Common Core - Page 2
These pages are intended to help inform parents and school officials about the dangers of Common Core:
Rather than teaching American history and promoting Patriotism it teaches progressive ideology and suppresses Religion

-- Common Core - 1/1/14
-- Bill Bennett on ďCommon CoreĒ - 7/31/13
-- Patricia Levesque on "Common Core" - 8/03/13
-- The Education Earthquake In The Rocky Mountain State - 11/07/13

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 Common Core 1/1/14

John Stossel     January 1, 2014

My TV producers asked our Facebook audience to vote for a topic they'd most like to hear discussed on my year-end show. The overwhelming winner, for some reason: the education standards program Common Core.

Most Americans don't even know what that is. But they should. It's the government's plan to try to bring "the same standard" to every government-run school.

This may sound good. Often, states dumb down tests to try to "leave no child behind." How can government evaluate teachers and reward successful schools if there isn't a single national standard?

But when the federal government imposes a single teaching plan on 15,000 school districts across the country, that's even more central planning, and central planning rarely works. It brings stagnation.

Education is a discovery process like any other human endeavor. We might be wrong about both how to teach and what to teach, but we won't realize it unless we can experiment -- compare and contrast the results of different approaches. Having "one plan" makes it harder to experiment and figure out what works.

Some people are terrified to hear "education" and "experiment" in the same sentence. Why take a risk with something as important as my child's education? Pick the best education methods and teach everyone that way!

But we don't know what the best way to educate kids is.

As American education has become more centralized, the rest of our lives have become increasingly diverse and tailored to individual needs. Every minute, thousands of entrepreneurs struggle to improve their products. Quality increases, and costs often drop.

But centrally planned K-12 education doesn't improve. Per-student spending has tripled (governments now routinely spend $300,000 per classroom!), but test results are stagnant.

"Everyone who has children knows that they're all different, right? They learn differently," observed Sabrina Schaeffer of the Independent Women's Forum on my show. "In the workplace, we're allowing people flexibility to telecommute, to have shared jobs. In entertainment, people buy and watch what they want, when they want." Having one inflexible model for education "is so old-fashioned."

No Child Left Behind programs were an understandable reaction to atrocious literacy and graduation rates -- but since school funding was pegged to students' performance on federally approved tests, classroom instruction became largely about drilling for those tests and getting the right answers, even if kids did little to develop broader reasoning skills. So along comes Common Core to attempt to fix the problem -- and create new ones.

Common Core de-emphasizes correct answers by awarding kids points for reasoning, even when they don't quite get there.

A video went viral online that showed a worried mom, Karen Lamoreaux -- a member of the group Arkansas Against Common Core -- complaining to the Arkansas Board of Education about complicatedly worded math problems meant for fourth-graders. She read to the Board this question: "Mr. Yamato's class has 18 students. If the class counts around by a number and ends with 90, what number did they count by?"


But I could be wrong. Maybe this is a clever new way to teach math, and maybe Lamoreaux worries too much. Unfortunately, though, if Lamoreaux is right, and the federal government is wrong, government still gets to decree its universal solution to this problem.

Promoters of Common Core say, "Don't worry, Common Core is voluntary." This is technically true, but states that reject it lose big federal money. That's Big Government's version of "voluntary."

Common Core, like public school, public housing, the U.S. Postal Service, the Transportation Security Administration, etc., are all one-size-fits-all government monopolies. For consumers, this is not a good thing.

With the future riding on young people consuming better forms of education, I'd rather leave parents and children (and educators) multiple choices.

Despite Common Core, Schaeffer pointed out that this year did bring some victories for educational freedom. "We saw new education tax credit programs and expansion of tax credit programs in numerous states -- Alabama, Indiana, Iowa and others. Education Savings Accounts expanded in other states; voucher programs expanded."

This is good news. Vouchers, Education Savings Accounts and tax credits create competition and choice.

 Bill Bennett on the ďCommon CoreĒ Attachment Five

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

HH: Morning glory and evening grace, America. Itís Hugh Hewitt on this wonderful Monday when the Pope is making such big news. I could talk about that, but Iím not going to. Itís that time of the year when parents all over the United States are sitting down with their high school seniors, or about to be seniors, and saying okay weíve really got to crack these college applications. And some people are sitting down, some teachers to learn the new Common Core standards. Education is everywhere so in this hour, Iím devoting it to education. The first half-hour of it being spent with the former Secretary of Education of the United States, the Honorable William Bennett, my colleague on the Salem Radio Network. At the bottom of the hour, Jay Mathews of the Washington Post joins me. Bill Bennettís got a brand new book out called Is College Worth It? which I greatly encourage every parent of any potential college student this year or next, or even if they have a freshman in college whoís thinking about not going back, to go sit down and read Is College Worth It? You can get it on your iPad. Bill Bennett, welcome to the Hugh Hewitt show. Great to have you.

BB: Thanks very much. Say hi to Jay for me. Heís doing some interesting work, Jay Mathews.

HH: He is a terrific reporter. I mean Iíve always appreciated his willingness to go where the story is and I will do that.

BB: How long have you known him?

HH: Probably 10 years going back a few books.

BB: Okay. Well, you know what he did for me when I was Secretary, he found Hyman Escalante for me.

HH: No kidding?

BB: Thatís how I got there and thatís how we brought him to Washington and had lunch with Reagan and it was a great day.

HH: Well, I will begin the bottom of the hour with that. Before I begin my conversation with you, I gotta, Iíve got to chide you about one thing. Over at the which is the place where all of our loot is, the Hugh Hewitt Show stuff and the Michael Medved Show stuff and the Bill Bennett Show stuff, I looked and Iím really disappointed in the Bill Bennett Morning in America mug. I do not believe that itís ergonomically appropriate. It looks like it could topple over at any moment.

BB: Well, no, youíve got to focus in the morning. You know, youíve got to focus.

HH: [laughing]

BB: And itís a challenge. We face a lot of challenges in the morning! Whatís one more!

HH: And I like the travel mug. I figure thatís what your sucking on every time you leave and wherever you leave at oídark hundred in the morning to trundle over to the studio

BB: Youíve got it.

HH: but ah, okay. Itís great stuff at the I just want to sell more stuff than Bill, America so help me out there.

BB: We go, we go into the Salem studio like those Seals going into Bin Ladenís house.

HH: [laughing] Youíre arriving in the middle of the night and no one knows your there until Ka Bang!. Okay, letís talk about Is College Worth It? I want to get to the 12 hypothetical scenarios but first of all, this shocked a lot of people when it came out. The Secretary of Education, Bill Bennett, Mr. Education,

BB: Yeah, yeah.

HH: Mr. Ph.D., Mr. Dr., and JD and all that stuff, Is College Worth It?Already people in the education establishment werenít talking to you. Are they talking to you yet again?

BB: Well, they hadnít been talking to me for a long time. You remember, Iím the guy had 32 honorary degrees before I joined the Reagan Administration and then got 2 in the next 30 years.

HH: [laughing] I didnít know that.

BB: Once I joined President Reagan it was over anyway, but we try to tell the truth there and the truth is to help people save time and save money and save effort, and the answer to the question isnít no. The answer to the question is it depends. And you know when you come up with a statistic, Hugh, like the fact of all the kids who start out in 4-year colleges, 46% of them drop out. And thatís worth thinking about before you put money into that enterprise if your not even going to finish and thatís almost half.

HH: And even if you are going to finish, if you finish with the wrong major, from the wrong school, at the wrong amount of money. The statistics on debt in your book are stunning. A lot of kids emerge crippled for life from college without any value added.

BB: Yeah. Now I had a ton of debt when I got out. I finished law school and I got out in í71 and I owed about $25,000 which would be about $150,000 now, right? Something like that

HH: Okay.

BB: and the first thing I did was start to pay it off, so I knew I couldnít get married. Ah, and you know I didnít get married until my mid-30s and I knew I couldnít buy a house. I just had to pay off the debt. And you know, I wish I had, we had 5 sons rather than 2 so it makes a difference these choices. I wouldnít trade my education for a lot of things. I probably would trade it for 3 more kids. So, um, you know thereís those choices, but what weíre trying to get people to do is to focus on what they are deciding to do and why, and what weíre seeing is that a lot of people about 2/3 of the people who decide to go to 4-year schools should probably do something else. And that would mean either take a job, join the military, try community college, think about a for-profit, other things to look at. Look carefully and choose wisely as they say in Indiana Jones.

HH: You know, I very much appreciate it. Iíve got friends over at the University of Phoenix and then at Corinthian and a few of the for-profit schools, no one every pays them any attention when this conversation comes up, but they often work harder and longer to give you more for the dollar that you are spending.

BB: They work hard and they work long and they work with the population thatís often been burned and people who, you know, donít have a lot of resources and this is their last shot, their best shot. So, yes, I do give them credit. Thereís problems in all sectors, but I think people need to take a close look. What you donít want to do it seems to me, is just go along with the crowd and say everybody is going to 4-year school, I will to, because that is a way to get lost and a waste of your time.

HH: Now, I want to read for you America, from Bill Bennettís Is College Worth It? he has a whole bunch of great stuff in it but especially 12 hypothetical scenarios. This is scenario number 1: You went to a public high school and you made the National Honor Society. You scored in the top 10 percent on your SATs and were President of Student Government. Your family can give you $15,000 per year to go to school, but you really like politics. Youíve been accepted to George Town, a school that can run upwards of $50,000. Your brother has studied marketing, just moved back in with your parents after graduation and he owed $40,000 in student loan debt and your scared of that situation and you donít want to give up on a great opportunity youíve worked hard for. Bill Bennett, whatís the verdict in that situation?

BB: Well, you take, take a good close look at the situation. If you think itís worth it and you want to get into that level of debt thatís okay, but go into it with your eyes open. You got into a great University. You can borrow the money if thatís really what you want to do fine, but learn from your brotherís situation too.

HH: Thatís what I love. The answer is cross your fingers. Georgetown can give you a private sector grants or scholarships to help with the costs. It goes on to talk about that and thatís real world advice. I think the point, what I like about Is College Worth It?, Bill, is it all depends upon the individual whether or

BB: Yeah.

HH: whether theyíve been a game of valor game playing junky, eating potato chips in the basement

BB: Right

HH: or their an App store wizard whoís already got a few Apps to their credit and to their bank account. It all depends.

BB: Hugh, what youíve got to do is pierce through a few things and the problem is that there is so many lies. The lies that have been told to you about who you are and what you know, and youíre the greatest thing since sliced bread, and youíll never have a problem getting a job. The odds are that a young person going to college has maybe not been told the truth by his teachers, by guidance counselors and others. That isnít always the case, but itís often the case. The other lie is that what is called College Catalog Copy and itís a lot of PR and go for the stars and this is it, and boy, you are on way to the greatest future and youíll be on top of the world. And not true, often. So find out who graduates? How many people graduate? What do they owe? Where do they get jobs? Whatís their employment? We have some stuff in there called the return on investment. PayScale put this together, and it is the return over lifetime or over 30 years for various institutions, you know when institutions pay, what donít. If you get into Harvey Mudd College, go

HH: yep

BB because itís the single best investment in America. If you get into the South Dakota, the School of Mines, go. If you get into Stanford, go. Itís a sensible choice, but a lot of other things maybe not.

HH: I also want people to realize in Is College Worth It? which, by the way, is pretty inexpensive if you get it as an iPad app as well. Just run out and do it

BB: Yep

HH: because you will not find it. I went and looked in the Barnes and Nobel at my studio, Bill Bennett, there are probably a 100 books on college. Is College Worth It? is not stocked there, and I thought to myself, isnít that just, just perfect.

BB: Come on. . .

HH: The one book that might actually help them. So, go get it on your iPad or your Kindle. You list under religious schools, your first school that is worth it, Biola University. My friends Coróthey are all going to love that at the start of this, so you do actually break it down into here are some schools if youíre looking to start right now, to look at where to apply. You give them a good long list.

BB: You know Biola, uh?

HH: Oh, very well.

BB: Yeah, I donít know it well, but given what people that do know it well said that we just had to recommend it. A lot of these schools are schools that I donít know, but we just sampled a lot of opinion people whose views we trust, looked at the records and were impressed.

HH: Along with places like the Franciscan University of Stubinville which I have never set foot on even though itís in the great state of Ohio, but I know it by reputation, Catholic University, Patrick Henry College, the University of Dallas. There are a lot of good choices so I want people to understand Is College Worth It? is not a vendetta against higher education. It is an appeal for sweet reason as they start this process and they should look now before they file one application, Bill.

BB: Yeah, this is your life your talking about. This is your life, your money, your resources, maybe your parents resources, your time, your opportunity and itís important to make the best choice you can.

HH: When we come back from break, Iím going to turn my attention with former Secretary of Education Bill Bennett over to the question of the Common Core. What is it? And then Iím going to continue the conversation at the bottom of the hour with Washington Postís education writer Jay Mathews. I have been getting so many questions about the Common Core and Iím ignorant of it. Iíve really have just begun to dive into the subject, and I thought since Iím going to get smart, Iím going to start with one of the guys that I trust most on issues of this sort. You can hear him every single morning on most of these radio stations across the United States. You ought to have his app on your iPad. You ought to have his brand new book on your Kindle, Is College Worth It? by Bill Bennett. Iíll be right back America. Itís the Hugh Hewitt Show.


HH: With my friend and colleague on these radio stations, the Honorable William Bennett, former Secretary of Education. He is, however, my competitor at the If you go to yu can see all his wonderful featured items, but then make sure you shop in the Hugh Hewitt store and get the better stuff. Ah, Bill Bennett,

BB: We just didnít think we should put ashtrays up there!

HH: No! Well, you know what? We should have done that, provided it was only for cigars!

BB: [laughing]

HH: I thought that would have been appropriate. The best loot that President Nixon used to give away was the White House ashtray. I doubt very much they are even made anymore, the White House ashtray.

BB: Iím sure thatís true. Alright, Bill Bennett, what started me off today and what will continue after the break with Jay Mathews is, I got another question this weekend about the Common Core and I said I have go to figure out whether Iím for it or against it, and I started reading and, boy, I just thought Iíd call you up and ask. What do you think of this process, its pluses and its minuses?

BB: You were theoretically for it, practically you may not be. The idea of the Common Core is simple. The idea that all American students should have a common basis of knowledge in various subjects such as math and English, that there are books we should all read, be familiar with and that these help in the attainment of cultural literacy, numeracy, in math, Algebra and the like. Not a very controversial idea. When I was Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, before Secretary of Education, I asked 250 people what 10 books should everybody be familiar with by the time they finish high school. This was across the spectrum, Hugh, and the interesting thing was the consensus on 4 or 5 books. The Bible, Shakespeare, Founding Documents of the American Republic so it seems to me that the Claremont Institute all the timeĖ Shakespeare, and the great American novel which is Huckleberry Finn going west to find out the meaning of life. Anyway, not a bad curriculum, then.

HH: Yep.

BB: Lincoln was mostly educated on the Bible and Shakespeare. He did pretty well. That is at its core the idea, the idea of a core, a common core or a core curriculum, but its become as a series of readings and a series of standards, set of standards, developed out of the states by Governors and others which have now been presented to the country. Forty-five states have signed up saying they want to do it. However, there has been some contamination of the process. The federal government has got its big foot into it. Um, thereís been big money made available to people in the states, something called ďrace to the topĒ if they subscribe to the Common Core, and some of the work thatís been done particularly in the science standards and the history standards does not look so good. So, there is now a very popular rebellion, a lot of our folks, tea party folks who say no, no, heck no, we wonít do this. We donít want any part of it. So, where it stands now is, is the question. Could states, last thought here, good states, states that have really gotten their act together and one has to acknowledge Massachusetts here when it comes to standards, we donít really need to go the Common Core because theyíve transcended it. Theyíve bypassed it. However, simply having good standards doesnít mean you have good performance. Your state, California, has some excellent standards. The problem is they are not implemented. They are not put into place. They just sit there in a glass jar.

HH: Uh.

BB: So, it doesnít do the kids any good in California.

HH: Now, when I read that Jeb Bush was one of the prime movers behind it, but that Marco Rubio has come out swinging against it, something obviously is worrying the center-right conservative base, and I think itís probably the long arm of central government combined with the never ending agenda of progressive elites when it comes to education policy. Youíve been battling these people for years.

BB: Yeah, no, thatís it. Thatís exactly right. Thatís exactly what people are upset about and so we have some, take a figure like Mike Pence, who is a guy I admire very much; good guy, smart guy, very sympathetic to the idea of the Common Core. Heís put it on hold now in the State of Indiana, partly because of pure political resistance, the tea party, other, other folks. But, yes, that fear of the federal government getting involved and there is reason to worry about because of what I just talked about, the race to the top and the federal government has been pushing it so that is a problem. Youíve got everything else going on in the federal government. All the things that are causing people to worry, anxiety even disgust and this is not a great time to make a sale on whatís regarded as a national curriculum.

HH: But you know whatís interesting? One, one of the best teachers that I know, her name is Kate. Sheís middle school teacher. I mean she is a truly great American and an extraordinary woman. She loveís the Common Core. She teaches the Common Core to people so Iím not telling folks who come up at the microphone at events that Iím breathing fire about it, because it seems to me that a lot of smart people like it.

BB: Well, you know, what she probably teaches is Core Knowledge, E.D. Hirsch. Is this familiar to you?

HH: Oh, yeah, yeah.

BB: Okay, okay itís the Core Knowledge of E.D. Hirschís work in which he says, look, vocabulary, science is great predictor of success in school, in college and employment and vocabulary side depends on reading, reading books, reading in context, not just memorizing words, and reading certain kinds of books, and we know if people read great books, then they are likely to get a lot smarter and a lot quicker. And, therefore, a lot of teachers like Kate are dedicated to this and, I think they are right, and thatís what I wanted my kids to read and thatís what my kids did read. Should the federal government be getting behind this? Should it be incentivizing people to do this? What kind of intrusions under the curriculum would the federal government make? Thatís the kind of worries that people have.

HH: So, let me ask you this to wrap it up. A lot of school board members listen to this show. Iím sure they listen to your show as well, depending east coast and west coast. If they are a school board member, what do you think they ought to be doing asking and implementing when it comes to this subject, especially when during that 3-minute comment period at the beginning of the board of education meeting, some angry person stands up and says, if you dare impose the Common Core thatís a loss of local control and Iíll vote you out.

BB: Well, how about we impose the Common Core with local control. How about we persuade you to vote for it by showing you whatís inside it. Itís all in the implementation. As Jay will tell you, having those standards themselves doesnít do much. Itís all in the implementation. Yet, make the case. Say hereís the material. Hereís what we are going to teach your child. Do you want your child to read this or not?

HH: And so if they say Bill Bennett says X on the Common Core, they are not correctly quoting you unless they say what?

BB: Unless they say, trust but verify.

HH: Huh! [laughing]

BB: Okay. Youíve got to read details. Youíve got to, if someone says, itís the Common Core, you just donít lay down. If someone says you oppose the Common Core, you got to say, what are you putting in its place? If youíre in Massachusetts you donít want to trade for the Common Core, because youíll be trading down. They have a better curriculum.

HH: William Bennett, that is why I called and why I asked. Thank you my friend and have a great, great trip. I know you are headed west next week and from the land of the very, very sultry and hot to the land of breezes and wonderful time. Enjoy it out west. Is College Worth It? is Bill Bennettís brand new book. Make sure you go and order that over at ITunes or you can get it at Kindle. Itís in bookstores everywhere, America. When I come back Iím going to be joined by the one and only Jay Mathews. Jay Mathews, of course, a national Washington Post education correspondent who wrote the book Work Hard. Be Nice. which I probably talk about it odnosi um here, making you people all crazy about it, and check in during the break at the and, while youíre at it, if you want to help Duane. If you want to help Duane in getting his treatment and making sure that everything is gong well in his life, head over to, a brand new website that went up from friends of Duane over the weekend. Make sure you check that out as well, and then over to and finish off with Is College Worth it?

 Patricia Levesque on "Common Core"

Saturday, August 3, 2013

HH: Welcome back, America. Itís Hugh Hewitt. Thank you for listening today. Joined now by the CEO of the Foundation for Excellence in Education Patricia Levesque. Ms. Levesque, welcome. Itís great to have you on the Hugh Hewitt Show.

PL: Thank you, Hugh, for having me.

HH: I have been spending a great deal time this week diving into the Common Core with a whole bunch of different voices those who are enthusiasts, those who are opponents and I am at the end of the week or getting close to the end of the week, confused over where its headed. What do you think is the situation right now concerning the Common Core controversy?

PL: Well, I think states the 40 something states that are still participating in Common Core are moving ahead with implementation which means teachers are being trained in how to teach certain standards more deeply like spending more time on getting fractions right and so that process of implementation in getting ready to go back to school is whatís going on right now.

HH: Now, yesterday, Michael McShane of AIE was on. Heíd been testifying in Michigan about a pause up there. I got a note last night on an email from an Indiana legislature who said that Indiana is taking a pause. What, in your opinion, is driving the reticence in places like Michigan and Indiana and various districts and certainly in tea party grassroots among some teachers unions?

PL: Sure. Well, I think one of the things that is going on in the states is not really a pause on the standards but states are taking a look at what type of assessments and what process they are going to use to assess the standards. Not really that many states are going through a pause on actual implementation of the standards, and certainly school districts are moving ahead even in Indiana if the state legislature is not. Teachers have to teach two certain standards. They have to know what they are going Ė what they are expected to teach students and, I think, most across the country itís still moving forward.

HH: All right. Patricia, Iím so glad you came on today. Iím up in Sacramento for an event tonight and I walk into my studio which is AM 13 The Answer and one of the Senior Execís handed me a piece of paper from his spouse whoís been listening all week and it says the following: Common Core is coming to your childís school in 2014 and youíre not going to like it and here are some of the bold points: Common Core is the latest national federal one-size fits all educational program for all K-12 school children; When did you vote for this new mandatory school regime?; A federal takeover of all the schools and hardly anyone knew?; Algebra has been pushed from the 8th to the 9th grade; California costs is estimated at 1.6 billion. Thatís just a few lines of what was handed to me. What are you are guys doing to respond to critiques or concerns?

PL: Sure. I think if you talk to most parents whatís still most parents have not heard about is Common Core and so a responsibility that we have and others who do support the higher standards is to make sure parents and teachers really do know whatís coming. And what is coming is a set of state adopted, because states individually adopted through their constitutional or legislative or executive branch process, these academically standards and they have been adopted in most states for a couple of years. Parents needs to understand how fantastic these standards are going to be for their children, because for the first time we actually started by looking at college and career readiness. Where do we want students to be when they exit high school and then letís work backward. What does that mean then that kids needs to know in kindergarten to be prepared for first grade? I talk to parents and one of examples that I give them of old standards vs. new is in kindergarten math. In many states across the country, including mine, the old kindergarten math standard was students needed to be able to count from 1-10. And the new math standard is kids need to count from 1 to 100 starting at any number and from 36-0 backwards. That puts my child on a better playing field so that when he graduates in the future, he will be able to be competitive with kids with China and Hong Kong and it finally gives us a standard where we will not have, 25% of the students right now in our country who earn a high school diploma, only 25% are ready for college course work. Every year families and taxpayers spend 3 billion dollars on remediation. Basically, we re-teaching high school level course work to college students and these standards are not going to solve every row in the public education system, but they put usóitís one tool in the tool box that will get our students better prepared so that weíre not remediating, spending 3 billion dollars on remediation on kids who actually achieved a high school diploma

HH: Iím aó

PL: itís a great first start.

HH: Iím talking with Patricia Levesque who is the Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, big proponent of the Common Core. So, Ms. Levesque, again, if we go back I donít think anyone would disagree that American public education in many places in the country is in deep, deep, deep, trouble and that something has to happen, but the Common Core has elicited a great deal of opposition based upon the fear that the federal government is taking over. In fact, Iím holding again the opposition piece that was given to me when I arrived at my Sacramento studio today and it says, that if your state is not enrolled in Common Core, no federal money, some of which, some would call that blackmail money in exchange for your childís mind. The fedís no longer think we need to read the traditional classics for the values that they have taught. How are you responding to parents who get this information, this opposition and say, hey, the feds are taking over?

PL: Well, you know, thatís the fear of federal government take over is a justified fear, and letís face it, in light recent events [laughing] in Washington and things that the federal government has completely been wrong in their actions, from my opinion, itís good and itís important for parents to have a very healthy skepticism of federal government takeover. We should, weóthe price of liberty is eternal vigilance and parents we donít want the federal government to tell teachers what textbooks to use and how to teach. Those are good and honest and justified fears. They happened to be completely incorrect when it comes to these state adopted standards.

HH: And, so Ė

PL: Go aheadó

HH: So, in terms of well, stick with me after the break if you will because I wanted to ask, not only about where parents go to find good information, is there a website you recommend that they go to?

PL: We would recommend which is a place where parents can find out accurate information, where they can see why conservatives really do support these higher standards and weíre happy to answer their questions directly from that website as well.

HH: and when we come break, weíre going to talk about data mining with Patricia Levesque who is the CEO of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a true, true, conservative reformer who served 6 years in the Florida legislature in the Speakerís Office as the Staff Director for Education Policy. She knows of which she speaks.


HH: Iím finishing up this half-hour with Patricia Levesque who is the Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation for Excellence in Education and we told you where to go for more information on the Common Core from the conservative reformers perspective. Patricia Lesvesque, one of the arguments that Iíve discovered this week is that many conservative activists are afraid that the Department of Education is going to be using the Common Core enrollment process to data mine local district information on students. What do you say to that?

PL: Well, I say parents need to be the joint now and they need to be diligent in the future to make sure that that doesnít happen. The federal government should not be taking students private personal information and using it for any reason as far as Iím concerned, but Common Core, the data still stays at the state level. Itís the states that run accountability systems now. Itís the states that will be responsible for controlling and reflectóprotecting that data in the future.

HH: But has it happened? I know over at Higher Core Standards, for example, it says fighting federal overreach. Thereís a whole line there and debunking against the whole line, but is the federal government trying to get a hold of that data?

PL: Not, not through Common Core. I mean, Common Core is a set of standards. I think there are other research pieces of thingsóthis particular notion of data mining came from a research report that was done completely not associated with Common Core by some researchers in the U.S. Department of Education with consensual, you know, approval from parents to study certain aspects about student learning. And so, but unfortunately, that, you know, those urban myths kind of get spread and thatís what happened in this case.

HH: Yeah. I got sent that report many times last night. Page 41, I think, it has all the references to data mining the local district data and I was a little bit stunned that these researchers put into that thing. What does, for example, higher core say to parents about that? That they should go to go their school board and say not now, not ever, never?

PL: What they should be very active locally. They should pay attention to what their school boards are doing and parents should want to have reports on who has access to my childís data and those are healthy skepticisms and we have to remain vigilant over it. You know, the thing that I would want every parent to understand and know about Common Core standards is that the standards are going to better prepare your child in the future to be college and career ready. They are hopefully going to save you money because you wonít be paying remediation costs out of your pocket when your child goes to higher ed and really wasnít prepared in high school. The standards are going to be better in that teachers now, especially with mobility, with our military across different state lines, with our students who are mobile. We will now have, itís almost like having a common electrical grid. Now you have innovation that can be tied to the actual high standard that we want to make sure that students learn.

HH: Patricia Levesque of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, thank you for joining me. Iíll be right back, America. Stay tuned. Follow me, or at HughHewitt@twitter.

 The Education Earthquake In The Rocky Mountain State

11/7/2013 9:12:00 AM - Hugh Hewitt

Described by local media as "a major overhaul of education financing that would have provided nearly $1 billion in additional revenue for Colorado schools," the measure was rejected by a nearly 2-1 margin, with almost 66% of voters saying no.
That isn't just a defeat. It is a repudiation, and an ominous one. Set aside the specifics of the measure for a moment and reflect on the message sent by a 2-1 defeat for a measure touted as pro-public education, no matter its merits.

That kind of a whooping --especially when the losing side had the full support of a popular governor, huge out-of-state hitters (and donors) like Mayor Bloomberg, Bill Gates and Education Secretary Arne Duncan and many business elites-- is a huge signal that perhaps a rupture has occurred, a rupture of the long American tradition of support for public schools across party lines and across all demographic categories. What happened Tuesday night in Colorado was obscured by other high profile elections in New Jersey, Virginia,and New York City, but the national news media should quickly get around to asking what is happening with schools that have made controversies surrounding them into such hot button issue in so many ways and in such a short period of time?
How, exactly, could a measure which such big name and deep-pocketed support lose so badly, so overwhelmingly?
Earlier this summer I spent a broadcast week interviewing various voices from the debate over the "Common Core." I did so when scores of listeners to the radio show and visitors to my various public events began to bring up the subject, and I wanted to get smart about it. So I dug in, on the air, in front of everyone. I am no expert on "Common Core," but was willing to hear from all sides on the issue.

My conclusion: There is no consensus position on "Common Core," but boy is there enormous energy and a lot of growing anger. "Common Core" could turn out to be a terrific thing, a floor on which to build lasting education reform under the guidance of local school boards and free of federal control, or it could become a politicized exercise in top-down ideologically-driven dictates that first drives parents crazy and then drives them and their children out of the public schools. Much depends on the local school boards and how they act over the next two years.

The "Common Core" debate is just one of many swirling around public education right now. Another is the question of financing and technology --do the schools have enough money and technology or do they need more and if so, where should it come from and who should pay for it? What sort of technology does the average classroom need? The Los Angeles Unified School District just experienced a very bumpy roll-out of iPads-for-all, and skeptics of technology-as-the-soliution are growing in number just as districts across the country get set to try technology driven innovation. (attachment six)

The point is the ground began moving on education issues years ago, accelerated in recent months and in Colorado on Tuesday reached a new level of polarization, and not in the traditional sense of a stand-off of teacher-union-versus-school-board over pay and benefits.  Debates over the specifics of school management have long been a feature of American local politics, but rarely -maybe never-- have schools taken center stage as issues driving entire state or even national campaigns.

The future of public education is becoming deeply politicized, and that is a very bad thing, as polarization over public education will do very little good and much harm to millions of students who just need good or great teachers in good or great classrooms getting them ready for a rapidly changing world.

What happened in Colorado should send a shudder down the spines of everyone who cares about schools --not because the measure lost, but because public schools themselves --as a category-- became a lightning rod, a political cause, and the verdict on them ultimately a huge rebuke to the political elites of Colorado, a rebuke that could be misinterpreted as lack of support for public education on the center-right.

What in fact seems to be happening is a great awakening about the centrality of education in America, and the need to embrace effective, locally-controlled reform. I have been on the board of a public charter school system in Arizona for the past many years --Great Hearts Academies of Arizona (Web Link) which now operates 16 amazing schools with more on the way and a waiting list of thousands of students eager to enroll. These are public schools, and all across the country reform is flourishing within the public school system through amazing organizations like KIPP and many others.

Great things could happen in the next few years in education --amazing things, rapidly spreading, effective reform and new, energized partnerships between parents, students, teachers, administrators and communities, but that cannot happen if every school district becomes another front in the national battle between left-and-right. The message from Colorado ought to be: Keep education politics local. As they have always been. As they ought to remain.
Credit: Hugh Hewitt  in TownHall Daily

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