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Malloy administration’s farce of a hearing on Common Core

Stefan Pryor is a(nother) Yale graduate and co-founder of a Connecticut charter school. In New York City, he directed Breakthrough for Learning, which promised $30 million in bonuses to superintendents, principals and teachers who boost test scores the most.

One reader suggested Parsing The Unintelligible Stefan Pryor by Colin McEnroe.

Reader Comment: The CT CCS website is a hijack of NY's engageny site. It is a crap and each lesson or unit comes with a caution. If this is the best Pryor can do, get him out. He is not an educator, but a lawyer who has interest in privatizing our schools and crushing the teachers' union. His goal is to create churn and failure. Out with Malloy. Out with Pryor. They couldn't care less about your children.

by Jonathan Pelto

The development and implementation of the Common Core and its related Common Core testing scam is one of the most important issues facing American public education.

The Common Core was developed in relatively secrecy and forced upon the states by Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Some of the people who developed the Common Core Standards were even required to sign documents swearing not to speak about the process.

The vehicle used to pull off this education disaster was the National Governors Association and a series of other organizations that were paid the corporate education reform industry, along with hundreds of millions of taxpayer funds, that were funneled to private consulting companies to "develop" the standards and tests, while pushing their own profit making efforts to sell more computers, new software, textbooks, and consulting opportunities.

After all, it was Media mogul Rupert Murdoch who said that the America's K-12 public education system was an $500 billion untapped market.

And support for the growing corporate education reform industry came from Democrats and Republicans alike.

In Connecticut, for example, it was Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy who introduced the most anti-teacher, anti-union, pro-charter school education reform bill of any Democratic governor in the nation. The bill not only passed, but it passed with overwhelming support from both Democratic and Republican legislators.

But after two years, when teacher's concerns were finally being heard and more and more parents were speaking up, legislative attention returned to this vital issue.

The Democratic leadership decided to hold a sham "informational session" made up of pro-Common Core advocates. In response, the Republicans, finally seeing the political advantage in speaking up, used a little utilized parliamentary procedure to force a traditional public hearing on some of their bills related to slowing down the implementation of the Common Core.

The Democrat's farce hearing took place on Friday, February 28th.

The two most amazing develops was the lack of media coverage and the Malloy's administration’s ability to keep their heads in the sand in the face of the disastrous impact of their policies.

For those who want to feel that emotion that allows one to laugh and cry at the same time you can watch the recording of the hearing by going to CT-N’s video on demand entitled, Education Committee Informational Forum on Common Core State Standards.

Warning: The level of misleading statements and lies are enough to cause dangerous increases in blood pressure.

But equally disturbing is that the sham hearing received such limited media coverage. In fact, most of Connecticut's media outlets simply failed to cover it all together thereby leaving Connecticut citizens uniformed about the way in which the Malloy administration and the Democrats are trying to duck this important issue.

The best coverage of the hearing can be found in the Connecticut Post which wrote,

HARTFORD -- Defenders of moving ahead with the Common Core learning standards spent four hours Friday explaining the controversial learning program and the test that goes with it before the Legislature's Education Committee.

The invitation-only forum came after Republicans have forced public hearings on the matter. Those hearings have not yet to be scheduled.

Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor, joined by Chris Minnich, executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, which helped draft the standards, told the committee and a large audience that the road to fully implement Common Core in all classrooms may be a rocky one, but the state is headed in the right direction.

[Note: Pryor is a member of the Council of Chief State School Officers.]

The CT Post story includes Commissioner Pryor who said, "Our youngsters are arriving at college unprepared for college. That is a problem," he said. "We must aim for higher standards ... Common Core goes about the teaching and learning process in the right way."

[Note: Connecticut's schools are incredibly successful. As a result of poverty, language barriers and insufficient support for students who have special education needs, Connecticut has a significant achievement gap between suburban and urban schools that must be addressed, but to suggest that "our youngsters are arriving at college unprepared" is the statement of a liar or a fool.]

The CT Post highlighted the rhetoric coming from the Council of Chief State School Officers and other groups that are being paid to sell the Common Core and the Common Core testing adding,

Minnich, who has been traveling the country in defense of the standards — Thursday he was in Missouri — said none of the 45 states that have signed onto the standards were forced to do so, and 73 percent of teachers support a more challenging curriculum.

"It is surprising to me that it is controversial," he said.

The new standards, adopted in Connecticut in 2010 and now being fully implemented across the state, teach reading and math in a deeper way and in a different order than in the past. Most districts in the state have agreed to try out the new test that goes along with the standards this spring instead of the traditional Connecticut Mastery Test.

Results of the new test won't "count"; still many are fearful that students, teachers and schools have not had enough time and training in the new system and will be labeled as failures when students perform poorly on the test. They also said time was being wasted.

Pryor said the "test of the test" is required under federal law. He also argued that the standards are not a curriculum and do not dictate what needs to be taught in the classroom.

"But how flexible is Common Core if there is a test tied to it?" state Rep. Noreen Kokoruda, R-Madison, asked.

Minnich said the standards merely say, for instance, that third-graders will learn about multiplication and division and gain an understanding of fractions. How that is taught is up to the teacher.

Minnich maintained states ARE not under pressure to adopt the standards.

States that didn't adopt the standards could not win federal Race to the Top dollars, Sen. Beth Bye, D-West Hartford, pointed out.

Sen. Toni Boucher, R-Wilton, questioned the fairness of expecting students taught one way for so long to adjust in one year to a new set of standards.

Meanwhile, Rep. Gail Lavielle, also R-Wilton, wondered who decided the new standards are higher than what was already in place.

Minnich said national experts vetted the standards, and there are early indications in Kentucky and Tennessee, which have been using Common Core the longest, that student achievement is going in the right direction.

Rep. Mitch Bolinsky, R-Newtown, said it is not the new, higher standards that bother him, but the way they have been implemented. He characterized the rollout as "crummy."

The state now has a new website, training efforts and a committee to work on ironing out the problems, Pryor said.

From start to finish the Malloy administration's arrogant, top-down approach on education reform has been a disaster. Malloy has failed on many fronts, but Stefan Pryor and his side-kicks like Paul Vallas, Steven Adamowski and Morgan Barth are on track to ensure Malloy is unelectable.

One would think that after two years of being told about the damage they are doing they'd change course. But when it comes to issues like this, Malloy and his inner circle are tone deaf. . . or worse.

— Jonathan Pelto
Wait What? blog




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