Southern Californians speak out on Common Core at Rock Church

 

Tracy Dunbar, speaking at Rock Church, Simi Valley, CA, 7/11/13, photo by George Miller

Tracy Dunbar, speaking at Rock Church, Simi Valley, CA, 7/11/13, photo by George Miller

By Andrea Bolsoni & George Miller

Tracy Dunbar, Tony Dolz & Lydia Gutierrez spoke on the Common Core Curriculum. All were steadfastly opposed to it.

The Rock Church of Simi Valley held a meeting on July 11, 2013 to address the newly adopted State Common Core  State Standards Initiative.  The first speaker, Tracy Dunbar,a Founding Member of CURE (Citizens United for Responsible Education- http://www.natcure.org/) and a teacher, explained the details of this new curriculum, which will cost many billions- no one knows just how much. CA Governor Jerry Brown just proposed $1.8 billion more.

While most parents were unaware that Common Core will be implemented in the fall of 2013, Tracy Dunbar informed us that school districts of California were told about the nationalized educational system back in November of 2009.  Our account of  Ms. Dunbar’s Common Core presentation follows:

Inception

There have been multiple attempts to impose federal, top-down control of education over the past decades, similar to what is done in multiple other countries, but greatly contrasting with state level or even local control in effect in the USA. Common Core dovetails with (UN) UNESCO standards and may have helped spawn Race to the Top, the Obama administration’s replacement for No Child Left Behind.

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Ms. Dunbar stressed the importance of education to mold the next generation

Some of the chief movers behind the Common Core initiative are: David Coleman, Arne Duncan, Bill Ayers (freed from violent criminal charges on a technicality), Bill and Melinda Gates, Linda Darling Hammond (Stanford Alumna & friend of close Obama confidant Valerie Jarrett), names familiar to people heavily involved in the education world.

Council of Chief State School Officers and Governors’ Association (both nonprofit trade associations) supported and provided this initiative.

The U.S. Department of Education met with state school boards to offer schools  federal “Race to the Top” funding . Accepting the funding will upgrade/provide computers, change to new standards (which have not been completed), train teachers and replace the No Child Left Behind standards of George Bush.  Schools which do not accept the new Common Core standards will not receive Title 1 money.

Many schools across the country cannot afford to operate without this infusion of cash.  45 states have accepted the common core standards without being able to read them in their entirety since they weren’t written at the time.  “Like an epidemic,” Common Core is spreading to many private and charter schools. Even other countries will be using something similar to Common Core including England, Australia, and the Netherlands, to make it a global educational initiative.

In addition, governments and crony capitalists are providing considerable financial support. The latter will likely be richly rewarded downstream for this:

Gates Foundation- $2BB

General Electric- $3BB

Annenberg Foundation- $ Unknown

Pearson, Inc. (London)- bought textbook rights and most of the education publishers, as well as some testing companies.

Open Society for Creative Progress

Apple- iPad donations (schools will have to buy software)

U.S. Govt. “Stimulus” funding- $7.4BB

States on the other hand, will be left with huge liabilities.

Senator Harkin’s Strengthening America’s Schools Act (S1094) would impose additional federal controls over education. Opponents assert that any federal control over education is unconstitutional. Dunbar urged opposing it.

What is it?

Being developed are national K-12 education standards and a greatly revised curriculum which the states are being pressured to accept under the label “Common Core State Standards.”  They employ an “outcome-based constructivist model,” which means they teach for the test.  It also includes a rigorous testing regimen, radically changes teaching techniques/methodologies and adds an extensive student tracking database, consisting of many invasive, highly personal data points that will be compiled. .

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Presentation emphasized only the negative aspects of Common Core

Required:

–         New Textbooks

–         New Teaching aids

–         New Workbooks

–         New Test books 

These must all be purchased from the copyright owners of the Common Core curriculum-.  This curriculum cannot be changed by local school boards but the states can add up to 15% new content.

The Curriculum has four parts:

–         Math, English

–         History/Social Studies

–         Science

–         Health Standards

This is all being accompanied by $7.4 billion in stimulus money, which will require significant additional funding from the states to fully implement.

This nationalized Curriculum, which is said to be unconstitutional, has not been tested or validated in any way.  The Common Core objectives are to increase writing and computer skills and to advance students’ knowledge and application of  technology. Students as young as kindergarten will have their own iPads.  The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and Apple will be donating computers and iPads to schools. Students will complete surveys regularly on topics such as family values and opinions. All assignments will be completed at school where iPads will remain, eliminating homework and parental involvement.

Other changes will include new textbooks from Pearson, Inc. which has bought the copyright for all textbooks, tests, and questionnaires. Standardized tests will be conducted approximately 4 or 5 times throughout the school year. By the year 2014, all college entrance exams will align to Common Core standards. The future of homeschoolers or those not taught under Common Core is uncertain in regards to college entrance capability   Another technological advancement in education comes from General Electric, which has developed biometric sensing devices. These will be worn as bracelets or around the neck of each student as a tracking device while on campus. Some devices will be placed under chairs, monitoring movement throughout the day. 

This “one size fits all” system does not take into account alternative learning styles and individuality.  

Implementation

Public schools in 45 states are intending to start it in the coming school year, although stiff resistance is developing in quite a few states.

Many home, charter, private and parochial schools are adopting Common Core.  College entrance exams are all being reworked to adapt to Common Core. Texts will be phased-in as available.

Ms. Dunbar advocates:

–         Opposing  Senate Bill 1094 (Harken), which would greatly extend federal control over schools (which many believe to be unconstitutional).

–         Work on uncooperative School Board members

–         Say “No” (see Dolz discussion, below)

–         Risk losing federal funding

Watch event video (turn volume way up):

 

Supplementary Materials:

CC1  StopCopmmonCore.com

CC3  The New Common Core Data Collection Requirements

P,S.: Ms. Dunbar later recommended sending letters to editors, posting on web sites such as Californians Against Common Core, CURE, Californians United Against Common Core and Truth in American Education, as well as joining and participating in these organizations.

 

Tony Dolz

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Mr. Dolz, a local businessman,  who has children in the Conejo Valley Unified School District (Thousand Oaks, CA), became very concerned about what he learned about Common Core, got involved and is running for School Board. He formed Concerned Parents of Conejo Valley, to oppose/redirect Common Core and co-organized the first real debate on Common Core in the state.

He has developed and is fine-tuning an “Opt-Out” strategy, in cooperation with two legal foundations.  He maintains that Common Core “is about control.” There are curriculum, testing, data collection/privacy issues which he is addressing.  Dolz will be actively promoting the opt-out strategy and distributing forms and instructions. Some of his opt-out choices are low risk, while some, he says, may suggest the precaution of prior engagement of legal counsel and may not be for the fainthearted.  These are clearly delineated in the instructions for the opt-out form.. Court challenges are envisioned with the help of legal foundations.

 

Lydia Gutierrez

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Ms. Gutierrez is a professional educator, ran for State Superintendent of Education in 2010 and is planning on attempting it again next year.   She only spoke briefly and informally, cautioning us about government-mandated education control.

All three speakers’ messages were in stark contrast to what we are hearing from the educational establishment, which isn’t very much.

 

Andrea Bolsoni homeschools her children and lives in Woodland Hills.

George Miller, is a “retired” management consultant, very active in civic affairs, residing in Oxnard.


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Stefan Djordjevic

Another attempt to herd us into a DMV-like common experience. But please, someone tell us specifically about the left wing indoctrination aspects of the actual educatoinal plan. Let us know specifics about how it differs from what has already been. I want to get into some of the micro aspects.