Books are Enough

The Power of Free, Self-Selected Reading

Common Core Infection

One of the newest scams making the rounds with the weak minded is something called “mastery based learning.” The New Haven Independent just reported on a high school engaging in what they call a “bold experiment” by ditching letter grades and scoring students on report cards with a dizzying list of “skill” ratings.  In order to “show mastery” you are supposed to get a 3 or a 4. They call freshmen “first year students.”

As you can see they are trying to control the language by changing it.

Who are they? A lot of folks are pushing this mastery based scam. In New Haven it is a group called “EPIC” (Educators for Progress, Innovation and Collaboration). Does anyone know about this shadowy group? Jeb Bush is part of this crowd too. The end goal is to crush public schools and go to full online schools.

In some classes students have to “master” skills after just 18 weeks.  The state says this system will “ensure kids graduation with skills they need to succeed.”  Really? The skills they listed in the article included “plot” and “main idea.” Also listed were “thesis construction” and “narrative writing.” There are many more “skills” to rate. These are skills needed to succeed? So this is one size fits all?

What is all of this based on? The state of Connecticut says they are based on the new Common Core State Standards, a national curriculum set to take effect in 2015. Now we get down to the raisins.

This is all part of the common core scam that will cost billions and make record profits for testing companies, consultants, and a host of educational parasites. Of course there is no need for common core but there are  a lot of sheeple out there willing to be sheared.

LET ME BE CLEAR about two things…

1. Anyone involved with this idea should be fired


The Myth of Skill Mastery

I wonder if a golfer who wins the US Open feels he has mastered the game of golf. When he finishes dead last the next week what does he do? Let me rate this golfer on “skills” for his winning week and then for his dead last finish. I will use the same scale these charlatans in New Haven are using.

Report Card for Week One: RESULT: WIN

Putting 3.0  Driving 2.5  Chipping 4.0 Short Irons 2.5  Long Irons 1.5

*How did this guy win? He only “mastered” two areas.

Report Card for Week Two: RESULT: DEAD LAST

Putting  3.0 Driving 2.5 Chipping 4.0 Short Irons 2.5 Long Irons 1.5

*Wait! Same as last week. Yes but the course was different and the field was different.

You see, my friends, all that matters is your score. In literacy all that matters is understanding what is on the page.

The Strange Case of Mary Weber

Let us look at the fictional scores of little Mary Weber. Mary scored the following on her expository writing tests…

*1.5, 2.0, 4.0, 3.0. 2.o, 1.0  (Which score do we use? Did she master?)

How about Mary’s scores for the “main idea” skill?

*Her 8th grade final report card said Mary mastered this skill with a 4.0 score. Now at the end of 9th grade she scored a 2.0 for her final score. Is is really possible to lose your mastery? In the alternate universe of common core- yes.

Mary got a 23 on the ACT but she did not master some isolated skill. Teaching literacy skills in isolation is anti-evidence and that is what common core does.

Text difficulty, interest, mood, length of text, and many other factors affect results on these skill tests. You do not master these skills. YOU are always a work in progress.  This mythical idea of “mastery” is as fraudulent as the idea of “on grade level.” Telling someone they have mastered a literacy skill is manifestly foolish.

You can read the article about the school using this scheme here. 


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