Monday, October 28, 2013

Common Core: The PREQUEL . . .

Charlotte was not like the other bureaucrats.  She was only supposed to be a place-holder in President Reagan's US Dept. of Education until the department would be eliminated -- which never happened. While there she was shocked to find documents detailing federal plans to control the hearts and minds of our school children, leading to the ultimate goal of a planned economy.  She went public years ago with her findings, but received scant attention.

Implementation of the Common Core, which appears to be the culmination of 40 years of planning, brings new immediacy to Charlotte's discovery.

I found the interview below compelling, and well worth the 1 1/4 hr spent watching it.

Charlotte Iserbyt Interview - The Secret History of Western Education (1 1/4 hr)

For more information:
Charlotte's Book: The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Shooting the Messenger . . .

NYS Education Commissioner John King must resign . . . at least that is the cry from many parents and teachers and the group "New York State Allies for Public Education" after Dr. King cancelled all of the remaining public forums dealing with the "Common Core" following the one marked by controversy in Poughkeepsie.

While the groundswell may make those calling for the Commissioner's resignation feel a sense of collective power, especially in light of the Commissioner's poor judgement in cancelling the forums, it is doubtful that it will change anything. Dr. King is a minion. At best, Dr. King will simply be replaced with someone else who pushes the same agenda, but with more finesse.  Dr. King may be the face of Common Core in New York, but he did not invent it and did not make it a requirement in New York's schools.

Give your thank-yous to the Board of Regents who "committed" the state to Common Core in January 2010! Also thank the Obama and Cuomo administrations for the "Race to the Top" in which Common Core is the centerpiece.

The Federal grant money is in the State bag and the Common Core is the string attached.

Focus on ridding the State of the Common Core, rather than the Commissioner.

Consider replacing it with the approach taken by "Core Knowledge,"  which is closer to the style of education in the past.   While this, too, has its critics, the approach has already worked, creating the most prosperous society the world had ever seen. The debate will then be over what "knowledge" will be transmitted to the next generation . . .  but at least it will be out there on the table for all to see, instead flying in under the radar of "performance" standards.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Common Core: Too Hot In the Kitchen . . .

YNN Hudson Valley: Parents raise concerns over Common Core standards New York’s education commissioner gets an earful on Common Core [video]

Apparently shortly afterward, the State Ed. Commissioner cancelled the remaining Town Hall Meetings on Common Core, including the one scheduled for October 30th in New Hartford.

According to a post on the NYS PTA Facebook page this morning:
While our goal was to provide an opportunity to learn and share, based on review of the initial October 10 meeting, the Commissioner concluded the outcome was not constructive for those taking the time to attend. Please know that NYS PTA will continue to work with all education and child advocacy partners to keep our members updated and informed on education, health, safety and welfare issues affecting children and families.
My guess is the "sharing" was anticipated to go one way -- and did so for well over an hour -- but the parents insisted on "sharing" what was on their mind when it was their turn, and were in no mood to give the Commissioner more time when he insisted on interrupting during the public's time. The public outcry clearly was not what the Commissioner wanted to hear. In the end, the public was only given 23 minutes to speak.

Public hearings are an important opportunity for government to get feed back on how well it is doing, and to make course corrections when it is on the wrong track.

It will be revealing in coming weeks whether NYS government will respond to the public concern and ditch the Common Core, or if it will forge ahead with this terrible program dictated out of Washington because it "knows better."

Friday, October 11, 2013

8th Grade Math: Then and Now . . .

Common Core standards, testing, and materials have become the topic of conversation in numerous public meetings around the state.  A lot of parents, students and teachers are upset.  What's the fuss about? I thought a simple comparison of "then" and "now" might be helpful.

 On the left is the table of contents from "Making Arithmetic Work" Silver-Burdett Company 1952 edition, an 8th Grade math textbook, editions of which were commonly used in the Utica area throughout the 1950's. Flipping through the book, the "Money and Interest" chapter describes family budgeting, what money and thrift are, what banks do, various kinds of checks, and paying for use of money (interest). "Sharing Risks and Benefits" explains the purpose of fire, auto, hospitalization, accident, and life insurance and how they work.  It also describes different kinds of taxes and common terminology in working with them.  Other chapters to note are "Earning a Living" and "Borrowing and Investing Money."

On the right are the Common Core grade 8 math standards. (I was unable to find a textbook for them.)  In a nutshell it is all mathematical theory.  Searching through CC standards for other grades I was unable to find where the useful practical information from the 60 year old book above are addressed.

An Eighth Grade Education used to be generally accepted as being prepared for everyday life.  That is clearly reflected in "Making Arithmetic Work"'s contents.  It's not clear what these Common Core standards prepare students for, although it is proclaimed that they make students "college and career ready."

What happened to being life ready?

Headlines to Cheer About!

This has been a long time coming . . . .
Yes, there are grave reservations of the "Public-Private Partnership" model: (1) it's constitutionality under the NYS Constitution (it seems to violate Article VII Sec. 8) and  (2) it's self-sustainability once the initial slug of taxpayer funding is used up.  Comments during the congratulatory speeches to the effect that such partnerships are now necessary because normal market forces no longer work were troubling because national trade policy and state taxation and regulation have changed the market forces.

Yes, there are reservations on the environmental impacts of this development and spinoffs, particularly on the viability of our water supply to support non-chip related uses and population growth.

Yes, there are reservations on whether or not this mega-development will become an excuse to burden area residents with even higher levels of taxation and water and sewer fees.

Nevertheless, this is still a positive announcement.

Let's cheer about it!

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Rep. Hanna's "Common Sense" . . .

From Rep. Hanna's Facebook account this morning:
"This morning I voted to pay federal employees who have been furloughed because of the government shutdown. . . .  It isn’t fair for employees to be involuntarily furloughed and lose pay because of Washington’s inability to approve a spending plan. I commend my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the House for approving this commonsense measure, and I urge the Senate to quickly send this bill to the President’s desk."
How does this work, Congressman? Are you saying that if furloughed federal employees are not working we are going to pay them anyway? For doing nothing? That's not "Common Sense" --- It's "Nonsense."

Now is the opportunity for you and your Republican colleagues to put your money where your mouths are . . . not only on Obamacare, but on the debt ceiling and our out-of-control federal spending.

Do what the President refuses to do: PRIORITIZE, then cut.

Put the employees in the programs we really need back to work -- and layoff the rest. A Federal Job isn't welfare. People in the private sector are laid off every day and government employees should expect no different treatment. Or are you afraid of prioritizing Federal Spending for fear of offending some of your favorite groups on the dole?

We sent you to Washington to make tough decisions, but you've become like everyone else!

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Common Core: What Are They Pushing?

Everyone, not just parents, should be aware of what is being taught in school these days . . .
It looks like Common Core is pushing an agenda that most Americans would disagree with ... and it is making the simple so complex that parents are unable to help their children (undermining the family, and blocking the transfer of knowledge from one generation to the next).  

It's all the better for government to control the minds of its subjects.    

Beware . . . the next generation will be our keepers . . . What are we creating?

See for more information.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Public Schools: Anything But Education!

OD: Community schools address more than academics
“Community schools are designed to address social, emotional and health issues that students have that might interfere with their learning,” said Billy Easton, executive director of the Alliance for Quality Education, an advocacy group.
“It can range from counseling services to health services - anything to make sure that their basic needs as a human being are being taken care of so they can be able to succeed educationally,” Easton said.

And "anything" will mean "everything" if these people get their way . . .
It's particularly beneficial in low-wealth areas where children might face challenges such as malnourishment, unattended health and dental issues, unmet social and emotional needs, or even a lack of a regular place to sleep, according to the Alliance for Quality Education. . . .
On Saturdays, the school would be open for the community from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. during the school year, and some days over the summer to allow students and their families to see physicians, visit dental clinics, work with librarians and social workers, and get legal advice such as working with parents on leases . . .
In this day and age of welfare, foodstamps, federal school breakfast and lunch programs, and medicaid, one has to ask WHY are children malnourished, have unattended health and dental problems, and lack a place to sleep? The answer, of course, is that the "families" of these children are not meeting their responsibilities. . . . and the lack of responsibility becomes the excuse for the government to step in AND REPLACE THE FAMILY.  And the more the government steps  in, the easier it becomes for individuals to become lazy and abandon their familial responsibilities --- providing an excuse for more government involvement.

Replacing the family is really what these programs are all about, because cohesive family units nurture perspectives and values that might run counter the latest dictates out of Washington and Albany.   

In similar fashion, government-sponsored charter schools are designed to bring about the demise of parochial schools, because parochial schools also nurture perspectives and values that run counter to government dictates.

"Community Schools"  have little to do with education and everything to do with extending government control.

It's time to break this cycle.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

So when DO you take action that means something?

OD: Hanna Bucks Republican majority in shutdown battle
Hanna was one of two Republicans who voted against delaying Obamacare . . . "I would take a clean (continuing resolution),” he said. “I have voted dozens of times to repeal, reform and defund Obamacare. There are glaring problems with the law and we see more daily.”
Problem is, the Democrats and the Administration are not negotiating to change Obamacare.  Instead, they simply exempt their friends and politically connected cronies (including THEMSELVES) from Obamacare's onerous requirements.

Mr. Hanna's voting "dozens of times" to repeal Obamacare at times when the votes had no impact are meaningless.

This time, the Republicans are finally using what little leverage they have to bring the Democrats to the negotiating table. . . . but Mr. Hanna sides with the Democrats.  One can only conclude that Mr. Hanna tacitly supports this law.

The American public should have the same exemption from Obamacare that Congress has.

Delay Obamacare for a year.