How we got the Common Core Standards: Federal Manipulation Through Race to the Top

Seattle Education

race to the top4

From the Truth in American Education, An admission of Federal manipulation through Race to the Top:

Arne Duncan’s former chief of staff pulls back the curtain on Race to the Top

We couldn’t keep up with the enormous load of data that the competition generated—and we learned that we didn’t have to. The public did it for us. State and local watchdogs kept their leaders honest by reviewing and publicly critiquing applications. Education experts provided analyses of competition data. And researchers will be mining this trove of information for years to come.

Joanne Weiss was the director of the Race to the Top program at the U.S. Department of Education and Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s chief of staff. She wrote an essay at Stanford Social Innovation Review that is enlightening in that we finally have a USDED official admit the truth about the federal role in foisting Common Core on…

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TFA Tries To Marginalize Critical Alumni Voices

TFA partners with #CharterChicanery

Gary Rubinstein's Blog

A few weeks ago the book ‘Teach For America Counter-Narratives:  Alumni Speak Up And Speak Out’ was released.  Edited by T. Jameson Brewer and Kathleen deMarrais, the book features 20 chapters, each written by a TFA critic, many of whom are alumni.  I think this is a great book, and not just because I wrote one of the chapters.

TFA seems to have peaked in popularity about 5 years ago, right around the time I attended the 20th anniversary summit, which was basically a charter school/Waiting For Superman/ Michelle Rhee love fest.  Since that time, criticism has swelled and now TFA is really struggling to recruit as the number of new corps members is a little more than 4,000 compared to around 6,000 just a few years ago.

As an alum, I’m on various TFA mailing lists.  One of them is called ‘TFA Briefing’.  This is a series of summaries…

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45K letters & Sen. Legg says “stop harping” about the FSA


Florida public education advocates, you are making an impact! We used our voices this week and sent nearly 45,000 letters telling the Senate Education Committee that the FSA should not be used to grade anyone.  Now an annoyed Chairman Legg wants us to “stop harping.”  Dismissing the real concerns of parents and professionals by saying further discussion about the state’s testing mess is unnecessary does not make it so.  Aside from that, it’s extraordinarily tone deaf.

After decades of micro-managing public education, Legg claims “there’s nothing the legislature can do.”  He goes on to assert that they are “unable to stop” Commissioner Pam Stewart and the Department of Education from setting pass/fail cut scores, issuing school grades or using the flawed scores to evaluate teachers. Legg’s comment lacks credibility. He knows Stewart is an unelected political appointee with an ardent penchant for rule following.  The FSA testing mess was wholly created by the Florida Legislature…

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Open Letter to the CA State Board of Education on Release of [False] #SBAC Scores

Bad Data


Screenshot 2015-09-07 12.54.13Dear Members of the California State Board of Education,
Last Spring, 3.2 million students in California (grades 3-8 and 11) took the new, computerized Math and English Language Arts/Literacy CAASPP tests (California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress). The tests were developed by the SmarterBalanced Assessment Consortium, and administered and scored by ETS (Educational Testing Service). Costs are estimated at $360 million dollars in federal tax dollars and $240 million dollars in state funds for 3 years of administration and scoring.

Despite the documented failure of the assessments to meet basic standards of testing and accountability, [invalid] scores are scheduled to be released to the public on September 9th.  According to media reports, the 11th grade scores will be used for educational decision-making by nearly 200 colleges and universities in six states. For detailed documents, see Critical Questions about Computerized Assessments and SmarterBalanced Test Scoresthe SR Education SBAC invalidation report, the…

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