Category Archives: Common Core

General Assembly to Vote on the RIGHT Common Core bill Tomorrow

UPDATE:  This afternoon, in response to the e-mail I sent to my NC Senator (Sanderson), I received the following additional information from one of his staffers:

The NC House used a committee substitute to gut the Senate bill and replace it’s text with language identical to the House version.  It (meaning the replacement language) must be concurred upon when it comes back before the Senate.  However, it most likely will not be concurred upon and will therefore go to a conference committee to “hash out” the legislation.  I hope that helps explain what we believe may happen.

Earlier this afternoon, the leadership of the Coastal Carolina Taxpayers Association, our brethren up in the New Bern area, sent out the news of EndCommonCore_Logoan important development in the General Assembly regarding Common Core.

From the message sent by Raynor James, part of the CCTA leadership:

Michael Speciale and Larry Pittman have been working hard all day to get HB 1061 (to get rid of Common Core) approved for resubmission to the Senate.  They were successful.  The Senate bill was much weaker, and it looked like that version was going to pass, but now SB 812 and HB 1061 are identical and take the form of the stronger House bill.

We need to support Michael’s (and CCTA’s Common Core Committee’s) hard work by trying to get members of the NC Senate to vote in favor of the bill.  Will you please call all the NC Senators you can?  Ask them to vote for the bill tomorrow (Friday, 6-20-14).  They need to feel a ground swell of support.

This one is touch and go.  We don’t want the bill to die.

And he is so right, we don’t.  The house version of the Common Core legislation is far superior to the Senate version, so please, do your part.  Click HERE to look up the contact information for all the NC Senators in our area, then reach out to them.  As Hillary would say, we must do this for the itty bitty chur’en.

What Sasha Obama Does Not Have In Common

Rebecca Steinitz has a doctoral degree in English, and she knows about primary education.  She is a literacy consultant in the Massachusetts EndCommonCore_Logoschool system, and she happens to have a daughter who is the same age as Sasha, President Obama’s daughter.  In that connection, she recently put up a “Open Letter To President Obama” piece on the Huffington Post about her frustrations with Common Core, and with the fact that the Obama children are insulated from it.  Here are her opening words to the President:

We have something very important in common: daughters in the seventh grade.  Since your family walked onto the national stage in 2007, I’ve had a feeling that our younger daughters have a lot in common too.  Like my daughter Eva, Sasha appears to be a funny, smart, loving girl, who has no problem speaking her mind, showing her feelings, or tormenting her older sister.  There is, however, one important difference between them: Sasha attends private school, while Eva goes to public school … 

An interesting perspective on Common Core from an education professional, worth reading in total, HERE.

In New York, Common Core Is Used To Sell Your Kid Stuff

Today’s article by Eric Owens, in the Daily Caller, in it’s entirety:

Across the state of New York, this year’s Common Core English tests have reportedly featured a slew of brand-name products including iPod, Barbie, Mug Root Beer and Life Savers.  For Nike, the tests even EndCommonCore_Logoconveniently included the shoe company’s ubiquitous slogan: “Just Do It.”

The brands – and apparently even some of their familiar trademark symbols – appeared in tests questions for students ranging from third to eighth grades, reports The Post-Standard of Syracuse.  Over one million students were required to take the tests.  Parents, teachers and school administrators have speculated that the kid-friendly brand names are a new form of product placement.

Education materials behemoth Pearson, which has a $32 million five-year contract to develop New York’s Common Core-related tests, has barred teachers and school officials from disclosing the contents of the tests.  Students and parents are not so barred, though, and many have complained.

“‘Why are they trying to sell me something during the test?’” Long Island mother Deborah Poppe quoted her son as saying, according to Fox News.  “He’s bright enough to realize that it was almost like a commercial.”  Poppe said her eighth-grade son was talking about a question about a busboy who didn’t clean up a root beer spill.  It wasn’t just any root beer, though.  No sir!  It was Mug Root Beer, a registered trademark of PepsiCo (current market cap: $129.7 billion).

Another question about the value of taking risks featured the now-hackneyed Nike slogan “Just Do It.”  “I’m sure they could have used a historical figure who took risks and invented things,” observed displeased dad Sam Pirozzolo, also of Staten Island, according to the Daily Mail.  “I’m sure they could have found something other than Nike to express their point.”  Pirozzolo has a child in fifth grade.

Nike, one of America’s best known and most heavily advertised companies, boasts a current market cap of $65.01 billion.

A number of baffled and angry New York teachers have anonymously complained about the branding and much else on blogs and websites.

Representatives from the New York State Education Department have flatly denied involvement in any novel marketing agreements.  “There are no product placement deals between us, Pearson or anyone else,” Tom Dunn, an Education Department spokesman, told Fox News.  “No deals.  No money.  We use authentic texts.  If the author chose to use a brand name in the original, we don’t edit.”

To the credit of Pearson and the named companies, it does seem like an unusually stupid move—even for greedy brand managers.  “If any brand did try to place there, what they would lose from the outrage would surely trump any exposure they got,” Michal Ann Strahilevitz, a marketing professor at Golden Gate University, told Fox.

At the same, some people are perfectly happy about idea of mixing for-profit merchandising and mandatory Common Core tests.  “Brands are part of our lives,” Allen Adamson, managing director of the New York brand consulting firm Landor Associates, told Fox.  “To say they don’t belong in academia is unrealistic.”

The Daily Caller article is HERE, and the original report from the Syracuse, New York Post Standard is HERE.

“Acts of Love” and other Rubbish from Jeb Bush

Tell you what.  The dentist says my son needs braces, and since straight teeth will help him advance in the world as an adult, I steal your wallet and use your cash and credit card to pre-pay for the dental work.  That would be okay with you, right, ’cause the crime was motivated by an “act of love”?

Or maybe my wife is extremely depressed because we can’t afford to replace the automatic dishwasher that conked out last fall, so I sneak into your yard in the wee small hours of the morning to cut the copper coils out of your HVAC system, then sell the copper to get money to buy her a spiffy new Whirlpool.  You would be willing to sweat it out this summer, right, knowing that your discomfort was in support of an “act of love”?Illegal_Immigrants_2

No less ridiculous was this rationale offered yesterday by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, a possible Presidential candidate, now pathetically kissing up to the Hispanic community in hopes of cornering their votes:

Yes, they broke the law, but it’s not a felony. It’s an act of love.  It’s an act of commitment to your family.  I honestly think that that is a different kind of crime that there should be a price paid, but it shouldn’t rile people up that people are actually coming to this country to provide for their families.

But does Bush really want our votes, at least for his own candidacy?  Political pundit Mickey Kaus says no, that Jeb is just being “John Alden” to Marco Rubio’s “Miles Standish”:

He’s not running, but he’s making space for Marco Rubio.  Look at it this way: The GOP establishment is desperate to suppress Tea Party conservatives and also obtain the immigration amnesty they believe will win Latinos and relieve them of the need to do too much rethinking in other areas.  P.S.: The need to rehabilitate Rubio–-which means avoiding a big immigration fight, at least in 2015 and 2016–-would be one more reason the GOP establishment might feel it’s now-or-never for passing an immigration reform bill.  That would help explain the increasingly desperate and sneaky (but possible successful) efforts to keep amnesty alive.

Jeb Bush, also a Common Core supporter by the way, has said that he will make a decision on whether he will be a candidate in the 2016 Presidential race by the end of this year.  But if he does, he can forget about getting my vote.

Can We Follow In Indiana’s Footsteps?

In the presentations that I have attended where the subject of Common Core arose, there have been conflicting opinions as to whether North EndCommonCore_LogoCarolina would be required to refund to the federal government all the money received as incentives for the adoption and implementation of Common Core in our State, were we to abandon Common Core altogether.

In a new Common Core development reported by Alec Torres at the online National Review, Indiana’s Republican Governor Mike Pence has signed a bill withdrawing the State from the Common Core program.  An excerpt:

At first, the initiative seemed full of promise; it was little-known and seldom critiqued outside of education-policy circles.  In Indiana, the effort to implement the Common Core was spearheaded by Republican governor Mitch Daniels and his fellow Republican Tony Bennett, the superintendent of public instruction, with the support of Democrats and Republicans alike.  In August 2010, only two months after the final standards were made public, Daniels touted the Common Core as a simplification of the state standards that had previously been in place, and the state board of education voted unanimously to join.  Implementation began the next school year.  Only four states — Alaska, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia — refused to adhere to the new standards.

Even in the full article, HERE, no mention is made of Indiana having to pay back any funding, and I think such an expensive consequence would have been mentioned.  So, can we follow Indiana’s lead?  The NC General Assembly is studying the issue even now, and I hope their conclusion can be in the affirmative.

For some background on Common Core, check out THIS article from the North Carolina Institute for Constitutional Law.

Michelle Malkin: School Choice and Common Core are Mortal Enemies

EndCommonCore_LogoA couple of weeks ago, conservative activist and author Michelle Malkin recounted the experiences of her and her husband in pursuing the best possible education for their children, and how Common Core is a force that acts in opposition to their goal.  Some key excerpts:

Every family in America deserves maximized, customized choices in education.  It is the ultimate key to closing that “income inequality” gap the politicos are always gabbling about.  Yet, the White House and Democrats beholden to public school unions and their money are the ones blocking the school choice door.


Family participation is not an afterthought. It’s the engine that drives everything.  The dedicated parents, grandparents, foster parents, and legal guardians I’ve met in the charter school movement and homeschooling community see themselves as their children’s primary educational providers.  Not the U.S. Department of Education.  Not the White House.  Not GOP politicians cashing in on top-down “education reform.”

Derek Anderson is the principal of Ridgeview Classical Schools in Fort Collins, Colorado, where Malkin sends her two kids to school.  Malkin continues:

PARCC is the behemoth, federally funded testing consortium (the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) that raked in $186 million through President Obama’s Race to the Top program to develop nationalized tests “aligned” to the top-down Common Core program.  [Principal Derek] Anderson and informed administrators, educators, and parents like him understand: “PARCC is truly the enforcement mechanism that will coerce schools into adopting the Common Core curriculum.  We cannot do this.  It is entirely against the mission and philosophy of our school.”  It is, in short, sabotage.  Anderson calls it an “almost existential dilemma.  Our mission and philosophy are irreconcilable with Common Core’s.”

Read the whole article, HERE.

Common Core Promoter: Your Children Are Belong To Us

EndCommonCore_LogoPenny Starr of CNS-News reports on some of the doings at an event held to promote Common Core earlier this week:

In addressing criticism of the Common Core national education standards, a panelist at the Center for American Progress (CAP), a liberal think tank, said critics were a “tiny minority” who opposed standards altogether, which was unfair because “the children belong to all of us.”

At a CAP event to promote Common Core on Friday, asked about the critics who say federal monetary incentives attached to Common Core is driving the states to implement the standards.


Paul Reville, the former secretary of education for Massachusetts and a Common Core supporter, said,  “To be sure, there’s always a small voice – and I think these voices get amplified in the midst of these arguments – of people who were never in favor of standards in the first place and never wanted to have any kind of testing or accountability and those voices get amplified.”


“Why should some towns and cities and states have no standards or low standards and others have extremely high standards when the children belong to all of us and would move [to different states in their educational lives]?”

“And the same logic applies to the nation,” Reville said.  “And it makes sense to educators.  It makes sense to policymakers, and it’s why people have voluntarily entered into this agreement.”

The full article is HERE.

George Will on Doubts About Common Core

EndCommonCore_LogoOver this past weekend, I posted John Stossel’s views on Common Core.  Now, via his article yesterday in the Washington Post, conservative columnist George Will weighs in.  An excerpt:

The Common Core represents the ideas of several national organizations (of governors and school officials) about what and how children should learn.  It is the thin end of an enormous wedge.  It is designed to advance in primary and secondary education the general progressive agenda of centralization and uniformity.

Understandably, proponents of the Common Core want its nature and purpose to remain as cloudy as possible for as long as possible.

To read the entire article, click HERE.

John Stossel on Common Core

EndCommonCore_LogoOn January 1, 2014, the well-known libertarian and Fox News commentator wrote this about Common Core:

Most Americans don’t even know what that is.  But they should.  It’s the government’s plan to try to bring “the same standard”  to every government-run school.

This may sound good.  Often, states dumb down tests to try to “leave no child behind.”  How can government evaluate teachers and reward successful schools if there isn’t a single national standard?

But when the federal government imposes a single teaching plan on 15,000 school districts across the country, that’s even more central planning, and central planning rarely works.  It brings stagnation.JohnStossel_1

Education is a discovery process like any other human endeavor.  We might be wrong about both how to teach and what to teach, but we won’t realize it unless we can experiment – compare and contrast the results of different approaches.  Having “one plan”  makes it harder to experiment and figure out what works.

Some people are terrified to hear “education” and “experiment” in the same sentence.  Why take a risk with something as important as my child’s education?  Pick the best education methods and teach everyone that way!

But we don’t know what the best way to educate kids is.

As American education has become more centralized, the rest of our lives have become increasingly diverse and tailored to individual needs.  Every minute, thousands of entrepreneurs struggle to improve their products.  Quality increases, and costs often drop.

But centrally planned K-12 education doesn’t improve.  Per-student spending has tripled (governments now routinely spend $300,000 per classroom!), but test results are stagnant.

“Everyone who has children knows that they’re all different, right?  They learn differently,” observed Sabrina Schaeffer of the Independent Women’s Forum on my show.  “In the workplace, we’re allowing people flexibility to telecommute, to have shared jobs.  In entertainment, people buy and watch what they want, when they want.”  Having one inflexible model for education “is so old-fashioned.”

No Child Left Behind programs were an understandable reaction to atrocious literacy and graduation rates – but since school funding was pegged to students’ performance on federally approved tests, classroom instruction became largely about drilling for those tests and getting the right answers, even if kids did little to develop broader reasoning skills.  So along comes Common Core to attempt to fix the problem – and create new ones.

Common Core de-emphasizes correct answers by awarding kids points for reasoning, even when they don’t quite get there.

A video went viral online that showed a worried mom, Karen Lamoreaux – a member of the group Arkansas Against Common Core – complaining to the Arkansas Board of Education about complicatedly worded math problems meant for fourth-graders.  She read to the Board this question: “Mr. Yamato’s class has 18 students.  If the class counts around by a number and ends with 90, what number did they count by?”


But I could be wrong.  Maybe this is a clever new way to teach math, and maybe Lamoreaux worries too much.  Unfortunately, though, if Lamoreaux is right, and the federal government is wrong, government still gets to decree its universal solution to this problem.

Promoters of Common Core say, “Don’t worry, Common Core is voluntary.”  This is technically true, but states that reject it lose big federal money.  That’s Big Government’s version of “voluntary.”

Common Core, like public school, public housing, the U.S. Postal Service, the Transportation Security Administration, etc., are all one-size-fits-all government monopolies.  For consumers, this is not a good thing.

With the future riding on young people consuming better forms of education, I’d rather leave parents and children (and educators) multiple choices.

Despite Common Core, Schaeffer pointed out that this year did bring some victories for educational freedom.  “We saw new education tax credit programs and expansion of tax credit programs in numerous states – Alabama, Indiana, Iowa and others.  Education Savings Accounts expanded in other states; voucher programs expanded.”

This is good news.  Vouchers, Education Savings Accounts, and tax credits create competition and choice.

Common Core Is On The Front Burner Again

EndCommonCore_LogoAs our readers know by now, we are among those opposed to the further implementation of the Common Core program in our North Carolina schools.  Part of the opposition strategy is to have the Common Core Study Committee, created by the NC General Assembly (NC/GA) with a mandate for presenting Common Core recommendations by December of 2014, bring their report and recommendations to the NC/GA early, by May rather than December.  We want the Committee to recommend, at the very least, that the implementation schedule be paused pending further study, and since May comes during the NC/GA spring session, their recommendations may thereby be implemented before the next school year begins next fall.

The remainder of the strategy is to become engaged, to educate the public by contacting our elected officials and our local news outlets (via letters to newspaper editors), and to sway the members of the Study Committee.  To further that last objective, we must have our views represented at the meetings of the Committee, and the first meeting is scheduled for 1:00pm on Tuesday after next, the 17th of December, in Room 643 of the Legislative Office Building (LOB) in Raleigh.  According to one member of the Committee, this first meeting will probably focus on organization rather than actual debate and/or discussion, but all of the Committee’s meetings are open to the public.  It would therefore be helpful if the opposition made their presence known.

For those who may need to get up to speed on the Common Core threat:

Stop Common Core NC is a good clearinghouse for Common Core information and developments, and they have an informative two-page handout that bores into the objectional aspects of Common Core.

The John Locke Foundation (mainly Terry Snoops) has done a lot of research into the ramifications of Common Core, resulting in their Sixty Questions About Common Core.