Tag Archive | PARCC

A Utah teacher’s opinion of the SAGE test “items” TN is renting from Utah for $2.3M

by Eric Holcombe

Photo: Kelly Maher Poynter of her daughter working on "rigorous" Commie Core assignments

Photo: Kelly Maher Poynter of her daughter working on “rigorous” Commie Core assignments

As mentioned in earlier posts, Tennessee is leasing Utah’s Common Core, federal government-forced online testing “items” from their SAGE assessments provided by Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium (SBAC) via the behavioral research company American Institutes for Research (AIR). AIR is known for behavioral research, a.k.a. data mining, on public school students such as Project Talent in 1960 (also driven by the federal government). At the time of their implementation, the SAGE assessments were untested, that is, they were unpiloted on any students prior to them being foisted upon Utah students in spring of 2014. Utah students were the guinea pigs – and Utahns paid handsomely for the privilege to be the guinea pigs. In December of 2014, Achieve Inc. board member Bill Haslam announced that Tennessee would be renting test “items” from Utah for $2.3 million for the next couple of years until Measurement Inc. (via AIR, via SBAC) can develop the “TNReady” tests. Now keep in mind that like Tennessee, all states that took the Race To The Top federal bribe must choose between one of two federal-government created masters for their mandatory, online testing: PARCC or SBAC. Tennessee’s initial illegal, no-bid testing contract was awarded to PARCC (Kevin Huffman, governing board). Utah initially chose SBAC and after much public displeasure was expressed then did the same thing Achieve Inc. board member Haslam has since done: pretend to put the mandatory, federal-driven testing “out for bid”, say you are making “state-led” tests except they rigged the specifications so that ultimately only an SBAC subcontracted entity could “win”. So Utah ended up with the SAGE assessments by SBAC via AIR, the behavioral research company. In Tennessee’s case, we added yet another middle-man by hiring Measurement Inc. from North Carolina, who subcontracted to AIR, a Washington DC corporation (like Haslam’s Achieve Inc.) who works with SBAC from Washington State. And in the meanwhile, we are renting the tests that Utah has already paid them to create, thus TN students are really UtahReady.
Following is an editorial by Debbie Nichols, a recently retired Utah teacher of 34 years, who gives her view of the SAGE test (emphasis mine). This was published in the Deseret News on November 1 of 2014, about six months after the first application of the SAGE tests in Utah but still PRIOR to Tennessee’s contract to lease the test “items” for $2.3 million per year from Utah for the next two years and PRIOR to Tennessee’s $108 million contract to Measurement Inc. to produce the new tests from AIR/SBAC for the following five years.
You may find yourself asking who did the shopping for this and why did we decide this was a good idea for Tennessee (if in fact Commie Core and its mandatory online testing really is “state-led” and not forced by the federal government).

My view: A teacher’s opinion of the SAGE test
Many Utahns heard about the SAGE test for the first time this week as the test results were published. There is more to be concerned about than the scores. There are some things that taxpayers and parents need to know about the SAGE test.
I taught school for 34 years and just retired in June. I taught nine years at West Kearns Elementary and 25 years at Eastwood Elementary. I have watched the metamorphosis in education over these many years. Some changes have been good and some have not. The SAGE test is not a good change.

SAGE testing does not line up with the curriculum. It may tell you some things a child knows, but not necessarily what he or she learned in class. This style of test never measures what has been taught.

The math section of the SAGE test is really a reading test, which means one cannot distinguish computation from application from vocabulary knowledge. Can the child do the computation but not apply it? Could the child do the computation and apply it if he or she knew a different vocabulary term used in the word problem? The SAGE test won’t tell you, and educators are not given vocabulary lists or knowledge of content.
The SAGE test is simply not a good test. Last spring I saw a little boy stare at his screen for 30 minutes. He knew the correct answer was 1½, but he could not find a way to enter a mixed number to answer the question. It couldn’t be done on his computer.
The SAGE test is written so that as a student answers questions correctly, the test immediately takes the student to questions that aren’t just harder, but out of grade level. It overwhelms and frustrates elementary children. The students are not allowed to go on unless they answer each question. Last year I watched as 28 students stared at a screen until they gave up and guessed. The teacher is not allowed to give prompts during this test at all. Exasperated students soon give up. Low students stop reading altogether.
The SAGE test does not help teachers or students know student progress. This testing format is not age appropriate for grade school. For secondary schools, it is still not measuring if a student mastered the curriculum that they were taught.
Learning has to be measured in some way. So educators look at what the end goal is and set out during the year to try to achieve this goal. We make a curriculum that matches up with the final test to be given. This is not teaching to the test, this is teaching to the goal of mastery of a subject.
A runner knows that his race time does not improve by buying a new stopwatch. The runner knows that he needs to work harder and practice more. Students’ scores will not improve with a new test. It is not the testing we need to practice but the actual skill. More testing does not equal more learning. We need more teaching time in the classroom and less testing time. There is so much more that these students need to know for the future. Too much testing just desensitizes them. We should be striving for love of learning, not hate of testing.
Educators and society need to prepare our students for college and the real workforce. The SAGE doesn’t help, it just dampens the love of learning. We deserve more for our education dollar. More importantly, our students deserve better.

Why can’t we be “common” with Oklahoma?

oklahoma-greenBy Eric Holcombe

Reposted from whatiscommoncore.blogspot.com:

Oklahoma Miracle: Common Core Officially Repealed

“Governor Fallin stated:

“We are capable of developing our own Oklahoma academic standards that will be better than Common Core What should have been a bipartisan policy is now widely regarded as the president’s plan to establish federal control of curricula, testing and teaching strategies.

We cannot ignore the widespread concern of citizens, parents, educators and legislators who have expressed fear that adopting Common Core gives up local control of Oklahoma’s public schools…

“For that reason I am signing HB 3399 to repeal and replace Common Core with Oklahoma designed and implemented education standards… They must raise the bar – beyond what Common Core offers…

 

The withdrawal from Common Core by Governor Fallin –not only a member, but the chair of the National Governors Association –the same NGA to which Bill Gates has given millions upon millions of dollars to create and implement Common Core– is a very big deal.

And the elephant that’s been crowding the room for years now –Common Core’s pretense of academic excellence– has taken a serious hit with Governor Fallin’s acknowledgement that Oklahoma’s soon-to-be-written NEW standards “must raise the bar beyond what Common Core offers.

“How I wish I could be a fly on the wall, listening to conversations in Oklahoma now! What is the local Oklahoma PTA saying? What are Oklahoma state and local school boards thinking? And what are Oklahoma’s chambers of commerce saying now to their members? All these figureheads have pushed pro-Common Core marketing on parents and teachers and businesses for several years, and now they are having to change their whole story.

How many thousands of not-from-Oklahoma teachers plan to move from other states to Oklahoma –solely based on this turn of educational events? How many parents in other states, who are exhausted from the effort of being endlessly dismissed by their state school boards and governors, are thinking what I’m thinking?

If the rest of our U.S. governors, legislators and school boards don’t see the light –and fast– it’s going to be wahoo, pack your bags and let’s move to Oklahoma.” (emphasis mine)

 

Remember all those stories about TN teachers threatening to leave for a $5k bonus in Georgia (plus that extra bonus of a state income tax and increased housing costs)? Wonder how many would leave to not deal with Bill Gates-based education and their education prostitute front (TNSCORE, Achieve Inc., PARCC, LIFT, Fordham, TFA)? Sounds like Huffman and Barton need to make a trip to Oklahoma to remind them that punting Common Core is a step backward academically… just put it on the PARCC tab, Bill Gates is buying.

 

 

 

 

President of charter school resigns over Common Core

Copyright: Little Seed Productions

Copyright: Little Seed Productions

By Eric Holcombe

Some excerpts from Eagle Crest Charter Academy President Brian Polet’s resignation letter:

Over the past few months it has come to light that this Academy has suffered the chaos over the past two years of what is commonly called Common Core.”

This copy-written, corporate-driven education model has been developed by non-teachers and edu-crats from Washington to Lansing to the detriment of students, parents, taxpayers and local school boards. Without control of curriculum and a limited control of budgets, CC has effectively removed local control from parents and put it the hands of ESPs, the Dept. of Ed and state boards.”

More disturbing to me is the inability to guarantee the data privacy of our students. Neither NHA or the State Board will be able to protect a child’s data from corporate vultures, marketers, and political interest groups from being used in a malevolent way. Equally troubling is the ability for educational personnel to manipulate tests and assessments to move any student into certain fields or vocations and to modify behavior without consent or knowledge of the parent.”

With CC, we no longer have the Socratic model of education, but a new Bill Gates vocational schooling for worker bees and drones. Plainly, I have not left education, education has left me and more importantly, our students.”

Sounds like Jamie Woodson and Kevin Huffman should parade Arne Duncan around Michigan too and remind them how Common Core is “state led”.

Dear Tennessee Legislators: Your anti-Common Core bills aren’t worth the paper they are written on

2013-02-27 19.31.04

Source: http://www.wjle.com/news/2014/governor-greeted-protests-over-education-standards-tennessee-view-videos-here

By Eric Holcombe
I wish it wasn’t so. There are several bills before the education committees of varying potential effectiveness to close the gaping wounds of Common Core caused by the state’s fraudulent end-around of the voters with the Race To The Top (RTTT) application. However, the Republican “leadership” just isn’t interested in some of these bills. See, Governor Haslam has a direct conflict of interest as a board member of Achieve Inc, the Washington D.C. corporation that received (still receives?) millions from Bill Gates, and the “project manager” for PARCC, the no-bid testing body created with RTTT money. His appointed commissioner of education, Kevin Huffman is on the board of PARCC so he too has a direct conflict of interest in altering Common Core or the mandatory online data mining of your children. He is also a member of the Council of Chief State School Officers, the other Washington D.C. corporation that received millions from Bill Gates. Plus our state attorney general Bob Cooper, who is appointed by the illegally “selected” judges in our unconstitutional “Tennessee Plan”,  is a signatory to the RTTT application that committed us to Common Core and the data-mining and also cannot afford to admit any fault in the claims made therein. So any bills that would seriously challenge Common Core “state” Standards or the desires of the federal government (but I repeat myself) will earn a quick “opinion” from the AG that we are being “unconstitutional” or that we shouldn’t dare challenge our federal overlords or some such poppycock his office is known for when it comes to anything remotely 10th Amendment related. Some bills just don’t have a chance – like SB2405/HB2332 by Beavers and Womick that would simply stop Common Core, or SB1469/HB1705 by Gresham and Faison that while it doesn’t really stop PARCC, it does limit the bizarre data-mining of children that the U.S. government has already suggested it wants to do. Unfortunately, this bill appeals to the data-gathering privacy limits imposed by FERPA, which Obama has already gutted by executive order because this was necessary since the PARCC/SBAC data-mining and subsequent 3rd party sale of your children’s privacy was already illegal under federal law. Rep. Rick Womick appears to be protesting the “leadership” gatekeepers of the “acceptable” bills just a bit here:

Other bills are simply too weak and would do nothing substantive to correct the error of RTTT and the obvious corruption in the state board of education and executive branch that brought it to us. The only bill that has progressed is SB1835/HB1549 by Gresham/Dunn (see amendments) which does nothing about the existing Common Core standards for English Language Arts or Mathematics, but only the adoption of future standards for science, social studies, health and sex education – which will still be done after the state board of education simply puts it on their website for 60 days. And believe me, it will happen. Because they want their sugar daddy money from the fed. This bill has the possibility of shutting out PARCC from TN, but again, we will be doing mandatory online testing for Common Core with somebody – because this bill does nothing about the existing tar baby we are attached to. But none of the bills will work anyway. Why? Because Obama is making our allegedly “state-led” standards mandatory as part of his federal education budget:

As Neil McCluskey from the Cato Institute explains:   “The big story in the proposal is – or, at least, should be – that the president almost certainly wants to make the Core permanent by attaching annual federal funding to its use, and to performance on related tests. Just as the administration called for in its 2010 NCLB reauthorization proposal, POTUS wants to employ more than a one-time program, or temporary waivers, to impose “college and career-ready standards,” which–thanks to RTTT and waivers–is essentially synonymous with Common Core. In fact, President Obama proposes changing Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act – of which NCLB is just the most recent reauthorization – to a program called “College- and Career-Ready Students,” with an annual appropriation of over $14 billion.

This was utterly predictable. Core opponents, who are so often smeared as conspiracy mongers, know full well both what the President has proposed in the past, and how government accumulates power over time. RTTT was the foot in the door, and once most states were using the same standards and tests, there was little question what Washington would eventually say: “Since everyone’s using the same tests and standards anyway, might as well make federal policy based on that.”

Don’t worry, we have “Conservative Republicans” Bailout Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander (and his campaign manager Jimmy Duncan) watching our backs right? Maybe Doug Overbey and Brian Kelsey can tell you that I am all worked up about a problem that doesn’t exist yet…

So Bob Cooper (at “leadership” urging for opinions) will shoot down ANY of your bills – not that both houses wouldn’t just return to their RTTT vomit once they feared loss of the sugar daddy money (Yes, I noted the hand-wringing of Charlotte Burks last week).  Our executive branch and the necessary appointees are bought and paid for. The people lose.

My prediction: Tennessee will pimp your children some more for that almighty federal dollar. The names of the “standards” may change, as other states have already attempted to rebrand the BS into bovine scat, but it still smells the same.

It’s time to put the 10th Amendment pants on….if you have any. Or maybe borrow Sen. Ramsey’s boots. He doesn’t seem to be using them. I hope you have the courage to do so.