Common Core Takes Center Stage at State Board Meeting

By: Allison Nielsen | Posted: September 18, 2013 3:55 AM

Pam Stewart

Pam Stewart

The state Board of Education had its first meeting of the school year in West Palm Beach on Tuesday, where Pam Stewart was selected as the new commissioner of education and the implementation of Common Core State Standards was further discussed.

The standards once again took center stage at the meeting, as two board members -- Kathleen Shanahan and Sally Bradshaw -- expressed their division from the rest of the board in regard to Common Core and how Gov. Rick Scott was handling education across the state.

Shanahan, whose term ends in December, seemed unhappy with the board’s progress since their meeting in July, saying it was “crisis time” for Florida’s schools because of the short timeline until the full implementation of Common Core. She also took issue that the governor didn’t show up to his own three-day education summit which was held in Clearwater last month, and spoke of a rumored education-related executive order about which the board had not been consulted.

“It’s embarrassing for him that he’s disrespecting the statutory integrity of this board,” she said.

Bradshaw spoke about the lack of direction from the governor’s office, saying it led to some grey areas for the board moving forward.

“Because the governor’s office has not given great direction on this, there’s uncertainty,” Bradshaw said.

But other board members disagreed with Shanahan about the “crisis” state of Florida’s education system.

“I don’t think we’re in a crisis,” said Chairman Gary Chartrand. He also noted the Department of Education had made progress since the education summit -- which he attended, while Shanahan did not.

Stewart agreed with Chartrand that the Department of Education wasn’t in a crisis, but did say she believed the next year was one of urgency due to the short timeline until full implementation of the standards.

The board members showed their support for the standards, which are said to provide students with a deeper understanding of classroom material and better prepare them for college and beyond. Chartrand said Common Core is the best thing that's happened in education in his lifetime, and Vice Chair John Padget said he made sure to reiterate his support for the standards when he spoke with the Associated Press earlier this week.

Patricia Levesque, executive director of the Foundation for Florida’s Future, also weighed in on the progress of Common Core on Tuesday at a press conference in Tallahassee.

While there are fewer standards with Common Core, Levesque said that doesn’t mean students won’t be learning just as much -- if not more -- in the classroom: “Fewer standards does not mean we are teaching our students less.”

Levesque emphasized that a difference between the current state standards and Common Core is that teachers will be teaching more deeply in earlier grades so they don’t have to repeat lessons every year.

Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami, was also present at the press conference and showed his support for the standards. Fresen was recently tapped to the Board of Control for Southern Regional Education by Rick Scott.

“[Common Core] is the most logical and well-studied next step for our state,” he said.

But while there seems to be general support for Common Core in the Florida Department of Education and in education organizations across the Sunshine State, there may be several roadblocks on the way to full implementation of Common Core. Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford both advised former Commissioner of Education Tony Bennett to pump the brakes on the testing assessment of Common Core, PARCC, saying it’s too costly and time-consuming to be implemented. Instead, they advocated Florida having its own assessment test over PARCC.

Rep. Debbie Mayfield, R-Vero Beach, has also filed legislation to pause going forward with PARCC. Her legislation would also require the state to pull out of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC. In addition to leaving PARCC behind, the bill would also require the state Board of Education to meet certain requirements before moving forward with the English and math portions of the standards and specifically bar it from implementing Common Core in any other subject areas.


Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen at or follow her on Twitter at @AllisonNielsen.  


Comments (8)

4:10PM SEP 21ST 2013
Too expensive to use an alreadt devised test better if we spend the time and money to make one up ourselves. One that does not make us look foolish for not educating our kids. Goetz is an idiot. Thought Weatherford was smarter.
9:56AM SEP 21ST 2013
It's par for the course that liberals are at the top of the list. Anyone that really rocks the boat was left off - Glenn Beck for one. The man is a genius. Bill O'Reilly is what he used to be, therefore, doesn't really count in my opinion. air max
Chris Quackenbush
1:00PM SEP 18TH 2013
The bios of the Florida State School Board show all have strong ties to Jeb Bush who is personally jamming Common Core down the throats of Floridians and the country. To say that Common Core Standards are good simply shows their lack of knowledge or intellectual honesty. They have never been tested or benchmarked anywhere. As a reporter, I hope you will investigate our many and growing concerns with this corporate crony thrust for Nation Standards specifically rejected by our founding fathers in the Constitution. Common Core is untested, unaffordable, unconstitutional, unwise and unworkable. It removes any control parents, teachers, local districts and states had on standards which are copyrighted by nameless bureaucrats in DC. The standards are designed to create interchangeable parts on a corporate assembly line, not develop the creative individual to their fullest capacity. If I sound angry, I really am. Our children have been sold down the river in exchange for waivers for No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top funding. The short term money will result in much greater expense to the state in a few years and will eliminate all the programs that have brought advances to Florida students, such as choice, vouchers, home schooling, and charter schools. Common Core is a one size fits all approach millions of Floridians oppose. We will be at the Education Committee hearing next week, Sept 25, in case you’d like to link up with us to see the other side. There will be a press conference at 11:30am.

I just returned from the University of Notre Dame where the Heartland Institute, Pioneer Institute and the American Principles Project held a conference with the National Experts AGAINST Common Core including Dr. Sandra Stotsky, who wrote the standards for Massachusetts and Dr. Milgram, the math expert from Stanford and dozens of others. Here is a copy below of their speeches and links to many others. My web site has hundreds of links you might find useful.

Notre Dame Conference Address of Dr. Sandra Stotsky: Common Core’s Invalid Validation Committee Posted September 7, 2013 by Christel Swasey

On Monday, at the University of Notre Dame, Dr. Sandra Stotsky will present a white paper about Common Core’s validation committee at a conference entitled “The Changing Role of Education in America: Consequences of the Common Core.” It is posted below.
A few of powerful points from Dr. Stotsky’s paper:
1. “One aspect of the ELA standards that remained untouchable despite the consistent criticisms I sent to the standards writers… was David Coleman’s
idea that nonfiction or informational texts should occupy at least half of the readings in every English class, to the detriment of classic literature… Even though all the historical and empirical evidence weighed against this concept, his idea was apparently set in stone.”
2. “The standards were created by people who wanted a “Validation Committee” in name only. An invalid process, endorsed by an invalid Validation Committee, resulted not surprisingly in invalid standards.”
3. “Because the Work Group labored in secret, without open meetings, sunshine-law minutes of meetings, or accessible public comment, its reasons for making the decisions it did are lost to history.”
4. “There has been no validation of Common Core’s standards by a public process, nor any validation of its college-readiness level in either mathematics or English language arts by the relevant higher education faculty in this country… It is possible to consider the original vote by state boards of education to adopt Common Core’s standards null and void, regardless of whether a state board of education now chooses to recall its earlier vote. Any tests based on these invalid standards are also invalid, by definition.”
Dr. Stotsky has permitted widespread publication of her paper, and it is posted here.

Common Core’s Invalid Validation Committee Sandra Stotsky Professor Emerita, University of Arkansas
Paper prepared for a conference at University of Notre Dame
September 9, 2013
Common Core’s K-12 standards, it is regularly claimed, emerged from a state-led process in which experts and educators were well represented. But the people who wrote the standards did not represent the relevant stakeholders. Nor were they qualified to draft standards intended to “transform instruction for every child.” And the Validation Committee (VC) that was created to put the seal of approval on the drafters’ work was useless if not misleading, both in its membership and in the procedures they had to follow.
I served as the English language arts (ELA) standards expert on that committee and will describe today some of the deficiencies in its make-up, procedures, and outcome. The lack of an authentic validation of Common Core’s so-called college-readiness standards (by a committee consisting largely of discipline based higher education experts who actually teach freshmen and other undergraduates mathematics or English/humanities courses) before state boards of education voted to adopt these standards suggests their votes had no legal basis. In this paper, I set forth a case for declaring the votes by state boards of education to adopt Common Core’s standards null and void—and any tests based on them.
For many months after the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) was launched in early 2009, the identities of the people drafting the “college- and career-readiness standards” were unknown to the public. CCSSI eventually (in July) revealed the names of the 24 members of the “Standards Development Work Group” (designated as developing these standards) in response to complaints from parent groups and others about the lack of transparency.
What did this Work Group look like? Focusing only on ELA, the make-up of the Work Group was quite astonishing: It included no English professors or high-school English teachers. How could legitimate ELA standards be created without the very two groups of educators who know the most about what students should and could be learning in secondary English classes? CCSSI also released the names of individuals in a larger “Feedback Group.” This group included one English professor and one high-school English teacher. But it was made clear that these people would have only an advisory role – final decisions would be made by the English-teacher-bereft Work Group.
Indeed, Feedback Group members’ suggestions were frequently ignored, according to the one English professor on this group, without explanation. Because the Work Group labored in secret, without open meetings, sunshine-law minutes of meetings, or accessible public comment, its reasons for making the decisions it did are lost to history.
The lead ELA writers were David Coleman and Susan Pimentel, neither of whom had experience teaching English either in K-12 or at the college level. Nor had either of them ever published serious work on K-12 curriculum and instruction. Neither had a reputation for scholarship or research; they were virtually unknown to the field of English language arts. But they had been chosen to transform ELA education in the US. Who recommended them and why, we still do not know.
In theory, the Validation Committee (VC) should have been the fail-safe mechanism for the standards. The VC consisted of about 29 members during 2009-2010. Some were ex officio, others were recommended by the governor or commissioner of education of an individual state. No more is known officially about the rationale for the individuals chosen for the VC. Tellingly, the VC contained almost no experts on ELA standards; most were education professors and representatives of testing companies, from here and abroad. There was only one mathematician on the VC—R. James Milgram (there were several mathematics educators—people with doctorates in mathematics education and, in most cases, appointments in an education school). I was the only nationally acknowledged expert on English language arts standards by virtue of my work in Massachusetts and for Achieve, Inc.’s American Diploma Project high school exit standards for ELA and subsequent backmapped standards for earlier grade levels.
As a condition of membership, all VC members had to agree to 10 conditions, among which were the following:
Ownership of the Common Core State Standards, including all drafts, copies, reviews, comments, and nonfinal versions (collectively, Common Core State Standards), shall reside solely and exclusively with the Council of Chief State School Officers (“CCSSO”) and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (“NGA Center”).
I agree to maintain the deliberations, discussions, and work of the Validation Committee, including the content of any draft or final documents, on a strictly confidential basis and shall not disclose or communicate any information related to the same, including in summary form, except within the membership of the Validation Committee and to CCSSO and the NGA Center.
As can be seen in the second condition listed above, members of the VC could never, then or in the future, discuss whether or not the VC discussed the meaning of college readiness or had any recommendations to offer on the matter. The charge to the VC spelled out in the summer of 2009, before the grade-level mathematics standards were developed, was as follows:
1. Review the process used to develop the college- and career-readiness standards and recommend improvements in that process. These recommendations will be used to inform the K-12 development process.
2. Validate the sufficiency of the evidence supporting each college- and career-readiness standard. Each member is asked to determine whether each standard has sufficient evidence to warrant its inclusion.
3. Add any standard that is not now included in the common core state standards that they feel should be included and provide the following evidence to support its inclusion: 1) evidence that the standard is essential to college and career success; and 2) evidence that the standard is internationally comparable.”
It quickly became clear that the VC existed as window-dressing; it was there to rubber-stamp, not improve, the standards. As all members of the VC were requested to do, I wrote up a detailed critique of the College and Career Readiness Standards in English language arts in the September 2009 draft and critiques of drafts of the grade-level standards as they were made available in subsequent months. I sent my comments to the three lead standards writers as well as to Common Core’s staff, to other members of the VC (until the VC was directed by the staff to send comments only to them for distribution), and to Commissioner Chester and the members of the Massachusetts Board of Education (as a fellow member).
At no time did I receive replies to my comments or even queries from the CCSSI staff, the standards writers, or Commissioner Chester and fellow board members. In a private conversation at the end of November, 2009, I was asked by Chris Minnich, a CCSSI staff member, if I would be willing to work on the standards during December with Susan Pimentel, described to me as the lead ELA standards writer. I had worked with her (working for StandardsWork) on the 2008 Texas English language arts standards and, earlier, on other standards projects. I was told that Pimentel made the final decisions on the ELA standards. I agreed to spend about two weeks in Washington, DC working on the ELA standards pro bono with Pimentel if it was made clear that agreed-upon revisions would not be changed by unknown others before going out for comment to other members of the VC and, eventually, the public.
A week after sending to Minnich and Pimentel a list of the kind of changes I thought needed to be made to the November 2009 draft before we began to work together, I received a “Dear John” letter from Chris Minnich. He thanked me for my comments and indicated that my suggestions would be considered along with those from 50 states and that I would hear from the staff sometime in January.
In the second week of January 2010, a “confidential draft” was sent out to state departments of education in advance of their submitting an application on January 19 for Race to the Top (RttT) funds. (About 18 state applications, including the Bay State’s, were prepared by professional grant writers chosen and paid for by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation—at roughly $250,000 each.) A few states included the watermarked confidential draft in their application material and posted the whole application on their department of education’s website (in some cases required by law), so it was no longer confidential. This draft contained none of the kinds of revisions I had suggested in my December e-mail to Minnich and Pimentel. Over the next six months, the Pioneer Institute published my analyses of that January draft and succeeding drafts, including the final June 2 version. I repeatedly pointed out serious flaws in the document, but at no time did the lead ELA standards writers communicate with me (despite requests for a private discussion) or provide an explanation of the organizing categories for the standards and the focus on skills, not literary/historical content.
One aspect of the ELA standards that remained untouchable despite the consistent criticisms I sent to the standards writers, to those in charge of the VC, to the Massachusetts board of education, to the Massachusetts commissioner of education, to the media, and to the public at large was David Coleman’s idea that nonfiction or informational texts should occupy at least half of the readings in every English class, to the detriment of classic literature and of literary study more broadly speaking. Even though all the historical and empirical evidence weighed against this concept, his idea was apparently set in stone.
The deadline for producing a good draft of the college-readiness and grade-level ELA (and mathematics) standards was before January 19, 2010, the date the U.S. Department of Education had set for state applications to indicate a commitment to adopting the standards to qualify for Race to the Top grants.
But the draft sent to state departments of education in early January was so poorly written and content deficient that CCSSI had to delay releasing a public comment draft until March. The language in the March version had been cleaned up somewhat, but the draft was not much better in organization or substance – the result of unqualified drafters working with undue haste and untouchable premises.
None of the public feedback to the March draft has ever been made available. The final version released in June 2010 contained most of the problems apparent in the first draft: lack of rigor (especially in the secondary standards), minimal content, lack of international benchmarking, lack of research support.
In February 2010, I and presumably all other members of the VC received a “letter of certification” from the CCSSI staff for signing off on Common Core’s standards (even though the public comment draft wasn’t released until March 2010 and the final version wasn’t released until June). The original charge to the VC had been reduced in an unclear manner by unidentified individuals to just the first two and least important of the three bullets mentioned above. Culmination of participation on the committee was reduced to signing or not signing a letter by the end of May 2010 asserting that the standards were:
1 Reflective of the core knowledge and skills in ELA and mathematics that students need to be college- and career ready.
2. Appropriate in terms of their level of clarity and specificity.
3. Comparable to the expectations of other leading nations.
4. Informed by available research or evidence.
5. The result of processes that reflect best practices for standards development.
6. A solid starting point for adoption of cross-state common core standards.
7. A sound basis for eventual development of standards-based assessments.
The VC members who signed the letter were listed in the brief official report on the VC (since committee work was confidential, there was little the rapporteur could report), while the five members who did not sign off were not listed as such, nor their reasons mentioned. Stotsky’s letter explaining why she could not sign off can be viewed here (and below), and Milgram’s letter can be viewed here (and below).
This was the “transparent, state-led” process that resulted in the Common Core standards. The standards were created by people who wanted a “Validation Committee” in name only. An invalid process, endorsed by an invalid Validation Committee, resulted not surprisingly in invalid standards.
States need to reconsider their hasty decisions to adopt this pig in an academic poke for more than substantive reasons. There has been no validation of Common Core’s standards by a public process, nor any validation of its college-readiness level in either mathematics or English language arts by the relevant higher education faculty in this country. And there is nothing in the history and membership of the VC to suggest that the public should place confidence in the CCSSI or the U.S. Department of Education to convene committees of experts from the relevant disciplines in higher education in this country and elsewhere to validate Common Core’s college-readiness level. It is possible to consider the original vote by state boards of education to adopt Common Core’s standards null and void, regardless of whether a state board of education now chooses to recall its earlier vote. Any tests based on these invalid standards are also invalid, by definition.
Sandra Stotsky, Ed.D.

Professor Emerita
246 Clark Road
Brookline, MA 02445
Home Office: (617)-734-1584 Download CV
Sandra Stotsky is credited with developing one of the country’s strongest sets of academic standards for K-12 students as well as the strongest academic standards and licensure tests for prospective teachers while serving as Senior Associate Commissioner in the Massachusetts Department of Education from 1999-2003. She is also known nation-wide for her in-depth analyses of the problems in Common Core’s English language arts standards.
Her current research ranges from the deficiencies in teacher preparation programs and teacher licensure tests to the deficiencies in the K-12 reading curriculum and the question of gender bias in the curriculum. She is regularly invited to testify or submit testimony to state boards of education and state legislators on bills addressing licensure tests, licensure standards, and Common Core’s standards (e.g., Utah, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, South Carolina, and Texas).
She currently serves on several committees for the International Dyslexia Association and on the advisory board for Pioneer Institute’s Center for School Reform. She served on the National Validation Committee for the Common Core State Systemic Initiative (2009-2010), on the National Mathematics Advisory Panel (2006-2008), co-authoring its final report as well as two of its task group reports, on the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (2006-2010), and on the Steering Committee in 2003-2004 for the framework for the National Assessment of Educational Progress reading assessments for 2009 onward.
Her major publications include The Death and Resurrection of a Coherent Literature Curriculum (Rowman & Littlefield, 2012); Literary Study in Grades 9, 10, and 11: A National Survey (Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers, 2010); What’s at Stake in the K-12 Standards Wars: A Primer for Educational Policy Makers (Peter Lang, 2000); and Losing Our Language (Free Press, 1999, reprinted by Encounter Books, 2002).
Recent Professional Activities
• James Milgram and Sandra Stotsky. Can this country survive Common Core’s college readiness level? September 2013.
• Sandra Stotsky. Common Core’s Invalid Validation Committee. Paper presented for a conference at University of Notre Dame. September 9, 2013.
• Sandra Stotsky. “Invited Testimony for a Hearing in Michigan on Common Core.” August 14, 2013.
• Sandra Stotsky. “New York State Test Results: Uninterpretable But a Portent of the Future,” August 12, 2013. Pioneer Institute Rock the Schoolhouse blog.
• Sandra Stotsky. Invited Testimony for a Hearing on Common Core in Indiana. August 5, 2013.
• Sandra Stotsky. My View: This is Why I Oppose Common Core. Desert News. July 24, 2013.
• Sandra Stotsky. Kentucky Needs Higher Expectations for its Students: Testimony Submitted to the Kentucky Board of Education, July 2013
• Sandra Stotsky. Invited Testimony for a Hearing on the Implementation of Common Core’s Standards in Arkansas, July 22, 2013
• Sandra Stotsky. “4 Steps to Upgrade Teacher & Administrator Prep Programs.” Pioneer Institute. July 18, 2013.
• Sandra Stotsky. “How Long Before Duncan and the Media Speak Out Honestly?” Pioneer Institute. July, 10, 2013.
• Sandra Stotsky. “Revise or Reject: The Common Core’s Serious Flaws.” National Association of Scholars. July 3, 2013.
• Sandra Stotsky. ”Common Core’s Cloudy Vision of College Readiness in Math.” Pioneer Institute. July 1, 2013.
• Sandra Stotsky. “More Than One Fatal Flaw in Common Core’s ELA Standards.” Pioneer Institute. June 26, 2013.
• Sandra Stotsky and Jane Robbins. Pulling Back the Curtain on Common Core. The Blaze. June 27, 2013.
• Sandra Stotsky. What To Do Once Common Core Is Halted. Pioneer Institute. June 20, 2013.
• Sandra Stotsky. Why Do They Lie? And Why Do Others Believe Them? Pioneer Institute. June 18, 2013.
• Panel Discussion on Common Core at Thousand Oaks, California, June 10, 2013
• Forum on Common Core at the Worcester, Massachusetts Public Library, June 5, 2013
• Sandra Stotksy. Wanted: Internationally Benchmarked Standards in Mathematics, Science, and English Language Arts. May 2013.
• Interview with Sandra Stotsky. Education Views. April 2013.
• Robert Pondiscio, Gilbert T. Sewall, and Sandra Stotsky. Foreward by Walter A. McDougall. Shortchanging the Future: The Crisis of History and Civics in American Schools. Pioneer Institute White Paper 100, April 2013.
• Sandra Stotsky, “Sandra Stotsky Discusses the Common Core (Video).” The Pioneer Institute. April 9, 2013.
• Sandra Stotsky, Testimony for a Hearing in Arkansas for HB1590. March 28, 2013. (Appendix A and Appendix B)
• Sandra Stotsky, Invited Testimony for a Hearing in Michigan on House Bill 4276. March 20, 2013.
• Sandra Stotsky, Testimony for a Hearing on House Bill #616 and Senate Bill #210: Bills to prohibit the State Board of Education from adopting and implementing Common Core’s Standards and Tests. March 6, 2013.
• Sandra Stotsky, Invited Testimony for a Hearing on SB 167: A bill on Common Core’s Standards and Tests. February 28, 2013.
• Sandra Stotsky, Invited Testimony for Kansas on Common Core. February 14, 2013.
• Sandra Stotsky, An English Language Arts Curriculum Framework for American Public Schools: A Model, February 2013
• Sandra Stotsky. 2013. Why Do Education Schools Have Such Low Standards? Essay written for Minding the Campus.
• Anders Lewis and Sandra Stotsky. 2013. The Rise and Fall of the Study of American History in Massachusetts. Pioneer Institute White Paper No. 97.
• Sandra Stotsky. 2013. Literature or Technical Manuals: Who Should Be Teaching What, Where, and Why?. Paper presented at The Constitutional Coalition’s Educational Policy Conference.
• Sandra Stotsky. 2013. Why We Must Raise the Bar for Admission to an Education School. Paper given at the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.
• Sandra Stotsky. Testimony before the Indiana Senate Committee on Education and Career Development. January 16, 2013
• Sandra Stotsky and George Denny. 2012. Single-sex classrooms and reading achievement: An exploratory study. Journal of School Choice: Research, Theory, and Reform, 6 (4), 439-464.
• Sandra Stotsky. Common Core Standards’ Devastating Impact on Literary Study and Analytical Thinking. The Heritage Foundation Issue Brief #3800, December 11, 2012.
• Sandra Stotsky. Invited Testimony on the Low Quailty of the Common Core Standards. Testimony Submitted to Colorado’s State Board of Education, December 6, 2012
• Stotsky, Sandra. “Lessons to Learn: Teachers’ teachers responsible, too.” Arkansas Democrat Gazette, October 6, 2012.
• Stotsky, Sandra et al. ”Good Citizenship: To Preserve Republic, Teach Civics.” Arkansas Democrat Gazette, September 19, 2012.
• Mark Bauerlein and Sandra Stotsky. (September 2012). How Common Core’s ELA Standards Place College Readiness at Risk. Pioneer Institute White Paper No. 89.
• Stotsky, Sandra. 2012. “How Common Core Standards Have Begun to Damage the School Curriculum,” Heritage Foundation, April 17, 2012.
• Stotsky, Sandra. 2012. “Invited Comments on the Common Core Standards to the House Committe on Education in South Carolina,” South Carolina, April 18, 2012.
• Stotsky, Sandra. 2012. “The Serpent in Finland’s Garden of Equity,” Journal of School Choice: Research, Theory, and Reform, 6(2), 295-300.
• Stotsky, Sandra. 2012. “Invited Testimony for a Hearing on a South Carolina Bill to Amend 1976 Code,” February 16, 2012.
• Stotsky, Sandra. 2012. “Invited Testimony for a Hearing on Wisconsin Bill AB 558,” February 15, 2012.
• Stotsky, Sandra. 2012. “Invited Testimony for a hearing on Indiana Senate Bill No. 373,” January 25, 2012.
• Stotsky, Sandra. 2012. “Competition and Choice Bring Reform, but there’s a Problem,” February 9, 2012.
• Stotsky, Sandra. 2012. “The Last Word: An Interview with Sandra Stotsky–A Call for Challenge and Coherence (May 2011). Joe Helbling and Catherine A. Little.”
• Stotsky, Sandra. 2011. “The Stealth Curriculum,” in Sarah Stern (Ed.)Saudi Arabia and the Global Islamic Terrorist Network, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011, 65-80.
• Stotsky, Sandra. 2011. “Tailoring to Students’ Interests”. Room for Debate, New York Times, August 23, 2011.
• Stotsky, Sandra. 2011. “Ten Steps to a Better ESEA (with apologies to the Fordham Institute): How to reauthorize ESEA so that it might actualy upgrade K-12 education. April 23, 2011.”
• Stotsky, Sandra. 2012. “Invited Testimony for a Hearing on Indiana Senate Bill No. 373 to Void Any Action Taken by the State Board of Education to Adopt the Common Core standards as the state’s standards,” January 25, 2012.
• Sandra Stotsky. How to Implement Common Core’s Literacy Standards to Enhance Civic Literacy in Arkansas. Presentation to Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators: August 2, 2011
• Sandra Stotsky, Heritage Foundation Event, July 27, 2011.
• Sandra Stotsky. “Testimony in Favor of Bill on Texas State Sovereignty over Curriculum Standards, Assessements, and Student Information,”Testimony for a Hearing on House Bill No. 2923, April 14, 2011
o Video of Event
o Prepared Remarks in Writing
• Sandra Stotsky. “Literary Study in Grades 9,10, and 11: A National Survey” A Publication of the ALSCW, Number 4, Fall 2010.
• Sandra Stotsky and Ze’ev Wurman. “Common Core’s Standards Still Don’t Make the Grade,” A Pioneer Institute White Paper, No. 65, July 2010.
• Sandra Stotsky. “Literary Study in Grades 9, 10, and 11 in Arkansas,” March 22, 2010.
• Sandra Stotsky. “National Academic Standards: The First Test,” September 22, 2009.
• Sandra Stotsky. “Teachers’ Pet,” The Weekly Standard, Volume 015, Issue 01, September 12, 2009.
• Sandra Stotsky. “New Guidelines for Teacher Training,” September 1, 2009.
• Sandra Stotsky. “The Academic Quality of Teachers: A Civil Rights Issue,” Commentary, Education Week, June 26, 2009.
• Sandra Stotsky. “Licensure Tests for Special Education Teachers: How Well They Assess Knowledge of Reading Instruction and Mathematics,” June 26, 2009.
• Invited written statement submitted to the New Jersey State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. “Teacher Licensing Standards, Teacher Quality, and Student Achievement in Urban Schools,” May 2009
• Sandra Stotsky. “Suggested Indices of Teacher Quality for Arkansas: A Position Paper,” Presented at the Office for Education Policy’s Conference “Preparing Highly Qualified Teachers for Arkansas”, April 2009
• Sandra Stotsky. “The Bitter Fruit of School Reform,” The New York Times, April 28, 2009
• Sandra Stotsky. “The global achievement muddle,” Northwest Arkansas Times, March 17th, 2009
• Sandra Stotsky. “What boys are reading,” L. Sax (Ed.), Gender Differences in Learning and School; an Online Special Edition, January 15th, 2009
• Sandra Stotsky. “Licensure Tests for Special Education Teachers: How Well They Assess Knowledge of Reading Instruction and Mathematics,” Education Working Paper Archive, November 7, 2008
• Sandra Stotsky. “Out of one, many,” Arkansas Democrat Gazette, June 21st, 2008
• Sandra Stotsky. “Teacher Licensure Tests: Their Relationship to Mathematics Teachers’ Academic Competence and Student Achievement in Mathematics,” Education Working Paper Archive, September 5, 2007
Sandra Stotsky
University of Arkansas - Department of Education Reform (DER)

Milgram's Testimony Before Texas Legislature May, 2011
Testimony on the CCSSI Core Standards and the new draft TX math standards
R. James Milgram
Professor of Mathematics Emeritus
Stanford University

I would like to testify in support of the bill Rep. Huberty filed, HB 2923, to prevent
the so called Core Standards, and the related curricula and tests from being adopted in Texas.

My Qualifications. I was one of the national reviewers of both the first and second
drafts of the new TX math standards. I was also one of the 25 members of the CCSSO/ NGA Validation Committee, and the only content expert in mathematics.

The Validation Committee oversaw the development of the new National Core Standards, and as a result, I had considerable influence on the mathematics standards in the document. However, as is often the case, there was input from many other sources - including State Departments of Education - that had to be incorporated into the standards.

A number of these sources were mainly focused on things like making the standards as non-challenging as possible. Others were focused on making sure their favorite topics were present, and handled in the way they liked.

As a result, there are a number of extremely serious failings in Core Standards that
make it premature for any state with serious hopes for improving the quality of the mathematical education of their children to adopt them. This remains true in spite of the fact that more than 35 states have already adopted them.

For example, by the end of fifth grade the material being covered in arithmetic and
algebra in Core Standards is more than a year behind the early grade expectations in most high achieving countries. By the end of seventh grade Core Standards are roughly two years behind.
• Typically, in those countries, much of the material in Algebra I and the first semester of Geometry is covered in grades 6, 7, or 8, and by the end of ninth grade, students will have finished all of our Algebra I, almost all of our Algebra II content, and our Geometry expectations, including proofs, all at a more sophisticated level than we expect.
• Consequently, in many of the high achieving countries, students are either expected to complete a standard Calculus course, or are required to finish such a course to graduate from High School (and over 90% of the populations typically are high school graduates).
Besides the issue mentioned above, Core Standards in Mathematics have very low expectations. When we compare the expectations in Core Standards with international expectations at the high school level we find, besides the slow pacing, that Core Standards only cover Algebra I, much but not all of the expected contents of Geometry, and about half of the expectations in Algebra II. Also, there is no discussion at all of topics more advanced than these.

Problems with the actual mathematics in Core Math Standards As a result of all the political pressure to make Core Standards acceptable to the special interest groups involved, there are a number of extremely problematic mathematical decisions that were made in writing them. Chief among them are

1. The Core Mathematics Standards are written to reflect very low expectations. More
exactly, the explicitly stated objective is to prepare students not to have to take
remedial mathematics courses at a typical community college. They do
not even cover all the topics that are required for admission to any of the state
universities around the country, except possibly those in Arizona, since the minimal
expectations at these schools are three years of mathematics including at least two
years of algebra and one of geometry.
• Currently, about 40% of entering college freshmen have to take remedial mathematics.
• For such students there is less than a 2% chance they will ever successfully take a college calculus course.
• Calculus is required to major in essentially all of the most critical areas: engineering, economics, medicine, computer science, the sciences, to name just a few.
2. An extremely unusual approach to geometry from grade 7 on, focusing on rigid transformations. It was argued by members of the writing committee that this approach is rigorous (true), and is, in fact, the most complete and accurate development of the foundations of geometry that is possible at the high school level (also probably true). But
• it focuses on sophisticated structures teachers have not studied or even seen before.
• As a result, maybe one in several hundred teachers will be capable of teaching the new material as intended.
• However, there is an easier thing that teachers can do – focus on student play with rigid transformations, and the typical curriculum that results would be a very superficial discussion of geometry, and one where there are no proofs at all.
Realistically, the most likely outcome of The Core Mathematics geometry standards
is the complete suppression of the key topics in Euclidean geometry including proofs
and deductive reasoning.

The new Texas Mathematics Standards As I am sure you are aware, Texas has spent the past year constructing new draft mathematics standards, and I was one of the national reviewers of both the first and second drafts. The original draft did a better job of pacing than Core Standards, being about one year ahead of them by the end of eighth grade, so not nearly as far behind international expectations. Additionally, they contained a reasonable set of standards for a pre-calculus course, and overall a much more reasonable set of high school standards.

There were a large number of problems as well - normal for a first draft. However, the second draft had fixed almost all of these issues, and the majority of my comments on the second draft were to suggest fixes for imprecise language and some clarifications of what the differences are between the previous approaches to the lower grade material in this country and the approaches in the high achieving countries.

It is also worth noting that the new Texas lower grade standards are closer to international approaches to the subject than those of any other state.

I think it is safe to say that the new Texas Math Standards that are finally approved by the Texas Board of Education will be among the best, if not the best, in the country. (I cannot say this with complete certainty until I have seen the final draft. But since I am, again, one of the national reviewers, this should be very soon.)

So it seems to me that you have a clear choice between
• Core Standards - in large measure a political document that, in spite of a number of real strengths, is written at a very low level and does not adequately reflect our current understanding of why the math programs in the high achieving countries give dramatically better results;
• The new Texas Standards that show every indication of being among the best, if not the best, state standards in the country. They are written to prepare students to both enter the workforce after graduation, and to take calculus in college if not earlier. They also reflect very well, the approaches to mathematics education that underlie the results in the high achieving countries.
For me, at least, this would not be a difficult choice. So for these many reasons I strongly support HR 2923, and hope the distinguished members of this committee will support it as well.

R. James Milgram
11:34AM SEP 18TH 2013
I think Republicans are growing tired of this particular mafia trying to control education in Florida. I'm sure there's some testing company at the bottom of Common Core that funds a certain lobbying firm and a certain "foundation". Shanahan sure has gotten shrill.
10:11AM SEP 18TH 2013
Why don't you people start teaching Math, Reading,and writing and
every class needs to learn American History.Education(?) in American
is so far behind other countries.It appears our children are being taught
how to be good little followers.Thank God my children got a real education before the government took over.Gert rid of common core,or all children will be Common
8:44AM SEP 18TH 2013
Just more evidence of the government trying to "take over" everything!
Myra C. Sims
7:07AM SEP 18TH 2013
I am 80 years and I pay for the children of FL to go to school as does any person who lives here. No "Common Core"
6:43AM SEP 18TH 2013
One complains Rick is meddlesome and one says he's not giving direction. Which is it?
One says common core is "well-studied"??? Rubbish.
Kudos to Rep Mayfield.

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