Since Common Core Is A Failure, Why Did So Many NH Superintendents Go Along With It?

Since Bill Gates (funder of Common Core) “tacitly admits” Common Core was a failure, it’s time to ask your Superintendent what they plan on doing now?

Why did they go along with this education reform with no evidence it works?

Parents pay enormous salaries to their district’s Superintendent, and it’s time to demand some answers.

Remember when (Candidate for School Board in Manchester) Jon DiPietro, parent in Manchester, went before the School Board and said, “Stop Experimenting On My Kids.”
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Bill Gates Tacitly Admits His Common Core Experiment Was A Failure

It looks like this is as close to an apology or admission of failure as we’re going to get, folks. Sorry about that $4 trillion and mangled years of education for American K-12 kids and teachers.

By Joy Pullmann
OCTOBER 25, 2017

Bill and Melinda Gates run the world’s richest nonprofit, with assets at $40 billion and annual giving around $4 billion. They have helped pioneer a mega-giving strategy called “advocacy philanthropy,” which aims to use private donations to shift how governments structure their activities and use taxpayer dollars.

Since 2009, the Gates Foundation’s primary U.S. activity has focused on establishing and implementing Common Core, a set of centrally mandated curriculum rules and tests for what children are to learn in each K-12 grade, with the results linked to school and teacher ratings and punitive measures for low performers. The Gates Foundation has spent more than $400 million itself and influenced $4 trillion in U.S. taxpayer funds towards this goal. Eight years later, however, Bill Gates is admitting failure on that project, and a “pivot” to another that is not likely to go any better.

“Based on everything we have learned in the past 17 years, we are evolving our education strategy,” Gates wrote on his blog as a preface to a speech he gave last week in Cleveland. He followed this by detailing how U.S. education has essentially made little improvement in the years since he and his foundation — working so closely with the Obama administration that federal officials regularly consulted foundation employees and waived ethics laws to hire several — began redirecting trillions of public dollars towards programs he now admits haven’t accomplished much.

“If there is one thing I have learned,” Gates says in concluding his speech, “it is that no matter how enthusiastic we might be about one approach or another, the decision to go from pilot to wide-scale usage is ultimately and always something that has to be decided by you and others the field.” If this statement encompasses his Common Core debacle, Gates could have at least the humility to recall that Common Core had no pilot before he took it national. There wasn’t even a draft available to the public before the Obama administration hooked states into contracts, many of which were ghostwritten with Gates funds, pledging they’d buy that pig in a poke.

But it looks like this is as close to an apology or admission of failure as we’re going to get, folks. Sorry about that $4 trillion and mangled years of education for American K-12 kids and teachers. Failing with your kids and money for eight years is slowly getting billionaire visionaries to “evolve” and pledge to respect the hoi polloi a little more, though, so be grateful.

Strategic Retreat, or Stealthy Persistence?

While Gates will continue to dump money into curricula and teacher training based on Common Core, “we will no longer invest directly in new initiatives based on teacher evaluations and ratings,” he said. This is the portion of the Common Core initiative around which bipartisan grassroots opposition coalesced, since unions oppose accountability for teachers and parents oppose terrible ideas thrust upon their kids without their input. Gates’ speech reinforces that Common Core supporters are scapegoating their initiative’s poor quality and transgression against the American right to self-government upon its links to using poorly constructed, experimental tests to rate teachers and schools.

Agreed, that’s a bad idea that failed miserably, both in PR and in teacher effectiveness terms, but it’s one bad bite out of a rotten apple. Looks like Gates is just going to bite again from another angle. It’s the old rationalization for communism: “Great idea, terrible implementation.” Yes, that sometimes happens, but what about considering whether the implementation trainwreck was caused by a bad idea?

In lieu of ramming his preferred, untested education theories through a mindhive of unelected bureaucrats elated to be showered with Gates money and attention, over the next five years the Gates Foundation will spend $1.7 billion on myriad smaller initiatives. “We anticipate that about 60 percent of this will eventually support the development of new curricula and networks of schools that work together to identify local problems and solutions,” Gates says.

This curricula, however, will be explicitly tied to Common Core and its cousin, the Next Generation Science Standards (which academic reviewers rate of even more obviously low quality). Similar experiments in New York and Louisiana, the latter of which Gates cites, have yielded uniformity but not uniformly good curricula or proven improvements for student achievement.

“[H]igh-quality curricula can improve student learning more than many costlier solutions, and it has the greatest impact with students of novice and lower performing teachers. We also know it has the greatest impact when accompanied by professional learning and coaching,” Gates says. This is entirely true. But who decides what is “high-quality curricula”? Press releases and buzz or proven results?

The latter not only takes time to establish, but is directly threatened by the anti-learning environment inside which most curricula is created and teachers are trained, which typically dooms its effectiveness. Further, most measurements of curricular success use test score bumps, but there are major questions from the research about whether those benefit kids or society long-term. The metrics for success that make the most sense to Bill Gates do not actually ensure success for children. The prospects for his “evolution” are, then, foreboding. The most likely outcome is the historically most frequent outcome from big-bucks philanthropy in public education: sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Gates’ Philanthropy Proves Money Can’t Buy Success

Look, I want Gates to succeed. He and Melinda obviously mean well and have means to do good. They are handicapping their own success at education philanthropy, however, by attempting to approach schools precisely opposite to the manner in which Gates innovated to earn his own professional mega-success. Gates made it big by creating things that solved people’s problems and which they could choose whether to use. Millions of people individually initially chose (as opposed to later company actions after going big, in which Microsoft used its size to coerce people to use their products) to use Microsoft products because they personally saw value in exchanging their time and money for those products.

One of the key problems of public education that makes it of such poor quality and resistant to change is that it is built on the later Microsoft model of coercion rather than the early Bill Gates-the-whiz-programmer model of free exchange. Public schools get money and students whether families really want to dedicate those resources or not. Twice as many parents send their kids to public schools as really would like to, if they had the choice. Thus, teachers and schools are not rewarded in direct correlation with the needs and desires of their customers. This is a core reason public education persistently perpetuates bad curricula, bad teaching methods, and poor attention to kids’ specific needs.

The Gates Foundation is so close, yet apparently so far away from realizing why the mountain of money they can shovel around has so far not been as effective for American kids as they earnestly desire. Last year’s annual letter from foundation CEO Sue Desmond-Hellman, its first major admission of failure, prefaced Gates’ own groping this week at why: “Unfortunately, our foundation underestimated the level of resources and support required for our public education systems to be well-equipped to implement [Common Core]. We missed an early opportunity to sufficiently engage educators – particularly teachers – but also parents and communities so that the benefits of the standards could take flight from the beginning.”

Here’s Gates this week, echoing that theme in announcing changes to his giving strategy: “We believe this kind of approach – where groups of schools have the flexibility to propose the set of approaches they want – will lead to more impactful and durable systemic change that is attractive enough to be widely adopted by other schools…we will leave it up to each network [of schools we fund] to decide what approaches they believe will work best to address their biggest challenges.” This is good, but not good enough.

I have been hard on Gates over the years for Common Core because he has used his fabulous financial power irresponsibly. He’s forced American citizens into an experimental and at best academically mediocre policy fantasy that has further eroded American government’s legitimacy, which depends upon the consent of the governed. He and Melinda may mean well, but they haven’t done well on this major initiative. It’s going to take a lot more than passive-aggressive side references to their failure to make up for the years of classroom chaos their bad ideas inflicted on many U.S. teachers and kids without their consent. A direct apology and dedication to the “first, do no harm” principle would be a start.

Joy Pullmann is managing editor of The Federalist and author of “The Education Invasion: How Common Core Fights Parents for Control of American Kids,” out from Encounter Books this spring. Get it on Amazon.

Did Senator (Former Governor) Hassan Lie To Parents?

So does this mean that Senator (former Governor) Hassan lied to us when she supported Common Core as standards that would make students “college” ready? Way to fail NH students Senator!

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Hey, Remember Common Core?

A hidden point in a New York Times article about how children are being taught writing: Poor writing is nothing new, nor is concern about it. More than half of first-year students at Harvard failed an entrance exam in writing — in 1874. But the Common Core State Standards, now in use in more than two-thirds of the states, were supposed to change all this. By requiring students to learn three types of essay writing — argumentative, informational and narrative — the Core staked a claim for writing as central to the American curriculum. It represented a sea change after the era of No Child Left Behind, the 2002 federal law that largely overlooked writing in favor of reading comprehension assessed by standardized multiple-choice tests. So far, however, six years after its rollout, the Core hasn’t led to much measurable improvement on the page. Students continue to arrive on college campuses needing remediation in basic writing skills. . .see more at:
http://www.nationalreview.com/morning-jolt/450079/hey-remember-common-core
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BUT NOT SO FAST….now public colleges are going to do away with remedial classes. Problem solved. Right?
Not exactly. It’s a way to cover up the remediation that students will still need. In other words, if you don’t call the college classes “remedial” maybe you won’t notice the problem continues to exist.

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At Cal State, about 40% of freshman each year are considered not ready for college-level work and required to take remedial classes that do not count toward their degrees.
Having so many students start their freshman year being told that they are already behind and giving them just one year to dig themselves out also doesn’t help foster a sense of social or academic belonging, officials said…. see more at:
http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-cal-state-remedial-requirements-20170803-story.html
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KEEP CONTACTING THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION AND DEMAND BETTER
TELL THEM TO SUPPORT COMMISSIONER FRANK EDELBLUT’S AGENDA TO DRAFT BETTER STANDARDS FOR OUR KIDS!

https://www.education.nh.gov/state_board/membership.htm

Who’s Profiting Off of the Dumbed Down Common Core in NH Schools?

Isn’t it astonishing that the main drivers of “College and Career Readiness…aka…Common Core” are loan companies who sell student debt into securities and also serve as vehicles for the mega-rich to get tax deductions- the same mega-rich who want common core, tests, for-profit charter schools, AVID, etc.

“Sallie Mae or SLM Corp (SLM), a former state-owned enterprise, is the main private lender for student loans. Sallie Mae makes loans that aren’t backed by the government and packages the loans into securities, which are sold in tranches (or segments) to investors.”

Read more: Student Loan Asset-Backed Securities: Safe or Subprime? | Investopedia

School Administrators in NH Bullying Parents and Children on Testing

Every year we read or hear from parents about how their school administrators are misleading parents who refuse to let their children take the annual standardized test. Some administrators even resort to bullying parents and children.

If you are concerned about the mental health of children, is it then appropriate for school administrators to mislead and bully parents and children into this testing scheme?

We’ve got a mess in New Hampshire and it comes directly from the removal of local control in education. Policies on testing and accountability (not to parents but to bureaucrats) have created a situation where parents have lost their voice. No longer can they opt their children out of harmful testing practices without school administrators coming after them because they are afraid they might lose some $$ money.

Go to your local school board and insist on a policy of NO BULLYING, MISLEADING and PRESSURING parents into harmful testing practices. No school district has lost any $$ money over test refusals. Even if they did withhold funding, is it worth the mental health of your children to participate?

STOP THE BULLYING!

This year Greenland administrators sent an e-mail to parents with misleading information on testing. Here is how a physician/ parent responded:
Letter to Editor:

May 18 — To the Editor:

The concern for Greenland students’ social-emotional well-being that prompted the elimination of seventh and eighth grade accelerated math in October has now taken a sharp decline in May (see Greenland Dumps Accelerated Math, 10/23/16).

In an email sent primarily to fathers of students on Wednesday, Principal Peter Smith expressed his frustration with “an inordinate amount of parent refusals for eighth grade Smarter Balanced (SBAC) Summative Assessment.” He indicated there would be an impact to school funding, stating, “If that 95 percent [of participation] is not met, federal dollars could be withheld from the state,” citing the NHDOE Assessment Administrator as the source of this information.

He went on to warn, “Under the law there is no option for an official opt out request,” hinting that GCS is honoring parental refusals out of good will.

The truth is that we still live in a country where parents are free to make choices that are in the best interests of their children. There may not be a state law providing an option for an official “opt out” request, but there is no state law prohibiting a “refusal.” And according to federal law under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), p.144-145:

″…PARENTS MAY REQUEST, and the local educational agency will provide the parents on request (and in a timely manner), information regarding any State or local educational agency policy regarding student participation in any assessments mandated by section 1111(b)(2) and by the State or local educational agency, which shall include a policy, procedure, or PARENTAL RIGHT to OPT the child OUT of such assessment, where applicable.”

The disapproval of opt outs is also evident at school on testing days, where children testing are given substantially more recess time, treats and rewards, while children opting out are assigned to sometimes noisy rooms for silent reading and not allowed to participate in the extra social activities.

It seems the emotional well-being of bureaucrats in Concord is superseding that of our children in Greenland. Parents are being asked to ignore what is best for their children, and children are expected to bear the burden of securing school funding by enduring almost 15 hours of testing – testing that was designed to compare districts, not improve their learning. The American Board of Emergency Medicine re-certification exam that assesses a physician’s ability to make life and death decisions is no more than 5 hours. The real problem lies in the bureaucracy that imposes this excessive, age-inappropriate testing, not the students and their parents.

The children opting out may be missing out on extra recess and doughnuts, but they are learning a valuable lesson – following your conscience about what is best for you is not always the easiest path, but it is usually the right one.

Aida Cerundolo

Greenland

Who is trying to destroy public education in NH? We name names

We decided to stay out of the politics when Governor Sununu appointed a new Commissioner of Education. The former Commissioner was a huge disappointment to all of us because of her allegiance to the dumbed down Common Core Standards. We never know if a new Commissioner is truly committed to quality academic standards or not. We’ve seen enough to know that there is always a possibility that we will see a re-brand of the Common Core and that only makes it worse.

Governor Sununu ran his campaign promising to scrap Common Core. This is encouraging since Governor Hassan was committed to Common Core in spite of the outcries from parents.

We would love to see Gov. Sununu follow through on this important task but the proof will come when that task is finally accomplished.

Governor Sununu appointed Frank Edelblut as Commissioner of Education. We remained neutral in spite of the outcry from partisans who decried that he was unqualified. Of course he was qualified but it remains to be seen if he will have the courage to “scrap” Common Core and put forth academic standards that are truly world class.

Commissioner Edelblut has taken a great deal of heat just for breathing. It seems as if the political forces are not going to let him move forward with any proposed changes. Whether it be the Common Core Standards, the Next Generation Science Standards or reorganizing the Department, it looks like there will be partisan opposition along the way. That’s truly unfortunate since education should always focus on children.

What we are seeing is political partisans lining up to shoot down the new Commissioner before he has a chance to do anything. That’s not good for kids, that’s partisan politics at its worst.

Stop Common Core NH is made up of parents and teachers across the state of New Hampshire. We are diverse in our political backgrounds, but our focus is always on improving public education. The Common Core Standards are not the best we can do for our kids in public schools and neither are the Next Generation Science Standards. These are dumbed down national standards and we can do better.

Everyone says, these are the minimum standards. Well we are tired of public school children getting the minimum. Why aren’t we shooting for the best?

There is NO excuse for this political game being played at the expense of your children.

Who has been fully engaged in making sure we continue with the status quo in New Hampshire? We are going to name names.

1) Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky. District 2
Volinsky has been opposed to Commissioner Edelblut since he was nominated and now he is attacking him for wanting to improve the science standards for your kids.
Volinsky represents: Acworth, Alstead, Barnstead, Belmont, Boscawen, Bradford, Canterbury, Charlestown, Chesterfield, Dublin, Durham, Farmington, Gilmanton, Gilsum, Goshen, Hancock, Harrisville, Henniker, Hinsdale, Hopkinton, Langdon, Lempster, Madbury, Marlborough, Marlow, Nelson, Newbury, Northfield, Rollinsford, Roxbury, Salisbury, Stoddard, Strafford, Sullivan, Surry, Sutton, Unity, Walpole, Warner, Washington, Webster, Westmoreland, and Winchester, and the cities of Concord, Dover, Franklin, Keene, Rochester, and Somersworth.

2) Chairman Tom Raffio New Hampshire State Board of Education District 4

3) Bill Duncan State Board of Education District 3

4) Cindy Chagnon State Board of Education At Large

5) Helen Honorow State Board of Education District 5

6) Gary Groleau State Board of Education At Large
**All of these State Board Members argued against the Commissioner reviewing the Next Generation Science Standards in an effort to improve them.

If you go here: https://www.education.nh.gov/state_board/ Click on meetings & minutes, then click on the link to the videos.
Click on: NH SB Video and scroll down to 2017 then April 6, 2017
Go to 1:50:00 and watch your State Board Members argue against improving science standards for your children.

We have a diverse group of parents and teachers working together to support quality standards in this state. We have a few partisans working against us so we need parents to recognize what is going on.

Make sure you are taking time to let these people know that you do not appreciate their partisan games they are playing with your kids and your public schools. They have become obstructionists to quality public education in this state and your kids will suffer the consequences if you do not speak up.

Send a message by attending a State Board of Education Meeting and tell them you want the Commissioner to improve the academic standards in this state. Tell them to STOP obstructing his efforts. If you cannot attend a meeting, send an e-mail and ask other parents to do the same.
Andru.Volinsky@nh.gov
TomRaffio@nedelta.com
waduncansboe@gmail.com
kcassady@allstaffcorp.com
ggroleau@nhbb.com
chags@comcast.net
hhonorow@barrylawoffice.com
annlanenhsboe@gmail.com
Frank.Edelblut@doe.nh.gov

It’s time to put our children above partisan political games!!!

Tracing the Origins of Today’s Education

School to Work; Goals 2000; Outcome Based Education

The following excerpt from the Congressional Record neatly summarizes and exposes the origins and intents of OBE, STW, and Goals 2000.

HON. HENRY HYDE in the House of Representatives THURSDAY, MAY 15, 1997

Mr. HYDE: Mr. Speaker, no one doubts that education is a vital importance to our country. The question that must be answered is what role should the Federal Government play in supporting education? We have seen more and more legislative efforts to increase the Federal, as opposed to the local role, and this trend concerns many Americans, including myself.

As we engage in debate, it is useful to understand the context, the historical background, of some efforts to increase the central government’s intrusion into what has been a largely local responsibility. Dr. D.L. Cuddy, a former senior associate with the U.S. Department of Education, has written an interesting historical commentary on the school to work concept which I believe warrants the attention of Members.

Read More…

Suggested Note to School Administrators: REFUSE TESTING

Below is a suggested note to send to school administrators when REFUSING the state assessments.

Suggestion: Send a copy to all of your school board members, State Representatives and State Senator
NOTE: Read more about how the NAEP is not collecting personal data here: http://edlibertywatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Final-Ltr-NAEP-legal-and-privacy-concerns-06272016.pdf

Dear __________________________________
(teacher, principal, admin, or even name of school)
This is to inform you that my child will not be participating in any of the testing I have indicated below. I thank you for respecting my right as apparent and appreciate your support as an employee of our community.

Grades 3-8
_______ My child will not participate in the Smarter Balanced OR PACE English Language Arts Assessment
_______ My child will not participate in the Smarter Balanced or PACE Mathematics Assessment
_______ My child will not participate in any field test assessment provided by the State Education Department

Grade 11
________My child will not participate in the (New Common Core aligned) SAT

_______ My child will not participate in the NAEP Assessment

Name of Student:____________________________________________
Grade:________
Parent/Guardian Signature___________________________________________
Date:________________

Does NH State Senator Jeff Wooburn Hate Public Education?

Sen. Wooburn (D- District 1) made a claim recently on twitter regarding the quality of public education in the state of New Hampshire.
Screen Shot 2017-02-05 at 12.29.03 PM

NH’s foreign born population better educated than our native born population?

Sen. Wooburn offered no detailed facts to back up his statement nor has he been engaged in the fight against the dumbed down Common Core education reform that’s been plaguing our public schools.

Was this a cheap political shot? Those of us who’ve been fighting for quality public schools in NH wonder where he’s been.

Is this his admission that Governor (now U.S. Senator) Hassan’s education policies are failing our children?

IF you live in Wooburn’s district, please contact him and ask him for detailed facts. Then ask him what he has done as your State Senator to oppose Common Core in our schools? Did he stand up against his own party and Governor to object to the dumbing down that happened under Hassan’s tenure? We certainly didn’t see anything coming from him in terms of speaking up for our kids in public schools.

If you live in District 1 make sure you contact him immediately (603)271-3207 Jeff.Woodburn@leg.state.nh.us:

Dixville, Millsfield,Ervings Location, Atkinson-Gilmamton, Grant
Dix’s Grant, Second College Grant,
Wentworths location, Cambridge
, Success
, Shelburne, 
Gorham
, Randolph, 
Kilkenny
, Northumberland, 
Whitefield 
Low-Burbank’s Grant
Thomsom- Meserve Purchase
, Martin’s Location 
Green’s Grant
, Pinkham’s Grant, 
Bean’s Purchase 
Sargent’s Purchase
 Hadleys’ Purchase
 Cutt’s Grant 
Bean’s Grant 
Crawford’sPurchase 
Landaff
 Sugar Hill
Lisbon
Lyman 
Monroe 
Livermore 
Pittsburg 
Clarcksville
 Stewartstown 
Colebrook
 Columbia 
Errol
Strafford 
Odell
 Dummer
Stark 
Milan
 Berlin
,Lancaster, 
Jefferson
,Dalton, 
Carroll, 
Littleton, 
Bethlehem, 
Franconia, 
Easton
Lincoln, 
Woodstock, 
Benton,
 Bath


Goodbye Teachers, Hello Computers?

Teachers have known for a while that their jobs were in jeopardy. There has been a push to get teachers to become facilitators in the classroom versus instructors in education. You can see it in the Nellie Mae publications and grant applications focused on “student centered learning.” You can see it being pushed by the education establishment and ed tech companies that will profit off of their tech products.

The corporate backers like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and former Governor Jeb Bush, have all backed redesigning public ed into the dumbed-down workforce model. Just look at who Trump nominated for U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos.

Betsy DeVos served on the board of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a group led by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. We’ve gone from Corporate education reform under Obama to Corporate education reform under Trump.

The Philanthropy Roundtable that Betsy DeVos chaired put out a report strongly in favor of massive data mining of students.

The Philanthropy Roundtable, which DeVos chaired, published a report called Blended Learning: A Wise Giver’s Guide to Supporting Tech-assisted Teaching that lauds the Dream Box software that “records 50,000 data points per student per hour”(p.33 of pdf) and does not contain a single use of the words “privacy,” “transparency” [as in who receives that data and how it is used to make life-changing decision for children], or “consent.”

Will DeVos continue to promote the corporate data-mining efforts of enterprises such as Dream Box and Knewton, whose CEO bragged about collecting “5-10 million data points per user per day,” described in your organization’s report?

In addition, this means less teachers in working in the school district. That may save on personnel costs but does this improve academic outcomes?
(p.37 of pdf)
The Learning Lab model allowed Rocketship to operate with roughly six fewer teachers per school, meaning that “we save 25 percent of salary costs,” says Danner. “When you have that, you can grow without raising additional capital.” Even after paying its smaller number of teachers better than other schools, Rocketship is able to educate a child for about 15 percent less than California’s annual per-pupil allotment, and it plows that margin of funds into, among other things, teacher training and opening new schools. Hence, the model should be able to expand like successful businesses do, without constantly needing new nancial angels or capital infusions.

The PUSH for computerized learning versus teachers instructing children, is part of the agenda within the Corporate reform model. This is a great way for the tech industry to make profits, but where is the data that it benefits students?

It’s up to school boards and parents to make sure that if computers are replacing teachers it’s not a shift in costs from a qualified teacher to a tech industry focused on profits with no real benefits to children.
Remember to ask for PROOF that the computer based instruction is better for your children in terms of screen time and academic progress. If there is a reduction in instruction from teachers, should there be a reduction in salaries and benefits to the teaching staff?

If you are parent with children in the public school system and concerned about the data-mining, look for ways to use materials that are not connected to technology devices. In other words, ask for a book for your child to read instead. Having the tech industry in a position to collect all kinds of data points on your children means that once this information is out there, it most likely can never be removed. Where will it end up? Who will control the information stored on your child?

For more information check out: What’s Better in the Classroom – Teacher or Machine?

WARNING: From NH Teacher/Mother on Common Core

We received a letter from a parent/teacher in New Hampshire. She asked that her name be removed. Parents are removing their kids from the public schools but it’s even more telling that this one is a teacher too.
We hear from many parents and teachers and we thought this was one that needs to be read by as many people as possible.

Hi there –

Thanks for all you do on behalf of our children who are apart of the New Hampshire public school system. I’m a former teacher. I have a M.Ed from **** College. I used to teach elementary school but have been a stay at home mom for many years now while still keeping my certification valid.

I’m writing to let you know how Common Core, and other educational reforms, have impacted my children’s lives in the public school system. I have three children.

My two older kids had a great experience going through our public school system in elementary school. They are now in high school. Common Core started in our school system when they were in middle school. The way it has impacted them is the push we’re seeing to bring down the top kids and bring up the lower level learners. Both my older children are higher level learners. One qualified for a higher level math class in 6th grade. Instead of being encourage to pursue this great opportunity, we were being persuaded to keep him in a lower class so he could feel more apart of his peers. We put him in the higher level class anyway. We see similar things in high school. There seems to be a push to keep the higher level learners from being challenged.

My youngest is in second grade and I pulled her from school this year to homeschool. I pulled her also for the lack of being challenged. She is a higher level learner like her older siblings. At her elementary school there was plenty of extra help for the lower achievers. The teachers teach, using the standards, to the rest of the class. The higher level learners are left to be bored. When I asked the principal if there was a way to challenge her in math, I was told to challenge her in other areas of her life like extra curricular. When asked her teacher to challenge her, I was continually dismissed and told she needs to go “wider and deeper” and not higher. In kindergarten, when asked if she could move on to more advanced topics, she was instead given frustrating maze like math challenges to “improve her perseverance”. In 1st grade, my goals for her to be challenged in math were ignored. She cruised through all the math lessons not learning or being challenged.

I feel as though Common Core keeps kids in a box. There isn’t a way to move ahead if you are in first grade and on a third grade math level. When you get to 4th and 5th grade, I’ve heard repeatedly from parents over and over that the way math is taught is confusing for both students and parents and does not make sense. That is not incentive to put my daughter back into public school.

Our elementary school is a great elementary school with super teachers. We moved to this town because of our wonderful school. I would like to see our teachers free to collaborate and create their own standards within our school. The teachers in a school know their community of students best.

In addition, I do not like the Smarter Balanced. I have respectfully refused all standardized testing for all of my children in the past. I don’t like that the test not only tests for academics but also for dispositions and beliefs. I don’t like data being collected about my children. The countries top private schools do not use the Common Core and do not use the Smarter Balanced. We should use these top school as models.

A great number of parents in our school system also do not like the shift to Competency Based Assessments either. Our schools are slowly changing over. Again it’s the parents of the higher level learners that seem to prefer traditional grading. We had a petition in our school system going around on change.org to keep traditional grading. Many parents and students signed it with numerous comments and reasons to keep traditional grading.

We are much happier out of the public school system and not having to deal with all these educational reforms like Common Core, Smarter Balanced and Competency Based Assessments. With homeschooling I can tailor my youngest child’s education to her individual needs. Public school can’t do that at this point in time with the restraints and expectations of Common Core. As I’ve personally seen at various grade levels, there seems to be a push to keep the higher level learners from being challenged. Many other parents I have talked to feel he same way.

I would love to turn back the clock when school was fun and teachers had the autonomy in the classroom to teach towards each childs individual needs and challenge them and take them as far as they can go.

Kindly,
Parent from SAU16