0008_Video and Transcript for: 15-year-old Connects the Dots About the Dangers of Common Core

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October 13, 2013

Program given by Patrick Richardson

(If you wish to read the transcript while listening to the YouTube, click on the title above that will will bring you to the entire post.)


The Copyright holders are the NGA and the CCSSO.  Nothing can be taken away from them and you can only add 15%.  There are all these stipulations outlined in a copyright notice attached with the standards.  And here are some portions of the copyright notice:

“Any person that exercises any rights to the Common Core Standards, agrees to the terms of this license.”

Which is about 3 pages long.

“The NGA and CCSSO shall be acknowledged as the sole owners and developers of the Common Core.  No claims to the contrary shall be made.”

My favorite part is this part:

“The Common Core Standards are presented as is, and with all faults, and the NGA Center and the CCSSO make no representations or warranties of any kind.”

So here they are promoting their little brain child here that’s the silver bullet for education, but in the fine print down at the bottom they say that they really have no liability for what they’ve created.

    I want to introduce you to our friend, Dr. Tom Kimbrell.  At the Arkansas Department of Education he’s the Commissioner appointed by Governor Beebe.  He testified about 8 hours at our hearing about Common Core.  This was what he had to say when asked why the standards were copyrighted.

    “Why did they copyright them?  To keep textbook publishers from being able to take them and put them in their work.”

I want to show you my Literature textbook that I got two weeks after this hearing.  I’d like to show you the first 38 pages of the textbook, which has the entire 11th and 12th grade English Common Core Standards printed word-for-word, along with a bunch of other stuff that nobody is ever going to read, and I have to lug it around every day all year.  And they even put a little copyright notice in the front that the NGA and the CCSSO are the ones that own it, and no claims shall be made to the contrary.

We contacted Houghton/Mifflin/Harcourt, the publisher of this textbook, and they declined to comment on the issue.  Also we tried contacting the NGA and that’s like trying to get ahold of the President – nobody ever calls you back
Were the Standards based on any research?

End of that question.

There was no research done. If you look at standards in any field, whether it’s medicine, psychology, engineering – every field has its own standards, just like teaching does.  And if you look at standards in any other field, you’ll see hundreds and hundreds of footnotes saying what that standard was based off of.  Was it based on research, was it based on opinion.  Where did that standard come from?

If you look through the Common Core, there are no footnotes to tell you anything about who made up what, or what it’s based off of.  So that was your answer to that question.
Are the standards developmentally appropriate for young children?

This is a very important one.  Are the standards developmentally appropriate for young children?  This is Dr. Megan Koshnick who testified at the University of Notre Dame.  She is a psychologist that specializes in child development and anxiety.  This is portions of what she had to say about it:

   “In general I see this with Common Core and other people as they discuss math and English standards later…….What I kind of saw is that they saw this college and career-readiness goal, and then they backed those standards down all the way to Kindergarten.  So instead of thinking about: ‘What’s developmentally appropriate for a kindergartener?’, they’re thinking, ‘This is where we want that kindergartener to wind up.  Let’s track this all back down to kindergarten, and have them work on those skills in a kindergarten way.’

    “There are some major flaws with that.  We can train students to answer questions.  You can train a 2nd grader to answer abstract questions, but you have not really changed the internal process of understanding abstraction.  You have trained them to answer questions.

    “But you see this all throughout the standards.  They’ll talk about ‘fewer, deeper, not a mile wide and an inch deep – they’re always deeper standards – fewer and deeper.’  and really, when I look at them often they’re requiring these children, 8, 7, 9, who are right in the midst of this concrete operation period, where they like concrete operations, no abstractions, and they are requiring them to explain, justify and apply principles that are abstract in nature.  And this is repeated throughout the math standards.  It’s no longer good enough to know that 7 – 3 = 4, you have to explain and justify how you came up with that answer.  And probably they’re going to make you do it the other way around, which you often see them do, and you’ve got to say something about the inverse property of mathematics.  These are really abstract principles for a young child to be learning.”

    “So this is what that state with standards that are not developed with careful consideration for what’s developmentally appropriately.   

“First of all, from a child psychologist’s perspective, you’re going to stress out the kid.  I’m going to be real busy, because I specialize in anxiety.  It means I’m going to have a lot of really anxious kids.  But it’s going to affect the classroom as a whole, because the curriculum is going to include lessons and strategies that aren’t appropriate, and the teacher is going to have to go over and over them to nail those down, and it’s going to leave less time for grade appropriate materials, and really no time for repeating those, or repetition.”

So there you can see extremely expert opinion from a field that was not even consulted when these standards were developed.
What does “College and Career Ready” mean?

You hear that over and over.  “They are college and career ready standards”, but really more of a marketing term rather than having any meaning, because:  Where did they come up with that.  Where did they find out they were college and career ready?

So, this next person in the video is Jason Zimba, who was the lead architect of the math standards.  He is a professor, and this is what he had to say at a hearing when he was asked “What does college and career-ready really mean?”  [7:40)

   Z – The definition of college readiness, I think it’s a fair critique that it is a minimal definition of college readiness”

    Q – Some colleges

    Z – Well, for the colleges that most kids go to, but not that most parents probably aspire.  Right

    Q – It’s not for STEM.  It’s not for

    Z – That’s true.  It’s not only not for STEM, it’s also not for selective colleges that, for example UC Berkeley, whether you’re going to be an engineer or not.  You better have pre-calculus… to get  ….(unintelligible)      right

    Q – scientific

    Z – That’s true.  I think the third pathway goes a lot towards that, but you’re issue is really broader than that.

   Q – Yes

   Z – So I just wanted to make sure that we got that out.

    Q – it’s not just selective colleges.  There’s a much broader question here

    Z – That’s right, it’s both, I think, in the sense of being clear about what this college readiness does and doesn’t get you.  And that’s the big subject.  

    Q – But don’t you call something college ready when it only applies to a certain kind of college, and a certain lower level of mathematical expertise that won’t buy you far on the international market in most major disciplines of technology, economics, business and so on.  

    Z – OK.  Thank you.”

So he didn’t have anything to come back at her.  That’s about how they do when you put them under pressure with the real questions and they don’t have answers, because there aren’t any.
How much will it cost?– [9:11]

This is highly complicated.  You could talk about this for hours.  But this is basic cost analysis that was done over the next 7 years, and it will cost the United States almost $16 billion.  You can see that more than half is spent on professional development and technology, all within the first 2 to 3 years before the standards actually “start”.  Obviously for players in the technology field, like Bill Gates, this was a big deal to dump an extra $6 billion into his industry.  Also for textbooks is a total of over $2 billion over the course of 7 years.  But you can see from this chart that textbooks and professional development material combined was $7 Billion, which would be the market that Pearson, and companies like that are in.  For companies in those two markets, it was a big financial gain for them to make sure that this goes through.
What is PARCC?–

Grace introduced you to it.

This is their website.  You can see they are managed by ACHIEVE Incorporated, because they have no legal presence.  You can’t sue PARCC because PARCC isn’t anybody, they’re just a name.  Actually this screen shot is old.  It used to say PARCC is a 22 state consortium – now it just says PARCC is a 19 state consortium.  They’re finally waking up and dropping out.  Florida announced last week.  They were the state serving as the money handler for the operation – and they announced that they are backing out by the end of next month.  Now there is really no one to handle the money for PARCC.  So they’re just a fire that’s just getting bigger and bigger.

Then if you look at ACHIEVE’s website, ACHIEVE is this kind of odd political advocacy kind-of organization .  I’m not sure really what business they have managing a testing consortium and what they know about that.  They have an agenda and their whole website tells you about all the things they advocate for in education.

This is their page about Arkansas that has their policy.  They want all the standards aligned with the expectation of college and careers.  One of their things on their agenda is to develop a longitudinal data system, so the people managing the test want the standards and they want the data system.  It’s just a big circle.  It just goes on and on.

This is the little self-proclaimed summary of ACHIEVE from their website:

“At the 1996 National Education Summit a bi-partisan group of governors and corporate leaders decided to create and lead an organization dedicated to supporting standard based education reform efforts across the states.  To do so they formed ACHIEVE as an independent, bi-partisan, non-profit education reform organization.  To this day ACHIEVE remains the only education reform organization led by a board of directors of governors and business leaders.  This unique perspective has enabled ACHIEVE to set a bold and visionary agenda over the past 15 years, leading Education Week in 2006 to rank ACHIEVE as one of the most influential education policy organizations in the nation.”  [12:50]

And they’re managing the test I’ll be taking next year.  That’s wonderful.

Students in KY and NY tested last year.  How did they do?

Students in KY and NY took a test that their state developed for themselves last year.  NY and KY were kind of the test dummies, you can say, although we all are.  And so they fully implemented Common Core last year in all grades, and they made up their own test to simulate the PARCC test.  So we’re making pretests for pretests for the real test that doesn’t exist yet.

And here’s how one of the top schools in New York did.  The green bars would be their scores in 2010, pre Common Core.  And that was their scores from this past year, across their school in 3rd through 8th grade.

[13:48] This is the superintendent of that school district, Dr. Joseph Rella.  In 2012 he was the superintendent of the year in New York, so he obviously knows what he’s doing.  And this was a call that went out when to the parents when the scores came in.

    “Good evening everybody, this is Dr. Rella.  This past week the state education department released the test scores, the tests that our 3rd through 8th graders took last April.  As they had predicted, State Ed, that about 30% of the students across New York passed these tests.  Another way to say it is that 70% of the students failed this test.  Our students will be getting these grade reports in September.

    When that happened, I felt you needed to get some word from me on what my position is on this.  I posted a couple of letters.  One that I wrote to our state representatives in the state legislature.  And one to you, the parents.  I posted those on the website.  You’ll be getting that parent letter with the grade reports sent out to you in the middle of September or so.  Not thinking that this would go any further – well it went further.  It got onto the internet, and apparently it got onto the internet and it’s gone viral, and I’m getting letters, emails rather, and phone calls from not only around Long Island, but New York State and all around the country, because 44 states are involved, or about to get involved with the Common Core Standards.

    “My position on this is pretty simple.  The implementation and the testing associated with the Common Core is hurting our children.  I think that’s clear enough.  I don’t know how I could possibly tell our kids 70% of you are failures, because these tests are tied in the state’s mind to college completion.  70% of you are probably not college material.  That hurts kids.  That message is wrong.

    “The bottom line is, this thing has grown and grown.  There’s going to be a rally on Saturday at the high school…

Here’s a portion of his letter, and he [Dr. Rella] says,  [16:25]

“What changed this year was not our students’ intelligence, or the talent and skill of our teachers and administrators.  What changed was the curriculum and the tests.  What changed was the inadequate curricular materials from the state education department.  What changed was giving the tests before the students were properly prepared.”
How will Student Data be Collected?

This is another funny topic when you start asking the people who are supposed to know the answers to these questions, because they will swear up and down that they aren’t collecting this data, they never will, they never have.  They tell you no.  Bottom line is, they are sort of being bypassed too, in this whole data collection attempt, because it’s tied to the PARCC tests which they have no control over. [17:21]

    “The US Department of Education is prohibited by law from creating a national data system.  But the Education Science Reform Act of 2002 gave the federal government the authority to publish guidelines for states developing state longitudinal data systems (SLDS). [speaker said “for states developing their own data systems]

    “Over the past decade; a slew of new federal incentives, and federally-funded data models has required states to monitor students’ early years, performance in college, and success in the workforce, by following individual systematic  {?} efficiently across state lines.”

This is a little chart that shows you how their system works.

Here’s the humble little student here called “Data”.  And here’s your local school district.  They begin gathering information from for-profit vendors such as the textbook publishers.  There are a whole slew of companies that make practice tests that collect information on students.

Then from there it’s shared through the district to your state department of education.  From there, information pours in from other government entities, as well as other government programs designed to collect data, and it’s all patterned after things that were created.  The groundwork was laid by the Data Quality Campaign which is this organization set up by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to kind of oversee it and make recommendations to states and monitor their state progress. [18:58]

And the National Education Data Model, the Eaton Data File Ed Pacs, it’s all this giant convoluted system for collecting data so they’re skirting around the law of not being able to create a federal database by having all the states make their own databases that are all the same so when you put them all together you have a federal database.

This is a screen shot from one of their websites, which is currently offline due to the shutdown.  They conveniently just took it off the internet.  It says the Education Data Exchange Network, a federally mandated data collection and storage system through which states submit their educational data to the United States Department of Education.  Then it goes on to tell you that the hundred some odd different data groups, of sub groups.  There’s hundreds of data points of different things they collect.  [20:00]

[Slide:  PARCC Cooperative Agreement with US Dept. of Ed]

So this is selections from a cooperative agreement which is a 20-some-odd page document that was the agreement between the US Department of Education and PARCC, to create the PARCC test and you’ll see who signed it in a minute, to agree to the terms.  This was the contract for the $160 million that they were going to be paid. [20:30]
    “The grantee must provide timely and complete access to any and all data collected at the state level to the US Department of Education, or its designated program monitors, technical assistance providers or research partners as well as auditors.”   And then “it must also produce all student level data in a manner consistent with an industry-recognized open license interoperability standard that is approved by the US Department of Education during the grant period.”

So by signing this document PARCC agreed to make all information they collect available to the US Department of Education.  So since every student in those 19 states will be taking that test, the data from every student in those 19 states will be turned over on demand to the US Department of Education and just about anybody else that wants to see it.  And the contract between Smarter Balance, the other testing consortium, is the exact same thing, copied and pasted, so it’s the same for the other one too.  So there’s forty-some-odd states signed up between the two consortiums – so that’s like 90 percent of the students in America through two pieces of paper that were signed.  [21:50]

This is the last page where it was signed: two people from the US Department of Education, and two people from the Florida Department of Education signed this contract on behalf of everyone in the 22 states at the time.  None of those four people were elected.  That’s not really what local control looks like either.  They agreed to stuff on our behalf, when we didn’t elect them – any of them.
How will data be used?

So then the next important question after that is:  How will data be used?

This next video that I show you is a research engineer at a for-profit company that is owned by Pearson that develops software that lets this company take data that they access from your PARCC test, and from other data from hundreds of different sources, and compile it and it can tell you what career path you would be best at.  So it could very quickly turn into:  Here’s what career path the computer says you should do.  So you’ll see it’s almost creepy the way he talks about it.

   “we’re doing.  

    “We’re pulling data from everywhere.  You name it.  Having open standards is important.  We get data from thousands , tens of thousands of different places, and being able to do that fast, and to do it clean is incredibly important for us.

    “Just want to talk about one thing here that’s important data that we need to be able to pull in to make all this workthis Common Core data – about skills.  We’re running out of time.  We’re not going to go into it in detail.

    “Now when we surveyed students not a single one of them actually cared about.  Never asked us about the Common Core.  I looked at them and said, “Alright, I’m not so worried about that.”     Because how many people if you asked them if you care whether or not you have TCPIP on their Smart Phone, they’d probably say, “No, I don’t.”  But you do care.  This is the glue that actually ties everything together.  If I want to achieve a goal, how do I know when I got there?  How do I know?  If I’ve got my own individual path to achieve my goals, you know, how do I know when I got there?

    Now if you look at this, you see these are the skills that I need to achieve my goal, and I can turn that into a pathway to get there.

    So that’s what we’re doing with open data, and I’m very excited about it.  Thank you.”

[Education Datapalooza 2012]


So, there you go.  They can take (go back to that one slide we had it on) with their software, each one of these little blocks is one standard in the Common Core.  And they can take your test questions that you answered, and they know whether you got it right or wrong and they can match it to the standards, and this would be an example chart of a student.  The red ones would be the ones you’re bad at.  The green ones are the ones you’re good at.  Yellow would be neutral, and then from that they can build a “pathway” out of the skills that you’re good at, and match you to a career that matches that pathway of skills – which is a little crazy.

He said it himself, Common Core standards are the glue that holds everything together, because if everybody isn’t tested on the same thing, then they can’t access that data, and their whole business doesn’t work.

So, this is an example chart of the different entities and programs involved with Common Core and there is no complete list because it would be the size of this building; but this is just a summary and you can see data collection is green, and that’s a huge portion of the whole initiative.   And the standards are just this little bit.  And then there’s the professional development part, and then you’ve got the Department of Education all up in everyone’s business all over the place.

Bill Gates is involved?  [26:49]

So you heard Bill Gates is involved.  He stands to make a lot of money off of it.  He has his foundation where he put most of his money.

Bill Gates has an interesting idea about philanthropy.  He is a pioneer in a field called Venture Philanthropy, where he uses his wealth to “give back to others” while at the same time creating a return on his investment.  So he’s applying business to philanthropy.  And you’ll see that over and over in how he does Common Core.  He’s “investing in Common Core” because he stands to make profit, even though it looks like he is just giving out money to people.

[Slide:  Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation web page]

This is how much money he gave to the National Governor’s Association.  It kind of got cut off, but one grant is $19 million.  I think it goes up to $40-something million.

Here’s the CCSSO.  He gave them $79 million, and this is just since I think 2007.  So in the past 6 years, almost 7 now.

Then $36 million to ACHIEVE, the “independent, non-partisan” reform group that is “managing our tests”.

Then the Foundation for Excellence in Education [FEE], he gave them $1.6 million.

Then this one is my favorite, the National PTA.  He gave them $2.5 million dollars just in the past few years.

And here’s one of the grants for half a million dollars, and its purpose written on the grant is to “educate parents and communities on the new standards, and to empower leaders to create the changes they need in their school system for Common Core implementation.”

[National Congress of Parents and Teachers slide – 27:51]

And if you go on the National PTA’s website, since that grant was written, about half of it is about Common Core.  They’re basically being paid to advertise for it.
Pearson is involved too?

Pearson is involved too.  Pearson is the largest textbook publishing conglomerate in the world.  They’re based in London.  There are three major conglomerates in textbook publishing.  There’s McGraw Hill, Pearson, and Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt; and over the past 6 to 8 years they’ve bought up every single text book publisher and just about any company that does anything in education, to strengthen their fleet of companies.
How they operate:   One textbook like this one is a Houghton-Mifflin textbook.  It’s published by Houghton-Mifflin-Harcourt.  And that is because Houghton-Mifflin-Harcourt makes the textbook, and then they own 15 different textbook publisher companies, so they publish the same textbook under 15 different brand names, as 15 different textbooks, even though it’s essentially the same text, just it’s designed differently.

Pearson and McGraw Hill all do the same thing.

Pearson made an attempt to purchase McGraw Hill last year but the paperwork was turned down by the Federal Trade Commission because it would have created an even larger monopoly than already exists.

This is a report written by a business analyst in British Columbia in Canada after Pearson was leading a push to do essentially the same thing:  create common state standards and a common curriculum and a common set of tests in the province of British Columbia.  This was a report written by him to the British Columbia Teacher’s Federation.  In this report he says: [30:00]

    “According to investment research firm Sanford Bernstein and Company, Pearson is pursuing a variety of growth strategies, including one that will revolutionize how education is delivered to students around the world, starting with the United States.  It is an ambitious attempt to further commercialize education, by claiming its products and services will raise student and teacher performance while at the same time cutting spending.  If successful, Bernstein argues, it would make every teacher and school student in the United States a potential customer, by personalizing education in the US schools through technology and best practices.  And since British Columbia is part of the North American Education Division, it too would become a target for the new strategy.”  30:48

This is also part of the report.  This is a list of all the companies related to education that Pearson has purchased since 2007.  Some of these companies were purchased by Pearson for more than they were worth at face value – some up to two times what they were worth.  Some of these companies – School Net was one they purchased that was a US school data collector to individualized learning; Chancery Software, provider of student information services; Harcourt Assessment, provider of testing services.
So leading up to this Common Core roll-out they were strengthening their fleet with plenty of companies that specialized in the things that weren’t so important back then, but all of a sudden are “the thing” now in education.

So it’s very clear that they had an active role in this, and could see what was coming, because they were buying companies that at the time weren’t really making a profit because their services weren’t needed, but now all of a sudden, they’re needed everywhere.

This is Educational Testing Service (ETS).  They are a company based in New Jersey.  They’re a “non-profit” company that owns multiple for-profit companies.  They own and manage the College Board.  They own Prometric, which is a testing company.  They have contracts with both Espac (?) and PARCC to create portions of the test.  And even though they are non-profit, if you look at their most recent tax return that’s available, in 2011 they reported over $1 billion in revenue, and $1 billion in expenses.  And basically, how they operate is they go out and get contracts as a non-profit, because they don’t have to pay taxes, and they’re more appealing to people like PARCC.  And they’ll get a contract for $100 million, and then they’ll take it to one of their for-profit companies like Prometric, and designate them the contract holder, and run the money through their company, so it’s kind of a fishy operation they’re running.  And now they’re all involved with our testing as well.  [33:20]

So this is a little map of the major parts of the Common Core Initiative.

You’ve got the standards over here, and they were written by NGA and CCSSO and ACHIEVE.

And you’ve got the Assessment, and these are the companies that have contracts to create them:  Pearson, ETS, West Ed, Measured Progress.

Then; you have the College Entrance Exams which are also affiliated with ETS.

Then you’ve got the curriculum.  You’ve got the textbook publishers, the professional development.  Then you’ve got the student information systems down at the end with the data collection.  So you have Pearson, and Pearson, and Pearson, and Pearson.  And you have ETS, and ETS, and ETS.  And you’ve got Microsoft down in the student information systems.

So if you look where the people put their money, the Federal Government put their money in just about everything except curriculum, because they’re prohibited by law from “creating a curriculum” so they intentionally kept their money out of curriculum.  And then the Gates foundation gave money all over the board to just about anyone.
The Bottom Line [34:40]

The Bottom Line is that:

The standards are copyrighted by private organizations who don’t represent, who should have been represented to create those standards.

They were not based on any peer reviewed research.

They only are designed to prepare students for a two-year non-selective university.

Tests are very subjective and more dependent on actually knowing how to play the game rather than actually knowing the content.

Data will be collected and shared without parental consent.

Contracts were signed by people who had no accountability to us as citizens.

Major supporters of Common Core either have financial interest or are literally being paid to support it.

The Common Core Standards are the glue that holds the entire things together.
[35:27 – slide:  Arkansas Against Common Core]


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