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For Common Core, a new challenge -- from the left

Conventional wisdom held that liberals and teachers supported the new Common Core curriculum standards.

Until the Badass Teachers Association crashed the party.

The 25,000 BATs, as they call themselves, are pushing back against the national standards with Twitter strikes, town hall meetings and snarky Internet memes. They have no qualms with the theory behind the new benchmarks, but they fear the larger movement places too much emphasis on testing and will stifle creativity in the classroom.

“It’s not just the Tea Party that’s skeptical of the Common Core,” said Bonnie Cunard, a Fort Myers teacher who manages the Facebook page for the 1,200 Florida BATs. “We on the left, like the folks on the right, are saying we want local control.”

The BATs represent a new wave of liberal opposition to the Common Core standards, which includes some union leaders, progressive activists and Democratic lawmakers. They are joining forces with Tea Party groups and libertarians, who want states like Florida to slow down efforts to adopt the new benchmarks and corresponding tests.

They face an uphill battle. The Common Core standards have a strong base of support that includes both Democrats and Republicans. What’s more, the standards are already being taught across all grade levels in Florida.

“Our commitment [to the Common Core] is strong because it is the best decision for the future of our state and most importantly, the future of our students,” interim state Education Commissioner Pam Stewart wrote in a statement.

Read more here.

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Michael Sirbola

Gov. Scott's little-known PLAN-B for Florida kids: This was written (April 2013) before the public has the evidence that commissioner Bennett and presumably (certainly-duh!) that Gov. Scott also, are deceptively lying to the public intentionally and perhaps criminally - Here we have evidence of their modus-operandi - Say what people want to hear, even if it is a bald-faced lie, then hint at what you are really planning so that you have plausible deniability as to what your true motivations and goals had in truth been all the while - Here is the quote from the above article where the scoundrels true plans are laid bare, as a quote: "has said he expects Common Core and its related tests to be ready on time. But just in case, he has begun creating a Plan B -- discussing alternatives with a small consortium of states, researching contracts for other tests and collecting additional information." Kick the lying bum out is the only chance Florida's children have. No well-run school or district should ever have to "teach" to this basic test - this is nonsense - if kids cannot pass this basic test then they are not being taught even the most basic core knowledge needed - No teacher should have to spend most of their time "teaching to the test!"

http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/gradebook/florida-department-of-education-sets-goals-for-the-coming-year/2115190#comments

Michael Sirbola

Broward School District Superintendent Mr. Runcie,but this applies to all superintendents across the U.S.,

Recently when provided the opportunity to choose between a "black" and a "white" hat, you chose black and defended the FDOE... All sides of the testing issue are so confused by the Orwellian double-think that no one knows which way is up any longer. Which is very convenient, and intentional on the part of some.

Yes, you are correct that changes were made that give the impression, cursorily, of making it more difficult for some schools - but this is only half of the story and half of the truth. Surely you know this?

As you must know, the "confusing" changes made in the past have historically been to lower standards and make it easier for both students and schools to receive better grade scores, across party lines, for the past forty years or so.

More recently there have been changes in the opposite direction, seeking to remove some of these dumbing-down efforts, and to add some tougher rules, with the intention of restoring some of the rigor that had previously existed.

Let's be honest, this re-addressing of decades of declining standards was NOT due to a sudden realization that dumbing-down of standards was a bad thing, not at all. This recent toughening was undertaken only because the game is all over come 2014, so a feeble attempt has been made to make-up for decades of failing to prepare our students for this Fed deadline. It is this feeble attempt which you claimed was "unfair." How horribly untruthful, regardless of how aware you were of it or not. Surely you can see this? It is the poor and disadvantaged that suffer most in this.

The Feds, in hindsight, were far too trusting and generous in allowing the States the latitude in this that they did - Florida in particular. The profits to be made off of our children were too tempting for too many. Historically, far more effort and attention has gone into fixing of grades rather than to educating of students. It is the recent feeble attempts at toughening-up to prepare for the 2014 Fed deadline which I believe is what you alluded to in your "defense" and echoing of the FDOE's Orwellian "new-speak" - How the changes related to this very-recent toughening was the cause for more schools having failed, yes? You do see the illogic here, correct? The Fed's only got involved because fewer than one fifth of Florida high school graduates are remotely prepared for college entrance - and very few of those are minorities or the poor. Both the NEA and NSBA have been co-opted by fear, politics and greed, they fight for bottom-lines and member's jobs - not for children. Their past and recent actions have left no doubt of this.

The "Chiefs" have an ominously-named PLAN-B already in place. They and you know that there is no way to hide the degree of past failure to prepare students. The new-speak confusion has been highly effective - sides that should be against the dumbing-down aren't they hear the just the types of double-think new-speak that you provided in defense of the "Chiefs" and their FDOE co-conspirators.

Some parties are, in fairness, clueless as to the truth of the matter, as just outlined above - but their delusion is fostered and abetted by yourself when you speak as you do. So please don't keep speaking half-truths as you did the other day in the school board meeting - and if you are one of the parties that has "fallen" for the new-speak, don't feel bad, but don't continue to be a party to these crimes against children. It is amoral to do so once your eyes are opened to the truth of the matter.

If you have rationalized your decisions on the basis that it is an imperfect world and that accommodations and compromise are the name of the game, in light of the greater good that you can do by "playing along" - then I urge you to reconsider. This is not bartering a this for a that as is the normal case in real-world politics - this is children's lives at stake that are being sold a bill of goods. It must stop. It is not moral to make this type of compromise and accommodations any longer - the dumbing-down has gone too far, way too far.

Please do what you can to bring PLAN-B shenanigans to light, not to support them. Perhaps even go "undercover" in this effort! Take on the NEA and NSTB publicly - make a fuss. Get noticed. Without their support there will be hell to pay, to be sure. So create an upside - that upside will be that you will become visible as a speaker of truth to power. It will happen if you choose to do it. No one speaks truth in defense of children, This need not be the case.

You will not survive politically nor professionally if you fail to support the NEA and NSTB - I agree with you. But this is wrong, very wrong, for all the reasons just described - so what to do?

I suggest you do more than simply withdraw your support of the FDOE, NEA, and NSTB by going silent on the topic. I suggest you call them out and aggressively speak truth to their Orwellian new-speak nonsense, in lieu of echoing it, and in lieu of simply not supporting their dumbing-down platforms. Do the one thing all of these parties on both sides of political aisle fear most - be the one person to speak loudly and dare declare that the emperor has no clothes.

Please, if not you, who?

Florida Dept. of Education attorney Matt Carson on implementing emergency rule Orwellian nonsense sounds just like... (you) Broward superintedent Mr. Runcie. Just before the FDOE commissioner was forced to resign in disgrace. Just say'in... Worth a listen perhaps? It will sound veeeery familiar... sadly.

Some of former FDOE commissioner scoundrel Bennett's last words in public office. You can hear them right here. I speak at the end.

Doublethink is the act of ordinary people of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct, often in distinct social contexts.[1] Doublethink is related to, but differs from, hypocrisy and neutrality. Also somewhat related yet almost it's opposite; is cognitive dissonance, where contradictory beliefs cause conflict in one's mind. Doublethink is notable due to a lack of cognitive dissonance, —thus the person is completely unaware of any conflict or contradiction.

The word doublethink was coined by George Orwell in his dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four where it is part of Newspeak. In the novel it's origin within the typical citizen is unclear; while it could be partly a product of Big Brother's formal brainwashing programs,[2] the novel explicitly shows people learning Doublethink and Newspeak due to peer pressure and a desire to "fit in," or gain status within the Party, —to be seen as a loyal Party Member. In the novel, to even recognize, much less mention any contradiction within the context of the Party-line was akin to blasphemy and subjected one to possible disciplinary action and instant social disapproval of fellow Party Members.

http://data.fldoe.org/winmed2/2013_07_16/SBOE-JUL-16-2013.wmv

Trust in children, Michael

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