Monthly Archives: June 2014

Common Core Sample Lesson Teaches ‘Evolving Nature of Constitution’

A sample Common Core lesson plan for 8th graders, provided by a nonprofit group founded by the three lead writers of the Common Core standards, teaches that the U.S. Constitution is an “evolving” document and that the nation’s founders only considered white males with property as persons under the law.

Student Achievement Partners, founded by Common Core “architect” David Coleman – now College Board president – and lead writers of the standards Jason Zimba and Susan Pimentel, provide the classroom resource. The education group received $6.5 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the main source of private funding for the Common Core, and is focused solely on implementation of the Common Core standards.

As CNS News notes, the lesson plan is based on Words We Live By: Your Annotated Guide to the Constitution by Linda R. Monk, which is listed as a suggested reading for 8th graders on page 95 of the Common Core Standards.

Student Achievement Partners states that the goal of the sample “two-day” lesson is “to give students the opportunity to observe the dynamic nature of the Constitution through the close reading and writing habits they’ve been practicing.”

Read article here.

The Undoing of PARCC & Common Core

Inevitable? For four years, D.C.-based special interests have repeated that “the Common Core standards have been adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia; they’re here to stay.”

But we knew better. Common Core is meaningless without national tests to lock in implementation.  Today, the Partnership for Readiness in College and Careers (PARCC) national assessment is a sinking ship, and states are bailing on it as fast as they can.

PARCC is one of two federally funded consortia developing national assessments aligned with Common Core. Its $160 million in federal funding hinges upon its ability to maintain a membership of at least 15 states.

But PARCC’s membership map is shrinking – fast.

Read Article here.

Rasmussen: Common Core Support Plummets Among Parents With School-age Children

A new Rasmussen poll finds that support for the Common Core standards among American parents with school-age children has dropped dramatically.
The telephone survey of 1,000 adults conducted June 21-22 found that only 34 percent of American adults with children of elementary or secondary school age now favor requiring all schools across the nation to meet the same Common Core education standards, an outcome that Rasmussen observes is an 18-point drop from 52 percent in early November of last year.
According to the survey, 47 percent oppose the controversial, nationalized standards, compared to 32 percent in the prior survey. Of those polled, 19 percent were undecided.

“[…]what it tells us is unsurprising: The more people learn about the mediocre quality, the unfunded mandates and the questionable legality of the Core, the less they like it.”

Read the article here.

Eight Senators Join Fight Against Common Core

[…]

The letter reads, in part, “While the Common Core State Standards Initiative was initially billed as a voluntary effort between states, federal incentives have clouded the picture. Current federal law makes clear that the U.S. Department of Education may not be involved in setting specific content standards or determining the content of state assessments. Nevertheless, the selection criteria designed by the U.S. Department of Education for the Race to the Top Program provided that for a state to have any chance to compete for funding, it must commit to adopting a ‘common set of K-12 standards’ matching the description of the Common Core. The U.S. Department of Education also made adoption of ‘college- and career-ready standards’ meeting the description of the Common Core a condition to receive a state waiver under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Race to the Top funds were also used to fund two consortiums to develop assessments aligned to the Common Core and the Department is now in the process of evaluating these assessments.”

Read article here.

From Oklahoma to Louisiana: Why states are dropping Common Core

When Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill repealing Common Core national standards from her state’s schools, it was perhaps the most ironic moment in the fight over the initiative.

Fallin is chairwoman of the National Governors Association, one of the private groups that hold the copyright of Common Core. (Yes, this marks the first time in history a private group has owned school standards.)

While Fallin wasn’t governor at the time the standards were created and adopted, she nonetheless rejected her own organization’s initiative.

In the same week, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley signed a bill to repeal Common Core and require the state to design its own standards for the 2015-2016 school year.

Indiana has repealed Common Core, too, though the replacement standards are largely seen as a disappointment because they virtually mirror the national standards.

Legislation is also making its way through the North Carolina legislature that would repeal Common Core there, as well.

“We want high standards. If there are pieces or components of Common Core that you think are age appropriate, they can take those individual pieces, but as a whole … we want more rigorous standards,” bill sponsor Rep. Bryan Holloway said.

In Oklahoma, after signing the bill, Fallin said, “Common Core was created with that well-intentioned goal in mind. … It was originally designed as a state-led – not federal – initiative that each state could choose to voluntarily adopt.

“Unfortunately, federal overreach has tainted Common Core. President Obama and Washington bureaucrats have usurped Common Core in an attempt to influence state education standards. The results are predictable. 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.”

Fallin’s 180-degree turn on Common Core was four years in the making, and was the result of valiant, persistent efforts from parents like Jenni White.

The parents started with “one legislator who wrote a bill for us to simply repeal Common Core from law,” White, the leader of Restore Oklahoma Public Education tells me.

Read article here.

Inside GOP, the question is where do you stand on Common Core?

Common Core has emerged as the newest Republican litmus test for gauging candidates’ conservative bona fides, and experts say the controversial national education standard will help shape elections from school boards to the White House for the foreseeable future.

Whether prompted by pressure from grassroots groups and well-funded political action committees, or simply by a realization of what is involved in the sweeping K-12 reform, Common Core has become a hot button issue within the GOP. Several Republican governors, including some rumored to be considering 2016 White House runs, have turned against the plan and critics have coined a loaded term for it that lays bare the political divide: “ObamaCore.”

“The center of gravity on the right has clearly shifted in recent months,” said Frederick Hess, of the American Enterprise Institute. “The Common Core is now like comprehensive immigration reform: there are respected leaders who endorse it, but they’re clearly crosswise with mainstream conservative sentiment.”

“Common Core has become a flashpoint election issue.”- Emmett McGroarty, the American Principles Project

The issue’s prominence is expected to rise as Common Core is widely implemented next fall, and as fellow Republicans at the local, state and federal levels battle it out in primaries. Experts predict it will become a potent issue in November’s midterm elections, and eventually, in 2016.

Read the article here.