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Principal: ‘I was naïve about Common Core’


Here’s a powerful piece about how an award-winning principal went from being a Common Core supporter to an opponent.

This was written by Carol Burris, principal of South Side High School in New York. She was named the 2010 New York State Outstanding Educator by the School Administrators Association of New York State. She is one of the co-authors of the principals’ letter against evaluating teachers by student test scores, which has been signed by 1,535 New York principals.

When I first read about the Common Core State Standards, I cheered.  I believe that our schools should teach all students (except for those who have severe learning disabilities), the skills, habits and knowledge that they need to be successful in post secondary education. That doesn’t mean that every teenager must be prepared to enter Harvard, but it does mean that every young adult, with few exceptions, should at least be prepared to enter their local community college. That is how we give students a real choice.

I even co-authored a book, “Opening the Common Core,” on how to help schools meet that goal.  It is a book about rich curriculum and equitable teaching practices, not about testing and sanctions. We wrote it because we thought that the Common Core would be a student-centered reform based on principles of equity.

I confess that I was naïve. I should have known in an age in which standardized tests direct teaching and learning, that the standards themselves would quickly become operationalized by tests. Testing, coupled with the evaluation of teachers by scores, is driving its implementation. The promise of the Common Core is dying and teaching and learning are being distorted.  The well that should sustain the Core has been poisoned.

I hear about those distortions every day.  Many of the teachers in my high school are also the parents of young children.  They come into my office with horror stories regarding the incessant pre-testing, testing and test prep that is taking place in their own children’s classrooms.  Last month, a colleague gave me a multiple-choice quiz taken by his seven-year old son during music.  Here is a question:

Kings and queens COMMISSIONED Mozart to write symphonies for celebrations and ceremonies. What does COMMISSION mean?

  1. to force someone to do work against his or her will
  2. to divide a piece of music into different movements
  3. to perform a long song accompanied by an orchestra
  4. to pay someone to create artwork or a piece of music

Whether or not learning the word ‘commission’ is appropriate for second graders could be debated — I personally think it is a bit over the top.  What is of deeper concern, however, is that during a time when 7 year olds should be listening to and making music, they are instead taking a vocabulary quiz.

I think that the reason for the quiz is evident to anyone who has been following the reform debate.  The Common Core places an extraordinary emphasis on vocabulary development. Probably, the music teacher believes she must do her part in test prep. More than likely she is being evaluated in part by the English Language Arts test scores of the building. Teachers are engaged in practices like these because they are pressured and afraid, not because they think the assessments are educationally sound. Their principals are pressured and nervous about their own scores and the school’s scores. Guaranteed, every child in the class feels that pressure and trepidation as well.

An English teacher in my building came to me with a ‘reading test’ that her third grader took. Her daughter did poorly on the test.  As both a mother and an English teacher she knew that the difficulty of the passage and the questions were way over grade level.  Her daughter, who is an excellent reader, was crushed.  She and I looked on the side of the copy of the quiz and found the word “Pearson.” The school, responding to pressure from New York State, had purchased test prep materials from the company that makes the exam for the state.

I am troubled that a company that has a multi-million dollar contract to create tests for the state should also be able to profit from producing test prep materials. I am even more deeply troubled that this wonderful little girl, whom I have known since she was born, is being subject to this distortion of what her primary education should be.

There are so many stories that I could tell–the story of my guidance counselor’s sixth-grade, learning disabled child who feels like a failure due to constant testing, a principal of an elementary school who is furious with having to use to use a book he deems inappropriate for third graders because his district bought the State Education Department approved common core curriculum, and the frustration of math teachers due to the ever-changing rules regarding the use of calculators on the tests.  And all of this is mixed with the toxic fear that comes from knowing you will be evaluated by test results and that “your score” will be known to any of your parents who ask.

When state education officials chide, “Don’t drill for the test, it does not work”, teachers laugh. Of course test prep works. Every parent who has ever paid hundreds of dollars for SAT prep knows it works — but no parent is foolish enough to think that the average 56 point ‘coaching’ jump in an SAT score means that their child is more “college ready.”

Test scores are a rough proxy for learning. Tests imperfectly examine selected domains of skills, so that we can infer what students know. Real learning occurs in the mind of the learner when she makes connections with prior learning, makes meaning, and retains that knowledge in order to create additional meaning from new information.  In short, with tests we see traces of learning, not learning itself.

What occurs in a “data driven”, high-stakes learning environment is that the full domain of what should be learned narrows to those items tested.  The Common Core, for example, wants students to grow in five skill areas in English Language Arts — reading, writing, speaking, listening and collaboration. But the Common Core tests will only measure reading and writing.  Parents can expect that the other three will be neglected as teachers frantically try to prepare students for the difficult and high-stakes tests.  What gets measured gets done, and make no mistake: “reformers” understand that full well.  In fact, they count on it. They see data, not children.  For the corporate reformers, test data constitute the bottom-line profits that they watch.

There is no one more knowledgeable about school change and systemic reforms than Michael Fullan.  He is a renowned international authority on school reform, having been actively engaged in both its implementation as well in the analysis of reform results.  I had the pleasure of listening to him this week at the Long Island ASCD spring conference.

Fullan told us that the present reforms are led by the wrong drivers of change — individual accountability of teachers, linked to test scores and punishment, cannot be successful in transforming schools.  He told us that the Common Core standards will fall of their own weight because standards and assessments, rather than curriculum and instruction are driving the Common Core.  He explained that the right driver of school change is capacity building.  Data should be used as a strategy for improvement, not for accountability purposes.  The Common Core is a powerful tool, but it is being implemented using the wrong drivers.

Fullan helped to successfully lead the transformation of schools in Ontario, Canada, and he has tried to influence our national conversation, but his advice has been shunned.  I will close with a final quote from Fullan and let readers draw their own conclusions:

A fool with a tool is still a fool.  A fool with a powerful tool is a dangerous fool.

– By Carol Burris

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“consequently, that the ultimate right of the parties to the Constitution (i.e. the States), to judge whether the compact has been dangerously violated, must extend to violations by one delegated authority as well as by another--by the judiciary as well as by the executive, or the legislature.” Virginia Assembly Report 1800, James Madison. 

If a nation can't define its boundaries, who comes in and on what terms, then it can't sustain itself culturally, financially, politically, morally and with security.  It's not a nation.- G. Miller 

McCain remarks from inside the Egy territory to the W.Post insults the Egy sovereignty.we consider him persona non grata.an unwelcome person— Egyptian Cabinet (@Cabinet_eg) August 6, 2013

"A lawyer is a person who knows the law" (Black’s Law Dictionary & other.) "It is said that all persons are presumed to know the law, meaning that ignorance of the Law excuses no one." (16 AM JUR 2D Sec. 178, 256.) Therefore all persons are presumed to be Lawyers.- Randy Due (illegally klidnapped by FBI and detained) 

A federal government which does not derive its lawful and limited authority from the Constitution of the United States is by definition an occupation government and criminal regime.  It’s authority is null and void and no one is bound by any rule of law to obey it.  --Donald L. Cline

When Party Loyalty Demands You Support a Creep, It's Time to Walk Away-- Jim Geraghty

Everybody is still talking about the other baby, the royal baby. In fact, I saw that President Obama released a statement congratulating Prince William and Kate Middleton on the birth of their son. Then he said, “And whatever you do — hang on to that birth certificate.” - Jimmy Fallon

“I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.”-- Barack Hussein Obama Soetoro Bounel Soebarkah

"And if you didn't know, the only difference between socialism and communism is an AK-47 aimed at your head."-  Quang Nguyen

Solution to the problem in Egypt :

They want a new Muslim leader, Give them ours. 

The administration’s attempt to intimidate Fox News and its employees will not succeed and their excuses will stand neither the test of law, the test of decency, nor the test of time. We will not allow a climate of press intimidation, unseen since the McCarthy era, to frighten any of us away from the truth.

-          Roger Ailes, Fox News

When Satan is knocking at your door, simply say, "Jesus, could You please get that for me.

- unknown

"There are 27 amendments in the Constitution but only one says 'shall not be infringed,'" Steve Toth said. "The Second Amendment is the amendment that keeps the people free."

“The States then being the parties to the constitutional compact, and in their sovereign capacity, it follows of necessity, that there can be no tribunal above their authority, to decide in the last resort, whether the compact made by them be violated; and consequently that as the parties to it, they must themselves decide in the last resort, such questions as may be of sufficient magnitude to require their interposition.” – James Madison 

"When you disarm the people, you commence to offend them and show that you distrust them either through cowardice or lack of confidence, and both of these opinions generate hatred." - Niccolo Machiavelli

“We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.” - "Obama", 2008

"A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and don't have one, you'll probably never need one again."

This country does not need to have a conversation about how many bullets should go in a clip. It does need to have a conversation about how many parents should go in a family. It needs to talk about the ghettos of Obamerica and have a serious conversation about broken families and generational dependency. It needs to have a conversation about funneling new immigrants from broken parts of the world into areas already suffering from high levels of unemployment and street violence.- Daniel Greenfield

Gold is the money of kings, silver is the money of gentlemen, barter is the money of peasants and debt is the money of slaves.- Traditional

  ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ!

A federal government which does not derive its lawful and limited authority from the Constitution of the United States is by definition an occupation government and criminal regime.  It’s authority is null and void and no one is bound by any rule of law to obey it. --Donald L. Cline

Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty." -- Thomas Jefferson

“Disarmament of the populace is always the first step to depriving them of their civil rights and human rights…many African-Americans and women are actively assaulting the very document that first secured their own freedom... if you do not believe in the Bill of Rights, then you are not, at heart, an American.” – Mike Adams

Only in America could liberals talk about the greed of the rich at a $35,000 a plate campaign fund raising event.

We need to demythologize guns before the liberal attempt to create a totemic fear of them succeeds. If the gun control mentality promoting fear of guns themselves becomes our national mentality, we would turn the clock back to the days when a warrior class ruled over the people because only they had the confidence and expertise to deploy the means of defense and coercion. The gun control agenda will turn us into a people too timid to defend themselves from our would-be masters. – Alan Keyes

So now that there is a new tragedy the president wants to have a “national conversation on guns”. Here’s the thing. Until this national conversation is willing to entertain allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons, then it isn’t a conversation at all, it is a lecture. – Larry Correia'

During his 1956 presidential campaign, a woman called out to Adlai Stevenson: Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person! Stevenson called back: That's not enough, madam, we need a majority.

The economy is so bad, MSNBC had to lay off 300 Obama spokesmen. - Jay Leno

'Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. - Milton Friedman

“What we’re watching here today is the equivalent of Woodward and Bernstein helping Nixon cover up Watergate,” he said. “The mainstream media is Woodward and Bernstein. Watergate is Benghazi. Except this time, Woodward and Bernstein are helping Nixon cover it up.”-- Russ Limbaugh

Lets see if I have this straight...Former President Bill Clinton ... who lied to his own wife... was convicted of perjury ... disbarred from practicing law in his home state... an admitted philanderer ... who "Never had sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky" ... Impeached by the US House of Representatives ... is giving testimonials for Barrack Obama's character and intentions!!!???  Is this a great country or what!?

 "Thanking Obama for killing Bin Laden is like going into McDonalds and thanking Ronald McDonald for the hamburger. It's the guy cooking the burger that should get the credit, not the clown."

referring to 10-3-12 debate: "Obama made a lot of good points tonight. Unfortunately, most of them were for Romney." - Bill Maher, million dollar Obama donor

How can we stand up to someone that creates a 100 dollar Federal Reserve (FR) note for 2 cents and uses the face value of the note of 100 dollars to buy a 100 dollar U.S. Security where the government has to pay them 4% in interest at the end of the year? A yearly cost of 4 FR notes where it only cost the FR 2 cents to print.

This is the biggest Conspiracy you may ever encounter and this started sometime around 1913. Yes, your parents and their parents had so much of their time stolen from them at a cost of 2 pennies. And the National Debt is one big fraud. And this is not just in the United States but the whole world.- Steven Pattison

“Can you imagine a nation founded on the principles of God is being taken over by a party that despises God, denies God’s existence and wants to stab Israel in the back in order to support the Islamists who would kill the Jews and drive them out of the Middle East?”- - Michael Savage

"WE own this country, and when someone doesn't do the job "we have to let them go."- Clint Eastwood at RNC

"If you've got a business -- you didn't build that, somebody else made that happen”- Barack Hussein Obama Soetoro

“Capital must protect itself in every possible way, both by combination and legislation. Debts must be collected, mortgages foreclosed as rapidly as possible. When, through the process of law, the common people lose their homes, they will become more docile and more easily governed through the strong arm of government applied by a central power of wealth under leading financiers. These truths are well known among our principal men who are now engaged in forming an imperialism to govern the world. By dividing the voter through the political party system, we can get them to expend their energies in fighting for questions of no importance. It is thus by discreet action we can secure for ourselves that which has been so well planned and so successfully accomplished.”
- President American Bankers Association, 1924

"I think it is wonderful that Eric holder is making sure that Mexicans' second amendment rights are preserved!" - Bobby Florenz 

“My father was a hardcore conservative and a straight line Republican voter before he died. Now he votes Democrat.” (-Unknown)

Today, President Obama is calling for the same with the Buffett Rule.' Obama is under the mistaken impression that America's symbol is the bald ego." --The Wall Street Journal's James Taranto

 ‘In years to come there is going to be information that will come out that Obama was not the man who made the call. He can say he did and the people who really know what happened are inside the Pentagon, are in the military and the military isn’t allowed to speak out against the commander- in-chief so his secret is safe.’—Chris Kyle, former SEAL sniper

Remember just a few years ago when...

...the official unemployed was at 8.4 million instead of 12.4 million?

...the U.S. debt was at 9.5 trillion instead of 15.5 trillion?

...gas was $1.89 a gallon?

...the U.S. was friends with Isreal?

...food Stamp Recipients was at 29 million instead of 46 million?

...U.S. Astronauts didn't have to travel with Russians to go into space?

...our country's credit rating was a Triple AAA rating?

"Apparently, I'm supposed to be more angry about what Mitt Romney does with his money than what Barack Obama does with mine."- David Burge

Rep. Randy Neugebauer put the burden into perspective: “It will take over 24 million man hours to comply with Dodd-Frank rules per year. It took only 20 million to build the Panama Canal.”

"Sixty-one percent of debt issued by the Treasury is bought by the Federal Reserve -- which is to say the left hand of the U.S. Government is lending money to the right hand of the US Government. ... Nonetheless, in a land where every mewling babe in the American nursery is born with a debt burden of just under $200,000, the president brags that only his party is 'compassionate' to have no plan whatsoever even to attempt to do anything about this, no way, no how, not now, not ever." --columnist Mark Steyn

Isn't it amazing how every facet of Sergeant Bales life,  high school, college, employment, why he left his employment, his brother’s employment, his wife’s employment, real estate holdings, a missed house payment , a missed promotion etc., is exposed within a week and the same fact finders can't find comparable info on the most powerful man in the world in three plus years ?

"We do not have a single document that proves Mr. Obama's birth in Hawaii or anywhere in the United States for that matter. The document is fake, the representation is fake.—Mike Zullo, Arpaio Posse Chief Investigator

" If they (SCOTUS destroy the Constitution, they will have destroyed that which created their positions." - Stewart Rhodes.

"We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the Courts, NOT to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution." -- Abraham Lincoln

"Quick, name something that government does better than the private sector that doesn't involve detention, killing, or eliminating freedom." ----Bobby Florentz

"Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves."---- Ronald Reagan (1911-2004) 40th US President


“The election of President Obama by the presidential electors, confirmed by Congress, makes the documents and testimony sought by plaintiff irrelevant,” Obama’s lawyer Jablonski said.

 

“The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.”
--Author Tom Clancy

 

But if trouble must come, let it come in my time, so that my children can live in peace. "  

- Thomas Paine.

 

"Look, the Taliban, per se, is not our enemy.”

- VP Joe Biden
December 2011

 

"The Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and for people, equally in war and peace, and it covers with its shield of protection all classes of men, at all times and under all circumstances. No doctrine involving more pernicious consequences was ever invented by the wit of men that any of its great provisions can be suspended during any of the great exigencies of government."

– Ex Parte Milligan (1866)

 

Permit me to hint whether it would not be wise and seasonable to provide a strong check to the admission of foreigners into the administration of our national government ; and to declare expressly that the command in chief of the American army shall not be given to, nor devolve on any but a natural born citizen.
I remain, dear sir,
Your faithful friend and servant,

John Jay. 

 

Calling Ron Paul "out of the mainstream" is a double-edged sword, because it also means he can’t possibly be responsible for the condition of the country today. 

<!--[if !supportLists]-->-        - <!--[endif]-->Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

 

 A guy named Reggie Love leaving the White House to get a degree at the Wharton School of Business. I guess he realized you can't learn anything about economics in the Obama White House.

- Jay Leno

Laws and regulations which violate the Constitution are not obligatory upon any free man. 

(believed to be from George Washington.)

 

  “We’re at that awkward stage where it’s too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards.”

- Claire Wolf

 

Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, the chairman of the National Transitional Council and de fact president, had already declared that Libyan laws in future would have Sharia, the Islamic code, as its "basic source".
-       The Telegraph (good job Barack!) 

 

Those who make peaceful change impossible, make violent change inevitable     - Robert F. Kennedy

 

 "The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it." -- Albert Einstein

  

The four boxes of LIBERTY:
1. soap
2. ballot
3. jury
4. ammo
.....in that order!

 

"The actual need for a service, its relevance and value is always subordinate to the bureaucracy. This is the difference from the private sector: you go into a shop, and the sales assistant asks, 'Can I be of assistance to you, sir?' You go into a government agency: 'Get to the back of the queue and wait until you are called!”'

-       Alistair Mcleod

 

 

 "Only Malcolm X’s autobiography seemed to offer something different. His repeated acts of self-creation spoke to me. The blunt poetry of his words. His unadorned insistence on respect. He promised a new and uncompromising order, martial in its discipline."  

– Barack Hussein Obama 

 

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

-Oscar Wilde

 

“Anyone with an Obama 2012 Bumper Sticker is a Threat to the Gene Pool”

Congressman Allen West

 

“The Only People Who Don’t Want to Disclose the Truth are Those with Something to Hide."

- Barack Hussein Obama Soetoro

 

"If it takes a village to raise your kid, you’re in the wrong country."

-  Seen by Tim Clack II

  

"The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation."

-Barack Hussein Obama Soetoro Soebarkah Bounel

  

"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum. " 

- Noam Chomsky

  

"Judge me by the people with whom I surround myself." -

- Barack Hussein Obama Soetoro (we are, Barry)

 

"…whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force…"

Thomas Jefferson, Federal v. Consolidated Government

 

“Better to be paralyzed from the neck down than the neck up”

Charles Krauthammer.

 

"Sublata causa, tollitur effectus" (Remove the  cause and the effect will cease)

 "Civilization and anarchy are only seven meals apart"                          

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