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Sunday, April 06, 2014

STEVE CATES: AT THE CORE OF COMMON CORE - WHAT IT IS REALLY ALL ABOUT

The Core of the Common Core

 

The American political left has always wanted more and more control of education through the centralization of power to the Federal Government. In the early 1990s they tried to push Outcome Based Education on the nation but people figured out what the real deal was and it was rejected. But the leftist/socialist/progressives just keep on trying. Common Core Standards (CCS) is the latest push to have as much of the decision making for all students as possible to come from Washington D.C. by way of bureaucratic dictate, regulation manipulation, and likely financial rewards and penalties. The proponents keep circling back to “rigorous standards”, “preparing to compete in the 21st century”, “accountability”, and all sorts of buzzword mumbo jumbo that sounds great. The technique by the implementers is to keep circling back to the standards and inferring that anyone who does not agree with implementing the CCS is supporting substandard education.

 

But the argument about the CCS is a distraction as the standards are the veneer covering the Trojan Horse. Adoption of the CCS is about much, much, much more. It is really about the fundamental transformation of the American education system that empowers the Federal leviathan. By understanding the genesis of this movement, the people involved, and the process undertaken the reader will understand that North Dakota’s participation will result in building the infrastructure of Federal control.

 

This document is the expanded outline that will used to construct a series of articles designed to provide a thorough documentation of the genesis and process of implementation of these “standards.” The upcoming articles will provide the quotes, the sources cited, and links to primary documentation that will prove that ALL of the statements in this article are irrefutable.

 

President Obama, Arnie Duncan (current U.S. Secretary of Education), Bill Ayers (who has claimed to be a communist for the past 40 years), David Coleman and a cast of far left of center education reformer folks are directly connected and have for at least 10 years been in the process of implementing a leftist oriented change in American education with the stated purpose by many of those reformers of centralization of education to the U.S. Federal government. Common Core Standards (CCS) is their latest vehicle.

 

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Carnegie Corporation, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Ford Foundation, The Hewlett Foundation, The Annenberg Fund, and various other leftist non-profits provided very, very, very, large amounts of money to put this in place on the private side. Almost everybody involved has been bought off. The two entities that are claimed to have created these standards, the National Governor’s Association, and the Council of Chief State School Officers received millions. Bill Ayer’s brother John was during this process, a Vice President of the Carnegie Corporation overseeing philanthropic distribution of grants for education reform.

 

The CCS were written by a small and select group (27 people) in a manner unlike any accepted practice of standards construction. The development was done behind closed doors with few educators but lots of representatives of the education testing industry. There was NO public participation, NO transparency, and almost NO educator participation.

 

The U.S. Department of Education has been pushing THESE standards and the various instrumentalities of their implementation with only one degree of separation. The 2009 Stimulus money was the carrot offered states in the form of billions of dollars in grant conditional on the state adoption of “rigorous” standards. The CCS miraculously appear and many states take the money and without consulting their legislatures (as in ND), put these standards in place.

 

The U.S. Department of Education provided in excess of $351 million dollars to two entities to develop the assessments (tests) that would be aligned with CCS. These two entities were the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). North Dakota is a member of the SBAC.

 

McREL (Mid-continent Research Education Laboratory) of Denver who was the primary driving entity of Outcome Based Education and Goals 2000 during the early 1990s and 2000s is a creature almost exclusively of US Department of Education funding. They offered the service of doing a GAP analysis of a number of states’ “standards”, amazingly they found those standards wanting in comparison to the CCS. McREL was then the entity that facilitated the meetings with the ND standards committees guiding them (in my opinion) toward adoption. Dr. Wayne Sandstead was a board member of McREL during 2007 but other years of membership are unknown at this time. Board membership of the State Superintendent is a US Federal requirement for McREL.

 

In January of 2012, PARCC and SBAC were award a huge contract (channeled Federal $$) to education publisher Pearson to develop a “Technology Readiness Tool.” Amazingly, Pearson is the leading if not primary provider of curriculum for CCS aligned schools. It is my conjecture that once a school system spends lots of money for the software, hardware, and curriculum content that the provider (like Pearson) is locked onto the gravy-train for a very lucrative long haul.

 

The assessments designed under the direction of the US Department of Education dictates the curriculum. There was a very short window between adoption of CCS and the demand for curriculum materials that are aligned, a limited number of publishers could respond. Whomever has the inside track on the assessments will have a significant control of the curriculum market.

 

David Coleman was hired as the President of The College Board who develops and administrates standardized tests and curricula used by over 5,900 educational institutions. One of The College Boards’ primary tests is the SAT and related variants (PSAT/NMSQT, etc.). The Gates Foundation has provided multiple millions of dollars in grants to The College Board. This is a little odd as The College Board, though a non-profit had revenue of over $660 million in 2010 (most readily available amount). Coleman has repeatedly emphasized the alignment of nationalized college entrance tests with CCS. It has been significant evidence that the realignment of the college testing will result in huge amounts of income for Coleman/Common Core linked entities.

 

There is ample evidence that the Federal Government has a desire to build a massive database of student information. Part of the requirements of the CCS adoption by states was the construction of normalized/coordinated/compliant databases to be provided to US Department of Education. The design of this/these data structures are documented to include information about students far more extensive than the answer to examinations. There is evidence that the assessment process will include the ability to monitor biometric indicators of student reactions during assessment process with the capability of archiving such information. There is significant evidence of the assessment entities building the infrastructure for data mining of student data.

 

At the Annual Strategic Data Project (SDP) Beyond the Numbers Convening hosted by the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University, May 17, 2013, David Coleman explained his role as in the 2012 Obama campaign and the use of massive databases for the analytics to dominate that election and the significance of data analytics for public policy. Coleman made it clear during that speech that he and other people related to the Obama organization fully intend on data mining and the subsequent analytical use of student data.

 

·         The implementation of the Common Core Standards in North Dakota is the result of a very deliberate process began and guided by the Who’s Who of the progressive education left.

 

·         The standards were not constructed in any manner similar to the established process of creating standards of any type.

 

·         There is no scientifically rigorous evidence that Common Core Standard will actually have an effect on the “problem” they are purported to address.

 

·         There was no debate or notification to the citizens of the state of North Dakota as to the magnitude of the changes, either structurally or financial, that adoption of the standards would be demanded of the state’s citizens.

 

·         Design of the assessments and the alignment to those assessments means that an official body of knowledge will be established by entities that are beyond the reach of political processes.

 

·         Federal grants were given to the non-profits that guided the analysis of and subsequent adoption of the standards at the state level in a number of states.

 

·         Every proponent involve was paid off by non-profits, or big corporations, or U.S. Federal Government money.

 

·         There is much money to be made by the well connected education services business by the process of pass-through grants from organization existing largely or solely on US Federal dollars.

 

·         Data mining of student information beyond simple exam results is repeatedly indicated by the designers of Common Core standards, assessments, and the US Department of Education.

 

·         There is specific demand of database integration compatibility as a specific condition of federal education funding. 

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