By Janice VanCleave
We have lost focus on what common core is all about. It is a federal program that comes with lots of controlling federal government strings.
Common Core is just a bigger and “badder” form of the CSCOPE MANAGING systems. Like CSCOPE, Common Core comes with its own assessments. Like CSCOPE, Common Core is a program that takes over and teachers are monitored to guarantee that the common core program is being implemented with fidelity.
Common Core Science Standards are much better than are the Science TEKS. If Common Core Science Standards and Science TEKS were mixed together, the mixture would be much better than the TEKS on their own.
As to using Science Curriculum aligned to common core being used to teach the science TEKS–if either Commissioner Williams or Thomas Ratliff new anything about science education they would have told you that any set of science standards are only idea that can be found in any science text book.
Our own ESCs sold Texas public schools the biggest pile of education garbage and TEA, the SBOE, the legislatures and Commissioner Williams are still supporting the ESCS and their products. We are beating the wrong horse. The ESCs covered up the inadequate, poorly written science TEKS with all the talk about rigor–creative thinking– project based learning. The ESCs were able to pull off a better disappearing act than most Vegas magicians. Like all magic, its a matter of distracting the audience so that it appears that exciting happened. With the ESCs, the public was distracted by the false propaganda of having more rigorous new TEKS. Thus more rigorous new STAAR tests. With educators and parents upset over what was going to happen, with TEA’s help, the Rider 42 grant of $200 million dollars magically disappeared and most Texas teachers started the 2010-2011 school year with new revised science TEKS and instructions not to use last years lessons and not to use old science books. In a flash! Veteran teachers came forward letting the public know what a farce it all was. The news media was quick to join in on vilifying these Veteran teachers. They are said to be lazy and only wanted use their old outdated lessons. These teachers were said not to want to be part of 21st Century technology because they would have to learn new technology methods. So, the veteran teachers were vilified in the news and prevented from revealing the truth that needing new TEKS was a scam to bring in more money to Pearson as well as the ESCs.
I challenge everyone to read the new science TEKS and find anything that makes the science TEKS technology related. What you will find is a pitiful list of sketchy ideas that on their own do not even begin to help educators prepare students for future science studies. As to the TEKS preparing kids for the STAAR—There are not enough errors in the 5th grade TEKS to prepare students for the 5th grade 2013 science STAAR test. But the ESC testing program called Eduphoria has enough errors in the science questions to match those in the science STAAR. Maybe TEA is using Eduphoria to prepare the STAAR science tests.
Standards, no matter what they are called are nothing but a list of concepts that have been identified as important for a specific grade and subject. Before the 20 ESCs found a way to make lots of tax-free money and no one checking the books, state standards for elementary grades were used by publishers to prepare textbooks for each grade that built from one year to the next.
Thus, the science TEKS for K, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 was like a spiraling staircase. Textbooks aligned to these TEKS contained information about specific topics with overlapping info on foundational concepts, but specific topics were not taught over and over every year. There were a few changes to the revised TEKs that were used to confirm that old science textbooks were not useful with the new TEKS. A few science TEKS were shifted between grades but overall, the old science books could have been used and would have been helpful with the new stripped to the bone TEKS.
It is obvious that neither Commissioner Williams nor Thomas Ratliff have an understanding about standards. Books aligned to common core standards for high school subjects most likely are not going to be any particular problem. Chemistry is chemistry.
But in elementary, a 3rd grade common core text might contain concepts that our TEKS want introduced in the 5th grade. When Texas had an education system that focused on the students, other states adopted Texas standards because they knew that the Texas State Board of Education had real control over the books allowed in our schools. Now we have Ratliff and others who want no printed textbooks so parents can be part of the educating process. In fact, with the aid of TASA/TASB, the SBOE has been stripped of his powers and viewing textbooks has little meaning. The SBOE is like a toothless lion, it can roar but can’t bite.
The public needs to understand that it is not the common core standards that governor Perry was trying to keep out of Texas. Instead, it was the Federal Governments control over the Texas schools that come with these standards. Now the common core standards can be found online. Free common core lessons that match the common core standards can be found on line and printed for class use. Some are good and some are bad.
The original idea of keeping common core out of Texas Schools had to do with Texas maintaining control over schools in Texas. But the ESCs and TASA/TASB along with Ratliff were pushing to transform TEXAS education. Of course if you are trying to sell a product you promote it as being the best! the only thing that will work! You cannot do without this product! ETC………..
While the ESCs had a product and are still selling the gutted CSCOPE managing system for the same price, it has never been about the product. Instead, it is all about the managing system–the ESCs still have a lot of control over what Texas students are being taught and Commissioner Williams only knows that the TEKS must be taught.
I say forget about Common Core–it is now the red herring being used to keep us busy while TASA/TASB are boldly implementing their Vision Learning Reform, which is all about virtual learning.
Schoolboard trustees and administrators are either too uninformed to understand what is happening or they are being rewarded in some way for being involved in cheating students out of their education.
One of the goals of the TASA/TASB vision learning follows:
We (families, schools, churches, youth organizations, etc.) cannot control access to information by the young and recognize that once existing boundaries no longer exist.
Schools who have pledged to transform their schools have agreed to allow children to make their own decisions about what they want to read in print as well as online. NO Boundaries.
What does Commissioner Williams have to say about this? Before Robert Scott left he put into place a program where some Texas schools field tested the TASA/TASB Vision Learning –On his way out the door Scott proudly stood with TASA/TASB against the STAAR testing. Yes, I know Scott is the all time favorite Texas Commissioner, but think about it—- Why did Scott not put a stop to the creating of a one-size-fits all curriculum by the 20 ESCs? The ESCs are suppose to meet the specific needs of students within their regions. If all students have the same needs, then Texas doesn’t need the 20 different ESCs.
TASA/TASB has lots of money–Texas school taxes. Yet, Scott joined with this group and stood against TEA. Of course, he was packing as he took his stand against the STAAR. Just what are the duties of the commissioner of education?
When I first suspected foul play with the CSCOPE lessons, Robert Scott did not make any overt move to find out what was going on. The truth is that he should have known what CSCOPE was all about.
TEKS vs Common Core–no contest–Common core wins.
The original difference is that with common core Texas lost control over its education system. This fact has been lost in all the lies from the ESCs, TASA and Ratliff along with others. The federal government offered educational stimulus money but common core implementation was required. Common core assessments were part of the deal.
TASA/TASB want common core standards and common core assessments to be implemented. Obviously the directors of this organization are being promised rewards.
Check out the self-analysis schools joining the TASA/TASB transforming program fill out. Note that the bottom line is that students will have not restrictions when it comes to online information. Kids that cannot read can learn to play games –if they take a test several times they finally click the right answer even if they cannot read. My grandson is dyslexic–at 7 he started at the bottom right corner of any page and wrote his letters backwards. A teacher was getting a reading degree and worked with him after school. She taught him how to read. Before he ever read one word, he could learn to play any computer game that interested him. My husband had a car racing computer game, “Italian Job,” but didn’t have any instructions. He messed with the game some but didn’t figure it out. The grandson came for a visit and before the day was over he could explain to his gramps how to play the car racing game. You click here–you click there–etc……. the child may not have understood the game, but he knew what to do to win. This is what our children are learning–they don’t know what they are doing, but they know how to click until they win.