Common Core Roll Back Bill Introduced in the Iowa Senate

Iowa.flagState Senator Brad Zaun (R-Urbandale) filed SF 16 last week.  SF 16 scraps “Iowa core curriculum” language (which is what Iowa’s standards were originally called).  It instead calls for assessment standards that are identical to the ones approved in 2006 for No Child Left Behind.

So if passed this bill would roll Iowa’s standards back to what they were pre-Common Core, eliminate Iowa’s standards for social studies, 21st century skills and (I’ll have to check my timeline) eliminate the K-8 standards.  The original Iowa Core was math, English and science standards for 9-12th grade.   It may even be the same language as last year’s bill, SF 2123, but I don’t have that in front of me to compare.

I know there will be some Common Core-related bills that are filed in the Iowa House, but it hasn’t happened yet two weeks into the session.  From what I have heard thus far they will be similar as last year’s bills, but I will update when we know more.

Right now because of the make-up of the Iowa Legislature (Democrat-led Senate, Republican-led House) it is difficult to get anything passed.  On the House side we have leaders who either like Common Core or they are apathetic toward it.  On the Senate side any Republican-sponsored bill goes to subcommittee to die.

I do want to see some bills filed, but I believe our best chance for success this legislative session is to stop Smarter Balanced Assessments from being implemented.  So far there no one has filed a bill to approve Smarter Balanced.  I believe the Iowa State Board of Education is still deciding (we recently had our assessment task force recommend Smarter Balanced).  Ultimately it is up to the Legislature to approve it.  So activists in Iowa need to watch for it, and I wouldn’t put it past those who favor the assessment to try to get that language amended into another bill.  So it is vital that we keep our eyes open.

Iowa’s Plan for Education Success–Assess, Assess, Assess

imageThere is nothing earth shattering in the Iowa Department of Education’s latest report  entitled “Overcoming the Achievement Divide: Key Challenges and Solutions for Iowa Schools.”   It’s main goal is to address the news that Iowa is stagnant in seeing growth in math and reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).  They are using the following qualifiers for the selection of programs at the state level: “focused on instruction, proven effective and scalable.”  Based on that they are focusing on three clusters of activities to support improvement.

1. Teacher quality (“the who”): Focuses energy on ensuring that the best and brightest teaching candidates are recruited and supported, and ensuring that those who do enter the profession have the highest-quality learning experiences that result in highly skilled professionals.
2. The Iowa Core (“the what”): Defines objectively what students need to know and be able to do to be successful in school and beyond.
3. Response to Intervention (“the how”): Supports teachers in differentiating instruction to maintain progress for each learner.

First off one observation regarding their qualifiers.  On page 13 of the report it says, “It is critical that we only spend time, money and effort on solutions that are supported by evidence.”

Then why in the world are we investing so much into implementing the Common Core State Standards?  Iowa aligned the “Iowa Core” (Digression the legal name is “Iowa Core Curriculum” – l love it how the Iowa Department of Education dropped the word “curriculum” even though that is how it is identified in the Iowa Code) with the Common Core ELA and Math Standards, and so to be developed Science standards.  The Common Core State Standards have not been field tested.  Evaluations of the Common Core were hardly independent (funded by the same groups pushing the Common Core).

Anyway, I had a good laugh from that as it is an asinine remark when you reflect on what they’re focusing educational policy on.

They don’t really get into detail regarding teacher quality or the Iowa Core.  Those were battles they fought in the Iowa Legislature last year.  Merit pay for teachers, teacher evaluations, expansion of the Iowa Core and alternative licensure are all things that were tabled last year.  Frankly I don’t see progress being made (which in my mind is good) this legislative session either.

The report goes into further detail with “Response to Intervention.”  This is an assessment program.  All students will be assessed three times a year.  Iowa Department of Education Director Jason Glass said that local schools can choose what assessments they use and how long they take.  I’m sure there will be an expectation that they are aligned with the Iowa Core however.  The RTI assessments are not the only assessment kids will be taking however.  The report doesn’t mention Iowa’s involvement with the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium of which Iowa is a governing state.  These assessments are based on the Common Core State Standards and if this plan is passed by the Legislature, at least I assume this is going to come to us in the form of a bill, will require all public school districts and I can assume state-accredited private schools to implement.

The report, which I encourage you to read below, discusses further steps to be taken with struggling students and youth with learning disabilities which will include more assessments.

I see three basic problems with this plan.  1. Assessments don’t solve problems.  They may diagnose a problem, but they don’t provide the solution.  2. Since assessments don’t solve problems they are a drain on resources.  3.  These assessments which don’t solve problems and will drain resources will further entrench standards which are not field tested and have been found to be substandard compared to some of the state standards they have replaced.  Bonus concern – will our students get a well rounded education or will this lead to more teaching to the test?  With this many assessments I’m inclined to believe the latter.

It will be interesting to see what form this takes in a future bill, but at the moment I’m not encouraged.

Originally posted at Caffeinated Thoughts

Despite Top-Down Standards Iowa Trails in Student Achievement

A new study commissioned by the Harvard Program on Education Policy and Governance and EducationNext was recently released.  They compared student achievement internationally and among the states.  They studied the improvement trend in 41 states from 1992 to 2011 looking at four different U.S. tests specifically looking at performance in math, science and reading of students who at the time of testing were in 4th or 8th grade.

Internationally, the United States is barely keeping pace with the rest of the world.  Within the United States, Iowa is last in terms of student achievement showing the slowest rate of improvement.  The study also demonstrated that our increase in education dollars have done nothing to help increase test scores.  Iowa from 1992-2011 under three different administrations (technically four if you count Governor Branstad’s 5th term as a new administration) has seen little growth in student achievement even after an increased involvement by the state in education.

Local control has been diminished, centralization increased and student achievement in our state is no better off.  Even with increased spending, the introduction of the Iowa Core Curriculum along with other reforms kids are lagging behind.

Governor Branstad in his fifth term has shown the same proclivity to push centralized education and double-down on top-down standards so there is little evidence (as the Common Core State Standards have not been field tested – anywhere) that Iowa will improve its standing.

Perhaps it is time to change things up and see how we can lead the nation in education reform rather than mimic other states in adopting unproven standards.  Perhaps it is time to respect once again honor our longstanding tradition of local control which placed Iowa as a leader in education and decentralize and let parents and school boards come up with local solutions.  Perhaps it is time to empower parents in making educational decisions for their children with real choice instead of shoddy public school options.

The current course of action right now is more of the same and it is leading Iowa toward failure.  Increased decentralization and greater school choice would help buck the trend.

Originally posted at the From The Right Blog at The Des Moines Register.

Damage in Iowa’s Education Reform Bill Mitigated

State CapitolThe final version of Iowa Governor Terry Branstad’s education bill looks much, much different than what he passed.  Originally the bill was 156 pages and it was whittled down to 33 pages.  Consider that a good thing.

A quick rundown…

The good, a number of provisions within the original bill were thankfully dumped:

  • Expansion of the core curriculum (probably the best news of all)
  • Expansion of charter schools (normally I would advocate choice, but the language in the original bill was horrible).
  • Creation of a statewide educator clearinghouse.
  • Creation of an innovation acceleration fund.
  • End-of-course exams for graduating seniors.

Things that were unfortunately kept:

  • Third grade literacy retention – this is a local school and parent decision, not the state’s.  I’m appalled at how many “limited government” advocates in the Iowa House in particular signed off on this.

One item that was dumped that I wish had been kept:

  • Alternative Teachers’ Certification, that was one innovative idea that should have had universal appeal.

One item that was kept that is a positive:

  • The online education language in the bill was kept.  Expanding choice is ultimately a good thing.

If Governor Branstad wants to truly be bold with education reform I have three brief suggestions.  He first needs to expand school choice – nonpublic schools and home education, not just charter schools.  Secondly he can also follow the Massachusetts model of education reform that provided for further decentralization of education.  Third he also needs to address how Iowa’s public union laws impact education within our public schools.  It needs to be easier to fire bad teachers.  Fourth pursue the alternative teachers certification, it only makes sense to hire teachers who have real world experience in the field they teach.  We shouldn’t force them to go back and earn an undergraduate degree in education or a M.A. in Teaching degree.

Action Needed on Iowa Education Reform Bill

Below is an action alert from one of our partners –  Iowa Association of Christian Schools:

Both legislative chambers have passed their own version of Senate File 2284, the education reform bill. The bill has been sent to a conference committee to work out a final bill which will be voted on with no amendments.

Many provisions affect non-public schools because they are accredited by the state. IACS supports the following provisions which we believe will help education in Iowa, including:

  • No expansion of the core curriculum
  • Retain religious liberty language related to the core curriculum
  • Retain alternative licensure provisions for teachers
  • Retain Competency-based instruction language

Please contact the following five key legislators via email (provided below) and let them know you want them to support these four things in the final version of the bill.  Feel free to copy and paste the following sample email and please personalize it with your thoughts and a “thank you” for working hard on education reform legislation this session.  Each of these legislators (two Republicans and two Democrats) have been helpful to IACS on different aspect of this year’s ed reform bill(s).  They all deserve a thank you and an appeal to keep working to make the bill a good one for public AND private schools in Iowa:

“Please support these provisions in Senate File 2284, the education reform bill:

  • No expansion of the core curriculum
  • Retain religious liberty language related to the core curriculum
  • Retain alternative licensure provisions for teachers
  • Retain competency-based instruction language

Thank you for your work on education issues in the state.”

We are hopeful that the House and Senate will compromise on a bill that includes the four-five areas of agreement while avoiding any of the other controversial provisions that put IACS schools at risk.

Iowa Governor Branstad’s Uninspiring Education Remarks

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad in his Condition of the State address on Tuesday said the following about their plan to reform education in Iowa:

One, we need a great teacher in every classroom and a great principal leading every building. That starts with being more selective about who can become an educator. A “B” college grade-point average for admission to Iowa’s teacher-preparation programs is not asking too much.

Two, all prospective teachers seeking a state license should demonstrate content and teaching mastery to assure they are ready for the crucial work of teaching our children.

Three, the School Administration Manager program should be changed to provide more time for principals to be instructional leaders.  Other staff can take on management tasks to free principals to observe and coach teachers in their classrooms.

Four, the Iowa Department of Education will continue to improve the Iowa Core —our state standards in math, science, English, and social studies. But well-rounded, healthy students need more than just these core areas.

The department will work with educators to develop new standards for music and other fine arts, character education, physical education, entrepreneurship education, applied arts, and foreign languages.

Five, a new kindergarten assessment will measure whether children start kindergarten ready to learn and leave prepared to flourish in first grade.

Six, end-of-course tests for core subjects will demonstrate that high school students are ready to graduate.  These will be designed with teachers, and will emphasize not just knowing content but being able to apply it.

Seven, all juniors should take a college entrance exam, with the state covering the cost. In addition, they should have the option of taking a work skills readiness test.  This will tell us whether Iowa students are college and career ready for life after high school.

Eight, let’s assure that children can read by the end of third grade.  Otherwise, they will fall further and further behind.  An intensive focus on literacy means working closely with families and providing more support for reading and writing in schools starting in preschool, and continuing through kindergarten, first, second, and third grades.

Because reading is so essential for later success in school, it is unfair to promote an illiterate child.

Nine, Iowa has some highly innovative schools, and we should encourage more schools to be innovative. Youngsters need more opportunities to engage in real-world experiences–including internships–in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Doing well in these subjects is the gateway to fast-growing fields with some of the best-paying jobs—whether students are headed for career training or a two- or four-year college.

To encourage such efforts, Iowa should establish an Innovation Acceleration Fund.  Schools and partners will identify education problems and innovative solutions.  Competitive grants will fund the best ideas, which may be scaled up statewide.

Ten, online learning that complements learning in traditional classrooms should be promoted.

So should competency-based learning that personalizes education for each child, and begins the process of moving us away from the time-based industrial model of education.

Let’s do all this and more for our children with a bipartisan consensus that will stand the test of time.

All this and he wants to take a decade to accomplish it.  Color me uninspired.  Raising GPA standards for teachers alone won’t address the problem if the content they are taught is poor.  Indoctrination has been a hallmark of the university.  In their blueprint they addressed alternative licensure process which I don’t see highlighted here.  That’s unfortunate.  Let’s recognize that some of our best teachers may not be produced by a university’s education department.

Not to mention this requirement would be placed upon all 32 of Iowa’s teacher prep programs who are approved by the State Board of Education – whether they are private or public. 

Testing alone won’t produce reform that is needed.  They want to expand the Iowa Core which is exactly what we don’t need.  More local control not less.

The administration also doesn’t want to tackle the teacher’s unions which are the primary roadblock to meaningful reform and then they skirt over the proven reform measure – more choice.  Their charter schools proposal will be meaningless since they don’t address collective bargaining.  Their online education idea, as far as I can see, is public only.  No mention of increasing tax credits for School Tuition Organizations, lifting onerous requirements on homeschoolers, school vouchers, even tax credits or deductions for homeschoolers, or allowing for private online education.

Leaving choice out of the equation and not dealing with teacher’s unions will doom this plan to failure and it’ll take 10 years to achieve that result.  Oh how wonderful!

Originally published at American Principles in Action

Branstad’s Blueprint

imageIowa Governor Terry Branstad announced his administration’s new education blueprint.  The blueprint was written by Jason Glass who is the Director of the Iowa Department of Educaiton, Linda Fandel who is Governor Branstad’s special assistant for education, and Byron Darnall who is Jason Glass’ policy assistant.  Some of the main points of the blueprint are these:

  • Attract and support talented educators with an increase in starting teacher pay, more selective teacher preparation programs and improved recruiting and hiring practices.
  • Create educator leadership roles in schools and develop a meaningful peer-based evaluation system that requires annual and multiple evaluations of all educators.
  • Develop a four-tier teacher compensation system with Apprentice, Career, Mentor and Master levels and substantial pay raises for teachers who move up. Add other options for increasing teacher pay, such as work in extended day or year programs.
  • Establish a definition of educator effectiveness and tie job protections to an evaluation system based on this definition.
  • Free up principals from some managerial tasks to lead and support great teaching.
  • Improve and expand the Iowa Core to put Iowa’s standards on par with the highest-performing systems in the world.
  • Develop an assessment framework that includes measuring whether children start kindergarten ready to learn and high-stakes End-of-Course assessments for core subjects in high school. Have all Iowa 11th graders take a state-funded college-entrance exam.
  • Provide value-added measures for all districts, schools, grades and educators that take into account student background characteristics and consider student growth.
  • Seek a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law and work with key education groups and leaders statewide to design a new accountability system.
  • Ensure children learn basic literacy by the end of third grade with high-quality reading programs, supports for schools and students, and an end to social promotion for third-graders who read poorly.
  • Nurture innovation with funding for transformative ideas, greater statutory waiver authority for the Iowa Department of Education and pathways to allow for high-quality charter schools in Iowa.
  • Create a state clearinghouse of high-quality online courses available to any student in Iowa, and back the courses with licensed teachers and the best online learning technology available.
  • Set goals for student outcomes, including a 95 percent high school graduation rate and top statewide performance on national standardized assessments.

Where’s the local control?  If hiring practices are determined, if new teacher/staff structures are dictated, and pay structures are determined by the state what is the purpose of the local school board?  I’m not saying all of the ideas are bad ones, but we need to be as concerned about the means as we are the end.  Not all pathways to reform are created equal.  It looks to me that any semblance of local control is on its last leg with the Branstad administration.  While school boards will still exist they will have essentially been stripped of their policy making ability.

That alienates parents as it is infinitely easier for a parent to bring concerns to their school board than it would be to bring them to an educrat in Des Moines.  The school board is directly accountable to their constituency, not so with staff within the Department of Education.

They want to address some of the right problems, and do have some creative ideas.  This blueprint represents the wrong approach.

You can read the blueprint below:

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad’s Education Blueprint //


HT: Caffeinated Thoughts

Responding to Jason Glass

imageI would be remiss to not continue with a (online) debate I’m currently having with Jason Glass who is the Director of the Iowa Department of Education.  I had to set it aside last week to focus on straw poll activities, but now I wanted to pick it back up.  I critiqued a speech he gave to the School Administrators of Iowa Conference, and he responded in kind with snarky post titled, “Caffeinated Conspiracy Theories.”

Ah yes, conspiracy theories.  He wrote:

Let’s first set the record straight about the Iowa Core and the Common Core. I don’t expect Shane and I to ever see eye to eye on this and that’s ok – in this country we are free to disagree and are better from an open exchange of ideas. As I understand it, Shane’s position is that the Iowa Core/Common Core is some sort of Obama-driven-federal-takeover-plot aimed at indoctrinating your children to love Chairman Mao and slowly transform this country into North Korea. OK, I may have embellished that last statement … slightly (apologies Shane – just having some fun at your expense!).

Where does this conspiracy theory drivel come from? The fact is that the National Common Core was and remains a STATE led (not a federal government) initiative. The Common Core represents student expectations in reading and math that are on par with the highest performing systems in the world and also represent the kinds of skills our students are going to need to be competitive in a global context. The fact is that a common thread among the highest performing school systems in the world is the adoption of clear and rigorous standards for all students (see example after example in Michael Fullan’s latest work and in Marc Tucker’s analysis of high performing school systems).

I find it ironic that he addresses conspiracies and then he cites Marc Tucker whose “Dear Hillary” Letter describes a “managed economy” – government as a “human resources development system.”  This seems really similar to what we’re seeing take place within the Federal Department of Education with Race to the Top and the Common Core State Standards, along with linking the Department of Education with the Department of Health and Human Services through data sharing..

Why is Glass labeling me a conspiracy theorist?  I’m just trying to shed light on problems within the Common Core State Standards.  However there has been little media attention toward and public input given for the standards.  I (and others) have pointed to concrete problems with the Common Core which Glass and others have failed to address.  For instance:

  • There are problems with the science standards as they downplay the role of math.
  • Higher-order skills are focused on at the expense of basic skills.  Andrew C. Porter in article entitled, “Common Core, Little to Cheer About” in the August 9, 2011 edition of Education Week wrote:

Reformers, myself included, have been saying that U.S. schools need to teach more higher-order thinking skills if we’re going to catch up with other countries’ educational systems. But curricula in top-performing countries we studied—like Finland, Japan, and New Zealand—put far less emphasis on higher-order thinking, and far more on basic skills, than does the common core. We need to ask ourselves: Could our enthusiasm for teaching higher-order skills possibly have gone too far? Clearly, both basic skills and higher-order thinking are important, but what is the right balance?

  • They were not field tested.
  • They teach math skills two years later than it is taught in high performing countries.
  • It uses a geometry program that is outdated; discarded by the former Soviet Union 25 years ago.
  • In literature arts it replaces American literature curriculum which is rich in requiring students to read excellent literary works with a curriculum that is consists of 70% “informational texts.”  A perfect vehicle for driving indoctrination in our schools, but I know I’m just throwing political hyperbole around.  Teachers would *never* venture into indoctrination.

Then Jason continues on the meme that this is a state-led initiative.  These standards were written behind closed doors.  They were developed by the National Governors Association and Council on Chief State School Officers, so yes some Governors and State Ed Directors may have been involved.  That doesn’t mean it was state led considering no state legislatures have even approved these standards.  Then Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced that he will only grant No Child Left Behind waivers to those states who have adopted the Common Core State Standards.  To have this happen and still refer to the Common Core as being a “state-led initiative” is nonsensical.

Jason goes on to say that the Legislature “gave the Iowa Department of Education and the Iowa State Board the directive to establish the Core.”

Yes the Legislature gave the Iowa Department of Education and the State Board of Education the authority to enact the Iowa Core, this was done retroactively as the Department had already spent money developing it without prior to it having legislative approval.  The Legislature did not specifically give the Department the authority to adopt the Common Core State Standards.  The act passed in 2008 actually specifically says:

The core content standards shall be identical to the core content standards included in Iowa’s approved 2006 sta
ndards and assessment system under Title I of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, 20U.S.C. } 6301 et seq., as amended by the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Pub. L. No. 107=110….

…As changes in federal law or regulation occur, the state board is authorized to amend the core content standards as appropriate.

Question, what federal law has changed?  What federal regulation was altered that wasn’t voluntary in nature?  The answer is none.  I understand Jason wants to be able to make these changes carte blanche, but it simply goes against the grain of a democratic society.  They “technically” have the right to adopt the common core standards it wasn’t the right thing to do and it disenfranchises the people.  Also, State Board of Education meetings do comply with Iowa’s open meeting laws, but the State Board of Education are also not accountable to the people since they are not elected.  This needs to be reviewed by the Legislature and they need to hear from their constituents.  So again based on the wording of the law, the State Board of Education and the Iowa Department of Education do not have the authority to make these changes.

I’m not convinced that centralizing education under mandatory standards that are not field tested and have little public input will bring about the type of reform we need.  Jason seems to want to avoid the debate of whether we really need to do this, whether it is the right thing to do for our state, and if it is appropriate.  It’s easy to go with the flow since all the other states are jumping on board.  When Iowa adopts 100% of the standards and can only add 15% more to it; what happens when one of these subjects fail us?

Iowa’s kids and parents deserve a public discourse hearing both sides of this issue before these standards are implemented.

Originally posted at Caffeinated Thoughts

Localization Not Centralization

Jason Glass, the director of the Iowa Department of Education, gave a speech to School Administrators from across the state.  What he said in his speech (of which he transcribed his remarks on his blog) I could mostly agree.  We agree on the question – “can our schools be better than they are today?”  I’m in wholehearted agree with him that yes they can.

I agree that educator quality must improve, and that “innovation must become an institution.”  I also applaud Director Glass for taking the time to listen to those around the state about how education in Iowa can best be improved and for allowing a free market of ideas.  I also agree with his desire to reform educator pay.

And the agreement stops when he said:

Let me preface any “plan” that we might design with the notion that Iowa must move from being a fractured system of schools to being a school system. For too long we have left too much to chance that each individual school district would provide a world class education to each and every student. There is a balance of state and local control that we must find and frankly, capacity needs to grow on both sides of the equation.

How has the centralization of education at the state level improved our schools?  What study or empirical evidence can be pointed to in order to make that case?  On the contrary I’d say that there is plenty of anecdotal evidence in Iowa anyway to demonstrate the opposite.  The more centralized our education system gets the worse our education is.  There are other contributing factors as well like poverty, and schools becoming a social service agency instead of focusing on education.  Teachers who would rather indoctrinate than educate… and on an on.  Don’t even get me started on teacher unions.  But there is nothing that shows centralizing education will improve things.

The state of Massachusetts seemed to prove the opposite, well at least until their state board of education lost its collective mind and adopted the common core state standards.  Their reform led to more localization, not less.  That state has been a model for the nation are we going to ignore that ingredient in their recipe for success?  It’s seems like we’re rushing to repeat the mistake.

He goes on:

The work of the Iowa Core and its merger with the Common Core were positive steps in the right direction but we need to finish the job and get to full implementation of the Iowa Core. Every teacher in Iowa should know what their students are expected to learn and how to design curriculum and lessons to those standards.

I’m confused… did the Iowa General Assembly authorize the Iowa Department of Education to adopt the national common core standards?  No they did not.  What authority does the Department have to change state law?  None!  When was public input given?  Oh I guess that isn’t important.  What data can be shown to demonstrate that these standards are positive steps?  None than I can see as neither the Iowa Core CURRICULUM (just because you drop “curriculum” from the name of the law doesn’t change the intent) or the Common Core State Standards.

Parents and local communities know how to best educate their kids.  They are the ones who should set the expectations for teachers, as they are the ultimate stakeholders in the education of children.  Parents seem to be the one group not invited to the table by the Branstad administration.  Under Glass’ vision of education in our state, Educrats from Des Moines and Washington, DC, not parents will have greater say in the education of their child.  That is a recipe for failure.

Originally posted at Caffeinated Thoughts

Iowa Governor Branstad’s Unfortunate Praise of Common Core Standards

imageThose who have read my writing long enough know how I feel about the Iowa Core Curriculum.  I think it stinks.  It has huge problems.  Its history curriculum, in particular, stinks to high heaven.  It centralizes education and further removes educational decisions from parents.

There is nothing good about it.  Iowa Governor Terry Branstad today in his speech at the Iowa Education Summit said that the way to improve the Iowa Core was to in my estimation replace it with something worse.  He said, “The State Board of Education’s decision to add the new, voluntary Common Core State Standards in math and literacy strengthens the Iowa Core.”

How does it do that?

Consider some facts about the common core standards

  • They were not field tested.
  • They teach math skills two years later than it is taught in high performing countries.
  • It uses a geometry program that is outdated; discarded by the former Soviet Union 25 years ago.
  • In literature arts it replaces American literature curriculum which is rich in requiring students to read excellent literary works with a curriculum that is consists of 70% “informational texts.”  A perfect vehicle for driving indoctrination in our schools.

So again how does it improve things?  How will these standards make Iowa a world leader in education?  The simple fact is that they won’t.  The common core standards do not collectively raise the bar for education, instead it lowers it.

Not to mention, what public input has there been in implementing the Common Core Standards?  Has there been a legislative vote to amend the Iowa Core Curriculum?  No.  What authority do they have to do this?  None from what I can see in the Iowa Constitution.

It’s too bad that our Governor who has a worthy goal of wanting to improve education in our state has been convinced by the education lobby that centralization is the answer.

Cross-posted at Caffeinated Thoughts