Wednesday, June 11, 2014

"Maine’s new graduation mandates challenge school districts"

"All schools must model civic responsibility,
social justice, and multicultural understanding."

(Great Schools Partnership website)

Banner at Gray Maine Middle School SAD15

QUESTION: Where was everyone (anyone?) when Maine's Learning Results (Common Core) were paraded out for elitist review and approval back in 1993 during Governor John (Jock) McKernan's Administration? (McKernan is the husband of U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe. He is also known for having brought the Soviet Polytech workforce training system to Maine in the early 1990s, after a visit to Denmark where he studied how it worked.) 

A special ceremony was held in 1993 to parade Maine's Learning Results before the "chosen" public. The Learning Results were made available for inspection by members of the Maine State School Board, the Maine Dept. of Education, innocent teachers (to be lead to performance-based slaughter during the next 25 years!), local school board members, employees from the Governor's Office, carefully selected members of the press, a sprinkling of change agent citizens, and corporate types. They all, as preplanned, applauded the unveiling of the future for Maine educators and our children.

However, there was someone in the audience, a veteran public school music teacher by the name of Steve Schran who had the courage to call Maine's Learning Results (a Common Core draft document dated 1989) exactly what they are: COMMUNISM

Schran knew in advance what these Learning Results would be. He had studied numerous documents prior to their being paraded out for review by the Maine education elite. Before attending the "Learning Results Ceremony,"Schran went to the trouble of having a stamp made which said "Communism." We education researchers know that "social justice" (see last paragraph below Great Schools Partnership) is the "acceptable" word for the big bad word "Communism."   

Schran's stamp was dipped in red ink, appropriately. He got up from his seat and marched straight up to the tables, which held the different packets designed for various areas of the curriculum, and stamped each one with the word COMMUNISM.

Really, you may ask?  You mean there was a public school teacher who felt strongly enough about the future of our nation and our children that he would do such an outrageous thing and risk losing his job?

As long as this nation has individuals from all walks of life, including churches, with Steve's courage there is hope. However, the pickins seem to be slim indeed. Although a few stand out recently: Anita Hoge, Pennsylvania, Angela Alef, and Karen Champagne from Louisiana, and others who know who they are.
From an article published in Maine's Portland Press Herald, June 10, 2014, by Noel K. Gallagher, titled "Maine’s new graduation mandates challenge school districts." The subtitle reads: "Officials say it’s a big task to restructure learning and adopt standards so students can show proficiency in eight areas and get diplomas."

Starting this fall, Maine high school students will have to do more than show up for classes and eke out passing grades to get their diplomas.

The class of 2018 and those that follow will have to show in-depth understanding, under state-mandated learning standards, of everything from U.S. history to algebraic equations....

“I don’t view this work as a reform. I view it as an evolution of the very best practices that some schools have developed,” said Mark Kostin, associate director of the Great Schools Partnership, a Portland-based nonprofit. “When we’re clearer about what students need to know and do, we know students are going to be successful.”

Kostin said that schools’ current grading systems may cover up the fact that the student knows some material but may have failed other parts of the subject. In standards-based education, course work is broken down into pieces and all of the material must be understood completely.
Kostin, quoted above, is Associate Director of the Great Schools Partnership.

Rather than trying to get a handle on the nitty gritties of the Great Schools Partnership re-design of public education, just read the last sentence, especially the bolded words taken from the Great Schools Partnership website ( civic responsibility, social justice, and multicultural understanding.

Great Schools Partnership
Contact Information: 

Mark Kostin, Associate Director,...
Duke Albanese, Senior Policy Advisor,... 
Location: Portland, Maine...

At a glance overview: Great Schools Partnership is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit school-support organization that works to help redesign public education and improve learning for all students in New England.  They develop and advocate for sustainable educational policies, effective school leadership, proven instructional practices, and student-centered learning models built on strong community connections.  Great Schools Partnership believes that every student deserves to be held to high expectations, that students have the right to high-quality teaching every day, that every student who as earned a high school diploma should also have the attainable option of a collegiate education, and that all schools must model civic responsibility, social justice, and multicultural understanding. [bold added]