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Attempting to obey God and follow Jesus Christ our Lord

Posts tagged “Common Core State Standards Initiative

The Politics of Degradation

English: Photo of Education Secretary (2009-)....

English: Photo of Education Secretary (2009-). The original photo can be found in the “Color photo—Print quality” zip file. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We see it so often from people who don’t like it when you challenge their ideas and plans. Instead of considering the criticism, they attack the person who has the audacity to question them. Instead of listening and understanding, they try to muzzle opposition by calling them names and changing the focus of the argument. Take our Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan for instance. When challenged on Common Core, instead of explaining the value of this major change to how our children are educated, he made the statement that he “found it “fascinating” that some of the opposition to the Common Core State Standards has come from “white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were.”

Never mind that there are so many inaccuracies in the platform that it changes our very history. Never mind that it promotes Islam, disregarding the Constitution and the first amendment that declares that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” I guess that since the Department of Education is not Congress, he thinks that this gives them the right to teach our children their preferred religion. What they totally ignore is that nothing in the Constitution gives the Department of Education the right to decide what our children learn. That is a State right that is being ignored and states are being given money to ignore their responsibility.

But back to the point of this post! We have become a immoral society when we rule by bullying and degradation. When we use the power of the office to stifle objection and push policies that are not proper upon a people that does not want them. Our government and many of our leaders push laws to prevent bullying and protect the little people. And yet with almost the very next breath do the very thing that they are claiming to protect us from.

When you call people who oppose you names such as racist, or ignorant, or claim that they don’t like women or any other minority, you stifle debate irregardless of the validity of the argument. A society that does not accept challenge and stifles debate is a country that is not free. When you lose that freedom by the very loss, you become a slave to the state. If they are the ones who have to approve of what you say, what you think, what you teach and what you preach, you are not free, and the opposite of freedom is slavery.

When the Israeli’s were in the wilderness with Moses, some of the want to go back to Egypt, even knowing that they were going back to slavery. The reason was that they didn’t like the hardship and discomfort. They longed for an easier life and they thought that being a slave was easier that being free. After all being a slave most often meant having your needs provided for without the responsibility of making the hard decisions and work for themselves.

We are at the point in American society that almost half of the country is willing to accept slavery in order to keep from making the hard decisions for themselves. They are willing to listen to those who are throwing out terms like racists and bully without bothering to check the validity of the term and whether it really applies to one that it is being used upon. The terms are thrown out there so broadly that they are used to condemn a whole section of people irregardless of reality or truth.

People that would not accept you bullying them, readily accept the bullying and degrading of others. They shrug it off because that is just politics and it is the opposition. They seem to think that anything that prevents them from being challenged is quite alright because they are right and there is no debate allowed.

What is next? Usually when a country gets to the point that no challenge is allowed, the next step is to rid society of those who do challenge authority. Is that where we are headed? We only have to look at the examples in our Bibles to understand what can happen to a country and a society that forgets who God is and who no longer apply the laws that He gave in their  dealings with the people of that country.

Arne Duncan is the Secretary of Education, he does not work for himself, and regardless of what he thinks, he does not really work for the President either. Although the President appointed him and the Senate approved him, ultimately he works for the people of this country. If we as his employers allow him and others like him to stifle debate by degrading those who would question him, we are the losers. Whether you agree with Common Core or not, at the very least you should entertain objections to it and investigate those objections. Not doing so means that what you are promoting is less of a plan and more of an agenda.

We must stop allowing people to claim, every time there is disagreement with a proposal that affects the future of the country, that those who bring objections are racist, stupid, and haters. Any plan or program worth having is worth debating. Any problem that can survive debate is a program than has qualities that benefit. Any plan can benefit from objections and often those objections can lead to a better plan.

Can a Secretary of Education who spends his time degrading a portion of society without actually listening to objections, really be considered to be an intelligent and measured individual? Is this really the type of person that should decide what is acceptable to teach our children? Is this what we want them to learn? Do we want them to stop debate by calling the other person names? If not we need to make it clear that the behavior of the Secretary of Education is not acceptable. He is responsible to education and what he is teaching is immoral and damaging to our children’s future and welfare.

This is not just a Christian value, this is a value for all who love their children and want them to have the best. If the product offered is the best, it should be able to stand up to debate. If it is not then it should be changed and challenge should never be stifled.

 

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Debunking the Common Core “The Emperor’s New Clothes” Narrative…. via The Bell News

The following post is reprinted with permission and it is a must read for anyone with children and grandchildren. It is also a must read for educators. Please do take time to check the links and read the other posts available!

Debunking the Common Core “The Emperor’s New Clothes” Narrative….

and why are education reformers/politicians ascribing to fairy tales for policy?

Should Common Core State Standards be considered an educational version of the story “The Emperor’s New Clothes”?  The standards are the promise of  new clothes for education but is there basis for believing there are any clothes at all?  From Wikipedia:

The Emperor’s New Clothes” (DanishKejserens nye Klæder) is a short tale byHans Christian Andersen about two weavers who promise an Emperor a new suit of clothes that is invisible to those unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent. When the Emperor parades before his subjects in his new clothes, a child cries out, “But he isn’t wearing anything at all!” The tale has been translated into over a hundred languages.[1]

Christopher H. Tienken, Editor of AAASA Journal of Scholarship and Practice provided commentary in the Winter 2011 publication entitled Common Core State Standards: An Example of Data-less Decision Making.

His research may just expose the standards to be unfit and fallacy to those who are critical thinkers asking for data determining their stated validity.  This article should be studied by educators, politicians, taxpayers, to understand the colossal farce Common Core standards are in terms of providing promises of educational improvement for American students as they are unproven and untested.

Tienken writes the standards have not been validated empirically and no metric has been set to monitor the intended and unintended consequences they will have on the education system and children (Mathis, 2010).  So why would governors and private trade organizations spend millions of taxpayer dollars on theories instead of verifiable researched data?  The CCSS proponents have bought into these two arguments:

  • America’s children are “lagging” behind international peers in terms of academic achievement, and
  • the economic vibrancy and future of the United States relies upon American students outranking their global peers on international tests of academic achievement because of the mythical relationship between ranks on those tests and a country’s economic competitiveness.

Where’s the data supporting the CCSS proponents’  arguments?  There isn’t much put forth by the education reformers.  So why are states and school districts implementing unproven and untested theories?  He defines the acceptance/lack of data for the unproven and untested CCSS assessments and implementation allegedly designed to enable students to become “globally competitive” with such sentences/phrases as:

  • An unbelievable suspension of logic and evidence
  • To believe that economic strength of the United States relies on how students rank on the Trends in International Math and Science Study (TIMSS) or the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), rather than reliance on policy (tax, trade, health, labor, finance, monetary, housing, natural resources policy)…”is like believing in the tooth fairy”
  • The “critical skills necessary to compete in the 21st century” are repackaged 19th century ideas and skills…they are “inert, sterile, socially static”…the CCSS are stuck in a curricular time machine set in 1858
  • Connecting an individual’s education achievement on a standardized test to a nation’s economic future is not empirically or logically acceptable and using that mythical connection for large-scale policymaking is civically reckless…when school administrators implement programs and policies built on those faulty arguments, they commit education malpractice
  •  More countries with national standards underperformed the US than did countries without national standards
  • To think that every student in this country should be made to learn the same thing is illogical—it lacks face validity…we should have learned from the Soviet Union that central planning does not work in the long-run
  • Standardization and testing are so entrenched in Singapore that every attempt to diversity the system has failedleaving Singapore a country that has high test scores but no creativity
  • (CCSS) creates a standardizing apparatus…we should respect differences among children, not try to extinguish them…there is a lot more going on here on the societal level than meets the eye…it’s more complex than the creators and vendors of the standards either understand or wish to present
  • Children have a right to a quality education.  School leaders, those who prepare them, and the people who lead our professional organizations have a duty to help provide the quality…if some education leaders choose to drink the snake oil then they should expect to get sick.  If some help sell it, they should resign.

 

He backs up his findings with 48 independent referenced sources.  It is worth your time to read his commentary that destroys the CCSS proponents’ arguments with methodical precision based on actual data.  Compare/contrast his research/reference with the data CCSSO and the NGA use:

 “

Many school districts or schools have “data committees” that make school-widedecisions based on some type of data. Surely there must be quality data available publically to support the use of the CCSS to transform, standardize, centralize and essentially delocalize America’s public education system.  The official website for the CCSS claims to provide such evidence. The site alleges that the standards are “evidence based” and lists two homegrown documents to “prove” it: Myths vs Facts (NGA, 2010) and the Joint International Benchmarking Report (NGA, 2008).

 The Myths document presents claims that the standards have “made use of a large and growing body of knowledge” (p. 3).  Knowledge derives in part from carefully controlled scientific experiments and observations so one would expect to find references to high quality empirical research to support the standards.

When I reviewed that “large and growing body of knowledge” offered by the NGA, I found that it was not large, and in fact built mostly on one report, Benchmarking for Success, created by the NGA and the CCSSO, the same groups that created these standards; Hardly independent research.
The Benchmarking report has over 135 end notes, some of which are repetitive references. Only four of the cited pieces of evidence could be considered empirical studies related directly to the topic of national standards and student achievement.

The remaining citations were newspaper stories, armchair magazine articles, op-ed pieces, book chapters, notes from telephone interviews, and several tangential studies.

Many of the citations were linked to a small group of standardization advocates and did not represent the larger body of empirical thought on the topic”.

Tienken’s report needs to be sent to school boards, superintendents, state educational agencies, educational reform groups, governors and state legislators for their response to his research and conclusions.  These private and/or public entities need to asked why they support common core standards and provide the data to back up their beliefs and use of the standards.  If you get shocked faces and declarations from these groups/politicians such as “I do whatever _________ tells me to” (fill in the blank: state agency, federal government, governor, etc), you know the right to direct your school’s educational direction is in dire jeopardy.

Tienken writes those who perpetuate bad ideas based on flawed data are practicing poor leadership.  If some school leaders and their organizations do not want to stand up for children then they should stand down and let those who are will assume the leadership reins.

How do you believe these organizations/politicians will respond (if they do) to Tienken’s research?  Tienken welcomed rebuttal on his 2011 commentary:

“I welcome your rebuttals but please remember: Leave the opinions and ideology behind and bring the evidence”.

 

Do the CCSS proponents have anything other than opinions and ideology?   This commentary was published in Winter 2011.  I haven’t seen any data backing up CCSS proponents’ assertions, have you?   That’s odd as they state CCSS is data driven.  If they insist CCSS should be data driven, shouldn’t the foundational theory of their reforms consist of verifiable data to determine the veracity of their argument?

Dr. Tienken’s academic profile:

Christopher Tienken, Ed.D. is an assistant professor of Education Administration at Seton Hall University. He has public school administration experience as a PK-12 assistant superintendent, middle school principal, and elementary school assistant principal. He began his career in education as an elementary school teacher. Dr Tienken’s research interests include the effect and influence of professional development on teacher practice and student achievement, the construct validity of high-stakes standardized tests as decision-making tools about student achievement and school effectiveness, and curricular interventions used in schools to improve achievement. His research about the effects of professional development on student achievement has been recognized by the Institute of Education Sciences and the National Staff Development Council awarded him the Best Research Award in 2008.

 

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