Tag Archives: Arne Duncan

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal Moves to Remove State from Common Core Standards


By Danette Clark

Yes! I’m late to the party as usual (darn day job), but great news late is still great news.

From Breitbart.com:

“In a press conference on Wednesday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) announced actions to remove his state from the Common Core standards and the aligned Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessments.

Much of Jindal’s focus during the press conference was on the legality of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (BESE) decision to adopt the PARCC tests without first placing the state test out for bids. He said he wanted Louisiana to develop its own standards and, by law, to look at other options for tests.

“PARCC does not allow a competitive bidding process which is required under Louisiana law,” the Governor said. “BESE didn’t follow the rules.”

In a letter to PARCC officials the Governor asked the organization to immediately withdraw his state from the test consortium. Jindal also issued an executive order that instructs the Louisiana Department of Education (DOE) to begin a competitive bidding process to purchase a new assessment and called on the DOE and BESE to develop Louisiana standards that can be approved by the state legislature in the next session.

The Governor said the state is no longer committed to implement the PARCC assessment in the coming school year and rendered the state unable to comply with the terms of the June 2010 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Louisiana and PARCC due to its failure to allow for a competitive bidding process.

“It’s time for PARCC to withdraw from Louisiana,” Jindal said. “We won’t let the federal government take over Louisiana’s education standards. We’re very alarmed about choice and local control over curriculum being taken away from parents and educators.”

“Common Core has not been fully implemented yet in Louisiana, and we need to start the process over,” Jindal continued. “It was rushed in the beginning and done without public input.”

A summary of the action taken by the Governor is as follows:

1. Issued an executive order that instructs the Louisiana Department of Education to conduct a competitive process to purchase a new assessment and which prohibits the expenditure of funds on cooperative group purchasing organizations and interstate agreements;

2. Suspended the rules adopted by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education from May 2014 to ensure that the Louisiana Department of Education is able to comply with Louisiana competitive bid law;

3. Instructed the Division of Administration to conduct a comprehensive accounting of all Louisiana expenditures and resources on PARCC, what services or products have been received in return for such expenditures, and copies of all contracts in place or in negotiation for the purchase of an assessment;

4. Issued a Request for Information to PARCC requesting information about the procurement processes utilized by the consortium, by the Fiscal Agent state, and by the Lead Procurement State to ensure that these processes complied with Louisiana law;

5. Notified the Council for Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governor’s Association (NGA) of Louisiana’s termination of participation in the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

State Superintendent of Education John White and BESE president Chas Roemer, both of whom are ardent supporters of the nationalized standards, held a media briefing immediately after Jindal’s press conference in which they repeated the words of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan who said Tuesday that Jindal’s turnabout on Common Core was motivated by “politics.”

Though White said during the media briefing that he would never tell school districts to “ignore” Gov. Jindal, a statement on the DOE website, dated Wednesday, contradicts the Governor’s announcement and indicates that both BESE and the DOE have reaffirmed that Louisiana “will implement the Common Core State Standards, as well as grade 3-8 test forms and questions developed by states within… PARCC for the 2014-2015 school year.”

“This is what the constitutionally elected bodies of our state agreed to,” White said during the press briefing. “The Governor’s announcement today comes at the bottom of the ninth inning.”

White and Roemer added that the laws of Louisiana are on their side.

In response to Gov. Jindal’s announcement, state Rep. Brett Geymann (R) told Breitbart News, “It is a day for all parents in Louisiana to celebrate. We are very pleased in the move by the Governor to remove us from PARCC and Common Core.”

“The Governor shares the same concerns that many of us have with the one-size-fits-all standards, the federal government’s overreach into our education decisions, and the lack of parental involvement in the process from the start,” Geymann added. “In addition, it’s significant we have not used the public bidding process to purchase our state test.”

Anna Arthurs, an organizer of a grassroots parents group that is opposed to Common Core, told Breitbart News that Jindal’s announcement is important for both Louisiana and the nation.

“Proponents of the Common Core initiative try to deny a federal overreach into education. However, this overreach is undeniable with PARCC (and SBAC) testing,” Arthurs said. “The federal government exclusively funds the test consortia. It provides curriculum frameworks to assist teachers in curriculum development. This is in direct violation of the General Education Provisions Act.”

“In the cooperative agreement between the U.S. Department of Education and PARCC member states, it mandates that the participating states ‘make student-level data that results from the assessment system available on an ongoing basis,’” she added. “They have even developed an oversight committee which has a role in overseeing test question development.”

“Since teachers are forced to ‘teach to the test’ with high-stakes assessments, the federal government will have more control over the resulting curriculum than the local school districts,” Arthurs said. “Gov. Jindal is taking the lead in rejecting untested, unproven standards that have yet to live up to their claim as being ‘rigorous.’”

Grassroots organizer Sara Wood told Breitbart News that Jindal “acted on behalf of the parents to restore and protect a piece of our state sovereignty and individual freedoms as parents.”

In response to White and Roemer’s comment that in passing the controversial Common Core measure the state legislature was doing the will of the people, Wood said Jindal is “carrying out his executive obligation to support and uphold our Constitution because the legislature failed.”

“With all the pushback by parents and now action by governors nationwide, it is safe to say that Common Core was sold to state leaders as one thing in 2009 but ended up as something else in 2014,” she continued. “That violates the spirit of the Constitution and three federal laws.”

“The Common Core was sold as ‘just higher standards,’ but through the initiative that surrounds it, we are taking a great leap toward unprecedented federal intervention and eventual control of education, creating common mediocrity nationwide,” Wood said.

Jamie Gass, director of the Center for School Reform at the Massachusetts-based Pioneer Institute, said, “Gov. Jindal has come to realize what more and more governors and states are learning – Common Core and the national testing consortia are Obama administration initiatives with numerous federal bureaucratic strings attached.”

“If Common Core was genuinely ‘state-led’ and ‘voluntary,’ as its DC-based advocates like to claim, then why does the U.S. Secretary of Education immediately threaten or scold any state heading for the exit door?” Gass asked.”

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The Real History of Common Core: ‘Black Helicopters’ All Over the Place


Acorn Woodland Elementary, Oakland, CA. Established in 2000 by ACORN and the Coalition of Essential Schools

Acorn Woodland Elementary, Oakland, CA. Established in 2000 by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) and the Coalition of Essential Schools.

By Danette Clark

This article can also be found at EAGnews.org.

Despite the left’s efforts to convince us that Obama’s relationship with William Ayers was irrelevant to how he might lead as president, the facts that prove otherwise are plenty and can no longer be ignored.

Not only was the history between Ayers and Obama very relevant and media-worthy during the 2008 presidential election, it will have a devastating and lasting impact on our country.

To understand the agenda (and lies) at the core of our new national standards,  you have to go back to why many on the right were concerned about Obama’s relationship with Bill Ayers to begin with — their work on education reform.

Although it is true that the Common Core State Standards are voluntary and not mandated by the federal government (yet), they are federally manipulated. Further, the people and pedagogy behind the standards, and the garbage content that comes with them, are the same as that of the radical reform long supported by both Obama and Ayers.

The History

The Coalition of Essential Schools (CES), a progressive education reform model rooted in the social justice pedagogy of John Dewey and Paulo Freire, was expanded by President Obama and communist Bill Ayers through their work with the Chicago Annenberg Challenge in the 1990’s, and later, through the Chicago Public Education Fund.

CES Schools was founded in 1984 by Theodore Sizer who was, at the time, head of Brown University’s education department.

Like John Dewey, the late Ted Sizer (also a humanist) believed that education should bring forth democracy. First, however, education must address the “institutionalized oppressive practices and attitudes” of the American society.

Of course, in order to address these so-called institutional injustices in the classroom, one must be willing to cross the [unconstitutional] line from  educating children intellectually to educating them morally. Not only was Sizer willing to cross that line, but he created CES schools for that specific purpose.

Sizer wrote that ‘moral’ or ‘character’ education “is an intellectual undertaking that must infuse the entire school”. In 1970, Sizer and his wife, Nancy, also wrote a collection of lectures titled Moral Education wherein they referred to the “simpleminded sermonizing tradition” of the 19th Century as “the old morality”. The Sizers argued for “a new morality”, one that gives primacy to students’ “moral autonomy and independence”.

To that end, CES schools were created to serve a ‘broader role‘ in children’s lives — to teach them “how to act in the social and ethical arenas of society”.

Sizer’s partner in the start of CES schools was Deborah Meier, now well-known among progressive circles as a prominent education reformer. Meier still works closely with Bill Ayers for social reform through education, and is a founding leader of Democratic Socialists of America, a Marxist organization that strives to end capitalism and bring about “a humane international social order”.

In 1993, Brown University President Vartan Gregorian (whom President Obama appointed as a White House Fellow in 2009) collaborated with Ted Sizer on the launching of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform. The institute was created to build on the work of Sizer’s Coalition of Essential Schools and to expand that work to schools nationwide.

Sizer and Gregorian immediately began a grant selection process through which  several grants, as part of Walter Annenberg’s 500 million dollar challenge to the nation, would be awarded to launch Annenberg Challenge sites across the country. The first nine sites chosen were Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, the San Francisco Bay area, South Florida, Houston, and Chicago.

Gregorian was instrumental in selecting the group led by Bill Ayers and chaired by Obama to receive a grant for the start of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge in 1995.

Ayers’ organization, Small Schools Workshop, also received Annenberg dollars to aid in opening new CES schools and to transform existing schools into CES member schools (also referred to as ‘small schools’, ‘smaller learning communities’, ‘small autonomous schools’ and ‘schools within a school’). The organization provided (and still provides) curriculum resources, hands-on professional development, and grant development.

Ayers co-founded the Small Schools Workshop with fellow bomb-making domestic terrorist and Marxist-Communist, Mike Klonsky, who now serves as the organization’s national director.

In Chicago, Obama and Ayers funneled money to the now disgraced and de-funded ACORN to identify and train community members to become teachers in CES schools. In other states, CES recruited ACORN workers to elbow their way onto local school councils and scream for reform.

With heavy funding from Bill Gates, Carnegie Corporation, George Soros’ Open Society Institute, and CSR, Title 1, and smaller learning community grants from the U.S. Department of Education, CES has grown into a nationwide network of thousands of schools. Each school is provided with curriculum material, professional development training, and staff support through CES regional training centers, affiliates, and partner universities. CES currently uses the Annenberg Institute “as a forum for sharing resources and amassing political weight”.

The Connections

For those who don’t necessarily believe that one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch, how about dozens of bad apples?

As explained here, Common Core ‘architect’ David Coleman and his partner Jason Zimba have history with the Obama and Ayers led Chicago Annenberg Challenge.

Linda Darling-Hammond, creator of Common Core assessments and a member of the Common Core validation committee, is already publically known as an education reform ally of Bill Ayers. However, what has gone largely unnoticed about this former Obama advisor, is that she, like Ayers, has devoted her entire career to the expansion and success of CES reform.

Darling-Hammond is a long time advisory board member to the National Equity Project, formerly known as the Bay Area Coalition of Essential Schools (or BayCES). The National Equity Project provides ‘equity coaching’ to educators in dozens of school districts — the very same equity coaching that leaves us with teachers who believe the mention of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is racist.

Unfortunately, Coleman, Zimba, and Darling-Hammond aren’t the only Common Core developers whose roots are with the progressive/humanist agenda of the Coalition of Essential Schools and the Annenberg Institute.

In fact, Achieve, Inc., one of the organizations leading the charge in the creation of Common Core, is currently made up of several CES/Annenberg foot soldiers.

For example, Achieve, Inc. board member, Jeffrey Wadsworth, president and CEO of Battelle Memorial Institute, partnered with the Coalition of Essential Schools, Ohio State University, and KnowledgeWorks Foundation in 2006 to create a new CES school in Columbus, Ohio.

The manner in which Achieve, Inc. was founded is also very telling.

In 1995, the same year the Annenberg Institute launched the Chicago Annenberg Challenge and eight other challenge sites, it also named its first ever board of overseers. Board members included Vartan Gregorian, CES founder Ted Sizer, and Louis V. Gerstner, chairman and chief executive officer of IBM Corporation.

Louis Gerstner served as vice chair of George H. Bush’s New American Schools Development Corporation, which was already funding Atlas Communities, a project of the Coalition of Essential Schools.

Just five months after being named to Annenberg’s Board of Overseers, Gerstner and then NGA Chairman Tommy Thompson, called for and led the 1996 National Education Summit to address the “need for Governors and business leaders to act on K-12 education standards”.

Several papers were commissioned in preparation for the summit, which was held at IBM’s Executive Conference Center in Palisades, New York. Among those in attendance were 40 Governors and 49 corporate executives.

Although ironically, very few educators were invited to attend, it was said that several education leaders, “from different political viewpoints and professional experiences”, had been interviewed and were in agreement that “high academic standards — defined as a common core of learning for all public school students, with measures of performance based on that common core are essential to school reform”.

“Explicit expectations” outlined by the summit called for standards that “clearly define what students should know and be able to do”, and accurate systems to track student progress. It was also made clear that, although standards and assessments were necessary tools, there had to be “a clear articulation… of the skills necessary to meet the workforce needs of the next century” as well as a “specific agreement on the academic content students should be learning”.

It was right then and there that Achieve, Inc. was founded, with Annenberg’s Louis Gerstner appointed as its first chairman. Appointed as vice-chair was, then Governor of North Carolina, James B. Hunt, who was already working closely with Linda Darling-Hammond and CES founders, Sizer and Meier.

Today, Hunt’s organization, the James B. Hunt Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy, is a partner in the creation of the Common Core State Standards.

Since its founding in 1996, Achieve, Inc. has taken a lead role in the creation of  Common Core and has created a system for national and international benchmarking of standards and assessments — all the while remaining deeply involved in and dedicated to a reform initiative that indoctrinates students into “a new morality” for a new society.

While it is true that Bill Ayers didn’t specifically write the Common Core State Standards and has even spoken out against the initiative in recent months, it doesn’t change the fact that both his and Sizer’s fingerprints are all over the standards and their accompanying resources.

Specifically, many of the inappropriate and anti-American Common Core texts that parents are ticked off about today were written by friends of Ayers, Obama, and Sizer.

Toni Morrison, for example, author of the Common Core recommended incest-laden book, The Bluest Eye, was recently honored by President Obama with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Morrison’s book has been recommended by Ayers and CES schools for at least two decades. At the CES Brooklyn School for Global Studies, a parent book club even participates in the reading of this pornographic book with 15-year-old students.

Common Core creators and proponents claim the new national standards are better because they are ‘fewer’ and ‘deeper’, meaning students cover fewer topics in greater depth. This is one of the Ten Common Principles of the Coalition of Essential Schools. Referred to as “Less is More” and “Depth Over Coverage”, this second CES principle calls for student mastery and achievement of a limited number of essential skills as opposed to covering a wide range of content.

CES reform, like Common Core, also favors ‘critical thinking’ over rote memorization of facts, and with that, both unscrupulously call for the ‘close reading’ of texts that relate to ‘real world problems’ like equity and fairness, racism, rape, incest, homosexuality, and American greed.

By their very nature, the Common Core standards force interdisciplinary learning (a.k.a. cross-curricular learning), another staple of CES reform. Without it, there would be no socialist indoctrination in Math class or lessons on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in English class.

It appears that just as the corporate world hi-jacked the 1996 education summit, it has also hi-jacked Sizer’s reform model to create a national standard that even Sizer wouldn’t approve of.

Community organizing, pro-union education reformers like Ayers, Meier, and Sizer have always opposed corporate involvement in the business of education, as well as a one-size-fits-all national standard and achievement testing. On more than one occasion, Sizer went head to head with Louis Gerstner over these very issues.

US Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, on the other hand, while happy to continue the CES/Annenberg legacy of social and moral indoctrination, has had no problem taking corporate dollars or closing failing schools, thereby kicking tenured educators to the curb.

Ayers and Klonsky summed it up in 2006 when they wrote that Arne Duncan (by way of his Renaissance 2010 school project in Chicago), “has used the terms of the small schools movement to promote privatization and the erosion of public space”.

Today, Obama and Duncan specifically promote, by name, Sizer’s CES schools and Ayers’ Small Schools Workshop while billions in corporate dollars and federal tax dollars are being spent to carry the ‘terms’ of their movement into the creation of Common Core.

Considering the numerous Common Core developers, writers, assessment creators, validation committee members, and funders deeply tied to CES reform, it seems clear that Common Core is the culmination of a 30-year-old progressive reform initiative still driven by the ‘irrelevant’ Bill Ayers.

Perhaps now, Arne Duncan should be asked to clarify his snide ‘black helicopter’ statement.

Crayola Common Core Lessons Promote Globalization and Interdependence


Go here for an important update to this post.

By Danette Clark

Crayola joins the list of big name education companies who have sold out our children and America to the United Nations’ global agenda.

Teaching children ‘to take action as global citizens’ in an ‘interdependent world’ and to ‘think about the world more holistically’ are the focus of Crayola lessons provided in partnership with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), one of the two main organizations responsible for the creation of the national Common Core State Standards.

Crayola, Lego Education, Apple, and Disney (among others), as members of P21 — Partnership for 21st Century Skills, entered into a ‘strategic partnership‘ with the Council of Chief State School Officers in 2010.

According to P21’s Executive Chair, Kathy Hurley, CCSSO and P21 work very closely on Common Core, as well as CSSO’s Next Generation Learner program, and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act re-authorization.

Hurley is also Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships for Pearson Education. Pearson, in partnership with CCSSO, has been instrumental in implementing Common Core in many states by providing resources and employing progressive educators, like Coalition of Essential Schools disciple Grant Wiggins, to provide professional development training.

The U.S. Department of Education hosted the launching of P21 and Crayola’s Champion Creatively Alive Children program in 2011.

CrayolaGlobalCitizens

Crayola lessons, like other Common Core material, are designed to create, in children’s minds, a specific and biased perspective of the world — globalization over national sovereignty, interdependence over self-reliance, and social and economic equity governed by a few over social and economic freedom governed by self.

Crayola-recommended resources promoting social justice, globalization, and the theory of global warming, are listed here along with writings by humanist Linda Darling-Hammond, CSCOPE’s Robert Marzano, and progressive Howard Gardner, also CES disciples.

Read more about CES (Coalition of Essential Schools) and Common Core at Unravelled! The 30 Year Agenda Behind Common Core and at the Common Core / CSCOPE / CES Connection page.

James Rubenstein’s anti-semitic book, The Cultural Landscape, is also listed as a Crayola Arts-Infused Education Resource.

Despite Arne Duncan’s denial that Common Core purposes a political agenda, the curriculum itself proves otherwise — that Common Core has everything to do with the political and global agenda of those who created it, and nothing to do with a sound education for the benefit of those being taught — our children.