Thursday, September 19, 2013

Comment from Colorio on Common Core

I can't type quite fast enough here; she's typed it up so I'll ask for a link. And it closed with an 11 point motion requesting quite a bit of information.

Update: Ms. Colorio's comments are here after the break:


     *   Simply put, the Common Core Standards are designed to  replace local and parental control over education with  centralized, top-down control. The purpose is to train students  for jobs, not educate  them to be full, thoughtful citizens in our  democratic republic.  If we do not take action now to prevent  this destructive experiment on our children, it will be too late.

     *   These standards are UNPROVEN, UNTESTED AND  UNDERFUNDED. Implementing the Common Core will eat  away at our budget, leaving us with less discretionary monies,  which we could be using to fund additional teachers, pro- grams and staff.

  • Our parents have the right to know what impact the Common Core Standards will have on our curriculm, that is why I put this item on the agenda.  What will we have to give up in order to afford the massive take over of our educational system and lastly what levels of privicy will be violated, costs incured, local control loss once we have totally impletmented the Common Core Standards.

     *   I have strong objection to the Common Core Standards.  The  key issues that cause great concern are:

          Number #1 Lower standards for more money
  • We already have superior standards in Massachusetts; why are we spending more money for lower standards?  Taxpayers of the Commonwealth have spent $100 million developing highest-in-the-nation educational standards and the MCAS tests. We should not be spending millions more to adopt federal standards that are lower.
   * Between 2005 and 2011, Massachusetts kids topped their peers in  other states, on the reading portion of the National Assessment  Progress (NAEP) known as the "nation's report card” Deep  immersion in classic fiction, poetry and drama was the source of  the Bay State's success on every reading test imaginable.
The Educational reform act of 1993 produced remarkable  improvements.  With its one size fits all agenda, CC threatens  decades of progress.
  • I would like to reference a paper that was just published entitled “Can this Country Survive Common Core’sCollege Readiness Level?” In summary the lead writer of the Common Core’s mathematics standards spoke at a forum with the Mass Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.  His exact words are” WE have agreement to the extent that it’s a fuzzy definition, that the minimally college ready student is a student who passed Algebra 11.”20%-30% of the WPS parents want their kids to attend a selective college where Algebra 11 will not be good enough. No STEM school will accept a student with such a low math level.  So if you want to take calculus your freshman year in college, Common Core Math standards will not be good enough and you child will not be college ready. 
  • How do our Standards we compare to other nations?
Of the 27 nations that outranked the US in the 2006 Program for  International Student Assessment Test, 10 of these nations did not  have national standards, whereas 12 of the 28 nations ranked lower  than the US had national standards.  What is the rationale for  implementing national standards when the international results of  standards suggest that there is no correlation between standards  and student performance?  
# 2 Loss of local control
   * Local control of educational standards is key to the success of education, where parents and educators have a say in those standards. It used to be a teacher's primary goal was to "reach" a student.  That will never happen as long as politicians and educational bureaucrats in Washington insert themselves between students and teachers.  

# 3 Lack of accountability and transparency
  • Accountability and transparency are also key to the success of educational standards. An unelected and unaccountable group of people developed the Common Core federal standards, which is the antithesis of accountability and transparency.
  • With in the last week a survey was conducted nation wide to parents of school age children and surprisingly 63%of parents have never heard of Common Core.   Well that doesn't surprise me because most parents are in the dark.

# 4 Privacy of my child’s school records
  • As a parent I do not want my child’s data to be bought and sold without my consent.  Proposed data mapping that includes my child’s socio economic and disciplinary information is unnecessary and threatens not only my child’s privacy but my privacy also.  Under agreements between the Department of Education and the testing Consortium every state that received the 2009 stimulus (RTTT) funds, must share student’s academic data with the federal government. The cooperative agreement between USED and the PARCC testing consortium states that clearly.  That agreement obligates PARCC to send USED all student level data it receives during the testing of students. And once that data gets to USED it can be sent to literally anyone in the world.  Parent will have no right to object to their children's information being shared: in fact the parent don’t even know the sharing has occurred.
  • According to the government website there is a wide range of student attributes a state could collect information about up to 400 individual pieces, including Health care history, disciplinary record, family income range, family voting status, hobbies, medical conditions, learning disabilities, religious affiliations, sexual preference, behavioral problems, at-risk status, homework completion, overall health status, voting status, screen name, dwelling arrangement and career goals.
Should parents be concerned absolutely?
#5 The COST 
  • The costs of aligning standards and a testing system will overburdening school districts that are already underfunded and cutting programs.
  • State lawmakers are realizing that common core is going to consume a significant part of their schools budget.
  • Costs: professional development, assessments, textbooks and instructional materials.
  • Pioneer Institute estimates $1,931 per teacher for Professional development we have 2000 teachers in our district that will be an extra $3,862,000.
  • Technology upgrades per state $6.9 billion.
  • Computer to accommodate the new tests, and? May have to hire a full time employee to set up and maintain the system.
  • There was a report just out from a pro common core think tank Fordham Institute hitch estimates implementation of Common Core could run between $61 per student to $396 per student which comes out to 1.5-10 million for our district per year.  
In conclusion: I have long believed that education is a state and local function and we must always work to ensure that our students are being taught to the highest academic standards and that our curriculum is developed by the State of Massachusetts  Education is not about teaching to the test, it's how teachers relate to their students, motivate them, and create a pathway for them to unlock their potential.
I have several Motions:
#1. On Page 2 of the report I would like administration to provide a list of the top performing countries as referenced in bullet point #5 and what are there standards. Which international standards specifically served as the benchmark for CCSS and what is the evidence that supports these international expectations?
#2. On Page 2 of the report I would like administration to supply the evidence that is reference in bullet point #6.
# 3. On page 7 of the report I would like the administration to supply a detailed report of the methodology used to determine the match of the Ma standards and the Common Core Standards in ELA and in Ma.  Additionally what are definitions of the terms Excellent, Good Match and Weak match.
# 4. On page 7 I would like the administration provide a before and after comparison of Worcester’s standards prior to Common Core.  What changes were made and why?
# 5. On page 8 of the report bullet point #1, my motion is for the administration to provide a list of the Districts personnel, the dates, times, location, minutes, agendas and material from these meetings that are referenced.
# 6. Page 8 of the report my motion is for the administration to provide the committee with a detailed report with dates, times, location, minutes, agendas, material feedback associated with the meetings and the general public feedback from these meetings that are referenced.
#7.  On Page 9 In a motion I would like a list of all the multiple opportunities that is referenced along with minutes of the meetings, the sign in rooster and the agenda details. 
# 8. In a motion please provide a list of individuals, groups associations that have opposed the Common Core Standards in the Worcester District.
#9.  In a motion provide the times, dates, agenda, roosters of all PUBLIC meetings that included legislators, public school students, parents, and members of the community regarding the impact of the CCSS?  Please provide the details of these outreach efforts.
#10. It is my understanding that we can alter the CCSS standards by 15% please detail how we as a district will add to the standards? I understand these standards are copyrighted; do we have the right to revise these standards to accommodate our Public Schools’ diverse needs? Who gets to change these standards and will the public have any input? 
#11.  In a motion to the administration I would like a cost analysis done of what is the financial burden that we will incur from implementing the Common Core in our district. And the projected cost of carrying out CCSS for the next 5, 10 and 15 years, including but not limited to technology, maintenance, broadband, assessment costs, teacher training,
And lastly who will parents contact if they have issues or problems with the Common Core Standards will they call their teacher, principal, district office, state board of education or will they have to call the trade organizations in DC that copy wrote these standards. 

I look forward to these reports and further discussion on the Common Core.

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