We want to highlight one of the new Common Core modules for 3rd graders. It is taken from the EngageNY website which is a resource for teachers here in Arizona.
One of the text used for this particular module is called "Nasreen's Secret School." It is a story about a young girl from Afghanistan whose parents have been taken away by the Taliban so she went to live with her Grandparents.
Vocabulary for this module include words such as "Taliban" and "Allah."
One of the reviews for the book states:
"The grandmother hears of a secret school for girls and she brings her
grand-daughter to the school, praying to Allah that she will find something
there to help her bloom again.
The soldiers come to the school once, but
the girls outwit them, says the grandmother, by hiding their forbidden
schoolbooks and reading the Koran by the time the soldier comes....Is this too much for a young child? Parents must, as always, make that
determination based on knowledge of their own children. My personal view is that
young children do not bring to books the background knowledge and experience
that adults do, and thus they will not find the book as frightening and
disturbing as their parents do. We know that in all likelihood Nasreen's parents
have been executed, but the book never says so, and small children do not have
the historical knowledge and understanding that would make this clear to
As you thumb through the book, you will find drawings of Nasreen's father being taken away by the Taliban with his hands bound with rope. Another picture shows Nasreen kneeling in prayer with a look of fear on her face as a Taliban stands over her with a gun. And then you will see pictures such as this one:
This, mind you, is considered "internationally benchmarked" and "rigorous" for 7 and 8 year olds.
"The thought of civil rights often brings to mind images of historic marches and boycotts. A generation ago, such undertakings brought attention to unequal treatment, encouraging action among those who could work to promote equality.
In the age of information, inequality doesn’t look the same as it did in the 20th century. Today’s civil rights challenges include digital inequality."
Then we heard from Arne Duncan that EDUCATION was the great "civil rights issue of our generation."
education is not just a moral obligation of society, it is not just an
economic imperative. It's the
CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUE OF OUR GENERATION ."
Today, it's amnesty immigration reform.
Eric Holder spoke last week to the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and said,
“Creating a pathway to earned citizenship is a critical element of any comprehensive immigration reform plan....Establishing legal status for the nation’s estimated 11 million illegal immigrants is a matter of civil and human rights."
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which handpicked 15 states for $250,000 each in funding to help them prepare their Race to the Top Fund applications, is going to offer assistance to the remaining 35 states—if they meet eight education reform criteria.
The memo sent by Vicki Phillips outlining the criteria for the funds was sent to the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers.
These were the same two groups that Jan Brewer and former State Superintendent Tom Horne were participants. The two groups who the Obama Administration and Arne Duncan NEEDED to make the Common Core push appear to be "state-led."
The foundation's initial Chosen 15 were: Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas.
However, Texas never applied.
The Gates Foundation stated that "these states will be targets for further foundation investment provided they continue to follow through on these commitments."
These commitments include:
1. Has your state signed the MOA regarding the Common Core Standards currently being developed by NGA/CCSSO? [Answer must be “yes”] 2. Does your state plan to adopt the common core standards by June 2010 (as currently referenced in the draft RTT guidance)? [Answer must be “yes”] 3. Demonstrate how your state plans to adopt/prioritize the common core standards currently being developed by NGA/CCSSO? [Answers will be scrutinized to assess commitment and viability] 4. Does your state offer an alternative route(s) to teacher certification? [Answer must be “yes”] 5. Does your state grant teacher tenure in fewer than three years? [Answer must be “no” or the state should be able to demonstrate a plan to set a higher bar for tenure] 6. Does your state have policies or grant programs (e.g., TIF grant) in place that encourage the placement of the most effective teachers in schools with most disadvantaged kids (e.g.to campuses undergoing state/fed accountability intervention) [Answer must be “yes” or state must demonstrate commitment and/or plans to put policies in place] 7. Does state have at least six of the DQC’s 10 essential data elements? (Required six: unique student identifier, teacher-student link, student level enrollment data, graduation and dropout data.) 8. Does your state have policies that prohibit the linkage and/or usage of student achievement data in teacher evaluations?
You really CAN buy anything in this world with money.
We found a youtube channel for an organization called the Teaching Channel. It is a "non profit" that has put out videos to help market the new Common Core curriculum. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have donated over $11M to the Teaching Channel since 2011.
Let's take a look at a few of the sample subjects such as the 10th grade topic of European Imperialism in Africa. Sample text for the project came from an "eye witness book on Africa," an essay by 16th century social reformer (anti-imperialist) Bartolome de las Casas, and excerpts from a novel called "Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe (another anti-colonialist) all of which are recommended as standard text in the Common Core appendix.
Sound a little one-sided?
As we know, the Common Core Standards will now include about 70% of "informational text" in the curriculum. By "informational text" we mean one-sided text which will be presented as "fact." Then, students can participate in panels such as this one with their new-found knowledge of evils of imperialism and colonialism:
Teaching Consultant, Jennifer Apodaca critiqued the teacher's performance and said,
"I think the facts were there, but I think it could have been much more specific.....Maybe you want to say, 'Use these sources.' So, maybe you have to specify like 'You MUST use information from the following documents....' "
Well, now that doesn't sound like it encourages critical thinking.
Another video explains that "What you have to be able to do is show that you can argue based on evidence and show that you can convey complex information clearly."
As you watch the videos, try not to focus too much on the number of misspelled words on the student's papers. Spelling isn't important because kids will always have spell check as a crutch....
The teacher in the above video poses a question to the students about the informational text they read, "How do you know what he is saying is real or not?"
Because. The informational text is from the New York Times.
This information will certainly prepare students for college and career readiness.
As the teacher said, "There are various sources. Some are reliable and some are not. They need to be able to independently determine that."
Of course, the sources that the CCSS recommends will be reliable.
Teachers are encouraged to incorporate the ELA CCSS into other classes such as Social Studies, History, Science and Technical Subjects. In the following video, the English teacher collaborated with a science teacher who selected articles and text for the students who were to write a persuasive essay on natural disasters. And by an essay on natural disasters we really mean, whether or not the United States should provide foreign aid to countries that have experienced a disaster.
Enjoy these other snippets of Common Core lessons put together by the Bill Gates funded Teaching Channel...
Like this English class lesson on child marriage in Afghanistan and learning to feel badly that their median income is $800/year while it is over $40k in the United States without pointing out the reasons why.
Or the fact that there is global warming climate change...
and more climate change.....
Well, at least these 4th graders are learning the three "R"s......
Ok. Not Reading, Writing and 'Rithmatic but "Revolution" "Reaction" and "Reform."
THAT'S going to make them college and career ready for sure.