Malloy Administration – Release the damn SBAC results!

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The Washington State Department of Education, the lead entity for the Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium entity, was using their official website to update that state’s citizens about the 2015 SBAC results on a daily basis as early as June.

By July 2, 2015 Washington officials provided the public with a clear picture of the statewide results in a news release entitled, Sneak Peek at Washington’s Smarter Balanced Results.

For more detail see the Wait, What? post  SBAC results from Washington State confirm test designed to fail vast majority of children

At the same time, the Idaho State Department of Education released its statewide SBAC test results on Wednesday July 1, 2015.  Media outlets in Idaho immediately reported that 70 percent of high school juniors were labeled as failures in math and 67 percent were labeled as failures in English Language Arts, although they did quote Idaho’s education agency as proclaiming that the  STATEWIDE SBAC SCORES BEAT PROJECTIONS.

In Idaho, the media explained,

The SBAC grading process has been fraught by a series of technical and staffing problems. Vendors had pledged to deliver scores within 10 days of testing — the testing window ran from March 30 to May 22. However, districts had been waiting weeks for their scores.

In Maine, the Maine State Department of Education reported

NEW July 8, 2015: Reporting of 2015 Assessment Results: Our earlier estimates of dates for preliminary data being available in the Online Reporting System (ORS) have been revised because the process of scoring constructed-response items took longer than anticipated. Preliminary data intended for internal use will be made available electronically on Tuesday July 14, 2015

But while states across the nation have been reporting their preliminary results and working to get detailed SBAC results out to districts and parents…

There has been nothing but silence from Governor Dannel Malloy’s State Department of Education.

True, other states have spent significant time and energy bending and twisting themselves into knots trying to explain away the unfair and discriminatory results, but at least they have provided information about their 2015 state-wide SBAC results and are moving to get detailed results to the local school districts …. AND PARENTS!

Even in the large state of California, the State Department of California reported that local districts should be getting their DETAILED SBAC data by this week.

But not in Connecticut…

It is way past time for Governor Malloy, Connecticut’s Commissioner of Education and the State Department of Education to stop playing games and release the 2015 SBAC data.

We know, from their previous behavior, that they will say or do anything to try to explain that the Common Core and the Common Core SBAC testing scheme are good for Connecticut’s students, parents, teachers and schools.

But the truth is the SBAC is unfair, inappropriate, and discriminatory and designed to fail our children.

Yet school districts, school administrators, teachers and parents are going to be told that they should use the 2015 SBAC results to identify students with problems.

The notion is absurd and insulting.

However, even more disingenuous and insulting is failing to provide the test results at all.  Parents and teachers deserve to get the results so they can see just how inappropriate and unfair the Common Core SBAC testing is.

Malloy and his pro-Common Core, Pro-Common Core testing, corporate education reform industry entourage need to come clean and just release the damn SBAC results!

Connecticut taxpayers coughed up more than $30 million in state funds for these terrible tests and every Connecticut school district spent even more as they purchased more computers, more Internet bandwidth while teachers and students wasted countless hours on test prep and testing.

As the CT Post reported just two days ago in a story entitled  Districts still waiting for SBAC test results

The controversial on-line test tied to the new Common Core Curriculum standards forced school districts to increase band-widths, rotate students through computer labs in many cases, and helped fuel a growing anti-testing movement.

So what are the results? How bad did students do? (If other states ahead of Connecticut in giving the test are any indication, the news will not be good.) Well, districts still don’t know or aren’t saying. At last check, Bridgeport’s Interim Superintendent of Schools, Fran Rabinowitz, said she did not even know what level of specificity she will be getting in terms of scores. She said it better provide her more with a number and a label for students. She wants to know specifically what they know and what they don’t.

“I want results that will allow me to make changes in the curriculum,” Rabinowitz said. “I don’t want results that simply say, ‘below average.’ I want to know what are the curriculum implications for the child and the district.”

Before the next school year begins would also be nice.

Yeah, before the next school year begins would be nice…

In fact, how about releasing the results NOW? – Considering the Malloy administration has had the statewide results for about a month!

The Sham and Scam called the Common Core

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The Common Core test is designed to fail the vast majority of public schools students, including up to 9 in 10 students who aren’t proficient in the English Language or require special education help.

School districts have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on textbooks that don’t even align to the Common Core standards (See:  Vallas’ $10m textbook farce means Bridgeport students don’t have Common Core aligned math textbooks and Fairfield + Farmington – Giving CT kids math textbooks that are not aligned to Common Core)

Countless hours have been lost as teachers are pulled away from their instructional duties to “learn” about this expensive, warped, system that isn’t even developmentally appropriate for some younger students.

Fellow education blogger Mercedes Schneider is one of the nation’s leading voices in the effort to reveal the truth about the Common Core, the Common Core testing scheme and the other aspects of the corporate education reform industry.

Mercedes Schneider also has a new MUST READ book out about the Common Core called Common Core Dilemma – Who Owns Our Schools?

In the following article from her blog, she takes on the new corporate funded “spokesperson” for the Common Core scam.

Campbell Brown Plans to Explain Common Core (By Mercedes Schneider) 

Campbell Brown is going to help America understand what Common Core really is.

So she says as part of her July 28, 2015, interview with Jon Ward of Yahoo! Politics:

What we want to do with Common Core is explain it. Just put honesty and truth back into the debate….

I just published a book on the history, development, and promotion of Common Core, Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools? (TC Press, June 2015), and I have news for Campbell Brown:

Common Core did not begin in “honesty and truth,” and you cannot “put back” what was not present to begin with.

If Common Core was officially completed in June 2010, why would there be confusion in 2015 over what Common Core actually is?

Simple: Common Core is yet another top-down reform; it started years before it made its 2010 public appearance, and much of the planning and promoting that led to the June 2010 release of Common Core was chiefly orchestrated by relatively few politically-positioned individuals.

That is why there is confusion in 2015 over a Common Core that publicly emerged in 2010.

What is amusing is that Campbell Brown thinks that she and her staff of 12 will produce some pieces focused on Common Core and clear up the issue once and for all. The problem is that Common Core was politically birthed, and much of that “public confusion” is the delayed consequence of governors and state superintendents deciding that they would adopt Common Core in their states before there was even a Common Core product to examine.

In her Yahoo! interview, Brown states that she wants to “restore some of the nuance and thoughtfulness to the debate around Common Core.”

Well, here’s a nuance for Brown: At the June 2009 National Governors Association (NGA) summit, 46 states and 3 territories already signed on for a Common Core yet to be written but already declared to be connected to federally-funded consortia-produced tests.

Common Core was never intended to be separated from high-stakes testing. So, for Brown to say,

To some people, Common Core means what it actually is, which is a set of standards. … Ask other people what they think Common Core is about: It’s a test. You ask them, they will tell you it’s a test. Common Core isn’t a test, but for some people it is, because they don’t like the testing piece of it. 

is an issue that I will give clarification to right here: Common Core was not created to be separated from its tests, and that tests would surely be wed to Common Core was in the plan before there was a Common Core.

When the public reacts to Common Core because of the Common Core tests meant to be an inseparable part of Common Core, the public is reacting to Common Core.

Brown also continues with commentary about the math curriculum associated with Common Core. She thinks that the public is misunderstanding Common Core because the public is reacting negatively to the math curriculum tied to Common Core. However, one of those few Common Core insiders, Phil Daro, intended for Common Core to require math to be taught differently. He intended Common Core math to drive math instruction, and it does.

The same is true for Common Core English: The preference of an individual drives the direction of any associated curriculum and pedagogy. Common Core English “lead writer” David Coleman prefers New Criticism, which treats a text a self-contained and allows no room for the reader to create meaning from the text– and no room for a text to be placed into a context. Thus, Coleman’s preference is now supposed to be every American English teacher’s preference.

Back to math:

In the Yahoo! interview, Brown focuses on Singapore math. Her “the 74″ website includes an article that notes that Singapore math “aligns with the Common Core State Standards.” Brown even speaks of her child learning Singapore math. But here is a “nuance” to note: The Singapore math website states that it has textbooks in which it has aligned its Singapore math to Common Core. Thus, the original Singapore math curriculum was not exactly in line with a Common Core that came later, and Singapore math had to be reworked, at least in part.

So, what effect does this reworking have upon the quality of the Singapore math curriculum? Has anyone bothered to test the effect? No, because Common Core– English and math standards for all of grades K-12– was produced in a very short time (seven months max), and for all of the talk of basing Common Core “on research,” no time was taken to test Common Core in practice on a small scale; no enduring thought was given to rolling it out reasonably, one grade level at a time, and no effort was expended toward investigating the impact that altering curriculum like Singapore math to “fit” Common Core would have upon the quality of the curriculum.

Common Core was thrown together so fast that the fact that the Common Core math anchor standards are missing is even casually explained away on the Common Core website.

And here is another aside about Campbell Brown’s mentioning in the Yahoo!interview that her own child is learning Singapore math: Brown’s child attends the Heschel School in New York, and the Heschel School does not do Common Core. So, the Singapore math at the Heschel School is not the Common Core-arranged version and the Heschel School had the sense to transition its students into Singapore math a couple grade levels at a time, not foolishly impose upon all grades (K-5) at once.

Moreover, if Brown prefers that her child not learn Singapore math, Brown has the resources and ability to send her child to a different private school.

That is not the case with the general public who has had Common Core and its attendant driven curriculum and high-stakes tests imposed upon it by those who are fiscally and politically positioned– and whose lives are not directly impacted.

And whose kids are not directly impacted.

Bill Gates, who agreed to finance Common Core in 2008, sends his children to Lakeside School in Seattle, which is where he attended.

Lakeside School does not do Common Core.

Chester Finn, former Fordham Institute president and slanted grader of standards,sent his children to Exeter, which is where he and his father attended.

Exeter does not do Common Core.

And then there is US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who not only forcefully cheers for Common Core but who funded the attendant consortium-developed Common Core tests. Duncan’s children attended school in Virginia– a state that did not adopt Common Core. And now that Duncan’s days in the White House are numbered, his family moved back to Chicago, where his children will attend the University of Chicago Lab School, where he attended, and where his wife taught and will resume teaching, and also where President Obama attended.

The University of Chicago Lab School does not do Common Core.

Obama’s children attend Sidwell Friends..

Sidwell Friends does not do Common Core.

So, now we can add to the list of Common Core sympathizers Campbell Brown, whose children are not exposed to Common Core and Common Core tests.

But in her Yahoo! interview, Brown does attempt to leverage her Louisiana heritage in an effort to show that Common Core is working in Louisiana:

I would use Louisiana as a great example. It’s my home state, so I’m a little closer to Louisiana than I am to other places. There’s been a big fight between Bobby Jindal, who’s running for president, and the state superintendent, John White, over Common Core implementation. I think most people would argue that John has done a pretty good job of implementing it, and that Common Core implementation has gone better in Louisiana than it has in a lot of other places. But because Jindal is running for president, it’s been a bigger issue in terms of media coverage and visibility because you have the governor screaming and yelling about it. If you look at what’s going on with teachers and parents, it’s not as much of a blowup as it has been in some other places.

Yes, Brown is from Louisiana– the small town of Ferriday. But Brown is a child of privilege, and that privilege kept her out of public school in Louisiana. (Brown attended private schools in Natchez, Mississippi, and Washington, DC.) So, there’s a disconnect. But there is a greater disconnect in Brown’s narrative of Common Core in Louisiana: In May 2015, the Louisiana legislature passed a bill to overhaul Louisiana’s standards.

If a Common Core is to be “common,” a state cannot alter it.

According to the Common Core memorandum of understanding (MOU) that governors and state superintendents signed in 2009, the Common Core owners, NGA and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), were supposed to direct any revision effort of Common Core.

To revise on the individual state level is to not have, well, a “Common Core.”

And there is more: the Louisiana legislature restricted the proportion of PARCC test items to just under half of any state test. Such a restriction dulls the likelihood that standards revisions will be somehow forced to fit a PARCC test, which is intended to be a Common Core test.

And yes, Jindal has been “running for president” for years, and his break with Common Core could certainly be attributed to his political ambitions. But before that,in May 2009, Jindal blindly signed Louisiana’s entire state education system up for Common Core and its assessments (which were noted as part of the Common Core package in the Common Core MOU).

I suppose that particular Jindal decision was okay since it was pro-Common Core.

I return to school on August 04, 2015, and on August 05, 2015, our entire school faculty will be participating in the freshly-legislated standards review.

Contrast that to five years ago: In 2010, our faculty was told there was a Common Core coming; that it was not yet finished, but that the entire state would be using it, and that it would have assessments to accompany it; that the assessments would be harder, but that they were not yet developed.

There’s another nuance for you, Campbell. In 2010, no intentionally sought, well publicized, stakeholder involvement. Top-down.

Let me offer one final nuance about which Brown might not be so keen but which I find comical:

Brown, who publicly opposes unions, is on the same side as both national teachers unions in her support of Common Core.

Here’s the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) statement of support for Common Core, and here is the National Education Association (NEA) message of support for Common Core.

Brown plans to explain Common Core using flash cards on her “”the 74″ website.

Perhaps she might borrow some Common Core support materials from the unions.

I dunno, though. For me, explaining Common Core was a job way beyond flash cards.

In my case, it took writing a book that has 31 pages of reference citations as well as a five-page glossary of terms.

Ask your local bookstore to order Mercedes Schneider’s new book or at last resort order it via Common Core Dilemma – Who Owns Our Schools?

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Better school libraries, not more Common Core testing, is a real Civil Rights issue

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The Corporate Education Reform Industry and its allies have been spending a lot of energy claiming that requiring more Common Core standardized testing is a “Civil Rights” issue because it serves as the mechanism to determine which public schools are failing.  How else, they assert, will we ever be able to determine where to invest public dollars in order to provide children of color with the support they need and deserve to become college and career ready?

Of course, the entire claim is nothing but a scam considering the fact that standardized test scores are driven by poverty, English language barriers and unmet special education needs, all of which are  factors that can be identified without turning classrooms into little more than standardized testing factories.

But truth has never been a concern to those who are spending hundreds of millions of dollars promoting the notion that privatization, charter schools, the Common Core and the Common Core testing scheme are the solutions to reducing the nation’s achievement gap.

Calling for more testing, rather than recognizing the fundamental challenges associated with poverty and language barriers, has become the overarching strategy of the education reformers.

Their education philosophy is driven by the notion that when it comes to ensuring academic achievement, test prep and a curriculum focused on math and English language arts trumps a comprehensive school experience in which children are given the full range of courses, programs and services they need in order to learn and prosper.

In this era of scarce resources, the fact that more money is being spent on more testing, while important educational assets like school libraries are allowed to disintegrate, is a quintessential example of the stupidity surrounding the education reform agenda and a reflection of the real Civil Rights issues that are facing poorer school districts.

In Connecticut, Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy and his General Assembly recently adopted a budget that devotes more than $50 million over the next two years for the SBAC Common Core testing program, while doing nothing to address the very real Civil Rights violations associated with the fact that that tens of thousands of black and brown public school children don’t even have access to a quality school library.

Walk into any one of Farmington Connecticut’s elementary schools and you’ll find a vibrant school library with an average of 60 books per child and trained library professionals to help students learn how to fully utilize libraries and the portal to information and knowledge that library’s provide.

A visit to a Fairfield elementary school will reveal a center of learning with at least 50 library books per child and Greenwich is not far behind with 45 books per child.

By comparison, there are 17 elementary schools in Bridgeport with so-called “School libraries” that have less than 15 books per child, and a growing number of schools that have no school library at all. Library professionals are just as scarce.

And not surprisingly, considering the State of Connecticut’s historic underfunding of its public schools, Bridgeport is not alone.

While the State of Connecticut and its school districts can find the money for the technology required to institute the Common Core testing program, some can’t or refuse to come up with the funds necessary to provide students with a quality school library.

The following chart reveals just the tip of the iceberg;

School Districts with libraries that have less than 15 books per child # of Elementary Schools
Bridgeport 17
Hartford 9
New Haven 3
Meriden 3
West Haven 3

 

Other towns with elementary schools that have libraries with less than 15 books per child include Ansonia, East Hartford, Griswold, Naugatuck, New Britain, Rocky Hill and Shelton.

And although it is the 21st Century and Connecticut has the highest per capita income in the nation, there are elementary schools in Connecticut that don’t have any school libraries at all.  That list includes schools in East Hartford, Hartford, New Britain, New Haven and elsewhere.

Oh, and what about those magical “charter schools” that the education reformers claim will “save” the poor and minority children?

According to the official school profile reports filed with the Connecticut State Department of Education, Achievement First Bridgeport Charter School, Achievement First Hartford Charter School, Achievement First Elm City Charter School and Side by Side Charter School in Norwalk have no school library at all.

Meanwhile, Highville Charter School (Hamden) has a library with only 12 books per child and the infamous Capital Prep (Hartford) has a library with 13 books per child, but as reported previously, students aren’t allowed to take books out of that library.

The charter school and corporate education reform industry lobby groups have spent nearly $1.4 million so far this year promoting Governor Malloy’s education reform agenda.

Just imagine what they could be doing with those funds if they were actually serious about helping poor children succeed in school.

Fellow Education advocate and columnist Sarah Darer Littman has written extensively about the school library issue in Connecticut.  Start by reading her piece in CTNewsjunkie entitled, College, Career and Democracy ready? Not without a trained librarian

Blumenthal and Murphy vote NO on parents’ right to opt out of Common Core testing

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In an astonishing display of utter disregard for Connecticut’s public students and parents, Connecticut’s two United States Senators, Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, voted against an amendment that would have recognized a parents’ right to protect their child from the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory Common Core testing scam.

Although a day doesn’t go by that Dick Blumenthal and Chris Murphy don’t hold a press conference, issue a press release, send out an email or Tweet some statement about how they are fighting for Connecticut’s citizens, when they had the opportunity to stand with Connecticut’s parents and public school advocates they voted NO!

Blumenthal and Murphy VOTED NO to an amendment that would have required school districts to notify parents about federally mandated assessments (the massive common core testing program) and would have made it clear that parents may opt their children out of the test.

Refusing to recognize a parents inalienable right to protect their children from a testing scheme designed to fail the vast majority of Connecticut’s public school children, Blumenthal and Murphy both voted NO on Senate Amendment 2162 to Senate Amendment 2089 to S. 1177 (Every Child Achieves Act of 2015).

In addition to requiring that parents be notified about the testing, the language of the amendment stated;

“[U]pon the request of the parent of a child made…for any reason or no reason at all stated by the parent, a State shall allow the child to opt out of the assessments described in this paragraph. Such an opt-out, or any action related to that opt-out, may not be used by the Secretary, the State, any State or local agency, or any school leader or employee as the basis for any corrective action, penalty, or other consequence against the parent, the child, any school leader or employee, or the school.”

According to the Washington Post story entitled, Senate rejects plan to allow parents to opt out of standardized tests

“Current law requires school districts to ensure that 95 percent of children take the exams, a provision meant to ensure that administrators don’t encourage low performers to stay home on exam day. The Senate bill mandates 95 percent participation of students who are required to be tested, but allows states to decide whether children who opt out are among those who are required to be tested.

But under the House bill, parents who opt their children out of tests would not be counted in the participation rate of any state, effectively removing them from the accountability system altogether. Democrats and civil rights groups opposed that provision, saying it opened a loophole to hide achievement gaps.”

With different versions in the House and Senate, a Conference Committee will be needed to negotiate a final master bill.  That piece of legislation will then come up for a final vote before going to President Obama for his signature or veto.

It is beyond disturbing that self-described “champions of the people” would vote against such an important and fair amendment.

SBAC results from Washington State confirm test designed to fail vast majority of children

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The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium has provided its member states with most of the results from the spring’s Common Core SBAC testing.

Unlike Connecticut, where the Malloy administration is apparently keeping the information secret as long as possible, the State of Washington has been updating the public about the results as they came in.  As of two weeks ago, Washington State had already received the results for more than 90% of its students.

The Common Core SBAC test results from Washington State confirm the worst fears that the Common Core SBAC test is designed to fail the vast majority of public schools students.

From the initial post of 2015, Wait, What? has been sounding the alarm about the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory nature of the SBAC testing scheme.

Early posts on the topic included;

Governor Malloy – Our children are not stupid, but your system is! (1/2/2015); Beware the Coming Common Core Testing Disaster (1/6/2015); ALERT! Parents – the Common Core SBAC Test really is designed to fail your children (2/6/2015)

The problem with the Common Core SBAC test is multifaceted, including the most recent revelations that Connecticut public school students are being provided with textbooks that aren’t even aligned to the Common Core and its associated testing program.

In addition, the cut-off scores used to determine whether a student achieves goal are intentionally designed to label as many as 7 in 10 children as failures.

As reported earlier, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, including Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, met in Olympia, Washington in November 2014 to set the “cut scores” in mathematics and English language arts/literacy (ELA).

While Vermont and New Hampshire refused to endorse the scores, the Malloy administration’s representatives voted in favor of a system that – from the start – intended to define achievement in such a way as to ensure sure that the majority of students did not meet that goal.

And now the Washington State results are in and while children in the lower grades did better than initially projected, THE MAJORITY OF STUDENTS IN GRADES 5,6,7,8 AND 11 FAILED the Common Core SBAC test in math!

The most troubling news is the fact that high school juniors in Washington State, most of whom are focused on getting the courses and grades that will get them into college, were given a test that was designed to label them as failures … and the SBAC organization’s unfair and disastrous strategy has succeeded.

According to the SBAC entity’s own memo, the SBAC test was projected to label 67% of high school juniors as “failures” and in Washington State, 71% of high school juniors have “failed” the 2015 SBAC test in math.

2015 SBAC Results in Math SBAC Projection% FAILING Washington State Results% FAILING
   
   
Grade 11 (High School Juniors) 67% FAIL 71% FAIL

 

The State of Washington will be holding a press conference on August 18, 2015 at 10am to release the disaggregated district-level results for their state which will undoubtedly reveal that the SBAC test particularly discriminates against children from low-income homes, children who face English language barriers and children who need special education services.

Meanwhile, there is no word when the Connecticut State Department of Education will be releasing the results for Connecticut’s public school students.

 

Fairfield + Farmington – Giving CT kids math textbooks that are not aligned to Common Core

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It is becoming increasingly clear that if your child took the Common Core SBAC Math test this year a significant amount of the material that they were tested on was not included in the math textbook they had been provided with.

Fairfield and Farmington are two more Connecticut towns that have been providing their students with math textbooks that are not correctly aligned to the Common Core, but are still testing and labeling students based on how well they did on the Common Core Math test.

Of course, making matters worse, not only are Connecticut’s public school students being labeled on the basis of the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory Common Core SBAC test, but thanks to Governor Dannel Malloy and the Connecticut General Assembly, teachers will be evaluated on how well their students do on the Common Core SBAC test.

Highlighting the absurdity of the whole situation is that it is becoming increasingly clear that the textbooks that many towns have purchased with taxpayer funds don’t even contain the material students are being “required” to know for the Common Core SBAC tests.

In an article entitled Vallas’ $10m textbook farce means Bridgeport students don’t have Common Core aligned math textbooks, Wait What? reported last week that students in one of Connecticut’s poorest school districts are being tested on Common Core topics that aren’t covered in the textbooks they are given.

But it turns out that students in some of Connecticut’s wealthier communities are being equally shortchanged.

Fairfield and Farmington must now be added to the list of school districts that are holding students and teachers accountable to the Common Core standards despite the fact that they are failing to provide students with textbooks cover the appropriate Common Core materials.

In Fairfield, students are provided with textbooks that are part of the Big Ideas in Math series published by Big Ideas Learning; Farmington uses the Math in Focus textbooks published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

According to Edreports, a Gates Foundation funded organization that was created to review whether public school textbooks are properly aligned to the Common Core, Big Ideas in Math and the Math in Focus textbooks fail to adequately cover the Common Core Math standards that are included on the Common Core SBAC tests.

Edreports explains that Big Ideas in Math series,

DOES NOT MEET EXPECTATIONS ON ALIGNMENT

DOES NOT MEET EXPECTATIONS ON FOCUS

DOES NOT MEET EXPECTATIONS COHERENCE

The Common Core reviewers add,

“The materials do not consistently give students of varying abilities extensive work with grade-level problems.”

As to the Math in Focus textbooks that are used in the Farmington Schools, Edreports notes, Farmington explaining,

DOES NOT MEET EXPECTATIONS ON ALIGNMENT

DOES NOT MEET EXPECTATIONS ON FOCUS

DOES NOT MEET EXPECTATIONS COHERENCE

Edreports reviewers conclude,

“Overall, the materials do not provide a focus on the major work nor are the materials coherent.”

Neither Fairfield nor Farmington school websites notify parents that the textbooks their children are given are not aligned to the Common Core.

Not only does Farmington Schools fails to inform parents of the fact that their textbooks are not aligned to the Common Core, but the school system actually brags,

“Math in Focus is the program we use in mathematics from Kindergarten up to middle school.  The curriculum in Math in Focus was one of the main models used to write the Common Core.  Math in Focus is the U.S. version of the most widely used curriculum in Singapore.  For many years, Singapore has been among the top-performing countries in international assessments.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort that established a single set of clear educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and mathematics that states voluntarily adopt. The standards are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to enter credit bearing entry courses in two or four year college programs or enter the workforce. The standards are clear and concise to ensure that parents, teachers, and students have a clear understanding of the expectations in reading, writing, speaking and listening, language and mathematics in school.

In school, students have a textbook and workbook.  Students use both at school and often the workbook is used for homework.

So Farmington claims that, “The curriculum in Math in Focus was one of the main models used to write the Common Core,” they just fail to note that their textbooks aren’t aligned to those standards!

It is particularly ironic that both Fairfield and Farmington fail to provide their students with Common Core aligned textbooks since both towns were among the districts that were most abusive to students and parents who sought to opt out of the Common Core SBAC testing this year.

Rather than treat parents and students in a respectful, honest and professional manner, Fairfield, Superintendent of Schools David Title wrote the following to parents;

“Please understand that every student attending school during the administration of the state mastery test (all components of SBAC and Science CMT and CAPT) will be expected to participate in these tests.  Students who choose not to participate will be marked present and will be required to remain with their class in the test room.  There will be no alternate instructional activity provided for students assigned to the test session who refuse to participate.”

And in Farmington, Superintendent Kathleen Greider reportedly told the Farmington Board of Education that,

Any high school junior who was opted out of the SBAC test would be punished by being forced to the back of the line when it came to selecting AP, Honors or other advanced courses for their senior year.

If the Fairfield and Farmington Boards of Education were really committed to representing the interest of their students, parents, teachers and taxpayers, they’d be demanding an investigation about why their superintendents are failing to provide their community’s students with Common Core aligned textbooks and bullying and harassing students and parents who sought to opt out of the unfair and destructive testing scheme.

For more about the how these textbooks fail to provide students with the appropriate materials go to: http://www.edreports.org/reports/series/index.html

Superintendents and Legislators – Beware – the SBAC Tsunami is coming!

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An open letter to Superintendents and Legislators 7/10/2015;

For more than a year and a half, public education advocates in Connecticut have been delivering the message that the Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) test is unfair, inappropriate, discriminatory and fundamentally flawed.  The Common Core SBAC test is DESIGNED to fail the vast majority of public school students.  It is a product of the education reform industry that is set on convincing policymakers and the public that our nation’s public education system is broken, that our public school teachers are bad and that the answer is more standardized testing and diverting scarce public funds to charter schools and other privatization efforts.

Rather then fight back, far too many politicians and school administrators climbed on board the education reform initiatives train that are undermining public education today.

In Connecticut, the SBAC disaster was slowed by a handful of  dedicated and committed public school superintendents who recognized that parents had the fundamental and inalienable right to opt their children out of the destructive SBAC test, but the majority of local education leaders (and elected officials) kowtowed to the Malloy administration and engaged in an immoral and unethical effort to mislead parents into believing that schools had “no degrees of freedom” on the SBAC testing issue.

We all know that defense was nothing short of an outright lie.

Now the results of the 2015 SBAC tests are coming in and students, parents, teachers and the public will finally see for themselves just how unfair and discriminatory the SBAC testing scam really is.

Common Core testing is unfair to all public schools students, but it is particularly damaging to students who come from poorer families, those that have English language challenges and those who require special education services.

As the following Wait, What? blog post reports, Washington State, another SBAC testing ground, has already released their early results and 7 in 10 high school juniors have been deemed failures according to the SBAC math test.

Although the Connecticut State Department of Education continues to claim that the SBAC results are not yet available, the news from other SBAC states is that preliminary information has been handed over to the states and, as the corporate education reform industry always intended, the vast majority of public school students have been deemed failures.

So a warning to Connecticut’s superintendents and other school administrators.  Whether you have been given the results or are still waiting for them to be handed over, beware of the Tsunami that is coming…

We all know that while the state has a significant achievement gap due to poverty, language barriers and unmet special education needs, our public schools are not broken and our children and teachers are not failures.

Strategies exist to close the achievement gap, but the State of Connecticut and its leaders have simply refused to address the core issues that would improve academic achievement in any meaningful way.

And Connecticut’s parents will not forget that when it came to protecting Connecticut’s students, teachers and public schools from the negative consequences of the SBAC testing scheme, the vast majority of Connecticut’s elected and appointed officials simply turned their heads away and did nothing.

In the coming weeks, when tens of thousands of Connecticut parents are wrongly informed that their children are academic failures remember, the bell tolls for thee…

Here are the numbers from Washington State.

More than 7 in 10 high school juniors in Washington State FAIL the Unfair SBAC Math Test (Wait, What? Post 7/9/15)

And for more, read;

TAKE NOTE – Real Educators don’t punish AND bully students and parents for opting out!

BEWARE: 9 in 10 Children who utilize special education services will fail the inappropriate Common Core SBAC Test

More than 90% of English Language Learners “Projected” to Fail Common Core SBAC Test

 

 

More than 7 in 10 high school juniors in Washington State FAIL the Unfair SBAC Math Test

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While there is nothing but silence from Connecticut’s State Department of Education about the results of this year’s unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory Common Core SBAC test, the Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction (Washington State’s equivalent of the Connecticut State Department of Education) is reporting that,

Only 29 percent of Washington High School students passed the SBAC math test.  That means that about 50,000 high school juniors, many of who are preparing to apply to college next year, are unfairly being labeled as failures.

As anti-SBAC advocates in Washington State are reporting, “By comparison, only 12,380 students from the Graduating Class of 2015 failed to pass the previous state math test.”

As in Washington State, Connecticut juniors will soon discover that they too have been the victims of the test designed to fail the vast majority of public school students.

And rather than protect Connecticut’s public schools students, Governor Dannel Malloy and the Connecticut General Assembly provided the funding and support for this outrageous injustice.

In a series of Wait, What? posts last spring, including articles entitled Is your public school student a “failure” – the Common Core SBAC Test says probably yes!  and  Opt your High School Juniors out of the Common Core SBAC Test, it became increasingly evident that the Common Core SBAC test is literally designed to fail students.

According to the SBAC  organization’s own reports, approximately 70 percent of high school juniors would fail the Common Core SBAC test in math and, as the Washington State results reveal, the SBAC has succeeded in failing 7 of 10 high school juniors in that state.

But those young people are anything but failures!

As Washington State anti-SBAC advocates note,

“What is most shocking about this result is that these same students who were not able to pass the unfair SBAC Math test were second in the nation on the NAEP (National Assessment of Student Progress) Math Test and among the highest performing math students of any students in the entire world on international math tests!”

Connecticut’s public schools students and their parents will soon learn that the pro-common core, education reform industry and their allies like Governor Malloy have succeeded in undermining our children as well.

For Connecticut parents who did not have the foresight to opt their children out of the Common Core SBAC Test, if you aren’t angry yet…. You will be soon …. just wait until the Malloy administration releases Connecticut’s SBAC results.

For more about this news go to: http://coalitiontoprotectourpublicschools.org/50-000-juniors-in-washington-state-fail-to-pass-the-unfair-sbac-math-test and http://k12.wa.us/Communications/PressReleases2015/PrelimSmarterBalancedResults.aspx

Vallas’ $10m textbook farce means Bridgeport students don’t have Common Core aligned math textbooks

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When the Common Core SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium) test results come back later this summer, about 7 in 10 public school students will be labeled as failures.

Considering that lower standardized test scores are a result of poverty, language barriers and unmet special education needs, the number of children labelled as ‘FAILURES” will be even higher in Bridgeport and Connecticut’s other poorer cities and towns.

And while the Common Core SBAC test requires students to meet the Common Cores standards, it now turns out that the new textbooks students in Bridgeport and other Connecticut communities have been given are not appropriately aligned to those Common Core standards.

In Bridgeport the problem stems from a massive contract that education reformer extraordinaire and faux Bridgeport superintendent of schools Paul Vallas rushed through without proper oversight and signed on June 12, 2012.

Vallas, the darling of both Governor Dannel Malloy and Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, signed a contract with the Houghton Mifflin Hartcourt publishing company that committed Bridgeport to a $10 million deal in which payments were spread out over 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

The contract was for 90,000 new textbooks, instructional materials, testing software and training for teachers on how to utilize the various materials.

Although the problems with the “Textbook Deal” were evident from the beginning [See Wait, What? Post], it turns out the situation is much, much worse than initially reported.

Vallas purchased the new textbooks claiming they were needed in order to prepare Bridgeport students to meet the Common Core Standards

However it is now clear the textbooks Vallas ordered fail to meet those standards.

Edreports is a new non-profit organization that is  funded – of course – by the Gates Foundation and other education reform foundations and was created to review whether the textbooks that are being used by the nation’s public school are aligned to the Common Core.

Vallas ordered Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Math in Focus Program, a package that included textbooks, printed and electronic instructional content and training for teachers.  The cost to Bridgeport and Connecticut taxpayers for the math curriculum products was well in excess of $3 million.

But as reported by Education Week, the Washington Post and other media outlets, Edreports has determined that the Math in Focus series DOES NOT MEET the Common Core standards.

After a complete review of each of the math textbooks that is part of the Math in Focus program, Edreports’ review included the following observations.

The materials are not coherent or consistent with the standards.”

“Correct math vocabulary is not consistently used throughout the text.”

“There is not enough content for one school year.”

“Teachers using the materials would not be giving their students extensive work in grade-level problems.”

“Overall coherence and consistency of the standards is not achieved.”

“The materials do not provide a focus on the major work nor are the materials coherent.”

And the list goes on…

For details go to: http://www.edreports.org/reports/series/math-focus.html and http://www.edreports.org/reports/series/math-focus-a.html

The news is more than a bit disturbing.

While their textbooks are not aligned to the Common Core standards, students in Bridgeport (and across Connecticut) are expected to take and pass the SBAC Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium Test, a test that is already designed to fail up to 70 percent of all students…and that assumes that students have actually been taught the materials they are being tested on..

Incredibly, the textbooks that Paul Vallas purchased aren’t the only ones to fail the review, which means public school children across Connecticut and the nation are being taught with textbooks that don’t prepare them for the Common Core testing program.

As Education Week reported in an article entitled, “Most Math Curricula Found to Be Out of Sync With Common Core,”

The first round of a Consumer Reports-style review for instructional materials paints a dismal picture of the textbook-publishing industry’s response to new standards: Seventeen of 20 math series reviewed were judged as failing to live up to claims that they are aligned to the common core.

“In general, the results are pretty bad for all the publishers,” said Morgan Polikoff, an assistant professor of education at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles, who studies common-standards alignment but was not involved in the EdReports.org project. “I think people really will pay attention to this, and I think it will affect [curriculum] adoption processes going forward.”

In all, just one curriculum series stood out from the pack. Eureka Math, published by Great Minds, a small Washington-based nonprofit organization, was found to be aligned to the Common Core State Standards at all grade levels reviewed.

With every passing day we continue to learn that the Common Core SBAC testing scheme is nothing short of a scam with our state’s children being used as little more than “profit centers” for the corporate education reform industry.

On SBAC – Connecticut’s Best Places for parents and students – Stonington, Madison, Region #19, Danbury

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UPDATED AS DATA ARRIVES

Every year groups like Livability.com release lists of the best places to live in American.  The organization observes that, “Making a Best Places to Live list is part art and part science.”

This year, Connecticut’s public school parents learned the value of living in a school district where the local superintendent and other school administrators treat their public school students and parents with respect, dignity and maturity.

In far too many towns, local school officials, driven by the directives of Governor Malloy’s administration, misled, harassed and abused parents and students who wanted and deserved honest information about their fundamental rights as they related to the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory Common Core  Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium SBAC testing scheme.

While there were thankfully towns where local administrators did provide parents and students with the truth, far too many families were forced to confront the fact that their community’s school leaders refused to conduct themselves in an honest, ethical and moral fashion.

As a result, mapping where Connecticut parents and students are treated with respect has become particularly easy.

To identify the best communities for parents and students, one need only look at the percentage of high school students who opted out or refused to take the unfair Common Core SBAC test, a test designed to fail the vast majority of students, a test that was particularly dangerous and damaging for high school student who intend to go on to college.

The best places for parents and students to live is where school administrators recognize the importance of treating their community with the respect they deserve.

And based on that vitally important criteria, the communities and school districts that rise to the very top of the list are Stonington, Madison and Regional School District #19 (E.O. Smith High School which includes Mansfield, Ashford and Willington) and Danbury.

Some of the other towns where school administrators deserve praise include Region #9, Westport, Watertown, Groton, New Fairfield, Windsor, Winchester (Gilbert School), Granby, Manchester, Ellington, Darien and New Milford.

When the test scores arrive this summer, more and more parents will learn that the SBAC test is literally designed to label the majority of children as failures.  Parents will wish they lived in a districts led by school administrators who understood their duty to their parents and students.

At the other end of the spectrum are many of Connecticut’s poorest communities and a set of other towns whose school administrators crumbled to the pressure from the Malloy administration.

For a stunning example of arrogance, one need only look to Fairfield, where the superintendent and assistant superintendent saw fit to mislead and lie to parents about their opt out rights and where students who were opted out were forced to sit and stay in the testing rooms despite the despite the fact that the SBAC test protocol required that students who were taking the test were not supposed to be present in the testing room.”

All school districts have been asked to report the number of students, by grade levels, that were opted out of the Common Core SBAC Testing.

The following chart represents the data school districts provided on the number of high school juniors who were opted out or refused to take the Common Core SBAC test.  If your town is not listed it is because they have not provided the requested information to date.  There are towns that achieved high opt out rates. One of West Hartford’s high schools reported  a 52% opt out rate, while the other high school in the town reported 8%

The chart will be updated and republished as more information is made available by the superintendents.

Parents who live in communities where school administrators chose to stand with their parents and students should be commended!

Those who live in communities where school administrators mistreated misled, abused, harassed and lied to parents and students should consider demanding that their local school boards take action to ensure that the district is led by administrators who are willing and able to do their jobs in an appropriate and ethical manner.

Perhaps most disturbing is that some administrators appeared to be pleased that they were able to force a 100% test participation rate, a sad testament to the state’s inappropriate demand that everyone take the poorly designed and unfair Common Core SBAC test… What a sad commentary!

TOWN % OPT OUT
Stonington 93%
Madison 86%
Region #19 EO Smith 85%
Danbury 80%
Bridgeport Magnets (Ferris Wheeler Magnet Programs 77%-35%) 77%
Region #9 (ELA Part 2 66% Math 60%, ELA 51%) 66%
Westport 60%
Watertown 58%
Groton 51%
Weston 41%
New Fairfield 39%
Windsor 39%
Winchester (Gilbert School) 38%
Wethersfield 31%
Granby 30%
Manchester 19%
Ellington 17%
Darien 15%
New Milford 12%
Newtown 9%
Coventry 8%
Region #5 Amity 7%
Region #12 6%
Glastonbury 3%
Simsbury 3%
Old Saybrook 3%
Griswold 2%
Milford 2%
Wilton 2%
Bethel 1%
Chesire 1%
Colchester 1%
Fairfield 1%
Greenwich 1%
Killingly 1%
Lebanon 1%
Monroe 1%
Montville 1%
Putnam 1%
Region #16 1%
Region #17 1%
Shelton 1%
Wolcott 1%
Bloomfield 0%
Bolton 0%
Bridgeport (High Schools) 0%
Cromwell 0%
Norwich 0%
Meriden 0%
Region #8 0%
Region #10 0%
Region #15 0%
Seymour 0%
Westbrook 0%

Note:  The 1% communities are those in which at least one student was opted out.

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