Opine I will

I am a retired elementary school teacher just trying to do the right thing

Archive for the month “August, 2013”

I will not ally with the Right Wing.

Last night I got into a virtual brawl over some comments I made responding to Diane Ravitch’s  post A Warning to the Anti-Common Core Group in New York. Diane expressed that she was disturbed to learn that the group  called “Stop Common Core in New York State” ( www.stopccssinnys.com orwww.stopcommoncoreinnewyork.com ) and (https://www.facebook.com/groups/607166125977337/) posted a video insulting her good friend Linda Darling-Hammond. She warned the group that if they were really interested in building a nonpartisan coalition, it should avoid insulting people like Linda and stick to the facts.

I took it one step further. I posted this comment 

Some of these anti-common core groups are run by Tea Party types who are conspiracy theory believers. This group and the LI based “parent and teachers against the common core” are dominated by extreme right wing ideology. They are quick to ban those who defend teachers unions.

Well that really set them off.  I encourage you to read the comments. http://dianeravitch.net/2013/08/13/a-warning-to-the-anti-common-core-group-in-new-york/

Let me use this post to make my opine perfectly clear.

There are groups  of all political persuasions that are against the Common Core, high stakes testing and education reform. That said, just because another group may be against something that I am also fighting, they are not considered my ally. You really need to explore the agenda of all groups.

I explained last night, that I am against the Common Core and high stakes testing  due to pedagogical reasons, while groups on the Right were against it for political reasons.  Political arguments are self serving, they reflect a much larger agenda.

In this case these Right Wing groups are pushing a much darker agenda.  They look at Common Core as a grand conspiracy by the left, meant to indoctrinate our children while creating a mega database of  ammunition that will be used against the masses. I can’t be an ally to that rhetoric.

I called out that agenda last night. Posting links that demonstrated that their agenda is so far to the Right that all of us should be wary. These groups are against teachers unions, they are against tenure, they support vouchers, they claim liberal teachers are brainwashing their children, and they claim Common Core is a tool to undermine Christian values just to start. I have been vocal about these groups before, I have shown links to the Heritage Foundation, Freedomworks, the Koch brothers, and other similar groups. Last night I posted proof that their keynote speakers ally themselves with Glenn Beck and the Cato institute.

I encourage you to follow last night’s  conversation, check out the links I posted and make your own decisions.

I will not ally with any group that is looking for my demise as a public school teacher or as a union member. I won’t risk the war, to save our nation’s important asset, our public schools and teachers, to win any battle.

Don’t kid yourself, these Right wing groups that are fighting education reform, with their not so hidden agendas, will ultimately destroy any chance we have to beat back the reformers. They will undermine the foundation of our cause, And once they erode the very ground that public education stands on, all will be lost.

It’s time to call these groups out. Expose their true agendas.

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Every campaign has talking points.  I usually don’t quote from Wikipedia but this time it’s spot on target.

Talking point

“Talking points memorandum” redirects here. For other uses, see Talking point (disambiguation).

talking point in debate or discourse is a succinct statement designed to support persuasively one side taken on an issue.[1][2][3][4] Such statements can either be free standing or created as retorts to the opposition’s talking points and are frequently used in public relations, particularly in areas heavy in debate such as politics and marketing.

A political think tank will strategize the most effective informational attack on a target topic and launch talking points from media personalities to saturate discourse in order to frame a debate in their favor, standardizing the responses of sympathizers to their unique cause.[citation needed]

When used politically in this way, the typical purpose of a talking point is to propagandize, specifically using the technique of argumentum ad nauseam, i.e. continuous repetition within media outlets until accepted as fact.[citation needed]

The framing of political discourse in terms of simple talking points has been criticized by media personalities such as comedian Jon Stewart for being a superficial examination of issues.[5]

The drivers of the Common Core State Standards and high stakes testing have been using the same talking points to sell their agenda. Media outlets all across the nation mimic these talking points with a ” monkey see, monkey do”  precision only seen in well choreographed campaigns. These media outlets repeat these talking points without challenging their authors’ authenticity.

Let’s start  challenging these talking points.

Let’s start with Race to the Top. What does that really mean? We hear it over and over. States turned their education agendas upside down over this so called race. Has any media outlet challenged these words? All races have losers, only 1 entity really can win any race. What does this really mean?

 “College and career ready” is another talking point mimic-ed by the media without thought. What does that mean? Where is the data that supports it. Considering our colleges have enrollment and graduation rates at historic highs, where is the data to support this point?

“Rigor” is another favorite of the reformers. Schools must have rigor in their  assessments and curriculum has been the rally cry for the reformers. Yet when we look for definitions of rigor in their press releases we find nothing. New York State even demands thatall district created assessments developed to evaluate teachers have rigor, yet New York State leaves out what  rigor is. They leave that term up to local superintendents to certify that rigor exists.  So what is it?

“Critical thinking” The Common Core is supposed to be geared to promote critical thinking. Yet when one looks at these Common Standards there seems to be little critical thinking across the board. Is critical thinking a method of evaluating points of view and creating arguments? Can critical thinking be achieved by skewing literature with short reads? Is critical thinking developed when teachers follow carefully worded scripts across the nation? It is ironic that the supporters of the Common Core promote critical thinking while stripping away the ability of professional educators to utilize their critical thinking abilities to teach their students.

The new talking point introduced this week is ” a new baseline”.  This week New York State released state test score results that created a frenzy throughout the state. Scores dropped to unthinkable levels, due to hastily created exams designed to create ” a new baseline.” On average 70% of all NY students are now labeled as not on grade levelThe media has instantaneously bought into this new baseline theory without challenging the authors to its authenticity. The tests that created this new baseline remain locked away to prevent scrutiny of its content or validity. The”new baseline’ seems to appease the masses for now so we now see ” a new baseline” used in editorials across the state.

What if this “new baseline” is really an error? What if this national social experiment titled ‘ Common Core” really does not promote critical thinking? What if “rigor” isn’t in the best interest of the child and rigor ignores the developmental abilities of the child? What if the  “college and career ready” rhetoric is nothing more that shrill of a side show barker?

What would happen if the news media really did their job and stopped repeating these talking points without intellectual thought?



Terror From Within

The next battle in the war to take over our public schools had begun in New York State . The ‘reformers’ leashed a new propaganda campaign , claiming they knew all along that our schools are the cause of our nation’s woes.

This is our real war on terror folks, terror from within.

Labeling our schools failures has been a successful diversionary tactic of those who are gaining financially and politically. Today communities all across New York will be told that their schools are not adequately preparing their children for ‘college and careers’. Those who have planned to inflict terror have planned long and hard for this day. They even warned us that this day of reckoning was coming. They have also promised that only they can provide the way to a more secure future. Follow them or be tossed to the wayside. They demand that all follow the Common Core Standards, for that is the way.

Today they  stand before us and ask for calm. They  feign concern while reassuring the citizens of this state that all is well, and that this is a needed step in their reform movement. The indoctrination of the nation is underway and it will be in full force .

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