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The reliability created by those three factors is very high for …read more

Source: Stop Common Core NY

Michael Hynes: “The New Normal” Is Sick

By dianeravitch

Michael Hynes is superintendent of the Patchogue-Medford public schools on Long Island in NewNew York.

He writes:

“Is hypernormalisation even a word? I didn’t believe so until recently. According to Wikipedia, (insert sarcasm), “The term … is taken from Alexei Yurchak’s 2006 book Everything was Forever, Until it was No More: The Last Soviet Generation, about the paradoxes of life in the Soviet Union, where the author explains, “Everyone knew the system was failing, but as no one could imagine any alternative to the status quo, politicians and citizens were resigned to maintaining a pretense of a functioning society. Over time, this delusion became a self-fulfilling prophecy and the “fakeness” was accepted by everyone as real”, an effect that Yurchak dubbed hypernormalisation.

“British filmmaker Adam Curtis took the concept beyond the Soviet reference, in his award-nominated documentary, HyperNormalisation,, about how governments, financiers, and technological gurus have given up on the complex “real world” and built a “fake world,” run by corporations and kept stable by politicians.

“Wow, sound familiar? This is precisely what is taking place in the United States at the present moment, most notably in my world of public education.

“The hypernormalisation of public education has been slowly creeping its way into our schools, becoming the official party line with the federal mandate of testing our children to death with No Child Left Behind in 2001. This legislation required that all grades 3-8 students are tested every year in English Language Arts and mathematics. The later incarnations of NCLB have only upped the testing ante, by making high test scores such a priority that a school’s very existence depends on making the mark.

“This means that what most of us consider “normal” is no longer normal. School days filled with reading, writing, math, science, social studies, playing outside, …read more

Source: Diane Ravitch Common Core

New York: NYSAPE Blasts State ESSA Plan

By dianeravitch

New York State Allies for Public Education represents more than 50 parent and teacher organizations. It has led the Opt Out movement, in which 20% of the eligible children have refused the state tests year after year, including 50% on Long Island. Their members regularly attend legislative hearings in Albany and meet with legislators. They attend meetings of the Board of Regents. They follow the actions of the New York State Department of Education with care.

Every state should have its own version of NYSAPE.

Contact: Kemala Karmen 917-807-9969 |

“Another Squandered Opportunity”:
Parents, Students, and Educators Slam NY State Education Department’s
Flawed ESSA Proposal & Process

Brooklyn, NY—Frustrated public school students, parents, activists, and educators gathered in front of the Prospect Heights Education Complex this evening to protest the New York State Education Department’s new schools accountability proposal and the sham process that supposedly generated it. Inside the building, department officials were setting up for one of several hearings scheduled across the state in order to gain feedback on the proposal, which was created to comply with recent federal legislation.

The federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is the successor legislation to the Bush-era No Child Left Behind (NCLB) bill. While ESSA preserves much of NCLB, including an onerous and misguided annual testing requirement for all children in grades 3-8, it also gives states more latitude in defining their school accountability systems than did NCLB, primarily through the inclusion of an additional “school quality indicator.”

For this reason, New York’s families and educators were looking forward to the state creating an accountability system that incentivized schools to provide children with a high quality, well-rounded education. ESSA also includes a statement that explicitly recognizes a parent’s right to opt their child out of testing without consequences for the …read more

Source: Diane Ravitch Common Core

Stop Common Core in Illinois

By Francisco Russell

We reject the Federal Government’s intrusion into our education system and want control over what is taught in our classroom returned to our state and local school boards.

• Common Core removes control of our state k-12 education standards from Illinois and puts it in the hands of private trade organizations who wrote and copyrighted the standards and who are not accountable to the public which pays for their implementation.

• It allows the federal government to dictate the terms of our teacher evaluations.

• It makes it practically impossible for local school districts to control their costs because independent consortia develop assessment tools which our districts must use. These on-line assessments are not only many times more expensive than our existing tests, they are a technical impossibility for many schools in our state who do not have broadband access to the internet.
• Common Core Standards are not internationally benchmarked as marketed, nor have they been tested and found to be superior to existing state standards. They have never been tried before. Their implementation in 45 states amounts to a massive pilot program that uses our children as test subjects.

• Common Core assessments ramp up the collection of personally identifiable data on our children. Through various agreements this data will be sent directly to the US Department of Education who has changed the Family Education Rights Privacy Act (FERPA) to allow this data to be shared with other government agencies and third parties without our knowledge or consent.

• The architect of the Common Core Standards has vowed to align the SAT tests to these standards thereby pressuring homeschoolers and private schools to teach to these standards as well. Millions of children will be lost inside a one size fits all system designed to create equal mediocrity among the new …read more

Source: Stop Common Core Illinois

Who is Behind the Assault on Public Education?

By dianeravitch

Howard Ryan, writing in Monthly Review, analyzes the sources of support for corporate reform and privatization.

Ryan writes:

Over the past three decades, public schools have been the target of a systematic assault and takeover by corporations and private foundations. The endeavor is called “school reform” by its advocates, while critics call it corporate school reform. Finnish educator Pasi Sahlberg has given it the vivid acronym GERM—the global education reform movement. Its basic features are familiar: high-stakes testing; standardized curricula; privatization; and deskilled, high-turnover faculty. In the United States, public schools have become increasingly segregated, destabilized, and defunded, with the hardest hit in low-income communities of color.

Nevertheless, while the political conflicts and social ramifications of the school reform phenomenon are well known, basic questions about the movement remain underexamined. Who really leads it? What are their aims and motives? After briefly taking up the statements of the reformers themselves, I will turn to the views of their progressive opponents, and offer a critique of three influential interpretations of the school reform movement. Finally, I will present my own theory about this movement, its drivers, and its underlying aims…

A large body of research, however, challenges the merits of high-stakes testing and other elements of the corporate school reform package. It is also at least questionable whether the reformers really believe their own statements.

The reformers’ interest in school improvement appears, in a number of ways, to be less than genuine, to mask a different agenda. They prescribe models for mass education that they do not consider suitable for their own children. They sponsor think tanks to produce “junk research” praising their models, while ignoring studies that contradict their models. They insist that full resourcing of schools is unimportant or unrealistic, and that “great teachers” will succeed regardless of school conditions, class …read more

Source: Diane Ravitch Common Core

Bianca Tanis: New York’s New Standards Are Bad News for Young Children

By dianeravitch

Bianca Tanis is a teacher of special education in a K-2 classroom in the Hudson Valley of New York. She is also a member of the board of NYSAPE (New York State Allies for Parents and Educators), the statewide group that has led the Opt Out movement.

In this post, she excoriates New York’s new standards and says the New York State Education Department ignored the voices of early childhood educators. From the perspective of young children, she says, the standards are fundamentally flawed.

She writes, in part:

We should never have to fight for the right of children to play. Nor should we have to fight for them to spend more than 20 minutes at recess. Instruction should never come at the expense of the creative, spontaneous, and joyful exploration of 4- and 5-year olds. But, increasingly, it does. With the unveiling of New York State’s “Next Generation of English Language Arts and Mathematics Standards,” the struggle to maintain these experiences for young learners—already underway—will intensify.

When New York’s Education Department released the draft standards last September, Commissioner MaryEllen Elia claimed they represented substantive change. Yet most revisions consisted of minor tweaks to language and placement. There were very few shifts in content, and the Common Core anchor standards remained mostly intact. The latest iteration walks back any positive content changes, increasing the rigor of the prekindergarten through second-grade grade standards over and above the draft released in September, and moving some first-grade standards to kindergarten.

While many policymakers profess their commitment to play-based learning and meeting the needs of the whole child, their actions say otherwise. This problem is not unique to New York. But in a state with one of the largest parent uprisings against high-stakes reform and the arbitrary imposition of rigor on child-centered practice, Elia’s reaction is …read more

Source: Diane Ravitch Common Core

Alan Singer: How New Are New York’s New Standards?

By dianeravitch

Alan Singer writes that the real test of the state’s new standards will happen in the classroom. The proof of the pudding, he writes, is in the eating, not in what is said or written about it.

He warns that the whole process may be tainted if the current testing regime remains in place. And he worries that the state aims to quash the opt out movement, which is the only public voice and which compelled the state to make these revisions.

…read more

Source: Diane Ravitch Common Core

As New York Rebrands Its Common Core Standards, What’s in a Name?

By dianeravitch

Newsday offers an amusing reflection on the change in the name of the Common Core state standards, which became toxic and set off the powerful opt out movement across the state, and especially on Long Island (which Newsday serves). In the last round of state testing, 50% of the eligible students on Long Island opted out of the English Language Arts state test, and 54% on Long Island opted out of the just concluded math tests.

Some teachers question in what way they “bought in,” as suggested below. Many are so familiar with the PR tactics of the State Education Department that they see this as yet another exercise in illusion.

From Newsday:

Pointing Out

Puzzle us this

Here’s a short quiz to start your week: The big news today is NGELAMLS.

What is it?

a) A newly diagnosed tropical disease that has alarmed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

b) A pharmaceutical breakthrough for melting body fat. Ask your doctor about NGELAMLS!

c) An obscure tribe living on the Ilha de Queimada Grande off the coast of Brazil.

d) A new name for the Common Core learning standards in New York.

The correct response is d. That tangle of letters stands for the Next Generation English Language Arts and Mathematics Learning Standards. State education officials have rechecked the standards, as well as the tests they first rolled out in the 2012-13 school year, this time with buy-in from teachers.

For all the controversy, the changes are small. But the messaging is big. By rebranding, the Education Department hopes to start fresh and reduce opt-outs from the tests.

Long Island, the national opt-out epicenter, had nearly 54 percent of eligible students sit out math exams last week. Will NGELAMLS change that?
Anne Michaud

…read more

Source: Diane Ravitch Common Core

New York: Common Core Standards Get a New Name!

By dianeravitch

In response to years of protests against the Common Core standards, the State Education Department has tweaked them, massaged them, tickled them, and given them a new name.

The New York state standards are now “the Next Generation English Language Arts and Mathematics Learning Standards.” Got that?

The revamped standards makes hundreds of changes to the state’s version of the Common Core, a set of educational benchmarks meant to get students ready for colleges and careers.

The “anchor standards” of the Common Core — which broadly lay out what’s expected of students — remain largely intact, though some were consolidated or clarified. The 34 English language arts anchors, for example, were whittled down to 28.

New York will become the latest state to put their own name on the standards, joining Florida and several others trying to assuage parental concerns and anger over the rollout of the Common Core.

Is it a cosmetic change or not?

Is it rebranding or not?

Is it real or is it Memorex?

We will hear more about this as the standards are introduced into classrooms.

You can be sure that the parents who opted their children out of state tests for the past few years, in rebellion against the Common Core standards and tests, will not be fooled. Nor will New York State Alliance of Parents and Educators, the group that has coordinated the opt-out movement, which has led about 20% of students across the state to refuse the tests year after year.

…read more

Source: Diane Ravitch Common Core

Teacher: Most Members of Congress Could Not Pass the Math Test My Fifth Graders Took

By dianeravitch

Ralph Ratto teaches fifth grade in New York. The state math tests are ending today. His students spent nine (9) hours being tested about math this week. This is child abuse. Why should students spend more than an hour on a math test or a reading test?

The tests, he says, are ridiculously hard for fifth graders. He thinks that most members of Congress could not pass the tests.

He can’t post any of the actual questions but he offers a question comparable to those on the test:

Here is a general idea of what one of these questions looks like.

A factory produces 4,861 items in 30 days. They then package them in crates hold 8 each. These crates are delivered to 26 distributers daily. How many are delivered each week to each distributer?

Ten year old children must be able to answer this question correctly, otherwise their teacher may be labeled ineffective.

…read more

Source: Diane Ravitch Common Core