Tag Archives: OutcomeBasedEducation

Manchester Schools Fall for the “21st Century Skills” Fad

If you watch the video from the Curriculum and Instruction Meeting https://vimeo.com/channels/660461 you will see at 1:10:00 a discussion between the Curriculum and Instruction Committee and the Guidance Counselor.

The goal appears to be…SELL the “21st Century Skills” fad to the board members without offering them any critical information. For instance, when you get to around 1:30:00 you will hear School Board Member Sarah Ambrogi refer to this fad as “awesome.”

These 21st Century Skills are nothing new. In fact they are based on the failed Outcome Based Education model that seeks to implement dumbed down workforce skills into the daily curriculum.

This fad was all the rage in the 90′s but was abandoned in many schools and states when parents figured out that this kind of shift to “workforce skills” took valuable time away from focusing on academics. In other words, this was a contributing factor to illiteracy versus a tool to improve literacy in the schools.

We realize that there are other important qualities a teacher will focus on. That’s why report cards in the past would identify whether your child was attentive, self-disciplined, etc. The teacher would make comments based on their subjective judgement and offer parents a glimpse of how their child was behaving in the classroom.

Workforce training, or 21st Century Skills is different. This is part of the Obama redesign to an Outcome Based Ed. model and is based on the old SCANS “outcomes” or “skills.”

It sounds great to think that children will be learning some 21st century skills, but parents must ask themselves, does this come at the expense of academic achievement? In other words, where was any kind of independent studies offered that showed improvement in literacy with this fundamental shift? That’s the FIRST question the board members should have asked.

Here is an OLD document dispelling the myths that 21st Century Skills offers students an improved academic education: http://greatminds.net/maps/documents/reports/CConP21final-090915.pdf

“Skills are important and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) has identified skills that all children need such as critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving. But P21’s approach to teaching those skills marginalizes knowledge and therefore will deny students the liberal education they need. Cognitive science teaches us that skills and knowledge are interdependent and that possessing a base of knowledge is necessary to the acquisition not only of more knowledge, but also of skills. Skills can neither be taught nor applied effectively without prior knowledge of a wide array of subjects.
Education policy and practice should be based on sound research and informed by an understanding of what has worked and what has failed in the past. Attempts to teach skills apart from knowledge have failed repeatedly over the last century because they do not work. Unless it is fundamentally revised, the program put forth by P21 also will fail. In the meantime, it is undermining the quality of education in America.”

We suspect “critical thinking” may be among those “21st Century Skills” now being promoted in the Manchester School District. However we question WHY the Guidance Counselor failed to offer the board members any critical analysis on the 21st Century Skills fad.

Manchester parents would be wise to also read this critical piece from The Heritage Foundation printed in 2001. After watching the sales job from the Manchester Guidance Counselor, make sure you read through the Heritage article that talks about the problems with this fundamental shift from a focus on a liberal arts academic education to dumbed down workforce training:

“Quite unnoticed, a new definition of education standards has emerged–one that places greater relevance on the world of work. All learning is to take place within the context of a work situation or real-world environment with emphasis on workplace competencies. It is argued that this will provide relevance for students that will foster in them a desire to achieve greater levels of learning. But the result has been a narrower education that focuses on practical skills to the detriment of a broader academic education. The danger of the new education standards is that they may elevate workplace competencies above essential academic knowledge.
Not all education is vocational education. Schools should not be required or encouraged by federal funding to narrow their focus to emphasize workplace skills.”

Contact your Manchester School Board Members and tell them that you expect better than a Guidance Counselor selling your board members the Obama (Outcome Based Ed) reform. Tell them that you expect your board members to ask for sufficient proof from independent sources that any kind of shift away from a focus on academics will not result in an increase in illiteracy among the student population.

Here is a link to your Manchester School Board Members. Send them this article and tell them you expect more for your tax dollars and for your children: http://bosc.mansd.org

From Literacy to Indoctrination in the NH Schools: Competency Based Ed

Competency Based Ed (CBE) in NH is based on the old and failed Outcome Based Ed (OBE) fad. This rehashed failed fad has offered no independent measurable academic achievement in our schools.

Outcome Based Ed or Competency Based Ed creates the illusion that your children will be “competent” in the core academic subjects. It sounds good to parents when they hear promoters talk about how their children will be “competent” in the core content before their children move on. Sadly no one ever asks, competent in what?

Parents assume being competent means their children will know that 2 + 2 = 4. The history is very different from what parents have been led to believe.

OBE is a failed fad in terms of failing to improve academic achievement. This is why parents should be asking their Superintendent, bureaucrats from the NH Dept. of Ed and members of the NH Board of Education for proof. After several years of CBE in NH, where is the INDEPENDENT PROOF CBE has improved academic achievement?

OBE has been criticized in the past for attempting to change the values, attitudes and beliefs in students. The focus is not on literacy or academic excellence, it’s on workforce skills and changing a student’s beliefs and values.

Competency Based Education is part of the Obama agenda to redesign public education from a liberal arts model to a dumbed down workforce training model.

Marc Tucker, key architect of this redesigned model, attempted to transform education during the Clinton years. The full implementation was derailed however we saw key elements begin years ago. Now the entire agenda has been kicked into high gear from the Obama administration and facilitated through Hassan’s Dept. of Education.

So what does CBE look like in New Hampshire? We’ll provide a few examples of how CBE has been used, not to improve academic excellence in our schools but to indoctrinate students in a belief system that many parents object to.

In Bedford several years ago, a controversial book was assigned to students in their Personal Finance Class. This is a class where parents assume their children would learn about calculating simple interest or learn to balance a check book. However many were surprised to find out that their children were subjected to a political operative’s extreme views on minimum wage.

The book, Nickel and Dimed On (NOT) Getting By In America, met a “competency” and yet only provided students with a politically biased view on minimum wage. This wasn’t a lesson in personal finance, it was political indoctrination through Competency Based Education.

From The Blaze
“We found the book provided valuable insight into the circumstances of the working poor and an opportunity for students to demonstrate mastery of the ‘Financial Impact’ competency,” the committee reported.

In Rochester one parent expressed anger on social media when her child came home with a “competency” based assessment that was nothing but a soft propaganda piece on video games. Since Bill Gates and the TECH Industry profit the most off of this education reform, is anyone surprised that they want their product message embedded in your child’s curriculum?

Rochester Competency

Rochester Competency 2

This Obama redesign facilitated by Governor Hassan’s Dept. of Education is not about elevating the academic content in our schools. This is another attempt at “social justice” education brought to us by the same people who’ve tried these failed fads over the last two to three decades.

It was through a grant from the Nellie Mae Foundation (funded by Gates and the U.S. Dept. of Ed) that facilitated CBE in New Hampshire.
Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 1.09.56 PM

The biggest loser in this reform is the children. Your child is now being denied quality academic content in favor of content that seeks to change your child’s attitudes.

Whether it be political or consumer attitudes, one thing is for sure, your children are being used as pawns instead of educated.

This is the legacy of Governor Hasan, the New Hampshire Board of Education and legislators who continue to support reforms that turn our schools away from a focus on literacy.

Competency Based Ed in NH Schools the Dumbing Down Explained

As Competency Based Education (Outcome Based Ed) is forced on our public schools in New Hampshire, it helps to know what a traditional classroom looked like and what the Outcome Based Classroom looks like.

Whether it’s called Competency Based Ed, Standards Based Ed, Proficiency Based Ed, it’s all the same. It’s OUTCOME BASED ED. Yes the failed fad from the 90′s is back and part of the redesign in public education coming from the U.S. Department of Education and being facilitated by Governor Hassan.

Parents do NOT MISS THIS:


School Board Member in NH Speaks Out

We continue to hear from the NH Board Of Ed that all is well in New Hampshire.  Things are going great.  We wonder how an Education Board could be SO out of touch with what is going on in our schools. 
With permission to post…..

Dear Senators’ Reagan, Stiles, Avard, Kelly and Watters,

My name is Sue O’Connor, I live in Rochester and have served on the Rochester School Board for 2 terms. I am not speaking for the board itself, but what I have experienced during my tenure. Aside from the calls I receive by those who elected me, I have first hand knowledge of how poorly written and convoluted the curriculum associated with CCSS truly are. I have grandchildren in K, 3rd, 5th and 7th grades. The fact is CCSS was pushed on the state and then the districts with the usual carrot and stick. The problem with this, like most things in the educational community the standards, which require a curriculum were produced in great haste. This is seen in the daily illogical assignments children throughout this country and state have to struggle through. I urge all of you to research the development of CCSS yourselves. Do your own leg work and do not rely on the hearsay of others.

To date, Common Core is destroying the education system of the United States. Basic knowledge of this great country is slowly being eliminated. As time goes on our children and grandchildren will not know or understand how this great country came about. Immigrants taking citizenship exams know more about this country than what is now being taught in our schools, how sad is that? When I was growing up math was math. The idea that we now have “new math,” “reform math” or even “fuzzy math” teaching our children abstract thinking in the elementary schools is ludicrous. Children need to have the basics explained to them and very rudimentary methods in order to build “higher order thinking”. Why are private citizens the likes of Bill Gates, actually having a say in our education system? Why is the Federal Government attempting to take away local control of our schools? If you cannot answer these questions, as an elected official, then shame on all of you.

Rochester is in the midst of Competency Based Education, which is formerly known as Outcome Based Education. This was a failure and removed from schools decades ago. How quickly we forget the lost generation from that fiasco, now there will be yet another lost generation. It is important to understand that Competency Based Education and CCSS are all tied together with obtaining a waiver for NCLB. It is also mandatory if a district is attempting to obtain a waiver from Smarter Balanced Assessment.

As a community, we were not ready whatsoever to have this thrust upon our teachers or our students. As a board member and taxpayer, the community was lied to with regard to competencies. I have been made aware that teachers who questioned the competencies and did not let the issues drop were removed from the development committee. Is this not why we have teachers on a committee, for their opinion?

Our children who excel are now bored, unmotivated, and suffer from mediocrity. There is absolutely no “rigor” to the competencies and I have seen the work from 3rd, 5th, and 7th grades and, in my opinion, it is substandard. There is less work performed now than previously. No homework, children can redo work and assessments again and again and again. This is a practice in the middle and high school. Adults know that they cannot make the same mistakes again and again and again and expect to have a job. Why teach our children that way?

A lack of responsibility has reared its ugly head on the part of some teachers, administrators, and students. An example of what is being taught in our schools in 6th grade ELA: For a 6th grade class’s first book report one must COLOR four pictures and label the pictures. For the record this is how book reports are still being done in the 7th grade. This may be rigorous for the students who struggle, but insulting to those who do not. Those who are pushing Competency Based Education do not tell parents that “success” for all children means “success” in demonstrating only the dumbed-down outcomes that the slowest learners in the class can attain. Competency Based Education means “success” in mediocrity rather than excellence, as a true competency is precise and complex and needs to constantly be reviewed and updated. There is no funding for special programs for our gifted children.

Competency Based Education is based on the fact that the student has “mastered” the material. Most research/opinion papers/point papers are based on the fact that Competency Based Education had been implemented in the post-secondary education setting, with a major influence in the health science field, as competency based education takes into account life skills the learner needs and the demands of the workplace. Given the age of the students who will be subjected to Competency Based/Outcome Based Education, if they have not “mastered” the material in the elementary grades what “life skills” will they be bringing to their future employer?

In elementary grades, Competency Based Education does not teach children essential reading, writing, and arithmetic skills, but pretends to teach them “higher order thinking skills” instead. Competency Based Education ignores the obvious fact that one cannot engage in higher order thinking until one has some facts to think about.

All of you should be asking, “Where is the replicable research or studies that show that this works?”

I have advised many families to either home school or remove their children from the topics they find offensive and to opt out of testing. I do this because the child is the most important part of the equation that politicians seem to forget about. It is our children’s education that politicians are spinning the roulette wheel on and it is our children who are losing. I am asking you to please support SB101.
Sue O’Connor
47 Walnut Street
Rochester, NH 03867