The Common Core Experiment

Apfelgriebsch, Apfelbutzen, Apfel, Applebutt
Apfelgriebsch, Apfelbutzen, Apfel, Applebutt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been reading about and studying this experiment called Common Core for some time. My initial hope was to develop some grand yet simple opinion based on this research that might revolutionize the world. However, as I have been unable to reach that simple conclusion, I decided to write about some of what I have learned so far and some questions still unanswered for me.

I also want to provide resources I have found for you to do your own research and join me on this journey.

I welcome your feedback as that is another way I can learn more and we can learn together. This is one of the most confusing subjects I have ever seen in trying to discern who is telling the truth, who is not, and who is just trying to implement the program because it is a requirement to keep their job.

Just to be clear…so you will know where I am coming from on this issue I am a conservative so any time the federal government expands to take more control of issues that are best left to the states and local governments I am concerned and skeptical of the motives behind those actions. They tend to be mostly power and control related and not in the best interest of those the elected officials were elected to serve. This is one of those issues and I am skeptical that Common Core will actually be what their claims say it will be.

What typically happens is these over-reaching initiatives, policies, or laws are graded on their publicly stated intent by their advocates and not the results produced. There is little or no accountability and adding more of our tax dollars is always the ‘fix’ needed. I am more concerned about the end result of this experiment and the goals not publicly stated being achieved.

Everyone, whether you have school-age children taking part in this experiment or not, needs to learn more about this experiment called Common Core. It WILL affect YOU!

The children in school now are those who will vote and lead in the future so what they are being taught matters to everyone, whether you have children in school now or not. I am not opposed to change or new ideas. I have worked in the computer industry for over 30 years and there are changes almost every day. Change is inevitable and can be good or bad.

When the education and indoctrination of the next generation is at stake I think due diligence is warranted. I am not confident due diligence has been done for this experiment called Common Core. We are talking about the lives and futures of the children of the country now, not a new technological advancement. Despite claims to the contrary by its proponents,

– It is being tested now with those in school now as the guinea pigs.

Too many people are thinking ‘It is not my problem since I don’t have kids in school’ or ‘I trust those making these decisions have pure motives and are doing what is best for the children, and are not making decisions in order to receive more federal funds or fueling their own egos or political power.’

Investigate for yourself and make your own decision and then take action if what you learn warrants it.

Here are some things I have learned

1) There is no Common Core standard curriculum so you have to trust your state and local school boards to select the curriculum and textbooks that the children will be using. Do you trust your state and local board members enough to just let them make these decisions?

There are so-called “social justice” lessons being taught in math and English textbooks by the examples used in both. These lessons might not agree with what you want your children to learn or your definition of social justice. Have you read any of your children’s math books lately? That, along with some of the new methods I have seen for solving simple math problems are concerns for me.

2) Development of a national curriculum is one of the unstated goals of Common Core based on the opinions of at least two educators involved in creating the standards who refused to sign the standards.

3) The Common Core State Standards did begin as a collaboration between states but $4.3 billion of federal stimulus funds called Race To The Top and waivers for states to adhere to No Child Left Behind were the carrots that prompted so many states to so quickly adopt these standards. Alabama did not receive any Race To The Top funds but did receive a waiver for No Child Left Behind.

4)

Here are some unanswered questions

1) Where are the dollars being spent? The $4.3 billion and cost savings from waivers granted for No Child Left Behind is going somewhere. They are apparently not getting to the classrooms or teachers as they are still required to hold fund-raisers or take donations just to have the basic supplies they need to do their jobs. Is the money going to administrative personnel, unions, textbook, testing companies, or political campaigns against any candidate who either questions or opposes Common Core?

2) In setting a standard for at least two unique groups of students, those who plan to further their education in college (College Ready) and those who plan to enter the work force or vocational school after high school (Career Ready), how can this be done without “dumbing down” the existing standards and corresponding tests? We have been told the standards are more rigorous and tougher. How can that be?

Surface Barely Scratched – Form Your Own Opinion

This has barely even scratched the surface and is by no means intended to be a complete discussion on this subject. I plan to write more later as I learn more. One goal for this post is to do what I can to bring more awareness of this subject to those who might not have been following it before or who mistakenly thought it would not affect them. If I have done that then this post has been a success.

A second goal for this post is to encourage you to consider the questions, learn more, think for yourself and formulate your own opinion.

Below are the resources I promised earlier where you can learn more about this subject yourself from both sides of the subject. This is not an exhaustive list either but is a good starting point to learn more.

Alabama State Department of Education

Common Core Issues

Alabama College & Career Ready Standards (CCRS)

Truth in American Education

School Official Explain Differences in Common Core and Local Resources

Reasons to Repeal Common Core in Alabama

Common Core State Standards Initiative

Stop Common Core in Alabama

Dr. Pesta – Common Core Presentation – 11-09-14 – Newnan, GA

Four Seattle Teachers Declare: “We Refuse to Give the Tests”

Until next time…

If you like what you read here or just want to see what comes out of my warped mind enter your email address in the sidebar on the left and subscribe. This is the only way to ensure you will be notified immediately whenever a new post is published.

Enhanced by Zemanta

All Part of the Plan

The Joker in The Dark Knight is portrayed by H...
The Joker in The Dark Knight is portrayed by Heath Ledger. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

About five years ago The Dark Knight with Heath Ledger as the Joker was the most popular movie around. In my opinion he turned in one of the best acting performances ever as that character. That is one of my favorite movies. I think I paid to see it in the theater 4 times and I haven’t done that for any movie before or since. One of the classic lines from the Joker in that movie was, “It’s all part of the plan.”

That line has come to mind lately in regards to the roll-out of the insurance exchanges required to be set up by Obamacare. The official name of this law is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act but effects of this law are anything but affordable and I have not heard of any patients it has protected. If you have a lot of free time on your hands or insomnia you can read the final bill (H.R.3590 – Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) as passed here.

News reports are not good

Much of the news coverage about the implementation of this law is about how the implementation is failing, the health care exchange web sites where people are supposed to go to sign up for the health insurance are not working, are not secure, and once someone creates an account there, if they persist and are able to do so, their private information can be shared with anyone the government chooses and the account cannot be deleted. That is all true.

Opportunity or Tax Penalty?

Then there is the “opportunity” for those who do not have health care to be able to get health care promised by this law which I wrote about earlier (see Opportunity) which is really a requirement or mandate or tax penalty, not an opportunity. This “opportunity” is there for everyone and if you don’t take advantage of this “opportunity” the IRS will assess a penalty on your tax returns next year.

This personal mandate or personal tax penalty is the one the Republicans recently tried to get postponed for a year as well but the President is opposed to that idea because it would not force people to the exchanges in the numbers required by his plan.

Forced participation is required for success

If the younger, healthier citizens do not sign up for health insurance and pay 5-10 times or more than would be required for their normal risk class, if this was really insurance, then the law will fail. The deductibles on these policies are so high the likelihood of these policies actually being used is very small. This forced participation by the young and healthy is required in order to pay for the older and less healthy citizens.

I am not going to try to cover all of the details of this law. That is done now daily by many others, even mainstream media outlets. That is not my goal here. If you do want more information on how you might fare where you live you can find that in this article How Will You Fare in the Obamacare Exchanges?

What I want to point out here is

If that is news to you then you have not been paying attention. This information has been available since before this law was passed. It is just now becoming verifiable since the law was enacted October 1st.

Reality doesn’t match promises

Many have already received letters from their health insurance providers indicating their policy is not being renewed because they are no longer doing business in that state. Some have received letters saying they can keep their policy but the premiums have doubled, tripled, or worse and their deductible will have a similar increase.

Others have received letters from their employers saying they are no longer providing insurance for employees since the employer mandate has been postponed until January 1, 2015 and directing them to the exchanges for their health insurance.

Others have had their hours reduced to less than 30 per week to make them part-time status so the employer is not required to provide them health care coverage even when the employer mandate does take effect. There was much of this done the first half of this year before President Obama postponed the employer mandate for a year.

In case you are not following this, the result is less private health care options to choose from, less health care provided by employers and more people being forced to the Obamacare exchanges to buy insurance that is more expensive, not less as promised, and many are trying to pay for this added expense while working less hours.

Also, in case you missed this year’s tax increase anyone who has a flexible spending account option with their employer the maximum allowed was reduced to $2500 beginning this year so that was a tax increase for anyone who was funding this plan more than that amount prior to this year. I was one of those.

What was said about this law before it was passed and denied by its supporters is now being realized and is not very hard to verify. This law was never intended to be successful in providing health care for the long-term. It was just a stepping stone to a single payer system controlled by the U.S. Government. The fact it is failing in implementation now is all part of the plan. The only thing that might be a surprise to the administration is how quickly it seems to be failing.

The real plan in short is to force private insurers out of business, make the implementation of Obamacare as difficult and expensive as possible, and force as many people as possible to the Obamacare exchanges. Then you will see the same politicians who sponsored, promoted and voted for this law begin to say this is not working at all and is hurting the people it was designed to help so we, the government, must now take over the health care system in order to resolve this issue, that they created. There will be nowhere else for people to go since the private health insurance industry will have been decimated.

Let me restate that to make sure I am clear. The same people who wrote this law will be the ones saying the law is not working and they need to fix it. The fix they will say we need is a single payer system run by the federal government. The only question is how long this will take to play out. I am not sure they even know the answer to that but they are watching and will be ready when this law has punished enough people to make them want to accept their solution.

It is insane if you think about it but it happens often in Washington DC. Does anyone remember the housing, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac mortgage crisis of 2008? We the people are paying for these political games both figuratively and literally and will be for many years to come.

Introduce a little anarchy

“Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order and everything becomes chaos.”

That is another memorable phrase from the Joker that I believe describes where we are right now with Obamacare – chaos. Remember who created the chaos when those same people say they have a solution for it. Also remember this law was passed with only Democrats voting for it.

“Those who fail to learn from history and are doomed to repeat it.” Sir Winston Churchill

So when the President and Secretary of HHS continue to say Obamacare is working they are not lying. It is working just as they expected it to. Most people just don’t realize what their expectations were. If you have read this far you cannot use that excuse any more.

Remember when those who passed this law begin to admit it has failed and say they have a solution; it was all part of the plan.

Until next time…

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 10/18/2013

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Opportunity

Opportunity – what does that word mean to you? To me it carries a positive connotation or meaning.

I could have an opportunity to meet someone or someone famous.

I could have an exciting job or career opportunity.

Tonight I will have the opportunity to watch my son play football again.

I have had the opportunity to talk to all three of my daughters this week.

I have the opportunity and good fortune to be married to and share my life with the most unselfish, giving, loving woman I have ever known, the best mother those aforementioned children could have asked for, and my best friend.

I am taking advantage of the opportunity of writing this blog post right now. Whether anyone reads it and comments on it is really irrelevant. This is my opportunity to practice my writing. I do hope that views, reads, comments and shares are by-products or results of some of these posts but that is not the reason I write.

In this country we still have the opportunity to worship as we see fit. Some would say they have the opportunity to not worship at all but I doubt that is true. If you are not worshiping God you are worshiping something. Look at how you spend your time and your money if you are confused. That is what you are worshiping.

I “have to” or I “get to”

A principal I learned from Zig Ziglar is sort of related to this word in that how you look at things or your perspective. Remember I do claim mine is a little peculiar.

You might have a parent or loved one you are caring for now and you say I have to go do such and such for my father, mother, son, daughter, wife, husband, friend – you choose. However, if you can make yourself look into the future when that person is no longer here or needs your help, you will long for those days. So if you look at it from that perspective you would begin to say I get to go and do such and such for whomever.

It is true that you often never realize what you have until it is gone. These are opportunities you never get back or a chance for a do-over so make the best of them.

Disclaimer – Constitutional Conservative 

I do pay attention to current events and do have an opinion that is based on my beliefs which are best described as constitutional conservative. However, as best as I can the following comments are unbiased and just factual common sense.

Why I chose to write about this word today

I had the news on the other day on Tuesday I believe and President Obama was in the Rose Garden at the White House talking about his Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. They are the same thing.

He used the word opportunity when talking about this health care act saying that it gives people who were previously not able to get health insurance the “opportunity” to go online and select a health care plan that is affordable for them. I am just focusing here on one word used – opportunity.

I believe it is being mis-used and is misleading in this context. As is often the case in politics only part of the story is told to show whatever that politician is promoting in its best light. Often, what is intentionally left out is never explained or heard by most.

As I mentioned above opportunity is something positive that one chooses of their own free will today within the laws of the land. The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land but the opportunity the President spoke of is more of a threat than an opportunity. Let me explain.

Opportunity or Threat?

You see, what he failed to mention is the flip side of this “opportunity.” If you are one of those who have made a decision that you do not want or need health insurance you are free to make that choice. However, there will be a check box on your IRS Tax forms next year where you will have to check Yes I have insurance or No I don’t. If you indicate you do not have health insurance the IRS will add a penalty to your tax return that you will be required to pay. That penalty will start small but will increase every year and could be up to 1% of your income.

So in reality this “opportunity” is the American people being forced to either buy health insurance or pay an IRS tax penalty. When you look at it as it really is it does look a little different, doesn’t it? It doesn’t sound like an opportunity at all to me.

Webster defines opportunity as “a favorable juncture of circumstances.”

The Affordable Care Act or

Opportunity_01

 

I like Webster’s version better. What about you?

Until next time…

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 10/4/2013

Enhanced by Zemanta