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Common Core Rapidly Losing Support

As their children either start or return to school, parents are naturally concerned about the quality of education they receive from kindergarten through twelfth grade. In the past, before the teachers unions gained virtual control of the schools and before the federal government decided it had to impose “national standards”, it was the job of local boards of education to ensure students learned the basics—the three R’s—and, if history is any indicator, they did.

There should be no federal intervention in our school systems, but programs such as 2001’s “No Child Left Behind” and Obama’s “Race to the Top” have conditioned people to accept its role. The most recent example is Common Core, but it is the creation of the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. The support it has received from the White House, the Department of Education, and voices on Capitol Hill has left many with the impression it is a federal program. That doesn’t make it any less awful.

If you want to learn the facts about it, read a brief analysis by Joy Pullman, “Common Core: A Bad Choice for America”, which you can download for free from The Heartland Institute’s website or purchase copies in quantity. Pullman, a research fellow, is the managing editor of Heartland’s “School Reform News”, published ten times per year. For the record, I am a Heartland advisor.

As Pullman notes in her analysis, “In 2010, every state but Alaska, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia adopted Common Core education standards, a set of requirements in each grade in math and English language arts.” As school begins this year, four states, Indiana, Oklahoma, Missouri, and South Carolina have already dropped the program. Watch other states such as Louisiana and Wisconsin do the same.

Common Core

Click on the image for a larger view. Poster courtesy of ThePeoplesCube.com.

Here’s why. As Pullman notes in a recent article, for the first time the annual Pi Kappa Delta/Gallup poll revealed that “a majority of Americans—81%–has heard of Common Core. And 60% oppose it.” As more Americans learn more about Common Core, they too will oppose it, but the most intriguing finding of the poll was that, among teachers, there was a drop of support from 76% last year to 46% this year! The poll demonstrated that “Majorities wanted local school boards to have far more control over what schools teach than state or federal governments.”

Pullman said, “Everyone is for ‘standards’ in the abstract. Everyone is not for ‘standards’ that, like Common Core, coerce teachers and schools, and impose bad education theories on the countries.”

“Nationalizing education, like nationalizing anything,” says Pullman “requires compromise to get enacted. And compromise inevitably sacrifices quality. Quality has to grow from the ground up, through cooperation and competition, or it will never exist.”

What teachers and parents subject to Common Core requirements have learned rather quickly is that the program has a number of serious flaws. It not only slows the process of learning multiplication, it dampens the development of the creative thinking process, and offers a skewed, leftist selection of reading materials about U.S. history.

Pullman says, “The most important thing to understand about education standards is that research has demonstrated they have no effect on student achievement. That’s right: no effect at all. A series of data analyses from the Brookings Institution found no link between high state standards and high student achievement.”

Any parent and any teacher will confirm that different students learn at different rates and some encounter problems in certain areas. Some are better at mathematics. Others are better readers and writers. Still others find science or the arts of greatest interest. People are different. It is foolish to think that children aren’t.

This is not to say that the states don’t have education standards. They do and local boards ensure that their curriculums meet them.

At the national level, Pullman points out that “the country already has a national testing program that sets cut scores: the National Assessment of Educational Progress” that is “a valid, well-respected measuring stick that already offers states and citizens the ability to compare schools’ progress across state lines without the intrusions and muddle curriculum Common Core introduces.”

I recommend you download Pullman’s analysis, but in the meantime let me offer a good way to understand Common Core. It is the Obamacare of education.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is by RealClearEducation.com.

Common Core Assignment: Think Like a Nazi and Explain Why Jews Are Evil

[youtube]http://youtu.be/xD-Fm8P8Ig8[/youtube]

An essay assigned to 10th graders, at Albany High School, is at the center of controversy after students were asked to ‘think like a Nazi’. Students were assigned a persuasive writing essay where the teacher asked them to “pretend I’m a member of the government in Nazi Germany”, the handout obtained by CBS Channel 6 said.

The assignment went on to say “convince me you are loyal to the Nazis by writing an essay to convince me Jews are evil and the source of our problems.” Albany’ Superintendent, Dr. Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard, called the assignment “ill-conceived and inappropriate.” “How could you ask a student to justify prejudice leading to genocide,” said Dr. Vanden Wyngaard. “It is an illogical thing for a student to have to do. It doesn’t make any sense.” The teacher, whose name is not being released by the district, will not be teaching while a decision is being made on what consequences there will be, said Dr. Vanden Wyngaard. “It can go anywhere from a letter of council, a letter reprimand, all the way through to termination there is a broad spectrum,” said Dr. Vanden Wyngaard on the possible sanctions against the teacher. “I will not make that decision within the 24 hours because the spectrum is too big.”

The assignment didn’t make sense to the head of the Holocaust Survivors and Friends Education Center, in Albany, officials said Friday. They were disappointed but looked at the incident as an opportunity to educate both students and teachers going forward. “I was totally shocked when I learned this morning that anyone would have such an unbalanced lesson and grade students teaching racist anti semitic views,” said Shelly Shapiro, Director, Holocaust Survivors and Friends Education Center.

This story first broke back in April when The Times Union reported, via Poor Richard’s News:

Think like a Nazi, the assignment required students. Argue why Jews are evil.

Students in some Albany High School English classes were asked this week as part of a persuasive writing assignment to make an abhorrent argument: “You must argue that Jews are evil, and use solid rationale from government propaganda to convince me of your loyalty to the Third Reich!”

Students were asked to watch and read Nazi propaganda, then pretend their teacher was a Nazi government official who needed to be convinced of their loyalty. In five paragraphs, they were required to prove that Jews were the source of Germany’s problems.

The exercise was intended to challenge students to formulate a persuasive argument and was given to three classes, Albany Superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard said. She said the assignment should have been worded differently.

“I would apologize to our families,” she said. “I don’t believe there was malice or intent to cause any insensitivities to our families of Jewish faith.”

One-third of the students refused to complete the assignment, she said.

Vanden Wyngaard said the exercise reflects the type of writing expected of students under the new Common Core curriculum, the tough new academic standards that require more sophisticated writing. Such assignments attempt to connect English with history and social studies.

Republican support for Common Core crumbles

Chrissy Blevio from the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition states,  “After the recent release of the well-documented response [CLICK HERE] from twelve Republican leaders from all over Florida to the Common Core [HERE] put forth by Senator John Thrasher and other former Republican (RPOF) leaders, support was overwhelming from many others within the RPOF.  So much so, that twenty-five additional leaders RPOF and a few other officials have asked for their names to be added, and the letter has been released again.”

“This effort to impose Common Core on our children and divide our party must end,” said Randy Osborne, Marion County chairman, director of education for Heartland Research, and lobbyist for the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition.  “The signers of this letter represent Republican Executive Committee membership – parents, grandparents, concerned citizens, and grassroots activists from all over this state, the heart and soul of the Republican Party.”

“The Florida Stop Common Core Coalition is extremely pleased and appreciative of the stand taken by these wise leaders,” said Dr. Karen Effrem, president of Education Liberty Watch and a co-founder of the FSCCC.  “It is not these leaders, the Republican Executive Committee membership or the many groups and individuals that have joined our coalition that are “misinformed” or “laboring under conspiracy theories,” but rather it is Senator Thrasher and the many other proponents that are trying to force this untested education system on Florida and the nation.  The standards are academically inferior to what many states, including Florida, already have.  There is no evidence that they will raise student achievement.  Failed attempts at this type of centralized education planning litter the ash heap of history all over the world. We call upon the RPOF and elected officials to reject the Common Core system and return education accountability to local instead of federal control.”

Below is the complete list of Republican officials that reject the imposition of the Common Core standards system in Florida and have signed on to this rebuttal letter.

Randy Osborne – Chairman Marion County Republican Executive Committee

Eric Miller – State Committeeman, Martin County

John Drozinski – Chairman, Republican Executive Committee Highlands County

Teri Armstrong – State Committeewoman, Marion County

Michael Levine – Chairman, Lake County Republican Executive Committee

Elvira Hasty – Former State Committeewoman, Saint Johns County

Gaye Ellis Chair – Okaloosa, County Republican Executive Committee

Tony Ledbetter – Chairman, Republican Party Volusia

Sheri Ortega – Chairman, Republican Suwannee County

Patricia Sullivan – State Committeewoman, Lake County

Alan Burton – State Committeeman, Volusia County

Marguerite Cavanaugh – Former State Committee Woman, Marion County. Executive VP Florida Eagle Forum

Carlie Rogers, Brevard State Committeewoman

Bradley Maxwell Leon County Chairman

Larry Taylor, Wakulla County State Committeeman

Mrs. Taylor, Wakulla County School Board Member District 2

Debi Large, Okeechobee County Chairman

Sandra Atkinson,   Okaloosa County State Committeewoman

Anne-Marie Shaffer, Flagler County State Committeewoman

Frank Meeker, Flagler County State Committeeman

Dave Sullivan, Flagler County Chairman.

Bill Fochi,  Charlotte County Chairman

Steven Czonstka,  Okaloosa County State Committeeman

Robert E. Hagaman, Citrus County State Committeeman

Jane Sturges, Charlotte County Committeewoman

Lindsay Harrington, Charlotte County Committeeman

Joe Arnold, Okeechobee County State Committeeman

Melissa Arnold, Okeechobee County State Committeewoman

Mike Cribby, Putnam County State Committreeman
BryAnne White, Calhoun County State Committeewoman

Mark Cross, Osceola County State Committeeman

William Paterson, St. Lucie County Chairman

Michael Hofstee, St. Lucie County State Committeeman

Mary Ann Russell, St. Lucie County State Committeewoman

Joseph Sowell, Holmes County State Committeeman

Susan Sowell, Holmes County State Committeewoman

Ryan Anderson, Broward County State Committeeman

To learn more about the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition contact Chrissy Blevio flstopcccoalition@gmail.com.

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