Common Core Architect in Concord Part 2

On November 10, 2015 one of the biggest names in Common Core (aka College and Career Readiness Standards) gave a special presentation to the New Hampshire legislature. Marc Tucker was invited by members of the House Education Committee: Rep. Rick Ladd (Chairman), Rep. Mary Gile (former Chairman and ranking Democrat), and Rep. Terry Wolf (assistant majority whip).

Following Tucker’s remarks, there was a panel discussion that included Rep. Terry Wolf, Dr. Virginia Barry (Commissioner of the state Department of Education), Scott McGilvray (President of the NEA-NH and Board member of Reaching Higher NH), Tom Raffio (Chairman of the state Board of Education) and Rep Mary Heath (member of the House Education Committee and former Deputy of the state DOE). Below are the captions we added to the video which is posted to our YouTube channel. This is the second one in the series. The first video is Marc Tucker’s presentation and is also on our YouTube channel.

Although requested, to date we have not received a copy of the PowerPoint presentation or the research cited throughout the event.

The discussion gave each panelist an opportunity to ask Marc Tucker to elaborate on particular points in his presentation. It was obvious that all of them fully agree with the basic principles and research behind College and Career Readiness Standards. They also support Tucker’s additional reform efforts to extend public education to preschool and change the entire teacher education system and professional model. They also concur with Tucker’s goals to make public schools centers for integrated social services and expand the roles of the state DOE and BOE.

The panel discussion is filled with condescending remarks about concerned citizens and parents not having the awareness or intelligence to understand today’s educational environment and needs.

Note that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated more than $5 Million in grants to the National Center on Education and the Economy, Tucker’s organization, for its work on College and Career Readiness Standards.

House Education Forum
Education Through an International Lens
Tuesday, November 10, 2016
(The video is unaltered; only captions were added.)

00:00                     title of the presentation — House Education Forum, Education Through an International Lens, Tuesday, November 10, 2016, Panel Discussion with Marc Tucker

00:22                     Moderator: Rep Terry Wolf, House Education Committee. Panel Participants (right to left, as introduced ):  Dr Virginia Barry, Commissioner of the state Department of Education; Scott McGilvray, President of the NEA-New Hampshire and on the Board of Reaching Higher NH; Tom Raffio, Chairman of the state Board of Education; and Rep Mary Heath, House Education Committee and former Deputy of the state DOE.

04:10                     Barry thanks Tucker for recognizing and discussing NH’s successes [with our conversion to competency-based education and the assessment program, PACE]. She also asks Tucker to comment on governance issues. Throughout the entire presentation Tucker describes a government agency, the equivalent of our state DOE, as one that should have comprehensive responsibilities for designing, implementing, and monitoring the entire education system that includes standards, curriculum, testing, and teacher development. Tucker sees NH’s culture of local control as “confusing” the process.

08:54                     McGilvray comments that there are political battles over high standards and competencies. He asks Tucker for additional information about them from the high-performing countries. Tucker responds that the US education system uses tracking (or placing students into groups by ability) that is not used in his selected high-performing countries. In other words, Tucker advocates for the same expectations of all students, regardless of ability. This is harmful to students at both ends of the spectrum, both our special ed and gifted students.

14:02                     Raffio says he believes all the data that Tucker presented is accurate and critical. (Note that the public has not received the documentation to accompany the presentation.) He believes that early learning (age 0 to 4) and pre-Kindergarten are critical and must have more investment. He ignores the universal criticisms of Common Core’s impact on our youngest learners. He also supports several NH initiatives that are more education “theater” — giving the illusion of improvement without any substance. Raffio believes all of these programs need more funding and state support. Can you say higher taxes? He ignores that increasing AP class and exam rates is not raising educational standards or preparing students for four-year colleges. Also note that many AP courses are converting to College and Career Readiness Standards.

18:00                     Raffio also brings up the need to develop new science standards (Next Generation Science Standards), but laments that the process is politicized. He complains that he had to spend significant time in Concord dealing with bills that “would have eroded public school education”  and defending NH’s move to Competency Based Education. In other words, Raffio doesn’t like that concerned citizens have opposed their top-down reform plans. Read this on the new competency-based assessment, PACE.

19:31                     Wolf asks Tucker to expand his thoughts on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education. Tucker uses this as an opportunity to repeat his concepts for wholesale change to the education system. He repeats his criticisms of the current US teacher education, training, and professional development system. (Read about Tucker’s presentation here for more information.)

23:45                     Tucker circles back to comment on early childhood education that Raffio mentioned. He ignores the dismal failures of programs like Head Start. Tucker reiterates that the problem is more systematic and needs a more comprehensive and complete change with one universal solution coming from the top. This is important because more bills for expanded preschool and all-day taxpayer-funded Kindergarten are lined up for 2016.

25:11                     Raffio responds that the state BOE is spending a lot of effort on revamping NH’s teacher education and training programs. Tucker’s reforms are already underway in NH.

26:11                     Heath comments how inspired she is by Tucker’s presentation and the move to Competency Based Education. She describes parents as an impediment to these changes. Tucker agrees that the public doesn’t understand. He says parents must get better information from various education experts. “What the parents don’t understand is how the world has changed. …No one has ever explained it to them.” Tucker references the PISA test and results which are available here.

33:13                     McGilvray asks a follow-up question about how Tucker’s top-performing countries develop a career path for teachers. Both lament that the only one currently available is to go into administration. Tucker repeats his goal to develop more mentoring programs that have three different career paths that are all under one system.

38:30                     Next Heath turns to charter schools. She says “it’s bifercating public education.” Tucker tells how in his top-performing international countries, their charter schools are mandated to teach the same national curriculum (not just to the same standards), required to teach in the same way, and administer the same national tests. Officials can close any school that does not meet these requirements. He says that these charter schools “do not offer variety and independence of choice by the operators.” Remember these are the role models for his education reform. Note that in New Hampshire, our charter schools are all part of the public school system, more like a subset, not as a separate entity. Unlike other states, none of NH charter schools are privately owned or operated by corporations.

42:30                     Barry points out that NH has 25 charter schools that are part of our public school system and they work closely with traditional public schools. She does not see the division that Heath referred to in her comments. She says “We’re at a good place with our charters.”

44:18                     Wolf opens the remaining time for legislators (not the public) to ask questions.

44:27                     Rep Mel Myler (on the House Education Committee) asks about “whole systems” approach to reform vs a segmented approach. Tucker says that his selected top-performing countries undertook a massive top-down change to redesigning their entire education system. This is his recommendation to implement changes in the US.

54:39                     Rep Mary Gorman (also on the House Education Committee) asks about how schools can provide services and supports to students who are on Free and Reduced Lunch Programs. Tucker says his model countries offer various degrees of support, but it’s changed substantially over the years. He says US schools must be a more integrated source for social and health services and facilitate the coordination of those services with state agencies.

1:03:00                  Rep Rick Ladd (Chairman of the House Education Committee and one of the hosts of this event) asks about state vs federal funding for education. Currently only 6% of NH’s education funding comes from the federal government, 24% from the state, and the rest from local (property tax) funding.  He asks how other countries handle costs and funding. Tucker says that his role-model countries, the federal government, and other states have created “categorical programs” for separate administration within the state level and district level of certain programs.


For more on College and Career Readiness Standards, read:
Common Core Architect in Concord
NH’s Smarter Balanced Results
PACE — When is an Assessment Not a Test? Answer: NEVER
PACE: the Next Educational Reform from the NH DOE
The Next Generation Science Standards Will Fail Our Children
Cut Scores — Making the Grade
Rebranded Common Core Science Standards Will Fail Students
Why Did NH Adopt Common Core Math Standards?
Starting the Year Right

For more information on topics raised in this presentation, read the following articles:
Are the Common Core State Standards Internationally Benchmarked?
A Comparison of Common Core Math to Selected Asian Countries, 6/1/15
How “twisted” early childhood education has become — from a child development expert, 11/24/15
Report: Requiring kindergartners to read — as Common Core does — may harm some, 1/13/15
AP classes failing students, 8/21/13
AP Classes Are a Scam, 10/13/12

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