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Common Core: School Test Scores Are Nosediving

Common Core: School Test Scores Are Nosediving
Common Core: School Test Scores Are Nosediving

Written by Jane Robbins and Emmett McGroarty

In 2013 Michael Cohen of Achieve, Inc. (an organization integral to developing and marketing the Common Core national standards) testified in New York that Common Core is a long-term education experiment on our children: “The full effects… won’t be seen until an entire cohort of students, from kindergarten through high school graduation, has been effectively exposed to Common Core teaching.” Four years later we may not be seeing the full effects, but heaven help us when we get there.

The most recent red flag comes from the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), an international assessment of the reading skills of representative samples of fourth-graders. As reported by the Washington Post, the 2016 PIRLS results show U.S. students tumbling from fifth in the world to thirteenth. Scores fell by seven points from those achieved by fourth-graders in 2011, the last time scores were released.

Hmm. What could have happened in schools between 2011 and 2016 that might have affected the academic performance of eight-year-olds? A Harvard education professor speculated that the 2009 recession and that old reliable — poverty — could have been the culprits. Education Secretary and on-again off-again Common Core supporter Betsy DeVos couldn’t identify a specific factor but suggested we need to “rethink school.”

Maybe. But Latvia — one of Europe’s poorer countries — outperformed the U.S. And the school structure that DeVos says we should rethink was pretty much the same in 2016 as in 2011. So what could it be?

Employing Occam’s Razor, we might ask how instruction changed in most states during that time. Fourth-graders in 2011 had had little if any exposure to the Common Core standards, which were released in 2010. Fourth-graders in 2016, though, had had at least several years’ experience with Common Core training. And now we know they can’t read as well as their older siblings read at their age.

The Post article didn’t mention Common Core, but EducationDIVE did ask uncomfortable questions about why the national standards don’t seem to be leading to the promised transformation of American public education (or at least transformation in a positive sense). The responses of the Common Core developers and other proponents, appropriately mocked by Shane Vander Hart at Truth in American Education, cited ineffective teacher-training and a delay in creating good curriculum to go with the standards.

These excuses are unpersuasive, especially since so many supposedly brilliant Common Core proponents have cashed in with lucrative consulting gigs to prevent the very problems now bemoaned (beneficiaries of generous Common Core-related contracts include Michael Cohen’s Achieve and standards authors David Coleman, Sue Pimentel, and Jason Zimba). And remember that the problem isn’t just stagnating scores — it’s markedly declining scores.

Richard Innes of the Bluegrass Institute in Kentucky (the first state to adopt Common Core, even before the standards were released) focuses on another troubling but predictable aspect of the PIRLS results: that the biggest decline in achievement occurred among already lower-performing students. Innes explains: “That isn’t a surprise to those who know that research going all the way back to the Lyndon Johnson era shows that Progressive Education fad ideas are least effective with less advantaged students. The adoption of Common Core was accompanied by many schools adopting Progressive Education programs, unfortunately, and PIRLS seems to indicate that Johnson era research on education still rings true today.”

So let’s review the landscape. Years into the implementation of Common Core we see flatlining or declining scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) (see here and here), decline in college-readiness the longer students are exposed to Common Core training, and now the sad PIRLS results. Great job, guys.

Presumably Mr. Cohen and others who have an interest (either financial or reputational) in Common Core’s success will insist on staying the course until our children endure that full 13-year cycle of Common Core training, K through 12. Indeed, Common Core financier Bill Gates is pledging to pour even more money into standards-aligned curricula and teacher-training to slap lipstick on this pig.

If these people really cared about the education of children, they would be conducting a sober analysis of why Common Core failed and how we can rescue as many children as possible from the ruins. But it’s not about the children. It never has been. It’s about ego-driven, hubristic experimentation to centralize control over education for the benefit of multiple special interests. If things get bad enough, they’ll move on to the next well-funded experiment. Pity the poor child who will be stuck there the entire 13 years.

Source: Will County News

Ives Statement on WBEZ Report, ‘Beginning of an Epidemic: Email Shows State Wanted to Wait 6 Days to Publicize Legionnaires’ Outbreak’

For Immediate Release

Ives Statement on WBEZ Report, ‘Beginning of an Epidemic: Email Shows State Wanted to Wait 6 Days to Publicize Legionnaires’ Outbreak’

This is another inexcusable betrayal of our veterans and the benefits they earned protecting our freedoms.”

December 21, 2017 – Yesterday, WBEZ published Dave McKinney’s report ‘Beginning Of An Epidemic’: Email Shows State Waited 6 Days To Publicize Legionnaires’ Outbreak.’ State Represenative Jeanne Ives, Republican Candidate for Governor, released the following statement:

 “The Governor has a moral responsibility to those who are served by the state. He must ensure that services are delivered efficiently, meet the highest standards possible, and that they are, ultimately sustainable. When it becomes clear that the state is not living up to those responsibilities, the Executive Officer must then respond with urgency.

“Since his election in 2014, it become clear that Governor Rauner is very cavalier with other people’s lives. While Rauner plays his blame-shifting game with other IL ruling class pols, veterans died. Preventable deaths aren’t prevented when no one is in charge. Sweeping issues under the rug and breaking promises has become a common theme. This is another inexcusable betrayal of our veterans and the benefits they earned protecting our freedoms. Wasn’t Bruce Rauner the guy with business savvy who was going to make state government more efficient and responsive? He is AWOL and Illinois veterans are being short-changed as a result.” 


For more information or to book Jeanne Ives, contact Kathleen Murphy, kathleenemurphy26@gmail.com or 630-329-4680.

Source: Will County News

Millennials baffled by Obamacare

Millennials baffled by Obamacare

Angry millennials

Millennials are apparently having a devil of a time signing up for Obamacare. That’s according to an article written by Kaiser Health News and published on CNN Money on Wednesday.

Of course, the problem is not that Obamacare is a discombobulated mess that is inherent in every program micromanaged by government. And it’s not because millennials have been coddled and dumbed down and propagandized to believe that government is the source of all things good and the cure for all problems. No, the issue is, according to Kaiser, that the sign-up period has been shortened, the federal government has cut outreach funds by $90 million, and federal funding to groups providing in-person assistance was whacked by 40 percent. In other words: Donald Trump and Republicans.

The stories of these millennials, forced to purchase their own health insurance for the first time as they turn 26, are truly heartbreaking. But not because they are required to navigate government bureaucracy in order to acquire a service that is made overly-expensive and overly-complicated by government meddling. They are heartbreaking because those highlighted are so incompetent and pathetic.

To wit:

Marguerite Moniot felt frustrated and flummoxed. Despite the many hours she had spent in front of the computer this year reading consumer reviews of health insurance plans offered on the individual market in Virginia, she still did not know what plan was right for her.

Moniot was preparing to buy an insurance policy of her own, knowing she would age out of her parents’ plan when she turned 26 in October. She asked her parents for help and advice. But they, too, ran into trouble trying to decipher which policy would work best for their daughter. The family had relied on her father’s employer-sponsored plan through his work as an architect for years, so no one had spent much time sifting through policies.

“Honestly, my parents were just as confused as I was,” said Moniot, a restaurant server in Roanoke.

In defeat, just before Thanksgiving, she went with her mother to meet a certified health insurance navigator and bought a policy that allowed her to keep her current doctors.


But illness does not recognize age. Dominique Ridley, who turned 26 on Dec. 6, knows this all too well.

Ridley has asthma. She always carries an inhaler and sees a doctor when she feels her chest tighten. The student at Radford University in Virginia relies on her mother’s employer-sponsored plan for coverage.

Ridley started peppering her parents with questions about health insurance as soon as she started seeing ads for this year’s open enrollment.

“I don’t want to just go out there and apply for health insurance, and it be all kinds of wrong and I can’t afford it,” she said.

Her parents didn’t have the answers, but her mother linked up Ridley with a friend that runs a marketing company tailored to promoting the Affordable Care Act. Ridley then connected with a broker who signed her up for a silver plan that will cost her less than $4 per month, after receiving a premium subsidy of more than $500 a month.

“If you don’t have health insurance, you don’t have anything,” Ridley said.

The absurdity of Ridley’s fallacy “if you don’t have health insurance, you don’t have anything” aside, Obamacare has been a boondoggle since its inception. It is the greatest wealth transfer in the history of world, as evidence by people like Ridley, who pays only $4 per month for health insurance while the American middle class is saddled with monthly family premiums of $1,500 to $2,000 and deductibles exceeding $10,000 in addition to subsidizing people like Ridley to the tune of $500 or more per month. And all the while, health insurance companies are raking in money hand-over-fist via a captured market and subsidies from the federal treasury.

Like all government programs, the Affordable Care Act does exactly opposite off what its name implies. Obamacare is not affordable by any stretch, nor  has it ever been — hence the need for subsidies.

Under a free market health insurance system, Ridley might have to pay a little more than $4 per month, but she would certainly not have to pay for coverages she won’t need or doesn’t want. Nor would there be any specific government-mandated enrollment period.

Insurance for everyone would be affordable, cost-effective and accessible. People like Moniot could buy as much or as little insurance coverage as they wanted.

Government wouldn’t need to be propping up crony agencies and industries to help people navigate the perplexing website and jargon-laced policy possibilities.

And maybe then the millennials would be able to grow up a bit and be encouraged to take some personal responsibility.

Source: Will County News

What happened when Mexicans adopted the American diet?

What happened when Mexicans adopted the American diet?

When the NAFTA free trade agreement passed in 1994, 10.8 percent of Mexican children were underweight. Now as adults, 72 percent of Mexicans are overweight or obese.

They’ve exchanged one form of malnutrition for another… and done so in greater amounts… all because NAFTA ushered in an American diet.

Where once most Mexicans dined on fresh tomatoes, vegetable stews, beans, tortillas, eggs, rabbits and free-range cattle grown or made at home or on nearby family farms, now they eat processed foods containing high fructose corn syrup, fast food from the chain burger joints and lots of soft drinks.

Big Agriculture replaced the local farms and displaced the local farmers – some 4.8 million of them. Most moved to cities seeking work, where processed foods are even more readily available.

Now most of Mexico’s produce is exported to America, and America reciprocated by sending back Wal-Mart, Subway, Pizza Hut, McDonald’s and Burger King. According to The New York Times,  United States exports to Mexico have been dominated by meat, soybeans and corn. The average annual value of grains crossing into Mexico jumped to $4.7 billion in 2016 from $897 million before NAFTA. Pork and beef exports also surged during the same period; exports of high-fructose corn syrup jumped to $345 million annually from $5 million.

According to the research firm Euromonitor International, Mexico buys the most calories a day with 1928 calories per person, 380 calories more than the US.

The result is that diabetes is now Mexico’s top killer, claiming 80,000 lives a year, according to the World Health Organization. Western processed foods are driving an obesity epidemic into China, India and other developing countries as well.

Mexican trade officials say NAFTA didn’t cause obesity but instead reduced malnutrition, and the rise in Mexican’s deaths from noncommunicable diseases like diabetes and heart disease is “a symptom of relative prosperity.”

Obesity is not a sign of “prosperity.” It’s a sign of insulin resistance, inflammation and poor health. Same as with Americans, where 40 percent of food stamp recipients are obese because their diets consist primarily of soft drinks, processed foods, sugar-laced desserts, grains, milk and milk products and meat and meat alternatives.

According to my study, obesity is related to and the cause of every illness documented, including the degenerative diseases of cancer and heart disease!

Obesity, besides disrupting the immune system, creates chronic and silent inflammation which sets in motion a chain of biochemical events that result in a hormonal imbalance called leptin or insulin resistance, which makes it nearly impossible to maintain a healthy weight.

Insulin resistance is the basis of all of the chronic diseases of aging because insulin resistance itself is actually the disease of aging. Cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, obesity, diabetes, cancer, all the so-called chronic diseases of aging and auto-immune diseases are only symptoms.

Modern medicine is symptomology or the treatment of symptoms. The treatment of symptoms is a business, not a medical therapy.

Eating bad food gets us into this very critical inflammatory syndrome. Only eating good food will get us out. The simplicity of the cause of fat, overweight and obesity does not seem to match the critical illness that results. It all points to how devastating the wrong food is for health.

The key is to replace all processed foods with whole, raw foods. Raw food comes in the form nature created it to be, pure and clean, delivering necessary nutrients without the harmful baggage of man-made processing.

Start gradually adding more raw fruits and vegetables to your food intake until you are consuming one-half to two-thirds of your diet raw. Be sure the raw foods are thoroughly washed.

Not only are raw foods healthier for you, but they help you feel full quicker, are more digestible than processed foods and provide a potent source of protein, vitamins and minerals.

Raw apples, vegetables, fruits, eggs and unpasteurized milk, cream and butter deliver most of the nutrients you will need for the day.

And if you’re looking for a simple diet plan that works, I’ve found that the Nutritarian diet created by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, a board-certified family physician with over 25 years experience practicing nutritional medicine, works effectively. The Nutritarian Diet involves no calorie counting, no feeling hungry between meals and uses the principle of “nutrient density” that allows eating tasty foods that ward off bad health effects like cancer, diabetes and dementia by keeping hormone levels balanced and normal.

Research has shown that insulin resistance and diabetes can be reversedwith proper diet, contrary to what the medical establishment will tell you.


Source: Will County News