Common Core’s Political Agenda

http://www.eagleforum.org/publications/educate/apr13/common-cores-political-agenda.html

The Common Core State Standards are standardizing student learning and performance nationwide and will gauge achievement using national tests. The standards were called for and created at the behest of the federal government. Although the word “state” is commonly used in the program description, no state produced the standards. Rather, committees created them for all states. Governors were enticed to sign on before the standards were even completed. Forty-six states are teaching to the English Language standards and 45 have adopted the math standards. Common Core national standards are currently being developed for science and social studies. National testing will begin in 2014.

The standards are available online. Many have called them confusing and complicated. Detailed goals for each grade level are offered, as well as means of measuring achievements. Books, poems and informational reading are suggested in “text exemplar” sections of Appendices.

Critics and some English teachers object to the emphasis on “informational texts” and the move away from literature that is necessitated to include those assignments.

Although there are no hard and fast rules for using the texts suggested in the Appendices of the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts, it would make sense for teachers to adopt those suggested rather than choosing other readings. They will be teaching to a test so why would they deviate from what the testers suggest?

Examination of two of the English Language “text exemplars” for high school students shows they have definite political agendas. “The Cost Conundrum: Health Care Costs in McAllen, Texas,” written by Atul Gawande and first appearing June 2009 in the New Yorker magazine, is at its heart a call for universal, government-run health care. “Executive Order 13423” is a presidential mandate that all government agencies become “sustainable” entities. It promotes controversial scientific ideas and purports them as factually accurate in a way that could unduly influence students.

Health Care Text Exemplar

“The Cost Conundrum” consists of attacks on both medical doctors and hospitals as greedy profiteers. The heroes of the analysis are doctors who accept salaries from hospitals, rather than determining their own fees. Doctors are accused of ordering too many tests and doing unnecessary surgeries to line their own pockets. Gawande describes one physician CEO he met with as aloof and having a “let’s-get-this-over-with” attitude, and then dismisses as ludicrous the doctor’s suggestion that the government’s involvement in health care has caused some of the problems in health care.

I asked him why McAllen’s health care costs were so high. What he gave me was a disquisition on the theory and history of American health care financing going back to Lyndon Johnson and the creation of Medicare, the upshot of which was: (1) Government is the problem in health care. “The people in charge of the purse strings don’t know what they’re doing.” (2) If anything, government insurance programs like Medicare don’t pay enough. “I, as an anesthesiologist, know that they pay me ten percent of what a private insurer pays.” (3) Government programs are full of waste. “Every person in this room could easily go through the expenditures of Medicare and Medicaid and see all kinds of waste.”

Many knowledgeable critics of the current health care “crisis” make the link, as the McAllen doctor did, to decades of government interference. It cannot be easily dismissed. In fact, many would say his analysis is quite astute. Plus there are predictions that ObamaCare is further interference that will affect “the health care market in many new and profoundly destructive ways.” (Reason, 03-13-2013)

Promises to “make health care coverage more affordable” fall flat in the face of evidence. The Associated Press reports:

Some Americans could see their insurance bills double next year as the health care overhaul law expands coverage to millions of people. The nation’s big health insurers say they expect premiums — or the cost for insurance coverage — to rise from 20 to 100 percent for millions of people due to changes that will occur when key provisions of the Affordable Care Act roll out in January 2014. Mark Bertolini, CEO of Aetna Inc., one of the nation’s largest insurers, calls the price hikes “premium rate shock.” “We’ve done all the math, we’ve shared it with all the regulators, we’ve shared it with all the people in Washington that need to see it, and I think it’s a big concern,” Bertolini said during the company’s annual meeting with investors in December. (03-13-13)

Will high school teachers submitting Common Core’s slanted informational texts to students be qualified to dissect the politicized text assigned? Opposing viewpoints are easy to find, but will a high school teacher select and present other views to students? If not, this article is indoctrination.

Gawande goes on to say in this text exemplar:

Advocates of a public option say government financing would save the most money by having leaner administrative costs and forcing doctors and hospitals to take lower payments than they get from private insurance. Opponents say doctors would skimp, quit, or game the system, and make us wait in line for our care; they maintain that private insurers are better at policing doctors. No, the skeptics say: all insurance companies do is reject applicants who need health care and stall on paying their bills. Then we have the economists who say that the people who should pay the doctors are the ones who use them. Have consumers pay with their own dollars, make sure that they have some “skin in the game,” and then they’ll get the care they deserve. These arguments miss the main issue. When it comes to making care better and cheaper, changing who pays the doctor will make no more difference than changing who pays the electrician. The lesson of the high-quality, low-cost communities is that someone has to be accountable for the totality of care. Otherwise, you get a system that has no brakes.

Gawande’s article is an assertion that there is no one better to be “accountable” for the “totality of care” than the federal government. But the truth is that it is far from clear that a taxpayer-funded system in which decisions are removed from patients, doctors, and the people actually footing the bill has the “brakes” he points out that we need. Who is putting the brakes on our runaway federal budget and our many other bloated and ineffective federal programs?

Sustainability Text Exemplar

Another informational text suggested by Common Core is “Executive Order 13423 of January 24, 2007: Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management.” This document, signed by President George Bush in 2007, is a sweeping call for sustainability, greenhouse gas control, use of renewable resources, and recycling at all federal agencies. It incorporates green standards, such as renewable energy generation projects on agency property for agency use, meaning wind and solar.

The Executive Order states that ‘‘‘sustainable’ means to create and maintain conditions, under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations of Americans.” Sustainability
is also a leftist buzzword and rooted in the United Nations Agenda 21, which calls for developed nations to decrease energy usage. It aims to control the West, especially the United States, economically and politically. Another interpretation of Agenda 21 would be, “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need,” as stated by Karl Marx.

The executive order also mandated creation of a new job at each federal agency: a senior civilian officer to be responsible for implementation of environmentalist requirements. These government employees at the CIA, the FBI, the Department of Education, and every other federal agency, are paid at level IV of the Executive Schedule, which was $155,500 in January 2012. These individuals obviously require a sizeable staff to implement the changes, oversee their success, and file the required reports to multiple other agencies. The order requires compliance at each agency, by all contractors outside the government with which the agency does business, by tenants or concessionaires, and even makes provision for standards to be met in foreign locations.

If educators or parents object to students being indoctrinated at school in the leftist environmentalism and sustainability represented by this reading, it will surely be pointed out that it was a Republican president who signed this order.

A better decision in this time of economic uncertainty, the massive burden on taxpayers, and our unprecedented national debt to foreign countries such as China, would have been to appoint an overseer of cost effectiveness at each department. This person could approve “sustainable” activities only when feasible and cost-effective.

A critical reading of this executive order could lead more astute students to realize the federal government’s propensity for wasting money and complicating everything. Since it was precisely this disregard for cost that allowed government interference in health care to create the inflated system we had before ObamaCare, it is questionable whether the massive and definitive takeover of healthcare by the federal government is the right direction for America — but students given scanty information from a skewed perspective are very unlikely to question it.

As Ronald Reagan said in 1964, “outside of its legitimate functions, government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector of the economy.” Will students, parents, and citizens also question whether the massive and definitive federal takeover of education that Common Core represents is the right direction for America?

A Mental Health Professional’s Perspective on the Common Core

Posted on March 25, 2013 by truthed

Dear Mrs. Swasey & Mr. Beck:

I am writing this note on behalf of your joint request to address issues surrounding the Common Core State Standards Act (CCSS) that is currently in the process of being implemented in the vast majority of our public school systems in the country.

By way of background, I’m an African American Doctor of Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.) currently serving as Director of Clinical Training & Community Advocacy at a private child psychology clinic in South Jordan, Utah. I completed undergraduate education at both the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, and Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. In addition to my personal experiences involving my four children in public schools, I have completed multiple thousands of hours in training/therapy/assessment/legal advocacy work with children in both the private and public school settings in multiple western states. I am also the author of a award winning doctoral project/dissertation which tackled the ago old problem of why many African American school aged children underperform in public schools titled, “Cracking the Da Vince Code of Cognitive Assessment of African American School Aged Children: A Guide for Parents, Clinicians & Educators” (Thompson, G. 2008).

As a “local clinical community scientist”, I have an ethical obligation to our community at large to provide unbiased opinions regarding issues that affect the education experiences of school-aged children and their respective guardians. The “Common Core States Standards Act” (CCSS) falls uniquely into this category. I have devoted many hours reading commentaries and studies, both pro and con, regarding the overall efficacy of CCSS.

In a nutshell, the (mostly) progressive public education community speaks highly of CCSS and its stated goal of raising educational standards across the board in a effort to improve the educational process for all students in the country, particularly under performing African American and Latino students nationwide.

The (mostly) conservative opponents of CCSS claim that involvement in public school education should be primarily a local/statewide process, and that Federal intrusion into public school education is not effective for multiple alleged reasons. In addition, there are disputes involving the CCSS curriculum itself whereas proponents cite multiple sources of research that allegedly support the efficacy of the education content.

Opponents also cite similar competing references that support their contention that CCSS curriculum stifles’ teachers’ creativity and that the content, especially in math, is not effective for early learners, gifted students, and children with diagnosed learning disabilities. The amount of information available to voters and parents by “experts”, both for and against CCSS, is overwhelming in its length, complexity and emotional intensity. Like the Affordable Care Act, the implementation of the Common Core State Standards in the vast majority of public schools nationwide, has caused a seemingly unbridgeable divide in many quarters of this country.

I am not an expert in the development and implementation of core educational curriculum in public schools, so I will not comment on the issue. I am not an expert on the effects of federal government involvement, verses local involvement, in public school education, so I will not comment on the issue. I am not a forensic accountant with expertise in the areas of national and local financial accounting tax monies submitted towards public education, so I will not comment on that issue. I am also not a politician, nor do I represent any special interest groups that could even be remotely tied to the multiple and complex issues surrounding CCSS. I find the political process in this day and age to be ineffective and personally unfulfilling, and will not comment on the efficacy of education platforms set forth by the three main political parties. I am, however, an expert in psychological and educational assessment/testing, as well as privacy acts surrounding the use of these tests in both private and educational settings. My remaining comments will focus on these two issues as they are addressed by the CCSS.

Educational Testing

According to the U.S. Department of Education, CCSS will authorize the use of testing instruments that will measure the “attributes, dispositions, social skills, attitude’s and intra personal resources” of public school students under CCSS (USDOE Feb, 2013 Report). In a nutshell, CCSS simply states that it will develop highly effective assessments that measures….well….almost ”everything.”

Our clinic performs these comprehensive IEE’s (Individual Education Evaluations) on a daily basis. These test measure “attributes”, “dispositions”, “social skills”, “attitudes” and “intra personal resources” as stated by the USDOE. In addition, we utilized state of the neuro-cognitive tests that measure the informational process functioning of children in school (Cognitive Assessment System, Naglieri 2002).

A careful, or even a casual review of a “comprehensive evaluation” would clearly show that the level of information provided about a particular child is both highly sensitive and extremely personal in nature. They are also extremely accurate. In a private clinic such as ours, we follow strict privacy guidelines regarding patient privacy (HIPPA) and when dealing with educational institutions, we also make sure that we comply with the FERPA Act (Federal Education Reporting & Privacy Act).

Bluntly put, if a client’s records somehow get into the hands of anyone besides the parents without written consent from the parents, or a court order, our clinic would be shut down in a heartbeat and the clinician who released unauthorized comprehensive assessments would lose their license. Clinical Psychologists in graduate level classrooms and clinical training sites spend years getting these basic privacy rights pounded into our heads. Failure to articulate and implement strict privacy guidelines issued by the Federal Government, State licensing boards, or the American Psychological Association (APA) would result in immediate dismissal from graduate school academic institutions, as well as any clinical psychology training sites in either Internship or Residency settings.

The accuracy of psychological testing has grown in the past 10 years to astonishing levels. The same tests used in our clinic for assessments, are used in part by federal law enforcement agencies, the military, local police departments, and the Central Intelligence Agency. (Interesting enough, these agencies are also interested in finding out about alleged terrorist’s, serial killers, or airline pilots “attributes, dispositions, social skills, attitudes and intra personal resources”). When placed in the “right” hands of trained mental health professionals, psychological testing can save lives. Placed in the “wrong” hands, psychological testing can ruin lives as well as cause psychological trauma to people if they have knowledge that their results were used for nefarious purposes.

Below are issues regarding CCSS “testing” policies that have not been addressed by the Common Core to State’s Governors’, State Superintendents, State School Boards, local school district superintendents, local school boards, to parents of children in public school education:

Common Core does not address what types of tests will be utilized on our children.

Common Core does not address, specifically, exactly who is developing these tests.

Common Core does not address the fact that these tests have not yet been developed, and are not available for public consumption or private review by clinical psychology researchers and psychometric professionals.

Common Core does not address if the soon to be completed tests will be subjected to the same rigorous peer review process that ALL testing instruments are subjected to prior to being released to mental health professionals for their use in the private sector.

Common Core does not state which public school employees would be administering or interpreting these tests. There is a reason that School Psychologists cannot “practice” outside of their scope in school districts. As hard working and as wonderful as this group is, their training pales in comparison to the average local clinical psychologist.

Common Core does not address the well documented, peer-reviewed fact that both African American and Latino students, due to cultural issues, tend to have skewed testing results when cultural issues are not addressed prior to the initiation of such testing. This should probably be addressed if these results are going to be following a student “from cradle to high school graduation.”

Lastly, once these highly intimate, powerful, and most likely inaccurate testing results are completed, who EXACTLY will have access to all of this data? Common Core DOES address this issue and it is the subject of the next section.

Privacy

I mentioned above that our private clinic is subjected to multiple federal, state, and professional association regulations when it comes to protecting and releasing mental health records. The rationale behind these regulations is obvious in nature both to the professionals, as well as their clients. Records do not leave our clinic unless the guardians of the children instruct us, or unless a District Court judge orders the release of the records. In some cases, we are even ethically obligated to fight court orders that request private mental health records.

Common Core State Standards radically changes this game.

Prior to CCSS, public school districts were required to adhere to the same rules and regulations regarding private records as our clinic is subjected to. HIPPA tells us how to store records, were to store records, and whom to release them too. FERPA (Federal Education Records Protection Act) is subjected to HIPPA requirements when it comes to protecting sensitive education records. As show herein, educational testing records are highly sensitive and it only makes common sense that this practice of protecting these sensitive records continues.

Buried in all of the fine print of the CCSS is a provision that allows participating school districts to ignore HIPPA protections. The newly revised FERPA laws grants school districts and states HIPPA privacywaivers.

Department of Health & Human Services Regulation Section 160.103 states, in part,:
“Protected health information EXCLUDES individually identifiable health information in education records covered by the Family Education Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA), as amended 20 U.S.C. 1232 g”.

CCSS also states that this “information” may be distributed to “organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, educational agencies or institutions to develop, validate, or administer predictive testing.” (CCSS (6)(i).

In summary CCSS allows the following by law:

Grants school districts a waiver from FERPA in terms of deleting identifying information on their records.
Allows school districts to then give these identifiable records basically to anyone who they deem to have an viable interest with these records.

These organization or individuals chosen by the government to use this data to develop highly accurate predictive tests with no stated ethical procedures, guidelines, or institutional controls. (What are they exactly trying to “predict”?”

All without written parental consent.

The “Comprehensive Statewide Longitudinal Data System,” employed by CCSS that will hold this sensitive data, per DOE webpage, states, “all States implement state longitudinal data systems that involve elements specified in the “America Competes Act”. I spent two hours pouring over this Act to see if there were any further guidelines to Federal of State officials as such may pertain to privacy issues. None could be found.

Proponents of the CCSS point to volumes of articles and promises and policies that state that our children’s data will be private and protected by the national and state data systems that will shortly be implemented per CCSS guidelines. I have very little doubt that the computer systems employed by Federal, State and local districts that contain this data will be state of the art computer systems. Others whom are experts in this field may differ strongly). The point however is this: CCSS does not specify who can have access to their records, or for what specific purposes this sensitive data will be utilized. When it comes to addressing privacy issues, the CCSS contains abundant, generalized “legal speak”.

In terms of privacy issues, below are issues regarding CCSS “privacy” policies that have not been addressed by the Common Core to State’s Governors, State Superintendents, State School Boards, local school district superintendents, local school boards, to the parents of children in public school education:

Exactly WHO will have access to records obtained by this national/state database? The generic political answer of “Appropriately designated education officials or private research entities” does not “cut the mustard.”
For what EXACT purpose will this sensitive data be utilized?

What organizations will have access to identifiable academic records? Other than generic information regarding race, age, gender and geographic location, why does the Federal database require identifiable information to be accessible?

If the political responses to these questions are “all information contained in the database is unidentifiable and securely stored,” then why were changes made to FERPA to allow an exemption to educational privacy rights when it comes to the implementation of Common Core State Standards?

What type of “predictive tests” are currently being designed and who will have access to results of whatever is being measured?

Conclusion

Like the infamous “No Child Left Behind” laws that on some levels (with the sole exceptions of the 2004 IDEA Act included in NCLB), have set back progress of public school education years, I honestly believe that a few lawmakers with good hearts and intentions honestly wanted to find solutions to our public school systems. I believe also that the Obama Administration wants every child to have a proper and rigorous education and that the implementation of Common Core will bring them closer to that goal.

I am also, however, a local clinical community scientist. In this role I have several serious questions concerning CCSS noted herein which have yet to be answered to my satisfaction as a scientist, education advocate, and parent. I would implore every Governor, State Superintendent, and State School Board member in the country to honestly and openly explore the issues cited above and provide accurate answers to these issues to the public in “plain speak”.

Given the gravity of these issues, I cannot professionally endorse the Common Core State Standards as currently written until pointed clarification is provided by politicians and educators from both party’s endorsing CCSS. Nor in good conscience can I enroll my toddler in a public school system that utilizes CCSS until these issues are clarified to my satisfaction.

The issues involving psychological testing and privacy are issues that should be of concern to every parent with a child enrolled in public school. The power granted federal and state education administrators via the regulations of CCSS are unprecedented in nature. Some parents will be quite comfortable with CCSS even in light of the issues detailed in this letter. Some parents would be aghast with the same provisions. Regardless, parents deserve to be clearly informed about these and other issues surrounding CCSS in a clear and straightforward manner so that they can make educated choices regarding their children’s educations.

On a final note, I wish to publically show my support to the underpaid and overworked public school teachers nationwide. If I had the power, I would elevate their status to that of a medical doctor in terms of pay and prestige. What they do with the limited resources available, and with the burden of bureaucracy following their every professional move is simply nothing short of amazing. Our clinic employees several public school teachers (One is a former Utah Teacher of the Year), and school psychologist due to their amazing talents and abilities of reaching the hearts and minds of our young and diverse educational psychology clients.

There are answers to most of the perplexing questions facing public school officials. I believe these answers can be readily found in multiple peer-reviewed journals in neuropsychology, clinical psychology, education and public policy. Answers can also be found by mining the experiences, wants and needs of our hardworking public school teachers on the local and statewide ground level, as well as local parenting organization of various stripes. Once science and cultural based solution are found and implemented, I believe even cynical conservative lawmakers nationwide would be more willing to pony up additional tax payer money when presented with imaginative, science based educational models in pubic school systems. On the other hand, simply adding billions of dollars towards a 150-year old foundational system of education in crisis without implementing massive changes is irresponsible, unimaginative, and most likely politically and monetarily motivated.

When politics and money are taken out of the public school education policy arena and replaced with common sense and culturally sensitive science, mixed in with local value systems, I believe we, as a nation will make great strides in the goal of educating our children.

Until that time comes, it is my wish that regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation and political affiliations, our country will join together at the grass roots to amicably reach “common core” grounds of restoring our once proud public education system.

Best regards,

Dr. Gary Thompson
Director of Clinical Training & Community Advocacy Services
Early Life Child Psychology & Education Center, Inc.
www.earlylifepsych.com

HT: Christel Swasey

State Costs for Adopting and Implementing the Common Core State Standards

National Education Standards and Tests: Big Expense, Little Value

Lindsey Burke February 18, 2011 The Heritage Foundation

Spending on Standards and Assessment Systems: Selected States

The budgetary impact of jettisoning state accountability structures and replacing existing standards and testing could be significant—likely much more than RTTT funding provides.
Over the past decade, taxpayers have spent considerable sums to develop existing state accountability systems:

California. California’s Standardized Testing and Reporting Program, which began in 1998, tests students in grades 2–11 in English, math, science, social science, and history. Estimates suggest that it would cost California taxpayers $1.6 billion to replace the existing state standards with the Common Core standards.[4] Yet California has agreed to overhaul its existing system with the new national standards and assessments.

Florida. The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test measures student achievement in grades 3–11 in reading, math, and science. Since 1996, Florida has spent more than $404 million to develop and maintain the system.[5] Taxpayer investment in the existing high-quality assessments has been substantial, and overhauling the system for unproven national assessments, which Florida has agreed to adopt, could produce significant new implementation costs to taxpayers.

Texas. Texas has resisted the push for national standards. The Lone Star State estimates that the adoption of new standards and tests would cost taxpayers upwards of $3 billion. “Adopting national standards and tests would also require the purchase of new textbooks, assessments, and professional development tools, costing Texas taxpayers an estimated $3 billion, on top of the billions of dollars Texas has already invested in developing our strong standards,” stated Governor Rick Perry (R) in a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in opposition to national standards and tests.[6]

Virginia. The Virginia Board of Education unanimously rejected adoption of the proposed Common Core State Standards and tests. One of the board’s chief arguments against adopting national standards was fiscal, with members noting that “Virginia’s investment in the Standards of Learning [SOL] since 1995 far exceeds the $250 million Virginia potentially could have received by abandoning the SOL and competing in phase two of Race to the Top.”[7] Indeed, since 1996, Virginia taxpayers have paid more than $379 million to develop and implement the state SOLs. The costs for developing the SOLs include expenditures for the initial development and subsequent revisions of the curriculum frameworks and assessments, as well as the development of new supporting materials and professional development related to using the new testing system.

California

California and the Common Core: Will There Be a New Debate About K–12 Standards?
June 2010 EdSource

Based on the state’s past experience, new curriculum frameworks and instructional materials could cost about $800 million for English and math combined. In addition, training teachers in both subjects could cost as much as $765 million, based on an assumption of $2,500 per teacher per subject and counting teachers both in self-contained classrooms and those that teach single subjects. An additional $20 million would be needed for training principals to help them in their work as instructional leaders (based on the amount that the state and the Gates Foundation appropriated in 2001–02 for initial training of administrators). Finally, developing tests based on new standards would add a relatively small amount to the total cost, with the exact sum depending on how quickly the new test questions were phased in and whether the state would retain the existing tests’ format, which currently contains almost entirely multiple-choice questions. Participation in an assessment consortium could also affect this cost. Thus, an estimate of the total cost of a more comprehensive retooling is about $1.6 billion over a few years.

Washington State

Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics: Analysis and Recommendations Report to the Legislature January 2011

Estimated Costs for CCSS Implementation
Estimated State Level Costs Per Fiscal Year Five Year Total
2010-11 (FY 11)* $2,500,000
2011-12 (FY 12)* $3,400,000
2012-13 (FY 13)* $3,600,000
2013-14 (FY 14)* $3,800,000
2014-15 (FY 15)* $3,800,000
Total Five Year Estimated State Level Costs $17,100,000
Estimated District Level Costs
2010-11 (FY 11)* $25,300,000
2011-12 (FY 12)* $29,600,000
2012-13 (FY 13)* $35,100,000
2013-14 (FY 14)* $41,800,000
2014-15 (FY 15)* $33,700,000
Total Five Year Estimated District Level Costs $165,500,000
Total Five Year Estimated State Level and District Level Costs $182,600,000
*Yearly cost estimates are from the OSPI report. See Pages 24 and 29.
Funding Sources for CCSS Implementation
Funding Sources for the Implementation of the CCSS Annual Five Year Total
State Level Sources
State Assessment Budget* $150,000 $750,000
State Funding for Regional Mathematics Coordinators* $1,600,000 $8,000,000
Title II, Part A, Teacher and Principal Quality (federal)* $510,000 $2,550,000
Title II, Part B, Math Science Partnership Grant Funds (federal)* $125,000 $625,000
School Improvement Grant Funds (federal)* no amount provided
SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortia (SBAC) Supplemental Grant $250,000–$300,000 over four years* $300,000
Five Year Total of State Level Fund Sources $12,225,000
Estimated Five Year State Level Costs Total $17,100,000
Est. State Level Costs Minus State Level Fund Sources $4,875,000
District Level Sources*
Basic Education Funding (state) #
Title I (federal) and Learning Assistance Program (LAP, state) &
Title II, Part A, Teacher and Principal Quality (federal) %
School Improvement Grant Funds (SIG, federal) &
Title II, Part B, Math Science Partnership Grant Funds (federal) @
Unable to determine amounts indeterminate
The district level funding sources have been identified and listed above. Given the information in the report it is not possible to determine the amount of funds from any given source that would be allocated to support the implementation of the CCSS. Districts may have commitments for funds, or portions of funds, from any given source that would preclude them from being available to support the implementation of the CCSS.
Estimated Five Year District Level Costs Total $165,500,000
* Fund source information is from the OSPI report. State level sources pages 25-26. District level sources pages 30-32.
# Figures presented were not consistent and could not be used to determine any annual or five year total amount of funds available
& An unspecified portion of an undisclosed amount may be used by qualifying districts
% An unspecified portion of an undisclosed amount may be used according to individual district’s comprehensive plan
@ WA receives $2.5 million annually of which $2 million may support implementation efforts

Tables from Where’s the Money? pdf developed by The Underground Parent.

Missouri

Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education
Frequently Asked Questions Common Core State Standards

As stated earlier, the Department has not requested additional or new funding for the implementation or professional development associated with revised standards and assessments.

Is The U.S. Dept. of Education Violating Federal Law by Directing Standards, Tests & Curricula?

Posted on February 11, 2012 by truthed

BOSTON, MA —Despite three federal laws that prohibit federal departments or agencies from directing, supervising or controlling elementary and secondary school curricula, programs of instruction and instructional materials, the U.S. Department of Education (“Department”) has placed the nation on the road to a national curriculum, according to a new report written by a former general counsel and former deputy general counsel of the United States Department of Education.

The Road to a National Curriculum: The Legal Aspects of the Common Core Standards, Race to the Top, and Conditional Waivers  (also embedded below) is sponsored by Pioneer Institute, the Federalist Society, the American Principles Project, and the Pacific Research Institute of California.

With only minor exceptions, the General Education Provisions Act, the Department of Education Organization Act, and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), ban the Department from directing, supervising, or controlling elementary and secondary school curriculum, programs of instruction, and instructional materials.

“The Department has designed a system of discretionary grants and conditional waivers that effectively herds states into accepting specific standards and assessments favored by the Department,” said Robert S. Eitel, who co-authored the report with Kent D. Talbert.

The authors find that the Obama administration has used the Race to the Top Fund and the Race to the Top Assessment Program to push states to adopt standards and assessments that are substantially the same across nearly all states. “By leveraging funds through its Race to the Top Fund and the Race to the Top Assessment Program, the Department has accelerated the adoption and implementation of the Common Core State Standards (“CCSS”) in English language arts and mathematics, as well as the development of common assessments based on those standards,” added Talbert, former General Counsel of the Department.

Through its Race to the Top Assessment Program, the authors explain how the Department has awarded $362 million to consortia to develop common assessments and measure student achievement.  Two consortia have won a total of $330 million, and each has been awarded an additional $15.9 million supplemental grant to “help” states move to common standards and assessments.

“There is no constitutional or statutory basis for national standards, national assessments, or national curricula,” said Bill Evers, research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and Koret Task Force on K-12 Education member. “;The two testing consortia funded by the U.S. Department of Education have already expanded their activities well beyond the limits of the law. As this paper recommends, the actions of the Department warrant congressional hearings.”;

One of the consortia has stated directly that it intends to use these federal funds to support curriculum materials and that it expects to use the money to create a “model curriculum” and instructional materials “aligned with the CCSS” pushed by the Race to the Top Fund.  Secretary Arne Duncan has said that the work of the two consortia includes “developing curriculum frameworks” and “instructional modules.”

“Frankly, this makes sense,” said Eitel.  “How can one design assessments without taking into account what is taught?  But the legal concern is that these federally funded assessments will ultimately direct the course of elementary and secondary course content across the nation,” Eitel added.  “This raises a fundamental question of whether the Department is exceeding its statutory boundaries,” Talbert said.

“Proponents of national standards, curriculum and tests claim they’re merely a logical extension of previous federal education initiatives,”said Pioneer Institute Executive Director Jim Stergios.  “The key difference is that prior to Race to the Top and the recently announced federal waivers, the US Department of Education abided by statutes explicitly prohibiting federal direction, supervision, or control of curricula or instruction.”;

The authors also explore how the Department’s NCLB conditional waiver program, announced last September, is driving the states toward a national K-12 curriculum and course content.   To obtain a waiver from the Department, each state must declare whether it has “adopted college- and career-ready standards” in reading/language arts and mathematics “that are common to a significant number of States.”  States seeking waivers must also declare whether they are participating “in one of two State consortia that received a grant under the Race to the Top competition.”  The Common Core State Standards and the assessments consortia are effectively the only ones that fit these descriptions.

“Our greatest concern arises from the Department’s decision to cement the use of the Common Core State Standards and assessment consortia through conditional waivers,” said Eitel.  “The waiver authority granted by Congress in No Child Left Behind does not permit the Secretary to gut NCLB wholesale and impose these conditions,” added Talbert. “As shown by the eleven states that have already applied for waivers, most states will accept the Common Core State Standards and the assessment conditions in order to get waivers,” Talbert stated.

States need not apply for waivers, the authors said, but most states are desperate enough to escape No Child Left Behind to agree to the conditions.  “And once a state receives a waiver, escapes NCLB’s strict accountability requirements, and makes the heavy investments required by the standards, that state will do whatever it takes to keep its coveted waiver,” said Eitel.  In the view of the authors, these efforts will necessarily result in a de facto national curriculum and instructional materials effectively supervised, directed, or controlled by the Department through the NCLB waiver process.

In their analysis, Eitel and Talbert propose several recommendations, including the enactment of legislation clarifying that the Department cannot impose conditions under its waiver authority, as well as congressional hearings on Race to the Top and waivers to ascertain the Department’s compliance with federal law.

Pioneer Institute led a campaign in 2010 to oppose the adoption of national standards, producing a four-part series reviewing evolving drafts.The reports compared them with existing Massachusetts and California standards, and found that the federal versions contained weaker content in both ELA and math. The reports, listed below, were authored by curriculum experts R. James Milgram, emeritus professor of mathematics at Stanford University; Sandra Stotsky, former Massachusetts Board of Education member and University of ArkansasProfessor; and Ze’ev Wurman, a Silicon Valley executive who helped develop California’s education standards and assessments.