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Common Core State [sic] Standards


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    Common Core: Asking First Graders To Extract and Employ Evidence About Producers and Consumers
    OK, I know that this is too long and too detailed but I don't see any point in posting whines without new information. And so, for the half-dozen people out there who will read--and be thoughtful about and outraged by-- evidence rebutting the corporate claim that we just revel in demented persecution fantasies, this is for you. Bonus scandal: Find out what happens to someone accused of "conflict of interest" by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, and Labor. IES hands out a $20 million grant. Remember: IES, is part of the US Department of Education. Of course, I think the scandal of what it being done to first graders in the name of Common Core is even worse. After all, $20 million is only money.

    New York City puts first graders at risk, and children in your community will be next. If you don't believe me, take a look at Pearson's expanding empire. And don't forget that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has funded the Pearson Charitable [sic] Foundation.

    Have you ever been in a revival meeting? Well you're in one now.'

    --Nina Simone, "Children Go Where I Send Thee"

    by Susan Ohanian

    On Wednesday, December 04, 2013, a U.S. federal trademark registration was filed for READYGEN by Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. The USPTO has given the READYGEN trademark serial number of 86134676.

    Looking inside the covers of the ReadyGEN first grade curriculum gives one a glimpse of the Common Core Revival Meeting based on corporate faith-based imperatives. It should cause:

    a) anger
    b) tears
    c) increase in homeschooling
    d) application for relocation to Finland

    First, let's remember that Pearson is responding to the national call funded by Bill Gates and promoted by these acolytes:

    Mission Statement

    The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.

    National Governors Association (the Collective Voice of the Nation's Governors)

    Council of Chief State School Officers (Committed to the success of every child)

    New York, the most populous city in the US, also has the largest school system. A tourism site offers "2,618 things to do in New York," but hapless public school students are locked into doing just what Pearson says. Let's take a look at what this means for first graders.

    Message to New York City teachers #1

    1900 East Lake Avenue
    Glenview, Illinois 60025

    May 22, 2013

    Dear New York City Educator,

    The Pearson School English Language Arts Curriculum team is honoured (sic) to be partnering with the New York City Department of Education to develop Ready GEN. ReadyGEN is being designed from the ground up to address the ELA Common Core Standards, the Publisher's Criteria and the City's specific requirements.

    To provide you with more insight into the availability of classroom materials for the 2013-2014 school year, we have developed the enclosed schedule. [Please note the primary student resources--text set trade books and novels--are not included as they are being supplied by companies other than Pearson.]

    In an effort to ensure timely access to instructional resources for planning and implementation, Pearson will initially be delivering materials in a format that is less than final (e.g. covers, binding). This will give New York City teachers the opportunity to provide feedback on the instructional support which will be collected from September through December 2013. We will incorporate that feedback in advance of delivering in May 2014 brand new Teacher's Guides and Scaffolded Strategies Handbooks for each ReadyGEN teacher.

    To help ensure the successful implementation of ReadyGEN, Pearson along with the NYC DOE have developed a comprehensive learning pathway for all teachers implementing ReadyGEN. The professional development plan for ReadyGEN is designed to provide teachers with the ability to leverage Ready GEN curricula resources to affect instructional change in the classroom.


  • engages students with complex text and its academic language through the use of units of study designed around text sets at each grade level

  • asks students to extract and employ evidence from text, and use text sets to understand evidence within and across texts to support writing to sources

  • builds content knowledge through theme based units of study that balance literary and informational text

  • exposes students to narrative, informative, and opinion/argument writing so that they can successfullly cite evidence in all genres through Writing Workshop

  • We are privileged to have this opportunity to collaborate with the great city of New York, and look forward to working with you to set your students on the path to reading success.


    The Pearson ReadyGEN Team

    Message to New York City teachers #2
    Greetings, fellow teachers!

    I am very excited for you as you launch ReadyGEN in your classroom. Of all the interesting components represented in ReadyGEN, text-based approaches to comprehension are the ones that I am optimistic will bring a revitalized approach to reading instruction to your classroom. Based on the Common Core State Standards, we have designed instructional practices that will guide your students to more effective use of close reading of texts which in turn will lead them to a deeper understanding of text meaning, author's intent, perspective, and related comprehension goals. I am interested in how your students advance through oral, written, and listening skills as you use ReadyGEN to scaffold their learning. I encourage you to enjoy the leap forward with your students as they progress in reading skills and understandings with ReadyGEN.

    Sharon Vaughn
    University of Texas

    Ohanian Reminder: The Texas Reading Initiative under then-Gov. George W. Bush became a model for Mr. Bush's federal reading program once he became president. In 2003, Sharon Vaughn, Edward J. Kame'enui, and Joseph Torgesen were named directors of Reading First's three regional technical-assistance centers. Vaughn was on the design team for Voyager, along with Kame'enui, Torgesen, and Roland H. Good III. In New York City, Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein spent $31 million to implement their Voyager reading program in the city's low-performing schools. In 2005, G. Reid Lyon, who was the chief of the NICHD's reading-research branch and a key adviser to President Bush, former U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige, and Mike Moses, who was commissioner of education in Texas went to work for the teacher education part of Voyager.

    May 9, 2007: In a report released by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee detailing the financial ties of the former directors three regional technical-assistance centers that provided advice to states on meeting Reading First's strict guidelines, Sharon Vaughn was one of four named.

    But this mini-scandal has in no way harmed Vaughn's standing in the education community. Her recent Research Projects and Grants include:
    Understanding Malleable Cognitive Processes and Integrated Comprehension Interventions for Grades 7--12, Institute of Education Sciences*
    Texas Center for Learning Disabilities, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development*
    Special Education Research and Development Center on School-Based Interventions for Secondary Students With Autism Spectrum Disorders, 2012--2014, $8,000,000*
    Scale-Up Evaluation of Reading Intervention for First-Grade English Learners, Institute of Education Sciences, 2011--2016, $1,470,182*
    Postdoctoral Fellowship on Reading Disabilities and Response to Intervention, Institute of Education Sciences*

    * Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk projects, where Vaughn is executive director.

    Vaughn is a Fellow at the George W. Bush Institute, which is listed as a partner of the Meadows Center. She leads the Pact project (Promoting Adolescents' Comprehension of Text), funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), a part of the US Department of Education which "reflects the intent of the President and Congress to advance the field of education research."
    July 2010-June 2015

    Put Sharon Vaughn into a 'search' at IES, and you will see lots of grant descriptions. In 2010, under Vaughn's leadership the Meadows Center secured the largest grant the College of Education has ever received -- $20 million from the Institute of Education Sciences -- and what is thought to be the largest grant ever awarded to any college or school of education. [This information comes from College of Education University of Texas at Austin]

    In education research, a little scandal doesn't seem to hurt.
    And by the way, Vaughn is author of Pearson's Mountain Reading; Scott Foresman My Sidewalks on Reading Street; presenter in Pearson Get Ready to Go Webinar Series "Tips and Strategies for Implementing the English Language Arts Common Core into Classrooms"; author Teaching Students Who are Exceptional, Diverse, and at Risk in the General Education Classroom: International Edition, publisher: Pearson; The American Experience (Prentice Hall Literature) Penguin Edition Grade 11. And so on and so on.

    Moving along, others offering enthusiastic endorsement of ReadyGEN include (in order of appearance): Pam Allyn, Elfrieda H. Hiebert, and P. David Pearson.

    This is called rallying the people already in the employ of Pearson to shout out praise for Pearson products:

    Be Core Ready: Powerful, Effective Steps to Implementing and Achieving the Common Core State Standards by Pam Allyn. Publisher: Pearson

    The Common Core State Standards are a Bill of Rights for all children."--Pam Allyn

    Elfrieda H. Hiebert is author of Pearson's QuickReadsテャテッツソツステδッテつソテつステャテッツソツステモテつョ Professional Development and participates in Pearson Common Core webinars.

    P. David Pearson is an author of Pearson's Reading Streetテャテッツソツステモテつ「テャテつッテモテつソテモテつステャテッツソツステモテつ「 Common Core 2013

    Den of Thieves: Other Praise for Pearson:

  • The [New York City]Department of Education believes that the selected programs represent the highest-quality Common Core-aligned curriculum materials currently available. They include brand new curriculum materials and materials that are being updated to fully reflect the shifts required by the Common Core standards.--New York City Department of Education

  • "New York City is paving the way for other major city school systems across the country by adhering to a rigorous and transparent process for procuring new instructional materials in a way that will ensure publishers deliver the texts we need and teachers realize the full promise of the Common Core State Standards," said Mike Casserly, Executive Director of the Council For Great City Schools.

  • "Student Achievement Partners applauds the fact that New York City has put the Common Core State Standards Publishers' Criteria at the center of their instructional materials selection process, and commends their ongoing work to provide students and teachers with materials that are aligned with the shifts required by the Common Core," said Susan Pimental, Founding Principal of Student Achievement Partners and one of the authors of the Common Core standards.

  • So what are these folk so excited about?
    Here's the text based vocabulary first graders need to learn in their first unit of study:

    cash register

    Call me old-fashioned but here are a few of my favorite words from good books for first graders:

  • Blah! (Frog and Toad are Friends, Arnold Lobel)

  • biggest, reddest dog (Clifford, Norman Bridwell)

  • OUCH! (Mouse Tales, Arnold Lobel)

  • dinosaurs If the Dinosaurs Came Back, Bernard Most)

  • Pooh-pooh! (Madeline, Ludwig Bemelmans)

  • "Don't eat her." (Little Beauty, Anthony Browne)

  • Howdy! (Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, Kevin Henkes)

  • Could be worse ("Could Be Worse!" James Stevenson)

  • gather sun rays for the cold dark winter days (Frederick, Leo Lionni)

  • Hey, can I drive the bus? (Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! Mo Willems)

  • And so on and so on. Once I embark on such a list, I find it very difficult to stop. Hundreds more could be added.

    Meanwhile, the Common Core imperative for what students are expected to learn. . . [so] our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy offers this:

    Pearson ReadyGEN Lesson 1 Reading Focus

    Readers understand that the details in the text
    support the author's main points.

    Lesson 2 Reading Focus: Learners will understand that people make decisions about how to spend what they earn

    Lesson 3 Reading Focus: Learners will understand that facts and details support main ideas.

    This all comes from text about produce and consume, produce and consume.

    After reading the Pearson text over and over, students choose one of the following texts and form discussion groups, called Text Clubs:

    Market Day: A Story Told With Folk Art
    by Lois Ehlert
    Literary Text
    Lexile 50L

    Needs and Wants by Gilla Olson
    Informational Text
    Lexile 280L

    Do I Need it or Want It?: Making Budget Choices by Jennifer Larson
    Informational Text
    Lexile 510L

    Bunny Money by Rosemary Wells
    Literary Text
    Lexile 540L

    I've known from the get-go that the Common Core is about training kids to be passive and obedient; convincing them they're not good enough and that any failures their parents have in finding living wage jobs is their fault, not the fault of our system. As much as anyone, I want students to learn that the "More! More! More!" consumerism on which our society is based is destructive. I just don't happen to think that lessons in first grade on economics is the place to start--particularly for children whose families are very short on goods in the first place.

    Here's what ReadyGEN tells the teacher to do with these books:

  • Have children create a visual for an informational book, showing the main points and supporting details of the book.

  • Have children use sticky notes to mark the main points in an independent reading book.

  • Have children list the headings from an informational book they read during independent reading time. They write the main point and a few details under each heading.

  • And next:

    Research and Technology Center

  • Have children research a particular food:
    where it comes from, how it can be prepared,
    and so on.

  • Have children find out some basic nutrition
    information, from books or the school nurse,
    and prepare a poster on guidelines for a
    healthy meal.

  • Have children create a For Sale poster
    advertising a real or fictional item they would
    like to sell. Have them use photos, online
    images, or an app, if available.

  • Remember: These children are six years old. At any age: How to kill a book? Smother it in projects.

    For imperatives,I suggest "have a kitten" --or "have a cow"--instead "have children," an imperative I find exceedingly offensive.

    That's just the overview.

    Here's Lesson 2 in Goods and Services, using that Common Core buzzword Close Reading. For the teacher and children who find themselves at sea, the Pearson script provides not only what teacher is to say but also correct answers (which I put in parenthesis. Pearson uses a different color ink.)

    During guided close reading, revisit key points from the entire text. For unfamiliar words, follow the Close reading Vocabulary routine

    Use the following questions to lead the discussion.

  • The title of this text selection is Goods and Services. What are goods and services? (They are things people buy and sell.)

  • What do people use to buy goods and services?(They use money.)

    Where do people get the money? (They earn it by doing jobs or selling goods.)

  • Producers make and sell goods and services. Look at p. 12. What goods do the men produce? (They produce (grow) fruit and vegetables.) Look at p. 13. What service does the boy produce? (He delivers newspapers.

  • Consumers buy and use goods and services. Find some pictures of people consuming, or buying, in the selection. (Let children point to illustrations.)

  • How are producers and consumers connected? (Producers need consumers to buy their goods and services. Consumers need goods and services to buy, so they need the producers to make them.)

  • Vocabulary
    The money that people earn is called income. Look at p.16. What is the woman using her income for? (She is using it to buy meat.)
    Look at p. 19. The boy behind the table is earning income. What is he doing to earn income? (He is selling his old toys.)

  • Now turn to p. 20. This is the same boy who had a yard sale on p. 19.

    Read the page aloud.

    What does Joe do with the money he earned?(He saves some for camp, he uses some to buy school supplies, and he uses what's left to buy a book.)

  • What is the author's main point in the text?
    (People buy and sell goods and services.)
    How does the author use details to support her main idea? (She gives examples of goods and services that people buy and sell. She shows pictures of people buying and selling.

  • NOTE: Pearson labels this
    Integration of Knowledge and ideas.

    Scaffolded instruction for small group
    Reading Analysis

    Turn to pp. 18--19 with children and guide them to understand what is happening in the photograph. Explain that Joe, the boy behind the table, is selling his old toys. He is the producer--he is providing goods for other people to buy. The other boy is buying some of Joe's toys. He is giving Joe money and taking some of Joe's goods, the toys. He is the consumer.

    Help children think of another scenario they could draw that shows one person selling goods and another person buying the goods. You might
    suggest a lemonade stand, a grocery store, a bake sale, a bookstore, etc.

    When children have drawn their picture, help them label the producer, the consumer, and the goods

    And on and on and on and on and on and on and on--about producers and consumers for six-year-olds. If you aren't offended by the very idea of teaching this crap to any 6-year-old, never mind 6-year-olds in New York City, then what would it take?

  • Anyone who buys and uses goods and services is a consumer.

  • Consumers choose what goods and services they buy. Jenna is a consumer. She uses her money to buy a new bike.

  • Don't forget grammar.

    Teach and Model Explain to children that sometimes we use pronouns that do not take the place of a specific noun. Pronouns like anyone,everybody, some, or all are indefinite pronouns.

    Apply Ask children to use one of these indefinite pronouns in their independent writing everybody, anyone, all, some.

    For extra practice, have children do the Lesson 1 activity on p. 157 of their Reader's and Writer's Journal.

    For Independent (sic) Writing Practice children are directed to write sentences that tell what the text is about. Have children share their retellings. Ask them to point out the indefinite pronoun they used.

    There are 17 states in which at least half of public school students live in poverty. In many New York City schools this figure is over 95%. But, never mind, Consumers choose what goods and services they buy and Jenna uses her money to buy a new bike.


    I admit that the term scaffolding is one bit of educationese flotsam that I dislike, but with Pearson it seems to sink to a new low, offering fill-in-the blank instruction for students with special needs.

    Scaffolded Instruction
    Provide sentence frames for children to complete for their retelling:
    This text is about ___. Goods are ____.
    Services are ___. ___ uses goods and
    services. People who make and sell goods
    are ___. People who use goods are ___

    I get it that this is Pearson delivering what Bill Gates and nation's governors want, but doesn't this seem over the top in preparing young children for the "dictatorship of the bourgeoisie?"

    What will it take for a Revolution? If you don't like Marx and Engels on the inevitability of the crash of the existing social order, then try Carlyle's doomsday message.

    Or for a lighter indictment of capitalism, try Charles Dickens. Not just Oliver saying, "Please, sir, I want some more," but the Ghost of Christmas past who appears to Scrooge perched on a "kind of throne" with heaps of

    turkeys, geese, game, poultry, brawn, great joints of meat, sucking-pigs, long wreaths of sausages, mince-pies, plum-puddings, barrels of oysters, red-hot chestnuts, cherry-cheeked apples, juicy oranges, luscious pears, immense twelfthcakes, and seething bowls of punch, that made the chamber dim with their delicious steam."

    Dickens uses "radiant" grocers, poulterers, and fruit and vegetable dealers inviting Londoners into their shops to inspect "luscious pageants" of food and drink as an indictment, not a celebration.

    My father, a Republican, read this tale aloud every Christmas Eve.

    First graders of the nation, unite!

    — Susan Ohanian
    March 07, 2014

    Index of Common Core [sic] Standards

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