Common Core is NOT About Education – Part 2: Behaviors

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 1.43.59 PMStates had to jump through many hoops to be able to apply for Race to the Top funding. Of course we know that one of those things was the disastrous Common Core.

If you read your state’s Race to the Top application you might not have noticed a small part about behavior systems. In order to apply for the funding from the federal government your state had to implement a Positive Behavior Intervention and Support system, or PBIS.

Every school that receives federal dollars had to make sure that they had the proper behavioral system in place. These behavioral systems include names that you may have heard before.

Of course, some schools have been using a form of PBIS for years, but the government wanted to make sure that all schools were using behavioral intervention systems. The easiest way to do that is to tie it to funding.

Or, if you’re Barack Obama, you can use your phone and pen and make it an executive order. That’s right. He did.

According to NASP Resources the whole PBIS system is based on the theory of behaviors and keeping track of them all the way through to outcomes:  “PBS plans are individualized and data-based and include procedures for monitoring, evaluating and reassessing the process.”

For someone who has been reading a lot about “individualized learning” and “individual determination” and knows the amount of data collected on students these days, that sentence is very frightening.

An interesting document you can download and read is A K-12 Federal Policy Framework for Competency Education. It was put together by Competency Works, a part of Knowledge Works.

So we have schools recording behaviors of the child. If they are good, bad or indifferent it all goes into a database. This information goes to the state and then on to the federal government.

Why does the federal government give a hoot about how your child behaves in the classroom? Perhaps they figure they have “invested” money through the Race to the Top grant and want to see the return on their “investment?”

You give a child ambiguous curriculum and watch how it affects their minds. You then assess the way the child’s brain processes that curriculum and what it says about their values, behaviors and beliefs.

And we know this is true and is absolutely the goal of PBIS, Common Core and all the data collected because we found a man named David T. Conley.

Conley is the man responsible for the definition of College and Career Readiness that the Common Core so proudly touts. In fact, Conley’s organization, Educational Policy Improvement Center or EPIC, received grants from none other than the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to work on this definition and all the trappings therein. He also heads up the Innovation Lab Network, or ILN, that is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers.  The states currently involved with ILN include: California, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

EPIC even has a page devoted to something called “metacognition.” They do much work in this area. Some valuable information to be found on EPIC’s website include:

Metacognitive Learning Skills refer to any student-­level variable that is not subject‑specific (e.g., math, science, or reading), including:

  • personality and motivational factors;
  • experiential and contextual intelligence;
  • social skills and interests; and
  • adjustment and student perceptions.

Another fascinating tidbit:

“..need to know much more about how students manage the learning process, and how their beliefs about themselves as learners affect their ability to understand and retain content knowledge. By elevating noncognitive information to an equal position relative to content knowledge, we may find the missing link needed to close the achievement gap more rapidly and effectively for the many students who possess the cognitive ability to improve their capacity to learn, but are limited by a lack of effective learning strategies and the appropriate mindset. As a first step down this road, educators, researchers, and policy leaders must be willing to rename “noncognitive measures” as “metacognitive learning skills.” 

To the average reader that bolded sentence might seem like an awesome idea. Let’s dig into kids’ brains and see what behaviors and values make them tick so we can close that achievement gap. That’s probably why they bolded it. That way you really focus on what they see as “good.”

To someone seasoned in reading the things that are not supposed to stand out as much this sentence is much more telling: “educators, researchers, and policy leaders must be willing to rename “noncognitive measures” as “metacognitive learning skills.”

Why rename it? Could it possibly have anything to do with the fact that educated people might read it for what it actually is, a way to get inside the student’s brains and see what the very essence of who they are is and how that was formed? Can you say creepy with a capitol C?

If not, then maybe this will give you goose-bumps. It comes from the “Go Deeper: Metacognitive Learning Skills” section of the EPIC site. Just a few things EPIC and Conley find important to education today:

Adaptability Students respond and adapt well to change, are comfortable with ambiguity, adjust priorities and thinking in response to change, manage pressure and setbacks, and maintain an optimistic outlook.


Collaboration Students work effectively with others; respect diversity; are empathic, cooperative, and willing to compromise; assume shared responsibility for group tasks; and communicate effectively in groups.
Integrity Students work in a systematic and organized fashion to develop precise and accurate products that comply with procedures and directions, have high standards, and maintain academic and personal integrity.
Resource Utilization Students are familiar with and utilize available campus resources and support systems, can successfully navigate college bureaucracy and structure, and actively seek faculty feedback and support.
Self-awareness Students have metacognitive knowledge and a realistic sense of their strengths and weaknesses, and they capitalize on strengths and work toward improving deficiencies.
Self-care Students are psychologically and physically healthy, seek health information and services, and participate in safe and healthy behaviors.
Self-control Students are able to define, prioritize, and complete tasks independently, and are able to maintain emotional self-control, tolerate stress, and control impulses.
Social & Personal Responsibility Students act consistently with values and take active responsibility for themselves, their communities, and the environment by engaging in healthy behaviors, performing volunteer work and civic duties, and conserving resources

These aren’t all the “skills” that EPIC outlines as things to be watched, learned about and monitored on our children.  A small disclaimer on the bottom notes that “Our definition of metacognition includes thinking skills that are not specifically content-based.

Everything bolded in the above boxes are things that I see as something the school really has no right to teach. These are things the children should be learning at home from their families. Values and expectations at home are more important to my children then what is expected at school, although school would have you believe differently.

The Social & Personal Responsibility heading is another interesting tidbit. In all of the documents we have found we noticed that they constantly use the term College, Career and Citizenship ready. That’s right. You can see above they want your child to be citizenship ready. They want to direct students to become environmental granola kids! And they better be volunteering at the local Planned Parenthood too.

Resource Utilization clearly came from Linda Darling-Hammond who said at one time that the object of education is to teach students how to utilize the government programs available to them.

Do you think that message is too clear to send to the parents? They probably don’t want parents to realize that they want the kids to develop into their idea of what a citizen should look like so they cut that all important “Citizenship” off and just call it College and Career Ready. Yet it remains in all of the documents that outline their plans.

Who needs to learn content?? 2+2=4 and America became a country in 1776 are examples of content a kid might learn in school. Conley must guffaw over that one! Why do kids need to know this? Why do we need to teach this? According to EPIC, we really don’t! Learning valuable content has nothing to do with gauging attitudes, behaviors and beliefs, now does it?

And just to be clear that none of this is just “theory” I will tell you that we uncovered a presentation that Conley made to the Oregon Education Investment Board about these very metacognitive factors.

How do you measure them? You get together with Linda Darling-Hammond and you create systems for assessment of deeper learning!

Deeper learning is not as smart and pretty as it sounds. It is not content knowledge. It’s the “metacognitive” or personality, behavior and belief portions of what makes up a child. Ambiguous curriculum, positive behavior systems, school climate surveys (measure your perceptions and personal opinions about how the school culture), assessments designed for “deeper learning” or, more accurately, measuring the values, attitudes and beliefs…all combined say nothing about actual education do they?

I have no doubt that this will be making an appearance here in Oregon soon. And all other states that Conley has his finger in through the Innovation Learning Network.

Adding that to the fact that Oregon’s new Chief Education Officer, Nancy Golden, is president of the board of EPIC, David Conley’s baby, well, I can see that we are already, in fact, on that very slippery slope.

When you put all the parts of the Common Core initiative together it does not add up to being good education.

If people are not the total sum of their parts the same is true for Common Core. The Core proponents would have you believe that the sum of the CCSS parts =  a grand 21st century education. When in fact, the sum of all the initiative’s parts = an evil way for the powers that be to get inside American school children’s minds, hearts and souls.

Give them the Common Core curriculum which will prepare them for ambiguity and make sure their minds fall back on an emotional response. That’s the wedge that will open up their mind.

Make sure you turn the structure of the school day into a Positive Behavior System where kids are encouraged to be one of a larger group and not stand out. They can’t even to stand up for someone else without getting in as much trouble as the bully. This teaches kids to join the rank and file and never step out of line.

Assess them at every turn to make sure that the connections their brains are making are emotional and reactive and completely bypassing rational thought. Watch to be sure that they aren’t getting content knowledge and pay attention to what answers they choose and what those tell you about how that child thinks.

And finally record everything. Record data from pre-k on through workforce. Everything about your child will be kept in a database. From what snacks he or she ate in preschool to what age they began to read. How they interact with other students and teachers and what extracurricular activities they do. Know their family’s background, income, and voting status. See how their brains work in what answers they pick on assessments. Note any behavior problems and compare their data to other kids’ data to foresee perhaps what may become of them as they get older.

Make this data accessible to 3rd party vendors and to the state and federal government.

And what is the government and their big business cronies going to do with all of this information? They’ll have a virtual army of kids that grow up with no content knowledge and who run highly on emotion. They’ll be perfect lemmings who never step out of line.

What’s the government going to use that army for?

Macey France

Oregon PolitiChick Macey France is co-founder of the Stop Common Core in Oregon and is working with parents across the state to educate and help them to learn how to advocate for their children's education. Macey has spoken at many Common Core informational meetings across the state of Oregon. Macey's articles on Common Core have been picked up by various news outlets and she has been a guest on many radio shows across the nation. Macey's article about The Bluest Eye was featured on a panel on Al Jazeera America and was nominated for a CPAC Blogger Award for Best Sunlight Post of 2013. Macey is a strong conservative with libertarian leanings, making her more of a "conservatarian." Preserving the constitutional and moral values of that this great nation was founded on for her children is her priority. She is a stay at home mom of two boys who are now in elementary school. As a mom who has always been interested in politics, religion and all of the taboo subjects, she has always had a lot to say about the state of the nation. When she realized the Common Core Standards were not only bad news for children but a government coup over education, she decided to fight back and is now considered one of the nation's leading experts on all-things-Common Core. When she's not having uncomfortable arguments with strangers on Facebook she can be found spending time with her husband of 15 years and two sons. Find Macey France on Facebook and Twitter: @MaceyFrancePC

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