Tag: education

Eagle Forum’s Letter to Legislators on Common Core

April 22, 2013

Dear Legislator:

Alabama students deserve, exceptional, not common, standards controlled by Alabamians to teach Alabama values.

The Attached Education Reporter articles give specific examples of “fatal flaws” in the Math and English standards and illustrate their political – inevitable in any national curriculum.

See entire letter here…Legislator letter 4-22-2013.

Race to Top Winners Make Progress, Face Challenges, Ed. Dept. Reports

By Michele McNeil

At the midway point of the federal Race to the Top program, the list of accomplishments for the 11 winning states and the District of Columbia is getting longer, but the challenges are getting more formidable as the time frame gets shorter, according to a progress report issued by the U.S. Department of Education last week.

 

Read the full article from EDUCATION WEEK at the following link. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/02/01/20rtt.h32.html?tkn=UPBFJryyyLllDW6Yks3YRM6hHkZPzgAPDGPU&cmp=clp-ecseclips

 

Rotten to the Core (Part 2): Readin’, Writin’ and Deconstructionism by Michelle Malkin

(This is the second part of an ongoing series on federal “Common Core” education standards and the corruption of academic excellence.)

The Washington, D.C., board of education earned widespread mockery this week when it proposed allowing high school students — in the nation’s own capital — to skip a basic U.S. government course to graduate. But this is fiddlesticks compared to what the federal government is doing to eliminate American children’s core knowledge base in English, language arts and history.  Read more at the link below…

Rotten to the Core (Part 2):  Readin’, Writin’ and Deconstructionism

by Michelle Malkin

National Education Standards–A Con Game?

Jim Stergios has a great column about the con game that is the Common Core Standards Initiative.  The following excerpt is particularly persuasive as most of the people who are writing the Common Core Standards have a record of failing to improve education in their own states…

Given the very average and in some cases below average performance of these players and their inability to move the needle on NAEP over decades, one can understand why in desperation they would try national standards. What you would not expect is that people and organizations with zero record over 20 years of improving either academic standards, or student achievement, would be entrusted to set standards for 40-50 million schoolchildren. Nor would you expect that they would create the Leviathan of testing systems, curricular materials and instructional practices to guide the nation’s teachers.

 He makes another good point regarding the failure to focus on methods that have actually improved test scores.

Since the 1990s, Massachusetts, California, Texas, Indiana, and Minnesota, to name a few, developed high-quality standards, state assessments, and reforms, which led to education improvements. The most noted of which was Massachusetts with its historic 1993 education reform law, nation-leading state academic standards and assessments, and the unprecedented gains on national and international testing.

Sadly, even though literature was 80-90 percent of the basis for MA’s historic success on National Assessment of Educational Progress testing in 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2011 (the test is administered bi-annually), CCSSIers too often disparage literature’s central use in ELA standards. What’s interesting is that the reading portion of NAEP tests “informational texts,” as CCSSI will, while MA’s former ELA standards/MCAS were based on literature. Yet,the Bay State students still tore the cover off the NAEP.

 Does this make sense to you?

Top Education Consultants Say Alabama Should Keep Its Own Sound Standards

At a press conference this morning at the Alabama State House, Sen. Dick Brewbaker, Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, and two nationally recognized curriculum experts explained why Common Core Standards are bad for Alabama.  Former Senior Policy Advisor at the U.S. Department of Education and current member of California’s Academic Content Standards Commission Ze’ev Wurman said:

“I believe that Alabama would be wise to retain its own 2009 academic standards in English Language Arts and in Mathematics, and to rescind its 2010 adoption of the Common Core standards. I base my position both on the academic quality of both sets of standards, as well as on the imminent risk of Alabama irrevocably losing control over what it teaches its students.”

Wurman backed up his position by arguing the following points:

  • The Common Core’s Mathematics standards are of similar quality as Alabama’s own, and their definition of college-readiness is sub-par when compared with actual university requirements and with the standards of foreign nations.  He cited Fordham’s comparison of Alabama and Common Core standards which showed the difference “too close to call” – no more nor less rigorous. http://standards.educationgadfly.net/ccss/executive_summary/
  • Assessment is important in driving curriculum, and the evolution of national assessment developed through federal sponsorship will undermine state control over textbooks, curricular stresses, and assessment costs
  • The U.S. Department of Education is already forcing the states to adopt its central command and control policy preferences through coercive measures, including by offering newly created waivers to NCLB requirements in exchange for adopting Common Core’s standards and their national assessment

His comments can be read in their entirety here.

Sandra Stotsky, a former Senior Associate Commissioner in the Massachusetts Department of Education, agreed with Wurman and explained that Alabama’s current standards in English Language Arts are in many ways superior to the Common Core Standards and should be preserved.

“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?”

She also commented on the mediocre quality of Common Core’s English language arts/reading standards in grades 6-12 and their lack of international benchmarking:

“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.”

You can read her comments in their entirety here.

The Alabama State Board of Education will meet on Thursday at 9:30 in the Gordon Persons Auditorium.  The Board will vote on whether to rescind their adoption of the Common Core Standards.   We encourage everyone to attend to show support for continued progress under Alabama’s own education standards while preserving local control of education.   Gov. Bentley and Board Members Stephanie Bell and Betty Peters oppose Common Core Standards.

How Much Is Illegals’ Education Costing You?

Elisabeth Meinecke has a good column up at Townhall.com regarding the cost of educating illegal immigrants.

Can the U.S. economy afford to spend up to one of every four of its school dollars on K-12 education for illegals?

And are higher costs for educating a burgeoning, illegal immigrant population, balanced against cash-strapped, public education budgets, diminishing U.S. educational quality?

Statistics for California, the state with the largest population of illegal immigrants, indicate the answers are yes. According to the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, in the course of one generation, California dropped from No. 1 in its percentage of residents with high school diplomas to No. 49 among the 50 states. The National Academy of Sciences says each immigrant who lacks a high school diploma will cost U.S. taxpayers $89,000 in services and entitlements over a lifetime. …

When President Barack Obama urged immigration reform in his 2011 State of the Union Address, he referred to “hundreds of thousands of students excelling in our schools who are not citizens.” Obama and other supporters of education access for illegal immigrants argue the United States was built by immigrants and can’t afford to waste the talents of new immigrant generations.

But are today’s immigrants akin to the masses that flooded here in the 19th and 20th centuries? A Heritage Foundation report says no.

Prior to 1960, Heritage found immigrants to the United States had education levels on par with America’s non-immigrant work force and brought with them skills that allowed them to earn more than their nonimmigrant counterparts.

It’s worth noting that Alabama’s new immigration law requires schools to ask about citizenship at enrollment.  Under Federal law the state cannot refuse to enroll illegal immigrants, but there’s not a federal law against asking about immigration status.  Our new law requires schools to report to the State Department of Education the number of illegal immigrants enrolled in our schools.