5.28.14 – EdViews.org

“Is There Common Core in Texas? Donna Garner Counters Cathy Moak’s Comments”
By Donna Garner



Below are my comments in response to Cathy Moak’s 5.8.14 article entitled “Is There Common Core in Texas?  Yes, But Not in the Way You Might Think.”  — http://txedtruth.blogspot.com/2014/05/is-there-common-core-in-texas-yes-but.html

To my knowledge, Cathy Cantrell Moak still works for the Region 6 Education Service Center in Huntsville, Texas. It is the ESC’s that have been marketing CSCOPE, the TEKS Resource System, 21st Century learning, and Common Core Standards.

Donna Garner’s comments:  

Let’s begin with the Type #1 vs. Type #2 chart which is posted at:  https://www.educationviews.org/comparison-types-education-type-1-traditional-vs-type-2-cscope-common-core/

This chart shows the clear differences between the Texas curriculum standards (TEKS) which are Type #1 vs. the Common Core Standards (CCS) which are Type #2.

To start with, the major difference between Common Core (Type #2) and the TEKS (Type #1) is the philosophy of education that is utilized.  The TEKS are explicit, grade-level-specific, knowledge-based, academic, clearly worded, and measurable.  There is a pattern of systematic instruction in the TEKS with an emphasis on fact-based learning and on the right answers rather than just process.  

The TEKS provide teachers with definite direction and explicitness by telling them the content that needs to be taught at each grade level, leaving teachers the freedom to create how to present their teaching units.

For instance, a Grade 7 English teacher in Texas can open his TEKS notebook and will know exactly WHAT he is to teach and what students are to learn during Grade 7. The TEKS are posted publicly on the Texas Education Agency website (http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=6148 ), and parents can look at the Grade 7 TEKS to see WHAT it is that their child is supposed to learn.

In Grade 7, the Type #1 TEKS direct teachers to teach “irregular verbs and active and passive voice.” Teachers are free to teach [HOW] this concept by using any approach that they so choose such as role playing, multimedia presentation, journaling, interactive flashcards, graphic organizers, mapping, peer project, essays, timed writings, picture cards, auditory/visual/kinesthetic techniques, verb games, songs, power points, act out, color-coded wall charts, group projects, creative writing, finger painting, pantomime, etc.  

In contrast, this is what it says in the Type #2 Common Core Standards:

Grades 6 – 8:  “Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.” http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/WHST/6-8/ 

Grade 7 – Language:  “Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.”  http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/L/7/

The Type #2 Common Core Standards are so generic and broadly worded that almost anything could fit under them, including the TEKS.  In other words, Cathy Moak is playing word games when she points out that Renaissance Learning claims “68% of the math Common Core and math TEKS align at some point.”  The truth is that ALMOST ANYTHING could align at least 68% with the Common Core.  Even the “the kitchen sink” could align with the Common Core!  The worst curriculum in the world could align with the Common Core because anything would fit under the broad, generic verbiage.

Also notice Moak’s wording “at some point.”  That is very important wording. In other words, “at some point” means basically “anywhere.”  This means the Common Core Math and TEKS Math may “align at some point” even though an important math concept may be taught in the TEKS in Grade 1 while that same math concept in the Common Core may not be introduced until Grade 3. That does not make the TEKS and the Common Core aligned!

The Type #1 TEKS are appropriate for each grade level because classroom teachers were heavily involved in helping to develop them.  The TEKS writing process took several years to complete during which the elected members of the Texas State Board of Education had many public hearings in which the public participated. The SBOE received multi-thousands of contacts from the public; and when the SBOE deliberated over the final wording, the discussions were held in public, were videotaped, and were placed in the archive.

The Type #2 Common Core Standards were produced behind closed doors by unknown persons.  No archived record is available. The Common Core Standards were never brought before Congress for a public hearing and were never voted on by Congress or by anybody else for that matter.   

The Type #1 TEKS elements grow in depth and complexity from one grade level to the next. There is a cognitive progression of skills as the student moves from one concept and one grade level to the next.  The classroom teachers who helped to write the ELAR/TEKS understand students and how they learn, and there were many early-reading experts on the ELAR/TEKS writing team. 

In contrast, there was not a single expert in early-childhood education involved in the writing of the final draft of the Type #2 Common Core English Standards; and no independent, peer-reviewed research was ever presented to validate the content of the CCS. The cognitive progression is not found in the CCS, and this lack of cognitive progression creates gaps in students’ learning. 

Also, the Common Core Standards were not developed by actual classroom teachers. They were written by a small, select group of individuals, most of whom had little-to-no classroom teaching experience in K-12. David Coleman and Susan Pimentel are the two main writers of the English Common Core Standards, and neither has had any experience teaching English in K-12.

In fact, David Coleman has never produced his curriculum vitae for public viewing. Unfortunately, David Coleman has now gone on to become the president of The College Board and is busily aligning all the College Board products with the Type #2 Common Core (e.g., SAT, GED, Advanced Placement Tests, ACT, etc.)

Jason Zimba was the lead writer of the Common Core Math Standards, and he has openly admitted in an article in 2013 that they are not geared to produce students who perform in higher-level math courses in college.  Zimba stated, “If you want to take calculus your freshman year in college, you will need to take more mathematics than is in the Common Core.”

Interestingly enough, Obama, Bill Ayers, Arne Duncan, David Coleman, and Jason Zimba all have very close ties with one another.

The Common Core Standards have never been benchmarked nor have they been piloted anywhere. The ELAR/TEKS, however, were adopted in May 2008; and teachers have been utilizing them in real live classrooms with real live students for some years.  

My message to Cathy Moak is that her attempt to fool the public is not working. As parents see the complicated and nonsensical method their children are being taught to do math, they can easily see the Common Core footprint. 

As their children are NOT being taught a systematic progression of phonemic awareness and phonics in the emergent reader grade levels, parents recognize the Common Core footprint.

As their children are NOT being taught cursive writing, parents recognize the Common Core footprint.  

The TEKS require the teaching of explicit, knowledge-based, academic skills, and they are laid out systematically from grade level to grade level. The Common Core Standards do not.

Cathy Moak has been sent out by the education establishment to vilify concerned parents and to try to shut them up. Her arguments are fallacious and when analyzed fall far short of allaying parents’ concerns.  

As more parents converge on their students’ schools, administrators and teachers better throw Cathy Moak’s treatise and the Common Core Standards away and start building teaching units that are closely aligned with the TEKS.  Besides that, it is the law – HB 462.  Common Core Standards are illegal in Texas: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/Text.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB462


5.22.14 – “A scathing interview with a 5th grade teacher who was in the room when Common Core was being created” – by Benjamin Weingarten — http://www.theblaze.com/blog/2014/05/22/a-scathing-interview-with-a-5th-grade-teacher-who-was-in-the-room-when-common-core-was-being-created/


3.6.14 – “David Coleman, 2016 SAT: A Sow’s Ear” — https://www.educationviews.org/david-coleman-2016-sat-sows-ear/


1.16.14 – “Education Expert Sandra Stotsky: Common Core Rather Shady” — By Dr. Susan Berry – Breitbarthttp://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/01/14/Expert-Dr-Sandra-Stotsky-On-Common-Core-We-Are-A-Very-Naive-People?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter