Massive LI Revolt Against Common Core , the ‘Educational Apartheid’

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Common Core Townhall hosted by Senator Ken Lavalle at Eastport Manor Junior HS in Manorville, NY, featuring Commissioner of Education John King, Chancellor Merryl Tisch, Board of Regents, Roger Tilles. Senator LaValle is seen addressing the Board in this photo.

Make no mistake about it, “College and Career Ready” is code for education apartheid. Do not let your children breathe the stale air of low expectations, reduced exposure to the arts and music, limited engagement with sophisticated science and little, if any, prolonged, deep and thoughtful contact with great literature. 

~ Dr. Steve Cohen, Superintendent, Shoreham-Wading River School District

Long Island and Upstate parents and teachers are at war with Common Core and its advocates who sit on the New York State Board of Regents. The war must end in a three-year moratorium, say parents and teachers. They have demanded no less at the series of meetings taking place on Long Island and throughout New York State between Chancellor Merryl Tisch, Commissioner John King, members of the Board of Regents and the public.

Several meetings have been held on Long Island, the last in Eastport, but the results have always been the same. We hate Common Core and we want a three-year moratorium.

Long Island Common Core is a disaster. We had the finest schools before Common Core. Now we have demoralized teachers and students. The launch was designed to fail students en masse. The children now live in test preparation misery.

Common Core is despised by most but complaints are falling on deaf ears.

Chancellor Tisch, Commissioner King, and the Board of Regents do not care. They have not altered one iota of the program and they won’t.

State Senator LaValle asked for a delay but he won’t fight to stop it. He supports the bizarre teacher performance approach that has been made part of the Core.

Diane Ravitch is research professor of education at New York University and a historian of education who is bringing the fight against the Common Core to the light of day. The Common Core tests in New York were designed for failure, she says.

Arne Duncan, Commissioner of Education, thinks the parents are upset about Common Core because they found out their children weren’t brilliant.

Hardly, says Ms. Ravitch:

The parents weren’t angry because they found out their child wasn’t brilliant, but because most were told by the state that their children were failuresOnly 31% of the state’s students in grades third through eighth passed or exceeded the new tests. Among students who are English-language learners, only 3% passed the English standards; among students with disabilities, only 5% passed them; among black and Hispanic students, fewer than 20% passed. The numbers for math were better, but not by much.”

“The high failure rate did not happen because the students are dumb, but because the state chose to set an unrealistic passing mark. The state commissioner knew before any student had taken the test that only 30% or so would pass; that is where the state commissioner set the passing mark.”

One of our great Long Island fighters against the Core is Dr. Joe Rella, Superintendent of Comsewogue School District in Port Jefferson Station, Long Island.

At a rally outside of Comsewogue High School on August 17, Rella said:

“Implementation and the testing associated with the Common Core is hurting our children,” Rella explained. “I don’t know how I could possibly tell our kids 70 percent of you are failures.… 70 percent of you are not college material.”

“If it can be fixed, fix it,” he said. “If it can’t, throw it out, scrap it. Stop it, fix it, or scrap it.”

He recently wrote a letter to Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, published on the Patch, in which he brought up the problem of emotional distress to children that is directly caused by the testing.

In the letter, he stated:

Children in our district, on Long Island, and across the state are experiencing increased levels of anxiety, stress, behavioral problems, sleep deprivation, respiratory issues, and in the worst cases, self-abusive and self-destructive behaviors… The “Common Core Disorder,” as it’s coming to be called, is here and growing.

Common Core revealed via Joe Rella. If you don’t have time to listen to the entire video, go to 07:16:

While Common Core Standards for Social Studies have not yet been formally thrust upon us here in New York, they are infiltrating in a grand way. They show up in English Language Arts, craft activities, math exercises in what can only be described as brain washing.

One of the more ridiculous things they do is ‘closed readings.’

WaPo has done a great job of covering this Core disaster and specific techniques like ‘closed readings’. Click the link for more information about teachers being told to teach the Gettysburg Address without any context. It diminishes the history involved by omitting it as irrelevant.

The Corers like these ‘close readings‘ which eliminate the real meaning of everything. In this specific case, they make no mention of the Civil War, the Battle of Gettysburg, or even why President Lincoln was in Philadelphia.

After the readings, the publishers then want teachers to ask text-dependent questions without any of the historical context. You can’t even mention the word, ‘funeral’.

It’s not only boring, it is meaningless. Without the context, there is no meaning.

Another Long Island Superintendent, Steve Cohen of Shoreham Wading River School District, published an editorial in the local newspaper. He had the courage to speak out to fight against what he describes as ‘Educational Apartheid.’

His message needs to be published in its entirety:

First, consider exactly how the Board of Regents defines “College and Career Ready.”

If a student passes an algebra test in 8th or 9th grade at a level that correlates to a C in freshman mathematics in college, and if that same student passes an English test in 11th grade at a level correlated with a C in freshman English in college, along with earning 22 credits in high school and passing three other Regents exams, then she or he is set and ready to go to college and into the world of work.

No music, art, advanced study in much of anything; no community service, no sports, no occupational training; no independent work in any academic or other creative field is required. In addition, to do well on these tests, it is not necessary to read entire novels or histories or write papers of any length or complexity. It is not necessary to develop a love of anything or demonstrate an ability to think on one’s own feet.

Second, note that 16 of the 17 Board of Regents members, in addition to the commissioner of education himself, send their children to private schools — ones that have not embraced the reforms the Board of Regents and the commissioner claim are needed to make students “College and Career Ready.” I mention this fact because its relevance becomes obvious once one understands what “College and Career Ready” means for the children of our educational leaders. You see, the colleges that the children of Regents and commissioners of education are expected to attend, places like Harvard University, define “College and Career Ready” differently.

But this is not what is expected by elite universities, who want so much more for their students.

And he adds:

So it turns out that “College and Career Ready” means two different things depending on whether you are a public school student in New York or a student at an expensive private school. “College and Career Ready” for public school kids means achieving at a decidedly mediocre level when compared to the expectations the Regents have for their own children. Perhaps that’s one reason they would never send them to schools that are benefiting from their wonderful reforms.

For “College and Career Ready,” once one digs a bit below the surface, suggests readying public school students for work that does not demand advanced learning in anything and is not oriented toward preparing students to “take advantage of future learning opportunities of all kinds.” No, these loftier expectations, and the courses and other resources needed to achieve them, are to be reserved for students not subject to the glories of the Regents Reform Agenda, students whose parents have the money and connections to keep them out of the public school system.

Most new jobs created in our economy are low-paying service jobs. We should be concerned that “College and Career Ready” actually refers to a curriculum that guides public school students to these jobs, leaving the few good jobs to students who receive a private high school education that prepares them to “take advantage of future learning opportunities of all kinds.”

Make no mistake about it, “College and Career Ready” is code for education apartheid. Do not let your children breathe the stale air of low expectations, reduced exposure to the arts and music, limited engagement with sophisticated science and little, if any, prolonged, deep and thoughtful contact with great literature.

“College and Career Ready” is a trap. Don’t fall for it. Your kids deserve better. Just like theirs.

Mary Calamia, an experienced Long Island social worker who works largely with a student population, says that the number of children seeking therapy has greatly increased because of Common Core.

Jaime Franchi reporting in the Long Island Press, quoted Mrs. Calamia discussing the problem — “It was constantly about: ‘I can’t take the workload. I feel stupid. I can’t take the pressure. It’s too much,’” she says. “All I was hearing about was the academics. I heard about a little boy in first grade who, when he does his homework, he scratches down his face. He has claw-marks down his face.”

Calamia says Common Core standards are developmentally inappropriate, and they are.

The Kindergarten Standards are especially so.

If you have the time to look at any of the Standards, take a look at Kindergarten to get a good idea of how inappropriate they are. For example, do you think five-year olds need to learn about the Code of Hammurabi? The Education Department thinks they do.

Mary Calamia addressing the Three Village School District:
 

 
The Common Core came out of the National Governor’s Association and the Council of State School Officers. The National Governor’s Association isn’t about Governors, it’s about trade organizations. It is an organization of trade groups who will stand to profit from the massive changes being made to education, beginning with all the new and expensive materials needed.

New York State accepted $700 million Race to the Top money in the Stimulus and ran with it, sight unseen and it shows.

The money is a one-time deal. This expensive and expansive program is an unfunded mandate, a burden on local and state governments in perpetuity. You think your school taxes are high now? Just wait.

Assemblyman Al Graf, a former teacher, has a petition with nearly 20,000 signatures and a website, fixnyschools.com, with sample letters parents can forward to their representatives. He also has a bill designed to stop the Core but State Senator Ken LaValle won’t sign on – he claims the Core is a done-deal. State Senator Lee Zeldin is working on a bill as well.

No discussion of Common Core here in New York would be worth its while if we didn’t mention Pearson, the mega-publisher, and inBloom, the data mining apparatus that will collect children’s private information for posterity. InBloom has already leaked and sold information on children, allegedly anonymously. Both stand to profit greatly from Common Core.

Professor Dodge of Long Island University believes that companies are monetizing education.

Listen to this clip with Professor Dodge:

Facebook has new anti-Core groups propping up continuously and thousands have joined. They are action-oriented and they will prevail.

In this video, a Principal described the effect of the absurd teacher performance reviews which was also designed for failure:
 

 
Clips from Suffolk County, Eastport Manor-Center Moriches Commmon Core meeting with Commissioner King, Chancellor Tisch, and Board of Regents Tilles:
 

 
One mother’s story explained to Commissioner King and Chancellor Tisch:
 

 
Bolding is mine.

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