Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Mitchel Chester Targets Low-Income Districts: Prison-like Schools in Holyoke Part II

What is Common Core? Who Created it? Who Benefits from it?

I was stunned as I sat in Nani's third grade classroom with Mrs. Eichorn, the Principal and, the ELA and Math coaches.  Everything I had suggested about hands-on math, using theater to liven reading and writing comprehension and my kid being ready to learn science was rebutted with - "We think those are great ideas but, the state...".  

What does the state have to do with how our kids learn?  Or, how our teachers, teach? Or, how our principals help our teachers meet the needs of our children?

This "State standards" phrase was new language for me.  As a parent, I felt like this language went over my head and that made me feel unintelligent; like I couldn't advocate for my daughter.  In all the meetings I had with teachers, principal and later school committee members they were all referring to it but, no one offered to explain where these "state standards" came from.  Every conversation, every meeting felt pointless because "the state" became the period of every sentence.

Then,I began putting two and two together...

Nani's second grade teacher, Ms. Granahan one of the most most bright-eyed and bushy-tailed teachers I had ever met, left the district at the end of the 2011 - 2012 school year. Then, at the end of the 2012 - 2013 school year, Nani's third grade teacher Mrs. Eichorn, another amazing teacher who encouraged me to advocate about my concerns and agreed with my suggestions to remedy them, left the district. Poof...they were gone.  That's when I started to understand something was really wrong.

These "state standards" are chasing good teachers away and (judging from Nani's fifth grade experience this year) gagging or choking the love of teaching out of many teachers who stay.

This year, I learned my daughter scored the highest possible score on the Math MCAS - last year. Yes, you read that right. I learned my daughter's score on a state-created test that takes up all her classroom learning time with prep and drill, quizzes and pre-tests, ONE YEAR LATER.  Still there was so much I didn't know.

Did you know teacher's can't know what the actual test looks like or speak with each other about it?    

If the MCAS test scores don't come out until the next year, and my child got excellent grades and passed to the fifth grade then, CLEARLY the score is not used to factor our children's learning, whether they are excelling, proficient or failing in their subjects.  

Who created the MCAS? 

This year, I have done my research.  I learned the MCAS is not a test created by educators - the people who are entrusted to inspire, motivate and mentor our children.  In fact, the MCAS are attached to a curriculum called Common Core created by very wealthy businessmen who start "foundations" (fancy term for tax-shelter) to control education policy that fits their corporate needs.
"Firms that earn significant income by selling tests, textbooks, and professional development sponsor the entities that developed the Core and own its copyright (the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers)."  (Pg. 10 The Common Core: A Poor Choice for States by Joy Pullmann)

More specifically, there are three billionaire families who are currently controlling education policy: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and the Walton Foundation.  

These three billionaire families paid five men from two small Washington D.C. lobbist groups (networking organizations and political activist who seek to move states in a certain direction to favor their agenda) namely the National Governors Association (NGA)and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)$150 Million to write this National curriculum. The Gates family then spent $2.5 Billion dollars to buy-off the media to promote the CC curriculum.  

The NGA name misleads you to believe or, at least envision 50 state governors rolling up their sleeves to work on education doesn't it  
Don't be fooled; it is a body of corporation representatives who lobby Governors and offer their financial "support" to install that corporation's agenda - profit. 

David Coleman, the chief person responsible for writing the Common Core (CC) English Language Arts Standards has NEVER Taught as a Licensed teacher. Coleman's current College Board bio where he currently works reveals he has no credible qualifications to create a national ELA curriculum standard. Coleman who attended NYC public schools went on to attend Yale University where as a student he "taught" reading to low-income high school students. 

Coleman's undergrad major at Yale is never mentioned. Coleman created Branch, a community service program and was offered an Rhodes Scholarship where he studied some English literature and educational philosophy at Cambridge in Oxford United Kingdom.  He NEVER earned a degree or even studied Education to become a teacher at ANY level. 

What qualifies David Coleman to write national ELA curriculum standards? 

Right out of College Coleman did not work in Public Education at any level instead he worked for McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm that serves leading businesses, governments, non governmental organizations, and not-for-profits. Coleman's first five years of "work in education" at McKinsey was not at all in teaching but in manufacturing outcomes-based assessments.  It turns out, Coleman pushed profits for text book publishing and outcomes-based assessment companies.  Coleman's Grow Network a venture he created to do create more assessments was acquired by McGraw Hill (a textbook publishing company)in 2005.  Coleman left McrGraw in 2 years and co-founded yet another outcomes-based assessments company - Student Achievement Partners was there a short five years wherein he was paid by the Gates to write the ELA CC curriculum standards.  Now Coleman is the CEO of the College Board where he is currently working on making the SATs and College Curriculum CC compliant.  

So, how is Common Core a State Standard when it was written (in part) by a corporate executive?  

Next on Part III of Mitchel Chester Targets Low-Income Districts: Prison-like Schools in Holyoke...

Without having had any input or say in the creation of CC how did these 46 states get suckered into adopting it?  

Stay tuned...


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