Dear Bill and Melinda,
One of our readers commented on our recent blog post,
“There is a greater problem with the AFT-reported result of 75% of AFT teachers “overwhelmingly approving” of Common Core: most teachers polled responded that they “somewhat approve,” not “strongly approve.” Hart/AFT erased this detail from their reporting: Hart-Weingarten and Power Point Deception
If teachers “overwhelmingly approve” of Common Core, then why won’t Hart/AFT publicize complete survey results?
I’ll tell you why: They are playing the same data manipulation game the reformers play, and that is keep the public in the dark on details so that the AFT predetermined position of pro-Common Core can be promoted as “what teachers want.”
I had a response on the Huffington Post regarding this issue from a woman, Jasmine D. Gary, telling me to not “nitpick the non-issue” of AFT deception in survey reporting:
As it turns out, Ms. Gary is a former intern with AFT who has two years of TFA teaching experience and is now an “education specialist” in RI with Deborah Gist (check it out on linkedin.)
I should have added above that I love the premise of your post.
I’ll bet the testing companies would be fine with .09% of their anticipated profits.” ~ Mercedes Schneider
That’s interesting, because Jasmine D. Gary has been defending Ms. Weingarten on Common Core and the survey for several days now. Why is a defense needed?
“And that’s why @rweingarten called for a break on the stakes. CCSS improves learning but high stakes & no PD can kill it.” ~ Jasmine Gary
“PD needs to focus on improved instruction of rigorous focused standards.” ~ Jasmine Gary
And when I said to Jasmine:
“Strategy is #stopcommoncore not measly moratorium. Start over, democratic process.”
“So that ppl can play politics with public education. No way! Improve CCSS implementation!”
To which I said:
“Why is it perfectly fine to let @billgates & David Coleman play politics w/ public Ed 4 profit?”
Ms. Weingarten has stated the following:
“far more than “1” critiqued- may not have been enough, but teachers were involved”
“testing has perverted the standards- but the content is very important”
“-Susan you are just wrong abt this-educators critqued the standards;they were changed based on their input”
Then Randi said:
“Susan-the civ rts grps will answer, but you are missing their point. Please listen to them.”
To which I replied:
“I am happy to listen, Randi. They deserve to know the truth vs propaganda, however – right? #CCSSTests“
Jasmine Gary touched on another issue:
“Status quo us failing these students with low expectations & no rigor.” [I think she meant “is” vs “us”.]
“1 cause of gap is unequal expectations for student learning outcomes.”
Anthony Cody joined in the conversation too, and stated:
“Debate over content of standards is secondary to the nature of stds in a hi stakes paradigm”
Perhaps my blood boils the most when I think about Randi telling me that the civil rights groups support Common Core State Standards. When asked, Randi listed @NCLR @EdTrust @Lccrbayarea @MALDEF and @NAACP as supporters of CCSS.
Why do they support CCSS? And why does their support make my blood boil?
- If the civil rights groups are being informed using the same propaganda our teachers are being fed, then their opinions will be skewed along with the opinions of teachers.
- If a huge achievement gap already exists for the very students these groups are working to protect, increased rigor and increased test difficulty will further widen the gap for these students. More students will fail and more schools will be closed.
A tweet by Anthony Cody stated:
“Quote fr Investment analyst: “If Common Core has teeth, Performance gap will grow!”
@KTeacherNYC and I tweeted every one of the civil rights groups Randi cited with this same statement [one example shown]:
I then posted this article Pulling Back the Curtain on Common Core to each civil rights group. Randi replied immediately by stating:
“-i know we have several classroom teachers review it…i have asked our folks to respond @AFTunion“
Then Mike C. commented on our blog:
“As a member of the AFT this survey and its reporting sickens me and only reaffirms my belief that the AFT is the slyest wolf of all in the latest education reform movement. Instead of leading the charge in stopping the absurdity of a nationalized curriculum, standardized testing, and a standardized evaluation tool, the AFT chooses to mislead its members with a bogus poll that is slanted to make the individual teacher who opposes the current reform measures feel as though they are in the minority.
When the day comes when students, parents, and teachers pull their resources together and organize into a single voice and overturn these crippling educational policies, the AFT must be held accountable for their obvious support of policies that infringe upon the true teaching profession…” ~ Mike C., AFT Union Member
So, Bill and Melinda… why is Randi Weingarten so defensive about Common Core? Could it be that those of us who are speaking out in opposition are peeling back the curtain? Could it be that this support is based on your propaganda? Could it be because both progressives and the right are beginning to see through this undemocratic corporate sham?
Could it be that the Common Core will become the most devastating education policy in American history and that Randi has the legacy of joining you in support of this policy?
What will AFT members really think about Common Core when they find out that it comes as a package deal with 20x the amount of testing currently required?
Jasmine Gary said:
“That’s if districts keep current testing practices/calendar in place.”
District test facilitators know that the “20x the amount of testing” is coming, but no one from our districts are telling us teachers this truth. No one from our union leadership is telling us this truth. You aren’t telling us this truth.
Krashen wrote about the testing increase, warning teachers, parents, the public, and policy makers here:
“I wonder how the poll results would turn out if those taking the poll realized that the common core state (sic) standards mean a massive increase in testing and will be very expensive, at a time when money is very tight. My estimate is that the common core will require about 20 times the amount of testing that NCLB requires, with more subjects and grade levels tested, interim tests, and maybe even pretests in the fall.” ~ Stephen Krashen, NABE Weekly eNews, (2012)
Why are we asking YOU this question though, Bill and Melinda?
Susan Ohanian says it so well here:
“The Common Core State Standards exist because the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation wanted them. To help their aide-de-camps, the president and the U. S. Secretary of Education, pretend that these are state and not national standards, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation sent buckets of money to the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers to act as sponsors. More tons of money to the National PTA to spread the good word and so on. As I revealed in an article in Extra![ix] very few media have pointed to the money source. Of course very few media even bother to mention anything about the Common Core.”
So, Randi, Bill, and Melinda… we are using our TEACHER VOICE… can you hear us now?
If we increase rigor and increase the rigor of CCSS-aligned high-stakes testing via PARCC and Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia by 20x [2000%] the amount of current testing, then what will we take off our plates? When exactly will we teach meaningful and engaging content?
But more importantly, what will CCSS and CCSS testing really do to our children? Our teachers? Our schools? Our communities?
Will these tests fail more children in poverty, more Black and Latino children, more ELLs and children in Special Education? Will the teacher evaluations based on these more rigorous standards and tests fail more teachers? Will they close more schools?
Will these Common Core NATIONAL Standards and testing policies really be the most devastating education policy in US history?
A moratorium on this CCSS testing is not nearly enough. 20x the testing a year later will not help students and teachers. As it is, there is not enough time in the day to teach meaningfully with the current amount of testing on our plates.
Teachers, use your TEACHER VOICE… Tell @billgates, @gatesed, @gatesfoundation, @rweingarten, @AFTUnion, @NEAMedia, @NEAToday, to #StopCommonCore.
Teachers’ Letters to Bill Gates