Category Archives: COMMON CORE/CSCOPE – GENERAL

Fail: Pro-Common Core group’s attempt to demean parents with stuffed unicorns backfires


UnicorncampaignGeymann'sdesk

From EAGnews.org:

An attempt to brand Common Core opponents as people too ignorant to know fantasy from reality has backfired.

The New Orleans-based Alliance for Better Classrooms PAC launched a marketing campaign last week with stuffed pink unicorns.

The unicorns, which were placed on the desks of Louisiana lawmakers, had tags that said, “Unicorns are not real. And neither are most of the things you’ve heard about Common Core.”

The tags also referenced a website titled Unicorns Are Not Real, which organization officials say was created to dispel Common Core “myths.”

According to The Advocate, state lawmakers were in their third day of a two-month session last Wednesday when most of their desks were dotted with the stuffed toys.

Dan Juneau, executive director of Alliance for Better Classrooms (ABC PAC), said this in a prepared statement regarding the campaign: “Such an important decision about children’s future shouldn’t be clouded with misconceptions and outright misleading statements.”

“We owe it to our kids to educate ourselves and realize exactly what Common Core State Standards do,” Juneau said.

The unicorn marketing ploy, however, has created quite a backlash, leaving some organizations and individuals trying to distance themselves not only from the ABC PAC, but from the entire Common Core debate.

When numerous Louisiana parents, educators, and other Common Core opponents took to their phones and emails to express their outrage to organizations and businesses listed as Common Core supporters at UnicornsAreNotReal.org, they found that several of them were not even aware that their names were being used.

For example, a Rapides Parish educator, who wishes to remain anonymous, tells EAGnews that she received an email from Deborah Randolph, president of the Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce, stating that the Chamber did not give permission to ABC PAC or anyone else to use its name. In fact, she said the chamber had previously rescinded its support of the Common Core national standards initiative.

In another email, Chamber director Lindsey Marone also said that the Chamber takes a neutral stance on Common Core, adding that she has personally contacted the UnicornsAreNotReal website to to ask that the Chamber’s name be removed.

After learning that his name was also listed, Governor Mike Huckabee submitted the following statement on his Facebook page yesterday:

A pro-Common Core group is using my name without permission and attributing ideas to me that are wholly untrue. I have stated many times over that I oppose Common Core and anyone who says otherwise is either misinformed or not telling the truth. I believe education is a family function, not a federal function – period.

Nothing is more emblematic of Washington arrogance and reckless central planning than Common Core. The federal government has stuck its obtrusive nose into local education and hijacked the system. We must kill Common Core and restore common sense.

In a statement to Breitbart.com, Louisiana State Rep. Brett Geymann had this to say:

I find it very offensive that the arrogance of the elitists has led to the mocking of parents in public.

To equate a mother who is fighting for her child to a person who believes in unicorns is unacceptable and pathetic.

They have crossed over the line of public debate and determined themselves to be part of the ruling class. We intend to stop them.

According to The Advocate, in 2011, ABC PAC leaders vowed to spend up to $1 million to elect BESE members sympathetic to their goals of increased school choice and sweeping changes in how public schools are funded.

ABC-backed candidates won in five of seven races.

The news source also reports that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s trust donated $100,000 to the group in 2011, sparking complaints by public school groups of outside interference in Louisiana contests.

Pearson Education admits spying on students’ social media accounts


From EAGnews.org:

Pearson Education has admitted to monitoring the social media accounts of students nationwide for possible breaches of information about the Common Core-aligned PARCC tests.

On Friday, Bob Braun, a former columnist for New Jersey’s Star Ledger, posted an email sent by Watchung Hills Regional School District Superintendent Elizabeth Jewett to her colleagues expressing her concern about the monitoring of students in her district.

Jewett’s March 10th email, which she has since confirmed to the Washington Post and on the district’s website to be legitimate, read as follows:

Good morning all,

Last night at 10PM, my testing coordinator received a call from the NJDOE that Pearson had initiated a Priority 1 Alert for an item breach within our school. The information the NJDOE initially called with was that there was a security breach DURING the test session, and they suggested the student took a picture of a test item and tweeted it. After further investigation on our part, it turned out that the student had posted a tweet (NO PICTURE) at 3:18PM (after school) that referenced a PARCC test question. The student deleted the tweet and we spoke with the parent – who was obviously highly concerned as to her child’s tweets being monitored by the DOE. The DOE informed us that Pearson is monitoring all social media during PARCC testing. I have to say that I find that a bit disturbing. – and if our parents were concerned before about a conspiracy with all of the student data, I am sure I will be receiving more letters of refusal once this gets out (not to mention the fact that the DOE wanted us to also issue discipline to the student). I thought this was worth sharing with the group.

-Liz

According to the Washington Post, after requesting comment from Pearson about the unauthorized monitoring of students during PARCC, the education giant’s spokeswoman Stacy Skelly said this in an email:

The security of a test is critical to ensure fairness for all students and teachers and to ensure that the results of any assessment are trustworthy and valid.

We welcome debate and a variety of opinions. But when test questions or elements are posted publicly to the Internet, we are obligated to alert PARCC states. Any contact with students or decisions about student discipline are handled at the local level.

We believe that a secure test maintains fairness for every student and the validity, integrity of the test results.

According to Braun, who communicated with Jewett by email, Jewett also said that she discovered three instances in which Pearson notified the state education department of the results of its spying, adding that the three “situations have been dealt with in accordance with our Watchung Hills Regional High School code of conduct and academic integrity policy.”

In a letter posted to the district’s website on Saturday, Jewett again confirmed the authenticity of her March 10th email to her colleagues, and also stated that she did not authorize the release of the email, was not aware of who released it, or of their motives in doing so.

Jewett’s letter continues:

That said, I completely stand behind my comments as they represent not only my views and concerns; they also represent the views and concerns of our Board of Education.

The article references instances involving students during PARCC testing and any related disciplinary action. For student privacy issues, we cannot comment on any of the specific students or discipline referred to in the article. What I am able to share is that all issues have been dealt with in accordance with our Code of Conduct, Academic Integrity and Acceptable Use of Technology Policies.

Our main concern is, and will always remain, supporting the educational, social and emotional needs of our students. The privacy and security of student information remains the utmost priority for our district.

The district will have no further comment on this matter at this time.

In a personal email to Braun, Jewett wrote that she is “very concerned that whatever details [Braun’s sources] are providing may cause unnecessary labeling and hardship to students who are learning the consequences of their behaviorals.”

In response, Braun wrote an update to his previous post stating that he felt he “must point out the irony” of Jewett lecturing him about protecting the identity of students “when she has just dealt with both an inexcusable breach of privacy involving minors and an attempt by state government to punish dissent.”

In 2013, it was reported here that Pearson Education had released a series of videos proudly showcasing its “vision for the future of education”, a vision that would also violate student privacy.

Specifically, Pearson’s ‘vision’ includes teachers and school administrators having instant access to an individualized schedule on each student that includes their whereabouts and extra curricular activities outside of school.

Louisiana Legislator Rallies Parents Against Common Core: ‘A Battle Worth Fighting’


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EAGnews.org exclusive:

“We are outgunned and outspent but we are not outworked,” writes a Louisiana state representative to fellow Common Core opponents.

In July of last year, Rep. Brett Geymann and 16 other Louisiana legislators filed a lawsuit against the state’s Board of Education seeking the immediate suspension of Common Core.

The lawsuit, which was later joined by Gov. Bobby Jindal and is still pending in district court, argues that local education leaders failed to follow the state’s Administrative Procedures Act (APA) for implementing the standards, thereby robbing the public of its chance to view and comment on the standards before they were adopted.

Earlier this month, Geymann took to his Facebook page to encourage parents and teachers looking to him to continue the fight. In his February 2nd post, titled “Common Core — A Battle Worth Fighting,” Geymann urged his Facebook friends to “keep the faith and keep the fight because the next generation depends on it.”

“I am so proud to watch and be a part of a movement from the people to take up the battle for their children and for the next generation,” writes Geymann. “It is disheartening to hear people in leadership… criticize and mock parents who are speaking out… What arrogance and disrespect for the very people who care the most about their children.”

“I often pray for wisdom and direction…,” he continues. “It seems hopeless at times but then 800 people fill an auditorium. It seems hopeless at times but then an election comes and nameplates change in the committee room and the boardroom. It seems hopeless at times but other states have done it and so can we.”

As recently reported, Gov. Jindal issued an executive order on January 30th protecting the right of parents to opt their children out of the upcoming Common Core linked PARCC tests and to protect schools from being penalized for any opt-outs.

The same day, Rep. Geymann urged parents to do just that, writing, “If you have a child in school that is scheduled to take the PARCC assessment, please consider opting out… It is time to give the education decisions of the children back to their parents and that can start by opting out of the PARCC assessment.”

While it’s not clear yet how large the opt-out movement in Louisiana will be, it is apparently large enough to be a cause of concern for many district leaders.

As recently reported by The Times Picayune, 14 of Louisiana’s school districts have already passed resolutions aimed at preventing schools from being penalized for students skipping the tests, while Terrebonne Parish is currently considering whether to ask the governor and state superintendent if the entire district can be removed from PARCC.

 

 

Gov. Jindal Issues Executive Order Protecting Parents’ Right to Opt Out of Common Core Testing


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From EAGnews.org:

Amid reports from around the state of parents opting their children out of upcoming PARCC testing, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal issued an executive order Friday afternoon to protect students, teachers, and schools from the consequences of those opt-outs.

The executive order, which reiterates the standing rights of parents to opt their children out of such tests, calls on the state’s board of education to offer alternatives to the controversial PARCC testing.

The Common Core-linked Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests are slated to begin in March.

As reported by The Advertiser, “opting out by parents has the potential to hurt schools, districts and teachers in the state’s accountability system. Under the current accountability system, schools receive a zero for each student who doesn’t take the test.”

“Accountability scores are used to determine district and school performance scores as well as figuring into teacher evaluations,” the news source continues. “That can translate into monetary awards for both teachers and schools.”

However, Jindal’s executive order calls on BESE to, “as a viable and necessary action,” “grant districts the ability to offer nationally norm-referenced or other comparable assessment appropriate for Louisiana as an alternative to the PARCC test, including abbreviated versions for the purpose of benchmarking, rather than penalizing students, teachers and schools and jeopardizing our statewide accountability system.”

The order continues:

WHEREAS, nationally norm-referenced or other comparable assessments utilized by other states, and compliant with La. R.S. 17:24.4, are readily available in the marketplace and offer complete and abbreviated versions for the purpose of benchmarking, either of which can easily be administered as alternatives to the PARCC test;

WHEREAS, it is inherent upon BESE, pursuant to the clear statutory findings of law provided by the legislature, to avert the growing disruption to this year’s assessments by offering alternative means of testing readily available in the marketplace and currently utilized by other states, in order to avoid the negative impacts to student achievement, the teacher evaluation system, and the school and district accountability system.

KATC reports in Louisiana’s Lafayette Parish, kindergarten teacher Erin May is currently the only parent to opt her children out of the testing, but “numerous other parents have voiced concerns over the testing, which is linked to the Common Core curriculum.”

Those concerns have prompted Lafayette area parents to organize a meeting to take place Tuesday night so that “parents, school board members and other education stakeholders can discuss the issue.”

According to KNOE Channel 8, several parents in Ouachita Parish alone have already called their school principals to inform them that their children will not be taking the exam.

The news site also states that when they asked parents on Facebook if they would opt their children out of PARCC tests, “an overwhelming majority… said yes.”

Last summer, Jindal changed course on Common Core and PARCC, boldly announcing that what “began as an effort to simply raise standards for students… has morphed into a scheme to drive education curriculum from Washington, D.C.”

Jindal added, “Congress drew a bright red line that can’t be crossed and it clearly bars the federal government from ‘directing, supervising, or controlling elementary and secondary school curriculum programs of instructional material.’”

“Implementing PARCC in Louisiana crosses the line because what’s tested is what’s taught,” said the governor.

Jindal attempted to suspend PARCC testing in June of last year by way of executive order, asserting that PARCC did not allow a competitive bidding process, as required by Louisiana state law.

In response, the state’s BESE board joined in a lawsuit against Jindal that was filed by Black Alliance for Education Options. As a result, district Judge Todd Hernandez blocked Jindal’s executive order.

A recent Washington Examiner report says that Common Core will be the defining issue for GOP presidential contenders this year.

The Examiner’s Hugh Hewitt says he interviewed Jindal and several other potential candidates recently and reports that both Rick Perry and Marco Rubio also reject Common Core while Jeb Bush remains supportive of the initiative.

Specifically, Hewitt writes:

Bush is quick to defend the original theory and its necessity… vigorously rejecting the idea that Common Core meant in practice a national one-size-fits-all curriculum.

“Standards are different from curriculum,” he told me, “and that’s where I think the biggest misnomer [occurs and] where people legitimately get concerned.”

“I would be concerned if we had a national curriculum influenced by the federal government,” Bush added. “My God, I’d break out in a rash.”

In 2013, then Governor Rick Perry signed legislation effectively banning the Common Core State Standards from the state of Texas.

Common Core Goes Global: CCSS Conference Kicks Off this Weekend — in Dubai


MENACommonCore

EAGnews.org:

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The 2nd Annual MENA Common Core Conference kicks off today in Dubai, proving that Common Core – the national standards initiative championed by the Obama administration – is going global.

According to a report today from Grumpy Opinions, the conference is being sponsored by Middle East North Africa Common Core and Know.Do.Serve.Learn (KDSL), whose website states:

On October 24th and 25th hundreds of education professionals and scholars from the Middle East, North Africa and America will gather in Dubai for a symposium on implementing Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in regional American curriculum schools. The goal of this annual conference is to inform education professionals about implementing the CCSS in English Language Arts and Mathematics in their schools. The conference also seeks to empower teachers to increase the academic success of their students, showcase exceptional CCSS aligned classroom resources and connect CCSS educators across the Middle East and North Africa. Last years conference, the first of its kind, attracted over 300 attendees from 7 countries and 23 speakers. This year’s conference will exceed those numbers.

Conference partners include Oxford University, Pearson Education, Arab Gulf Education, Teach United Arab Emirates, National Geographic, and Amideast, an organization who proudly states that one of its staff was formerly associated with the radical Islamic terrorist organization, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. Amideast also deceptively describes the Muslim Brotherhood as simply “the oldest religiously-founded group of its kind in the Middle East.”

Conference organizer KDSL recently released a white paper highlighting American curriculum schools in Dubai and recommending the Common Core State Standards.

The white paper, Three Things Every Parent Should Know About American Curriculum Schools In Dubai, goes through the usual Common Core spiel — that it’s state led, defines what students should know and be able to do at each grade level, does not dictate curriculum, etc.

Additionally, KDSL’s white paper, which claims to have elicited responses from “stakeholders in the US and UAE,” says that US educational administrators describe ‘American curriculum’ as follows:

An American curriculum should be one that emphasizes the ideas of the quest of  freedom, the need of justice, the struggle to imagine and believe in something deeper and fitting for all of humanity, and the desire to innovate systems for a greater good. Of course, this appears to bend heavily on the humanities, but I think all disciplines, when taught and
explored in its most intuitive sense, are based on these underpinnings of an American curriculum.

The document then states that what UAE parents want from an American curriculum is a “whole child curriculum” where “character education, pastoral care, and development of unique individual interests counts just as much as what goes on in the classrooms…”

KDSL then goes on to recommend Common Core and several resources for implementation.

MENA Common Core says this weekend’s conference is the perfect place for educational organizations and companies to showcase what they have to offer to the greater community.

As stated by Grumpy Opinions:

Bill Gates/Microsoft and some of the corporations that make up the Chamber of Commerce stand to generate billions of dollars a year just from the implementation of Common Core in the United States.  We only account for 5% of the worlds total population, imagine how much they could make from globalization of the scheme.

Of course, as global education activists promote the Common Core State Standards in Dubai this weekend, there will likely be no mention of the fact that more than a dozen US states are fighting to dump the standards.

Louisiana Politician Slams Common Core, Prefers ‘Parental Involvement and Less Government Intrusion’


My EAGnews.org exclusive:

State Senator Elbert Guillory is being referred to as a breath of fresh air for Louisiana, and his position on Common Core is just one reason why.

Several months ago, before Governor Jindal began to openly oppose Common Core, Senator Guillory, representing Louisiana District 24, released a short video explaining why he opposes the Common Core State Standards initiative.

Not only did Guillory hit the nail on the head with regard to Common Core, he also gave Louisianians an exhilarating and much needed reminder of what a people-serving politician should look like.

In the video, Guillory refers to Common Core as “minimal education standards not high enough to prepare Louisiana students for the intellectual, professional, and leadership demands of the modern world.”

Guillory goes on to say that “the most important elements in a child’s education are parental involvement and less government intrusion.”

According to the Senator, because his office was “bombarded” for several months with complaints about Common Core, they decided to participate in a poll, the result of which showed that, in his district, almost 70% of citizens oppose Common Core but would support Louisiana standards.

Senator Guillory then says something rarely heard from the mouths of politicians today: “It is my duty to listen and my obligation to respond to the concerns of the citizens I represent.”

Guillory, who took office as a Democrat in 2009, left the party last year to become the first black Republican senator in the State of Louisiana since Reconstruction.

Referring to himself as a “Frederick Douglass Republican,” Guillory says Democrats have “created the illusion that their agenda and their policies are what’s best for black people.”

In a video explaining why he decided to switch parties, Guillory reminds us that it was the Republican Party that was founded as an abolitionist movement to eradicate slavery while the Democrats were the “party of Jim Crow,” defending the rights of slave owners.

Guillory was recently selected to serve as honorary chair of the Free at Last PAC, an organization formed to support the efforts of Black Republicans who run for federal office and to educate the black community “about the values of the Republican Party.”

With regard to Common Core, Senator Guillory, who intends to run for Lieutenant Governor in 2015, recommends transferring the research and energy invested into the initiative to “create a higher education initiative that is Louisiana based, Louisiana deployed, and Louisiana controlled.”

Governor Bobby Jindal is currently being sued by the Louisiana BESE board over his attempts to rid the state of Common Core.

 

Apple Offers Full Suite of Common Core Apps Sure to Indoctrinate


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Click here to read this EAGnews exclusive.