Common Core Subject Of Feb. 12 Hearing

Common Core Answers Common Core Subject Of Feb. 12 Hearing
Answers from a Common Core English test.

Joanne Yurchak has informed us that the Pennsylvania House Education Committee will hold a hearing regarding standards and testing — the underlying subject being Common Core — 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., tomorrow, Feb. 12.

It will be in Room G-50 in the Irvis Office Building, 450 Commonwealth Ave., Harrisburg, Pa 17120.

Scheduled to testify include representatives from the Pennsylvania School Board Association, the Pennsylvania State Education Association, the very pro Common Core Pennsylvania Business Council, the State Superintendent’s Association, the Department of Education, and the State Board of Education, along with Common Core opponents Anita Hoge, Cheryl Boise and Ryan Bannister.

Common Core Subject Of Feb. 12 Hearing

Common Core Crony Capitalism On Global Scale

This article by JaKell Sullivan we have entitled Common Core Crony Capitalism On Global Scale is courtesy of Joanne Yurchak

By JaKell Sullivan

Ezekiel Emanuel, the architect of Obamacare, bragged earlier this year in a New Republic article about Obamacare’s intent to kill the insurance industry, nationalize health care and collect data on every person in order to track and control personal lifestyle choices. He condescendingly wrote, “Be prepared to kiss your insurance company goodbye forever.”

A logical correlation can be drawn that the federal intent behind recent education reforms is the same. What’s in it for crony capitalists?

In 2004, Microsoft signed a technology contract with the United Nation’s education arm, UNESCO, to globalize education. This profit-venture started a chain of events that dismantles our 10th Amendment right to control education, realigns the world’s entire education system on the backs of U.S. taxpayers, and endlessly profits elites. The U.N. announced that the joint venture would foster “web-based communities of practice including content development and worldwide curricula reflecting UNESCO’s values.” Did local parents vote on these curriculum values?

This year, Microsoft joined with the Obama administration’s ConnectEd Initiative to provide one-to-one devices for every child in order to replace textbooks. Meanwhile, legislators across the country are working with groups like Jeb Bush’s Digital Learning Now to implement this federal agenda which profits conservative and liberal foundations joined at the hip with government. Foundations profit from federal “turn around” school mandates that turn public district schools into public charters based on data controlled by assessment companies receiving federal grants.

The implications behind this reality are obvious. Big data becomes the new global commodity. Technology turns teachers into facilitators, local districts into administrators and students into social activists working to improve “democracy” and solve “global issues;” poverty, health rights and global warming — using governments as the solution. Collectivism in, individualism out.

UNESCO’s values rise as one-to-one technology puts real-time, updatable curricula and tests outside the review of parents. Federal privacy laws, stripped in December 2011 now allow the federal government and third parties to collect information from children’s class work and tests (tying existing databases together for third party research, health data, workforce data, criminal data, census data and family information). America is being prodded toward a skills-based economy where education control is further centralized, test scores slot children into workforce tracks, elites pool taxpayer money into global coffers and crony capitalists benefit from cheap labor by standardizing our children’s educations.

Politicians claim that “education should be aligned to the needs of the workforce” and that “the future of our economic prosperity” requires us to align education to jobs. Renowned author Hugh Nibley wrote that scriptural principles reveal “when the Economy becomes the main and engrossing concern of a society — the economy will self-destruct.”

Do Utahns have the fortitude to change course? Most recognize that the family is the fundamental unit of society, yet our politicians tout the economy as the fundamental unit. This gives rise to early childhood education initiatives that undermine and harm childhood attachment to family. Workforce aligned education systems make children beholden to, and fearful of, test scores that decide their future. The state becomes master and parents are marginalized.

Charles Krauthammer said that insurance companies are “becoming wholly owned subsidiaries” of the federal government. And, as federal education reforms turn local school districts and boards into wholly owned subsidiaries, families will suffer the loss of local control over what children learn — and taxpayers will watch our savings dwindle while crony capitalists reap the rewards of big government.

JaKell Sullivan graduated from Utah State University and is an advocate for parental rights in education. She is a mother of two and resides in Sandy, Utah. This article originally ran, Tuesday, in the Deseret News of Salt Lake City

Common Core Crony Capitalism On Global Scale

Common Core Crony Capitalism On Global Scale
Common Core Crony Capitalism On Global Scale
Common Core Crony Capitalism On Global Scale

Common Core Crony Capitalism On Global Scale

Common Core Crony Capitalism On Global Scale

Keep Common Core, Destroy Math

By Cynthia Walker

I became a math teacher by a circuitous route. My degree is in engineering. I spent five and a half years refurbishing nuclear submarines, and then I quit work to bear, rear, and eventually homeschool our three children.

As a homeschool mom, I participated in co-ops, taking turns teaching groups of homeschooled children subjects such as nature study and geography. As our children entered their teen years, I began teach to teach algebra, trig, and calculus to small classes of homeschoolers at my kitchen table. And as our children left home for their four-year universities, two to major in engineering and one in art, I began teaching in small private schools known as classical academies.

This last year, I have also been tutoring public-school students in Common Core math, and this summer I taught a full year of Common Core Algebra 2 compressed into six weeks at an expensive, ambitious private school.

I’ve taught and tutored the gamut of textbooks and curricula: Miquon and Saxon to my own kids and whenever the choice of curriculum was mine to make; Foerster, Saxon, Jacobs, or Holt when hired to teach at a school. I’ve tutored out of the California state adopted texts: CPM, Everyday Math, Mathland, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, McGraw Hill, Addison Wesley, and Holt. I’ve had students come to me from all of the above plus Teaching Textbooks, Singapore, and Math U See.

This last year was my first experience first tutoring, then teaching Common Core, and I was curious. I had read the reports of elementary-school children crying over their homework and staying up past midnight to complete it, so I expected Common Core to be like Everyday Math, Mathland, and CPM: poorly explained, abstruse, confusing. I was correct on those counts.

What surprised me was that Common Core was also hard.

Now, I like rigor. I have high standards. My goal for my students is that they will become competent and confident mathematicians. But I was stunned to see that my tutoring student’s pre-algebra work incorporated about a third of a year of algebra 1. The algebra 2 text incorporated about a third of the topics I would expect to find in a precalculus course. And so forth.

This did not mesh with the reports from Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Utah, or New York, where Common Core is alleged to lower standards – in one case, specifically, to move multiplication tables from third grade to fifth grade. It appears that Common Core is not being implemented in a consistent (or common) way across the United States. But I can only address pre-algebra through calculus in texts claiming to be Common Core in California. These texts are shoveling about a third of the subsequent year’s topics into the current year.

This problem is exacerbated by the recent fad for accelerating students through their math classes. Fifty years ago, algebra 1 was a ninth-grade course for fourteen-year-olds. Now it is routinely taught in eighth grade, sometimes in seventh. Algebra 1 in seventh grade means that pre-algebra is taught in sixth grade to eleven-year-olds, and few 11-year-olds have achieved the cognitive development necessary to master the abstract logic of one third of a year of algebra.

Cognitive development proceeds not in a smooth curve, but in jumps and plateaus. Just as most babies learn to walk at 12 months, so most adolescents become capable of logical operations such as algebra at 12 years. And just as whether a baby walks at nine months or 15 months has no bearing on whether he plays football in college, so whether a student learns algebra in 7th or 9th grade has no bearing on whether he becomes a National Merit Scholar…save that a child who is pushed and flounders and fails is unlikely to love an activity.

That is what I am seeing with my tutoring students: the math-bright ones are being encouraged to take honors pre-algebra at age 11. In prior years, this would have meant that they first had a thorough, final review of arithmetic: adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing whole numbers, decimals, and fractions; long division; changing fractions to decimals to percents and back. Then for a treat, they would be introduced to the glories of algebra, the fun stuff: Rene Descartes’ brilliant invention, with plenty of lists of points that, if properly executed, form an outline of a fish or a dinosaur. They would be taught signed numbers, order of operations, distributive property, and how to solve for x, and that would be about it. They would finish the year happily aware that math is fun and that they are good at it. If they were fortunate enough to be taught from Jacobs’s Mathematics: a Human Endeavor, they would learn about sequences and mosaics and logarithms and even networks, but all with a very concrete development, suited to the emergent logical thinker.

The reform mathematicians who put together Common Core are ignoring cognitive development. My Common Core pre-algebra students are hurried through the arithmetic review and taught the coordinate system. They graph lines and parabolas. They do transformations, exponents (including zero and negative exponents), and a truly horrendous percentage of percentage problems. The homework can be finished in an hour if the student’s parents can afford to hire a BS mechanical engineer to sit at his elbow and remind him when he takes a wrong turn. Otherwise, he is up ’til midnight. Students work hard at tasks beyond their strength; they flounder; they fail; they learn that math is no fun.

This isn’t education. This is child abuse.

Another aspect of Common Core that surprised me was the emphasis given to parent functions and transformations. People over 40 years of age, even techies such as physicists, chemists, engineers, and mathematicians, won’t know what parent functions are. People under 35 who have been educated in reform mathematics textbooks will be surprised that is possible to learn mathematics without learning about transformations.

Fifty years ago, transformations were not taught, although math-bright students would figure them out for themselves in analytic geometry (second-semester pre-calculus). Today, they are taught systematically beginning in elementary school.

The treatment of transformations reminds me of the New Math debacle of the 1960s. The reform mathematicians of the day decided that they were going to improve mathematical education by teaching all students what the math-bright children figured out for themselves.

In exactly the same way, the current crop of reform math educators has decided that transformations are an essential underlying principle, and are teaching them: laboriously, painfully, and unnecessarily. They are tormenting and confusing the average student, and depriving the math-bright student of the delight of discovering underlying principles for himself.

One aspect of Common Core that did not surprise me was a heavy reliance on calculators.

The main problem I see with my algebra students is that they have poor number sense. They can’t tell whether the answer their calculator shows is reasonable or not. They cling to the notion that 1.41 is somehow more precise than square root of two. They also can’t add fractions or do long division, which puts them at a severe disadvantage when they must add rational expressions or divide polynomials.

Common Core exacerbates this problem. At every level, the problems are designed to be too hard to solve by hand. A calculator is necessary even in elementary school – unless a child is to spend 5 hours a night on homework. A graphing calculator is necessary for algebra – calculating correlation coefficients by hand is not a viable option. My students are whizzes with their calculators. But they reach for them to square 1/3…then write it as 0.11.

Common Core advocates claim that they are avoiding that boring, rote drill in favor of higher-order thinking skills. Nowhere is this more demonstrably false than in their treatment of formulas. An old-style text would have the student memorize a few formulas and be able to derive the rest. Common Core loads the student down with more formulas than can possibly be memorized. There is no instruction on derivation; the formulas are handed down as though an archangel brought them down from heaven. Since it is impossible to memorize all the various formulas, students are permitted – nay, encouraged – to develop cheat sheets to use on the tests.

The second-biggest problem with Common Core is the problem of Big Mistakes. Pretend for a moment that a homeschool family did something as asinine as giving their eight-year-old a calculator instead of teaching him his times tables. That child would be a calculator cripple.

But that would be a small mistake, affecting one child. Now consider what happens when a state made such a mistake. We don’t even have to pretend. In 1986, California adopted Whole Language Arts, which proved to be a disaster. Within a decade, California plunged to 49th out of 50 in reading performance. Millions of children were affected. Big mistake.

If different states have different curricula, we can observe what works and what does not, and improve thereby. But Common Core is being pushed nationwide. This could be the Biggest of all possible Mistakes.

But the worst problem with Common Core is its likely effect on the educational gap between rich and poor in this country. The students I tutor have parents who would describe themselves as “comfortable.” No one likes to admit to being rich. But the middle class and poor cannot afford to pay a tutoring company $50 to $100 per hour so that someone will sit with their children and explain trig identities.

The oft-repeated goal of Common Core is that every child will be “college or career ready.” Couple that slogan with the oft-expressed admiration for the European system of education – in European countries, students are slotted for university or a dead-end job at age 14, based ostensibly on their performance on high-stakes tests, but that performance almost inevitably matches the student’s socioeconomic class. Do we really want to destroy upward mobility and implement a rigid class structure in the United States of America?

To recapitulate: Common Core teaches about a third of algebra 1 in pre-algebra, a third of pre-calculus in algebra 2, et cetera. Common Core teaches unnecessary abstractions as essential principles. Common Core creates calculator cripples. Common Core fails to derive mathematical expressions, instead presenting them as Holy Writ.

I predict that if we continue implementing Common Core, average students will drop out of math as early as they are allowed. Even math-bright students will hate math. Tutoring companies will proliferate to serve wealthy families. The educational gap between rich and poor will widen. If we want to destroy math and science education in this country, keep Common Core.

This article originally ran on on Sept. 28.

Hat time Joanne Yurchak


Keep Common Core, Destroy Math


Keep Common Core, Destroy Math

Keystone Exam Forum Is Online

Joanne Yurchak has informed us that a recording of Keystone Exam forum held Oct. 7 in Radnor is now online.

“If you didn’t attend it, it is definitely worth viewing, but it IS long,” Joanne says.  “The League of Women Voters did an outstanding job in organizing it.  Kudos to them!”

Here it is:


Keystone Exam Forum Is Online

Keystone Exam Forum Is Online


Common Core Disaster Described By Canonsburg Mom

By Joanne Yurchak

I had to share this outstanding letter by a woman named Allison Lewis, who is from Canonsburg, PA.    Make sure you take a look at the example problem that she presents in the letter.  Unfortunately, this isn’t unique in that there are innumerable other ridiculous ones with Common Core-aligned programs.  To be fair, there have been other ridiculous problems BCC (before Common Core), but Common Core has been implemented supposedly to improve our educational system.  In actuality, it seems that instead of doing so, it is including many of the bad features of previous educational programs and expanding on them.

And please don’t let the “powers that be” try to convince you that Common Core is just STANDARDS.  In theory, it is, but in practice, it is the standards that drive the curriculum.  Please take a look at the attachment that explains where these standards lead, entitled ‘What’s All the Fuss about the Common Core Standards?”.

Letter by Allison Lewis that she sent to her District Superintendent
To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing as a concerned parent.  I am increasingly worried about the educational system and what it is NOT doing for my kids.  Now they are starting Common Core in Math.  After reviewing the Envisions book (or computer screen with NO instructional guidelines), I see where all of the criticism comes from.  I am writing this letter because I feel a total loss of control in my children’s education.
I am not one to write letters or complain about anything, but I have two children and it is partly my responsibility to make sure they are well educated and enjoy learning!  This will inevitably cause a riff between parents and kids, creating resentment and a bad educational foundation at home.  After all, that is where it all begins!  A child can have average intelligence, but if taught at home to enjoy learning, that child can end up to be a very successful adult.  Without the parents on their side, the desire for learning and education is lost.
I have seen this in my home already.  When my kids do math, I have to sit there like a complete idiot and say that I cannot help them.  If they can’t figure it out themselves, I say, you will have to get it wrong, resulting in a bad grade and failure.  This is abnormal.  What good parent can sit there and say “oh well, fail” and NOT have anger towards the people who put this into action.
Change is good.  We need change to update kids on new technologies, textbooks need updating and kids should learn how to think differently.  This could have been an addition to the traditional formulas of math.  It doesn’t need to be changed!  I am not saying that as a bitter parent stuck in her ways or a “white suburban mom” either.
This creates more stress than what these young kids are already feeling. It is actually going to harm them.  I think anxiety and depression medication use among children will be on the rise.  It will also create doubt.  I have heard my son say he is stupid and get upset when he sees me getting frustrated for not being able to understand his homework.  Tonight he will miss his baseball game so we can do math because it is so time consuming!
The math problems are bizarre.  My son had to answer a question using repeated subtraction (?!!)  He must have not been paying attention in class.  He didn’t remember, I was clueless, so was my husband and there was nothing to reference so I could help him learn!  We knew the answer was 14, but we were all wrong because we didn’t use “repeated subtraction” in order to solve it.  This was just homework.  He had a test on this the following day.  He was very excited and proud of himself feeling as if he had accomplished long division, then came the test.  It was all word problems!  They were tricky and unfair and he didn’t do as well, making him feel horrible.  He had to spend 20 minutes on one problem trying to explain why an answer was what it was!  After TWO paragraphs he turned it in and it was wrong.  Why?  Because he didn’t explain it well enough.  Meanwhile, through tears, he said “I KNOW why it is that answer but I can’t put it into words.”  I told him that I couldn’t either.
My daughter had 2 math problems where, again, I could not help her solve.  It took us and hour with no solution.  Or, I should say it took ME an hour because after 45 minutes, my daughter was so frustrated and bored she lost all interest.  A few days later, we couldn’t figure out another one.  She went next door where her dad was watching the hockey game with friends.  It took 3 adult men 30 minutes to figure it out.  One has an engineering degree, one is a computer software programmer and one has a Business degree.  All of which need expert experience with numbers.
I keep hearing the word rigorous to describe this new curriculum.  That is an understatement.  Why in the WORLD would this be incorporated into young children’s educations?  They need a solid foundation before they can philosophically analyze why 2+2=4 and then try to solve it in 18 steps when all along we know the answer!  If a solid foundation is not TOTALLY mastered, how can kids even begin to look at math at a different level?
I cannot believe that the American Educational System has come to this.  Supposedly intelligent men and women are writing this, looking at it and saying it is ok.   Allow me to insert a test question for 5th grade:

Common Core Disaster Described By Canonsburg Mom

What?  Is this a mistake?  Is there really an answer?  What the heck is it?  Am I stupid?  Or are the people who wrote it not as smart as they want to be?  It is EMBARRASSING and other countries are laughing at us.  With this in their text books my kids will not be college ready.  They will be prepared to work at the local BP station or any blue collar level job.  I guess keeping us all at one level is the goal.

Children need to learn to solve problems, master them and move on, then go outside and play and be kids!!  Not stress and cry about their homework or be set up for failure with stupid math questions.  I had a teacher say “If your son doesn’t master this this week, he will fall behind and never catch up.  We are going to move fast!”  Really?  If he is having a problem, I will undoubtedly help, but guess what, I am not a teacher.  I will reinforce at home and support my kids, but now I am worried that I can’t.  I honestly shouldn’t have to recap the whole day (couldn’t anyway) if it is being done right at school! Since we pay so many taxes, a nice tutoring program should be offered, but I don’t see much help available.

I want to see my children enjoy learning.  Knowledge is powerful and these kids are only being taught to test and then impatiently hurried along to something else.  They aren’t actually being taught.  There is no time for good teachers with a passion for teaching to teach anything because they are always testing.  Some kids, like my son, aren’t good test takers, but have the knowledge and understanding of the subject if given time and are actually motivated by pure curiosity and interest.  They need to absorb the material.  It is not a competition of speed (rocket math).  Math isn’t just a brain teaser game or riddle to solve and my kids aren’t guinea pigs only used for test scores.  One of their usual math word problems was actually written to trick my son.  Our children will inevitably fall behind and NEVER catch up with this crazy, wasteful, embarrassing curriculum and any testing results will not provide an accurate picture of what these kids really can and should do at their level.
I remember being 10 or 11.  I was taught age appropriate, interesting material and given time to master each subject.  Apparently the educational system is broken and America (politicians) feel the need to fix it in all the wrong ways.  I was told Pre-School will now change their curriculum.  My kids went to a Pre-School where they were taught through play and interaction.  They thrived!
After talking to other friends in other states, I hear how English classes will change as well.  I hear Classic Literature will be shoved in the background so they can focus on instructional manuals.  Sounds fun!  WHO in the WORLD thought of this?  Is it a joke?  That would be absolute torture on my kids…and me!
I want someone to prove to me that this is beneficial to my kids and that I am just an overly worried parent jumping to conclusions, however, having family and friends in education all over the country, I know they share the same concerns.  I also want to know what happens if this is abandoned.  Are my kids completely lost?  Do I supplement math at home so they build the basic foundation? Is part of the plan separating parents from their child’s education?  You don’t make kids smarter by making school harder.  What change is coming next?
I’m not blaming the teachers or the district.  You are caught in the middle between the state and the parents.  I have utmost respect for the teachers who care for these children six hours a day.  I want children to be challenged and taught to see things differently.  Higher standards and more rigorous curriculum isn’t bad.  I just want it to make sense.  I also want to be a part of my children’s education.  I cannot even begin to understand how parents were never consulted in this.  I have never been a very vocal or political person, but this is scary.  Therefore I will be writing and writing and writing to anyone who will listen and not patronize me.
Families and America deserves so much better!
Allison Levis

Note: Allison is from Canonsburg, PA and has given me permission to share this outstanding letter.


Common Core Disaster Described By Canonsburg Mom

Common Core Fails Says School Director

By Lisa Esler

Isn’t it strange that since the Federal Department of Education was established in the late 70’s, education has been on a disastrous downward decline even though America spends more money on education than any other nation? I think most of us older folks would agree we learned the 3 R’s very well before the FED started “improving” education.

Over the past several years, schools across the country have been implementing Common Core State Standards (CCSS). This is the latest centralized federal attempt to nationalize a new, one-size-fits-all, untested, convoluted teaching experiment with students as the guinea pigs.

These new Common Core Standards emerged from the wreckage of No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top. These two failed experiments are now part of the history of bad education reform along with the “Sight Reading” and “New Math” fiascos.

If the end goal of those who pushed Common Core was a truly honest attempt to improve education, wouldn’t they have used best practices from those states which were already proven to be successful? That did not happen. They also did not consult with Child Behavioral Scientists to see if the standards for each grade were age appropriate. In many cases, they are not age appropriate and therefore undue pressure is put on a child to perform above his developmental ability.

Furthermore, the standards were not state-led and voluntary as claimed by proponents. States have always been the laboratories of innovation and competition. Instead, a bunch of educrats and special interest groups got together and developed standards, ignoring concerns and alarms from professional, well-respected educators and psychologists. Just like No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, in 2009-2010, CCSS was falsely packaged as rigorous, internationally-benchmarked standards. Because a large federal grant (bribe) was offered, Governor Rendell and then his successor Governor Corbett blindly accepted the standards, sight unseen, without consultation with our elected representatives in Harrisburg. Since then Pennsylvania has changed the name to “PA Core Standards” to ward off Common Core opponents but the standards are basically the same.

Opponents are worried that what was sold as minimal standards will lead to national control of curriculum in order to conform to the ‘Core Aligned’ tests. Bill Gates, who pushed for the CCSS through the financial generosity of his Foundation, said “when the testing is implemented, the curriculum will follow.” He even referred to students as his “customers.” He is absolutely right! Implementation of Common Core has created many “customers” for Microsoft and Pearson Publishing and the testing companies that are all salivating at the thought of the money they can make from the tests, new books and technology.

Great teachers are boxed in by new evaluations which are tied to the tests. They will lose their autonomy and creativity in the classroom since they will be forced to teach to the test. I don’t understand why more teachers, administrators speaking out!

Many parents know something has changed. Their kids are frustrated, have lost self-confidence and no longer like math. They tell me they can’t even help their elementary students with math homework since the old (simple) ways they use are now ‘incorrect’.

In addition to the manipulation of the curriculum and the tests, there is another aspect of Common Core which is known as “Core Data.” Are you aware that an enormous amount of ongoing data is being collected on our students and their families? At this time, it is unclear HOW all that academic and personal information will be used and, worse yet, uncertainty about who can access the data.

The potential for input errors and breach of privacy rights is daunting since the data follows every student from kindergarten through career.

Opposition to Common Core is growing stronger by the day. Our children’s education is far too important to be dictated by educrats and special interest groups in Washington that are counting their profits. Constitutionally, the federal government is prohibited from dictating curriculum. Let’s make sure education decisions are preserved at the state and local level with input from parents.

Please learn as much as you can about Common Core. There are many informative Youtube videos, Facebook Pages and Websites on the subject. Get informed, and if you agree with me, that CC is rotten to the core, speak up at your local School Board meetings.

Also, Common Core is one of those issues that cross political party lines. It seems that Gov. Corbett has recently requested a review of the CCSS by the Pennsylvania Department of Education but more needs to be done. Contact your State Senator and Representative. These politicians are hard at work worrying about the upcoming election yet not a peep out of most of them concerning one of the most basic responsibilities – the education of children.

Ask them where they stand on this important issue.

With your help, we can put an end to Common Core in Pennsylvania.

Mrs. Esler is a director on the Penn Delco School Board


Common Core Fails Says School Director


Common Core Fails Says School Director

Corbett Says Common Core Will End

Embattled Gov. Tom Corbett released a statement yesterday, Sept. 8, in which he called for public review of the Common Core plan being implemented in Pennsylvania.

“Though Common Core began as a state-led initiative to ensure our public schools met the educational standards needed in the 21st century economy, the process has been overly influenced by the federal government,” Corbett said.  “Common Core has become nothing more than a top-down takeover of the education system.  It is nothing more than Obamacare for education.”

The release says this is the “final phase in his nearly three year effort to permanently roll back” the plan, which it says was implemented by Ed Rendell.


We say better late than never.

We say you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind’s blowing.

And we guess we won’t feel bad about voting for him now.

In other election news, Democrat gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf has edited out of his ads an endorsement by Washington County (Pa) attorney and former Common Please Court judicial candidate Alan Benyak after it was revealed he appeared as “Mr. Cannibal” in a movie called “Breeding Farm” which has been described as a “twisted porn” film.

There are descriptions of the movie available and of what Benyak does, but we think we will leave them out.

Those crazy Democrats. The entire party should be just put to sleep out of mercy. Mercy for the nation, that is.


Corbett Says Common Core Will End

Corbett Says Common Core Will End

Common Core 5 Big Half Truths

By Rick Hess

School is back in session, and debate over the Common Core is boiling in key states. As governors and legislators debate the fate of the Common Core, they hear Core advocates repeatedly stress five impressive claims: that their handiwork is “internationally benchmarked,” “evidence-based,” “college- and career-ready,” and “rigorous,” and that the nations that perform best on international tests all have national standards.

In making these claims, advocates go on to dismiss skeptics as ignorant extremists who are happy to settle for mediocrity. The thing is, once examined, these claims are far less compelling than they appear at first glance. It’s not that they’re false so much as grossly overstated. Herewith, a handy cheat sheet for putting the Common Core talking points in context.

Internationally benchmarked: Advocates tout their handiwork as “internationally benchmarked.” By this they mean that the committees that penned the Common Core paid particular attention to the standards of countries that fare well on international tests. It’s swell that they did so, but benchmarking usually means comparing one’s performance with another’s — not just borrowing some attractive ideas. What the Common Core authors did is more “cutting-and-pasting” than “benchmarking.” Some experts even reject the notion that the standards are particularly good compared to those of other nations. Marina Ratner, professor emerita of math at the University of California, Berkeley, and winner of the 1993 international Ostrowski Prize, has written, “The most astounding statement I have read is the claim that Common Core standards are ‘internationally benchmarked.’ They are not. The Common Core fails any comparison with the standards of high-achieving countries….They are lower in the total scope of learned material, in the depth and rigor of the treatment of mathematical subjects, and in the delayed and often inconsistent and incoherent introductions of mathematical concepts and skills.”

Evidence-based: Advocates celebrate the Common Core as “evidence-based.” The implication is that whereas we used to make things up as we went along, decisions about why students must learn this and not that in fourth grade are now backed by scientific research. In fact, what advocates mean is that the standards take into account surveys asking professors and hiring managers what they thought high school graduates should know, as well as examinations of which courses college-bound students usually take. The fact is that it’s difficult for anyone to claim that evidence “proves” in which grade students should learn to calculate the area of a triangle or compare narrative styles. Vanderbilt professor Lynn Fuchs has put it well, noting that there is no “empirical basis” for the Common Core. “We don’t know yet whether it makes sense to have this particular set of standards,” she explains. “We don’t know if it produces something better or even different from what it was before.” Looking at evidence is grand, but what the Common Core’s authors did falls well short of what “evidence-based” typically means.

College- and career-ready: Advocates claim that the Common Core standards will ensure that students are “college- and career-ready.” As former Obama domestic policy chief Melody Barnes wrote in Politico last year, “Too often, the path to a diploma is not rigorous enough to prepare our graduates for their next steps.” Critics have observed, however, that the Common Core drops certain high school math topics (including calculus and pre-calculus, about half of algebra II, and parts of geometry) and moves other material to later grades. When asked whether this might leave students less prepared for advanced college math, proponents explain that the Common Core is a “floor, not a ceiling.” Achieve, Inc., a driving force behind the standards, describes the “floor,” explaining that the standards are meant to make sure students can “succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing postsecondary coursework” in “community college, university, technical/vocational program[s], apprenticeship[s], or significant on-the-job training.” The result adds up to something less than the recipe for excellence that the marketing suggests.

Rigor: Advocates declare that the Common Core is more rigorous than the state standards that previously existed. It’s actually quite challenging to objectively compare the “rigor” of standards. After all, one could insist that fifth-graders should master calculus, note that the Common Core doesn’t require this, and thus dismiss the standards as too easy — even though such an appraisal might indicate impracticality rather than rigor. The Common Core’s authors judged that the old standards had too much material but were insufficiently rigorous, which tells us that, in their view, we shouldn’t equate rigor with quantity. Thus, the question is how to weigh subtle claims of relative rigor. More often than not, the case for the Common Core’s superiority rests on the subjective judgment of four evaluators hired by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. These four hired evaluators opined in 2010 that the Core standards were better than about three-quarters of existing state standards. Not an unreasonable judgment, but hardly compelling proof of rigor.

Leading nations have national standards: Advocates have made a major point of noting that high-performing nations all have national standards. What they’re much less likely to mention is that the world’s lowest-performing nations also all have national standards. There is no obvious causal link between national standards and educational quality.

When it comes to the Common Core, advocates have become quite adept at delivering their familiar talking points. They’re quite proud of these. In fact, they think them so compelling that they’re befuddled that popular support appears to be steadily eroding. A more skeptical observer surveys these talking points and sees a series of half-truths and exaggerations that have been trumpeted as fact. As states reassess the Common Core, advocates should be challenged to offer more than stirring rhetoric and grandiose claims. Given how avidly Common Core boosters celebrate “evidence,” they really ought to be able to be able to muster more than, “Trust us, we’re really smart.”

This column was passed on to us from this site by Joanne Yurchak. Thank you, Joanne.

Common Core 5 Big Half Truths

Common Core 5 Big Half Truths

Common Core Concerns Catholic Schools Too

The Cardinal Newman Society has released a report pointing out that Common Core concerns Catholic schools too.

It notes that Common Core is not mandatory for Catholic schools — albeit education activist Peg Luksik has pointed out that this may not always be the case.

The Newman Society also said that Common Core is not intended for Catholic education, Catholic schools already outperform public ones, that Common Core is ultimately about textbooks and curriculum, that it may actually hinder a child’s education and formation and violates the principle of subsidiary, which means that human events are best handled closest to the individuals affected by the decisions being made.

Read the whole article.

Hat tip Joanne Yurchak


Common Core Concerns Catholic Schools Too


Common Core Concerns Catholic Schools Too

Sinister Truth Regarding Common Core

By Ryan M. Bannister

In response to a recent op-ed (York Dispatch)  by William Bartle, education policy director for Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, I would like to point out some conveniently ignored truths regarding Common Core.

Mr. Bartle, with either willful ignorance or contempt for the “regular class,” has lacked the integrity to offer full disclosure in his April 18 piece titled “Nothing sinister about Common Core.” The title itself screams “nothing to see here.”

I offer a public response to Mr. Bartle in order to enlighten him with the facts and further educate him on honesty in communication.

Fact: William Bartles’ organization, Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, has received three separate grants from the Gates Foundation to sponsor Common Core. These three grants total $935,859.

I wonder why he failed to mention this.

Fact: The president and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children is Joan Benso. Why is she important? Well, another fact that must have slipped the mind of Mr. Bartle is that Joan Benso has a husband named Thomas Gluck. Are you ready for this? Mr. Thomas Gluck is executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Units. His organization also received grants from the Gates Foundation to support and promote Common Core. His grants totaled nearly $2 million.

The conflict is glaring, but I’m sure the elitist few have their reasons. After all, it’s for the children. It must be a difficult job as education director for Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children to sacrifice facts and honest disclosure for corporate interests in a federal takeover of education. The documentation from the commonwealth stating that Pennsylvania Core Standards and Common Core are the same thing is vast and abundant. It’s a wonder the Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children can’t afford a fact-checker or staff researcher with all that Gates Foundation money. Somehow a “regular class” proletariat such as myself was able to locate these documents, and at no cost. I’ll be happy to share them with you if you want to get caught up on the facts.

Mr. William Bartle stated with such confidence that there is no federal control of education due to Common Core. That is a lie. In order to even apply for the federal grant money (wow, more money?) we had to have agreed to the federal Common Core standards and Common Core-aligned resources (technology, text books, etc. …).

Additionally, to apply for the SLDS (Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems) grant, we had to have first implemented a “womb-to-workplace” data collection system. Sounds sinister, huh? What’s even scarier is that those aren’t my words. The term “womb-to-workplace” was used multiple times by the commonwealth on the actual grant application. I’m sure these details slipped his mind as well.

Now that we’ve identified the conveniently ignored facts that William Bartle, fancy shmancy policy director of the bought-and-paid-for Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, left out of his op-ed, let’s discuss what Common Core in Pennsylvania means to the taxpayer.

In Pennsylvania, Common Core is a regulation, not a law. This is because our state Constitution (remember this document, Mr. Bartle?) requires any cost to the commonwealth associated with changes in education be put through the legislative process. That means it would be subject to amendments, alterations and a host of other political shenanigans in which the resulting bill could be something that is not aligned with the federal requirements for the Race To The Top federal grant money. Also, any actual law that involves federal control to our local education system would violate the 10th amendment as well as the General Education Provisions Act. Regulations seem convenient. This way no elected or publicly accountable official can tinker with Common Core.

The ridiculous description offered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education in describing the cost of Common Core is that it will be … are you ready for this? … cost-neutral. This is efficiency at its finest, considering the Boston-based Pioneer Institute placed the cost to just implement Common Core in Pennsylvania to be at least $650 million. Luckily, the commonwealth doesn’t have to pay for this because it is cost-neutral (pause for laughter). That’s right folks. The cost will fall squarely to the local level. What’s that you say? Your local school district doesn’t have that kind of money to implement Common Core? Thankfully, the hard-working property owners of Pennsylvania will be there to foot the bill. Taxpayers, say hello to the unfunded mandate.

What have we learned today? The president and CEO, Joan Benso, of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children received nearly $1 million from the Gates Foundation to promote Common Core. Thomas Gluck (husband of Joan Benso) is the executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Units and has received nearly $2 million to support and promote Common Core.

William Bartle, education policy director for Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, writes an op-ed from behind the curtain on April 18 to assure us that there is nothing sinister about Common Core.

It takes some decent money to support Common Core. It only takes common sense to oppose it.

We the taxpayers, the parents, the citizens of the regular class know better than this. We know that our children and the educational decisions to be made regarding our children should be managed at the local level, not through federal standardized tests and curriculum.

We can do better than the money takers. There are far more of us than there are of them. Let us be heard.

Ryan M. Bannister is a member of Pennsylvanians Against Common Core.

Sinister Truth Regarding Common Core

Sinister Truth Regarding Common Core

Hat tip Joanne Yurchak