Common Core

Common Core And The Vomit Test


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Confession: I don’t get John Oliver. I find him funny occasionally, albeit often terribly misguided on many issues facing his adopted country (which, by the way, I think he truly loves and really means well in his sometimes awkward assessments).

But just when I think he’s completely in the European Socialism tank, he goes and does something like this.

113 is a lot of tests…something is wrong with out system when we just assume a certain number of kids will vomit…

He’s right that Bush’s No Child Left Behind was the gateway drug to Common Core, and that Obama flip-flopped on his disgust of filling out bubbles on a standardized test. And that there’s plenty of reason to suspect that these standardized tests, used to determine the relative health of a child’s ability to learn, are actually pretty miserable at determining what they’re designed to determine.

Meet Arturo Alas: A free market-minded, Constitution-loving Republican taking on a big government House Democrat in California

During Arturo Alas’ congressional campaign HQ grand opening in Covina, California, I had the opportunity to chat with the Republican candidate running against Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA) to represent California’s 32nd congressional district. After a surprising top-two primary win, Art Alas hopes to win in November with his free market and constitution-loving message.

The incumbent, Grace Napolitano, has been in Congress since 1999, and many in her district appear to disagree with her on several important issues such as the U.S. role in the Syrian civil war. Could the residents of Covina be persuaded to give a Republican a try? The last Republican politician to have represented the district was Craig Hosmer, who left office in 1974.

United Liberty: What motivated you to run for Congress?

Common Core: More Federal Government Involvement in Education

Common Core

Anyone who follows education on any level has probably heard the phrase “Common Core” regarding curriculum in their home state.  They’ve probably also heard that there is some push back against it, though most don’t really understand what the issue really is.

It would be easy to assume that Common Core requires such controversial topics as anthropogenic global warming and gun control to be taught.  Well, that doesn’t appear to be the case.  Oh, it’s happening, but it doesn’t seem to be the fault of the cirriculum.

That’s not to say there aren’t problems.

The idea behind Common Core is a national standard for education.  Basically, it’s an attempt to create a single, challenging standard that would raise the educational value of public school.

Whoops.

Common Core does create a single standard.  It does appear to be genuinely challenging as well.  So, what’s the problem?

Well, first, Common Core is really just a continuation of one of the biggest problems with traditional education, and that is the fact that it treats all students as identical.  Even the name, Common Core, alludes to this fact.

Republican Tom McMillin, a Michigan lawmaker introduced a bill to repeal that’s state’s use of Common Core, said, “We don’t want our kids to be common. We want our kids in Michigan to be exceptional.”  Since my home state of Georgia uses this standard, I can understand the sentiment.

Common Core also places and emphasis on how answers are acheived, rather than just getting it right.  The argument appears to be that the process matters more in our technologically advanced world for whatever reason.  I get the gist of the concept.  I really do.  Unfortunately, this continues to make the same assumption that all kids are the same.

Common Core support is crumbling: Opponents still have a long way to go, but they’re shifting the narrative

There is a growing movement inside Congress and states legislatures to fight back against the Common Core State Standards Initiative, and it looks like it’s beginning to bear some fruit. Over at Reason, Robby Soave reports on a new poll showing the tide turning against the the college- and career-ready standards:

The numbers come courtesy of an Education Next poll. In 2013, 65 percent of people supported Common Core. That number fell to a slim 53 percent majority this year—much of that support coming from Democrats, who remained largely unchanged in their overall opinion.

The results for both Republicans and teachers are even more staggering, however. The Republican numbers changed from 57 percent in favor to just 43 percent in favor and the teachers changed from 76 percent in favor to 46 percent.

These results are significant, since they chip away at key assertions made by the backers of Common Core. The backers have often maintained that opposition to Common Core stems from misinformation and that those who understand the new standards best—i.e., teachers—liked them just fine. That is clearly no longer true.

The premise of Common Core is that the same education standards would be applied across the United States. States that participate in Common Core are allowed to develop their math and language arts curricula.

Today in Liberty: NSA spying damages the United States’ reputation as a beacon of freedom, crony Ex-Im pals pressure Boehner

“So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear. That there is no alternative way, so far discovered, of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system.” — Milton Friedman

— Land of the Free?: The disclosures about the NSA’s domestic surveillance programs have damaged the world’s view of the United States as a country that protects individual liberties. “In 22 of 36 countries surveyed in both 2013 and 2014, people are significantly less likely to believe the U.S. government respects the personal freedoms of its citizens. In six nations, the decline was 20 percentage points or more,” Pew Research notes. “Still, the U.S. has a relatively strong reputation for respecting personal freedoms compared with the other major nations tested on the survey. A median of 58% believe the American government respects individual liberties, while 56% say this about France, 36% about China, and only 28% say it about the Russian government.” Notice that Brazil and Germany, two countries on which the U.S. reportedly spied, are at the top of the list.

Oklahoma governor slams Obama and Washington bureaucrats’ overreach in education as she signs Common Core repeal into law

The movement against the Common Core State Standards Initiative picked up a big win yesterday. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, previously a supporter of Common Core, signed a measure into law that repeals the controversial education standards:

In a much-anticipated decision Thursday, Fallin, a Republican, signed legislation repealing the standards Thursday afternoon. She said Oklahoma has the ability to develop superior standards and federal meddling in advocating for the standards drove her decision.

“We are capable of developing our own Oklahoma academic standards that will be better than Common Core,” she said in a statement.
[…]
“Unfortunately, federal overreach has tainted Common Core. President [Barack] Obama and Washington bureaucrats have usurped Common Core in an attempt to influence state education standards. The results are predictable,” she said. “What should have been a bipartisan policy is now widely regarded as the president’s plan to establish federal control of curricula, testing and teaching strategies.”

Now, supporters of Common Core will say that the education standards are not a federal program, but rather a voluntary state-based initiative that was developed by the National Governors Association. They’re right. But states were coerced into adopting Common Core by the Obama administration through the 2009 stimulus bill, which set aside $4.35 billion in Race to the Top (RTTT or RT3) money.

State legislatures aren’t waiting on Washington to reject Obama’s big government agenda

Amidst reports concerning the House’s changes to the USA FREEDOM Act and how the recently passed new version fails to address issues with the 702 section of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act – allowing the government to continue its “back door” searches of electronic and phone communications of Americans in contact with foreigners – the Tenth Amendment Center reported that at least two of the five nullification bills that passed last week keep the federal government from tracking cellphone data without a warrant.

Bill SF2466, which passed with tremendous bipartisan support through both Minnesota state House and Senate, bans law enforcement agencies in Minnesota from obtaining tracking information on cellphone users in the state without a warrant.

Senate Joint Resolution 27 in Missouri also protects the consumer’s data by adding electronic communications as one of the objects protected by the state constitution. The resolution should be up for a vote by Missouri residents this November after passing the House.

Today in Liberty: White House wanted Geithner to lie on Sunday shows, Boehner won’t arrest Lerner

“Increasing the minimum wage is political pandering, pure and simple. It does nothing to increase economic growth, which would create millions of jobs and lead to higher wages for everybody. The government shouldn’t set the price of labor, the free market should. It’s sad that some would rather play politics instead of making the case for pro-growth policies like tax reform and passing new trade deals with other nations.”Club for Growth President Chris Chocola

— White House wanted Geithner to lie about Social Security: In his new book, Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises, former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner says that the White House wanted him to lie about Social Security’s impact on the federal deficit on Sunday talk shows. “I remember during one Roosevelt Room prep session before I appeared on the Sunday shows, I objected when Dan Pfeiffer wanted me to say Social Security didn’t contribute to the deficit. It wasn’t a main driver of our future deficits, but it did contribute,” Geithner writes. “Pfeiffer said the line was a ‘dog whistle’ to the left, a phrase I had never heard before. He had to explain that the phrase was code to the Democratic base, signaling that we intended to protect Social Security.” By the way, Social Security consumed 4.9 percent of the economy in 2013, slightly more than major government healthcare programs. Over the long-term, the Ponzi scheme will be outpaced by Medicare, but not by much.

Rand Paul to push school choice in Chicago, Milwaukee

Unlike former Florida Governor Jeb Bush who supports Common Core and has even backed a campaign to boost it through his foundation, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is a fan of school choice and will soon be using some of his time to host School Choice roundtables with parents of certain communities in Milwaukee and Chicago.

According to RandPAC, Paul will be traveling to Chicago and Milwaukee on April 22 and 23, 2014 to talk to parents, students, educators and community leaders about the importance of having options when it comes to education.

Sen. Paul hopes to encourage parents to help school choice advocates to advance their message. According to Paul, “parents should have a role and a voice when it comes to their child’s education. These roundtable discussions will focus on raising standards, adding competition and strengthening our nation’s education system – a system that is broken.”

Many school choice advocates point out to the discrepancies in the speeches of those who advocate for Common Core.

“I never cease to be amazed that the loudest voices against the right to choice and access to a good education often send their own kids to private or parochial schools,” said Rachel Campos Duffy of the LIBRE Initiative. “These are also the same people who present themselves as the champions of ‘fairness’ and ‘equality’ for minorities and the poor.“ She is a mother and an activist in a mostly Hispanic community.

Majority of Americans think U.S. public education is not World-Class

Common Core

Education is a perennial issue that tends to hit taxpayers pocketbooks more than most, and because of that, gives rise to more debates about how to get the most out of those dollars. The upcoming elections will undoubtedly have their fair share of political hopefuls that will be hanging their election (or re-election) hopes on convincing voters that the solution to all our education problems is more spending. That’s been the trend for many years now, but pushing for even more might not be the best political strategy.

When the people, that are fully aware of this generally increasing spending, state that they don’t think the U.S; public schools are offering a world-class education, it’s reasonable to assume they might not be enthusiastic about spending even more. In fact, they’ve already been saying that, when it comes to increasing spending on Pre-K education, that has been touted as absolutely necessary by the Obama administration.

According to a recent Rasmussen poll, 65% of Likely U.S. Voters believe that “world-class education is the single most important factor in determining whether our kids can compete for the best jobs and whether America can out-compete countries around the world.” However, only 18% believe that our public schools actually provide that - down from 26% in August 2011. And that is the trend that should give politicians something to think about.


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