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Push-back on Common Core not unique to Kansas


Opponents of the Common Core standards in reading and math haven't given up on their last-minute push to get something through the Kansas Legislature this year.

According to a story earlier today by Scott Rothschild, the Tea Party-affiliated group FreedomWorks sent out a call to its members, urging them to pressure the Legislature into cutting off funds to implement the Common Core.

This comes on the heels of a big anti-Common Core turnout at the Kansas State Board of Education last week where people urged the board to do an about-face on those standards, which are known locally as the Kansas College and Career Ready Standards.

And that came on the heels of a Statehouse rally the week before, just as lawmakers were returning for the wrap-up session.

According to Kansas Education Commissioner Diane DeBacker, similar campaigns are being waged in at least 16 other states as well:

In Alabama, at least four anti-Common Core bills have been introduced in the Legislature. At least one bill has been introduced in Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah.

Meanwhile, anti-Common Core rallies and forums have been staged in Colorado, Florida and Tennessee.

And in Arizona, Idaho, New Hampshire, New York and Ohio, education officials are reporting other kinds of active anti-Common Core rumblings.

Based on comments made at the state board meeting last week, much of the opposition is based not on the content of the standards, but on a shared perception that the standards represent a form of federal intrusion into state matters.

But when I asked DeBacker about it last week, she said the latest criticism was all a bit frustrating.

On the one hand, she noted, the State Department of Education is constantly targeted for criticism by Kansas Policy Institute, a conservative think tank, which uses data based on the old, pre-Common Core standards to show that Kansas has low academic standards compared with other states, never mentioning that the standards have been changed since then to address those very concerns.

And then, when Kansas collaborates with other states to come up with higher educational standards designed to prepare students for college and the workforce in a global marketplace, DeBacker said, they get criticized by other groups who say such collaboration represents "federal intrusion" into state matters.


Dave Trabert 4 years, 10 months ago

I don't know why Peter Hancock continually misrepresents facts but as I've explained here previously, the new Common Core performance standards do not go into effect until the 2015 school year. Kansas is still operating under and reporting performance based on the standards that have been in place since 2006. Those are the standards that the U.S. Dept. of Education says are among the lowest in the nation.

We will again file a formal complaint with LJW management over Mr. Hancock's misrepresentation of the facts. Hopefully, this time they will at least acknowledge receipt of the complaint.

KSManimal 4 years, 10 months ago

"I don't know why Peter Hancock continually misrepresents facts"

...but we all know why Dave Trabert does so. It's what he's employed to do.

Dave Trabert 4 years, 10 months ago

Some people may not like the reality of the facts we present, but the facts come from official government records.

chootspa 4 years, 10 months ago

"Some people" just don't like the way you cherry pick those facts to paint a distorted picture of reality.

Peter Hancock 4 years, 10 months ago

The Common Core standards have already gone into effect as far as many teachers are concerned. They were adopted by the Kansas State Board of Education in October 2010. What starts in the 2014-15 school year are the assessments that are aligned to those standards.

The U.S. Department of Education study which "maps" the state standards to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) comes with several caveats advising users not to draw too many conclusions from it.

Specifically, on page 7 of the 2009 report, it says:

"This report is not an evaluation of state assessments. State assessments and NAEP are developed for different purposes and have different goals and they may vary in format and administration. Findings of different standards, different trends, and different gaps are presented without suggestion that they be considered as deficiencies either in state assessments or in NAEP. The analyses in this report do not address questions about the content, format, exclusion criteria, or conduct of state assessments, as compared to NAEP. State assessments and their associated proficiency standards are designed to provide pedagogical information about individual students to their parents and teachers, whereas NAEP is designed to provide performance information at an aggregate level. Also, the analyses do not address any change in states’ assessments or proficiency standards that may have occurred after 2009."

Dave Trabert 4 years, 10 months ago

If some teachers believe that the new standards are in place, it is irrelevant to the claim you make in your story. As you acknowledged above, the assessments don't go into effect until the 2015 school year. All achievement reporting until then is based on the standards and assessments that have been in place since 2005.

I'm well aware of the NAEP caveat you mentioned, which is only referring to the annual results and says one cannot directly compare NAEP results to state results. That's not what we do and you know it. Separately, USDE conducted a review of state standards, which shows Kansas as having some of the lowest state standards in the nation.

By the way, KSDE clearly supports the NAEP results. A November 2011 press release from KSDE included this statement: "Measurement from 2003 is significant because it’s the year the state adopted new curricular standards and the first year the state achieved 100 percent participation from schools identified to participate in NAEP, ensuring the validity and reliability of the results."


And the NAEP results show that there has been no significant change in the Kansas results since 2003. Less than half of 4th grade and 8th grade students are Proficient in Math and only about a third are Proficient in Reading.

chootspa 4 years, 10 months ago

Then you also know that Kansas consistently ranks in the top 10-15 in NAEP scores when ranked by state, and that nearly all other states in the top 10 spend more per pupil than Kansas does.

Richard Brown 4 years, 10 months ago

I don't understand why folks would think that the Common Core Standards have any link to the feds at all. This is simply misinformation. They were developed by a consortium of educators and sponsored by governors. Individual states have voted to adopt them. States who haven't wanted to participate have not. Maybe the fear of the feds isn't really the problem at all. Possibly its the fact that the standards are designed to teach children to think critically. It makes complete sense that conservatives would fear an electorate who has been educated with skills such as logic and critical thinking.

Gary Denning 4 years, 10 months ago

Mr. Trabert, If your info on Common Core is as accurate as the bogus numbers you and your people put forth on K-12 cost numbers, I can understand why Hancock is arguing with you.

As far as our NAEP scores are concerned, Kansas consistently scores above most states in NAEP testing. Very few states paying less money for K12 education have higher average NAEP scores than Kansas. Kansas also scores higher than most in ACT testing than most states.

gatekeeper 4 years, 10 months ago

I want Dave's job. Unfortunately, I'd have to be one of the Koch brothers concubines and I have morals and standards. I'd rather be poor than be owned by the Koch's.

Must be nice to get paid to troll small town newspaper websites and spew misinformation and try to get the ignorant masses to back anything you say. You unfortunately are dealing with Lawrence residents and I believe we are more educated than the populations is rural Kansas that you can easily manipulate.

question4u 4 years, 10 months ago

It's OK. With China investing an addition $250 billion a year in its universities, we can afford to reject Common Core standards. American students don't need to be better prepared for college because China will be able to provide all of the scientists and engineers that we need. Chinese scientists and engineers will help America to develop new technologies and keep this country competitive internationally. Chinese scientists and engineers will give the US military its competitive edge too. That's why China is investing billions in education. The Chinese want to keep America strong.

Brazil passed the United Kingdom last year to become the the world's 6th largest economy. Brazil is investing heavily in education. That's great news for the US, because if China were the only nation in the world increasing its investment in education then Americans might not be able to cut education funding by as much. But with Brazil investing so much in education, companies like Embraer will have all the highly educated employees that they'll need to be able to take over even more of the work that still has to be done by American companies like Boeing. Soon American workers can take it easy, though. Let innovations in the aerospace industry take place somewhere else. Let other countries build the planes for us. Suckers!

So go ahead and join the Tea Party in rejecting the common core. Let the Chinese, Brazilians and others do the hard work of science and engineering so that Americans can be free to cut education spending and sit back and enjoy the prosperity.. That's just good old-fashioned common sense and patriotic too!

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 10 months ago

Thank you for this comment. It is right on target. I don't understand why education and health would be among the first things to be cut. These are two of the most necessary things that people need along with housing and food. Indeed, you need them in order to secure housing and food.

Okay, I can see it coming! Some would prefer to be ignorant and sick in order to get benefits from the government. May be but the large percentage of those who are disabled have not chosen to be that way and even those who have obesity related problems have not truly chosen to be that way.

Education is still perceived as class related and it should not be. Poor is not synomous with ignorant. Even if you are going to be financially poor your entire life and belong to the lower class you can still go to the library and check out books and read newspapers to educate yourself and be aware of what is going on in the world. You can encourage your children to excel in school and be in the position to help them in their studies.

You would also be more likely to want to do something to force a change in education policy and not confuse education with religion, believe the government is out to get you, etc.

But, a reality that we must face is that everyone of us is like our peer groups and we must decide who we want that group to be.

Lynn Grant 4 years, 10 months ago

"Some people may not like the reality of the facts we present, but the facts come from official government records." Yes, Dave, distorted facts. I am sure you sleep well at night, others would have a hard time.


chootspa 4 years, 10 months ago

Astroturf at its finest. Can't tell the states that they don't have high enough standards if they go and adopt higher standards. Can't tell the states that they're doing a lousy job if they find better measures. Can't distort the records and claim charters/vouchers actually improve outcomes if the states suddenly have apples to apples comparisons.

dontsheep 4 years, 10 months ago

It's not about standards for child improvement in the way a parent thinks. Smarter, better employment future, etc. It's improving the child to be a better consumer.

Here's Bill Gates saying so. http://youtu.be/xtTK_6VKpf4

But how does a company figure out what's the best product/service to create for a growing market? Market research! Collect hundreds of data points on kids. How they react emotionally, how they perform under stress, parent's voting record, skills they are good at, skills they are not good at (helps push towards future job), blood type, medical history, nutrition, etc. Require them to wear wrist bands to measure biometrics, take regular fMRIs...basically treat them like lab rats.

And that's not conspiracy. You can find all of it sourced in the DOEs documents and funding for it in the stimulus bill. But you have to look for it and do your research. The LJWorld and Huff Po aren't going to do it for you.

Would you let your neighbor grab that much info on your kid? How about the babysitter? College entrance interview? How about Microsoft, Amazon, Google, the IRS or the Gov't? Wake up people.

chootspa 4 years, 10 months ago

"And that's not conspiracy" LOL Yes. That's exactly what CC says. It says we should let Bill Gates hook all our kids to fMRIs and check their parents' voting records.

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