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Sunday, January 26th, 2020Last Update: Wednesday, August 7th, 2019 12:21:15 PM

COMMON CORE in Oklahoma

By: Linda Murphy

The design and implementation of Common Core in Oklahoma Schools is underway through a "process" which is bypassing the safeguards of state and local government. In an unprecedented move, two elected state officials -- Gov. Mary Fallin and school Supt. Janet Barresi have determined to lead what designers call the radical transformation of education into a nationally controlled system.

Our legislature, state school board, local school boards and superintendents have no voice in the national process where the "big plans" are being made. They are responsible for our schools and what is taught in them, but have not been given full disclosure of the comprehensive plans "transforming" them.

The Common Core System

The transformation of education is occurring through the implementation of Common Core, but most people have not heard of it. Of those who have, most think it is only a new set of standards for certain academic subjects. Some say Oklahoma teachers are writing the new standards. That is far from the whole truth. Common Core is much more than that. Common Core is a comprehensive system when completed. It encompasses all components of the education process including:

1. Standards written by a national panel

2. Curriculum aligned with the standards

3. Student Assessments aligned with the standards and curriculum

4. Assessments of student behavior, attitudes, values and beliefs

5. (Data points for the affective domain of Bloom's Taxonomy will be gathered along with the cognitive domain data.)

6. Teacher training (professional development) as facilitators of curriculum delivery

7. Teacher evaluation on quality of performance (determined by subjective opinion) and also by a quantified or measured performance yet to be revealed

8. School District performance graded and reported to the public

9. Student's personal data collected and stored for use across state agencies, and numerous outside interested parties developing software or curriculum to be delivered by computer (This is done without parental consent due to recent changes made in federal privacy laws).

Every state has a new State Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) from the federal government which has access to it. States are required to have P-20 Councils to oversee the tracking of students from Preschool through age 20. The system matches data from many different agencies and workforce services while it collects up to 400 data points (maybe even 1,000's) on each individual including grades, behavioral information, nicknames, extracurricular activity, address and religious identity.

Big Government and Big Business - an Unholy Alliance

Big multi-national corporations and foundations have contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to have a "buy in" as "stakeholders" and have their voice heard at the national table where decisions are made.

One example is Microsoft's Bill Gates, about whom renowned education research analyst Diane Ravitch is concerned. She says the "Gates Foundation has more than $30 billion, and when Warren Buffet's gift of another $30 billion is added to the Gates fund, the Gates Foundation will have the power to direct global policy on almost any issue of its choosing."

Public-Private Entities Replace True "State Led" Reform

Gov. Fallin and Supt. Barresi have given control of the decisions transforming our statewide education system to outside entities. These entities form a nationwide network of Public-Private and/or Nonprofit organizations which are not accountable to the public as our state Constitution requires.

Gov. Fallin is now Vice Chairman of the bipartisan National Governor's Association (NGA), which has persuaded governors to give their "official" agreement to implement the Common Core national education system in their state.

Supt. Barresi is a member of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). (Only 12 states including Oklahoma elect school chiefs. The other states have appointed chiefs, but all of those states have elected state school boards, except one). Like the NGA, CCSSO has also established nonprofit organizations to "create" components of the national education system.

Barresi, supported by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and his Foundation for Education Excellence (FEE), was admitted to the elite group of chiefs called "Chiefs for Change." Their aim is to promote "new approaches to evaluating teachers, improving standards and testing, and overall academic innovation."

The Network

The network of organizations "sanctioned" through the NGA and CCSSO to accomplish their collective goals is extensive. Here is a brief description of three Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that have critical roles:

1. ACHIEVE -- This nonprofit organization was created by the governors and business leaders. They wrote the national-standards which are the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and now "help states raise academic standards, improve assessments and strengthen accountability."

Official documents state: ACHIEVE has "helped transform the concept of "college and career readiness for all students' from a radical proposal into a national agenda." They, along with the NGA and CCSSO, claim that "The United States is falling behind other countries in the resource that matters most in the new global economy: human capital."

ACHIEVE claims to "Revise state policies for recruiting, preparing, developing, and supporting teachers and school leaders to reflect the human capital practices of top-performing nations and states around the world." While I was at the state capitol on March 27 for the rally opposing Common Core, ACHIEVE had a representative there lobbying our legislature to pass only legislation that aligns with their goals.

ACHIEVE is led by President Michael Cohen, one of the most experienced progressives continually involved in the nationalization of education. He was on the team who wrote the Common Core standards, and also was project manager for writing the tests for the standards at PARCC. (See more on PARCC below and Supt. Baressi's position).

During the Clinton Administration (1993 -2001) Cohen served as Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education, Special Assistant to President Clinton for Education Policy, and Senior Advisor to U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley. Cohen was the point person for developing, enacting, and implementing initiatives on standards, testing and accountability.

Cohen was Director of Education Policy at the National Governors Association (1985-90) while then Governor Clinton was Chairman and they helped President George H.W. Bush set the original national education goals. Cohen served as Director of Planning and Policy Development at the National Association of State Boards of Education (1983-1985). He was a Senior Fellow at the Aspen Institute.

2. The National Center for Education and the Economy (NCEE) was established with Carnegie Foundation funds. The Director, Marc Tucker, wrote the preface to "A Human Resources Development Plan for the United States" produced by the center (Rochester, New York, 1992). Through the center, Tucker along with Hillary Clinton, Ira Magaziner and David Rockefeller, developed long-range plans for the transformation of education and the economy.

In a letter written by Tucker to Hillary following Bill Clinton's presidential election, he outlined the extensive plans and wrote that their vision for transformation would require "Radical changes in attitudes, values and beliefs" which would be "required to move any combination of these agendas."

3. Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) -- This is one of the two national consortiums developing and implementing national assessments (tests) for 3rd-8th grades and high school. It consists of 22 state education chiefs and recently announced "PARCC has been a consortium of states with no legal status; under its new nonprofit status, PARCC will become its own legal entity as a 501(c)(3). Launching the nonprofit is the first step in the process to ensuring the PARCC assessment system can be sustained in the long term and beyond the U.S. Department of Education's "Race to the Top' Assessment grant period which ends in September 2014."

Supt. Barresi has been chosen to "serve on the PARCC Executive Committee, which is responsible for providing day to day leadership of the project," according to PARCC's press release. It states "This nonprofit will ensure that states continue to be at the forefront of new, more meaningful Common Core-aligned assessments." ….. "This is an important step to ensure a seamless transition from the development stage of the PARCC next generation assessments to their implementation."

PARCC signed a cooperative agreement with federal Secretary of Education Duncan which says the consortium will share student-level data. The U.S. Department of Education recently initiated changes in privacy laws which allow the information to be released without parental consent.

Oklahoma teachers, school administrators and legislators are becoming familiar with PARCC as they have begun to "roll out" their plans being imposed on our schools, teachers and students.

- Student Assessments to take up to 9 hours in the areas of Language Arts and Math.

- Teacher's required to "sign up" on a roster to be entered into the data bank for teacher evaluation according to student performance in subject areas.

Big Spenders and Big Vendors

Behind this huge power grab are countless entities which are big spenders and big vendors contributing and/or profiting from the Common Core System. These include numerous foundations, multi-national corporations, nonprofit organizations, consultants and other vendors selling Common Core aligned products and services including tests, textbooks, software, and technology. Here are just a few: Carnegie Foundation, College Examination Board, Federal Grants, Foundation for Education Excellence (Jeb Bush), Gates Foundation, Pearson Education, Inc. and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Progressives in Education

Those familiar with the conflict between traditional education and progressive philosophy may remember the upheaval experienced in Oklahoma and many other states when our State Superintendent tried to implement the radical ideas of Dr. Bill Spady and his transformational model of Outcomes Based Education (OBE) in the 1990's. The language used by Spady and his supporters led a lot of people to "buy in" to the plans, but in the end the philosophy behind OBE became widely publicized and was rejected by our state.

The current transformational process aligning curriculum and teacher training is the same radical philosophy. Different words are used, but the radical philosophy is undeniable. Education progressive Dr. Robert Marzano was chosen by Supt. Barresi as the consultant for Oklahoma's Teacher Leader Evaluation (TLE) process.

Marzano's model is set to align teacher training and evaluation systems in Oklahoma with philosophies and practices being established in the new national Common Core curriculum. Marzano's model has failed in Texas where he helped create the controversial "CSCOPE" which is under full investigation by the State Attorney General. Texas teachers are testifying to the long list of problems with his philosophy.

Progressive educators are well known for pushing to make changes in attitudes, values and beliefs through curriculum which often causes children to oppose their parents who have traditional views. Academic content is decreased in the progressive's curriculum. Teachers are trained to stop teaching facts, knowledge and information while they "facilitate" the child's self-directed learning. A large majority of Oklahomans demand a strong academic curriculum for their children and oppose the philosophy of progressives. We need to Stop the Common Core system from being implemented in Oklahoma before it goes any further and let teachers teach.

Linda Murphy was a candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction and was appointed by Governor Keating as Secretary of Education. Murphy was appointed as Deputy Commissioner of Labor, Administrator of the Eastern Oklahoma Department of Labor, Member of the State Job Training Coordinating Council, and the Governor's School-to-Work Council. She also served on the Governor's Commission on the Status of Women. She may be contacted at:

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