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Posts Tagged ‘Common Core Standards’

Only in the United States can every kindergarten through twelfth grade public school child be turned into a profit making commodity and have the complete process of doing so be labeled “educational reform,” despite the fact that this process has nothing to do with improving the education of children. In fact, it appears the profit making process has everything to do with eliminating important aspects of education, such as teaching critical thinking, art, theater, automotive classes, wood and metal shops, as well as limiting (or in some cases eliminating) recess for elementary students. Apparently, developing social skills and learning concepts of right and wrong on the playground are not important in K-8 education, and that makes sense because there is no profit to be had for the publishing giants with regard to these extremely important life-enhancing skills.

On behalf of ever rising profits and ever rising share prices of the corporate publishing giants Pearson Limited, McGraw-Hill and a few others, the United States has turned public kindergarten through high school students into commodities for profit. On behalf of the shareholders of the 1 percent, the corporate press, which is nothing more than a propaganda machine for and of the 1 percent, has dutifully called this educational reform, and brainwashed much of the American public into believing this lie to be true. That is of course, the job of the corporate press; taking obvious lies created by conservative think tanks and other organizations and pundits of the 1 percent, and getting the public to believe these lies to be truth.

Students and testing are necessary pieces of the profit making motive, just like any other manufactured product. Manufacture a car tire without the existence of cars wouldn’t make anybody a dime. Tires and cars profitably go together like hands in gloves, bodies in clothes, hats on your heads. Nobody would manufacture gloves, clothes or hats if there were no hands, heads or bodies because no profits could be had if the two didn’t go together. The same is true of state and federally mandated testing of K-12 students.

Manufacturing tests are profitless without students to be tested, and so, quite naturally, the corporate propaganda machine engineered over a period of years a campaign to convince the American public of the need to test students more and more, until the tests were legislatively adopted, first at the state levels, and then at the federal level.

No mention was ever made by that mighty propaganda machine that Finland has the highest test scores in the world, and students there are the least tested on Earth. No mention was made of significant differences between the education of students in the USA and Finland, such as Finish boys and girls begin first grade one year later than their American counterparts because that’s when boys brains are sufficiently developed to handle first grade materials.

Beginning first grade a year later than is currently the case in the USA, not so coincidentally, would call for less testing, which would be called educational reform if adopted elsewhere, but not here. This idea would never be adopted because it would mean less profits, and to keep the share prices of the publishing giants rising requires more and more profits, which means more and more testing.

Several public grade school teachers have complained to me that the profit motive standards called Common Core are not “developmentally appropriate” for their students. In other words, for example, these new tests are geared for fifth grade students, but are being taken by third grade students. This requires many students to retake the tests over and over again until they pass the tests or move up a grade. That’s precisely the point of common core testing, as well as previous mandated standardized testing.

Having children retake the test over and over again means more and more profits for the publishing giants, so naturally, there will be a clarion call by pundits of the 1 percent to require students to reach for higher and higher standards, as if 95 percent of all high school student are going to use calculus after high school in a job. That might be true for a small fraction of high school graduates who move on to college, but it’s not true for the vast majority of high school and college graduates.

The one thing that becomes obvious is that educational reform in the United States is nothing more than a scam to redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent in the form of higher corporate profits, rising share prices, and mounting dividends. The 99 percent pays the price of this scam in lost tax revenue that goes to schools for testing, time away from other forms of education, such as art, as well as mounting stress on students, parents, teachers and administrators to meet higher and higher profits for the testing corporations via a corporate conduit of propaganda called higher standards.

If you want real educational reform, simply look to Finland and adopt some of that nation’s practices. However, the propaganda machine of the 1 percent will scream loud and clear that such notions will ruin education in the USA, but they will not mention that adopting such practices will only push the profit motive out of public education, which would be a tragedy for the 1 percent, but create great joy and better education for everybody else.

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Last week, I asked a public elementary teacher what she thought of Common Core standards.

“Common Core testing is developmentally inappropriate for the ages of which the tests have been designed,” the third grade teacher said.

Several teachers sitting near us agreed with her.

When I asked what she meant, the teacher said the standards for third graders were developmentally more appropriate for fifth or sixth grade students.

“Do your third grade students need to retake the tests if they fail?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said. “Over and over again until they pass. All I do anymore is teach to the test at the expense of all other learning.”

“That’s precisely why they’ve been created,” I said. “Each test is more profit for the testing industry. The more students fail, the higher the profits for the industry giants.”

“Like Pearson Limited,” she said.

“And McGraw-Hill,” I said. “And their shareholders and CEOs. And it also means the tests are intended to maximize public educational failure because that maximizes corporate profits.”

“I agree,” the teacher said. “Educational reform is all about using education as a conduit to maximize publishing industry profits, even if it means destroying public education.”

I couldn’t disagree with the teacher, not at all. If you want more students to fail to maximize profits, there’s also another way to push the nation’s public school districts in that direction; expand classroom sizes. That gives every teacher less time to spend with each student, especially those that need individualized help to pass the tests that have been developed to ensure they fail, just to maximize profits at taxpayer expense.

Let’s face reality. Public schools are funded by local and state tax dollars. Common Core Standards ensure that income is redistributed from the 99 to the 1 percent via taxpayer dollars.

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