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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Common Core Failure In New York

Remember: a law, rule, and/or regulation is only valid if it is implemented correctly. Theory must translate into practice.

Betsy Combier

Rotten To The Core

Common Core Is Crashing and Burning in New York – Check This Out!

Kara Kallinsee greatly contributed to this article
The failure of the Common Core testing and program implementation has been a colossal failure in New York, one of the first states to take the money provided by corporations and the Stimulus, Race to the Top funds.
Once New York took the money to implement a program sight-unseen, they set themselves up for an ill-conceived educational bureaucratic morass that ignored educational research and forgot to include teachers, but did remember to include corporate influence. It’s a conservative-liberal mess which has garnered bipartisan contempt.
The idea of common standards is a great idea really. Everything else about it has been a disaster from the age-inappropriate goals to foolish trainers promoting nonsensical materials to the enormous corporate invasion into privacy rights of families and children.
Commissioner John King Jr. was ill-prepared for the position he was given and is bringing down the respected New York State Education Department with him. It won’t make Governor Cuomo look good if it is allowed to continue.
New Yorkers upstate and on Long Island are fighting back. New York City appears to be in their usual stupor. They live on the same planet as those in Planet Washington who can’t lead.
A must-read article from the Washington Post by renowned educator, Carol Burris:
Thomas Sergiovanni was a renowned international scholar of educational leadership.  In his book, Moral Leadership, he explains the differences between subordinates and followers.  Sergiovanni argued that educational leaders need followers because followers are not led by coercion, but rather by commitment to beliefs, values and ideals.  In a 1990 article for Educational Leadership he wrote:
When followership is established, bureaucratic authority and psychological authority are transcended by moral authority.
The New York State Education Department has lost its moral authority, as defined by Sergiovanni.  That loss was clearly on display at a recent New York State PTA-sponsored hearing on the Common Core in Poughkeepsie, New York.  By the last half hour of the evening, the audience was both boisterous and impassioned, angered because there was limited opportunity to speak. What little time remained for the audience was twice interrupted by Commissioner John King, who had held the floor for an hour and a half.
The miffed King then reacted by cancelling upcoming scheduled forums.  In response to an inquiry about the cancellation by Long Island’s Newsday, King responded:
I was looking forward to engaging in a dialogue with parents across the state.  I was eagerly anticipating answering questions from parents about the Common Core and other reforms we’re moving ahead with in New York State.  Unfortunately, the forums sponsored by the New York State PTA have been co-opted by special interests whose stated goal is to “dominate” the questions and manipulate the forum.”[1]
The people in the audience at the Poughkeepsie forum were teachers and parents.  The common “special interests” of both groups are children.
What occurred in Poughkeepsie is not surprising to those who have followed the course of reform in New York led by John King.  John King was a teacher for only three years—teaching in Puerto Rico, in a private school and in a charter school in Boston.  After his short career as a teacher, he became the co-director of Roxbury Prep, a charter school with fewer than 200 students during his tenure. Five years later, he became the managing director of Uncommon Charter Schools.
In 2000, John King entered the Inquiry Doctoral Program at Columbia University’s Teachers College.  Each Inquiry cohort was small and intimate—about 25 students.  I know the program well—I was a member of the 1999 cohort.  A fellow member of John King’s cohort was the wife of billionaire Jim Tisch, Merryl Tisch, who was appointed to the New York State Board of Regents four years earlier.  King and Tisch took classes together for two years. In April of 2009, Merryl became the Regents’ chancellor.  In September 2009, John King was appointed deputy commissioner of  education. Two years later, John King was appointed commissioner following the abrupt resignation of David Steiner.  It was the meteoric rise of a man who became commissioner at 36 years of age.
King has surrounded himself with bright young people, most of whom like King, have limited or no experience in public education. They are called the Regents Fellows. Their positions are funded by donations, including a million-dollar gift from Chancellor Tisch herself, and nearly a million dollars from Bill Gates.  At a recent gathering of Long Island school leaders, Tisch was asked about the Fellows. She chided the audience, telling them that they should be grateful for the private donations.  The skeptical audience, however, well understood that there is nothing like a million dollar donation to ensure that ‘my will be done.’
‘My will be done’ has been the tone and the tenor of chaotic reform in New York.  In its rush to implement teacher evaluations, the Common Core and new testing, the state leadership has likened it to building a plane in the air.  Cut scores anchored to ridiculously high performance on the SAT caused proficiency scores to plummet.  Students, often in tears, rushed to finish tests that were too difficult and too long. The Common Core Algebra modules are still not finished, even though teachers must teach the course to students now. Rushed APPR plans reviewed by law school students and supervised by a young, former Teach For America grad now Fellow, led to disastrous results such as those of Syracuse, where 40% of the teachers were rated below effective and no elementary or middle school teacher was found to be highly effective.
Syracuse is not alone—other districts have simply chosen to hide their disasters.  The very APPR rating bands themselves produce illogical results, leaving one to wonder if the department can add three, two-digit numbers. The confusion continues. Just a few days ago, the department’s website directed those who wanted information about the parent portal to a telephone number of a sex chat line. From APPR, to the Common Core, to 3-8 testing, the plane being built in the air is falling apart.
As a result, there is no followership—no commitment among parents, teachers and principals to the values and ideals of reform.  The interest in the Common Core has turned to tepid support at best. What remains is compliance.  Even that compliance, however, is waning, as evidenced by the Poughkeepsie hearings, the Buffalo forum on testing that drew 2500, and the Opt Out movement that is growing exponentially around the state.  The moral leadership that is needed to navigate through the seas of sweeping change is not there. The source of authority is at best, bureaucratic.
In the authoritarian world of the Uncommon Charter Schools as described so well by scholar Pedro Noguera here, the rule is “thy will be done.”  In the real and messy world of democracy it is different.  Leaders must listen deeply, learn and respond.  They must be willing to consider alternative courses, and even in loud crowds, hear truth. In teaching, we attempt to perfect the skill known as “monitor and adjust.”  You can only master that skill by truly engaging learners.
In many ways, it is a sad tale.  One might imagine that if John King had first been a principal of a New York City public school, or the superintendent of a district, he would have become skilled in dealing with emotional and boisterous groups.  In doing small-scale reforms in a district, he could have practiced effective pacing. John King would know, as Sergiovanni taught, that the heart of good leadership is the development of followership.  Without followership, no reform has a chance.
dethrone the king
Satirical photo of the King John King
Are you aware that your child’s records can be shared with private concerns? The law was changed to allow it. Do you know that these private corporations can make money from it and can get hold of your child’s records? This is an unprecedented level of invasion into your child’s privacy. This corporate alliance includes some very strange bedfellows from ultra-conservative Rupert Murdoch to uber-liberal Bill Gates.
Read about it at the American Thinker:
There seems to be little recognition yet that Common Core gives schools and third parties unprecedented access to students’ personal information.  The federal government is acquiring a massive amount of data that can be sold to the highest bidders. This is an invasion of student and family privacy and a violation of our 4th Amendment rights.
The education technology buzzards are circling overhead and, having smelled the strong scent of money, are salivating at the thought of making billions from this new goldmine.  Reuters reported that in 2012 technology startups for the K-12 market attracted more than $425 million in venture capital.  Rupert Murdoch, owner of Amplify Education, one of the country’s largest education technology companies, estimates that K-12 education is a $500 billion sector in the U.S. alone.
In 2011the U.S. Department of Education reinterpreted the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act to permit a student’s academic record to be shared with virtually anyone including non-governmental organizations without prior written parental consent!
Education technology companies can use the information to develop software for students, teachers, and administrators.
Under Arne Duncan, President Obama’s Secretary of Education, there is an unprecedented level of opportunity for private influence on education.  Thus public-private partnerships are flourishing…Read the entire article at American Thinker. It’s a great article.
Two New York legislators are fighting Common Core for the parents and teachers of Long Island. Assemblyman Bill Graf has introduced Bill AO and State Senator Lee Zeldin is preparing another bill. Keep up-to-date at Fix NY Schools.
Some school districts and parents are fighting back.
King got a beat down at a Town Hall meeting in Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County on 10/10/13! King says ‘special interests’ hijacked the Poughkeepsie forum on the Common Core.
New York Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. has canceled Long Island’s only town hall meeting on state testing and the new Common Core curriculum because the forum in Poughkeepsie went so badly. In fact, he canceled all of them. He is brave when it comes to dictating to parents and teachers. Listen to it on this link or watch it below. It is worth the time and gets better as it goes along. The parents say it all so much better than we can here at the Sentinel. They have it exactly right!
Amazingly, the parents weren’t arrested as one was in Maryland recently.
The moral of this story is DON’T MESS WITH THE MAMA BEARS! You know Commissioner King, the ‘SPECIAL INTERESTS.’
The Superintendent of Comsewogue School District, also on Long Island has set up a website and has rallied against the testing. Middle Country Schools has joined him. Check it out on this link
One parent, representing the PTA, in the Rocky Point School District on Long Island, recently presented a resolution to the Board of Education for an end to the standardized testing:
Commissioner King has been urged to slow down Common Core but there is so much damage already, it might be too late. It needs major fixing first. It needs to be pulled back entirely and revamped.
Because I am leaning-Conservative, I have been accused of being a conspiracy nut, a liar, a fool, and so much worse. However, I have joined with liberals in this fight. One of my friends uses a Commie fist as her symbol. You know that once, not so long ago, there was no red or blue, we were Americans. No matter my political views, I am an American first! I am a Teacher first! I am a parent first! You can ridicule me but you won’t be able to hide the truth.
For me, it’s not about the idea of having a common set of standards, it’s about the testing, the testing which will nationalize education and take control of education from the hands of parents and teachers. It is about the age-inappropriate and ill-conceived goals which are hurting our children!
Check out this website which is accumulating sites and information about parents fighting Common Core. They’ve issued their own Executive Order.
This is your Common Core Terminology Guide:

Common Core and Censored Information

Check Out the Brainwashing Aligned with Common Core!

When the president of the New York State Teachers Union, Richard Ianuzzi, came out in support of the Common Core, he also strongly supported propagandized lesson plans which are aligned with the Core. He has numerous lesson plans posted on the NYSUT blog to prove it. They do not instruct children, they brainwash them into one school of thought.
I include two excerpts from actual lesson plans below with a short biography of the authors.

The first lesson plan comes from Democratic representative John Lewis and focuses on non-violent activism and the social justice movement.
John Lewis is a civil rights and peace activist and a Democratic politician. He is a strong proponent of social justice which is referred to by many as neo-communism because at its heart is the redistribution of assets from the haves to the have-nots.
In March 2010, a report that Lewis and another black Congressman, Andre Carson, had been called ‘nigger’ by Tea Party protesters outside the Capitol received media attention. Some conservative sources criticized the claim, saying that no video showed up to prove the charges, and the videotapes of the event that later surfaced in fact disproved them. The New York Times issued a correction in July 2010, acknowledging that there was no evidence of Tea Party members hurling racial epithets at Lewis and Carson. Andrew Breitbart offered a $100,000 reward for anyone who could provide audio or video evidence of one of these instances, but none surfaced.
Lewis supports the Occupy movement, a loosely-organized union of far-left radicals who are mainly comprised of Socialists, Communists, Democratic Socialists.
During the 2008 presidential election, Lewis accused John McCain and Sarah Palin of  “sowing the seeds of hatred and division” in a way that brought to mind the late Gov. George Wallace  and “another destructive period” in American political history.
Anyone who disagrees with Barack Obama is a racist!
Click here for this lesson plan from John Lewis which I have excerpted below:

Cumulating activity

Have each group select a current social justice movement. In writing, students should identify the social, political, and/or cultural changes the movement seeks to make, the leader(s) of the movement, and the tactics being used to achieve the desired change(s). Are the individuals involved like John Lewis? Is John Lewis’s legacy seen in this event?
  • Create a power point on the actions of John Lewis in his activism for social change.
  • Become a defender
  • Review the non-violent tactics used during the Civil Rights Movement. Create a t-shirt, poster, lawn sign, song, or movie to bring publicity to a social justice cause important to you.
  • Organize a “Non-violence Day” at school. Make a collection of social activist songs to download as a playlist to be played during the lunch periods.
  • Design a public education campaign for your school on non-violent responses to pressing social issues.
  • Select a current social justice issue that impacts your community. Develop a non-violent campaign to create change on the issue.

The second lesson for review was created by Van Jones, a former White House advisor and advisor to The Center for American Progress, a far-left think tank. In college, he described himself as an angry black separatist.
 VanJones at an anti-police rally he organized
His lesson on police brutality comes from his background as an anti-police protestor in Los Angeles. He engaged in the Rodney King protests in 1992 and spent some time in jail. He came out of that experience an avowed communist. In fact, he was a committed Marxist-Leninist Maoist.
In 1999, he campaigned to free cop killer Mumia Abu Jamal.
He has since taken on the more subtle and deceptive approach of Saul Alinsky to achieve his goals.
He said the following in a 2005 interview:
“Before, we would fight anybody, any time. No concession was good enough; we never said ‘Thank you.’ Now, I put the issues and constituencies first. I’ll work with anybody, I’ll fight anybody if it will push our issues forward…. I’m willing to forgo the cheap satisfaction of the radical pose for the deep satisfaction of radical ends…. I realized that there are a lot of people who are capitalists — shudder, shudder — who are really committed to fairly significant change in the economy, and were having bigger impacts than me and a lot of my friends with our protest signs.”
He no longer says he is a communist though he also never denies it and his beliefs align with those of the Communist Party USA on issues from environmental justice, social justice, reparations, extreme anti-war stance, and so on. He also is a vocal opponent of Capitalism. So what’s left? I leave that to you.
He worked on anti-war projects with Maoist, Elizabeth Martinez, on STORM. In 2001, he publicly denounced the United States for having brought the disaster on itself. He is also a Truther.
He organized a rally on 9/12/2001 to celebrate the 9/11 attack on the United States. Van Jones can be seen at 04:39 on the tape:
He recently sat – and might still sit – on the board of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, a Communist Party USA splinter group. His Green For All environmental project is tied to George Soros’ Open Society.
He strongly supports the Occupy movement.
The following is an excerpt from his lesson which can be found here:


  • While it is important to trust what is within the news, it is much more difficult to discover what is truly going on, especially when it is the law enforcers you are investigating. Interview known victims, friends and family of victims, and even the police force to hear the official accounts and what is not being reported by the government or media.
  • Invite members of local law enforcement agencies – local police, county sheriffs, state police – to your class to talk about what the job of being a police officer entails and what training officers have to prevent excessive use of force.
  • Discuss and debate your and your classmates’ perceptions of police brutality compared with what is in the law, what is portrayed in the media, and by the government. Do they align with each other? Compile stories of police brutality locally, nationally, and internationally and argue the pros and cons of the case. Do you believe that the amount of force was merited?
  • If there has been a specific instance of police brutality in your area, prepare materials for a teach-in at your school to inform both students and teachers about police brutality and how to work with the local police force to end it. This information can also be shared with civic and community organizations.
  • Research the United States’ official position on police brutality. What actions does the U.S. Justice Department take against law enforcement agencies that violate U.S. laws on police brutality?
  • Research United States Supreme Court decisions on cases dealing with police brutality. Create a time line of cases and their outcomes. Prepare a report for your class on the background of the cases and the outcome.
  • Contact organizations within the United States that work to eliminate police brutality. Find out what you can do to help end brutality and organize a branch of that organization locally.
  • Write to a federal official and file a complaint if you believe that what you have seen, heard, read, or experienced is a form of police brutality.
  • Find out what the state of police brutality is in other nations, whether they are democracies, dictatorships, conflict zones, or peace-keeping nations. Countries must work together to reduce excessive force by law enforcement worldwide. Prepare materials to present to your class and civic and community organizations on the background of these abuses and what actions can be taken to bring about the end to such activities in these countries.
  • Write to the United Nations Human Rights Council citing reasons to end the abuses of law enforcement globally.
  • Research international organizations dedicated to ending police brutality and volunteer to work on their cause.
The far-left propaganda is undeniable. These are the plans coming out of the New York State Teacher’s Union. They are promoted by the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, a prime mover and funder of the Common Core.
Even if you agree with this stance, why would you want propaganda to be part of your child’s curricula? Don’t we want our children to have exposure to facts and then choose for themselves?