Author Archives: Jeffrey Horn

About Jeffrey Horn

Jeffrey D. Horn is a father of four children, a grassroots activist, and a data scientist. He is the author of the essay "LEARNING WITH LEVIATHAN: OBJECTIFICATION, SURVEILLANCE, AND CONTROL IN A CONCEALED COMMAND ECONOMY" in the book "Common Ground on Common Core: Voices from across the Political Spectrum Expose the Realities of the Common Core State Standards." Earning his Bachelor of Science degree from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he also holds a master’s degree in mathematics and a Ph. D. in computer science from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. A professional programmer, he works daily to build infrastructure that can be used to leverage Big Data in improving advertising, medical decisions, investing, and more. Very conscious of the tension that exists between technology and personal freedom, he has been educating and advocating against Common Core and high-stakes testing in Wisconsin for several years. Over the course of 2013 and 2014, he spearheaded an initiative to unite a variety of organizations and individuals on Common Core related issues for the purpose of sending several open letters to state-level public officials in Wisconsin. The letters ultimately helped to ensure a series of public hearings on Common Core at locations around the state in late 2013. You can contact Jeff via email at jeffreydhorn@gmail.com or via Twitter: @jeffreydhorn

Introducing David Coleman, Lead Architect of CCSS

David Coleman, is the “lead architect” of Common Core State Standards.  Coleman also founded the non-profit Student Achievement Partners and developed the site AchieveTheCore to “guide” publishers in ways to shift their materials to meet the new standards. Coleman also took on the position as the head of the College Board, which runs the SAT college entrance tests. So we have the same person spearheading up standards, curriculum, and test. With an $18 Million grant from GE Foundation, Coleman is well-funded and ready to transform our educational system to create workers for a global economy.

Learn who David Coleman is and you’ll understand a lot about the Common Core.

Coleman said in 2011, “[A]s you grow up in this world you realize people really don’t give a shit about what you feel or what you think.

Pardon the language. These words guide the Common Core which places a greater emphasis on “informational texts” for utilitarian purposes rather than fiction or writing personal narratives for that matter.

In his words, “It is rare in a working environment that someone says, “Johnson, I need a market analysis by Friday but before that I need a compelling account of your childhood.

The Atlantic profiled Coleman in 2012,

“ David Coleman’s ideas are not just another wonkish trend. They have been adopted by almost every state, and over the next few years, they will substantively change what goes on in many American classrooms. Soon, as Coleman steps into his new position as the head of the College Board, they may also affect who applies to college and how applicants are evaluated. David Coleman’s ideas, for better or worse, are transforming American education as we know it.

With little debate, the “Gates-led”  Common Core Standards have been adopted by over 45 states. Coleman was right there writing those standards.  (Did you know the standards are copyrighted by a private group, the National Governors Association and the Chief Council of of State School Officers)

New assessments (See Smarter Balanced and PARCC) are currently being written to the standards and scheduled to be implemented in 2014/15 school year.  Coleman is right there making sure the tests match the standard.  He said,

“If you put something on an assessment in my view you are ethically obligated to take responsibility that kids will practice it 100 times.”

Next up, is the national Curriculum written to the standards so that children can “practice it 100 times” before they take the test.  (Look to Pearson for that.)

What is tested is what is taught.  What is taught, is what is thought.  Why parents and publishers are blindly giving up so much to one man’s philosophy of education is mind boggling. Just mind boggling.

Education policy expert, Diana Ravitch has spoken against the Common Core and asks the question that should be on the mind of every parent in America, “Is there not something unseemly about placing the fate and the future of American education in the hands of one man?”

What Do Common Core State Standards Mean for Students?

Here are some of the dire implications of Common Core State Standards for students:

  • More time spent taking standardized tests
  • „More time preparing for standardized tests
  • Less inspiration from teachers, because they’re restricted in lesson plans and delivery of material
  • „Less time spent in creative endeavors like Music,  Art, Creative Writing, etc.
  • „Less one-on-one time with teachers
  • More time on collective projects with other students
  • „Students and Teachers are seen more as peers
  • „Constructivism and Deconstructionism
  • „Students will not start with Algebra until 9th grade and it will be nearly impossible to do Calculus before graduating high school.
  • „Students will be exposed to fewer great works of literature and more emphasis will be placed on factual material
  • „CCSS admits it prepares students for technical school, NOT college

What Do Common Core State Standards Mean for Tax Payers, School Districts and States?

Here are some of the dire implications of Common Core State Standards for Tax Payers, School Districts and the States:

  • „Current state adopted textbooks will not align with CCSS approved textbooks – $$$ School Districts and Tax Payers pick up the tab!
  • „CCSS will require extensive professional development of school administrators and teaching staff – $$$ School Districts and Tax Payers pick up the tab!
  • „CCSS will require longitudinal databases to be purchased and operated by states – $$$ States and Tax Payers pick up the tab!
  • „CCSS will require large investments in technology for doing standardized testing at the local level – $$$ School Districts and Tax Payers pick up the tab!

Note that for almost all ongoing costs to implement Common Core State Standards, local school districts will be responsible for the bulk of the cost and states will pick up the rest.  Ultimately the tax payer pays for it all!

What Do Common Core State Standards Mean for Teachers?

Here are just a few of the dire implications of Common Core State Standards for teachers:

  • „CCSS has embedded pedagogy or “how to teach” information that mandates exactly what and how teachers should teach
  • „Assessments will ensure that teachers follow the embedded pedagogy to the letter or they will suffer consequences
  • „Performance of students on CCSS standardized tests will impact merit pay and promotions for teachers
  • „Teachers will not be able to individualize curriculum to students
  • „Teachers will not be able to be creative in how they deliver lessons
  • „Teachers and Students seen as peers
  • Education now more about filling a bucket than lighting a fire

Who Wins With Common Core State Standards?

„Just who wins if Common Core State Standards are adopted?

Those developing material and technology for use with CCSS

  • „Longitudinal Database Systems
  • „Touchpad Test Taking Devices
  • „Textbook Publishers
  • „Professional Development Training for Administrators and Teachers
  • „Testing Companies

„Big Business

  • „The players behind Common Core are large corporations aiming to massively grow profits by getting all students on the exact same new learning schedule. You could rename this Corporate Core.

„Big Government

  • „Cradle to Grave Tracking of Students
  • „End of Federalism and Local Control
  • Rise of Regionalization/Nationalization

Timeline of Common Core in Wisconsin

„

Common Core State Standards were adopted by Wisconsin State Superintendent of the Department of Public Instruction, Tony Evers for Math and English in Wisconsin on June 2, 2010.

„

“Wisconsin is ready to make the Common Core State Standards its academic standards for curriculum instruction and assessment.  These standards are aligned with college and career expectations, will ensure academic consistency throughout the state and across other states that adopt them, and have been benchmarked against international standards from high-performing countries.”

Beginning in the 2014-15 school year, Wisconsin’s state assessment will be based on the CCSS. Wisconsin is a governing state within the multi-state consortium called the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SMARTER). Through SMARTER, a common state summative assessment will be created and will replace the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam.  Wisconsin is also interested in adopting a college entrance exam as part of a balanced assessment system.

In addition to SMARTER, Wisconsin is involved in developing both new alternate achievement standards and a new alternate assessment for students with significant cognitive disabilities. Dynamic Learning Maps is charged with developing new alternate achievement standards, called Common Core Essential Elements (CCEEs), which are aligned with the Common Core State Standards. A new assessment will be developed to align with these standards.

Starting on January 1, 2014 the GED in Wisconsin will be aligned with Common Core State Standards.

Longitudinal Data Systems

Wisconsin has initiated a project to build an Early Childhood Longitudinal Data System to house Common Core information.

„Key policy questions to be answered by the Early Childhood Longitudinal Data System are:

  • „Options for assigning a unique ID to children, providers and programs.
  • „Identification of essential common data elements and strategies for developing common data strategies.
  • „Identification of short-term (low-cost, high return) opportunities for data linkages.
  • „Identification of long-term data sharing architecture and strategies.
  • „Strategies for addressing existing data gaps.
  • „Strategies for data governance and usage.
  • „Strategies for data quality assurance.
  • „Strategies for privacy protection and security practices and policies.
  • „Strategies for engaging state and local stakeholders (including the ECAC, policymakers, researchers, service providers and parents) in system building and sustainability efforts.
  • Identification of additional funding sources for building and maintaining the system.

Why Did Wisconsin Sign Onto Common Core State Standards?

„In return for signing onto Common Core State Standards, Wisconsin received a waiver for No Child Left Behind mandates.  Here is the application for Wisconsin’s No-Child-Left Behind Waiver: http://dpi.wi.gov/files/esea/pdf/waiver-final.pdf

„The entire document provides for the state to comply with Common Core, follow a “sustainable development curriculum”  and “align” itself with national and international standards.  But particularly egregious is this statement from page 42 (by way of PDF, or page 35 as labeled in the document) which seems to indicate that DPI will ultimately control the voucher schools:

„”To address these issues, the Accountability Design Team developed a statewide accountability framework that specifically includes all state schools, including traditional public schools and charter schools, regardless of Title funding, as well as private schools participating in Parental Choice Programs (PCP). All schools receiving state funds will be part of the state accountability and support system. DPI will use this opportunity to not only include all schools, but also to increase accountability through the implementation of aggressive policies designed to address persistently low-achieving schools in the state.”

Wisconsin also received $22.7MM in Race To The Top funds in exchange for signing onto Common Core State Standards.

One wonders whether the education of Wisconsin’s children is for sale to the highest bidder…

DPI Provided CCSS Resources

Common Core State Standards Links

Stop Common Core Websites

Pro Common Core Websites

Who Developed the Common Core State Standards?

Despite being called “State Standards”, Common Core State Standards were not developed by the states!  Two trade associations, the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) together formed the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) in 2009.  These trade associations are unelected associations based in Washington D.C.

In „spring 2009, 48 states signed a Memorandum of Agreement committing to voluntary participation in a process leading to adoption of the CCSS.  „In September 2009, a draft of College and Career Readiness Standards was released.  In March 2010, the first and only public draft of the K-12 Common Core State Standards for ELA and Math were released.   In June 2010, the final K-12 Common Core State Standards were released.

It’s important to point out that there were no Governors, State Superintendents of Schools, or State Legislators actively involved in the process of creating the Common Core State Standards.  There were also no state administrative or legislative staff involved in creating the standards.  The role of state governments was literally restricted to signing onto the standards created by the two trade associations, the NGA and the CCSSO.  Many of the states that did sign onto Common Core State Standards did so to receive waivers to No Child Left Behind requirements or to qualify for Race To The Top money.  They were literally bribed into signing onto the standards before they were even drafted.

So Who REALLY Developed Common Core State Standards?

Common Core State Standards were developed by individuals coming from interests in the testing, textbook, training, and student and teacher tracking industry.  Here are the major players:

„America’s Choice – http://www.americaschoice.org

  • Senior Fellows Phil Daro (MATH) and Sally Hampton (ELA)
  • „Really Pearson Publishing – One of the largest providers of services and materials to help low performing schools raise their performance through professional development, technical assistance and high quality materials.

„Student Achievement Partners – http://achievethecore.org

  • „Founders – Jason Zimba (MATH) and David Coleman (ELA) [now with College Board]
  • „Non-profit with goal to promote CCSS
  • „$18MM Grant from GE Foundation

„ACT, Inc. – http://www.act.org

  • „Sara Clough (MATH and ELA), Ken Mullen (MATH), Sharri Miller (Math and ELA), Jim Patterson (ELA), Nina Metzner (ELA)
  • „One of the largest college testing and test preparation services

The College Board – http://www.collegeboard.org

  • „Robin O’Callaghan (MATH),  Andrew Schwartz (MATH), Natasha Vasavada (MATH and ELA), Joel Harris (ELA), Beth Hart (ELA)
  • „One of the largest college testing and test preparation services (SAT)

„Achieve, Inc. – http://www.achieve.org

  • „Kaye Forgione (MATH), Laura McGiffert Slover (MATH and ELA), Douglas Sovde (MATH), John Kraman (ELA),  Sue Pimental (ELA)
  • „P-20 Data Systems Consulting,  Student and Teacher Assessment Tools, Data and Accountability Systems with strong alignment to policies in post-secondary and economic development sectors

So, the Common Core State Standards were created by two trade associations by individuals who worked for interests with a great deal to gain by creating a national standard for education in the United States!

What Are Common Core State Standards?

„The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are a set of learning standards in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics.

„These standards will replace existing state standards in these subject areas.  CCSS for Science and Social Studies are also in development.„

„“The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.” – CCSS Mission Statement

See http://corestandards.org for the infomercial.

Who Developed Common Core State Standards

„Despite being called “State Standards”, Common Core State Standards were not developed by the states!  Two trade associations, the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) together formed the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) in 2009.  These trade associations are unelected associations based in Washington D.C.

In „spring 2009, 48 states signed a Memorandum of Agreement committing to voluntary participation in a process leading to adoption of the CCSS.  „In September 2009, a draft of College and Career Readiness Standards was released.  In March 2010, the first and only public draft of the K-12 Common Core State Standards for ELA and Math were released.   In June 2010, the final K-12 Common Core State Standards were released.

It’s important to point out that there were no Governors, State Superintendents of Schools, or State Legislators actively involved in the process of creating the Common Core State Standards.  There were also no state administrative or legislative staff involved in creating the standards.  The role of state governments was literally restricted to signing onto the standards created by the two trade associations, the NGA and the CCSSO.  Many of the states that did sign onto Common Core State Standards did so to receive waivers to No Child Left Behind requirements or to qualify for Race To The Top money.  They were literally bribed into signing onto the standards before they were even drafted.

Join Us! Common Core Conference Calls

Daniel Webster once said: “If truth be not diffused, error will be.”

Common Core State Standards in education have garnered a growing degree of attention from all sides of the educational policy field in the last several months. Wisconsin was one of the first states to adopt this new set of academic standards and is right at the center of this lively debate.

Common Core’s advocates say it raises the educational bar in Wisconsin.  Yet, detractors have indicated that Common Core comes with a number of detrimental trade-offs.

The minds and futures of Wisconsin’s children merit the careful consideration of all angles and facts to determine the truth and the best course of action.

Interested Wisconsinites are invited to join an exclusive 90-minute discussion call that will address Common Core State Standards. Respected educational policy experts from several well-known organizations will be on the phone to present valuable information and respond to your questions.

To facilitate busy schedules, the discussion calls will be held on the following days and times:

  • Tuesday, April 23, 8p CDT
  • Thursday, April 25, Noon CDT

Experts on the call will include:

  • Karen Schroeder: CEO, Advocates for Academic Freedom; board member, Gov. Walker’s Education Communication Board
  • Joy Pullman: education research fellow, The Heartland Institute
  • Neal McCluskey: associate director, Center for Academic Freedom, The Cato Institute

Call in Number: 805-399-1000  Code: 662912

We look forward to having you on one or more of the calls!

Hosted by the Coalition of Leaders for Ensuring Veracity in Educational Reform