Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Common Core GED book: '9/11 hijackers were poor Afghans'

They can't even keep straight the few facts that they do use.  The 9/11 people were mainly highly educated Saudis.

By Oleg Atbashian

Adult basic education and GED programs, with about 800,000 students taking GED tests each year, serve a segment of society that escaped government schools, including many homeschoolers. But the national propaganda effort called the Common Core Curriculum is spreading its tentacles to them.

While many may not take the GED seriously, calling it the “Good Enough Diploma,” consider that quite a few homeschoolers take GED tests as a way to cancel out high school attendance requirements and lessen the record-keeping burden on home educators caused by compulsory attendance laws in every state.

Thus, aligning GED with Common Core has the potential of erasing all the efforts and sacrifices the homeschooling parents have put in to protect their children from the centralized indoctrination.

You can run but you can’t hide from the omnipresent Big Brother: the new GED workbooks and requirements will still drag many of their children through the biased Common Core curriculum.

What exactly is in store for today’s two million homeschoolers and the hundreds of thousands of American adults taking the GED test annually?

In March 2013, New Readers Press, a publishing division of ProLiteracy — the world’s largest organization of adult basic education and literacy programs — released a revised edition of its bestselling Scoreboost series for the 2014 GED test. With eight supplemental workbooks on the mathematics, language arts, science, and social studies tests, the new series is aligned with the Common Core State Standards and has been expanded, according to the publisher, “to cover the complexities of the new math test as well as the analytic writing required by the extended-response items.”

New extended-response items on the GED test will provide students with one or more source texts followed by a prompt or question, and the answers will be scored with a three-trait rubric. According to the Social Studies Extended Response Scoring Guide, a maximum of three points will be awarded in Trait 1 (Creation of Arguments and Use of Evidence) if the student can “generate a fact-based argument that demonstrates a clear understanding of the historical relationships among ideas, events, and figures as presented in the source text(s) and the contexts from which they are drawn”; can cite “relevant, specific evidence from primary and/or secondary source text(s) that adequately supports an argument”; and is “well connected to both the prompt and the source text(s)”.

But what if the source text is wrong on facts and presents a narrow set of partisan political beliefs — in addition to being poorly written and downright confusing?

Below is an excerpt from a larger Social Studies Extended Response, found on page 52 from Writing Across the Tests: Responding to Text on the Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science Test, entitled, “Does Foreign Aid Really Help?”

    "Those who support sending aid to poor countries do so because poor countries often have high levels of poverty, poor educational systems, an ineffective police and judicial force, and limited public services such as healthcare, transportation networks, and banking systems. They believe that when living conditions are this poor, crime levels tend to be higher. Poorer countries, because they have weak governments, often have areas that attract terrorist groups because no one is there to stop them from pursuing those types of activities. Thus, poor countries are often home to terrorist groups that are free to plan and carry out attacks on the rich, industrialized nations, without fear of being stopped. This is in fact what happened on 9/11 when terrorists from Afghanistan hijacked planes and carried out attacks on the United States. In this case, the terrorists originated in a country that had received large amounts of foreign aid from rich countries. Apparently, it didn’t work."

And here is the following test prompt:  "Should rich countries continue to give aid to poor countries, or should they stop giving aid? Develop an argument that supports your position, and make sure to use specific details to help develop your ideas."

The dictionary definition of “indoctrinate” is “to imbue with a usually partisan or sectarian opinion, point of view, or principle.” This is exactly what will happen when GED students are required to generate ideas, attitudes, and cognitive strategies based on the above misleading and purely sectarian “progressive” worldview, which disregards the proven beneficiary power of the free markets, misconstrues the motivation of Islamic terrorists, and misrepresents the identities of the 9/11 hijackers, who were, for the most part, educated Muslim Arabs from well-to-do families in oil-rich countries that, in fact, send plenty of foreign aid to support Islamic extremism around the world.

The source text on Global Warming (Page 54) provides a statement that global temperatures are increasing, followed by two theories that explain it — the use of fossil fuels and deforestation — both of which attribute Global Warming to human industrial activity and population growth.

Omitted in this “scientific text” is the existence of other scientific data and theories, for example, the cyclical nature of the planet’s climate and the impact of solar activity on Earth’s temperatures. Nor does it mention the fact that the concept of man-made global warming is most actively promoted by those politicians who have a vested interest in imposing government regulations, which would allow them a greater control over the economy and people’s lives.

The students are then asked to write a short essay, within approximately ten minutes, with a “correct” explanation of “how human activity has directly contributed to the rise in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere,” using “multiple pieces of evidence from the text to support their answer.”

A dictionary defines “leading question” as “a question phrased in a manner that tends to suggest the desired answer, such as What do you think of the horrible effects of pollution?” They may as well have used this new GED workbook as an example.

Apparently New Readers Press is well aware of bias in writing and the difference between fact and opinion, stating:  "When a statement is made to appear true because it is related to known facts, but is not itself a fact, speculation has occurred. Be on the lookout for statements that may be mere speculation rather than solid facts. (Thinking Skills: Critical Thinking for Reading, Science, and Social Studies - Strategy 10 page 30)".

Unfortunately, the publisher doesn’t apply this principle to its own materials, which not only mislead the students with biased allegations, but also require them to use these inaccurate statements to develop an argument in an essay, thus adding even more legitimacy to prejudicial assertions.

We contacted the publisher and received a quick and rather amicable email response. The editor was open to the idea of rephrasing the inaccurate language and even offered to preface the questionable passages on foreign aid with a disclaimer that they should be taken as editorials.

While we are grateful for the courteous concession, we’re not in the mood for celebration. How many watchdog activists will it take to sift through all the Common Core materials once it launches nationally, and will future responses, if any, be as courteous when the curriculum is supervised and mandated by the federal government?

The GED Test is currently used by all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, U.S. insular areas, Canadian provinces and territories, the U.S. military, and federal correctional institutions for the purpose of awarding a high school graduation equivalency credential.

While homeschoolers usually excel in GED testing, many of the GED students are high school dropouts who often lack background knowledge about government processes, historical facts, and the context in which they occur. It is imperative that resources used to help them gain this knowledge be above political opinion or biased representation.

Until now the United States has benefited from its decentralized, compartmentalized political system, whereby various economic, political, and educational concepts could originate and be tested in individual states and localities before they were shared with others. If they were useful, other states would learn from these practices and willingly implement them within their own jurisdictions. If they were harmful, they would die out without inflicting major damage on a national scale.

The initiative to centralize public education changes that, bringing it closer to the erstwhile Soviet model.

Having lived and started my working career as a teacher in the USSR, I remember the imposition of identical, centrally planned curriculum on every cookie-cutter school nationwide.

The main reason for such mandatory conformity was to maintain a total ideological control and compliance with policies of the totalitarian government. All other aspects of education were secondary to that prime directive.

What possible purpose can centralized education have in the United States if not to channel the same ideological conformity to American students, making it easier for the federal bureaucracy to control the educational content?

As history and culture of the Department of Education indicate, this isn’t a mere theoretical projection. The educational career and legacy of Bill Ayers alone should raise enough red flags not to allow any centralized educational system to be implemented. Even if it may appear benign at first, the prevailing political tendencies in today’s academia will inevitably turn such a system into a conduit of ideological indoctrination.

Once Common Core is nationally implemented and federally enforced, public education will become just another word for a forcible indoctrination of our children to induce them to give up their parents’ political, social, or religious beliefs and attitudes and to accept contrasting regimented ideas.

This is the dictionary definition of brainwashing.


Pence Hits Pause: Indiana Sets The Pace On Common Core Education Agenda

Indiana’s new Governor Mike Pence has signed in to law a bill that will “pause’’ the state’s involvement in the nationwide Common Core education agenda. That fact that this is happening in Indiana has some very specific political significance, while the fact that it is happening at all has broad ramifications.

Before getting in to the meaning of Pence’s maneuver, consider some facts about Common Core. Officially named the “Common Core State Standards Initiative,” the agenda is not, itself, about curriculum mandates. It is a set of academic standards that students in the various grade levels are expected to achieve, in the states that have agreed to adopt the standards.

It is also the case that Common Core was created by the Obama Administration, but rather, it is actually an effort that first emerged at the state level, undertaken by state governors and state superintendents of education nationwide. The official sponsoring organizations of the initiative are the National Governor’s Association (“NGA”), and the Council of Chief State School Officers (“CCSO”).

Attempts to impose academic standards on public educators date back to the early 1980’s. In the 1990’s it became a state-driven matter, while The federal No Child Left Behind Act, signed in to law by President George W Bush in January of 2002, required the states to create their own academic standards, and then to achieve them, in order to receive federal education funds.

During the past decade, state Governors and state education Superintendents began to collaborate in an effort to bring uniformity to their respective states’ academic standards, and today, there are three primary organizations that advance the Common Core agenda. The NGA and the CCSO, as noted above, remain as the official sponsoring organizations of the initiative. Separately, a group called Common Core, Inc., a non-profit, 501 (c) 3 organization based in Washington, D.C., writes curriculum (not academic standards) that is intended to help educators comply with Common Core Standards.

Supporters of the Common Core State Standards like to remind people that the initiative receives bipartisan support around the country. This is true - both the right-leaning “Excellence In Education Foundation.” a group headed by former Republican Governor Jeb Bush, and the left-wing American Federation of Teachers, support Common Core. Similarly, both Republican and Democrat Governors - including Governor Butch Otter (R-Idaho), Governor Jerry Brown (D-California), and Governor Duval Patrick (D-Massachusetts), all support the Common Core effort.

But Common Core also receives bipartisan opposition. The conservative-leaning Heritage Foundation, along with libertarian leaning groups like the Pioneer Institute of Boston, opposes the Common Core effort. But so also does Glenda Ritz, a Democrat who currently serves as Indiana’s State Superintendent of Education.

Ritz’ election in the heavily Republican state of Indiana is often cited as evidence of Common Core’s unpopularity. In November of 2012, Ritz unseated Indiana’s incumbent Republican State Superintendent, Dr. Tony Bennett, in part by campaigning against the Common Core initiative and claiming that Indiana’s adoption of the Common Core standards would result in a loss of state sovereignty. Ritz ended up receiving more votes in that election than did the new (and now very popular) Governor Mike Pence – and herein lies the significance f Pence’s latest move.

But Indiana’s “pause” on Common Core is not merely important for political reasons (it does, in fact, exemplify a sense of cooperation between Democrat Ritz and Republican Pence). It also demonstrates that at least some Americans still have a genuine concern about the federal government taking-over and controlling very intimate areas of our lives. It suggests that some of our fellow Americans still adhere to the wisdom of, say, Thomas Jefferson, who warned of the threat of tyranny from government, instead of buying-in to the naïve and selfish view that President Obama articulated last week in his commencement address to Ohio State University when he admonished graduates to resist those who warn of government tyranny (as if such a thing doesn’t really exist).

But is the Common Core standards agenda to be regarded as “tyranny?” Three separate federal laws prohibit the federal government from dictating educational curriculum content to the nation’s public schools. Yet on President Barack Obama’s watch, there has been a concerted effort within his administration to commandeer the Common Core agenda, and to skirt federal restraints.

Back in 2009 and 2010 when the administration was distributing so-called “stimulus” funds, one of the criteria for public schools to receive funds was for school districts to adopt higher “college and career standards” for students. And it just so happened that, in order to qualify for the stimulus funds, many states chose at that time to adopt the “Common Core” academic standards so they could apply for, and receive the federal funds.

The bipartisan group of Governors and state school Superintendents who support the Common Core agenda undoubtedly has the best of intentions. Yet the inability among elected officials to see how government power can be abused is a problem for both Republicans and Democrats.

The other states’ should follow Indiana’s lead. And after we hit “pause” on Common Core, let’s consider the same for Obamacare.


Students Fight Back to Save Ten Commandments

Hundreds of Christians in a small Oklahoma town have decided to draw a line in the sand and fight back against a national association of atheist and agnostics who want displays of the Ten Commandments removed from local schools.

“It’s Christianity under attack within our own country,” said Josh Moore, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Muldrow, Okla. “The irony can’t be missed by anyone who’s lived in this country or grown up in this country.”

The controversy surrounds Ten Commandment plaques are that are posted in a number of classrooms at Muldrow High School. It’s unclear when the plaques were installed.

Ron Flanagan, the superintendent of the local school district, told Fox News they had received a complaint about the Ten Commandments from the Freedom From Religion Foundation – an organization that has a long history of targeting displays of the Christian faith in public schools.

The complaint was allegedly filed by an "anonymous" member of the community. “If the facts are as presented to us, and the Ten Commandments are on display throughout Muldrow Public Schools, the displays must be removed immediately,” wrote FFRF attorney Patrick Elliott, in a letter to the school district.

The FFRF said the displays are a “flagrant violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. “Any student will view a Ten Commandments display in school as being endorsed by the school,” Elliott wrote. “Muldrow Public Schools promotion of the Judeo-Christian Bible and religion over non-religion impermissibly turns any non-Christian or non-believing student, parent or staff member into an outsider.”

Flanagan would not say whether or not the school district would comply with their demands. He referred all questions to the district’s attorney. The school board will discuss the controversy at a meeting on Monday.

But hundreds of students have decided to stand up and defend the plaques by launching petitions and raising awareness on social networking sites. And lots of folks around town are wondering why a Wisconsin-based organization is concerned about the affairs of Muldrow, Okla.

“It’s a pretty big deal,” student Chase Howard told television station KHOG. “One person kind of put it out there on Twitter. A couple of us hash tagged it and asked people to get it trending. After that it just caught on.”

Benjamin Hill, 18, is one of the students who signed the petition. He said he understands why non-Christians might be upset over the display, but he said students should have the right to express their faith.

“I’d really like it if they would leave the Ten Commandments up,” he told Fox News. “I think they should allow the expression of religion in school.” Pastor Moore told Fox News that the local interfaith ministerial associated printed 1,000 t-shirts emblazoned with the Ten Commandments – and many students plan on wearing the shirts to class.

“It’s not to protest or to be ugly,” he said. “Legally, they do have First Amendment rights. They can voice what they believe in. We are encouraging them to do that in a way that is respectful of others.”

Parent Denise Armer told KHOG she supports the students’ efforts to save the Ten Commandment plaques.

“If other kids don’t want to read the Ten Commandments, then they don’t have to,” she said. “But that doesn’t mean that they have to make everyone else do what they want.”

Pastor Moore said it’s not surprising that the Christian faith is coming under such a fierce attack.

“It’s promised in Scripture,” he said. “As believers and followers, it’s a matter of recognizing that and responding in an appropriate manner.”

The ministerial association also said they supported school leadership.

“It’s tough for them,” Moore told Fox News. “Their hands are tied from a legal perspective. We’re supporting them and ministering to them. We don’t want to alienate their or throw them under the bus.”


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