I attended the DESE Common Core Meeting at 6:30pm on 05/02/13 in Cape Girardeau, MO at the Career and Technology Center, and what I witnessed was mastery of controlling the message. Of course, there was no prayer or Pledge of Allegiance; this is the school! Prayers are forbidden by the Constitution and the Pledge is offensive. (/sarc)
The sound quality was ridiculous, and I have no idea the name of the gentleman that led the event. He worked through a PowerPoint presentation including videos by educators that could not be understood due to the poor sound.
The leader of the event stated clearly at one point: “There will be no data collection.” However, a quick review of CCSSO.org website leads you to these two pages self-refuting the leader’s claims:
Divide and Conquer
We had heard that there would be 15 leaders or members of DESE at the event. We couldn’t imagine why they would put so many on the dais. As it turned out there was no dais, and there were 30 DESE organized leaders at the event. Why?
As you entered the event, you were assigned to 1 of 15 tables. Each table had a Table Leader and a Table Recorder. The attendees (proponent or opponent) were divided into 15 tables, so the interaction was between approximately 6 attendees and two studied proponents of Common Core.
Each table was provided with a form to complete. The form contained two questions:
- What do you like about Common Core?
- What questions do you have about Common Core?
The facilitators at table #12 were Jeff Lindsey and Wade Bartels. Both were very nice and listened as we tried to fill out the form. Jeff gave anecdotal information about the process of aligning to Common Core in St. Genevieve, MO and how great it was going.
When we asked him our questions about CCSS, the typical answer was “I don’t know”.
- How much will this cost the state? I don’t know
- How much will this cost your school? I don’t know
- What is the cost going to be for the technology to allow completion of the standardized tests? I don’t know
- According to the CCSSO web site, there will be data collection. What data will be collected? I don’t know
- We read that the standards are copyrighted. Will the schools be able to make changes? I don’t know
What Jeff Lindsey did know was that he really wanted his table to come up with an answer to the question… What do you like about Common Core?
Unfortunately, the time allotted for table discussions, and table #12 never listed a positive feeling about Common Core.
Following the kitchen table discussion, the messaging control continued. Table Recorders, not attendees, were summoned to the front one-by-one to read the list of things that attendees liked about Common Core. All of the ‘likes’ were read. For the questions about Common Core, duplicate questions were skipped. One CCTP member noted that 5 items were read from their lies of ‘likes’ that weren’t discussed at the table. They ‘magically’ appeared.
I provided Jeff and Wade a long paragraph with questions about data collection, CCSSO, and EIMAC. When Wade asked the question on microphone he simply said, “What is EIMAC?”
As I said, the DESE folks employed a brilliant Divide and Conquer strategy, and it worked to perfection.
- Prevented general attendees from hearing tough questions asked at one table that was not asked at another table
- Prevented mini-speeches given by attendees
- Separated less knowledgeable attendees from stronger more studied attendees
- No negative press to be reported by the media
- DESE walked away with positive talking points and a long list of things that Cape Girardeau liked about Common Core
For me, there was a positive outcome. At a Table #12 side discussion, a teacher stated that she liked common core because every school would teach the same topics at the same grade levels. She continued that children moving state-to-state would be able to pick right up where they left off in their new school.
Her statement helped me finally crystallize my foremost reason for opposing Common Core. CCSS removes any desire for one school to work to excel. Children will be tested for certain skills at certain ages, and there will actually be negative reinforcement should a school decide to teach subjects at different grade levels to help them excel. Should the school choose to teach some subject in a different order or different grade, their assessment ratings will suffer. They will see lower ratings and less funding.
This is the absolute antithesis of freedom and self-governance.
Questions and likes reported back to the attendees:
- If state led, why were funders from Federal Tax $$$?
- Liked Crosswalk on DESE web site
- Will International books be implemented?
- Federal Control?
- Why no question about what we don’t like?
- What comprehensive studies have been developed?
- How often reviewed / revised?
- How can standards be enacted that haven’t been evaluated in classrooms?
- How will they handle gifted students?
- How will they help students not currently meeting standards?
- How will local districts have a say?
- What pilot studies have been conducted?
- Too one size fits all
- Not enough options for teacher flexibility
- Govt grab for control of education
- Not enough parental involvement
- Ideologically different from local values
- Is common core copyrighted?
- What is EIMAC?
- Has state legislature voted to adopt CCSS?
- Liked fewer standards / flexible teacher instructions
- Liked incorporation of non-fiction / promotion of critical thinking
- Further investigation of who initiated development?
- Who will profit?
- Can state of MO step back and wait for other states to prove CCSS works?
Below are Miscellaneous Notes taken that may or may not make sense:
- Shows where a concept is located in CCSS vs. Show-Me
- Fewer topics but more in dept
- Teachers saw that common core was more rigorous
- Why need for common state standards?
- 2007 NGA / CCSSO decided to define Common Core Standards
- Facilitated State-Led development
- Research and Evidence Based
- Define what all students are expected to know
- Teachers develop lesson plans
- Adoption was voluntary
- Aligned to Show-Me standards / College Standards
- All students will graduate college and career ready
- 36% must take remedial
- $90M cost for remedial
- $32M lost wages
- Video – Chris Nicastro / Mr. Russell
- State-Led involving parents / teachers
- Missouri Involvement
- College and Career readiness standards
- Based on career readiness, k-12 learning progressions developed
- MO Represented on Development Team
- Standards released on 6/2/10
- Education Experts
- Complex Text Academic Vocabulary
- Regular practice with complex text and its vocab words
- 2-4 concepts focused deeply in each grade
- Connect learning from one grade to next linked topics
- Real world situations
- Preparing for Transition
- Crosswalk document
- Statewide public sessions on standards
- Model curriculum
- Federal Government Played no Role
- Anything said here tonight means absolutely nothing next year because criteria will keep changing
- Jeff L – I look at common core as a plan
- Jeff L – Doesn’t know anything about it being copyrighted
Update: Don’t take this as an indictment of Mr. Lindsey and Mr. Bartels. They was very engaging and I enjoyed meeting them.