Saturday, April 21, 2012

Susan Ohanian Takes on Common Core - Show Me the Money, Honey

Blog of the day from an elementary school teacher:

The Fruitcake and the Big Banana – a tale inspired by a pineapple

Before I get to common core (and you might want to check out Miss Eyre at NYC Educator on this topic -Common Core, Uncommon Assumptions) here is some background.

I had always had issues with the testing process but went along, even taking the scores seriously. In 1979 my new principal turned up the heat and made them into somewhat of a high stakes game. Teachers would be publicly praised and shamed based on the results. She was ambitious and wanted to use her scores as a springboard to higher things. But she never made the cut.

Then around 2001 I connected up with George Schmidt's work in Chicago -  "Substance" which featured the work of Susan Ohanian who went after the high stakes testing game with a vengeance. George had been fired for printing some dumb local Chicago test in full. The summer (2002) I retired George came for a visit and I invited a group of people I had met through my work at the delegate assembly. I had the idea of doing a Substance like newspaper that was widely distributed instead of the monthly newsletter I had been distributing at the Delegate Assembly since 1997. In the fall of 2002 I started putting out Education Notes as a 16 page tabloid and began distributing 20-25000 copies to the schools.

John Lawhead, then at soon to be closed Bushwick HS found a copy in his mailbox and contacted me. He wrote a great piece on standardized testing for the next edition of Ed Notes. At that point NCLB was a topic of conversation, with the UFT/AFT supporting it, and Ed Notes took a stand against, thanks to John and George and Susan. John told me about a conference of activists opposing NCLB (and did not see her again until this past summer at SOS in Washington) and we went. I discovered John's immense knowledge base on just about anything but he really had the high stakes testing game nailed and has had a lot of influence over my thinking. (The idea of founding ICE was hatched by us and Sean Ahern and later on John, Angel Gonzalez and myself came up with the idea for GEM.)

Of course, Susan was on to the common core standards scam right away. Common core means more tests. In today's update she has a bunch of goodies for all of us. (And check out that CD of music on NCLB.)

Ohanian on Common Core
And now, in separate entrepreneurial ventures, the former president of McGraw-Hill enterprises and Canter associates of assertive discipline infamy and folks at Sacramento State University bring Common Core courses to the land. See two press releases.

In case you haven't noticed, that's what Common Core is about: $$$ in the pockets of curriculum enhances and testmakers. Yesterday I received two slick brochures from NCTE about the things they're selling in the name of 'Supporting Students in a Time of Core Standards' and one from Heinemann titled 'Meaningful teaching for Common Core reading.' It actually contains scripts, telling teacher what to say.  I have been a member of NCTE for decades. Heinemann has published 7 of my books. I feel ashamed of the associations.

E2020 Inc. Releases Suite of Common Core Courses Innovative Curriculum to Better Prepare America's Students for College, Careers
Press Release
PR Newsire

Former CEO of McGraw-Hill and Kaplan moves on to where the money is: Common Core delivery system.

New Canter Courses Help Educators Meet Common Core State Standards
Press Release

Look at who is associated with this Common Core offering.

CRLP Signature Programs and Common Core State Standards
web announcement
Sacramento State

I see something like this and I figure universities deserve every bad 'government accountability' thing that is thrown their way.

Common Core, What Is It Good For?
Alan Singer
Huffington Post

 New York State Council for the Social Studies condemn Common Core but are they doing it for the right reason?

Separate Reading Exams Await Elementary Teachers
Stephen Sawchuk
Education Week

As Stephen Krashen points out, this looks like a  deliberate attempt to rewrite the history of literacy research. And to make sure teachers are under the Standardisto thumb.

Maybe Some Children's Authors Need a Ferocious Kick on Both Shins
Susan Ohanian


As the tests for the Common Core State [sic] Standards approach, we need to revisit the list of authors willing to sell their work for student interrogation.

Talking pineapple question on state exam stumps ... everyone!   Students, teachers, principals -- no one has any idea what the deal is
 Ben Chapman AND Rachel Monahan
New York Daily News

So is why did Pearson test writers change Daniel Pinkwater's eggplant into a talking pineapple? And don't miss a first grade teacher's take on the incident, The Fruitcake and the Big Banana -- a tale inspired by a pineapple.

Special Ed Child Forced to Take Test, Mom Threatened by School Officials in Oceanside, NY
Jim Horn and Parent
Schools Matter and United Opt Out National

Parents now have a place to make threats from administrators public.

Now Hear This: Letter to Arne Duncan: Two Teachers & a Microphone
Two Teachers and a Microphone

Must see/hear.

Mr. Fitz


Order the CD of the resistance:
"No Child Left Behind? Bring Back the Joy."
To order online (and hear samples from the songs)
Other orders: Send $15 to
Susan Ohanian
P. O. Box 26
Charlotte, VT 05445


Anonymous said...

You know what's funny about the ed blogs ? On this side of the aisle everyone welcomes comments. On our local "ed Reformer's" site there are no comments. On the site the charters closed down there were no comments only a twitter addy I pounded with highly critical commentary of the tripe they were spewing. Crickets. I guess they aren't so much about the critical thinking and exchange of ideas as they are their indefensible talking points. Keep up the great work here.

Andra Miletta said...

Susan is the best investigative reporter we've got. And Alan Singer would stand in front of the wrecking ball that wants to eliminate regents in history and geography (announcement any day now). Heroes! thanks for linking all in one place Norm, you're like a google search that gets all the right hits!