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30 April 2014


Ryan Mount

A Camel is a Horse built by committee.

Russ Steele

I have put my thoughts on the meeting here: http://sierrafoothillcommentary.com/2014/04/30/common-core-discontinuity/

George Rebane

Re BradC's 239pm comment on 'Common Core Unexamined' - 1) No, the Gates Foundation is very interested in developing populations that communicate only via online devices and do all of their thinking with the aid of guided intelligence and knowledge bases.

2) The progressives (check local leftwing blogs) are constantly hammering on decisions and recommendations being acceptable only from their vetted sources with specific knowledge of the subject at hand. In the CC case there not only seemed to be no education domain experts involved, but the proceedings of how they generated the standards are kept strictly under wraps with participants having signed NDAs that have all the weight of the GF's money to launch lawsuits against infractors.

One would think that developing social prescriptions that will shape the future direction of an entire nation would be accomplished in the most open of all forums, since every segment of our population will be directly impacted by the finished product. Instead it is the Age of Obama where the first of the Big Lies was that his would be a new age of sunshine and clarity. Instead, starting with his own vitae, it has been anything but ... .


It's interesting watching the lefty antipathy to corporations until those corporations (Obamacare site developers, Green Energy concerns, Businesses involved with "Bold New Directions" for education or healthcare) are yoked by the state.

The motives then are pure as the driven snow and only to the good!

Their gullibility is simply precious!

Brad Croul

Here are a couple of links from the Gates Foundation website,

The Unitied States program,


and, Vicki Phillips,


"Vicki Phillips, director of Education, College Ready in the United States Program, oversees work to improve early learning in Washington state; to ensure U.S. high school students graduate ready for success in college, career, and life; and to improve access to college.

Phillips has committed her career to increasing educational opportunities for young people. Prior to joining the foundation, she was superintendent of Portland Public Schools in Portland, Ore. Before her move to Oregon, Phillips was secretary of education and chief state school officer for the state of Pennsylvania and served as superintendent of the Lancaster, Pa., school district. She has worked with the U.S. Office of Education in Washington, D.C., and has been a middle and high school teacher.

Phillips earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in school psychology from Western Kentucky University. She also holds a doctorate in education from the University of Lincoln in England."

Ms. Phillips seems like a sincere person, I wonder if she was on the committee?


Brad, go ahead and file a FOIA to find out who was on the validation committee, and why they were selected.

Oh, that's right, you can only get the information that Achieve, Inc. wants to give you.

Regarding a degree in elementary education, some think that's the bottom of the academic barrel.

Guess what the easiest major is?

What about the hardest?

Now, why would you want Ed majors designing curriculums for science, engineering and math students?

Then there's the colleges that are the hardest graders... imagine going to one of those.


Common Core promised "STEM" readiness and world class standards... here's notes of on the record testimony in Massachusetts, including a CCSS lead math standards author, Dr.Zimba, and Dr. Stotsky:
Stotsky (a member of the state board at the time) later asked him to clarify what he meant. Zimba stated: “In my original remarks, I didn’t make that point strongly enough or signal the agreement that we have on this— the definition of college readiness. I think it’s a fair critique that it’s a minimal definition of college readiness.” Stotsky remarked at this point “for some colleges,” and Zimba responded by stating: “Well, for the colleges most kids go to, but not for the colleges most parents aspire to.” Stotsky then asked “Not for STEM? Not for international competitiveness?” Zimba responded “Not only not for STEM, it’s also not for selective colleges. For example, for UC Berkeley, whether you are going to be an engineer or not, you’d better have precalculus to get into UC Berkeley.”

Stotsky then said: “Right, but we have to think of the engineering colleges and the scientific pathway.” Zimba added “That’s true, I think the third pathway [a pathway that does not exist in the final CCSS version] goes a lot towards that."

What a shame the 3rd pathway got dropped, because now, there is no path from Common Core to UC Berkeley, unless Cal gets dumbed down.


George Rebane

Gregory 934pm - Thanks for another link to the report cited and linked in my post. It is an important read from the two who dunned the standards.


George, I thought it important to present that particular quote. Many locals see Cal as their #1 choice, and it might even give the FUE himself pause to consider the latest Ed scare actually is scary. Who knows, he might care that Cal might be harder for the fruit of his loins (sorry for any image that might conjure) to attain with the curriculum he's carrying water for.

George Rebane

Gregory 1014pm - Agreed.


Jeff Pelline, this is specifically for you:

“Not only not for STEM, [Common Core is] also not for selective colleges. For example, for UC Berkeley, whether you are going to be an engineer or not, you’d better have precalculus to get into UC Berkeley.”

Dr. Jason Zimba, lead author, Common Core standards for mathematics.


Posted by: Gregory | 01 May 2014 at 09:10 AM

Nothing in Common Core keeps local schools districts form offering or students from taking pre-calculus. It is a 'baseline' and to think that local schools districts would only offer the baseline is unrealistic. My high school offered (and I took) pre-calculus, and offered three levels of calculus in 1977.

Todd Juvinall

A local blogger wannabee does not use public schools for the education of his/her child. Yet tells all others what a wonderful thing these "CC" ploys are. What a hoot!


Frisch's unstated message is that "Common Core" is less preparatory for college than his high school program was four decades ago. It is also not purely a "common core" because there will be students graduating from high school that are less than proficient in what used to be 8th grade algebra.

The "Baseline" is what schools and teachers will be judged on; you get what you measure. Common Core is less preparatory for the 21st century than what has been shoved down our collective throats.

Here's a copy of the past standards... please, feel free to point out where the wild claims of Holly Hermansen's office of 'just memorizing and regurgitating facts' are supported.

Note also the clean and thorough treatment of advanced topics. This is what we gave up for the promise of something even better, and extra chances to win, win, win the Race to the Top stimulus funds (better luck next time) being doled out by the Feds.


For the folks who can't take their news straight, here's the Colbert Report on Common Core:


(you right wingers, have patience, ignore the obligatory jabs at you in the beginning)

Russ Steele

Jeff P writes at his echo chamber:

Yes, the schools are a window into this problem. And the hard-right bloviators and ideologues in our community, commenting on Rebane’s blog, for example, are hardly our “education” experts, just like on the topic of climate change. First of all, they don’t seem to realize that Common Core standards are taught at many private schools and in home-school curriculum, not just the public schools. And Common Core does not preclude students from taking pre-calculus or any other “college prep” course.

Dear Jeff. Please give us a list of CA private schools that are teaching common core. While you are at it, please give us a list of five local families that are using common core to shape their home-school curriculum.

How can a student take a course that is not offered by the school and have it on their report card?

Todd Juvinall

Russ, the FUE just makes it up, didn't you know? LOL!

George Rebane

Our designated reader emailed an exchange from the Left describing RR commenters and our CC discussion, a discussion about which most of us here feel good in the substantive points addressed and cited by readers all over the ideological spectrum. A perusal of the progressives' comment stream brings to mind Cicero's classic observation of such discourses which I have appended under this post's title.


Argumentum ad hominem et argumentum ad verecundiam is Pelline's stock in trade, and Cicero was remarkably wise.

I note he also got a dig in about global warming. No Jeff, I don't hold myself out as an authority on global warming, just someone who can intelligently discuss much of the core science, unlike a "boob" (not generally in my vocabulary but turnabout can be fair play) like you who prefers attacks with misguided rhetoric, accepts the authority of the folks he's chosen to listen to without any real understanding, and creates straw men to knock down.

Similarly, having had to fight for an education for my son in this county (while it may have been highly regarded in the past, it was unearned then, too, at least for a number of our local schools) led me to spend a great deal of time on education issues at the local, state and national levels. Growing up with a father who was a teacher and retired a public school administrator, with most of his friends either teachers, administrators or brewers (his summer job), and my spending a year teaching algebra in a middle school, I think I've a decent handle on K-12 educational issues. Certainly better than Pelline and his Greek chorus who mostly just fling rhetoric they don't fully understand into the fan.


Sure enough, Rebane, Steele, etc., “surrounded by friends,” to use Russ’ words, all attended this soiree. They took a cue from the hard-right organizers, who said: “We urge all of you to attend, even if you have no children in public schools at this time.” Told you so. LOL.

What is this fetish with the phrase "HARD RIGHT"? I swear you're like a Viagra commercial.

...and as always....LOL!


Here's something for the self-styled "purple" crowd... moderate liberal education expert Tom Loveless from the moderate liberal Brookings Institution, sounding like me on the Common Core:

"So, a lot of the Common Core defenders said, "You can't blame the Common Core for this." Well, that's half right. The half where I think they’re wrong is in school districts, and in schools, and in classrooms, people hear a certain message from Common Core. And one of the messages is: kids need to be doing this kind of deeper learning, deeper thinking, higher-order thinking in mathematics.

We've gone through this in the past. We've gone through the exact same thing. In a way what it does is, it gives local educators license to adopt a lot of this garbage, this really bad curriculum. And they do it under the shield of the Common core. And that particular problem is just a terrible math problem and should not be given to kids. I would never have taught any of my elementary school kids that way. It's a terrible problem. And there are worse problems I've seen in the first grade, quote unquote, "Common Core math."

But again, those problems have been around a very long time. They predate Common Core. But you have educators who are bringing them in because there are certain phrases you can use like "mathematical reasoning," for example. This is like a dog whistle to a certain way of approaching mathematics that has never worked in the past. It has been tried over and over again. [In] the 1960s it was tried. It was tried in the 1990s. It failed both times. And we are seeing a resurrection of some of these bad materials and these bad practices again. And it's partially the Common Core's fault."

NTCM Math, whole math, reform math, fuzzy math, "fuzzy crap" were some of the names in use in the '90's when I had to deal the Grass Valley school district roll out of a solid as jello math program, Mathland, when my son was in the first grade. It had actually started the year before when the Master Teacher at Hennessey piloted the class. She reported it to be fantastic, so it was rolled out to the whole school. I was at all the school board meetings by then, and the report was... everyone loves it and all the kids were showing "mathematical power", the buzzwords of the time. One board member even directed the district to coordinate with the high school so they can see how great this new way of teaching math was working and get with the program.

In a way, they did... NUHS instituted a placement test for Geometry X to shuttle underprepared Lyman Gilmore students to slower paced math classrooms.

The master teacher in charge of leading all the Hennessey teachers in this New-New Math (another name) is still at it, working at a bastion of constructivist thought (Discovery is another term for it), the Grass Valley Charter, one of the weaker schools in the county, drastically underperforming the state for similar kids, crashing and burning in math by the 7th and 8th grades. Their Similar Schools rank is 2nd decile, meaning with similar socioeconomic status kids, about 85% of California schools are doing better.

No, four function Mathland calculators on all 1st grader's tables (desks were out, kids worked cooperatively on their math-art and math-language assignments around a table with 4 or 5 of their classmates) was not a Royal Road to arithmetic competence. Half those kids were in the bottom quartile when finally tested with an honest-to-Zarquon nationally normed standardized test, the SAT9, as used in the now discontinued STAR Exams.

The recent Common Core State Standards puff piece written by employees of Holly Hermansen's employees at the County Ed office (again, remember it was Hermansen's husband, Jon Byerrum, who threw Grass Valley kids under the Mathland bus as the GVSD Superintendent) blows that same dog whistle:
" In math, the Common Core Standards focus on procedural and problem-solving strategies while demanding mastery and automaticity with basic facts, algorithms and the understanding of critical arithmetic skills. By focusing on fewer topics in a more in-depth way, students learn to think, not just memorize and regurgitate facts."

That's the very same dog whistle used for Mathland in the '90's; that dog didn't hunt then, and it isn't hunting now. Brace yourself for yet another wave of kids who can't do math, only this time, it's nationwide, not just in the districts led by Born Again constructivist educators who really believe kids need to be taught math like The Music Man taught music.

"Think the Minuet in G!"


Fred on Everything: as timely as this thread....and todays news! As a bonus, the last time I dropped a Fred link..... Krazy Doug Keachie had a minor ....err....event...yeah...event. And ran screaming, metaphorically speaking, into the great good evening of the blogosphere!


Russ Steele

Paul Haas, Candidate for Nevada County Superintendent attended the Common Cored Town Hall Meeting and reports on his attendance here: http://haas4schools.com/common-core-revisited/

He needs a spelling lesson, see the title of his web page.


Ah typos.....the bane of my existence!


Posted by: Russ Steele | 02 May 2014 at 09:04 PM

I don't know which is worse misspelling the name of the office one is running for or the fact that the site has been up for some time and no one caught the typo!


Local GOP endorses Haas for Superintendent of Schools, but spelling isn’t a criteria

Hey Kung FUE.....isn't it customary to offer a hat tip when somebody "scoops" you?

Mr. Steele was there first!

As an aside, here is my favorite botch of "superintendent".



Note, I offered that hat tip to Russ when I posted his tidbit on Jeff's site, along with the observation that the site has been up for 25days without correction....


Note, I offered that hat tip to Russ when I posted his tidbit on Jeff's site, along with the observation that the site has been up for 25days without correction....

Well done Steve....are you serving as a representative of the Great Moderator on this issue?


Nope, I never represent anyone but myself, and under my own name I might add. Just preemptively making sure the 'hat tip' record is clear.


Nope, I never represent anyone but myself, and under my own name I might add. Just preemptively making sure the 'hat tip' record is clear.

Well it would seem that you are the better man in this instance. I was curious if Jeff "I'm all about principles" Pelline was was equally high minded.


I was curious if Jeff "I'm all about principles" Pelline was was equally high minded.

It would seem not.

As a bonus, the last time I dropped a Fred link..... Krazy Doug Keachie had a minor ....err....event...yeah...event. And ran screaming, metaphorically speaking, into the great good evening of the blogosphere!

Wow it's like summoning demons! Say the demons name and it crawls out of its hole....as expected from Krazy Doug though he materialized in the wrong venue to discuss the matter.


Perhaps someone should ask Ms. Hermansen's office if these Common Core materials, Voices/Literature and Writing by Zaner-Bloser, will be in use anywhere in Nevada County?


Michael Anderson

Shit for brains wrote: "Perhaps someone should ask Ms. Hermansen's office if these Common Core materials, Voices/Literature and Writing by Zaner-Bloser, will be in use anywhere in Nevada County?"

How about you, asshole? Make an appointment, I'm sure she'd be glad to meet with you. Oh right, not gonna do it. Much easier to write meaningless OpEds from the comfort of the crazy chair. Cowardly piece of shit.

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