Mirror mirror on the wall,
Who is the most deceptive of all?
A lovely child I see.
Rags cannot hide her innocent face.
Alas, she is more honest than thee.
Lips red full of questions filled with curiosity.
Hair speckled with creativity.
Skin colored with diversity.
The Evil Queen
Alas! Who is this evil queen?
Who plots to feed our children apples laced with poison?
Is college and career ready truly the reason?
At first she summoned a kind hearted man,
Who disagreed with the queen’s devious plan.
The hunter loved Snow White, an admiring fan,
He spared her life, cut out a deer’s heart, into the forest she ran.
One apple will no longer suffice,
it is masses the Empress must now entice.
Children see shiney and red,
innocently eating the venom they’re fed.
One juicy bite lulls parents and educators to sleep in their bed,
slumbering soundly convinced of standards state led,
and dreams of warm sand buries their head.
Still others willingly sip its arsenic cider instead,
guaranteeing the deception will certainly spread.
Motivated by greed and using their powers,
they push through the contagion from money laced towers.
The Seven ‘Giantly’ Dwarfs
Behold! The growing numbers kissed awake from the dead,
For Snow White, their life blood freely shed.
The grass roots movement shouting truth from roof tops,
Dispelling the lies with their fact saturated mops.
The Tangled Labyrinth
I consider my own journey through this labyrinth of common core. The ideology originally shared, my innocent heart passionate for kids, soaked in the information, returned to my school and began assisting others in its implementation. This being the fourth set of standards in 13 years, once again, I helped teachers transition from the last set of standards to these new common core standards. I was biting and chewing the bright red apple, attending professional development sessions, learning new curricular materials filled with silver bullets of rigor, and obeying the charge given to me, just as the hunter obeyed the queen… at first… that is…
As time passed, and I looked into the eyes of Snow White, an undercurrent of bitterness hit my tongue as I continued to chew. What? What is this vinegary taste?
I held up the apple, examining its core…
Behold! My eyes saw the rancorous folklore.
I threw the black apple with all putrid garbage, indeed!
Opened my computer and researched until my fingers did bleed.
A year and a half free from the contagion,
Exterminating the propaganda, now my one true mission.
The Common Standards… Poisonous to the Core.
From the inception of the idea of the common core standards, to the gathering of the key writers, to the actual writing of the ELA and Math portions from 2009 – 2010, to forming a validation committee putting their stamp of approval upon them, to the implementation nationwide thereafter…
- How would you go about pitching the ideology to the multitudes?
- How would you saturate the states to adopt the belief these standards solve every woe education faces today?
- How would you make the apple appear?
For Sale… Cider Pre$$ed Poison
- Who would you pay to sell the apples?
- Who would you get to hand out the apples?
- Who would you put out in front of the public testifying to its crisp, sweet juiciness? Someone who seemed trustworthy? Credible? Innocent?
- How would you convince someone to take a bite?
As the money hungry players contrived their devious scheme, they discovered a problem as they plotted and planned…
but an entire Kingdom who must be made to believe.
Handing out apples worked for awhile,
but too many discovered its bitterness vile.
Voices were raised, and heard through the press,
the truth surfaced, despite the attempt to depress.
“What now?” The queen declares! “One apple at a time is no longer enough. We must increase our efforts to hand the multitude some fluff.”
The fallacious key players all agreed,
a change in strategy was needed indeed.
The apples discovered, less were taking a bite,
Thence the idea of the cider press took flight.
Million$ and billion$ of apple$ were gathered, and placed in the cider machine.
the juice now ready for anyone to delight.
They found a willing player and recorded his voice,
into the homes of everyone who had no choice.
A Robo-call went out costing someone a pretty penny.
Who would drink this juice? Would it be many?
“Hi- I’m Lyon Terry, the 2015 Washington State Teacher of the Year. I’d like to talk to you about the Common Core State Standards. All children deserve a high quality education to pursue whatever path they choose. That journey starts with high expectations and tools so teachers and parents know how their students are doing. As a teacher I know each student is unique but to succeed there is a basic set of skills that all students need. That’s what Common Core is all about, and Smarter Balanced tests help us measure how each student is doing on these basic skills. Learn more at ReadyWA.org.“
The call was sponsored by ReadyWA.org., an organization supported by Washington Roundtable. Washington Roundtable’s motto is, “Building demand for education reform in Washington” and is linked to Partnership for Learning. Partnership for Learning is supported by contributors; Thomas Fordham Foundation, Achieve, Bill & Melinda Gates, and Center for American Progress, amongst others.
This newly announced Teacher of the Year (a member of Teachers United) may very well be an outstanding 4th grade educator worthy of this award. However, has he partaken and slurped from the Cider Press Poison? Which is he… I wonder? The one lulled to sleep with misinformation, the hunter who obeys and hides his true heart, or a joiner of the money mob willingly sipping and spreading the deception?
Whatever the case, he let his voice be used… the words toxic vapors reaching into our homes. The motive is known, it came from the queen, to encourage the populace to drink the spiked cider-aid. How many more will the apple drippings affect, and who will rise up and fight this mess?
The SBAC does not measure our children’s basic skills.
The common core standards are flawed with countless ills.
Do not allow yourself to be confused,
These two things are the cause of children being abused.
In the future, if you hear more of the same,
it isn’t too hard to dig and discover who is to blame.
There are many organizations receiving benefit$ from the apple cider pre$$.
Be leery! Beware!
Other recipients of funds from the Gates Foundation:
- www.CRPE.org (Center on Reinvention of Public Education) A group currently focused on Washington State, with the goal of turning school systems into “Strategic Portfolio Districts” like Chicago, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and New York. Spokane and Seattle School Districts are both working alongside CRPE with aims towards their mission.
- www.Edreports.org A curricula materials research organization who interestingly found Eureka Math the “only” math program meeting all the criteria necessary to align with common core. Even more interesting, Eureka Math, once EngageNY Math, has history of funding from the Gates Foundation.
- Stand For Children
- Teachers United
- National PTA
- Teachers Plus
- Business Alliance for Education
- National Governors Association
- American Enterprise Institute
- American Federation of Teachers
- Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
- Council of Great City Schools
- Educational Trust
- National Congress of Parents and Teachers
- National Education Association
- Thomas B. Fordham Institute
The list goes on and on… weaving into the dark, dangerous woods… See References.
The Song of the ‘Giantly’ Dwarfs
We dig dig dig dig dig dig dig in a mine the whole day through
To dig dig dig dig dig dig dig is what we like to do
Hi ho, Hi ho
It’s off to work we go
Hi ho, Hi ho, Hi ho!
Those of us who have taken the time to dig, looking underneath the shiny, red skin, have found the illusion of an ideology masterminded by a handful of self-serving philanthropists. We are the dwarfs who adore, love, and protect Snow White.
We work all day for very little pay,
but at night, we collaborate and write,
The wings of truth take flight.
Behold! The Dwarfs, who really aren’t small.
They are the kingdom’s GIANTS standing strong… standing tall.
The true ROYALTY accepting the call,
Delivering truth’s kiss to us all.
It is diamonds and gold that emerge from the mine,
singing a genuine line…
“Don’t sip the cider, or take a bite,
the common core standards all of us fight.
Hear what we say, we are as credible as he,
teachers and parents, full of integrity.”
Royal Dwarf One
Nancie Atwell, won the inaugural Global Teacher Prize, which intends to be the ‘Nobel Prize for teachers’, and comes with a prize of one million dollars which she donated to her school. On “New Day” she was asked what she would tell kids who wanted to be teachers when they grew up. She responded:
“Um, honestly, right now I encourage them to look in the private sector, because public-school teachers are so constrained right now by the Common Core standards, and the tests that are developed to monitor what teachers are doing with them. It’s a movement that’s turned teachers into technicians, not reflective practitioners. And if you are a creative, smart young person, I don’t think this is the time to go into teaching unless an independent school would suit you.”
Royal Dwarf Two
The second teacher, Stacie Starr, winner of the National Top Teacher Award in 2014, had this to say:
“I can’t do it anymore, not in this ‘drill ‘em and kill ‘em’ atmosphere. I don’t think anyone understands that in this environment if your child cannot quickly grasp material, study like a robot and pass all of these tests, they will not survive. Each and every day, I have to look in my students’ eyes and tell them I can’t help them because the state has decided they have to prove what they know…It’s just hard because, as teachers, we are playing a game where the rules keep changing.”
Starr resigned her teaching job as a direct result of the standards.
Royal Dwarf Three
Cynthia Jones, an inductee into the National Teachers Hall of Fame told The Federalist:
“They’re saying to teachers, ‘This is going to help you,’ no it’s not. They say it’s going to be richer than your paper-and pencil-tests because it’s going to teach higher-level thinking skills. If you’re going to teach higher-level critical thinking, you teach higher-level critical thinking. The only thing I can find in their materials is because they’re going to ask children to write, it’s teaching critical thinking skills. No, it’s not. It’s asking children to write a line or explanatory paragraph. None of their major rationales hold water on just a cursory look. It’s bogus.”
Jones quit her teaching job after the principal of her school told her to shut down the class’ garden in order to spend more time teaching to the Common Core tests.
Royal Dwarf Four
Another nationally recognized teacher, Chasidy White, wrote an op-ed on her concerns with Common Core. She writes:
“One of my favorite writings about education from Dr. King is a paper entitled ‘The Purpose of Education.’ In it, he wrote ‘To save man from the morass of propaganda, in my opinion, is one of the chief aims of education. Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction.
When I sit in faculty meetings about Common Core, I hear ‘curriculum specialists’ tell me that Common Core is here to stay and I must ‘embrace change.’ I am forced to drink the kool-aid. These specialists don’t tell us to search for facts about Common Core on our own, they simply tell us what the people paid to promote Common Core want us to know. Didn’t Dr. King want us to separate facts from fiction? Why are we only given information from sources paid to say Common Core is a good thing? Isn’t that the exact same type of propaganda Dr. King discussed in his writings about education? Shouldn’t we discuss why thousands of Americans are calling for a repeal of the standards?”
Royal Dwarf Five
Jamie Highfill, initially supported the standards, and even served on a committee to assist in their adoption. However, Highfill is now a vocal opponent of Common Core after seeing what it would do to her classroom. Highfill’s students were already the top performing students on the tests in her entire district, but in spite of this, she was still required to make changes to her lessons. She was asked to cut six weeks of poetry and fiction in favor of nonfiction texts. As she puts it:
“I can read the word ‘Camelot’ when we’re talking about the Kennedy administration, but if I don’t understand King Arthur, how can they understand the significance of that?”
Royal Dwarfs Six – Twelve
Seven Teacher of the Year Recipients from New York wrote a joint letter to their Governor (here). They wrote:
“We have also endured a difficult rollout of the Common Core Standards. A reasonable implementation would have started the new standards in kindergarten and advanced those standards one grade at a time. Instead, the new standards were rushed into all grades at once, without any time to see if they were developmentally appropriate or useful.
Then our students were given new tests—of questionable validity—before they had a chance to develop the skills necessary to be successful. These flawed tests reinforced the false narrative that all public schools—and therefore all teachers—are in drastic need of reform. In our many years of teaching, we’ve never found that denigrating others is a useful strategy for improvement.”
Royal Dwarfs Thirteen – Twenty Two
On April 2, 2015 a panel of experts was put together to speak truth in a Senate Hearing. Part One (here), featuring all ten panelists, captured critical nuggets of gold dismantling common core and the high stakes testing. This Hearing demolished the robo-call and countered the claim of the standards being “basic”.
Put the apple aside, and don’t sip the cider…
listen to these giants who dispel the evil spider.
The speakers included:
- Senator Chase
- Senator Roach
- Dr. Diane Ravitch (Previous U.S. Assistant Secretary Department of Education, Education Historian, Author)
- Raschelle Holland (Parent, recipient of national teaching awards, Instructional Coach)
- Karen Larrssen (Parent Extraordinaire, Co-Administrator Washington Against Common Core Standards)
- Dr. Wayne Au (University of Washington Professor, Historical Testing Specialist)
- James Wilson (Co-Founder Truth in American Education)
- Sharon Hanek (Education Watchdog, Researcher, National Presenter)
- Sue Peters (Director of Seattle School Board)
- David Spring (Author, parent, and teacher)
There are many other Royal and ‘Giantly’ Dwarfs throughout the land. Mercedes Schneider, Anthony Cody, Dr. Sandra Stotsky, and Dr. James Milgram, to name just a few. There are masses arising to join in this fight.
Who, my dear reader, who might you be?
Walk to a mirror and look within.
Ask yourself, “Who have I been?”
The queen? The giver of poison and taker of profit$?
A servant of the queen? Doing her bidding and spreading the contagion?
The Hunter? Sparing Snow White her life, yet sending her into the dangerous forest alone? Closing your door, doing the best you can? Hiding your head? You’ve been spared the wrath of the queen, but Snow White is still in the forest unprotected and unsafe.
A Royal Dwarf, giant at heart? Digging and Working to save the princess? Protector of children, the future of the Kingdom?
What of the Prince?
Who could he be?
Could it be you or could it be me?
The one that holds the ultimate key?
It’s truth’s kiss that brings Snow White from her death,
Will you help her return to life’s breath?
The prince is simply… the deliverer of truth.
It does not take a super sleuth.
The caress of the lips depart honesty.
With this knowledge, it is this I plea…
Bright, shiny apples are not always what they seem to be,
Examine them closely, avoid the toxins and be set free.
Join the ‘giantly’ dwarfs in this fight for liberty,
a warrior leaving behind all complacency.
Become a member of the royalty…
The Dwarfs have the heart of the Prince,
it is only the truth their mouths evince.
Be a part of this child crusade,
Offer your voice so their freedoms don’t fade.
Mirror mirror on the wall,
Who is the most deceptive of all?
RAZ ON FIRE
References (Click on the title(s) below if interested in digging deeper):
- Have you received a robo-call from Ready Washington about the Wonders of Common Core and the SBAC?
- Teachers of the Year or Just TOYS for Billionaires
- The Assessment Itself is Completely Artificial, Noam Chomsky
- 6.1 Billionaire Fake Grassroots (Gates Money)
- Where Bill Gates Money is Going in Education World This Year
- Bill Gates bankrolls College and Career Ready programs, aka the Common Core Standards
- Stunning revelation Bill Gates has spent $2.3 Billion on Common Core – #PARCC
- Meet 5 Award-Winning Teachers Who Reject Common Core, By Joy Pullman (Royal Dwarfs #1-5)
- You Have Made Us the Enemy. This is Personal. – 7 New York Teachers of the Year Blast Cuomo
- Senate Hearing (Part One) April 2, 2015. Olympia, WA
- Raz and Son, Our Testimony at the Senate Hearing, April 2, 2015
- Senate Hearing (Part Two) April 2, 2015. Olympia, WA