Carly Fiorina: Common Core = Crony Capitalism

2016-01-27 12.08.17

Carly Fiorina holds a town hall meeting in Oskaloosa, IA.

At a town hall event in Oskaloosa, IA yesterday former Hewlett Packard CEO and Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina was asked about the U.S. Department of Education and she discussed shrinking it’s size and sending that money back to the states and local school districts. She then addressed Common Core and other federal education programs.

“And all these programs, some of them have come out under Republicans too – Common Core, No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, they are all bad ideas. Because guess what they are? They are big bureaucratic programs coming out of Washington and, by the way, there are a bunch of interests who helped write those programs.  In the case of Common Core guess who helped write it? Text book companies and the testing companies it’s all crony capitalism folks. It’s alive and well under Republicans and Democrats. We have to take our country back,” Fiorina answered.

This is consistent with what Fiorina has said during the presidential campaign.

In January of last year, Fiorina told Caffeinated Thoughts, “I don’t think Common Core is a good idea.  I don’t support it, by the way, I think the facts are clear, the bigger the Department of Education becomes, the worse our public education becomes.  So there is no connection to spending more money in Washington and a better school system.  In fact, there is every connection between giving parents choice and having real competition and having real accountability in the classroom.

“I also think the argument for Common Core is frequently ‘oh we have to compete with the Chinese.’ I have been doing business in China for decades and I will tell you that yeah the Chinese can take a test, but what they can’t do is innovate.  They are not terribly imaginative.  They’re not entrepreneurial, they don’t innovate, that is why they are stealing our intellectual property.  One of the things we have to maintain about our school systems comes with local control is to teach entrepreneurship, innovation, risk-taking, imagination, these are things that are distinctly American and we can’t lose them,” Fiorina added.

Paul Dupont at The Pulse 2016 points out that Fiorina has used her opposition to Common Core as a wedge issue.  “This effort has included drawing a contrast between herself and other candidates, such as Jeb Bush, whom she has chided for his support of Common Core on more than one occasion.  On education policy, she has also been critical of the “heavy-handed” methods of “federal bureaucracies,” implying she would support a more decentralized, states-oriented approach,” Dupont wrote.

She does have an asterisk by her name however. During her U.S. Senate campaign she expressed support for No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top which has earned her a C+ on the American Principles Project Common Core report card.

Sarah Isgur Flores, Fiorina campaign spokesperson, explained this to me in an email sent last May:

Carly does not support Common Core. As she has said, there is absolutely no evidence that the work of a big, centralized bureaucracy in Washington makes things better. In fact, there’s loads of evidence to the contrary. The Department of Education has been growing in size and budget for 40 years and the quality of our education continues to deteriorate.

Carly has always believed that choice and accountability are necessary to fix our education system. We can do that by having great teachers and by giving these teachers the ability and flexibility to teach the things that our kids need: risk-taking, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation.

Her support for state-based accountability measures in 2010 was about implementing education reforms that encouraged more accountability and transparency at the state level. Common Core, which wasn’t implemented in California until this past fall, has been a set of standards created in DC and driven by the education-industrial complex seeking to commercialize our students. Frankly, the two aren’t even close to the same thing. Carly favors state driven accountability, which she did in 2010 and she does now. That is emphatically not what common core has been or become.

At the time that Race to the Top was proposed in 2009 and when Carly supported it in 2010, it was a funding program based on real performance metrics and opposed by the teachers’ unions. But like so many other government programs with worthy goals backed by flowery speeches, it hasn’t turned out to be what we were promised. Instead, Race to the Top is just the latest example of the federal bureaucracy caving to the powerful interests in Washington and abandoning its original goals.

If Fiorina was graded again based on what I’ve heard throughout her campaign she may be deserving of a higher grade.

Assessing Candidates’ Record on Common Core

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (CC-By-SA 2.0)

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (CC-By-SA 2.0)

Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times discussed Common Core’s role in the campaign of the two Florida presidential candidates, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush. The article, titled “Rubio may oppose Common Core but has supported the ideas behind it,” lists several ways that Marco Rubio has supported the components of the Common Core system:

…while Rubio never advocated for Common Core, he was a proponent of the building blocks.

Bush on Thursday noted that Rubio had supported Race to the Top, the federal program that incentivized states to adopt Common Core.

I think that’s a good idea,” Rubio said in 2009. He did stress, however, that he felt “education is a state function, best regulated and governed at the state level.”

That year Rubio also praised Obama’s hire of Arne Duncan as education secretary, calling him an “innovator” while praising the federal government’s effort “encouraging” states to adopt curriculums “that reflect the 21st Century.”

Rubio’s 100 Ideas book, a template for his tenure as House speaker, endorsed ideas such as more testing and a revamped curriculum. Idea No. 2 called for Florida to “systematically and sequentially replace the Sunshine State Standards with a new, world-class curriculum comparable to those found in the leading education systems in the world.”

As Gary Fineout of The Associated Press pointed out Thursday, Rubio never asked state officials or Gov. Scott to stop Common Core from being adopted in Florida. (Amid the backlash, the state has simply whitewashed the words Common Core from official policy.) [See also Even Mainstream Media Question Scott’s Statements about Being Out of Common Core]

Obviously, Race to the Top and Arne Duncan were the means the Obama administration used to impose and spread the Common Core that was aided by Bush and his Foundation for Excellence in Education, as Rubio correctly pointed out. Bush also took credit for the Common Core-cementing and Fed Ed-expanding Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), while Rubio, to his credit, voted against the initial Senate version. However, Rubio failed to vote against cloture or the final version of ESSA or the omnibus that increased funding for the tyrannical federal programs that are in ESSA.

Leary clearly explains the damage that Bush’s support of Common Core has done to his campaign:

Bush’s support is clear as is the damage it has done to him in the presidential race.

Although Rubio’s record is far better than Bush’s on the Common Core system, it is far from perfect. In addition to what is shown above, we have documented the major contributions to Rubio by Common Core billionaires Bill Gates and Paul Singer, and our friends at The Pulse 2016have shown that Rubio is pushing the invasive data mining bill, The Know Before You Go Act. This bill seeks to have the federal government collect data on students throughout their lives just to be able to provide information to others about which colleges and majors provide the best jobs. This contributed in large part to the Florida Senator’s merely average grade of a ‘C’ on Common Core by American Principles in Action. Privacy expert Barmak Nassirian, Director of Federal Relations and Policy Analysis for the American Association of State Colleges, said:

Tracking autonomous free individuals through most of their lives in the name of better information for the benefit of others may be justifiable, but its extremism should at the very least be acknowledged and addressed.

Rubio has recently been echoing the strong opposition both to the Common Core (by criticizing Chris Christie) as well as talking about abolishing the U.S. Department of Education. Senator Ted Cruz has been forcefully stating these positions since at least 2011, according to Donna Garner, a long-time activist from Cruz’s home state of Texas. Cruz was also the first candidate to sign Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly’s pledge against Common Core. Ultimately, though, Rubio’s opposition to the standards and the US DOE has not been as strong and long standing as that of Cruz and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, both of whom received grades of ‘A-‘ on the APIA report card.

Garner also points out that although billionaire businessman Donald Trump expresses opposition to Common Core, he has given liberally to the politicians that put the terrible system into place:

Our country needs to turn a deaf ear to Donald Trump’s recent anti-Common Core comments. It is Donald Trump who used his vast wealth to give campaign donations and/or to support publicly the Democrats who perpetrated both ObamaCare and Common Core.  These include Obama, Rahm Emanuel, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, Charlie Rangel, John Kerry, and Bill Gates:  6.22.15 – “How Donald Trump Helped Democrats Pass Obamacare” — by Marc A. Thiessen – Washington Post

Voters need to be discerning in their choices especially when it comes to the freedom, futures, and privacy of their children.

Cross-posted at The Pulse 2016

Common Core Advocates Seek to Block MA Parents from Voting on Common Core


A group of pro-Common Core educators and business leaders seek to keep the referendum on Common Core off the ballot in Massachusetts in November.

Newbury Port News reports:

A group of educators and business leaders wants to block a ballot initiative that seeks to reject the Common Core, arguing that a move to abandon the educational standards would be disastrous.

The group wants a state judge to keep the referendum off the November 2016 ballot. It says the question is vaguely worded, conflicts with the state Constitution, and never should have been certified by Attorney General Maura Healey and Secretary of State Bill Galvin.

Supporters of the ballot question call the challenge weak, and say voters should decide whether to adopt Common Core.

“They’re grasping at straws right now,” said Donna Colorio, founder of Common Core Forum, a nonprofit group that is leading the campaign. “And, by doing so, they’re trying to deprive parents and taxpayers of the right to vote on this.”


The ballot question asks voters to rescind a vote by the state’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education five years ago to adopt Common Core for math and English. The initiative says Massachusetts should instead restore curriculum frameworks that were in place prior to that vote.

Colorio and other Common Core critics say the standards are a federal takeover of education that usurps local control.

“Common Core is a top-down educational standard,” she said. “We’re being ignored as parents and teachers.”

Supporters of Common Core say it would be complicated and costly — if not impossible, at this point — to back away from the standards because the state’s 408 school districts have spent years retraining teachers, buying new textbooks and revising their curricula around them.

“We’d be undoing the work thousands of Massachusetts educators have done in the past five years,” said Linda Noonan, executive director of the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, which is advising the group, which has filed a lawsuit against Healey and Galvin in hopes of blocking the ballot question.

What I’m reading here is that this group is basically asking a judge to block a lawful referendum that was achieved by collecting the signatures required and went through all of the steps required by Massachusetts law to get on the ballot because this group doesn’t want to see their work undone.

That isn’t a legal argument. That’s not even a rational argument. That’s emoting. As far as the “vagueness” of the referendum question, I think the people filing the lawsuit need to look up the word vague because it seems pretty specific to me. Also how can a voter referendum, allowed by Massachusetts Constitution, conflict with the state constitution?

First, the state constitution states that government is ultimately accountable to the people.

Article VII says, “Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity and happiness of the people; and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men: Therefore the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity and happiness require it.”

They absolutely have a right to weigh in on Common Core via the ballot box as their constitution provides for voter referendums. These pro-Common Core advocates just want the power to remain with the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Here’s the language in the Constitution dealing with voter referendums:

Section 1. Legislative Procedure. – If an initiative petition for a law is introduced into the general court, signed in the aggregate by not less than such number of voters as will equal three per cent of the entire vote cast for governor at the preceding biennial state election, a vote shall be taken by yeas and nays in both houses before the first Wednesday of May upon the enactment of such law in the form in which it stands in such petition. If the general court fails to enact such law before the first Wednesday of May, and if such petition is completed by filing with the secretary of the commonwealth, not earlier than the first Wednesday of the following June nor later than the first Wednesday of the following July, a number of signatures of qualified voters equal in number to not less than one half of one per cent of the entire vote cast for governor at the preceding biennial state election, in addition to those signing such initiative petition, which signatures must have been obtained after the first Wednesday of May aforesaid, then the secretary of the commonwealth shall submit such proposed law to the people at the next state election. If it shall be approved by voters equal in number to at least thirty per cent of the total number of ballots cast at such state election and also by a majority of the voters voting on such law, it shall become law, and shall take effect in thirty days after such state election or at such time after such election as may be provided in such law.

So unless the group filing the lawsuit is saying they didn’t follow the proper procedure which they did or the Secretary of State and Attorney General wouldn’t have signed off on it, I’m unclear what is unconstitutional about this referendum. The state constitution does not restrict certain types of laws from being decided by voter referendum.

This is just an attempt at keep Massachusetts parents and concerned citizens from voting on Common Core. They are apparently afraid they will lose this referendum.


Textbook Publishers Have Always Had An Agenda

James O’Keefe’s 3rd video on Common Core released this week focuses on Kim Koerber who is currently with National Geographic and was formerly an executive at Pearson.

Breitbart News had the exclusive on reporting this video. Dr. Susan Berry transcribed part of the video:

Kim Koerber (KK): People that are not educated, Fox TV viewers think that Common Core comes from the educated liberal groups and that’s why they are against it. They don’t know anything about it. They think it’s liberal so they’re against it. That’s what I think it is. It’s a knee jerk reaction. My mother, oh my God, she’s a Fox person. If I could remove Fox from my television set, I would…

I did a big presentation yesterday for AP US History and the AP US History agenda was set, until Texas got upset about it and they wanted to have their founders – they wanted founders in it. And it’s like – come on. The dead white guys did not create this country. It was a whole bunch of different kinds of people. And yes there were women, and yes there were people of color, and yes…you need to talk about them too. But they want to talk about those dead white guys.

And that’s the problem. You’re getting pushback, because there’s a bunch of Republican people, conservatives that don’t like being told what to do by people they don’t agree with. For example, in AP U.S. History a long time ago, Texas wanted to have U.S. History books, right? Pearson made them. And it talked about the Wild West and how there were prostitutes, right. And Texas was really upset. They didn’t want to mention…I’m like…You’re too young to… Did you watch Gun Smoke? It was a TV show, and you had Marshall Dillon and Ms. Kitty was his friend. She owned a bar and she was a prostitute. They never mentioned it but that’s what she was. It’s like who was Ms. Kitty? Who were these people who went out and serviced these men that went out in the world? That was real. The Wild West was not a nice place. And our kids need to know that that’s what it was like, you know.

Project Veritas Journalist (PV): But these people in Texas are really upset that the Constitution is not being covered.

KK: It is being covered, but not the way they…cause they’re idiots and they don’t know what’s in it.

PV: Is it covered as much as it would have been?

KK: In 12th grade government it certainly is, and in 5th grade it is. Yes.

PV: “It’s not a necessity for the kids.”

KK: You should know a little bit about it, you shouldn’t have to memorize the thing.

Republicans want to get in there and talk about stuff and change things about school stuff because they want to, they want to influence what is being taught. Common core doesn’t put up with that.

PV: Yeah. And, so it’s not really being… A lot of these complaints about it are not so much about the content yeah…

KK: They’re misunderstanding; they are people that don’t really know what they are talking about.

I…I can’t stand it. If they talk to me one more time about…climate change not being real, I’m just gonna scream.

PV: I am really glad I’m here in California, whatever religious affiliation you want to take is fine, but in Texas they want to push the Christianity.

KK: Because they think it’s the only one.

PV: They do, and I see that.

KK: That’s why it’s so offensive to have these prayers in the school board.

PV: Christianity is totally out of the common core?

KK: Yes it is. Totally. It’s not a core concept at all.

PV: But then there is a mention of other religions like Islam.

KK: Yeah well you have to because …

PV: So how did Islam get worked in?

KK: Islam…they said you have to talk about Islam, you have to talk about Judaism and you have to talk about Christianity and they wanted to make it big about Christianity; no it’s like, everybody needs to know about everything else…

PV: Is that one of the complaints, that common core does have a liberal bias?

KK: Yes, they feel like we’d be educating their kids to the world which they don’t want to do that. They want their kids to only know this… It’s like birth control. They don’t want their kids to know about it, yet Chlamydia is huge in Texas. So it’s like, you know…In the schools that have kids that, because the kids don’t learn about anything about what they’re doing and they’re messing around and they get in trouble because they didn’t get educated. So, I think the progressive bias is the more educated you are, the better you are, and the conservative bias is the less they know the better they are going to be. Yeah.

PV: What is it that they don’t agree with?

KK: They don’t agree with Islam, so they don’t want their kids to be taught it. They don’t agree with birth control so they don’t want their kids to talk about it. They don’t agree with math because they don’t understand it. It’s not the same math they did in high school. So they don’t want their kids to know about it.

It’s conservative push back, that, they are afraid. So these conservative, these conservative voters are afraid of everything.

PV: I’m just wondering why Common Core specifically…before Common Core kids were learning about math and science.

KK: Because it’s the government telling me what to do.

People who say they want to teach the Constitution, only want to teach the part of the Constitution that they like.

PV: Second Amendment?

KK: But yet they don’t want to teach all of it. Damn the Second Amendment. I don’t think personal handguns need to be on anyone except the government, the police. What is the purpose of having a gun?

The separation of church and state they don’t understand.

They don’t like that. They don’t like equal rights between all groups. The voter suppression that is going on in the south is just unbelievably awful.

People who are not educated are easy flim flam. And that they react by fear instead of by knowledge.

The Project Veritas journalist asks Koerber about the profits for textbook publishers with the Common Core reform.

KK: Anytime anybody changes something in a textbook its profitable for the textbook companies. So the textbooks have to change and the school district has to adopt the new ones, that’s profitable.

PV: Say that again.

KK: Anytime a change happens that has to be put in a textbook suddenly the school district has to adopt new books.

The video also includes footage of Project Veritas president James O’Keefe at the South Carolina Tea Party convention, during which Republican 2016 frontrunner Donald Trump told his audience Common Core is a “disaster,” and that no candidate can win who is in favor of Common Core.

“We spend more than anybody else and to a large extent that’s Common Core, because these people in Washington – the bureaucrats – are making a fortune,” Trump said. “They don’t give a damn about your kids in South Carolina.”

The fact there is a liberal bias in the textbook industry is not new. Also we know that the adoption of the Common Core has sparked purchases of new “Common Core-aligned” textbooks. Common Core itself doesn’t promote indoctrination. It’s a set of math and English language arts standards. They are poor standards. They put our students behind, but they themselves do not foster indoctrination.

What has opened the door to this is the Common Core literacy standards for social studies and science which has sparked the desire for new “Common Core-aligned” textbooks.

That is where indoctrination comes in. Much of what is discussed in this video has noting to do directly with the Common Core State Standards. Bill Gates anticipated these new resources as a result of the new standards as well. This is why his foundation has teamed up with Pearson Education and others.

This however is a problem that existed before Common Core and will continue to exist after Common Core.

What Has Caused California’s Teacher Shortage?


I read an article in EdSource that describes the teacher shortage that the state of California is now facing.  In order to mitigate that the schools in the state will have to increasingly turn to “unprepared teachers” to meet the demand.

These are teachers that a report written by Learning Policy Institute defines: “as those who are teaching with a short-term permit, have been given a waiver to teach outside their subject area by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, or have a temporary ‘intern credential.'”

I’m curious why California is facing this teacher shortage to begin with?

EdSource notes:

A particularly disturbing feature of the teacher employment landscape is that the number of new teachers going into math and science has declined, despite ongoing efforts in California and nationally to attract teachers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields to the profession.

For example, the number of new credentials awarded to math teachers has dropped by nearly a third (32 percent) over the last four years. Those awarded to science teachers declined by 14 percent. During the same period, the number of underprepared math teachers increased by 23 percent, while the number of science teachers in this category increased by 51 percent.

The shrinking production of credentialed math teachers comes at a time when far fewer students met or exceeded standards on Common Core-aligned Smarter Balanced math tests, compared to those who did so on the English language arts portion of the test. Teacher shortages in these areas, the report says, “are a concern as the state seeks to implement new, more demanding standards in both subject areas (math and science), requiring teachers who deeply understand their content and how to teach it in a way that develops higher order thinking and performance skills.”

There is no single solution to the emerging teaching shortage, the report concludes. Instead, what is needed is a “comprehensive set of strategies at the local and state levels.”

This reveals that the state’s STEM program is a failure if you are not able to convince students to desire to teach math and science.

Yet they never get to the root cause. Could the direction of education reform, standardized assessments and the Common Core have something to do with the teacher shortage? We already have seen one award-winning teacher discourage people from entering the field. We’ve all read stories about teachers resigning or retiring instead of continuing in a system under Common Core. The root cause of California’s problem likely predates Common Core, but I think it’s likely it will exasperate California’s problem in the future.

The Damage That Common Core Has Caused

Will Common Core kill students' love of reading?Photo credit: Kate Ter Haar (CC-By-2.0)

Will Common Core kill students’ love of reading?
Photo credit: Kate Ter Haar (CC-By-2.0)

Peter Wood of the National Association of Scholars wrote an article last week with the grim prognosis that the damage caused by Common Core will be with us for years to come.

It is like a house with an underwater mortgage: The United States has invested so much in Common Core that it can’t easily get out. The investments include very large amounts spent on textbooks, computers to support the Common Core tests, and teacher training. The investment also includes some hard-to-quantify things: the squandered opportunity, the huge expenditure of political capital, the disaffection of millions of parents, and the psychological harm to students who face spending many more years living out the classroom consequences of a discredited educational experiment.

Students face those extra years of miseducation simply because there is no easy exit from Common Core. The textbooks and computers have been purchased, and the teachers have been trained. Even the states running for the exit door have a long wind-down ahead of them.

He outlines some of the outcomes we’ll suffer through even with a repeal.

  • Demoting literature
  • Slowing down math instruction
  • Promises broken
  • Cutting parents out – this in my opinion is one of the most damaging outcomes from Common Core.

Be sure to read his whole piece.

Louisiana Parents Complain About Common Core Review


Louisiana parents complain about the Common Core review process currently underway in the state.

The New Orleans Advocate reports:

The goal of the committee meeting that Carla and Carl Hebert turned up for was to draft a new set of math standards for grades three through 12 by the end of the day. Small groups of teachers divided by grade level spent two hours coming up with proposed changes, then reconvened to debate the proposed alterations. Members of the public who had come to provide input had to sit and wait. Public comment was not scheduled until after the debate.

This was only the first step of a long, arcane process. The proposed changes were to head next to a “standards committee,” a second group of educators who would hold public hearings and then send notes back to the original committee.

Separate sets of committees would do the same for English standards in grades three to 12 and those for kindergarten through the second grade.

Finally, when all of the committees have wrapped up their work, the changes will go before the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education for a final vote in March.

Given the breadth of material to cover, the process can be unwieldy. At the math committee meeting, Dufrene suggested changes to most of the fourth-grade standards, leaving the committee no time to debate the other grades. The meeting broke up after 7 p.m. without taking much public comment, though only about two dozen members of the public showed up.

Dufrene’s changes focused on areas in which she felt the standards had crossed the line from telling teachers what they needed to teach to dictating how they needed to teach.

For example, she called for removing language from a fourth-grade multiplication standard that suggested teachers should ask students to explain answers by using equations, arrays or area models. Arrays, where students use dots to represent numbers, and area models, in which students shade in parts of a rectangle, are visual tools used to show their work.

While some of the educators agreed with Dufrene, others felt the language was necessary to ensure teachers go beyond teaching the procedure and use techniques that encourage deeper, more conceptual learning. Those who opposed cutting the language eventually won out.

Carla Hebert, meanwhile, felt completely shut out by the process. “If they really wanted to include us, they would have started with public comment,” she said late in the afternoon. “It’s after 3 o’clock; we’ve been just sitting here for six hours.”

As in other states, an online survey was designed to be the primary vehicle for parents to weigh in on potential changes. But in state after state, this has proven to be a highly imperfect and fraught way of soliciting parent feedback.

Read the whole article.

The online review process that parents were allowed to participate in was not parent-friendly. It appeared to be designed to lead to a positive result for Common Core. Also because the online portal was not parent-friendly fewer parents participated. Louisiana legislators were concerned that the compromise made that launched this review was not being honored by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

This is the same trend we’ve seen time and time and time again in states that offer a “review” it’s totally stacked against parents and it does not look like Louisiana will be any different.

Both Rubio and Christie’s Common Core Records Need Work

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) went after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Common Core during Thursday night’s Republican presidential debate on the Fox Business Network.

Rubio went through a litany of items that painted Christie as a progressive, one of which was his support for Common Core. Christie has waffled on Common Core. The Pulse 2016 gave Christie a D+ on their scorecard. They wrote:

Chris Christie has had a varied history with the Common Core.

In 2013 he was quoted as saying, “We’re doing Common Core in New Jersey and we’re going to continue. And this is one of those areas where I’ve agreed more with the President than not.”

By 2014, Christie had changed his tune: “I have some real concerns about Common Core and how it’s being rolled out and that’s why I put a commission together to study it.”

In early 2015, Christie had again taken a newly evolved position as he said, “I have grave concerns about the way this is being done, and especially the way the Obama administration has tried to implement it through tying federal funding to these things.”

During his appearance at CPAC, Christie told Laura Ingraham that he had regrets related to the implementation of the Common Core, but shortly after, he urged parents not to opt their children out of the Common Core-aligned PARCC tests.

More recently, Christie has pledged to do away with the Common Core in New Jersey; however, he has also stated that the state will retain the PARCC test, which assesses student performance based on the Common Core Standards.

In late April, Christie elaborated on his initial support for the Common Core, stating: “We signed on to try to get funds during a really difficult fiscal time.”  Apparently, his decision to stick with the PARCC test, despite calls from parents and teachers to abandon it, was also based on the procurement of federal funding (read more).

Instead of getting rid of Common Core in New Jersey they are rebranding it. called him on the carpet for his claim New Jersey eliminated it.

The panel of educators and parents Christie ordered to review the standards recommended keeping 84 percent of New Jersey’s existing math and reading standards intact and suggested tweaks and clarifications to the remaining standards.

A side-by-side comparison of the current math standards and proposed changes shows several suggestions involve simply changing or adding a word to the standard’s description. Though state education officials said the changes mark a departure from Common Core, New Jersey’s largest teachers union characterized the suggestions as “relatively minor.”

Those proposed changes still have to be approved by the state Board of Education and wouldn’t take effect until the 2017-18 school year, according to state officials.

So not only are they just rebranding it, but it’s still in effect.

Turning to Christie’s accuser…. Rubio is hardly the guy who should be criticizing Christie on education policy. The Pulse 2016 gave Rubio a C. A grade of C on this score card means “has neither helped nor hurt the cause.”

So his credibility is lacking.

Emmett McGroarty of American Principles Project writing at The Pulse explains Rubio’s grade.  He says Rubio’s concern about what Common Core may theoretically do misses the point.

Rubio’s answer ignores the immediate most pressing concern of parents, grandparents, and teachers. It gives short shrift to the parents who have been fighting this. We fight it primarily because of what the federal government has done to our children—not because of what it might theoretically do.

Another problem with Rubio’s answer is that it skirts around the nexus between the poor quality of the Common Core and federal involvement. In late 2008, private groups convinced the incoming Obama Administration to push the standards into the states with a carrot-and-stick approach. Those private groups then drafted the Common Core standards in response to the ensuing federal grants. They drafted the standards on the premise that they would be a monopoly. They did not draft them on the premise that the standards would have to pass parental muster or would have to be better than world-class standards like the old Massachusetts standards. Rubio skirted these all-important issues by casting the problem as potential rather than presently existing.

Rubio’s official website does not specifically address the issue of Common Core. However, it does states that in order to prepare people to “seize their opportunities in the new economy,” high schools should graduate more students “ready to work.” It is hard to parse from this general statement what the education policies would look like under a Rubio Administration. What does Rubio believe would validate a student as “work ready”? Would it be the further alignment of our K-12 education system to the projected demands of specific sectors of the economy to train workers for favored big-businesses, which would mean more of the Chamber of Commerce-endorsed Common Core? Or, does it mean aligning education to the demands of parents and the local community as a whole, which would mean more local control? It would behoove Senator Rubio to answer these questions and to discuss the qualitative aspects of the Common Core and whether he believes the federal involvement helped, or hurt, the quality of the standards.

McGroarty also had concerns about Rubio’s view of student data mining.

Relevant to the privacy issue, Rubio is co-sponsoring the Student Right to Know Before You Go Act (S. 1195), which would create a federal database on students for at least 15 years after they enter the workforce. It is troubling that Rubio advocates a limited role for government in the activities of the American people, yet fails to see the problem with the governmental tracking and collecting data on all citizens.

More recently Rubio failed to vote on the reauthorization of NCLB he wasn’t present for the cloture vote or final vote for the Every Student Succeeds Act.

I’d encourage Rubio to shore his own record and position on Common Core before attacking another candidate’s because he’s hardly the gold standard.

Again, No Surprise, Textbook Sales Are About Making Money

Project Veritas released their second video, and like the first the subject is an employee of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. I should say soon-to-be-ex-employee as the last employee featured in James O’Keefe’s documentary was fired.

This time it’s Amelia Petties who is a strategic account executive at the textbook publishing giant.  She said it’s not about the kids.

“It’s never about the kids,” Petties said.

“And slapping a new name on it, which in my case I hope they do…I can sell a sh** ton of training around whatever you’re calling it,” she added. “There’s always money in it”… “I don’t think Common Core is going to go anywhere.”

Again, this is not a surprise, and like I said before I don’t think this will help move the cause forward. We’ve always know the profit motivation with publishers jumping on Common Core. New standards require new textbooks and curriculum.

Rebranding is profitable.

Also bear in mind this is one of two people in a company that employs thousands, and right now the videos center on employees whose primary concern is to sell books.  While this video is more compelling than the first, especially with teacher interviews added, I still don’t think this is a smoking gun.  What I think they’ve ultimately accomplished is to put people’s careers in jeopardy, the textbook publishing employees I don’t mind as much – they shouldn’t bad mouth the company they work for. I am concerned about the teachers they have talked to who were not realized they were being tapped.

South Dakota to Review Common Core


Last week The Sioux Falls Argus-Leader reports that the South Dakota Board of Education plans to review the Common Core State Standards.

They write:

The South Dakota Board of Education plans to re-evaluate the controversial math and reading curriculum this summer following a massive federal overhaul of the No Child Left Behind law.

The new law gives local school leaders more flexibility to set curriculum and testing standards. “We can stand back and say this is what we want for our state,” said Melody Schopp, the state’s education chief.

The Every Student Succeeds Act was signed by President Barack Obama in December, but it won’t hit classrooms until the 2017-18 school year. South Dakota education officials will start the revision process this summer for the Common Core.

The state reviews curriculum standards on a seven-year cycle. Reading standards were due for review this summer, but math standards weren’t scheduled for review until the summer of 2017. State education board members agreed unanimously to speed up the process, moving up the timeline for math.

“We’re basically going to review the Common Core and review that process this summer,” Schopp said.

Four thoughts about this.

First, it seems to me that Secretary Schopp is blaming the adoption of the Common Core on the feds. That wasn’t the tune she was singing when she and I spoke at a forum together in Sioux Falls a few years ago.

Second, giving Secretary Schopp the benefit of the doubt perhaps the Sioux Falls Board of Education felt boxed in due to their Race to the Top application or ESEA flexibility waiver.

Third, “flexibility” is misleading. We warned that Every Student Succeeds Act doesn’t change Common Core’s grip on a state, and a former Arne Duncan staffer said it locks states in.

Finally, I never get very excited about the concept of a review as they have yet to lead to a substantial change in a state’s standards.