If you want to get really paranoid…

In CategoryHome Schooling
ByDeb

Read this: The U.S. Dept. of Education’s Data Mining Efforts.

Snippet:

“The U.S. Department of Education is investigating how public schools can collect information on “non-cognitive” student attributes, after granting itself the power to share student data across agencies without parents’ knowledge…..The report suggests researching how to measure and monitor these student attributes using “data mining” techniques and even functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, although “devices that measure EEG and skin conductance may not be practical for use in the classroom.” It delightedly discusses experiments on how kids respond to computer tutors, using cameras to judge facial expressions, an electronic seat that judges posture, a pressure-sensitive computer mouse, and a biometric wrap on kids’ wrists.”

 

On the Common Core

In CategoryHome Schooling
ByDeb

So a couple weeks ago, I saw a tweet that Saxon was aligning their math curriculum with the Common Core. And the day after that, I received an email from Math-U-See that they, too, were aligning with the Common Core. And then I got all aggravated and vented on Facebook a little, and then I picked a fight about it with a public school kindergarten teacher, making me possibly the meanest person ever.

I am opposed to centralized decision making when it comes to education.

Even though I homeschool and couldn’t give a hang about government standards, I do believe that a well-educated populace benefits us all. And I believe that what constitutes a good education is best left to local and state control, to the families and parents who care more than a Washington special interest, power mongering, money-grubbing group ever could.

Furthermore, I believe the Common Core is just another experimental fad, like New Math or No Child Left Behind or every other ridiculous idea that has come along solely because the bureaucrats in the Department of Education have to justify their salaries. This time, however, the Common Core comes as an unconstitutional power grab by the executive branch, wherein the Federal Government is no longer doling out moneys to states to use as they see fit, but instead dictating that states must adopt this national curriculum “voluntarily” in order to receive their education money. The money, I think, is at the center of the homeschool publishers preemptively retooling their curriculum to align. After all, if Saxon or Math-U-See want to sell to private schools, or to homeschoolers in highly regulated states, they have to comply. It’s a business decision. And I find that disappointing.

The Common Core also includes other lovely little tidbits like non-consensual student tracking and sharing of personal data (see more here and here and an example of the kind of data collected here. Important Student Data Points include Bus Route, Dwelling Arrangement, and Religious Affiliation, not to mention Blood Type and even whether or not the student was a premie?). And even though Common Core spouts a bunch of innocuous and even warm-fuzzy-inducing yak-yak about “world class math instruction.” it seems to be in reality a lowering of standards – California, for example, is citing the Common Core as a reason to stop teaching algebra to 8th graders. And no longer will schools teach the classics in Literature, they will now use “informational texts.”

National Curriculum = National Tests. The SAT and ACT are already being reworked to align with the new standards. This way, we can all pat ourselves on the back about our improved test scores whilst still raising kids who can’t read or count your change back when the cash register goes on the fritz at Taco Bell. We have been continually lowering our education standards in this country since the 1960s, while remaining stupidly mystified at our inability to “compete in the global economy” and obsessing about “achievement gaps.” Did you know that Literature texts required for 12th grade English classes after 1963 were simpler than 7th grade texts published prior to 1963? So when our darlings bring home A’s we shouldn’t assume they’re actually learning. 

Here is an excellent, comprehensive, and lengthy article on the Common Core at Daily Uncensored, the most surprising bit to me being the financial bribery involved with signing on. I suppose I am naive, though. Do you think if I praised the Common Core, I could get some money from Bill Gates, too? Speaking of Mr. Gates, insert massive eye-roll at one of the most successful education drop-outs in the country being so invested in standardizing schools.

If you want to get really freaked out, and I mean REALLY FREAKED OUT, read about how this is all just the beginning of a life long tracking plan.

And here is a very detailed explanation of the whole thing on youTube. There are five parts, with the second part going into what, exactly, the new standards are.

 

Is anyone else as worked up about this as I am? Is anyone planning to change what they do about Math?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, my son told me he wanted to learn more about history, so we watched a bunch of documentaries this weekend, and I need to go admire his Lego re-creation of Kublai Khan’s warships.

“Give me the children, I will give you a nation
When an opponent declares,
‘I will not come over to your side.’
I calmly say, ‘Your child belongs to us already…
What are you? You will pass on.
Your descendants, however,
now stand in the new camp.
In a short time they will know nothing
else but this new community.'”

Re-u-nited and it feels so goooood…

In CategoryAdventures in Decorating, Knitting
ByDeb

Yarn-Cabinet-2

Cabinet, purchased at local antique mall: $282.00.

Filled with yarn: ecstatic.

Random Monday

In CategoryRandom Monday
ByDeb

Random-Monday-Main-Final

• Erin at The Usual Mayhem sent me this link a couple weeks ago and it’s too good not to share: What Celebrities Would Look Like if They Were Average Americans. Jennifer Aniston and Nicole Kidman really cracked me up. Madonna was just plain scary.

• Speaking of celebrities, this’ll make your feel a whole lot better: Stars Without Makeup. Some of these women still look great, like Jennifer Garner and Heidi Klum. Others are practically unrecognizable – see Goldie Hawn and Katie Couric. It just goes to show what knockouts we could all be if we had zillions of dollars and glamour squads at our beck and call. I do wonder if some of them are incapable of combing their hair by themselves though. Do you get SO used to having other people handling your beauty regimen that you can’t even use a hairbrush or wield a mascara wand after a while? (HAIRBRUSH, Rebecca Romijn and Emma Stone. Think about it). It’s not really fair to put pictures of Pamela Anderson and Goldie Hawn, who’re what? Seventy-something? without makeup next to pictures of Keira Knightly without makeup, though. Is there a universe where Keira Knightly does not look good? Apparently not.

Marijuana Vending Machines. Great idea, San Diego, you should TOTALLY do that. What could go wrong? 

• After I ranted about stupid traffic roundabouts the last week, Karen at Candid Diversions left this link in the comments. I died laughing.

• Happy Monday, y’all! Link up with your own Randomness below!