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October 22, 2014     Feather River Bulletin
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October 22, 2014
 

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Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014 13B 0000ui00plic negativeiy I appreciated the opportunity back in June to share some thoughts here regarding the Common Core state standards for K-12 education. I took the position that California should opt out, as several states have done, because the standards are unnecessary and were imposed through an undemocratic process, and because it's a serious waste of money for California to replace the curricula and testing systems it already had. Over the summer, I was interviewed twice on plumas Community Radio's "The Common Good" with Joseph Munoz, and during those shows, I explained in some depth why the Common Core is a corporate-backed, half-baked, unrealistic solution to a manufactured crisis, and why most states, school districts, administrators and practitioners are accepting it unquestioningly even though there are good reasons for questioning it. Since I became aware of how Common Core came to be, I have argued that it is likely to face increasing resistance, and therefore is not likely to be with us for very long. We now have some hard data indicating WHERE I STAND TOMMY MILES CORNERSTONE LEARNING CENTER that the anticipated public opposition in fact exists. Every year since 1969, Phi Delta Kappa (an outstanding educational society of which I'm proud to be a member) and the Gallup Organization have conducted a well-crafted poll of Americans' opinions regarding public education, and that poll has become one of the most respected sources of data on the topic. Several of this year's questions focused on Common Core, and the results were published last month. I was heartened to see the headline on PDK's journal cover put it very nicely: "Try it again, Uncle Sam." What did we find out? That around 62 percent of public school parents and about 60 percent of the public at large are against requiring their community's teachers to follow the Common Core in planning for instruction. This opposition is much higher among Republicans (76 percent) than among other groups. Among Common Core's opponents, a whopping 87 percent place importance on the fact that it limits what teachers can teach, and 77 percent consider it relevant that teachers in their communities don't support the standards. What we're seeing is the public response we should expect when education reform packages are created, marketed and quietly implemented by non-educators. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation put up the capital to develop the Common Core based on the demands of big business, to lobby the U.S. Department of Education (which, interestingly, employs a substantial number of former Gates Foundation staffers) to support it, and then to stealthily market it to the National Governors' Association. Why governors? Because among elected officials, they have the most control over education spending priorities. Also, governors like to be perceived as doing something about our "failing" schools, especially Republican governors, for whom a "let's get tough on the public schools" stance is essentially required for their political survival. Working through the governors was an intentional strategy for avoiding public discussion. The alleged failure of Com00nor,', star!ctc:-ds public education is a widely accepted myth that would take the rest of this page of the newspaper to debunk. In a nutshell, though, American students compare fairly favorably to students in Other countries, generally near the average, and better or worse in some areas. This is impressive performance given the language and cultural diversity among American students, so to paint American schools as "broken," especially for political purposes, is flatly dishonest. When certain politicians and researchers do this, they are lying through their teeth and they know it, because much of the research they have read and conducted contradicts their basic assertion. The Common Core's creators claim that the standards are "research-based." Well, yes and no. The sequencing of many of the grade level requirements is supported by research, but neither the standards as a whole nor the curriculum and assessment materials have been field tested to any meaningful extent. We are in the midst of a huge national experiment with public education, and in the absence of field testing, we have no idea how it will turn out. As I pointed out in the radio interviews, many of Common Core's student performance benchmarks are laughably unrealistic. Its proponents insist that we somehow owe it to students and teachers to hold them accountable to tough standards, and that many states' standards aren't tough enough. This was not true in California's case, where a set of rigorous standards had been in place for over 15 years, along with instructional materials and tests, all aligned reasonably well to each other. We have demonstrated measurable improvement from year to year, but thanks to Common Core, that is about to change. Decades of education research have told us that simply "raising the bar" without strengthening the delivery of content or increasing access to remediation is a stupid and wasteful approach to the improvement of outcomes. However, because that's largely what Common Core does, we now must brace for the inevitable decline in performance that accompanies every major revision of instruction and measurement. This time the expected drop is 25 - 40 percent, and right on cue, the National Governors' Association is already at work advising its members as to how to put the most favorable political spin on it. Perhaps the greatest single injustice of Common Core is that it treats teachers and administrators, who have some of the best ideas as to what works and doesn't work in instruction, as pawns in the process rather than as experts to be consulted and listened to. More broadly, though, it ignores almost all of the philosophical, ethical and societal reasons for the existence of education. Right on the title page of each set of standards appears the tagline "preparing America's students for college and career." Every educator knows there's far more to education than that, but if nothing else, blind obedience to shortsighted commercial and federal initiatives is not a behavior that we as educators should be modeling for students. It's still not too late for California to opt out of the Common Corporate experiment. In this election season, I'm making my views known to our state representatives, to Gov. Brown and to every candidate running for those offices. I encourage all of you to do the same. LETTERS, from page 12B Checking his watch, he adds, "Anyway, I have a tee time in an hour and then leave on a fund raising trip. But I'll be back Thursday. I'll call a meeting of the homeowners association and see what they are willing to do." You glance over your shoulder to see the flames grow higher, and hear the children start to scream. The door closes in your face. Welcome to Khobani. Lynn Desjardin Portola L,00I,00t 1 percent of 00l)olio mosl nJ)00culi io In 1985, there were more than 125 countries where the wild poliovirus existed. The disease killed or crippled more than 1,000 people a day, most of them children. Rotary International launched PolioPlus that year, a multimillion-dollar campaign to immunize the world's children against polio. In 1988, the World Health Assembly resolved to wipe out the disease that has killed and paralyzed people for 5,000 years. Rotary, the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the U.S. Centers WHERE I STAND resulting in over $9 billion .................................................................. in contributions. JOHN DeSELLE ROTARY CLUB OF QUINCY for Disease Control and Prevention came together to carry out this effort. More recently, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation became a partner in this campaign -- now known as the Global Seven'million children have escaped polio because of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Reported polio cases have decreased by 99 percent -- from 350,000 in 1988 to a few hundred per year currently. The wild poliovirus only exists in three countries at this time: been made, but the world is not yet polio-free. No child is safe from polio as long as one case remains in the world. The last 1 percent of cases are the most difficult to prevent because the virus lingers in some of the hardest-to-reach areas on earth. Rotary and its partners are "this close" to making polio The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation currently has an agreement with Rotary International to match $2 for every $1 raised by Rotary up to $35 million per year through 2018. Locally, the Quincy Rotary Club has donated $8,275 to the worldwide polio eradication effort. Most of this amount -- $7,204 -- has been raised from Polio Eradication Initiative. Over 2.5 billion children have been immunized. Rotary has contributed over $1 billion, and helped to solicit support from donor governments Nigeria. Much progress has been made recently in these three countries. Of the 201 cases so far in 2014, 166 cases were in Pakistan. Tremendous progress has after smallpox -- to be eradicated. With your help, we can finish off this disease. The target corhpletion date of the polio elimination effort is 2018. Plumas County drive-thru flu clinic. The 2014 clinic will be our seventh year of ( fundraising for polio eradication. Please contribute what you can. Sudoku Puzzle #3066-D 6 6 2 5 4 1 3 7 4 5 7 9 2 4 2 8 5 5 8 1 6 2 7 Difficult 2 6 8 9 IClHIIINIAIDIoILILIwIIILIDIE ITIRItlslHIclAIMIPIDIAIvlII o. 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