Proof Teachers Have No Freedom To Teach Under Common Core Standards (CCSSI)

The following Guest Editorial by Debbie Pelley was sent to the Jonesboro Sun and published April 19, 2014 under the title, "Educatiors being deceived by Common Core, Obama."  There is some interesting information in the Documentation below that was not included in the published article because of length. 

Guest Editorial

Last week a "conservative" proponent for Common Core was interviewed on a local radio station. She spouted the same line that other proponents, legislators, and even governors  everywhere are using to combat critics of Common Core - that Common Core are only standards, and the district and teachers have the choice as to how to meet those standards.1

 

She repeatedly said Common Core doesn't tell districts and teachers what to teach or what methods to use and challenged listeners to read the standards to see how benign they are.  The Sun quoted her as saying at a meeting in Jonesboro, "There's not a problem with Common Core, but trouble with school districts' implementation of it." 2 That statement itself defies common sense.  Then why would schools be using the same Common Core curriculum and methods all across the nation, and why is there the same mass opposition in almost every state? 

 

The initiators of Common Core are very devious.  The standards are just one component of Common Core so proponents can cleverly point to those standards and say there are no methods or subject content required.  But there are several other Common Core components that do indeed control what teachers teach, how to teach it, when to teach it, and how the classroom is to be arranged. 

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Teacher evaluation is the latest and probably the harshest component of Common Core and carries the threat of termination if teachers fail to comply. The Arkansas State Department of Education developed this evaluation, and the legislature passed it into law, Act 709 of 2013, to be put into effect in 2014.  3 & 4

 

Under this law, "teachers would be placed in 'intensive support' status if they score unsatisfactory rating in any category."  Teachers who "cannot satisfactorily complete plans to be removed from 'intensive support' could be subject to termination," according to the Rules developed for this law.  5

 

The principals can no longer evaluate teachers based on their own professional knowledge and expertise.  They must evaluate the teacher on the things the government has outlined and have to pass a test to indicate they have learned the what, when, where and how to evaluate the teacher. The evaluation model adopted by Arkansas, which is written by Charlotte Danielson in Professional Practice, A Framework for Teaching, indicates the teacher must do many things (more than 20)  contrary to traditional education. 6 & 7  Following are just a few of them. 

 

 

All these methods on which teachers are evaluated are repeatedly taught in staff development ([teacher training). 9 Teachers are required to attend several days of this forced indoctrination which could be compared to sensitivity training for so-called homophobes. One reformer summed it up this way: "'Breaking the mold' means breaking this system [traditional education], root and branch." 10

 

Then of course there are the grants that bribe states and districts to participate in Common Core. To qualify for a share of Obama's $4.35 billion Race to The Top (RTTP) grant "18 states changed teacher-evaluation laws, in some cases explicitly tying the legislation to 'Race to the Top' requirements." 11

 

(Obama's educational reforms were first called Race to the Top (RTTT) and soon morphed into Common Core. There is serious talk about changing the name of Common Core since so many people now oppose it.) 12

 

Arkansas' application for a $374 million RTTT grant included national common core of education standards and tests (PARRC), math instructional programs across the state, and many other changes that Washington favors. 13  Forty-six states developed comprehensive education reform plans to apply for RTTT grants, and 34 actually changed laws or policies, according to U.S. Sec. of Ed. Arne Duncan. 14

 

Arkansas didn't win a RTTT grant, but the changes stayed - just as they did all over the nation.

Obama said he wanted change, and he got a lot of bang for his bucks with $4.35 billion RTTT grants. 15

 

I wonder just how many other changes Obama has been able to leverage with the full $100 billion (taxpayer money) dedicated to education reform from the stimulus fund. 16

 

Obama's Common Core educational reforms are just about as complex, as destructive, and as voluntary, and as affordable as Obamacare!  And it is a shame that so many legislators, parents, and leaders are being deceived.

Debbie Pelley, Jonesboro

Public School Teacher in Arkansas for 27 years

 

Footnotes:

1. "Answer To Us" radio program with Paul Harrell, 4:00 pm April 8, 2014

2. "Arkansas Against Common Core visits Jonesboro," April 10, 2014, Jonesboro Sun.

3." State developing standards for new teacher evaluations," Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Dec 13, 2009 "LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education is spearheading the development of a comprehensive teacher-evaluation system to offer the state’s school districts." Evaluation was piloted earlier   but put into effect across the state in 2014-15.

 4. Link to Act 709, law on evaluation of 2013 sponsored by Senator Joyce Elliott and Representative Homer Lenderman:  http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2013/2013R/Bills/SB833.pdf

5. "State purged in phase 1 of education-grant contest," Arkansas Democrat Gazette, March 5, 2010 http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2010/mar/05/state-purged-phase-1-education-grant-cont-20100305/?subscriber/arkansas  Also see footnote 3 & 4 above.

6. See article in number 5 above for this quote:  "Arkansas’ plan [application for grant] also called for expanding the state’s student longitudinal data system; new teacher and principal evaluation systems…Thompson said the plan [grant application] contains all the necessary components to earn grant money during the second phase of the competition." 

7. Arkansas Department of Education "Teacher Evaluation System"  http://www.arkansased.org/divisions/human-resources-educator-effectiveness-and-licensure/office-of-educator-effectiveness/teacher-evaluation-system Also see article in number 3 above. On Danielson website this quote is found:  "The Framework may be used as the foundation of a school or district's mentoring, coaching, professional development, and teacher evaluation process, thus linking all those activities together and helping teachers become more thoughtful practitioners."

8. " In addition to adopting Common Core, ADE has also been involved in a 21-state consortium - Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC - that is developing student assessments aligned with the Common Core standards." Quote from Arkansas "Bureau Brief on Common Core, PARCC and Next Generation Science Standards," July 2013, prepared  for a legislative hearing on Common Core. 

9.  "Promote teacher growth through professional learning." Section 1 (2) (A) (ii)

(Act 709 Link to Act 709, law on evaluation  http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2013/2013R/Bills/SB833.pdf

 10. "The National Alliance For Restructuring Education, Schools - and systems - for the 21st Century," page 3 -  http://www.wpaag.org/Marc%20Tucker%20Grant%20-%20Basis%20for%20Act%20236.htm

11.  See same article as in number 5 above for quote below.  "In 2008, the year before the [RTTT] contest was announced, five states changed teacher evaluation laws. Between 2009 and 2010, 18 states changed teacher-evaluation laws, in some cases explicitly tying the legislation to “Race to the Top” requirements."

12 See articles at links given in numbers 3 and 5 above for Obama's educational reform name as RTTT.   Also see the following link for this quote: The Common Core state standards could someday be known by a different name in Arkansas.  State Education Commissioner Tom Kimbrell said Wednesday that Arkansas has asked the coordinators of the Common Core State Standards Initiative for written clarification of certain issues, including the question of whether Arkansas has the flexibility to change and rename the standards."  Taken from article "Common Core could get name change in Arkansas" Nov 20, 2013, at this link:

http://arkansasnews.com/news/arkansas/common-core-could-get-name-change-arkansas

13. See article in # 5 above for the following quote. "The Arkansas Department of Education had requested $374 million to implement education changes across the state.  Some highlights of Arkansas’ existing plan included implementing a national common core of education standards and tests… Arkansas’ plan also called for…math instructional programs across the state."

14. "Nine States and the District of Columbia Win Second Round Race to the Top Grants"

http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/nine-states-and-district-columbia-win-second-round-race-top-grants  

15. See article in # 5 above for Arkansas failure to receive grant. See the following quote at the link below:  "Some states are vowing to plow ahead as best they can without federal money. Others are sticking with their plans, but pushing back deadlines because of tight budgets. And a few are bracing for fights over whether to abandon the overhaul plans altogether.  “We’re stuck now. The mandates are all there, but we don’t have the money,” said Hudak, a Democrat…Bruce Baker, a Rutgers University associate professor and expert in school finance, said the “Race to the Top” had losing states in mind as well as the winners."  http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2010/dec/06/fixes-troubling-grant-losers-20101206/?subscriber/national Title: "Fixes troubling for grant losers."

16. "The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) provides approximately $100 billion for education…[to] advance reforms and improvements that will create long-lasting results for our students and our nation including early learning, K-12." Title of article:  The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009: Saving and Creating Jobs and Reforming Education, March 7, 2009 http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/leg/recovery/implementation.html

Posted April, 2014

By Women Action Group (WPAAG.Org)