College football season officially kicked off today, and I, for one, am SO happy! I was one of those who ‘mourned’ when the season ended back in January 2014, with the crowning of the newest college ‘super team’ during the last bowl game. Alas, after 200 or so days, I was able to revel in the first game for my team. However, as much as I could go on about college ball, my title is ‘commoncorediva’, not college football fan. So, on to my post for today.
While listening in on the radio, I overheard an advertisement from the organization “Teach.org”. I was sitting there happy as can be when what do my ears hear, but , the voice over the airwaves proclaim that frustration is to be considered a new tool in the classroom! Really?! It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out natural frustration is one thing, but to seek to provoke it?! Where I come from and how I was raised, that’s ‘a bully’, a ‘meanie’. ‘Spoil-sport’. If you follow the Good Book (Holy Bible) there is even a verse about not provoking folks! Now, why would I want to provoke someone’s anger, frustration? Usually it is because I wish them some kind of harm. However, in the context of the classroom, I would truly hope this is NOT the case of the instructor. So, let’s look at this from the side of the desk where the teacher sits….
First, “Teach.org”, let’s look at the website. At first look, it has what appears to be helpful stuff..you know, scholarships available, where to find jobs, how to find community, building a portfolio. That kind of stuff. But, scroll down to the parts of websites I seek out, the ‘about us’ kind of items. Divas, after all, really know their area of expertise. Bingo! Look who’s there on the Coalition Board: The U.S. Dept. of Education and Microsoft are the biggest ‘offenders’ for this Diva! Look further and you’ll see who is advising: Council of Chief State School Officers. There’s also, AFT (American Federation of Teachers), NEA (National Educators Association), and TFA (Teach for America). Under the ‘knowledge’ capacity are “Educators 4 Excellence, Teach Plus, and the National Association of Elementary School Principals, among others. To the untrained eye, looking at this ‘rock star’ list of educational groups, you’d assume, “Great! Plenty of mentoring, support and credibility.” However, to someone like myself, who knows the Common Core machine is big, well stoked, and powerful, I can spot in less than 30 seconds the connections between CC members and this seemingly ‘teacher friendly’ website. One final note, the Ad Council (which would explain the advertisement I heard) is a sponsor of Teach.org.
So, what’s the ‘dead giveaway’? If you are new to the anti Common Core Standards movement, chances are the Council of Chief State School Officers was the first clue. If that didn’t alarm you, maybe the U.S. Dept. of Education was the clue. If you have been in the battle against Common Core Standards long, you should be able to spot Microsoft as an ‘offender’ as well. You may have noticed the NEA & AFT as well. But Teach for America? Yes, they are in the mix too. As are all the other groups I named. Now, get ready, because what I’m about to reveal will blow your socks off or maybe cause you to utter “OMG!”….
Started as an effort to support teachers across America by the U.S. Dept. of Education, ownership of the group was transferred to Microsoft, Inc. back in 2012. (website link: https://www.teach.org/about) You do realize you owns Microsoft, don’t you? None other than Mr. Bill Gates. The same man who has single handedly bought America’s education system via Common Core Standards to the tune of millions of dollars. Here’s one of my ‘go to’ pieces of the Common Core/Bill Gates connection: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=13825, be sure to look for the year 2004, UNESCO and Bill Gates, then you can see for yourself how they are united.
Let’s not forget the Council of Chief State School Officers, they are 1/2 owners to the copyright of the Common Core State Standards. (website link: http://www.corestandards.org/public-license/)
Looking a bit further into the Teach.org community, you’ll see members like TED Talks, 100Kn10. Each of these members, while on the tips of the tongues of those in education, are equally ones, you need to examine via the lens of ‘how are they connected to Teach.org and/or Common Core Standards.
Let’s meet “TED”..
‘TED’ or Technology, Entertainment and Design delivers short talks (hence forth “TED Talks”) in less than 20 minutes. (see the history here: http://www.ted.com/about/our-organization/history-of-ted)Devoted to building a global community and free knowledge (sorry, I have to stop and ask, isn’t knowledge always available at little to no cost anyway?) When I searched the general site for “Common Core Standards” I got several slick looking, smooth topical speeches. In all, 52 different speeches that somehow connect CCS to TED. No thanks, I’ve seen pigs dressed up before. Looks okay, but the stench is still there. Trust me, if you have ever been on a farm with pigs, the smell of poop is unforgettable. But, being the Diva I am, here’s the link so you can see for yourselves: http://www.ted.com/search?q=common+core+standards
“100Kn10” is another P3 (public, private partnership) devoted to education in America. Built on the belief that science, technology, math & engineering (STEM) must have 100,000 teachers by 2021. Now, there’s a big argument about Common Core Standards not preparing students for STEM.(See: http://truthinamericaneducation.com/common-core-state-standards/ccss-content-issues-reviews/lowering-the-bar-how-common-core-math-fails-to-prepare-high-school-students-for-stem/)However, while this is true, I’ll even go one step further & tell you one of my ‘secrets’, I’ve been able to find how STEM and CCS are interwoven more than you ever thought they were. From the Sally Ride blog, “The good news is we can commit to both the immediacy of the math and English standards required by the basics of Common Core, while ensuring the long-term college- and career-readiness of our students by focusing on STEM. It’s right there in black and white within the standards themselves. Grade level specific targets have been set to make sure that all students reach the College and Career Readiness (CCR) Anchor Standards by the time they graduate from high school.” (link: https://sallyridescience.com/blog/common-core-state-standards-and-stem) Here’s another article from the 100Kn10’s website tying STEM & CCS: http://www.100kin10.org/system/uploads/files/000/000/143/original/Solution_Session_Digest-_Supporting_STEM_Teachers_in_an_Era_of_Common_Standards__Baltimore__MD.pdf
*note, be sure to look at all the schools, committed to STEM/CCS (you can click on ‘committments’ on the 100Kn10 website)
Funders for 100Kn10: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Carnegie Foundation, New Schools Venture Fund are just 3 among a list of many. Why I offer a look at these is simple. We have already established the connection between Gates, UNESCO and Common Core Standards. The Carnegie Foundation is connected to Common Core Standards so much so that the first sentence in their publication from 2013, “New Models for High School Success” begins with words, “The Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards…..”(see the link: http://carnegie.org/fileadmin/Media/Programs/Opportunity_by_design/Opportunity_By_Design_FINAL.pdf) Another note about the Carnegie Family, they’ve been aiming to reform American education (and pretty much a lot about America) to a socialist way of life for a long time. Much of their agenda is seen in our present day charter school movement (another topic for another day) Link: (http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/topic/donor_intent/the_carnegie_corporation_turns_100)
New Schools Venture is the last group we’ll look at. Here’s their website: (http://www.newschools.org/ventures) New Schools Venture has many partners. I’ll only be selecting one to highlight. I invite you to look at the others. Before we do that, however, look at the white paper NSV published about Common Core Standards, http://www.newschools.org/news/common-core Here’s an excerpt:
“Common Core standards are aligned with college and work expectations, and include rigorous content and skills. The standards are benchmarked to those of other top-performing countries to guarantee that our students are competitive in the global marketplace”
Now, about that one partner..Khan Academy. You may know Khan Academy has free, on-line courses. What you may not know is that Bill & Melinda Gates gave Mr. Khan lots of money to transform the free courses to Common Core Standards aligned. (https://www.khanacademy.org/commoncore).
So, about that ‘frustration’ factor as a tool? If it were me, as a teacher, I wouldn’t seek to create frustration in students. Life naturally stirs our emotional pots as it is without our help. I offer this psychology view of frustration: Frustrations can create aggressive inclinations even when they are not arbitrary or aimed at the subject personally. (See: http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=buy.optionToBuy&uid=1989-36458-001)
Well, to end this entry, I’m happy to say that football season 2014 is off to a great start. I hope I don’t tune in next week to hear more from Teach.org. I think I’ve heard enough.