Coup d’ecole Common Core

Coup d’ecole Common Core was sent to us courtesy of Joanne Y.

By Bruce Deitrick Price

Bill Gates is among the richest, most successful people on the planet. He enjoyed a lot of victories until he ventured into a dangerous part of town called Education.  He squandered a few billion dollars by becoming entangled with a shady character named Common Core. 

Since 2010, Gates endured a long, slow defeat, as more people turned against Common Core, and he himself realized that it was not what he had dreamed of.

So how did Bill Gates lose his golden touch?

Gates, computer man and businessman, trusted data neatly arrayed on monitors.  Digital tools could give predictability, consistency, and control.  Add standards that everyone agreed on.  Not only would children learn more efficiently, and be tested and tracked more accurately, but his companies could market educational services by the cubic mile because every school would welcome the same products.  Gates could make a new and separate fortune.

So this digital leviathan abruptly became the law of the land.  Local control of schools, long an American tradition, was euthanized without mercy.  But victory was temporary.  Common Core seemed to have one objectionable feature after another.

Surely, we can stipulate that Gates is too smart to be a useful idiot, too patriotic to be a secret leftist trying to destroy the country.  So why did he align himself with what many consider blatant malpractice?  Was he blinded by predictions of a giant payoff?  Or was it a case of trusting the wrong people? 

Perhaps Gates, a college dropout, assumed that the professors at the top of the Education Establishment (many of them at his alma mater, Harvard) were smart guys who knew their business.  However, these were the same people who had been mismanaging American K-12 for a long time — so much so that McKinsey and Company, the super-consultant, summed up the situation in 2007: “The longer American students remain in public schools, the dumber they get.”  This is not a track record that a shrewd person would invest in.

There were warning signs from the start.  Never mind all the blather about a state-led initiative.  Common Core is best understood as a coup d’état, or more exactly a coup d’ecole.  This vast, top-to-bottom takeover of American public education was achieved by the old-fashioned tactic of throwing grants (some would say “bribes”) at the politicians in charge, state by state, even as Obama lent some dignity to the shenanigans.  Obama had just swept into office and was in his honeymoon phase.  Common Core was effectively ObamaEd, and nobody wanted to say no to the first black president. 

Coup d'ecole Common Core

But Bill Gates should have felt some uneasiness.  Common Core was untested, unproven, and micromanaged by David Coleman, a man with limited credentials but reliably far to the left.  Nobody in the business world launches a big new product without years of research and refinement.  Instead, Common Core was wrapped in $1 billion’s worth of propaganda and dumped on the country as a fait accompli.

The late, great Siegfried Engelmann, a real educator, was asked what he thought of this approach: “A perfect example of technical nonsense.  A sensible organization would rely heavily on data about procedures used to achieve outstanding results; and they would certainly field test the results to assure that the standards resulted in fair, achievable goals.  How many of these things did they do?  None.”

Did Gates realize that Common Core, supposedly a new and higher instruction, incorporates all the dubious ideas from decades prior?  New Math and Reform Math were the basis for Common Core Math.  Similarly, Whole Language and Balanced Literacy were rolled into Common Core’s English Language Arts (jargon for reading).  Constructivism, which prevented teacher from teaching, has been undermining American schools for decades.  Nothing new and higher about these clunkers.

An earlier generation of Gates’s business partners had created so much illiteracy that Rudolf Flesch had to write a book to answer every American’s favorite question: “why can’t Johnny read?”

Did Bill Gates reflect empathically on the proposals in his billion-dollar baby?  Everyone should try to imagine he’s eight years old and has to struggle with Common Core every day.  The verbiage is convoluted and pompous; at every step, there are absurdly unnecessary steps.  Only one way to tie your shoes?  Don’t be silly.  Every student needs to learn at least four or five!  Finally, the kids are encumbered by a backpack full of bricks and not much else.  One has to suspect that this mumbo-jumbo was never intended to improve education, but to stupefy a generation.

There are hundreds of videos made to show how wonderful Common Core is.  Instead, they show the opposite. Here’s a single abominable video that can stand for all the others.  The title is “Strategies for Addition and Subtraction.”  Notice the new layer added there.  Instead of learning to add, children learn strategies for adding — five of them, no less.  Everything will now remain in first gear as children struggle with Regroup or BorrowDecomposeCross Number PuzzleUse or Draw Base Ten Blocks, and Solve Using Money.  Think how many hours you can waste debating which strategy to use in each situation.

We have to wonder if Bill Gates performed due diligence, that being the care that a reasonable person exercises to avoid harm to other persons or property.  In other words, before putting your business funds to work on anything, you should make yourself an expert.  That’s what we need in this country: everybody becomes an expert.  For sure, nobody should trust the official experts.  If Bill Gates had observed that simple rule, he would still have a billion or two he doesn’t have now.  And the country would have tens of millions of better educated students it doesn’t have now. 

It’s annoying to study Common Core because, it seems to me, it’s on the same intellectual level as the food fight in Animal House.  Did Gates fly to Hong Kong to buy a new operating system from the local bazaar?  Or did he fly to Russia to buy something sinister from the Pavlov Neuro-Disruption Institute?  Point is, the resulting curriculum is way overpriced and relentlessly dysfunctional — a pig in a poke that you never stop paying for.
The teacher in the video actually admits that you may find this or that strategy “confusing at first.”  But that’s all right, because Common Core recommends frustration and difficulty.  The premise is that students respond to doing things the hard way — exactly the opposite of what’s true.

For years, people have tried to sue school systems when their children don’t learn to read.  It would be helpful if such lawsuits went forward.  Next, parents could sue the system for introducing Common Core, which is arguably a fraud designed to lower academic standards.  If parents can’t succeed with those lawsuits, they can start demanding an IEP (Individual Education Plan) for their children, an IEP that emphatically excludes Common Core.

Trump said he would cancel this preposterous thing, and he should.

Bruce Deitrick Price’s new book is Saving K-12: What happened to our public schools? How do we fix them?  He deconstructs educational theories and methods at Improve-Education.org.

Coup d’ecole Common Core was sent to us courtesy of Joanne Y.

Cotcus Education Event Is Saturday

Cotcus Education Event Is SaturdayConversations on the Culture (Cotcus.com) will host a breakfast panel, 8:30-10:30 a.m., Saturday, March 23, at the Court Diner, 104 E. Baltimore Ave., Media Pa. 19063.

Terry Doyle founder of Champions for Children will speak from 8:45-9:05 a.m. on how businesses and individuals can redirect state tax money to provide scholarships for children to attend private schools of their choice with little out of pocket cost as part of Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program.

Dr. Patricia Divine-Jackson, a Liberian immigrant, who has practiced medicine in Africa, England and the United States, will from 9:15 to 9:45 a.m. describe her Parent Child Learning Project which she started in Philadelphia. The project allows low-income parents to equip their children to learn.

From 10 a.m. to 10:20 a.m., there will be a panel discussion led by William and Jane Bonner.

Cotcus Education Event Is Saturday
Cotcus Education Event Is Saturday

Anthony Buttacy Our Time Guest

Anthony Buttacy Our Time Guest — John Haenn’s most recent Our Time addressed the twisted depths that those running (ruining?) public education have brought those institutions that they had been trusted to shepherd.

Free clue: Boys and girls are different. It is bad to teach otherwise. Really, it’s bad. The tendency is something to discourage, not embrace.

Anyway, John’s guest was Anthony Buttacy, the headmaster of West-Mont Christian Academy in Pottstown.

While Mr. Buttacy doesn’t address the transgender issue — which John brings up in his opening monologue — he points out that our society is suffering from a noted rejection of objective truth.

He also says the today’s students are overbooked with regard to time and that parents don’t spend as much time with them as they once did. Listen to it below. It’s an interesting conversation and he has interesting things to say.

Our Time airs 8:30-9 a.m., on WFYL 1180AM the first Monday of the month.

Anthony Buttacy Our Time Guest
Anthony Buttacy Our Time Guest

Pennsylvania Spends More, Gets Less

Pennsylvania Spends More, Gets Less

By Leo Knepper

Every June an unholy alliance of Big Government special interests and politicians gathers in Harrisburg to decide how to spend your money. Governor Wolf provided an outline of what he wanted to see back in February. His focus was on more education spending, more taxes on natural gas, and a higher minimum wage. As we noted at the time:

Pennsylvania currently spends more on education than forty-one other states. More money is not going to help students in failing schools…The worst performing school district [in Pennsylvania], Wilkinsburg Borough, spends over $30,000 per pupil. However, only fifteen percent of their students are proficient in math, and twenty-six percent are proficient in reading. On top of poor performance in math and reading, less than half of Wilkinsburg’s students graduate. More money is not the solution for our education system’s failings…

“In his budget address, Wolf repeated the lie that natural gas companies aren’t paying their ‘fair share’ and he advocated for raising their taxes. He stated that Pennsylvania was the only state not collecting an extraction tax, but the Governor failed to mention that we are the only state to levy an impact fee. In 2017, the natural gas companies paid over $200 million into Pennsylvania’s coffers due to our impact fee. Natural gas companies are also subject to the Commonwealth’s corporate net income tax, which happens to be the second highest in the country. On top of that, the Treasury gets a cut of any royalties paid to individuals by the gas companies. At what point will Governor Wolf be satisfied that natural gas companies are paying their fair share?

“The final item trotted out by the Governor was an increase in the minimum wage. If Governor Wolf wants to make it harder for lower-skilled workers to find employment, setting an artificially high wage floor will undoubtedly make that happen. Minimum wage increases enacted by other states and localities have resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs and Pennsylvania would not be exempt from that trend.”

As far as we can tell, none of the Governor’s proposals are entirely off the table. In fact, Senate Republican leaders and Democrats included another shale gas tax in their fiscal code last year, along with several other tax increases. The House nixed the worst of the fiscal code, including the shale tax increase. So far this year, we haven’t heard anything from Senate Republican leaders shutting the door on targeted tax increases.

We have yet to see a budget proposal from the Pennsylvania House or Senate. The General Assembly doesn’t provide a budget framework until closer to the June 30th deadline, making it harder for taxpayers to weigh in on how their money will be spent over the next year. We will be sure to update you as soon as there is anything to report.

Pennsylvania Spends More, Gets Less

Pennsylvania Spends More, Gets Less

Carla D’Addesi Joins BigLeaguePolitics.com

Carla D’Addesi Joins BigLeaguePolitics.com — Carla D’Addesi, who hosts “Family Matters” on 1180 AM WFYL, is now writing for BigLeaguePolitics.com.

She is quoted in this article concerning how a bizarre woman who encourages kindergartners to “transition” into the opposite sex has been named California’s “Teacher of the Year.”

It is time to end public schools.

Carla D’Addesi Joins BigLeaguePolitics.com

Carla D'Addesi Joins BigLeaguePolitics.com

$16,533 Per Pupil In Pennsylvania

$16,533 Per Pupil In Pennsylvania — Kurt Holland sent us this great link for FairFundingPa.org which details public school spending in Pennsylvania by district.

The average cost per puil in Pennsylvania is $16,533.

Check out what they spend where you live.

$16,533 Per Pupil In Pennsylvania

$16,533 Per Pupil In Pennsylvania

 

Dennis Prager Visiting Havertown

Dennis Prager Visiting Havertown — Dennis Prager, the mind behind PragerU that is brilliantly upsetting the narrow-minded bigots who enforce the status quo, will appear 7 p.m., April 10 at the Llanerch Country Club in Havertown.

Tickets are $75 and include a cocktail reception and light dinner fare. A $250 VIP ticket is also available that provides admittance to a pre-event reception with Mr. Prager at 6 p.m.

The event benefits Regina Angelorum Academy, a 10-year-old private Catholic School in Ardmore  that provides a classical education.

For information about the event with Mr. Prager call 215-287-6218.

Dennis Prager Visiting Havertown

Dennis Prager Visiting Havertown

 

Jerry Oleksiak Pick Shows Wolf Not Interested In Reform

Jerry Oleksiak Pick Shows Wolf Not Interested In Reform

By Leo Knepper

Back in July, Governor Wolf nominated a union president, Jerry Oleksiak, to be Labor Secretary. As we said at the time:

“Mr. Oleksiak is the President of the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA), the largest teachers’ union in the Commonwealth. Making matters worse, Oleksiak also took part in one of the most tax-payer abusive practices available to union officials: he was a ghost teacher.

“As a ghost teacher, Oleksiak worked full time for the PSEA, but he collected a paycheck, accumulated seniority, and pension benefits from the Upper Merion School District. Although the district was reimbursed for his salary and health benefits, Oleksiak and the PSEA still rely on the generosity of taxpayers to cover his lifetime pension benefits…

“In our conversations with business owners and employers, no one has ever complained to us that Pennsylvania wasn’t pro-organized labor enough. According to most recent studies, Pennsylvania ranks at the bottom of places to do business; our labor regulations are a significant reason why. A Labor Secretary with no experience in the private sector and a decade’s worth of experience advocating for policies hostile to the best interest of taxpayers would make the Commonwealth even less appealing to job creators.”

The Pennsylvania Senate had an opportunity to stop this nominee. The leadership of the Senate abdicated their responsibility by allowing him to become Secretary without a vote. Under the Pennsylvania Constitution, nominees automatically assume the position if a vote isn’t held in twenty-five legislative days. Senate Republican leaders asked the Governor to withdraw the nomination because they rightly had concerns about Oleksiak’s qualifications. The Governor refused to withdraw the nomination. Rather than putting Senate members on record as either supporting or opposing an unqualified Labor Secretary, Senate leaders allowed him to walk into the position.

Senate Republican leadership, Senators Joe Scarnati and Jake Corman in particular, had an opportunity to stop an unqualified nominee from becoming Secretary of Labor or at worst putting members of the chamber on record. When they failed to take a vote, Scarnati and Corman deprived constituents information about their senators’ priorities. Denying voters this valuable information is a disservice to taxpayers and a shameful example of politics as usual in Pennsylvania.

Mr. Knepper is executive director of Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania.

Jerry Oleksiak Pick Shows Wolf Not Interested In Reform

Jerry Oleksiak Pick Shows Wolf Not Interested In Reform

PSEA Anti-School Anti-Child Pro Power

PSEA Anti-School Anti-Child Pro Power

PSEA Anti-School Anti-Child Pro PowerBy Scott Wagner

“It is not because we care about children, and it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. NEA and its affiliates are effective because we have power.”

These were sad and shocking admissions made by Bob Chanin, a leader of the National Education Association, an organization of which the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) is a member and significant funder.

I think it’s time Pennsylvanians have a serious conversation about the PSEA.

Protecting power — not kids, teachers and taxpayers — is what drives the PSEA. And the PSEA is Tom Wolf’s largest union funder.

Worse yet, in Pennsylvania, public sector employees — like teachers — don’t get to choose whether or not they pay dues.  Dues are taken from their paychecks and sent to the unions — like the PSEA — whether teachers like it or not.

This method of collecting union dues has made the PSEA very, very powerful.

And I’ve seen firsthand how the PSEA uses teachers’ dues against them, and against students and taxpayers. They block every effort that would benefit these stakeholders — like solving the pension crisis so that money can actually go to the classroom, and eliminating school property taxes so hardworking people can keep their homes.

Back in February, the Pennsylvania State Senate passed a bill that would stop the PSEA from collecting involuntary dues, and curb their ability to block what’s good for stakeholders. Senate Bill 166 (Paycheck Protection) passed with a vote of 28 (Y) to 22 (N), and upon passage was sent to the House for a vote. This past week, however, the State House defeated the bill by a vote of 102 (no) to 90 (yes).

The PSEA doesn’t like me much — and I’m not particularly fond of the way they work against teachers, students and taxpayers — but make no mistake. When I’m governor, changing this power dynamic will be a top priority of my administration.

Unlike Bob Chanin and the PSEA, as the governor of Pennsylvania, I will be representing children, teachers and taxpayers from day one, because for me, it is about children, and it is about having a great public school for every child, every teacher and every taxpayer.

Sen. Wagner represents the 28th District in the Pennsylvania Senate and is seeking the Republican nomination for governor in 2018.

PSEA Anti-School Anti-Child Pro Power

Gender Policy Change Pitch Made In Penn Delco

Gender Policy Change Pitch Made In Penn Delco

By John Haenn

Advocates of fluid definitions of gender found themselves stymied and flustered by simple questions from the audience and school board at last night’s (Dec. 18) Penn Delco (Pa) School Board meeting.

They were on hand to support a proposed new policy that would add “gender identity” to a student’s accepted identity even if it differs from the birth certificate.

This would effectively give by-right access to traditionally gender-segregated places and athletic teams to all desiring such access regardless of biology.

Testifying for a policy change were Samantha King, who directs the sex and gender clinic  at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP); counselor Erica Smith; and Quinton Cruise of the Pennsylvania Youth Conference, an LGBTQ advocacy group.

School Superintendent George Steinhoff noted that the district now handles such matters of confusion on a case-by-case basis with the emphasis on protecting the child. He questioned their claim that failing to adopt a general policy would violate federal law as an Obama-era directive had been rescinded.  Ms. King said court battles were  occurring but conceded that he was correct. School Board Solicitor Mike Puppio would also point out that there are no laws binding on this.

School Director Lisa Esler noted that CHOP’s website suggested that single-room bathrooms as an option for children having difficulty. She said that the school district has those including one in the nurse’s office.

“Single use bathrooms might not be close,” Ms. King responded. “Also kids might get sick using the nurse’s bathroom.”

Mrs. Esler asked Cruise if any research had occurred regarding  the impact and emotional distress on the 99.9 percent of the student population in currently segregated areas. He became noticeably flustered and removed himself from the podium. Ms. King stepped in to rescue him.

“Someone not trans can also use single-use bathrooms,” she said which didn’t really answer the question.

Mrs. Esler asked if the policy would extend to adult visitors at the school.

“It doesn’t matter because adults use faculty facilities anyway,” said Ms. King.

Then the audience took over.

“How do you handle mean kids, bullies?” one person asked.

“Bathrooms are just unsafe,” Ms. King answered. “Adding gender identity to the polices helps address bullies.”

“Should there be a security guard in the bathroom now?” one person asked.

“Students can handle this,” said Ms. King. “Friends and going into the bathroom with a buddy. The non-bullies and trans students can use the special bathrooms.”

“We’re already complying, this is a waste of time,” said one person.

“You don’t comply because you have no policy,” said Ms. King. “You don’t comply because you can’t use any bathroom you want.”

The board discussed the matter. Director Georgia Stone pointed out that the district is not in the best position to help students decide who they are.

“This impacts too much, lives, families and friends, future,” she said. “This should be left to the courts on a case-by-case basis.” She noted that the district would of course comply with a court order.

Several residents made public comments. One said “This is a far reach” as there are already unisex bathrooms, the district is accommodating and that there already are bullying policies. One said “getting changed in a locker room is already stressful,” and a new policy should be enacted before it gets worse. Another said “all students need to be given equal rights”. Another who moved into the district a year ago from Chester County said “I know students are bullied and some decide to be home schooled. Students are mean.”

Gender Policy Change Pitch Made In Penn Delco

Gender Policy Change Pitch Made In Penn Delco