be signed in the Race To The Top application, but in addition they were only signed by the directors of schools. Also, I was surprised by the signature dates. They were all signed in May and June of 2010, four to five months AFTER the Race To The Top application and at least 45 days after the RTTT money was awarded to Tennessee.

 I made a second request for the signed federal-government-provided MOUs including the quoted portion above from the RTTT application that explicitly states all the signatures were collected on the federal MOUs:

1. Did the 131 participating districts and 4 special school districts submit this MOU included in Appendix A of the RTTT application signed by all parties as claimed in the RTTT application? If so, this was the information I originally requested and still want to obtain copies for all districts.

2. If not, did the local chairs of boards of education and/or the local union representative in these districts sign another MOU such as the altered one signed by the directors of schools that have been provided to me?

3. Were there any other MOUs related to RTTT requirements signed by these three parties (directors of schools, chairs of local school boards, union representatives) that are dated prior to the RTTT application date of January 18, 2010?

4. Who wrote this portion of the RTTT application quoted above regarding the “sign on” rate of the school districts to the sample MOU? Education First?”

The response I received truncated my questions to answer only #1 above, ignoring the follow-ups. The answer: They do not exist.

Now the protest and petition by the directors of schools makes sense. So do the words of White County HS Assistant Principal Jerry Lowery in the Senate Education Committee “fact-finding” hearing: “We were presented with a done deal and now we are caught in a web that we never spun”.

Bottom line: The State of Tennessee committed federal fraud in obtaining hundred of millions of taxpayer dollars by lying on the RTTT application about the non-existent, local “unanimous support” for RTTT and the Common Core standards to improve their grant score.

The Common Core “state” Standards first became available for the public to view and comment on March 17, 2010. This is nearly 60 days after Tennessee’s RTTT application was submitted on January 18, 2010 committing TN schools to the standards that didn’t exist yet. Round one RTTT money was awarded on March 29, 2010, less than two weeks later.

Not a single Tennessee director of schools, school board chair or TEA representative had signed either the Federal Dept. of Ed. MOU or the altered state version MOUs yet. This would not happen for another 60-90 days. These were all signed in May and June, presumably in order for the State Board of Ed. To pass Common Core in their special called meeting in July as they promised to do in the RTTT application.

If you would like to see the MOUs that were actually signed (only by the directors of schools), those can be found on the state’s RTTT website here at the bottom of the page under “Approved District Scopes of Work” by school district. These are identical to the copies that were provided to me. I am not certain why the department didn’t simply refer me to these electronic versions rather than give me the run-around with the paper copies, but it is possible they didn’t know they existed since the two contacts I made were not employed there in 2010 (Bredesen’s administration). Within these documents, you can also see what spending each district committed to for the amount of RTTT money they were to be awarded. Of course this is all taking place after the federal grant was awarded to the state. There is an additional “scope of work” signature block with spaces for the director of schools, school board chair and TEA representative or funding agency for the district that is not signed. The TEA representative block has been made “optional” when it is used. A second, rotated copy of this page follows with the signatures. However, these signatures only assure their awareness that the money provided is one-time and will not cover any recurring expenses the district commits to in spending the RTTT money. Only the directors of schools committed the school districts to implementation of RTTT requirements with the altered state-version MOUs two months after the money was awarded. These state-version signed MOUs and LEA commitments follow the scope of work tables with projected expenditures. Note that these MOUs are even more vague than the one provided by the Federal Dept. of Ed, such that it is certainly not clear what you are committing to. I hope your director of schools read all 1100 pages before selling you out for some one-time money and signing onto that last line:

Although all programs listed in the commitments have not been developed, my LEA will participate as they become available. Even though my LEA may or may not spend RTTT funds on the elements of RTTT, I do understand my LEA will be expected to support/implement the commitments listed above.

Good luck with that. Might be worth looking back at your April, May, June 2010 board meeting minutes for discussion on completely changing all the academic standards, mandatory online testing, etc.

So, my questions to the State Dept. of Ed remain:

  1. Were there any other MOUs related to RTTT requirements signed by these three parties (directors of schools, chairs of local school boards, union representatives) that are dated prior to the RTTT application date of January 18, 2010?

  2. Who wrote this portion of the RTTT application quoted above regarding the “sign on” rate of the school districts to the sample MOU? Education First?

 

 

Common Core Math – It goes to 11!

Watch as Curriculum Coordinator Amanda August explains the new “rigorous” math standards coming soon to a government school near you and how 3 x 4 = 11 is an okay answer as long as you can explain how you got there:

 

Here is the kind of “human capital widget” I predict Common Core math will produce. Watch as Nigel Tufnel eloquently explains how he gets to 11:

State of Florida withdraws from Common Core’s PARCC consortium

rotten-applecore-673

by: Eric Holcombe

Common Core “state” Standards testing arm PARCC describes Florida as “a Governing State in and the Fiscal Agent for the PARCC Consortium“. Like Kevin Huffman, they still list Florida’s former Commissioner of Education Tony Bennett as being on the governing board of PARCC, but in addition Bennett was PARCC’s fiscal agent. Florida Governor Rick Scott has issued an executive order for the Education Commissioner to withdraw Florida from the exclusive, non-competitive bid,  PARCC testing agreement and construct a comparable solicitation for assessments. He also directed the Commissioner to recommend to the State Board of Education that they terminate their role as Fiscal Administrator for PARCC by the end of the year.

This should be interesting. Bennett had ties to PARCC before he came to Florida. He was previously Superintendent of Public Instruction in Indiana and was PARCC’s fiscal agent while there. After losing his reelection bid in November 2012, he moved to Florida and kept the title with PARCC and Florida suddenly became the “Fiscal Agent” after their State Board of Education named him Commissioner in December 2012, only a month after losing the election in Indiana. Bob Sikes lays out some of the many conflicts of interest in these relationships in Florida and asks the question: “Is he [Bennett] more devoted to PARCC than he is to Florida’s schools and children?”

Unfortunately, we may never know. Bennett resigned in August “amid allegations that he changed the grade of a charter school run by a major Republican donor during his previous job as Indiana’s school chief.” Oops.

Well, well. Ohio, Indiana, Oklahoma and Georgia have pulled out of PARCC and now the PARCC “Fiscal Agent” Florida has too. Florida is a HUGE loss for the scheme. What will PARCC governing board member Kevin Huffman and PARCC’s “project manager” Achieve Inc. (Bill Haslam, board member) do now? What can we expect from Achieve Inc.’s affiliate relationship with Pearson, who was touting to investors that they would be cashing in on making the tests for PARCC? Who will PARCC now use for a third string “fiscal agent”?

My question is: Are Huffman and Haslam more devoted to PARCC and Achieve Inc. than they are to Tennessee’s schools and children?

Is Tennessee going to stay in the PARCC/Pearson testing consortium funneling those overpriced assessment fees back to a company in England and still try to call it “state-led”?

Note that some believe the sudden pullback from PARCC by these states is orchestrated, that other opportunists are now positioning themselves to create a “state-led” assessment model to test the same Common Core “state” Standards without the obvious, blatant, federal appearance that PARCC and SBAC have. Time will tell. Of course, this is merely treating a symptom and not the disease. They would likely rely on the same test makers – or copy “big” states like Florida, the same way they do with textbook selection.

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

matrix

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.

Common Core is bought and paid for

haslam bredesen gates

by: Eric Holcombe

I made a prediction (without seeing the speaker list) that 90% of the proponents of Common Core “state” Standards in last Friday’s Senate Education Committee hearing would fall into one of two groups (if not both):

1. They are part of an organization that received direct or indirect funding (meaning millions of dollars) from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as payment to implement the standards (note: this includes the National Governors Association (Phil Bredesen, Bill Haslam), the Council of Chief State School Officers (Tim Webb, Kevin Huffman), Achieve Inc. (Phil Bredesen, Bill Haslam), the testing arms Race To the Top created: PARCC and SBAC (Kevin Huffman), Memphis City Schools, among others. I.e., they have a financial conflict of interest to be there.

2. They are part of an organization that endorsed the Common Core “state” Standards via the Race To The Top application with a rubber-stamp letter or a Memorandum of Understanding dated prior to the “confidential” draft of the standards being made available to the state on January 13, 2010, only five days before the Race To The Top application was submitted on January 18, 2010. (note: this includes the State Board of Education, Tennessee School Boards Association, State of Tennessee Higher Education Commission, The University of Tennessee Chattanooga, Knoxville and Martin, Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents, ALL 136 district directors of schools, ALL 136 district school board chairmen, the TEA and their local affiliates, among others. They all endorsed standards that weren’t available to see in “confidential” draft form and wouldn’t be available for public comment for another 60 days.

Well, it turns out I was wrong. Only 88% of the proponents fit the bill:

A. Kevin Huffman – Huffman serves on the governing board for PARCC, the national testing organization created with Race To The Top federal funds – and the testing arm Tennessee is committed to. Also as Commissioner of Education, he has great latitude in authority since the reform legislation was passed (First To The Top Act of 2010 and the Complete College TN Act of 2010) and the promises that Tennessee made in the Race To The Top Application. PARCC’s “project manager” is Achieve Inc., which received multi-millions from the Gates Foundation. Bill Haslam is on the board of directors of this Washington DC corporation. Phil Bredesen was formerly co-chair.

B. Jamie Woodson – Former state senator who was very prominent in passage of the First To The Top Act of 2010 and the Complete College TN Act of 2010. Once these were accomplished, she quit to become president and CEO of Bill Frist’s TNSCORE organization, which has received over $1.8 million from the Gates Foundation. Woodson is also in the second category as she signed one of the rubber-stamp letters endorsing the Race To The Top application which committed Tennessee to implementing the Common Core “state” Standards. Of course, Bill Frist did the same on January 14, 2010, one day after the “confidential” draft of Common Core was made available.

C. Clint Satterfield – Director of schools for Trousdale County. Clint is of course one of the 136 directors of schools who signed the Memorandum of Understanding (date unknown) provided by the federal government which claimed an “assurance” that they were “familiar with” the Race To The Top application which of course committed Tennessee to implementing the Common Core “state” Standards. I doubt these were turned around in the span of five days from January 13, 2010 when the first “confidential” draft was made available and January 18, 2010 when the application was submitted. He rubber-stamped Common Core without reading the 1111-page application just like the rest. Clint is also part of a special group of taxpayer-funded Common Core lobbyists called LIFT.

D. Michael Petrilli – Executive vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, which also received over $6 million from the Gates Foundation. Fordham is being paid to do this all over the country and are supposed to be the “right wing” think tank to appeal to the Republican sheep. I told you the players in Common Core come from both sides against the middle. As Petrilli gets up to leave, Sen. Tate says “hopefully the check is in the mail” (at the 4:04:39 mark).

E. Casie Jones – Teacher from Martin Luther King Transition academy in Memphis, an alternative school for convicted juvenile delinquents to transition back into “traditional” classrooms. Casey made an impressive plea for the “rigorous” Common Core “state” Standards, however this would seem to be diametrically opposed to her previous pleas to maintain the Not Meeting Standards (NMS) program in 2010 where failing students were not given an “F”, but more of an “incomplete”. And of course, since the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pumped $90 million into City of Memphis schools, she falls into category 1. If instead she were counted as a Teach For America employee, she would fall into the rubber-stamper category 2.

F. Candice McQueen – Dean of Education, Lipscomb University. McQueen serves in Tennessee’s Educator Leader Cadre for the PARCC testing Consortium and also serves as the liaison for higher education for the State Department of Education’s Common Core State Standards Leadership Council for K-12 and on the Common Core advisory board for the Tennessee Higher Education Commission’s Institutes of Higher Education. She like Woodson is a double dipper. Work for PARCC puts her in Category 1 and work for the rubber-stampers of the State Department of Education and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission puts her in Category 2.

G. Pitt Hyde III – Founder of Autozone. Pitt being asked here just highlights the fact that these standards are about serving employer business needs, not educating. This being one of the claims of the opponents of Common Core, made it rather humorous that Pitt was selected to speak on the state’s behalf. Of course, Pitt is one of the rubber-stampers that endorsed Race To The Top with his December 18, 2009 letter found in Appendix A of the Race To The Top application, dated three weeks prior to the “confidential” draft of the Common Core “state” Standards even being available to the states.

H. Lt. Col. Eric Goslowsky – Director of Tennessee Guard Family Support Programs. Goslowsky was the only pro-Common Core speaker for the day that didn’t fit my two categories. I believe he was there primarily to generate an appeal to fear as he reminded us that only ½ of 1% “wear the uniform” and if we don’t implement the Common Core “state” Standards (which haven’t been proven anywhere period), then terrorists will invade our country and no one will be there to defend you – and he will have to homeschool his one child that is still in school because our schools suck so bad without them that he has left his child in the sucky system the entire time, or he may take an assignment in California (where they will have Common Core) so hurry up and implement them.
I will give Goslowsky credit for being the ONLY proponent there that actually had some skin in the game, because that is the one thing continually missing from all the “demand” for Common Core – the actual parents and taxpayers.

Common Core “state” Standards Whodunit Part 4 – The rubber-stamp letters

In Part 3, I showed the ridiculous promises made by the signatories of the Tennessee Race To The Top (RTTT) application to unconditionally commit to the Common Core “state” Standards, when they did not yet exist and in fact only a “Confidential” draft from five days earlier was available. Yet, they were able to assemble an 1100+ page application centered on these standards in five days. This post will highlight the endorsements of this 1100-page commitment by political leaders, “higher” education officials, the teacher’s union and others.

The RTTP application boasts (page 39):

…Tennessee has relied on a number of education, business, foundation, and community partners to carry out its ambitious plans. In this application, we are pleased to submit a number of letters of support from key leaders and organizations across the state…All letters can be found in Appendix A-2-3. They are from:
• The Tennessee Education Association
• Associations representing principals, administrators, superintendents, urban superintendents, and school boards
• The General Assembly leadership
• The state’s Congressional delegation
• All seven candidates for the 2010 gubernatorial election
• Several leading national non-profit organizations that are dedicated to working in Tennessee
• The state charter school association, representing our 21 charter schools
• The business community, including groups that signed on to support the Tennessee Diploma Project
• Civil rights organizations
• Parents’ groups
• Higher education institutions
• Community-based organizations
• STEM leaders STEM
• Philanthropic foundations”

Here is a link to Appendix A from the RTTT application for your review. The letters begin on page A-27 and follow in the order they are listed in the application bullet list above.

A cursory review of these letters reveals that many of the “stakeholder” parties were obviously spoon-fed a form letter to use. In fact, many of them used it verbatim. Several changed a sentence or two but kept almost all of the unaltered text. The charter school proponents were the only group to consistently write original material that seems to espouse their goals rather than parrot the form letter.

First letter up is by the TEA who state: “We advised all of our local affiliates to sign their LEAs Memorandum of Understanding in order to support Tennessee’s RTTT application.” Now keep in mind that the First to the Top Act of 2010 was rushed through the week of the application and signed by Governor Bredesen on January 16, 2010 to be included in the RTTT application two days later on January 18, 2010. This legislation contained most of the teacher evaluation and tenure reform that the teachers were up in arms about in the following months. TEA’s letter is dated the same day this legislation was signed – two days before the application date. Did the TEA know the First To The Top Act was in the RTTT application they advised their membership to endorse? Did they look at the 1100+ pages first? Did they review the “confidential” draft of the Common Core standards that came out only three days before the letter of endorsement on January 13, 2010?

On Page A-30 is a letter from the Tennessee state legislative leadership to Arne Duncan, signed by Ron Ramsey, Kent Williams, Jamie Woodson (soon to become a SCORE employee with Bill Frist), Lois Deberry, Delores Gresham, Harry Brooks, Randy McNally and Craig Fitzhugh.  As we saw in Part 1, most all of these  legislators were involved in sponsoring the First To The Top Act of 2010 that was part of the RTTT application. The reforms in that act were things these legislators appeared to want, having the first opportunity in several generations to make some movement in that direction. However, did they know the RTTT application signed by Governor Bredesen, Tim Webb and B. Fielding Rolston committed the state to the Common Core “state” Standards also? Was the First To The Top Act a “bipartisan” deal of federal wants and state wants? There is an interesting line in their letter of endorsement. It reads: “The Tennessee plan outlines reforms in four specific areas aligned to the federal guidelines”.  What? Don’t they mean “state-led” guidelines that we thought up? What are these “federal” guidelines they are talking about if it isn’t the Common Core? Did the legislators know the commitment to the Common Core was in the RTTT application? Did they look at the 1100+ pages prior to writing this letter? Did they review the “confidential” draft of the Common Core standards that came out only two days before their letter of endorsement?

Next on Page A-32 is a letter from the Tennessee U.S. Senators and Representatives to Arne Duncan that is consistent with the ambiguous quality of their robo-emails. It does have the verbatim “four specific areas” most of the letters contain. I seriously doubt they ever laid eyes on the application. Their letter of endorsement is dated January 11, 2010 TWO DAYS BEFORE the Common Core “state” Standards “confidential” draft was made available to the state which were committed to in the RTTT application.

On Page A-34 is a letter signed by the Republican and Democrat candidates for governor at the time of the RTTT Application. Apparently, these were the only people who would be allowed to become governor, and it was necessary to obtain commitment from each of them to the Common Core “state” Standards contained in the RTTT application. Their letter is dated January 18, 2010, the same day as the application. Did the candidates for governor know the commitment to the Common Core “state” Standards was in the RTTT application? Did they look at the 1100+ pages prior to writing this letter? Did they review the “confidential” draft of the Common Core standards that came out only two days before their letter of endorsement?

Next come a series of letters to Governor Bredesen from Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, Charter School Growth Fund, KIPP, New Leaders for New Schools (a New York company), Teach For America and The New Teacher Project. Besides Dean, I believe most of these organizations were going to benefit from the First To The Top legislation as opportunities for charter schools and teacher tenure limitations were promised in the reforms. Besides Dean, their letters are more original. All are dated the week of the First To The Top Act legislation being passed or the week prior, meaning many of them could not have seen the first “confidential” draft of the Common Core “state” Standards that were released to the state on January 13, 2010. How could these organizations endorse the RTTT Application when it couldn’t even be complete yet for them to read?

Pages A-42 through A-45 contain two identical letters to Governor Bredesen signed by various Tennessee charter school executive directors or principals from KIPP Nashville, LEAD Academy, Smithson Craighead Elementary, Smithson Craighead Middle, Nashville Global Academy, Ivy Academy, Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy, Circles of Success Charter School, Memphis Business Academy, City University Schools, Power Center Academy, Freedom Preparatory Academy Charter School, Promise Academy, KIPP Memphis, Soulsville Charter School, Memphis Academy of Health Sciences, Southern Avenue Charter School, Memphis Academy of Science and Engineering and STAR Academy. These letters offer “enthusiastic support ” for the RTTT proposal. Notice the date of the identical letters: December 18, 2009. Mack Throckmorton’s  (Tennessee Charter School Association Executive Director) letter is next, also dated December 18, 2009. How could these charter school operators endorse a RTTT application that includes the Common Core “state” Standards, when those standards will not have been made available to the state in only a “confidential” draft form for another three weeks?

After a few letters from chambers of commerce and other “business leaders” we come to the magnum opus of rubber stamp letters. Starting on page A-53 are a series of verbatim letters that only change the opening or closing paragraphs (if any) where the organizations plug themselves. These rubber-stamp frauds are:

The NAACP, TN Urban League Affiliates, Memphis Urban League, The Tennessee PTA, Junior Achievement, Volunteer Tennessee, Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents, Tennessee School Boards Association, The Public School Forum of East Tennessee, State of Tennessee Higher Education Commission, The University of Tennessee Chattanooga, The University of Tennessee Knoxville, The University of Tennessee Martin, Cleveland State Community College, Dyersburg State Community College, Motlow State Community College, Roane State Community College, Volunteer State Community College, Walter’s State Community College, The Tennessee Board of Regents, Tennessee Technology Center at Dixon and Murfreesboro, BIOTN, Tennessee Governor’s Academy,  Middle Tennessee State University, Biomimetic Therapeutics, Memphis Bioworks, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Smith&Nephew, Tennessee Biotechnology Association, Benwood Foundation, Nashville Healthcare Council, Niswonger Foundation,

Nothing says “educational reform” like mass plagiarism.

Each of these letters have some very significant common traits beyond the obvious regurgitation of a provided form letter:

1. All of them are written prior to the release of the “confidential” draft of the Common Core “state” Standards made available to the state on January 13, 2010. Most of them were written in December of 2009.

2. They all contain the same phrase found in the letter from the Tennessee legislature leadership letter to Arne Duncan:The Tennessee plan outlines reforms in four specific areas aligned to the federal guidelines”

How could these organizations endorse the RTTT Application when it couldn’t even be complete yet for them to read? What “federal guidelines” are they writing about if not the Common Core “state” Standards, which were not yet available to the state in a “confidential” draft form?

Who provided the form letter all the rubber-stampers used?

Note that several of the other letters in Appendix A were obviously based on the form letter, they just weren’t blatant, verbatim copies like those listed above. Did all these businesses and foundations know about the Common Core “state” Standards being contained in the RTTT application or were they sold on “First To The Top” legislation instead? I think Cal Turner Jr.’s letter to Governor Bredesen (Appendix A, page A-139) is revealing. Cal’s letter is one of the later dated ones found in the application, written on January 12, 2010 (still a day before the “confidential” draft of the Common Core “state” Standards are made available to the state).

He writes: “This letter is written as an enthusiastic endorsement of the legislation you are proposing during this week’s special session of the Tennessee legislature“.

His letter demonstrates there was a confusion between First To the Top Act legislation and the RTTT application as possibly being one and the same. They aren’t the same thing. The Eastman and Bridgestone letters were dated January 7 and January 12, 2010 respectively and have similar language. It appears the businesses in January were part of a separate campaign to support the First To The Top Act of 2010. They may have been deceived or just ignorant about what would really come within the RTTT application.

One thing is certain, Very few of these “endorsers” could have even had the opportunity to see the “confidential” draft of the Common Core “state” Standards because they were not made available to the state until January 13, 2010. The public didn’t get to see them until March of 2010.

Of course, none of those letters are from you. But allegedly, we the people all asked for this.

Common Core “state” Standards – Whodunit Part 3 – Commiting to standards that don’t exist

In Part 1, I introduced you to the Tennessee Race To The Top (RTTT) application for federal taxpayer funds that committed the public schools in Tennessee to implementing the Common Core “state” Standards – before they were even available for public review, and the signatories of this agreement. In Part 2, I showed you the additional unanimous, blind agreement of all 136 directors of schools and all 136 school board presidents to whatever the state said in the RTTP application to get their federal money. Also, we reviewed the two pieces of legislation that were hurriedly passed as part of the “reforms” necessary to implement Common Core and keep those promises made in the RTTT application and who those bill sponsors were. In this post, we will take a look at the specific promises to implement the Common Core found within the RTTT application, because despite being told repeatedly that Common Core is “state-led”, we just don’t find it anywhere in the legislation passed by our elected legislators, even though the First To The Top Act was explicitly made part of the RTTT application . You will only find it in the promises to the federal government as part of Race To The Top application in order to get federal taxpayer dollars.

Here are a few excerpts from the RTTT application that obliged all public schools in Tennessee to the Common Core (signed by Governor Bredesen, Education Commissioner Tim Webb and State Board of Education President B. Fielding Rolston) while they weren’t even available yet for public comment:

 

page 14: “New standards and aligned assessments are major tools in teachers’ toolboxes, and we are committed to making the standards even stronger through adoption of the Common Core. In this application, we describe the process we will use to adopt the Common Core, the timeline for implementation, and the way in which we will ensure that Tennessee educators receive training on the new standards.”

I must have heard that “tools in the toolboxes” quote from Jamie Woodson about a hundred times when she was working on the “reform” legislation.

page 15: “We seek to organize our efforts and interventions around this data, enabling it to be used from the Capitol to the classroom. We believe that an expansion from a K-12 data system to a P-20 data system, as well as the creation of an early-warning system, will enable us to reach our graduation rate goal of 90%.”

Just in case you forgot begging the Governor to start tracking all students from pre-kindergarten to four years AFTER they leave college with a diploma. Giving the level of  information proposed in Common Core via the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) to the federal government is illegal and a violation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).  The U.S. Department of Education (an unconstitutional entity itself) KNOWS this and sees FERPA as a roadblock for the data-mining in Common Core.  The U.S. Dept of Education has altered FERPA to empower the data-mining within Common Core and they have been sued for doing so, by the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

page 16: “The stars in Tennessee – the Governor’s Office, the General Assembly, the Department of Education, the State Board of Education, the Tennessee Board of Regents, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, leading business associations, philanthropic foundations, and community groups – are aligned when it comes to the next generation of education innovation. The support ranges from our Congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., to the organization representing our five largest district superintendents, to the statewide Tennessee State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE), chaired by former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist…”

Gee, I guess that just about covers everybody who got paid by Bill Gates. Any response from the students or their parents? Oh, that’s right, the “public” draft isn’t available yet…

page 44: “First, we know our state assessment does not measure the level of rigor we know students must experience to succeed, which is why our performance on the NAEP has trailed that of our state assessment. With the introduction of a new test aligned to the tougher Common Core standards, we expect that student proficiency rates will more closely mirror those reported on the NAEP.”

This statement does not fit the “official” story that Common Core is only a set of standards, not a curriculum and not tests. Of course, since the English Language Arts author, David Coleman (who has never taught English in any capacity), has since moved on to become president of the College Board, he is re-writing the SAT college entrance exams to “align” with Common Core.

page 48:We will continue to lead by adopting the Common Core standards at a special State Board of Education meeting the last two weeks of July 2010.

Remember, they aren’t even available for public viewing at this point and won’t be until March 2010, but here the state declares they will be adopted.

page 49:Governor Bredesen and Education Commissioner Timothy Webb have signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to join the Common Core standards initiative led by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. The initiative will result in new K-12 grade-by-grade standards in mathematics and English, including a set of college- and career ready standards, which Tennessee will adopt in July 2010.”

NGA and CCSSO both paid millions by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Plus, we are sold the story that the Governors made these standards as part of NGA. Here it is made to sound as if they do not yet exist (which is true), but that Tennessee will adopt them in July 2010 – when they cannot even know what they are yet.

page 49: Achieve has notified us that it will conduct a grade-by-grade alignment study between our standards and the Common Core. Based on our previous work with Achieve, we expect our standards to be well-aligned with the Common Core standards, but will make any adjustments as needed. Please see Appendix B-1-1 for a copy of the Common Core MOA, Appendix B-1-2 for a copy of the proposed Common Core standards, Appendix B-1-3 for documentation that they will be internationally benchmarked and prepare students for career-readiness, Appendix B-1-4 for a list of participating states, Appendix B-1-5 for our College and Career-Ready Policy Institute (CCRPI) plan submission, and Appendix B-1-6 for a final feedback letter from our CCRPI partners.”

Well, that’s nice that the Washington D.C. company paid millions by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is going to conduct an alignment to Common Core. I thought these were supposed to be “state-led”. Don’t we know what we want? Keep in mind these standards do not yet exist, yet again we are committing to make “any adjustments as needed”. Here is a link to Appendix B where you can see what is being called the “standards” on January 18, 2010. Notice the MOA is dated April 28, 2009 and labeled Draft/For Discussion Only. Yet, Governor Phil Bredesen and Education Commissioner Tim Webb have signed it?  Also note that the document following purported to be the Common Core State Standards beginning on page 14 have a “CONFIDENTIAL”  watermark and the heading that states these are a “DRAFT-1/13/10”. That is the Wednesday before this RTTT application was delivered on Monday 1/18/2010. I guess there was a really thorough, around-the-clock review of these standards in order to put this application together and claim that Tennessee would adopt these incomplete standards no matter what and would make any adjustments needed to adopt them. Doesn’t this seem just slightly irresponsible to you?

If these Common Core “state” Standards are “state-led” and not federally-demanded, why is Tennessee committing to the federal government to implement something that doesn’t exist yet – and since they are supposed to have originated with us, why don’t we know what they are and are relying on Washington D.C. non-profits funded by Bill Gates to tell us?

Part 4 in this series will show the multitude of “higher” education leaders, state and federal legislators, candidates for governor, business “leaders” and others who gave their rubber-stamp approval of this ridiculous commitment to standards that didn’t even exist yet.

Common Core “state” Standards – Whodunit Part 2

by Eric Holcombe

In Part 1, I introduced you to the Race To the Top application that committed the state of Tennessee to implementing the Common Core “state” Standards in exchange for federal taxpayer funds. This application was signed by then Governor Phil Bredesen, Commissioner of Education Tim Webb (called the “Chief State School Officer” ), the president of the State Board of Education, B. Fielding Rolston and the State Attorney General, Bob Cooper. Of these signatories, only the Governor is elected. The others are directly appointed by the Governor.

However, in order to claim “state-led” status for the Common Core, it was necessary to get all the “stakeholders” to “buy in” (which of course, does not include actual students or parents). This is claimed in the Race To the Top application on page 17:

“Our districts’ commitment to our application demonstrates both their capacity to embrace change and our state’s ability to fulfill a bold agenda that has broad statewide impact, not just a few pockets here and there. However, while consensus is important, we will be aggressive in only awarding funds to those districts that demonstrate a strong plan of action for implementing all of the reforms in our proposal.
• Section A(1)(ii)(a): Tennessee gave its districts a choice: They could either participate in all of our reform agenda as “participating” districts, as defined in the application, or they could decline to participate entirely. There was no middle ground of “involved” status. We gave this choice because we wanted to demonstrate full statewide commitment and because we feel this application should not be thought of as a “buffet.” All parts are woven together to create a coherent plan. We also used the U.S. Department of Education’s sample MOU because our goals were aligned with it and because our districts asked for an MOU as soon as possible so they could have discussions with their unions and school boards. The MOU, reflecting the terms and conditions of our application, is attached as Appendix A-1-2.
• Section A(1)(ii)(b): Similarly, we sent the U.S. Department of Education’s sample Scope of Work because we believed our goals were aligned with it. We are pleased that 100% of our 136 participating districts and 4 state special schools committed to each and every reform criterion, as the summary table demonstrates. We achieved this sign-on rate even though all participating LEAs will have to implement a bold set of policy and practice changes, including using student growth as one of multiple measures in evaluating and compensating teachers and leaders; denying tenure to teachers who are deemed ineffective as gauged partly by student growth; relinquishing control over their persistently lowest-achieving schools; increasing the number of students who are taught by effective teachers; and, in many cases, opening their doors to more charter schools. The sample Scope of Work is attached as Appendix A-1-3.
• Section A(1)(ii)(c): As a sign of our statewide approach, 131 of our 136 participating districts and 4 state special schools submitted all three applicable signatures – superintendent, school board president, and union leader. The summary table demonstrates that we had 100% success rates in obtaining the signature of every superintendent and applicable school board president, and a 93% success rate in obtaining the signature of every applicable local teachers’ union leader. (Not all Tennessee school districts have collective bargaining; nonetheless, we asked for the support of local union/association leaders regardless of whether they represented teachers in a collective-bargaining capacity.)”

So we have the agreement of all 136 directors of schools (also not elected), the school board presidents of all 136 districts and 93% of the teacher union representatives. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) they each agreed to is found in Appendix A, page A-2:

TN Race To The Trough Appendix A by horbunce

It is rather interesting that Tennessee was just then getting agreement of the districts to implement the “state-led” standards that we allegedly generated – and that they agreed to implementing them without being able to review the draft that was made available to the public in March ( nearly 60 days after this application was submitted) or the two pieces of legislation that the state was working on the week the application was due. Also interesting that we used a federally generated MOU form to help us agree to our “state-led” standards.

Now, the same directors of schools that provided blind unanimous consent to do whatever the state decided, have changed their tune. Now they are circulating a petition against current Commissioner of Education, Tim Huffman. They agreed to this – all of them. Plus the teacher’s union.

So who in state legislature brought the two bills that make up the reforms that have these directors of schools so worked up? The first bill was Senate Bill 5, called the Tennessee First To The Top Act of 2010:

As you can see, this bill was sponsored in the Senate by Jim Kyle (D), Jamie Woodson (R), Dolores Gresham (R), Randy McNally (R), Andy Berke (D), Brian Kelsey (R) and Reggie Tate (D). In the House, it was sponsored by Mike Turner (D), Lois DeBerry (D), Harry Brooks (R), Jimmy Naifeh (D), Craig Fitzhugh (D), Mark Maddox (D), Kent Williams (R) and Bill Dunn (R). This bill deals primarily with the creation of the Achievement School District which is reserved for the lowest academically performing schools and they give up control to the Commissioner of Education. Also included are the much-discussed teacher evaluations and their reliance upon student standardized test scores. However, there is nothing here mentioning the Common Core “state” Standards. That language is solely contained within the Race To The Top Application.

The second bill passed in January 2010 as part of the education “reforms” at Race To The Top time was Senate Bill 6, called the Complete College Tennessee Act of 2010:

This bill was passed on January 21, 2010, three days after the Race To The Top application was submitted. This bill has the same Senate sponsors as the First To The Top bill excepting Brian Kelsey and adding Ken Yager (R), Roy Herron (D), Lowe Finney (D) and Mark Norris (R). The House version has the same sponsors excepting Kent Williams and adding Dennis Ferguson (D), Beth Harwell (R), Jim Hackworth (D), Richard Montgomery (R), Eddie Yokely (D), Johnny Shaw (D), Jim Coley (R) and G.A. Hardaway (D).

This bill also does not mention Common Core “state” Standards, but does put all four-year universities under a yet-undetermined “master plan” and puts all two-year colleges under a common “community college” system so they will all be the same. The four-year universities are no longer allowed to offer remedial courses after July 1, 2012. Those will all be provided by the “community college” system. Changes to higher education are necessary to implement all of Common Core, for it seeks to measure students for all P-20 years (pre-school to four years after graduating from a four-year university).

Of these legislators sponsoring these bills, Senators Gresham, Tate and Kelsey remain on the Senate Education Committee today. On the House side, Harry Brooks, Jim Coley, Bill Dunn and Beth Harwell are still active on the Education Committee. These folks should be capable of testifying in the ‘fact-finding’ meeting how much they knew about Common Core and whether their intent in passing these bills was to implement them.
The next post in this series will examine just what exactly was promised regarding the Common Core “state” Standards in the Race To The Top application, since it isn’t clear from the supporting state legislation exactly where these “state-led” standards are coming from.

Common Core “state” Standards – Whodunit Part 1

by Eric Holcombe

As the Tennessee Senate Education Committee meets this week for a “fact-finding” session on the Common Core “state” Standards, I thought it was important to show you where these came from, who approved and lobbied for them at the state level and who should have a good memory about what they are and where they came from.

The “official” story we have been given is that the Common Core “state” Standards are a “state-led” initiative and originated through the work of a small number of state governors (including Phil Bredesen) via the National Governors Association (NGA); that they are internationally benchmarked academic standards for Math and English Language Arts (ELA) only; that these are “proven” and “rigorous” standards;  and that they apply to the P-20 years (meaning pre-Kingergarten to four years post college graduation). I have previously shown how the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation spent hundreds of millions of dollars influencing the creation and implementation of these standards and that federal taxpayer funds were used as a bribe in the Race To The Top (RTTT), a.k.a. Race To The Trough, initiative to force acceptance of the Common Core “state” Standards on the states in order to have any chance of receiving the federal money. In this post, I will introduce you to Tennessee’s application for RTTT and point out some key promises made in that application and more importantly WHEN those promises were made and exactly WHO made the promises. Future posts will explore some of the interesting players in the application that endorsed the idea of committing all the public schools in the state to the Common Core “state” Standards upon the condition of receiving federal money.

After you see some of this information and the players involved, you will like me be scratching your head at the idea that the state legislature needs to have a “fact-finding” meeting about Common Core or what is in it. The RTTT application is a lengthy document comprised of 264 pages that has seven appendices which include an additional 847 pages. The total application contains 1111 pages. At the time of this writing, the state Department of Education still has the documents on their website here. The RTTT application is dated January 18, 2010. The RTTT application deadline date set by the U.S. Department of Education was January 19, 2010. This date is important because of the testimony of Dr. Sandra Stotsky, the ELA expert on the Common Core Validation Committee:

“The deadline for producing a good draft of the college-readiness and grade-level ELA (and mathematics) standards was before January 19, 2010, the date the U.S. Department of Education had set for state applications to indicate a commitment to adopting the standards to qualify for Race to the Top grants. But the draft sent to state departments of education in early January was so poorly written and content-deficient that CCSSI had to delay releasing a public comment draft until March. The language in the March version had been cleaned up somewhat, but the draft was not much better in organization or substance – the result of unqualified drafters working with undue haste and untouchable premises. None of the public feedback to the March draft has ever been made available. The final version released in June 2010 contained most of the problems apparent in the first draft: lack of rigor (especially in the secondary standards), minimal content, lack of international benchmarking, lack of research support. In February 2010, I and presumably all other members of the VC received a “letter of certification” from the CCSSI staff for signing off on Common Core’s standards (even though the public comment draft wasn’t released until March 2010 and the final version wasn’t released until June).”

This is important because the people who signed off on this application and wrote letters of endorsement/encouragement and signed a memorandum of understanding agreeing to the promises made in the application did so without even knowing what the Common Core “state” Standards were yet. At best, assuming the “poorly written, content-deficient” draft was available January 4, 2010, in a two-week span this 1111 pages was assembled along with many rubber-stamp letters of endorsement. Some of those were even made in December of 2009. We, the public, are told in the “official” story that this effort is “state-led”, that allegedly this is something we the people must have asked our state leaders for, yet, there was not even a public-comment draft of the Common Core “state” Standards available until two months after the state of Tennessee committed to them. So who made that commitment that the public didn’t ask for?

Here is the RTTT application (less appendices):

Race To The Trough Application by horbunce

You will find the signatory parties to the application on pages 2 and 3 of the pdf. They are: Governor Phil Bredesen, “Chief State School Officer” Timothy Webb (the former Lewis County School superintendent and deputy education commissioner that was appointed to Commissioner of Education by Bredesen), the President of the State Board of Education, B. Fielding Rolston (also appointed by the Executive branch and confirmed by the legislature), and the TN State Attorney General, Bob Cooper (appointed by the TN State Supreme Court judges, who are illegally selected by the governor contrary to our state constitution). This “Chief State School Officer” language is not used by the state of Tennessee, but is a federal term referring to the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), which is one of the parties paid multi-millions by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation over recent years in Common Core implementation “encouragement”.

Beginning on page 10, there is a nice “imagine” story about a utopian public education system that would exist if only we had enough money. Some interesting quotes from that section:

page 11:“Two years ago, the American Diploma Project established the framework in our state for a public education system that is truly focused on college- and career-readiness. Today,
because of his powerful commitment and Tennessee’s extraordinary progress, Governor Bredesen is the national co-chair of Achieve, which leads the Diploma Project.

The Diploma Project was another program funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Achieve Inc. was given over $12.6 million for this purpose in 2008. As I have written before, Bredesen out, Haslam in at the board of Achieve Inc. and the Gates money kept rolling in. I would like to know why our governors felt it necessary to be on the board of a Washington D.C. company that wasn’t part of creating these “state-led” standards and yet it is a bragging point in our application to get federal money which, if we receive, we will then implement the Common Core “state” Standards.

 

page 12:

“To demonstrate our commitment to the Race to the Top philosophy — and to meet President Obama and Secretary Duncan’s bold challenge for transforming public education in America — Tennessee is responding in a comprehensive and bipartisan manner.”

Wait a minute, shouldn’t this say something more like, let us states show you the “state-led” standards we have already created and are implementing? I thought the federal government had nothing to do with this…

Last week, Governor Bredesen, Democrat and Republican lawmakers, the State Board of Education, the Tennessee Education Association, school districts, business groups, and child advocates joined together in the State Capitol for an extraordinary session of the legislature in order to focus the total energy and will of government on the single task of improving education. The result? Lawmakers enacted the most sweeping set of education reform measures in a generation – the Tennessee First to the Top Act of 2010.”

This piece of legislation (Senate Bill 5), along with the Complete College of Tennessee Act of 2010 (Senate Bill 6) were both passed in special session. The Tennessee First to the Top Act of 2010 is also contained within the RTTP application in Appendix E (p. 16). It was passed on January 15 and signed by Governor Bredesen on January 16, 2010.  Judging by the name of the bill, apparently they may have known they would be “first” ahead of time and awarded Round 1 RTTT money. The Complete College of Tennessee Act of 2010 was passed the next week on January 21 and signed by Governor Bredesen on January 26, 2010. These bills amount to the education “reforms” that were passed by the Tennessee Legislature dealing with a litany of things: charter schools, teacher evaluations and merit pay, achievement school districts and otherwise laying the foundation required to implement the Common Core “state” Standards in order to keep the promises made in the application for the federal taxpayer funds. Much has been made of charters and teacher evaluations, but you didn’t hear much about those “state-led” standards that we allegedly were asking for.

In fact, this application includes a letter of support from all seven Democrat and Republican candidates for governor – a show of bipartisan support that ensures our application will be carried out no matter who holds the governor’s office.

This is true and in a future post I will highlight the candidates for governor along with other elected and unelected officials that committed to enforcing Common Core on the state. Notice that only the Big Two parties are invited. Apparently they also know in advance that no one else will be elected as governor. More importantly, it proves this is not an R vs. D issue. They are both involved in the federal takeover of public education. Neither private political party will step up to rescue you, because they are both in on the game.

In the next post, we will see whom else had committed to these standards without being able to review them as well as the specific promises to implement the Common Core “state” Standards within Race To the Top.

Common Core “state” Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics are a fraud

fraud

by Eric Holcombe

The Common Core “state” Standards have been pitched by both our state and federal governments as being “state-led” and something that a small group of state governors (12) cooked up in their spare time at National Governor’s Assocation (NGA) conferences. Phil Bredesen was among this group of twelve, though you will not remember the people of Tennessee, nor Phil Bredesen for that matter, requesting for Tennessee schools to be made exactly the same as all the other states in the country in English Language Arts (ELA) or Mathematics standards. He did spout the NGA-speak phrase “prepare our students to compete in the global marketplace” a lot. We mere taxpayers are to believe that allegedly this group of governors created these standards as part of the NGA. New standards for pre-Kindergarten through college age students and that we desired to measure all students for these school years and beyond to include four years AFTER the state has educated them for the first sixteen, thus the term P-20 you will find in the standards. This creation of standards allegedly occurred in 2008-2009, but for some reason, these state governors who just had to make us all exactly the same since we allegedly were begging them to, didn’t implement any of their academic standards back home. I’ll bet you can’t find a single press release from the Bredesen administration bragging about how he was instrumental in completely reforming our ELA or Mathematics standards for every public school in the country. Instead, implementing these standards was a requirement for obtaining the Race To The Trough federal funds. It was a part of most states’ applications to get the federal money – or of course, they wouldn’t get the federal money. Massive, online data mining is part of the Common Core and two new testing arms were created to administer all the data collection as part of Race To The Trough funding. Tennessee leadership is in deep. The fact is, our state committed to full implementation of Common Core in 2010 in order to get the federal carrot at Race To The Trough. When Governor Haslam later asked for and received a waiver from the No Child Left Behind federal requirements, this was a huge Common Core padlock that permits no deviation from the requirements of the Common Core “state” Standards. They cannot be deviated from,  only added to, but addition is capped at 15% because of the granted NCLB waiver. Of course we were having a hard time explaining why we were such a failure at NCLB that we needed a waiver since 80% of the schools would not make Adequate Yearly Progress, yet at the same time we had allegedly implemented Common Core two years earlier at Race To The Trough time and were wanting to report all this improvement with the “reforms”.  Of course all you ever remember reading are the stories about the “Mean Republicans” demanding teacher accountability, with Bill Frist and Jamie Woodson running interference with SCORE (a non-profit also created just in time to cash in on Race To The Trough). It is also important to note the arguments about Common Core being incessantly touted as  “rigorous” academic standards, though you will note once changing to them our scores went up, yet we still failed NCLB requirements simultaneously and begged for the waiver.

Of course the “official story” about Common Core is a lie. It was absolutely not “state-led”, nor was any of it implemented except as a condition to receive federal money. There are many players in this story, some benefit financially, some benefit ideologically. They don’t all come from the same political party. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was instrumental on the financial side and has invested at least $120 million to various players in this scheme, including the NGA, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), the NEA, the AFT, Memphis City Schools, Bill Frist’s SCORE among others. Other organizations were created as the game unfolded to cash in as the standards are implemented. So the school officers are paid off, the teacher’s unions are paid off, the governors are paid off. Did we leave anyone out?

Dr. Sandra Stotsky, professor emerita, University of Arkansas and R. James Milgram, professor emeritus of Stanford University are scheduled speakers for today’s conference at Notre Dame titled: The Changing Role of Education in America: Consequences of the Common Core.  Stotsky served as the English language arts (ELA) standards expert on the Common Core “state” Standards Validation Committee. Milgram served on the Validation Committee for the Mathematics standards. These folks have some very concerning things to say about these alleged “state-led” standards and the foundational meetings they were part of.  Stotsky has made her presentation available in advance which can be read in its entirety here. This is one serious smoking gun. I am including a few excerpts below.

For many months after the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) was launched in early 2009, the identities of the people drafting the “college- and career-readiness standards” were unknown to the public. CCSSI eventually (in July) revealed the names of the 24 members of the “Standards Development Work Group” (designated as developing these standards) in response to complaints from parent groups and others about the lack of transparency. What did this Work Group look like? Focusing only on ELA, the make-up of the Work Group was quite astonishing: It included no English professors or high-school English teachers.

That right there seems kinda important don’t it?

The lead ELA writers were David Coleman and Susan Pimentel, neither of whom had experience teaching English either in K-12 or at the college level. Nor had either of them ever published serious work on K-12 curriculum and instruction. Neither had a reputation for scholarship or research; they were virtually unknown to the field of English language arts. But they had been chosen to transform ELA education in the US. Who recommended them and why, we still do not know.

Silly Professor….don’t you remember, these are all “state-led”; why all us dumb taxpayers recommended them back in 2008. By the way, I am certain Phil Bredesen MUST have been there and she has simply forgotten his input. David Coleman has since moved on to become president of the College Board, in order to rewrite the SAT college entrance exams. Apparently they have been measuring all the wrong college readiness stuff lo these many years and need to be changed to match our new Common Core “state” Standards too. What this means is that your “new” SAT score is absolutely meaningless compared to the “old” SAT scores. Don’t forget, this is the Bill Gates hit man that has zero experience teaching English.

As a condition of membership, all VC members had to agree to 10 conditions, among which were the following:

Ownership of the Common Core State Standards, including all drafts, copies, reviews, comments, and nonfinal versions (collectively, Common Core State Standards), shall reside solely and exclusively with the Council of Chief State School Officers (“CCSSO”) and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (“NGA Center”).

I agree to maintain the deliberations, discussions, and work of the Validation Committee, including the content of any draft or final documents, on a strictly confidential basis and shall not disclose or communicate any information related to the same, including in summary form, except within the membership of the Validation Committee and to CCSSO and the NGA Center.

As can be seen in the second condition listed above, members of the VC could never, then or in the future, discuss whether or not the VC discussed the meaning of college readiness or had any recommendations to offer on the matter.

Gee, it seems like these “state-led” standards should belong to the people or the states, not copyrighted by a couple of corporations. Why did “we” give them the standards “we” asked for? Why did the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant millions of dollars to the CCSSO simultaneously?

“The deadline for producing a good draft of the college-readiness and grade-level ELA (and mathematics) standards was before January 19, 2010, the date the U.S. Department of Education had set for state applications to indicate a commitment to adopting the standards to qualify for Race to the Top grants.

But the draft sent to state departments of education in early January was so poorly written and content-deficient that CCSSI had to delay releasing a public comment draft until March. The language in the March version had been cleaned up somewhat, but the draft was not much better in organization or substance – the result of unqualified drafters working with undue haste and untouchable premises.

None of the public feedback to the March draft has ever been made available. The final version released in June 2010 contained most of the problems apparent in the first draft: lack of rigor (especially in the secondary standards), minimal content, lack of international benchmarking, lack of research support.

In February 2010, I and presumably all other members of the VC received a “letter of certification” from the CCSSI staff for signing off on Common Core’s standards (even though the public comment draft wasn’t released until March 2010 and the final version wasn’t released until June).”

Still think Common Core is “state-led”?  Both Stotsky and Milgram refused to sign off on these standards.

Milgram served as an expert on the Mathematics standards Validation Committee and was the only mathematician. Others involved in mathematics education were on the committee, but no other content expert on mathematics. Milgram had been involved in the then current mathematics standards for Texas public education. A presentation he made before the Texas legislature regarding his experience on the Common Core Validation Committee and the reality of the low expectations of the Common Core Math standards can be read here. Another big smoking gun for the mathematics side. Some choice excerpts follow:

 “As a result, there are a number of extremely serious failings in Core Standards that make it premature for any state with serious hopes for improving the quality of the mathematical education of their children to adopt them. This remains true in spite of the fact that more than 35 states have already adopted them.  For example, by the end of fifth grade the material being covered in arithmetic and algebra in Core Standards is more than a year behind the early grade expectations in most high achieving countries. By the end of seventh grade Core Standards are roughly two years behind.”

The Core Mathematics Standards are written to reflect very low expectations. More exactly, the explicitly stated objective is to prepare students not to have to take remedial mathematics courses at a typical community college.”

So much for “rigorous”….

Time to up the ante state leaders. We aren’t buying your story. Time to parade Phil Bredesen around and get him to explain how it all went down, maybe produce those reams of emails from constituents begging for us to be just like everyone else so our children can “compete in the global marketplace” (and get data mined without our consent). Maybe you could trot out Arne Duncan for another round telling us how it is all “state-led”. Or, you could start telling the truth.

Maybe ACHIEVE Inc. Board Member Bill Haslam can explain…

money-computer

 

by Eric Holcombe

 

“Arizona’s new student assessment will likely cost $9 million more a year than the current AIMS test, triggering questions among education advocates about who will pay for it.”

Arizona public schools’ assessment testing costs are going to increase 67% in order to implement the Common Core “state” Standards requirements for data mining. That doesn’t include the cost for the new computers that will be required, just the annual, perpetual cost to test. Arizona doesn’t even know how much the computer costs will be yet, but are sweating over “who will pay for it”. Gee, it sounds like they don’t remember this is a “state-led” initiative. The states asked for all this and planned it out themselves ahead of time, remember?

“The new test is expected to be more expensive in part because it will be harder than the AIMS.” 

 

Riiiiight.  Different questions cost more.  So comparing the two Common Core “state” Standards testing arms created by Race To The Trough, why the gigantic cost difference to measure the “common” standards on only two subjects? PARCC says $29.50 per student and SBAC says $22.50 per student.

Achieve Inc. is the project manager for PARCC.  Bill Haslam is on the board of Achieve Inc.

 

Gee, I wonder which mandatory testing arm Tennessee will use? Tennessee “adopted the Common Core State Standards in July 2010, and became a Governing State in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers in the spring of 2010.

 

Just in case you didn’t remember asking your elected representatives in the state legislature for all our schools in the entire country to be just alike back in 2008 or so. But don’t worry, there is going to be a “fact-finding” meeting of the Senate Education Committee this month, because apparently our elected legislators don’t remember it either when they voted to sell your children’s souls in the Race To The Trough.

 

I wonder if PARCC project manager Bill Haslam can explain:

1)Why PARCC costs 31% more to assess the exact same “common” standards as SBAC?

2)Why do these electronic tests cost more than what Arizona is already doing now? If it’s because the test is “harder”, is it “harder” for every single state in the country?

3)Why should Tennesseans pay 31% more to measure the same exact same “common” standard over the internet?

4)How much are those new Common Core “state” Standard computers going to cost? We have been preached to for years on end about “technology in the classroom” to justify spending increases for computers already. Do they have to be purchased from Bill Gates?

5)If Obama’s illegal executive order Common Core Cellphone tax doesn’t fly, how does Tennessee intend to pay for this?

6)Since Common Core is supposed to be “state-led”, why did you have to join a Washington DC group to control PARCC? Don’t we have any idea how to assess the academic standards we allegedly created for our own state? If not, has TVAAS been a colossal waste of our money?

 

 

 

A Brief Audit of Bill Gates’ Common Core Spending

Swept-under-the-carpet

 

by Eric Holcombe:

 

As you study the Common Core “state” Standards and their roots, who pushes them and who benefits either financially, ideologically (or both simultaneously) you will find many competing interests coming from “both sides” in the two party, Republican vs. Democrat facade. Thus, you will also find some strange bedfellows on both sides of not only the Common Core “state” Standards conspirators, but also those who are digging to expose the truth.

 

 

The Common Core “state” Standards illegal cell phone tax

by Eric Holcombe

We are here to do big things — and we can do this without Congress,” Obama told his staff at a meeting, according to the aide.

Ever examine your phone bill, whether land line or wireless? Try calculating the percentage rate of federal taxation on your phone service some time. When I still had a land line, it was on the order of 40% taxes for a basic line with no add-on frills. Well, that apparently still isn’t enough. The federal government must raise more funds for internet connections at schools. Wait, you say, we already pay a FCC tax for that on our phone bills. Well, yes you do. It’s called the Federal Universal Service Fund charge tax. But this new tax Obama wants to push is due solely to the forced, federal education control scam called Common Core “state” Standards. See, the new allegedly state-led and demanded standards for math and English language arts that the federal government is forcing all the suckers who took Race To The Trough money to implement requires a bunch of new testing and it’s all via the internet on computers. That’s why the federal government needs all those new tax dollars so 99% of all classrooms will have “high speed” internet connections. Even though the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation has solely bankrolled more than $120 million in grants to make Common Core happen and we spent all that “stimulus” in Race To The Trough, we still need your help to continue to fund your own demise.

It’s “For The Children”™ again, so you should be willing to fork it over. We even call it something nice, EdConnect. What you may not know is that the Common Core “state” Standards are radically changing how public schools measure and collect data on the students – and intend to share that information illegally in violation of FERPA (Federal Education Rights Privacy Act). The federal government department of education even has a more bizarre if not sinister paper out describing the data gathering possibilities for public school students in their brave new world. Remember now, we are doing all this massive taxing and spending and “fundamentally changing the classroom” for the sake of only two subjects, math and English language arts. If you believe the government, apparently we don’t care about any other subjects when it comes to competing in the global marketplace. I don’t believe them and you will see soon enough the same federal overreach come to other subjects. More Te$ting Contract$!!!

You may also not be aware that the Race to The Trough federal carrot money funded the creation of two new national testing arms to carry out all the new data-mining of public school students that is supposedly “state-led”. One of those is PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers). It’s a nice sounding name, and who isn’t all for preparing our human capital widgets for college and careers? You will notice the many mentions in that press release of the company on whose site it is hosted, ACHIEVE, Inc. They are the “project manager” for PARCC.

You may also not be aware that Governor Bill Haslam is on the board for ACHIEVE, Inc.. I cannot say what Gov. Haslam and the former CEO of Intel among others stand to profit from a massive sale of computers and testing to thousands of public schools across the nation and long-term testing contracts and then further data marketing after that. Maybe it’s nothing.

But I know with certainty the Common Core “state” Standards and the accompanying baggage were neither “state-led” nor requested by the taxpayers in Tennessee.