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Education Politics

Is the New "Common Core SAT" Bill Gates' Doing? 273

Posted by timothy
from the secret-machinations dept.
theodp writes "'I want to explain why Common Core is among the most important education ideas in years,' wrote Bill Gates in a USA Today op-ed last month that challenged the "dangerous misconceptions" of those who oppose the initiative (pretty confident for a guy who conceded there wasn't much to show for his earlier $5B education reform effort!). 'The Gates Foundation helped fund this process,' acknowledged Gates in quite an understatement of his influence. Receiving $6.5M in Gates Grants was Student Achievement Partners, whose founder David Coleman was dubbed the 'Architect of the Common Core.' So it's not too surprising that at last week's SXSWedu, Coleman — now President and CEO of The College Board (no stranger to Gates money itself) — announced a dramatic overhaul of the SAT that includes a new emphasis on evidence-based reading and writing and evidence analysis, which the AJC's Maureen Downey calls 'reflective of the approach of the Common Core State Standards.'" (Read more, below.)
"And over at The Atlantic, Lindsey Tepe reports that the Common Core is driving the changes to the SAT. "Neither Coleman nor the national media," writes Tepe, "have really honed in on how the standards are driving the College Board-as well as the ACT-to change their product." In conjunction with the redesigned SAT, The College Board also announced it would exclusively team with Khan Academy (KA) to make comprehensive, best-in-class SAT prep materials open and free in an effort to level the playing field between those who can and can't afford test prep services. In a conversation with KA founder Sal Khan — aka Bill Gates' favorite teacher and a beneficiary of $10+ million in Gates Foundation grants (much earmarked for Common Core) — Coleman stressed that Khan Academy and CollegeBoard will be the only places in the world that students will be able to encounter free materials for the exam that are "focused on the core of the math and literacy that matters most." "There will be no other such partnerships", Coleman reiterated. Game, set, and match, Gates?"
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Is the New "Common Core SAT" Bill Gates' Doing?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 13, 2014 @12:45PM (#46474361)

    Leaning? Common Core has nothing to do with "Learning." It is indoctrination, pure and simple. It's the low-tech implementation of Divergent.

    As a parent you not only have no influence into the "education curriculum" you have no access to it. It is a Federal Gov't power grab and it should be highly eschewed. The Federal Government has no business nor direct authority to be imposing curriculum.

  • by korthof (717545) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @01:20PM (#46474727) Journal
    I have two aunts that make a total of about 15k a year working there asses off in retail as single mothers. Bother fathers passed away. They can not afford a laptop (family made sure they got em). A requirement of Cores is keyboarding for homework. They are expected to pay for everything in this program even if they cant afford it. This nation thinks everyone can afford a monthly payment, forced payment for phones, insurance, healthcare. and If you can't pay the $300 a month in "affordable" programs, you are fined beyond recovery. Yes we have to move forward, but this shit has to stop, we need to provide help if we are going to require instead of fining the poor.
  • by rsborg (111459) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @02:46PM (#46475595) Homepage

    Not going to discuss content, but if your entire sourcing is from the "Tea Party News Network", everything looks like liberal/socialist/marxist conspiracy.

    You don't happen to have any non-biased news sources, or corroborating links do you?

  • by demonbug (309515) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @03:32PM (#46476091) Journal

    There seem to be a lot of misconceptions and outright ignorance about Common Core here. Common Core is basically just a restructuring of when different subjects are introduced, and how much emphasis is placed on each area at each grade level. For example, in mathematics where previously you might have an algebra class one year, then a geometry class another year, then trigonometry another year, etc., this might get reorganized so that material from each of these courses is introduced at different times in what proponents claim is a more logical structure that achieves better results (and there does seem to be a lot of evidence to support it). So instead of Algebra in 7th grade and Geometry in 8th, you might get some parts of what was in the Algebra class in 6th grade, a little more in 7th, some more in 8th, while also being introduced to Geometry earlier and having that spread across multiple years. You end up in the same place (well, hopefully on average you end up a little more advanced by the end), but at any given point in their schooling students will be ahead of where they would have been under the past system in some areas, and behind in others - by design.

    However, this rearrangement of coursework opens a can of worms, which is where most of the fighting comes in. Because things are introduced at different stages and in a different order, an entirely new curriculum is required. It is left to the states to decide what curriculum to use, and there are a lot of choices - much of it produced by commercial entities, some of it good and some of it really, really bad. This isn't a function of Common Core, per se, but merely a function of lots of groups taking advantage of a major re-write to try to get their product included in what is selected at the state or local level.

    Likewise, since the order things are introduced changes, all of the standardized tests are no longer relevant - children might be learning some of what falls into "algebra" in the current system in the 5th grade, so a standardized assessment test would need to take this into account. Opponents latch onto this and complain that too much is expected of the students, because they are being tested on something "too advanced". Likewise, something that students previously learned in the 4th grade might not be introduced until the 6th - and again, opponents latch onto this because the standards have been "lowered". It's easy to cherry pick examples that go either way (which this comment section is rife with), because compared to what most of us experienced, it will feel "off".

    The vast majority of the arguments against Common Core aren't actually about Common Core, rather they are about some of the curricula that have been developed to meet Common Core's structure. Just like there can be a fight every time a new science textbook is chosen in Kansas (or anywhere else), everyone is arguing over what the curriculum should look like, and it is all happening at once. So, lots of people trying to get their own political slant into the new curriculum, which is the same problem as always - it's just happening all at once across pretty much every subject.

    Now, there are certainly objections or questions to ask regarding Common Core. For one, are the benefits of the rejiggering of subjects enough to outweigh the costs of introducing the system? What do you do about students who started with one system - can you transition them to the new standards effectively, or will we have several years worth of students with glaring holes in their education? And last (and probably the biggest question, and the one that has driven many one-time supporters to oppose common core), how do we ensure that the curriculum chosen by my school district/state/whatever is going to be effective and not just an amalgamation of commercial offerings selected through a combination of ideology, lobbying, and kickbacks - the educational outcomes are dependent on the effectiveness of the curriculum, and there is no guarantee that new ones being developed and offered will achieve that (and, for the reasons mentioned, a lot of reasons they might not).

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