Monday, May 26, 2014

Setting the Stage for Common Core

And the comprehensive HISTORY behind this agenda

Measuring the Quality of Education:  Conclusions and Summary, 1981, provides those opposed to Common Core with important history related to the development of a national curriculum, history providing evidence of tax-exempt foundation involvement in an area of education (testing/assessment) which traditionally had been reserved for determination at the local and state levels.

The following quote should disabuse those who believe they have any say in the setting of standards at either the local, state, federal or international level. Such decision making is a thing of the past.   Much time is being lost dissecting the Common Core standards; time better spent opposing tax-funded school choice, The Trojan Horse of taxation without representation.

Why? Once the public school system, with its present elected school board governance, has been dismantled, having gradually been replaced by tax-funded charter schools and tax-funded private and religious education,  with no elected boards,  parents will find the very controversial Common Core they thought they had killed in their charter or private school. However,  this time around their objections will fall on deaf ears since there will be no elected board to which they can go to complain.

In a different sense, this report is designed to meet the responsibilities imposed at least implicitly by the three foundations which initiated and have supported the project; the Carnegie Corporation, the Ford Foundation, and the Spencer Foundation have become critical and constructive forces in American education.
Note also inclusion of an educator from England? 

Clare Burstall, Deputy Director of the National Foundation for Educational Research in England and Wales; 

A VERY IMPORTANT NATIONAL ASSESSMENT OF EDUCATIONAL PROGRESS (NAEP) REPORT, in galley stage, entitled Measuring the Quality of Education: Conclusions and Summary, was provided to this writer in 1981, shedding light not only on the responsibility of major tax-exempt foundations in the development of a national curriculum, but also on the role of the federal government in setting standards/goals for American education. Excerpts follow from (1) a cover letter signed by Willard Wirtz, former secretary of labor, and Archie Lapointe, executive director of the NAEP, and (2) the report itself:
In a different sense, this report is designed to meet the responsibilities imposed at least implicitly by the three foundations which initiated and have supported the project; the Carnegie Corporation, the Ford Foundation, and the Spencer Foundation have become critical and constructive forces in American education.
Conclusions... Instead of determining “what is being taught” and basing the objectives on this present practice, the controlling question is “what ought to be taught.”... It is specifically recommended that caution be exercised against putting the Assessment results in a form that could be misconstrued as constituting national—or “federal”—standards....

Summary... The report reflects most significantly the carefully considered conclusions of the Council of Seven which was established at the beginning of the project. Selected primarily for their recognized responsibility and good sense, they also reflect a variety of experiences and institutional interests: Gregory Anrig, then Massachusetts Commissioner of Education and now President of the Educational Testing Service; Stephen K. Bailey, who is the Francis Keppel Professor of Educational Policy and Administration of Harvard Graduate School of Education; Charles Bowen, Director of Plans and Program Administration for University Relations of the IBM Corporation; Clare Burstall, Deputy Director of the National Foundation for Educational Research in England and Wales; Elton Jolly, Executive Director for Opportunities Industrialization Centers; Lauren Resnick, Co-Director of the Learning Research and Development Center of the University of Pittsburgh; and Dorothy Shields, Director of Education for the AFL-CIO....

...It was the Council’s suggestion and eventually its decision to shape the entire report in terms of the Assessment’s potential role in developing higher and more effective educational standards. Where we had been timid about this the Council moved boldly. They were right....

...Measuring student achievement is an entirely different business from measuring other aspects of the national condition.... They get to their answers without having to make value judgments. Not so of the measurers of “educational achievement.” The key term isn’t defined except as they develop its meaning. The rest of this is that once that definition is worked out, the measuring process depends at critical points on what are in significant part value judgments. Whether an educational standard is “better” or “higher” depends on how it consists with ultimate educational purposes...

...Those in charge of the Assessment are in a position to guide their policies entirely by a determination of whatever “quality” means. They face no competition and are subject to no political pressures. Innovation and experimentation are part of the Assessment’s authentic tradition. It can provide not only competence but conscience and courage in the implementation of the new national purpose to improve educational standards.

...A statement in the NAEP DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT DOCUMENT covering the 1979–1980 Reading/Literature Assessment is succinctly descriptive:

The first step in any assessment cycle is objectives development. The objectives identify the important knowledge, skills, and attitudes within an assessment area which are generally being taught or should be taught in schools. These objectives then become the framework for developing assessment exercises which measure the objectives.

Although there is little public awareness of these steps in the process of setting educational standards, they affect that process vitally and give any standard its determinative character....

...This new emphasis will mean that teaching will be increasingly oriented toward these objectives, which is good or bad depending on their quality. If these standards are to determine accountability, it is critical that their measurement reflect ultimate educational purposes rather than what might be dangerous expediencies.... The 1979–1980 Reading/Literature Assessment, reported this year, appears to reflect a critical change in NAEP emphasis. It embodies elements of objectives-setting that are essential to a quality concept of
educational standards....

...Two phrases in the design and development passage quoted above are critical. Objectives are to “identify the important knowledge, skills and attitudes.” This is to include those “which are generally being taught or should be taught in the schools.” The emphasis is added, but is consistent with the original context. This statement contrasts with the 1970 NAEP description of the objectives set for the first Reading assessment. These were described as involving no “distinctly ‘new’ objectives,” but as “restatements and summarizations of objectives which (have) appeared over the last quarter century.”...

...The 1969–1970 Citizenship Assessment included a group task exercise designed to determine, by observing students’ group interaction, their ability to “apply democratic procedures on a practical level.”... This capacity for innovation and experimentation has been lost, largely as a consequence of budgetary constraints.

Service Facility... In 1977–78, when the Texas legislature was considering the enactment of a minimum competency testing program, the Texas Education Agency made extensive use of NAEP materials in conducting a statewide survey (Texas Assessment Project—TAP) of student achievement in Reading, Writing, Mathematics, and Citizenship. The sampling plan was patterned after the National Assessment. Both the Writing and the Citizenship assessments were based largely on items and exercises selected by a Texas Education Agency staff panel from among those provided by NAEP offices. After the Texas assessment had been completed, extensive comparisons were made between the Texas results and available NAEP data, and reported to the legislative committee for consideration in connection with the adoption of the “Texas Assessment of Basic Skills.” The circumstances under which the legislation was adopted preclude any clear identification of the effect of the comparisons. There is more evidence of substantial influence of the TAP initiative on the FRAMEWORK FOR THE SOCIAL STUDIES and LANGUAGE ARTS FRAMEWORK which have been developed and on the STATE BOARD GOALS which have been set for 1983.

Larger potential for National Assessment usefulness is suggested by the ten years or so of cooperation between NAEP offices and the Connecticut State Board of Education, in connection with the administration of the Connecticut Assessment of Educational Progress (CAEP). A 1980 State Board report notes that “The CAEP program is modeled after the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in its basic goals, design and implementation.”

This is clearly reflected in the pattern of the twelve Connecticut assessments in seven subjects also covered by NAEP surveys. The CAEP sampling design is like NAEP’s, except that students are assessed at grade rather than age levels. Goals and objectives used for the Connecticut assessments parallel clearly the objectives and subobjectives identified for the National Assessment. Many CAEP items are NAEP items; this was true of all itemsin the 1979–1980 Connecticut Science Assessment....

…Comparable uses of National Assessment materials have been made in a number of other states. A recent NAEP staff summary lists twelve States as having closely replicated the National Assessment model, and twelve others as having drawn on NAEP offices for technical and consultative advice. There is clear confirmation in this record of not only a substantial service potential, but also of a significant prospect for integrating state andnationwide assessment programs.

[Ed. Note: As one reads the excerpts in part two of this report, it is important to bear in mind the denials of complicity emanating from the U.S. Department of Education and the respective state departments of education when confronted with charges that the state assessments use test items from the NAEP Test Item Bank. The resistance to such use results from the public’s traditional aversion to national tests and national curriculum—with which all of the above entities have denied involvement. Clearly, denial is in vain in light of the evidence contained in this document.]