Florida Author Gushta Pens Important Series of CCSS Articles for WorldNetDaily and quotes FSCCC

March, 2014

In addition to their excellent recent story on the dangers of Common Core data mining, international news website, WorldNetDaily has been doing an in-depth series on the many problems with Common Core.  Authored by Florida educator, author, and researcher Dr. Karen Gushta three articles have been published so far with the fourth set to be released very soon.

In Part 1 - Kids distraught under 'botched' ObamaCore - Gushta show examples of some of the horrific examples of curriculum that are tied to the standards and discussed the origins of the standards from federal program incentives to the states like Race to the Top and No Child Left Behind waivers.  She also interviews or quotes national experts like math expert Ze'ev Wurman, validation committee member and math professor emeritus James Milgram, and English standards expert Dr. Sandra Stotsky. Finally, she discusses the infusion of money from the Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation.

In Part 2 - Obama program making these people filthy rich:  Only ones 'who are not going to profit and thrive are children' - the author discusses the money trail including the Bush Family, quotes Dr. Effrem's Florida testimony on psychological manipulation in the standards, and interviews other national experts.  Here are some excerpts:

As Common Core-aligned assessments and cross-state data sharing begin collecting and pooling data, and loosened Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act regulations give easier access to this rich mother-load, a number of states is increasingly concerned about the type of data being collected.

Florida has bills in both its House and Senate that would ban collection of biometric and other sensitive data on students. Dr. Karen Effrem, co-founder of the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition and president of Education Liberty Watch, said her biggest concern is that student psychological data will be collected since the standards include "social-emotional" learning outcomes.
In comments she prepared for the Florida Board of Education on the "Psychological and Developmental Aspects of the Florida's Common Core Standards," Dr. Effrem, who is a medical doctor specializing in pediatrics, referred to a document that clearly states the FedED's intentions to gather psychosocial data on students. The FedED's Office of Technology document, "Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance: Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century," states:
[A]s new assessment systems are developed to reflect the new [Common Core State Standards Initiative] standards ... A sustained program of research and development will be required to create assessments that are capable of measuring cognitive, intrapersonal, and interpersonal skills.
Those who are eager to use these data banks are the companies that are producing Common Core-aligned textbooks and tests. Some, like Neil Bush's Ignite!Learning, are relative newcomers to the lucrative business of educational publishing and testing. Neil Bush (George and Jeb's younger brother) raised $23 million from U.S. investors (including his parents), and at least $3 million from Saudi interests to set up Ignite! The company says it develops "easy-to-use teacher-led digital content based instructional systems" that align to "state, Common Core, and local standards."

Raking in billions of dollars

But the younger Bush's enterprise is small change compared to the multi-billion-dollar enterprise of Pearson PLC. The British multinational publishing and education company headquartered in London reportedly is the largest education company and the largest book publisher in the world. Pearson has moved like gangbusters into the expanding educational testing and textbook market.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Thomas B. Fordham Institute estimates the national cost for Common Core compliance will be between $1 billion to $8 billion, and the profits will go almost directly to publishers. Peter Cohen, CEO of Pearson's K-12 division, Pearson School, stated, "It's a really big deal. The Common Core Standards are affecting literally every part of the business we're involved in."

But Cohen is not the driving force of Pearson's School division, which was set up when the company reorganized in May 2013 to accelerate its push into "digital learning, education services, and emerging markets." The person to watch at Pearson is Sir Michael Barber, chief education adviser to the school division...
...According to Barber, education reform is a "global phenomenon," no longer to be managed by individuals or sovereign countries. Education reform has "no more frontiers, no more barriers," he said at a British Education Summit last August.

Pearson School expects Barber will show it the way forward as it muscles its way into the lead in the Common Core testing and textbook market. It's already received help from Jeb Bush's Chiefs for Change and his Foundation for Excellence, which has received donations from the Pearson Foundation and, in turn, provides its donors, including Pearson, access to the chief state school officers who are members of Bush's CFC club.
In Part 3 - 30 states wage war on 'ObamaCore' - Gushta discusses the name change tactic and the political fight around the country and especially in Florida with Jeb Bush.

The term "Common Core" has become "toxic," according to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. He continues to support the standards in spite of a unanimous resolution by the Republican National Committee in April 2013 to oppose them. Huckabee told state education leaders at a meeting of the Council of Chief State School Officers: "Rebrand it, refocus it, but don't retreat."
So far, Arizona, Iowa, Florida and Pennsylvania have followed his advice, eliminating the name "Common Core" from their state standards...

...Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has been an active advocate of Common Core, not only in Florida but across the country. His nonprofit, Foundation for Educational Excellence, which received $500,000 from the Gates Foundation in 2010, has lobbied for the Core and sent letters to state legislators in embattled states.
Jane Robbins, senior fellow at the American Principles Project, said Jeb Bush "is the 'big gorilla' behind the Common Core movement."

"Bill Gates is the financier, but Jeb Bush is the one who is twisting the arms of all of these Republican governors and legislators around the country not to do the right thing and regain local control," Robbins said.

In 2013, after he was voted out as Indiana school chief, Bush's protégé, Tony Bennett, was appointed Florida's Education Commissioner. His tenure didn't last long. He resigned after eight months when it was discovered he had been involved in a plan to improve the school evaluation grade of an Indiana charter school run by Christel DeHaan, a major donor to the Republican Party and to Bennett.

Now the question is whether Bush's influence in Florida is strong enough to stop efforts there to repeal Common Core. A bill to prohibit the State Board of Education from continuing to implement the Common Core Standards has been introduced in the Florida House, which convenes March 4. The bill (H.B. 25) would stop implementation until certain requirements are met for the adoption or revision of state curricular standards. It also would prohibit Florida from implementing Common Core-aligned assessments.

Common Core supporters are hoping H.B.25 won't go anywhere. It's being held in the House and Senate education committees until a companion bill is offered in the Senate. Karen Effrem, co-founder of the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition, said a Senate companion bill has been written and will be submitted. [This article was written before the Senate companion bill SB 1316 was formally filed.]

Effrem said that since Florida is "the land of Jeb Bush," if these bills pass "it would be a huge shot in the arm to the anti-Common Core movement not only in Florida, but in the rest of the country."

"And that is why 'the powers that be' are fighting us so hard."

These articles make an excellent resource about Common Core and especially the battle in Florida.  We are grateful for the superb work by Dr. Gushta.  Please share them with friends and family. We will post the fourth one when it is available.




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