Common Core got the process wrong

Richard Innes has posted a video on the Bluegrass Institute website.  Based on his experience, he shows how a quality standards based education program differs from the approached used by the folks behind the Common Core.  The video is called High Quality Standards Based Education Programs.  You can watch the video below.

Open Senate Hearing/Panel on the Common Core

Washington state Senators Pam Roach (R) and Maralyn Chase (D) are sponsored a hearing on Common Core on Thursday, April 2nd at 4:00 p.m. in Olympia. This hearing was well attended.  Panel members presented information about the standards and assessments and parents and community members testified.  Here is a video of the panel presentations.

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics: Does It Add Up or Down? Part 3


This gallery contains 3 photos.

Standards for Mathematical Practice The Common Core State Standards for Mathematics Table of Contents includes two types of standards. First listed are Standards for Mathematical Practice. Second listed are Standards for Mathematical Content. Before we explore the Standards for Mathematical … Continue reading

Kindergarteners Required to Test Twice a Year as Seattle “Rises” to Data Driven Education,


Seattle’s short-lived victory over standardized testing has come to a screeching halt. In March 2013, as a result of a very impressive boycott of the districts MAP test by both students and teachers alike, Superintendent of Seattle Schools, Jose’ Banda … Continue reading

The Smarter Balanced (SBAC) Practice Test Just Launched 3/29/13; Parents try it free!!

It is time everybody! The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium has launched their smarter Balanced (SBAC) Practice Test!! Originally scheduled to launch Wednesday, May 29, 2013, it is already up and ready for anyone to try out.

Why am I so excited? Simple, this test is open to everyone with internet access to try out and parents are encouraged to play with it. With all of the build up by Common Core supporters claiming the effectiveness of the new “rigorous,” confusing, deeper thinking group work that encourages consensus, I personally cannot wait to see this test with my own eyes! Even though this is not the final, official test, it will be good to see how it functions and see the overall style and structure of the test, from questions and problems asked to the methods of answering required. I know that the official SBAC Test in the 2014/15 school year may change a lot from this practice test, if it even still exists by then, but I want to see it and give my feedback along the way.

In case you are wondering what the SBAC test is, it is the new Common Core aligned state standardized test that will replace all participating states current testing in the 2014-15 school year. I don’t know about other states, but in Washington State parents have not been allowed to preview the current state standardized test, the MSP. Kids and teachers alike are instructed and, in many cases sign an agreement not to discuss the MSP or it’s content with other people, including parents. With that as the precedent I was surprised to find out that the Practice Test is open to everyone and does not require registration or a secret code to access it.

How to access the SBAC Practice Test:

1. You cannot access the Practice Test from Internet Explorer, you must use either Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, or Apple Safari.

2. Once you have one of these browsers open then go to this address

3. Click on Student Interface Practice Test

4. Click Sign In. This should log you in as a guest user

5. Select a grade and enjoy the test

Taken from the SBAC website directly (2), here is some information about the Practice Test:


The Practice Tests provide a preview of the Smarter Balanced assessments, but they do not encompass the full range of content that students will encounter on the spring 2014 Field Test or on the operational assessments, and should not be used to guide instructional decisions. In addition, students and teachers will not receive reports or scores from the Practice Tests. Although the operational assessment system will be computer adaptive, the Practice Tests follow a fixed-form model.

The practice test will provide:

  • administrators and parents access to items planned and designed for the new assessment;

  • students access to the tests over the summer, with the Practice Test being accessible right up to rollout of the operational assessment;

  • a full array of item types including performance tasks;

  • versions supporting several accommodations:

    • Text-to-speech

    • Item-level pop-up Spanish glossaries for construct irrelevant terms (Math tests only)

    • Braille

    • American Sign Language (ASL) NOTE – Accommodated forms will be released in phases across the listed grade/content combinations:

      • Phase 1 – May 29: Accommodations available in grades 3, 7, 11 for Math and in grades 4, 7, and 11 for ELA; no ASL support for any grades

      • Phase 2 – {TBD, based on vendor production capacity}: Accommodations in all grades for both content areas; no ASL support for any grades

      • Phase 3 – {TBD, based on vendor production capacity}: ASL accommodation in all grades and content areas

In short, the SBAC Practice Test is up and running and will be available from now until Spring 2014. Only accommodations listed above are available for now, but Smarter Balanced will continue to work on the Practice Test adding some new features in the Fall. The Practice Test is not the full official version, it will not be adaptive, nor graded, no registration is required, and it is free for anyone to try out! Go, try it, and give your feedback to everyone, SBAC, your local school districts and Department of Education, and your State Representatives!!

Remember the best way to STOP Common Core is to spread the word and sign the petition. In Washington State go here:



Losing Teachers to the Common Core

As we are gearing up for the end of the school year in Washington State, this video is a great example of what Common Core will be bringing to our state. The idea of a solid education for children will be abolished and in its place will be a high-stakes outcome based education.

A must read essay regarding the beginnings of Common Core and the involvement of Bill Gates.

Oak Norton did an amazing job outlining how Bill Gates has been involved with CCSS and how he will be profiting from it in the future.

Common Core Background – White Paper

We just found this excellent white paper on the background of Common Core, and a look at the standards themselves which was posted at Truth in American Education. While it is long (44 pages), you might want to read it if you have a chance. There is a lot of factual information with endnotes at the back to direct you to the sources.

Controlling-Education-From-the-Top-PRINT, May 2012. This 23 page white paper written by Emmett McGroarty and Jane Robbins and published by American Principles Project and the Pioneer Institute.

What Information Will be Collected on Your Child and You?

We have been hearing from lots of people that one of the main concerns about Common Core is the intrusive data mining, and in particular, what information is being collected about your child. An unbelievable 533 pieces of data will be collected. In addition to the data we talked about previously, you can browse through the Common Education Data Standards – Domain Entity Schema.

If you don’t like what you see, you have a voice. Share what you learn with other parents, your schools, teachers, and co-workers. Read and sign our petition and let our state know what you think about CCSS.