Tag Archives: Common Core

includes Common Core State Standards, high stakes testing, APPR and data collection/mining/privacy

Common Core has to Go

If you are still uncertain about why there is an ever-growing army of parents fighting to get rid of Common Core, take ten minutes to read the following article and listen to a statement made at the Syracuse Common Core Task Force listening tour.

Common Core remains a mess and must be eradicated

Supporters of the alleged education reform commonly referred to as Common Core tell us that it is an endeavor to raise the education bar for all students — an effort to ensure that students have the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century global economy.

Who would oppose this noble cause? Who doesn’t want children prepared to meet the challenges of the future? Why would parents (and teachers) across the country be up in arms about such a gallant effort?

The answer is very simply that Common Core is not the reform of education; it is the fundamental conversion of the education system to a workforce development program by investors (stakeholders) who stand to make fortunes from it.

click to read the rest of the article by parent and Wappingers Central School District Board of Education member Anne LaValle – November 14, 2015

Video from Syracuse Common Core Task Force listening tour on November 10, 2015

I am so proud to be fighting alongside these amazing moms!

Stop Common Core

Editorial: Finally, testing obsession is under review

This editorial from lohud is an excellent summary of the state of testing and Common Core in New York right now with a bit thrown in about President Obama’s about-face on testing last week.

At the first public meeting of Gov. Cuomo’s Common Core Task Force on Thursday, a Bronx principal named Jamaal Bowman displayed a picture of his young daughter on a big screen and said he would not send her to a public school in New York because of our “test-and-punish culture.” The task force members, including state Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, sat impassively at the College of New Rochelle as Bowman, an invited speaker, decried an overemphasis on standardized testing at the expense of innovation, creativity and richer methods of measuring student achievement.

Read the rest of the article here.

I would like to highlight the following points where parents have made a difference as noted by the editorial staff:

  • Cuomo’s task force is charged with reviewing New York’s testing program and its close ties to the Common Core standards by year’s end.
  • Cuomo just named Bedford Superintendent Jere Hochman his deputy for education. Hochman has sharply criticized New York’s focus on “high-stakes” testing and has called for the state’s widely disliked teacher evaluation system, tied to student test scores, to be torn up and replaced.
  • Longtime Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch, who has overseen the state’s test-centric “reform” agenda, will leave the board when her term is up in March.
  • The state Education Department is also reviewing individual Common Core standards — but not the role of the Core itself.
  • The Board of Regents plans a serious review of the teacher evaluation system, which Cuomo and legislators have essentially taken control of in recent years.
  • Congress is trying —struggling, really — to rewrite the federal No Child Left Behind law to reduce the federal role in education while maintaining accountability measures for school systems.

The battle for the education of our kids has been long and hard and there is still much to do.  We don’t know yet if those in charge of ‘education’ are really going to start listening but we can hope that this is a step on the path to dealing with the testing mess and Common Core.  Do not despair and continue to do what is best for the children.

It’s debatable how much Obama’s new posture will help. But he knowingly gave a shot in the arm to parents, teachers and others who are fed up with federal and state prescriptions for saving our supposedly failing schools.

Have no doubt that New York’s opt-out movement forced Cuomo, legislators, the Regents and newcomer Elia to reconsider testing and related policies. Tisch and Elia may condemn opting out as counterproductive, but when 1 in 5 bubble sheets are not filled out, which is what happened in New York last spring, you’ve got a big problem on your hands.


In case you can not access the lohud editorial, here is a PDF containing the article – Editorial_ Finally, testing obsession is under review


Are we the dumbest nation in the world?

Diana Ravitch shares the following from Denis Ian, a regular poster on the Stop Common Core in New York facebook group.

Denis Ian writes:

“If some lonesome alien just floated into this nation … and had only the Common Core pronouncements as a guide … they’d immediately assume that they were now stuck in some bottom-of-the-barrel country populated by a species that was about an inch beyond bacteria on the evolutionary scale.

“This is their tiresome ploy. Failure is all around … and we’re all too, too oblivious to see all of this with our very own eyes … because near-bacteria hasn’t that sort of sophistication. If all of this were true, we’d all be packing our trunks and marching off to blissful lives in Guatemala or Mali or Nepal. I guess we’re too stupid to even move. That must be it, right?

“What’s so stunning to me is the fact that so many of us are still here … and that our miserable, failing nation is the most desired destination on the planet. All of which begs certain questions that are never, ever addressed by the Common Core corps.

“Here’s the real mystery … How has America maintained its premier economic circumstances when we are populated by such uneducated dolts? How is that this nation is ground zero for all sorts of medical innovations … and that people from the Arab world and Asia and Europe zoom here for medical treatment? Oh! And why are our universities the most desired in the world? And can they explain the happy accident why we have the best standard of living the world has ever experienced? Help me out here, will ya?

“How is it that our military is the most technologically advanced? And what explains the fact that we produce enough food-stuffs to feed ourselves … and vast portions of the world? I’m stumped why we’re the first to offer emergency services when disaster strikes around the globe … and folks seem numb to the USA insignia on replacement equipment, food, and supplies. Did I fail to mention the doctors, engineers, and EMT professionals we send as well?

“That’s a lot of very dumb folks doing some miraculous things.

“Now, to our schools. Something’s wrong, alright. Our schools don’t behave according to the Common Core observations. Our public school faculties are some of the most credentialed on the planet.These public schools lay the foundation that has made America the most recognized Nobel prize producing nation of all-time. No country has ever been so inventive as America. None. We lead in medical inventions and innovations … the same for computer technologies … as well as for mechanical innovations of all sorts. Man, those dumb Americans are the luckiest folks the world’s ever seen!

“These failing public schools have produced world-renown playwrights, artists, actors, musicians, vocalists, and authors of all sorts. These dreadful public schools have given rise to admired engineers and architects and urban planners. They’ve yielded ship designers and astronauts … and the vessels they use to speed around space. We accidentally put men on the moon and recently bumped into Pluto. Ooops! Hope that mistake doesn’t happen again! … some folks will be very embarrassed.

“I hate to mention our political maturity, but I have to. I know we’re supposed to be extremely basic thinkers according to those gifted Common Core pushers, but what explains the relative historical, non-violent political experience in America? We don’t lop off the noggins of lousy rulers. We don’t have a coup every other full moon. And we have dozens of nations world-wide that have modeled themselves after our political foundations. We’d better call them with the bad news that we’re not worth emulating. We’re failures.

“Apologies for the over-the-top sarcasm, but lots and lots of very fine people have had their reputations battered by these frauds who premise that American schools are huge disasters. It’s time to get in their faces

So have our public schools failed the United States or not?

Common Core has NOT won the war!

If you heard about an article from Politico that declares ‘Common Core quietly won the war’, know that the assessment is NOT correct.

Not so fast, Politico. Common core is fading. Don’t believe the hype.


This is a must read. Common core has taken over. That much is true. It’s the hottest topic out there. But they have not won. That is false. We are not done. What are we doing to stop this? We are fighting, always.

Cato speaks the truth:

“A Politico article today declares that the Common Core has “quietly” won the school standards war. It is a headline that would have been accurate several years ago, but today’s headline should be somewhat different: “Common Core in major – but quiet – retreat.”

– read the rest of the blog post here

Do NOT give up!  We still have a battle to win for our children and our schools.

UPDATE October 14, 2015 11pm:  Here is another perspective on how Politico is wrong about Common Core.

Hefling’s main point is that Common Core is now everywhere, so it won. But this would be tantamount to saying that Kleenex has cornered 100% of the facial tissue market because all citizens wipe their noses on something that they call “Kleenex.”

Sure, there’s something called Common Core almost everywhere in education. But which Common Core Ish thing would we like to talk about?


If the picture of success was supposed to be that everyone in the public education system (not the private schools! never the private schools!) had to deal with something that had the words “Common Core” attached to it, then yes, CCSS has won.

But if, as was actually the case, the goal was to have identical standards pursued and measured in every public classroom in the country, with teachers working in virtual lockstep to pursue exactly the same goals– then, no– the Common Core lost. It failed. It was a sledgehammer that was supposed to beat open the brick wall of US schooling, and instead shattered into a million different bits.

And Hefling doesn’t even talk about the other promise of the Core– that all students would be college and career ready. We supposedly have several years’ worth of Common Core grads out there now– how are they doing? Are colleges reporting an uptick in well-prepared freshmen? Are businesses reporting a drop in their training needs? Hefling and her Core-adoring sources don’t address that at all. Can you guess why?

Contact Cuomo – Put Ra/Graf on Common Core Commission

NYS Assemblymen Al Graf and Ed Ra have been fighting Common Core for years and have already conducted the panel that Governor Cuomo is proposing (but with the RIGHT PEOPLE!)

Assemblyman Al Graf and Assemblyman Ed Ra need to be on Cuomo’s Common Core review panel. Contact Governor Cuomo now!

  1. Call Governor Cuomo – (518) 474-8390
  2. E-mail Governor Cuomo – Use this website:  http://www.governor.ny.gov/contact
  3. For snail mail, the address is:

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224




Assemblyman Al Graf’s facebook posts (dated September 20, 2015) urging us to contact Governor Cuomo regarding the Common Core Commission:

So the regents think they have finally figured out the problems with common core. They have come up with a solution. They have decided to just re-name it. How stupid are these people? Calling it something else is not going to fix the problem! Call the Governor’s office and tell him to put Ed Ra and me on the panel to review common core. Ask your friends to call. Write a letter to the Governor, send an email, or do all three. Apparently the regents could not find a clue to the problem if it was strapped to their back.

Colette my degree is in elementary education. Ed and I put together a panel which included teachers, school administrators, school councilors with clinical experience, parents, principals and others involved in education. The purpose of us being on the panel is to bring them in. Ed and I have been fighting beside parents from the beginning.

Assemblyman Ed Ra’s statement regarding review of Common Core:

Ra Pleased With Push For New Common Core Standards

September 3, 2015
Assemblyman Ed Ra (R-Franklin Square) today reiterated his support for a comprehensive review of the implementation of the Common Core Standards in light of Gov. Cuomo’s recent comments on the issue. Ra stressed that while he is glad the governor is finally making necessary steps to remedy Common Core’s implementation, the Assembly Minority Conference has been pushing for a solution for years.
“I’m glad Gov. Cuomo is finally taking action and convening a process to provide a comprehensive review of the implementation of the flawed Common Core curriculum,” said Ra. “I hope the governor will convene a proper cross-section of stakeholders and allow a thorough and honest process with no preordained outcome. My colleagues and I in the Assembly Minority Conference have been offering solutions to Common Core and calling for action on this issue for years; it’s frustrating that it took the governor this long to come around, but I’m happy we are finally going to do right by our children, parents and teachers.”
Ra has been at the forefront of education reform in New York State. Ra and the Assembly Minority Conference first introduced The Achieving Pupil Preparedness & Launching Excellence (APPLE) Plan in the Assembly in 2014. The APPLE Plan would help ensure state education standards are age- and grade-appropriate and provide proper flexibility for special student populations.

Who are the Stop Common Core activists?


Let’s dispel some myths about the stop common core activists. We who fight common core and obsessive, useless testing are not here because we are a bunch of ‘white suburban moms whose kids aren’t as smart as we thought they were.’, ala Arne Duncan. (And may we add, in what other job title could a national representative say such a thing without losing his job?)

We are many. We are parents of honor students. We are grand parents. We are ‘highly effective’ teachers. We are aunts and uncles and sisters and brothers. We are school principals. We are empty nesters. We are childless by choice and career oriented. We come from all walks of life and are all income levels. We share a single goal. That goal is not to ‘make school easier’, or to show children ‘they can shirk the daily challenges and hard work’. That goal is to take back our schools. We share the vision of reclaiming the American freedoms our forefathers afforded us, currently stripped away by big money and the United States of Gate$.

Click to read the rest of this blog entry from stopcommoncorenys March 8, 2015

Petitions to sign

Please read and sign the following two petitions regarding the right to REFUSE New York State Common Core tests:

Assemblyman Jim Tedisco wrote the “Common Core Parental Refusal Act” (A6025/S4161) to require school districts to notify parents of their right to refuse to have their children participate in the Common Core standardized tests.  The bill ensures that students, parents, teachers, schools and school districts will not be punished in any way because of test refusals.

Some state legislators said in March 2015 that the Common Core Parental Refusal Act was not necessary because parents already have the constitutional right to REFUSE the tests.  While parents do have the right to refuse the tests, many parents do not KNOW they have the right.  Also Commissioner Elia and Regent Tisch, while backing down on the threat to take away money from school districts who had too many REFUSALS this past school year, have clearly indicated that they have every intention of pressuring school districts, administrators, teachers and parents into making sure that students take the state tests this coming school year (read here and here).  The Common Core Parental Refusal Act is needed so that parents can refuse the state tests, if they wish to do so, without having to worry about what might happen to their student, teacher, school or school district.

From the petition to Support the Common Core Parental Refusal Act:

Dear Governor Cuomo:

I am very concerned about the over-utilization of Common Core-based standardized tests on children in grades 3-8 and urge you to support the rights of parents to have their children refuse these high stakes tests.

… I ask you to respect the rights of parents to make important decisions on the educational future of their children by supporting the Common Core Parental Refusal Act!

Governor Cuomo has just stated “I don’t believe there are sanctions for opt outs,” …  “At the end of the day, parents are in charge and parents make the decisions.” – Capitol Confidential August 20, 2015  Please sign the Common Core Parental Refusal Act petition and tell Governor Cuomo he needs to put legislation behind his statement that parents are in charge.

Commissioner Elia missed the memo that ‘parents are in charge’ and has bullied parents in districts with large percentages of opt-outs with threats of pulling school funding, called those who opted-out ‘unreasonable’ and stated that any teachers/administrators who encouraged test refusal (and she would be ‘shocked’ if any existed) were ‘unethical’.  Commissioner Elia talked about being ready to listen to concerns before she started her new job but it seems to me that she is doing all the talking and not much of any listening.

Because of Commissioner Elia’s harsh stance against those who are opposed to the state testing, Assemblyman Al Graf is calling on the New York State Board of Regents to FIRE newly appointed Education Commissioner Elia and re-evaluate their stance on Common Core and is asking New York State residents to join him by signing a petition requesting the same.

From the petition to fire NYS Education Commissioner Elia and re-evaluate Common Core:

New York State has continuously expressed a desire to partner with parents, teachers, and all the stakeholders in supplying a quality education for all of our children.

Commissioner Elia, through her statements has labeled concerned parents, teachers and other stakeholders who have expressed concerns about education in our state as adversaries. Parents attempted to communicate their dissatisfaction with the direction of education through an act of civil disobedience. The high number of opt-outs was meant to send a clear message to Albany.

Instead of digging in and threatening the people that are trying to send a message about policies they believe are harmful to our children, the State Education Department and the Regents should take a step back.

The debate over opposition to the Common Core curriculum is taking place in state after state, as well as on the federal level. It has also become a leading issue in the presidential campaign. Here in New York we have had an overwhelming opt-out movement, and more than 50,000 people actually voted on a Stop Common Core ballot line. It is time for the Regents to re-evaluate the direction they are determined to steer education in this state.

My signature is #587.  Please consider adding your signature to the petition as well.


High school students and state test REFUSAL – NOT a good match!

Kingston High School students and parents – just want to make sure that you understand to NOT refuse the upcoming New York State Regents tests even though some of them are ‘Common Core’ tests.  High school students are required to sit for these tests (and pass them) for graduation.**

The KCSD schedule (dates and times) for all of the Regents tests is available here.

Note that Kingston High School students will be taking the Common Core Regents tests for ELA and Geometry next Tuesday June 2, 2015 – bus and cafeteria details here.  The remainder of the Regents tests are administered during Regents week June 16-24, 2015.

There are definitely problems with the Common Core Regents tests (read here, here and here just to start) but unfortunately test refusal is not an option for drawing attention to the problems/dealing with the problems if students want a crack at graduating.

** Notes:

  • This chart lists how many credits and what assessments are required to graduate/earn a diploma as of May 2015.
  • There are limited situations where students may not be required to sit for certain exams if they have previously taken the exams and failed or if they have an IEP.  If your student has previously failed a Regents exam or is a student with an IEP, you might want to join the NY STOP GRAD HST facebook group to inquire about these special cases.

New York State’s new Commission of Education – MaryEllen Elia

Despite concerns raised by parents and NYS Allies for Public Education today, the NYS Board of Regents appointed MaryEllen Elia as the new Commissioner of Education.

A former school superintendent in Florida who led efforts to tie teacher evaluations and pay to student achievement and was fired after clashing with her board was appointed New York State’s education commissioner on Tuesday.  – “MaryEllen Elia named New York State Education Commissioner” New York Times

Read more about Ms. Elia here and here and here.  This facebook page called for her resignation in Florida and here is NYSED’s glowing press release announcing her appointment today.

I hope and pray that the concerns raised about Ms. Elia are all for naught since she is now the New York State Commissioner of Education.  However I am baffled as to why the Regents decided to appoint a new Commissioner who comes to New York trailing rumors of dissatisfaction from parents in her previous Florida school district when New York is itself in such a state of turmoil.  How will starting with a commissioner that had to be ‘snuck in’ (Regents called in the day after a holiday weekend to vote before anyone got wind of what was going on) because the Regents apparently knew a large portion of the New York population would be unhappy with this appointment get us started on the right foot?

In a totally baffling move, NYSUT has expressed support for Ms. Elia.  Unfortunately we know that NYSUT is not expressing the will of many of the teachers it is supposed to be representing so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by the fact that NYSUT is supporting a Common Core supporter from the most highly tested state in the country who has a goal of firing teachers based on standardized tests/VAM (junk science).  Read over 3,000 New York teachers denouncing the selection of Ms. Elia here.

From Valerie Strauss, Washington Post Answer Sheet May 26:

Carol Burris, an award-winning principal in New York, said this about Elia:

“It is now apparent why the Board of Regents did not reach out to stakeholder groups and inform them that she was a candidate–if her support for merit pay, the Common Core, Gates Foundation grants,  the formulaic dismissal of teachers, and school choice were known, certainly there would have been an outcry from New York parents and teachers who have had more than their fill of test-based reforms.  The message of 200,000 Opt Outs has not been heard.”

Lengthen the School Year Before It’s Too Late Homework Assignment

I try to not get too hung up on the different postings of bad ‘Common Core’ assignments because they may or may not be the fault of Common Core but this one is just so egregious that I had to post it whether it is the fault of Common Core or not!

A mom on the Stop Common Core in New York State facebook page (not from Kingston) reported that her 2nd grade student brought this homework assignment home today.  Note that she said her school regularly sends work from the next grade up home as homework at the end of the school year.  The paper says it is for third grade at the bottom.

Homework Lengthen the School Year grade 3Homework Lengthen the School Year grade 3 p2

The mom was aghast and furious that her student was being told she was behind/not cutting it by the homework assignment and that she needed to give up her summer break.  This particular family spends their summers in Greece learning Greek culture, language and their family heritage.  The mom didn’t feel this qualified as blowing off the summer!

Regardless of how a family spends their summer, the opinions that are presented here as facts are way too many!  There are experts who say these things but there are experts who say the opposite or come up with other solutions based on similar facts.  If this was presented as an opinion piece MAYBE it would be okay but I still don’t know if I would think so for 2nd grade homework where there might be no one discussing it with the child. On the thread where it came from some teachers said they used a similar opinion piece to have a discussion with 5th graders and I could maybe see that working.  However I have been part of debates about extending the school year/having kids go to school in the summer between adults and it is just that – DEBATES!!!  There is NOT consensus about what is best for children in the summer.

I definitely feel this is too far into the brainwashing/social engineering camp for a 2nd/3rd grade class to be using it as homework.  What do you think?