How Common Core Killed the Dinosaurs

This is the reality behind the fiction John White and Bobby Jindal try to pass off as Common Core freedom. You can teach whatever you want, however you want to, as long as it is “this” book and taught the way we say. Common Core Curriculum is more than just tellling students what they need to learn, and when they need to learn it. If you’ve examined the math curriculum it also dictates how students have to learn to do math problems using a variety of methods to derive the same answer. How exactly is that not defining a curriculum? The explained difference is so minute as to be the very definition of “splitting hairs” . The reality means no splitting necessary or even possible.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Amy Prime, a second grade teacher in Iowa, used to teach about dinosaurs as a unit that taught science, social studies, language, literacy, math, and the arts.

Now the dinosaurs are gone.

Killed again. This time by Common Core.

Amy writes:

“So I grieve for the lost dinosaurs. I grieve for the challenge and energy I got as a teacher from striving to get to know my kids and create lessons for them that would keep them engaged. I grieve my autonomy and my ability to use my professional judgment. Ask a teacher you know what she is grieving due to the demands of the Common Core. And then ask our leaders who are insisting upon the use and measurement of these standards in the current way if gaining a test score is worth losing the fun.”

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Top 20 Reasons Clancy Dubos Thinks I’m an “educational knuckle dragger”

Top 20 Reasons Clancy Dubos Thinks I’m an “educational knuckle dragger”

For those of you other Knuckle Draggers out there, here is the amazingly patronizing and ignorant rant by Clancy Dubos, which inspired this post.

“Now, Gov. Bobby Jindal and some lawmakers are sheepishly retreating from that bold step, because a vocal minority of educational knuckle-draggers is making noise about a federal takeover of local education” Clancy Dubos

  1. I believe that just because 46 states were bribed into accepting a set of “Standards” with many millions of dollars in incentives before they had ever seen them, this is not a reason to adopt them. I also do not jump off of bridges just because everyone else does. This makes me a knuckle dragger.
  2. I think elementary and secondary educators; child psychologists and developmental specialists; (not Governors, private companies hoping to reap large profits off them and liberal and conservative think-tanks) should have been involved in drafting and approving the standards. This makes me a knuckle dragger.
  3. I believe the cost of the tests, like PARCC, that must be used to test these standards and which are 3 to 4 times as expensive as our current tests is an improper diversion of school resources, resources that are not being offset by our governor; resources which come out of school budgets and educational supplies and numbers of teachers districts can employ. This makes me a Clancy Dubois knuckle dragger.
  4. I believe our children’s data should be protected and don’t want my children’s data like SSN, discipline data, phone number, home address, photos, medical history, grades, test scores, religious background, absences, to be shared with potential employers, credit agencies, insurers, or pedophiles and criminal for the rest of their lives. Because I want to protect my children, this makes me a knuckle dragger.
  5. I believe the CCSS were not properly defined or explained to parents, which is causing a lot of confusion and fear. Many parents are finding themselves unable to help their children with the coursework they never experienced themselves, which cuts them out of the loop in terms of helping their children. This makes me a knuckle dragger.
  6. I believe the standards, if we were going to adopt them, should have been phased in slowly, not rushed for all grades all at the same time to prevent anyone from understanding them, debating them or evaluating them. These standards build upon previous skills a student is expected to have learned the prior year, but when you introduce these to 12th graders, that means 12 years of foundational learning (including K) has not taken place. (Here’s a prop, now go build a plane and fly it around the world) Students in higher grades that have these standards and expectations thrust upon them suddenly are often times lost and confused, depressed and angry at school and lose their joy of learning and a shot at a productive life. Because I think kids should be properly prepared and reasonable expectations should be set that can be met, I am a knuckle dragger.
  7. I believe that local control was usurped by unelected corporations and foundations, like Gates, who underwrote much of the process. Gates made his fortune by dropping out of college, tricking another person to sell him their software so he could resell it as his own. He then proceeded to build a monopolistic empire that bought up or imitated other’s ideas, using his wealth and influence to crush competitors and stifle innovation. Microsoft routinely hires low cost tech workers from overseas instead of hiring a surplus of capable out-of-work Americans who could do the same jobs or better, but at a higher cost. Gates and the Walton Foundation, run by the Walmart family which also funded CCSS and education reforms, have a vested interest in dumbing down education, and training an even larger surplus of American workers to drive down salaries and people who would be capable of innovating or competing with them. Perhaps this makes me a conspiracy theorist . . .but it also makes me a knuckle dragger, albeit a very sophisticated one.
  8. I believe local control is not having the Federal government dangle funds to states that adopt CCSS sight unseen as a requirement to apply for a pot of reallocated money in the form of Race to the Top grants. I also believe making CCSS a condition of easing of NCLB (No Child Left Behind) legislation is also a federal instruction into our schools, curriculum, and local control. Knuckle dragger supreme!
  9. I believe the NGA, the National Governor’s Association, is not a local elected school board. I do not believe any of the other 30 or 40 governors from other states that took part in this were elected by anyone from Louisiana. Because I do not see this as local control, I am a knuckle dragger.
  10. I believe I understand what the word “curriculum” means, and people that say CCSS is not a curriculum are not making their case more credible my lying to those of us who haven’t taken CCSS and can still read. From Wikipedia:

    For many authorities, in formal education, a curriculum is the planned interaction of pupils with instructional content, materials, resources, and processes for evaluating the attainment of educational objectives.

    Other definitions combine various elements to describe curriculum as follows:

  • Outlines the skills, performances, attitudes, and values pupils are expected to learn from schooling. It includes statements of desired pupil outcomes, descriptions of materials, and the planned sequence that will be used to help pupils attain the outcomes.
  • The total learning experience provided by a school. It includes the content of courses (the syllabus), the methods employed (strategies), and other aspects, like norms and values, which relate to the way the school is organized.
  • The aggregate of courses of study given in a learning environment. The courses are arranged in a sequence to make learning a subject easier. In schools, a curriculum spans several grades.

Note: Non-Knuckle draggers are apparently illiterate, lazy, or in denial.

  1. I believe before a new curriculum or CCSS should be effectively mandated and pronounced as superior to what we have, some amount of study, or feedback based on actual implementation should have taken place. Because I don’t think people should just pull this out of their ass, and make everyone eat it, I am a knuckle dragger.
  2. I believe that if the intent of these tests was really to improve student performance, they would be given at the beginning or middle of the school year, not the end when the teacher won’t get the results and cannot use them to address individual student deficiencies. I am a knuckle dragger.
  3. I believe these standards were not properly explained to teachers, and no standards or vetting is in place to determine what material is truly CCSS, and what is just impersonating as it, as may have happened in Vermillion recently. The collaboration part behind CCSS is the ability to share worksheets freely across states, directly teacher to teacher. Because I see problems with not properly preparing teachers and not having a way to vet material, I am a knuckle dragger.
  4. I believe the purpose of CCSS is to intentionally drive down school scores to expand the number of schools we can grade as C, D or F, to make more students eligible for vouchers in schools with no standards, certified teachers, or in some cases teachers or even school buildings. Because I see increasing standards for public schools while have zero standards for non-public schools that accept state funding, I am a knuckle dragger.
  5. I believe the purpose of CCSS is to lower SPS scores to make more schools eligible to be taken over by RSD. RSD is run by the state, and no RSD school has ever returned. RSD is a state takeover of education. Because I believe RSD is not local control, and don’t want my local schools taken over by the nightmare that is RSD, I am a knuckle dragger.
  6. I believe the purpose of CCSS is to drive down tests scores to make the case for more charter schools. Charter schools take public funding, but do not allow the public access to most of their records, do not have to follow much of the laws and regulations public schools do (including certified teachers) and charter schools change hands so often no one can keep track of who is in charge or who should be held accountable for poor performance. I do not believe charter schools are public schools. Scores influenced by an intentionally poorly planned and promoted adoption of CCSS will enable more charters to infiltrate the market and provide substandard educations to the students they keep and drive out many students they don’t want, I am a knuckle dragger.
  7. I believe John White lied repeatedly to BESE, newspapers, and the public about Louisiana’s contract with inBloom, which allowed that company to sell our student’s data to any company it saw fit for any reason. John White also sent student SSN numbers to inBloom even though he was told repeatedly not to by the Vendor, and when questioned he denied this. John white did this knowing full well an alternative student identifier existed, called a GUID, existed instead. He chose not to send this, and instead endangered our children. Because I do not trust him or DOE to handle this data responsibly I am a knuckle dragger.
  8. I believe FERPA has been redefined by corporate lobbyists to allow larger corporations that obtain data the right to share and sell that data to anyone they want without any right for parents to opt out. Because I do not trust my children’s data with John White and DOE or these vendors, I am a knuckle dragger.
  9. I believe Louisiana does not have a student privacy law in place, but one could be put in place very easily. (One with significant defined penalties for violations) I believe the administration is fighting this because their campaign donors, and future campaign donors, do not want this to happen – because they want to profit off the sale of our children’s private data. Because I think we should have a privacy law that limits what can be shared, how long it can be stored, when it must be destroyed, includes opt out policies and method to anonymize data, I am a knuckle dragger.
  10. I believe I have not been sold on any benefits to adopting CCSS, and do not believe our elected officials that adopted them understand them themselves. Because my elected officials cannot explain why these standards are so much better except to tell us everyone else is doing it or that we need to compete in an international marketplace (without showing how these standards accomplish that), I am a knuckle dragger.

Are there any other knuckle draggers out there, or am I alone?

The Best Article Ever About New Orleans’ Charter Schools

And what is more, many of the miraculous results may be the result of withholding lower performing students from taking tests, and thus getting tests scores, and possible cheating. I have reports if both and LDE makes it a point if only showing percentages and highly manipulated scores without providing underlying data or even numbers of students being tested in various subjects.

Diane Ravitch's blog

We all have heard or read or seen the stories in the mass media about the “miracle” in New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina, which Secretary of Education Arne Duncan called the best thing that ever happened to education in that city, wiped out public education and the teachers’ union. Now New Orleans is the only city where more than 75 % of students are in charter schools with minimal government regulation.

Experienced journalist and scholar Andrea Gabor here goes behind the curtain and takes a closer look than Oprah or the other high-profile celebrants of the “miracle.” Her article appeared in Newsweek-The Daily Beast. (I link to another site here because I had trouble opening the Daily Beast site.)

In a tour de force of investigative journalism, she takes a close look at what is happening in the best charters (typified by a degree of regimentation that most parents would…

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A Parent at Success Academy Says “No, We Won’t March”

In case you were wondering folks, charter schools like this chain are free to engage in real totalitarianism, what many folks see as communism. Get used to it. Charter schools are not public schools except when it comes to siphoning off public funding. Obey or no school for you. Success Academy = School Nazi. Seinfeld would be proud.

Diane Ravitch's blog

As previously reported on this blog by an anonymous teacher at Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy charter chain, parents, teachers, students, and staff have been directed to participate in a march across the Brooklyn Bridge on October 8 to protest any slowdown in allocation of  public space to charter schools or any effort to charge the charters rent for public space. Some readers doubted the authenticity of this claim, but in fact it is true, as reported by website Gotham Schools.

Another reader of the blog sent this comment about why she will not march, nor will her children. She writes:

I am also a parent of a child at Success…this email is Real and participation is MANDATORY. As Eva said in her advocacy meeting the only excuse parents have for not attending protests or rallies is if someone (that someone being a woman because men are not excused) is…

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New Mathematica TFA Study is Irrational Exuberance

Dr Heilig’s initial critique of the TFA/Mathematica study. He makes talking about numbers fun(ish)

Cloaking Inequity

Teach For America (TFA) has sought to direct attention to a new study recently released by Mathematica.  A blogger at the Washington Post even argued that my prior critiques of TFA were “not true anymore.” (See all of my prior posts on TFA here.) Is that the case? Next week I will start an entire series on the Mathematica TFA study, but for now, because there is an avalanche of email and media inquiries about the study, I will discuss several important issues that I have noted in the study.

1) Mathematica TFA study does not say much about TFA writ large

The sample is large and covers an adequate number of students, schools and states. However, there are clearly some issues in the TFA sample that calls into question whether it really represents TFA and the profession more broadly.

The sample only contains secondary math teachers. However…

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Teach For America: Feel Good Spin vs. Dose of Reality From A Corps Member

A dose of TFA reality from former corps member.

Cloaking Inequity

I often receive notes and email from Teach For America teachers who have regret about their decision to join the corps (Please encourage teachers to send them to me. I will publish them here on Cloaking Inequity to give them voice). Should you believe the positive spin from your local TFA lobbyist, Mathematica, TFA recruiters, College of Education Deans, the wealthy and powerful, neoliberal foundations, Democrats, Republicans and everyone else?

Her letter about her TFA experience speaks for itself. Without further ado:

The Spin

Every year since 1990, Teach For America, an organization that seeks to end educational inequality, has recruited college graduates and sent them to teach in hard to staff, challenging communities throughout the United States (Donaldson & Johnson, 2010, p. 300).  Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach For America believed that, “If top recent college graduates devoted 2 years to teaching in public schools, they could have a…

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Huggy, Snuggly, Cuddly: Teach For America and Mathematica

Thoughts on too close relationships between Mathematics, TFA and their mutual donors and connections.

Cloaking Inequity

Wanna Cuddle? A new study paid for by the U.S. Department of Education enlisted the services of Mathematica, Inc., a research organization that has studied Teach For America and its subsidiaries, consistently for over a decade.[1] The reports have one thing in common: Teach For America and  the growing network of charter schools affiliated with TFA , end up with glowing reports of corps member effectiveness.

The most recent study released this month is focused this time, on the “gains” made by Teach For America’s Secondary Mathematics teachers. The report released by Mathematica, Inc., notes that gains attributed to TFA teachers, in secondary math education, which includes middle and high school teachers only teaching math, equated to two months of additional math instruction for students in mostly low-income schools. Julian Vasquez Heilig took issue with their conclusions here on Cloaking Inequity. See New Mathematica TFA Study is Irrational Exuberance

There are few huggy, snuggly, cuddly coincidences between Mathematic…

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“Does Not Compute”: Teach For America Mathematica Study is Deceptive?

I’ve heard John White and TFA may be touting a recent Mathematica study about TFA effectiveness compared to traditional teachers. I thought some of you might like to see some expert analysis of this study. Enjoy.

Cloaking Inequity

I’ll admit it. I am a sci-fi junkie. I am that lone person in the theater at a midnight showing on the release night of a new sci-fi film. Sometimes I am one of only 3 or 4 people in the theater. I should blame this probably on my parents who raised me on Star Trek, Star Wars, Twilight Zone, B-movies with large radioactive ants attacking Los Angeles etc. One of my favorite shows as a kid was Lost In Space. Who doesn’t remember the robot declaring:

(Millennials— Wikipedia it)

Is it possible that Mathematica, a “reputable” multi-million dollar research for hire evaluation shop, could deceptively report their statistical findings to favor for Teach For America? Could they have also made fundamental errors in their assumptions about combining/comparing middle and high school test-score differences (albeit miniscule) attributed to Teach For America teachers essentially invalidating their (albeit…

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DC Insiders See Bleak Future for CCSS

Supporters of CCSS, PARCC, and Arne Duncan starting to see the writing on the wall.

Wonder who will support Duncan longer, Jindal or Obama?

Diane Ravitch's blog

This poll of DC insiders shows a deep pessimism about the prospects for Common Core and reauthorization of NCLB.

Most interesting observations:

• “Any bandwidth Congress has seems to be devoted to re‐litigating the health care act.”
• “There’s no sense of compromise and no incentive on either side to try to compromise.”
• “Arne Duncan has so mangled federal education at this point that it’s going to take a new administration and secretary to reframe the debate and offer a path forward.”

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More Teachers, Parents and Citizens speak out against CCSS (from across the political spectrum mainstream media)

More Teachers, Parents and Citizens speak out against CCSS (from across the political spectrum mainstream media)

K Teacher of 20 years

I have been teaching for 191/2 years. I teach kindergarten. Most of my students are not ready for common core. When I read then a book and teach them a skill for example like predicting and ask them what I just taught them they would say you taught us about mice because that is what the story was about. Most of my students can’t even write their name or draw a picture. My principal asked me the other day why they are not writing sentences. All this goes on my evaluation and every parish can see what she think. It is not my fault my students are not ready. I do all I can do. I make my 20 in January. I may not return in Feb.

I don’t know what you can do. My students want to play. There is no more play just work work work.

Frustrated in K

Naturalized US Citizen (non-parent)

I praise you for your courage to take a stand on this very important issue.

I am not a parent, but every year I get my tax bill for schools in my area, which is ok, I don’t want ignorant kids around me.

I have decided to join the several parents that are starting to wake up about CCS because, as a foreigner (and American Citizen at the same time), the American Educational level has been an international embarrassment for the last three decades, and this new standards will set us below the poverty level worldwide, if an analogy like that could be made.

I also got involved because I believe in the Republic, I believe each state has to have its own sovereignty and I see this administration eroding that concept by leaps and bounds.

Question #42 of the Naturalization test study materials expresses clearly the responsibilities of the Sates as independent entities: a) Provide schooling an Education, b) Provide protection (Police), c) Provide safety (Fire Departments), d) Give a Driver’s License and e) Approve zoning an land use.

Question #41 establishes the responsibility of the Federal Government: print money, declare war, create and army and sign treaties, among others.

So, to me, it was more than clear who was in charge of the education in Louisiana, and it is us!! Why is the Federal Government interfering?

Because the states are so lazy to take care of it anymore?

Because we did sign our fate away by accepting this.

We can take our schools back as well and that is why several parents from the New Orleans/Covington area are going to go to the Baton Rouge Capitol this Saturday Sept 28 to demand Governor Jindal to do something about it. The media will be there… of course, that doesn’t mean anything if they decide to keep this in the can.

You are not alone. Please join us. Spread the word to other parents and teachers and concerned citizens.

And thank you for writing this. I tweeted to Jindal, Vitter, and some reporters.



Parent from Livingston Parish
My name is [redacted] and I live in Livingston Parish. I just wanted to say that as a parent I deeply appreciate and whole heartedly agree with you stance on Common Core!  I can’ tasty thank you enough for your efforts on behalf of teachers and parents in Louisiana! I read a lot of news stories, along with the comments sections, on the internet. I guess it was sometime over the summer where I read a comment on a news article where a parent said something to the affect of, beware if they try to implement Common Core! Well at the time I had no idea what that meant. Now since the implementation of it in Louisiana I have read PLENTY of article from across the United States about the horror story that is Common Core!! I, along with a few people I know, are going to stand and fight to have this indoctrinating tacking system removed from our children’s classrooms! There is supposed to be a protest this Saturday across from the street from the State board of Education office, I’m sure you’re aware, I’m going to make every effort to attend. I hope to see you there and again thank you.



Samantha Thibodeaux – You are my hero!…. and the hero for every public/private school child and teacher being tortured by Common Core, Arnie Duncan, Bobby Jindal and John White. I sat with you in that meeting my friend and was blown away by your passion for the TRUTH. Thank you Samantha – You are an inspiration to us all!


I have never been affiliated with the tea party. What I am is a ticked Republican who is very disappointed in the leadership in Louisiana. BTW, what difference does it make? The comparison between Obamacare and Common Core is leaders signing onto massive program without knowing the details. The standards were not completed or published. The cost has skyrocketed and this is before the testing component has been put into place. Riddle me this, how do you measure the effectiveness of cradle to career standards?

Non-conspiracy theorist J

Mr Cook says :”Incoherent, disorganized chaos dosen’t describe the LDOE as much as it describes the thinking and arguments of CCSS opponents/conspiracy theorists.”

wow. Mr. Cook, I am not a conspiracy theorists, yet I don’t agree with Common Core. Be careful how you lump people together, that is a drastic assumption on your part.


Thank you so much Jason for being part of this opposition to CCSSI – we know it is an INITIATIVE that has to be stopped. We are not misinformed, we know what the CCSS INITIATIVE is and we REJECT IT.


Why implement something they, themselves admit may not work. The system we have now works. It is evident because Governor Jindal, President Obama, the ones who made up Common Core and every other living American has gone through it. It fails when the student decides he or she does not want to study and the parent does not want to help their child progress. The blame cannot all fall on the teachers. This is America and yes all people are created equal, but people decide themselves when they give up equality when they stop trying or working to accomplish their goals. Life is to easy now because everything is given to them by the government. The Federal Government should have no right telling schools what and how to teach. Mr. Cook, you seem like an intelligent man…did you go to a secret school that implemented Common Core before it’s time or did you work hard for your education? The Federal and State is squeezing citizens so hard before long you will have no choice, but to depend and answer to them for everything. We do have a Constitution. It was put there for a reason. We are starting to see the reason now. No I’m am not a republican or democrat. I am independent. I look at what’s right, period….. Common Core is wrong by all accounts.

Full time Working mother of 3 from Ascension Parish

Common Core is so frustrating for parents. I now come home from a full time job, to three children in three different grades struggling with school work. Apparently, Common core automatically gave me a position as a substitute teacher. We are spending four hours each afternoon doing homework that should take us an hour. I am having to reteach my kids what they are learning in class to make sure they GRASP what they are being taught. Then they cry that I am not teaching them the way (or method) that they were shown in class. .If our students are moving so fast and don’t grasp what they are being taught, moving on is just setting them up for failure. After getting our first progress report this year, their confidence levels have dropped. My nine year old has always loved school. This year he comes home and tells me he is not smart. My twelve year old begs me to homeschool him. At the end of the day, instead of coming home to enjoy my family, I come home to tears and fits. I am not sure how many parents will continue to do this. They are going to give up!!! I believe we are setting them up for failure.

Grandmother raising grand kids

Our govt is destroying the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. This was the only thing on Obamas adgenda when he ran for president..
All the people that voted for him will soon learn they made a huge mistake………………………. All we can do is fight the govt and refuse this way of teachings. get back to the simple ways kids understand. When God was taken out of schools we started to lose our children. Look what is happening to our schools since prayer is not allowed. every crazy psycho that goes
coo coo wants to shoot up schools and teachers.
The govt needs to have better mental health care for people. Stop trying to dictate all of our lives. Everything I have seen happen since Obama has backfired and cost trillions of dollars. From education to healthcare to religion. We were a christian nation. Now they are trying to reform ev1 into muslim world and fighting tooth and nail to convert ev1 in the U.S.A. Until we all ( every state, town, city in AMERICA join together and say enough is enough.) we are doomed. Prayers for all. I am a grandmother raising grand kids and it is very difficult now days. Prayers for you and yours.


I feel so much better that I know Samantha is on our side (parents)!!!!! Thank you so much!!!!!!


“Parents have had no information regarding Common Core. No informational meetings, no written material sent home, no formal venue to be introduced to and ask questions about Common Core. Therefore, at first they made the assumption that it was in the best interest of their children. As homework began to come home, they realized they were less and less able to help. Just now are we seeing parents rising up and contacting their principals, administration, and school board members, asking to know what Common Core is, explaining how it is affecting their children.”

This quote speaks volumes – we got a flyer sent home 3 bullets about CC. That was it. My child has F’s in everything related to this CC stuff and there seems no way to right this ship. I have spent a fortune now to enroll her in Sylvan . I feel absolutely helpless and I have a child that is frustrated and has given up. We google the problems sent home to virtually no avail. Completely at a loss……