testing

Another Common Core Bait and Switch

April 6, 2016 Posted by Heidi Sampson - No Comments

Every state in the country that has claimed to have “repealed” the Common Core Standards has in fact done no such thing. Instead, they have cynically re-arranged a few standards, moved a few commas, changed the wording here or there and then just slapped on a new name in order to sell the same scam to a public that wants desperately to believe something significant has occurred.

This is what will happen under the so-called “revisions” to LD 1492, “An Act To Establish a Protocol for Review of State Education Content Standards of the System of Learning Results,” which the Education Committee unanimously passed as an “amendment” to the bill. This “amendment” is a total replacement; a new bill. It is a complete rebrand initiative in the making.

In way of a brief review, The Common Core Standards were said to be a “state-led” initiative driven by teachers and benchmarked against international standards. These statements are lies. The CCS was conceived by David Coleman and funded by the Gates Foundation (Gates interview), which gave generous “grants” to a wide variety of organizations, including the national teachers unions, in order to gain endorsements.

Gates and the US DOE collaborated on the Race to the Top package deal. David Coleman et al and representatives from the testing industry drafted the standards. The CCS were never “benchmarked.”

Theories are wonderful, but they must be tested and verified prior to claiming them as facts. None of this has been done. The real motive behind the Common Core is data collection, on a large scale. It has absolutely nothing to do with academics and everything to do with forcing teachers to teach in a specific manner to impose specific content to create specific results in students.

This opens the door to aggressive behavior modification efforts through a variety of constant testing procedures, all on electronic devices where parents and even teachers have no means of accessing.

There is no flexibility in the classroom, despite all the rhetoric. David Coleman, the self-proclaimed architect of Common Core Standards, not only boasts to his total lack of qualification but also to the fact there is “no force on this earth strong enough to prevent teachers from teaching to the tests.” Nothing could be further from the truth and is totally antithetical to all the rhetoric spewed on the state and national level.

The original ‘unallocated’ language of LD 1492 became the outline for drafting the final bill language. The state of Maine needs to extract itself from this tangled, juggernaut if we are to have students thrive.

Let’s examine the charade about to be played using the framework of the unallocated language.

  1. Focus on the standards: The review process will focus on the Maine Learning Results.

“In accordance with the provisions of subsections 4 and 5, the department shall establish a schedule and principles and protocol whereby the content standards and performance indicators by content area of the system of learning results are reviewed.”

This is merely a charade allowing Common Core Standards to become even more entrenched in Maine. Referring to them as the Maine Learning Results is disarming and deceitful. Maine became a governing state when it fully adopted the Common Core Standards and the Smarter Balanced Assessments in secret and without any review; this gave our state the right to name the Common Core Standards in Math and ELA the Maine Learning Results or any other name we chose for that matter.

Since these standards completely replaced the previous Math and ELA standards, which had been heavily reviewed by teachers and legislators, they are now by definition part of the Maine Learning Results. With this new bill, we will watch a shell game take place. All sorts of well-meaning people will be put through all sorts of gyrations and motions, but in the end after a dog and pony show, we will have no change.

The entire process will be intimately managed and organized by deeply entrenched bureaucrats in the Department of Education who have no intention of removing the current standards. To have them be the final gate keepers is no different than asking the fox to guard the hen-house.

  1. Improve the current standards rather than start from scratch: The review process will improve the Maine Learning Results based on expert review and revisions.

As with all the other states where this exact template has been applied, the end result is nothing more than the same thing they started with; a few words changed, some commas moved or maybe some little addition inserted. “Not starting from scratch” is code language for, “keeping everything as is, but we’ll make you feel good by allowing you to exercise your right to voice your concerns.”

There is no guarantee the voice of the public will be acted upon. It’s speaks to the total lack of regard for people’s time and effort—and their rights as citizens and parents.

  1. Public Input: The review process will include opportunities for public comment on each standard.

There are a couple of problems with this. As with the first standards review process, very little public input was given. Comments were shared with the stakeholder group and then nothing was done with them. It had absolutely no impact on the outcome. The average person will not know how to comment on specific Common Core Standards and the bureaucrats know this.

These standards are written in “edu-speak,” making them not just developmentally inappropriate, but also confusing to interpret, requiring months of training to enable even senior teachers to understand them. On the other hand, top-rated state standards such as MA, CA, IN prior to 2010, were not written in such gobbledegook; anyone can read and understand them and they don’t require hours of professional development.

This public input review process is simply to appease the public with no substance to support their words.

  1. Consistency – the standards review will be consistent with the methodology of the Department’s prior reviews of the Maine Learning Results and adhere to the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) rulemaking requirements.

The track record of review processes with the Department of Education is less than stellar. You can read the letter I wrote about the last review process here. The DOE has no intention of removing the Common Core Standards, so the consistency will be demonstrated by changing next to nothing. Where is their motivation to do any serious review, especially when the DOE has been so deceitful in the past?

  1. Definition of Standards: Academic standards define what a student should know and be able to do at a certain grade; standards are not curriculum, textbooks or lesson plans.

Although this sounds true, everyone has seen it isn’t. Standards do drive curriculum, as has No Common Core Maine warned Mainers for years now. (Bill Gates himself has admitted this publicly).

So, while the local school districts control the curriculum, textbooks and lesson plans as required by law, if the state sets the standards and the end of the year controls the assessment, the curriculum options become seriously narrowed with the locals having control only if they agree to go along with the DOE’s recommendations being put forward by consultants, who are partners with the DOE.

*Heidi Sampson is the co-founder of No Common Core Maine.