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Iowa’s Uncommon Curriculum: Rotten to the Core - Part I

To the Editor:

Like any parent, I want the best education for my children. Last year I was shocked to discover that everything I thought I knew about our education was about to change. My journey started in 2012 as I talked with a teacher and a Principal about a book in my child’s classroom. I was told they were reading certain literary works because of reading requirements dictated to them by Common Core. Don’t you mean Iowa Core? I was told, “No - Common Core replaced the Iowa Core and was signed into Law in 2010 to take over Iowa’s Standards”. I was given a benign Common Core website and quickly did my own research. What I discovered has caused me to question the State of Iowa along with ADM’s education and curriculum going forward.

I will share with you some of the things that caused me to question our public education system as it sits today.

DID YOU KNOW- Common Core was NOT State led, designed by Governors or teachers?

I have been told that the Common Core Standards were created through a state-led initiative and have been adopted by 45 states. That is not true. It actually was rolled out and funded through the 2009 Stimulus Bill and was written primarily by Achieve, Inc. in Washington, D.C., under the non-partisan disguise of the National Governors Association(which at the time of the Standards rolling out there were no sitting Governors) and the Council of Chief State School. NGA and CCSO are both non-profit groups that co-own the Common Core State Standards copyright. The Standards cover mathematics and English language arts.

DID YOU KNOW- None of these Standards have been tested?

NONE of the Common Core Standards have ever been studied or tested. Parents and teachers were completely excluded from the writing process. The Common Core Standards have never been piloted or tested or shown to be better than what was currently in place. Last month at the Business Summit held in Des Moines, Jason Weedon, of Corporate Relations and Strategic Partnerships for Achieve (the same company who wrote the standards) was asked a simple question. “Where are the peer reviewed journals which have shown that these Common Core Standards are superior and are internationally benchmarked proving that this is going to better than what the Country currently has in place?” He didn’t have an answer, because as of 2010 they didn’t exist, they never have existed, and they won’t ever be published.

Maybe that explains why the only English Professor who was on the Validation Committee refused to sign off on the Standards. Dr. Sandra Stotsky, said the following when asked why she didn’t sign off on these standards. She stated, “The Common Core English language arts standards are defective and would radically change literature instruction. Everyone was willing to believe that the Common Core standards are ‘rigorous,’ ‘competitive,’ ‘internationally benchmarked,’ and ‘research-based.’ They are not.” Common Core’s mathematics standards also fall short as well. Mathematics Professor R. James Milgram, the only mathematician on the Validation Committee, concluded that the mathematics standards would put students two years behind those of many high-achieving countries. Dr. Milgram also refused to sign off on the math standards. He said it had many deficiencies, including “failure to teach prime factorization, and therefore failure to teach common denominators; failure to teach conversions between fractions, decimals, and percents; redefinition of algebra as “functional algebra” that de-emphasizes algebraic manipulation; and excluding some algebra II and geometry content that is a prerequisite at almost every four-year state college.”

DID YOU KNOW- how expensive this will be for Iowa/ Our Nation?

It will cost Iowa $184 million (net amount) to implement the Common Core Standards (CCS). The total nationwide cost for 7 years of the Common Core Standards Initiative is $15.8 billion! Cost estimates include Common Core Testing, Professional Development, Textbooks, and Technology. The states will spend $16 billion and only receive $5 billion in federal grants. When the states were competing for those coveted federal dollars, they were not calculating realistic costs for the conversion. For example, today it costs $3.10 per student to take the standardized testing in Iowa. In 2015 the new PARCC test it will cost roughly $28.00 per student equaling over a 900% increase. Theodor Rebarber, CEO and founder of Accountability Works, explained: “States did almost no costs analysis when they signed on to adopt the Common Core standards. They sorely needed the money and viewed CCS through the proverbial rose-colored glasses.” NEXT WEEK- PART II: CHILD PRIVACY, TEACHING IMPACT, HOW TO HELP Please don’t take my word for it, research it on your own, ask your own questions. Below are a few websites to get started; http://iowansforlocalcontrol.com/ and http://truthinamericaneducation.com/.

Contact your local State Representative, Ralph Watts (515-281-3221) and Jake Chapman (515-402-3203) so they know you support their legislative effort to Stop Common Core in Iowa. I will be holding an informational meeting open to the public on Monday, March 3 at 6:30 p.m. at the Adel Public Library.

Michele Crystal,

Adel

Independence4you@hotmail.com

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