The President Can’t End Common Core State Standards—My Critique

The President Can’t End Common Core State Standards—My Critique

 

<< http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/08/upshot/donald-trump-doesnt-understand-common-core-and-neither-do-his-rivals.html?trk=pulse-det-art_view_ext&_r=0>&gt;

 

This is obviously a New York Times (NYT) article. It discusses how the GOP candidates for President do not understand Common Core State Standards.

 

The President, rarely can do what they want to do when they are candidates. This has always been true.

 

The NYT starts out by saying, “The president can’t end the Common Core, because the federal government didn’t create the Common Core. Governors and state boards of education developed and voluntarily adopted the standards in reading, language and math. Some states subsequently un-adopted them, as is their right. When Congress passed a new version of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act last year, it prohibited the secretary of education from requiring or even encouraging states to adopt any uniform standards, Common Core or otherwise.”

 

The federal government did bribe states by giving them money (Race to the Top) for education if they accepted the then non-existent, CCSS. Governors and State School Boards had no say so. Not only that but they did not even ask for it.

 

The two groups the NYT mentions were lobbying groups. Only two lobbying groups were involved with the sale of CCSS to the states. However, they did not write any of the standards. The National Governor’s Association is a lobbying group to lobby the governors to get them to accept these standards and other things. They lobby the various governors to get them to accept a national agenda. The other group is also another lobbying group, Council of Chief State School Officers also tried to get states to approve these non-existent standards. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) required states to test and report findings. CCSS was based or otherwise an extension on NCLB. So, in that respect it was federal. But NYT is right the President can’t end it but the Congress can.

 

A group of 5 men, behind closed doors, came up with the standards and paid for by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

 

Please view ‘Brilliant anti-common core speech” by Dr. Duke Pesta, on youtube. He explains this in detail. The video is at <<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Si-kx5-MKSE>&gt;.

 

The NYT also said, “Mr. Trump has another claim about education: that America’s weak educational results will be improved by returning power to local school districts. That’s a notion, widely held, that is at odds with research, common sense and the education agenda of every president, Republican and Democrat, for the past 40 years.”

 

What common sense? We had a better country when we did not have the same standards. What research says we need to have common standards? Bill Gates and his foundation? What does a college dropout know about education? Even though his wife is former teacher, how long ago was that and how long did she teach? Also, what makes you think that a teacher, especially a single teacher would know about curriculum development, and setting standards at all.

 

They are weak only in terms of the wild goals set forth by reformers and then they complain when they are not reached. So, they wrongly blame schools and teachers, when it was their own unachievable goals. Unachievable goals are unethical, especially when a person’s livelihood is at stake.

 

I am almost certain that they are talking about the PISA test in which the US is about halfway down the list of 64 countries/cities in the world. A couple of Chinese cities and small countries dominate the top 20. China and India do not participate as countries and India not all. The US is the largest country that does participate, and is the 3rd largest country in the world. The 4th largest country, Indonesia, is at or near the bottom in all three categories. Most of the countries that do well are small and homogeneous. Malaysia and Finland both have populations less than 6 million. Canada has about 1/36th the population of the US. All three do well.

 

So, for the US to be about mid-range and not down at the bottom as is Indonesia, I think we are doing fairly well. Indonesia does not have the diverse population that we do nor the amount of recent immigrants.

 

What does a President know about education and the economy? They do not know from Adam anything about education.

 

With the exception of Secretary of Education Bell, who had a degree in higher education (college), no Secretary of Education has had a degree in education, especially K-12. Arne Duncan has his in Sociology. Margaret Spellings has hers in Political Science. So, not only does the President not know a thing about education but neither does the Secretary of Education.

 

The NYT states, “Jimmy Carter elevated the Department of Education to a Cabinet-level agency. Ronald Reagan was initially cold to education standards, preferring to focus on vouchers — until his secretary of education, Terrel Bell, released the landmark “A Nation at Risk” report in 1983. It found that many locally controlled districts were letting students wander through their school years with few if any rigorous courses in math, science, literature or history.”

 

Carter made a mistake doing that. The Congress made an even bigger mistake writing any education laws at all. Reagan wanted to close down the US Department of Education but could not because Congress had written laws, even though they are unconstitutional. Bell took it under his own so-called authority to create the commission that came up with that report. I do not know that Reagan ever did warm to it. In the 1990 Sandia Report, they questioned some of, A Nation at Risk’s statistics. They also questioned the so-called link between education in the macro and the economy. I too say that there is very little to no cause-effect relationship between the two.

 

A Nation at Risk, ushered in the change in the reasons for education, wrongly. Classical education was to produce knowledgeable citizens and hopefully result in being able to govern ourselves and to maintain our rights. I would add that Elementary School is more than enough education for most jobs in the world. Secondary School is to see what kind of a scholar, if any, one is. Most of what is ‘learned’ in school is quickly forgotten. Even some Elementary School math, such as, fractions and decimals and converting between the two is often forgotten by a number of adults.

 

Even President Obama has said that education is a local/state thing. Then why do we have federal laws concerning schools? These are unconstitutional. A Nation at Risk, was not landmark report. It was bogus. It could not have been more wrong.

 

School at this level, K-12, need not be rigorous. It should be broad, though, College should be broad and somewhat rigorous, in Freshman and Sophomore years and more rigorous in Junior and Senior years. But Secondary School is NOT college, nor should it be.

 

The NYT declares, “President George H.W. Bush took up the banner next, collaborating with Bill Clinton, then the governor of Arkansas, to rally the nation’s governors around high academic standards. As president, Mr. Clinton built on that idea by shepherding a new education law in 1994 that required states to develop common standards for all schools within the state, and hold schools accountable for helping students measure up. George W. Bush embraced that idea as governor of Texas, and strengthened it with the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. President Obama supported the Common Core by using money from the 2009 economic stimulus package to finance better standardized tests and reward states that adopted challenging standards.”

 

Yes, he bribed states to agree with him. Talk about unethical and unconstitutional. President Obama used our own money to ram CCSS down our throats. Texas was one the few states never to take that bribe. A number of others have regretted taking the bribe. It is actually 24 out 46 that took the bribe, now are trying to get out of it, in whole or in part. You do know that NCLB was a State of Texas law first under then governor Bush. He had no right to make federal and not so sure that he had the right to do it for (or against) Texas, either.

 

All of these laws are unconstitutional.

 

“Educational improvement over that time period was steady, if not fast enough for anyone’s liking. The nation’s elementary school students made remarkable progress. The percentage of fourth graders who are proficient in mathematics tripled from 1990 to 2015. While high school students have not improved as fast, they are graduating at the highest rate in history. One of the main obstacles to further improvement, you could easily argue, is that standards still aren’t common enough.”

 

What a 4th grader knows is irrelevant. Psychology can tell us what the average 4th grader knows but has no idea what they should know. Just because most know something does not mean that all need to or should know it.

 

The number of 4th graders who handled math at the proficient level nearly  tripled from 12% to 33%. Yes when you teach to the test for 25 years some so-called improvement is bound to happen and about 40% were at the proficient level and expert. This is bit more than I would say is possible—25%.

 

I have to suspect the test and teaching to it. But again, at the Elementary School level maybe as much 40% will be that high. The Gaussian/Normal/Bell-shaped Curve is skewed toward the upper end in Elementary School.

 

As I said, at the high school level it is a different matter. The curve will be more normal to skewed to the lower end.

 

But Elementary school should be passed by most kids, so more will be at the proficient level. This is not a major milestone. But when you get to Junior High things get tougher and even more so in High School. So, that at each level less will excel or be proficient. It is not the schools fault. It is just a fact of being human, as predicted in the Gaussian/Normal/Bell-shaped Curve. It is called IQ.

 

When people say proficient they are talking about the NAEP’s definition of proficient. This is akin to a letter grade of B. Most are not B students nor can they be, beyond Elementary School. In fact only about 25% can be proficient and expert combined, in other words, A and B students. The A and B students should make up the top quartile, although some say the top 30% or so. So, 25-30% will be at the proficient and expert levels combined. So, most by far, will not be proficient. Yet, reformers point to this and want it changed so that most will be proficient.

 

This is clearly impossible!!! This is just one of many unachievable goals that reformers want.

 

More are graduating high school because they changed what high school is. It is no longer academic. It is CTE, Career and Technology Education. It has nothing to do with standards. You have, in essence, lowered the bar, so that more could graduate. This is the main thing that A Nation at Risk got wrong. Education of the masses, in the macro, was never the reason why we became the largest economy in world, in the history of world.

 

The NYT posits, “Mr. Trump is correct that education is “at” a local level. Local school districts hire the principals and teachers, and experiment with methods and curriculums that they think work for their children. Most districts still have substantial autonomy to raise school taxes, though some districts aren’t able to and this can lead to pervasive inequality between rich and poor districts and brings our national results down.”

 

I agree and disagree with this last statement. Pervasive inequality does and always will persist, so I agree with that part. But I disagree with that that is bringing down our national results. The rich areas are just wasting money on unnecessary technology and other non-essential things. Only a liberal would blame lack of money on poor showings. They think that throwing more money at the problem will make it work or improve outcomes. They are wrong!

 

We now spend 4 times the amount of money to educate someone than we did 50 years ago, with actually less to show for it, except more now graduate high school, but they know a lot less.

 

Pervasive inequality and lowering of national results is one of a number of Ergo Hoc Propter Hoc (after this therefore because of this) logical fallacies, in the reform movement. Yes both do occur but one did not cause the other. Another thing is, it is a non sequitur. There is no evidence that one follows the other in a cause-effect relationship.

 

What a college graduate knows now is what a high school graduate of the 1950s knew, according to Dr. Duke Pesta. If this is true then progress has not happened but regression has.

 

The NYT says, “But states and localities, in a sense, don’t actually have the ability to set educational standards, even if they choose to. The world around us ultimately determines what students need to learn — the demands of highly competitive and increasingly global labor markets, the admissions requirements of colleges and universities, and the march of scientific progress.”

 

This statement is totally wrong. The world around us should have no bearing on education. It is an academic thing. Again, A Nation at Risk, changed this by having business partners. Why? Again, we became the largest economy on Earth circa 1880 or long before we had mass education. We did not graduate 10% from high school until 1910. We had 20% graduation rate in 1920, 30% in 1930. At that point in our history we had the best educated workforce and yet we had a depression that lasted nearly 15 years. With the spoils of war, WWII, this allowed us to educate our kids more and longer. We were one of the few countries that exited the war better off than we entered it. We had jobs coming out of our ears, rebuilding Europe and Japan. The jobs were just waiting for us no matter what our educational level was.

 

Thing is we had started educating our children more in 1900-1930 and yet had a long lasting depression. If education of the masses yielded our great economy then why did we have a long-term depression with our best educated workforce, at that time?

 

Now we have 40+% of our population has come kind of college degree and 90+% of us has either a high school diploma or GED and yet we’ve had a short depression (a recession lasting 2 or more years). We had more people unemployed recently than we had in the 1930s. Roughly 10% of 300 million (30 million max) now, compared to, at the height of the Depression, of 25% about 100 million (25 million max) 80 years ago. Not all of either of these were wanting jobs. Some were retired, etc. But I would say that the relative numbers are accurate. It may be even worse now since a lot of women were not in the workforce in the 1930s.

 

Again, I ask where is the relationship between education of the masses (in the macro) and the economy?

 

Also, search youtube for the stupid CCSS examples of math. One of them is shown in Dr. Pesta’s video.

 

I wish Congress had done away with all federal laws regarding education. They should have never written any to begin with.

 

Also, college graduates may be employed at a higher percentage than high school dropouts but most are doing jobs that high school dropouts should be doing. College graduates are grossly underemployed. So, yes let’s have more and more grossly underemployed college graduates who can’t afford to repay their student loans.

 

So, yes the POTUS cannot end CCSS but can end its financial support for it which might just put an end to it. I mean, without the bribery/coercion the farce that is CCSS may end.

 

Again, I would suggest that each of you watch Dr. Pesta’s youtube video on the CCSS.

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