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Steve Cates

Friday, April 20, 2018

DR. CALEB VERBOIS: WHITHER CONGRESS?

The news that President Donald Trump authorized the U.S. military to strike a Syrian chemical manufacturing facility is hardly surprising. Even without the potential incentive to distract the news media from Robert Mueller’s investigation and the next phase of James Comey’s “Buy My Book!” tour, almost any president would want to strike at Bashar al-Assad after his repeated uses of chemical weapons on his own people—especially his country’s children.       

And yet, there is something deeply troubling, or something that should be troubling, about the president’s willingness to start a war on his own authority. Make no mistake, launching missiles at a dictator who is backed by Russia is the equivalent of starting a war, and it quite obviously raises the stakes of our ongoing confrontation with Russia.  

Why is this problematic? Most obviously, because our increased military activity in Syria makes it more likely that our armed forces will end up in a shooting conflict with Russian forces which could quickly escalate into a much larger war. But the deeper problem is one of constitutional justification. The Constitution is quite clear that only Congress has the authority to declare war. The Founders deliberately used the phrase “declare war” instead of “make war” for two reasons. First, they did not want Congress to think that it was in charge of actually directing a war effort. No one wants generals taking orders from a committee. Second, they wanted the president to be able to response to sudden invasions or rebellions—to act in national self-defense.  

But they relied on the requirement that Congress had to first initiate war by “declaring” it to rein in the natural aggressiveness of the presidency. Wars are costly, in both blood and treasure, and they have a nasty way of escalating from small wars to big ones (see Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, etc.)        

Despite this, both Trump and his immediate predecessor, Barack Obama, have initiated “small” wars without consulting Congress. Obama dodged the constitutional requirement when he began a war in Libya by relying on the fiction that it was a “military kinetic action” rather than a war, and that it was authorized by NATO, as though NATO could replace the will of Congress. Arguably, partly because of the need to maintain the deception that an air bombing campaign was not a real war, Obama refused to put sufficient troops in Libya, which partially contributed to the disaster at Benghazi in 2012 when Ambassador Stevens was murdered. Similarly Trump has now launched two separate air strikes at Assad in Syria, one last year and one this weekend, in response to Assad’s atrocities.

Trump and Obama’s willingness to go it alone can, perhaps surprisingly, be contrasted to that of Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush. Bush started two large scale wars, in Afghanistan and Iraq, but in both cases he went to Congress and received congressional authorization before landing troops or launching missiles. This matters, not just because it holds to constitutional forms, but because those constitutional forms are important for democratic governance. When a president goes to Congress to get permission to go to war he has to show evidence that he is justified in doing so. Congress has to weigh that evidence and act. If the president lies about that evidence, he can be held accountable later. When a president skips those steps, there is no real accountability. He is not acting as a constitutional president, but as a dictator.  

And yet such behavior is distressingly common in recent years. Why? Because our Constitution is not self-activating. The ghost of James Madison does not rise from his grave with a sword to stop a presidential abuse of power. Instead, the Founders intended the three branches, and especially the two elected branches, to restrain each other from abuse. But if Congress is unwilling to act when the president violates his authority, there is no meaningful check on him.       

So what could Congress do? Its members could debate and vote to authorize war. Alternatively, they could defund part of the military to make it harder for Trump to act on his own or they could refuse to act on another part of Trump’s agenda until he sought congressional support for a war. But in order for Congress to pursue any of these options, the members first have to recall that they serve an institution, not merely a party. They are responsible for acting in the interest of the Congress, not simply agreeing or disagreeing with Trump on partisan grounds. 

So where does the Congress go from here? The odds of members of Congress recognizing their own constitutional responsibilities seem slim. They seem intent on pursuing partisan differences rather than preserving institutional integrity. But our members of Congress do have options—they are not helpless bystanders.

 

Caleb Verbois is an assistant professor of political science at Grove City College and an affiliated scholar at the John Jay Institute. He teaches American Politics and Political Theory and specializes in American constitutional thought.

  

 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

STEVE CATES: MAINE LEAVES COMMON CORE TEST CONSORTIUM TO PROTECT STUDENT PRIVACY

Maine Gov. Paul LePage signed a bill last week that requires the state to leave Smarter Balanced, the testing consortium that provided the common-core aligned assessments state students took this past spring.

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/state_edwatch/2015/06/maine_leaves_common-core_test_consortium.html

 

But the explicit heading of the announcement of the Governor’s signing of the law is highly significant – "TO PROTECT STUDENT PRIVACY – NO COLLECTION OF PERSONAL STUDENT DATA"!

 

From the bill endorsement announcement:

An Act To Improve Educational Assessments of Maine Students Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows: Sec. 1.

Department of Education to adopt educational assessment that does not collect personal student data.

On the effective date of this section, the Department of Education shall terminate the State's membership in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and the use of the Smarter Balanced Assessment used to assess student achievement in the 2014-2015 school year. The department shall adopt a method of educational assessment pursuant to the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 20-A, section 6202 for the 2015-2016 school year and each school year thereafter that complies with federal law but does not collect or disseminate personal data and attributes of students, such as attitudes, values, motivations, stereotypes and feelings. The method of assessment must be selected with direct input from education stakeholders and must specifically address the needs of students and citizens of the State.

http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/getPDF.asp?paper=HP0872&item=5&snum=127

 

Thursday, March 05, 2015

STEVE CATES: PRESIDENT OBAMA, ARNE DUNCAN AND DAVID AXELROD CLAIM OBAMACORE AS THEIR CREATION

In the Obama’s own words: Common Core is ObamaCore

 

North Dakota’s education system is being transformed. The transformation is being done through the adoption and implementation of Common Core. Common Core is not simply a set of standards but is the basis, using the federal Race To The Top program to TRANSFORM our state’s education system. This transformation was designed, pushed, managed, and financed, by the Obama Administration Department of Education.

 

Before America began to understand Common Core and thus opposition grew, Arne Duncan and Barack Obama could not praise their program of NATIONAL TRANSFORMATIONAL REFORM enough. In February of 2010 at the National Governors’ Association meeting President Obama attended that meeting and announced his two major national reforms that he would be working with governors to implement – health care and education. Obama’s claim was that he, working with the governors would transform these two major aspects of American public policy. And here, in their own words, is exactly what they planned to do. But be aware, whenever Duncan or Obama make claims of all of the seemingly laudable goals and results that will result from their grand plan, that “If you like your insurance, you can keep it”, and “If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor. Period.”

 

"

 

Included below are links to extensive research that substantiates the reality of what Duncan and Obama claim is the transformation of the American education system.

 

 

The North Dakota Deception

 

There is a fraud being perpetrated on the citizens of North Dakota. That fraud is when education leaders keep the citizen’s focus on the “standards”, such that in every discussion of Common Core they insist that all that is involve is the “standards.” Their deception is not being honest as to the scope of what is being done under the guise of “Common Core.” The deception is that all that is happening in the state is using better standards. That is not all that is going on as Barack Obama previously explain in some detail.

 

 

The GNDC Policy Summit

 

The Greater North Dakota Chamber hosted their Policy Summit on August 13, 2014. As one of three panelists in opposition to Common Core (CC) I stated the fact that Common Core is much more than is being claimed by the proponents of CC.

 

"

 

My claim was that it was (at video time 18:47) “the proponents only want to talk about the standards”.

 

The most important point was made that (22:34) “this is not just about standards alone. This is about an entire systemic change of education…..this is not about just standards, and there is a reason the proponents do not want to talk about anything else”

 

Circle Back to the Standards and Baesler’s Refusal to Answer

 

Having made the assertion, and defined what was meant by “systemic education reform” in North Dakota, I then asked the Common Core proponents to please answer a very simple question (35:11): “is Common Core as it is being implemented in North Dakota systemic education reform?” To which Bismarck Superintendent Tamara Uselman does not answer the specific question and circles back to talking only about the standards, the standards, and the standards. North Dakota Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler would not answer the question. Moderator Joel Heitkamp would not press the other proponents of CC for an answer.

 

ND DPI DENIES REALITY OF COMMON CORE BEING ‘SYSTEMIC REFORM’

N.D. COMMON CORE….SYSTEMIC REFORM TROJAN HORSE?

 

IS THE CLAIM THAT IT’S NOT OBAMACORE A DECEPTION?

 

BEFORE COMMON CORE – OBAMA, MARXISTS, AND THE SECRETIVE CHICAGO EDUCATION REFORM

 

WHO REALLY RUNS N.D. EDUCATION – IS COMMON CORE REALLY AN INCESTUOUS $$/POWER GRAB?

 

 


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

STEVE CATES: POSSIBLE ILLEGALITY OF NORTH DAKOTA’S COMMON CORE CONSORTIUM

On February 2, 2015 constitutional attorney D. John Sauer testified before the North Dakota House Education Committee regarding the legality of the state’s involvement in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium with regards to violation of the Interstate Compact Clause of the U.S. Constitution and loss of the state’s sovereignty over education policy.


John Sauer’s resume provides some indication of the significance of his assertions as they are reflected by his academic and professional accomplishments:

J.D., magna cum laude, Harvard Law School, 2004


M.A., Philosophy, University of Notre Dame, 2000


B.A., Theology, Oriel College, Oxford University, 1999 Rhodes Scholar


B.S.E., Electrical Engineering, summa cum laude, Duke University, 1997, Varsity Letter, Wrestling, 1996-1997

Judicial Clerk, The Hon. Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice, U.S. Supreme Court, 2005-2006

 

 

What follows is a manner of summary and paraphrasing of the verbal testimony of Mr. Sauer from the 8.8 minute below.

 


 

COMMON CORE IMPLEMENTATION AND FEDERAL DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION ACTIONS ARE ILLEGAL

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and in fact the whole course of conduct of the Federal Department of Education has undertaken, in sort of herding and corralling states into the Common Core aligned curriculum and system of assessments has been unconstitutional under the compact clause of the federal constitution and been undertaken in violation of numerous federal statutes.

The Compact Clause of the U.S. Constitution provides in article one, section ten three that, “No state shall without the consent of congress enter into an agreement or compact with another state.”

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is unquestionably a compact, and is unquestionably something that congress has never consented to. It is therefore unconstitutional.

 

SHOCKING FEDERAL GOVERNMENT COURSE OF CONDUCT

It constitutes a shocking, a very surprising, course of conduct of federal overreach and federal taking over of education that runs counter to hundreds of years of our constitutional tradition which allocates to state and local entities control over public education.

I think it quite clear that the current federal department of education made it a priority, probably it’s key priority, for this particular administration, to engage in a regulatory course of conduct that would effectively substitute the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act which for better or worse, was actually passed through congress, was voted on by elected representatives and became a law of the United States, with a regulatory regime that has never been signed off on by congress.

Congress has repeatedly, again and again, emphasized that nothing that it authorizes the federal Department of Education to do should permit that department to engage in quote, “Any kind of direction, supervision, or control of curriculum or programs of instruction,” in state or local education.

 

VIOLATED PROHIBITIONS OF FEDERAL LAW

In the Elementary and Secondary Education Act it is stated that, “no state shall be require academic content or student achievement standards approved or certified by the federal department as a condition of receiving federal funds under the ESEA, yet that is exactly what we are seeing in the past essentially five or six year course of conduct by the federal Department of Education.

 

ELABORATE GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE OF NORTH DAKOTA’S CONSORTIUM

North Dakota also became a member of Smarter Balanced in 2010 and there are several features of these consortia that when you look at the legal documents that state officials signed off on. These documents involve very surprising commitments in many ways.

The consortia have elaborate external governing structures with a governing board and executive committees. They have their own staff, they purport to operate outside the open records laws of the various states that they are involved with and the federal government. The agreements involve a binding agreement by the state officials who sign-off on them to abide by the decisions of the governing boards on key areas of educational policies which the constitutional tradition allocates to those very states.

 

NORTH DAKOTA CEDING OF EDUCATION POLICY AUTHORITY

There is therefore a ceding of state sovereignty that is involved in the signing of these documents. They also involve binding commitments to Common Core, to use the assessments aligned with Common Core and they involved not surprisingly the substantial involvement of the federal program officers so that the federal government was actively involved in the work of these consortia over the past four years as they developed the assessments aligned to Common Core.

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium did apply for hundreds of millions of dollars for federal funding to write these assessments, and in it’s application it said that the purpose of this consortia is to, radically reshape the education systems of the participating states.  So, make no mistake, there was always a radical, far reaching, federally involved intention in the way that all of this was implemented.

More recently Smarter Balanced arranged to relocate itself and has since kind of reinvented itself by moving to and being housed at the University of California. In exchange for that it asked all member states to sign a new memorandum of understanding. North Dakota signed their memorandum in November. The session of local and state authority over education remains essentially the same in the new memorandum.

In Section 3.1 of that memorandum, the state purports to making a binding commitment to agree to be bound by the decisions of the governing board of the consortium and the state is one of twenty one member states, in decisions of the consortium on decisions on areas of relevant areas of state and local educational policy. North Dakota has ceded it’s constitutionally protected sovereignty over state and local educational policy.

There are threats to the sovereignty of the states by officials rather than legislators making agreements to abide by decision of a completely external entity that not based in North Dakota that the state legislators have no effect over. 

 

Monday, January 26, 2015

STEVE CATES: COMMON CORE – TRANSFORMING EDUCATION – MIND MAPPING STUDENTS?



 

 

Download PDF of this Article

 

UCLA Psychologists Manage/Oversee North Dakota Education

On November 4, 2014, Robert Marthaller of the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction signed a Memo Of Understanding that initiated the University of California’s management oversight of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC), the organization of which North Dakota is a member state. While this is in and of itself highly problematic it caused this author to consider just who the people now significantly in charge of North Dakota’s education policy are. The National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, & Student Testing (CRESST) is funded by the U.S. Department of Education (last sentence, first paragraph, of biography) and lists on their staff website 42 individuals and their respective biographies. An initial review led to the recognition that 25 of these people had strong academic roots or participation in the field of psychology. The three Co-Directors and the direct SBAC management contact, the Project Manager is also a psychologist.

Smarter Balanced Controlled by Psychologists

The majority of SBAC managers and advisors are psychology related professionals such that psychology appears a significant aspect of the organization. That, to this author seems kind of odd and upon further investigation leads to recognition that something much differnt than the usual annual test (as is required by North Dakota Century code 15.1-21-08) is what is actually being done. The ND Century Code requires annual "test" of Reading, mathematics, and science. North Dakota taxpayers will now be spending for much more than traditional measure of academic progress. The state will be doing what are termed Formative, Interim, and Summative assessments, the results of these assessments will be uploaded to the state’s “State Longitudinal Data System” for education analytics. And according to SBAC and the U.S. Department of Education, a significant aspect of this data will have a psychological basis and function.

CRESST & SBAC PSYCHOLOGISTS

 

Transforming Education

In November of 2010 a publication was made public by the U.S. Department of Education by Secretary Arne Duncan that explains in detail how implementation of the Common Core State Standards through Race To the Top would be used to “Transform Education” via the Common Core State Standards adoption by states. The report, in explicit terms, explains how, unlike assessment tests of academic mastery of the past, the new generation of such assessments will have a huge component of using technology to obtain, organize, archive, and utilize data to evaluate individual student’s cognitive function and intellectual processing capabilities.

 

Direct quotes from the November 2010 publication, Transforming American Education, National Education Technology Plan 2010, U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology, Learning Powered by Technology:

http://www.ed.gov/sites/default/files/netp2010.pdf

 

Page xi:

The nation’s governors and state education chiefs have begun to develop standards and assessments that measure 21st-century competencies and expertise in all content areas. Technology-based assessments that combine cognitive research and theory about how students think with multimedia, interactivity, and connectivity make it possible to directly assess these types of skills.”

Page xvi:

Advances in learning sciences, including cognitive science, neuroscience, education, and social sciences, give us greater understanding of three connected types of human learning—factual knowledge, procedural knowledge, and motivational engagement. Technology has increased our ability to both study and enhance all three types. Today’s learning environments should reflect what we have learned about how people learn and take advantage of technology to optimize learning.”

Page 25:

Goal: Our education system at all levels will leverage the power of technology to measure what matters and use assessment data for continuous improvement.

Most of the assessment done in schools today is after the fact and designed to indicate only whether students have learned. Little is done to assess students’ thinking during learning so we can help them learn better.”

Page 26:

“I’m calling on our nation’s governors and state education chiefs to develop standards and assessments that don’t simply measure whether students can fill in a bubble on a test, but whether they possess 21st century skills like problem-solving and critical thinking and entrepreneurship and creativity.” —President Barack Obama, Address to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, March 10, 2009

President Obama issued this challenge to change our thinking about what we should be assessing. Measuring these complex skills requires designing and developing assessments that address the full range of expertise and competencies implied by the standards. Cognitive research and theory provide rich models and representations of how students understand and think about key concepts in the curriculum and how the knowledge structures we want students to have by the time they reach college develop over time. An illustration of the power of combining research and theory with technology is provided by the work of Jim Minstrell, a former high school physics teacher who developed an approach to teaching and assessment that carefully considers learners’ thinking.

Page 27:

Technology Supports Assessing Complex Competencies

As Minstrell’s and others’ work shows, through multimedia, interactivity, and connectivity it is possible to assess competencies that we believe are important and that are aspects of thinking highlighted in cognitive research. It also is possible to directly assess problem solving skills, make visible sequences of actions taken by learners in simulated environments, model complex reasoning tasks, and do it all within the contexts of relevant societal issues and problems that people care about in everyday life (Vendlinski and Stevens 2002).

Page 28:

Growing recognition of the need to assess complex competencies also is demonstrated by the Department’s Race to the Top Assessment Competition. The 2010 competition challenged teams of states to develop student assessment systems that assess the full range of standards, including students’ ability to analyze and solve complex problems, synthesize information, and apply knowledge to new situations.

 

Page 29:

Assessing During Online Learning

When students are learning online, there are multiple opportunities to exploit the power of technology for formative assessment. The same technology that supports learning activities gathers data in the course of learning that can be used for assessment (Lovett, Meyer, and Thille 2008). An online system can collect much more and much more detailed information about how students are learning than manual methods. As students work, the system can capture their inputs and collect evidence of their problem-solving sequences, knowledge, and strategy use, as reflected by the information each student selects or inputs, the number of attempts the student makes, the number of hints and type of feedback given, and the time allocation across parts of the problem.

 

 

 

Smarter Balanced Proposal for American Education Transformation

 

Just before “Transforming American Education” was published, Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium’s submitted a 187 page application to the U.S. Department of Education Race To the Top grant (06/23/2010). SBAC was eventually provided with over 180 million dollars to do the following.

 

http://www.edweek.org/media/sbac_final_narrative_20100620_4pm.pdf

 

 

SBAC is committed to developing an assessment system that meets all Critical Elements required by USED Peer Review, relying heavily on the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (AERA, APA, NCME, 1999) as its core resource for quality design. Page 33.

 

For example, Conley (personal communication, 2010) recommends that the Consortium focus on measuring a key set of cognitive strategies (problem formulation, research, interpretation, communication, and precision and accuracy) and self-management skills (time management, goal-setting, self-awareness, persistence, and study skills) that have been shown to be critical for success in college courses and technical certificate programs. Page 88

 

Psychometric research and evaluation activities will be carried out for the high-stakes summative assessments (achievement and growth measures) and the optional interim/benchmark assessments. The Consortium is committed to the use of industry-standard psychometric techniques during all phases of system development, including planning, design and development, small-scale pilot testing, ongoing field testing, score scale development, operational administration, setting of performance/achievement standards, and post administration data review. Page 89

 

(3) Item types and scoring reliability. The summative and I/B assessments will make use of technology-enhanced item types and performance events. During small-scale pilot testing, field testing, and operational administrations, the Research and Evaluation Working Group will monitor the reliability of automated and/or AI scoring of selected-response items, constructed response items, technology-enhanced items, and performance events; reliability of the scoring systems to ensure reliable data collection and to safeguard against technological problems in data collection; and development of scoring guides that detail the educational intent of each item type and how each works to collect information about students’ levels of cognitive complexity/critical thinking skills. Pg 94

 

(1)   Validity and fairness. The I/B assessments will be developed with a foundation in cognitive theory and research about how students learn over time. For this reason, the Consortium’s short- and long-term research and evaluation priorities include examining the degree to which

 

·         the I/B assessments are grounded in cognitive development theory about how learning progresses across grades and competence develops over time;

·         in that respect, the generalizability of learning progressions across various student populations (e.g., high vs. low achieving, students with disabilities [SWDs] and English learners (ELs), within and across States, will be of particular interest;

·         the I/B assessments—in keeping with the Theory of Action—elicit specifically targeted knowledge, skills, and/or cognitive processes related to college- and career readiness, per the Theory of Action, by using a reasoning-from-evidence approach during item/event development that is grounded in understanding about how students acquire competence or develop expertise in a content domain;

 

 

Selected References from the Application

American Educational Research Association (AERA), American Psychological Association (APA), & National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME). (1999). Standards for psychological testing. Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association.

 

Mayer, R. E. (1992). Thinking, problem solving, cognition (2nd ed.). New York, NY:

W. H. Freeman.

 

McCall, M., & Hauser, C. (2007). Item response theory and longitudinal modeling: The real world is less complicated than we fear. In R. W. Lissitz (Ed.), Assessing and modelingcognitive development in schools: Intellectual growth and standard setting. Maple Grove,

MN: JAM Press

 

ETS. (2010). Using natural language processing (NLP) and psychometric methods to develop innovative scoring technologies. Retrieved June 11, 2010, from http://www.ets.org/

Media/Home/pdf/AutomatedScoring.pdf

 

Mitzel, H., Lewis, D., Patz, R., & Green, D. R. (2001). The bookmark procedure: Psychological perspectives. In G. Cizek (Ed.), Setting performance standards: Concepts, methods, and perspectives (pp. 249–281). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

 

Reckase, M. D. (2006). A conceptual framework for a psychometric theory for standard setting with examples of its use for evaluating the functioning of two standard setting methods. Educational Measurement. 25(2), 4–18.

 

Friday, January 16, 2015

STEVE CATES: MISSISSIPPI WITHDRAWS FROM COMMON CORE TESTING GROUP

January 16, 2015

 

Mississippi will sever its ties from the controversial Common Core testing consortium known as PARCC, according to a press release sent Friday by the state Board of Education.

 

…..

 

 

 

Both Gov. Phil Bryant and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves have called for a repeal of Common Core and the Common Core-aligned assessments developed by PARCC and given to students at the end of the school year.

 

Two bills introduced this week by Speaker of the House Philip Gunn also propose to do away with PARCC and Common Core.

 

 

 

http://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/2015/01/16/mississippi-withdraw-parcc/21859553/

STEVE CATES: WHAT STATES HAVE PULLED OUT OF THEIR COMMON CORE ASSESSMENT CONSORTIUM?

States that have pulled out of their Assessment Consortium:

 

Utah (Smarter Balanced) – http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/mobile/54627081-68/utah-state-standards-consortium.html.csp

Oklahoma (PARCC) – http://truthinamericaneducation.com/common-core-assessments/oklahoma-pulls-out-of-parcc/ (the Tulsa World article is no longer on the website).

Georgia (PARCC) – http://www.ajc.com/news/news/breaking-news/georgia-decides-against-offering-common-core-stand/nYzDr/

Alabama (Smarter Balanced & PARCC – they were an advisory state) –http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2013/02/alabama_withdraws_from_both_te.html

Indiana (PARCC) – http://truthinamericaneducation.com/common-core-assessments/pence-pulls-indiana-out-of-parcc/ and http://indianapublicmedia.org/stateimpact/2013/07/29/gov-pence-signals-intent-to-withdraw-from-common-core-consortium-parcc/ As of December PARCC still had them listed though – http://hoosiersagainstcommoncore.com/indianas-withdraw-parcc-real-show/

Kansas (Smarter Balanced) – http://m.cjonline.com/news/2013-12-10/kansas-opts-create-its-own-common-core-tests

Pennsylvania (Smarter Balanced & PARCC) – http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2013/06/pennsylvania_signals_departure_from_test_consortia.html

Alaska (Smarter Balanced) – http://www.newsminer.com/news/education/alaska-changes-school-testing-consortium/article_05509298-7d77-11e3-9606-001a4bcf6878.html

Florida (PARCC) – http://truthinamericaneducation.com/common-core-assessments/rick-scott-pulls-florida-out-of-parcc/

 

States Actively Considering Withdrawing

 

Michigan (Smarter Balanced) – http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2013/12/consortium_watch_kansas_drops_.html

Kentucky (PARCC) – http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2013/12/consortium_watch_kansas_drops_.html

North Carolina (Smarter Balanced) – http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/01/02/3502892/common-core-backlash-casts-shadow.html

Iowa (Smarter Balanced) – The Iowa Legislature actually has to approve its use – http://caffeinatedthoughts.com/2013/05/iowa-puts-common-core-assessments-on-hold/

 

States that never joined.

 

Virginia

Texas

Nebraska

Minnesota

Saturday, January 03, 2015

STEVE CATES: THE PROCORES, THEIR LETTER TO THE EDITOR, AND THEIR MULTIPLE HISTORICAL REVISIONS

On December 20, 2014 the Fargo Forum and the Grand Forks Herald printed a letter to the editor authored by the proponents of the Common Core State Standards. For ease of recognition I will refer to the group that consisted of Andy Peterson of the Greater North Dakota Chamber, the Aimee Copas of the North Dakota Council of Educational Leaders, Jon Martinson of the North Dakota School Boards Association, and Nick Archuleta of the North Dakota public employees organization called ND United as the “ProCores.”

The ProCores make quite a number of claims of fact and to the honesty of those opposing Common Core in North Dakota. The majority of their claims are outright false.

 

According to the ProCores:  

 “When it comes to education and children, people are interested and passionate about providing what’s best for the youngest among us. This passion can oftentimes lead to doing whatever it takes to get your view across. We understand that the critics of Common Core are passionate, but that does not entitle them to revise history, discredit our well-qualified education or make up their own “facts.” To that end, we have formed a coalition to help provide the truth and combat the misconceptions being touted by a vocal few.

State initiative

The Common Core Standards were developed and reviewed by the top leaders in our communities, including governors and state superintendents from nearly every state in the country. These leaders collaborated with teachers, researchers and leading education experts to develop the Common Core Standards. After reviewing the standards, North Dakota education leaders voluntarily made the decision to adopt the standards using the same process that states have always used in determining its academic standards.”

Historical Revision #1: There were no leaders of any North Dakota community involved in the development of the Common Core Standards. The standards were created in secrecy by a group largely financed by the Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation.

Historical Revision #2: There were no teachers immediately involve in the creation of the CCSS.

Historical Revision #3: There is no record that any North Dakota elected official nor their representatives had any involvement in creating the standards….no governor….no state superintendent.

Historical Revision #4: North Dakota committed to adoption of the Common Core Standards when then Governor Hoeven and then Superintendent Sanstead signed the June of 2010 Memo of Understanding that legally bound ND to the standards by the specific requirement that, “Each State agrees to the following element of the Consortium’s Assessment System: Adopt the Common Core Standards, which are college- and career-ready standards, and to which the Consortium’s assessment system will be aligned, no later than December 31, 2011.” Education leaders could not have voluntarily made the decision, even though that is how the process is being portrayed. It was a done deal. There was no alternative.

Our participation in that consortium requires us to participate in what the consortium itself claims the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium’s purpose as being as, “implementation of learning and assessment systems to radically reshape the education systems of participating States.”

 

According to the ProCores: 

“ND teachers

In North Dakota, 60 teachers spent two years vetting the standards to ensure their successful integration and respect for our history and cultural heritage. This decision was made by the Legislature, signed by then-Gov. John Hoeven, and implemented by our Department of Public Instruction. The whole time, this process was open and transparent; to say otherwise is to attempt to revise history.”

Historical Revision #5: There was no decision made by the North Dakota Legislature to adopt the Common Core Standards. The actual process was not open to the public as it was by invitation only, and no one has ever claimed anything about the transparency of the process

The Common Core Standards were not vetted. They were rubber stamped. ND was legally bound by the Memo of Understanding to adopt the standards. The 60 educators were window dressing on a done deal to provide a tissue of legitimacy. This is the constantly used fake-out by Common Core advocates to claim legitimacy and continues to this day!

The process of review of the standards that ND had guaranteed to adopt was done with the facilitation of the Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL) which is a private organization funded in large part by the U.S. federal government (approximately 40%) and to about an equal amount (approximately 40 %) entities that they will not publically name.

 

According to the ProCores: 

“We all have a vested interest in the education of our children. The teachers and educators who developed and reviewed the standards are the experts. These experts have overwhelmingly stated that these new standards are incredibly valuable as a way to better educate students with more rigorous standards to ensure they are college or career ready upon graduating from high school. This ensures a population that is ready for work or for school right out of high school. Previously, we weren’t doing a good enough job of preparing our students for their next step; now we are.”

Historical Revision #6: Repeat of Historical Revision #2. The standards developers were from testing companies.

Historical Revision #7: All kinds of people have made all kinds of claims about the efficacy of the CCSS. The proponents have made all manner of claims…..without substantiating the factual basis for their claims. Over and over it is asserted that the standards were “internationally benchmarked,” this is false. These standards were NEVER tested, nor evaluated in any manner prior to or subsequent to their adoption by the state of North Dakota.

 

According to the ProCores: 

“Raises the bar

Common Core raises the bar and increases our expectations of both students and teachers. The fact is, in North Dakota, to remain competitive, the bar must be raised. Prior to the implementation of the Common Core Standards, North Dakota received a D grade for our English Language Arts standards. The math standards similarly received a C. After implementing the Common Core Standards, those grades were raised to a B+ and A-, respectively. The standards are working, and curriculum is still controlled at the local level.”

Point of Order: These grades were assigned by the the Tomas B. Fordham Institute in 2010. That organization is largely funded by the Common Core primary funder.....the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Entirely objective analysis?

Historical Revision #8: There is no scientifically valid evidence that the CCSS are working. These standards HAVE NEVER been tested! There are no rigorous peer reviewed studies. None. The standards have not been utilized long enough for objective cause/effect analysis.

 

According to the ProCores: 

“We have a duty to provide the best education possible for our children – to prepare them for the new economy we have in North Dakota, to successfully compete with students here and around the world, and at the very least, we should be providing an education where students who receive a high school diploma are not required to enroll in remedial classes in college and incur that additional expense.”

Point of Order: The Common Core proponents repeatedly cite the fact that North Dakota high school graduates have to be remediated to attend college. They have no evidence whatsoever what the specific reason or reasons are for the need for remediation, nor, any evidence whatsoever that adoption of Common Core will have the claimed effect. None.

 

According to the ProCores: 

“We need change

The critics of Common Core are opposed to change. What we are saying is, we need change. The world our children are growing up in is full of technology, information, and everything is available at their fingertips through Google. It is not a world of long division, slide rules, or memorization. The world has changed, the business community has adapted and we now expect our workforce to adapt as well. The new standards take us in that direction.”

Historical Revision #9: No opponent of Common Core is opposed to improving the education of children. In fact many of the opponents sacrifice time and money to send their children to private schools and homeschool their own children. This assertion is a blatant falsehood. It is THIS systemic education reform that has been designed and promulgated by the Obama Administration that is being opposed.

 

According to the ProCores: 

“Common Core sets the standard, not the process. How you achieve the new standard is up to the school board and the teachers in the school. That’s it at a base level: Common Core are new standards. The experts in the state, in each school district and in every school control the path. We trust those experts; their interest is in helping develop and education our children. We don’t go to a mechanic if we have a tooth ache, so why would we go to someone outside of the education community to get facts about curriculum and standards.”

Great Point! Only education professionals know and/or can be trusted. The incongruity is that the ProCores have just told you how poor our standards were, how students have to be remediated for college, and that the people who were in control for all of the self ascribed failure should be trusted provide the ultimate solution – Common Core! The fact that they do not mention parents and other North Dakota citizens seems a rather significant omission. If you think an Obama Administration designed education system is going to allow for local control just remember…..”If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor, if you like your insurance you can keep your insurance, period”.

 

According to the ProCores: 

“We encourage you to do the same: talk to your teachers, talk to your school board and get the truth about the standards. Or you could just trust the work of the Legislature, then-Gov. Hoeven, our state superintendent, and numerous educators who developed and implemented these standards in North Dakota.”

Historic Revision #10: Repeat of Revision #5, the legislature did not “work” on the standards, nor did they have any input whatsoever in the adoption of the CCSS. In point of fact they, the legislators were entirely circumvented.

The truth about the standards is that they are the excuse for system wide radical reform of North Dakota education. It is being done with the money provided from the Obama Administration with the attendant strings attached and to the design of the Obama Administration.

 

According to the ProCores: 

“Great opportunity

The implementation of the Common Core Standards provides an unprecedented opportunity to help all students succeed while strengthening the state’s long-term economy. The world is a more demanding place today than ever before. Not only do students have to compete with others in their community to get into college and secure a job, but they must compete with students around the country.

As colleges and employers expect more, we all have a role to play in helping students master the knowledge and skills that they need to succeed, and, frankly, under our new standards, we are accomplishing those goals. Why break what we just fixed.”

Historical Revision #11: Repeat of Historical Revision #8. There is no scientifically proven that under our new standards that we are accomplishing any goals. What evidence exists that we fixed anything? There is none.

 

The ProCores: 

“Peterson is with the Greater North Dakota Chamber; Copas is with the North Dakota Center for Educational Leadership; Martinson is with the North Dakota School Boards Association; Archuleta is with North Dakota United. Together they comprise North Dakotans for Student Success.”

 

The ProCores are hiding the fact that Common Core is much, much, much, more than the simply the “standards.” Note that although the Common Core supporters have been repeatedly challenged to participate in open debate they refuse, only participating in highly structured settings where they are protected from hard questions and deeper analysis. It may be that the reason that Common Core supporters seemingly have no interest in open debate is because they may not want full examination of Common Core being in reality the full of implementation of Obama Administered designed systemic education transformation.

 

Signing the letter were:

 

Andy Peterson             (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)                       (701) 989-9899

Jon Martinson              (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)                   (701) 255-4127

Nick Archuleta            (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)                          (701) 223-0450

Aimee Copas               (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)                       (701) 258-3022                      

Friday, December 19, 2014

STEVE CATES: IS THE CLAIM THAT IT’S NOT OBAMACORE A DECEPTION?

Here is a 32 second video of David Axelrod, Senior Advisor to President Obama introducing the actual architect and implementer of Common Core, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at a 2013 University of Illinois discussion of the Common Core.1  

Axelrod states what has been subsequently irrefutably documented to be true. “Common Core is an initiative of the Obama Administration.”  After the introduction Secretary Duncan make no effort to correct Axelrod’s claim and in fact goes on to discuss the huge scope of what Common Core really is.2

In an April 24, 2013 memorandum North Dakota Superintendent of the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) Kirsten Baesler stated that:

“Common Core is not “ObamaCore,” as some suggest. The truth is that the idea of Common Core State Standards was well underway before he took office in 2009.” 3

This statement raises the question of:

Are the “Standards” all there is to the Common Core as promulgated in North Dakota through the leadership of Governor Dalrymple, Superintendent Baesler, Representative Nathe, and Senator Flakoll, among others?

It seems important to consider that it is possible that just because an idea was “well underway before” does not prove that the Obama Administration did not latch onto the set of standards and then created something quite a bit more comprehensive and all encompassing related to those standards.

Then there is the official statement of the Bismarck School District that as the district’s leader, Superintendent Tamara Uselman, must reflect her position that:

“Myth: The Common Core is the federal takeover of education; it should be called Obamacore.

Truth: The Obama administration wasn’t involved in writing the Common Core, nor is it a federal mandate, though the President does support these standards.” 4

Did the Obama administration have to write the Common Core for it to be their initiative? Did pumping billions of dollar into states that were in desperate financial conditions with the requirement that the states adopt the only standards that met the administrations criteria to qualify for those moneys make Common Core an Obama administration initiative? Since then, the Obama administration has repeatedly threatened financial retribution to those states that choose to exit Common Core and leaving the federally supervised consortia to create their own different standards. Not a federal mandate? Coercion/Punishment?

 

While the Obama administration did not write the Common Core they spent 4.6 billion to put it in place. The Obama administration provided over 370 million dollars to two, so called testing consortia, that seemingly materialized out of the nowhere. The Obama administration wrote the specifications of what the consortia were to do to meet the requirements for the grants of “free money” provided by the administration. The Obama administration have personnel monitoring and directing the activities of the consortia. It may seem an incredible revelation to the North Dakota supporters of the Common Core State Standards but guess what? The Federal government NEVER gives away money without the recipients doing exactly what is required and without strings attached. NEVER.

Is this a false flag deception by Superintendents Baesler and Uselman? Is the deception that all there is to Common Core is “the standards?” Why do the proponents never acknowledge the scope of the structure that the Obama administration required to be put in place for Common Core? That Obama did not write the Common Core Standards somehow only a supporter? It is this writer’s observation that this may be a purposeful, and with foreknowledge, deception.

Here are some important question that you, for the sake of clarification might want to ask the most visible supporters and promoters of the whole Common Core affair:

 

David Axelrod claims that Common Core is the Obama Administration’s initiative.  Is that true?

What was North Dakota’s direct involvement in the design and creation of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium to which our state is now legally bound?

Where is Governor Jack Dalrymple on any of this? Why is he silent? Why, when you call his office are you shunted off to DPI?

 

Superintendent Baesler            (701) 328-2260                       (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Superintendent Uselman         (701) 323-4054                       (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

 

Rep. Nathe (ND House Education Chairman)                        (701)  319-1500          (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

 Flakoll (ND Senate Education Chairman)                 (701) 367-5954             (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Governor Dalrymple                                                            (701) 328-2200            (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

 

 

1.       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yaFHo_pRyg

2.      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyjZ_A2faWU

3.      http://www.dpi.state.nd.us/news/2013/CCSS4-24-13.pdf

4.      http://www.bismarck.k12.nd.us/uploads/resources/28200/common-core-info-&-faqs.pdf

Monday, December 08, 2014

STEVE CATES: U.S. GOVERNORS AND REALIZATION OF THE COMMON CORE DECEPTION

It is becoming more and more apparent that the more people know about Common Core the less they like it.

Governors who were original supporters have come to the realization that what was originally sold to them turns out to be instead a huge fake-out.

 

Governor Bobby Jindal, Louisiana:

"Common Core was never supposed to be a top-down government-run approach. I've never been for the federal government making curriculum decisions. It was supposed to be voluntary standards. This was a bait and switch. The race to the top was never supposed to be about Common Core and that's why we're suing the federal government." 

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2014/12/07/Jindal-Common-Core-was-Bait-and-Switch-Just-Like-Obamacare

 

 

Governor Phil Bryan, Mississippi:

“The new standards, called Common Core, would emphasize problem solving and competitiveness and would ensure that students throughout the nation met certain achievement benchmarks. The concept sounded solid, and we were assured that this was a state-led initiative with no federal control or connection to federal funds.

Now in 2014, we know something went terribly wrong. State control over the standards turned out to be a myth, and adopting the standards has been required if a state wants to even apply for major federal education funding. So much for no federal control.”

http://www.clarionledger.com/story/opinion/columnists/2014/12/06/brant-column-common-core-truth/20028313/

 

And those Governors are about to bailout. In January of 2015 legislatures all across America will be leaving the monstrosity that is the Common Core Deception in their rear view mirrors.

Here in North Dakota the House and Senate Education Committee chairmen, the Superintendent of Public Instruction are in FULL SPEED AHEAD mode for complete systemic Common Core reform of the state’s education system.

 

Governor Dalrymple's public comments about Common Core:

"Ø."

 

 

 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

STEVE CATES: GATES AND PEARSON PARTNER TO REAP TENS OF MILLIONS FROM COMMON CORE    

The Heartland Institute provides a great article spelling out the relationship behind the drivers of Common Core:


Follow the money. It all ends up in the hands of a very few. Pearson Foundation is getting the contracts because of its partnership with the Bill Gates Foundation. 

…..

On April 27, 2011 the Gates Foundation joined forces with the Pearson Foundatio, a British multi-national conglomerate, representing the largest private business maneuvering for U.S. education dollars. Pearson executives saw the potential to secure lucrative contracts in testing, textbooks and software worth tens of millions of dollars.

……

It would be folly to suggest that either Bill Gates or Pearson, despite the temporary tactical retreat by Gates will not keep pushing for Common Core with its required educational technology.

This nation spends over $500 billion annually on K-12 education When colleges and career-training programs are included, the education sector represents almost 9 percent of the U.S. gross domestic production.  Companies like Pearson and Microsoft stand to greatly profit as they develop and administer the tests and sell the teacher-training material.

 

 

http://blog.heartland.org/2014/11/gates-and-pearson-partner-to-reap-tens-of-millions-from-common-core/

 

Thank you Nancy Thorner!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

STEVE CATES: N.D. COMMON CORE….SYSTEMIC REFORM TROJAN HORSE?

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As I became aware of the implementation of the Common Core State Standards in North Dakota an interesting phenomenon became apparent. The supporters of Common Core want to talk about only “The standards”. At the March 27, 2014 Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce meeting billed to examine the “facts and fallacies of Common Core” the proponents would talk of nothing except “the standards” and the beauty of those standards which I have come to characterize using the descriptors of “unicorns, pixy dust, rainbows, and butterflies”. If you spend a few googley hours examining the N.D. Department of Public Instruction (DPI) website you will find plenty about the beauty of the standards but precious little about education “reform”.

It is quite amusing to wear a No Common Core button to initiate conversation. My favorite response to people’s observant comment about the button is to ask the simple question of, “So, what do you think about this Common Core business”? Their response is almost always to repeat the market tested talking point phrases related to “high standards”. Then I ask, “What about the rest of it”? They pause, perplexed, “The rest of it, what rest of it”? And, there is plenty of “rest of it” to explain.

What the North Dakota DPI neglects to mention in any way is that as a condition of adopting the beautiful “Standards” top-to-bottom, side-to-side education changes are underway. Why does no one supporting Common Core talk about this? Are education leaders not telling the Governor, the legislators, the principals, administrators, teachers and the citizens about the scope of Common Core? It does not seem so odd when you understand the substance and extent of those reforms. Are we dealing here with the COMMON CORE TROJAN HORSE, which is a complete, state wide SYSTEMIC EDUCATION REFORM? Are Common Core supporters silent ….for good reason …. on purpose?

The substance of the reform is complex and beyond this limited discussion so the question for today is, does ND DPI know that Common Core is system wide education reform? I started thinking about this when on the May 6, 2014 edition of the Jay Thomas radio show Dale Wetzel, spokesman of ND DPI denied that Common Core was “Systemic Reform”. ND DPI spokesman Dale Wetzel emphatically denied that Common Core was actually “Systemic Education Reform”.

I thought that perhaps ND DPI Superintendent Kirsten Baesler maybe did not know that Common Core State Standards was in fact the basis for education reform until I found a letter from early March of 2013 in which the Superintendent was aware that that Common Core was the basis of reform of the North Dakota education system. At a March 4, 2013 press conference related to the letter, Ms. Baesler state that, “The further we progressed through the waiver process, the more we felt we were being asked to adopt another national, one-size-fits-all model of education,” were she also stated her intent to continue to reform education.

Is there any literature, internet postings, or press releases in which the ND DPI or any school district even mentions the systemic reform of the state’s education system based on the Common Core State Standards? And…..why not?

DPI has to know that:

2008 – Hunt Institute publishes the first in a series entitled “The Hunt Institute’s Blueprint for Education Leadership” In Blueprint Number 1 the term “standards-based reform” occurs repeatedly and the table on page 5 lists all of the reform components that are exactly the same components of Common Core.

2008 – From the publication of the authors of the Common Core State Standards entitled “Benchmarking for Success: Ensuring U.S. Students Receive a World-Class Education”, A report by the National Governors Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and Achieve, Inc., in the Conclusions on page 39, :

“The United States will only achieve true international competitiveness when state education policies and institutions are restructured to meet 21st century realities”.

2009 – In an April, 16th announcement, entitled, “Hunt Institute Continues Push For Systemic Education Reform”, the institute states:

“… James B. Hunt, Jr. Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy is now encouraging state and local leaders to think strategically as they develop plans for an unprecedented amount of federal funding for education.”

…..

“We cannot be satisfied with business as usual – it’s clear that we need urgent transformation of American education,” said James B. Hunt, Jr., chairman of the Hunt Institute and former governor of North Carolina.

 

2009 – At the June 14th Hunt Institute hosted 2009 Governors Education Symposium U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan gave keynote address to entitled, “States Will Lead the Way Toward Reform” in which he uses the word “reform” 22 times and states:

“So I am thrilled to be among the true education reformers who understand the stakes, want to see change and are determined to lift American education to a new level”.

…..

“Perfect Storm for Reform:

• Obama effect

• Leadership on the Hill and the Unions

• Proven strategies for success

• The Recovery Act -- $100B”

            …..

“But if all we do is save jobs, we will miss this opportunity – which is why we are also using this recovery money to drive reform in four core areas”.

…..

“The children in these schools can’t wait for incremental reform. They need radical change right now – new leadership, new staff and a whole new educational approach.”

…..

“As you know, we have $5 billion dollars in competitive grant funding under the Recovery Act to help advance these four reforms.”

…..

“After the set-asides for the Innovation and What Works fund and the money for the new assessments, we will have $4 billion dollars for states to drive education reform.

 

This is your opportunity to be bold, creative, think big and push hard on the kind of reforms that we know will create fundamental change.

But this money will only go to states that are absolutely pushing reform in real and measurable ways – states where great educators are turning around our worst schools, meeting the highest standards and producing career and college-ready graduates.

 

2010 – In the March publication from the U.S. Department of Education entitled, “A Blueprint For Reform: The reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act”, the word reform appears 23 times. In the preface, President Obama states:

“…..instead of investing in the status quo, we must reform our schools…”

Elsewhere in the text of the “Blueprint”:

“We will continue Race to the Top’s incentives for systemic reforms at the state level and expand the program to school districts that are willing to take on bold, comprehensive reforms”.

 

2010 - In the May the memo entitled “Title I Final Allocations” the author, ND Superintendent of Public Instruction Wayne Sanstead uses the word reform five times:

“A Blueprint for Reform” regarding the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act from President Obama was released on March 13, 2010, and can be found at http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/blueprint/index.html on the USDE website.

 

If we look at the legislation passed in the ARRA, we can get a good idea of the scope of changes that will be a part of the reauthorized federal law. Listed below are some of the highlights:

 

What Stays:

 

• A Strong Focus on Standards – The new proposal continues to focus on the “common core standards initiative” to establish more uniform academic standards in reading and math to prepare students for college or a career.

• Annual Testing – The new proposal keeps the requirement for annual testing in reading and math in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school.

…..

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 provides approximately $100 billion for education, creating a historic opportunity to save hundreds of thousands of jobs, support states and school districts, and advance reforms and improvements that will create long-lasting results for our students and our nation including early learning, K-12, and post-secondary education.

…..

Fiscal Stabilization – In order for states to get their phase two funding under the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, they must submit an application. In the application, states must provide information in four key areas of education reform:

§  Achieving equity in teacher distribution,

§  Improving collection and use of data,

§  Standards and assessments, and

§  Supporting struggling schools.

…..

Race to the Top State Application – The federal Race to the Top grant is a competitive, $4.35 billion education reform program enacted as part of the ARRA.

…..

To qualify, applicants must address one of the four key areas that are driving President Obama’s education reform agenda: building common standards and assessments, using data to improve student achievement, supporting effective teachers and principals and turning around consistently low-performing schools. The deadline to apply is May 11, 2010.

 

2010 – In the June publication entitled “Theory of Action an excerpt from the Smarter Balanced Race to the Top Application” of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (the consortium that N.D. is a member of), it is explicitly stated in the that:

“The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (Smarter Balanced) supports the development and implementation of learning and assessment systems to radically reshape the education enterprise in participating states in order to improve student outcomes”.

 

20911 – On June 20nd, ND DPI issues a press release authored by Standards and Achievement Director Greg Gallagher concerning “State Superintendent Approves New State Content Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics, Based on the National Common Core State Standards”. The word “reform” is not found in this document.

 

2011 – On September 22nd, ND DPI issues a press release authored by Standards and Achievement Director Greg Gallagher concerning “Request for comments on the first draft of English Language Arts and Mathematics Content Standards”. The word “reform” is not found in this document.

 

 

Monday, July 21, 2014

STEVE CATES: N.D. COMMON CORE – LIBERAL CONTROLLED…IN SECRET…BY DESIGN - PART II

Expanded Narrative Documentation of Part I

 

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2012 Presidential Election and Self-Designated Gallup Poll Data:


http://www.gallup.com/poll/167144/wyoming-residents-conservative-liberal.aspx#2 

 

Expanded Narrative:

(1) The proponents of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have made it clear for years prior to the construction of the “standards” that they considered federal government expenditure of the 2009 Stimulus moneys as the mechanism to put in place “Systemic Reform” of America’s education system. It is their clear intent to put the infrastructure of side-to-side, top-to-bottom education revolution in place by the promulgation of the English Language Arts and Mathematics standards prior to implementing national standards for the various other subjects.

 

It is explicitly stated in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, June 2010 publication entitled “Theory of Action an excerpt from the Smarter Balanced Race to the Top Application” that:

  The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (Smarter Balanced) supports the development and implementation of learning and assessment systems to radically reshape the education enterprise in participating states in order to improve student outcomes.

 

In the May 2010 memo entitled “Title I Final Allocations” the author, ND Superintendent Wayne Sanstead uses the word reform five times:

“A Blueprint for Reform” regarding the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act from President Obama was released on March 13, 2010, and can be found at http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/blueprint/index.html on the USDE website.

 

If we look at the legislation passed in the ARRA, we can get a good idea of the scope of changes that will be a part of the reauthorized federal law. Listed below are some of the highlights:

 

What Stays:

 

A Strong Focus on Standards – The new proposal continues to focus on the “common core standards initiative” to establish more uniform academic standards in reading and math to prepare students for college or a career.

Annual Testing – The new proposal keeps the requirement for annual testing in reading and math in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school.

…..

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 provides approximately $100 billion for education, creating a historic opportunity to save hundreds of thousands of jobs, support states and school districts, and advance reforms and improvements that will create long-lasting results for our students and our nation including early learning, K-12, and post-secondary education.

…..

Fiscal Stabilization – In order for states to get their phase two funding under the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, they must submit an application. In the application, states must provide information in four key areas of education reform:


§  Achieving equity in teacher distribution,

§  Improving collection and use of data,

§  Standards and assessments, and

§  Supporting struggling schools.

…..

Race to the Top State Application – The federal Race to the Top grant is a competitive, $4.35 billion education reform program enacted as part of the ARRA.

…..

To qualify, applicants must address one of the four key areas that are driving President Obama’s education reform agenda: building common standards and assessments, using data to improve student achievement, supporting effective teachers and principals and turning around consistently low-performing schools. The deadline to apply is May 11, 2010. 

 

Recently, the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction has denied that “Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is in fact systemic education reform: ND DPI Denies that Common Core is “Systemic Reform” 

 

      (2) In June of 2010 a Memo of Understanding was signed legally binding North Dakota to a PRIVATE ORGANIZATION named The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. A majority of the Memo of Understanding delineated the “Governance Structure” of Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. Most important of all, the state is bound to that consortium in such a manner that North Dakota will have very minimal oversight power over changes in the consortium governance. The current Governance Structure was amended in September of 2013 and is significantly different than the June 2010 Memo of Understanding committing ND.

 

 (3) Based on a review of documents obtained through open records requests it is evident that in early June of 2010, without any apparent investigation, North Dakota was entangled in the massive Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium education reform of undetermined legal implication and unestablished cost. The application to the U.S. Department of Education of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium for over $160 million that discussed exactly what the consortium would do is dated a few days later than the signatures that bound North Dakota to the consortium. That application is 168 pages long and delineates that the Common Core State Standards are about much, much, much more than simply “standards”.

 

 

From that application:

This system component, central to the design of the Smarter Balanced system, encompasses many different teacher support features. Specific aspects include

 

1.      Model curriculum and instructional modules that are aligned with the CCSS.

…..

 

      (4) Once this “systemic reform” is entirely in place, the money is flowing, the instrumentalities and bureaucracies are in place, the entrenched advocates have a vested financial stake, more subjects will be taught as national “common core”, teachers are retrained, adherent student database structures are up and running, computers and software that needs constant updating, instructional materials in the form of curriculum created to “aligned”, North Dakota will effectively have their education system dominated if not entirely controlled by Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.

 

      (5) It is hugely important to understand that because Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is a PRIVATE entity based external to the state of North Dakota that they are not subject to North Dakota Open Record Laws. The citizens of North Dakota will send Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium their taxpayer money, and the consortium will decide what are the content standards (official knowledge) of the assessments (tests) that North Dakota student will be required to know.

 

      (6) The statewide results of the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election and the self identification of political philosophy done to classify states on a liberal/conservative scale by Gallup are used in this analysis as an indicator of the degree of alignment of various Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium member states to Democrat/Liberal and/or Republican/Conservative public policy. At present, North Carolina is in the process of overthrowing the Common Core State Standards and is not included in the table above, Missouri is withdrawing but that state’s status regarding Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is not entirely determined at this time (July 2014) such that Missouri is included in this table but may be omitted soon. Pennsylvania has a status of “Advisory” rather than a direct governance “Governing” status, though, recent evidence indicates a move by the state to Governing status.

 

      (7) Based on the percentage of the Obama election and the Gallup research the margin in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium states there are nine (9) states with solid, long-term Democrat/Leftist predilections (>9.5% Obama support differential) and five (5) states that might be considered “toss-up” with similar tendencies but with recent solidly Democrat/Liberal dominated voting records.

   

     (8) Based on the percentage of Romney election and the Gallup research the margin of states in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium there are six (6) Republican/Conservative leaning states in Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, maybe seven (7) if Missouri remains.

STEVE CATES: N.D. COMMON CORE – LIBERAL CONTROLLED…IN SECRET…BY DESIGN - PART I

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After “Systemic Reform” of North Dakota’s education system to the Common Core model and structure, education policy will be almost entirely beyond the control of the state’s citizens, as the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium will ALWAYS be dominated by either 9 (7 being of the 10 most liberal states in America) or as many as 14 Democrat/Liberal states versus 6 or 7 Republican/Conservative states. The PRIVATE consortium whose rules will be constantly changing and which will always make decisions beyond the scrutiny of North Dakota citizens by design of it’s governance structure.

·          The proponents of the Common Core State Standards are clear that these standards are the means for complete change of America’s education system. (1)

 

·          North Dakota is legally bound to education reform by membership in Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium by governing rules that will be ever changing regardless of the conditions agreed upon when North Dakota joined the consortium. (2)

 

·          The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is a PRIVATE entity that North Dakota joined with little or no analysis of the legal or financial implications of joining. Review of the 168 page Smarter Balanced Consortium Assessment application to the U.S. Department of mid-June 2010, documents that the consortium is about far more than just “standards” or “assessments”. (3)

 

·          Once the education reforms of Common Core are completed the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium will dominate much more than simply testing and North Dakota citizens will have very little if any control over the education of their students. (4)

 

·         Because the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium exists outside of North Dakota it is not subject to the state’s Open Records laws. Taxpayers of North Dakota will have no right to examine or have oversight as to how their tax dollars are being spent. (5)

 

·         Using the results of the 2012 Presidential Election and Gallup’s state by state self designation poll shows that members of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is overwhelmingly dominated by Democrat/Liberals states and their likely education policy. (6)

 

·         There are 9 solidly and additionally 5 likely Democrat/Liberal states in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. 7 of those 9 consortium state will be among the 10 most Liberal in America. (7)

 

·         There are 6 solidly Republican states in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium with the 7th Republican leaning state of Missouri seemingly exiting the consortium soon. (8)

Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium States

2012 Presidential Election and Self-Designated Gallup Poll Data:


 

http://www.gallup.com/poll/167144/wyoming-residents-conservative-liberal.aspx#2 

 

 See Part II - Documentation

 

Friday, April 25, 2014

STEVE CATES: WHO REALLY RUNS N.D. EDUCATION – IS COMMON CORE REALLY AN INCESTUOUS $$/POWER GRAB?

 

Who has the most effect on the education of North Dakota’s children? (a) Governor Dalrymple? (b) Department of Education Superintendent Kristen Baesler? (c) Your school board members? (d) The teachers? (e) None of the above.

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are the vehicle used without your knowledge to put into motion a systemic state-wide education revolution. Adoption of the CCSS by North Dakota requires assessment alignment to the standards, curriculum alignment to the standards, technology alignment to the standards, instructional method aligned training, and all manner of requirements. Using money from the taxpayer of N.D. and a number of huge education service providers and who knows who else, an education change of a magnitude that you were never told about is in motion. Is this possible? Yes.

From a document distributed by the Bismarck School District, dated February 20, 2014:

“Who developed the Common Core?

The Common Core is a state-led, collaborative effort to raise the bar on English and math standards. It is a product of the Council of Chief State School Officers (the top education officers in each state) and National Governor’s Association, along with Achieve, a Washington-based nonprofit working to increase the number of students who graduate from high school ready for college and careers. Common Core is not a federal mandate”.

http://www.bismarck.k12.nd.us/uploads/resources/26263/common-core-info--faqs.pdf

The creation, adoption and implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is by no means a “state-led, collaborative effort.” Let us consider what “state-led” means:

·         Two Washington D.C. based trade organizations, the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, education industry giant insiders, progressive/leftist philanthropies and some membership dues from N.D. Citizens are the source of the CCSS. Dues paid by states to NGA and CCSSO is $60,000 per year.

 

·         The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave prior to 2009 almost $150 million dollars to the four non-profits NGA, the CCSSO, CCSS “architect” David Coleman’s Student Achievement Partners (SAP), and Achieve, Inc. that have been credited with creation of the CCSS. [1]

 

 

·         The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave in excess of $27.7 million dollars to NGA, CCSSO, and Achieve, Inc. during 2009, 2010, and 2011. [2]

 

·         The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave in excess of $34.57 million dollars to NGA, CCSSO, and David Coleman’s SAP during 2011, 2012, and 2013.[3]

 

·         The progressive/leftist Carnegie Foundations gave a total of over $6.8 million dollars in grants to the NGA, CCSSO, and Achieve, Inc. between 2001 and 2014.[4]

 

·         The CCSS were created by a small secretive committee dominated by the education testing industry whom worked at the time for organizations that had received multiple millions of dollars of Gates Foundation grants.  These organizations have or are positioned to subsequently make millions of dollars as the result of the creation of the CCSS. All of those shown in the reference below are affiliated with Gates Foundation money (NGA, CCSSO, Achieve, Inc. America’s Choice, ACT, The College Board, and Student Achievement Partners).[5]

 

·         The National Center for Education and the Economy parent organization of America’s Choice and has for it’s President and CEO Marc S. Tucker. America’s Choice received over the period of 2009 through 2013 $5.7 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.[6]

 

·         Tucker was a leader of the early mid 1990s education reform attempt known as Outcome Based Education. Tucker served as the executive director of the Carnegie Forum on Education and the Economy. Tucker was the author of the famous “Dr. Hillary” letter written on November 11, of 1992 that laid out the  plan for the Federal government takeover of education.[7]

 

·         The CCSS were created in a controlled secretive manner without any external public oversight unlike any normal standards creation process. [8]

 

·         The corporate Partners of CCSSO is a veritable who’s who of organizations that are positioned to profit or are profiting enormously from the implementation of the CCSS. Those organization include; AdvanceED, American Intitutes for Research (AIR), Blackboard, Data Recognition Corporation, ETS, InBloom (Gates partner), IQity, McGraw-Hill Education, Microsoft, Northwest Evaluation Association, Pearson Education, Promethean, Resaissance Learning, Inc., Scrantron, School improvement Network, ACT Inc., Amplify, Apple, The College Board, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Intel Corporation, K12 Inc., Measured Progress, Measurement Incorporated, MetaMetrics, SAS, Scholastic, Task Stream, Texas Instruments, Wilson Language Training, Battelle For Kids, Cisco, Generation Ready, IBM, Questar Assessment, Inc., and Truenorthlogic.[9]

 

·         The CCSS were put in place without the knowledge nor approval of the vast majority of the N.D. citizenry. There is NOTHING STATE LED ABOUT CCSS. NOTHING.

 

Remember back to June of 2010 when Governor John Hoeven and Department of Public Instruction Superintendent Wayne Sandstead requested the permission of the citizens of N.D. to accept the CCSS? Remember the big public discussion when Hoeven and Sanstead explained to North Dakota where the CCSS came from and how they were created and how they would require massive change of the N.D. school system? You do not remember because they did not. So who has the most influence on North Dakota education?  

The Common Core State Standards are the vehicle used without your knowledge or consent to put into place a systemic state-wide education revolution. Using money from the taxpayer of N.D. and a whole bunch from huge education service providers and who knows who else, an education change of a magnitude that you were never told about is in motion. Is this possible?

How about Bill and Melinda Gates? What about politically connected large corporations who will dominate multiple aspects of our children’s education? How about Washington D.C. based non-profits supported by Gates and all kinds of folks that nobody knows who they are? What if those non-profits were obtaining lots of North Dakota taxpayer’s money to work with the unknowns to control your children’s education?

The citizens of North Dakota must demand to know “who are all of the other shadow supporters of NGA and CCSSO?”  Why in the world are we (N.D. taxpayers) paying dues to NGA and CCSSO so that they can implement policies that are secretly devised, secretly implemented, and that appear to have the design to usurp the control of education from North Dakotans with our money?

Maybe Senator Hoeven, or Governor Dalrymple, or Kristen Baesler know what is really going on. Are they going to tell you if they know? Maybe they can reassure you….because:

If you like your local control of education, you can keep your local control. Period.

 

[1] Common Core: How Nonprofits Reaped Millions –

As Schneider points out, the NGA received $23.6 million from the Gates Foundation prior to June of 2009, and an additional $2.1 million after that date “to work with state policymakers on the implementation of the Common Core State Standards…”

The state school officers (CCSSO) received $47.1 million from Gates prior to June of 2009, with the largest payout to support data “access” and “data driven decisions.”

Schneider points out that, prior to June of 2009, Achieve, Inc. received $23.5 million in funding from the Gates Foundation. Another $13.2 million followed after the Common Core was created, with $9.3 million devoted to “building strategic alliances” for Common Core promotion.

To Coleman’s “nonprofit” Student Achievement Partners, which has always been only devoted to the Common Core standards, Gates bestowed $6.5 million in June of 2012.

“In total, the four organizations primarily responsible for CCSS – NGA, CCSSO, Achieve, and Student Achievement Partners – have taken $147.9 million from Bill Gates,” Schneider concludes”.

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/01/25/Common-Core-Where-Nonprofits-Reaped-Millions

 

[2] Controlling Education From the Top: Why Common Core is Bad for America -

 

“Because  NGA  and  CCSSO led its  creation, the Common Core State Standards Initiative claims  that  it  is  a  state led  effort,  implying that it had legislative grants of authority from individual states.  In fact, through 2008, the Common Core Initiative was a plan of private groups being  implemented  through  trade associations,  albeit  trade  associations  that NGA, CCSSO, and Achieve, Inc. accepted more than  27 million from the Gates Foundation alone  to  advance  the  Standards  and  the connected data collection and assessments”.

http://pioneerinstitute.org/download/controlling-education-from-the-top/

 

[3] Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Search Pages

http://www.gatesfoundation.org/Search#q/k=National%20Governors%20association

http://www.gatesfoundation.org/Search#q/k=Council%20of%20Chief%20State%20School%20Officers

http://www.gatesfoundation.org/Search#q/k=Achieve%2C%20inc.

http://www.gatesfoundation.org/Search#q/k=%22Student%20Achievement%20Partners%22

 

[4] Carnegie Foundation Grants:

http://carnegie.org/grants/grants-database/

 

[5] From the NGA website article, “Common Core State Standards Development Work Group and Feedback Group Announced”:

The Standards Development Work Group is currently engaged in determining and writing the college and career readiness standards in English-language arts and mathematics. This group is composed of content experts from Achieve, Inc., ACT, and the College Board. This group will be expanded later in the year to include additional experts to develop the standards for grades K-12 in English language arts and mathematics. Additionally, CCSSO and the NGA Center have selected an independent facilitator and an independent writer as well as resource advisors to support each content area work group throughout the standards development process. The Work Group's deliberations will be confidential throughout the process. States and national education organizations will have an opportunity to review and provide evidence-based feedback on the draft documents throughout the process.

 

The members of the mathematics Work Group are:

 

§  Sara Clough, Director, Elementary and Secondary School Programs, Development, Education Division, ACT, Inc.

§  Phil Daro, Senior Fellow, America's Choice

§  Susan K. Eddins, Educational Consultant, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (Retired)

§  Kaye Forgione, Senior Associate and Team Leader for Mathematics, Achieve

§  John Kraman, Associate Director, Research, Achieve

§  Marci Ladd, Mathematics Consultant, The College Board & Senior Manager and Mathematics Content Lead, Academic Benchmarks

§  William McCallum, University Distinguished Professor and Head, Department of Mathematics, The University of Arizona &Mathematics Consultant, Achieve

§  Sherri Miller, Assistant Vice President, Educational Planning and Assessment System (EPAS) Development, Education Division, ACT, Inc.

§  Ken Mullen, Senior Program Development Associate—Mathematics, Elementary and Secondary School Programs, Development, Education Division, ACT, Inc.

§  Robin O'Callaghan, Senior Director, Mathematics, Research and Development, The College Board

§  Andrew Schwartz, Assessment Manager, Research and Development, The College Board

§  Laura McGiffert Slover, Vice President, Content and Policy Research, Achieve

§  Douglas Sovde, Senior Associate, Mathematics, Achieve

§  Natasha Vasavada, Senior Director, Standards and Curriculum Alignment Services, Research and Development, The College Board

§  Jason Zimba, Faculty Member, Physics, Mathematics, and the Center for the Advancement of Public Action, Bennington College and Cofounder, Student Achievement Partners

 

Members of the English-language Arts Work Group are:

§   

§  Sara Clough, Director, Elementary and Secondary School Programs, Development, Education Division, ACT, Inc.

§  David Coleman, Founder, Student Achievement Partners

§  Sally Hampton, Senior Fellow for Literacy, America's Choice

§  Joel Harris, Director, English Language Arts Curriculum and Standards, Research and Development, The College Board

§  Beth Hart, Senior Assessment Specialist, Research and Development, The College Board

§  John Kraman, Associate Director, Research, Achieve

§  Laura McGiffert Slover, Vice President, Content and Policy Research, Achieve

§  Nina Metzner, Senior Test Development Associate—Language Arts, Elementary and Secondary School Programs, Development, Education Division, ACT, Inc.

§  Sherri Miller, Assistant Vice President, Educational Planning and Assessment System (EPAS) Development, Education Division, ACT, Inc.

§  Sandy Murphy, Professor Emeritus, University of California – Davis

§  Jim Patterson, Senior Program Development Associate—Language Arts, Elementary and Secondary School Programs, Development, Education Division, ACT, Inc.

§  Sue Pimentel, Co-Founder, StandardsWork; English Language Arts Consultant, Achieve

§  Natasha Vasavada, Senior Director, Standards and Curriculum Alignment Services, Research and Development, The College Board

§  Martha Vockley, Principal and Founder, VockleyLang, LLC

 

[6] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marc_Tucker

http://www.gatesfoundation.org/How-We-Work/Quick-Links/Grants-Database#q/k=NCEE

 

[7] The "Dear Hillary" letter, written on Nov. 11, 1992 by Marc Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE), lays out a plan "to remold the entire American system" into "a seamless web that literally extends from cradle to grave and is the same system for everyone," coordinated by "a system of labor market boards at the local, state and federal levels" where curriculum and "job matching" will be handled by counselors "accessing the integrated computer-based program."

http://www.eagleforum.org/educate/marc_tucker/

 

[8] Diane Ravitch

There is a recognized protocol for writing standards, and the Common Core standards failed to comply with that protocol.

 

In the United States, the principles of standard-setting have been clearly spelled out by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

 

On its website ANSI describes how standards should be developed in every field:

The American National Standards Institute ”has served in its capacity as administrator and coordinator of the United States private sector voluntary standardization system for more than 90 years. Founded in 1918 by five engineering societies and three government agencies, the Institute remains a private, nonprofit membership organization supported by a diverse constituency of private and public sector organizations.

 

“Throughout its history, ANSI has maintained as its primary goal the enhancement of global competitiveness of U.S. business and the American quality of life by promoting and facilitating voluntary consensus standards and conformity assessment systems and promoting their integrity. The Institute represents the interests of its nearly 1,000 company, organization, government agency, institutional and international members through its office in New York City, and its headquarters in Washington, D.C.”

 

ANSI’s fundamental principles of standard-setting are transparency, balance, consensus, and due process, including a right to appeal by interested parties. According to ANSI, there are currently more than 10,000 American national standards, covering a broad range of activities.

 

The Common Core standards were not written in conformity with the ANSI standard-setting process that is broadly recognized across every field of endeavor.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/03/24/ravitch-the-best-reason-to-oppose-the-common-core-standards/

 

[9] http://www.ccsso.org/Who_We_Are/Business_and_Industry_Partnerships/Corporate_Partners.html

 

 

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