Category Archives: Curriculum

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

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

Governor Hassan’s Legacy: The Common Core Failure

There’s not much more to add to this except to say, this is the legacy from the Hassan tenure.
This is a copy of a homework assignment given to a 3rd grade New Hampshire student. We believe it speaks for itself.

Suggestions for parents:
1) Keep taking these examples to your PUBLIC school board meetings and show your elected board members.
2) Keep telling your elected representatives and senators that Common Core is dumbing down our schools.
3) Replace textbooks or curriculum that you believe is harming your child’s education. HB542 was passed into NH law a few years ago and your school should have a policy in place that says you can replace objectionable materials at your expense. You do need to have the administration approve of the change, but if they do not approve, take it to your school board and/or media.

IF you want your child to get a quality education in New Hampshire, Common Core/ Next Generation Science standards will NOT do that. You have to fight for a better quality education for your children.

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Governor Hassan’s Education Failure: Common Core

Has anyone noticed that Governor Hassan, in her campaign for U.S. Senate, hasn’t addressed the important issue of Common Core? I suppose if you were running for a seat in the United States Senate, you wouldn’t want to bring up this controversial issue either. Especially since she is the facilitator in New Hampshire and has saddled our public schools with this mess.

As she leaves the corner office in Concord, she leaves a legacy of dumbed down standards for our kids, and continues to ignore parents who want something better.

In this recent article from Utahns Against Common Core, Lt. Governor Spencer Cox addresses the concerns raised by parents in Utah:
“Over the past year, I have listened intently to the growing chorus of concern with regards to the adoption of Common Core standards. While there is clearly a great deal of misinformation being disseminated on both sides of this issue, there are legitimate concerns that I share with those opposed to the Common Core. As I have listened, and researched, it has become clear to me that, although well-intentioned, the conflict, discord and divisiveness associated with these standards is doing more harm than good. Unfortunately, we have lost the focus on what matters most–our students and making sure our teachers have the resources and tools necessary to provide a world-class education. As such, today I announce that I am withdrawing my support for Common Core.”

Has Governor Hassan addressed parents who’ve brought their concerns forward? NO
Has Governor Hassan provided any evidence that Common Core has improved the quality of education in NH since it was adopted in 2010? NO
Has Governor Hassan held a town-hall with parents so she could hear the problems parents have had to face with Common Core? NO

New Hampshire prides itself on local control in education but Governor Hassan doesn’t want to hear from local parents and residents who are having serious issues with this current education fad.

There is a petition that has 1765 signatures on it calling for eliminating Common Core in New Hampshire. That goes ignored by Governor Hassan. Governor Hassan is AWOL on one of her biggest failures: public education.

Parents, teachers and students deserve better than Common Core and we deserve better from Governor Hassan.
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The NH Dept of Ed & the NEA Team Up To Bring Students More Failed Fads

New Hampshire Teachers have seen failed fads come and go but now they are seeing many of the old failed fads resurrected in their classrooms. Failed fads like Outcome Based Education has been called new and innovative now that it’s back in New Hampshire.

Since so many people realize Outcome Based Ed.(OBE) was a failure in the 90′s, Education Reformers changed the name to “Competency Based Education” (CBE) to throw parents off their track. Whether it’s called Outcome Based Ed. or Competency Based Ed. it’s still the same education fad that failed students a few decades ago.

In this post, Student Learning Outcomes and the Decline of American Education, the author takes you through the history of OBE and how education fads led to the decline in American education.

He explains one of these failed fads: Student Learning Outcomes or SLOs:
SLO ancestor Total Quality Management (TQM) slithered into view during the 1980s and spawned Outcome-Based Education (OBE) in the 1990s. TQM was originally a business management theory that preached constant improvement; OBE was an explicitly educational offshoot of TQM that insisted that college courses must have expressed measurable results.

He goes on to note that he critiqued SLOs in 2003:
OBE and Learning Outcomes and Assessment are not about education at all; they are about control. Nothing is more seductive to ideologues and to management than the prospect of creating a meaningless “jargon and data storm” to justify or conceal whatever they do. Where does it end? As William S. Burroughs said, “…control can never be a means to any practical end…. It can never be a means to anything but more control….”

CONTROL. Control of education seems to be something both political parties have been fighting for. The latest federal law (Every Student Succeeds Act ESSA) is about power and control. Sure the talking points tell you that ESSA returns power to the state, but the ultimate authority is the U.S. Secretary of Education. The U.S. Secretary of Education has been given power to withhold funding if state plans are not to his liking. That’s not returning power to the states, that’s unprecedented power to the feds.

Why would ESSA pass with bi-partisan support? Because both parties think they are better at controlling education.

In his article, David Clemens identifies what each political party wants to control when it comes to education policy:
The right sees SLOs as a way to enforce professor accountability, increase “productivity,” and get rid of bad teachers and junk courses. The left sees SLOs as a golden opportunity to promote progressivism through ideological outcomes that students must internalize in order to pass.

He goes on to explain how the social justice political indoctrination is seeping into your child’s curriculum through the SLOs. He also explains how this kind of education reform does nothing to help your child academically. Since most parents want the best for their children, parents across the country are starting to get angry at the dumbing down they see, but it’s also important for parents to see where this is coming from.

Governor Hassan’s Department of Education has been fully facilitating all of the federal reforms without hesitation. No where do you see her or the bureaucrats questioning these fads, but instead they are driving them into our schools without offering administrators any kind of critical analysis.

The New Hampshire Department of Education and the NEA-NH teamed up to develop the SLOs for New Hampshire Schools. You can see in this announcement on their “partnership.” Keep in mind that that NEA in NH has also been working against parents and in support of the dumbed down Common Core Standards.

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The same bureaucratic agency that tells us that their objective is to teach kids to “think critically,” are the same bureaucrats who fail to look at any of these failed fads with a critical eye!

Common Core Math deficiencies

Do you know what’s missing from the Common Core Math Standards? What are the deficiencies? Do your school board members know? Do your school administrators know?
They should. Not only should they know, they should be making sure parents and school board members are informed.
THEN, they should be making sure these gaps are filled in.

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WARNING: Senate District 16: Towns of Bow, Candia, Dunbarton, Hooksett and Wards 1, 2 and 12 in Manchester.

PARENTS URGENT WARNING, you have a candidate for New Hampshire Senate who has been actively working against your children!

Scott McGilvray is running for New Hampshire Senate in District 16. As the president of the NEA-New Hampshire, many teachers are disappointed with the NEA’s support of Common Core. Not only did the NEA let the teachers down, this teacher blogs about the pay-off to support Common Core.
“NEA has been the recipient of more than seven million dollars since 2009 for the purpose of advocating for CCSS.”

We do NOT need a rubber stamp in Concord working against parents, students and teachers.
There is a good alternative, J.R. Hoell. As a representative, J.R. Hoell has not only advocated for quality academic standards in our public schools, he’s been supportive of parental rights.

Rep. Hoell introduced legislation a few years ago that gave parents the right to opt out of objectionable material. Rep. Hoell has proven to be a champion for public education and parental rights.

Parents you have the proof so now it’s time to make sure you inform your neighbors and friends who really supports students, parents and public education in New Hampshire. It’s NOT Scott McGilvary.

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UPDATE: Joe Duarte is running for Senate in District 16 and is a far better choice for voters in BOW, DUNBARTON, HOOKSETT and parts of MANCHESTER.

Graphic Dating Survey Developed in NH

Graphic “dating” survey given to high school students in Andover, Mass. Crude questions on sexual experience, homosexuality, criminal assault, and more. Outraged parents confront school officials.

“According to the press report, this survey was created by a department at the University of New Hampshire. It is part of a national program funded by the Obama Justice Department promoting the “campus rape culture” myth, and is called “Bringing in the Bystander.” People from the university are traveling to 30 high schools in Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire to administer the survey to students.”

Read more…