Monthly Archives: May 2014

n 100 years we have gone from teaching Latin and Greek in high school to teaching Remedial English in college.


Standardized evaluation leads to culture of standardized cheating

An principal and four teachers at Cayuga Elementary School in Philadelphia have been charged in an alleged cheating scheme.

They’re accused of helping students cheat on the state assessment test. All have maintained their innocence, but the principal has supposedly promoted cheating among students and faculty.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane said the actions were so brazen, “even going to far as to announce over the loud speaker of the school that this is the way it will be.”

The cheating scandal allegedly involved students receiving test answers ahead of time and teachers correcting wrong answers on the exam.

For the full article, click here.


Rep Orrall update on Common Core & PARCC

Representative Keiko M. Orrall

           12th Bristol District
      Room 540, State House
          Boston, MA 02133

Phone: 617-722-2090

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts 
House of Representatives

Dear Citizen,

Thank you for contacting me during the House budget process. I wanted to update you on the status of the amendments that were proposed on Common Core and the PARCC test.

      #16 – Cost-Benefit Analysis for PARCC – Passed in the House, needs to pass in the Senate, be included in the Conference  Committee, and then the Governor needs to sign it

       #36 – Limiting Scope of Curriculum Control – did not pass

       #52 – Pause PARCC – did not pass

       #61 – Reimbursement for PARCC IT Upgrades – did not pass

       #67 – An Amendment in Defense of Local Education – did not pass

       #468 – Strike PARCC Funding – did not pass

       #1076 – Independent Common Core Review – did not pass

Additionally an amendment by Rep Strauss of Mattapoisett passed which would not allow schools to sell data to private  corporations.

I am working with several Senators to make sure that language is filed on these issues in the Senate budget. Debate in the Senate beings on May 19th           

In other areas of the state, there are communities that are taking action to support a more measured approach.  For instance, the Cambridge City Council passed an order to support a Pause on PARCC with a vote of 8-1. 

Thank you again for your effort on this issue. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.


Representative Keiko M. Orrall

California school district cancels lesson plan that involved Holocaust denial

Following a storm of criticism – and at least one death threat – a California school district Monday canceled a lesson plan that instructed middle school students to make arguments denying the Holocaust happened.

The assignment, aimed at eighth-grade students in Southern California’s Rialto Unified School District, sought to teach children to learn the nature of propaganda.

“Some people claim the Holocaust is not an actual event, but instead is a propaganda tool that was used for political and monetary gain,” the assignment said, according to a document posted by The Daily Bulletin. “You will read and discuss multiple, credible articles on the issue, and write an argumentative essay, based upon cited textual evidence, in which you explain whether or not you believe this was an actual event in history, or merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain wealth.”

But critics said the assignment risked misleading the 13- and 14-year-old students into believing that propaganda about the Holocaust bears factual legitimacy.

Full article:

First Fruits Of Common Core: Holocaust Denial

Los Angeles-area Rialto Unified School District had 8th-graders write a paper on whether they believe the Holocaust was a “hoax” created...

Los Angeles-area Rialto Unified School District had 8th-graders write a paper on whether they believe the Holocaust was a “hoax” created… View Enlarged Image

Education: A Common Core-based essay assignment in L.A. had kids debating whether the Holocaust was real. Parents can expect more shocking historic revisionism from Obama’s new education standards.

Continue reading

Alabama teen suspended after opting out of Common Core testing

An Alabama teen says she was suspended from school after refusing to take standardized tests aligned with national Common Core curriculum standards.

Alyssa McKinney, an 8th-grade student at Whitesburg Middle School in Huntsville, Ala., told WAAY-TV she was given two in-school suspensions after telling school officials that she didn’t agree with the requirement and that she was opting out.

When she opted out the third day, she was given an out-of-school suspension.

To read full article:

Why parents like me are angry about Common Core

Common Core seems like a good idea. In a society as mobile as ours, kids moving from one state to another should not be so far behind or ahead students in their new state. A common set of skills at each grade across the nation makes sense. At least that is the sales pitch.

I did not start out to be against Common Core. In fact, most of the people who are loudest against Common Core sound crazy.

I’ve heard all sorts of conspiracies. When I write about Common Core, I get angry emails from people blasting me for not going far enough. The people who oppose it often do themselves a disservice.  To read whole article: