Governor John Hickenlooper, Chair of NGA recently attended the Chamber of Commerce Leadership meeting in Denver.
(The Chamber of Commerce recently received $1.38 Million to endorse and promote common core) . Hickenlooper and Tennessee Governor Haslam discussed their support of Common Core, or 'Colorado Core' as Hickenlooper has begun to call it. The Colorado BOE adopted common core in 2010, despite nearly 600 letters in opposition. (see here) At the time, most parents (myself included) were not even aware of common core. So just what is Common Core? In order to receive RTTT money that came with adopting Common Core, states had to agree to implement The Four Assurances and as Arne Duncan states, "I want to be clear that these four reforms are interrelated, so that one reform reinforces the others."
1.Adopt standards and assessments that prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace and to compete in the global economy
2. Evaluate and identify effective teachers and principals
3. Building data systems that measure student growth and success
4. Turning around low-achieving schools
No matter what you call it: Colorado Academic Standards, Common Core, or Hickenlooper's latest rebrand: 'Colorado Core', it is clear that Common Core is more than a set of copyrighted standards. The standards themselves have been questioned by many, inlcuding experts who were on the common core validation committee and refused to sign off on them. Two of these professors have made suggestions on how to improve the Common Core standards in Math and English Language Arts. see stotsky and milgram attached. If it is true that "Common Core is the floor", (as many proponents claim) ,why aren't districts able to adopt these changes or modify Common Core to fit their students? Perhaps it is because Common Core is copyrighted and schools cannot deviate more than 15% from the standards. Perhaps also, it is because PARCC testing drives the curriculum; If you are mandated to give the PARCC test twice a year, you must ultimately teach what is on the test, as test scores are part of teacher evaluations.
Common Core does include PARCC testing and it also includes data mining. Data mining is part of the White House's Big Data Project, and is seen in this U.S. Dept of Ed: Enhancing Teaching and Learning Through Educational Data Mining and Learning Analytics and also Arne Duncan's Data Driven Education and here from Knewton at the White House Data Palooza. PARCC test itself also delivers Student-level Data to the USDOE . You can actually watch U.S. Secretary of Ed, Arne Duncan talk about the "cradle to career" data mining in the U.S. Governor Hickenlooper supported datamining in 2009 when he was Mayor of Denver, perhaps that explains why Colorado now makes a single Golden Record of each child's data that is shared with various government agencies.
Newsflash: Parents don't want their children datamined, whether it be from online apps or tests like the Pearson owned PARCC or CMAS,or through teacher observation and toddler assessments like TSGOLD. In fact, Fordham Law Professor Joel Reidneberg's recent Congressional testimony on student data shows that 75% of schools do NOT inform parents that they are collecting and sharing student data. Redienberg and others say we need legislation to protect student privacy and schools should require informed parental consent prior to the collection and sharing of data.
Another problem with PARCC is the significant loss in classroom instruction time. A report this week from the Center for American Progress found that "There is a culture of testing and test preparation in schools that does not put students first." Tests like PARCC do NOTHING to help inform instruction, PARCC does not measure student knowledge. In fact, PARCC and other summative tests like it are designed to measure teacher performance. Putting kids through these hoops and eating up nearly 1/3 of the year on testing is a bad call, not to mention that standardized tests in themselves are not effective. Rather than test the love of learning right out of our children, with tests that do very little to help them, it has been suggested that we put a moratorium on testing. "What the nation really needs, however, is an indefinite moratorium, not only on sanctions but also on Common Core tests, other statewide accountability exams, and requirements to use student scores to judge teachers.This would also allow districts to cut back their own test mandates. And don't be fooled by promises from those like CCSSO to 'study" the testing; rather, put the testing and teaching back in the hands of teachers not the government.
Certainly, if so many Americans and Coloradoans agree that it is unethical to datamine CHILDREN without parental consent, and also agree that we are creating testing mania, we should be able to stop. Additionally, if research like this from the Carnegie Foundtion predicts that Common core wil lower graduation rates by 15 percent and double the high school dropout rate, certainly, we should reconsider the unfounded claims of Common Core's 'rigor'.
Call it what you like, Colorado Core, Common Core, using children as guinea pigs for unproven reforms, data collection and abusive over testing needs to stop.
DATA COLLECTION SYSTEMS ARE FAILING. The most important article on data you will read this week-or this year! #SHARE http://crazycrawfish.wordpress.com/2014/06/12/the-untold-data-crises-at-ldoe
Student DATA: NSA in our schools?
Parents and Common Core critics who have expressed concerns over student privacy and data collection have been labeled paranoid and data scaredey cats.
You may recall the Nevada parent, John Eppolito, who wanted to see what data the Nevada Dept of Ed had collected on his children. The state wanted him to pay $10,000 to see his own children's data. After word got out to the media, Nevada did not make him pay the fine but they now have denied him access to the data entirely. The state claims they cannot verify he is the parent or guardian and cannot link him to his own children's data, therefore they cannot share it with him. However, Nevada and every other state who adopted Common Core does share data with entities other than parents.
A little history: When states agreed to adopt Common Core State Standards, the states were eligible to receive money from Obama's Federal Race to the Top (RttT) program. Between 2011 and 2013, Colorado won $63 million in RttT monies in exchange for abiding to four assurances:
1. Adopt internationally benchmarked standards and assessments that
prepare students for success in college and the workplace
2. Recruit, develop, retain, and reward effective teachers and principals
3. Turn around low-performing schools
4. Build data systems that measure student success and inform teachers
and principals how they can improve their practices. (State Longitudinal Data Systems-SLDS)
Colorado received $17.4 Million from the Federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to build the State Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) in 2010. Every state now has such a database. With regional data centers across the country, states can share and compare student data, creating a national database. This large data base
"In an interview with Watchdog Wire, parent Cheri Kiesecker said, " The data isn't just about grades and it doesn't stay within the school. It's shared with any number of ed tech companies and agencies and we [parents] can't see the data or know what they are doing with it. That's a problem." Schools collect data by teacher observation, classroom video, digital curriculum and tests taken on classroom computers; school districts share the data with Colorado Dept of Education (CDE). CDE can and does share children's data with vendors and ed tech companies of all sorts. Pearson, NWEA, Knewton, Emergenetics, Strategic Data Partners, Rennaisance Learning, Teaching Stategies Gold, Common Assignment and many more vendors are present in Colorado schools today. These vendors collect psychometric data and evaluate student personality and behavior. Pearson, the world’s largest education company, also holds the contract for the Common Core aligned PARCC test which will be used in all Colorado schools. Pearson uses NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) in its programs and has also purchased a number of ADHD diagnostic software companies. Knewton collects up to 10 million data points per student per day, "tagging students down to the atom", as they say in this video from the White House data palooza. Student data collection takes place in everything from the teacher's written observations, and on-line learning such as your child's MAP or STAR test, weekly curriculum like Reading Plus, CMAS tests and soon to be PARCC tests. All this daily data collection, over a number of years, is a road map to your child's brain, his/her personality, family situation, strengths and weaknesses. It's a record of your child, in fact, Colorado Dept. of Ed (CDE) calls it a "Golden Record."
CDE creates the Golden Record or your child and shares it with other vendors and agencies across the state and the country. Your child's personality, his dislikes, if he cries when you drop him off at pre-school, or if your child can go potty by herself, sucks her thumb, types fast, gets nervous, all the way to how many brothers and sisters they have, criminal history, if he would vote for clean energy, if your child is a leader or a follower, and of course academic skills are included in the record. Millions of data stored in the Golden Record are shared with the Dept of Corrections, Dept of Labor, Social Services and Higher Ed and the Federal government. The intent is to track a child from preschool through 12th grade, through college or workforce. U.S. Dept of Education Secretary Arne Duncan says,"We should be able to look every second grader in the eye and say, ‘You’re on track, you’re going to be able to go to a good college, or you’re not." To take it one step further, ACT, the organization that developed the ACT college-entrance exam, has developed a career test to look at academic and behavioral skills of kindergartners. ACT anticipates that entire states or groups of states will choose to utilize the kindergarten career test this fall.
Who ulitmately decides if your child is college material or which career path he or she should take? Should it be decided by the government, or should it be decided by your child? What part do parents play in all this?
Given the facts below, are their concerns valid? After reading this article, you may want to find out what is on your child's "Golden Record".