There is a 2016 Massachusetts ballot initiative to end Common Core in Massachusetts.The initiative will return us to our previous standards that made Massachusetts #1 in the U.S. & initiate an open, transparent process to write revised standards.
I strongly support this initiative. Before you and I can have that vote on Common Core, we need to collect 100,000 signatures to get it on the ballot. Here is what you need to know.
Do not panic!
We are not amidst an education crisis in Massachusetts. Before implementing Common Core, Massachusetts had been #1 for several years! Since implementing, we have stumbled. Click to enlarge.
Bill Gates thought he had a better way
In 2008 Bill Gates and his charitable foundation heard some big ideas from David Coleman and Gene Wilhoit to improve education in the United States. The theme is national uniformity.
- Create National Standards
- Align Testing to National Standards
- Create National Data Collection
Below are Gates’ ghastly own words at the July 2009 to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
VIDEO #1 (1 minute 32 seconds)
Teach to the Test
Use Tests to Dictate Curriculum
“We will only know if this effort has succeeded when the curriculum and tests are aligned to these standards. … When the tests are aligned to the Common Standards the curriculum will line up as well. … For the first time there will be a large uniform base of customers looking at using products that can help every kid learn and every teacher get better.”
VIDEO #2 (1 minute 7 seconds)
National Data Collection
Two “enabling steps” to help improve the quality of teaching
– “Longitudinal data systems that track student performance and are linked to the teacher
– Standards that are common from state to state”
VIDEO #3 (1 minute 34 seconds)
More National Data Collection
“The stimulus package contains funding for longitudinal data systems.
I hope you will use this funding to support systems that track student performance from early childhood education through high school and college and into the workplace.” …emphasis is mine.
Gates wields his cash
With his vision for uniform education for all children established, Gates went to work. He used his vast financial resources to purchase influence all over the United States.
But seriously, can one person buy national education reform?
Gates is kind enough to make searchable all his foundation grants. It is astounding. Gates’ foundation has granted away $3.5 Billion educational dollars. That is not a typo. $3.5 Billion.
I published EVERY one of the $3.5B “College-Ready” grants in a list here (Excel download)
Click to enlarge.
Massachusetts based organizations have benefited from $232M of Gates’ “College Ready” dollars. Download that detail here.
Although not every grant is specifically for Common Core, it is clear that Gates has purchased influence all over the education arena. My favorite is $3.5M to Harvard for “general operating support”… because I’m sure Harvard needs the cash to keep its doors open.
The entrance of Gates and his billions marked the reinvigoration of cronyism in the movement to nationalize education. Those organizations that aligned their missions with Gates’ vision were rewarded with millions upon millions of dollars in grants.
Under Gates’ influence (and without any public review or consent) Common Core was created by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association (NGA). The CCSSO has benefited from $65 Billion of Gates grants over the years. And yes, the Common Core State Standards are copyright protected.
We know who were on the Math and ELA Workgroups. These are the Common Core final decision makers.
None taught elementary school. Ever.
None taught special education. Ever. (more).
See Cronyism below. Click to enlarge.
Common Core Validation Committee
Common Core State Standards are so bad that 17% of the 29 members of the validation committee refused to sign off and approve. They are under confidentiality agreements and are unable to speak freely about their reasoning.
US Department of Education. Common Core. Cronyism.
As Gates purchased influence over the education industry, his cronies infiltrated the Federal Government’s Department of Education. Arne Duncan‘s Chief of Staff was Margot Rogers, formerly of the Gates Foundation. Another doozie was Joanne Weiss, the Director of the Race to the Top Program. Joanne Weiss is the former CEO of NewSchools Venture Fund – an organization that has been enriched by Gates’ foundation to the tune of $78M.
Massachusetts. Common Core. Cronyism.
Seeking to gain an edge in the Common Core marketplace, in March 2009 Achieve Inc. appointed our then Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick to its Board of Directors. He accepted. PARCC was later formed as a spin-off from Achieve Inc. Also in March 2009, the Federal Government announced its Race to the Top Program with $4.3 Billion to give to states that adopted Common Core. Three months later Massachusetts committed to joining Common Core before the standards were even written. This is irresponsible stewardship of our academically top performing state.
Not to be outdone, Mitchell Chester, our Massachusetts Commissioner of Education, has his greasy little fingerprints all over Common Core.
- 2009: Mitchell Chester appointed to Advisory Group in the Gates funded Benchmarking for Success report – effectively launching Common Core.
- Sept 2010: Mitchell Chester appointed to PARCC Online as Chair of Governing Board. PARCC was spun off from Deval Patrick’s Achieve Inc.
- Nov 2011: Mitchell Chester appointed to CCSSO Board of Directors
- Sept 2013: Mitchell Chester appoints Laura Slover as CEO of PARCC Inc.
- May 2014: Mitchell Chester’s PARCC chooses Pearson to administer PARCC exam. Pearson was the only bidder.
- Oct 2014: Mitchell Chester appointed to National Assessment Governing Board (NAEP test) Board of Directors. This is the national exam that our 4th and 8th graders had been leading the country before Common Core was implemented.
Local Control is best
The argument against Common Core that has the most appeal to me actually has little to do with the quality of the standards. For me it comes down to control. I believe in local control. Education decisions should be as local as possible. The national education model invites corruption & massive data collection at the national level. All this sits atop the one-size-fits all standards for which parents have little power to influence. Local control means that parents have more leverage to influence & change as needed. If it turns out that Common Core is a world class idea, then I will gladly suggest that we implement a Massachusetts version of Common Core that we can administer and control locally. Sadly, Common Core is not a world class idea. Common Core is a golden egg for big business and a turd sandwich for children.
Sign the petition
Common Core in Massachusetts will not go away because you “liked” a couple Stop Common Core facebook pages. You need to sign the petition. In person.
Find out here if there is an upcoming petition drive near you. Or find your local petition gatherers here. These people WANT you to contact them (and even volunteer to help!). Don’t leave this to chance that you will bump into someone collecting signatures. We have a goal of 100,000 signatures by November 19, 2015. That is not a typo either. 100,000 signatures.
The Massachusetts legislature doesn’t have the courage to stop Common Core.
It is up to me and you. Are you in?
Want to learn more about Common Core opposition? Check out the references below…
- Dr. Sandra Stotsky – ELA, Common Core Validation Committee (refused to sign off) – Here.
– Dr. James Milgram – MATH, Common Core Validation Committee (refused to sign off) – Here.
– Barbara Madeloni, Massachusetts Teachers Association President, here and here.
– Dr. Peg Luksik, teacher with over 35 years of experience in both special and elementary education & former advisor to the U.S. Department of Education – Here.
– Dr. Duke Pesta, professor of English at the University of Wisconsin – Here.
If you don’t believe the experts above, listen Jason Zimba, Common Core proponent and lead writer, admit that Common Core is not for STEM and won’t get your kid into a selective college like UC Berkeley. (STEM = Science, Tech, Engineering, Math)