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STOP COMMON CORE

The NFF opposes Common Core for Nebraska's children

Nebraska is one of a handful of states that has not yet adopted the Common Core State Standards. Our state has resisted efforts by the federal government to go along with these national standards, even though millions in federal dollars are being dangled as an incentive. However, the Nebraska Board of Education is now considering contracting themselves with the US Department of Education and adopting the Common Core. Here are the reasons the NFF opposes the Common Core:

What is Common Core?

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are a set of content standards at this time limited to English language arts (ELA) and mathematics. These standards, if adopted by a state, will replace existing state standards in these subject areas. That is not all, there are other agreements the states make when they choose to adopt the Common Core State Standards including the new age Computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT) that will be given twice yearly, and participation in the State Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) which will store testing data along with private student specific data and share that data with other states, the Federal Government, and private interests.

What's wrong with Standards?

Nothing. Nebraska and every other state has standards, most of which are very similar, but Common Core State Standards were created by National Non-Governmental Organizations in Washington DC with no public involvement. Proponents of the CCSS call these standards "state led" but the fact is that the National Governors Association (NGA) and the National Council of State School Officers (CCSSO) and their private partners like Achieve and the Gates Foundation.
It's Not A National Curriculum Right?

Curriculum follows standards. Good or bad when standards are written and copyrighted by the Federal Government via private partnerships in business and States who agree to Adopt those standards are not free to change any standards. In fact states are allowed to add only 15% of original content standards. The connection between standards and curriculum is clear. As the Brooking Institute wrote in their report "How Well Are American Students Learning?", "The intended curriculum is embodied by standards; it is what governments want students to learn. The differences articulated by state governments in this regard are frequently trivial." So national standards will lead to a national curriculum and control over education will transfer from the hands of parents and local school boards to the US Department of Education and the set of unelected boards, bureaucrats, and private partners the USDOE decides is best.
What Does Testing Look Like Under Common Core?

Proponents of the Common Core are excited about the CAT tests which are developed by companies like American Institutes for Research (AIR) with grants from the federal government. AIR "is one of the world's largest behavioral and social science research organizations" and is applying behavioral and social science to educational assessments. These tests are highly statistically accurate and proponents push for implementing the latest and greatest technologies to assist with the accurate measurement of student progress in academics. So what's the problem? 

Why does the NFF have reservations about participating in Common Core National Testing?

There is reason to seriously question what these tests are seeking to measure beyond cognitive ability and knowledge sets. There is well documented potential for the development of adaptive test for personality assessment and that companies like AIR have the ability to devise tests that input selected variables that measure “behavioral characteristics”, along with variables that measure language arts, science or math. Award winning child psychologist Dr. Gary Thompson wrote, "It would be relatively “easy” to design a language adaptive test that has behavioral characteristics embedded into the design of the test. Formulas could be designed to produce two sets of results (language and behavior), and then forward the language test results to its intended target (Utah Schools), and the behavioral results to another intended target (Federal Government, Private Agencies)."

Are Nebraska's students disadvantaged by not participating in CAT tests?

NO. Research on cognitive ability tests shows that adaptive tests, and paper-and-pencil tests lead to equivalent scores. Paper-and-pencil tests are also cheaper and the state has more control over the content of the tests and what they are designed to measure. It is nearly impossible for state leaders to provide oversight of CAT tests because no two students will see the same test, a grade-level test will have about 1600 possible questions, and it requires psychometrician professionals to interpret the results of such tests.

What information will they store in these data basis and why should I be concerned?

Perhaps the most alarming aspect of the Common Core agenda is the data mining of our children's information outside of parental consent or knowledge. Stored in these data basis that were created as part of the "Race to the Top" grant program is highly personal student data such as social security number, health-care histories, learning disabilities, disciplinary action (from detentions for minor infractions to expulsions), attendance, homework completion, religious affiliations, and any educational or physiological data assessed through CAT. In 2011 portions of FERPA were changed by Arnie Duncan at the USDOE so that data the states share with the Federal government can then be shared with private organizations and companies WITHOUT PARENTAL PERMISSION. Nebraska has already created it's version of the SLDS and is storing student specific data in this computerized system. The company charged with collecting and storing our children's data, inBloom, states in its own privacy policy that it “cannot guarantee the security of the information stored in inBloom or that the information will not be intercepted when it is being transmitted.” The NFF is concerned that if Nebraska adopts Common Core fully our children's personal and family information will have no protections under privacy laws.

GOOD OR BAD OVERALL

Many will argue Common Core based on whether or not the standards are good rigorous standards, whether or not the Common Core will improve education in American, whether a national curriculum will lead to indoctrination of our kids, or whether or not the Common Core will make America's economy more competitive. These are interesting discussions but whatever side you come down on in each of these cases there are a few simple facts about Common Core that make it a dangerous path for American education. (1) States who adopt Common Core lend their constitutional powers and responsibilities to oversee education in their states to the Federal government and move decision making over a child's education further from the hands of parents and communities. (2) There is no way to control the private interests who are highly involved with Common Core or to be certain they have our children's best interest at heart. (3) There is no way to be certain that very private intimate data on our children and by extension our families won't be abused by the Federal Government or private interests with access to this data. And (4) There is NO evidence that further standardizing education and a new testing regime will result in better educations for our children.

The NFF guiding principles are at odds with the Common Core State Standards agenda. Our principle that Family is Key is in jeopardy when parents have less control over what their children learn and how they learn it. Our principle that Freedom in Education is Essential is weakened when our schools are controlled by forces we cannot influence. Our principle that Government Intrusion can be Harmful is a reminder that we must be very careful about what kind of "help" we accept from government because governments who seek to micro-manage the everyday choices of parents in pursuit prescribed outcomes, will do great harm to the integrity of the family and by extension, the well-being of children and society as a whole. For these core reasons the NFF will work to keep Nebraska state schools free.

In the words of Ronald Reagan: “Remember that every government service, every offer of government - is paid for in the loss of some personal freedom... In the days to come, whenever a voice is raised telling you to let the government do it, analyze very carefully to see whether the suggested service is worth the personal freedom which you must forgo in return for such service.”― Ronald Reagan

Join in us in this fight. We need your ACTION!

Write to the Governor, your State Senator, the Legislature's Education Committee, the State Board of Education and let them know that you do NOT want to give up local control of our children’s education and we do NOT want Common Core State Standards in Nebraska! This is happening now so we need voices heard NOW...please write, call, email TODAY!
Governor Heineman
http://www.governor.nebraska.gov/mail/govmail.html

Education Committee of the Nebraska State Legislature
http://news.legislature.ne.gov/edu/

patriciatimm04@gmail.com
mquandahl@bqlaw.com
ksullivan@leg.ne.gov
bavery@leg.ne.gov
tcook@leg.ne.gov
adavis@leg.ne.gov
khaar@leg.ne.gov
rkolowski@leg.ne.gov
jscheer@leg.ne.gov
lseiler@leg.ne.gov


Nebraska State Board of Education
http://www.education.ne.gov/StateBoard/Members.html

lillielarsen@windstream.net
rachel.wise@nebraska.gov
valdezstateboard@gmail.com
lynn.cronk@charter.net
molly.oholleran@gmail.com
john.sieler@nebraska.gov

3 comments:

  1. AnonymousJuly 23, 2013

    I wonder how much longer we, (the people of Nebraska, not the Gov. officals) can "stave" off Common Core. In an article in the Lincoln Journal Star, October 2011, it explains Nebraska's application for a 50 million dollar Race To the Top grant. They go on to say that there are only a few steps left, thanks to Susie Buffet, to attain all the "qualifications" necessary to receive this "grant."

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  2. We have been told in the Johnson-Brock School District that Nebraska has alligned it's standards to common core. They are teaching our 4th graders math from a common core book new this year. My family is very upset over this. If you have not seen how they are teaching math, you need to check it out. It seems to us that it will put our students at a great disadvantage because they will not be able to multiply and divide a simple problem.

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    Replies
    1. Common Core WILL BE HERE full force in the elementary schools this next coming school year 2014/15. Not so much in the Secondary schools they are targeting elementary. it has been brought in through Building Bright Futures Organization which is tied to the Gates Foundation..

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