As the propatainment media hysteria over the Lieber-Wuhan-Fauci (rhymes with Grouchy) virus continues, and as everyone throws in their two cents on what they think is going on and what “they” hope to accomplish with all of this, I’ve been hearing from teachers. I have a few friends who are teachers, and there are a few members of this site who are teachers. And I can assure the regular readers of my blogs, that without exception, none of them were in favor of the Common Core curriculum and agenda being promoted by Darth Hillary, Jeb What’s-his-Name, and Billious Hates.
Most of their criticism of the whole miserable thing was its reliance on computer standardized tests that were “adaptive”, i.e., that in addition to the normal multiple guess questions on standardized tests composed by “experts”, the tests would be adapted to individual students by computer algorithms, algorithms again prepared by “experts.” The problem with standardized tests, as I and so many others have so often pointed out, is that multiple guess questions do not require reasoning, nor that one shows one’s reasoning. They are tailor-made to present narratives, and this particularly so in the so-called “soft” disciplines like history. Consider the following hypothetical question on a standardized test for, say, late elementary school or middle school: “Who killed President John Kennedy?” You know that the establishment edugarchy – a word we’ll return to in a moment – will push the narrative of the Warren Report. Answer: “Lee Harvey Oswald.” Never mind all the vast amounts of research that has been done since that event that have raised serious questions about that event.
But as my co-author Gary Lawrence and I pointed out in our book about Common Core, Rotten to the (Common) Core, the standardized tests had massive problems even in their presentations of questions and answers for the so-called hard sciences. In the book, we pointed out a controversy in the late 1950s and early 1960s between mathematician Banesh Hoffman – a friend of Albert Einstein – and the Educational Testing Service over some questions about physics where the Educational Testing Service’s “correct answer” to a question was manifestly and seriously flawed. Hoffman wrote articles about the controversy at the time which ran in various national magazines and newspapers. All to no avail. The Educational Testing Service’s explanations of their “reasoning” for insisting a wrong answer was correct, only dug themselves into further difficulties (and please note, they were allowed to explain their process of reasoning for insisting a wrong answer was in fact correct, while their test subjects were not allowed to do so). We call this attitude and the people behind it the “edugarchy.”
And all of this before Common Core’s “adaptive” tests.
So what’s the goal? Get everyone addicted to “computer books” and the easy sound-bite of a google search, and call that “research”, just so long as you agree with the promoted narrative (and with Google designing the search algorithms, how could it be anything but?). And along the way, reduce teachers to classroom proctors for standardized tests, break the teachers’ unions, and gain total control of a curriculum in a one-size-fits-all federal monster, which, incidentally, tracks you throughout your entire “academic” career.
So as this propatainment media hysteria over the Fauci-Lieber-Wuhan virus has taken down schools, and forced teachers into “distance learning” and “online classrooms,” I’ve been wondering whether or not that may have been one of the operational objectives of this whole plandemic. Just a few weeks ago, the pushback from parents and teachers against Common Core – not to mention its disastrous results as I’ve blogged about recently – were in, and Common Core was in trouble.
Not so any more, as one of our regular readers, N.S., caught this tweet from Andrew Cuomo, New York’s infanticide-approving governor:
As we prepare to reopen we have the opportunity to reimagine and build back our education system better.
Yes, what a great idea: let’s turn our edgykayshun system over to the man whose vaccines have allegedly killed people in India (which has banned him), who has invested in 3d printed “meat,” who has made his fortune by designing the world’s worst and most-virus ridden operating software and who wants to tell everyone how to deal with real viruses, and who was a major backer of the Common Core fiasco.
Funny how all this has worked out to his benefit, isn’t it?
Many people spotted this article and passed it along, and I’d like to thank you for doing so. When co-author Gary Lawrence and I wrote our book Rotten to the (Common) Core, one of the things that Mr. Lawrence kept stressing to me was the deleterious effects of standardized testing, which would only get worse – much worse – under Common Core (and let it be recalled, for the record, that Billious Hates was one of its sponsors). The reason it would get much worse, he emphasized, was its reliance on adaptive computerized standard tests. The result would be “teaching to the test, on steroids”, reduction of teachers to proxies for the testing company, and a dramatic erosion of academic standards in the name of a standardized curriculum.
He didn’t need to convince me, because in my own short stint of college teaching, I could readily see the “results” of America’s obsession with all things technological, including standardized tests “graded” and “scored” by computers. Students overwhelmingly were unable to think, unable to write, and most of all, wanted to know “the answer”, when what I wanted to know was why they were thinking what they were thinking. In a nutshell, there simply is no substitute for the human interaction element of pedagogy, and there is no substitute for the ability to write out answers and argue a case. I recall even in my geometry and algebra classes in school, when teachers were still permitted to teach their subject disciplines, that they were always interested in “seeing our work,” the steps we used in a geometric proof or the working out of a quadratic equation. The process of reasoning getting to the answer was as important as the correct answer itself.
Regurgitating an answer for a computerized test is not education, it’s indoctrination.
With that in mind, consider now the results of Common Core:
What intrigues me with this article is that the results are even worse than I or Mr. Lawrence were imagining when we wrote our book:
Reading and math scores in the US have suffered ‘historic’ declines since most states implemented the Common Core curriculum standard six years ago, according to a new study from the Pioneer Institute.
While Common Core was promoted as improving the international competitiveness of U.S. students in math, our international standing has remained low while the skills of average and lower performing American students have dropped in both math and reading. –Pioneer Institute
The study notes that in the years leading up to common core, fourth and eight-grade reading and math scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) were rising gradually (2003-2013). After Common Core was implemented, scores for both grades have fallen – with eighth grade falling nearly as fast as it had been rising.
One of the components of the Rotten to the Common Core “system” was computerized books. There too, the USSA has paid a heavy price, adopting a technology just as studies were being done about the reading retention between an actual physical book, and an ebook read on a computer screen or ipad. For most people, those studies concluded that the physical book somehow correlated with retention of knowledge. (Personally, I can vouch for that; I do little research reading computer screens, and when I do, I seem to get much less out of it.)
What caught my eye here, however, was this:
“Several of us allied with Pioneer Institute have been pointing out, ever since it was introduced, the deeply flawed educational assumptions that permeate the Common Core and the many ways in which it is at odds with curriculum standards in top-achieving countries,” said the institute in a statement.
According to the report lower scores as a result of Common Core were predicted a decade ago.
“Nearly a decade after states adopted Common Core, the empirical evidence makes it clear that these national standards have yielded underwhelming results for students,” said Pioneer Executive Director Jim Stergios. “The proponents of this expensive, legally questionable policy initiative have much to answer for”
“It’s time for federal law to change to allow states as well as local school districts to try a broader range of approaches to reform,” Rebarber added. “With a more bottom-up approach, more school systems will have the opportunity to choose curricula consistent with our international competitors and many decades of research on effective classroom teaching”
It’s precisely those “progressive” assumptions that were the focus of our book, and that some teachers have been warning about for years, for ultimately those assumptions stem from the “stimulus-response” psychology of German psychologist Wilhelm Wundt in the 19th century, and his influence spread far and wide, with Russian psychologist Pavlov (of bell and salivating dog fame), and American “educators” John Dewey, Thorndike and many others falling under his spell. And that means at the rotten core of Common Core there’s a philosophy that humans are nothing but cattle and consumers, a ball of chemical reactions disguised as emotions and thoughts. A mechanism, with a heartbeat. That philosophy is behind all computerized standardized tests, and I do mean, all, without exception. The stimulus is the question; the response is selecting the “correct” answer. Learn by rote, don’t think. Stimulus: “Who killed John Kennedy?” Response: Answer C: “Lee Harvey Oswald.” No room to question, no acknowledgement that that case has massive problems. Just memorize, repeat. Next question. Memorize. Repeat. Next question… An endless cycle of boredom, of having to “pass” tests designed to ensure you agree with “the narrative.” No wonder our students are not only failing, but bored. In the end, the Amairikuhn edgykayshun system is nothing but a form of mind control technology. A soft form of it, to be sure, but a form of it nonetheless. And if you think I may be exaggerating in that assumption, check out our book, where we expose the curious relationship between the Clowns In America’s MK Ultra program of mind control and standardized tests.
And those types of assumptions, like it or not, form the basic assumptions of most of the entrenched “progressive” “elite” that fill the federal “education” bureaucracy. Those assumptions empower them because they keep the “products” – there’s that assumption again – of the “education” “system” indoctrinated and subservient. Expecting that they, or the federal bureaucracy will relinquish that power is whistling in the wind.
But here’s a thought: civil disobedience maybe should begin in the school “systems”…
There was something almost apocalyptic about 2013. Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines, the strongest storm ever recorded on land. It killed more than 6,000 people and affected millions. But it was just one of the 39 weather-related disasters costing $1 billion or more in 2013.
In Australia, record high temperatures forced mapmakers to create a new color on the weather map. Massive wildfires swept through California, historic flooding took out bridges and roadways in Colorado, and tornadoes swept through the Midwest, destroying towns like Moore, Okla. Millions of people are on the move, seeking to escape the effects of climate-related disasters.
The governors of California, Oregon, Washington, and the Canadian province of British Columbia have committed to taking action on the climate crisis. But Congress remains deadlocked and in denial, and climate scientists—when they let down their careful professional demeanor—express astonishment that world governments have failed to act on what is fast becoming a global emergency.
A new potential ally is coming from an unexpected source. Some investors are beginning to worry that fossil fuel companies may not be a good bet. Investors worry about a “carbon bubble.”
The reserves of oil, gas, and coal counted as assets by the big energy corporations would be enormously destructive to life on Earth if they were allowed to burn. Many believe that new regulation or pricing will keep a large portion of those reserves safely in the ground.
If that happens, the companies’ reserves, and thus their stock, may be worth far less than believed. Savvy investors are placing their bets elsewhere: Warren Buffett, for example, is investing $1 billion in wind energy, which, along with solar energy, is looking better all the time.
2. Native peoples took the lead in the fossil fuel fight
In response to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s attempt to ramp up fossil fuel extraction on Native lands, Idle No More blossomed across Canada this year. First Nations people held flash mob round dances, blockaded roads, and appealed to government at all levels to protect land and water.
And it’s not just Canada. In Washington state, the Lummi Tribe is among those resisting massive new coal transport infrastructure, which would make exported coal cheap to burn in Asia.
In Nebraska, the Ponca Tribe is teaming up with local ranchers to resist construction of the Keystone tar sands pipeline. Indigenous peoples in the Amazon, the Andes, Malaysia, the Niger Delta, and elsewhere are also at the front lines of resistance to yet more dangerous fossil fuel extraction. Many are turning to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples and the new Rights of Nature movement for support.
Indigenous peoples developed ways of life that could sustain human life and the natural environment over thousands of years. The rest of the world is starting to recognize the critical importance of these perspectives, and there is growing willingness to listen to the perspectives of indigenous peoples.
3. The middle and lower classes fought for economic justice
Income inequality is reaching levels not seen since the Roaring Twenties. People stuck in long-term unemployment are running out of options, and those who do find work often can’t cover basic living expenses. The issue is now getting attention from mainstream media, becoming one of the defining issues of our time, as President Obama said.
Now a movement is building to create a new economy that can work for all. Voters this year passed minimum wage laws in SeaTac, Wash., ($15 an hour) and the state of New Jersey. An overwhelming majority favors raising the minimum wage to $9 an hour. Domestic workers won the right to a minimum wage after years of organizing.
The message was also clear in the election of Bill de Blasio, a founder of the Working Families Party, as mayor of New York City. Inequality is a top plank of his platform and his public record. At the national level, Senator Elizabeth Warren’s defense of the rights of student borrowers and her proposal to strengthen Social Security (instead of weaken it, as leaders in both party are discussing) is winning widespread support. There is even talk of drafting Warren to run for president.
4. A new economy is in the making
At the grassroots, National People’s Action and the New Economy Institute are leading new conversations about what it takes to build an economy that works for all and can function in harmony with the environment. Thousands of people are taking part.
And a growing cooperatives movement is linking up with unions and social movements. Some are working with large “anchor” institutions, like hospitals and universities, that can provide a steady market for their products and services. Credit unions, too, are proving their value as they keep lending to local businesses and homeowners as Wall Street-owned banks pulled back.
And a new DIY sharing economy is taking off, as people do peer-to-peer car-sharing, fundraising, and skill-sharing, and bring open-source technology to new levels.
5. U.S. military strikes didn’t happen
The big news of the year may be the two wars the United States refused to instigate.
The United States did continue its drone strikes, and the civilian casualties are causing an international uproar, with some calling for an outright ban on drones. And military spending continues to devastate the country’s budget. (The United States spent more on the military in 2013 than China, Russia, the United Kingdom, Japan, France, Saudi Arabia, India, Germany, Italy, and Brazil combined.) Few dared to call for the same fiscal discipline from the military and its many contractors as they expect from schools and services for the poor.
6. Pope Francis called for care and justice for the poor …
…and for an end to the idolatry of money and consumerism. He also criticized “ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation.”
In his “Evangelii Gaudium” he says: “Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills.”
This call is provoking outrage from Rush Limbaugh and Fox News commentators, but elsewhere, it’s leading to a new questioning of the moral foundation for a system that concentrates wealth and power while causing widespread poverty.
7. Gays and lesbians got some respect
On June 26, the Supreme Court struck down key provisions of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. Today, married gay couples are entitled to federal benefits once reserved for straight couples. The year saw a doubling of the number of states allowing gay marriages, and a third of all Americans now live in such states.
Support for gay marriage has flipped from a slight majority opposing it to a majority now supporting the rights of gay and lesbian couples to marry. As a wider range of gender identities has become acceptable, men and women, gay and straight, are freer to shed gender stereotypes without fear of bullying and humiliation.
8. There were new openings for a third party
Just 26 percent of Americans believe the Democratic and Republican parties are doing “an adequate job,” according to an October Gallup poll; 60 percent say a third party is needed. Eighty-five percent disapprove of the job Congress is doing. Even cockroaches (along with zombies, hemorrhoids, and Wall Street) have a higher approval rating according to a recent poll by Public Policy Polling.
But it’s not the Tea Party that Americans are looking to as the alternative. Support for the Tea Party has fallen: In an October NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, only 21 percent of respondents had a favorable view of the party.
New space has opened for independent political work. The Working Family Party (see #3 above) is an especially interesting model.
9. Alternatives to Obamacare are in the works
Democratic leadership believed that the big profits the Affordable Care Act guaranteed to private insurance companies would make the act popular with conservatives.
But the resulting system, with all its complications and expenses—and requirements—is frustrating millions. There are features that benefit ordinary people, but it compares poorly to the simpler and more cost-effective systems that exists in most of the developed world. Canadian-style single-payer health care, for example, had the support of a majority of Americans. Some jurisdictions are still looking for alternatives. Cooperative health insurance is available in some states and others are working to establish statewide single-payer healthcare.
10. An education uprising began
The momentum behind the education reform agendas of Presidents Bush (No Child Left Behind) and Obama (Race to the Top) is stalling. The combination of austerity budgets, an ethic of blame directed at teachers, high-stakes testing, and private charter schools has stressed teachers and students—but it has not resulted in improved performance.
Seattle’s Garfield High School teachers, students, and parents launched an open rebellion last spring, joining a handful of others in refusing to administer required standardized tests. The movement is spreading around the country, with more rebellions expected in the spring of 2014 (stay tuned for an in-depth report in the Spring issue of YES!)
We live in interesting times, indeed. The growing climate emergency could eclipse all the other issues, and the sooner we get on it, the more we can use the transition for innovations that have other positive spin-offs.
There’s not a moment to lose.
Sarah van Gelder wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas and practical actions. Sarah is co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of YES!
Standardized Tests’ Measures Of Student Performance Vary Widely: Study
First Posted: 8/10/11 09:30 AM ET Updated: 8/10/11 10:06 AM ET
by Joy Resmovits
The United States has 50 distinct states, which means there are 50 distinct definitions of “proficient” on standardized tests for students.
For example, an Arkansas fourth-grader could be told he is proficient in reading based on his performance on a state exam. But if he moved across the border to Missouri, he might find that’s no longer true, according to a new report.
“This is a really fundamental, interesting question about accountability reform in education,” Jack Buckley, commissioner of the government organization that produced the report, told reporters on a Tuesday conference call.
The report, written by the Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics, found that the definition of proficiency on standardized tests varies widely among states, making it difficult to assess and compare student performance. The report looked at states’ standards on exams and found that some states set much higher bars for students proficiency in particular subjects.
The term “proficiency” is key because the federal No Child Left Behind law mandates that 100 percent of students must be “proficient” under state standards by 2014 — a goal that has beenuniversally described as impossible to reach.