|Eagle Forum researchers have just learned that the highly objectionable Alabama Common Core aligned textbook which was the subject of critical testimony at a recent senate hearing is in use in 43 Alabama school systems. Check here to see if your students are being subjected to the Prentice Hall/Pearson Literature book entitled The American Experience: 1900 to present; Alabama Common Core Edition. Becky Gerritson summarized objections to the book in her 5 minute testimony on March 11. Watch the video to see that she was stopped after reading only one sentence of the graphic, sexually explicit language. See actual pages from the book here.Especially if the The American Experience is in your child’s school, you may want to read Dr. Terrence Moore’s chapter-long review in his book, The Story-Killers: A Common Sense Case Against the Common Core. On the textbook’s anti-American message regarding World War II, Dr. Moore writes, “There is no reading in the chapter ostensibly devoted to World War II that tells why America entered the war. There is no document on Pearl Harbor or the Rape of Nanking or the atrocities committed against the Jews or the bombing of Britain. The book contains no speech of Winston Churchill or F.D.R. even though the reading of high-caliber ‘informational texts’ is the new priority set by the Common Core, and great rhetoric has always been the province of an English class. There is not a single account of a battle or of American losses or of the liberation of Europe. … Do we want the memory of our grandparents to be left in the hands of progressive ideologues … Do we want the children just now entering school and in the years to come—who may have never met their great-grandparents—to be made ashamed of that Greatest Generation, of America, and of our resolution to remain free?”http://townhall.com/columnists/terrencemoore/2013/12/02/a-textbook-that-should-live-in-infamy-the-common-core-assaults-world-war-ii-n1756036/print
Freedom is not free: it has to be earned by each succeeding generation. It can be lost in one. Revisionist history such as contained in this common core literature book will not motivate future generations to sustain the freedom for which their forefathers selflessly fought and died!
Becky Gerritson’s Testimony on SB443
Hello, thank you for holding this hearing. My name is Becky Gerritson. I live in Elmore County and the president of the Wetumpka TEA Party. I have a bachelor’s degree in Elementary education and I was a home educator for 17 years.
I would like to speak today in favor of SB443. This bill lays the foundation for schools to opt out of Common Core if they so choose. This is important because as the nationwide groundswell of opposition gains momentum parents may very well demand schools opt out.
Today, I would like to draw your attention to this textbook. It’s called The American Experience: 1900-Present by Prentice Hall. It says right on it “Alabama Common Core Edition”. It is the most widely used 11th grade literature book in our state and it was approved by our State School Board.
Terrence Moore, a professor from Hillsdale College, dedicated an entire chapter in his book called The Story Killers to this very textbook.
It’s easy to see the political bias in this book as well as the mediocre teaching of literature. Due to my time constraint I can only list a few examples found in this book.
Let me turn the corner and talk about something else. Many opponents of Common Core have serious concerns about the recommended reading list which contains politically biased and obscene books. It is known as “Appendix B” or “Common Core’s Text Exemplars”. AL State Superintendent, Dr. Bice tried to calm our fears about this reading list saying that we had nothing to worry about because he removed it from our course of study. However, removing the list did nothing because these books and their authors are featured and promoted in this very text book.
On page 1095 the featured author is Toni Morrison, she wrote a book called The Bluest Eye.
The depictions are from the perpetrator’s point of view. The author wanted the reader to feel as though they were a “co-conspirator” with the rapist. She describes the pedophilia, rape and incest “friendly,” “innocent,” and “tender”, but never as wrong.
You might think I am over exaggerating when I say that this book and others like it are vile and inappropriate. Let me read you an edited excerpt; only 6 sentences, from The Bluest Eye. This is recommended for 16 and 17 year olds.
Pages 162-163: (Again these crimes are perpetrated against children.)
Is this appropriate for minors? This is only 1 of MANY scenes in the book-I didn’t even pick the worst one!
We are here today because we want EXCELLENT standards and an EXCEPTIONAL curriculum filled with rich literature, not smut, not politically biased revisionist history, and not boring government documents!
The ten of you [only three attended the hearing] sitting here today have the power to do something about this. I urge you to pass SB443 and protect our children-they deserve better!
You are receiving this email because you opted in at our website alabamaeagle.orgUnsubscribe [email protected] from this list | Forward to a friend | Update your profile
Our mailing address is:
Eagle Forum of Alabama
4200 Stone River Circle
Birmingham, Alabama 35213
Copyright (C) 2014 Eagle Forum of Alabama All rights reserved.
Common Core standards lower the bar (Opinion from the Eagle Forum)
By Eunie Smith
Unfortunately, Business Council of Alabama CEO William Canary’s opinion piece saying that the Common Core standards will be helpful to Alabama students cannot be substantiated. In Alabama, the Math standards have only been used for one full year, and the English standards are still in their first year of implementation. To the contrary, consider the following statement from the Brookings Institution: “The empirical evidence suggests that the Common Core will have little effect on American students’ achievement. The nation will have to look elsewhere for ways to improve its schools.”
Why? Common Core standards are not research based. The only professional mathematician on the Common Core validation committee, Dr. James Milgram, says they lower the bar, fail to prepare high school students for STEM, and will put students two years behind other countries. The only English professor on the committee, Dr. Sandra Stotsky, explains that common core is unlikely to prepare students for college and will stunt students’ critical thinking skills by replacing much classic literature with informational reading such as EPA regulations. This is a surrender to the idea that most students should be trained for static jobs in the global economy, not nurtured as creative human beings with hearts and minds and souls.
Significantly, a 2013 analysis by Stanford and the Economic Policy Institute shows U. S. schools are NOT being outpaced by international competition.
One-size-fits-all national standards with their inevitable political indoctrination can be expected to squelch ingenuity and further undermine American exceptionalism and private enterprise.
Regarding “problem solving,” some math standards in early grades especially are themselves the problem. Over 500 early childhood education professionalsobjected to the K-3 standards before they were launched, saying they are developmentally inappropriate. Now parents of young children across the nation see their children frustrated by nonsensical instructions and hours of drawing circles and boxes and lines and dots that they must then count. As one 3rd grader demonstrates online, stacking is much faster and actually gets the right answer. She had to learn stacking at home.
At a Notre Dame conference, child psychologist Dr. Megan Koshnick described the harmful stress these early standards are causing. Diane Ravitch wrote in detail of test related stress, and at a forum in Dothan last month mental health therapist JoanLandes reiterated these dangers.
Common Core text passages now found in at least one widely used Alabama textbook as recommended reading are too offensive to discuss here. One wonders how they could pass the scrutiny of Alabama anti-obscenity laws.
Eagle Forum volunteers work to equip Alabama students for academic achievement to enable them to pursue the American dream – to be whatever they want to be in life. We were the catalyst for the nationally acclaimed Alabama Reading Initiative. We strive for strong, proven, age-appropriate standards that reflect Alabama values.
According to Superintendent Bice’s report on 2013 Advanced Placement test results, the standards used the past five years have been some of the best in the nation and ranked Alabama number two in percent increases for minorities. The BCA praises these accomplishments and the pre-2010 standards in its own publication. In a letter to Alabama legislators, Fordham Foundation VP Michael Petrilliwrote: “Alabama had strong, relatively up-to-date standards that have produced steadily improving results. So it is not crazy to consider going back to the standards you had in 2010 and before.”
We urge the Alabama legislature to use their authority under the Alabama Constitution to repeal “Alabama College and Career Ready Standards” (aka common core) and replace them with proven Alabama standards upon which we can continue to improve.
(Eunie Smith volunteers as President of Eagle Forum of Alabama.)
See the article on al.com here.
Position Statement: Should Alabama Rescind Its Adoption of the
Common Core Standards
Member, California Academic Content Standards Commission (2010)
Former Senior Policy Adviser at the U.S. Department of Education
November 8, 2011
My background: I am an executive with Monolithic 3D, a Silicon Valley semiconductor
startup. I spent much of my professional life as an engineer and an executive in the
computer and semiconductor technology business, 25 of them in the Silicon Valley. I
became involved in education in the early 1990s, and I participated in developing
California’s education standards and assessments in mathematics since then in various
capacities. Between 2007 and 2009 I served as a senior policy adviser with the Office of
Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Education.
Throughout the development of the Common Core standards I analyzed the mathematics
drafts for the Pioneer Institute and for the State of California. In the summer of 2010 I
served on the California Academic Content Standards Commission that reviewed the
adoption of Common Core for California. I earned my BSEE and MSEE degrees from
the Technion in Israel.
To read Mr. Wurman’s entire statement, click the link below…
Why Alabama Should Rescind its Adoption of Common Core’s Standards
Professor of Education Reform
University of Arkansas
1. The mediocre quality of Common Core’s English language arts/reading standards in grades 6-12 and their lack of international benchmarking
2. The higher academic quality of Alabama’s own English language arts and beginning reading standards
3. The non-transparent process used to develop Common Core’s standards now being used to develop a national curriculum and national tests based on Common Core’s standards
Point One: Common Core’s “college readiness” standards for English language arts and reading do not aim for a level of achievement that signifies readiness for authentic college-level work. They point to no more than readiness for a high school diploma and possibly not even that, depending on where the cut score on tests based on these standards is set. Despite claims to the contrary, they are not internationally benchmarked.
Making this country competitive was one reason for developing national standards. But this goal was quietly abandoned by the Common Core State Standards Initiative in favor of a single set of mediocre standards for all students. Yes, Common Core’s ELA/R standards may be somewhat better in K-5 than most of the state standards they are replacing, but they are not sufficiently rigorous in grades 6-12. The bar is set much higher overseas because no other country expects all students to complete an academic high school or prepare for authentic college coursework. Only mediocre standards and tests based on them will allow us to pretend that all students will be “college-ready.”
How do I know the goal of international benchmarking was abandoned by CCSSI? As a member of Common Core’s Validation Committee, I regularly requested evidence of international benchmarking. But I never received material on the specific college readiness expectations of other leading nations in mathematics or language and literature. I also did my own research on the matter. The two English-speaking regions for which I could find assessment material (British Columbia and Ireland) indicate far more demanding requirements for college readiness with respect to the literary/reading knowledge students need to pass high school exit tests or matriculation exams than appear in Common Core’s high school standards.
Apparently, national legislators and self-appointed central planners, among others, are so mesmerized by the idea of having uniform national standards that they do not believe this country needs high quality English, mathematics, and science standards. A reasonable case can be made for standardizing academic expectations across all states and using the same tests to facilitate comparison of results. But the academic standards should have been first-class. The attempt by CCSSI (and others) to pretend that Common Core’s standards were internationally benchmarked cannot be justified. I was one of the five members of the Validation Committee who declined to sign off after examining the final version of the standards released in early June 2010. Among the criteria we were asked to sign off on was whether Common Core’s final version of its standards was “comparable to the expectations of other leading nations.”
Point Two: Why should Alabama give up ELA/R standards that are in many ways better than Common Core’s? This is not just my opinion. Its high school Reading and Literature standards were commended in the 2010 Fordham Institute evaluation as follows:
“The Reading and Literature standards do a commendable job of calling out specific literary genres, elements, and devices. In addition, the standards include recommendations about the quality and complexity of reading by appending sample reading lists organized by genre and grade level. Finally, standards writers attempt to address American literature specifically in several places at the high school level…. Alabama does much more than most states to address this essential content at any level of detail.”
In fact, the Fordham reviewer noted in his/her final remarks that:
“Alabama’s standards addressing specific literary genres, elements, and devices are generally clearer and more detailed than those in the Common Core. In addition, the standards place a greater emphasis on the study of American literature throughout high school, whereas Common Core mentions it just once, in eleventh grade.”
Moreover, your own department of education noted in a detailed “crosswalk” of over 170 pages that Alabama’s standards on British literature and some literary elements are absent from Common Core.
While Alabama should clarify the wording of its own objectives, eliminate unassessable reading strategies, ensure that the rich cultural content in its own standards is used in state assessments, and aim for a reasonably high cut score, Alabama has almost nothing to gain from using Common Core’s ELA/R standards and much to lose. Its beginning reading standards have already proven themselves, as the latest NAEP scores on grade 4 Reading suggest. What could Alabama gain by using standards that have no evidence to suggest their effectiveness? Or by using tests that may not address the important cultural content in Alabama’s own standards?
Point Three: The lack of transparency about the literary and reading content to be used on the common tests now being developed by two USDE-funded testing consortia is perhaps the most important reason why Alabama should withdraw from participation in the CCSSI. There has been a consistent history of non-transparency in how our “national” standards were developed and how the content of the common tests is being finalized. The National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers have never explained to the public what the qualifications were for membership on the standards-writing committees, how it would justify the specific standards they created, or why Common Core’s high school exit standards were equal to college admission requirements without qualification, even though this country’s wide-ranging post-secondary institutions use a variety of criteria for admission. CCSSI also gave no rationale for the composition of the Validation Committee, nor did it use this committee as it promised. The members of this group, described as a group of national and international experts, were to ensure that Common Core’s standards were internationally benchmarked and supported by a body of research evidence. By the time the final version of Common Core’s standards were released, it was clear that the real role of this committee was to be that of a rubber stamp.
The two testing consortia funded by the USDE are currently developing curriculum frameworks, models, and guides, as well as instructional materials, with no public procedures for the selection of curriculum developers, for determining revisions, and for final public approval. Moreover, it isn’t clear that what the USDE and these testing consortia are doing is even lawful.
States using Common Core’s standards will damage the academic integrity of both their post-secondary institutions and their high schools precisely because Common Core’s standards do not strengthen the high school curriculum and cannot reduce the current amount of post-secondary remedial coursework in a legitimate way. Language for a re-authorized ESEA has not yet been finalized, and it will be hard for Congress to resist using scores from tests based on “standards that prepare all students for college and career” for accountability. Who will remember that state high school standards were never designed to prepare students for credit-bearing college freshman courses? Their legitimate mission has always been to prepare students for a meaningful high school diploma. State and federal policy should aim for two broad goals: (1) having all students graduate from high school with a meaningful diploma, academic or technical/occupational, and (2) maximizing the number of students ready for authentic college-level coursework while acknowledging that not all high school students may be able to meet that standard or even interested in doing so.
To read the entire letter click below…
LOCAL CONTACT: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PAT ELLIS September 24, 2013
Common Core Educational Standards Could be Developmentally Harmful and
‘Cause Major Stress’ to Children
Birmingham, AL. – A disturbing report by Child Psychologist Dr. Megan Koschnick confirms that the Common Core educational standards for kindergarten through 3rd grade could be developmentally harmful to children. The Common Core standards, which are being fully implemented this year in the state of Alabama, could be detrimental to children for years to come.
At a recent conference entitled “The Changing Role of Education in America: Consequences of the Common Core,” which was held at the University of Notre Dame, Dr. Koschnick announced her startling statements. Pat Ellis, Vice President of the Eagle Forum of Alabama, who attended the conference, held September 9, 2013, issued a statement today regarding her findings. “It was alarming to hear from a child psychologist that NO RESEARCH supports the early childhood standards in Common Core, AND that they can actually be expected to HARM many children,” she said. “It is obvious that unlike Common Core advocates, early childhood psychologists understand how a child’s mind develops, and match their work to the proper developmental stage – thereby nurturing a child’s innate love of learning. To think that the state of Alabama is actually using these standards and curriculum is distressing to say the least.”
The American Principles Project (APP) in conjunction with the Pioneer Institute and the Heartland Institute released a video of Dr. Koschnick’s presentation at the Notre Dame conference. In this enlightening video, Dr. Koschnick discusses how Common Core standards are developmentally and age inappropriate for young students.
“Why do we care if [Common Core standards] are age inappropriate? Well, you can answer that with one word – stress,” said Dr. Koschnick during her presentation. “Instead of thinking about what’s developmentally appropriate for kindergarteners, they [the developers of the standards] are thinking [college] is where we want this kindergartener to end up, so let’s back track down to kindergarten and have kindergarteners work on these skills from an early age. This can cause major stress for the child because they are not prepared for this level of education.”
Dr. Koschnick’s presentation echoes the concerns set forth by 500 signatures in the Joint Statement of Early Childhood Health and Education Professionals on the Common Core Standards Initiative (March 2, 2010), and with the concerns set forth in The Answer Sheet blog in the Washington Post, entitled A Tough Critique of Common Core on Early Childhood Education (January 29, 2013). This blog, written by Edward Miller and Nancy Carlsson-Paige, quoted Dr. Carla Horowitz of the Yale Child Study Center who expresses the same concerns saying, “The Core Standards will cause suffering, not learning, for many, many young children.”
Reactions to Dr. Koschnick’s presentation at the Notre Dame conference, by others who attended include:
Khadine Ritter of Ohio: “As a mother of two young children, I am astounded by the irresponsibility of those in government who seemingly never consulted child development experts to determine if these standards were age appropriate. They are toying with a generation of students, but we won’t see the detrimental consequences until it is too late. I hope public officials will now do their homework and watch Dr. Koschnick’s important presentation.”
Professor Gerard Bradley, noted constitutional scholar of University of Notre Dame Law School: “Many critical observers of Common Core have focused upon the inadequate math and ELA standards at the high school end of education — and rightly so. But, Dr. Koschnick’s arresting presentation tells us that there is much to criticize at the elementary level.”
APP Education Director Emmett McGroarty: “Dr. Koschnick sets forth her concerns as a child psychologist in clear, but troubling, detail. I urge every parent, every teacher, and every administrator to watch Dr. Koschnick’s presentation and to read the Joint Statement and the blog article by Mr. Miller and Ms. Carlsson-Paige.”
Heartland Institute’s Joy Pullman: “Dr. Koschnick’s analysis makes it clear what other early childhood professionals have said: Common Core asks small children to behave like little adults, and they are not little adults. Anyone who cares for a small child could tell you this. This is a further consequence of the Common Core lead writers’ lack of experience and professional reputation, and of its committees excluding experts in early childhood.”
You can watch the video of Dr. Koschnick’s full presentation here.
4200 Stone River Circle
Birmingham, AL 35213
What you can do…
FOR SUPERIOR, NOT COMMON, STANDARDS
THAT CAN IMPROVE STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT IN ALABAMA
1. Ask your state senator and representative to REPEAL THE COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS and PROTECT STUDENT PRIVACY.
To find your legislators, go to http://alabamaeagle.org/find-your-legislator
House Switchboard (334)242-7600 – Senate Switchboard (334)242-7877
2. Ask your state school board member to ADOPT SUPERIOR, not COMMON STANDARDS.
3. Inform others so that they will make the same contacts.
4. Contribute toward education forums across Alabama. Organize a one hour meeting for an Eagle Forum speaker.
5. Join Alabama Educators for Superior, not Common, Standards – Businessmen for Superior, not Common, Standards – Military Families for Superior, not Common, Standards.
PROTECT EXCELLENCE in EDUCATION that is controlled by Alabamians and Alabama values. To support state control over standards (which drive curriculum decisions), Common Core must be repealed. The standards are owned by private interests (the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers). These standards were incentivized by the federal government and will be measured and controlled going forward by assessments (tests) that are aligned with Common Core. We want superior, not common standards, under Alabama, not national or federal governance. Alabama’s prior Math and English Language Arts Standards were more rigorous than the unproven common core regimen; they were improving student achievement; and they did reflect ALABAMA values! Even the VP of the premier standards rating organization, Fordham University, wrote to Alabama legislators: “Alabama had strong, relatively up-to-date standards that produced steadily improving results. So it is not crazy to consider going back to the standards you had in 2010.”
PROTECT STUDENT PRIVACY in Alabama law. The Obama administration stripped privacy protections from the Federal Education Rights Privacy Act (FERPA) via regulations effective 1/3/2012. Personally identifiable data can now be shared with outside entities. EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center) is suing the federal government over this action. Expectations are that demands and abuses of data will dramatically increase. In Alabama, data collected at local schools goes straight into the state longitudinal data base. The data is clearly personally identifiable even though each student is given a unique student identifier. The National Education Data Model recommends 400 data points on each child including health, family income, political persuasion, and philosophical factors. A 2009 study by the Fordham Center on Law and Public Policy on Children’s Educational Records and Privacy recommended state measures to protect its citizens.