NCTE Allegiance to the Common Core Is Burying Us
The Resource Manager contains all the support materials needed to plan and teach the Holt McDougal Literature, Common Core Edition units including lesson plans, selection summaries in four languages, ideas for extension lessons and activities, skills pages, and leveled selection tests that help teachers ensure students meet the Common Core State Standards. Also included are a Big Questions Transparency Book and the complete collection of Big Questions that appear throughout the Student Edition.I didn't find the author[s] but I did find a few NCTE connections.
NCTE Past-President Kylene Beers, a Holt, Rinehart, Wintston textbook author, was featured in this 2010 Houghton event: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Hosts Unprecedented Education Summit in Washington, D.C.. She, William Bennett, and Sam Chaltain were keynote speakers at the event, speaking on driving 21st century education reform.
According to the Orlando Sentinel School Zone Kylene Beers is also busy delivering training on the Common Core to school leaders in Florida.
It was this bit of information that made me realize that NCTE's Common Core allegiance has been a done deal long before a few of us tried to submit a resolution in 2010 denouncing the Common Core.
This information also makes me realize that the NCTE Executive Director is never going to offer the courtesy of a response to my question of just what violation to the NCTE Code of Conduct I committed that caused me to be censored by the online community. I wrote about the affair at Daily Censored. But of course the issue is bigger than me, bigger than the online community. Even NCTE itself is just a pawn in the bigger cause--the national curriculum known as the Common Core State Standards. They put the "State" in there to pretend that each state is charting its own course.
Bill Gates has won, and NCTE is doing its part to help him get the national standards he wants.
The NCTE Common Core State Standards Resource page includes: an NCTE Book Series, a Virtual Conference, & Consulting Services on Implementing the Common Core State Standards.
Take a look at the books and their authors:
I write books. Lots of them (25 and counting). I'm married to someone who writes books. So I'm fascinated by the ins and outs of the publishing process. Ignoring the subject matter, two things about these NCTE publications caused me to stop in my tracks: Most of them are written by first-time authors and all of them are written "with" one or two graduate students at University of Michigan, where the book series editor Anne Ruggles Gere is chair of the Joint PhD Program in the Department of English and the School of Education. Gere has served as President of the National Council of Teachers of English and as Chair of the Conference on College Composition and Communication. With celebrity books, "with" means "as told to." I haven't a clue what it means with these volumes. As someone who writes alone--just me and my shadow--I wonder how this "with" deal works.
Another series of teacher resource books on the Common Core, appearing in October 2011, describes itself as being "the first books to present specific guidance for teaching the Common Core State Standards." No volume admits to an author but each has a foreword by former NCTE President Carol Jago, who is a Trustee for the Common Core Curriculum Mapping Project. She is credited with helping "shape the core of many units." Diana Senechal, Diane Ravitch's editor for the popular The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education, "laid the groundwork for the grade 10 and 12 maps." The books were published in October 2011:
Common Core Curriculum Maps in English Language Arts, Grades K-5
Common Core Curriculum Maps in English Language Arts: Grades 6-8
Common Core Curriculum Maps in English Language Arts: Grades 9-12.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded The Common Core Mapping Project. Here is a sample of the online content--before they started selling books.
According to the Common Core Curriculum Maps website, the maps were distributed by state and regional NCTE chapters to all ELA teachers in Los Angeles and New Jersey.
In her Acknowledgements introduction to the Common Core Curriculum Mapping Project online, Lynn Munson thanks David Coleman and Susan Pimentel, among others:
Acknowledgements Common Core and I, personally, have many people to thank for their support of and contribution to our mapping project. Jamie McKee and her peers at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation were tremendously supportive throughout this effort. Dane Linn from NGA encouraged this project all along. David Coleman and Sue Pimentel of the Common Core State Standards ELA writing team have become wonderful colleagues in the course of this work. Our expert advisors--Russ Whitehurst, David Driscoll, Diane Ravitch, and Toni Cortese--all provided crucial guidance. We are tremendously grateful to the AFT teachers, Milken educators, NABSE representatives, and the many others who reviewed our maps with care, thoroughness, and honesty. I also thank Common Core's trustees for their steadfast support, and research assistant James Elias, whose investigatory skills are surpassed only by his ability to keep track of these seventy-six maps. Thanks to Ed Alton for converting our maps into a navigable, digital feast.The above was captured online in 2010 when the Common Core Curriculum Mapping Project was launched. Munson's acknowledgements have changed a bit in the book version. You can see that at Amazon.com. Note that these people don't go through the charade of calling these the Common Core State Curriculum. This is what Bill Gates paid for--a national curriculum.
NCTE Business as Usual
I persist in documenting all this because I think the NCTE connections to the Common Core are very relevant to what happened to two attempts at submitting a resolution to NCTE. I happened to be part of both.
Submitting a Resolution to NCTE
We tried to submit a resolution at the 2010 NCTE convention in Orlando but they blocked us on technical grounds. So we went to the business meeting and submitted a Sense of the House Motion, calling for NCTE to oppose the Common Core Standards. This was passed handily by the NCTE members sitting in the room--a few hundred people.
And NCTE ignored this Sense of the House Motion. Actually, they did worse than ignore it. They launched their book and professional development series on the Common Core.
So we decided to try again in 2011. NCTE actually goes through the motions of inviting members submit resolution proposals--to be voted on at the business meeting at the annual convention. Here is part of the official, friendly invitation:
Two of the resolutions proposers may attend the meeting of the Committee on Resolutions at the annual convention. Before this meeting, the NCTE committee "edits the resolution for consistency of form and quality of writing stye," not allowing the proposers to see this rewrite until they show up at the meeting.
After this meeting of the Resolutions Committee NCTE rewrites the revised resolution, and proposers don't see this revised revision until they go to the business meeting late in the day.
Get it? Those unnamed NCTE functionaries opposed to the resolution have ALL DAY to strategize and to plan subtle ways of adding loopholes (They are very good at Doublespeak. . . oops they call it "editing for consistency of form and quality of writing style.")
Somehow, I think something besides consistency of form and quality of writing style is going on when our Resolution: NCTE will oppose common core standards and national tests gets changed to Resolution on Challenging Current Education Policy and Affirming Literacy Educators' Expertise
As usual, Stephen Krashen nicely sums up the matter. I echo his sentiments about NCTE's official behavior-- Really pissed off.
Reminder: Here's the resolution we presented to NCTE. Please notice the clear, direct language: Oppose common core standards and national tests. The NCTE version, which purports to join two resolutions, avoids mentioning the Common Core, instead circumlocating to actions of the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers. So we end up with a resolution the public will interpret as "teachers not wanting to be evaluated"--instead of a resolution concerned with students being robbed of an education. Our resolution pointed out the very high cost of national testing. NCTE's resolution asks for more money. And so on.
Read this part of NCTE's resolution very carefully:
This is weasel language and comes very close to qualifying NCTE for the Doublespeak Award.
I am as concerned about equity as anybody but NCTE uses it here as a red herring. So mandated standards, curriculum, and assessments are okay if we can't hire a panel of lawyers to prove they adversely affect equity? Ask teachers in New York City, who won the equity issue (filed in 1993) in the courts, how the paper victory is working out for them. The Common Core adversely affects all students. Get that? We don't need to prove inequity. Our resolution expressed direct concern for all students: The standards that have been proposed and the kinds of testing they entail rob students of appropriate teaching, a broad-based education, and the time to learn well. [emphasis added]
Resolution on National Standards and Tests
Submitted to National Council of Teachers of English, Committee on Resolutions, via e-mail, on October 10, 2011.
The only place this resolution saw the light of day was at http://www.susanohanian.org--and in places where Paul Thomas posts his on-target essays:
[Paul Thomas is among the 1% of NCTE members who speaks out about these concerns. Follow him on Twitter (plthomasEdD). Follow Stephen Krashen (skrashen) and follow me (susanoha). We try to keep things moving--and never tell you what we ate for breakfast.]
The Revised Revision
Here is the revised revision of our Resolution submitted to NCTE members attending the business meeting. Any similarity to the original is coincidental.
Resolution adopted at NCTE Business Meeting
A lot more could be said here about the two resolutions, but what's the point?
NCTE buried us. People in high level positions are deeply committed to the Common Core, and there is no redress. When the membership votes a Sense of the House, NCTE can ignore it and continue with Common Core business as usual. And many of the membership stalwarts feel it isn't polite--or important enough--to complain.
Modest Proposal: NCTE staff and officials should spend less time censoring NCTE members' communications to online discussion groups called "open forums" and more time worrying about what David Colman is up to.
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